Monday, June 21, 2010

Look Ma! I Make Movies!

As I work through pre-production on my 4th feature as a writer/director, I still feel like haven’t proved I am a moviemaker. By the way, I use the term “moviemaker” as opposed to “filmmaker” because none of my movies have been shot on film. It just doesn’t seem right to me. But whatever, what I was saying is that I still feel like I’m not seen as a writer and director by most who know me. I’m the little, dorky kid from high school, that sarcastic, dry-humored, barista in Burbank, or that asshole I dated once. Very few see me for what I am, a guy who makes movies. Sure, I have a day job that takes 30-40 hours of my week, but it does not define me. I know what others think shouldn’t be important, but it is. I never had a great desire to be famous or even rich, but I do yearn badly for respect, respect as a moviemaker. I don’t really even care that much that people like my movies. I just want them to know I make them.

I made my first movie in 2003 in New Orleans. Rise of the Undead, I wrote and directed it with my buddy Shannon Hubbell. It took us two years to complete and get released. IT GOT RELEASED. A little 4000-dollar horror movie, that honestly wasn’t great, but it got released. My mom liked it. Folks all around the world saw it, maybe not that many, but it was sold all over. It even got a few positive reviews. Once I got to LA, I worked as a DP, Assistant Editor and Editor on another dozen features. Title such as, Pastor Jones: Lord, Help My Daughter (or whatever the final title ended up being), Miss B’s Hair Salon, Grace and Mercy, Butcher House, Legend of the Sandsquatch, Nuthouse. Sure most of them are low to micro-budget affairs most people have never heard of, but if you look them up, you can find them on Netflix, Amazon, Blockbuster, ect… Good or bad, they’re real movies. More importantly, I learned a lot while making them and I grew as an artist. I think that growth shows in my 2nd feature, Edges of Darkness. It’s still no Citizen Kane, but I truly believe it shows progress, as a writer, director and editor. It got mixed reviews from fans, but got a ton of good press reviews. And it actually made a bit of cash (not necessarily for me) but quiet a bit for a movie at its budget level.

Then my 3rd movie, Trap takes that growth even a bit further. The budget on Trap was lower than Edges, but I believe we rung more production value from Trap. In the end it might not sale as many copies as Edges, but I think it is artistically better.

Which brings us to “Monsters in the Woods,” my fourth movie. We’re 7 days from starting principle photography. I hope to take everything I’ve learned from all my past movies and make the best and most commercially successful movie I’ve put out so far. COMMERICALLY SUCCESSFUL?! WHAT A FUCKING SELLOUT!
Well, another thing I’ve learned is that if you make movies and want to continue making movies, they have to make money. Unless you independently wealthy or someone’s nephew your movie has to make money. So, here’s to making some money!


  1. Honey, even though I worked with you at your 'day job,' I still think of you as a filmmaker more than a barista. So there! :-p