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A Sad State of Affairs Coming this spring to DVD and VOD!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Our Official Trailer!


It's been a long time coming, but here is a real trailer for the film.  It's getting good buzz so far, so if you like it, please, please, please forward our website to your friends.  Our movie has a a zero budget for promotion, so the only way anybody will know about it is if our fans help spread the word.

Another question that naturally comes up is "When is this coming out?"  Well, I am fixing the soundtrack right now, and I have a company called Digital Barbershop working on color correction, to help it look good.  So, check our their website and be sure to let them know that you want to see the movie as soon as possible!  But, no matter what, it's coming out this fall.

Thanks for watching and thanks for sharing!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I'm Busy

Well, I am busy, especially when you consider that I haven't posted anything in over a year, but that's not what I'm referring to here.  "I'm Busy" is the name of a song I wrote for my film A Sad State of Affairs.  And, since we're getting to a point when the movie is actually going to be released, I figured it would be a good time to put it out there.  Jeremy sings it, and does a magnificent job, naturally.  We recorded his vocals in the hotel where we filmed it, using one of the cheapest shotgun microphones in the world--completely inappropriate for the job, but it's all we had.  Chad Garland was our sound guy, so any compliments on the recording goes to him.  The backing track was performed by me and my computer, mostly my computer.

The pictures you see in this video are just about all there is to behind-the-scenes still.  We were so busy shooting, that we rarely took any snapshots.

If you like the song, it's available on Amazon.com as an mp3 for 99 cents.  And, be sure to let your friends know, too!

Thanks for your support!.

 

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Our Newest Cast Member--Carla Laemmle

Carla Laemmle and I.  She's on the right.

Even though most of A Sad State of Affairs was shot last summer, it was still missing something.  The film is--in a not very obvious way-- a tribute to the very early backstage musicals of the talkie era.  The songs are written in that familiar 32-bar Tin Pan Alley form.  And, it has a plot that makes no sense.  So what was it missing?

It was missing some jazz age credibility.  I knew of Carla Laemmle, a dancer and actress who had appeared in numerous silent films and early musicals.  I knew she was 100 years-old and living in California.  I was also pretty sure she would have nothing to do with my movie.  So, for a long time, I didn't bother trying.  I tried tracking down other 100 year-old actresses.  That was difficult.  Timing is everything when you're trying to book a centenarian performer.

For awhile I just gave up.  I removed the scene I had written and figured I'd go without a genuine flapper appearing in the movie.  But, that was terribly unsatisfying.  So, I wrote Carla Laemmle a letter explaining how awesome she was and how my humble movie really could use a few lines of dialogue from a legend like her.  Weirdest thing happened.  She wrote back and said she'd do it.

One more thing that I thing I should point out that makes this all the more special:  Carla was a dancer in the Universal Pictures revue "The King of Jazz."  It featured Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra and was released in 1930.  That film includes a performance by comic-musician Willie Hall, who turns a normal bicycle tire pump into a musical instrument.  His performance stuck with me for years and is the reason I have my film's main character trying to learn how to play the tire pump.  So to have someone who was actually in that film more than 80 years ago willing to learn lines and appear in my little movie was amazing.

All I had to do was fly from Chicago to Los Angeles with my camera and sound equipment and film her.  The shortest way to tell the story is to simply say that I did just that and it went off without a hitch.  Carla is 101 years old now, spent a week learning four pages of dialogue, and didn't even need her glasses when running through the lines with me.  She put her all into the performance and it is fantastic.

For now, I'm back to editing, but I promise to have more frequent updates from now on. 


Thursday, July 22, 2010

14 SAQs About a Sad State

I don't want to excite our friends from Quebec too much, because this post isn't about the lovely fermented beverage shops that province operates.  Instead, I will be answering some Seldom Asked Questions about my movie.  I cannot lie; pretty much nobody has asked me any of these questions.

1.  Q:  What is this movie called?  (Okay, a few people asked me this.)
     A:  It's called A Sad State of Affairs

2.  Q:  What's it about?
     A:  It's about a guy who wanders around rural America performing for tips who becomes smitten with a young lady staying at the same hotel as he.  He decides the best way to romance her is by letting the air out of her car tires.

3.  Q:  Is it really a musical?
     A:  Sort of.  There are four songs that turn up during the movie, and they do occur in the grand tradition of "music suddenly pops up out of nowhere and people start singing" that have always made musicals so ridiculously great.

4.  Q:  Is it really a tribute to silent movies?  'Cause that wouldn't make sense in a musical?
     A:  It's only a tribute to the absurdity of being a person in this world.  However, there are a couple of sequences that were inspired by the efficiency and charm of silent comedies.  The rest of the movie's dialogue more than makes up for those few minutes.

5.  Q:  Where did you shoot this?
     A:  We shot it in Utica, Illinois in June 2010.  People in this charming little town thought we were a bunch of eccentric ne'er do-wells, but they'll see, won't they?

6.  Q:  I heard you guys were really shooting a porno.
     A:  A thousand times no!  Don't listen to those folks.  Yes, we were shooting mostly at a hotel.  Yes there was a tire pump involved in several scenes, but no, none of it is at all pornographic.  If this movie were to ever get a rating, I am pretty confident it would be a PG-13, and that's only because of one naughty word that shows up once.

7.  Q.Who's in this?
     A:  Some really swell actors.  Jeremy Trager plays our hero, The Guy.  Laura Morton plays Sandra Perchowznik, a heroine in her own right.  Darren Gresham plays Deputy House Majority Whip Rep. Gresham.  Here's Jeremy and Laura:

Aren't they cute?


8.   Q:  Never heard of any of 'em.  I like movies with stars, you know?
      A:  Oh really?  Even if you got to choose between a fun movie with some really great performers you don't know and a boring movie with some so-so stars you do know?  For shame.

9.  Q:  Will you have any fast-food tie-ins?  My kid loves getting free toys after watching a movie.
     A: We hope to announce a promotional tie-in with a major, major hamburger retailer shortly.  In addition, we will also be issuing collector's lunchboxes and limited edition gallons of lead-based paint.

10.  Q.  When's this movie gonna be done?
       A:  When it's good and ready.

11.   Q:  Then what?
        A:  Why do you want to know?
        Q:  Just curious.
        A:  It will be entered in and rejected from several major film festivals.  Then, one daring festival programmer will discover it, nurture it, and help it gain the recognition it deserves.  Then we will make six million dollars.

12.   Q:  What if that doesn't work out?
        A:  Then I release it free on the internet under a Creative Commons license and let people share it, show it, and sell it.  (Actually, I'll probably do this anyway.)

14.  Q:  How come nobody knows about this movie?
       A:  Because I'm inept at social media promotion.  There.  You happy, now?

13.  Q.:  You seem kind of cranky and sarcastic.  Were you abusive toward your cast and crew?
       A:    I think I was most of the time, yes.  Why do you ask so many questions?
       Q:   I'm a Q.  I thought that's what I'm supposed to do.
       A:   Fair enough.

14.  Q:  Well, what can I do to help?
       A:  You can post something encouraging here on this site.  Or, you can join our Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/A-Sad-State-of-Affairs/351818164342?ref=ts

And you can always buy a DVD when they become available and request theatrical screenings in your town.  That would be delightful.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Our First Trailer

This is the trailer I came up with about a week after shooting wrapped.  I think it captures the spirit of the film pretty well, but I am still frustrated with trying to get it to look good on YouTube.  This is way too pixelated.  But, I'll figure it out one of these days.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The State of A Sad State

I'm trying to make my first feature-length film, A Sad State of Affairs. It's a screwball-ish comedy with a few musical numbers about a wandering street performer who meets a stubborn amateur politician at a roadside motel. The film will star Jeremy Trager, Laura Morton, and Darren Gresham.

People who have read the script think it's funny. So, it should be a very fun movie to make and to watch--and that is good.

What's not so good is the state of the indie film "industry" right now. Big studio movies are making a ton of money, but it's not quite as simple for the smaller films. Things are changing and filmmakers are devising new ways to connect with their audience, whether it is through film festivals, a microcinema, DVDs, or video streaming. Most likely, it is a combination of all these. But, once a film builds an audience and gets fans, anything is possible.

So, this is where you come in! A Sad State of Affairs won't cost much money to make, but it will still cost something. And, if you're interested, I'd like you to get involved in the project. I've started a Kickstarter page for the movie to raise $3,500 to go towards the cost of production. I'm not asking for donations--you get something in return for your support, like a DVD or an autographed copy of the script--even a trip to LaSalle County, Illinois to see the sights. It all depends on your pledge level. $10 is a big help, especially if I get 350 people to sign up!

You can read a draft of the script yourself and see how quirky it is, and why something like this can only be made in the indie world. Take a look at the script, visit our kickstarter page, and hopefully you will join us!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Read All About It

It took me some time to get used to the idea, but I am putting the screenplay for A Sad State of Affairs online for anybody who is curious to be able to read it. It's being hosted at archive.org.

I have only been hesitant because I don't know if people will read it the same way I hope to present it on film.  But, I suppose if it fails to entertain, then it is my own fault!  Besides, I've seen a lot of unproduced feature film screenplays posted online, so why not? 

A Sad State of Affairs is the story of a guy who tries collect money while standing in the middle of deserted rural intersections.  Incidentally he has enough money to stay at a  small roadside motel, where he becomes smitten with Sandra, a nice young lady who's room is next door to his.  He tries to win her over by letting all the air out of her tires, but Sandra is a complex woman, and it will take a little more effort than that.

By the way, it is a musical (sort of), so you will see a few song lyrics in here, but I don't have any actual recordings finished yet.

So, here you go: 
Download or read the screenplay

(I hope you enjoy it.)
 

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