It’s been a while since the last post, mostly due to my insane schedule the past couple of months. The summer has been great - but also busy and exhausting. Here’s a look at one of the many things we’ve been up to… and the result.
For those that don’t know, the great folks at Drafthouse Films, Timpson Films and Magnet Releasing have launched a contest to find the 26th director for their impressive roster on the upcoming anthology film The ABCs Of Death. Most of the time, when someone launches a film competition or contest I don’t seem to see the point of entering, as the cost to make something worthy of winning often outweighs the potential benefits of the contest. Film, even short film, can be very difficult to make happen, and to make something memorable enough it usually takes a lot more than just drive and a few friends. This contest, however, with it’s incredibly impressive director roster (pretty much every important genre director in the past 10 years), is different.
So, while I was out of town in August as on-site editor for the national convention of a Christian organization (that shall remain nameless - work is work), I took a good look at the director’s list, and realized what we need to do. We needed to push the envelope so far it would break. Out of that trip, and a fair bit of rendering downtime, our concept for the contest was born. It would be insane, over-the-top, gory, and fully NSFW. T Is For Testicles. Basically, the opening 5-minutes of the Dawn of the Dead remake done with exploding off-the body sentient The Thing-like cock monsters. An ‘Acockalypse’, if you will. Something with the playful tone of Gremlins, using full-on creature puppets made by the talented team I know we have access to. I brought the idea to Kevin Hutchinson, my writing partner, and we got to work. You can read it here.
Knowing the puppets and effects were going to cost a significant amount of cash, we raised money from friends and investors. We recruited most of the crew from The Collapsed, including the talented composer Rob Kleiner, and were shooting on RED. In addition to enough volunteer corpses to officially create a massacre, we brought on a fantastic practical FX team to bring the creatures to life. We even added a new scene to the script where Vs The Dead director Phil Pattison would fight his own penis with a power-drill. We were set to shoot on September 27th - cutting it close to the deadline, but we figured the idea was audacious enough to still have a solid chance. We began running into production problems throughout - we lost our lead actress, other people weren’t going to be able to stay committed - but nothing that we couldn’t have overcome.
Then this hit the internet:
The Germans beat us to it! An idea that’s so out there, so left field - and somehow someone else spontaneously created the same basic thing! Now, I do believe our script is better, and is different enough that it’s not totally the same, but it’s close enough that we killed our project. Even though we’ve been at this for over a month, spent some money, and already started building the puppets, it doesn’t matter. We’d still be seen by the public at large as ripping off the idea if we completed it. There’s are flying sentient testicles, ours were the full private area as a living creature - potato/potatoe.
However, since we did the work, we’re going to probably re-purpose the creature and the best parts of the script somewhere in the future. In the meantime, I want to share some of the work that was done, design sketches and ‘work-in-progress’ sculpts by the talented Kevin Hutchinson.
I guess if there’s a point here, beyond just sharing what we’ve done, it’s that sometimes you have to know when to throw in the towel. Although I would have loved to make something this crazy, we weighed the pros and cons and decided the best way forward is to not move forward at all. If you’re in film, there’s a very good chance something like this will happen to you. Not the same circumstances, but you’ll be faced with a choice. It’s not always the bad thing to ‘call it a day’.