Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our First Oxford Film Fest

Friday, Feb 11 - Tonight we head down to Oxford for their annual Oxford Film Fest. "Blood Therapy" is screening along with several other horror short films at the Malco. This will be the second time I've watched my movie on the big screen. I could get used to this.

We were put up in an inn on the square. It was a nice place with a touch of old Southern charm. We arrived with just enough time to check in and head to the theater. We met up with Christian Walker, our lead actor, and a couple of his friends before the screening. I felt good about our showing. The audience laughed at the appropriate spot and a few even jumped at the end. Yes! A man and woman were sitting to my right who I did not know that appeared to enjoy our film. That was neat to see them reacting to it.

Sunday, Feb 13 - The fest has come and gone. It went by way too fast. My only regret regarding the festival is not staying longer. Our schedules weren't jiving with the festival dates this year. But I so could have hung around all weekend making new friends, watching movies, and eating good food. I'm a southerner... we have the BEST food!

Oxford, MS is a beautiful place. Its gorgeous architecture on the square and rolling hills make for a perfect setting for a film festival. My only minor suggestion for improvement would be to hold the festival during warmer months. Oxford screams photo opportunities and with the landscapes in bloom, it's my guess that the city would be picture perfect.

"Blood Therapy" played in the late night block of films along with other genre fare from all over the country. That was really cool seeing our film amongst films from all over and not just from our own city. The stand out short for me was "Night of the Punks", a fun and funny journey into the world of rock n' roll and demons. The performances were spot-on and the standout element for me was the special f/x. If this gets made into a feature (it's a possibility), horror fans like myself will be in for a fun treat. To see our little short play alongside something as polished as "Punks" was exciting! And it gives me a higher standard to strive for.

I've only been making films for a few years. And even fewer have I participated in festivals. I would wager that the Oxford Film Fest will be one of the better fests I ever experience. The directors of OFF really make us filmmakers feel like royalty. But they're the royalty. They've done a fantastic job bringing in movies from all over the country. Coupled with the beautiful setting of Oxford, it made for an inviting experience. It has been an honor to participate in such a well organized event that was clearly designed by people who love movies as much as us filmmakers. It is my hope to have the opportunity to be involved with many more OFFs.

Thank you again to Oxford Film Fest. I hope to see you again soon!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Suffering Fools - A Note from the Director

Suffering Fools - Teaser Art

As I sit and edit the footage from Suffering Fools, I can't help but laugh. The outtakes make me giggle constantly. Our actors are pure entertainers, not only for the viewers of the finished film, but for the crew as well. Allow me to recount a few things I learned during principle photography:
  1. It's a bit awkward to be 3 feet away from 2 actors filming them making out, especially when they start before I even say "Action" and then having to hear the boom guy laugh at me when I clumsily whisper, "Umm, action" instead of saying "Cut!".
  2. Designing creepy costumes can give me nightmares, even when I'm the one who wrote the script and designed it. The actress scared me then. She scares me now. lol (Teresa, you rock!)
  3. I saw more girls touching each other during this shoot than I have in my entire life. The DVD extras will be interesting!
  4. What happened to all the cookies?? Wait, what's that crunching sound I hear in the headphones? Oh, it's Rodney...and the cookies!!
  5. Speaking of Rodney, he is unable to eat pizza while watching 2 girls make out. And I can't aim a camera either.
  6. Christian's pants are too tight, but not all the time.
  7. Never, EVER, buy a disco light that only responds well to the sound of "Around the World" by Daft Punk. Your cast and crew may start to hate you.
  8. Get bigger breakers and upgrade the wiring in a house before using tons of high-wattage lights.
  9. "Thumper" is a mysterious figure. He's kinda like Quato from Total Recall. *giggle*
  10. No matter how many times you practice and perfect practical FXs, they never work when the camera is rolling.
  11. Irish Spring soap is EXCELLENT at removing fake blood stains from skin. Highly recommended!
  12. And finally, take the time to light properly and never rush. I'll eventually learn this.
Filmmaking is a lot of work, but it is worth it when you see the footage come to life for the first time. Last night, I burned the first test DVD to check out the sound mix and color correction in the home theater setup. At that moment, I knew we had accomplished what I wanted. It looked and sounded great. I think I'm getting better at mixing 5.1 surround.

Thank you to all who were involved in this project. You will see the fruits of your labor soon. And a HUGE thank you to my precious wife. Her encouragement, enthusiasm, and support is what keeps me going.

~ Craig