Monday, 25 July 2011

Tao Of The Dead

Our new film is here!

Fresh from not one but two premieres in Hull, we proudly present Tao of the Dead, our new (you guessed it) Zombie film.  The making of this film could fill several volumes all by itself - it's been a bit of an epic slog to get it from our brains to your eyes, but it's here now and I hope you think it's been worth the wait.

Tao originally started life as 'Candy Jones - Zombie Killer' - a fake trailer for a non-existant horror film about a girl with a shot-gun, who quips, looks good with fire-arms and makes the undead's heads explode.  With this staggeringly original nugget of cinema lodged in our sights, we duly recruited any drunkard who could stagger on command, or who owned a suit of armour, and headed out to Hull's less salubrious locales to start shooting.

Several wet and windy afternoons later (including one where I forgot to take off my make-up after filming and went to the pub, drawing more than a few double takes, and another where we crashed a wedding reception to wash off fake (and not-so-fake) blood (that's real raw liver I'm eating in at least one shot - yummo!)) we were finished, so that means the film would be out soon, right?

Well, that was October 2010, and the film kind of mutated between then and now, first becoming a 'proper' short film, and then changing its title to the one it has now, then losing its original voice over - a kind of Buffy-esque teenage girl's ramblings and gaining the more zen script.

And so we arrived at it's more-or-less finished version two days before it's original screening, which went okay, but after polling the audience and getting some feedback, it was drastically re-edited before the 'real' premiere (the one the previous post was about).  Talk about leaving it until the last moment eh?

All the graphics, blood splats and gun-shots were done on After Effects, most of the filming was done by me, Ed did the editing, along with stirling support and creative input from Pete, a new inductee to Cheapass Films, and judging by his thousand yard stare on exiting the edit suite here at Cheapass Towers, he will probably never touch another film as long as he lives.

Still, we couldn't have pulled it together without him.  And yes, we had zombies at the premiere!  (Big thanks to Janey and Off The Road for putting that on / putting up with us)

Keep it zombie!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Aaaaand, we are back...

Well, that was quite a leave of absence, wasn't it?

Anyway, I just thought I would bring this to your attention...

That's right, it's the premiere of our latest zombie movie.  Two years in the making and anticipated by almost no-one, Tao Of The Dead is yet another no-budget affair with some awesome c.g.i. effects courtesy of yours truly, and some rather nice cinematography, also by me.  

I'll be posting linkage once it's been shown in the real world, but until then enjoy the poster (which is in no way ripped off from Grindhouse) and if you by any chance happen to be in Hull on the 8th of June, then pop down to the Adelphi and check of Tao Of The Dead!  (Half price on the door if you dress like a zombie...)

Also, on a completely unrelated note, if you are feeling hungry (and let's face it, who isn't?)  then point your browser to my new blog Soup Tuesday which has all the foodly goodness your stomach can stomach!  

Tell 'em I sent you...

Sunday, 9 March 2008

23 Part 3 [The End]

Pay close attention in this third part of 23 and you will see a cameo from my good self, complete with gormless expression and stupid hair-cutted girlfriend (hey, it was the early nineties...)

What you won't see however, it the moment I grew dis-illusioned with the whole media / film world and decided to pack it all in and never have anything to do with video cameras and editing suites and actors and scripts and all the other trinkets and baubles that are associated with it. The trauma of making 23, coupled with the general crapness of the Uni course had completely put me off the whole thing.

Kinda ironic that now, after 10 years, I'm probably one of the only people to graduate from the shitty course that are even remotely involved with the media world. That's kinda ironic, right?

Anyway, I do hope you enjoyed this little flashback to the old, analogue ways of making films, before we used computers and ones and zeros. I tell you, the first time I played with an Avid after 3 years of tape to tape 2 machine VHS suites, I almost died. At least, FREEDOM!!! [Although I still maintain the discipline of that way of working teaches tighter editing]

Next time - we make a zombie movie...

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

I am Iron Man [duh-na-nuh-ne-ner-ner-ner]

Okay, I've been a way for a while, due to it being very cold and me being very drunk, but Im back now with regular(ish) posts. Keep ther cheering down, you at the back...

First up - another trailer. Now I know Im meant to be writing about my films and all that junk, but after seeing the Indy trailer and being genuinely excited, along comes another big summer blockbuster which looks like it could be *gasp* pretty good.

Not being a big superhero comics fan, I knew nothing until my neighbour lent me a copy of 'The Ultimates' (thanks Pete!) and while it wasn't Watchmen level awesome, it was still v. cool and it was the first time I'd even heard of Iron Man really, but then I saw the trailer and what do you know, they might have made a superhero film to rival the first Spiderman.

Apart from his arch nemesis is called Iron Monger - seriously WTF? I would be more worried if the wasnt played by His Royal Dudeness, el duderino or just Dude if you're into that whole brevity thing.

It could be a blast, well, until the Watchmen movie kicks it out of the park (fingers crossed....)

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

23 Part 2 [Look at those analogue drop-outs!!!]

So we are back with part 2 of '23', which has the world's most blatant Miller's Crossing rip-off scene ever and some rather dodgy acting.

The shoot at the Humber Bridge [and yes, it is compulsory for every student film shot in Hull to have at least one scene take place here] was one of the worst days of my life. The crew were growing readily more disillusioned with the project, and plain pissed at how crap Uni was [It says a lot that none of the rest of the crew ever did any further work in the media, or as far as I know even pick up a video camera again] and things were starting to unravel at a rate of knots. The Humber Bridge location was scouted on a rainy monday morning, but the shoot was on a glorious saturday afternoon in June, so what had been an out-of-the-way and dull location on Hessle foreshore was suddenly a mecca for picnicking families, dog walkers and other people who enjoy fresh air [the big freaks].

So there we were, running around a crowded park with prop [and rather convincing] guns - oh, did I mention this was 3 days after the Dunblaine massacre? The one where some nutter walked into a school and killed loads of kids? Oh, well, it was, anyway. And even though we'd done the right thing and informed our local police station [who sent a squad car round every hour just to check on us], we still ended up having stand up, knock down arguments with at least three old ladies [it's always old ladies, isn't it?] who thought we were sick, insensitive perverts of the worst kind.

So even though we had technically done everything correct, we were still the victims of circumstance and bad timing. Grrrr

And that was before the mic conked out and the silent genny turned out to be about as silent as a heard of buffalo, and the actors forgot their lines, and the crew were all hung over, and I started to sulk.

Some days I wish I'd stayed in bed...

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Everything Beautiful is Far Away

This is a test render of some animation done for us by the wonderful Mister Jeff Hobbs - part time animation genius, full time tinkerer and all round good egg. The reason it's up here today is twofold. One is that I just remembered I had a copy of it, and the other is to illustrate the point that we here at CheapAss HQ aren't always about the wallowing in past glories - heaven no, we, being thrusting and motivated young bucks of the media world are all about moving onward and upward...

To this end, the animation is part of the development work being done on my next magnificent octopus - Everything Beautiful is Far Away. The title [and the plot, come to think of it] is shamelessly ripped off from a Grandaddy song [but seeing as they split up [boo] a while ago, I'm hoping to dodge any low-flying law-suits]. Locations and script are locked, special effects are being done as we speak and we've even got some posters designed, like this one...

I'll keep you posted on any and all developments as they happen, plus I'll post up some more pre-production stuff as I feel like it.

[Thanks to Darren at X-GF Media for that poster image]

Monday, 18 February 2008

23 Part 1 [Kicking it Old Skool]

In honour of that new Jack Black movie [which Im hearing mixed reviews to, wich is a shame as Michel Gondry is a bit of a genius in my book], today we will be traveling back to the heady days of 1993, when Kurt Cobain still had a face and the internet was just a demented glint in some guy's eye, it was a time when VHS tapes ruled the planet and I spent a lot of time drinking cheap booze in student union bars. Plus, I still had a lot of hair back then, ah yes. my youth - where did you go?

Anyway, the point of that long and rather rambling sentence is to introduce us 23, a film I made as a student at the complete pile of shite known back then as The University of Humberside. So ashamed of it's past was this pale impression of a learning establishment that it changed it's name and slunk across a river to hide.

1993 was also the time when a young Quentin Tarantino held sway over the minds of young and impressionable media students, and naive as I was, I thought I could pull off some kind of homage to Resevoir Dogs, but the twist would be - it would have chicks in it. Yay me!!! No noe ever came up with that twist before. Pat on the head - go to the top of the class. So with a local heavy metal band cast as the bad guys [the Failed Lemmings, where are they now I wonder? Also, we mainly cast them 'cos they had a van], two local am-dram ladies on board as our principles and a dream in our hearts, we set out to make movie magic.

Oh how did it go wrong? We ended up falling out, nearly being arrested, equipment and brains malfunctioned, directors refused to direct and everyone else went and got very drunk. Everyday. For ever.

So that's the scene set - check out the first bit and tomorrow I'll tell you why its not a good idea to shoot blank firing guns in public just after one of the most horrific gun crimes committed on British soil