Went back today with both brothers this time. We hit some of the buildings we hadn't been in before, including the church. Also found an underground entrance to somewhere, but didn't have time to check it out. Maybe next trip.
It was funny going into the church--there was two people already there shooting video. They asked if we could wait five minutes, so we did.
We heard the one guy doing some sort of monologue to God, so after we went in we asked him what they were shooting. The guy said he was doing a spoken-word poem for his church.
The funny part was, they walked out to the alcove as they were leaving--out of our sight--and then we hear a spray paint can being shaken--then the sound of them spraying.
What kind of church guy graffiti's a place? (I mean, it's not like it's out of place with how much is already there, but still...made us all laugh)
Monday, January 29, 2018
Amazon today announced an overhaul on their payout that will absolutely destroy our ability to make any significant money on movies. Personally it probably means I'm going to lose money on Terrortory 2 unless I seek out other venues, and the problem with that is that many of those venues don't want your film if it's already playing on Amazon.
Amazon used to pay a measly $.15 per hour of your movie streamed, but it could add up to okay money if you keep your budgets very low.
Now, unless you stream over 6,000,000 minutes then you will be paid a pauper's $.06 per hour for your film. Roughly a 60% cut to their rates.
If you can stream over 6,000,000 minutes then you get a dime per hour.
If you can stream 30,000,000--that's 30 million minutes--then you can get back up to the $.15 per hour.
All of my movies combined from when I put them up nearly two years ago wouldn't add up to that.
So do we have any other options? As far as I can see, no. There is no other way to get your movie out there as easily and with the accounting transparency that Amazon has. Distributors will demand a lot of things that will cost you more money(QC--quality control--can bury you in thousands of dollars of additional debt)--and they probably won't offer you an advance.
Which means you probably won't see any money.
The only other thing I'd now consider is an aggregator who could submit to places like Hulu, Netflix and Itunes, but that costs upfront money for EACH place you submit to, and doesn't guarantee you placement on the venue. Also, even if you're accepted to, say, Netflix...you don't know what they're going to offer you, and you now have to pass their quality control standards.
Wish I had better news, believe me.
You can read the full text of their new terms here:
Tuesday, January 23, 2018
My continued attempts at Amazon Prime world domination continue -- I put the scene study "Naked Cannibalism" in front of the Making Of, and exported the whole thing out. The Naked Cannibalism is just a 10 minute segment going into the detail of the motel scene.
It has a LOT of nudity. Hence, putting it at the front. The Making of GOH formula. If it's not broke, don't fix it, right?
I even went ahead and made a cheesy poster by taking one of my stills and putting a really poorly-photoshopped bikini on it. I'm pretty sure Savannah has never worn a bathing suit in her life.
Hopefully I can get some eyes on this, which will lead to more eyes on Bounty.
I mean, it has Tom Proctor in it, so how can it be the least-watched flick in my oeuvre? Guy's the coolest guy in the universe.
Friday, January 19, 2018
There's a sight I haven't seen for a while. One of my movies in the top 100 horror chart...and it's a Making Of!
The numbers keep going up on it, and pulling the actual movie "Garden of Hedon" up with them.
I can tell you that it's cemented the plan to put the "Making Of Bounty" up there in order to get more eyes on that movie, which is my least-seen film on Amazon(which is weird, cuz it stars the legendary Tom Proctor!).
I'll put an eye-catching(read: BEWBS) poster for it, and hopefully start getting some people to check that movie out. I'm fiercely proud of that movie, and especially what we were able to accomplish on the smallest budget I've ever worked with(before Terrortory).
But don't believe the internet about "Bounty". There are no zombies in it. Trust me.
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
What does all this have to do with anything?
Well, if you saw my last post then you know the Making Of Garden of Hedon went live about a month ago on Amazon Prime. I put it AND the Making of the first Fear of Clowns on there. I think they both have some entertaining parts, but obviously GOH has the boobs so I figured it would do better.
It has, and not just because Amazon's metrics screwed up on the FOC making of, claiming that ZERO minutes were watched the first month it was up. I knew that wasn't true. Eventually they got back to me and said it was a glitch in the system, but they did have the numbers and would update them.
Eventually they did, but sure makes it hard to trust them, right?
Anyway, the Making of GOH started climbing a few weeks ago. Did good numbers in the UK, like three times as much as the U.S., but then the U.S. started climbing.
In the past week, it's doing more than all my other movies combined and is steadily climbing up the page popularity list.
Obviously, putting it up was a way to get some more minutes per month in the metrics, but my secondary plan was to hope that if they stumbled on the Making Of, then maybe they'd be interested enough to check out the actual movie "Garden of Hedon".
I'm happy to say THAT'S working out too, as GOH has been logging 5-10 times the traffic it was doing over the past couple of months.
And that picture up there shows that it's pretty high on the movie meter--it usually hovers been 20,000 and 35,000 on the meter, but right now it's at 11,000. That's pretty high, so people are definitely checking it out.
I guess the question to be asked is this: What can filmmakers take from this? That putting a Making Of on Amazon can help lead people to your movies?
I wish I could say that's a definitive yes, but the reason I put TWO Making Ofs up at the same time was to test it. Putting up one tells you nothing. Put up two...you can compare.
And the Making of Fear of Clowns has done VERY little. Which leads me to believe if you have some sexy chicks to put on the cover of your Making Of, they will for sure be more of a draw than a shirtless clown.
So I'd say if your Making Of poster has sex appeal, by all means put it up and perhaps it will draw people to it AND your movie.
Man, I'm DYING to show you this poster. It's so freaking cool.
I sort of put Terrortory 2 on the back burner as I finished other things. We're still working on some of the effects, but since I'm leaning more and more to releasing in October, I have plenty of time to finish it. I can take a serious breather and go back to it with fresh eyes.
Here's a throwback pic to the first Terrortory's Midnight Clown segment--and one of these characters will have an appearance in the sequel! Which one will it be?
Monday, November 27, 2017
Spent some time re-exporting and prepping two of the Making Of supplements I've done in the past.
The first is the EXTENDED edition of the Making Of that I did for the Lionsgate film "Fear of Clowns". They wanted a short version for the dvd, so this is my original cut, with a few new things put in.
You can see it here:
Then I exported the bunch of individual segments we did for the blu ray of "Garden of Hedon"--I figure it'll get more views because it's got nudity and stuff. BOOBS, amIright?
On the Terrortory 2 front, work continues on the edit. Tweaking.
Editing is a lot like a puzzle. You have all these pieces, and your first pass you're just trying to get this to form a skeleton. You know, finding the corners of the puzzle. Then you move things around, see what fits best. Try some different stuff.
Piece by piece it starts to come together.
The wrap is basically complete, other than 2 effects shots.
The Mad Gathering is basically complete but I may tweak some effects a little.
The Pumpkin Trail is the roughest as far as shape, but it's not that far from complete.
I will spill the news that I just got the poster back for Terrortoy 2 and I wish I could show it to you. It is BAD ASS.
In a couple of months...
Thursday, November 2, 2017
Okay, you want some real behind-the-scenes dirt? Here you go.
Making movies with micro budgets is HARD, man. It's hard, even when you get actors and actresses who are there for you, and have your back.
But when you get ones who don't have your back? When they're there only for their reels, or for the money? Big problems.
Today, I give you the segment called "The Fountain". I'm gonna break a little news here that we've kept under wraps.
I met a local author named Ronald Malfi a few months back. It's weird, because he lives near where I grew up, he went to the same high school I went to, and he's published like 20 books, but somehow I'd never heard of the guy.
My buddy Stewie introduced me to him by giving me his book, "The Night Parade". The book was REALLY good. My only problem with it is that there's no sequel.
From there I read a couple of other books, and they were all very good too. Check it out, you can find his books here:
I just started reading his new book "Bone White", and as expected, it's great too. (the others I can recommend are Little Girls, Floating Staircase and December Park)
So I reached out to the guy and he'd apparently heard of me, and seen some of my movies. (his brother sort of knew me in high school, I think he said) We agreed to meet for a beer and a little chit chat.
At the bar we ended up being there for like four hours. Way more than one beer. That was the first time it occurred to me--hey, it would be cool if he wrote a segment for Terrortory 2...
I can't remember if I mentioned it to him at that meeting, or one of the next bar meetings we had. It's funny, but we'd only plan to hang out and drink a beer or two, and every time we'd end up talking until the bar closed. About scripts and books, ideas and things we were working on.
Anyway, at some point I asked him if he'd be interested in writing a segment. He seemed like he might be. For the next month he started pitching me ideas. A lot of good ones, but he kept throwing more and more out, and finally one in particular seemed fully formed at the pitch.
It was called the Fountain, and had a very EC Comics kind of feel to it. He wrote the whole script and sent it to me, and I said--Yeah, let's do it.
THINGS GET UGLY FROM HERE
I'm pretty sure this segment is cursed. I've been trying to shoot it for three months. I cast the two main leads, but then struggled to cast a part that involves nudity. Not sure why it's so hard to find around here now, but it is.
I've also had to find a remote country store, which is pretty hard to do in this area. Most of them seemed to be around 3 hours away, which is too far. It would basically add an entire extra day of shooting.
Then I needed to find a store I could shoot the inside of, if whatever store I found wouldn't let us.
Through the month of October I struggled to not only create some major props, including the "Fountain" itself, but to get locations and that actress.
I got a name referral from a friend, and reached out to this model(who has done some acting). Here is how the original contact went:
ME: I'm trying to contact you about a possible acting gig. (XXXXXX recommended you; I've directed her in two films). Can you hit me up at MY EMAIL or respond here will also work I think)
where are you based
ME: Maryland. I met you WAY back in the day at a horrorfind convention when my first film came out. (Hunting Humans)
And that is where the conversation ended until late that night when she followed up with:
HER: so what is this gig
ME: It's for Terrortory 2--the sequel to my last film. It's an anthology horror, like Creepshow, and this is the last segment we need to film. The segment is called "The Fountain".
Some of the details are, we're shooting the scenes November 4th. The
nudity is full body but non-sexual--you'd actually be covered in blood and
it's a night scene, so I'm not even sure how much is going to be seen.
It's outside though, so depending on weather could be cold. The pay is
AMOUNT(we'll be shooting some indoor, non-nude scenes from about 5pm-10pm,
then outdoor from about 11pm-1am).
Let me know if it's something you'd be interested in.
Then there was silence for a day, then this:
HER: so is there a lot of dialogue?
ME: Not a ton. Long as you don't show it to anyone, I can send it to you to see if you think you're okay with it.
if lot of dialogue im not interested
That's where I was like...say what? Actors ALWAYS want more lines...but she wants less? Oooookay.
I send her the script, and she says she's in. I give her contact info to Zig and he gets in touch with her to give her details of the shoot.
That's when she sends him this:
HER: and this is accessbile via traim/bus.? i live i ny so i dont have a car
Okay...let me give you a little advice if you're an actor: If you don't have a vehicle, you may want to PUT THAT IN THE FUCKING CONVERSATION AT SOME POINT BEFORE THE UPM CONTACTS YOU.
Now I'm clearly going to have additional costs of getting bus tickets both ways, plus I have to get someone to pick her up at the bus station to bring her to set, which is about 75 minutes away from the bus station.
Zig finds possible bus schedules. If she comes in at the 3pm bus, she can be on set at 5pm. We'll be shooting until about 1am, then we can get her back to the station by 3am to catch that bus home.
She doesn't want to do that much travelling in one day. I get that. But now that means I'm adding in a hotel. This model has now become over half my total budget for this segment. And judging by how difficult the communication has been so far, I anticipate the actual shoot to be a nightmare.
But I keep plugging away. Working through the Halloween season when I'd rather be enjoying myself. I create this "fountain", I paint it and add some crackle stuff that'll make it look old. With my brother's help I create a weird statue for the top of it.
I find a remote store about 90 minutes away, contact them and they're closed on Sundays. We can shoot the exterior there, no problem. A buddy of mine with an antique store says his store can double as the interior, but they don't close at all during the day. (the scene takes place during the day)
So I'll have to light the place like it's a daylight scene, but I think it's doable.
All the actors say that the weekend of November 4th will work. I'm hoping it's not going to be so cold that the model will freak out when she gets nude that night. I figure we'll shoot a couple minutes, cover her up a couple minutes, shoot a couple of minutes. I don't need TOO many shots of her completely naked.
But then...two weeks before the shoot, the main female actress goes MIA. Doesn't respond to emails. Doesn't return phone calls. I get that stuff comes up. But there's no reason to not drop me an email that says "Hey, something came up, can't do it." That's just unprofessional and dickish.
Anyway, this girl's name is Sarah Burton, and if you're an indie filmmaker, I'd advise you to avoid using her. I certainly will never cast her in anything. I found out by a simple Fb search that she took a new job on October 30th, so I'm guessing that's the reason.
So this week I scrambled to find a replacement. There's not a ton of local female talent that I haven't already used in Terrortory 1 or 2, so it's tough. Nobody could do it on such short notice, so I finally pulled the plug on the segment.
I will attempt it again in the spring, as soon as the weather gets tolerable enough to do so. I will recast both female parts.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR TERRORTORY 2?
Well, the film is already feature length--probably about 83 minutes after credits. What I could do is either release it whenever it's done, and then when I get the Fountain done, I can insert it and re-upload it to Amazon so people can see it.
Or I can just wait and get the Fountain done and put it all out at once.
Both options are open to me, but I haven't decided yet.