Posts Tagged ‘HorrorCon’

Hey baby, you won’t believe what I found––

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

It’s a little hard to believe that this weekend will mark almost two years to the day that HorrorCon began principal photography at Monster Mania 17. The Crown Plaza in Cherry Hill, NJ, will be at it again Friday night hosting their 24th convention, and most attendees will be oblivious to the fact that a film crew once showed up and started shooting in the middle of all the noise and chaos. We’ll never forget, of course. I imagine the vendors who let us set up in front of their booths for far too long won’t be forgetting it soon, either.

I find it amusingly poignant that we’re closing in on our self-imposed March 25th deadline by, among other things, digitally removing a visible hotel logo from one of the parking lot signs. It’s as if we’re truly moving on from what was a long, arduous adventure. One that, despite mounting stresses and continuing financial burdens, was deeply rewarding in all the best senses. I’m sure every film production creates a special bond between its cast and crew – it’s like a war in that way – but ours will be especially unique. Giving birth to a film in public is like street performing, flash mobbing, and robbing a bank all at once. All that’s left to do is divvy the loot, and the first part of that process begins the second we add the last name to the credit roll.

I’ve compiled a list of festivals that we’ll be considering in the next couple of weeks. So far we’re up to twenty-four, comprising of events held in the United States, Europe, Canada, and South America. We’re as close as Philadelphia and New York, and as far away as Reykjavik, Iceland, Porto Alegre, Brazil, and Locarno, Sweden.  Although there’s no way we can afford to hit them all, we felt it important to identify those most suitable for the film and go from there. Of course, the more of them you try, the better your chances of being accepted. And being accepted means publicity, something all films desperately need. We have quite the story to tell both on and off the screen, and it’s our goal that we tell it to as many people as we can.

As we whittle down our festival list, we’ll begin to build one for conventions. Touring the film through genre events around the country has always been our number one dream. Sharing it with “the choir” feels right to us, and means we can build a loyal, grass roots following on as many lawns as possible. Of course, we hold out hope that some kind of film/music event can be held at Monster Mania 25 in Cherry Hill. We think it’d be great publicity for everyone involved to screen at “home”, for and amongst the very people who helped make our little movie look bigger than it had a right to be. However, due to Screen Actors Guild contractual obligations, we’re not permitted to charge anyone to see it outside of an AMC theater. This leaves us with only a few options to make back our investment: charge for merchandise and a follow-up Q&A, and/or ask for donations upon leaving the screening. Everyone who manages to secure a ticket will have the option to watch the film and leave without paying, and that’s fine with us. What’s important is that people see it, connect with it, and hopefully spread the word. If only that happens, the film will have a future, and that counts far more than a quick theatrical release without the promotional resources that might generate less-than embarrassing box office numbers.

I’ve written before about various distribution models that are available to low-budget indie films, and we’re looking at them all. As previously mentioned, giving it away and adding a donation method of “repayment” is an option. Renegotiating our contract with SAG to allow us to sell the film on DVD is another. I’m not yet sure what the SAG stipulations are in terms of Video-On-Demand (VOD) and Internet streaming, but it’s perhaps something a distributor can explain to us. We think it’s important to take HorrorCon through as many integral steps and processes as possible so that we do the right thing for this one, and learn for the next one. If we’re lucky and have done our work well, our screening activities will open those doors. At the very least, they might point us in the right direction.

Time to return to our post-production crew of two (next time you watch a film, sit through the entire list of post-production credits; you’l likely check your phone more than once such is the time it takes to list them) and continue our march towards the 25th. The score, done entirely on a single keyboard and the ThumbJam iPhone app, is just about complete. But there’s still a few more logos to remove and a certain Cinematographer’s eye-glasses that were alternately left on and off while acting in one of the scenes. I’m not naming any names, but his initials are Jim Wright.


The title of the post refers to the very first line of dialog in the film. We might say the same.

See you in a couple of weeks.


Ears for Fears

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Say what? Exactly. This audio mixing business is dragging, but it’s getting done. And redone, unfortunately. But we can’t say we didn’t know this would happen. Back when the idea for shooting this film in live settings was conceived, we expected some difficult audio challenges. You can’t yell “quiet on the set” when your set is a raging horror convention. The regular sounds of a busy hotel do enough damage, as it is. Loud televisions in the room next door, the tap-tap-tap of renovations and repairs, flocks of south-heading geese; we had our hand’s full, even if those hands were as capable as those belonging to experienced pro Max Kalmanowicz.

Yet, it feels right to be targeting our finish date in October. The colors associated with fall –– mottled greens, golden browns, blackened reds –– match our color palette well. Of course, most horror fans’ favorite holiday caps a glorious end to an already beautiful month. The natural order of things begins ticking to a stop, until the stillness of winter brings short days and long nights. These are perfect conditions to celebrate all things scary. And dammit, we’ll be among those celebrations if we have to work around the clock.

There’s also the matter of our score. If you’ve been following along on our Facebook Page, you will have already learned that the task of making the music to accompany our story has fallen to yours truly. I plan to color in only those shapes that support and highlight the narrative depth, and I’ll be taking my cues from some wonderful artists who have been generous enough to lend us their talents. Among them, The Michael Miller Crusade, Hot as Sun, and most recently, The Mouth of Ghosts. A full-on performance by The Young Werewolves takes the production up to a musical level of which I could never have dreamed. I’m so excited about how this all works together. Now, it’s up to me to link their compositions into a larger statement by weaving a minimalist fabric of shared musical themes sprinkled with some flavor of my own.

Many have asked what our plans are going forward once we’re done. I’m happy to say I’m not sure. Why does that make me happy? It makes me happy because there are so many wonderful new distribution opportunities for indie filmmakers. The traditional route –– if the film is well enough received –– is an exciting one as it injects all of our names into the realm of the industry known. We get theater schedules and press junkets and probably our share of red carpets. While that sounds like a dream, it can come at a high cost. You see, I’m nobody in this industry. I will have to hand over the rights to everything we’ve worked for just to be allowed beyond the velvet rope. Is it worth it in an age of digital distribution? Ten years ago, that answer might have been a different one.

Ten years later, I’m excited about the idea of spreading the film around to festivals and conventions and private screenings. Because I financed the picture against the value of my home, I’m not in a terrible hurry to pay back investors (although there are a few who have it coming). I will never be in a better position to test the waters and learn from my mistakes. Also, HorrorCon is a different animal than most, one that is designed to last and hopefully find its way into the libraries of the genre faithful. Therefore, I’m not overly concerned about being a hit out of the gate. Its time will come, and if I’ve played my hand well, remain. It’s a long love letter to the colorful fringes of popular culture, a place to which, in my own way, I’m proud to belong.

The software is fired up and the headphones are on. Time to isolate the hisses, hiccups and hot spots and seal it all with a wicked kiss. Let the leaves flutter to the ground. I much prefer a mottled green, golden brown and blackened red carpet to any I’ve seen walked by my more accomplished contemporaries. With that, I leave you with our favorite fuzzy trio.

Stay well…