Green’s Blog

The Show Must Go On…

OderusInspiration1“Fine. Sell out. Get a job. A nice 9 to 5 one. Sit in front of the idiot box all night and watch some stupid sitcom… all the while wondering what it might have been like if you’d hung in there for just …one …more …day.”  – Oderus Urungus

Entertainment Weekly made the official announcement today that after an extremely difficult and heartbreaking 2 year hiatus… HOLLISTON will indeed live on and return for Season 3.  Whether you read about it on EW’s website… heard Corri, Laura, Joe, and I kick off today’s new episode of THE MOVIE CRYPT podcast (Ep: 113) with the good news… or saw the cast video that was posted on HOLLISTON’s Facebook page… by now hopefully you’ve heard the good news.  If for some reason you still haven’t read the full official press release with all the details… I highly recommend you read it here.  Though the press release says all of the details that we will be able to publicly reveal for awhile, I of course wanted to add a little more insight to all of this.  But first, let’s back way up so that you can hopefully comprehend just what a huge moment this actually is for us.  For all of us behind the scenes of HOLLISTON, this news is so much more than just an announcement about a sitcom coming back for a new season….

NewHfacebookSeriously.  Chills!

If you read this blog regularly and if you are a fan of HOLLISTON then you already know just what a long, trying, and personal journey this show has been for me and why it is the passion project that will always be the most near and dear to my heart.  Way back in 1991 (as I began my Junior year of High School) my friend Steve and I started doing a morning radio show called COFFEE & DONUTS on Holliston High School’s radio station WHHB 91.5 FM (now 99.9 FM), a tiny 10 watt station (now a whopping 17 watts, I’m told) used for after school student radio programs.  Though I had already been doing an evening radio show with other friends (METALLIFIX) since my Freshman year in 1989  (man, I’m getting old) it wasn’t until my Junior year that it dawned on me that doing a separate morning show would give me a shot at a fully captive audience.  After all, high school kids have stuff to do at night and it was never going to be anyone’s priority to listen to METALLIFIX where my friends and I spun heavy metal records and did hilarious little sketches.  (Note: the sketches were not hilarious. ) But the idea was that if Steve and I did a completely different morning radio program that aired before school started each day, maybe the other kids would set their alarm clock radios to wake up to us and perhaps they would even listen to us on their drive/bus ride to school.  COFFEE & DONUTS would be a morning show where kids could listen to Steve and I… spin heavy metal records and do hilarious little sketches.  (Note: the sketches were still far from hilarious but they were certainly getting better.)  Then again, my Mom tells me that such segments as “heavin’ with Steven” where Steve would (sort of) pretend to throw up in a bucket each morning, our “daily horoscopes” that were always written to be extremely depressing (for example: “Sagittarius… You’re going to die today.”), our morning “dating tips” segment on what to do on a first date, and our coup de gras which was ”Stories on The Mad River with Dr. Rupert Collins” – a segment where I would write a nonsensical story that Steve would then belt out in a bad Scottish accent … were indeed hilarious.  (And hey, my Mom wouldn’t lie to me.)  The concept of doing a morning show was so crazy that it just might work- and to our surprise… it did.  As hard as it was to get up so early and be on the air before 6am, Steve and I successfully cornered the extremely cutthroat market of Holliston High School morning radio programs by simply being the only one.  C&D was a success for us and those early morning broadcasts made for some of my favorite memories of High School.

C&DyearbookHolliston High School’s 1993 Yearbook photo.  ”Coffee & Donuts with Adam and Steve.”

Cut ahead to 1998.  I had graduated college in 1997 and I was now working at Time Warner Cable Advertising in Malden, MA (about an hour away from Holliston).  On my very first day I met Will Barratt and quickly learned that Will’s real dream was to be a cinematographer and not a low budget cable commercial producer.   I instantly laid into him with my ridiculously ambitious dream of forming an independent production company, breaking out of Massachusetts, and making our own movies in Hollywood.  We were driving in the Time Warner SUV on our way to shoot our first commercial together and I said, “You don’t want to do this forever, do you?”  I offered up a nice tall glass of my infectious Kool Aid flavored bullshit and sold Will on the fact that we could “borrow” Time Warner’s equipment at night and on weekends to make our own stuff, get noticed by “the industry”, move to Hollywood, and someday have our own successful production company that made the things we wanted to make with the people we wanted to make them with.  I had no idea what I was talking about or what kind of struggles we would actually be in for… and it could be argued that in many ways I still don’t know what I’m talking about or what kind of struggles we’re still in for… but I was wide-eyed, motivated, and ambitious enough to know that I just had to try.

No exaggeration, I had been a full-time employee of Time Warner Cable for less than one hour before I began plotting my escape.  And I certainly don’t mean that with any disrespect to Time Warner Cable.  Though producing low budget local cable commercials was never my personal dream, I couldn’t have landed at a better starting job after college nor could I have asked for better people to work with.  More than anything, our boss Peter not only taught me how to deal with clients, how to graciously take notes from people who had no idea what they were talking about (“I work at this used furniture store in Medford, let me tell you how to properly shoot a commercial”), how to create something decent with insanely low budgets, and how to pick my battles creatively and professionally.  ALL of which were important lessons that I apply to what I do today.  As a filmmaker at heart himself, Peter supported us 100%, even going as far as looking the other way when we would use Time Warner’s equipment and arrogantly enlist our fellow employees to make our own ArieScope stuff on the side.  Not many people in Peter’s position would be cool enough to allow that kind of crap to go on, but that was Peter.  He was a class act all the way and he knew how to accomplish all of his corporate duties with flying colors yet still encourage everyone who worked under him to believe in a dream and continually reach higher.  Hell, he even played a character in our first feature COFFEE & DONUTS.  What boss does that??  Only Peter.  So long as our work was getting done to the best of our abilities and so long as he “didn’t know” about our extracurricular activities… he was not only fine with it, but as supportive of it as he reasonably could be.  And then there we were… obnoxiously pushing his generosity and our good fortune of having access to free camera equipment way too far at times.  Will and I were shooting our own stuff all night long and then dragging our exhausted asses into work to shoot cable ads.  When we were casting for COFFEE & DONUTS we even had fellow employees answering certain Time Warner office phone lines as “ArieScope Pictures, how may I help you?” and posing as “casting assistants” just to give the illusion that we were indeed a professional operation.  I should have been fired about a million times for my lack of common sense, but I was on a mission from God and I was still young and inexperienced enough to not comprehend just what kind of murder I was getting away with.  (Thank you, Peter.)

OLD ArieScope LogoThe original ArieScope logo was lifted and altered from that same Dodge used car dealership commercial that Will and I first shot together in 1998.

A creative/business partnership is just like a marriage and very few stand the test of time.   It’s crazy to think that two idiots who barely knew each other hatched this grandiose plan (while driving to shoot a cable ad for a used car dealership up in Nashua, New Hampshire nonetheless) and then actually made it happen.  God knows I’ve made what I believed at the time were far better informed decisions about major life commitments and found myself disappointed, heartbroken and devastated in the end… yet almost 2 decades, 9 feature films, 100 short films, and two completed seasons of a TV series so far… ArieScope Pictures is still alive and well.  Our films have been released in theaters all over the world and I can do an appearance in another country that doesn’t even primarily speak English and yet fans come out in their Hatchet Army or Holliston Nation T-shirts and know every single word to the things we’ve made.  It’s absolutely surreal.

ariescopeLogo_bigOur 2004 Halloween short film MIDNIGHT was the debut of the logo that you have since seen on all ArieScope productions since.

The success story I depict of ArieScope Pictures is a highly romanticized tale though.  Trust me that over the past 17 years Will … and probably his very understanding wife… and probably their kids… and probably their family dog… and most definitely both of our bank accounts… have fluctuated between celebrating the day we met… to wishing they could Marty McFly back in time and prevent us from ever meeting in the first place.  Seriously, as an outsider who only sees the moments of accomplishment and the finished movies/shows/etc… try and imagine what it must be like to live with us and put up with the constant dream chasing and all of the disappointments that no one outside of “the family” has to deal with.  We’ve surely had our moments of triumph (“The financing actually came through!”, “We’re really making a movie!”, “We’re employed for at least a few months!”, “The reviews are incredible and people love what we did!”, “The movie is a financial hit!”, “We created a franchise!”) but on the flip slide, we’ve just barely survived through the much more frequent and much more severe lows (“After 10 months of working exclusively on this one project we just found out that the financing was never real and the project is never going to happen?”, “The money fell through or they cut the budget in half at the last second?”, “There’s no actual marketing budget or promotion to actually advertise what we made?”, “The network our show is on went under due to a corporate merger?”, “We’re shit broke again?”, “The MPAA is cutting everything out of our movie?”, “The movie made a ton of money… but none of it actually goes to us?”).  But that’s how it goes when pursuing art for a career and any independent minded filmmaker can relate to all of this too well.  Though I think it is very fair to say that we have undergone some seriously astonishing bouts of bad “luck”… we’ve also had our share of good “luck” and of course the grass is always greener on the other side of the set.  I don’t take for granted that we’ve also already accomplished more than most who are trying to do this ever will.   It just rarely feels like it.

WillAdamC&Dpremiere

Will and I at the premiere of COFFEE & DONUTS – 16 years ago.

The backbone in all of this has been our insane and (clinically) unhealthy determination to not give up.  There have been so many others that have helped and sacrificed to make each success possible.  People that we likely never would have accomplished a thing without.  Many have come aboard with us and become permanent family.  Some have stood the test of time and others have bailed out and swam for shore when the waters got rough… but it’s been an incredible journey to say the least.  Not a moment of which has ever been taken for granted as we know more than anyone just how fortunate we are to get to do what we do and to be where we are at…wherever that may actually be.   Are there easier ways to make a living?  Hell yes.  But fortunately (and unfortunately at times) I personally just don’t know how to do anything else.  It’s this or… this.  Period.

adamwill

Will and I at the Los Angeles premiere of DIGGING UP THE MARROW – 5 months ago.

To steer this story back to HOLLISTON… in 1999 my brother Eric suggested that I write a movie about the COFFEE & DONUTS radio show days.  You know, the whole “write what you know” thing.  Eric was the one who pushed me to write about the long standing heartbreak I was going through in getting over the break-up with my first love and the struggle to chase my dream.  In the movie for COFFEE & DONUTS “Adam” and “Steve” are trying to be radio DJ’s (not horror filmmakers like in the TV series) but other than that, so much of what was in C&D carried over to HOLLISTON.  That’s why I always tell those who are disappointed that they can’t see the movie, “If you’ve seen the TV show, you’ve essentially seen the movie and you aren’t missing anything.”  It’s true.  We made COFFEE & DONUTS for $400, learned important lessons along the way (like to NOT use music, art, and logos that we don’t have the rights to and that would prevent us from ever being able to actually distribute or publicly exhibit the movie- hey, we never thought in a million years the movie was going to go anywhere, we just wanted to see if we could do it), and well… the details are chronicled in earlier blogs.  Even though C&D was scrappily shot on BetaSP and edited tape to tape (we did not have access to computer editing back then)… the story, the writing, the performances, and the spirit of it really won people over.  We had done something right.

c&dposter_hrThe $400 budget movie that started it all. 

COFFEE & DONUTS won a fairly insignificant film festival, succeeded in landing me my first agent, gave me the push I needed to make the move to Los Angeles (Will would follow a few years later), and it put ArieScope Pictures on the entertainment industry map.  Sure, we were on the outskirts of the map but we were ON the map… even if we were located on the reverse side of the map that no one reads, listed below two print advertisements for local pawn shops or whatever. Thus began 3 years of struggling to survive and literally starving at times while doing odd jobs to stay alive in Los Angeles.  We kept making short films whenever we could.  Our second short film, 2000′s STAGEFRIGHT was producer/actress Sarah Elbert’s entry into the family – 15 years later, Sarah has produced many of our projects and is a producer and actress on HOLLISTON (fans know her as “Sarah The Waitress” on the show).  Meanwhile I kept doing assistant jobs, doing PA work, DJ’ing at night, and pounding the pavement.  There were so many “almosts” but in 2003 I finally sold C&D as a TV series (my first sale!) and I wrote the pilot script as part of a development deal with Touchstone and UPN.  It even put me in the Writer’s Guild and made me a union writer.  YAY!  Straight to the top, Ma!  But then UPN merged with the WB to become what is now known as the CW Network, my pilot script for C&D was tossed out, and my dream sat in rights purgatory for 5 years.  BOO.  But fuck it, I kept going full speed and in the meantime, I made HATCHET (this was where producer Cory Neal became a permanent part of the family, too – he’s the one with the brains and the patience to deal with stuff we don’t understand like… money), SPIRAL, GRACE, FROZEN, and HATCHET 2.  YAY!  After those 5 or 6 years were complete…C&D’s rights had finally reverted back to me.  YAY!  With the rights to my own life story back in my hands and now having at least a little bit of cache behind my name within the horror genre, I started to get interest in C&D again.  The development executives at G4 wanted to make a show starring myself and Joe Lynch after seeing our first round of ROAD TO FRIGHTFEST shorts.  (Which by the way, marked the historic first time that Lynch and I would work together if you’re keeping track here.)  You can watch all 15 of those shorts in our “Shorts” section.  I pitched C&D to G4 and they went for it!  Only now, I was actually going to get to play myself in my show like I always hoped to- something that UPN was never going to allow me to do in a million years.  Note: UPN also said “no” when I suggested that two relatively unknown actors (at the time) named Zach Galifianakas and Kevin Hart should play “Adam” and “Steve”… so you have to understand that it’s just how this goes and it was just the landscape back then.  If those dudes weren’t big enough to carry a show, then I wasn’t even big enough to carry the trash out for the port-a-john behind the sound stage of the show.  I understood and I didn’t take it to heart.  Are you kidding?  I was lucky to even have been developing a real network show back then!   But now with with the G4 version I was also able to cast Corri English, Laura Ortiz, Dee Snider, and Dave Brockie to fill out the cast around Lynch and myself.  This was huge as I had written the show specifically for those friends/actors.  C&D was a go again!!  YAY!  But then another merger happened and G4 was dissolved and overnight C&D was once again dead as a door nail.  Fuck me.  BOO!  But just a year later a start-up horror themed cable network called FEARnet hired Peter Block to run their network.  (The same Peter Block who produced our 2010 film FROZEN and who was now another friend dragged into our bullshit.)  FEARnet needed programming, liked the idea of a show starring Joe and I, believed in the cast like I did, and agreed to license C&D.  In re-developing the show it was clear that the name COFFEE & DONUTS was no longer appropriate or relevant.  For a brief period of time the show was actually called BLOOD & GUTS during development… but in the end, HOLLISTON was the name chosen.  And I couldn’t have been happier about that.  It was perfect.

B&GA never before shown excerpt from the early development materials.  ”COFFEE & DONUTS” almost became “BLOOD & GUTS” before ultimately being named “HOLLISTON”.

13 years after making our little $400 movie… the TV show I always imagined finally, really, actually happened.  I mean, we were on set!  We were filming!  it was HAPPENING!  YAY!   Despite some of the most severe budget limitations a sit-com has ever faced, we made two amazing seasons of HOLLISTON all while making CHILLERAMA, HATCHET 3, and DIGGING UP THE MARROW at the same time.  Even though HOLLISTON was on a network that most didn’t know existed and that the rest all thought was a website due to their unfortunate name being “FEARnet”… through critical love, fan word of mouth, and the cast tirelessly appearing, signing, and performing around the country at almost every horror convention (all for free)… the series slowly began to find an incredibly loyal and passionate cult audience.  My dream had become a reality and every single day of working on HOLLISTON was my favorite day ever.  YAY!  But just as plans for a third season were starting to be discussed, tragedy struck and in the span of just 4 weeks… Dave Brockie (“Oderus Urungus”) died, the FEARnet network was dissolved, everything in my professional life was turned upside down, and in my personal life I went through a divorce that crushed my soul.  In what literally seemed like a flash… my whole life came crashing to pieces and HOLLISTON was shot through a canon back into the land of TV show purgatory.  What.  The.  Fuck??  KILL ME.

Holliston_Season 2_090412_JPEGS 64Strike the lights, tear down the sets, and go home everybody… it’s over.

This is the point where sane individuals throw in the towel.  You get through the emotional devastation the best way you can, sift through the rubble of your life, put yourself back together, get back on your feet, and learn to just be grateful that any of the good times ever even happened in the first place.  After all, nothing lasts forever, right?  You struggle to put the past behind you and focus on the positive memories while you look ahead to whatever will be next in life.  Sane individuals heal and move on.  But I’m not a sane individual.  I might have gotten knocked on my ass and had my world destroyed… but I don’t give up that easy.

MovieCrypt_iTunesThe original podcast logo, taken directly from HOLLISTON. 

One of the things that helped me through those two dark years was doing the weekly MOVIE CRYPT podcast where Lynch and I would sit down with a different artist each week and just… talk.  Candid, heart to heart discussions about surviving the Hollywood trenches.  In the 2+ years we’ve been doing the podcast it has now become incredibly popular.  (There is another blog about all of that.)  While I wish I could say that Joe and I always knew the podcast would take off or that it was ever even our intention to have a successful podcast in the first place… neither are true.  We initially only planned to do the show for the 10 weeks that Season 2 of HOLLISTON was airing so that we could have a forum to discuss each week’s episode and perhaps help promote the series a little more.  But long story short, THE MOVIE CRYPT turned into something truly special.  Unfortunately named after the fictitious cable access show our characters host on HOLLISTON (I say “unfortunately named” because now we’re stuck with a podcast name that many assume is just another one of the dime a dozen “horror podcasts” until they actually listen to it… and the title THE MOVIE CRYPT is too branded to change now), in many ways the podcast kept the spirit of HOLLISTON alive… and our own spirits alive as well.   The podcast was just a hobby at first and even though it has become “a thing” now, it has continued to be a joy to do.  Of course everyone involved with HOLLISTON continued on with other projects during this period.  For myself personally, even while knocked on my ass from the events of 2014, I still managed to finish and release DIGGING UP THE MARROW, I was still writing, I was still working every day developing my next film(s), and just this past Friday ArieScope launched the original on-line series HORRIFIED- our third original series that we’ve created and launched this year.  (Watch it here!)  I might have been a living garbage dump on the inside, but outside I still never stopped working.  Life carried on and every week, Joe and I (and my dog Arwen, of course) sat down to record a new episode of the podcast.  THE MOVIE CRYPT became our own form of therapy.

The_Movie_Crypt_Shirt-LOGO2The official logo for THE MOVIE CRYPT podcast.

At several points over the last two years we had talks about continuing HOLLISTON with various companies or distribution platforms.  In some cases the timing of it all was just too soon and I wasn’t ready yet.  In other instances the scenarios just weren’t even real when push came to shove.  People love to take meetings in this town and dangle carrots or make promises.  The big thing for all of us was that IF we were to continue HOLLISTON it had to make sense, the creative control had to remain with ArieScope, and there had to be an improvement from the major accessibility hurdles we faced with the release of our first two seasons.  There were a few opportunities proposed and considered, but nothing that was going to pan out.   It’s important to mention that none of this is unusual or out of the ordinary and it’s all par for the course in doing this.  But there we were, sitting down to do the podcast each week… the podcast that was a spin-off of HOLLISTON and who’s numbers were going up and up and up… trying to make sense of the constantly changing business and the seemingly impossible financing landscape… and trying to figure out a scenario that made sense.  We’d sit in front of our microphones and muse over our predicament.  Sometimes on the air but mostly off the air before or after each recording.  How could we do HOLLISTON the way we want, have it carried somewhere where everyone can easily watch it, and still have the budget we need to keep doing it right?  And let’s be honest… one full 10 episode season of HOLLISTON costs about a fraction of one single episode of a major network sit-com so we’re not talking about millions and millions of dollars here.  How is it this hard??   Long story short… when life doesn’t make sense- listen to your dog.

Arwen4Arwen: “The answer is right in front of your microphones, Guys.”

Meetings happened, things were discussed, plans were hatched… and well, read the press release as it explains how we got here.  And here we are.  HOLLISTON will return next year and be available to watch on Geek Nation.  The same exact show you already know and love, only now everyone can watch it.  Yes, even people in other countries (so long as your local government doesn’t have a block on your internet).  Just three weeks ago, Joe, Corri, Laura, and I had our first rehearsal for Season 3.  Had Dee not been over seas performing what will be his final stretch of shows with TWISTED SISTER he most certainly would have been there with us, too.

HollistonNEWprofilepicCorri, Joe, Laura, Adam, and Lance will return.

Now we had two choices with all of this.  Do we hold back on saying what we’re doing until the new season has already been shot and we have every single answer and an exact premiere date to give?  Or do we spill the news now, let everyone know that we’re back at work, and share the good word that Season 3 is indeed a go and officially back in progress?  This business can be tumultuous and financing scenarios disappear overnight, mergers happen, executives leave companies, or full networks dissolve before your eyes… (I mean, did you read the above novel about the 15 year struggle this show has already endured?)… so typically the policy is to keep your lips sealed until the thing is DONE.  But after careful consideration the verdict was… fuck it.  This isn’t a “maybe” situation.  We’re doing it!   Let’s tell everyone the good news.  Haven’t the fans of this show waited long enough to hear something?  It’s still gonna be awhile before the show is finished with production and ready to air so let’s not leave them hanging.  Let’s shout it from the rooftops.  Let’s get the fans to shout it from their roof tops with us!  With how long it will take to write, rehearse, properly prepare, shoot, and complete post production on a season of this show… sure, “shit could happen.”  But we can’t live in fear of what could go wrong.  I mean, fuck it- what hasn’t gone wrong already?   We’ve got this.  Most importantly, staying quiet does nothing to help our cause and in the specific case of what we’re doing with various sponsorships and other financial partnerships (again, more good news will be revealed in due time), the more noise the fans make on-line the more it helps our train continue to stay on the right set of tracks.  So the big question is of course… when will you be able to see the show?  Here’s what I know right know…

HOLLISTON cast June 15Together again at our first reading of new Season 3 material.

We have a ways to go before we can start production.  First and foremost, all of us are still scattered on other projects and obligations so we’re likely looking at after the holidays before we could possibly have everyone in the same place at the same time for the duration of a full season shoot.  Nothing can change that.  Yes, we will be occasionally rehearsing and workshopping the new material before then… but only when all of us can be together in between our various other projects.  Looking at the calendar, it is very likely that January will be the earliest we can all buckle down together and focus on HOLLISTON and HOLLISTON alone.  Could schedules free up sooner?  Definitely.  But for now… this is the deal.  Secondly, this show takes a long time for me to write and a long time for the cast and I to prepare.  There is no writing staff with a dozen or so writers like what a major network show has.  It’s just me.  Once Lynch and I finishing working out the general episode story lines and each of the character’s arcs for the season, I head off on my own to churn out the 600+ pages that will eventually become each season.   When I am confident and happy with the material (sometimes 3 or 4 drafts later on each episode), the main cast gathers at ArieScope and together we spend a night reading all of the episodes out loud together.  This is the first time that the cast actually even sees any pages and it’s one of the most exciting moments of each season as I finally get to hear what I spent months writing in solitude spoken out loud by the very voices I wrote it all for.  Then, over the next few days I bring in each actor for a one on one meeting where we discuss their roles, their reactions to the material, and their own ideas.   Once rehearsals start, the cast becomes my non-traditional version of a “writer’s room.”  Through our nightly work as a cast the scripts are honed, certain jokes are punched up or killed, new jokes are created, and the episodes come to life.  It’s a long process but it’s also an incredibly fun process that we adore.  Filming, post-production, coloring, visual effects, sound design, scoring, mixing… all in all we’re planing on a Summer 2016 release.  Believe me, if I could tell you the exact day- I’d tell you. You may not be aware of this, but I’m not afraid of writing a long winded, flowery blog that takes the average person 2 days and five sittings to read.

photo-4Summer 2012: Corri holding what would become Season 2.

Season 3 had already been mapped out back in 2013 and I had already written several of the episodes… but then we lost Dave.   And if you’re a first time reader of this blog who thinks that perhaps I am being a bit matter of fact about Dave’s death in this posting… I am most certainly not.  I’ve spent the last year and a half mourning and seeking help to try and accept the losses in my life.  The memoriam blogs are all still available below if that’s what you’re looking for.  But with today’s big news, I hope to be starting the next phase of all of this.  Though my heartbreak will be a permanent part of me, I hope to keep that pain in the right place so that it no longer cripples me like it has been.   A lot of what I already had designed for Season 3 (and beyond) has to be changed and on a personal level, writing this next season is going to be very difficult for me given the absence of my character’s guardian angel and the even bigger absence of my real life friend.  I know that I’m going to hit walls from time to time.  I’m going to stumble and have emotional set backs when I least expect it.  But I’ll face it head-on and I’ll get past it.  To share an example of just how hard and how randomly Brockie’s death still hits me out of nowhere… this past week we started going through HOLLISTON’s storage to inventory what still exists, what survived, and what we’ll need to rebuild again.   At one point FX artist Robert Pendergraft (who was sifting through the piles) walked back into the studio holding “Spooky Dan Bear” (last seen in Season 2, Episode 9 when “Oderus” threatened to move out and leave “Adam” over feeling taken for granted in their friendship) and handed it to me.  At first I laughed.  I was happy to see “Spooky Dan Bear” again as the last time I saw it, Dave had said he was going to take it with him as a memento when we wrapped.  I had no idea it was even in storage.

Arwen Spooky BearArwen called “dibs” on her find.

But just a few seconds later, I turned “Spooky Dan Bear” around and… there was the greasepaint from the paint-on abs that “Oderus” wore.  Dave had (as always) sweat off all of the make-up onto the back of the bear when we were filming that scene.  It’s one thing to be reunited with an object associated with someone who’s passed on… but to see their sweat marks still on it?  It just made it seem even less real that he’s actually gone.  It wrecked me.  Once again.

OderusSpookyDanJuly 2012.   Oderus: “Spooky Dan Bear is none of your business!” 

FullSizeRenderJuly 2015.   Dave left a part of himself with “Spooky Dan Bear.”

Now, a week later, I look at “Spooky Dan Bear” (whom Arwen has now adopted as her own security blanket of sorts here at the studio), and I see the greasepaint stains, and I SMILE.  I hug that ridiculous teddy bear when I need to and I feel closer to Dave… who unlike his foul mouthed, blood spewing, profanity screaming, heavy metal rock star alter ego “Oderus Urungus”… was truly a giant teddy bear himself.  He loved HOLLISTON.  He loved me.  He loved Joe.  He loved Laura.  He loved Corri.  He loved and respected the hell out of Dee.  (Who doesn’t?)  He loved being a part of this thing and he called it “the greatest thing” that had ever happened to him.  He loved his fans.  So yeah, the show must go on.  And now it will.

531518_265550816885011_1075018353_nTwo years ago last week.  San Diego Comic Con.

No, “Oderus” will not be recast or replaced by a new “imaginary friend.”  And while his loss will be felt deeply, none of us want to see Season 3 turn into a nonstop tearjerker or a 10 episode memorial.  Our loss will be addressed but then the characters of HOLLISTON will go on living.  They’ll get into trouble, they’ll have fun, they’ll laugh, they’ll cry, they’ll love, they’ll get their hearts broken, they’ll dream, they’ll succeed, and they’ll fail… but together they will keep getting back up with hearts like middle fingers that scream “IS THAT ALL YOU’VE GOT?”   Just like this group of friends does in real life.  Dave/”Oderus” may not be standing on set with us physically anymore, but he will without a doubt still be on our set nonetheless.

Obviously as time goes on we’ll start to be able to share more and more specific details about Season 3.  What will happen to “Joe” and “Laura” after that crazy Season 2 finale?  How will “Adam” and “Corri” handle their new situation?  What will come of “Lance Rockett” now that he’s been laid off from his job?  Will the guys ever get SHINPADS made?  Who will the guest stars be this season?  Will the cast start doing convention appearances and live performances again?  For now… you’ll have to just continue to wait.  But hopefully the wait is now much easier knowing that the band is back together, things are moving forward again, and Season 3 is coming.  We made it through this storm but we still have a lot of hard work in front of us.  To every fan that stood by us, that mourned with us, that shared our collective heartbreak, and that never stopped believing in us or having faith in this show that we love so much… thank you.  We hope to deliver the best season yet.  Keep us in your thoughts and PLEASE keep making noise for HOLLISTON on-line.  Twitter, facebook, instagram… wherever you can spread your enthusiasm, please share it and don’t let up.  Say hello and introduce yourselves to the folks at Geek Nation by tweeting them @GeekNation or even better, tell them how much the return of HOLLISTON means to you by leaving them a Facebook comment at https://www.facebook.com/GeekNation.  Feeling a little more old school?  Then send them an old fashioned email at admin@geeknation.com.  Show them that the Holliston Nation is now even stronger than ever and that you’re with us.  Haven’t bought Seasons 1 and 2 on Blu-Ray yet?  What better time than now?  Still don’t have a HOLLISTON shirt or poster?   All of the official merchandise is available right here and every single bit of your support helps us more than you can possibly imagine.  Most importantly… like the inscription said on the guitar that “Adam” gave “Corri” for Christmas… BELIEVE.  Your spirit is not only felt by us… it fuels us.

BelieveGUITAR“I am barely breathing, begging please, trying to believe, oh- can you hear me?” 

I’ll close with the below picture that was taken by photographer Gretchen Ertyl shortly after the premiere we held for Season 1 in my actual hometown of Holliston, MA.  We had just wrapped the screening at Town Hall and the audience was invited to join the cast for celebratory drinks at the REAL Casey’s Crossing just a few blocks away. (On the show you see the actual exterior of Casey’s, but the interior is on a sound stage in Hollywood and looks nothing like the real establishment. Live in MA?  Go se the real Casey’s sometime!)  Gretchen had come to the event to take photos of the cast for the Boston Globe.  Before I walked into the party, she asked me to stop and look up while standing on the steps outside of Casey’s.  I distinctly remember standing there, outside in the cold, back in my hometown that I hadn’t been back to in a decade, and just thinking… Wow.  My long and crazy journey had both figuratively and literally lead me back home and I was so unbelievably happy and proud to be there again.  The people in town made us feel so welcomed and appreciated.  For Laura, Corri, Joe, and Sarah – they may as well have also grown up in Holliston with me for all anyone cared.  They were treated exactly like old neighbors, long lost friends, or extended family.  It was an incredible night that meant way more than any of the fancy Hollywood premieres I’ve had.  The events of these last two years have been about as dire as it gets for any show and for any artist.  We got hit with some bad, bad times and it constantly felt like it was all over.  Yet here we are today… picking up where we left off and continuing on with the same dream once more.  I guess you could say that I’m on my way home again.  And there’s nowhere else in the world I’d rather be heading.   We’ll be back soon, HOLLISTON.  Leave the light on for us.  Not that you ever gave up or shut the light off in the first place.  …Wow.

- Adam / “Adam”

Adam never giveup“Now I’m back- oh yes I am, I maybe fell apart at the seams. I had a nightmare- believe me when I tell you, nobody ever dies in their dreams.  Nine lives, it ain’t over, nine lives, live for ten.”                              – Steven Tyler