Tom gets on FanZcene & also Indie film distribution talk.

Speaking with Greg from Fanzcene

I had the blast speaking with Greg from FanZcene the other day. We spoke about the apparent decline of mainstream streaming sites, the VHS Massacre documentaries and the art of VHS collecting. It was a great time have a listen above.

So far VHS Massacre Too is now only available on blu-ray which is great actually. I do believe one shouldn’t rush to streaming with their films too quickly. That being said I did have a chat with John Ferri of Troma about streaming possibilities down the road. A long shot would if Shudder could carry both VHS Massacre films. MUBI played the first VHS Massacre so hopefully they would take “Too”. I would imagine it will be exclusive of Troma Now for a while and that’s great as well. The final leg of streaming would probably be something like Prime and Tubi, maybe YouTube and iTunes rentals.

VHS Massacre One is now on TUBI for free!

This all had me thinking about the “life” of a feature length film and what you might need to do to release your film in today’s market. So once you have your film completed. It probably goes something like this.

  • Social Media Branding: Begin to build a social media presence, create a movie trailer and graphics package and possibly a blog or podcast. Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Podcast, Twitter and so on.
  • Film Festivals: Tour online and in person (For a year) you will have to spend at least a few grand here.
  • Find a film distributor, producer’s rep. (could take a year) or self release.
  • Physical Media Release. With a distributor they can do a full run of Blu-ray/DVD. *Without a distributor you may want to do a limited run (100-200) (autographed and numbered) this will cost possible a grand or two without a distributor.
  • Conventions: Distributor will typically go to various conventions with their new titles. *Self-distribution, you would rent your own table or buddy up with a few other filmmakers.
  • Foreign Territories market: Distributors may have foreign markets who may buy your film to be released in their country. *Try to sell to foreign market more than likely requires a producer’s Rep. (They can help to sell your film to an American distributor as well if you go this route)
  • Streaming: Distributors will have some venues they typically work with. Troma for instance can get your film on formats like MUBI, Prime, TUBI, VUDU, XBOX, TromaNow and so one. *Self-release for streaming is very difficult to make money one. Many media conglomerates are not interested in a single film. (Maybe a Vimeo or YouTube paywall). You would be primarily be using social to try to get people to buy your film.
  • Film Afterlife: Create special additions and alternative version of the film to release. How to videos or documentaries about filmmaking based upon your film or more podcasts.
  • (Repeat)

Thanks for reading. I hope this is helpful to indie filmmakers out there.

Tim Kulig to Score Horror Film & VHS Massacre Too gets listed on Joe Bob

VHS Massacre Too on Joe Bob Briggs!

The Joe Bob Briggs official website featured VHS Massacre Too and linked out to my website. A good sign that my newest documentary feature has some legs. It’s still hasn’t hit the streaming yet. We will have to see where it ends up. With the gang at Troma handling the release I’m sure it will get out to some great sites! This is really cool though it does have me thinking about what it next for me! In the end I don’t really know what will happen to my film career. I am working on projects even right now but I definitely have to use my time more effectively these days as a dad. If I’m going to direct something I have to make sure it mean something at least to me. Right now I’m am searching for that type of project and honestly the search is fun. The idea that it could be anything is freeing, well anything that I can pull-off that is. Some people think limitations keep people from reaching their creative potential I’m more inclined to thing that knowing the parameters of a project allows one to be incredible creative and resourceful within those limits. The abstract reasoning it take to make something great with very little is something that’s exciting to me.

I do have a side project that I have been tinkering for a while. Working on the edit of the narrative feature film Exorcism of Fleete Marish. Friend, Producer and composer Tim Kulig is creating some incredible new horror compositions for the film that will make your skill crawl! Tim Kulig has emerged as a top artist in the royalty-free music scene coming in as the #9 most prolific artist on the one of the most important sites for royalty-free music,

One of Tim Kulig’s compositions!

The edit of the film is coming out well. I’m using a brand new Mac Mini. Under the hood is a terabyte of hard drive, 16 gigs of unified RAM and the new M1 Chip. I typically edit on an external drive to keep my computer’s hard drive free. When you are working on a feature length films you typically would need more than a terabyte drive. To save money I bought a 5 terabyte HDD external Lacie Drive with a USB-C port. It works well but I can tell things would be even faster if I was using a SSD or solid state external. You can tell when you go to export a 72 timeline with several video and audio filters. It may take an hour or so. With a solid state it would go much faster, maybe half the time. My last computer, a 2013 iMac took literally 24 hours to export VHS Massacre Too in 4k Apple ProRes. That film was shot with a combination of GH4, Black Magic Production camera and cell phone footage. These days I am using a Blackmagic 4K pocket and a SLR Magic Cinema lens but that’s for another time.

New Mac Mini with M1 chip!

So the edit of the film is going along well. I have to go through the audio mix, one last time, add in some additional music, then bring it into DaVinci Resolve to do the color grading and degraining. To be honest there is a Tri-X LUT in Premiere pro that looks amazing on this footage and I kind of want to finish in Premiere. I do understand the limitation of the REC709 color space, but it just looks so much more dynamic. It’s an odd thing, I’m going to try to recreate the same look in Resolve. I know it’s a good program but I really am finding it very clunky. Premiere is very hard to replace considering many editors use the dynamic link with After Effects, Photoshop, Audition and Media encoder. In addition trying to use an XML from premiere into Resolve is a train wreck, the audio comes over out of sync and none of the movements or shot adjustment come over. So you may end up having to export a ProRes version of your whole timeline. This workflow seems a little broken and editing audio in resolve is a real mess. I’m going to keep at it but I’m really not digging Resolve.

In addition I am trying to spice up the edit of the horror film by adding some stock footage in there but man have the prices gone up. I wonder if it’s a COVID thing, like everyone is in their houses trying to create content and they need stock footage. In any case I found some great stuff that I think will work well. So I don’t have a final release date and I may try to hit a few film festivals first with this project. This will be a fun experiment to see what I can do with it. I believe MVD will do a digital release and I’m playing with the idea of doing some Blu-ray’s. This is a fun project for now until I can reset my creative efforts and figure out what to do next. Thanks for reading!

Tom enters the “metaverse” and the Lloyd Kaufman’s Troma movie premiere at Moving Image!

FilmRare the first Cineplex in the Metaverse!

A few things have happened recently that are interesting. I took a stroll into the metaverse lately. Decentral Land is a virtual world of sorts, like playing the Sims or like Second Life but there are some large differences. It’s a world created in the block chain. This mean that there is no one place this “land” exists. It exists in a million different tiny bits all encrypted on the Blockchain. You can buy land in Decentraland and quite frankly it costs as much as real land. People are doing some very interesting things with it. Building virtual art galleries to sell NFT’s, virtual clubs, coffee houses and recently FilmRare built the first Cineplex in the Metaverse. I don’t know what will become of all this but there must be something to it. Currently I’m looking into licensing some of my older films put out by MVD to FilmRare. How fun would that be, to be among the first to screen at a cineplex in the Metaverse.

This weekend I was able to attend the premiere of Lloyd Kaufman’s Shakespeare’s Shitstorm. It was a fun night at the Museum of Moving Image in Astoria Queens. Almost like things had somewhat returned to normal. I was able to snag a quick interview with John Brennan A.K.A. Last Drive-in and Monique Dupree star of Shitstorm! Seems like I’m shooting some footage for a rainy day. I don’t exactly know what I’m going to do with but it will be featured on the VHS Massacre podcast at some point. I was thinking about it the other day. I first met Lloyd when I was 19 at the Fangoria convention. My friends and I had our own table and we sold copies of our first VHS feature film, Thrill Kill Jack.

We sat across from Clint Howard who was selling his film Ice Cream Man. From there I met Lloyd Kaufman (Toxic Avenger) and John Russo (Night of the Living Dead) during that time. When I look back it seems like that convention really did inform who I would become later. John wrote Night of the Living Dead and his book Making Movies was one of the first “how to” filmmaking books that I read. I would go on to work with Clint Howard and at a later convention I would eventually meet Joe Bob Briggs and work with him on my documentaries but it was really Lloyd that made the largest impact on me. I had watched his film growing up in the suburbs and it was a big deal to travel to New York City from central Connecticut to meet him. Eventually I would go on to create the VHS Massacre documentaries and Monster Kill Series for Troma.

For about a decade now I’ve been creating films and TV shows for Troma. Mind you, in the beginning I didn’t know if they would distribute the first VHS Massacre, but I took a leap of faith and made the film. They really liked the film and put it out. The films have really taken off over the last decade becoming some of the most popular documentaries on the subject. It’s been a fun time and if you think about it, to be working with the longest running Indie film studio in the U.S. is very meaningful. Congrats to Lloyd and the gang for keep the lights on and for keeping American Independent filmmaking alive! Thanks for reading!

The state of independent and exploitation film in the streaming era.

I caught up with journalist and podcaster Adam Bulger this week. We were able to talk shop about the state of independent and exploitation cinema in the age of streaming and parallel that with the video store era. I know Adam from my Connecticut days when he used to write for the Hartford Advocate and it was a blast to catch up with him. Have a listen to the whole show here.

Podcast here!

In regard to my latest documentary VHS Massacre Too. It seems be selling well and it hit #1 on Amazon documentary blu-rays back in January. It won’t be available for streaming probably for another six month or so. The first VHS Massacre film is actually sold out everywhere except for Troma Direct, they may have a handful of copies left. In discussions with Troma there could be a premiere for VHS2 on MUBI potentially which would be pretty incredible. I remember when they played the first VHS Massacre and it was a really cool feeling to be on an art house streaming site like that. So I’m excited to see what platforms the sequel gets onto.

In other news, the progress of my horror-feature edit The Exorcism of Fleete Marish is making some slow progress. I’m working with composer Tim Kulig to chose some of the remaining music for the film. The cut is getting close to a picture lock so far and I’ve enjoyed the process of working in post-production. No one is really knocking down the door to get their hands on this flick so I’m happy to take the time and make it as good as possible. Tim recently published a cyberpunk style album but some of the tracks below could be perfect for my film. This type of electronic music is very versatile and works great for horror as well. Have a listen below it’s great stuff.

Three Film Studios in Queens New York

Silver Cup Studios in Long Island City featured in the film Highlander 1986

I had a very interesting conversation with pod-castor Lou Mavs last month and it got me thinking about film studios located in Queens.

Silver Cup Studios – Long Island City

This week I was able to talk with some folks at Silver Cup studios and see some of the film equipment they use. It was really cool to see that studio from the inside. Silver Cup has a long legacy in New York and I had no idea that that it used to be called Silver Cup Bakery and the building actually served as a bakery beginning in the 1920’s and ending in 1975. In the early 80’s it became a film studio. As a filmmaker it was fascinating to see some of the lighting set-ups they have and some individual lights were simple huge. I saw a huge Super Trooper 2K spot light and even some lights that were 10K. This made me think of Jurassic Park Two. There are some indoor scenes where it looks like they are just blasting those huge lights through the window to serve as sunlight.

They use a fleet of tractor trailer trucks just to move locations with that kind of gear. They often shoot around at various businesses and locations in Queens, often near where I work in LIC. It’s such a stark contrast from the Independent films I make and the films I’ve worked on in the past. Though some of the of the cameras are the same, Arri, Red and so on. So many shows have at least partially been shot at Silver Cup (or at least used their gear) like the Sopranos and films like Gangs of New York. It’s not as if I’ve never worked for networks or studios In my career. I have worked at CBS News and NBC Universal but it’s been a while since I’ve seen the sheer volume of filmmaking equipment. It’s refreshing to be reminded of the advantages of living in the city after the last few years we’ve had. That things in the industry are happening all around me in Queens. As an independent filmmaker I am in the shadow of a larger studio system. Silver Cup has a hand in making many of the east coast films and TV Shows.

Troma Entertainment in Long Island City

Troma Entertainment – Long Island City

It’s strange but a lot of filmmakers dream of being the next Ridley Scott or Christopher Nolan and I suppose I have had that dream but more so my dream was to work for someone like Roger Corman. To be given a film to work on with a tiny budget and a crappy script and make something amazing out of it. I’ve just always appreciated that type of creativity. If you are living in New York than Lloyd Kaufman and Troma Entertainment is the east coast version of the Roger Corman school of filmmaking. Though there is an added grit to the low-budget guerrilla filmmaking in New York City. So making films and shows for Troma is what I did. I’ve directed two feature length documentaries VHS Massacre and VHS Massacre Too and I’m the creator of the Monster Kill an original Troma series which is a trailer park version of Black Mirror films with titles like Merminators from Space and Groom of Bigfoot. So far it’s been a lot of fun and the documentaries are the most successful films I’ve ever made.

Kaufman Astoria Studios, Astoria

Kaufman Astoria Studios – Astoria

Over in Astoria you have Kaufman Studios attached the Museum of Moving Image. I had lived a short walk from that museum for years and it was always fun to see what they had going one in their various exhibits. The studio has a historic legacy including everything from Marx Brothers films to Sesame Street and other various network shows. As fate would have it Lloyd Kaufman will screen his newest film Shakespeare’s Shitstorm on April 8th! The film is not for the faint of heart but I don’t think Lloyd would have it any other way and I would argue that, that is the role of the independent filmmaker, to push limits in whatever way you see fit.

VHS Massacre Updates: Editing and Podcasting

New Podcast with Tim Kulig about brand building and his recent music successes!

I been working on building up my social media presence. I recently created a TikTok account and have been posting things related to the VHS Massacre podcast and documentaries. My wife Stephanie @yeahfoodbeer showed me how powerful the platform is in regard to getting to the public. A short video I posted a day ago has nearly 20K views and it was promoting my VHS Massacre Too documentary blu-ray. I’ve also been building up my Twitter and Instagram and Youtube following and closing in on 20k followers across all social media formats including the podcast and whatnot. I constantly call in to question my compulsion to do this and I think it comes down to wanting to build the VHS Massacre brand so that when I put out a film, people will notice. I never wanted to do marketing, making a feature is hard enough, but modern filmmaking calls me to do so.

This is something that Lloyd Kaufman told me in an interview once. You can’t just put out a film and expect to make money these days, you really need to build a whole brand. In this way Troma Entertainment has been a pivotal part of my career. I truly believe without Troma very few people would have ever heard or seen my films! That said, I’m working a few other things as well.

The Exorcism of Fleete Marish – Narrative feature-length film

Studio Binder created this cool graphic for an article discussing aspect ratios!

I’m creating a new version of a film The Exorcism of Fleete Marish. It’s a dramatic horror film set in a remote forrest. It’s taking some serious effort to re-work this feature from what it used to be but I think it’s coming out well. It will be a black & white film using a 2:1 aspect ratio in 1080p (1920×960) pixels. This should give it a nice wide-screen feel without having to sacrifice too much height in the compositions. I will release it digitally through MVD group to begin with but I did have my heart set on a limited run on DVD’s. It’s fun at least to think of this type of distribution. I imagine it will be another 6 months to finish the film but it’s a fun project to work on. More news to come on this film!

VHS Massacre Radio

Tim Kulig and I just did another podcast celebrating his huge progress in the royalty-free music space. If Kevin MacLeod is the King of royalty-free music than Tim Kulig is certainly a duke. His success on is tremendous. He is a few songs away from being a top ten artist on a website renowned for some of the highest quality royalty-free music available. Have a listen to one of my favorite tracks above! Thanks for reading!

Original VHS Massacre (2016) very close to selling out. Makes me think back to how I got to this point.

Most of the major retailer sites like Walmart, Amazon and Target has sold out of the first VHS Massacre documentary (2016) while the sequel that came out last month hit the #1 documentary new release Blu-ray on Amazon.

This I think is a good sign for physical media. DVD’s and vinyl records have seen a jump in sales in the last few years and it looks like at least for now physical media isn’t going anywhere. It’s not just a collectors market as many believe that it would be. Merchandizing is a 40 billions dollar industry where as the box office is only about 10 and home video is only about 9 billion. In effect physical media is perhaps starting to be treated like merchandise, it’s better than just having the t-shirt, you can have your own library. I spoke with someone at MVD distribution group, a large distributor of both digital and physical media sales. They confirm that physical media absolutely still sells. As I pointed out in my last entry, the latest wonder woman flick made 20 millions in Blu-ray/DVD sales. That’s nothing to scoff at especially these days. It could literally be the difference between a film breaking even or not. The DVD industry looks to still be a 1.5 billion dollar market nearly double the vinyl market according to the folks at the excellent Films at Home youTube channel. People often look to surge in vinyl sales as a sign that DVD may continue to have a surge. As we know vinyl sales have had a comeback over the last decade.

This got my thinking about a lot of things about my own accomplishment and projects. I don’t think I’m going to do another VHS or movie distribution documentary right now. I don’t think I have enough to say about the same subject right now. So I think it’s time to adjust paths somehow. I managed to make a trilogy of sorts VHS Massacre, VHS Massacre Too and the short MacLeod. I need to spend some time and really think about what I want to do next, let the air clear. Though whatever I do, I’d love to have Lloyd Kaufman and Troma involved somehow and I still pan to shoot some B-roll at Troma in the near future because still post content on my video podcast. So I’ve been listening to some motivational videos to try to really think about who I am. Most of the really successful people in the world have had far more failures than victories. For the truly successful it all seems to be about consistent effort, adjusting one’s path from time to time and always following through on the right things.

VHS Massacre Too is my tenth feature length film. I worked for 25 years in the Film & Television industry working everywhere from NBC Universal Digital Studios to IGN to making films for Troma Entertainment. In my 20’s I literally made three feature length films until I had a hit in 2005 with Land of College Prophets. A film distributed all over the world, including on Netflix and it was a Best Seller for York Entertainment all on a 12,000 budget. I had conquered the art of the micro-budget feature. I was crazy and stubborn even back then, I remember my friends could not believe I was making a third feature, building a three story tall haunted wishing well with my dad in the backyard at the centerpiece of the film and my brother bruce backing me the whole time. I don’t know why I was so driven. I just wanted to be recognized by my fellow Generation X filmmakers like Kevin Smith, Wes Anderson or Robert Rodriquez. Well I never was… but I did carve my own path and most people in the horror scene know my work at this point so many years later. I suppose getting recognized by Lloyd Kaufman, Joe Bob Briggs, Debbie Rochon and James Rolfe is more important to me than those other folks. We don’t always get our dreams to come true but sometimes we get things that are even better and to be recognized by these champions of independent film and video is much more meaningful to me than those other folks. This got me looking back at things. This is a bit of an ego trip but I wanted to examine the things that I really concentrated on, the domain’s that I gave 100 percent to. Was I successful? Did I “win”? If you would allow to take on the tone of a motivation speaker I want to summarize some of my struggles and victories.

In the television industry I started at public access television, became a CBS News staff editor at 23 and eventually worked at 30 Rock and NBC Universal before the age of 30. I figured out the TV industry.

In academics, I struggled in grade school, junior high and in high school to get average grades. I was able to get an A.S. in filmmaking from Northwestern Connecticut Community Technical College but when I returned to high education later in my thirties, I did well and received a 3.8 GPA in Media/Comm and was on the “Dean’s List” repeatedly. I then got into the highly selective M.F.A. Integrated Media Arts Program at Hunter College in New York. I graduated with a 3.95 GPA in filmmaking. And when I teach my next class in the CUNY system it will be as a professor. An M.F.A. is the highest level of education in film production and it’s a terminal degree recognized as “P.H.D. approval equivalency” in the CUNY system. I figured out how to thrive academically.

In the web-video space. Building from my independent film experience, In the early days of YouTube I shared Emmy and YouTube nominations with the gang at Black20 Studios. I directed videos for IGN, Cracked, College Humor that totaled web-wide something like 100 millions views. After that I created a podcast with a few friends and worked on it for years. Eventually I had the #1 podcast of Podbean and was a top podcast on Stitcher and Podbean several years in a row, at its height New York Cine Radio (Now VHS Massacre Radio) had millions of listens. I figured out the digital space.

My film career will always be a work in progress. It has ebbed and flowed in a large way but after producing over 20 features and directing 10, edited 6 feature and I have won 50 awards include Chicago Horror Film Festival, Houston, San Francisco Indie Fest and five Telly Awards. My films have screened everywhere Shudder’s Mid May Massacre, Netflix, Prime, MUBI, to Yale University. I’m also Associate Member of the International Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Judge for the Webby Awards & The Telly Awards. It’s not that I don’t have further to go but I am now recognizing that I have come along way from when I was making super 8 films in my basement as a kid and that I’ve never stopped. I also finally figured out the film festival circuit.

After watching King of Kong so many years ago, I thought to myself “Could I win a world record?” I looked up the high-score on Twin Galaxies for my favorite arcade game Konami’s Crime fighters. I downloaded the approved software (Wolf-MAME) for tracking game play and submitted official scores. Over the course of a month I was able to win the world record but with in a year someone else had beaten it. I though to myself “Maybe I wasn’t that good at this game if someone can beat me so quickly.” I was frustrated and It took months and months of practicing everyday but I eventually I beat the #1 score winning the world record for the second time in 2011. This time I held the world record for two years! Even in 2022 I’m still second in the world! It is super nerdy but I loved it partly because it was so damn hard to win it back. The struggle makes is more meaningful when you win.

Example of Konami’s Crime Fighters game.

So I do think I’ve done well artistically and you can too. It takes time, years but you can reach your goals and it’s ok to adjust your plan if it’s just not working. The future is open for us creatively and that’s exciting. Thanks for letting me indulge hopefully is wan’t all self-serving. Once you figure out the game, you can decide whether or not it’s a game that you can give 100 percent to… and if you can, you will eventually win.

American Expendables Documentary Update

A new small excerpt from the American Expendables documentary that is currently in production.

As the winter rolls on, things wear on you. It’s important to stay physically active to keep your spirits up but your mind drifts sometimes. The thing I wanted most as a filmmaker is probably what everybody wants but almost no one achieves, to be able to make the films that you want, without interference and to get paid well to do it. It’s hard to make narrative films (I’ve directed several), you need money and a crew. Documentaries are easier to make on your own but they can take more time. I’m working on a new documentary, it’s been tough going because I don’t yet know what the film is about. This was the case for the both VHS Massacre documentaries. This is simply how I work, I need to investigate and discover and then build. I’ve had a lot of false starts lately and some times I lose faith in making these projects.

Recently I’ve really concentrated on building up my social media network, so that the brand of VHS Massacre can be a way to get to the public with podcasts and videos but sometimes I wonder why I’m doing any of this. Some days it just doesn’t mean anything to me to have content on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook or the podcast. Sometimes it just feels like my postings get released into an empty void and I often think, that the feature length films I make should be what I concentrate on. But then again lately I’ve been questioning why I make those films as well. I’m proud of them but sometimes I feel like I’ve said all that I need to say about it. I think I’ve pushed myself too hard lately.

I’ve been trying to master DaVinci Resolve. I’ve used it in the past to color correct and de-grain some footage and I even took a class in it but I use Premiere typically to edit. I’m finding that I really dislike Resolve as an editor. I tried transferring a Premiere project to resolve to color grade and and it was full of audio sync errors, frame-size errors and some other problems. Even adjusting audio level is really awkward. I will to keep at it though, I understand the color space advantage with Resolve but I just am not liking the work flow. This has really thrown me for a loop and I’m not sure that anything has turned out well lately creatively.

Side Project: The Exorcism of Fleete Marish

I’ve been working on another new project as well. Tentatively entitled The Exorcism of Fleete Marish. The idea was to try to make a new film out of a film I released ten years ago called Mark of the Beast. Now in theory this is just an alternative directors cut but but it will feel totally different. I’ve been thinking about doing this a while ago but only recently did I track down the raw footage to the film. So what are the changes.

1. All new edit with removal of all narration.

2. New Footage added

3. New Black and white “color grade” with grain removal.

4. Brand new Score by Tim Kulig

5. New Sound mix.

I found my old Lacie hard drive with the Mark of the Beast footage on it. I could barely get the thing to “mount”. I finally transferred the footage on to a new drive and manage to find and incomplete XML (extensible markup language) which is basically a generic file that can be opened on most editing software. It was incomplete but most of the footage was in place. It’s kind of amazing because this was originally edited in Final Cut Pro 7 and not I’m working on Creative Cloud. Yesterday I manage to get to the halfway mark. I’m showing it to just two people right now, Tim Kulig the EP and composer and Jon Gorman Co-director. If this does seem like an improvement over the original, the question becomes what to do with it. I may be able to find someone to put it out digitally. The thought of an autographed double disk edition DVD edition caught my interest but I’m not sure. It’s a lot of effort and money for something that probably won’t recover its budget.

I spoke with someone at MVD entertainment Group. I think they can put it out digitally, then another idea was to sell this version as an NFT. The first thing I need to do is to get it finished and then we’ll see. My mind goes all sorts of places with this stuff. Will any of it matter in the end? It’s hard to say but I suppose it’s my job as an artist to do the best that I can with what I have. I won’t overthink it I guess. In any case I need to try to think of this as a little hobby to get my through the winter. As filmmakers we just have to push through the times when we think that there is no point to the work we are doing because there will be times like this and it’s the only way you will get to the finish line.

Let’s Keep Going Independent Filmmakers!

VHS Massacre Too out on Blu-ray. My tenth feature-length film as director!

So in just a few days I’ll get some VHS Massacre Too Blu-rays in the mail. I turn 45 years old on January 20th. In these strange times I think it’s important to celebrate the positive. This will essentially mark 25 years of my Independent filmmaking career. I think my pride is in that I’m still here directing and producing feature length films and I’m lucky enough to have my favorite Independent film distributor Troma Entertainment putting out the film. I’d like to think I’ve become good friends with Troma President Lloyd Kaufman and this marks the fifth film collaboration I’ve had with him over my career. Something that has meant a lot to me as a filmmaker over this last decade.

Though I don’t see my friends very much these days, I appreciate those who helped to make this film happen. On the extras, is included a directors’s commentary in which Professor James Richardson recalls how at one time, how badly I thought the documentary was going. “It’s shit, it’s all shit!” I think was my exact quote but I didn’t stop working on it, I kept going until it was done.

Tim Kulig, one of my oldest friends (Producer/Composer for the film) and I both agreed that would should enter a ton of film festivals, about 50. It really helped to keep us sane over the last few years. Most of the festivals were converted to online, others were able to have limited screenings but we found a way to keep going. I always think back to when Tim Kulig was acting in one of my videos in high school. A VHS short called Kick the Corpse, Tim playing the villain Joshua Nuts. I think I loved filmmaking because it was one of the few things I could control. High school was socially difficult for me, I was really awkward and I think I found out I was really an A.V. nerd more than anything. Well I certainly did stick with it, I think about my generation from time to time but the older I get I realize, a generation as a group of people don’t have that much in common. As part of generation X, are famous independent filmmakers my peers? Isn’t that narcissistic? Do people even know who I am?

I do think I can make the claim that both VHS Massacre features together are among the most popular documentaries that explore the subject to date. Most people I talk to at least know of the films, which is good enough for me. Some other great news, the VHS Massacre Too Blu-ray as was listed as Top 1 in “Hot New Releases” on Amazon so that’s a good sign.

In other news, I’m very happy to be working on a few different new projects. Much more news to come! Thanks for reading. If you are an independent filmmaker at your wits end but still love to create, keep creating. It’s hard work but it can be a catharsis, a way to navigate your life and mentally stay afloat. You don’t always need money to stay creative. Some of the most fun is to find a ways to make things happen for almost no money. This type of problem solving can be the best part of being creative. Hang in there and thanks for reading!