Sunday, July 28, 2013

Notes and A Look Ahead

I promised that I would revisit The Crowd funding campaign for Revenge Of The Devil Bat once more. They are in te last few hours of their campaign. If you have not checked it out please do so by visiting here.

Next I would like to preview what is to come in the month of August for this Blog. I am working on doing an interview with a Film Maker who shoot a feature using a Canon HV40. We are also going to be looking at distribution. There are more and more models to follow than ever before. Unless you are making a short or a fan film distribution is something you should be thinking about the moment that your shooting script is done.

You have to become the number one promoter of your product. The good news about this is that marketing is a learned skill. You are not a born marketer. There are steps that you can learn and master over time.

 I would like you to take some time today for a little exercise. I want you to look at the film that you wish to shoot and define the Genre. Then I want you to research and define the audience. Do not fool yourself into thinking that your film is for all the known world. You have not shoot a low budget version of Titanic.

 Lastly I would like you to look at the venues that will help you to market your work. Most of them are free. Facebook, Vimeo, Youtube, Blogger and Twitter. If you want to be a digital film maker then you are going to have to learn the promotion and marketing end of the business and over the next few post we are going to get into that. Thank you for visiting and please take a moment to stumble us on stumbleupon, add us to your google plus and to share a post.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Joker Rising, Rough Cut

This will be a quick post. The fan film The Joker Rising is done in rough cut and I thought I would post it for you guys. I have just finished watching it and I have to say amazing job.


 Now why don't we all go out and make a movie. I am feeling inspired, what about you? 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Revenge Of The Devil Bat Interview Part Two

This continues the interview I started a few weeks ago. The director has been very busy. Right now his crowd funding campaign has about seven days left. Check it out and maybe get involved. You can get involved by just telling others about it through your social media. Share the campaign and you never know what can happen.

I would like to again thank Ted Moehring for taking the time to do this interview. .

During the last year I have interviewed a lot of film makers and they all seem to have a different approach to film making.

First question that most film makers that are just starting out want to ask is what kind of camera did you pick for your shoot and why? I do not think the camera is nearly as important as how to frame a shot and how to light it, but it is usually the single most expensive piece of equipment on the set.

-I'm usinga Canon hdslr for "Revenge of the Devil Bat", but for my movies, "Bloodbath in the House of Knives" and "Invasion of the Reptoids", I used a Canon HV30. I definitly like the hdslr alot more, i've learned alot more about exposure using it then the hv30 and it's more like shooting actual film. My very first movie, "Night Hag", I started shooting on super 8 and regular 8mm film, but it just cost to much and I had to finish it on digital. I definitly agree that the camera is not as important as proper composition and lighting. Which I admittedly have alot to learn about. My photography is mostly inspired by people like Jess Franco, Jean Rollin and Orson Welles. Shooting and framing a shot is probablly what I enjoy most about making movies. Also while the camera isn't as important as the technique, with how cheap cameras are now, there is no reason not to shoot 24p and HD, unless you are going for a video look.-

My first love is writing. I understand that you write your own films. Do you start with a story or outline or do you just start with a blank screen and write until you hit fade to black?

-With writing, I usually think of an idea, then start to visualize it. With Bloodbath in the House of Knives, the first thing that popped in my head was the opening shot of darkness, then a door slowly opens with blue light shining through it and a hand slowly opens the door. I tend to think about the movie for a long time, seeing it in my head, all the shots everything. During this time I take lots of notes and do outlines of where I want the story to go. When I go to write the actual script I do it a little bit differently. From the rough draft I have every single shot in the movie numbered and I know exactly how the movie will be edited. So normally I would only shoot exactly what I needed. This drove the actual actors crazy because I would break up conversations, etc. With Devil Bat I'm trying to run through whole scenes with the actors and I'm trying to get actual coverage from other angles which was nonexistint in my other movies. I think I'm getting better performances from the actors this way. Though everything in my movies is meticuously planned out, I'm also always open to those "happy accidents" that sometimes happen on set, you definitely have to be open to change and able to adapt quickly with anything that may happen when making movies. If you are to rigid you will never finish anything, and the bottom line for me is just getting the actual movie finished, which when you are doing a feature is really like running a marathon.-

You decided on a sequel to a public domain film. Is it more fun or scary to take on something that has had a seventy year life of its own?

-I think it's fun to take on something already established like Devil Bat, because, well I love the original Devil Bat and 1940s poverty row horror movies. Plus Bela Lugosi is my absolute, all time, favorite actor! As with my other movies some people will like it and other people will hate it, for me all I can do is make the best movie I can make, and as long as I am happy with it then I don't care what other people will think.-

We all have out favorite film makers. For me, all time, you know it is Hitchcock. I admire the work of Takashi Miike. He does horror, comedy, drama, action as well as anyone on earth and he has even done musicals. The guy did claymation in middle of a film. When the budget would not allow for the stunts he just turned everyone into claymation characters, did the action scene and then turned them back into real people. I like film makers who break the rules. But then again I end up talk for hours about guys like Don Siegel and Terence Fisher who were just get the job done technique film makers. Who are your favorite film makers?

-My absolute favorite directors are, Jess Franco, Orson Welles, and Ray Dennis Steckler. What makes these three directors my favorite, isn't just their films, but their unbridled, sheer love for cinema and the act of filmmaking. They all lived and breathed to make movies and they all died while working on new projects. I love that story about how on "It's All True", the movie that ruined Welle's career, even after the studio backing him backed out and everyone left Brazil, Welles still remained, even shooting the movie himself! In the 1980s Welles was trying to shoot gothic movies in his own living room with Gary Graver. I find these three filmmakers to be incredibly inspiring and I had the pleasure to be able to communicate with two of them. I am deeply saddened by the loss of Jess Franco, my dream was to go to Malaga and make a movie there and I talked to him about it. But now I guess it will never happen. I love Franco's hermetic, self referential film world that he created. Not all of his movies might be good, some are boderline un-watchable, but he has made some that are very, very good. I also identify with him a lot because before I made movies I mostly made music for about 15 years. Nothing special, I just played in punk and hardcore bands, which is totally different then the jazz that he played, but the diy attitude definitely influenced how I make my movies, just like Franco's jazz playing influenced his movies. Now I like alot of other filmmakers also, Jose Mojica Marins, Al Adamson, Nobuo Nakagawa, Fassbinder, John Cassavetes, Jodorowsky, Jerry Warren, Yilmaz Atadeniz, Jean Rollin, etc. I could go on and on. But there is something about those three filmmakers, Jess Franco, Orson Welles and Ray Dennis Steckler that is special to me. Plus meeting Ray Dennis Steckler, and his attitude of working with what you have and not waiting for everything to be "perfect", to make your movie, because that "perfect moment" will never happen, is probablly what gave me the final push to go ahead and try to make my first movie.-    

 You have made horror films. Film makers get typecasted the same way that actors do. Do you consider yourself a horror film maker?

-I love horror and don't mind if people consider me a horror filmmaker, I would just be happy to be considered any type of filmmaker. I think what I personally love about horror though veers more to the side of that old term, "Fantastique". I like anything strange and unusal, I like the atmosphere, the surreal quality, the oddness. I don't really like torture, serial killers, that kind of crap. I like the aesthetic quality of older horror movies. Especially German Expressionism. While I do have other types of movies that I would like to make at some point, even serious dramas, I love horror movies so I guess I would consider myself a horror filmmaker, but that term has so many connotations, thats why I prefer, "fantastique". I know that sounds all pretentious and crap. Ha ha!-

I need to ask about the cast? You got a lot of well known actors to work on your project. Most micro budget film makers are stuck using their cousin Doug and someone who played the second lamp post in a high school production of a Streetcar Named Desire. How do you go about getting name actors who can actually act?

-I started off just using my friends, but I've been really lucky to be able to get the chance to work with some of my idols and people I loved watching growing up. I still can't believe Gary Kent is going to be in Devil Bat. He was a excellent actor that should have broken out of independent movies into the mainstream. I am so thankful for people like George Stover and Dick Dyszel helping out. And it's always fun to work with Conrad Brooks and Lloyd Kaufman. I don't really have a secret to getting these people or anything, I think anyone could, just have a good concept, a readable script and don't be afraid to ask! I have found that I have alot more trouble with actors who "think" they are big then actually established actors that have done alot of work.-

One more casting question. Many directors have a go to actor or idea lead for their films. Directors are often remembered most for their teamwork with certain performers. Living or dead or in their prime who would you have wanted to work with?

-Without a doubt the actors that I would have loved to work with, more then anyone else, are Bela Lugosi and Orson Welles! I understand that you edit your own work. Are you self taught and what do you edit on?

-With editing I am self taught and it shows alot. I think each movie does get better and tighter, when I watch Bloodbath now I see so much that could be cut tighter. Ideally if I could afford it I would do a rough cut myself and then have someone else tighten it. I actually hate editing because it is so time consuming but a lot of that is probably because I don't know shortcuts and the proper way to do things.-

 I have to ask about the movie Revenge of the Devil Bat and its crowdfunding campaign. Is this your first time at raising funds this way? With about two weeks to go what are you hoping for?

-Devil Bat is my first attempt at crowdfunding. Before I would just sell as many of my possessions as I could part with and eat alot of mac and cheese. I tried indiegogo first and that was beyond disappointing, I wasn't going to try kickstarter but some friends talked me into it. And I'm glad they did. We still need to raise about double what we have so far and we have only one week left, but regardless I've been pleasantly surprised that we have raised this much so far and I consider it a success even if we don't reach what I really need. Also all credit for the great documentary on the kickstarter page goes to Leslie Morris. And thanks alot to Cedric Crouch for actually setting up the page, I was pretty despondent and negative and I know I wouldn't have done it without them both pushing for it.-

Again I would like to thank Ted for his time and to remind you that there are only a few days left in his crowdfunding campaign. You know that ever dollar counts when making a micro budget film.

We are going to check back on this campaign before it is over.

Okay that is it for today. Take a moment to add us to your google plus and to share this post.   Listen to a bestseller for $7.49 at!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Low Budget Sound and iPhones

 Low Budget Sound and Iphones After you have done some test shooting and gotten use to the basics of digital film making you will notice that recording quality sound is harder than you imagined. There are probably things that you thought that you could fix in post and now your realize that this can not be done. You are stuck with bad sound. It may be worst. You are in the middle of a production and you can not afford to add much in the way of new recording equipment to solve this problem.

Perhaps the solution is in your pocket already.

Perhaps you should look to your iPhone.

The thing about the iPhone is that recorders better sound than every Dslr and most camcorders with its built in mic. It is also great for recording sound in a tight space like inside a car. There are also many apps that can make this easier.

This is a low budget solution for those of you who already own an iPhone. If you own an android instead that is okay. There are a number of sound recording apps for it as well. Always stay focused on your goal. If you wish to be taken seriously as a film maker then recording quality sound is going to have to be job one. Sound is what separates the pros from the want to be pros.

Okay that is it for today. Take a moment to share this post and to stumble us on stumbleupon. I am always looking for great behind the scene footage. I am thinking about adding a blog that is all behind the scenes film making content so if any of you guys have footage posted on youtube or vimeo please let me know by leaving a comment or through google plus.

I am going to leave you guys with a trailer for a film that I been waiting to see. Many of us have watched at a distance while Oklahoma Ward and his girl Nikki have been working on their movie Crawl, which got renamed Crawl Bitch Crawl. Visit their Youtube page and check out what it takes to make a micro budget film from storyboards to post.



Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Crowdfunding, The Revenge Of The Devil Bat

Crowdfunding, The Revenge of The Devil Bat

I would like to start by saying that this film has a truly modest crowdfunding campaign goal of 750 dollars. Please take a moment to drop by their page and see if you can contribute something. This will be my interview with one of the film makers behind the making of the sequel to the public domain film The Devil Bat. I have just done a post on public domain films so I will not cover much about the subject here except to say that public domain films are films that were not properly copyrighted or the copyright has expired. Here is a quick look at what their campaign is about before we begin the interview.


The first part of this interview will be conducted with Cedric Crouch, I hope to ask the Director a few questions before the campaign ends. And here is a link to the campaign before we begin.

First question. Is the goal to just produce the best possible sequel to The Devil Bat or are there any dream of bringing back PRC?

-We are pretty much just concentrating on Devil Bat. Our company Swamp Picnic Productions, has plans to do movies with a variety of themes and genres. We don't plan on just working with/relying on ideas from PRC. The PRC stuff is great but we don't want to become "a trick pony" solely basing our projects of past ideas.-

Did you consider trying to shoot your movie using a similar time table to the original film? Shooting it in under a week?

-That would be nice and quick but it's not really possible with the other actors schedules. In fact production is stretching out over many months due to actor availability and filming many important scenes in different states. We are probably going to wind up spending a week just in travel time to Maryland, West Virginia, Texas, etc.-

Would you ever attempt to shoot a movie with the kind of time restrictions that were in place back in the PRC days?

-Yes we would. Director Ted Moehring and myself did the last movie "Invasion of the Reptoids" in approximately 7-9 days. We had a few delays due to bad weather effecting the filming of the outdoor scenes but the total shooting time was pretty close to what PRC had.-

You are doing a sequel to a public domain film that you seem to love. Would you have gone the fan film route if the film was not public domain?

-I can't speak for Ted but I myself wouldn't want to do a fan film. There are too many issues with releasing something like that. The copyright owners are usually not receptive to something like that getting released. Our chief crew member Ron Fulmer (Captain Ron Productions) actually worked on some fan films that were removed from youtube due to copyright issues.-

You mentioned that this film established the rules for most of the horror movies that followed it. What do you think of modern horror films? The wave of torture porn horror like Saw and Hostel? The endless series of found footage films and haunted house, haunted kid, haunted box from a yard sale movies?

-I myself like some of the newer movies but mostly those with interesting plot elements. I'm pretty tired of seeing lost footage and torture porn. I think those are pretty played out by now. Some more recent movies I enjoy include El Superbeasto, Cabin In The Woods and the Hatchet series. To me they bring some freshness to the horror genre yet still pay tribute to the past. I'm sure Ted will have a lot to say on this matter.-

People who read my blog know that I am the biggest Hitchcock fan. He said that the problem with most horror movies was that they were all about walking props that showed up every fifteen minutes to kill someone. He said that he had never done a horror movie, I would argue that if The Birds is not a horror movie then what is it. What directors do you look to? Who do you pattern you film making style after?

-This is another question geared more to Ted. I myself appreciate directors such as Lucio Fulci, John Carpenter, Ed Wood and Ray Dennis Steckler (who Ted and myself had the opportunity to meet before he passed away). Carpenter is a big inspiration since he also does a lot of his own soundtrack music (I myself am a musician and have done soundtrack work for most of Ted's movie projects). I also like Stecklers "no budget, just make it anyway" approach to film making. If he could do it, we can do it!-

What are your goals concerning this production?

-Our goal is simply to make the best movie we can. No self aware humor or intentional cheesiness just a good tribute to a movie we used to watch on tv horror programs like "Doctor Shock" when we were young and impressionable.-

The thing that I find most impressive about your production is the cast that you have put together. Finding a quality cast for a low budget film is right up there with funding as the hardest thing that most film makers have to deal with. How did you pull your cast together?

-I have to credit that all to Ted. He is an expert at networking and seeking out talent.-

A question about the original film. Bela Lugosi is an icon, is it a bit intimidating to write and direct a sequel to a film that he carried?

-Ted is a huge fan and said the script practically wrote itself. I'm sure he will be able to elaborate more on this.-

Of course I am assuming that this a direct sequel to his film and not to the follow up film?

-It is intended to be a sequel to both the original film and the sequel "Devil Bats Daughter".-

Okay I suppose the last question should be about post production. Post is the most over looked part of film making. Should you reach your goals did you plan how you would market and release the movie before you started to shoot?

-Some though was given to that because distribution is very important. You could make the greatest movie in the world but if no one sees it it doesn't matter. Swamp Picnic has several other movies already released so that track record combined with the great cast should ensure that some company will put it out.-

Thank you Cedric for taking time out of your schedule to answer my question. I look forward to interviewing Ted before your campaign ends. Now I would like to take a moment to highlight some of the cast members that you have assembled for this production. Gary Kent, Lynn Lowry and George Stover.

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Public Domain films

Public Domain Films

I am about to post an interview that I had done with a filmmaker who has decided to make a sequel to a public domain film.

To fill you in on what public domain means, these are films that are no longer under copyright protection. The most famous of these films is Night Of The Living Dead. Many of us know that Romero made the mistake of not filing for a copyright on his little masterpiece thus opening the flood gates for anyone and everyone since then to make what are known as walking dead films and even tv shows. No one had to pay for the right to do this because of the lack of copyright protection.
 Note, please guys take the time to protect your intellectual property. Register your scripts and copyright your finished films.

There are hundreds of films, many famous and known to you that are free and clear to be remade or sequeled thanks to the fact that they have fallen into public domain. The movie that I am doing my next series of interviews about is sequel to a 1943 Bela Lugosi film titled The Devil Bat. When I first heard about the sequel to that film I thought really, seriously. Then I watched the movie again, haven’t seen it since I was like ten, and I discovered that it was a pretty sound piece of film making. Bela was great as the lead actor. It had a basic plot that it never looked away from. At about seventy minutes in length it held interest from beginning to end.


 This showed me that the public domain can be a gold mine for material. After researching just some of the films that are free to remake or do a sequel to I have a list of four or five movies that I am going to talk over with my production partners. That said I have not begun to look at the foreign films that are public domain yet. I understand that there is a lot of Italian horror and thrillers that are public domain in this country. I know that we did not talk much about actual digital film making today, but this is a cool subject to look into. I have always hated the idea of remaking great films, but the idea of remaking or doing sequels to lost films or forgotten films is something that excites the film maker in me.

That will be it for today. The next post will be an interview with the film maker behind the making of The Revenge Of The Devil Bat and its crowdfunding campaign.

Thank you for visiting and please take a moment to add us to your google plus or to stumble us on stumpleupon.

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