FORGE Trailer

Here’s the trailer. If you loved/hated Solaris and The Fountain, then you’ll love/hate this!

FORGE Benefit Screening at the Hollywood


FORGE will play at 7pm on Wednesday June 1st at the Hollywood Theater. Tickets are available at the door for $7.

Or buy them in advance here:

Students are $5, and anyone with an Art Institute of Portland ID (faculty, staff, student, grad) is $5. Free for cast and crew.

All proceeds go to the theater! So please come out and support them. Even if you don’t want to see the movie, buy a ticket! Buy concessions! Bring everyone you know!


Festival Summary pt 2

Let me say right off the bat that the Thriller! Chiller! Festival in Grand Rapids, Michigan was EXACTLY what a film festival should be. The theater was awesome, the films were great, there was a great turnout, and best of all the organizers, Chris, Keith, and Anthony, completely get it. The best festivals know how to highlight local filmmakers without forgetting about out-of-towners… and vice versa. Some festivals kiss ass all over the visiting directors while ignoring the locals, or they have a local hero and the strangers wander around awkwardly as nobody talks to them. Not here. I was treated like one of their own which I greatly prefer to being held up like a celebrity.

They launched the opening day with a local feature film called “GR30k” by Dan Falicki. If you can track it down, you should. It’s hilarious. SUPER low budget, but really fun to watch. And even more fun in a crowd of 300+. The place was PACKED for the premiere night. I was convinced that once the local film was done, the rest of the weekend would be empty, but every movie playing had 30 or more people in it which is great considering how many movies they screened. When FORGE played, there were over 80 people there. The movie got a great response. The really weird thing is that the energy in the room was so good that I didn’t cringe during the slow exposition scenes like I do when I watch with a crowd. They laughed at the right places and reacted vocally at the “shocking” parts. It was almost like my mom told them all to be encouraging on my behalf.

I really like FORGE as a movie and I’m proud of the accomplishment, but it’s really hard to “put it out there.” I waffle back and forth about not doing another movie, but now I feel like doing one just so I can go back to the Thriller! Chiller! fest.

Festival Summary pt 1!

The movie played at five festivals in total last year (2010). Of those, I went to International Film Festival Ireland, and Thriller! Chiller! in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

IFFI was a lot of fun and I met great people, but as a festival it was poorly attended (only one or two locals for most films), and not a lot was invested in it in terms of screenings or marketing. It took place in three “theaters” simultaneously. As you may recall, the home of the festival was a huge manor house in the Irish countryside outside of Clonmel. The main screening room was a medium-sized banquet hall and had a decent pair of rented speakers, a big pop-up screen, an ok projector, and a cruddy DVD player. Room 2 was an unused bar in the manor house had an older DVD player attached to a projector and a boom box. Not a big ghetto blaster, a small 4″ speaker boom box with an aux input. There was an 8′ home movie screen in there. The room had about five chairs and a couple bench seats. The only time I ever saw anyone in there was when I busted some teenagers making out. They were employees of the hotel. The third screening area was a small pub in the town of Clonmel. I went in there once, but the guy who was shuffling DVDs had taken a break and the current movie was on the menu screen. Again, 8 foot screen, dvd player, boom box, seating for 25, maybe.

Overall, it was a great experience because so many filmmakers turned out for the festival. My screening in particular had nearly 40 people. One of the best attended of the whole week. That was fun/rewarding. They gave me an award for Best Feature Film North America, but then several other North American films won other awards… in fact EVERY filmmaker in the room won an award. So I guess it was more of a “thanks for showing up” award, but I appreciated the event. I think the festival was more a “keep the hotel in business” than a film event, but I had a great time.

Stay tuned for the Michigan recap in Part 2!

The Laurels

Check it out.

Festival Bound!

Sorry for the hiatus from the blog, but not much new has happened on the project. I hope to start working on the behind-the-scenes shorts in the next few weeks so the site will be a little more active then.

But the REAL announcement is that FORGE has been selected for the International Film Festival Ireland. The festival is in its second year and had nearly 200 films last year. That’s pretty sweet. I’m psyched about the potential for exposure at any level. I’m definitely going. Maybe Jason can scrounge up a few bucks and go with me.

We were rejected from the Another Hole in the Head sci-fi fest in San Francisco. Since the IFFI is the first festival acceptance, I’m feeling better about the movie’s prospects.  I’m not looking for any kind of sale, just exposure and networking.  I met a lot of great people at festivals in the past. If I can be frank for a moment, allow me to give you an observation that I’ve made over the past couple years…  Festivals need to be two-way scenarios.  If a festival is only in it to draw some attention to some dirt town in the middle of Arkansas, then you’re not really helping yourself by going.  If you really want to make some connections, make sure the festival you’re submitting to draws industry people.  Or at the very least, draws people!  See if you can find out what the attendance numbers were the previous years.  Ok, that was a lead-in, not the observation, most people know that part already.  The observation is that since everyone can get their hands on quality gear and make an inexpensive film (as we did), the festival scene has become a beast that feeds on itself.

It’s a two-headed monster…  Head One)  The small- to mid-level festival scene is attended by dozens of sickening mirror images of myself; doughy white guys with a penchant for the latest Apple products and software workflows who all own an Ex-1, HVX, and/or a DSLR and have ten below average screenplays on their laptop.  This kinda bums me out because there’s nothing new in the sauce.  It’s like an infinite loop of people who will never get past this stage of filmmaking.  Everyone will trade quotes from Soderberg, Aronofsky, Rodriguez, and Tarantino, and talk about Brick, Paranormal Activity, Moon, and other inexpensive overnight successes.  I can already picture it:  “What did you shoot on?”  “Edit on Final Cut?”  “Where did you get the money?”  Ugh.  There’s a strange irony to people who desperately want to be part of a group while they dream about being the next big thing.  That is exactly me, except that I don’t really want to fit in, and I’m not that crazy about Apple products.

Head Two)  There is no better place to meet people than a festival.  Yes, you are subject to people who are just like you, looking for the same things as you, and trying to figure out what you can do for them.  But there is always the chance that you’ll make a real friend who you stay in touch with and commiserate over the disease that is cinema.  On top of that, financing can be found at almost any festival.  All it takes is one wealthy benefactor to say, “How much do you need for your next one?”  So despite all the griping and grumping about film festivals, I will go.  It’ s a love/hate relationship, but I will go because more often than not, you meet good people, and any opportunity to play your project is a good one.

It only takes one person to pluck you from the swamp of mediocrity and give you a chance, but you won’t find that person if you’re living in a vacuum.

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The Next Phase

So now that what I consider to be the filmmaker’s highest obligation has been fulfilled (screening the movie for everyone who worked on it and supported it), what’s next?

I’ve sent copies to a few places including Traction Media, Protozoa Pictures, and Portland’s own Seth Sonstein who has a Midas touch when it comes to finding distribution for projects.  If a distributor or rep company put a few more bucks into finishing, the movie could do ok at festivals.  I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished, but it’s important to be realistic about what it takes to get a movie played out there.

So, a few months of rest to get my teaching chops back on par, and then spend the rest of the year getting FORGE out there.  Oh, and maybe I’ll try writing a novel… a lot cheaper and nobody waiting for it to get done!

Cast & Crew Screening!

Thursday, March 18th, 9pm at the Clinton Street Theater.  $2 with A.I. ID.  $5 for everyone else.  Free for cast and crew!

Clinton Street Theater, 9pm, March 18th.

The Stages of Complete

When you work on big, multi-layered project like a movie, you hit several major finishing points… kind of like the end of “Return of the King.” Pardon the dork movie reference (as opposed to a movie dork reference which would be something from Truffaut), but it totally fits. You arrive at a number of stages where you could call the movie “over.” But unlike “Return of the King” I’m not adding additional endings, I’m making technical adjustments.

After the first completion, the movie is watchable for 85% of the people out there. That is to say that 85% of people wouldn’t notice any difference if you made fixes. But you make fixes anyway. Then you hit a spot where 90% of people wouldn’t notice, then 95%. But you keep tweaking the movie, you know why? Because all of your friends – other writers and filmmakers, the people whose opinions really matter – are the people who fall in the 98% and above category!

But I’m “finished” enough to book a screening!  I’m having lunch with Seth on Thursday so I’ll let you all know what I can work out with him.  I’m sure it’ll be a few weeks so we have time to promote it, but it’ll be great to get everyone together.  Cast and crew will be in attendance!  We’ll see the movie at the Clinton Street, then have a wrap party at Dots.  Sound good?

I’ll also be posting some “before and afters” over the next few days to show a little bit of the process.  And check out TheFORGEProject on Facebook.  Become a fan!

VFX plate before

Finished VFX frame grab.

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A man tries to save his reclusive scientist brother from slipping permanently into madness while struggling with the power of a stolen technology. Written & Produced by Colin O'Neill. Directed by Jason Windsor.