Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Comic-Con Week: Day #7-The Battle of Hall H

Photo Courtesy of Amanda Gregory

Hey All,

To document one of the most memorable days of my life thus far, it's probably better to chronicle it in a timeline.

Here goes nuttin'...


Shot with iPhone, click to enlarge.

8:45am-...little sleep, but pumped and ready for battle. Yesterday Rick and Adrianne from LARPAlliance fashioned me with my Sword holster (or whatever it's called) and it was time to suit up. Got my best shirt from Jinx (who also donated wardrobe to the movie and I love their stuff), my Badassdom Chucks and we were ready to go.

Shot with iPhone, click to enlarge.

11:45am- After meeting up with Luke (the family, who came yesterday for CHILLERAMA's preview, were going to meet us at the convention center later before the panel), we headed over, but not before running into a few familiar friends....all 6 fingers!

12:00pm- Stop off at G4 to say hi & hydrate, then meet Team IndieVest to grab credentials. Already the line for Hall H is massive. Not really sure it's for us, but exciting nonetheless. Mark and Matt regale the previous evening's highlight: sound testing the trailer in Hall H in front of Francis Ford Coppola (who was there also doing a tech rehearsal for TWIXT, which was having it's panel 3 hours before us). That I'm going to be on the same stage as Coppola is one thing...that he was there to see our trailer was another. This shit was getting real.

12:15pm- as we walk back to the hall, we literally run into many of our LARP friends who were in KoB who had donated their time to open the panel by announcing us. Masterstroke me thinks, just the right thing to set the stage (no pun intended). Everyone was in full regalia and rearing to rock. Just so good to see so many familiar faces again, like a family reunion.

12:30pm- Interview on SiriusXM's movie show, which was great because It was more of a free form geek out than it was the usual dog and dragon show. Great time reminiscing about my Troma days and talking Spielberg.

1:00pm-Luke and I walk the halls of SDCC, so many memories of years past. Never thought I'd be here with a movie, let alone one with a panel. Let alone one with a panel in Hall H. I'd been so busy from the moment I arrived in San Diego with my other projects I didn't really have a moment to let it sink in. It's starting to. Holy Frak.

1:15pm-Meet the family backstage in the Green Room. The Immortals panel is going on in Tv screens in the room and a tinge of nervousness begins to burrow. Thankfully, most of the cast had assembled backstage too so it was great to just catch up for a few with Ryan, Summer, Peter, Gladis, Jimmi & Mel, Marg and the gang. Gillian & Kim from ID PR were floating about, keeping everyone at bay and happy. Everyone seemed excited but kept their cool. My insides started doing backflips.

1:45-Gillian & Kim round up the Knights. I tighten Edith to my back, my "lucky charm" from the shoot and now my rock for today. I keep pinching myself but realize it's just the shoulder strap's too tight.I kiss Bri & Remy and we're off into the catacombs of the convention center to get to the back of Hall H. Excitement in the air. My butterflies are gone.

1:55pm-Backstage in Hall H, we take a peek at the crowd awaiting the panel. HOLY SHIT. I've been in the hall before, both in the front and WAAAAY in the back, and from this vantage it looks like a full house and people are still filling in. Anthony from EW (our esteemed moderator) is backstage and we compare hairstyles for a moment to abate any nervousness. I was ready.

Shot with iPhone, click to enlarge.

2:00: The Panel Begins. First we have the LARPers from the film fill the stage and BearMan screams our arrival. SWEET. The crowd eats it up. Then we show the trailer, and once the music (that we've only heard on laptop speakers till today) BOOMS into the hallway, and from the first "In A World..."...we were off to the races. Once it was over, a thunderous applause followed, Anthony introduced us, and I cannot tell you the feeling of walking out to 6500 fellow Comic-Conians felt like. It felt like a win for US, the dreamers, the lovers of other worlds and creating them, and one of the most exciting 20 steps I've taken next to my wedding day. Instinctually, I unsheathed Edith, screamed "Holy Schnikies" (big ups to Chris Farley) and away we went. But here, I'll let the video tell the rest....

3:00pm-As you can see above, the Panel ends with me, out of the blue and like a man possessed, grabbing Edith and commanding the entirety of Hall H to shout "Huzzah!" (thankfully people did) which was the perfect capper to the panel. I dont know where it came from, but it just felt right. We're then ushered off stage to take group pictures and it all felt like a glorious blur. Backstage, Jeff, the head programmer of the Con hugged me and said it was an amazing panel, one of the best, and I was instantly humbled by the gesture....um, the con isn't over yet!

3:10pm-While the others are sent back to the green room, Summer and I are whisked back to the outskirts of the hall to do a live interview with G4. This was another surreal, almost storybook moment in my life; not 2 years ago I was on this stage working and now, I'm on the stage in FRONT of the camera talking about a movie I directed. See kids? Dreams DO come true! My good friend and former co-worker Kevin Pereira interviewed us and it was a great time, even if I could BARELY hear a word. Also, walking in the wake of The Glau at Comic-con, I must have come off like her cheap body guard than her director, but hell, it's good company to be in right? No sooner than we got there, we were done and whooshed offstage and back to the green-room. All my friends and G4 family were genuinely proud and again, it was a win for the team. Here's the video:

3:45pm-We meet the rest of the Fellowship in the back where vans take us to the Entertainment Weekly photo session. We get there and one of my favorite photographers for the mag, Michael Mulller, was the shooter and I was thrilled. They even threw me into a few and took a few of me with Edith (even if they didn't use them) which was a thrill. Everyone was having a great time, still not really giving the moment we all experienced a chance to sink in. Thankfully we were all friends and were just having a great time, like a victory run of sorts. Plus, in what must be the coolest swag I've ever seen, each of us were given a personalized card from AMC for a year of free movies. SWEET!!! I'm gonna use the shit out of that, thanks AMC!

4:00pm-Then we all sat down for a very funny, off the cuff interview with EW.com, which turned into a funny, Apatow-esque free-for-all. Check out the video:

5:00pm-We are thrown back into the vans and driven to the Hilton behind the Convention center for a press conference. This is more of a Q&A for media (whereas the Hall H panel was moderated and was more for fan questions). There we met many of the investors for the movie who came to the con dressed in Cosplay, including Amanda & her mom who came to the set, so it was a great reunion! My kind of peeps to be sure. After some pics, we sat down and another hilarious dialogue between us all sprang forth. I wish we got to record this one, because everyone was on FIRE. At one point, someone placed an OLD SCHOOL cassette player on the table amongst the digital recorders and that's all Pudi, Dinklage and I needed to go off. I think we need to do some nights at the Catskills, it was pretty funny. We also met up with some of the other cast, like Brett (Gunther), Kim (Ira) & Sean (Winston) who were so happy the film was there and was leaving a trail of Badassdom in our wake. Luke and the family were there as well and Remy was even dressed as a wood sprite (in true Cosplay form) and it was great to see them since in Hall H, I couldn't see past the first 10 rows.

Shot with iphone, click to enlarge.

6:00pm-Wrapping up the panel, We said goodbye to everyone from the cast and Team IndieVest and leisurely strolled along the back of the con, enjoying the waterfront and a moment of relative quiet. It was the perfect way to just settle down a bit from the minute by minute madness of the last 9 hours. At the time, I wasn't sure, but I THOUGHT we did good, didn't feel like I put my foot in my mouth TOO many times and Bri, Luke & my mother-in-law Jan all said how proud they were of me, which is all that counted. Remy gave me a big hug, which was the best validation I could get.

8:00pm-meet up with some of the cast and IndieVest guys at a nice Italian restaurant where wine flowed, pasta was served and smiles abound. Everyone was in high spirits and the constant twitter/Facebook searches on "Knights Of Badassdom" started giving us the impression we made a dent in the day, which for Comic-Con is no small feat. But with bedtime for Plissken looming, we opted out of the EW party that night to take him back to the hotel to crash after a long day. A hell of a day for all of us, indeed.

10:30pm-Remy asleep, I meet up with Green, who just finished the Troma panel. We finally got to debrief about the CHILLERAMA preview (both planning our edits the next week to tighten things up) and just lament on the memorable weekend. Very rare one would have a movie, let alone TWO movies, and both of us were both excited and spent.

Shot with iPhone, click to enlarge.

1:15am-Can't sleep, sitting outside the hotel and finding myself talking to my Dad, who would have truly been proud of all the hard work I've endured over the past year. We had a good talk, again just chewing the fat about the last few days, weeks, months & year of blood, sweat of tears spilled...and it all been worth it thus far. This is only the beginning, this I know, but it's an awesome way to start. Thanks for believing in me Dad.

2:00am-Finally....sleep. Not much as the entire day felt like a waking dream, but my body is shutting down an I'm gladly following it's lead.


Shot with iPhone, click to enlarge.

The next day we trolled the halls of Comic-Con for an hour or two just so Remy can soak it in a bit before he high-tailed it out of there after 5 days of hard work. I was so drained but couldn't stop smiling. Even strange walking past people and hearing "Dude, Badassdom rocks!" and with the trailer hitting the interwebs n Saturday, word was quickly spreading that our little film might be worth a watch or two and in the hours and days that followed, many online blogs and other media wrap-ups about the convention noted KoB as being a highlight, which was such an honor...Again, a little indie genre film like KNIGHTS usually never gets this kind of exposure and we're all so excited to finish the film and make good on the good will we garnered from Comic-Con. Here's a few nice words written about the film from some media post-panel:


New York Magazine Online






...and while it wasn't necessarily Comic-Con, Jay & Silent Bob even weighed in on the trailer! Boo ya!
Cinema Enema on G4

Here's the cast photo from the EW session:

Image courtesy of EW.com

...and, here comes the mushy part: I cant thank everyone enough...from the cast who came near and far to join us onstage and in the media blitz that followed, to all the.SDCC organizers who took a HUGE chance on us by programming the film in such a coveted spot, to everyone in IndieVest who came out to support and set up the event, to the investors who showed up to enjoy the day with us (and to those w believed in the film from the beginning), to the LARPers who rallied by our side on and off-stage, to everyone at ID PR who ran an amazingly tight ship while smiling the whole way, to my family (Bri, Jan & Remy) and friends (especially Luke & Green) who were there through thick and thin....and most importantly, to everyone in Hall H who embraced our crazy little flick, even what little we showed, and has been spreading the good word of KoB ever since. I know the term "A film for the fans made by fans" is cliche by now, but I really feel like we made an impact San Diego the old fashioned way...by being genuinely excited to entertain you with KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM because we are all in this together. This isn't just product, it IS a labor of love for all the things we adore about escaping through movies, just like the characters escape their real world for a weekend, and I think the cast and crew down there couldn't hide the excitement we all felt on set. So this one's for you Comic-Con..., thanks for being a great host to our hilarity in Hall H. Thank you ALL for making this Comic-Con one for the books.

On behalf of the Knights...I bow in your honor. Now....ONWARD TO EVERMORE!!!


Comic-Con Week: Day #6-ComicConaRama

Shot with iPhone, click to enlarge.

I have to admit, this is tough.

The past few weeks have been nothing short of pure insanity. I'm not complaining in the least, but since the last posting I did on the eve of the CHILLERAMA premiere on Friday the 24th & the KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM panel at Comic-Con on Saturday the 25th, I literally haven't had any time to sit down and write more than short bursts (usually 140 characters, thanks Twitter!).

Plus…its been hard to really take in all that's transpired since then and write them down. Every day on my To Do list I have "WRITE BLOG", which i sadly cut and paste to the next day…then the next…then the next. It took a flight to Germany on the first stop of our "Chillerama European Tour" with Green to finally settle in and catch up.

So my apologies for being a little late (NOTE: ALMOST 4 WEEKS, LYNCH. JEEZ) but with it still somewhat fresh in my mind, I wanted to finally flip on the Flux Capacitor and take us back, starting with Friday as Im racing to the Gaslamp Theater to meet the CHILLERAMA guys for our first big preview screening of our Anthology…let's go back, shall we? Great! Let's go! 88 Miles Per Hour, Doc!


After braving traffic to move 6 blocks through the barrage of cosplayers and gift-bag toting comic-con fans, I finally make it to the Gaslamp, a movie theater a few blocks away from the Con. Tonight was poised to be our first public screening of our little passion project that we bled, sweat and tore our way to completion-all this while I'm still working on 3 other things AND attempt to be a good Husband and Dad, mind you-and we were all very excited and more than a little nervous. CHILLERAMA was made with a lot of love and quite a few favors, and Image Entertainment (the fantastic distribution company that believed in the project from the start) was looking at the Comic-Con crowd as the perfect place to test the film, so they set up this free screening for people who would likely appreciate it. Good strategy, right?

When I get there, the other directors (Adam, Adam & Tim) had already arrived and doing press so I jumped right in and we were off to the media races, doing 5 interviews in 20 minutes, trying to all get a word in edgewise. Bunch 'a chatterboxes, the lot of us. Then it was a marathon signing of our John Hancocks on the VERY cool Limited edition posters that the great Phil Roberts-who did Rifkin's killer DETROIT ROCK CITY poster which I was a huge fan of-had lovingly illustrated, using the 4 of us representing each of our shorts. All of us were blown away with the design, and to make things uber-cooler, the MPAA rejected the design…due to MY image; seems like you can get away with severed fingers and Phallic chainsaws on posters but a cartoon featuring me with my eyeball hanging out of my skull, a ripped cheek and blue spooge (i.e. Demon Sement) emanating from my crotch is not safe for public consumption. All fine, since this was just a limited edition poster and the official poster is on a much grander scale (also done by Phil, bringing back the good ole days of illustrated posters like ANIMAL HOUSE & AMERICAN GRAFITTI).

So, with an hour and a half before we start and fans lining up outside, we were anxiously excited to unveil this sick little beast on unassuming eyes. Yet…WHERE WAS THE MOVIE?? Cory the producer, phone firmly affixed to his ear, was informing us that the Blu Ray screener of the latest cut was stuck in traffic.


But, thankfully we had a backup, but it was an even rougher cut, and after playing it in the theater, we were all dismayed to see most of the FX and sound were VERY rough (even more incomplete than what we were expecting) so our high hopes were lowering by the minute. In a scenario ripped from say BROADCAST NEWS, all 4 of us are coming up with Plan B's, Plan C's and D's and F's and T's as the clock was ticking and our other Producer/FX guru Jason Miller was furiously weaving and sliding through massive gridlock on the 5, desperately struggling to get to the theater in time. The Image folks and the PR peeps, keeping a cool, collective position as we all tear what little hair we have left out, suggested that we do our Q&A BEFORE the screening since they already had a "hard out" with CHILLERAMA since they were also premiering Rob Hall's Splatacular LAID TO REST 2, and we couldn't push his spot out. And hey, at least we had the rough cut right? We would just have to be explicit and say HOW rough it was. Very….VERY rough.

So, 7:30 arrived and the doors opened, a good crowd of horror fans started filling seats and sweat couldn't come out of enough pores as Cory & Mark Ward from Image kept getting up-to-the-minute updates from Jason…"He's 20 away….No he's 35….wait…He's 5. Shit! We lost him!" Nothing like a little extra stress to fill your big night huh? But the show MUST go on.

Photo courtesy of Arrow In The Head

Finally, it's 7:45 and we HAD to start. Steve "Uncle Creepy" Barton from DreadCentral.com was our moderator and introduced us and you couldn't get a more nerve-racked, disparaged quartet shuffle out with the best smiles we could muster and sit in on a very strange Q&A where Steve threw out questions on the genesis of the project, influences, what have you. Thankfully, Steve is a great personality and knows how to keep a crowd enthused, since each of us would be looking off to the sidelines, begging for an update. At one point, a good 10 minutes into the Q&A, we hear from the right side of the theater in a hardly hushed tone: "It's here!" and then immediacy followed by "NO…ITS NOT!". If you watch closely in any pics or video, you can see each of us SQUIRMING in our seats, praying it would arrive.

…and thankfully it did. WHEW! Jason had shoved his way through the Gaslamp District somehow and raced up to the Projection booth, and with that, away we went with CHILLERAMA's first public screening.

Now, truth be told, it was a hard screening for me. This was the first time I was seeing it with many of the visual FX that producer Jason Miller and his Skull Tree VFX (alongside some favors from Stacy Davidson who directed SWEATSHOP) had implemented and honestly, they looked GREAT. I knew they were partially finished, but just the opening scene in the graveyard (Spoiler!) had a completely new look to it since we shot it all on green screen, so it was a nice surprise to see it work with the crowd. So far so good….

All three of the other shorts; WADZILLA, WEREBEARS & ANNE FRANK, played really well to the crowd, despite the unfinished elements (score, mix, VFX, coloring, etc). It just showed how strong the film is and everyone was sucked into the world of the Kaufman Drive In.

But then, slowly, disaster struck (at least to me). The other shorts didn't have as many of these, but technical flubs began to sprinkle in, each making me go "Oooh!" "Arrgh" from the sidelines. Shots were missing or in the wrong spot; title cards were not in their right place, shots that were freeze frames were now the beginning of shots when the DP is zooming into the shot for focus, etc. This wasn't intentional of course; someone who was conforming the film at the breakneck pace we had been going to make this insane deadline might have slipped a bit, but I can't say it was easy to watch. But it wasn't all doom and gloom: There was even a moment where he film goes out of sync….and the audience LOVED it. Happy Accidents, huh?

Since we designed this "Preview" to be able to truly test it with a crowd, one that would at least appreciate the fun vibe we were going for, it while the response was worlds better than we expected for a rough cut, all four of the filmmakers agreed to go back into the edit for one last pass to real tighten up the moments we all felt weren't hitting and of course clean up any mistakes or unfinished business. Oh, and I kept in the out of sync shot; it KILLS now! Gotta love that.

Outside the crowd was buzzing and we were very thankful for the positive responses, but also relieved it was over. To me for this weekend, it was "One down, one to go". But KoB felt so far away, even if it was only 12 hours till Hall H. No matter, I was gonna try to blow off some steam and enjoy the rest of the night, which included going to a few parties which were way too hip and douchey for my taste; seriously, none of the people here at these swanky soirees would be caught DEAD in Comic-Con…where did they come from? But I did get to meet Roddy Piper, shake his hand while he crushed my fingers momentarily, which did bring a smile to my face. Then it was back to the hotel for SOME sleep before the big day...

Thanks to everyone who came out on their busy Comic-Con schedules and join in a little movie magic with us! It was such a helpful screening and the film is better now for it! Watch for more details on when CHILLERAMA will invade your home...or even home town!

Here's some of the reactions to CHILLERAMA from the preview screening. Hopefully some more warm, squishy regards to come (pun intended).

Killer Film Review

Shock Till You Drop Review

Fangoria Review

Arrow In The Head coverage

Interview with the 4 directors HERE.


Staying Scary,