Thursday, June 7, 2018

More time as Sigyn

I think the above photo sums it up nicely when it comes to questions about why I cast Duckie as the frost giant Loki.

After seeing the rough cut of "Father of Lies", we decided that the film really needed a few additional little scenes to make the story flow better.  And as much as I hate being in front of the camera, I had to agree that showing a little more on the tragic romance between Loki and Sigyn was needed as well.

While still portrayed as the main threat in "Father of Lies", the character is far more complex than the power-hungry or jealous god that he's often type-cast as in film and literature. 

In this story Loki is also a very sympathetic character, even if he does go about things the wrong way. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Review on "Coming Home".

This is hands-down the best review I've ever gotten on one of my films. Thank you, The Superficial Gallery!

"This is one of the more intense and cinematically stunning films I’ve seen in a long time. I’d go so far as saying that the beginning of this film is a bit hard to watch. This is in no way a negative comment on the film. I thought it was absolutely brilliant and I was glued with eyes wide open from the first second to the last."


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Behind The Scenes - What am I doing in front of the camera????

Recently this BTS video from "Father of Lies" was released to the public. It probably came as a bit of a shock to people who know my dislike for being in front of the camera, even though I did tell people that I was taking a bit part in the film.

Why would I break my long-standing habit of diving out of frame if a camera so much as glances in my direction?  In short, because it was a role that required swordplay and stunts that was being shot on a shoestring budget and as far as I was concerned the only people who were going to risk nasty injury on it were Duckie, Garith, and myself.

Well, then our friend Steve ended up having to jump in as "Thor" and since we'd all done plenty of stage combat with him in the past we tweaked the choreography a bit to let him join in the fun.

I still have no idea how the scene will end up looking until the rough cut is done (hopefully in a few days). I can't imagine the action being more than a half minute of screen-time, which may sound terrible but should actually be a good pay-off for the months that Garith and I spent rehearsing for it.

Don't get used to seeing this though. I've decided that being both a stunt actor and a director on a project is not a good fit for me. Especially after I injured myself by miscalculating a fall and ended up saying "picture wrap" with my arm in a sling!

Friday, May 18, 2018

Sunset Film Festival

The Family Way, the feature screenplay that D. Duckie Rodriguez and I wrote, will be competing in Los Angeles next month at the Sunset Film Festival.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Onward to Battle!

I think this is going to be my official "Director Photo" for FATHER OF LIES because it pretty much illustrates how I approach a film shoot.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Norse Gods VS The Film Gods

“Father of Lies” was hands-down the most brutal shoot I’ve ever been the director on. Don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of fun while filming and the footage I’ve seen is amazing, but like every project it had its problems.

Lowrie (Producer) and I have a superstition that actually seems to work. If we mention something out loud that could happen to mess up a shoot, it doesn’t happen. We joke that the Film Gods either answer our “prayers” or just decide that we know to expect it and come up with something new to throw at us. This ever-growing list includes everything we can think of from A to Z , although we have learned that sometimes you have to be very specific for the prayer to work. (We’ve been joking that next time we are going to hire someone whose only job is to continuously call out everything that could possibly happen on the set.)

We were already prepared to face the heat and bugs while living on the location in primitive cabins, but nothing could have prepared us for some of the other obstacles we had to overcome over the four-day shoot.

Here are a few highlights:

The morning of the first day a cast member found a squirrel that had managed to get inside a box of pastries on the craft services table and the little bugger refused to leave. After that, every morning that squirrel would show up and steal a danish from the table before we could get everything back into a cabin after breakfast.

On the third day of shooting, many of the actors were unable to get to the set on time due to a brush fire that broke out in the wilderness park where we were filming. Meanwhile the majority of the cast and crew were already inside the park and weren’t being told exactly where the fire was! At the same time, we learned that the actor playing Thor would not be arriving at all, which threatened to derail the whole project. Fortunately, we were able to replace him at the last minute with a crew member who had stage fighting experience and we were able to get caught up with the schedule.

We had several drone-related mishaps while filming, including finding out that the spot we picked for filming a few scenes was located near a field where drone races were being held. Our own drone behaved perfectly for the one planned shot we had for it, but refused to take direction for most of the on-the-fly shots we came up with while filming.

Our set designers insisted that we have a cook-fire pit in one of the interior sets which proved to be quite painful. While setting it up, the heavy cast-iron cauldron fell on one person’s head. Later, during a fight scene on that set, another person literally landed into the mock fire pit while performing a stunt. (Fortunately the iron cauldron didn’t fall that time!)

On paper, the set for Odin’s Throne Room looked amazing with ice-like walls and eerie lighting. In reality, once all the fabric was hung and the lights were put up it looked we were inside a psychedelic curtained shower stall. The decision was quickly made to move Odin to an exterior location instead.

After finding the perfect spot to relocate Odin’s set, we had a problem with the fog machines only being able to keep the eerie atmosphere for about 30 seconds at a time. While on a break to figure out what to do, one crew member noticed that his cigarette smoke drifting in front of the camera created the effect that we were looking for. So for the rest of the filming on that set, we went through several packs of cigarettes with everyone smoking while standing in various places out of frame.

Everything on the dining table on the Loki’s Home set had been previously frozen so it would withstand the heat of lights. During a fight scene an actor got the idea to throw a plate of prop food at his opponent after being pushed back to the dining table. While demonstrating the idea he threw the plate at the wall and a frozen chicken breast flew across the room and hit his opponent directly in the crotch. We had to take a fifteen minute break after that.

I played one of the fighting characters myself and we intentionally scheduled all the fight scenes on the last day because we knew there was a risk of injury on a set that had a concrete floor. Sure enough, I managed to miscalculate during a stunt and landed hard on my left elbow. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to perform for much longer, we rolled the cameras and I got through the scene one more time giving it everything I had while in an enormous amount of pain. Afterward I took off the Viking-style ring belt I was wearing and fashioned it into a sling for my arm before moving on to the next scene.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Father of Lies shoots next month!

If you told me this time last year that I would be directing a horror-fantasy project with Viking gods, I would have laughed. And if you'd told me that I would also be appearing in the film myself, I would have laughed even harder.

This is why I love film-making. I never know what kind of crazy adventure it will take me on next.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

"Father of Lies" in pre-production now

I'm really looking forward to directing this short film in May. Viking Gods, lots of action and special effects... what's not to love?

Keep an eye on out Rogue Chimera Films to see what else is brewing in the pipeline for this year!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Another screenplay in competitions now

Duckie and I decided to run our feature screenplay "The Haunt" through the script competitions this year.   It's very different from the types of stories we usually write, so we weren't sure how it would go over.

It's off to a good start. Frights, Camera, Action! was the first contest we submitted it to and apparently it was the first runner up in the Best Feature Screenplay category.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Hades on Facebook

After several years of being my official "spokescat" and making all the important announcements for me on Facebook, Hades finally has his very own page.

It all started when I noticed that any photos I posted of my cat Hades got 65% more likes and responses than anything else I put up on my virtual wall.  Then Hades explained to me that cats rule the internet. Period.

You would think that Hatchet would want to be my spokescat, but she's still very camera-shy. It's hard enough to get her to take that one photograph a year with Hammy for Shark Week.

Hades, on the other hand, has plenty to say and loves the camera. People started responding to him so much that he demanded to have a real "voice" in Facebook and his own page where he can talk about whatever he wants to.

I told him that if he gets 500 likes then I'll give him a double helping of Muenster "cheese mousies".