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
If you have a lead on any of the above, please drop our producer Anthony a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and he can give you more details.
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.)
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.
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!
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:
special effects and titling
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.
When I was staying with Kent in San Francisco a few weeks back I was talking about the doc style of Ghosts and he recommended the phenomenal “Alive in Joberg” by Neill Blomkamp. Blomkamp grew up in Vancouver but was born in South Africa, and makes great use of the style of movies made about SA and Africa in general.
When I got home I saw this great lo-fi sci-fi discussion thread referring both to Infest Wisely and Blomkamp’s short, so obviously I was meant to see it. There’s lots of interesting shorts on the thread, including others by Blomkamp, but “Metalosis Maligna” is my favourite. It’s a pretty amazing surrealist approach to lo-fi sci-fi, with the crazy growth on the x-rays giving the viewer a chance to imagine what the condition looks like.
Just typed up the notes from the brainstorming session and workshop we had last week. Some really great ideas to explore. I’m wondering what an Asian-dominated future will look — when most of my previous near-futures assume the continued ascendance of western-style capitalism, a more intense corporation-mediated reality. I’m also going to be looking into how people in India have developed their outsourcing foothold.
If you have any thoughts/suggested links or reading on this, email me or post a comment. And if you get a chance to read the script, I’m soliciting feedback until April 20th at which point I’ll be diving in again.
Colin recommended the excellent 5 part British miniseries, Dead Set. If I were you I wouldn’t read any further, just download it and watch it without any spoilers…
Ok, now that you’ve watched it, you know it’s a zombie apocolypse where the only safe house left is the Big Brother house. The main character is a PA on the reality show, and she’s recently cheated on her boyfriend and is about to break up with him when the world starts to end.
My favourite part with this is that the boyfriend doesn’t know and risks his life to meet up with her, taking boats and running through fields and losing friends along the way. The traditional “loves separated” thing so familiar in post-apocolypse movies is given a new bittersweet flavour. The most interesting part about this is that the boyfriend does eventually meet up with her, but they never talk about her infidelity because they’re too busy being eaten. So essentially, that whole element is just for the viewer and never has to play out.
The way it includes and somewhat critiques a specific brand of pop culture that must have been sanctioned at some level is something that Slumdog Millionaire does too. I enjoyed the cinematography in SM, especially the part where the little girl’s getting rained on outside the pipe where the brothers are hiding. Also of interest to our project is the fact that SM has co-directors, Loveleen Tandan and Danny Boyle. He promoted her at some stage, according to this. Pretty unusual move on his part.
Don’t let the Reservoir Dogs-eque type treatment put you off, it’s 11 minutes of funny lo-fi sci-fi goodness even with the gloss of Hollywood connections giving it a slightly waxy taste. I also quite enjoyed his other lo-fi sci-fi directorial debut The Nines, and especially appreciate his sobering post-mortem on it. It reaffirms my belief that zerobudget is the way to go, as even Sundance-buzzed indie films aren’t making their budget back.
I’d bet that a number of you have seen Primer, but for those that haven’t, it’s a great example of a low-budget sci-fi feature that was shot for very little ($7000 and they shot FILM) over a short period of time with a tiny crew (most crew doubled as actors), but made a terrific, suspenseful mindbender of a film. Great inspiration, I’d recommend renting it.
If you want to know more, check out any of the following:
Bob suggested this one when I mentioned the Play’n concept. A nazi hunter stumbles across a plot in South America where the remnants of the Reich are implementing a socio-genetic plan using “the world as [Joseph Mengele’s] laboratory”. This might give you a hint as to what they’re up to:
A definite lo-fi sci-fi movie. This kind of plot could easily have slid into B-movie schlock, but it’s a good deal smarter and subtler. It’s not good enough to be great, but not bad enough to be funny — which is why I expect I hadn’t heard of it.