Archive for the Film Category

Grilled Dogfish

Posted in Beer, Film on May 15, 2011 by Derek

Right. So I’ve been gone for about 2 and 1/2 months at this point. I have no excuses other than I was sort of busy/never really felt like posting anything. Sue me.

Regardless, I’m here now with an end to the story that began in the last couple of posts. The short that I created for the 2011 Dogfish Head OCFF has been fully backed, shot, edited, re-edited, re-re-edited, boiled down to 5 minutes worth of footage, submitted, considered, passed on as a winner but chosen to play at the festival, screened, pirated (yes, that’s right, pirated), and is now available for your viewing pleasure right here or on the Tube of You.

The above is Grilled Dogfish in all it’s delicious Dogfish Head glory.

And this the above is the pirated version when it showed at the festival.

My good friend Dave Conte (who helped me IMMENSELY with the production of the short) opted to take a fun, albeit brief vacation down to Austin, TX for the festival and to visit his wonderfully fantastical friends. Now, being that I was unable to, and super unhappy with the fact that I couldn’t go and experience the audiences reaction, he borrowed his buddy’s camera and filmed the screening for me so that I could at least know 2nd hand how it was received. Which actually appears to have been quite well – though I stuck it on here in an effort to allow you to decide that for yourself. Because it’s quite possible that I might be slightly delusional. Only slightly.

In any case, feel free to comment. Be honest and brutal because in all reality that’s the only way I’ll ever get better at what I do. You’re also allowed to be kind if you’d like. I’m totally open to that as well.

Gone, But Haven’t Forgotten

Posted in Day to Day, Film on February 8, 2011 by Derek

Okay, so, I haven’t posted in a few weeks. I know that I said I was going to post as often as possible and keep this thing going and all that great fun stuff. And I am. Which is why I’m here right now doing this. Where have you been the two people who read this ask? Well, I respond to the two people, I’ve been mostly sitting in my chair in my living room. BUT, I’ve been doing a hell of a lot of work… in my underwear yes, but work none the less.

Aside from perusing the internet pretty much every single day in an attempt to find a job, and filling out applications for those I believe I am qualified for (because I’m still unemployed… and if I haven’t mentioned that previously, guess what – I’m unemployed), I’ve been hauling all sorts of creative ass all over the place. Jump back to my last post: I mentioned that I was working on a short film for the Dogfish Head OCFF, but that I needed to figure out a way to make money because I didn’t have any (guess my unemployment has already been noted). And I did. Enter Kickstarter, quite possibly the greatest website ever invented.

To give you a quick overview of how the site works, you choose a project that you want funding for, you fill out a questionnaire regarding said project that the Kickstarter team looks over, and if they like it, you’re allowed to pitch it on the site. From there, you choose how much money you want to ask for, how many days you give for the project to be fully funded, and explain what your project is all about. Then you launch and hope for the best. It’s a great system, and one that I fully endorse and recommend to everyone who is looking for funding for their creative ideas. Oh, I should also point out that you have to get fully backed to be able to collect the money. So if you have a project that you put up that you think will cost $10,000 and give it 90 days to get to that point but only get $9,500 worth of pledges by day 90, the project isn’t successfully backed, no one who pledged is charged, and you’re back to square one. If you succeed, you pay a nominal percentage fee to both Kickstarter and Amazon (who runs the site that allows for the money transaction at the end) of 10% total, which you can allow for in the amount of money you ask for from the get go. The beauty of it is that if your project falls short, you can try it again! And the second time around you can change up your pitch so that people will be more engaged and thus more likely to pledge! Ask for a little less money, give it less days to collect, make a new video, just create a brand new pitch. These guys want to see people succeed, it’s all about the creative community man, and again, I cannot praise it enough. Do yourself a favor and check it out!

Anyway, I started a project over there and after about a week it was ready to launch. I opted for the least amount of monies that I felt it would take to properly produce the short, which I have entitled Grilled Dogfish. Those monies were a sum total of $500. I launched it allowing for 30 days to be fully backed, and 26 hours later, because of the kindness of a slew of friends and a complete stranger, it happened! Since then, I’ve had several more backers, and as of this moment, with 17 days left to go, Grilled Dogfish has $660 pledged to it!!! If you want to have a look-see, here’s my Kickstarter page.

Now, because I know I have this funding coming to me, and also because of the OCFF deadline, I opted to push forward with Grilled Dogfish pre-production and the production itself, making all of my necessary props, costumes, sound equipment and miscellaneous purchases on a credit card that I will pay back as soon as the deadline hits. I had my buddy Dave assist me with creating a ‘Buttwasser’ logo and label, as well as create the teaser poster above, and slated my shoot dates for last weekend. Which happened. And it went awesomely!!! I had a crew of 6 – Steph was our makeup artist and sound wrangler, Cory and Dave were both DP’s, Kelly was my scripty and Matt and myself were the main characters. And everyone kicked ass! They put a lot of time, effort, hard work  and money (they were backers!) into it and I believe we’ve got something that we can all really be proud of. We discovered we had a bit of a sound issue when we looked at some footage on Sat before we shot, but luckily we were covered by the on board mics and I think it’s going to work out perfectly. Other than that, the shoot went smoothly. And Dave got me the footage last night, so I’ll be hunkering down to start editing soon and will hopefully have a rough cut ready by next week.

On top of all this, I registered to take a professional script rewriting course online, which started last week. It’s like being in school again and I’m absolutely loving it! We get structural classes and assignments via email, and have a forum where we post our work to get feedback from other classmates. I have to admit, with all of the Grilled Dogfish stuff I was doing last week and over the weekend, I really haven’t had the opportunity to apply myself as fully as I would like to in the class, but that’s going to change immediately. Being that I paid monies that I don’t have to take this class, and that I’m taking it in an effort to make my script as amazing as possible in order to make a sale, I’m going to squeeze every last drop of phenomenallity out of it. And then some. By the way, the class is through ScreenwritingU.com. I randomly came across this site one day and fell in love with it. The fine gent who runs it, Hal Croasmun, really wants people to succeed, which was something that became very apparent when we had our class intro teleconference. I mean, it’s not like you take the classes and you magically have a salable script – you as a writer need to put a lot of effort into what you’re doing. And Hal makes sure you understand this; that it’s up to you as to how good your script can be. But that effort put in never seems like work when you’re doing what you love. And again, Mr. Croasmun absolutely wants everyone to succeed, whether your a brand new writer, someone who’s been writing for a long time, or someone who hasn’t even heard of his classes. That’s right, you reading this right now, if you write and don’t know what the hell I’m referring to, Hal wants you to succeed. It probably sounds like I’m trying to sell this site to you, what with my enthusiasm and everything, but believe me when I tell you it doesn’t need it. The thing speaks for itself. The man knows what he’s doing and how to do it, and he’s very friendly and approachable, which makes taking the course that much more involving. Check out ScreenwritingU.com and see for yourself.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. Oh, and I’ve had a couple of interviews, and worked a full day last week. All of this amounts to why I was gone for so long. But again, I haven’t forgotten. I’ve just had, and will continue to have, a nice full plate. Guess it’s a damn good thing that I’m so fucking hungry.

2011 Dogfish Head OCFF

Posted in Beer, Day to Day, Film on January 18, 2011 by Derek

I randomly found this film festival that Dogfish Head puts on every year about a month ago whilst perusing their website. It’s called the OCFF and I’m uber-excited about an idea that’s been stewing in my brain juices ever since I read about it. Check out the site.

The idea is that you have 5 minutes to tell an off-centered story involving Dogfish Head and you can do whatever the hell you want. Because I have yet to do all the awesome stuff I’ve mentioned I would, many of you who read this probably have no idea that Dogfish Head is my favorite microbrewery, pretty much hands down. Their take on great beer is one that remains both flagship and untouched. Ever willing to go off the deep end and create any number of crazily flavored concoctions, Dogfish Head is a company that leads the pack in creativity and innovation. As a result of this, Sam Calagione (founder and President) is one of my heros. Not to mention the guy is cool shit, and he is uncannily grounded in reality, making him seem completely accessible.

In any case, I’ve got a solid idea for this short that I think will come out pretty kickass. The logline is essentially this: A Dogfish Head employee is jumped and bound in his own home by an evil Buttwasser delivery guy looking to extract the micro-breweries secrets of success. Will he succeed, or will our off-centered underdog prevail?

Thoughts? Given that I FINALLY have a legitimate opportunity to combine 3 of my favorite things in the whole world – beer, film and Steph (she’s going to do the make up) – not only can I absolutely not pass this up, but I literally don’t have the right to. It is infinitely beyond my rights as a human being to pass up this opportunity, definitively. I have to do it. Have to.

So, I’m going to shoot it with a few friends of mine. We already have most of the necessary equipment and I’m almost finished punching out a draft. All I really need to do is figure out how to collect the necessary props that I want to feature and I’ll be set to do this thing. Alas, with my current financial situation, all the bills I’ve got to pay and the fact that I was recently laid-off, this last piece is a little more trying than I had originally anticipated.

But I’ll figure something out I’m sure, I always do. But 1st I think it’ll help if I start with a beer…

Source: OCFF, Dogfish Lineup

Film: Thoughts in General

Posted in Film on January 8, 2011 by Derek

Being that I graduated college with a degree in Film Production with essentially a Minor in Film Analysis, I’d like to think I know a little bit about the subject. “I’d like to think” being the operative statement there. When you boil it down, everybody has an opinion based on their own personal tastes, and as the saying goes “opinions are like assholes… everybody’s got one” – I just pretend mine doesn’t stink as much….

So throughout this blog, you’ll find everything from reviews of as many movies as I can muster up the interest in reviewing, to Top 10 lists of all my personal genre faves, as well as what I deem to be the Top 10 movies you cannot live your life without seeing at least once. If you have a real desire to see one of these quicker than the other, let me know so I can feign some semblance of focus.

I forewarn you:  I am very acceptable of all different types of films. And by this, I don’t mean ‘genres.’ I am an extremely firm believer in the fact that there isn’t anyone, anywhere that sets out to make a bad movie (alright, so, maybe I DO believe that there may be a couple of exceptions to this, but they’re few and far between). As such, I generally tend to view films wholly, with an open mind and the desired result of the filmmaker continually noted. Did it do what it set out to do to the degree that it initially intended to do it? In the end, did it entertain me, for whatever reason?

As I said, being that I went to school for film, you would think that I should meticulously break down any and every film I see by the various aspects it takes to actually get a movie from pre-production through post; to have something to say about the writing, the story, the acting, the cinematography, the set design, the directing and so on and so forth separately. And maybe I should. But the fact of the matter is that I’ve never let myself get to a point where deconstructing films has trumped my desire to simply watch and enjoy them. Once you do something like that, it sort of takes the romance out of it… at least for me.

Don’t misunderstand me, I have to do these things to various degrees in order to give any real and worthwhile sort of review. But because I’m so open minded, so non-particularly particular, I always try to look for the best in the 90-120 plus minutes laid out in front of me – even if it’s more tedious to do so than just simply sitting back and regurgitating everything I saw that bugged me to no end. So while some people are telling you “This movie sucked because X,Y & Z,” I’ll be countering with “But what about A,B, & C?”

I don’t know how well this is going to go over with a lot of you, nor am I saying that every movie that I’ve ever seen is just sunshine and rainbows in my eyes, but I want to be as fair as possible right up front: I am far more accepting of films that some may consider to be garbage, and while I still might not consider it to be Oscar worthy, I’ll argue my points with validity and gusto, just so you can see where I’m coming from.

And again, whether or not you agree with me doesn’t really matter – in fact, it makes for better conversation. Like I said, they’re just opinions.