Sunday, May 22, 2016

Hear Me on "Not My Generation" Podcast

Caleb, an old friend of mine from college, has recently launched a new podcast called Not My Generation. The brand new episode guest-stars yours truly! You can listen above, and see below for specific topics start times.

00:00 - Caleb's Knife Story
03:20 - Summer Food
05:50 -  Ghostbusters/Angry Video Game Nerd Controversy
22:35 - Squatting in the Bathroom
25:50 - Celebrity Twitter Responses

Our own podcast 20 Minutes Gone will be returning with new episodes soon - including one with Caleb. The podcast crossover of the century!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

There are 2 "Purgatory Comics" Easter Eggs in "Halina" - and they Conflict with Each Other

The short film Halina has two direct references to my feature length film Purgatory Comics (available now through various distribution means). The first "Easter egg" is quite obvious, while the second is something only eagle-eyed viewers would spot. But the hilarity is in the fact that both references directly contradict each other.

First, we see Mischa alone in her apartment watching TV and eating cereal for dinner (we've all been there):

In this shot, we can clearly hear the dialogue from Purgatory Comics coming from the television screen off camera. We can hear both Angela (as Cola) and Tim (as Evan) having their debate about the state of the comic book industry. So here, within the universe of Halina, Purgatory Comics is a movie. Simple enough.

Except that in the very next shot, we see Mischa surfing her social media pages on a desktop computer. This is where she spots that all of her friends (and her ex) are hanging out without her (as we the audience already knew by this point).

Let's take a closer look at that computer screen. You'll notice that it's a completely made-up web site called You'll also catch first and last names (mixed around) of friends and family of mine - names I also used in Purgatory Comics as comic writers (either spoken or seen on fake comic art). But when you look at the upper left corner, things get interesting.

Click to enlarge:
According to her profile page, it's Mel Berner's birthday! Mel Berner is the name of the third lead in Purgatory Comics... so he not only exists in the universe of Halina, but he's also friends with Mischa.

How could a character both exist as fiction and reality in the same universe? There's no profound answer here. Basically we shot the scene first, and that was supposed to be the lone Easter egg. But way later, in post-production, I needed audio to insert into the TV and cereal scene (and audio I owned the rights to). I went with Purgatory Comics and threw caution to the wind.

However I do like to think of all my projects as being in a "shared multiverse" - that is to say, two of my movies might not be in the same world, but they're only a couple of dimensions apart from each other. In the world of Halina, maybe Mel Berner is a successful lawyer instead of a comic book clerk... but he's there. I really hope I get to make more projects and keep playing with the shared multiverse idea.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

How to Make Hard Choices (and the Inspiration for the Newest Short Film)

My secret sauce for writing has been taking a fear of mine and turning it into a story (I'll leave it up to you viewers to determine if it's working or not). Purgatory Comics is about fear of maturity. Halina is about rejection and individualization. And now we have The Burden of Choice, the short premiering soon that tackles one of my biggest fears yet: decision making.

It's not the first time I've given this subject a go. About 10 years ago I tackled indecisiveness in the 35 minute short film If, a no-budget comedy/drama about a young adult still coming to terms with a choice he'd made back in college (despite living a very happy life). I played the lead (ugh), and of course the story itself was very personal.

In fact, it was a decent way to describe my issues with decision making. It's not that I regret choices... it's that I recognize how each major choice sets off entirely new trajectories in life. This can be a lot of pressure on creative types such as myself; we can get caught up on the stories that take place in each trajectory. Some people live in the past... people like myself live in the past, future, and alternate present timelines. It's sometimes fun, sometimes sad, always exhausting.

While If was about a man who's overly curious about those trajectories, The Burden of Choice is about a woman who's convinced that only one trajectory can be "right". Therefore she sees each decision as a stressful burden, and she would do anything to lose that burden (even if it means surrendering her free will). If you can relate to this, then this is definitely a film for you.

This all brings me to an amazing TED Talks I watched recently on the subject. In the video below, philosopher Ruth Chang explains why choices don't have to be burdens... but rather reminders of the power we possess in our own lives. Choices should make you feel empowered, not lost - and she does an amazing job summing this idea up in a clear and profound way. I highly recommend this video (it's just shy of 15 minutes):

I hope you all check out The Burden of Choice while it makes its rounds, and if you want to check out If in all it's no-budget glory, it's on this blog. But I ain't linking it... because ugh.

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

"The Burden of Choice" Accepted into the 2016 Long Island International Film Expo!

Here's some exciting news: for the 2nd consecutive year, a WM Production will be screening at the Long Island International Film Expo!

The Burden of Choice, a 13-minute dramatic sci-fi short, will premiere in Bellmore NY on Sunday July 17, 2016 at 1:30 pm. There will be an online service to buy advanced tickets soon, and I'll put the link up on this blog.

If you're a longtime reader of this blog, then you already know this festival means the most to me personally, and it's always a tremendous honor to be invited back. Congratulations to the cast and crew of The Burden of Choice for this win, and thank you to the Long Island International Film Expo for having us back again!

Monday, February 08, 2016

"The Burden of Choice" on IMDB, Mini Cast Reunion

The Burden of Choice, along with its official poster, is now listed on IMDB. While I was editing this page, I also took the time to update the poster on the Halina page.

Also last week I had a mini WM Production crossover event at Ripley-Grier Studios! I enlisted the voices of Hannah Jane McMurray (Halina), Patricia O'Neil (Halina) and Elisa Pupko (The Burden of Choice) to help me record some radio work for my job. It was an exciting reunion and it's ALWAYS a pleasure to direct these talents. 

If this isn't a "meaty" enough crossover for you, pay close attention to the first scene in The Burden of Choice when you see it. There are references to both Halina AND Purgatory Comics...