Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New England and New Orleans, Perfect Venues for Horror

It's nice to see some seeds you planted a long time ago finally sprout and come to life. This weekend a short film I wrote and helped produce back in January is showing at two horror themed festivals. Sucker will premier at the New Orleans Vampire Film Festival on Friday, October 23, and play again at the Rhode Island International Horror Film Festival on Saturday, October 24.

Both events look great. The Vampire Film Festival is exactly what its name implies: films about vampires, along with vampire parties and lots of other vampire stuff in the perfect city for that kind of thing; and the Rhode Island International Horror Film Festival is perfectly situated in Providence, the New England gothic home town of legendary horror author H.P. Lovecraft.

I wish I could attend both festivals, but there was no way to make it work logistically and financially. So I'm driving down to Providence from Boston on Friday to see the festival kick off with other people's films, and then returning again on Saturday with friends to see my own. I'm thrilled that a free ticket to Sucker is included with the H.P. Lovecraft walking tour of Providence.

So if you happen to be near either of those cities this weekend and want to check out a cool little horror short and a lot of other fun stuff, please do so. If you have friends in the area, tell them to get Halloween started early with some horror movie mayhem. And if you've already seen the film, let me know what you thought!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Don't Forget the Music in Your Horror Movie

It's an old cliche that music makes a horror movie scary, but I found this out first hand recently during the scoring of a short film I wrote and help produce. After watching Sucker with an effective yet minimal score, and feeling there was something missing, we had a pro do some additional sound work, and wow, what a difference a proper soundtrack can make. Empty spaces suddenly become contoured with mood, emotions felt heightened, and a general sense of dread began to permeate everything.

Ominous Music Heard Throughout U.S. Sends Nation Into Panic

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Blake Snyder Dies at Age 51

Yesterday I found out that Blake Snyder died at the young age of 51 and was immediately filled with both shock and sadness. Blake is widely known in Hollywood because of his many spec sales and his fantastic book, Save the Cat, which is the best book on structuring commercial Hollywood movies that I’ve encountered (and I’m a junkie when it comes to such texts). I’ve recommended the book to countless people and my own marked up copy has a permanent place in my backpack.

I’m not only sad that the world has lost a great teacher, but a great person. I listened to Blake speak at the Alameda Writer’s Group in Glendale a few years ago which is where I first encountered him and his material. I emailed Blake after the presentation with some questions about B-story, and he got back to me promptly. He not only encouraged people in the writer’s group to email him, but made his email address available to the public in his books and from what I understand made great efforts to get back to everyone who contacted him.

I really enjoyed Blake’s open and friendly manner at the writing group, and planned on taking a class with him someday, but the timing and my finances were never right. A friend of mine took a class with him and told me that he was extremely generous with his time and really wanted to see his students succeed. He met with her even after the class was over to review her material and advise her.

I’ve experienced a lot of teachers in the screenwriting world and they run the gamut from the great to the should-be-tarred-and-feathered. Blake was definitely in the first category. Rest in Peace, Blake. Thanks for the book and movies. I know your students will miss you and everyone else who knew you will too.