Friday, October 28, 2011

Save The Broke Filmmakers

This is a truncated version of the original Veil pitch video. It was scrapped after a month online in which it raised very little money for the campaign. We thought it was funny but replaced it with a more serious, straightforward, and sober video. People seems to prefer that and gave us more money. This video still makes me laugh so here it is.

30 Days

In 1999, a $20,000 horror film was made with a minimal crew and no stars. The Blair Witch Project was released and made $248,000,000. It became the most profitable film of all time.

In 2009, a $15,000 horror film was made with a minimal crew and no stars. Paranormal Activity was released and made $193,000,000. It has spawned a franchise that has gone on to generate half a billion dollars.

In November, we're going to make a horror film for $5000 with a minimal crew and no stars. The name of the film is Veil and we need your help. We have only 4 days left to raise the budget. Our campaign can be viewed @

When you make a donation of $5, your name will be listed in special thanks credits. $20 will get you an autographed DVD copy of the finished movie. Anyone making a $100 donation will receive a producer credit on the film.

Even if Veil doesn't become the next great horror film, you'll still be a part of something that will last forever. Many of you have already given generously and we thank you. Please continue to support the project by reposting the IndieGoGo link, joining the facebook fanpage, or passing along our pitch video.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

36 days

With 36 days until filming begins on "Veil" and 8 days left on the IndieGoGo campaign, I am reminded of a scene from Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Late at night, Mike Damone (armed with a list of "People Who Owe Me Money") is desperately trying to scrape together enough dough to pay for half of Jennifer Jason Leigh's abortion. People have been extremely generous but we're still $3100 short of our $5000 budget. Please go to to contribute. Or else Judge Reinhold will run us over with the Cruising Vessel.

Week 6 NFL picks

Green Bay Packers (-8.5) over MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) over ARIZONA CARDINALS
OAKLAND RAIDERS (-3.5) over Kansas City Chiefs

Season 8-11-1

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

40 days

Principal photography on "Veil begins on November 26. The script has been cut to the bone to accommodate a 6 day shoot and a budget of only a few thousand dollars. Barring some 4th quarter heroics, our IndieGoGo campaign is going to fall a bit short of the $5000 goal. Our first experience with crowdfunding has been interesting. The idea of being accountable to people who have given you their money makes it impossible to give up or change your mind about making the movie. Casting has officially begun and I'm toying with the idea of posting some of the strangest responses on the blog.​veil​veil.html​pages/​Veil/​154047104689878?sk=wall

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bloodsprayer Interview

After wrapping up a 16 day shoot on the comedy The Maladjusted, the director, DP, and I holed up in a casino hotel to unwind. While there, I had the chance to do an interview with the excellent horror website Bloodsprayer. We talked about Dysphonia as well as the upcoming Veil. You can read the full interview below and many thanks to Bloodsprayer and Dr. Jimmy Terror for the opportunity to talk about both projects.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Go-Go not Cry-Cry

Today we launch the Indiegogo campaign for our upcoming feature length horror film "Veil". For anyone unfamiliar with Indiegogo, it is a website that enables filmmakers you you've never met to spam your Facebook page and e-mail inbox to panhandle for money. Each film project has a budget goal and a time limit to raise it. The filmmakers post pitch videos where they sit in front of their $2000 Macbook and make their case for why you should pay for whole grain bagels for the script girl in exchange for a special thanks credit in their opus. Hopefully, people will view our pitch video and see that we don't take ourselves seriously, but we do take our films seriously. This blog was originally started to follow the making of Dysphonia. Veil is an interim project to keep our teeth sharp until we are able to produce it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Veil Part II

In March 2011, Ian and myself decided that instead of getting rusty while waiting for the funding to come through for Dysphonia, we would first produce a horror feature quickly and inexpensively. If nothing else, we were going to make something we could take to horror conventions and sell directly to the genre fans. Hopefully good word of mouth would draw more interest in Dysphonia and other future projects. We both came up with a few ideas but settled on a tale that is relevant for both the times we live in and also the age and situations we find ourselves in currently. I married young at 23 and when I attended my 5 year high school reunion, out of a class of almost 200, I was the only one of my classmates who was married. Last fall, at the 10 year reunion, which I skipped, not only was almost everyone married, but most had children and some were on their second marriage. There is a desperate rush to pair off and have babies once you reach your mid twenties. Ian and myself decided to tell the tale of a man whose life is rapidly moving toward a wife, a house, and children. Feeling like he is unready for this change and with too many regrets of things left undone, he plans a late night rendezvous with a young small town girl he meets online late one night. She seems to be in a similarly unhappy place and is eager to have a discreet tryst. When he doesn't return, his best friend, along with his black sheep older sister, venture into the town to try and find out what happened. What they find is townspeople with contradicting stories of lies, abuse, and murder.

The major theme dealt with in "Veil" is dishonesty and how technology enables it. We are told to be honest, but when we are, there are consequences. We all have personas we have in anonymity and personas we show to the rest of the world. In a perfect world, our husband or wife would get to see the real person, but we are often too scared that the truth would make them not love us. People desperately need a connection, whether they find it in the arms of another person, a pet, or a stranger online.

In a burst of creativity fueled by alcohol and Camel lights, Ian and myself sat around a fire in his backyard on a chilly March night and fleshed out the story and most of the plot points. I returned to New York and began to write the script on April 21. I set a similar timetable to the one used for writing Panacea. Basically, I aim to have the first draft 6 weeks from the day I start. 1 week for filling a spiral notebook and 3x5 notecards (which will later be used for figuring out the timeline and structure for the 3 acts) with ideas for scenes, characters, reference art & photos, wardrobe/props, research notes, and any thoughts on the specific themes (In this case, marriage, adultery, sex, the internet, how we hide through false personas, etc). I won't start a script until I know there is enough there for a feature. Usually a full spiral notebook or about 100 notecards will be enough to get started. This helps avoid having to pad a story idea that was never meaty enough to sustain a feature. Then I write the script for for 3 weeks. If I get stuck, I just keep writing and there's usually a lot of placeholder scenes that I will go back and rewrite completely. Then I spend 2 weeks reading and making corrections. This first draft is usually extremely rough and may only be 60-70% of what the shooting script will be. I completed a 74 page draft in June and am now currently working on the 2nd draft.

In writing the script, I found myself watching films such as The Third Man, Frantic, Missing, Chinatown, and The Vanishing. Movies about disappearance and confusion. Movies where the protagonists question their own memory, sanity, and perception. While Dysphonia is influenced by Italian horror and Panacea is influenced by the films of David Cronenberg, "Veil" is about the real horror of everyday people who will kill to protect secrets and their loved ones. While "Veil" is a horror film, it is also a film about desperate people and what they do for a human connection

We will be launching an Indiegogo page very soon to raise the budget for "Veil" and are also looking for anyone who is intrigued by the concept who wants to volunteer their time to work on the crew. The budget has been estimated at between 2-5K and will be filmed on location in Virginia & West Virginia in the fall. We will be posting character breakdowns and screenplay excerpts soon.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


In independent filmmaking, as in life, people often shy away from talking about money. Nobody wants to talk about where they got it because they're paranoid that someone may steal their connection à la Derek Foreal in "Blow". It is also considered rude to ask the specifics of a film budget and the figures are rarely volunteered unless they are being boasted for effect. Some filmmakers are embarrassed that people will think they either overspent for a mediocre looking final product or were too inept to raise a sufficient amount. But being vague and mysterious about money only serves to distance the independent filmmaker from colleagues as well as anyone with a genuine curiosity about the process.

Our first short film in 2004 "The Clockmaker" cost about $1000. That money went to buying an $800 camera, DV tape stock, and any props and wardrobe that we couldn't beg, borrow, or steal. We didn't even have money to feed the actors, who were of course, unpaid.

7 years later, we spent $1000 to shoot a 2 minute teaser scene for "Dysphonia", the feature film this blog is dedicated to. This time we fed and paid the actors and crew that we could. Others worked for free out of kindness and because they liked the script and wanted to help to get it made. The teaser was produced to introduce people to the look and feel of the script and hopefully create interest in the potential for the full film. The budget of "Dysphonia" as detailed in our business plan is $187,000. This is a loose figure based upon similar films with a comparable number of locations, actors, makeup FX, and shooting schedule (4 weeks). We believe we can produce the 114 page script for this amount of money and convince both cast and crew to work for a lower or deferred salary based on the strength of the material and the ability to secure distribution when the film is completed.

We were realistic when we released the teaser that while we hoped people would respond positively to it, nobody was going to write a check to a company unproven in producing a feature film of that scale and budget size.
So, we have decided to produce a feature horror film cheaply ($2,000-$5,000) that we could raise the money for quickly, produce independently, edit, and self distribute. Any money made from this smaller film would go toward the production of "Dysphonia". It would at least show we could handle production of a feature length horror film and prove I could direct it.

In the coming weeks, we will be launching an Indiegogo page to help raise the funds to produce "Veil". There will be information about the film on the page as well as our website We've refrained from using crowdfunding sites in the past but we think this is the perfect project to try it out. Production will take place in Virginia & West Virginia this summer and of course there will be excellent perks for those who donate. Anyone interested in helping but unable to donate money can contact me @

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Boards to Death

Below are storyboards from past films alongside corresponding stills. Originally, I was going to do a post describing how we went about doing the Dysphonia teaser and maybe I still will, but until then, here's a look at how our films start and where they end.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Nice Guy Nic

I'll be a guest on FilmSnobbery Live! tonight @ 10PM EST(7PM for you gay commie bastards out in California). I'll be chatting with host Nic Baisley about Dysphonia as well as past projects. The show is live, but if you can't tune in tonight, you can always catch it in the archives.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Shoot the shit

Gavin Schmitt gave my previous horror effort "Cannibal Cheerleader Camp" a phenomenal review 2 years for the website Killer Reviews. With the "Dysphonia" teaser having been released last week, I figured it would be a good time to do an interview with him and shoot my mouth off about the upcoming flick. Gavin has interviewed everyone from Noam Chomsky to Meir Zarchi and I thank him for taking the time to do it.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I remember telling people about "Dysphonia" before I had a name for it. It was and will probably continue to be referred to as "the evil twin movie". Samantha & Sophie were originally conceived to be two halves of the same person. There were no characteristics to differentiate them. The more I wrote, the more I found them becoming their own characters. One was cruel and the other used violence as a reactionary measure to protect her sister. One was emotionally stuck in childhood while the other wants her own child so she can feel complete. Above is the first sketch ever done of the twins and it has kept be excited about working on the film for the last year when I easily could have abandoned it. They are beautiful but also have the dead eyes of someone under a spell. The Manson girls were used as a visual reference for any artwork involving the twins and Helter Skelter will be required reading for anyone considered for the parts. When it comes time to cast the film, I don't yet know if we'll be able to find actual twins who can handle the acting and match the part physically or if we'll have to employ Dead Ringers style trick photography to make one actress appear to be both sisters. All I know is that the twins are going to go down as classic horror villians.

More Dysphonia artwork can be seen @

Monday, April 4, 2011


Today we launch the Dysphonia Teaser Trailer. I hope everyone digs it as much as I do. More details about the film available @

Thank you to an excellent crew that worked in the cold. J.Michael Whalen, Chris Kiros, Ian Albetski, Habib Awan, Brigette Proctor, Amy Lawrence, Sarah Oliveros, Tori Nelson, and Riane Hoffman.

I'll go over the details of making the teaser in the next entry.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Located a block away from my childhood home in Alexandria, Virginia was Power Video. It was open from 1987 until September 2010. It was easy to be overwhelmed in the small store that at its peak held over 30,000 videotapes/DVDs and 10,000 different titles squeezed into identical white bookshelves. It housed softcore pornography, graphic horror, nunsploitation movies, foreign films, offbeat documentaries, and every episode of The Twilight Zone, Dark Shadows, The Outer Limits, and Star Trek on VHS. I worked there from 2000-2006, some of that time with Ten Sundays co-founder Ian Albetski. I watched from the back office as Bush stole the 2000 election. I was there on September 11th. I met my wife there. When I produced my first feature film "Boxing Day", Power Video was the first place to put it on the shelf. I worked for minimum wage for 2 years and never made more than $9/hr. when former classmates of mine were in law school. But I didn't care because all the movies I took home were free and I could cancel late fees for my friends. At night when it was last call and the few remaining customers couldn't take the hint, we would "play the Wagner". The back lights would be turned off and the air cavalry scene from "Apocalypse Now" would be played. Loud. When I was young, I couldn't even walk past "Jaws" because the box art was too scary. At 7, When I finally worked up the courage to watch it, it was from behind the couch in my living room. That way there was something between me and the shark.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Never enough brains

Sometime in the summer after principal photography wrapped on "The Clockmaker", I decided that I was unhappy with the way the blood stain looked in the final scene after the main character commits suicide. I felt there weren't enough chunks of brain and skull mixed in with the blood when we originally shot it. We had filmed the scene in my apartment bathroom, so I was able to reshoot it easily. Late one night, I mixed up a batch of fake blood, set up the camera, and splattered it all over the door until I was satisfied. There are so many things that are out of your control when making a movie, it's important to fuss over the things you can to make them perfect. And this is how it ends. Everyone else has moved on and you're alone in your apartment, hoping that the mess you've made will make sense and that people notice that you took the time to make it.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Year One

"The Clockmaker" 2004

Above is a still taken from the first setup of the first day of the first film Ten Sundays Productions ever made. The last Sunday in April, 2004 we began filming in the basement of my childhood home with an $800 camcorder. Underneath the sheet and holding his breath is co-producer Ian Albetski. Asking people to hold their breath is a common request when making a horror film. "The Clockmaker" was an extremely rough 16 minute regurgitation of far superior Hitchcock films and Edgar Allan Poe short stories. This blog will be dedicated to the production of Ten Sundays' newest horror film "Dysphonia", but to understand how that came to be it's important to start at the beginning.