Friday, February 27, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

HEAD!!! Screening 3/28 and 3/29!

is a one of a kind film starring an all puppet cast in a throwback to the slasher films of the 1970's and 1980's. A group of twenty somethings go for a nice fall weekend camping trip and end up in the middle of nightmare they may never escape from…

Elmwood Productions invites you to join us March 28th and 29th at Paris In Plantsville Gallery and Studio for the premiere screenings of HEAD.

Following the film the film makers along with cast members will be on hand for a Q&A session for anyone interested.

Tickets on sale now! $8.00 - 
Or at the gallery during normal operating hours.
The 3/28 screening starts at 8:00 PM, and the 3/29 screening is at 7:00 PM, doors open an hour earlier both nights.

HEAD is Rated R, for gore, horror, four letter words and anything else you'd expect in a horror movie starring puppets, so we advise leaving the kids at home!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Mr. Mercury

 Mr. Mercury
Mouth Puppet
At least I think that's his name!  Commission made in 2014.
Want a commission too?  Check out this LINK!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Good Morning!

I finished my ADR for "HEAD" yesterday, then went and recorded a podcast with my buddy Ray.  ANd before and in-between it all I got some writing done while hanging at my office away from home, Paris In Plantsville.  
I love creative days like that

A new coffee maker!
And it's awesome.
Yes coffee is that important to me that I'll blog about it.  
My awesome future in-laws got this for me for the birthday.
Like I said, I'm a lucky guy!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Here we go….

Coffee's is in the mug…
Queen II on the turntable…
And prepping for a creative day.  
Perfect start to 40.

I'm a lucky man to have the things in this life I have, family, friends, food, two crazy cats, and the opportunity to be constantly creative.
"It's a good life"

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I'm 40?

“I didn’t promise anybody anything. What do I know about Hollywood anyway? Just the dreams I got from sitting through too many double features”

“So why did you leave the swamp in the first place?”

“Cuz some agent fella said I had talent. Hmm, he probably says that to everybody.”

“On the other hand, if you hadn’t left the swamp you’d be feeling pretty miserable anyhow.”

“Yeah. But, then it would just be me feeling miserable. Now, I got a lady pig, and a bear, and a chicken, and a dog, and a thing; whatever Gonzo is. He’s a little like a turkey.”

“Yeah, a little like a turkey, but not much.”

“I guess not. Anyhow, I brought them all out here. Into the middle of nowhere. It’s all my fault.”

“Still, whether you promised them something or not, you gotta remember: they wanted to come.”

“But, that’s because they believed in me.”

“No. They believed in the dream.”

“Well, so do I, but…”

“You do?”

“Yeah, of course I do.”

‘Well then?”

“Well then, I guess I was wrong when I said I never promised anyone. I promised me. Hmmm…”

Sunday, February 15, 2015

I agree sir...

“I feel bad for people who don’t drink. When they wake up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.” 
– Frank Sinatra

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

 I hope you have a great day!
Don't forget that
"Josh and Todd: The Story of A Man and His Puppet" debuts online today!!!
Here's a link to it!

Or just watch it right here:

Friday, February 13, 2015

Josh and Todd...

With all the hype for "HEAD" since last summer (with the Kickstarter, the behind the scenes videos, the screenings coming up) it's easy to miss out or forget that Elmwood has made other things.  Hahahaha!

One of them is our first feature film; "Josh and Todd: The Story of A Man and His Puppet"!
And tomorrow we'll be posting he movie in full on YouTube.  
I'm not going to do a huge crazy post about how we made the film, like I did with "HEAD" earlier this week.  But, I am going to say thank you.  
Thank you to everyone who worked on the film, and performed in it.
Thank you to everyone who came to a screening over the past few years and laughed.
Thank you to everyone who got a hold of the "Official Bootleg" DVD and dug it and shared it.
Thanks to everyone who put up with me while making the flick.
And thank you to Brie!

So come back tomorrow to see the flick!
And now some pictures from the movie…  
The crazy people who made it, were in it, and helped get it screened!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Something I haven't really done in a while...

 An untuned guitar, a PBR pick, and a microphone…  
How I spent my early morning 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Ground my coffee…  Added water…  Hit the switch to On…

R.I.P. Krups Coffee Maker…
It's been almost 16 years.  Thanks for keeping me caffeinated and creative!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Morning music… Doyle Bramhall II

What do you mean you've never heard this CD?
Oh man, you are missing out!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Long road to HEAD...

"HEAD" is premiering is a little over a month.  
And it's looking really good and fun.
I'm really proud of the quirky, weird, fun horror flick we've made.
Tickets are on sale now for the premiere - HERE!  Get 'em quick!  Seats are limited

So here I am now, drinking my coffee, watching the snow come down,  and thinking about what it took to get here.  Elmwood's second feature film….  
It's gonna be a long post, hahahaha…  I figure I should write this kind of stuff down, so when I'm old and can't remember things I can look back on it and go; "Ohhhh…  That's why we did that!" - hahaha...

In the late summer of 2006 I was living alone for really the first time in my life.  I was working a crappy desk job.  And most nights I wasn't getting home until about 7 or 8 PM.  One of those Friday nights I made a pit stop at the store, got a six pack of Newcastle, and bottle of Jack Daniels, and a frozen pizza.  By 9 PM I was eating pizza and down three Newcastles.
It was kind of a dark time in my life.  But I have to admit, it was fun.  And a immensely creative time too.  Elmwood had just shot the first "Steve the Vampire" and I was building and writing a ton...  
Back to my Friday night.  I was home, drinking alone and decided to watch a DVD.  I went with Evil Dead 2.  I hadn't watched it in a couple years and thought it would be fun.  So I was pouring glass after glass of Jack, and really kicking back into the flick.  And I kept thinking; "We can do this"…  
And "this" was a horror film.

Elmwood could make a horror film.  I mean, why not?  Right?

One of the earliest things Russ and I bonded over when we met was b-horror flicks.  And we both had an affection for Sam Raimi's Evil Dead films.  

So at the next meeting I brought it up to the crew.  Russ jumped right on board. and the rest were into the idea too.
I said I wanted us to make an "The Evil Dead" style flick.  Fast, easy, cheap.  Have it be gory and fun.  
Kids in woods.  
Kids disturb some kind of monster.  
Kids die.
Simple.  Fun.  Scary.
And our new guy at the time, Chris, said he had an idea.

So we agreed he would write a outline for us and we'd wait to see it.
While waiting for the outline we came up with more shorts for "Steve" and developed a ton of new things.  And over the course of 2006 and 2007 started to prep an old short film script into a feature film script.  That movie was "Josh and Todd: The Story Of A Man And His Puppet".  

So we get the outline from Chris during this time and it's good.  Really good.  And he started to write the first draft.  
When I got that first draft in my hand I was excited.  Too excited in fact.  I read it and wanted to shoot right away.  Chris and I agreed though it was short and needed something else.  A bit more.  And he went back to it to hammer it out.  We also started scouting locations at that point and thinking about casting.  
It's now the early part of 2008.  We even documented one of our searches for locations.  I'll have to post that video someday!

At the same time Jim, Russ, and I are plotting shooting "Josh and Todd".  We really wanted to do both that year.  "Leave" (as the horror film was titled) and the comedy of "Josh and Todd".  
As summer came we realized that we could really only make one feature film that year.  We were still new at this in many ways.  So we went with "Josh and Todd".  We were known for doing comedy, and comedy with puppets.  "Josh and Todd" had both.  "Leave" was planned to be all actors (no puppets) and a horror flick.  We were building a reputation for comedy and realized we should build on that with our first full film endeavor. 
Chris wasn't too happy.  But the fact was the script wasn't ready.  It was still too short to be a 70 minute or longer flick.  And the script (re-written by Jim) for "Josh and Todd" was very ready.
As a group we decided to jump right into "Josh and Todd"  Within a month the new puppets were ready and we cast the film, found all locations, and started shooting.  And Chris is even in the film, as Johnnie Sojive's butler.  While making the flick, Chris was also refining "Leave".  Doing re-writes and so on.  And although I was engulfed in "Josh and Todd" I was always on board to do "Leave" next.  
Once we wrapped on "Josh and Todd" in January of 2009 we got a crew of our friends and regulars together and sat down and did a reading of "Leave".  I do remember we filmed it, there's video somewhere!  It was a fun night.  I was reading for a character named Mike and kept slipping unintentionally into Steve the Vampire's voice.  And Chris kept throwing things at me.  
After the reading Elmwood as a group decided "Leave" was absolutely our next feature flick.  Russ and Jim went off to edit "Josh and Todd" and Chris and I started weekly meetings to go over what we needed to make 'Leave" happen.  We started casting/auditions and brought in two other of the Elmwood gang, Mark and Josh to help produce and re-write the flick, to make sure by the September start date for shooting we'd be ready.  We brought in some people for more casting, hammered out new ideas, fought over everything, and laughed about it.  It was great having their eyes on the script, and fun to have them as part of the project. 
And the movie was getting bigger.  Bigger than a b-horror flick.  
And then…
We all worked hard on this, continuing to look for locations, props, cast, etc…  But the bread wasn't rising.  
When the script just couldn't get finished by September, to cast and so on, I just told the guys to keep working on it, and we'll shoot it as soon as it's ready.

That was late summer 2009.  And if I get a finished script we'll make the film.  I promised people that.  And I'll stand by it.  So, Chris if you're reading this by any chance…  

We didn't just sit and do nothing else during this time though.  We shot a ton of "Steve the Vampire" episodes.  Started work on "Animal Behavior" and "G@mrz" and more random shorts too.  We were having a blast.  And Russ and Jim were still editing "Josh and Todd" too.  
So with some time on my hands with no "Leave" meetings every week I started hanging out with writer, beer guru, occasional Elmwood actor, and all around sweetheart J.R. Calvo.  And we started just brainstorming.   Together we came up with some madness for sure.  And we wrote a film together, called "Lake Peace".  Elmwood will be making this flick, and I'm really excited about it.

So what does all this have to do with "HEAD"?
Well…  Making a b-horror movie never left my mind after we left "Leave".  And on a cold and snowy March night in 2010 I sat behind my computer with some beer and a cat hanging out, and wrote in a night, the first draft of "HEAD".  I just sat back and wrote the most obvious things I could.  The cliches that are in all those 1970's-80's horror flicks…  Kids getting drunk, doing drugs, being rude, sex, all in the woods, the mysterious stranger, the masked killer, and so on.  I wrote a tribute to "The Evil Dead" with a little "JAWS" added in.
I got it out of my system.  And it felt good.  
about a week or so later I showed J.R. the script.  He wanted in, to do some touch ups.  And I was excited about it.  I let Russ and Jim know that I wrote it, and would like to eventually shoot it.  They were in.  Jim saw the script lot long after J.R. and was jazzed too.
And we were off…
Off to a series of false starts.  

We knew we weren't going to making this movie that year.  It wan't ready.  And we had a ton to do already.  We shot more "Steve", started "Animal Behavior" and "G@mrz" all that year, and were still wrapping up "Josh and Todd".

In February of 2011 we premiered "Josh And Todd: The Story of A Man and His Puppet" at Paris In Plantsville to a sold out house.  We made the right decision to make that flick when we did.  And with a good chunk of "Animal Behavior", "Steve" and "G@mrz" shot I went back to "HEAD".
Side note - "HEAD" was meant to just be a working title.  Kind of a joke.  Somehow it stuck.  And with the film we eventually made, it works.
So we (Jim, Russ, and I) went back to horror mode.
Another writer I know took a stab at a draft, his name is Brian.  He's a horror guru.  And a film lover.  He brought some great insight to this flick.
And we started to cast.  Actors and actresses.  This wasn't going to have puppets!
And we found our male lead easily, and quickly too, much like getting Eric as Josh for "Josh and Todd".
We cast an artist friend, Jordan Deschene as Tom.  And we, mostly J.R. and I, began looking for more.  Jordan was a natural, and loved what Elmwood was doing.  He was one of the very first people to see "Josh and Todd", and loved it.
A few production meetings came and went over the course of 2011.  We were doing this slow on purpose.  We had a huge 10th anniversary celebration for Elmwood in March of 2012, we brought in two new puppeteers who really got me jazzed for the art again, Mike and Nick.
And Mike loved "Evil Dead".  More than me!
We shot more "Animal Behavior" and a little more "G@mrz" and wrapped up "Steve the Vampire".   All was going smoothly.  And for "HEAD" too...
We did more casting, a couple table reads…  Jordan died.
Fuck.  My lead.  And more importantly, my friend. 
Drugs are bad kids…

From summer 2012 to summer 2013 we played with puppets.  We had a ton of fun, made some shorts, did some screenings, and laughed.  A lot.  We had to.
And "HEAD" kept coming back up.  But we just kinda were sitting on it.
Then Mike asked me one day "Why don't we just shoot it already?"
And he was right.  
I went back to the script, did one more pass, and as a group we decided we're doing it next.  As in Now.  This was summer 2013.  Jim and I were going to co-direct, Russ shoot.  And we were going to get some of our cast we talked to in the past to jump in.  
And Rick.  Ricky.  The man, the myth, the legend.  
He came to us by the way of a beer and a shot.  And he wanted in on this madness.  Rick ends up more than in.  By the time we were making the film he was the heart and soul of this movie.
Without him "HEAD" wouldn't have happened.  He saved this flick! 
Then we met another director, who we will call Mr. Kevin (not his real name), and we watched him work for two days on a non-Elmwood film.  And Gabe, Nick, and I were impressed.  I invited him to a meeting, and we discussed working together.  He loved horror.  We offered him "HEAD".
And another false start…  
We started casting fresh.  Mr. Kevin did a re-write that I really didn't like.  He was missing the point of the film.  He wanted it to have deeper meaning, and have all these visuals that have nothing to do with the story.  And as cliche as some of the film was supposed to be he wanted to go further, but missed the point.   He didn't seem to see them as cliches.  I don't know.  I guess he wanted to take it more seriously than it was meant to be.  And we started to disagree on everything.  It went from being Elmwood's Film to "My movie" (his words).  And that's just not how we really do things, usually.
And trouble began.  
We found some great people during those auditions though, but not for this film.  Except one.  Sally!  And our new director liked hitting on everyone with breasts.  And he made Elmwood's love of a few beers look totally innocent compared to him.  Showing up buzzed for auditions, and always late…  For everything.  He was quickly proving he wasn't half as professional as he presented himself to be. 
So during these casting sessions we discussed possibly doing this the "Elmwood Way".  Doing it with puppets.
At that point I knew Mr. Kevin was out.  He did stick around for a few more meetings, even going over puppet designs.  Then, nothing.  We knew we had to keep moving with it this way.  We (the Elmwood crew) were so energized by doing this with puppets.  And Mr. Kevin blew off a casting/reading to go out to a bar or something.  So we moved on without Mr. Kevin.  I had never in the history of Elmwood had to fire anyone.  Until then.  He made it easy for me to do, unfortunately.  I hope his next endeavor goes better.
After we split with Mr. Kevin I met up with some other film makers that worked with him.  They shared some horror stories that made my troubles with him seem small.  I guess we bit a bullet, and got lucky compared to them.
But now, I felt, time had been wasted.  It was May and we wanted to shoot in August.   And now I'm directing again.  Solo.  And making the puppets.  I built the cast in under two months.  With one exception all new puppets.  
Rick is producing and shooting, I'm the director, Russ is everything else, hahaha…
And now puppeteers…
We use our crew of regular puppet geniuses - Mike, Nick, Russ, Gabe, myself, Jim…  
And we bring in Ben (whose been writing for us), Sally, and our buddy Keith Paul.  And Manda.  Manda came in at the very end of casting when were were still using actors and we mention we might go with puppets and she flipped out.  So we kept her.  We had to, she stabbed herself during the audition cuz she was so into it, hahaha!

So we had a crew, puppets, puppeteers, and locations…

And we were off…
From August to October 2014 we shot "HEAD"
It was like shooting the film was cursed, hahaha…  Things just didn't want to go right.
Mother nature was not kind to us.  But we kept going.  We had two cars crap out (and get resurrected), illnesses, a big location fell through, and we got covered in fake blood.  I'm sure more disasters too…
But: We also had a baby born!!!  Yay to Gabe's sperm!!!  
And importantly - We had fun.  
That's the biggest thing, at least to me.  If we're not enjoying it we're doing it  wrong!
This movie wouldn't have happened without this current crew of Elmwood Productions.  You guys helped keep the project together, and kept it going somewhat smoothly, hahaha!  I couldn't not have done this without you all.
I love this crew.  
Thank you so much!!!!

We made the horror movie I wanted to make that lonely night in 2006.
I hope you like it when you see it!

Myself, Mike, and Rick - at the wrap party December 2014

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Graveyard Gil

 Graveyard Gil
Mouth Puppet
Who is Graveyard Gil?  And why does he have a bomb!!!
Stay tuned to find out!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015