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.