Terror Film Fest Day 2 – was that a beer I had?

8:38 am, and the rain has started. Now where is my rain gear? Oh yeah, Umbrellas in the car, and I brought a raincoat???? NO. Why because I’m an idiot. 🙂
In keeping with full disclosure – yesterday was day 2 of Terror Film Fest, and today is day 3, but I didn’t make the first day, so no you haven’t missed my first post from the festival, this is it. For the first post on the fest click here.

Having a great time here, yeah, in Philly, and having a great time, who would have thought it. First I want to acknowledge my wife, because frankly without her this in not happening. She is courageously watching the kids, while I get to go to this festival. We were thinking of coming down as a family just for today, but then either she is watching the kids in a strange city, while I’m at the festival, or we are hiring a baby sitter. Instead she is watching them and dealing with them at home. So far all is good. Something to note, I freelance, so most days I pick up the kids, my wife works a full time job, and is just about the most amazing, and wonderful person I know. I am amazed at how much she can handle. Sometimes you can forget to appreciate how amazing someone is, when you are with them for a a long time (her parents and mine would scoff at my use of “a long time as they are on their 40+ and 50th wedding anniversaries respectively.) I wish she was here with me, and I miss her (and the kids) but I think that after her years as a film journalist, she is done with festivals.

It’s fun here, but it is work, I’m networking, and that is what it is all about at this stage. So yes, I did have a beer, because it is rude not to and I wasn’t driving last night so it was fine. A Guinness at Oh! Shea’s after the screenings to meet and continue talking. Is it normal for a film festival to pick up the part of the tab for a whole group of people at an after party? I’m not sure, but these guys did – so that was nice. Meeting people handing out business cards and the promo card. Maintaining the “don’t just give out a card, make sure you’ve made a connection” strategy. It is very important and it works well. I know who I’ve met, who I’ve given my card to, and who I need to got talk to again.

I’ve met the festival people – Princess Horror, Gracie, and “Claw”, and they are great people, lots of fun, and you get to find out some of the intrigue and business issues of running a festival, especially after a few beers. Don’t worry I promise not to tell where that councilman’s body is buried.

Some notable meetings and films – Martin Binder with his film Quick Shop, a nice little film, with a good twist. I also met Deirdre Patterson who has a screenplay “Auntie” ( A thriller about a female serial killer) in competition with Resurrection of Blake House. To note, Auntie just won the GSIFF screenplay competition, which Blake House didn’t make the finals for, so tough competition. No, I am NOT linking to the GSIFF – they didn’t notify me that Blake House wasn’t a finalist until 11:45 pm the night BEFORE the festival started, so they get no link, and I doubt I will submit to them again. I know it is tough running a festival, but you got to do better than that.

As for the competition, well Blake House is here and in New Orleans, it didn’t make Eerie, but another writer has his script “Schedule 1” in competition here and Eerie, but he didn’t make New Orleans, so it means nothing. I did enjoy whisper chatting with Deirdre during the screenings looking at the weaknesses and things that didn’t make sense – and the things we liked about the films. People are going to do the same while watching Hellion.

The Feature The Fields, really cool, very slick – six week shooting schedule apparently. I think it is time to stop asking about budgets and gear and instead ask about shooting schedule length. That really seems to be the limiting factor in filmmaking. If you have 6 days to shoot a film, it is just not going to look as good as a production that had 6 weeks to shoot. NO WAY. Some fun things about The Fields – Chloris Leachman is a RIOT, absolutely nails her character and delivery almost had me laughing on the floor with some of her lines. I know that sounds like a distraction, but no. It was so funny because it was so spot on, and natural to the film. Perfect. Oddly enough in this films she bears a striking resemblance both visually and audibly to Robin Williams. VERY weird. But the writing of her interactions with the other characters just completely resonated with everyone in the audience. “I said band aids, not Bird Cage.” Great.

Interestingly enough, there is a resemblance to the structure of The Fields and Blake House. Blake House is a Drama intertwined with a Ghost Story (and getting a lot of flack about that from some readers), The Fields is very much a drama intertwined with a thriller. It works, in The Fields the thriller aspect causes the family to heal itself to survive the danger, but the underlying family strife is not solved so although it is a happy ending, it is just a band aid on the family. At the fest was 2 of the 2nd ADs (assistant directors) and the lead actor – Joshua Ormond.

I also watched and enjoyed Psycho Killer Bloodbath, directed by Carlo Rodriquez (UnderDogs.com). Even better was discussing the film with him after. He was really very receptive to the discussion. A 6 day shoot, pretty good for that limitation. The opening is just great, totally evocative of early slasher films (I Spit on Your Grave) and sets the mood. What’s funny in a tragic way is when discussing the choices, it always come down to the same thing – scheduling, number of shooting days. I know Hellions warts, and I’m sure I can be raked over the coals for them. There are changes I would make, but I really feel it’s time to move on. Movies are never finished, only abandoned (I’m not the first person to write/say that). In the end the weaknesses of Psycho Killer Bloodbath are about the choices that have to be made under the limitations. One of the choices, which I agree with, is if you can’t do it well, then don’t do it. Discussing the film with Carlo, I can really see what he wanted, and how much without warts the film would have. Even saying that, It is a cool film if that is the genre you like, and I’m hoping he gets his distribution.

So today, I’m up, and writing the blog, getting ready to clear out of the hotel room. Had a breakfast sandwich – even though I’m trying to avoid easy carbs – oddly enough in Philly a “bacon Egg and Cheese on a roll” comes on what we from New York would call a hero. In New York a roll is round and smaller than a hero. Ahh the local flavor. I’ve just finished burning two copies of Hellion as back ups to the festival’s copy. The Projection here has been good so far and they are running two different decks with a switcher, so it has really been smooth. The tech has agreed to let me preview Hellion in between the screenings to make me feel more comfortable, which will be great. Now I’m going to have lunch and discuss Marketing and distribution models and my scripts.

After the awards ceremony tonight, I’m driving home, will probably get home around 4:30 Sunday morning. Hellion is up for the following awards: Best Actress – Laura Gilreath, Best Supporting Actor – Yanai Brown, Best Score – Pontus Gunve, and Best EFX. Resurrection of Blake House is up for Best Screenplay.

Comeback for the updates, wish me luck, and thanks for reading.

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