Your Friendly Neighborhood Update

We finally got power back after hurricane Irene last weekend and are back at work on the DVD.  This is taking longer than expected because we’re basically cramming 10 pounds of you-know-what in a 5 pound bag.  All of the special features, plus the high fallutin’ menus for each feature are taking up every bit of space on the DVD.

We’re also kicking around ideas on how to sweeten the deal for people who have been waiting so patiently for the movie.  We may make the first 100 DVDs ourselves and have director Dan Poole autograph them.  We can also throw in some freebies that we originally purchased to give to people at conventions.  Do you guys have any other requests?

Oh, one last thing.  From now on all tweets, blogs, and updates in general will come with a signature at the end so you know for sure who’s writing them.  “DP”  will be Dan Poole and “DA” is Doug Adams, the producer of film.


Be All You Can Be

Last night I attended the 29 Days Later Film Festival, held at The Patterson Theater in Baltimore.  It’s similar to the 48 hour film projects around the country, but the extra time makes production less frantic.  As is normally the case in these projects, some shorts were good and others were really bad.  The short that won was really good.  I don’t mind the bad ones, one because heckling can be fun (I know I know, bad form.  Sorry!), and two, as long as the filmmaker is really trying to do the best they can.  However……

I wanted to write about something I overheard that aggravated me.    One of the filmmakers said they’d “actually have to get a crew next time” when entering for the competition.  I took that to mean they could’ve done better and purposely chose not to.  To that I say- why did you even bother?!? You’re entering a COMPETITION!  How can you not do your best when your work and name are on display to everyone else in town?  By entering in a competition, I thought it meant you really wanted to take this seriously and possibly have your short lead to something better!

I’m not saying to sign on with a union crew and get 3 RED cameras for your short, but come on, get lights and someone to help with your sound!  I’m also not saying to not play around and make a film just to make it.  By all means go ahead because that’ll help you develop your skill.  Just don’t enter it in a competition, which should be all about pushing the envelope and forcing everyone else to get better.

Hopefully they’ll get their act together and not sandbag it next time.


Balancing Life And The Dream

While I want to be “all systems go” all the time promoting TPE, sometimes life gets in the way.  Money is getting a bit tight so the regular job search has begun, and it looks like I found something.  It’s working for the company I used to, but in a different position and location (praise the lord!)  Location was the main reason I left the job in the first place, so a short commute will be a relief.  The downside is I’m going to be working my ass off 6 days per week, and the 7th might be occupied with an acting gig.  If TPE news sputters for awhile this will be the reason, but I’ll do my best to keep everyone up to date.

I know the filmmakers out there are nodding their heads, because almost all of them have to put their projects on pause while trying to scrape together a living.  It makes me wonder what kind of day job is better?  My regular job has nothing to do with movies or acting, other than providing the pathway for people to stream movies.  In a way it’s positive because when I can finally break away and do movie related stuff, my motivation is sky high.  The downside is having to shake the rust off- getting used to acting, writing, or whatever the specialty may be.

Then there’s working in the same field, but for someone else.  This is obviously good for keeping your skills sharp for when you can get back to your project.  I imagine though a downside could be when you finally get that time, are you motivated to give it your all?  I remember being a mechanic, and no phrase was truer than “the last thing a mechanic wants to do is work on their own car.”  Could this be true or am I just spitballing here?

Oh, on the movie front-

Instead of getting movie postcards printed for the Baltimore Comic Con, I bought a quarter page ad in their program. The ad is very simple, with “Baltimore’s First Superhero” as a heading, then the movie title, and beneath that our webpage and twitter account @Thephotoneffect.  It’s not as fancy as our previous postcards, but since it’s in the program that people normally keep I hope we get some more followers on social media.  Fingers crossed!

Our Next Appearance

Like with most other conventions, I didn’t the know the date of the Baltimore Comic Con until it was right on top of me.  I keep hearing about conventions and cons and when I check the dates, it’s either happening at that moment or just passed a week ago.  Gotta be on the ball with that stuff from now on.  Anyway, Baltimore Comic Con is happening August 20-21, and now I’m figuring out how we can show off the movie.

I’d like to get some post cards made up, but I’m not sure if they can get done in time.  We have some buttons, wristbands, and carabiners with The Photon Effect engraved on them, so we’ll probably take those.  At the very least, we’ll walk around with the iPad showing the trailer and clips from the movie and try to get some contact info to keep people up to date.  Hopefully by then we’ll have a copy of the movie sent off to amazon and have that fulfillment process going.

So if you’re in the neighborhood of the Baltimore convention center, pick up a ticket to the con and see if you can find us.


Nobody’s Perfect

So far on the blog we’ve had behind the scenes stories and behind the scenes video.  You might be wondering where are the behind the scenes photos?  There’s a good reason for that – we screwed up.

Since the budget was very tight we decided to only spend money on what was absolutely essential to shoot the movie.  Taking stills and marketing was the last thing on our minds so we never gave a second thought to hiring a dedicated photographer.  We had a couple people take some stills, but this was always on their break between doing several other tasks and it showed up in the quality.  All the stills were dark and unusable.

Obviously this is one area where we wish we had a mulligan, even if we only had a photographer come in for a couple days to shoot the coolest stuff.  So to the aspiring filmmakers out there remember- hire a photographer to take stills to make marketing easier.

Guerrilla Filmmaking Hijinks: Part Two

Here’s another behind the scenes story.  This one is from the last day of principal photography in May 2007, and the moral of the story is that there really are people in this world with the hero mentality.

We were shooting the first chase scene of the movie where our main characters begin to butt heads, but that gets put on hold so they can save the day.  They chase a motorcycle riding criminal who steals from another principal character we get to know better later on. It was shot in downtown Baltimore, on a Friday, during the day.  Not exactly a secluded setting.  The cops never tried stopping us, but I guess they thought we were part of the crew shooting the tv show The Wire a few blocks away.  Thanks big time production!  While the cops gave us no trouble, a regular citizen made one take quite interesting.

During this shot, the motorcyclist (played by Chris Beatty) would steal the woman’s purse, turn the corner, go up an alley, then turn around to reset.  The guy in the car must not have seen what we were up to because when he saw the purse “stolen”, he took off after the bike!  When Chris tried to turn around, the guy blocked him in with his car and yelled “HAND OVER THE PURSE!”  While Chris was taken aback, our AD Matt Holder was sprinting up the alley frantically screaming “IT’S A MOVIE! IT’S!… A!….MOVIE!!!”  The hero was unconvinced and we had to show him the camera and production truck before he finally stood down!  If we had the time we should’ve interviewed him.

Later on in the film you’ll notice a different bike rider, but in the script it’s supposed to be the same rider.  We must’ve lost Chris’ contact info and couldn’t get a hold of him, and wound up using someone else. Sorry!

In other news…

I’m compiling a list of movie reviewers who we’ll send a DVD.  I doubt any will top the great review from Dan Frazier of Comic Hero News, but it helps to get some more quotes for our website.  Is there any sci fi/comic/action movie reviewer that you often read?  What’s their website?  We’d like to get those kinds of reviews since they interact more with our target audience.

Until next time!

A Commentary On Commentaries

Sorry for the lack of updates over the weekend, although my “have a great weekend” signoff on the last blog was a subtle hint that this may not get updated until Monday. Sunday I was acting in a short film about zombies and Saturday I was helping out TPE creator Dan Poole with a pool problem. Why someone with that name needs help in that area is beyond me! Anyway, on with the blog.

After defeating those swimming hole gremlins Dan showed me some of the special features going into the movie DVD, which will be done done by the end of the week. Seriously! The extras will include a 5 minute Q&A with Dan about his filmmaking career including TPE, 3 behind the scenes featurettes, an “alternate” ending made at the request of one of our producers, and a commentary track featuring me, Dan Poole, and actor Derek Minter who plays Jay Powers.

After listening to the commentary track I couldn’t help but compare it to the tracks on other movies I’ve watched.  My personal favorite is from Dawn of the Dead (2004) with Zack Snyder and producer Eric Newman. First of all they were very informative about all things behind the scenes, which I guess is the whole point of commentaries in the first place.  On top of that, they were also fun to listen to, like we were having a couple rounds at the bar while they b.s.’ed about the movie.  We think we’ve got the same vibe in our commentary and hopefully you all will feel the same way.

Since this is about all commentaries here’s the fun part- the bad commentaries.  I can’t stand it when the director gets in what I like to call “artist” mode, trying to talk down to the audience or other pretentious tendencies.  *cough*District9NeillBlomkamp*cough* Not only was he talking to the audience like we were clueless about movies, but also about social issues.  Yes Neill, there are poor people and rich people in all parts of the world. We know.  Now zip it until you have something else to say about the creature effects.

As bad as that was, the District 9 commentary can’t take the crown of Worst Ever.  That honor goes to Sons of Anarchy, which pains me to write because I absolutely love the show.  Why is it bad?  Because Kurt Sutter can’t make it through a sentence without a couple dramatic pauses and a few more “uh…um…..yeah”s.  He does act on the show, so I don’t know if he’s trying to play some role or if he needs the help of that Geoffery Rush character from the king movie.  Add in Ron Perlman’s “I’m too important to be wasting my time on this” schtick and I had to shut it off halfway through the pilot.  Maybe I’ll try again someday, but after hearing this same routine at their Comic Con panel last year I doubt the rest will be any better.

So, which commentaries do you love or hate?  When watching them, what info are you trying to learn?