Saturday, February 19, 2011

More BleedFest awesomeness!

Alisha Rayne from let me know yesterday that they've put up a blog with all of the filmmaker interviews, including myself! Y'all know how weird I am about interviews, but that doesn't prevent me from sharing myself with the world when I can (even when I'm beset with one of the worst outbreaks of rosacea I've had in a long time) so here I am, in all of my red-faced glory! I suggest watching the whole thing, of course, but if you really just want to see me, I'm near the end of the third video down on the blog. BleedFest, a Badass Film Festival!

Huge thanks go to Alisha Rayne and Jeffrey Damnit and their crew for conducting the interviews and, of course, to the Fies Sisters and all of the wonderful women at BleedFest!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Picture It...L.A., 2011: The Third Day

So, this was it! The day had finally arrived! A few days before I left, my rosacea went “Oh, you’re going to have photos taken? Well, I say ‘BLA-DOW!!!’ and it was (and still is) pretty bad. Not only that, but the day we took off for L.A., I got the biggest, most painful zit ever right next to my right eyebrow. The day of the film festival, I had the second largest, most painful zit ever on my left temple.


And then, I discovered that I forgot a critical component of my wardrobe and I couldn’t be all dressed up for the blood red carpet. I decided to wear my A Nightmare on Elm Street shirt, might as well stick with the Nancy theme, right? Shawn looked pretty, though, in his Chinese style suit.

I look like a rosy-cheeked goofball, but

I sent out invites via Facebook to all of the people I could think of that live in the area so I could see and / or meet them. One of them was actress Brinke Stevens, who I met at my first ever film festival, ShockerFest, two years ago. I’ve mentioned her here before, she’s one of my favourite Scream Queens and I set up a screening of Sorority Babes at the Slimeball Bowl-a-Rama to honour her as our Queen of Hallowscreen.

She mentioned that she might be able to come, but that she was busy filming a documentary called Screaming in High Heels, the Rise and Fall of the Scream Queen as well as a trailer for a book that features her likeness called Video Pirates from Mars. I figured that she’d be too exhausted to come over, but I received a text message from her that said she was on her way! That gave me a great shot of happiness, to know that other than my brother, there was going to be at least one friendly face in the audience!

Brinke and I 02

We headed over to the venue and were really early, but there was already a huge crowd milling around outside, giving blood and chatting. Linnea Quigley was there (Brinke’s co-star in Sorority Babes, another favourite Scream Queen of mine, and a good friend of hers), but Brinke hadn’t arrived yet. At the ticket table, I got to meet Brenda Fies, one of the co-founders of BleedFest. She was co-ordinating the volunteers and obviously very busy, but we were able to talk later and soon after that, we met Elisabeth, her sister and festival co-founder. These sisters are amazing people, y'all. They're lovely, warm, supportive people and great filmmakers themselves. It was so great to meet them finally!

I also finally met the awesome Heidi from FanGirlTastic! She’s an amazing force for recognizing the work of women in genre films!

Shawn and I milled around while they got the background for the red carpet set up and when Brinke arrived, I gave her her fest pass and she introduced me to Ms. Quigley. I saw her in Orlando, but I was focused on meeting Heather Langenkamp and didn’t really work up the nerve to talk to her, but it was awesome that Brinke was the one to introduce us! It turned out that Brinke told Ms. Quigley about the festival! She also introduced me to composer Chuck Cirino and director Kevin Tenney. I was in horror geek heaven!

Linnea Quigley couldn’t stay, but I gave her a copy of my compilation disc so she could check it out. I hope we can work together at some point in the future!

Brenda came out and said that they were getting ready to start the program so Shawn, Brinke, and I went in and found some seats and watched some really great films! First up was “The Horror of Our Love” by Dave Reda who was the Partnership Award winner from January, but there was an issue with his disc during his original screening and they played it again this month. Works out because I would’ve hated to miss that! It was hilarious!

Next up was a special award for Katt Shea as a trailblazer in film for women. She directed films like Poison Ivy and The Rage: Carrie 2. After that was a screening of the Producing Award winning Night of the Hell Hamsters from Elizabeth Pinto. Another hilarious short!

After that was the presentation of the award for Social Commentary to Stacy Title, director of The Last Supper, which was one of my favourite films of 1995.

Then, they jumped into the shorts package. Everything was in competition for the Audience Award and the Film Radar award, but we all received award certificates from the festival. I had two shorts in the package: “Essenger” and aftershock. “Essenger” got the award for “Best Don’t Bite the Apple...”

BleedFest Inanna - Essenger

and aftershock got “Best All American Zombie Slayer.”

BleedFest Inanna - aftershock

I feel confident that I can speak for the band and for Janine, the star of aftershock, when I say that we’re all honoured and thrilled to have received these amazing awards!

There was a break at that point and Brinke, Shawn, and I went out to the back patio with Chuck Cirino and chatted for a while. Kevin Tenney joined us, but I had to run out to the front to work out when I was going to be interviewed and photographed. I got caught up meeting a few filmmakers so I didn’t get to do the publicity thing before the screening for February’s Partnership Award winner Cam McCullouch’s zombie opus Home began and then award ceremony took place.

Tyrrell Shafner won the audience award for her short film Threnody, which I happened to see in New Orleans at the Vampire Film Festival this year. It was a fantastic flick and congratulations are definitely in order! The Film Radar award went to Susan Bell for The Patchwork Monkey, another fantastic film.

There was another break during which I was quickly photographed and interviewed and said farewell to Brinke who needed to go home and get some sleep, and then we watched the feature film the US premiere of the Aussie slasher Slaughtered.

Some of the shots were really good and there were pretty amazing set pieces, but it was in need of another draft or two...or three in the scripting phase.

After the festival was over, the Fies sisters, Deepika Daggubati, Ray from FilmRadar, and my brother and I went across the street and watched the rest of the Super Bowl over appetizers and fantastic conversation. Afterward, Shawn and I went back to the hotel, then got dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and went back to the hotel to go to bed early for our early flight out.

Yesterday, Monday, we got a cab to the airport for our 9 am flight and got home at 6:45 my time. We had an absolutely fantastic time and I’m so glad that Brinke and Linnea Quigley were able to come out and support women in horror and this amazing film festival!

BleedFest is one of the best film festivals I’ve been to. The venue it’s in is small and intimate which leads to better networking, and the sisters Fies have put a lot of thought into the festival and its structure. They’ve done an absolutely amazing job! It’s a wonderful festival with a worth-while message that women have just as much to give to genre film as men and are just as talented.

As long as BleedFest is around, I’ll be sending them my work and supporting the festival as much as I can!

Picture It...L.A., 2011: Day Two

I don’t know exactly what constitutes early in L.A. I woke up at seven o’clock and did some research to find a good breakfast place that was open. Well, most of what was close either didn’t sound good for breakfast or was open after I wanted to be on Hollywood Boulevard so we just ate at the hotel restaurant. I had my first fruity Belgian waffle and, as I said to Twitter, the Belgian who decided to combine fresh fruit with their waffle needs to work on world peace because holy crap that was yummy!

We grabbed the cab and I said to the driver, “We’re going to Grauman’s Chinese theatre, but we need to make a quick stop at 1428 (address redacted).”

I know that the address to the house is easily found on the internet, but it’s still a private residence and you’re not going to get the address from me.

So what is 1428 (address redacted)? Why, I haz pictures, let me show you them...

1428 Elm Street 2


me in front of 1428 Elm

as well as

Yeah...I went there

That’s right...the house from A Nightmare on Elm Street whose address in the movie is 1428 Elm Street.

In the caption for the photos, I mention that I’m not ashamed to admit that I was super excited to actually see the house right there before my eyes. I’m a filmmaker, but I’m also a fan. Technically, I was a fan first. So there! :D

From there we went to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The slideshow below will show you all of the L.A. pictures except for the Chinese New Years ones.

Highlights from the trip to Hollywood Boulevard are seeing Cary Grant’s imprint and various favourite stars. I wanted to meet up with my friend Kimberley, but that didn’t work out since my brother and I decided to do lunch in Chinatown instead of on the Boulevard and then we never made it back, but that’s just one more reason for me to return!

After walking up and down the boulevard a little bit, we headed over to Chinatown to catch the New Years parade and festivities! Words can’t do the beauty justice. I LOVE the idea of two New Years in one year. I know, to the Chinese it’s just one a year, but I don’t see why one can’t celebrate new beginnings whenever they want! Plus, it was gorgeous, just check out the slideshow below!

A quick warning first: There are videos in the slideshow, one in particular of a martial arts demonstration that will make everyone, but especially men, cringe. The videos are all at the end of the slideshow. Consider yourself duly warned...

We walked around Chinatown for a little while, watched the martial arts demonstration at Central Plaza, and then we got lunch. I let UrbanSpoon decide for us and it pointed us toward Yang Chow which turned out to be a happenin’ spot! Betty White, Omar Epps, and LL Cool J are among the famous actors whose photos grace their walls and it was packed! With good reason...the food was delicious! Shawn got their famous Slippery Shrimp and I got their sliced chicken and snow peas, which is something I always get here. Well, not again. Theirs was so amazing that there’s no way I could order chicken and snow peas here. And the slippery shrimp? It has a wicked name, but it’s also delicious!

From there, we walked south on Broadway into downtown L.A. In total, we probably walked about three or four miles, not even how far we walked in NY (from the Bowery area to Times Square and back), but it felt like longer because nothing was open. There were businesses and clubs, places I’d heard of, that weren’t open. I had to check my phone for the as only about 8 at night!

It didn’t seem like the best part of town, but I didn’t feel like we were in danger, either.

As we walked, we happened upon some crane lights and a caravan of trailers. I got excited: maybe it’s Spider-Man and we can see a multi-million dollar movie being filmed so I guided us over. Turns out it was a Verizon commercial.

verizon commercial


verizon commercial moody

In the commercial, all of these people are driving carphones* when the newest, bestest carphone evar!1 drives by. We couldn’t see the model of the phone so maybe it’s something that has yet to explode on the market, but the cars were cute. So much money being wasted, though, with at least half of the crew just sitting or standing around.

We eventually left them to their devices* and walked around some more, finding ourselves outside a Regal on West Olympic. It was the best, nearest landmark for the cab. We decided to go back to the hotel. I needed to lie down for a minute, I was dizzy (yay vertigo) and then we could decide what to do. It’s so weird that there was NOTHING to do in L.A. at 8 that didn’t involve alcohol, but whatever...

After my lie down, we headed out to the Sunset Strip around ten or eleven to choose which club we were going to check out for a taste of the local music scene. Shawn saw a sign that said that Wino from St. Vitus was playing the Viper Room and the guy at the door said that he was up after the band that played next so we walked up and down Sunset and headed into the Viper. As it turned out, Wino, a headliner, played way early in the night and all that was left were local rock bands. L.A. like this ALL of the time or was it a special occasion because of the Super Bowl?

I don’t want to name the band that played when we walked in, but oh my God, they sucked. They could play just fine, but there was no heart behind the music. Boring. After about a song and a half, we headed over to the Whiskey A Go Go and watched the group there, The Standells. They’re an older group and though the write up I read said they were early punk, they sounded more like a slightly rockier Beach Boys. They were good, but not really our scene so we stayed for a couple of songs, then went back to our rooms for an early night. It was a good idea because the while reason we were there in the first place, BleedFest Film Festival, was the next day and it was going to be a long day.

*Puns intended.

Picture It...L.A., 2011: Day One

The great thing about flying from America’s right coast to the left is that you fly backwards in time. If you go to L.A., you might have an eight or nine hour flight, but you arrive at your destination only a few hours after taking off. Such was the case when my brother and I took off from SRQ at omg o’clock in the morning and arrived at LAX at 12:30 in the afternoon, though it was 3:30 our time.

If you don’t live in or around LA or the suburbs, you may hear about the crappy traffic, but the main issue with the place is how far things are from each other. To get anywhere you have to get on the infamous 405 at some point. LAX is 30-45 minutes from the hotel we were staying at on Ventura even on the highway. It seems like everything is half an hour away from wherever you are which isn’t too bad a drive (except in traffic), but is murder on the wallet. However, actually driving in LA is insane and it’s better to have a native behind the wheel.

I wanted to stay in a hotel that was close to the venue, but still rated as being safe and clean. The Courtyard by Marriott in Sherman Oaks was a 45 minute walk from the venue according to Google Maps (but only 6 minutes by car, figure that one out) and it was near restaurants and shops. I’m no expert when it comes to travel, but I am reasonably experienced in walking everywhere. That’s not entirely feasible in L.A. At least their public transportation runs late, but things close really early there, even on the weekend, and they open relatively late in the day. It’s weird to say, but Sarasota keeps better hours than LA.

We got settled in the hotel and, I don’t know about Shawn, but I was exhausted and we hadn’t eaten for twelve hours. We decided to go to P.F. Chang’s which was a Chinese restaurant in the shopping center down the street from the hotel. I accidentally guided us in the opposite direction (don’t let me navigate when I’m tired...), but we turned around and got on the right track.

The food was delicious (I had crispy honey chicken, omnomnom) and while I was still tired, I definitely felt better so we grabbed a cab and went to Griffith Observatory. Wow, that was far away...but very much worth it.

la sunset 04

I did adjust the brightness/saturation a bit on the sunset photos, but only because the camera (my Casio point and shoot) adjusted to 800 ISO and it looked like crap.

Griffith Observatory is amazingly beautiful. Of course, it’s most well known for the James Dean and Natalie Wood film Rebel Without a Cause, but while I was up there, I kept thinking about how Heather Langenkamp and Johnny Depp went to the Observatory in 1983 for a character building date before they shot A Nightmare on Elm Street. God, I’m such a geek...and I love it!

Anyway, my brother and I caught two shows at the planetarium, which is something I highly recommend doing: Centered in the Universe which is about the expansion of our knowledge about the space that surrounds us and how much more is still out there to explore, and Lights of the Valkyrie which is about the Northern Lights and the early vikings’ interpretation of them and the stars. It was really great stuff made even better with a live narration. The woman who narrated the shows kind of sounded like Susan Sarandon (whom I love), and though that was distracting, she was excellent and added a special slice of awesome to the show.

Before we left for L.A., I did research on some things to do and see there. I knew that Kevin Smith recorded his SModcast podcasts live so I looked at the schedule and found out that he and Jason Mewes were doing Jay and Silent Bob Get Old at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club in Universal CityWalk. Score! We got a cab from Griffith to CityWalk (which was surprisingly close, but definitely not within walking distance, like most of LA) and went right to the Lovitz theatre to make sure we got tickets. The show was slated to start at 10 and we got there around 8:30 or 9. There were still tickets, but a line had already started.

We wanted to see the show, but not THAT badly so we walked around CityWalk. Here in Florida, CityWalk is HUGE, but they had more space to work with. In LA, since it’s next to the working studio park and in the middle of the city, it has to be small and build upwards for more space. It’s not only small, but loud and bright. CityWalk in Orlando would be that loud and bright, too, if it was in such a limited space with every club and bar on the strip vying for your attention.


We stopped in at Things From Another World because I thought it would be awesome. The one I went to in the Portland / Seattle area has a large collection of awesome Japanese toys and cool things like that. The TFAW CityWalk was cool, but not as cool as the one in Washington. So weird to say that... Other than that, we didn’t really stop in any of the shops, even the gigantic GameStop.

We got in line at just the right time because we were still relatively close to the front of the line, but soon after we got in place, the line blossomed into a long, unwieldy snake that wrapped around the sides of the club and possibly further.

We got to the door and the guy asked us how many were in our party and I told him that there were only two of us. So he said, “Would you like to sit up front?”

I wanted to say “Hell yeah we wanna sit up front!” but I calmly replied, “Well, yes, we’d like to...” So he pointed us to these seats:

before Jay and Silent Bob Get Old

How great are they? So great! Although, really, it seems like there isn’t a bad seat in the house. The club is small, but it’s also tall with three stories of seats relatively close to the stage.

Eventually, Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith come out and talk for an hour or an hour and a half. The Get Old podcast is really just like the two of them sitting down and chatting, but they have the live, paying audience. It was absolutely worth $40 total to see it live! If you like Smith, you’re in L.A., and they’re recording Get Old at a club, either the SModcastle or at Jon Lovitz or wherever, I highly recommend it. It was hilarious, a great way to end our first day in L.A.!

After the show, we went back to our rooms and collapsed to prepare ourselves for Saturday where we were going to check out Hollywood Boulevard, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and the Chinatown New Years Parade with a quick stop by a landmark that's very important to me and my career.