Thursday, March 25, 2010

New SON OF A SEAHORSE poster and snake oil.

SON OF A SEAHORSE is a dispatch from a personal hell with punchlines. It's the story of Nick: angry for good reasons and no reasons, self-destructive, self-loathing, slippery, brought to larger-than-life by DAVID SCHONSCHECK.

He's aided and abetted by a collection of stylized performances that run the gamut from gleefully over-the-top to deliciously deadpan, all marshaled by directors MARY & TOM RUSSELL in service of a SHARP and DEFIANT THROAT-PUNCH of DIY COMEDY.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Olivia Forever!!, Poster.

Olivia Forever!!, Fifth Shoot.

We shot with Steampunk Legend Jake Hildebrandt (pictured above) on Saturday. Tom's uncle, Mike Brennan, was kind enough to let us shoot at his collision shop, B & K Collision. Dearbornites might recall that B & K has sponsored the annual homecoming ceremonies and fireworks several times over the last few years.

So it wasn't completely surprising to us when Mayor Jack O'Reilly showed up. I mean, it was still totally random-- one minute we're shooting, the next minute we look out at the parking lot and there's the Mayor on his cell phone.

Between takes, Mary went out to chat with him-- they had been neighbors growing up, and of course, since Tom ran against Mayor O'Reilly in the 2007 Special Election, he knew who we were.

Because both Steampunk Legend Jake Hildebrandt and Tom are employed as part-time civil servants, and because the local newspaper recently printed some rather troubling remarks about the future of our department that someone is purported to have overheard the Mayor say at a rotary club, Jake suggested we "Michael Moore" the Mayor and ask him to set the record straight on camera. Tom declined.

During one the takes, the Mayor and Uncle Mike stood outside the building, chatting indistinctly, occasionally laughing boisterously, no doubt unaware that our mike could pick them up as background noise. Amusingly, a number of technical errors resulted in only one usable take-- which was, you guessed it, the one guest-starring Mayor Jack O'Reilly and Mike Brennan as Background Laughing Guy Numbers One and Two, respectively.

Now, we had promised some screen-grabs from our January shoot, and intending not to disappoint, here they are. This was the scene that introduced David Schonscheck's character.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Olivia Forever!!, Fourth Shoot.

So, it's been awhile. From technical issues to personal issues to scheduling conflicts, we haven't shot a lick since January. We have, however, been preparing-- trying to firm up some actors, locations, props and effects, revising portions of the script, lots of stuff. We've been busy but we haven't felt particularly busy, and as two people who need to keep busy to ward off bouts of moodiness and depression, it's been a hell.

But! On Friday, we had a shoot and a rehearsal. In less than twelve hours, we'll be shooting another scene, one that functions as a sort of experiment in comedy, using obscenely long pauses between each character's lines of dialogue as our main joke. We've been looking forward to this one for a while.

We cut together today's shoot shortly thereafter. Running under the opening credits, it's an audio-only sex scene. The first cut of it ran about a minute and twelve seconds, the last cut under a minute. Usually, we're the sort that's shameless about extending a moment, drawing it out-- we are, after all, the people who made Son of a Seahorse, which starts with a 22 minute phone conversation-- but this particular sequence needed to be compact and tight.

We're getting better at this, better at making these kind of precise decisions, more confident in our abilities as filmmakers, more comfortable with making comedies and entertainments instead of genre-less drama-comedy-slice-of-life stuff. Experimental in some aspects, yes, highly personal and idiosyncratic, certainly, but still comedies, still unafraid to embrace punchlines, sight gags, and surprises.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Read This.

We're not usually "read this" type bloggers, but, hey, read this. It's a fascinating piece by The Siren on Merle Oberon. Thoughtful stuff; follow it up with a amusing anecdote about the making of Wuthering Heights.

Heck, follow it up with her whole site. There's a reason she's one of the ten blogs we list over on that sidebar.

Friday, March 12, 2010

DVDs You Should Buy (Besides Ours)

The second-most-asked question I've gotten since I've started reviewing indie and self-distributed films (the first being, would you review mine?*) is "How do I see it?" And the answer pretty much varies from film-to-film, though folks in Pittsburgh might want to check out Indies for Indies, a weekly screening series curated by Lucas McNelly that kicked off last week with Amir Motlagh's whale.

I reviewed an earlier cut of whale, one which its director says has been improved upon by at least "44%" in its final version, last year. It's now available for purchase in various formats ranging in price from $4 to $14.

I reviewed Ryan Andrew Balas's film Carter, and interviewed the director. The film is again available to view for free online, and a DVD edition is available for $10.

I loved Josh Bernhard's The Lionshare and it made my best of the decade list. It, too, is available online and for purchase.

[*-- And the answer is, yes, of course! Send me an e-mail at milos_parker at yahoo dot com. However, I'm currently working my way through a backlog of screeners and I always view a film at least twice before writing a review. So bear in mind it's going to take awhile-- probably two or three months in most cases. And, yes, as someone who's more-or-less in the same boat with our own films, I know exactly how frustrating that can be. Sorry.]