Category: Inspiration

All Aboard the Haphead Train!

Posted by – August 7, 2014

(Reblogged from No Media Kings)


About a month ago we got the word that Haphead, our near-future videogame subculture webseries, received funding. It’s a lot of the same folks I’ve been making lo-fi sci-fi no-budget films with since 2007 — except this time we’re getting paid a living wage for it! Pretty wild. Having a budget also means we can consider renting locations (like the train car above!) as well as accelerate the process — we’ll be releasing the first 45-60min (AKA “Season 1”) in January, instead of the 3 year odyssey that Ghosts With Shit Jobs was. I also won’t be wearing as many hats (just three: executive producer/creator/writer) but I know from the awesome proof-of-concept trailer our team produced with minimal interference from me that it’s in very, very good hands.

If you want to jump on the Haphead train before our mid-August shooting begins, this is what we’re still looking for!

  • a large abandoned warehouse or factory we can rent for a day (something like this pic)
  • people with physical talents: parkour, martial arts, circus skills, skateboarding/scootering, breakdancing
  • adult background actors (AKA extras) of different ages/ethnicities (no experience needed)
  • small camper / magic van / Winnebago
  • a house with a little character
  • onset medic

If you have a lead on any of the above, please drop our producer Anthony a line at and he can give you more details.

JUST ELLA at Toronto After Dark Festival

Posted by – October 10, 2013

Screenshot from 2013-10-10 11:49:04

The short film I wrote/directed for last year’s Lo-fi Sci-fi 48 Hour Film Challenge is going to be screening at my favourite Toronto film fest! It screens before Battery on Sat. Oct. 19th at 9:30pm — tickets here.

JUST ELLA posits a future overrun by gibbering monstrosities. Ella takes refuge in a “the Ossington Safehouse, a collectively-run space dedicated to human sovereignty.” But despite doing the assigned tasks on the chore list, she isn’t safe — the terrors outside are nothing compared to those within.

Contains perhaps the first cinematic example of autocomplete used for a dramatic reveal.

Chat From Sack

Posted by – February 21, 2013

Rolled into Sacramento on the train yesterday for the Movies on A Big Screen event. It was great — probably about 60 people, warm and diverse crowd. Really fun q&a afterwards where the first question was whether Sanford Kong was a trained mime — they were as spellbound by his performance as the doctor as we were.

Toronto-bound folks will be thrilled to hear that it’s a lovely 13 degrees here & sunny. The people I’m staying with have an orange tree in the backyard, and I got to eat one for breakfast. Tasted pretty much the same, but it was still pretty awesome.

Last week’s run at San Francisco Indie Film Festival saw close to 200 folks come through on the three nights. Got to hang out with Jamie, a fan of the film, at the amazing goth bar he owns called the DNA Lounge. And I met with the guys who are working on Overgrowth, a rabbit-ninja fighting game, and they seem open to working together on a future project. So lots of interesting developments developin’!

Vancouver Report, iTunes Release

Posted by – January 15, 2013


First things first: after a 6 week delay, the movie’s finally out on iTunes and a bunch of other digital platforms and we’re offering Skype Q&As for screening parties to promote it. Please spread the word!

Secondly, the Vancouver screening went fantastic. The Rio was super supportive, we got a great review from the Georgia Straight, and over a hundred people showed up to check out the movie and hear me blather afterwards. Fanny (our sound savior) was there too, which was cool since she moved out before our big Toronto debut, and I met Flick Harrison who contributed a lot of feedback to this blog. Warren Frey did this little interview with me in the afterglow.

Coming up next, I’m heading to the San Francisco Indie Film Fest. Looks like a pretty great lineup — I’m hoping to catch Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral there, which I missed somehow at its Fantastic Fest premiere. (I also missed Looper there, but I saw it recently — it’s a tightly constructed little funride with a bit of an emotional payload to boot.)

On the subject of other sci-fi inspiration — I started up a lo-fi sci-fi videoblog. Love it if you submitted something awesome you found/made!

Also, FilmBizarro listed us in their best movies of 2012, saying: “This is just insane, but at same time very lovable.”

Come to the Salon on Monday!

Posted by – August 3, 2012

If you’re excited to work with some of the Ghosties again, a bunch of us are making shorts in the Challenge at the end of the month! (Personally I’m planning to use Alex’s multicoloured flame-thrower pictured above somehow.) So if you wanna talk about getting involved or meet some new folks to collab with, you should come out on Monday for a drink or three — 7pm at the Monarch (12 Clinton St.) in Little Italy.

For those of you who came out to the Toronto premiere and were overwhelmed by the hundreds of people there… don’t worry, the Lo-fi Sci-fi Salons aren’t like that. They’re very small laid-back gatherings where people are plotting their Challenge sci-fi short over drinks. Me and Sean can introduce you & what you do to other people — lots of people looking for actors and crew. Bring that friend who’s always threatened to make a short.

I’ll be talking a little bit about the awesome creators we have contributing creative prompts — Jim Guthrie’s donated music & Cory Doctorow’s donated dialogue. We’ll also have a short talk on quick and dirty visual effects by a Toronto filmmaker. We’ve got guests talking the following Mondays too!

Oh also, if you haven’t snagged a copy of the movie yet, let me know you’re coming by and I’ll bring you your comp.

If you haven’t tired of seeing us talking about the movie yet, there’s a nice piece over at Electric Playground.

Take the Lo-fi Sci-fi 48 Hour Film Challenge!

Posted by – July 11, 2012

Sean Lerner (AKA Oscar the Digital Janitor & our Associate Producer) is running Toronto’s first Lo-fi Sci-fi 48 Hour Film Challenge on Aug 24-26th.

It’s an awesome, crazy, heart-pumping race to make a 5-minute movie in just one weekend.

Hello adrenaline. Goodbye hygiene.

When countdown begins Friday at 7:00 pm there’ll be no time to waste. You’ll have a scant 48 hours to create an idea, write, shoot, edit your film and deliver it before the deadline.

If you do we’ll show your movie on the big screen (well biggish screen) at the Monarch Pub the very next night.

We’re looking at it as a way to keep the creative juices flowing, to loop in new people or people who couldn’t get involved with GHOSTS, and to build community and make some crazy weird movies. Work with some new people, try out some new ideas, get a new finished project out into the world!

We’re also doing Lo-fi Sci-fi Salons on Mondays leading up to the Challenge (Jul 30, Aug 6, 13 & 20, 7pm). Each one will be hosted by a seasoned lo-fi sci-fi moviemaker who’ll share some tips/approaches and show some inspiring shorts, with lots of time for socializing to spare.

Transatlantyk in Poland, Producers on Space

Posted by – June 13, 2012

GHOSTS has been invited to its second festival: Transatlantyk in Poznan, Poland. Whoo hoo! They approached us for a screener a few weeks ago, which was nicer than having to apply.

Also, a couple of us producers were on Space last week, interviewed outside the Toronto premiere by swell chap Mark Askwith — check it out here.

Something I thought you guys might be interested in is the $1000 up for grabs with this Toronto DIY filmmaker’s feature film challenge. Check it out on her website here. To fund it she’s screening a flick called I am a Good Person / I am a Bad Person at the Royal tomorrow (Thursday night) — interested in going to see it? Email me!

No Resting on Our Laurels

Posted by – March 27, 2012

London, England is just the beginning! We’re planning a Kickstarter campaign to raise $5000 to tour the movie to a bunch of different cities. If you’d be into giving feedback on our video pitch, let me know and I’ll send you the link for the latest iteration.

Sci-Fi-London has updated their site and GHOSTS has a page now. Some of the best science fiction is coming out of the UK these days: I just watched Moon, directed by David Bowie’s son, and thought it was terrific. The TV show Misfits completely redeemed the dramedy genre for me. The third ep of Black Mirror had me writhing in ecstasy and jealousy simultaneously — pretty much perfect SF, by my estimation.

Celtx, the open source screenwriting program I wrote GHOSTS on, is funding short videos — we got $2000 the last time they did it, so you know they have good taste! No fee to apply, check out the deets here!

Need some music for your movies? Sean (Oscar the digital janitor) let me know his brother Mike Lerner is looking for composing work — check out his music here and get in touch.

Babymakers Rough Edit

Posted by – December 22, 2009


I just saw Chris’ Babymakers segment at at Tate’s editing suite on Friday, and it’s looking really good! As you can see above with the multiple Jordans, Tate was already able to implement some basic effects. Tate’s said he’ll be able to make some real progress on the rest of it in Jan. Now that we have something to work with I’m starting to look for the following post people:

  • soundtrack composition
  • special effects and titling
  • colour correction
  • audio post and ADR

If you’re looking to let friends know, you can direct them here:

…it gives a little rundown of the story as well. If you’ve already let us know you can help, we’ll be getting in touch soon.

Bigger picture, we’re hoping to get a cut together for the Toronto After Dark 2010 festival submission in mid-May & screen it in the summer. Thoughts? Any other good deadlines people know about?

Check out David Fernandez‘s trailer for his short “Re-Wire” and and Keith Lock‘s for his feature The Ache. These guys were friends of friends who I only just met in person in the last couple weeks, but who very kindly helped us out with finding actors and gear. They’re doing interesting, ambitious work and being totally nice guys as well — a pleasant change from the industry-asshole cliche you hear so much about.

Subtle Influences of Asian Culture

Posted by – August 17, 2009

Hi Folks,

I’ve recently become enamored with the ancient Asian game Go, and it got me thinking to how Chinese culture may influence western culture, now that they dominate us economically. How could we background these influences by showing instead of saying. For example, perhaps Anton and Toth could be playing Go in their make-shift home at night, or when they go to trade in the webbing they caught for water, Harry might initially be sitting down with a friend playing Go before he gets up and does the water trade with them. Maybe there’s a Go club or Go games at the bar the business folks play in Serena’s scenes. That said, I’d like to offer my services as a Go consultant to the movie. (I just watched A Beautiful Mind, because I knew it had Go scenes, and I found it disenchanting to see how they got some elements about it wrong). Go’s influence on western culture today, limited as it is, is mainly from Japan and Korea, but it was invented in China and is still immensely popular there (as evidenced by the included image). In Korea, they have TV channels dedicated to Go (the way here we have Golf TV channels).

About ten years ago I spent some time in India volunteering, and one piece of clothing I brought back that has stayed with me since is a “lungi”. It’s a sarong that either middle and upper class men wore in place of pajamas, or as very casual house clothes, or that lower class men could wear at any time. Indian locals would get a kick of seeing me, a wealthy westerner, ignorantly wearing a lungi around the town. I still wear one today (and in fact, only recently bought a pair of regular pajama pants at the urging of my son, who I guess wanted me to be more “normal”, or at least more like himself). They’re very comfortable (and cheap and simple to make). Perhaps Oscar could wear one when hanging casually around his home (i.e. drinking beer in the evening). I thought I had a good image of me wearing a lungi, but I can’t find it. Included is an Indian man wearing a lungi down, and a westerner wearing a lungi up (a common way to wear it, especially in hot weather).