Given 3 weeks in New Zealand to do as they please, some folks might go sightseeing, surfing, skydiving or simply relax on the beach. Not yet familiar with this bizarre concept known as ‘vacation’, I figured – why not shoot an episode of MARTINI MOM & DEVIL SPAWN? And that’s what we did.
All things told it took us about 2 weeks, a lot of running around and a whole lotta fun. Cast and crew hailed from some local film schools and in response to an online ad I placed prior to flying out. In fact, I did very little in this episode aside from facilitate my newfound co-conspirators in this zany endeavor. y conclusion: Kiwis rock! Check out episode 9 – The New Zealand Episode HERE (and if you stay tuned ‘til the end, catch our bonus Martini Just Say No PSA and a post-credits plea to Peter Jackson himself.)
I never expected one of my best filmmaking experiences to happen in front of the camera (I don’t usually like it there), yet it did. We were recreating one of my all-time fave movie scenes – the “mad as hell” sequence from NETWORK in episode 8. Who could’ve guessed what wonders would transpire?
It was “rush hour” in Niles, Michigan where five of us shouted from the windows and fire escape of an historic building* on a main street: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”
To our delighted amazement, cars below honked their horns, crowds gathered, locals chimed in with glee. Over and over we shouted and they shouted along with us—offering smiles, laughter and giving us their thumbs up. We bonded in solidarity—this spontaneous group of kindred spirits. I think it was the single most therapeutic moment of my life and one of the happiest.
Our wacky little web series has been a celebration of autonomy, of freedom, of fun of passion and of good old-fashioned silliness. It recalls childhood years making super-8 movies with my older brother in the backyard, shooting VHS homework assignments with friends in junior high, having nary a care in the world. It’s unbridled creativity without the agendas and rules and oppression (repression? suppression? ) that often suffocate the “grown-up projects” we’re supposed to be spending all our time on. In short, it’s a relief.
I guess the truth of the matter is, I’m not as mad as hell—certainly not in the bitter, angry sense of the word at any rate. Rather, I’m incredibly grateful. Thanks to the awesome people in Niles and beyond who offer their solidarity in our mutual endeavor to be free and happy and always consumed by passion. It’s a beautiful Network indeed!
*Incidentally, extra special thanks to our “Steve-of-all-trades”, Steve Russell, who found our location and to Steve Smith, who was so kind to let us use it! For Deviant Pictures regulars, you may also recognize it from our film, LAST SEEN ON DOLORES STREET.
Episode 8 was a special homecoming for us because we returned to Michiana and teamed up with our longtime co-conspirators at Richardson Productions. Tim Richardson and company personify the expression ‘fiercely independent.’ I’ve lost count of how many feature films they’ve shot by now (upward of 9, covering an astounding array of genres and starting long before the advent of HD—hell even mini-dv and HI-8, I believe— and long before everybody and his freakin’ cousin was making “indie films.”) They’ve also done some fabulous parody music videos and even had a Cable TV sitcom series (now online) long before the word “webisode” had ever been coined. Why hasn’t Tim been knighted yet? Seriously! The man’s a pioneer.
Anyhoo, in recent years RP Studios has been taking the fanfilm parody world by storm with a wildly outrageous and super-ambitious set of feature-length spectacles —THE DORK OF THE RINGS and HARVEY PUTTER & THE RIDICULOUS PREMISE— that combine the best movie magic of Ed Wood and Cecil B. DeMille combined with a delightful ‘Benny Hill-meets-Weird Al Yankovic’ charm and that extra special something that so distinctly marks an RP Production.
Naturally, when we realized episode 8 of MARTINI MOM & DEVIL SPAWN, required a ‘cameo’ by Peter Jackson, we called up Richardson’s alter ego, Jack Peterson, to step in. Little did we know, RP Studios was kicking off their latest opus THE THROBBIT —though it hardly comes as a surprise – these guys are PROLIFIC! And best of all, it’s all fueled by passion. None of this status-seeking poseur, trying to be the next Tarantino or Rodriguez or found-footage horror clone rip-off BS. These guys are keeping it real, doing it on their own terms — for the sheer love of it— industry protocol be damned. Punk rock lives on —gabba gabba hey!
So, please – by all means, check out their wacky world and support actual, true indie filmmakers by ‘liking’ them HERE. These guys support other indie filmmakers all the time, through the Mid America Filmmakers (MAF), the Riverbend Film Festival and serving as an incredible inspiration to other filmmakers by reminding us the only thing standing between our filmmaking aspirations and achieving them is the lack of imagination (and/or a healthy – and occasionally rather sick – sense of humor.)
Thanks, Tim and gang – for your awesome contribution to episode 8 (and the upcoming episode 14 when we travel to Valhalla!), indie cinema in general and a world that needs to laugh more – may your Throbbit thrive (interpret as you will….)
We here in Martini-land are big Peter Jackson fans—or at least, we have been in the past. Somehow his last few movies haven’t spawned the same magic. And Peter Jackson isn’t our only beloved director who seems to have lost his mojo. Lucas, Burton, Lynch— even Scorsese— also seem to be off their game (among many others). It’s almost as if some evil conspiracy is behind it. Or is it Satan himself? The answer lies in Episode 8 where we visit the set of THE HOBBIT and beyond to find out what makes a good director go bad (or at least mediocre). Check it out right HERE.
A big round of thanks to Martini Mom‘s champion R. O’Donnell over at Static MultiMedia for his piece about all things Spawn.
You can read the full story HERE. And catch up on episodes 1-7 HERE.
“Computers don’t make people stupid, people make people stupid” is the lesson learned in Episode 7 of MARTINI MOM & DEVIL SPAWN: The Screaming of the Hams.
In the so-called communication age it would seem there is less quality communicating going on than ever – too often in 140 characters or less – in a shorthand that renders Orwellian Newspeak downright poetic.
Sure, convenience is convenient, but at what cost?
Join Rosemary and the gang for an examination of “anti-social networking” on society (and our second, though certainly not last song and dance number!) HERE.
When we first decided to try our hands at a web series, we only planned to shoot 6 episodes. Why? Because that’s how many scripts I’d written and this was merely to be an experiment. But in working with our fabulous cast in such a fun, creative environment, I think we all quickly realized that would never be enough.
As Cyn, Circus and Gilly (not to mention Spawny and the host of eclectic guest cast) breathed life into our zany world, I was flooded by new possibilities. I wrote episodes 7-15 in a flurry drawing from ideas inspired by our cast’s performances. I learned so much from watching them that I needed to see them grow. It became downright addictive.
Shooting a web series becomes its own lifestyle (especially when you live on your compact Technicolor polka dot and zebra print soundstage crammed with props, costumes and lights. But it’s so worth it. Making a show is far more fun than merely watching one. It’s like being a child again, when playing was utterly unselfconscious and totally free-form. Anything goes, no creative holds barred.
Starting with episode 7 (coming soon—sound’s complete, music’s in progress) you’ll see a shift. Episodes get longer, more ambitious, more dramatic (sometimes more political being written in an election year environment and all) and more evolved.
We even leave the apartment upon occasion and include ever more “outsiders” to our world (some you’ll even recognize…) Surprisingly, we encountered some unexpected touching and even tragic moments ahead. Once or twice it dawned on us while shooting these heavier scenes – how does THIS happen in a lighthearted, rowdy comedy? It was exciting to arrive at these unexpected places.
We hope you stay tuned for the second half of season 1. In the meantime, if you’re new to our world, please check out episodes 1-6 HERE. Thanks!
Gilly came up with the title for episode 5 (watch it HERE) during our shoot. Go, Gilly!
Episodes 5’s a super short one which I wrote over my morning coffee one day. I wanted to establish our spawn as a real character even though we’ve yet to see the l’il devil outside his bassinet. I thought of other unseen but important characters—like my beloved Harvey and even Maris from FRASIER—and how even the visibly-challenged (or is it people of translucence?) can make an impact. This is the first episode where we see that start to happen on screen. It happened behind the camera as well.
It occurred to me, that much like Frankenstein’s monster, ours still had no name—which led to a rather philosophical discussion about “what’s in a name?” and ultimately, Gilly’s fitting title suggestion. Yes, a spawn by any other name will smell just as rancidly sweet indeed.
I hadn’t planned to shoot a Master of Horror in the face. In an era of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 4 and other uninspired genre junk, we should really preserve what little quality remains. But sometimes these things just happen.
On the day we shot episode 4, I got a last minute inspiration for an additional scene. Moments later I got a serendipitous e-mail from a buddy asking me what I was up to.
“We’re shooting today!” I wrote all chipper-like.
“Great! Do you need any help?” he wrote back, equally chipper.
Inspired, I jotted down my new scene idea and wrote back back:
“Absolutely! How would you like to be shot in the face by Dick Cheney?”
I mean, who wouldn’t, right?
And that is how it all went down. Said friend is Mick Garris, a super talented horror director and author. Horror fans will no doubt be familiar with his fabulous TV series MASTERS OF HORROR among his many other impressive accomplishments.
However, a lesser known work — which is my personal favorite entry of his oeuvre to date — is his book entitled: DEVELOPMENT HELL.
Sick and twisted and sexy and disturbing (not to mention a marvelous indictment of the entertainment industry!), I am baffled why they don’t make this into a film or series. So check it out and spread the word and maybe we can help make that happen. You’ll thank me — after you recover, that is (it might take a while — I kid you not, it’s seriously messed up stuff)
Anyway, thanks to Mick for being such a good sport and helping us teach our Dick a valuable lesson about the Golden Rule. Check out Episode 4 HERE (and scroll down for episode 3 to see a nod to Mick’s co-conspirator Stephen King, too, if you’re so inclined and not a biblical literalist, in which case you might be offended.)
Election Day is nigh, so why not warm up those voting muscles with the always lovable Dick Cheney who teaches us a super valuable lesson in episode 4 of MARTINI MOM & DEVIL SPAWN freshly launched today. Catch it (and the previous 3 episodes) here: