I get a lot of the same questions on my Twitter account so in an effort to answer them properly (and to not have to answer in the shortened 140 character bursts that Twitter allows for), I’m trying this out. Every so often I’ll put together a version of the most common (or the most interesting) questions I get and then post in-depth answers to them on this blog so that I can easily point people to a place where their questions are answered thoroughly. As the new year begins and time begins to slip away from me quickly this may become a failed experiment, but hey… it’s worth a shot, right?
1. I’M AN ASPIRING WRITER/DIRECTOR/PRODUCER/ACTOR AND WANT TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR SOMEONE LOOKING TO GET THEIR START. The best advice I can possibly give can be found on the commentary tracks and behind the scenes features for my various films/TV series DVDs and BLU-RAYS as well as in interviews I’ve done (which you can find loads of FREE to read on-line just by doing a search). There is no specific answer here as everyone’s journey is different so all I can do is share my personal stories of how I did it. I certainly don’t have all the answers as this career path is not like any other. There is no corporate ladder to climb or “writer/director/actor” job to apply for with a resume and then work your way up to “artist”. It’s on YOU to show what you can do and get people interested in you and wanting to know more. This could be accomplished in writing a fantastic screenplay, making a short film that garners attention both on-line and critically at film festivals, and by working on other projects as an intern/PA/assistant and truly networking. It’s important to note that “networking” is not writing to someone famous on twitter and saying you’d like to work with them nor is it meeting someone at an event and handing them a business card. True networking is creating your own very real relationships with other people in the business. (See the above part about PA’ing or assisting. Many filmmakers get their start in the mail room or on an agency or management company desk as by the time you graduate from that gig you’ll know most everything and everyone.) For every story you’ll hear about someone making a Youtube short that suddenly became viral, got 10 million views, and landed them meetings and development deals with Hollywood studios… there are 5 million stories where that didn’t happen. If it’s taking you awhile to get noticed… that’s NORMAL. Don’t be discouraged, just keep doing your thing, keep getting better, and keep putting yourself out there in the most professional way possible. I highly advise aspiring filmmakers to avoid blowing up a working filmmaker’s fan mail, Facebook page, or other social networking site by posting their work repeatedly or begging and pleading to work with them. The last thing you want is to have your name recognized as “that annoying guy/girl”. Submit your work or yourself properly (see below for my advice on how to do that.) As much as it may appear to you that it happened for me quickly and at a young age or that there must be a secret to my success, truth be told I started writing and making films in my teens and I am now (at the time of this posting) 37 years old. I struggled, I was rejected, I was promised things that fell apart (I still am on a daily basis), I failed, I failed again, and I watched other people around me have a much easier road to success. Everyone has a different path and you only need to be concerned with your own. Don’t let the world’s negativity or the frustrations of this incomprehensible business disenchant you. If anything, look at me and understand that if I can do it so can you. Does that mean you WILL “make it”? God, I hope so… but it’s a tough and VERY unfair business. As a lower middle-class kid from Holliston, Massachusetts with absolutely no connections or understanding of how Hollywood worked, I found a way. My parents were both teachers and my father killed himself working THREE jobs 7-days a week for my entire youth. He would work every day as a gym teacher in a neighboring town only to go to work each night running his own karate school (that he sacrificed his time and passion for much more for the love of it then for any notable financial gain) and then sell shoes at flea markets for my uncle on weekends. And you know what? THAT’S where I learned everything I needed to learn to get where I am today. I learned how to work and how to do whatever it takes to make ends meet. In Los Angeles I have many friends and associates who will say to me “man, you’re so lucky that you have a world-wide franchise with HATCHET, your own successful television series, your own production company, and constant work coming in” but the fact of the matter is, “luck” had nothing to do with it. I knew how to work for it and boy did I. Maybe someday, someone will wave their magic wand for me but it hasn’t happened yet and I don’t expect it to. So you can sit and be miserable or get frustrated and jealous over other’s success, or let it inspire you to do the same. I’m fortunate that my parents raised me not to be competitive with anyone other than myself and that they lead by example that no one is going to do it for you. So if you want the secret to my success, it’s really Richard the gym teacher/karate instructor/shoe salesman and Dale the Hebrew school teacher. Not something I read in a book, not something I learned in film school, and certainly not something I earned by relentlessly writing to someone I admire on a website. Develop a solid work ethic, stay focused, and work your ass off. The beauty of writing is that all you need is your own mind and motivation to see it through. Can’t afford Final Draft or another professional screenwriting program? Shakespeare wrote with ink by candlelight. What’s your excuse?
2. I HAVE WRITTEN THE GREATEST SCREENPLAY EVER AND I WANT TO SEND IT TO YOU FOR CONSIDERATION DIRECTING, FOR ARIESCOPE TO CONSIDER PRODUCING, OR JUST TO SEE WHAT YOU THINK… BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW TO. First things first, I encourage you to read “The Writer’s Guide to Hollywood Producers, Directors, and Screenwriter’s Agents” by Skip Press. The last edition that I know of was published in 2005, but the information within that book is all still 100% relevant and crucial to master. The book explains how to properly and professionally submit your material and even more importantly- how NOT to. Then, register for an IMDBpro account which only costs a few bucks a month. With an IMDBpro account you’ll have immediate access to the names, addresses, and phone numbers of every working filmmaker, producer, production company, studio, distributor, and actor in Hollywood (or their representation’s info). Be professional and go through the appropriate channels so that your work is looked at seriously and not just tossed out. On a personal note, I am not looking for scripts to direct or produce. I’m a writer just like you and I have dozens of my own scripts and stories that I want to make and that I believe in just as much as you believe in yours. In short, my priority is to get MY scripts made into films or TV shows, not yours as amazing as your scripts may be. Do I want to see yours get made, too? ABSOLUTELY! But you’ll have to forgive me that I need to give my time and attention to my work and that I’m not the one to make yours. Your best bet is to submit to producers, agents, and managers who are actively looking for material to produce or represent. Want to try and attach a director first? That’s certainly not an easy thing to accomplish without first having funding for your project and a legitimate offer to make, but at the very least, submit your work (through the appropriate channels) to directors who do not write their own material. BUT ARIESCOPE IS A PRODUCTION COMPANY AND YOU GUYS ARE PRODUCERS. YOU MADE GRACE FOR PAUL SOLET AND YOU DIDN’T WRITE OR DIRECT IT. Very true. But GRACE was a very unique situation for us. Adam Barnick’s amazing documentary on the GRACE DVD and BLU RAY details what Paul did to get GRACE made and I can’t recommend watching it enough. ArieScope is really a boutique production company that primarily exists to make our own projects. We don’t have the time, money, or personnel to actively produce multiple projects in addition to our own all at the same time. We’ve also been burned in the past by filmmakers we’ve tried to help and at the end of the day, life is just too short. A writing/directing team made a fantastic feature that we loved even though it didn’t quite become the success that we felt it should have become. We developed an idea with them and then spent two years trying to get their script financed in a scenario with their director still able to direct it. (Note: Because their first film had no financial gain or mainstream recognition to speak of, getting the project set-up with this individual still directing it was not easy.) We found scenarios where interested financiers would only pull the trigger if we could attach some sort of name actor who could help them pre-sell the foreign rights and take less of a risk on their investment. Again, with no track record to speak of for this director, that was an impossible task. Finally, we created a scenario where the film could be made at a smaller budget then we would have liked, but where a big name actor was not crucial to funding being released and the director could still direct his movie. We convinced the financing entity to release money and pay for casting. The director sat through weeks of casting with our casting director and we made several offers to actors that everyone liked for the parts… but no luck. Ultimately we were able to convince the financing entity that the cast would work better if there were no recognizable faces in it and that it was all about the effects (very true). We started meeting with special effects houses, trying to find a great place that believed in the project. When we finally found one we found out that this filmmaking team that we had just spent two years working for, that we had developed the idea with, that we had already spent our financiers money on for casting… had sold the script to a different production company. How did we find out? By reading about it in the trades. They didn’t even tell us. And for a deal to be far enough along to be announced publicly, it HAD to have been going on for some time. In fact, by our calculations- they had to have been negotiating this deal while we were still paying for casting and speaking with FX houses. And these were FRIENDS. Even worse, they hid behind their agent and claimed they didn’t know that we had done all that we had done or raised and started spending the money. (Somehow the director forgot about the weeks of casting he went through and that someone had to pay for that.) Then, in typical fashion, they blamed each other and threw each other under the bus claiming that the other had never told them that we were moving forward. So in the end, an idea that we helped create and a project that we financially stood to make next to nothing on and that we were doing because we believed in these guys and considered them friends… cost us not only very valuable time and money but also a relationship with a financier. And as for their movie? It’s still in “development” a year later. Oh… and the director was told he could no longer direct his movie by the place that optioned it. Now does that mean EVERYONE is going to burn us like that? Of course not. Does that mean we’ll never try again? Certainly not- although we did learn a valuable lesson that “friends or not” you can’t trust anyone and must always serve them with a contract before you spend a single second of your time on the project. (Really, WE’RE the fools here for being too nice.) But with all of the projects we already have going, perhaps this story can help illustrate why we’re not actively looking to find new, outside projects to spend our lives on getting made. Another good comparison, let’s say you’re a writer and you’re trying to get a script made into a movie. Would you stop writing your own stuff and lose anywhere from 3 months to a year in order to write someone else’s idea for them? Of course not. Why should producing be any different? For us to walk away from our own projects and focus all of our efforts on making an outside project, it’s gotta be a seriously amazing scenario. So should our representation ever come to us with a script that they feel is worth us dropping everything to work on, sure… perhaps we’d decide that it’s a project we can’t pass up. But that project isn’t going to come through a stranger on Twitter or Facebook or in our fanmail. Could a great project EXIST that’s being solicited to us through the wrong ways? I would almost bet it does. But with so, so many people trying that route we can’t possibly read them all. Not to mention the legal ramifications that would come with reading them all. Let’s say you send me a script and it’s about a killer lamp, for instance. Well, what if I’m already working on or have written a script with a killer lamp in it? Now I’ve opened myself up to a frivolous law suit by someone who is going to claim that I “ripped them off”. Would they win in court? Probably not. But it would still cost me money to fight their accusation or (as I’ve seen happen many times to others) cost me money to settle out of court in an effort to avoid my reputation being damaged by the false accusation. Now, I know YOU would never do that- but there is someone out there who would. There are people out there that do that to make their living! (I once worked for a very famous producer who constantly had gold diggers trying to come after him with this scam.) So unless it comes through my representation, no- I won’t read it. I won’t even accept it or look at it. Sorry. And for those who merely want an opinion on their work, even if it WEREN’T for the legal issues I could be opening myself up for… even if it WEREN’T for the fact that we’re not looking for outside projects… I just don’t have the time to read every script and give a reaction to it. There’s a stack of scripts on my desktop at all times filled with legitimate submissions from my reps and scripts from dear trusted friends- and I have to fight for time to try and read those (which 9 out of 10 times, I never do). Figuring that it takes about 2 hours to properly read a feature screenplay and formulate a reaction or put together notes… right now there is about 2 weeks of reading to do on my desk. I’m just not the right guy and hopefully this epic answer filled with everything from advice, to stories, to a completely blunt and rational explanation helps you understand why. But don’t steal my killer lamp story, Dicks! ;)
3. I WANT TO AUDITION FOR YOU OR BE AN EXTRA IN ONE OF YOUR MOVIES OR ON HOLLISTON. HOW CAN I DO THAT? If we ever have roles that we are holding open casting for, we post for them in breakdown services and with local casting outlets where we are shooting. Don’t know what that means? Look it up on-line and learn how to submit yourself. It’s easy to do but most of all, it’s the professional way to go about it and you’ll have better chances. Rarely have we had roles that we held open casting for as I typically write with specific actors in mind. (The HATCHET sequels and HOLLISTON especially, those roles were cast before I ever wrote them.) BUT I’M JUST A FAN WHO WANTS TO BE AN EXTRA SO I CAN COME TO THE SET AND WATCH. Sorry, it’s a work environment and not a place for spectators. In the past we have put it out there for fans to come participate (CHILLERAMA’s “Zom-B-Movie” is a great example as 90% of the drive-in patrons and “Xombies” you see in that film are fans who responded to our postings and came down to be in the movie) and if we ever have another opportunity like that, we’ll post about it here on this website and I’ll tweet and Facebook about the opportunity. But 9 out of 10 times union rules dictate that we use professional SAG-AFTRA background performers. Rules are rules and there’s nothing we can do about them. However, if you are interested in doing extra work or volunteering to be in a film or TV show, contact your state’s local film commission and ask them if they know of any productions coming through town. Chances are good that they’ll be able to point you in the direction of someone hiring those roles if there is a production near you that’s looking. BUT I’LL PAY TO FLY MYSELF TO WHEREVER YOU ARE SHOOTING! I’LL PAY TO BE IN IT! PLEEEEASE! I appreciate the enthusiasm, but it just doesn’t work like that on a union film or show, sorry. In the rare scenario that we CAN squeeze in a few people, those roles usually go to the crew or friends of the cast and crew.
4. I SENT YOU A LETTER THROUGH YOUR FAN MAIL, A DVD OR OTHER ITEM TO BE SIGNED, OR A REQUEST FOR A FREE SIGNED PHOTO AND I NEVER GOT IT. WHAT GIVES? You didn’t follow the directions and include a self-addressed return stamped envelope. We’ve NEVER received an autograph request here (that included the appropriate return materials) and NOT fulfilled it. Ever. So either your request never arrived or you didn’t follow the instructions. To be VERY clear… if you want something mailed back to you, you need to include the envelope or other packing materials that the object is to be sent back to you in. It needs to be addressed and STAMPED (the postage must be paid for already) for us to send it back to you. If you want a free picture of me autographed to you- you need to include an 8X10 return stamped envelope so that the photograph doesn’t need to be folded up and ruined. It’s all very clear in the instructions on the OPERATIONS page of this website and it’s 100% the industry standard for fan mail. The autograph is free, the picture is free- but given the high volume of requests, that’s as generous as we can be. We don’t have the time or personnel to keep running to the post office or to pay for all of the return shipping materials. Even the picture and autograph being free- most celebrities charge for that stuff. I do not. I do as much as I can to generously thank my fans for being fans. I only ask that you follow the instructions and take care of your own shipping so that I merely have to sign it and then drop it right back in the mail to you. Deal? Deal.
5. WHO ARE YOUR TOP THREE FAVORITE BANDS? Impossible to pick only three, unfortunately. But if I had to pick 5… TWISTED SISTER - If you’re a big enough fan of mine to read my blogs then you undoubtedly know the real life story between Dee Snider and I. If not, you can hear it right from our mouths in the TV & MORE section of the SHORTS on this website. I’m sure most of you are familiar with STAY HUNGRY as it’s an incredible album with WE’RE NOT GONNA TAKE IT, I WANNA ROCK, and my personal favorites S.M.F., THE PRICE, and BURN IN HELL on it, but I highly recommend getting your metal loving hands on UNDER THE BLADE and YOU CAN’T STOP ROCK N ROLL if you don’t already own them. AEROSMITH – I’ve seen them 31 times as my twitter feed can attest to and two of my cats are named “Tyler” and “Perry”. With 40 years of music to choose from, the song KINGS & QUEENS is still my favorite and I’ve been chasing it for 31 shows now to no avail. Not much compares to Steven Tyler singing WHAT IT TAKES live and if you haven’t bared witness to the incredible performances these guys give on stage- do so the next time they tour. You won’t regret it and keep your eyes on Brad Whitford as he’s the unsung hero of the group. METALLICA – Right up there with Aerosmith, I’m at show number 30 and rising. I once saw James Hetfield summon rain (Woodstock ’99) and I was there at the BIG 4 show in Southern California when they played ORION all the way through (typically they only do the intro) and dedicated it to Cliff Burton. There’s a B-Side recording of FADE TO BLACK (LIVE) on the import single for WHEREVER I MAY ROAM that I think is the greatest recording of that song ever captured and I think DEATH MAGNETIC ranks among their top 3 albums. If you’ve still never been able to appreciate this band, listen to their …AND JUSTICE FOR ALL record on vinyl, bang your head to Kirk Hammet’s guitars in ALL NIGHTMARE LONG, or see them play THE FOUR HORSEMEN live and try and tell me you’re not a believer. LOVE/HATE – a somewhat unknown band that fell victim to bad timing and a record label that dropped them upon hearing the opening chord to SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT (shame on you, CBS), these guys could have been the next GUNS N ROSES in my opinion and having now had the chance to see them live 5 times over the past 6 years, I get highly emotional every time a show ends. Never before have I known of a band who deserved so much more than they received and Skid is right up there with Flea in terms of skill and entertainment value on the bass. Don’t bother downloading or buying their “greatest hits” record GREATEST & LATEST as it’s all re-records of their “hits” that don’t compare to the originals. Instead, dig further and find BLACKOUT IN THE RED ROOM and WASTED IN AMERICA (again, on vinyl if you can find it). The songs SHE’S AN ANGEL and TRANQUILLIZER will kick the shit out of you and if you see them play live just once you will thank me profusely. I will drop everything and travel to see them most anywhere and anytime, though I am sadly missing their 1/5 show in Vegas due to being in Tahiti at that time and I won’t be able to hit any dates during their upcoming UK tour due to my production schedule– which pains me to no end. #5 is a tie between GUNS N ROSES and GWAR but hear me out first. GNR’s APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION may be the greatest recording of all time, but sales figures show that and most everyone would be able to at least understand that point of view. While there are songs on the USE YOUR ILLUSION albums that are just insane (COMA, ESTRANGED, CIVIL WAR, SO FINE) there is also a lot of filler on those records that foreshadowed a band in inner turmoil that was becoming too bloated to continue existing as we saw. All of the bullshit that has gone down aside, Axl Rose is still an enigma and one of the greatest lead singers of all time and no matter how ridiculous the antics may have been over the years, nothing can take away the raw power of that band in it’s prime. For me, GWAR is the epitome of creativity and originality and there is something about them that is just so fucking awesome that you can’t help but acknowledge what a unique spot they have in the metal genre. While they’re known for their live shows and the stage antics designed to make people laugh or be offended, songs like I HATE LOVE SONGS, SALAMINIZER, BRING BACK THE BOMB, and MEAT SANDWICH are just too good to ignore. Through my friendship with Dave Brockie (“Oderus”) I’ve been lucky enough to meet and get to know the band’s inner workings (band mates and crew) and if people only knew just what these guys put into their craft and saw behind the curtain of foam latex swords and fake blood, they’d see a band with more heart than gimmicks which is why they have my eternal respect. There are too many more to list but other favorites include MARILYN MANSON (MECHANICAL ANIMALS, ANTI-CHRIST SUPERSTAR, and THE GOLDEN AGE OF GROTESQUE take everything that was amazing about PORTRAIT OF AN AMERICAN FAMILY and evolve/perfect the style to a T. Note: The song SPEED OF PAIN is up there with the greater moments of DARK SIDE OF THE MOON), JOHN MELLENCAMP (not metal, sure- but pure Americana and the music I long for when traveling over seas. RAIN ON THE SCARECROW, SMALL TOWN, PINK HOUSES, and the classic JACK AND DIANE are some of the purest American music in existence.), MINISTRY (few bands can scare the shit out of me live like they- or rather AL himself – can and I have yet to come home from a show without injuries, bruises, and missing clothing), MEGADETH (HOLY WARS may be some of the greatest guitar work ever recorded), and on the “newer” side MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE (WELCOME TO THE BLACK PARADE plays like a modern day heavy metal QUEEN). The lists changes often and my tastes are too eclectic to make reason of (I often write while listening to BING CROSBY and DANGEROUS TOYS was my first concert ever) but if proposed the question- this is the best answer I can give. Today.
6. WHEN IS HATCHET 3 COMING OUT? WHEN DO WE GET A TRAILER? WHY HAVE YOU BEEN SO NOTICEABLY QUIET ABOUT IT? ARE YOU HAPPY WITH IT? I’m hearing from Dark Sky that it looks like a Spring release. I have to admit I don’t understand why so many fans are annoyed about that. I get that you’re excited to see it, but we didn’t even finish shooting it until August and that’s a quicker than normal turn around for a movie. It will be completely done by the end of January (meaning all of post production will be complete by then and there will be a finished movie on our hands) but Dark Sky needed to pick a date that made sense for them and their resources in terms of not just rushing it out and doing what they can to market the tim correctly. I’m told a teaser trailer will be released in just a matter of weeks. I’ve been quiet simply because there’s nothing to say right now. Whereas with HOLLISTON, Season 1 just hit DVD/BLU-RAY and then hit HULU and then the Christmas Special launched, with HATCHET 3 all I could say is “Hey guys! Nope! Nothing new to say yet! Still finishing it!” When there is something to say, stills to put out, clips, posters, trailers… you can bet I’ll be talking about it. Am I happy with it? Yes. Very. It may be my favorite of my three scripts for the series only because it’s so “climactic” by design and it’s an action film compared to the other two which will make it even more fun for some. I think fans of the series will certainly enjoy it and as the writer and the producer of it I did everything I reasonably could (and then some) in the most crucial phases of production (such as casting, the actual shoot, and in editing) to keep a close eye on it. The process has not been the most enjoyable (it was an ambitious project and the conditions both physically on set and behind the scenes were very tough on everybody) but that type of stuff quickly fades away the moment you get to watch the movie with the audience it was made for and I’m looking forward to that day more than anyone. IS THIS THE LAST HATCHET FILM? I don’t know the answer to that. We all have various opinions on that aspect but before you can make up your mind about it, you have to SEE it. Soon, my friends. Soon.
7. WHY DON’T YOU DO MORE CONVENTIONS? Scheduling is really, really hard. I’m fortunate that I am so busy with so many projects happening, but with that comes the fact that it’s nearly impossible to do all of the conventions that ask me to appear. I typically only do them if they line-up with the promotional campaign and release of one of my projects and there’s a few reasons for that. 1. Though it doesn’t always work out, usually each project has some time set aside for promotional duties. Sometimes that doesn’t happen because of overlap. For instance, I was absent from all CHILLERAMA promotional events outside of Southern California because I was in production on Season 1 of HOLLISTON when that was happening and I just can’t be in two states at once. 2. I don’t get paid to do conventions- nor do I make any money on doing them whatsoever. Despite popular belief, we are not paid to appear which is why celebrities charge for their autographs and pictures at these things. Now, as most of you know by now, I don’t believe in charging for my picture or autograph. This is in no way a slam against those who do as I understand why they need to, it’s just a personal thing with me and me alone. Whenever I do an appearance, my time, my signature, and/or a photograph with me is free as I feel like it’s the least I can do to say thank you to my fans. I can’t have someone walk up to me with a stack of DVDs of my films and then charge them $25 a whack to sign each one. I just can’t. So when I get invited to a convention and it’s in the middle of a production, the loss I would take in time off from work (the whole project would fall behind and there are employees on the clock whether it be pre-production, the shoot, or post-production), the time I lose writing (without time to write, I have no projects or income to make), the precious time away from my family and real life (that I get so little of anyway) the cost of getting there (usually the convention will pay to fly you there and/or for a hotel room- but food, cabs, parking, a dog/cat sitter if need be, etc – it all adds up), the cost of printing enough photographs to give away, and the toll it takes on me physically (between the travel, the thousands of hands shaken each year (that’s a lot of germs!), and how exhausted I am afterwords from giving each person 100% of me and being “on” all weekend long)- I just can’t do it as often as I’m asked to. I’m always traveling in this career, so adding another trip to an already packed schedule is hard to do. Still, whenever promotion time comes- I do every convention I can. I know it sucks that I haven’t been to the convention of your choice yet, believe me, I want to meet YOU, too! But that’s why I offer a way to send in for a free photograph and autograph on my website and make myself so accessible on Twitter and Facebook. I know it’s not the same as getting to meet in person, but it’s the next best thing if I can’t physically get there. My goal is to hit all of them at least once someday, but looking ahead to 2013, my year is already booked up and slammed which is both fortunate and unfortunate. ArieScope has been tossing around holding our own convention somewhere one day. A full weekend of screening our films, workshops, cast signings, a live HOLLISTON performance like we did at Rock and Shock, and more- but it’s very hard to put together and pull off right now. Perhaps some day if it makes financial sense.
8. WHERE’S THE MERCHANDISE? I WANT TO BUY HOLLISTON STUFF BUT THERE ISN’T ANY! WHEN WILL THERE BE MORE HATCHET STUFF TO BUY? ACTION FIGURES? STATUES? There is some stuff in the works and even now, Fright-Rags has the rights to sell HATCHET ARMY, FROZEN, JACK CHOP, ADAM GREEN, and ANNE FRANKENSTEIN shirts- but we’re a production company first and foremost and our focus is the films, not the schwag that comes along with it. As a fan myself, I get it and that stuff is important for both die hard collectors and passive fans alike. One of our focuses as a company is to try and get that stuff in order this year, but just to give you an example… right now we’re in post on HATCHET 3, post on HOLLISTON Season 2, shooting DIGGING UP THE MARROW, and I’m still working on KILLER PIZZA and more. We’re all spread so, so thin and to do merchandise correctly (some of you may remember, we used to sell stuff through this website but we couldn’t keep up with the orders and all of the drama that came with it such as fans giving us the wrong shipping address and then demanding a new product be sent to them even though it was their fault that they didn’t get the first one) takes a serious commitment. There is talk on bringing someone on to specifically handle that (and I’m sure that’s what we’ll do when the time is right) but for now we’re just trying to get these projects under control and finished. Hopefully there is a lot of stuff coming your way- especially for HOLLISTON as we get more requests for that than anything.
9. IF SEASON 2 OF HOLLISTON IS DONE, WHY DO WE HAVE TO WAIT SO LONG FOR IT? First of all, we finished shooting- yes. But so far only three of the Season 2 episodes even have first cuts done on them. It’s safe to say it will be February or March before the entire season is 100% finished and delivered. Last season, FEARnet released us in April which proved very hard to get coverage about because we were in no man’s land. Winter programming had launched and Summer programming doesn’t begin until May or June- so in a lot of ways it hurt us in terms of awareness. The show wasn’t included in the major outlets “wrap ups” of what was coming out and it was just a weird release date all around. Now, due to being on a new and smaller network, it’s possible that we STILL don’t get included in all of those various press opportunities but I definitely agree with the network’s marketing decision that it’s worth a shot. I know you’re anxious to see it. I LOVE that you’re anxious to see it. No one is more anxious for you to see it than I am. But they’re literally only talking about a matter of weeks difference between last year’s launch time and this year’s. I guarantee it will be worth the wait as Season 2 trumps Season 1 in every way. Part of the reason I self-financed the Christmas Special and worked so hard to get it done and out in time for the holidays was so that fans of the show could get something new in the interim, so hopefully that extra hour of HOLLISTON can help tide you over during our hiatus from your television and/or computer screen. Keep in mind we’ve got everything from rock stars to working filmmakers in this cast so it’s a very tough series to pull off and timing is very hard to coordinate. But we’re making it happen and I know you’re going to love Season 2. HOW MANY EPISODES? Ten new episodes are coming, but if you include the Christmas Special it’s really 11. WHEN WILL THE SHOW COME TO MY COUNTRY? Soon, we hope. There’s a lot of factors in why the foreign sales team is holding off on making any deals- mainly because Season 1 was only 6 episodes and that’s just not enough to sell. Once Season 2 is done- now we’re talking about a legit number of episodes to sell and a reason for other countries to air and distribute it. I hope that we have some news by the time Season 2 airs but it’s so out of my control. It IS coming though.
10. WITH ALL OF THE PHYSICAL COMEDY AND ROMANCE IN HOLLISTON (THE HITTING, THE KISSING, THE SEX SCENES, BEING NAKED IN FRONT OF THE REST OF THE CAST) DO YOU EVER GET FREAKED OUT OR UNCOMFORTABLE? I KNOW IT’S BASED ON YOUR REAL LIFE, SO WHAT DOES THE REAL-LIFE CORRI THINK ABOUT IT? WHAT WAS HER REAL NAME? Thankfully, I get to work with three of my closest friends (seriously it would be hard to find three other people on this planet that I love as much as Joe, Laura, and Corri) so no, it never gets uncomfortable. The physical comedy (stage punches, slaps, falls, etc) is all fun to do, and we don’t HAVE to really hit each other or take the punches (in fact, we technically SHOULDN’T) but we’re just having fun. No one has ever gotten hurt (for more than a few seconds) and the really big stuff (like when Kane punches Joe in the face in last season’s finale) is 100% faked. As far as the sexual stuff goes, I know no one wants to have the curtain pulled back or to hear it- but there’s really nothing sexual or romantic about it when you’re doing it. You’re thinking about keeping your head in the right light, hitting your blocking, getting the lines right, and pulling it off. Sure, you’re in the moment as an actor but it makes the whole thing so much easier to do when it’s your friend that you’re doing it with. You don’t need to be self conscious or get distracted about what you’re doing- you just sort of do it. Admittedly, there’s worse things to have to do for a career than to shoot a half day of make-out scenes with your ridiculously hot friend but the bottom line is that they’re just that… “scenes”. I save the actual feelings and romance until I get home to my wife, who as an actor herself, completely appreciates and understands the commitment to making the show as awesome as we can and is not the least bit threatened by any of it. (I mean….have you seen her??) To pull the curtain back further, what’s hard about it is that since HOLLISTON is based on my real life I have to emotionally drudge up stuff or go to places that I think are funny when I write them but then suffer through all over again when shooting them. A great example from the Christmas Special (which was intentionally a much more sentimental and emotional episode than we would ever normally do on the show) was when “Corri” is walking out on “Adam” the next morning. When I said my line “Corri, at least let me drive you home. That way I’ll know you got home alright and I’d love to see your parents-” and she bitingly cuts me off with “-My parents don’t need to see you, Adam.” …. that one hurt for awhile and I was having a hard time in between takes. I’d stand off stage in my bedroom set waiting for my cue and reliving what that situation felt like (a situation that I honestly thought I had made up for the episode but that once we started performing it for real I remembered something very similar had actually happened in real life and she had actually said those words to me) and I only wanted the day to be over so that I could go back to my current life and not have to live in that space any more. (I adored my first girlfriend’s family in ways that I can’t possibly put into words and when a moment like that happened in real life it was just devastating.) Should you ever watch that moment again- look at my face and you’ll see me look at the floor and completely break character because my mind is somewhere else. Thankfully it WORKS for the scene, but in rehearsal I stared her down with bravado and got angry rather than retreating into myself. We have takes where I did stare her down but that first take where I crumbled into my own head was the one I went with in the final cut because it was the most honest. Not exactly sit-com 101, but that’s also why the episode has resonated so heavily with the fans of the show. Then, when we shot the confrontation in the hallway (a scene that was sadly cut out for the TV version)- that was all improv. I didn’t want Corri (Corri English- the actress) to be prepared or used to what I was going to say and I didn’t want it to sound rehearsed- so I made it up on the spot. Improv isn’t always the right way to go when shooting a scene (especially with something as formulaic as a sit-com) but it does force you to truly be in the moment and for that one moment it was the right way to go. When scenes like that are shot and all is said and done, we (the real Adam and Corri- the actors) hug and say “I’m sorry” and laugh it off and then keep going. But I’d be lying if I said feeling like that wasn’t hard to shake off. So- more so than the sexual stuff, it’s that emotional stuff that gets uncomfortable and confusing. As far as the real life “Corri” goes- her name wasn’t “Corri”. I keep her real name out of it as a way to protect her privacy (last thing she needs is fans trying to find her on-line or whatever) and also because the show is now its own thing, separate from all of that. In fact, aside from the love story, the “Corri” character is much more based on Corri English than it is on my real childhood love. I honestly don’t know if she’s seen the show or not. I’d think she’d be proud that she’s portrayed as such an awesome character (even if it’s from a time in our lives when she was breaking my heart no matter what she did or how hard she tried not to) but I honestly have no idea or way of knowing.