Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010: The Year in Review

What can I say about 2010? It has probably been one of the craziest years of my life. Possibly, one of the best and most educational! Now, I know I leave my personal out of my blogs, and that isn’t about to change now, but let’s just say with my illness in February, which sucked, on the seriously bad down side, I also had a pretty damn good up side in my personal 2010.

And now, the big stuff! Looking back, I’ve worked in 4 States: Missouri, Illinois, Michigan and Louisiana. In those four states, I’ve worked on 6 Features, Reshoots for a Feature, 4 Short Films, 1 National Cable TV Program, 1 Commercial, plus produced the trailer for an up-coming Feature. Here’s the list as it breaks down:

The Frontier Boys – (Charlevoix, MI)-Grooters Productions – Feature Film – First AD
Joint Body –(Alton, IL)–40 West Productions – Feature Film – 2nd AD
Mil Mascaras: Venganza Azteca –(Columbia, MO)–Tritium Films – Feature Film –1stAD: Reshoots
Left Alone – (Chicago, IL) – Dark Yard Films – Short Film – 1st AD
All You Can Dream – (Grand Rapids, MI) – All You Can Dream, LLC – Feature Film – 1st AD
Using – (Bloomington, IL/Chicago, IL)–Phenom Features – Feature Film – Production Supervisor
The Bloodfest Club – (East Alton, IL)–Crunchy Cool Films – Short Film – 2nd AD
L’Ecole Culinaire Commercial – (St. Louis, MO)–Charter Cable – Commercial – PA
5 to Die For – (St. Louis, MO)–Food Network/Follow Productions – TV Program - PA
Witches Playground – (Alton, IL)–Dead of Night Films/ACE Films – Trailer – Producer
Zombie Hamlet – (Baton Rouge, LA)–Zombie Hamlet, LLC – Feature Film – KEY PA
The Door – (Baton Rouge, LA)–Upload/The Door Movie LLC – Feature Film – 2nd 2nd AD
Untitled Christmas Short – (St. Louis, MO)–Pascal Creative/ACE Films – Short Film – Producer, Actor
Surprise, Surprise – (St. Louis, MO)–Pascal Creative/ACE Films – Short Film – Producer

Now, I don’t believe that I left anything off, if I did I apologize and will update it IMMEDIATELY, just let me know.

I’m just so proud of the fact that I have worked so much this year. Rounding the days a little, my math puts me having worked on set or in the production office for prep or wrap over 135 Days this year. That is pretty impressive. The most I’ve ever pulled off. I really felt like my career, NO QUESTIONS ASKED, was working in film. Something I have been on the fence about for while.

Yes, I still work in the bar industry. So must give respect to my friends, the amazing staff at Bobby’s Place in Valley Park, MO. They have been amazingly understanding as I came and went this year, always being supportive of me chasing my dream, and more to the point this year, LIVING MY DREAM!

And a huge Thank You to all my friends and colleagues in the Film Industry who have shared their amazing knowledge with me, and continue to call me for work. I truly love you all. And to a special group, My Jedi Council, I thank you for referring me for jobs and giving me the chance to really prove myself even more this year. I hope I continue to make you proud, while you continue to teach me more each and every day.

Thank You Everyone for an AMAZING 2010 and I look forward to what 2011 has in store!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

So, what am I thankful for… Where do I start?

I am Thankful for my family who want to see me succeed, even if they don’t always know how to show me they are behind me. I am Thankful for the Friends who take the time to listen to me ramble, because God knows I do. My friends also take the time to support projects I’ve worked on, which makes me feel a LOT more important than I really am. I NEED to and could NEVER stop being Thankful for my amazing Network of Colleagues, some are closer to me as Friends and some further, but all of them have allowed me the chance to work so much this year. Which leads me to the fact that I am Supremely Thankful to be working so much, especially in such crazy economic times. Sure, I’m not going to be rich anytime soon, and need keep working to pay off what few debts I have, but I have worked more this year in my Career industry than any previous year so far. It’s hard to believe, but this year I have worked on 10 projects, in 4 different States, over the course of 9 Months, soon to be 10. I am very fortunate and Thankful for everything I’ve received this year and Grateful to those who brought me the opportunities. It sets the bar pretty high for 2011, but I’m sure this is only the beginning. Thank You All!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

September Already???

Is it really September already??? Where the Hell did 2010 go? It is flying by and I’m not sure what has happened to all my time…

Well, I never planned to neglect my Blog for as long as I have. In my defense, I have been a little busy. In fact, I have been busier this year, than ever before. Let me try and catch you all up to speed with what has gone on this year so far…

Of course, January had me traveling back out to Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. It’s hard to believe this was my 11th year working Sundance. I know I posted most of my adventures, but my reviews still need to go up.

February just might have been one of the worst months I have had physically. I came down with some really bad flu bug, and was down for about two and half weeks. In that time, by laptop died, needing to be re-formatted. I had to start over and reload software. There was A LOT of catching up I had to do in order to recover from that. To round out the month, I got food poisoning which lasted the last 3 days of the month. That will teach me to eat late at night from a gas station.

Now, March came in fast and hard. With a last minute phone call, I was whisked away to Charlevoix, Michigan for the month to work on the Feature Film, ‘The Frontier Boys’. After my 11+ hour drive I jumped straight into my job as 1st Assistant Director. It was certainly a challenge as my first day was day eight for the shoot. I had a lot of catching up to do, but we had an amazing cast and crew to help everything finish on schedule.

While in Michigan, I had a few offers come my way, but I decided to return home and work on a film shooting in Alton, Illinois, ‘Joint Body’. It was Brian Jun’s (‘Steel City’, ‘The Cover Up’) Third Feature Film. After a little crew juggling, I served as the 2nd Assistant Director. I got to work with several friends and colleagues, and return home to sleep in my own bed every night. The down side was I had about an hour drive every day, if not longer. It was a quick, short shoot, but took me through April after a few down days.

May seemed to slip away. I had a few weeks of down time. I spent my weekend working at Bobby’s Place (my friend’s bar) and trying to regroup. I did travel to Columbia, MO to work on the re-shoots for my friend Aaron Crozier’s feature film, ‘Mil Mascaras: Aztec Revenge’. It was only a few days of shooting, but definitely fun. I served as the First AD on the re-shoots. Plus, this got me down to Columbia, MO where my brother owns a new bar, 1839 Taphouse. If you get a chance, drop in and check it out.

June took me back out of town. I started in Chicago, working as 1st AD on the Short Film ‘Left Alone’ with Cinematographer Pete Biagi and several friends and colleagues. The shoot was predominantly nights, but a lot of fun, except for the serious storm we had to avoid getting blown away by. The day after wrapping the short, I left for Grand Rapids, Michigan to 1st AD the Feature Film ‘All You Can Dream’ with several of my Michigan colleagues. The film was a true challenge, but I survived. All I’ll say is NO more pigs!

I made it back to St. Louis for the 4th of July, but didn’t have much down time. Within 72 hours of getting back to St. Louis, I was off to Bloomington, Illinois to take a job as the Production Supervisor on the Feature Film ‘Using’. My Key Set PA from ‘Leading Ladies’ a year prior was serving as First AD and asked me to come help him smooth the production out. The project was built as an apprenticeship project so about 2/3 of the crew were students and recent graduates, while 1/3 of us were working professionals helping teach while we worked. I was amazed at how quickly the crew learned and how great we all worked together. Now, the shoot had a number of challenges, but we saw it through, even with two days of shooting in Lincoln, IL and a week of shooting in Chicago.

August was supposed to be a month to work on some of my own projects while regrouping and collecting myself. Well, I did get to focus on my own projects for a bit, but I did serve as Second AD on the short film ‘The Bloodfest Club’. It is the precursor to the feature of the same name, and the next major project of Crunchy Cool Films (Hooch and Daddy-O). It might have only been two day of shooting, but we all had a lot of fun. Especially for me, getting to ride a 4-wheeler almost all Sunday.

And now, we are into September! What does this month hold in store for me? I can admit I have received word of a few possibilities, but I’m still in a slight holding patter while things get worked out. And of course, if you have not heard, I am set to produce a few projects, including the werewolf Feature Film, ‘Hallow Pointe’, with Bobby Ray Akers, Jr. directing. I’ll be sure to post more often and keep you all up-to-speed with how things continue to move forward.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back for more news… The way things are shaping up, there will be some good stuff ahead…

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thank God It's March!

So, February was probably one of the worst months of my life. I won’t bore you will all the little details, but here are some of the highlights of the shenanigans:

Got back from Sundance on January 31 and by February 3 was starting to get seriously sick. I’m pretty sure it was the flu. Which one, I don’t know, but still the damn flu. And I had my flu shot.

Next, just as I recovered and was ready to get back to work, my computer decided it was finally done. After all the years of service and at least one previous owner, my poor laptop died. I was smart enough to start transferring files off as I saw the end coming, but sadly not everything was saved. In my world, even one file lost is too much. Now I did go have my laptop checked out, formatted and the operating system reloaded. It just set me back because I had to reload ALL my software, which required calling each company and having my licensing codes reset so I could reactivate all the programs… YEAH! The major fact that sucks is that I still have not managed to re-sync my iPhone to the “new” computer. I just hope I get that figured out ASAP, and without having to erase that as well. THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN!

And the last big ass kicker was ending the month with a terrible case of food poisoning. That really sucked and was incredibly painful!

Now, there were other little things throughout the month, but no need to bore you…

I know you are itching to know what I’m up to now in March. Well, aside from cranking out a few copies of a DVD for client, I have been packing all day because I’m rolling out tonight… That’s right! Michigan here I come! Over the weekend I got offered my first Feature Film of 2010, ‘Frontier Boys’. I’ll be serving as the First Assistant Director. THANK YOU AGAIN MATT CORRADO!

Now, I will be back in St. Louis at the end of the month, but for now… I have to go. A long drive awaits me! Oh yeah, and please don’t think I forgot about my Sundance wrap up blog and the reviews of the films I saw during the fest, as well as a few new sites I’m launching. Now that my computer is back and running, I will get everything caught up… But as the saying goes: When it rains, it pours! So stay tuned, everything will be going up soon!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Final Few Days of the Film Festival…

So, here are my events from the final few days of the film fest. I admit I got a little relaxed in these final days, but can you blame me? All work and NO rest will kill anyone.

Thursday: Once I was up and moving I headed over to the Holiday Village Cinema. They were transitioning from primarily only holding press and industry screenings to all 4 screens running public screenings. And after the Next Generation Filmmakers panel, I wanted to make sure I caught at least one of the Next Category films. So I screened ‘Bass Akwards’ from writer/director/star Linas Phillips. It screened with an animated short film ‘The Art of Drowning’ from director Diego Maclean.

After the screening I raced back to Main Street with the goal of attending the second YouTube Presentation. However, the listing was completely a misprint. It was the day before and at a different venue, which I even went and asked about. I wasn’t a waste of time, I was able to see more of Main Street and hang out for a bit in the Filmmaker Lodge. Plus, I did learn A LOT at the previous YouTube Presentation that I didn’t feel totally cheated.

After the schedule debacle with the YouTube Presentation, I simply headed home, had little dinner and got ready for an interesting night. Now, my shift started off not exactly as I planned. I can not get into details, but I will say I am tired of incident reports. The upside of the night was out Midnight Screening: ‘Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’ director/co-writer Eli Craig and starring Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden and Jesse Moss.

Friday: So I slept in a bit… I do get home after 3 AM every night. So when I got up and moving, I had to make a decision while I ate breakfast. Which movie did I want to try and see? There was a Doc (‘Smash His Camera’ by Leon Gast about the Original Paparazzo, Ron Galella), a Next Category Film (New Low from writer/director/star Adam Bowers) and Dramatic Competition film (Happythankyoumoreplease from writer/director/star Josh Radnor). I chose to try and see Happythankyoumoreplease, but by the time I got all the way out to the Racquet Club Theatre, it was too late. It was such a crowded show, I never stood a chance.

I headed back to Main Street, grabbed a bite to eat and headed to my shift at the Egyptian. Now, our shift started with a private screening for HP, one of the presenting Sponsors of the Sundance Film Festival. So our 9:00 PM film was smooth. Now, our Midnight Screening was fun. The Friday Midnight Screening was ‘Louis CK: Hilarious’. It is a stand-up routine directed by and starring comic Louis CK.

Saturday: Now this was not really a day to relax. I did laundry, packed, cleaned and got ready for our Annual Midnight Team Dinner. I was a very productive day and a great day for all of us to spend time together, tell stories, laugh and enjoy some AMAZING food. Thanks to “Iron Chef” John Ho, with help from our New Box Office Girl, Dena, for all the AMAZING food we had. I’m still curious why we always make so much.

Now our final shift at the Egyptian started with ‘Tucker & Dale vs. Evil’ being the 9:00 PM film. So it started off fun. The Final Midnight Screening was Rodrigo Cortes’ film ‘Buried’ starring Ryan Reynolds.

That pretty much sums up the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in this and the previous blogs, but I will still take time tomorrow to write a recap of the entire festival including how many panels and screenings I attended, as well as list off the award winners for 2010. I’m always amazed at how fast it goes by, but also how much I learn and grow!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sundance 2010 Mid-Week Two

So I am past my half-way point here in Park City for Sundance TwentyTen, but that doesn’t mean I’m slowing down. Here is a look at Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

Tuesday: I wanted to get up very early and attend the ‘Meet the Documentary Funders’ program. I attended it in past years and it can be informative. However, this year, I wasn’t crushed that I missed it. I am focusing more on narrative filmmaking, rather than documentaries, so it wasn’t terrible that I missed it.

I did make it to ‘The Next Generation’ panel at the Filmmaker Lodge, which was moderated by John Cooper, Director of the Film Festival, himself. The panel was made up of the filmmakers whose films are in the NEW Next Program of the Film Festival. The Next Films were made creatively for less than $500,000. I feel it is a brave you new outlet for Sundance that will help up-and-coming filmmakers, like myself, have an outlet for our films. It was amazing informative to hear these filmmakers talk about their ups, downs, challenges and rewards while making their films, as well as what they learned along the way.

After the panel, I made my way to the Eccles Theatre and screened ‘Welcome to the Rileys’ directed by Jake Scott, son of director Ridley Scott, and stars James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart and Melissa Leo. This film, along with ‘The Runaways’ will never have you looking at Kristen Stewart the same any more. They are both very mature roles.

Tuesday’s Midnight Movie was ‘High School’ directed by John Stalberg Jr. and starring Adrien Brody, Michael Chiklis, Matt Bush and Colin Hanks.

Wednesday: I got up and headed back up to Slamdance for another panel/fireside chat. Today’s panel was on Production Insurance and Legal issues filmmakers should know. The panel was made up of 2 distribution executives (one from New Video and one from Magnolia), an Entertainment Attorney and an Entertainment Insurance Specialist. It was actually very hands on as they spend the entire hour responding to the concerns of the few filmmakers in attendance. It was very informative. I even rekindled an idea I pushed off the table a long time ago.

I followed that up by attending the YouTube Presentation at the New Frontier on Main. I really didn’t know what to expect. The panel was an explanation and demonstration of the ad revenue and monetization methods on YouTube, including their new rental model and Filmmakers Wanted portal. It was very interesting to see how easy it is to use and what features are available. It definitely will open new avenues of distribution for the future.

Now that might seem like a busy day already… NO… I raced off to the Racquet Club Theatre to screen ‘Get Low’ from director Aaron Schneider. The film stars Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, Sissy Spacek and Lucas Black.

I finished the night at work. The Midnight Screening for Wednesday was ‘The Violent Kind’ written and directed by The Butcher Brothers starring Cory Knauf, Taylor Cole, Bret Roberts, Christina Prousalis and Tiffany Shepis. Sadly it was not the first screening of ‘The Violent Kind’, and some of the cast, including Tiffany Shepis had already left Park City. Tiffany is going to be in an up-coming production I have on the table. The Feature was preceded by a short film, ‘Still Birds’, from director Sara Eliassen. I was not able to screen all of ‘The Violent Kind’, but I was able to see the entire short. I’ll post my review of the short along with all the other reviews.

Well, that should get my caught up through Wednesday. I do want to hear from you all. Should I post my review here as soon as I can OR should I wait and post them on my NEW film review website, which will be going online shortly after I return to St. Louis? I look forward to your comments.

Still Moving Through Park City…

So, my time keeps getting eaten up and I never seem to stop and get my adventures written down fast enough for you all. Let me catch you all up…

Sunday: I slept in a bit, but did make it to the Eccles Theatre to screen ‘The Runaways’ directed by Floria Sigismondi starring Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, and Michael Shannon. ‘The Runaways’ is based on the book ‘Neon Angel: The Cherie Currie Story’ by Cherie Currie about the all girl band The Runaways which brought Joan Jett and Cherie Currie, as well as Lita Ford, into the spotlight.

That night we had a few hiccups at the Theatre, but nothing I can, or will, discuss here. Just rest assured, I, along with my amazing midnight team, handled everything magically. The midnight show Sunday night was Adam Green’s ‘Frozen’, which stars Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore, and Kevin Zegers, about three skiers who get left on a ski lift.

Monday: Now this was a very difficult day… Do I work or play??? I attended a Non-Sundance panel at the NY Lounge on Main Street, which was put on by Variety 411 and Entertainment Partners. The topic of the panel was State Tax Incentives for Film Production. I learned about the panel through a free offer to watch it as a webinar, but I enjoyed it more in person. The panel is available to watch online still if anyone is interested. Contact me and I’ll get you the link.

Next I raced up to the Slamdance Film Festival for one of their panels, or fireside chats as they call them. I was actually a seminar on Panasonic cameras and codecs, and how to better use and understand them, as well as some demos of the differences between different cameras. Now, I admit, I was drawn to the panel more out of hope to hear about the new 3D camera from Panasonic, which was not there, but I did make a great contact. The speaker, Bernie Mitchell, is a tester and consultant for Panasonic and we exchanged information after we chatted a bit about my plans if I can test/play/use one, or more, of the new 3D cameras later this year for a couple of projects. He was genuinely interested and I look forward to what will come from this great new relationship.

Now, I was torn about today because in order to build my new friendship with Bernie and the chance to chat about the 3D camera, I was not able to go to the music café and see Richard Marx or LeAnn Rimes perform live. But work first, play later, right?

The Midnight Screening for Monday was ‘7 Days’ by Daniel Grou (aka Podz) starring Remy Girard, Claude Legault and Fanny Mallette.

OK… I’m going to wrap it up for now… There is A LOT here I know, and this is only Sunday and Monday. I’m going to write Tuesday and Wednesday’s adventure later today, so I can have them up ASAP. Check back soon, and I am also writing all my film reviews for the films I’ve screened while here. I’m debating on whether I should start posting them here now OR wait until I get back to St. Louis and start my NEW film review website. Give me your input, I love hearing what you think.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Opening Weekend of Sundance TwentyTen

OK, I’m going to get caught up on Blogging from Sundance! Here is a recap of my events and happenings over the first few days of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

Thursday – My amazing midnight crew and I assisted the Press Department and Special Events with the Opening Day Press Conference which featured Robert Redford and New Festival Director, John Cooper. I spent most of my time assisting with my Redford’s arrival, stay at the Egyptian and departure. After the press conference, there was a special photo shoot and interview with both Robert Redford and Kenneth Cole. Kenneth Cole supplies all the volunteer’s jackets for the film festival. After all that fun, my team assisted resetting the theatre so that it would be ready for Shorts Program 1. For the first time in a long time, one of the opening night screenings was held at the Egyptian Theatre. One of the dayside teams of volunteers actually ran the theatre for the screening, but I stayed to assist with Mr. Redford’s arrival for his introduction to the screening. I concluded the day by attending the Opening Night Party. All I can say is it was SO crowded! And, WHO were all those people?

Friday – I actually slept in a bit. I planned to head to the New Frontier on Main for a few seminars, only to find out the schedule was not exactly what was posted in the program guide. I did venture out and see what was happening on Main Street, where different venues are, and grab a bite to eat. I actually ended up assisting the teams at the Egyptian Theatre a little early… I am a bit of a workaholic. We rounded out the night with our first midnight screening of 2010, ‘Splice’ from director Vincenzo Natali and staring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley.

Saturday – Now today, I got out there… I started the day with the World Premiere of the film ‘Winter’s Bone’ by director Debra Granik and stars Jennifer Lawrence and John Hawkes. Important fact, ‘Winter’s Bone’ was shot in Southwestern Missouri, just East of Branson. I followed that by racing over to The Sundance House for ‘The Next Generation of the 3-D Experience’ presented by HP. The panel included experts from HP, DreamWorks Animation, Disney, Sony, independent filmmakers and the NBA. It was interesting to hear where 3-D has begun to be tested, where some next steps are being taken and what new educational tools are being developed to help teach filmmakers to use 3-D to their advantage and the benefit of their projects.

Now, I followed that panel up, by racing back to the Eccles Theatre for another screening. This time I screened The Duplass Brothers’ (Jay and Mark Duplass) new feature film, ‘Cyrus’. ‘Cyrus’ stars John C. Reilly, Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei and Catherine Keener. After that screening, all that was left was to head up the Egyptian Theatre for my Midnight Shift. The Saturday Midnight Screening was ‘The Perfect Host’ by director Nick Tomnay and stars David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford and Helen Reddy.

OK, now that I’ve gotten you all caught up on my adventure so far, be sure check back for my continued adventures and film reviews.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Park City or Bust… For the 11th Time!

So, as I finalize my packing, freak out over what I’m forgetting, and decide to take a moment to think… I realize, I haven’t written anything since the very beginning of the year.

Quick catch up… I am taking each day One Day At A Time! I have not smoked all year… I know… It’s only day 18, but still… I haven’t slipped once. That is better than last year. Also, I have walked my neighborhood (about one full mile) at least every other day. I might even be a little ahead of that right now. I’m building up to jogging and more serious workouts. I feel that becoming a reality when I get back to St. Louis.

Now, I’m about to depart for the airport to head West to Utah. It is hard to believe that this is my 11th year working for the Sundance Film Festival. 11 Years! Damn… Really? I plan to take advantage of everything I can this year and really make strong connections, build upon existing relationships, and learn more as a filmmaker, while doing what I can to advance the projects I am working on.

Also, a HUGE Thank you to my friends over at The South Butt clothing line. They have supplied me with a jacket and beanie with both my logo and theirs to help both of our promotion efforts. I am also looking forward to returning to St. Louis and working with them on some upcoming video projects.

Well, I’m off… Be sure to stop by as I’ll be posting my daily blogs from Sundance, as well as a few movie reviews along the way. I’m excited…

Friday, January 1, 2010

First Blog of 2010

As I pondered on what I should make my New Year’s Resolutions for 2010, I kept falling back to one basic principle: Live Each Day, One Day at a Time, and Maximize That Day!

I know it seems simple. I will be putting up my goals for 2010 tomorrow, and they all fall back to this one philosophy that I will put into action this year.

I have some amazing friends in this world who have helped open my eyes to what I am doing and what I am capable of achieving. Reaching goals I never thought I could is part of the plan for this year. Is it possible? You’re damn right it is!

I know that with my own desire to change and make myself a better person I will achieve this goal. And sometime that extra reinforcement from my friends around me is not only helpful and appreciated, but needed. So Thank You in advance for all your help throughout 2010 as I focus on becoming the Man I truly can be!