Wednesday, December 1, 2010

93% Earned on Kickstarter, 16 Days Left; Mike Hart's Triumphant Return; Hudson Guild Promo Now Online!

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So much has happened since my last post, and as I step into December, I won't be able to post an update until February. By then I'll be starting up on post and will be able to keep you all excited with brief glimpses of the production as I move into Spring. Meanwhile, backers will receive exclusive updates and have access to my online photo gallery which will document a lot of the shoot.

Speaking of backers, my Kickstarter fund has been doing splendidly, and with much thanks to the people who attended the Kick Out The Jams!! Benefit Concert on November 20th! We managed to raise $88.51. That, combined with various cash donations received prior, the accumulated amount has now boosted my project to 93%, hinging on only $98!!!
Swear And Shake

Kevin Henthorn ft. John Cummings

If in case, you didn't read on Kickstarter, I arranged the Kick Out The Jams!! Benefit Concert at SUNY Purchase College, and showcased five awesome bands that drew quite a crowd. Here are some photos, just to give you an idea.

Second Nature
Tymon Brown
Swear And Shake

Second Nature... getting low

Also related to Alone Together, just recently Mike Hart (Composer for Evil Film, Herbert West: Reanimator and Source Code [adaptation]) acquired a copy of the script and had this to say on his new blog Composing While Colorblind:

"Alone Together" tells the story of a hitman tasked to eliminate his next target, an ex-spy, with whom he falls in love. While the script is not completely finalized yet, it's equal parts touching, tragic, suspenseful and euphoric, as well as one hell of an entertaining read. Even without actors, the dialogue speaks for itself in an entirely human way. In terms of scoring, there's a couple of ideas kicking about in my head already. Certainly the film noir genre style of writing may come into effect, but a much more modern, tragic score may be called for as well. We'll see once I start getting footage."

Mike and I are extremely excited to be working together again, and especially on such an eventful project. I know he'll cook up something brilliant.

Aside from fund raising and Alone Together, the long awaited Hudson Guild Teen Outreach Promo is now online! The video features coverage on the Hudson Guild Theatre Company's Production of Hula Heart and Hudson Guild's Teen Service's Production of The Great Escape. Both pieces are reeled together in one video, but both run at about five minutes long. It was quite the adventure seeing this project through and I'm so glad to finally see it online. Enjoy!

Until next time, I leave you with these treasures, and a reminder to check out my Kickstarter pitch if you haven't already. I'm SO CLOSE to my goal, it hurts. As little as a dollar will get you a copy of the film. BUT if you give more, expect more in return... and by more, I mean really awesome gifts along with the film.

Thanks again to everyone who's shown their support and wish me luck for these next couple of months. It's time to make this movie happen.

Raw Power,
John Morgan

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kickstarter Breaks $1000, 43 Days Left; Casting Continues

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A brief update is necessary to celebrate that in only a week, my kickstarter project broke $1000, and now stands 23 backers strong.

Help out and see good karma at work!

Also, I just recently backed three film projects on Kickstarter! Here are links to those projects:

(A short film by Dan Onoda)
Thunderstruck (A short film by Ryan Guiterman)
Armed Robbery (A short film by Dan McCartney)

Still $400 away!! Help out if you can!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Eighth Draft of "Alone Together" Completed, 26% Raised on Kickstarter!

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Just to give a quick update...

So far, I've raised 26% of my $1400 goal on Kickstarter. Thanks to all those who've contributed! I can't wait to give out copies once the film's completed. If you're interested in the project, or would like to help out--here's the pitch, which should also link you to the project page, if you'd like to learn how to contribute!

Currently, the latest draft seems the second-to-last. Significantly tighter. This next draft will be for fine tuning, and finding ways to conserve money, by being more selective with locations. Also, Tuesday last week marked the beginning of casting sessions with wonderful results. A lot of potential talent came and read, with call-backs soon to follow.

At the moment, I'm looking to solidify a final shooting schedule and secure locations for January. I've also been in talks with my Costume Designer, Kassia Dombroski and just assigned my Production Designer, Zoe Miller. The three of us will be working very closely with them in the next couple months to decide on the look and feel of the film. I'm especially excited to be working with Zoe Miller for the first time, especially since she works for a prop house and says we're likely to get discounts... and access to some pretty awesome props, of course.

Aside from my work on "Alone Together", Hudson Guild just reviewed my promos for their Teen & Youth Outreach Program, and I'll be sending them a re-cut by next week. Hopefully you'll be seeing it online soon, especially since there aren't very many changes to be made.

Jordan's still plugging away at "Duck, Duck, Goose" and is aiming to have all of the animation finished by December at the very latest.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kickstarting "Alone Together": Shooting in Early January

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Hey Folks,

Been hard at work on pre-production for "Alone Together" and now's the time to raise funds in time for production. There isn't a whole lot of time, so why don't I just get right to the point: [LINK!]

This widget here will be relocated to the right margin of the page, and represents my new effort to raise money for "Alone Together". The link leads to my Kickstarter page. If you're not familiar with Kickstarter, it's an online community in which artists, inventors, etc. pitch their next project with hopes to raise the funds they need in order to make their projects into realities. If you've been following the blog, you must have a pretty good idea of the kind of work I've been doing in making "Alone Together" into my next heavy hitter.

UPDATE! (10.15.10):

Just got my first backer! As a special thanks to Peter Foy, he'll be receiving a Special Thanks credit in the film for helping me get my start. If you haven't followed the link already, here's the pitch video!

I'm glad to report the script is currently well into its eighth draft and steadily making progress. I serious feel this might be the second-to-last draft and I'm so extremely excited to get it finished. Casting starts next week. I just recently assigned a production designer, and am currently looking for a Director of Photography.

In other news, Jordan's still animating "Duck, Duck, Goose" and the Hudson Guild promo is being evaluated this week by the administration there. We'll be seeing these two projects fairly soon. Just recently I mentioned I was Director of Photography for a couple sophomore one-shot adaptations at SUNY Purchase. Soon enough I'll be getting a hold of those links and handing them off to you.

Well, I have to keep moving. Lots to do. Thanks for your support, and be sure to spread the word!

Raw Power,
John Morgan

Friday, September 24, 2010

It's Getting Drafty In Here

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Hey Folks,

Just a quick update. Got my external hard drive, so we'll be seeing the promo by the end of the month (or beginning of October). I've also been asked to storyboard a film for a Senior at SUNY Purchase College, named Elliot Lobell. It's strange, since he doesn't want any moving shots, so I'll have to be creative as far as composition and expression goes. But it's very exciting because it's a stop-motion animation and he had his character model designed and constructed by one of the puppeteers from Henry Selick's"Coraline". Wish me luck!

I got an update from Jordan. He says things are moving slowly but surely on "Duck Duck Goose".... patience is a virtue. It is tough to contain myself. I'm very excited to get it finished, even though it is something of a silly off-the-wall animation. It is very cool just to see it all come to life. You can check previous posts for animatic stills from the project.

At the moment I have over 200 actors and actresses shoving their way to get into "Alone Together". A surprising turnout considering it's a student project, but I've already seen some potential candidates. The script is now on to draft 6...? Maybe 7. Around there. It doesn't matter. Point is, I'm really feeling it wrap up. It might need just a little bit more tweaking after this draft, but otherwise the characters and story are set. Now it's time to determine a budget, get the locations secured and find the talent. It's happening folks! Pinch me! I'm dreaming!... Alright, maybe a little to excited. If you like, you can pinch me out of spite, I'll appreciate it all the same.

In more recent ventures, I helped out a couple of Sophomores as Director of Photoraphy on one-shot scenes. One was an adaptation of a scene from Jean-Luc Goddard's "Contempt" and the other was an adaptation from a Batman graphic novel. If they make it online, I'll post the links.

Lastly, I'll note that I'm planning on making a presentation in my Sci-Fi lecture course. I've got a few things lined up to show and discuss. I'm kind of nervous since I've never really done a college presentation before, but I feel pretty confident with the material, so... Who knows how it'll go? Wish me luck!... Gee, how many times have I asked that of you? Oh, who cares. I need as much luck as I can get. It's a jungle out there. Best be prepared. No luck? Bring a spear.

Happy Hunting,
John Morgan

Sunday, September 12, 2010

During The Break

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So you might be wondering where I've been... Well, my external hard-drive's been acting up, and with such tight cash constraints, I've had little opportunity till now to purchase a new drive to back things up on. Luckily that time has come, and once it does, you'll have the opportunity to finally see the promo I've been fussing about all this time.

Right now I'm really wrapped up in pre-production for "Alone Together" and am starting to place casting ads in various places. It's odd how the world of casting has changed so much since the birth of the internet. Now it's the producers seeking the talent--not vice, versa. Who knows what I'll find?

As of now, I've got Jenn Boronow signed as the producer and Minoo Allen as my casting director. Both are promising camera-swinging film jockeys, and I'm amped to have them on my side for this production. What's just bound to happen is the scramble for more money. Soon enough I'll be introducing a new Kickstarter page to fund the film, and am looking for all the help I can get. The primary goal will be $1,000, but the entire film might get somewhere around $1,400--but it's a little too early to say. The script I have right now demands a few locations and some extra talent, but these details are subject to filing down once the final draft comes into fruition (which I feel happening very soon).

I'm very excited about this film, and so much so I'll be starting up a blog devoted entirely to the production--so keep a look out! In the meantime, Jordan's still hard at work in San Fransisco, hand-drawing all of "Duck, Duck, Goose". It's a tedious process, but one I'm sure will pay off with some fantastic results.

For now, hold tight while I gas up. This winter will really go off with a bang, I assure you.

Oh, as a side note, I've just started taking a lecture course devoted entirely to Science-Fiction in Film, Art & Literature and for our first night we watched "Ghost In The Shell" which was just eye-opening. I'd always heard about it, but never been able to decipher the hype from the red-blooded love for it. I loved it and highly recommend it to any sci-fi addict such as myself.

Till Next Time,
John Morgan

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back In Town, But Not For Long

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Back from Idaho, with a ton of work tying up in time for Fall. Here are a couple animatic sketches from my animation collaboration with Jordan Cash-Cooper entitled, "Duck, Duck, Goose". It's pretty bizarre, as I might have noted before--but for an animation, has definitely left a lot to Jordan's wild imagination. I'm really looking forward to seeing the final product. If you're interested in seeing some of his work, here's his last animation he produced for CalArts in San Fransisco, entitled "Applied Biotics":

In the meantime, I'm refining "Alone Together", and taking it in a much less plot-heavy direction. Should be interesting to see how it turns out. Details, in good time. Right now, I'm showing a first glimpse of the Teen & Youth Outreach promo to Hudson Guild and should have it finished by the end of this month.

In movie talks, I keep hearing a lot of buzz about "Cowboys & Aliens", and just recently discovered Harrison Ford will be showing up in the film (hell yes). I've also been wondering what people are thinking of "Scott Pilgrim VS The World". I've been and Edgar Wright fan since "Shaun Of The Dead", but I'm not entirely sure what to think of this new quasi-video game style he's hurling towards the audience. Though I've caught a couple looks at some scenes, I'm a little confined to my reservations for readied wit. I can complain and complain about something I've never seen, but I'd rather hear what other people have thought of it--that is, if anyone's seen it yet.

As for my fellow collegians, I hope you soak up what's rest of our summer vacations the best ways you know how--here, on the internet.

Take Care,
John Morgan

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Moving Forward... Fast!

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Hey There Folks,

I'm looking to make Dancing Zombie a legitimate corporation in the next few months. When Dancing Zombie Productions got its start in 2004, it was with short stop-motion animations, silly on-the-fly shorts and then on to some streamlined productions that actually showed some potential--enough to get me into film school. Now, six years since my days tinkering with action figures I'm on the path to turning Dancing Zombie Productions into something more. It's interesting to see this company start from literally nothing, and when I take a big step back and take a look at what I have... well, it's not much but it's definitely something.

In the meantime, I've finished my first solid draft of "Alone Together".  It's something I'm really looking forward to because of the highly developed characters. Their pasts are something I can't wait to delve into with the actors. Very demanding roles. But then I guess that will push me to be a little more demanding of myself; to start integrating the performances with the technical side in a more harmonious fashion.

For now, here are those photos from my trip to Idaho Falls...

Taylor Rd, just overlooking The Foothills.

Mom's Place.
Since I was taking these photos with a disposable camera, the flash kept resetting automatically every time I wound it up. I don't know why. I didn't' hold the flash button or anything. It was just working on it's own terms. It really sucked because I didn't want to blow out things in the foreground--especially during the day. So I thought, "Heh-heh. I know how to fix this," and whacked the camera against my palm to trigger the flash, just before I snapped a picture. Well, as I thought I was outsmarting this inferior device, the joke was on me. With every whack against the camera, the shutter was knocked out of place, exposing the film, and then *click*, *wind, wind, wind*... (double exposure).

The shed behind the house, by the wild raspberry patch.
Taylor Rd. at sunset.
A rainbow over The Foothills in the late evening.

The trees leaking sand down Taylor Rd.
These have to be my favorites. My mom's neighbors own a couple of horses and I befriended this black stallion who would hang out by the fence. Eventually I gathered the courage to introduce myself, and after a couple races down the fence with him, he let me take these shots. Of course, I didn't want the flash go off in his face, so I pointed the camera away towards the ground to trigger the flash just before grabbing the shots. Here's what I got.

When I got back the photos, I was so upset, but in a few minutes they began to grow on me. Some of them are very surreal, and though the images didn't come out the way I wanted, they came back with a creative edge I wish I could take credit for. I'll just remember my method and maybe experiment a little more in the future... But I'd rather have a camera of my own.

Luckily this shot came out without any sort of wacky double exposure. I'm surprised, but I suppose it was fate that I have this photo as unharmed as possible.

It's been a really great experience getting out of the city for as long as this, but soon enough I'll have to get back to New York, and then in a week it'll be back to school to make "Alone Together" jump off the page.

In the meantime, I'll be working on this and that, gearing up for my Junior year. I expect to show you guys some boards from the upcoming animation I'm producing with Jordan Cash-Cooper by next week--or perhaps, if they're ready by then, some animatics. I'll also be putting together a new blog, entitled "Poster Fanatic" which will be solely devoted to examining the somewhat neglected artform that film has inadvertently spawned. Talks of posters then, now, and where they're going. Keep a look-out. I'm really looking forward to it. >>>

Take care.

Keep On Truckin',
John Morgan


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

When Idaho Falls

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Hey There Folks,

Been longer than usual, but that's not without good reason. I've been hard at work with this Youth Outreach promo while visiting my mom in Idaho.

While I've been here I've also been writing my next film titled, "Along Together". When I looked up on IMDb to see if it was an original enough name, I discovered there are close to 10 films with the same title, which should make it somewhat difficult to find. So, for the time being, this might be just a working title because there hasn't been another "Alone Together" scheduled to come out this year or the next... Fingers crossed.

"Alone Together [Working Title]" is a tragic love story twisted within a tale of a mother's undying quest for revenge.

The screenplay is rather grim at the moment, but I like that. People I explain it to say there should be a happier ending, but I just don't think this story is meant to end well, considering the nature of everyone's work. But I can't say too much. You'll have to wait until I get some dailies online.

I'm also considering keeping a video journal throughout the production process to maybe add as a special feature for that theoretical DVD. But seeing as how this production is about to supercede the $600 budget limitations of my previous films, I'll be on the lookout for potential investors. A few of my colleagues from school have relied on kickstarter with some significant success. Who knows? I might actually get somewhere with this.

In the meantime, I'd be an idiot not to mention that I recently met Tony Gilroy who's best known for writing the Bourne films and more recently writing and directing "Michael Clayton". It was an interesting encounter. I'd given him a DVD with some of my films. He said the acting was weak in most of them. I defended my work respectfully and explained the circumstances under which everyone was working, but I don't think it made much of a difference. The one film he said he loved the most was "MEMO" which I had removed from my youtube channel because of its blatant intimacy, but it was its unfrogiving nature that Mr. Gilroy found so brilliant about the piece. I was touched, considering that of the work on my DVD it was one of the few pieces that was entirely my own writing--actually that was all it was, typos and all. He said he wanted to see more of that kind of work in my narrative films, which becomes the current challenge with "Alone Together".

I'm pretty pleased with my characters. Two intimate people who've made a living out of keeping their distance from society--from feeling. It's really something I can't wait to start casting once the schoolyear starts.

Sean Connery in "Zardoz": Dig those pants!

In other movie talks, I've been watching an eclectic selection while I've been away from home. Just last night I watched "Zardoz"... That was interesting. I remembered having watched it when I was a kid and it brought back some memories, mostly of why I hadn't seen it in so long (Sean Connery's attire, mostly).

Here's just an off the top of my head list of what I've been watching lately:
- Three Kings (David O. Russell)
- King Of New York (Abel Ferrara)
- The Bourne Identity (David Liman)
- The African Queen (John Huston)
- Good Night, And Good Luck (George Clooney)
- Catch Me If You Can (Steven Spielberg)
- The Asphault Jungle (John Huston)
- Cowboy Bebop [Sessions 1-26 & The Movie] (Shinichiro Watanabe)

Spike Spiegel from the series "Cowboy Bebop"
Cowboy Bebop is especially something that's gotten my attention this summer. Don't get no cooler than that. I really underestimated what people had told me about the series until my friend Chris Vella had shown me the pilot episode last semester. It blew me away. The writing is incredible. The animation is superb. I'd never really been a fan of anime, but this doesn't really change anything because Bebop remains in a league of its own. It's got a westernized spice to it. Something I've never seen in Japanese animation. Most other anime cartoons I'd seen that tried to play the super-cool American angle were merely aiming to immitate, whereas Bebop seeks to take off on an inspired interpretation of the Spaghetti Western, the classic Film Noir and classic Sci-Fis like Star Wars.

I'll admit, in an attempt to somewhat rip off Bebop, my brother and I, along with our friend Chris Vella, had developed a sci-fi in the same vain. It's really meant to borrow nothing more than a somewhat stylized backdrop, to allow us to take things to a live action level. While I was at school I'd considered a space pirate premise, but with lack of funds had to shelf it until I saw an opportunity. This project should develop over the next year, but for now remains something I'm doing in my off time.

Another project that's currently in production is an estranged surrealistic animated short I've been producing with help from my good friend Jordan Cash-Cooper. Can't wait to see what Jordan's been up to. Last I spoke to him, we'd finished storyboarding the sequences and I'd left him to do the animatics while I was away. Don't know whether I should be excited or worried at this point, but all the same, I know Jordan will create something pretty wonderful.

More directed towards the present, I've been in potato country for about a week now. It's spectacular out here. So beautiful. I wish I had my own camera, but unfortunately I've only been able to use an army of disposable cameras while I've been out here. I'll post some photos once they're developed.

This place is pretty rural. My mom's cabin is sandwiched between a neighboring horse ranch and a free-range chicken farm that's owned by an ex-mormon preacher named Don. He's a real character. I've spent my off time helping unpack my mom's boxes from their move here, from Arizona. I've also taken some driving lessons and picked wild raspberries that haven started cultivating behind my mom's shed. Really a vacation.

See You Space Cowboy,

Best of the Summer Blockblunders:
1. Inception (incredible)
2. Toy Story 3 (tough to beat)
3. Iron Man 2 (a little lacking, but still a sold actioner)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Game of Life, BP... Oh, I'm alright.

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Hey Guys,

Back again, gearing up for summer. What's up with you?

I've been paying some close attention to the BP disaster and budget cut situation in Albany. I'm surprised at a lot right now, so I'm sorry I haven't written in a while. Sometimes it may feel like the world's ending but I'm waiting till public transportation stops running. At that point everyone's just too busy killing each other that they don't have time to ride the bus.


I've finally FINALLY cut the hudson guild approved cut of "Among Giants". It's now online.

I do have other films from school that I've meant to post online, but am spending some time to refine them a bit. Very excited.

Before the summer started, I wanted to experiment in going back and editing a movie I thought had some potential; "The Spirit". I gave it a watch, but began to really despise the dialogue. Needless to say, I've left the idea behind, but I'm thinking about other films that would be fun to re-cut... Or re-write.

I'm caught in the throes of writing a monster film, and probably a couple of them.

Hudson Guild has hired me to direct another promotional film focused on hudson guild's youth outreach program that introduces teens and youngsters (k-5) to performing on stage.

Be back with more. In the meantime, remember that when you're playing the game of life, a lot is left up to chance because you're spinning a stupid dial on a board.

OH! Saw some cool movies this summer. Just got a bundle of B-Movies. Plus first season of MST3K!

See Ya,

Friday, May 7, 2010

It's Summer Time... Is Living Getting Easy?

So, with this recession business, clawing at the ankles of the city's economy, I woke up this morning to see Bloomberg trying to explain to a disgruntled and scoffing local coverage the state had cut a lot of the city's funding and it looks like the first of the six thousand job cut will be teachers.

"6,400 teachers and 300 classroom aides...
and to close 50 senior centers, 16 day care centers and perhaps 10 libraries."
-New York Times

I have to say I'm awfully upset. It's these types of organizations that keep communities together, to a degree that most people either don't care or even bother to acknowledge sometimes. Regardless of who Bloomberg is pining the blame on at the moment, I think this is a crucially important time for anyone who has the opportunity of being inspired by their elders, their teachers, or their libraries, to visit those places. Hel1! The weather's getting nicer.

I also would like to draw attention to my most recent documentary, which so coincidentally has to do with a local Chelsea community center, called the Hudson Guild. I, along with help from my friend Caleb Foss, captured two dress rehearsals by the center's community theater company. For months the company has been assembling a production of the classic Wagner opera, "The Ring" (Der Rings Des Nibelungen). If you're not familiar, "The Ring" is a four day opera (you might have heard the song "Ride of the Valkyries" in Apocalypse Now).

I was commissioned by Jim Furlong and the Hudson Guild to produce a small promotional documentary about the production, for potential investors. It was an amazing opportunity for a couple reasons. I'd worked for Jim as an assistant in high school and was familiar with his theater productions. First, being a production assistant and then later acting in a production of "Alice In Wonderland". Also, because Jim's company had put a tremendous production. It does very well to break the mold of community theater as something bold and ambitious.

Very shortly I'll be posting the final cut here and on youtube. It'll be called, "Among Giants" and runs about 7 min.

I just recently had a birthday, and my girlfriend recently discovered a white hair in my mane (thanks Sophomore Year). It was a little shocking having felt her truly pluck it out of my head. It was a part of me. My first WHITE hair. I didn't really think I'd react the way I did, but there it was. It was coarse and tired. Silver, almost. It caught the light, and strongly. A strand of my brown hair could easily get lost in the cracks, but this thing could only be lost on a windy day. Which is why Jenny and I wedged it shut into her pocket mirror.

Also, my Sophomore Year closed very well. The Sophomore Screening went over splendidly with an awesome night of killer flicks by a talented class. Looking forward to the Junior screening.

Oh, and as my birthday just passed, I ended up getting myself a couple treasures. I bought Killer's Kiss and Paths of Glory for cheap off of And at Barnes and Nobles, I got Bicycle Thieves by Vittorio De Sica... and yes I got the tricked out Criterion version with the essays (c'mon! i'm like a total dork!)

And as an educational expense, I ended up getting Looney Tunes Gold Collection Vol 2. It was an educational expense because I needed to nab the segment "What's Opera, Doc?" for my Hudson Guild documentary... (you'll have to wait and see).

Well... I guess I'll leave you with a solid 'goodbye'. I just caught Con Air on TV for a couple of seconds and came right to that part where the prisoners were trying to take off with the plane in that weird scrap yard, while Nicholas (don't belong in action movies) Cage is searching for insulin. Eventually he runs into some Columbian cartel with a private jet and Nick Cage beats the hell out of a few of them, but a few of them are still in the plane when he leaves. So, the cartels end up taking off with the plane, and fail when John Cussak screws up their take-off by dropping a crane on the tail of the plane. When the plane crashes into a gasoline pump, the last living guy crawls out of the wreckage and John Malkovich (as Cyrus "The Virus") walks over to him and says something like "...nice try."

"Cyrus, Please!" he says.

Malkovich takes the cigarette from Swamp Thing's mouth.

"--onara," he says as he flicks the cigarette into the lake of gas.

John Morgan

Keep on the lookout. I'll be posting a few new videos once I get back home from school. Just a few fine cuts here and there and I'll get em online as soon as possible.

I the meantime, if you haven't checked out my more recent doc, be sure to check "MORGAN AVE" which I featured at the Sophomore screening, along with "Killer's Kiss"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sunday Funnies, Bushwick & Zombies in New York

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As of late, I've been doing a fair share of narrative work, but have shifted focus to the genre of documentary filmmaking. Surely, my focus will always be narrative, I really really started to enjoy documentary thanks to my Intro to Documentary course at SUNY Purchase's Film Conservatory.

This Sophomore year has been an eye-opening experience. I've had great opportunities to work with really inspirational individuals on very exciting projects. Sometimes I've acted, some times I've done mic booming, and most exciting of all has been my experiences as cinematographer for writer/director, Caleb Foss.

In the meantime, I've been putting some final touches on documentaries from last semester. The first is an eye-witness documentary on the NYC Zombie Crawl. The doc follows the volunteers who offer free make-up, zombie fanatics and the overwhelming 300-person zombie invasion of Time Square in September of 2009. The documentary is now available to watch in two parts on YouTube, Doug Sakmann's Blog, & the official NYC Zombie Crawl website! (BE SURE TO WATCH PART 2!)

The second is a 2 minute place film documentary called "Morgan Ave" on life in my neighborhood in Bushwick, Brooklyn, NYC, over the song "Sunny Afternoon" by The Kinks. The film was shot entirely on Super8 Black & White! It's also available to watch on YouTube.

A screen cap from Newt Jersey.

And last, but not least is my most recent documentary about writer and cartoonist, Bryan Korn entitled "Newt Jersey", where I interviewed Bryan about his short comic strip of the same name. The film consists entirely of still-animation and featured comics from his website. Also available to watch on YouTube. And if you're interested in reading Bryan's comic strip, be sure to visit his blog!

 In the meantime, I'm finishing the cuts in a recent adaptation of an unproduced script by Ben Ripley called "Source Code". The film is currently being directed by Duncan Jones, who's recent indie debut "Moon" scored him big with audiences and critics. The film follows a US soldier in Iraq (Colter Stevens) who suddenly wakes up on a New York commuter train without explanation. Soon enough, he discovers a bomb on the train. The train explodes and he re-awakens in a strange military isolation chamber, where he learns that aboard the train, he was actually inhabiting the body of another commuter aboard the train, the time of the explosion. So, without any choice, Colter is forced to be sent back in time again, and again, until he finds the terrorist responsible for the bombing. I was given the script in class to adapt for my directing workshop course and really enjoyed it. It was a choice between either this, "The Social Network" which is about Facebook, and which I'd rather see flushed down a toilet, and "Everything Must Go", which was a very interesting indie dark comedy script, which I believe Will Ferrel is currently attached to.

Anyway, in the meantime, keep an eye out for my adaptation of "Source Code" and another original interview doc that's still in the works entitled, "Impracticle.", where I interview a fellow colleague about the hardships and lightnesses of moving.

OOOH! Couple more things!:

1) The YouTube Channel has totally been re-organized. Now you can very easily find work in categories. "Short Narratives", "Short Documentaries", "2009 Reel", "Evil Film", "Early Works" and "Colleagues' Videos". (BE SURE TO SUBSCRIBE & COMMENT!!!)

2) Dancing Zombie Productions is now on Twitter.

3) My good friend Darius Weeden has recently featured my 2009 Reel on his channel as a special "Public Service Announcement". Be sure to check it out.

If you haven't already seen my 2009 Reel, here's the video:


Raw Power,
John Morgan

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Seeling It With A Kiss...

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Hey Folks,

I know it's been a while, but who's complaining? (By looks of my followers list... I am.)

Frank Silvera in "Killer's Kiss"
Anywho, you might be wondering what I've been up to. I finished my adaptation of a scene from Kubrick's "Killer's Kiss" with good marks from my professor and peers alike. Woohoo! As of now, I'm starting a new semester which means new opportunities. You'll be seeing at least three more scene adaptations before the year is out, plus some Documentary work and who knows what else.

I'm really proud with what came out of the two day shoot for "Killer's Kiss". It was my goal, more or less, to emulate the energy, over the style of the original film, without duplicating it. Sure my version shares a lot with the Kubrick version, but there are some differences that I think put it into a more contemporary context.

Brought to you by Canada Goose.
The cast was great! I have to give a hats-off to them. My Gaffer and Key Grip Luke Francy as well. Everyone was so committed and gave 110% through the toughest conditions. In fact, the opening sequence was filmed in 23 degree weather. Lucky for Dozzia and Fil, I decided to make the scene take place in the car... Unlucky for me, I planned to film it from outside... But no matter, I had my Canada Goose jacket to keep me warm. That thing is a wonder.

 It was so cold that day, but it didn't matter. The energy was so high, and I think that might have been because my father had rented a Cadillac for us to shoot with... I said to get something mildly luxurious, but I was sprung with surprise when he came to pick up me and the crew in this sleek monster. The following location was in Brooklyn; my building, actually. I'd always wanted to use it in something. It has a very dreary sort of warehouse look to it... mainly because it used to be a factory at one point.

Setting up for the exterior shot in Bushwick.
We shot in the loading dock, as you'll see, which actually doesn't lead to some isolated loft area like in my scene, but to many apartments in the building... The rest of the warehouse scene was actually shot in the school's soundstage with a small set, which doesn't look half bad, but seeing how it's just a warehouse, it really didn't need all that work in the first place.
Me & Luke Francy working the 8x10 set.

It was a pretty confined space, but several elements help make it seem a little more spacious. For one, when I needed to shoot the other side of the room, I just shuffled over the table and shot the same brick wall I'd mounted my set against. Also, with most of the focus usually on one side of the room, it sort of gives your imagination the opportunity to fill in space and make the room seem larger than it really is.

Something I decided late on , and not until we got to the action sequences, was to induct the swinging light when Dozzia chokes Filipp. I'd seen Stuart Gordon do it in "Re-Animator" in the scene where Herbert West is chasing around the re-animated cat in the basement. I thought the swinging light was brilliant and created such a chaotic environment. The night before the shoot, I told Filipp to bring a clamp light I knew he had when he came to the set. I think it definitely supplies a lot more suspense to the sequence.

Anyway, here's the scene, and if you're at all interested, just below is Kubrick's version.

I hope you enjoy. And please, leave comments. I really appreciate feedback.

Raw Power,
John Morgan