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Confessions of a Working Director - 02/01/2008

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Since September 2008, independent genre film studio Wicked Pixel Cinema?s owner/writer/director/producer/actor Eric Stanze has been giving us the latest insights on the life of a working director. See what Stanze is up to in February or backtrack to some of his previous entries to see what he's been doing!

Things are quite chaotic at Wicked Pixel Cinema these days. I recently completed the third draft of BUTCHER?S MOON, my ?large scale? sci-fi / horror story. I am very happy with it, and others here at the office have shown a surprising level of enthusiasm for the project too. I think the story is inventive, the characters are nicely textured, and the progression of the movie is interesting. It begins as a disaster movie with a science fiction / political thriller undercurrent. The story then begins a hellish, post-apocalyptic downward spiral to a very raw and primal fight-for-survival horror story. I?ve never seen a movie function this way. Everyone here, especially me, is eager to dive into this production and create something unique.

But after only a couple of meetings about BUTCHER?S MOON, we came to some harsh conclusions. And we made some difficult decisions.

Basically, BUTCHER?S MOON is too big to pull off with our current resources. Gathering the resources necessary, financial and otherwise, will take many months, meaning we have no chance of shooting BUTCHER?S MOON this year (which was our original intention).

In fact, if substantial funding does not materialize for BUTCHER?S MOON, it may never get shot at all. It would be nearly impossible to shoot BUTCHER?S MOON on a budget the size we worked with on our last movie, DEADWOOD PARK.

We spent all of 2007 promoting DEADWOOD PARK. The movie has received glowing reviews from numerous websites, including some of the heavy hitters. We were especially thrilled when DeadPit Radio named DEADWOOD PARK the best independent film of 2007. DEADWOOD PARK premiered at Orlando, Florida?s Freak Show Film Festival and won Best Feature and Best Cinematography. That?s pretty good momentum.

At a point in time where the horror DVD market is terrible, making any kind of splash is difficult, especially for a movie that was completely financed by numerous small investors. DEADWOOD PARK received zero money or other support from any corporate entities at all. That, in turn, means a year of decent exposure for DEADWOOD PARK is primarily the result of us really bustin? our asses.

Now that we have such momentum, we are nervous about flushing it away. It is important for us to shoot another movie in 2008. If we wait too long to launch our next feature, all the momentum we built with DEADWOOD PARK will have died out, and a lot of our marketing will have to start over at square one.

The decision was made to begin searching for the BUTCHER?S MOON budget while we simultaneously begin pre-production on an entirely new (smaller) movie.

Jason Christ and I sat down and banged out the first draft of a new screenplay titled SEIZURE. Usually, a first draft takes about six months to write. We don?t have that kind of time. So Jason and I chained ourselves into this screenplay, eschewed pesky distractions like sleep, and worked our asses off to produce a 90 page first draft in one week. We chopped the movie up into sections, divided those sections between us, and wrote simultaneously at two separate locations. Each night, around 1 or 2 in the morning, Jason would arrive at my house with his pages. I?d copy them from his jump drive and splice them together with what I had written that day. It was a fascinating writing experiment. It?s only a first draft, obviously in need of improvements. But after working so hard on the BUTCHER?S MOON screenplay for six months or more, seeing a first draft of SEIZURE come together in a week was amazing.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but likely SEIZURE will be our next project. SEIZURE is nothing like BUTCHER?S MOON, so that?s refreshing. SEIZURE is a bare-knuckle punch of dark, violent, pure-bred horror. It?s sinister and brutal, not jokey or watered down. I suspect the horror fans reading this now will really get into such a flick. Being big horror fans ourselves, Jason and I sure got excited about it fast. I think the originality of the story and the unrestricted brutality of it can be a refreshing change of pace for the real horror fans out there.

Keep reading these journal entries. I?ll keep you informed as to whether or not SEIZURE officially goes into pre-production, and if it does, I?ll give you more details about the project as it moves forward.

Thanks for reading!

Eric Stanze

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