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.

http://baltimorecomiccon.com/

 

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?

We Want Your Monies!

Just a simple poll today to see where people are getting movies to watch at home and/or on their mobile devices.  We have a good idea which retailers we’re going to use, let us know your favorite spot so it’s on our radar.  If you rent before buying, let us know that too.

It’s ok to vote “bootleg”- we won’t snitch or track you down and hang you by your thumbs.  My thoughts on bootlegging movies will be the topic of another blog post.  Have a great weekend!

Not Every Sunday Is Perfect For Guerrilla Filmmaking

The ending of the NFL lockout was a huge relief to all the football fans out there, including this one.  Since the league is so rich it almost prints money I knew a deal would get done, but it’s good to know that the season really is around the corner.  During this time, a fan can’t help but think about the beginning of previous seasons, how they felt about their team at that time, and how that team changes during each season.

The most memorable opening game for me was for the 2008 Baltimore Ravens.  I’ll always remember it because it’s the only opening game I haven’t watched.  Why didn’t I watch? It was because we were shooting outdoor footage for TPE, which A.) happened to be so close to M&T Bank Stadium we could hear the crowd and 2.) we had our one brush with Maryland law enforcement.

The shooting schedule for the day was in parallel to Derek Powers’ evolution from “guy who can’t control his super speed” to honest to goodness superhero.  We also got bolder in our selection of roads we used for shots- starting off on small side streets, then a four lane road passing the Baltimore Sun warehouse, and finally darting through traffic on Interstate I-95.  In that scene, Derek/Photon is chasing the motorcyclist who has been his  crime fighting target in acts one and two.  Mr. Cyclist has pissed off enough people to the point where the police are chasing him as well.

That’s how Dan wrote it in the script, but we didn’t have the money for fake police cars so we were resigned to selling the police action with sound effects.  However, through either a coincidence or fate intervening, when we started shooting a real police car happened to be in the passing lane of 95!  I’ve never seen a police car with that jurisdiction emblem before, so I’m going to call fate on that one.  So when shooting our motorcycle rider we widened out the angle a smidge and presto, our police chase!

That was our last road shot for the day, so we headed over to a side road, parked, and patted each other on the back for a job well done.  Little did we know, but that cop of unknown origin must’ve gotten in touch with the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, who sniffed us out like a bloodhound.  I was fearing the worst, that he was going to throw us in jail and take the camera setup we had latched in the bed of the pickup truck. Thankfully my worry wort tendencies proved untrue, as the officer told us to film what we wanted on the side streets, but stay off the interstate. Since we just finished, no problem there!

Another update on what I wrote about yesterday-  the website I contacted yesterday, prescreen.com, wants to see the movie!  We’re going to get a copy to them ASAP and who knows, that could be another channel where people can see the movie.

Maybe We Could Form Our Own Crimefighter Organization. The Indie Crusaders Perhaps?

Before writing yesterday’s blog I really wanted to compare TPE to another indie superhero movie, but was having a hard time finding one.  Then I remembered the recent release aptly named “Super” with Rainn Wilson and Ellen Page.

Make me stupidhead!

I frantically searched every online retailer, even trying to sign up for different streaming sites like Hulu (thanks OCD, you’re such a big help) only to find out it’s not available until next month.  Drats, foiled again!  I was interested in comparing because from the review I watched  Super isn’t “Dwight from The Office” in a costume, but a regular Joe dealing with personal struggles who becomes a crimefighter.  Has anybody watched this movie?  Without any spoilers, would you recommend it?

Speaking of the review I watched, it was from a funny and somewhat insightful show called “Half in the Bag” on the site http://redlettermedia.com

The two hosts review movies while drinking what I’m sure is real beer while “fixing” their customers broken VCR that must’ve been manufactured during the Carter administration.  They know enough about filmmaking to make you believe they went to film school, but sometimes they are intentionally obtuse just for the sake of being edgy and cool.  For example they ridicule the “shiny blue box thing” Red Skull has in Captain America, wondering what it is. You guys reviewed Thor for pete’s sake!  You know it’s the cosmic cube!  Anyhoo, other than that gripe it’s still a funny program and worth the 15-20 minutes each review runs.

While we’re at it, here’s an update on the production.  We’re reviewing the DVD commentary and getting it properly formatted.  We’ve also entered a submission to a new distribution site called prescreen.com.  They email members every day with info about one movie in their database, which definitely helps with exposure.  And since they’re a new company we know they’re motivated to get their catalogue out to as many people as possible.  We’ll let you know if TPE is approved!