Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cast and Crew Unite and Take Over

Well, this past Monday we held our cast and crew screening here at the Plaza Theater on Ponce de Leon Ave. Notice The Fountain is playing here. In the sitcom Seinfeld, George Costanza cried when he saw Ponce de Leon, a fictitious film that chronicled the hopeless tragedy of the title character's search for eternal life.

Adam P. used to send out invitations for this private screening. Our final evite tally reads: Yes-78, Maybe-7, No-6, Not Yet replied-23.

It was an uplifting showing with plenty of laughs and applause at the end. I hugged a lot of people. I only had to ask two people who I had met before for their names. Everyone looked good, some better than they had a year ago when I last saw them, some the same(I certainly did anyway.). I wasn't nervous before the screening because I had two poorly mixed rum n' cokes, but as soon as the credits rolled, the caterpillars in my stomach became butterflies and they didn't settle down until the after-party at Manuel's Tavern on North Ave. I'm serious. My stomach is a habitat for caterpillars. I'm serious.

I stood up in the back for the entire movie, and I only had to shift my weight twice, once from my left leg to my right and then from my right leg back to my left. I have a couple vivid memories that really stood out that night. The first is visual; the second, aural. Before the screening started, I went up into the projection booth where Jon S. and Alex O. were calibrating the digital projector. The movie was frozen on the title card, which is superimposed over a shot of a manhole cover(I think.). I peered through the little windows of the projection booth and saw the red letters of Blood Car on a movie screen for the first time. A movie screen. The same exact movie screen where I saw Jonathan Demme's Stop Making Sense years earlier and watched the dozen or so people in the theater stand up and start dancing like it was a Talking Heads concert. Unforgettable. Hugh B. was there. The exact same movie house and movie screen.

The next memory was the sound of laughing of a few certain people who will remain nameless, but whose laughs I could pick out of a lineup, detective. Their laughs make me laugh, though there was one laugh that was not present that I believe all the makers of Blood Car know was sorely missed. That laugh was in a different state.

I received two gifts at the Blood Car screening. Here is one. This is my family. There are no superlatives bright enough to describe them.

Chris B., second from right, is wearing a shirt that references this very blog, though the first letter is not quite discernible. It reads 'blutauto'.

The second was a CD of photos taken by Blake M., one of Blood Car's FX leaders and Capt. of the Blood Team. There was one particular photo that stood out.

It looks like it was taken in the mid-80s from an old 16mm camera with film that was just sitting in a box in someone's attic.

On a side note, I have not shaved since the morning of the screening.

Absorbed and Honored!

< Thank you very much for your submission of BLOOD CAR for the 2007 Cinequest Film Festival. We were absolutely absorbed by the film and know it would make a great addition to the festival?s exciting Maverick program of films. We are honored to invite BLOOD CAR to participate in the 17th Annual Cinequest Film Festival, as part of the New Visions section, where the film will be eligible for the New Vision Award in filmmaking. Cinequest will occur February 28 ? March 11, 2007 in San Jose, California?the heart of Silicon Valley. >>

Acceptance. Mr. Orr received this email approximately one day after the double-rejection from the Park City dances. He called me to tell me the good news. Adam P. called me a few hours later to make sure I'd heard. I rarely receive "Did you hear the news?" calls, but boy how sweet they are when the news is triumphant. I think one of my new year's resolutions will be to make more of those kinds of calls. Imagine receiving a call from me proclaiming, "Did you hear the news?" "No, what?" "Diamonds can be manufactured in a factory that are virtually identical to the real thing." I just learned this.

I think the last time I contacted someone with a 'dyhtn' call was when I heard that filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville never won an award for anything, nor was he ever nominated for anything(at least according to IMDB). And it wasn't a call, but an email, though in retrospect, I wish I had called everyone of my friends about it. I think I wanted to call everyone, but I just wasn't that kind of person then. At any rate, WHAT A CRIME!

Well, Cinequest, if you read this, know that we will all be venturing out your way the 28th of February, 2007 or perhaps before. We wouldn't miss it for the world. The Blood Car World Premiere. I myself can't wait to be arm-in-arm with Silicon Valley and a stone's throw from the Salinas Valley and perhaps rehabilitate my currently infirm convenent with God in St. Joseph's Cathedral Basilica. It looks to be a suitable place.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Blood for the Holidays

Our cast and crew screening for Blood Car will be this Monday, December 11th. I'm quite excited. If you were on the cast and/or crew, you should have received an Evite with details. If not, feel free to comment on this blog and we'll draw up an invitation for you.


Recent News.

Blood Car was not accepted to either the Sundance Film Festival or the Slamdance Film Festival, so will we officially not be going to Park City, Utah this January. Well, I submitted a short film of mine to Slamdance and I have yet to be notified about its fate. But the big news is...two festivals-two rejections. 0-2.

I didn't expect acceptance to Sundance. Based on what I know about Sundance and the synopses I read for this year's festival, it's not really a Blood Car type of festival in that genre/grindhouse/comedy-horror films aren't really Sundance material. I have said to many a person that if we didn't get into Slamdance, it would be a serious blow to the hopes of a strong festival year. I still believe that, but not being admitted to Sundance prepared me for the rejection. Odd as it may sound, not getting into a festival I didn't think we had much of a shot at created a rejection callus for a festival I thought we had a shot at. It numbed my nerves a little.

Alex called Slamdance today and asked about our film's status, and from what Adam P. told me, the woman on the line in Park City said, "I'm sorry. It was very close." Something to that effect, at least.

Having a conversation with producer/co-writer/DP(a superlative mix to be sure) Adam P. brought me down to Earth. It's our first film and we made it so we could sell it, probably straight to DVD if we were to be frank and earnest with ourselves. Nevertheless, we hoped, or at least I did, that the film would rise above itself and take the festival circuit by storm.

I don't mean to sound fatalistic or hopeless because, hey, what are two festivals in the scheme of over 40 that Blood Car has been submitted to thusfar? The possibilities remain bountiful for 2007. I'm confidant we'll play some great festivals. Perhaps we won't kick off the year with Park City, but I know for a fact a film festival in Glasgow wants to play our film and all they've seen is the trailer. Our niche will rise to the top.

We put down a rather sizeable deposit on a weekly rental for a small condo in Park City in hopes we'd be attending the festival. Condo parties will have to be postponed, but the deposit money we will now get back couldn't come at a more opportune season.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Two Jokes and No Spoilers!

Last Wednesday, we shot what the makers of Blood Car are calling the final, end-all be-all pickup shots for the film. To date, it was our most expensive day of shooting. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you anything about what was shot. Generalities will have to suffice. If I revealed anything, I would have to preface it with this... SPOILERSPOILERSPOILER!!, and I'm not prepared to do that.

Our schedule consisted of two camera setups, one shot each, one joke each, one laugh each(We hope.) least in conception. Wrong. The first shot I'm not qualified to discuss as I wasn't present during the filming, but for the second I was there and now that I think about it, there are a solid two jokes in that one shot. And I'm not trying to create any sort of buzz around these two shots, but I just feel like I'd be telling you the ending if I said anything.

And believe it or not, I think what was done last Wednesday helped bring the story of Archie Andrews to a satisfying close. Sitting here, nearly two weeks later, I can feel closure for Archie. I really think he needed this. So, to the makers of Blood Car, Archie thanks you.

In a blood related note, the American Red Cross has informed me that I am one pint away from reaching the 4 gallon donation mark for whole blood.

And if you're wondering, Blood Car has officially been submitted to the Sundance Film Festival.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Pillow Talk

Our most recent ADR session involved myself and Katie R., who plays Denise in the film, interacting after copulation. This photograph is actually staged, but I do about the same thing while we're actually recording. Though this pillow talk was planned all along, it was never actually scripted until today. Alex wrote two pages in about twenty minutes with some input from Katie and I and Adam P. the DP, who was working on iconic designs for the Blood Car poster.

Some ideas that were tabled included a silhouette of a gun shooting a car out of the barrel, with blood spewing from the chamber; the blood car sinking into the ocean(think the Exxon Valdez photo), with blood spreading out into the sea. There were others, too.

This room used to be a closet, but Jon S. converted it into an sound booth by essentially adding insulation to the room, then building another set of walls inside of the original walls and then adding the corrugated foam you see here. It has one bare light bulb in the ceiling. But it's air conditioned and not at all claustrophobic.

Alex O. has brought in a number of actors from the film over the past week to record additional screaming. These people include several agents, Marla M., and Mr. Malt.

Today was my turn for screaming, only these screams were intending for a scene in which I murder someone, all the while delivering a guttural killscream. It's one of Archie's most harrowing moments. I have a little video of this which I will attempt to post on my myspace page because, let's face it, what else is it good for?

Monday, July 24, 2006

the space

The marketing machine has officially begun with none other than, which at the time of this writing is experiencing a power outage at their data center. On a normal day, when the power is humming, I believe you can access it by just adding /bloodcar to the homepage URL. If that doesn't work, just do a search for blood car and you'll find it eventually.

Its most attractive and effective feature is the NEW trailer. There was an old trailer that was good, but this one is a 100x better. It really makes you want to see the film, sets up the characters and the story in a concise way, and on top of all that, is genuinely funny. Our friend James H., who is a board certified projectionist and a GSU alum, cut the trailer. I don't know how much he editing he currently does, but he certainly has a gift and/or knack for it.

The song from the trailer is none other than UK 'extreme power metal' band DragonForce. I'm not sure which album the song hails from, or even the name of the song for that matter. However, their biography is quite impressive( They are currently on their most recent 'tour of duty' in which they leave devastated cities in their wake. Devastated by rock that is. Rock that UK metal mag UK Metal Hammer claims is "as metal as f**k." They play the Masquerade on August 11th. Get out of Atlanta while you still can.

Something else on the bloodcar myspace page also must be addressed: the cast photos section just below the tv. I can't speak for any of the other photos, but the one of me is from a little film I did a few years ago called Oreganoise. It was a student film made by a friend of mine Dean S. at UGA. It was a musical and though I did no singing in the film, I played a gay auto mechanic. The film was about a cook who's car breaks down on the way to his restaurant's opening night.

Friday, July 07, 2006


Here are a few tidbits re: blut auto - german for Blood Car.

Picture is locked.
The Sound Mix is in progress. So is color correction; the difference is astonishing.
An eccentric composer is working on the score as I write this.
Adam P. and Alex have been arguing. A lot.
A deadline was set for July 15 for the Telluride Film Festival, which was shortly thereafter switched to August 15, 2006 for Slamdance.

This is the best story though so listen up.

Chris C., the lighting designer for Blood Car, was working on a big-budget film here in Atlanta with a famous actor who plays a doctor on TV. He gave a copy of the the Blut Auto rough cut to one of the producers on this film and that producer like the film quite a bit, laughed even. That producer liked it so much that he/she? pledged a significant dollar amount to the post production process. I won't say how much, but if you're reading left to right like you are right now, then it has four numbers before you reach the first decimal point. Nice work, Chris C.

For the first time in many months, Blood Car feels like it has as much momentum as it had during preproduction. More even. More.

Spell it. A - D - R

Remember that house with the basement with the editing suite near the concrete factory. Well, it's newest amenity is a semi-sound proof booth, complete with two styles of baffling, echo-killing insulation. It's still relatively new, so it is missing way to communicate with the person, or persons, doing the recording. Alex, the director, solved this problem by yelling instructions from the next room; hence, the 'semi' a few sentences back. Jon S. is planning on installing an intercom system.

ADR, if you don't know, stands for additional dialogue recording. You need this when the sound you originally recorded isn't 'fat'. Thin sound is bad, fat sound is good. But not too fat. If it's too fat, it will explode like Thunder from Big Trouble in Little China into a million pieces. Which brings us to our first scene of ADR, where Archie tinkers with his wheatgrass engine, which putters, but fails to really hum. No dialogue here, really, just interjections and exclamations. I'll try to get ahold of them so you can listen, but until then you'll just have to read about them. First was a 'ha-HA'. Now, this wasn't a laugh, but a discovery. It's a variation on 'A-ha', which is quite common in the inventor's argot. Then was "What the?", "Fa"(a truncated obscenity), then a couple moans, sighs and exhales.

I thought this process would be rather complicated, but it doesn't seem to be, at least not for me. I found it quite fun, but then Alex reminded me that we could be doing it completely wrong and have to throw out all of the sound. We're waiting to hear back from the post sound mixer on that one.

Later on we recorded some laughing for a scene in which the car starts on the mixture of human blood and wheatgrass juice for the first time and Archie is ecstatic. Now that I think about it, it was a lot like the 'ha-HA', only turned up to maybe a nine or ten. It was a little strange how I was able to perfectly replicate the 'ha-HA'ing from the previous, unusable audio. And believe it or not, this new stuff is much better. Before, I was a little luke-warm about this particular scene, but since we are having to ADR the entire scene, it's improved tremendously.

I also heard some striking words from director Alex today regarding a rather infamous drawing that is featured in the film. The drawing depicts an act of love in a...well, grisly manner. He said, "I don't know if that's going to stay in the movie." I'll admit it's raunchy, but Blood Car should have teeth and that drawing is one of the canines.

If you're wondering if we've changed any, we haven't. Alex still looks the same and so do I, except I have new eyeglasses.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Rough Cut

Today, I saw the official "Rough Cut" of Blood Car. Running time - one hour and thirty nine minutes. If movie running times were graphically represented by a bell curve, we'd be in the meaty part of the bell, maybe even near the clapper. I enjoyed every second of it. Our editors, Adam P., Alex O., Jon S. and Chris C. have logged countless hours working on the film, both at their homes and at what I'll deem edit central, the house of Jon S., which overlooks an Atlanta cement factory, to put it romantically. The story of Archie and his blood car have carried over from script to screen. No matter what happens henceforth, they have succeeded.
Now, since we lack a composer for the film's music(Comment below if you're interested.), our editors substituted some classics for certain scenes just to liven up the experience. It's also a helpful editing tool. Here goes...Stones' Paint it Black, the Lollilpop song, an orchestral rendition of Eleanor Rigby, Iggy Pop's The Passenger, and last but not least is some music from the denouement of Scarface, which was used in the denouement of our film. Now, when this film is released on video, I task you to, in Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon Wizard of Oz fashion, pop in the soundtrack to Scarface and play that piece over the final moments.

Now, just because I enjoyed every second of the rough cut doesn't mean that every second is necessarily good or should be in the final film. A film morphs through each stage. For instance, in one scene, while we were shooting it, I thought it would be quite funny and really hum, but watching it I noticed the chemistry was really lacking between the two characters save a few nice bits of banter. In another instance with a completely different scene, the opposite happened. One of the most fascinating things about editing is something Adam P. and I discussed briefly following the screening is that sometimes you have to leave mediocre scenes in your film because they serve the story. In editing, they often tell you have to or may be forced to cut your 'babies' or favorite scenes. Well, just as often, you may be compelled to keep the babies you'd rather give up for adoption.

I will say this about Blood Car. Notwithstanding some corny moments or aborted FX, it has a good ending. Such a thing can never be undervalued. Never.

Oh! Check out

Here's a contest regarding the above photo. Guess where I took it. I want the exact intersection.