New Pisces Teaser - Enjoy (in HD).
First test shoot for the feature film, Pisces. A glimpse into the world of Isaac. See more at www.facebook.com/PiscesFilm.
Pisces - Dramedy - Feature Film - Coming Soon
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The Death of Bliss - Drama — A short film about God, atheism and stuff. Written in about an hour and a half. Shot in one day. $0 budget. Not bragging, just trying to encourage aspiring filmmakers it can be done quickly and with little or no money. Of course, if you think it sucks, then it serves as a warning to invest some money, but hopefully that’s not the case.
Features Jared Doreck as the lead, who I met on the set of Suicide Notes. He’s in Prague at the moment acting in some Billy Shakespeare plays, so I guess he’s decent (joking, of course. he’s awesome). Emily Noelle Kelly plays the female lead. I believe this is her first short film. She’s not an actor by trade but we talked about her being in one of my films so I gave her a shot and she nailed it, in my humble opinion. Kevin Bui plays the third character and is someone I had in mind when I first wrote it, even though he is not an actor either, but a writer. I met him on the set of a friend’s short film and thought his look would be perfect as the friend. He did a great job.
James Seaborn and Ryan McGhee handled the camera and sound, respectively. I work with James, who is a theatre major and photographer, so he knows a thing or two about visuals and what not. I never worked with or even met Ryan before this, but got his name from our friend and grip extraordinaire, Kenny Couch. They both executed wonderfully.
The three gentlemen having a discussion about God-knows-what (wink) are John Paul DeStefano, Brad Harkey and Joe Thomas. You might recognize John Paul, as he was an extra in my film, “Umbrella.” Joseph and Bradley are two buddies who agreed to help me out. They are both gentlemen and scholars.
The bulk of the film was originally supposed to take place on a college campus. We scouted St. Thomas University and met there to shoot one Saturday morning only to find a stage erected and musicians warming up. Turns out there was some concert/benefit to take place that day (a pro-life benefit if memory serves correctly) and so we had to think on-the-fly, as independent filmmakers are oft to do, and James informed us of a nifty little spot we could try that was mere blocks away. The spot was a little park across the street from the Menil Collection. It worked.
I hope you enjoy this film.
Umbrella - Drama — A short about a young girl and her past. Features the incomparable Chelsea Aldrich and L.A. Young, a great Houston, nay, World actor. Steve Joseph gives a solid, albeit faceless, performance as the waiter. Thanks to Joe Grisaffi for his DP work and Clayton Grisso for doing sound. And thanks to the extras & Adam Brewer for helping out.
We shot at Edloe Street Cafe, which is a great looking location. I appreciate their generosity, but I will say the owner got really pissed at me for taking longer than I said I would to finish. I thought we could wrap the diner scene in one night. Boy was I wrong. I’m pretty sure we finished in two days, and by two days I mean a total about 7 hours. Good times, either way.
Underclassed Teaser - Comedy —The teaser for Underclassed. Oh, what could have been…
Here is the episode list - try and figure out which clips belong to which episode:
- Hungarian Chicks
- Beam Me Up Scotchy
- D-Bags & D20’s
- Game Night
- The Vespa
Underclassed - “Hungarian Chicks” - Comedy — The first, and only, episode of Underclassed released to the public. The Will and feminist neighbor scene was the first thing I wrote when I was thinking about creating a web series.
We shot the title sequence at St. Thomas University. Some campus around town. The song is “The Sun Goes Down in Houston” by Blackmarket Syndicate - a shortened version of it, of course. We got a lot of great music for the series from a lot of great, unsigned bands around Houston, Austin, New York and LA. This is the beauty of the age we live in. There are loads of talented actors, musicians, artists of all sorts willing to work or give their work for free, for the exposure and love of art. A simple Craig’s List ad gave us the entire soundtrack for the show.
That feminist neighbor is Chelsea Aldrich (chelseaaldrich.com), an awesome Houston actress who has worked with or on every single Houston film project I’ve done.
The two gentlemen playing the Wii with Pete are Daniel Plunkett and Clayton Grisso. The former is Will Robin’s (my co-creator and whose apartment we are shooting in) roommate. He’s a funny guy with little acting experience but he held his own in this scene.
And Clayton Grisso is our sound guy and a filmmaker himself. His character’s name is Snooze and would have been explored and explained in a later episode. I came up with his character whilst waking to my alarm clock one morning. I thought it would be funny to have a character named Snooze who had a laugh like an annoying alarm clock and every interaction with him would end with smacking his head and telling him to come back in 9 minutes. Get it? Snooze? Austin (Will) was holding the boom mic in this scene. Independent filmmaking, folks. Everyone has multiple roles.
Finally, the role of Olga was played by Lendsey Kersey. She’s one of the wonderful actors who auditioned for the show’s many characters.
The little blooper at the end was created with the help of one of Will Robin’s neighbors who, like many folks do, saw us filming and decided to watch for a while. As Nick (Pete) was cycling down the driveway, the neighbor yelled out something like, “Go get her” and cracked Nick up. Good times.
Underclassed - “Meet Will & Pete” - Comedy — In 2010 I created a web series called “Underclassed.” It was a fun experience and, more importantly, a learning experience. The lesson? Back up your data. Myself, Will Robin and David Savage wrote the series. Will and I shot it. I edited. After 8 months of hard work, we were ready to launch it. First, we released this bit of footage. A behind-the-scenes, improvised interview with the characters to introduce the audience to these two rascals. Then, we released the first episode. After that, the hard drive crashed and we lost everything. Sometimes you have to learn the hard way…
But, it was a great experience, nonetheless and I learned a lot about filmmaking and directing (besides investing in multiple hard drives). And, at the very least we have what we have from the show.
This was one of the most fun things that we shot because it was highly improvised. We had a full script of how the interview would go but we decided to just wing it after we had the scripted stuff down. An idea would pop in my head and I would tell Nick and Austin (Will and Pete) the points to hit and they would take it from there. The guys were exceptional at improvising the bits and going back and forth with the funny.
Speaking of the guys, the two leads in Underclassed are Nick Mills (Pete) and Austin Alexander (Will). We cast the show using two outlets primarily: Craig’s List and Joe Grisaffi’s casting service Southwest Casting.
I met Austin as a PA for the Houston Independent feature, Suicide Notes. I remember being in the room during their audition process and Austin stuck out. Later, toward the end of production for Suicide Notes, the cast and crew went to some karaoke bar. I had since sort of forgotten about Austin but he was there and I remember he sang a Prince song. A natural performer, Austin stuck himself firmly back into my psyche as a prospect for future projects. Sure enough, when we started writing for Underclassed, I knew I wanted to audition Austin for a part. Due to our schedules, it was tough to get him to audition but he was really into it and we finally had a reading. Then he got the part. Two things to take away from this: it’s important to work on other people’s films. Every person I work with today I met through PA’ing on Suicide Notes. Second, it’s important to show enthusiasm for things. Austin’s enthusiasm for the project was a big reason he was able to land and keep the role.
I remember getting a response either from Craig’s List or Southwest Casting from Nick and in his email he had a link to his acting demo. That helped a lot. I was able to see his acting chops before meeting him and he had some. That definitely helped his chances in getting the role and he eventually did. His talent and rapport with Austin ultimately landed him the role, but being able to see his previous work didn’t hurt.
Empty Closet - Drama — This is my first short film, entitled “Empty Closet.” It was made in my Guerrilla Filmmaking class in college, emphasis on “guerrilla.” We were given a mediocre digital camera and a pat on the butt. I bought some sort of utility lamp from Home Depot and used my buddy’s parents’ house for the location. But, I’m proud of the film. It was my first. And it features wonderful acting from Amy Vorpahl (amyvorpahl.com) and Jeff Taylor.