October 2019 was nutso. We released a new short film, and I went to 3 film festivals in a single month and I had a blast.
I’ve been making videos for ten years now, and we shot our most ambitious short film in April of 2018 entitled, WITCHES GET STITCHES. It was a big production. We had crew members come all the way up from Boise, we did months of rehearsals and test films, then for one (very windy windy) day we filmed. It turned out great! With a move across the state, and our film being good enough to justify a much longer festival run. We decided to shoot something short and sweet to release in 2019 so we had more time for WITCHES GET STITCHES.
SKIN OF HER TEETH is what we call it. It took a half a day to shoot, and I think it turned out pretty good, and it looks great! It had its challenges in shooting, but we will have a more in depth post on its FILM PAGE (Just like we’ve done with GOOD DOGGIE, we’re gonna write in depth BTS for all our film pages this year).
But the most fun thing so far is the three film festivals we went to in the month of October. Now I know to a lot of filmmakers it’s probably not a big deal to go to three fests in a month, but it was a new and AWESOME experience for me (I don’t get out much).
WITCHES GET STITCHES Premiered at the PORTLAND HORROR FILM FESTIVAL in June 2019, and they screened it early at the Hollywood Theater as part of their Satanic Panic preview night. Both screenings were awesome!!! The house was packed and ready to wince, jump, and laugh. It had been a few months since then, and I had done 6 new versions of the short… I guess I was just getting over seeing it. But then…
TACOMA FILM FESTIVAL 10/8/2019
Until I went to the TACOMA FILM FESTIVAL. I was really excited to get into this festival. It’s relatively local to me, just up the I-5 a couple hours, and it’s pretty consistently named one of MovieMakerMagazine top 50 Film Festivals Worth the entry fee. It’s a pretty good set of locals for this kind of backwoods rural filmmaker.
It was Fancy, it was in this cool little theater in downtown Tacoma. Historic and fancy (at least by my standards). They were screening all day for several days on, at least, two screens. There were a lot of flicks. They had a VR space, a crap ton of fancy parties, and the MOST DELICIOUS COOKIES in the filmmaker lounge.
I had to go back home to work on Monday, but I drove back up Tuesday and watched our short in a packed house. I met a couple cool people, saw some great shorts and they put me up in this really generous guys house. It was a cool experience to go, and I learned a lot.
It’s okay to stay in a strangers house, they are just as worried about you being a
creep as you are about them.
Even if you’re socially anxious at these film festivals, go to the parties. They
might be holding them in an old Magicians house… and no one will notice if you leave just after you take a picture of the toilet.
Just shut up and let the stranger’s cat crawl on your face… it’s easier that way.
KILLER VALLEY HORROR FILM FESTIVAL 10/11/2019
This fest was fun. It was a bit more of a drive then I expected, but Ashland OR is beautiful in the fall (I guess lots of places are, but I liked it so shut up!).
I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I had trouble finding the theater… and that’s because it wasn’t a theater. It was a film festival in a community center. It’s kind of a fundraiser for these other BACKWOODS RURAL FILMMAKERS, just like me. It was really cool, it reminded me of when I used to organize zombie walks. I was taken aback at first, but after the screening started and I heard the crowd in the small room start reacting to the shorts, I changed my tune.
The people that showed up were there and ready for horror, and horror/comedy. We got some really big laughs, and the organizers were really nice.
Don’t be a judgmental prick. Just because you came from a fancy schmancy film
festival the week before doesn’t mean that this crowd reaction won’t make you feel amazing!
Even at these little festivals you can meet some cool people. There was somebody from CryptTV, who was nice. The organizers were just down to earth awesome people!!
Hotels don’t have cats that want to crawl on your face… hotels are okay I guess.
IDAHO HORROR FILM FESTIVAL 10/18/2019
This was my favorite of the month, not just because we won, but because most of the cast and crew came down with us.
It was great, all month I have been walking into the lions den of anonymity and anxiety by myself. This festival I had a whole crew of people with me that I know and love. Not only that, I have been screening at this festival for six years now. So I knew a bunch of people there.
(Idaho Horror Film Festival 2015)
There’s part of me that wants to site other screenings as my best festival experiences. I’ve screened in packed theaters, and it was exhilarating. I've seen a theater of people jump at something I’ve made, and I’ve been to fests where they pay for your room and have fancy boat parties (not that I went to the fancy boat party, I can’t handle that kind of social weirdness). All of that in consideration, I have simply never had a better festival experience than I did at 2019 IDAHO HORROR FILM FESTIVAL.
It was incredible, I met my best friends at a place where I have made some newer friends. I got to merge two groups of people I care about for the first time, and I got to show them why I love this weird art that I do. We had continental breakfast together, we avoided normal social interactions together, we ate Olive Garden, greasy pizza, and sat uncomfortably in the corner of a loud bar together. OK, I realize a lot of my good memories involve food… I love that we love food together.
It was great, we got to sit in a beautiful theater and watch the thing we worked so hard on, and it wasn’t bad at all. It looked good on the screen, and the cast and crew knew it. After the screening we took pictures of each other in front of the logo wall. Later that night after (what seemed like forever) we got called from our little corner of the bar to accept our award.
I cried when my best friend told me he was proud of me, not that this is a huge deal, I cry at everything. I cried when we met to talk about the plan for the weekend too. I felt moved when I saw my friends happy at the work they had done. I felt connected to my friends from Boise that told me they cared about me and wanted me around.
Then immediately after these uncomfortable moments of sincerity, we escaped that loud ass bar and hopped on rental scooters. We rode around on bike paths, and parking lots, giggling like teenagers on their first night of independence. We only looked like 40 years people with bad backs and 401Ks. I bet we looked strange, but it felt AMAZING!!
(Side note: They gave Chelsey Stardust (Side-side note: ALL THAT WE DESTROY is awesome!) an award there too. I was standing there, just having won an award and I thought, “you’re okay and cool enough to talk to a cool director” and I marched right over there, mumbled something and escaped quickly. (Deep cut side note: I need to get better at talking to people I admire))
I really wish I had some great way to summarize the way I felt about that weekend. After years of culminating friendships at home, and friends at this festival; it finally all came together in a venn diagram that eclipsed itself with my favorite experience and people.
Actually that’s not too bad, a little “wordy” but that works I guess.
If you can, share your favorite experience with your favorite people.
Rental scooters make everything AWESOME. #scootergang
Filmmaking is hard, but it’s worth it if you can do it with your friends.
So that was the month of October 2019 for me. It was a great experience.
Filmmaking is hard. It’s not hard work, digging a ditch is hard work. Filmmaking is challenging, not just intellectually, but in an emotional endurance sort of way. I have wanted to quit so many times. Something will go wrong, (SOMETHING ALWAYS GOES WRONG) but I just gotta get it done. All these people have shown up to help me do my silly little vanity project, and I do not want to disappoint them. Sometimes the personal pressure I put on myself drives me nutso…
… It helps that now I have this month to think about. This month I went from fancy to down to earth. From being alone and isolated, to being together with my favorite people. It was a roller coaster that makes me feel like this thing I do isn’t so stupid. Thinking about this month makes me want to do more filmmaking. Even if it takes another 10 years to reproduce this feeling, it'll be worth it.