Thursday, September 29, 2011

SUPERS and FINN'S NOTES Updates

Heard from director Tyrus Holden of Collectivitus today regarding SUPERS and FINN’S NOTES.

He expects to have a rough cut of SUPERS by November, but it may take longer as he has a lot of footage to sift through. As far as FINN’S NOTES, Tyrus is hopeful to have a rough cut ready by December.

In addition to these projects, Tyrus is also in the development stages for a project called SPACE CATS, where I hope to be involved.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Good Times On The JACKPOT Set

Wow...what a great day on the JACKPOT set. I don't think I've laughed as much while working on a film.

Director Chantal Eyong kept things nice and loose on the set...allowing me and Austin Begley, who played my son, to improv back and forth in our scenes in a variety of voices (everything from Christopher Walken to Ron Burgundy). Good times!

We worked nonstop from 11:30AM to 4:30PM and knocked all four of my scenes as the previously named JC's Dad...now named Albert (in honor of my father)...out of the park.

Thanks to Chantal for the chance to be a part of the project. It was a pleasure to work with Austin, as well as actress Amanda Bullis, who stars in the film as Sideny.

Friday, September 23, 2011

JACKPOT Shoot Tomorrow

It’ll be an early day for me tomorrow morning, as I will be traveling by train to New Brunswick, NJ to the JACKPOT shooting location.

My four scenes in the film are brief, but I expect to be out in NJ for the entire day, which is fine with me.

I’ve been looking forward to this shoot and am happy that it’s finally happening.

THE CHERRY ORCHARD Last Night

I got a great vibe from director Tyne Rafaeli at last evenings' audition for THE CHERRY ORCHARD.

I read for the role of desperate landowner Pishchik, who despite his financial peril, spends the play relaxing and socializing. It's a wonderful character. Reminds me of Chaplin. Behind the laughs, there's a lot of pain. Great actor stuff!

Tyne had me read a very revealing scene of Pishchik's a few times and each time, thanks to some great adjustments by Tyne, it felt better and better.

We'll see what happens.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Audition Tonight for THE CHERRY ORCHARD

I just snagged an audition for this evening for a production of Anton Chekov's THE CHERRY ORCHARD, to be directed by Tyne Rafaeli, as part of the Columbia University Graduate Theatre Program.

My audition will at the Riverside Church at 9PM this evening.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Audition on September 26th for Short ROCKET MAN

On Monday, September 26th, I will be reading for the role introvert George in ROCKET MAN, about a young boy who mistakes a struggling actor as the real-life version of his comic book superhero and the unlikely friendship that then develops.

Cast In A Fun Role in LINDA LETHORN AND THE MUSIC BOX

I will be playing Purple Green, the twin brother of Orange Green, the character I portrayed in TERRY KENDALL AND ORANGE GREEN in Meg Skaff's next film LINDA LETHORN AND THE MUSIC MAN. Purple Green is a client of Linda's, who works as a pet sitter. The run is a nice supporting role, plus it will be fun to work with Meg again.

We're meeting on October 15th for a photo shoot. Meg wants to get a shot of me as Orange Green and as Purple Green...pictured together...which she will achieve by use of Photoshop.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

JACKPOT Re-Shoot Set For September 24th

The JACKPOT re-shoot is now confirmed for next weekend, September 24th.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Audition for PR Tomorrow

I snagged an audition for the short film PR for tomorrow afternoon.

PR, from director Samuel Miron and Michael Bow. PR is a dramatic comedy about intertwined lives of characters who work at a Manhattan Public Relations Firm that deals with celebrity clients and their career ruining mishaps. The guy I'm reading for Killian, appears to be the new guy in the office, but it turns out that he comes to the firm with considerable baggage.

AUTOPHOBIA Shoot Last Night

Last evenings' AUTOPHOBIA shoot was, as expected. very smooth, easygoing and brief. We shoot my two scenes in a small apartment around the Wall Street area. I played with scenes with a fine actor named Pascal Yen-Pfister, who, it turns out, is involved with KINGDOM COME as an actor. Small world.

Director Chai Dingari hopes to edit his film, projected now to be about 12 minutes in length, as quickly as possible.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Film Threat Review of OVER COFFEE

OVER COFFEE
***

Year Released: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 15 minutes

Andrew (Erik Potempa) is an office worker with a crush on his boss’s assistant, Carla (Jocelyn DeBoer). Stuffy and stiff, the kind of personality that thinks that mocking things might make him appear personable and engaging, Andrew doesn’t really have much going for him; at least nothing that Carla might find interesting. However, when Carla finds herself in a bind without that “special coffee” her boss craves daily, Andrew makes his move to save the day.

Over Coffee is a challenging short to review, mainly in that it is competent in its look, style, direction and acting. In other words, it just is. Save for Andrew’s obnoxious co-worker David (Michael Oberholtzer), who feels like he’s doing his best impression of the “O-Face” guy from Office Space, nothing about the acting feels all that weak. You could maybe look at Andrew’s character, but if he’s supposed to be socially awkward and unimpressive… well, that works for the short. On a technical note, the audio mix could be massaged a bit more, but it’s not awful so… again, middle of the road here.

Over Coffee doesn’t overly engage or impress, though it has a nice twist (you didn’t think Andrew would get to be the hero THAT easy, did you?), and it has an air of sweetness to it that works. It just doesn’t stick with you after watching. Now, you could do a lot worse than making a competent short film, but you could also do a lot better. As far as filmmaking foundations go, filmmaker Sean Meehan has shown that he knows what he’s doing, but there is definitely room for growth.

AUTOPHOBIA Shoot Tonight

Tonights' AUTOPHOBIA shoot should be a quick one, as my two scenes are both very brief, but a lot of fun, so I'm really looking forward to it.

We'll be shooting the scenes in the lower Manhattan area, around Wall Street.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Audition In Early October for ZOMBIE CHRONICLES: THE CASE FILES

In early October, I will be reading for a cool supporting role, of a military captain, in Marvin Suarez's next installment of the Zombie Chronicles: The Case Files.

Just read the script, which is very cool...lots of zombies and the potential for a web series.

Shooting will take place in the first two weekends in November.

Will Re-Team With Meg Skaff on LINDA LETHORN & THE MUSIC BOX

I will be re-teaming with writer / director Meg Skaff on her next project, titled LINDA LETHORN & THE MUSIC BOX.

Here are some details on the project:

Linda LeThorn is a woman in her 30's who makes her living as a petsitter in New York City. Linda’s life suddenly changes when her Great Aunt Lucinda dies. While all of her other family members selfishly scavenge Lucinda’s belongings, Linda is left with a package of useless items sent by her mother. A gold brick from Lucinda’s 40th high school reunion, some old incense from India, and a glass, mirrored music box with bears glued on top of it. Linda's problems start when the music box begins to play by itself. She is overcome with disgusting compulsions that gradually get stranger as they make her life unmanagable. Boils begin to appear all over her body. In one of Linda's hypnosis states brought on by the music box, she creates a Craig's List add, starting a society of women who like to pick at each other's skin. The society starts in a dirty parking garage, but while all of the other women are able to hold their lives together outside of the society, Linda can not. Linda falls in love with a woman named Geraldine, who is the only one who can get her out of the mess she has made.

Meg is still ironing out some script details, but no matter what the role is, I'll be happy to work with Meg again.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Cinema Roll Review of GUNDERSON'S

Short Film Review: Gunderson’s (2011)
Published in Cinemarolling by PeterSanderson, on September 12, 2011

Peter Sanderson reviews Dial Tone Pictures’ bright absurdist comedy short Gunderson’s, starring Max Azulay and Timothy J. Cox.

Dial Tone Pictures’ bright absurdist comedy short Gunderson’s tells the story of Max (Max Azulay), a smartalecky twenty-something who is informed by his doctor (Dan Azulay) at the start of the film that he has contracted an unusual sexually transmitted disease; one that has only one known symptom, a nervous twitch brought on by tense situations. The timing of Max contracting this disease couldn’t be worse as he is about to start a new gig as a substitute health teacher at Argyle High School.

Teaching a roomful of unruly teenagers would make me twitch, disease or no disease, and in Max’s case it doesn’t help his chances for long term employment at the school, even though at first he seems to have an ally in the form of the school’s loopy principal (Timothy J. Cox) who seems to treat the school as more of a place to make friends than to educate, but as the film progresses, that ally is not to be and things only get worse for Max, but the ride along the way will keep you laughing.

Gunderson’s is actually a 15 minute vignette from the proposed miniseries Argyle, written by Azulay, director Matt Porter, Phil Primason and Mallory Westfall.

While Argyle hasn’t officially been released, Gunderson’s has already received some great notices and they are well earned, especially for the intelligent writing of the script.

Director Matt Porter keeps the pace lively and active throughout, but the film mostly succeeds because of the spirited performances, particularly from Max Azulay and Timothy J. Cox.

While it’s hard to believe that anyone so inappropriate would be hired as a teacher (and this guy is really inappropriate) Azulay still brings a charm to his performance as Max, while Cox continues his streak of impressive character turns with his hysterical performance as the downright goofy Principal Cox.

Gunderson’s and the trailer for Argyle are available for viewing at http://dialtonepictures.com/

Thursday, September 08, 2011

AUTOPHOBIA Shoot Set For Thursday Evening, September 15th

I will be shooting my scenes as Frost in AUTOPHOBIA on the evening of September 15th. My scenes are pretty brief, so we should be done in just a few hours.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Cinema Roll Review of TERRY KENDALL AND ORANGE GREEN

Short Film Review: Terry Kendall and Orange Green (2011)

Published in Cinemarolling by PeterSanderson, on September 7, 2011

Peter Sanderson reviews this darkly humorous short film from writer / director Meg Skaff, which stars Brit Charde’ Sellers and Timothy J. Cox.

Terry Kendall is your average twenty something female. She gets up, she works, parties a little and then repeats the process as each new day emerges. She is a valued employee at her job at the local supermarket in Brooklyn, which she takes a lot of pride in, but when a mysterious man begins stalking her, her life begins to unravel.

From reading that opening paragraph, you may get the impression that Terry Kendall and Orange Green, the new short film from writer / director Meg Skaff is a tense horror / thriller with lots of suspenseful chases, perhaps with a killer who is some maniac of the Jason Voorhees oeuvre. I was delightfully shocked as instead I was treated to a darkly humorous film filled with unique and intriguing characters, thoughtfully crafted by writer / director Skaff.

As I watched the film, I couldn’t help but think of the films of Terry Zwigoff, whose own films take a darkly humorous look at the world (Crumb, Ghost World, Bad Santa).

The wonderful thing about short films like Terry Kendall and Orange Green is that you get to see the future of film making grow before your eyes and it’s truly exciting. Hopefully the future involves a return to storytelling and less concentration on cheap thrills and effects. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a number of extraordinary short films over the last year or two and the trend is a fantastic one. As for Ms. Skaff’s mighty impressive short film, shot entirely in the BedStuy area of Brooklyn, it succeeds because of its solid pace, sharp visual style throughout and an engaging performance from Brit Charde’ Sellers, who is perfectly cast as the quirky Terry Kendall, carrying the film with her youthful exuberance and intelligence. Skaff also scores big time in the smart casting of veteran character actor Timothy J. Cox, who wonderfully plays against type, bringing a subtle creepiness (channeling his inner-Norman Bates) to his performance as the stalker named Orange Green. Cox doesn’t say much dialogue in the film, but watch his eyes and they say volumes. If Skaff had gone with some hulking Sid Haig-type, yes you’d be intimidated and scared as hell, but the film would have an overall different tone. Cox’s stalker isn’t intimidating or even scary, but man is he creepy, but even more surprising is that he’s even a little charming.

The only thing that hampers the films’ success is a cartoonish voice over delivered by Anna Calabrese that takes you out of the action a little bit, but aside from that, the film is a real treat, especially if you’re a fan of up and coming talent like I am.

According to her website, Ms. Skaff is preparing for her next project, Linda LeThorn & the Music Box, which sounds very interesting. Give the synopsis a read here: http://megskaff.com/linda-lethorn-the-music-box/about/

For more information on Terry Kendall and Orange Green, including the trailer, excerpt, production photos, and cast/crew information please visit Ms. Skaff’s official website: http://megskaff.com/

JACKPOT Shoot Being Re-Scheduled

I heard from JACKPOT director Chantal Eyong about re-scheduling my shooting day as JC’s Dad in the film. It looks like Chantal is shooting for the end of this month, hopefully the 24th, to knock out my four scenes. I will likely be heading out to New Brunswick, NJ, as originally planned.

Stay tuned for more details.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Movie Rentals Online Review of THE WATCHERS

The Watchers (2010)

****

Directed by: Sy Cody White
Starring: Jeff Moffitt, Timothy J. Cox and Peter Francis Span
Tagline: See you soon.
Favorite line:
Length: 28 minutes

Plot: A man begins to question his own sanity as he comes to realize there are people watching his every move.

Review by Steven McKinley

If you’re a fan of sharp and stylish suspense thrillers in the Hitchcock tradition, then The Watchers, the debut from Two Man Crew Productions, is worth a look, as it serves as a testament that there are great young filmmakers like Sy Cody White, this films’ director, out there and hopefully on the rise.

Shot in New York and all over New Jersey on a shoestring budget, the 28 minute film manages to keep the audience engaged and enthralled from beginning to end with the help of an original story, crisp camera work and excellent performances, especially from star Jeff Moffitt, with his chiseled features and engaging presence, who plays quiet accountant John Porter, the everyman, whose life is unraveling at the start of the film, due to the demise of his marriage and separation from his young daughter, but mostly because he discovers that he is being followed by a series of unusual and frightening individuals. "Watchers" like the gloriously creepy Rich Sab turn up everywhere in John’s life and seem to know a lot about him, driving him to question his own sanity.

For solace, he visits his shrink, Dr. Orwell (a fabulous turn from character actor Timothy J. Cox), but he’s immediately skeptical and dismisses John’s experiences as fantastical and paranoid. Orwell recommends rest for John and then sends him on his way, but after this visit with Dr. Orwell, things only get worse for John. The veteran Cox is exceptional in his brief scene as Dr. Orwell, displaying a certain menace as the doctor, making us wonder if he himself is a "watcher".

There are a few surprising twists as the film progresses, so be sure to pay attention to the details, but the payoff is well worth it.

According to an interview with Moffitt on Blog "Critics Magazine", he and director White sat in a diner in New Jersey and hashed out the entire story and then proceeded to film the project in 8 days, at a cost of only $350. Taking all of this into account, and then you witness the finished product, it makes The Watchers all the more enjoyable, and a true and honest example of stellar independent filmmaking. There are no cheap subplots or attempts at grandiose thrills, just good old fashioned filmmaking.

Let’s see more of this, Hollywood!

Another Fun Collectivitus Shoot

Yesterdays' FINN'S NOTES shoot was, like SUPERS a few weeks before, a lot of fun. Tyrus Holden runs a relaxed, but very professional set. It was a delight watching and working with all of the actors.

Hope to work with Collectivitus again real soon!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

FINN'S NOTES Tomorrow

I have a 10AM call tomorrow at a restaurant/pub in midtown for the FINN'S NOTES shoot. It should be an all day shoot, as it is the all important final scene(s) in the film.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

THE GOOD MAN Update

Later this month, I will be doing some re-shoots and pick up shots of THE GOOD MAN, so I'll be back in Verona, NJ for that.

Rogue Cinema Review of GUNDERSON'S

Film Reviews: Gunderson's (2011) - By Matthew Saliba
Posted on Friday, September 02, 2011
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Comedy may very well be the most difficult genre to pull off in film. It is such a subjective experience that no matter how great the writing, how sharp the direction and how impeccable the timing of the actors may be, even one's best efforts fall on deaf ears if your audience doesn't find your particular brand of comedy funny. Personally, I can't get enough of the absurd, deadpan style of British comedy. It's a style that's been aped with varying degrees of success by American filmmakers and it's definitely on display here in Matt Porter's delightfully funny "Gunderson's."

"Gunderson's" refers to a new STD on the market and its latest victim is none other than Max (Max Azulay). At the beginning of the film, we find Max at the doctor's office where Dr. Grossman (Dan Azulay) informs him that he's contracted Gunderson's disease, an STD with only one known symptom, a nervous twitch brought on by stressful situations, sexual arousal and hunger. Suffice it to say, Max is shocked and after throwing back a few brews with his friends (which include a little kid who's also enjoying some beer in one of the many funny sight-gags in this film) he decides it's best to live each day to the fullest and take life as it comes. Apparently this involves becoming a substitute health teacher at the local school where he regales a classroom of little kids about his sexual escapades and even encourages everyone to come up with two of the most embarrassing sexual situations they've ever been in as a way to break the ice. His days as a teacher are eventually numbered when Principal Cox (Timothy J. Cox) discovers he has Gunderson's, which then leads Max to deliver a subversive take on the whole "Dead Poet's Society"-style inspirational speech to his classroom at the end.

As I mentioned, I love absurd comedy, particularly when it's done with the kind of seriousness reserved for an Andrei Tarkovsky 4-hour meditation on the duality of man. In that regard, "Gunderson's" is my kind of movie. It isn't necessarily a laugh-out-loud kind of comedy, but it's the kind that puts an appreciative smile on your face over how clever the writing and sight-gags are. In many respects, the film reminds of me of "Family Guy" sans the non-sequiturs.

There's also a lot of wonderful performances in the film but the one who immediately comes to mind is Timothy J. Cox who's absolutely sensational as Principal Cox. There's a moment in the film when he's with Max in the hallway and appears very excited over the prospect of listening to Eric Matterson (one of the teachers working there) regale everyone with tales of grading exams in Miami that had me in stitches. Max and Dan Azulay are equally exceptional as Max and Dr. Grossman respectively. Their opening banter about Gunderson's disease is very amusing and sets the deadpan tone for the rest of the film.

The one thing that struck me after watching this film was how I really felt that this could be expanded into a feature film. And then upon visiting Matt Porter's official website, I learned that apparently, "Gunderson's" is an isolated storyline from a medium-length film entitled "Argyle," that features some of the main characters. Though it should be noted that you don't necessarily have the watch the latter in order to enjoy the former.

But if you want to check out both (and I highly recommend that you do) you can do so by visiting Matt's official website at: http://dialtonepictures.com

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Friday, September 02, 2011 @ 07:51:10 Mountain Daylight Time Film Reviews



Rogue Cinema Review of THE TEACHER'S LOUNGE

Film Reviews: The Teacher's Lounge (2011) - By Matthew Saliba
Posted on Friday, September 02, 2011
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"The Teacher's Lounge" is a "docu-film" by jack-of-all-trades filmmaker Marvin Suarez. I'm not quite sure what a "docu-film" is but I can only assume that it's a euphemism used to explain the numerous times in which we see reflections of the camera and lights throughout the course of the piece. But we'll come back to that later.

The film stars Deja Aramburu as Mary, a lazy teacher who spends her time sleeping on the job instead of preparing her test scores as requested by her boss (played with real enthusiasm by Timothy J. Cox). Later on that day, Mary is called in to a meeting with her boss who informs her that he's had his eye on her (in more ways than one) and has decided to promote her. This promotion, however, doesn't come without a price and Mary must choose whether her dignity and self-respect are worth throwing away for the sake of a big fat raise.

The general consensus when it comes to storytelling is that there are only so many tales you can tell before you inevitably reach a dead end and must find new and innovative ways to tell the same stories again. There are filmmakers like David Lynch who pull this off with mind-blowing results and then there are filmmakers who are perfectly content with regurgitating the same concepts over again without even trying to present them in a new light.

Unfortunately, "The Teacher's Lounge" is a film that falls under the latter category.

Granted, as a short film there's only so much story you can tell within the time frame you're working in, but this is a film that doesn't even try to reinvent the wheel. We've seen this story time and again and while another film about sexual harassment at the office is enough to send anyone's eyes rolling toward the back of their heads, I was hoping we would get some kind of twist at the end.

There are many things Suarez could have done with his short. When Mary is threatened into taking her new position for fear her boss will destroy her name and reputation if she doesn't, perhaps there could have been a moment where Mary actually takes the time to ponder this decision and what it would mean for her life. This could have led to a montage where we catch glimpses of her home life. Is she in a relationship? Does she have kids? How would working for a boss who clearly lusts after her affect her family dynamic at home? Here's a kicker, maybe the prospect of working for her boss creates a sexual awakening her. Maybe her husband/boyfriend hasn't paid attention to her in ages and along comes this man at work who's not only promising her a life of financial stability but one of sexual fulfillment the likes of which she isn't receiving with her partner. This excites her immensely and when the montage ends and we cut back to her response, she says, "Yes, I accept." And then boom, fade to black, the end. The film ends on a somewhat ambiguous note but it leaves the audience pondering Mary's fate and a film that has people talking is a film worth watching indeed.

But "The Teacher's Lounge" is as predictable as you imagine a film like this being. It also has a very rushed quality about it, which makes me wonder whether this was made as part of a 24/48-hour filmmaking competition. It would explain the rather amateur approach to the film's cinematography (as mentioned we see the reflection of the camera and lights multiple times) as well as the simplicity of the plot.

To be fair, the film does have a few things going for it. As previously mentioned, Timothy J. Cox turns in a wonderfully slimy performance as the boss. The score by Joe Vitale, Jr. is also quite good at building tension throughout the piece. And contrary to my earlier criticism of the camerawork in the film, there is a beautifully-framed three shot in which the Boss is having a conversation with Robert (another teacher in the film played by Sabar Banks) in the foreground of the frame while Mary is slowly walking down a hallway towards the men on the left-hand side of the frame.

To watch the film and see other examples of Marvin Suarez's work, you can visit his website at: http://www.marvinsuarez.com

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Friday, September 02,

Thursday, September 01, 2011

FINN'S NOTES On Monday Morning

On Monday morning, I will be playing a small role of an arresting officer in FINN’S NOTES, directed by Tyrus Holden of Collectivitus. It’ll be fun to be on set with MIDSUMMER alums Andrew Ash and Heidi Zenz, as well as my good friend and ARSENIC AND OLD LACE colleague Sean MacBride Murray