Wednesday, June 30, 2010

SCREEN RANT: Addressing the State of Things

First off, I've really been brewing and struggling with this for the past couple of days. Some of my readers might have picked up on my occasional rant tweet on twitter this week but I've come to the conclusion this topic definitely needs more then 140 characters to really get to the meat of the issue.

I had two very interesting conversations over the weekend with two young filmmakers, to whom I will leave unnamed. Lets just say, the conversations left me very disheartened. My own personal stance and filmmaking philosophy wasn't shaken by any means, but I was surprised by how much all the hard work, research and relationships I've built online have have paid off. As prideful as this sounds, I don't really know how else to say it, I know my filmmaking. And I'm not sure they do. And if they do, they've straight up put themselves in a box.

The most common theme I heard running through the conversations was "I wanna make big budget action movies, be the next Stephen Spielberg." This simply may be a matter of taste on my part, but I really don't like Spielberg's recent films. He falls into the same category as M. Bay but again, more personal opinion. That wasn't really the problem, the problem for me is this, so many teens who aspire to make films seem to be more in love with what they shoot on and how much money they threw at their film, then the storyline and the characters. It hurts my heart, as weird as that might sound.

So many people assume all they need is a lot of explosions, a couple of hot girls and a whole lotta guns to make it big and in one sense, they're right. Take Iron Man 2 for example, look at my previous list and it pretty much lines up perfectly (except IM2 has a leg up on most films cause it has RDJ but you know...) People accept those films because that's what they're being fed and if a "big brain" movie happens to sneak its way onto the big screen, people are deterred because they have to sit there, watch a movie and actually THINK! SHOCKHORROR!

I know people go to the theater to be entertained, but film is a medium too powerful to just entertain. Its meant to influence, effect and, shape the audience on an individual level. And therein lies the paradoxical balance, to entertain, inform, but most importantly to grab your audience by their cerebrums and force them to THINK, gorramitt!

I've stated where those two young men stand, now its my turn.

I don't care about getting rich from my films.

I don't care about getting famous from my films.

I don't care if you can count the number of deaths and or explosions in one of my films on your right hand.

I most definitely don't care if my female leads looks like Megan Fox (pardon me as I gag)

I will not have my male lead rip off his shirt for no apparent reason or randomly stare at the camera with his big blue eyes.

I will never let my actors get away with leaving their mouth hanging opened for half the frakking film *KStew cough cough*

I don't believe that true love means you gotta have on screen sex.

I think that if your gonna make two characters drink coffee,at least give them real coffee.

IMHO: CGI gore is a cop out. Gore in general is. Absurdly long Steadicam shots do not solve badly constructed scenes. Tell a story, don't just follow the characters around. Killing your main protagonist and then bringing them back to life for a sequel is just stupid. I'm sorry, it is.

Phew. Glad I got that off my chest. ;) I'll end there. Personally I don't really care if anyone actually reads this post or not, it's more of a conscience thing for me.

I've poured out where I stand on paper and published it. People can now hold me accountable for everything I've said. And if you do happen to read this post. Hold me to it. I want you to.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What's in a Name?

Romeo and Juliet might not have thought too highly of names but I have no problem with disagreeing with the star crossed lovers.

It all started from a book I read on Benjamin Franklin. Good ole Franklin formed a society for the intellectual gentleman in Philly called The Junto. Its purpose was to farther creative thinking, philosophy, and the sciences. A group brought together by an common interest. That got me thinking. What better example of a group of people brought together by on a common interest then an independent film?

We're all there with one goal in mind, get the stinken film made and to do it well. That's the thinking behind the Junto part of Junto Ink Films, now onto the ink.

I'm a writer. That's how I started out, writing anything and everything, novels, poems, short stories, articles, recipes, I think you get the picture. And now screenplays. In essence, I bleed Ink. No bones about it. I've always got a pen and paper close at hand (and if not that then my ipod to jot down ideas) My teacher sometimes has to come down hard on me because instead of having Algebra problems filling my school notes books, its random lines from films I'm working on and doodles that coincide with said films. Call me a hopeless nutcase. I'll take it as a compliment. ;)

I think the Film part of the title is a bit self explanatory. So there you have it. Junto Ink Films. The logo for my production company has gone through several phases and I'm happy to announce I've settled on my final design, all thanks to my good friend Paul Reeves.

Paul is a pretty brilliant guy if I say so myself. He creates CGI (yeah How cool is that!?) and he's quite the talented artist. My dream down the road is to make a high concept Science Fiction feature film, my own personal ode to Serenity. If and when that happens, I'm am most definitely hiring Paul to do the model work. Paul is also a actor and filmmaker, I told you he was talented! His latest project Game Boyz is in pre-production right now and I will be closely following the progress of this film. For more info check out Paul's blog here! Shout out to Mr. Reeves, Thanks so much for taking your time to design this logo, means a whole lot to me!

Now for the final logo reveal. Here it is in all its glory!

Slight tweaking of the font from the previous version, making it look more inky. I think it really captures the essence of who I am as a filmmaker. I have all these ideas and they all come spilling out at one time or another.

I leave my mark wherever I go.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Three's the charm!

WOOTNESS! More production pictures. We'ze a crazy bunch of people!

Oh got taglines galore for these pics! :D


Starring MJ & Stephanie!

The Director's weapon of Choice (yes, I'm joking.)

So this is as close as unflattering a photo as I get for Patrick. The guy is just so dang photogenic!

Obviously Stephanie doesn't think very highly of my mint selection. Blame Costco. lol

Vlog coming up very soon! I promise!

We're Making a Movie, Yo! (prt 2)

Alrighty, here's the first round of pics!

Round 2 later today ;)

In no apparent order...

Monday, June 21, 2010

We're making a movie Yo! (part 1)

Ok the teaser trailer for the a film but you get the idea. Planning for the shoot started Saturday of last week and didn't let up until well after 12:00 AM this morning but let me tell you, it was totally worth it!

I cannot tell my readers how blessed I am to literally have a flawless shoot. We arrived on location a little before 8 o'clock this morning and wrapped at 2 this afternoon. No hitches and a few very pleasant surprises along the way that have this young filmmaker still grinning like an idiot.

This was my first official film shoot ever in my life and it simply reinforced all the excitement and passion I have for the art form. I called Action and Cut on our very first take and everyone paused in gave me a spirited round of applause. That was an absolutely AMAZING feeling! To be a part of such a intelligent, talented, uber nerdy (wear it like a badge my peeps!) and all around fantastic group of people is quite a privilege and I feel down right spoiled to tell you the truth. I turned to my costume designer, Apryl Snyder, who had worked on another indie film recently and asked "Is it usually this smooth?" She smiled and just shook her head.


1. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate...and one more thing DRINK GATORADE...with Electrolytes! heehee :D

2. Don't be afraid of running around in 96 degree weather in multiple layers of clothing with the sun beating down on your head and loads of traffic. Seriously, its a BLAST!

3. Know your limitations and then know how to get past them. If you have your heart set on one location, be open to shooting somewhere else, say a kicking awesome set of railroad tracks that you happen to drive past.

4. Railroad spikes make great paper weights. My desk set up is finally complete.

5. Mions are by far the coolest shoe known to mankind and are therefore my trademark foot wear as a Director. You could totally consider that shameless plugging if the line of shoes were still around.

6. Some people say don't have your friends work on your film. Well my cousin like 15 times removed is terrific as a PA so Oh wise film guru you can stuff that in your pipe and smoke it. lol

7. My Costume Designer is just flat out cool. How she manages to do all she does and still keep a cool head is beyond me. Apryl is my hero. Not to mention she digs anime & M. Knight. Need I say more?!

8. Rebbecca Davis is capable of rocking anything, shooting, working gaffer with one those fold up shiny reflectors, being an encourager, steady hand, sense of humor, all out nerd and terrific teacher, not to mention she she got a pretty great selection of hats.

9. Subway, Eat Fresh! All I'm gonna say for now. ;)


10. Filmmaking in late June is hot, tiring, exhilarating, hilarious, stretching, creative, wacky, and you never quite know what your going to stumble upon. Jealous yet? =D

Part 2 tomorrow morning, more stories, LOADS OF PICTURES, and a VLOG! WOOTNESS! :D

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Patrick Hussion, as Paul Connel, the male lead in my debut short film THE SAVING.

Patrick in his own words:

Not unlike the majority of people who become actors and filmmakers....I simply live for film. With that said, I am still brand, spanking new to the scene. Growing up, all of my energy and focus fell on baseball, football and an unmatched obsession with American History. Interest in acting, screenwriting and the arts in general did not even appear on the radar. That is until the film "Glory" by Ed Zwick appeared on the scene in 1989. The film, which covers the first African-American regiment enlisted in the Civil War, had it all! Historic drama on an epic scale, an emotional score by James Horner and inspiring performances by a cast including Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington. I left the theatre that day and decided that I would begin writing the next great Civil War film that very evening.....oh, and buy the soundtrack.

Countless written pages and soundtracks later, films such as this one have continued to run through my blood. I've worked on some documentaries and have had some great opportunities to become familar with the filmmaking process. Late last year, an audition for a small play in Atlanta caught my I decided to give acting a shot. I can not express in words how much I learned from that experience!! When that production ended, I felt like my right arm had been removed. It was safe to say, that I'd "caught the bug."
So....hear I am! New to the Greenville, SC area, new to the acting world and fortunate enough to be working with a great group of creative artists! Production begins in September......and football is no longer why I look forward to the fall.

I was first introduced to Patrick by his headshot. I'll admit, I was quite taken by it, I don't think anyone will deny that he's a pretty good looking guy, but that wasn't why I was first intrigued, it was his eyes. From the moment I saw the photo, deep within my gut I knew Patrick had to be the one. He has a presence, something so desperately needed for the character of Paul Connel, you look him in the eyes and if he said everything was going to be ok even if the world was crashing down around your ears, you would believe him without a doubt.

I met him formally last Friday and my instinct was instantly brought to life.

Patrick is Paul. Nuff said.

His insight into the character makes me wonder if somehow he secretly got a hold of some of my script notes. His willingness to take instruction makes him a joy to work with and I'm all kinds of stoked to shoot our teaser trailer this Monday.

The journey continues and with Stephanie and Patrick at the acting helm, this gonna be one he** of a ride!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Recap/Sneak Peek!

I'm not going to reveal all my promo photographs from today's shoot but I will say this. One is edited, two are not. Shouldn't be too hard to figure which is what. :)

Lessons Learned

1. Apples have never looked and tasted so good.

2. It is possible to make an decent FX scar out of foundation, clear nail polish, and Kleenex.

3. Don't have just coffee for breakfast if you want a steady hand.

4. Love the people your working with, cause your stuck with em. (btw My cast and crew ROCKS!)

5. Always bring water friendly shoes, you never know when your going to be standing the middle of a creek to get that perfect angle.

In Conclusion: We banged it!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quick Update


The countdown mentally started for me the second I woke up Monday morning. 5 days to pull my act together for the first promo photo shoot ever for THE SAVING.

At least 200 emails and text messages later and I think we're ready to roll. The team is all pulled together. Paul Connel has been cast (more on that tomorrow!), a Costume Designer brought onto the production and I've given myself a pretty decent crash course in Photoshop.

The supplies for tomorrow's shoot just keeps piling up in my closet. Personally I think we're gonna bang it, just hoping the rain holds off.


Guess whose getting her Film Warrior On!?

Just finished watching ONE HOUR FANTASY GIRL, I like to let films simmer in my brain for a while before voicing an opinion. I jotted down a list of key thoughts and concepts that popped out of my while watching the movie and I plan on viewing it at least once more before putting anything down on paper.

I will say this, it was definitely worth my time. I allowed myself to emotional invest my heart and mind into the characters and was not let down.

So yes, lots to look forward, still lots to get done!


Monday, June 7, 2010

And the Winner is?

After a week of voting for my Film Warriors persona it was pretty clear what the general vibe was leaning toward the samurai sword wielding bad a** herself, Naoto, Blade Maiden!

So there it is. Naoto is my new persona. WOOTNESS! ;)

It only seems appropriate as a Film Warrior to take the persona of one who swore to seek the revenge of who so callously slaughtered her family. That's how I feel about mainstream filmmaking. Its murdering the art form, slaughtering any sense of creativity and repackaging the same two dimensional crap...NOW IN 3D!

I apologize for the rant but I look at my new position at the as indie film reviewer for the Film Warriors as an opportunity to shed some light on the Independent film scene. Its not half as shadowy and unapproachable as so many individuals think it is.

I'm overjoyed to the join the team of Warriors already separating the silt from the pure gold that the rare excellent Hollywood films have to offer.

I'm also excited to announce the first film I will be reviewing is ONE HOUR FANTASY GIRL, an indie film created by Writer/Director Edgar Micheal Bravo in partnership with No Restrictions Entertainment.

A synopsis is included below.


Based on a true story of survival, empowerment, and hope...

A compelling coming-of-age drama that is like no other film of its kind. Boldly honest and thought provoking, the film introduces audiences to the world of a twenty-year-old fantasy girl: Becky Lewis (Kelly-Ann Tursi), who escaped an abusive alcoholic mother at the age of 15 and has been surviving on her own in Los Angeles ever since.

Having always struggled for money, Becky becomes business partners with Chi Trang (Paul D. Nguyen), an aspiring musician, who convinces her to work as a fantasy girl who acts out any fantasy a guy wants as long as there is no sex, no nudity, and is 100% legal. She immediately gains two frequent customers, Roger (Jon Morgan Woodward) and Bobby (Joe Luckay), who change her life forever.

Becky finds herself in a web of deceit, betrayal and murder that forces her to give up her own happiness. Shaken and bruised, yet determined to make it, Becky pushes forward hoping to earn enough money to invest in real estate and make the “big bucks.” Her journey leads her to find an unlikely ally who, for a moment, gives her the break she’s never had.

Well if that doesn't sound like a intriguing/thought provoking film I don't know what does!?

For more info about One Hour Fantasy Girl and The Film Warrior Blog, check out the links below.

The Film Warriors Blog
The Film Warriors on Twitter


One Hour Fantasy Girl official site
No Restrictions Entertainment on Twitter

I AM FILM WARRIOR! Reporting for duty.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I am Film Warrior!

Here are my possible personas for joining the film warriors crew!

Who should it be?

Officer Caroline Paski from SIGNS

Naoto (Blade Maiden) from DOGS the anime


Miss Maudie Atkinson from TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD!

All three are awesome strong women with opinions that effect the world around them.
Help me decide!


Ghosts and Dreams: THE SAVING's Origins

I'm pretty sure when I sat down on a whim to write the screenplay that has now become my spring board short film THE SAVING I had no idea what journey I was about to begin.

The inspiration for the film came from one line in one of my all time favorite novels, To Kill A Mockingbird. I'm probably slaughtering what the great southern gentleman Atticus Finch had to say but it went a little like this "there were other ways of making people into ghosts."

That concept struck me as, well very profound a
nd really got the wheels going in my head. The idea of ghosts and the living interacting is not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination but to me it was fresh. Within the context of To Kill A Mockingbird Atticus was not addressing the actual living and dead but, Bo Radley, a character who had been locked away from all else because of his mental state and the things he had done and experienced in his life.

I wanted to take the idea of a individual being locked away, not so much physicall
y but in a prison of their own making, their mind, and expand on it. We can be our worst enemies and most of the time when we sink to such a hopeless state we need someone to reach out and save us from ourselves.

Also I have a slight obsession with the dream world. I guess the reason I find the study of subconscious so enticing is because you never know what its going to spurt out. I believe that people are truest in their dreams. The rawest form of who we are, the way our mind perceives us but it is also so easily corrupted with all those torrential emotions coming into play.

The idea of living and the dead interacting within the dream world struck me as intriguing and I ran with it. Hopefully my inspiration will is apparent both on paper and soon to be on screen.

It is on these concepts that I built the storyline and characters in THE SAVING.

The first draft of the film began with VO (voiceover) from the male protagonist PAUL but I after some helpful feedback from my film mentor Bobby Shook I quickly did away with that. While VO can convey information well enough it rarely lets the audience figure out the characters and plot line for themselves. For me, its better for the audience to develop opinions through the way a character carries themselves and the dialogue that they exchange then simply spelling out all that glorious subtext.

I quickly burned my way through draft one and two and of course started the whole 3.1 , 3.2 .3.3 listing thing. The story just kept getting better! I felt a connection to the characters upon first typing FADE IN: but by the final draft I'm wholly in love with them. They've blossomed from mere two dimensional cutouts of people to characters with multiple layers of personality. In my heart and mind, Skye Mattheus and Paul Connel are as real as I am. Call it being an artsy weird or obsessive writer, whatever your pick but that's how it is.

I owe a lot to Harper Lee. That one piece of dialogue started me on this long journey, not only as a screenwriter and
filmmaker but also has a person.

THE SAVING has changed me. My sincere desire is it will also change the people who watch it. That is my Hope. That is my Dream. I will make it more then a Ghost.