Sunday, December 2, 2012

APACHE RELEASE - IT'S FINALLY HERE!: Dates, A Poster & Theatrical Trailer

Apache is finally getting a December release, December 7th @ 7:00pm. If you're unable to make the SUNY Purchase screening, you will have another chance to catch the film online on December 28th.

I will be on LNN this week to talk with Chris Murphy on his new show, Student Film Showcase. They just had a successful premiere last week, in fact. To watch the episode, tune in THURSDAY @ 10pm!

Also, enjoy the new poster by fellow set-builder for the film, Daniel Koy--and the new theatrical trailer!!

+ More good news...

Director of Photography and Excecutive Producer, Daniel Kharlak was honored with the award for Second Place Narrative at this year's SUNYWIDE Film Festival for his Junior Thesis, "Stolen Memories", for which I was Producer and Director of Photography.

In other news, I'm currently casting for my next project which I will be announcing this week with the launch of my new kickstarter project. I've had success in the past, raising the funds to produce my Junior Thesis. Hopefully we'll see the same luck twice.

Stay tuned!

Raw Power,
John Morgan

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What is "APACHE"?

Apache has been my focus for the past year. A sci-fi action comedy with almost no rules. It is ridiculous, in the vein of anything-goes type entertainment--Saturday Morning Cartoons for adults, if you will. It's an homage to the greats, and not-so-greats of the sci-fi film and television genre.

Originally conceived as an outlandish television pilot, the film became a sort of self-destructive anti-plot. There remain a few logic gaps, and it's certainly attempting to adapt a style of its own with a micro-budget approach. What I think is really working is the devotion of a cast and crew that greatly appreciates the genre. Everyone involved contributed a countless number of their own influences from the genre (as well as hours). My brother Nick especially went out on a limb to contribute incredible f/x make-up and on-set effects. Daniel Kharlak served a very bold and impressive display of talent as Cinematographer, and without his contributions as Co-Producer the film would not have continued past its first week. From story, script, art direction, production design, props, costumes, production, and finally to the editing room, I've worked with somewhere near 40 or more people on this production, and its about to see its last few weeks in post-production this month.

Since its original conception, everything about Apache was epic and old school. I had decided from the start that miniatures would be used for the space ships, f/x make-up for the role of Orin was a definite, and because there were ships, that meant a number of interior sets had to be designed and constructed. In total, six sets were designed, built and dressed for the film. Five miniatures were constructed for in-space and brief live-action visual effects. A slew of props, including space-age looking rifles, hand guns, and elaborate set pieces were accumulated over the course of nine months leading up to principal photography. I spent those nine months designing everything from the ground up while holding a job as a waiter in Greenwich Village.

So why have I not written anything about it until now? Well I didn't want to jinx it. I knew this production was going to be huge, and so I took the opportunity to go all in and not say that anything was for sure. Filmmaking means taking risks, as I inadvertently learned from 'Alone Together'. I should expect to lose everything at any moment on a low budget indie or otherwise, and not be afraid to try something new. This time I decided to go all in and make a hardcore sci-fi. The influences range from Roger Corman to George Lucas and Repo Man to Cowboy Bebop. It's a mix of everything I love about sci-fi, especially the brand I was raised on.

Concept Art
A test shoot for miniatures
An early design of the Apache

Max Lewin shooting a take.
A screen grab from the miniature effects test shoot.
Working with John Castaldo (Production Designer)
Scale model
Flats constructed for the Bridge
Day before production

End result

These photos only constitute a small block of the tedious steps involved in putting this production together. I'll certainly post more later. For now, enjoy the trailer.

Apache is a sci-fi short that follows a rag-tag mercenary trio in the year 2075. Just scraping by, contracting and smuggling, the gang struggles throughout the known galaxy to survive on the fringes of a newly colonized network of planets.

In this episode, "Against The Current", the Apache crew plots to kidnap a war criminal from a local gang on Alpha Prime, but is caught off-guard once they've discovered the war criminal is not simply what he appears to be.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dancing Zombie exists on YouTube, but here in the New Year...

Hey Everyone,

I haven't written on this blog in a long time for a number of reasons... but I guess it's more important to think about the future as opposed to dwelling in the past. Dancing Zombie Productions has been for me, a long-lasting name with which I've proudly stamped my films over the years, but times are changing, as is my entire outlook towards independent production. Though Dancing Zombie was never an officially licensed production company, though I tried hard to make it happen, New Frontier will be the name of my new production company as I shift over into the new year.

With this new name, there is a new production under way, one that I don't want to become overexcited about, but that I think is certainly a bold step towards independent production, and should hopefully help get me on my feet once I graduate from college.

I've taken time off from school this year, but not from film making. I've worked intensively over the past ten months raising money, writing and conceiving this new project. Just this month my crew and I completed principal photography and we're looking forward to another unit next month and in early February. Wish us luck, we certainly need all the help we can get.

As for Alone Together. It's with tremendous patience and stubbornness that I've continued to re-write and continue with my plans to transcribe the screenplay into a graphic novel. It should be finished by next year.

In the meantime, this blog will exist until further notice, and a proper domain can be acquired for New Frontier.

I wish all of you a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year.

John Morgan

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Alone Together Update, ZMDb, Source Code and more...

Hello followers. It's long overdue that I return to you with some news of what's happening with not only lingering productions, but what has happening outside of production.

Alone Together has truly turned into the bane of my existence I could easily say. Due to camera malfunctions and negligent working relationships, the film exists only in it's script form, and with nothing to show of its live action retelling. In essence, the film has failed, but I refuse to see it end as grimly as that. I've spent over a year on this story and I'm determined to have it told one way or another.

Alone Together is currently being revamped for its graphic novel publication, featuring photographic landscapes and hand drawn characters, all done by me. I feel very broken about how this film fell apart, it came at a very inconvenient time for me, personally, and with it, I harbor a seriously passionate conviction to have the story finally come to fruition through some sort of medium.

Why a graphic novel?

Well aside from being a very performance heavy script, the film relied very much on visuals. I think it sets the mood very significantly. The very fact that it's set in New York sets it up in a concrete jungle where our characters are playing hide-and-seek literally and metaphorically. The subtext is as deeply embedded in the dialogue as it is in the  landscape. So I've decided the backgrounds-- all the environments in the novelization--will be photographed.

Of course, in return for their generosity, everyone who contributed to the project will receive digital copies of the graphic novel along with a complete collection of all of my short films and production updates on my next production, Apache.

What is Apache? I can't reveal that right now, but what I can say is that is going to be one hell of a ride. And no, there will not be another Kickstarter to run this new production. It'll be strictly my own investment. Doing the best I can with what I have.
So as I see these two productions through I have some things for you to check out in the meantime. First is Killer's Kiss on the Kubrick et le Web site till the end of July. Second, three of my films were recently featured on the Zombie Movie Database, with reviews by the editor, David Oakes, PhD--a professor from South Texas College. The films include "Evil Film", "From The Dark" and "Curse of the Dragon Egg: The Lost Film".He seemed to really enjoy the films... But what is "Curse of the Dragon Egg: The Lost Film" you ask?

Emily Tomasik in "Curse of the Dragon Egg: The Lost Film"
'Curse of the Dragon Egg' is an homage to Euro-Shock zombie films of the 1970s. I sent it to David along with my entire film collection as a sort of throw-away, but in the end, David really seemed to like it. So in light of its positive reception, I'll have the film posted online for your viewing pleasure.

Also from my sophomore year is my adaptation of Duncan Jones's sci-fi thriller "Source Code"  and a couple collaborations with Caleb Foss, whose new short film "Receiver" was truly a wonder to work on. I've thus far worked as cinematographer on four of Caleb's films. Each one, a wonderful experience... Here for you are Caleb Foss's and my adaptations of an early draft of Duncan Jones's "Source Code" and two films I was also cinematographer on for Caleb Foss, "Iterations" and "Social Courtesy". You may also recognize the infamous Mike Hart in the credits and also, the recurring talents of Shane Sheehy (Evil Film, From The Dark).

The Pipe (A Source Code Parody) by Caleb Foss

Social Courtesy by Caleb Foss

Soon to come once I get a hold of an HDV deck are some early 16mm shorts from my freshman year, so keep an eye out for those as well.

In the meantime, I'm holding down a job waiting tables, looking for freelance work and production internships, but primarily I've been focused on these new projects, especially, whats in store for the winter.

I'll be returning to Purchase College in the spring semester, but until then, I'll be drafting another junior film script. Something smaller and more down to earth this time--something I could shoot twice on even a shoestring budget. I've got a treatment now I'm working with. I'll see where it takes me.

For now, stay tuned. I'll be posting more frequently with more updates and more goodies along the way.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Technicolor Daydreams: Online + Killer's Kiss in "Kubrick et le Web"/ La Cinematheque Francaise

- For the latest Dancing Zombie video content, visit -

So, as I mentioned before, I was collaborating with a dance student named Yael Baifus on a multimedia-arts collaboration. Just last Friday, Yael and I unveiled our piece during the run of Junior projects under evaluation by the SUNY Purchase Dance Conservatory faculty. Here then are both a final cut of the abstract imagery I produced and a recording of the live performance.

In addition, posted are also a few screen caps from the film which I think make for some seriously groovy desktop backgrounds.

Enjoy both the performance and the imagery. Together they make up what Yael Baifus described as our own Technicolor Daydreams.

In the meantime, I'm moving into production on my new film that will be opening up MADArt next month. Also, Santino's kickstarter just recently reached its goal with tons of time to spare!! I'll keep you all updated as more emerges. In the meantime, enjoy feeling yourselves disintegrate.

Update (3/23): 

Cinematheque Francais has just posted their online exhibition entitled "Kubrick et le Web" where you can now watch "Killer's Kiss" and three other video submissions, along with over 400 other pieces all having to do with the late, great Stanley Kubrick and his legacy. Here also is a link to Cinematheque's entire Kubrick Exhibition open through July [LINK].

The best of web creation on Kubrick

The Cinémathèque française launches an ambitious project: to present on its website the best web creation on the Kubrick legend. Graphic artists, video artists, stylists, plastic artists: a whole generation of creative talents has turned to the work of Kubrick over the past 15 years, paying homage to him, questioning his work, remixing it, etc. The adoration of these artistes for Kubrick will be the occasion to highlight the modernity of a film director adopted by a host of netsurfers all over the world, and whose works will be united for the first time in the same place. 

Raw Power,
John Morgan