GADZOOK FILMS Producing independent film in Seattle, Los Angeles and beyond.


Letters to the editor

Heh. This is kinda cool.

I love romantic illusions as much as the next guy, but c'mon! Learn the damned craft and THEN wax poetic about it. Jeez.



Just for fun... read this and uh... comment back what you think. Or send me an e-mail. I'll be waiting.


Are you crazy?

Yes. When you opt to cut your own hair you have to be a little bit insane. That's me. All my training as an actor has prepared me for those times when people say, "Dude, you're far from crazy." How do YOU know? Right? Case in point: moving to LA.

1) I decide to move when LA county is engulfed in flames. A fire season that's been getting progressively worse every year. Good call.
2) I decide to move at the peak of the holiday season on a holiday weekend, no less. Sure no one will be on the roads after Thanksgiving, right? Crazy.
3) I'm moving with no savings, no money in the bank, no job and (currently) no place to live. Luckily I have wonderful friends and family who'll put me up should I need it. Still...
4) I finalize my plans to move just after a writer's strike takes hold of the industry and effectively shuts down filming of almost every major project in the city. Woohoo!
5) With The Off Hours and (fingers-crossed) Zombies of Mass Destruction grabbing some headlines production in this town seems to be shaping 2008 to be one of the best years yet to be an independent filmmaker in Seattle. I blame me leaving for causing this upswing.

Have I been following the WGA strikes closely? You bet. Rather than look at them as prohibitive I've found some reasons why moving down now may be the best decision I ever make. To whit:

1) EVERYONE IS OUT OF WORK. With the writers, producers, IATSE crews, etc. all out of work, there's more chances than ever to make friends and meet for coffee.
2) NETWORKING. Going hand in hand with #1 above, picketing presents a prime opportunity to hob-nob with powerful executives while also supporting a cause I believe in: Making more money.*
3) MORE APARTMENTS. Sadly, with many folks now out of work, they aren't able to afford their cushy Sherman Oaks 2-bedroom/2-bathroom apartments with parking spots and AC. Bye bye old tenant, hello unemployed movie producer!!

As you can see, I'm able to turn that frown upside down with this situation. For further thoughts on my move, why don't you join me this Friday, November 16th, at 8pm at the Rendezvous in Belltown? I'll be happy to answer questions or cash checks. I'm shameless. Upstairs balcony, you're welcome to bring a friend you blog-readers. You know who you are.

When next I update, I'll be in LA and will be, for the time being, your self-appointed Los Angeles correspondent for Seattle Film News. Cheers and good filming...

*Sorry, that's a flip answer, I really do support the WGA in this issue.


Local Sightings tickets now on sale!

To buy tickets to my screening, part of the Spletz-O-Rama Invitational, head here. Come see what may in fact be the last movie I make in Seattle for a little while. Aw, sadpants.


‘Old Tricks’ at Local Sightings

x-posted to Myspace and Facebook (natch)

A movie I made will be playing at the NW Film Forum's Local Sightings film festival on Friday, October 5th, at 9:15pm. It's part of the first ever Spletz-O-Rama Invitational film challenge. We made a movie based on the theme of "fairy tales". Come check out what we put together. Featuring the talents of Lori Lee Haener, Jaime Mastromonica, David S. Hogan and Gary Crawford. Written by Faye Hoerauf.

Hope to see you there! Location is the NWFF at 1515 12th Ave. in Capitol Hill.

Pester the film forum for ticket info which they have not released yet. And buy your tickets EARLY. The theater is small and I'd love to have a strong showing here. Thanks!

Some points of interest to you fellow filmmakers:
- I directed this thing. I produced it, too, but the main thing is I directed something. First time since 2005's 'Hook Her'.
- We shot on the HV20 using the Cinevate Brevis 35mm lens adapter.

The goals for me on this shoot was to see how far we could go with as minimal a crew as possible. The answer? pretty far. I wouldn't want to do it again just for the sake of maintaining everyone's sanity. But we pushed through a lot and pretty well considering. I'm proud of what we did. The perfectionist in me sees room for constant improvement, of course, but I'm happy with the outcome.

While using the adapter introduced new problems in the traditional digital technique, it produced some amazing images. I'm not a fan of the HDV codec, however, and would like to test the system on an HVX-200 with a lot more pre-production planning to get shots nailed down. Shooting on the fly with these lenses is not easy! My hats off to the camera crew for slogging through the technical difficulties and my hesitancy.

And of course thanks to everyone who worked on this. Full crew thusly:

Written by Faye Hoerauf

Morag - Lori Lee Haener
Laura - Jaime Mastromonica
Percy - David S. Hogan
Terry - Gary Crawford
Wolf Minion - Lily

Camera & Lights - Travis Phelps, John Scrapper, Matt Selby
Assistant Director - Spencer Fornaciari
Editor - Slavka Kolbel
Script Supervisor - Faye Hoerauf
Sound - Dusty Edwards
Opening Titles - Lee at Digital Kitchen


P.S. This movie and this summer's 'Sausage Fest' will be appearing on the GadZook website in the next couple of weeks. In addition, 'Old Tricks' should be hitting YouTube.


Capsule Reviews. What exactly are they?

Before I can accurately reply to the comments from my last post, I need clarification. What IS a capsule review? Is it merely a summary of the film? Is it a brief review/critique of the film? What is it? Anyone care to illuminate me?

That said, my beef was with the content of the capsule review, not the film itself. My rewrite suggestion was based on the review, not the film. Because the review failed to mention things like directing, acting or script I took that to mean those things didn't warrant a mention and reflected that in my rewrite. My apologies to people who took that too seriously or read too much in to that.

I look forward to seeing Cthulhu someday when the planets align and Dagon says he'll give me the money to see it. Until then I'll refrain from any future speculation on its content.

Also, I don't see Annie writing a review of a film in a festival she's getting paid to cover as a "favor" to any of us. Cthulhu has received a lot of press via The Stranger already (Oh, the Horror, written by Wagner as well as the director's Genius award nomination, summary also by Wagner) so it's not like they were ignoring this local film. Considering how hard it is to get press even after a film is made I think these pieces are considerable favors. And, I think it's great - the more coverage of local film the better. Perhaps at a later time, or maybe over a Coke at Bill's, we could discuss why Annie said, during an April 13th, 2006 Filmmaker's Saloon, that The Stranger doesn't cover local films because they don't pay for the ads. And that a local film won't get coverage unless it plays for more than a week at a local venue. Why, if this were true, did Cthulhu get a mention before they even began filming? I'm not saying there's a conspiracy, but it'd be nice to know what the Cthulhu people did right in the whole press game. Anybody care to enlighten here? Dan, Grant? Are you reading? 🙂


NW Production Market and more

Wow, time's is busy around here. We're getting ready to launch a new website and facet for the company (keep checking for details), prepping a new short film for a (hopefully) late summer shoot and getting ready for July's annual trek down to the San Diego Comic Con.

Up until yesterday I was going to submit Plight to the NW Production Market which is a new initiative from SIFF. For $100 and the sponsorship of a Seattle film-organization's board member, you can get your script seen by powerhouses of the industry. While I was able to get a board member to sponsor the film, I had a hard time finding out exactly what my $100 was going towards. SIFF was tight-lipped about it. Heck, even the film offices weren't saying much. I did some uncovering and was able to determine that of the companies that were attending, there wasn't a one that would've been predisposed to a zombie-comedy romp. Since we have an uphill climb with this film already, I didn't want to waste $100 if the likelihood was slim that our film even matched the companies attending. At least with AFM you are informed of who's attending. You are able to determine who's looking for what and what other people are selling. I was wary of the secretive nature of the NWPM but in the beginning thought any exposure might be good exposure. But when you're riding on a specialized genre movie, only the right exposure is worth it.

The fundraising plan for the short is slowly coming together. Stay tuned for more news in the next couple of weeks. A new website for the short with a description and all is coming soon.

Me and the GadZook Media crew have been confirmed with Professional Passes to the Comic-Con this year. That's exciting (and a money saver). It was a bit of a confusing process and ultimately doesn't give us any more perks than regular passes - but they're FREE! And different colored than all the other passes. Which means attention, which means more opportunities for pitching.

Oh yeah, what's GadZook Media, you ask? I've teamed up with several fine folks to offer online marketing solutions for film, video and game producers. We're a boutique agency and are looking to build up our clientele so please shoot me an e-mail at domz AT and let's chat. No jobs open at this time, sorry. GadZook Media will become the new "owner" of GadZook Films, although you probably won't be seeing GadZook Media plastered on any of my movies in the near future.

What else? The GadZook Media Outdoor Sports League is gearing up. Message me if you'd like to join in the fun. It's free (for the most part) and the time committment is fairly low. I'm thinking of calling us the Bush League Players. We'll see.

Alrighty, that's all the news that's fit. Talk to you later...


More from the Film Company

As I thought, here's the reason behind their departure, taken from here:

"Seattle money sucks," said [Film Company producer Gregg] Lachow. "We've got to get the support from the place we're in. But on the other hand, there's so many wonderful cast and crew and the postproduction houses and vendors in Seattle are fantastic... we'll keep working with them even once we move."

It's great that they intend to keep using cast and crew from here. I wonder just how far that extends. Like just the folks already involved in the Film Company (as in Company members?) or will they actively seek out crew from Seattle and transplant them in New York? And basically what happened is the Film Company's mantra of "Come to Seattle, make a movie!" is now "Come to New York, make a movie!" which is decidedly much less interesting a concept. Seriously, how many movies are made and or set in New York?! I thought the goal was to help start a cottage industry in town, bring in artists to vitalize an art form and make it our own? I guess New York's art scene is more stagnant than once thought...

Also, it's very nice of Lachow to mention his intention to still use Seattle artists, but my God what a financial nightmare!! If you're making movies in New York, use New York resources! No one will fault you for it!


Sooo, this is what they think…

At age 13, Kate wrote a series of letters to be read, on each subsequent birthday, by her older self. On her 23rd birthday, Kate's obsession with these letters triggers a psychological meltdown. "We Go Way Back" begins with an out of focus traveling shot on the Ballard Bridge while an off-tune Laura Veirs caterwauls on the soundtrack. It is a fitting entrance into a film in which the leading character spends her time either sitting on a couch or rehearsing a ghastly production of "Hedda Gabler." Kate also sleeps with any guy who makes a pass at her, in sex scenes so perfunctory that it is a wonder why the guys bother. In a baffling climax, Kate and the physical manifestation of her 13-year-old self cavort in a field. The irrational psychology of this split psyche might have yielded some impressive images for a short, experimental film, but first time director Lynn Shelton breaks too many narrative laws for it to work as a feature. Aside from Robert Hamilton Wright's performance as a fringe theater director, a wickedly insightful parody of interpretive directing, this is yet another ill-crafted mess from Seattle's ambitious but under-trained school of amateur filmmaking. (Bill White)

Grade: D

Ya know, I wonder how many "amateur" films this guy has seen coming out of Seattle? I know Lynn on a purely acquaintance level and know she's extremely professional, not just in demeanor but in terms of what she does for a living. I get the whole 'experimental" part, as that's kinda been a Film Company standard now. But I just can't help but wonder just what this guy has seen to make him think "We Go Way Back" is akin to the bulk of work coming out of Seattle. What is he expecting, I wonder? And what, if anything, can we do to change his mind? You can watch this "ill-crafted mess" at the Varsity starting TODAY. I encourage you to support this film and others from Seattle. Even if you don't like the movie it sends a message to Landmark Cinemas that they don't have to take a huge gamble with a movie coming out of Seattle and may open doors to other filmmakers struggling to get their work seen. A couple of years ago it would've been unheard of to get a movie playing in a major theatrical chain like this outside of four-walling it for a night at a time.


And another thing…

Is it just me, or has the Stranger focused more on the local porn industry in the last two issues than on independent filmmakers (outside of Charles Mudede and the C'hoo-hoo guys?) over the last year? What's up with that? I have nothing against porn but when the Stranger says they don't run stories on local independents and then devotes two+ issues on the local porn industry and their own porn film festival I find something a little odd. Eh, whatever.