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Blog Posts

Confessions of a Working Director - 10/3/2008


Over the past two years, my company Wicked Pixel Cinema has gone through some growing pains.  Deadwood Park was a great project for us, but then things became… different.  In an effort to survive, my team designed new business agendas that would give us a financial boost.  I was upset about this often, because none of these agendas actually included making movies… but I was told we can get back to that stuff later.

After two years and thousands of dollars in business loans, none of these great financial-traction schemes have worked.  My team has achieved some great things in terms of marketing and getting more horror fans to know my name, know our movies, etc.  But, this has not translated into greater profits - and it never will if we don't create new product.  In the end, it turns out, our most profitable product is (brace yourself) The Feature Length Motion Picture.  Cool… that means I can now get back to work making movies.

I've written two scripts since Deadwood Park.  A screenplay titled Butcher's Moon got everyone's enthusiasm up, but it was just too big.  We shelved it until we are in a position of getting more substantial funding. 

I then co-wrote Seizure with Jason Christ.  We had John Saxon, Zelda Rubinstein, Adrienne King, and Jim Van Bebber signed on to the cast.  This was only a $200,000 movie and we couldn't secure the financing.  The plug was pulled and the project died.  I was told that the funding fizzled mostly because of America's slumping economy, but also because the cast was weak.  Now, I've seen bigger budgeted movies launch with lesser-known "names" in the cast, so I didn't buy this.  Numerous "experts" in the industry gave us a laundry list of reasons why Seizure couldn't get the $200,000, but everyone's expert opinions contradicted everyone else's.  It was infuriating.

After two years of not making movies, two things became obvious.  One, I am constantly struggling to keep Wicked Pixel Cinema alive, I suffer financially for it, and I am not getting to do what I want to do in my own company.  Unacceptable. 

Secondly, it is a unanimous decision among all Wicked Pixel Cinema top dogs that we absolutely MUST create new product soon, or we are sealing our financial doom by pissing away two years of expensive (for us) marketing.  Solution:  We just get out there and make a new movie. 

Thank God.

About two months ago, we started pre-production on a smaller movie.  The pressure was on high, as I wanted to start and finish shooting before 2008 was over.  We hit the ground running and in two months we had a script, most of the locations secured, 95 percent of the cast locked, and most of the production design work complete.  Most satisfying, Jason and I, plus the rest of the team here, agree that this new script is far superior to Seizure.

Seizure was a pure-bred horror movie.  We gave it our unique spin, but it was firmly rooted in genre tradition.  This new movie is far more ambitious in the risks it takes narratively, and is therefore much more interesting.  It is still a horror movie… mixed with gritty film noir crime drama… mixed with a dash of X-Files style paranormal shenanigans… mixed with good ol' fashioned bloodshed and violence for all the gore-hounds out there.

What is the title of this new movie?  Who's in it?  What's the plot?  These questions and more will be answered in upcoming FEARnet journal entries.  Stay tuned!

And, as always, thanks for reading.

Eric Stanze