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Come visit us on MySpace!

November 30th, 2006

That's right folks - we've finally agreed to get with the times and join the other 130,000,000+ people looking for friends and significant others they don't have a chance with and have created our very own MySpace profile... *Cue ominous death march music*


Truth be told, MySpace is pretty cool - sure, it's ugly as all hell, and people who have no business digging into web coding are trying to modify their profiles with the most atrociously fugly layouts imaginable... but count us hooked. Plus, we're already at over 173 "friends," including such luminaries as: Eli Roth, Kevin Smith, Peter Jackson, Wes Craven, Fangoria magazine, Emo Philips, Tiffany... oops, how did she get on that list? (ok, ok, guilty pleasure)

Anyway, cool stuff, and it's helping to spread the word of not only "Muffin Man," but also the mighty Dancing Monkey Productions. We've also started up a new blog (for all things Dancing Monkey) on MySpace, so that probably means that the entries on this particular blog may slow down somewhat...

However, if/when there is any "Muffin Man" specific news to announce (holding out for Tromadance 2007 to be announced sometime in December!) I will still post here...

All the best, and please feel free to join us and be our friend on MySpace!

Texas Frightmare Weekend plugs "Muffin Man!"

November 19th, 2006

The mighty G. Noel Gross (formerly of CineSchlock-O-Rama) has put a fantastic plug in for "The Muffin Man" on the 4th episode of the Texas Frightmare Weekend podcasts! Mr. Gross is a fantastic purveyor of b-movies and all that is cheesy and wonderful, and he was one of the first people to receive a DVD of "The Muffin Man" when released... and he & his co-host spend several minutes talking about their love for the film, playing excerpts, and plugging the film... fantastic!!

You can link over to the page by clicking here ("Muffin Man" talk starts at about 17:40), and I'll also try embedding the player below... Thanks Mr. Gross!!

IMDB & a festival! (well, a convention)

October 11th, 2006

2 bits o' good news to report, folks:

firstly, finally, the mighty Internet Movie Database has agreed that "the muffin man" is a REAL movie, worthy of listing in its hallowed halls, and you can check out the movie's page by clicking here!. note that they are adding information slowly, so right now there are only minimal credits listed, but i PROMISE you that everyone's entry was submitted... it's just a matter of when it'll show up!

second, the film has its first non-cast & crew screening set up: Edmonton's Pure Speculation Sci-Fi & Fantasy Festival will be screening both "Muffin Man" and "Rotten Shaolin Zombies" this weekend (date & time TBA). for all of you cast & crew in calgary - get in your cars and shoot up highway 2 this weekend to partake! (i'll be with you in spirit!)   special thanks to anders, for putting me in touch with his pal rudi, who is on the organizing committee for the convention!

an update from american soil!

September 11th, 2006

apologies for the long wait for this update, but relocating & resettling from canada to the u.s. is not a quick or easy ordeal... thankfully, we made it safe & sound, are settled in our new home, and the mission to spread THE MUFFIN MAN world-wide can resume once more!

first off, a bit of lousy news - got word that MUFFIN MAN was not selected for this year's calgary international film festival... too bad - somehow i thought they'd love to showcase a locally made movie about a serial killing baked good, but alas, they deemed it not worthy. all the best to them, but we're off to other festivals who can appreciate this type of marvel!

on that note, i've submitted the film to the sacramento international film festival (which, to be honest, i'm not sure if they'll even consider this type of b-movie), and i have about a dozen festivals marked off on withoutabox.com to consider & submit to.

i've also mailed about about 10 copies for reviews and hope to start getting URLs back in the next month or so - as always, as they come in, i'll post them on the web site's main page.

that's about it for now folks - please keep spreading the word of MUFFIN MAN and will update again once there's new news!

dvd issues with some dvd machines

August 5th, 2006

folks - of the initial several dozen dvds that went out (half to cast & crew, half sold to ppl), i've heard back from 3 people with issues playing back the dvd... i think what may be happening is that CERTAIN dvd players have a hard time playing back dvds burned at 8x (which i did for the initial run of discs). while it appears the majority of people have no problem playing their copies, if you are one of the unlucky few who can not play the dvd in your particular dvd player, please send in an email with your mailing address and i'll mail out a replacement disc to you right away! (note that you can keep the dvd case, i'll just mail out an actual replacement disc for you).

apologies to those affected, and thanks to everyone who has written in to tell me that their copies do work fine!

a night of magic

August 2nd, 2006

well, after many (MANY) delays, extended deadlines, etc., the debut screening of THE MUFFIN MAN was held tonight @ Calgary's mighty Telus World of Science. I was nervous that maybe only a handful of people would turn up, but with a dozen people there by 6:30, and OVER 150 there by 7:15, right off the bat the night was geared up for success. To be honest, I only knew maybe 1/4 of the people there, which was fantastic, as that meant there were 3/4 of the people there who were present to support a wacky film, support their family & friends, and/or just check out a little something different.

with a bit of kevin smith-like (although nowhere near as witty or verbose) microphone play, i thanked everyone for their support & attendance, gave him the low-down on the night's festivities (trailer, intro, film, cast & crew thanks & dvd hand-outs, selling dvds from the stage, blaine goes home happy) we began...

first up, the trailer for ROTTEN SHAOLIN ZOMBIES. everyone loved it - hooting, hollering, applauding. man i love that film.

next up, the intro by Troma's Lloyd Kaufman. another crowd pleaser, with lots o' laughing & groaning.

animated dancing monkey intro - lots of applause, which warmed my heart, cuz i love it, but plus john mancenido was present (he who created the intro). perfect.

then, the movie begins.... i loved it - but, 2 minutes in: dvd freezes. oh man. right then is when i started kicking myself for NOT bringing my dvd player, as it works great. fast forward, no worries - starts to play again, crowd gets into it. unfortunately, the dvd player would freeze up 2-3 (400?) more times in the next 15 minutes - much to my horror, but thankfully the crowd stayed upbeat and supportive (even applauding the dancing monkey intro each of the 3x they saw it as the disc restarted).

finally, it locked up hard, so we called intermission (intermission? on a 40 minute film?) and two fantastic people stepped up who happened to live nearby.... so they each ducked home to grab their own dvd players and bring them back - thank-you guys, thank-you so much. thankfully, the able talents of mr. chris ippolito and mike shepherd were present to regale the crowd with witty microphone banter during intermission.

new dvd player hooked up, resume film, a-okay. man. there was a point when i wanted to just bolt - what do you do when none of your dvds will play in the dvd player at the facility? holy smokes... note to self: carry dvd player in car from now on. forever.

but we got thru to the end, crowd applauded, i grabbed the mike and called everyone down by name. cast & crew, each was singled out, applauded, thanked and dvd handed to... and we filled the stage - it was a beautiful thing. appreciated the thanks and applause i received, was just grateful (nearly) everyone stuck around to see it thru to the end!

then, people started coming up to buy dvds - and the line grew surprisingly long! i'd brought a full box o' dvds (including 10 copies of RSZ, cuz hey, y'never know) and i sold a few dozen copies - which was fantastic! in fact, i would've sold more if i had him - wow!!

then, night out with the cast & crew for drinks and laughs... fantastic time, such a good, solid group of people, would love to work with all of them again. night capped off by the elitist, angry, venom-spewing artsy-fartsy filmmaker who harranged us at our table (until anders expertly eviscerated him and shut him up). unreal, but a perfect capper to a (nearly) perfect night.

photos coming soon (thanks dave).

next up: film fests - get ready folks!

Tues, Aug 1st: Unleash the Fury!!

July 26th, 2006

that's right folks - after many (broken) promises, many delays, and all sorts of happenstance(s), THE MUFFIN MAN is about to be removed from the oven, freshly baked and ready to be devoured by the eager hordes clamoring to take a nibble!

many thanks to the mighty john mancenido (he of the dancing monkey logo & intro animation) for swinging the deal that will see EL MUFFIN projected across the fantastic dome of the Telus World of Science here in downtown calgary!

Tuesday, August 1st, 2006 @ 7:00pm, at the Telus World of Science, come see THE MUFFIN MAN with cast, crew, friends & strangers alike! the hope is that the entire cast & crew will be in attendance, as well as every single person they each know - admission is free, good times are assured, and MUFFIN MAN dvds will be on sale for the unbelievably low price of $10 each - so bring fistfulls of cash and claim your very own!

cannot wait - stay tuned for more details as we inch closer to the unveiling!

so so SO close!!

July 25th, 2006

we're talking DAYS now folks, DAYS!

recorded the commentaries tonight, and they went fantastically. i was up first, and delivered the straight-laced (but still enthusiastic) director s commentary. anders went next, delivering his witty, entertaining screenwriter's commentary. a mystery guest took a stab at his own commentary (ooh - can you say dvd easter egg?) before mr. mike shephered and mr. chris ippolito stepped up and delivered their dynamic duo of a commentary to round out the evening. lots of fun for all!

tomorrow, i pick up the final sound mix and commentaries from beau, load them into the computer, export out final audio mixes, and start burning DVDs.

picked up all of the printing today and it looks fantastic - giant movie poster (going on my wall), smaller 11x18' mini posters, 100 dvd inlays, 100 dvd labels - bueno!!

screening: looking like emmedia screening room either sunday july 30th or friday aug 4th (or maybe both?) but a new possible contender has stepped up: the telus world of science centre. RSZ played at the asian film fest held there last year, and it was fantastic viewing (the setting, not the movie, duh), so here's hoping.

stay tuned - release is imminent!!

so close, so close...

July 19th, 2006

folks - slight delay: final sound mix & commentaries pushed back a week (can't fault beau for needing to earn a living!), so the plan is to have the debut screening either July 30th or else Aug 4th... probably EMMEDIA screening room, possibly local theatre (the street team is on the loose!)

stay tuned...

i see the finish line!!

Saturday, July 15th, 2006

unbelievable - what a crazy couple weeks it has been! sorry for the lack of information, but lots has been happening - here’s a recap:

SOUND DESIGN - i’ve made a few trips down to the mighty ear candy in the past couple weeks, to check out the mix as it takes shape, give input where required, and provide new/updated versions of song files, master video clip, ADR with my 3-year old (not as much fun as you might think), etc. beau has been busting his ass for the mighty muffin man, and it shows - the sound mix is killer (pun intended). beau will be providing me with final audio first thing this coming week, and we’ll also be recording

DVD COMMENTARIES on monday night! should be a hoot - 3 commentaries going to be recorded, can’t wait.

VIDEO is totally locked. totally. shifted the opening titles around a bit (better pacing if bumped further into the film) and adjusted (and have now locked) the final end credits. damn this looks good. i’ve watched it probably 20x now, and i’m still laughing along, esp. with the kick-ass sound mix pumping out.

THE DVD is pretty much done. the mighty wilson wong stepped up to put his talents to work yet again (after the Gonuts material - including the infamous “Nutz!!” poster - and his own acting talents) and delivered a dvd inlay that is a treasure to behold. simply gorgeous. check out the dvd cover included at the bottom of his posting! i then took what he supplied, set up the dvd label, created the dvd screens, and build the actual interface for the dvd. tested it out tonight - looks great. going to take a few more pics monday night (during dvd commentaries), flow in the various audio commentary tracks themselves, and then this sucker is LOCKED!! (time to then start churning out the dvds!)

The DEBUT SCREENING is starting to look more like it’ll take place at the emmedia screening room (just like RSZ’s was) as opposed to screening at one of calgary’s local indie theatres. i’d had big dreams of maybe a double-billing of RSZ & MM at the Plaza, Uptown or Globe, but thus far, it’s not been going to well. Playing phone tag with Globe, trying to get a response from the Plaza, and while the Uptown did respond, the rental rate to book the theatre is several hundred dollars more than what’s affordable (the last thing i want to do is solicit donations from cast & crew!). so folks - still hold out hope, but it’s looking like a screening one night @ emmedia… tentatively looking at july 26th or 27th, so circle your calendars - it’s almost muffin time!!

Lloyd Kaufman is King

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

Finally - after months of anxious anticipation, weeks of excitedness, and several days of anxiousness, the miniDV tape arrived from the mighty Troma Studios, containing the raw footage of the King of Independent Filmmaking, Mr. Lloyd Kaufman, delivering his unique & wacky introduction to “The Muffin Man” DVD.

Folks - I was howling. Aside from the fact that I’m a true fanboy and am one of the biggest Troma fans you’ll ever meet (so to get Lloyd himself to deliver an intro to one of my movie’s is absolutely unbelievable), the introduction he delivered is flat-out funny. Goofy, wacky, at times crass (but in a good way), I had lots o’ takes and quips to pick from, which I whittled down to just under a 3 minute intro.

Hilarious stuff, so proud to be able to include it on the DVD, hope people enjoy & appreciate what it is.

Thank-you, Mr. Kaufman - you continue to inspire.

more news & news & news & news

Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

hello once again! apologies for the tardiness, but i’m either smack-dab in the middle of focused Muffiny goodness, or I’m lost in the world of 2 kids and a semblance of a home life.

lots o’ news to report in with, here goes (in no particular order):

I’ve mentioned this before, but the movie is LOCKED! No more editing, no more cuts - it be done. (That being said, I may play with crossfades, but that’s it).

While ILM probably won’t be shaking in their booties, I have completed some (very rudimentary) fx shots. Pretty simple, but I am proud of what was done. I made a creative decision NOT to overlay any video onto the tv Max is watching as it would have looked so fake/cheesy/lame, plus the various cast members walking in front of the screen would have made it a nightmare. So, for the briefest glimpses, there will be some type of indistinguishable animated fare on-screen (we’re talking MILLIseconds here), but the faux-movie soundtracks will be awesome and appreciated.

This weekend, I (dramatically) discovered that the film filters I had ready to use on the movie were not compatible with my new Intel-based iMac - zoinks. Ah well, $100 USD later and I purchased a new set that would work… and they worked beautifully! Ran the “Basic” film filter across the entire film, plus a pretty (and pretty slick) 16×9 widescreen matte, so “Muffin Man” will be letterboxed folks!

Convinced the mighty Wilson Wong (of www.squeezecreative.com fame) to help me with the opening title idea I had, and he whipped up some photographic & Photoshop wizardry, which I animated (in a pretty straightforward fashion) to create the opening titles. Beauty.

Damn if this one didn’t drive me nuts - I now recall why I hated doing them for RSZ - they took FOREVER. Thankfully, the latest version of Final Cut Pro has a slick little “Scrolling Text” video generator that let me slap the credits in - even with a 2-column layout & gutter and it’s all bueno.

I’ve even got the extras ready to go - spliced together 8 minutes of audition footage, plus 40 minutes of behind-the-scenes making-of footage. Hilarious stuff - had to whittle down from 60 minutes, and may have to cut down even more (since the test DVDs I’m burning are full, and I haven’t even put in my fancy custom menus yet). Also put in a few dozen photos for a photo gallery, got a copy of the screenplay in PDF format from Captain Anders to include as a DVD-ROM extra, and more to come.

I’ve done the rough start of the DVD inlay, and am really digging it. Once again, Wilson Wong is going to be my own personal hero and put the fancy touches on the layout, plus come up with a kick-ass DVD cover/poster. Wilson rules.

Received word last week that Mr. Kaufman (of Troma Studios) had shot the intro for the DVD and was sending me the (rough) footage, so hopefully I’ll receive, edit, and have ready this week.

After some ADR fun (and some not-so-fun ADR and no-shows), Mr. Beau of Ear Candy fame has the sound mix rolling along. The dialogue is pretty much done, he’s now working on pretty’ing up the music, and then sound effects. Beau is a very, very busy guy with his day job (which coincidentally happens to be running his sound design business), so we’re shooting for 2nd week of July to have the sound mix done…

… which is just in time to get the film submitted to the Calgary International Film Festival for consideration. (Hey, a guy can dream!)

So, the updated plan: big debut screening (hopefully at a local theatre, possibly as a double-bill with RSZ) sometime in July, probably in the 2nd half.

Taking longer than anticipated, but folks: it’s going to be worth it. Rejoice. Have faith. Talk soon.

more happenings and happenstances

Sunday, June 11th, 2006

the fun continues… june is looking like a pipedream, while july is going to be more likely it seems… *sigh* too bad, but i’d rather take the time to do it all right (and give the sound designer all the time he needs), rather than slam it together at the very end just to meet a self-imposed deadline. as such folks - please bear with me - the wait may be a bit longer, but it’ll be worth it, i promise yous….

work continues: we had (nearly) everyone show up for ADR and apparently the sessions all went quite well. nothing like airplane noise, c-trains, and the background chatter of a pub to kill on-set sound. thankfully, mr. beau @ ear candy is the king of audio, so we’re in good shape.

editing continues on my end: more extras, some special effects (glowing red eyes, a bit o’ smoke, squad car covering up), and this week i hope to finalize the extras.

got word from troma studios that lloyd kaufman was recording the intro to the dvd this past friday, so hopefully that’ll be received & digitized in the next week or so.

then, it’s just waiting for the sound mix to be done, record some audio commentaries, get the dvd cover/poster done up & the inlay… and Mr. Muffin is ready to be unleashed upon the world!

some news, as (end of) june looms closer

Monday, June 5th, 2006

hello folks - apologies for the lack of updates recently, but some hectic non-MM related stuff (notably, the day job & a well-deserved week’s vacation) have taken me away from the keyboard as of late… progress is being made, and while end of june release MAY be a bit tight (we’ll see how the sound editing, dvd cover and intro by lloyd kaufman come along this month), things are happening.

the sound mix is coming along very well, with a few of the cast members going in last week to record some ADR (additional dialogue recording) to clean up some unavoidable background noise while filming (c-train, planes, bar patrons).

i’ve started to edit the extras, having sliced together several minutes of auditions, and 15-odd minutes (thus far) of some excellent behind-the-scenes footage. that’ll probably grow to around 25 minutes or so, and then i also want to put together a gag reel (some good bloopers that need to be included).

i’ve now got a rough cut for the opening titles (thanks to the ever-talented graphic stylings of wilson wong @ squeeze creative) and plan on tackling the closing end credits this week (after finishing up the extras).

thereafter, waiting on the dvd introduction from troma’s lloyd kaufman, the dvd cover/inlay/screens (TBD) and the final sound mix… then, of course, we’ll have to lay down some commentaries, record the closing “theme” song (a la Rotten Shaolin Zombies) and then The Muffin Man can be unleashed upon the world!

Stay tuned folks - the end is nigh!

a few technical glitches…

Thursday, May 11th, 2006

well, finally, the audio mix and locked movie are being delivered to the mighty beau @ ear candy tomorrow so he can work his sonic magic on the whole shebang. i had a few technical glitches in the past couple weeks that delayed this handover, most notably my final cut pro editing file becoming SO large that it wouldn’t open on my computer (yikes) and trying to find a workable compression codec for beau that didn’t result in a 8-9 GB video file (which would make it difficult to get the file to him).

however, all is well, all is done, and it goes over to beau tomorrow.

then, i start working on opening titles, closing credits, and getting this sucker locked down.

slowly, surely, june approaches…

nearly ready to lock this puppy

Sunday, April 30th, 2006

that’s right folks - the (video) edit is nearly a lock. i’ve been tinkering throughout the week, got a copy of the film to anders on thursday and got his (very, very) positive feedback on friday - as well as a few insightful suggestions for trims - and i’ve implemented those, along with some other little fine-tunings…

i also mixed in a bunch more music (maybe too much - going to pull back some tomorrow), but having some background music and songs really adds to the overall effect of the film.

the plan is to tweak a lil’ bit more, but then hand off to ear candy by mid-week. then, special fx and titles & credits… yo ho ho and here we go!

more tweaking, more sfx, more music

Sunday, April 23rd, 2006

… and some more edits, some more sound effects, some additional music added… the actual video editing is pretty much done, just still noodling around with some fine-tuning. the plan is still to finalize music by this weekend and turn over to ear candy monday (may 1st). here’s hoping.

more fine tuning…

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

tonight i spent some more time doing some trims, edits, fine tuning, etc. also received a CD of sound effects from the mighty beau at the mighty ear candy, so i had fun placing those in the appropriate spots…

my hope is to “lock” the edit/length this week and get all music placed, so i can turn over the mix to beau to work his magic on the sound design… while i then work on the opening title sequence, end credits, special effects (glowing red eyes, etc.) and, of course, all of the DVD extras!

fine tuning, voiceovers, and rough edits!

Sunday, April 9th, 2006

folks, this has been a tremendous week in the evolution of the mighty “muffin man”!

firstly, i worked on some fine-tuning edits earlier in the week. little snippets taken out here, other bits massaged there… working slowly & steadily towards the elusive final cut… i also added in some static graphics - i.e. donut shop signage, a couple hidden screen gems, etc.

thursday night we ventured into the studio of the mighty ear candy to record some voiceover work. first up, anders & austin did the radio personality bit (which can be heared at the beginning of the morgue sequence) and it was hilarious - the two of them hammed it up beautifully. then, anders remained in the booth, while the ever-talented beau (of ear candy fame) tweaked the virtual knobs to provide a real-time filter for the voice of the title character. folks - you have no idea how amazing the muffin man is going to sound. imagine the evil offspring of pinhead & jabba jello-wrestling with anders’ twisted mind while singing a song from your worst nightmare, and that’ll give you the start of how awesomely-delicious el muffinhead will sound. we were howling listen to anders record the awe-inspiring dialogue uttered by the mighty muffin-headed warrior from hell, and i couldn’t wait to get home to splice it into the edit. (special thanks to beau for all of the superb vocal direction - you definitely know your stuff, sir!)

friday i picked up the cd of the voiceovers and spent friday evening & saturday morning mixing them into the edit. it was amazing how much they added to the film, in particular the muffin man’s voice. no longer just a handsome - but silent - presence, he really came to life once his voice was placed and the full effect of his presence could now be felt.

also, i started to place some music, throwing in about 6 different songs, and am loving how they turned out. again, a whole new layer is added to the film when there’s backing music (both literally & figuratively) and this extra layer of sonic ear juice helps to bring it all to life.

finally, more fine-tuning, adding some initial sound effects (mostly crunchy/squishy noises & punches), more editing, more massaging - it’s been a heckuva muffiny weekend. saturday night i burned the first rough cut onto dvd for watching on the big (home) screen, which i watched at midnight last night. woke up at 8:30am sunday and watched it a 2nd time, taking notes for sound effects, edits/fine tunings to make, etc. sunday morning and early afternoon were spent going down those lists, adding in the sound effects i have (getting more this week from ear candy), adjusting the scenes/cuts that needed some gentle massaging, etc. i’m rendering out the movie again as i type this, and plan on burning a 2nd rough cut onto dvd for viewing tonight again.

folks - it’s really, truly coming together. i’ll admit it’s been a process to get to this point, tough to juggle between the hectic day job, family life (including newborn son), and running the ever-popular CalgaryMovies.com… more than a few times over the last several weeks i had to kick my butt into gear to make things happen… but now that i’ve seen the first rough cut of the film, i am just as excited as i was that first night of shooting.

this is going to be excellent. it’s already a fast-paced 37 minutes (sans titles & credits) and it’s a hoot from start to finish… i hope you’re all gonna love it!

more & more fine tuning…

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006

howdy folks - i know the posts have been a bit infrequent, but i promise there is action happening behind the scenes. this weekend, i completed the “fine tuning” of the editing - i.e. trimming some here, reworking there, slowing down for stylistic effect there, etc. i also did some minor special fx - i.e. superimposing the donut shop signage - and played around with some soundtrack tunes.

the hope is that we can get into the sound studio in the next couple weeks to record some ADR, Muffin Man, screaming, etc. once that’s done, i can then “lock” the edit of the film (as i’ll then be able to stretch out and/or cut any scenes to accomodate the Muffin Man dialogue) and can then do my bit with sound fx, soundtrack, titles and credits, etc.

june is still the anticipated debut - here’s hoping!

more fine tuning…

Sunday, March 19th, 2006

just a quick update for today - doing some fine-tuning… trimming up edits, adjusting sequences, planning on adding some filler shots (i.e. donut shop exteriors, moon in the sky, etc.) later today… get it fully flushed out, then focus on ADR, music & sound effects!

just keeping on keepin’ on…


Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

Are you an independent musician or in an indie band? Looking to get your music into an indie film for some exposure? If so, we’d love to hear from you!

We’re interested in hearing all types of music, all genres, all styles - the more creative the better. Wacky, crazy, original, inventive - we want it all!

Please do not fill our email inbox with MP3s, but instead send us an email with links to your web site or page with MP3 links on it, so we can check it out!

Note that there is no compensation for using your music in the film, other than full credit, a free copy of the movie, and hopefully massive worldwide exposure for your tunes upon the film’s release!

the rough edit is now complete - duhn duhn duhn!!

Sunday, March 12th, 2006

Folks - another solid day of editing, and the first complete rough edit is now finished! sure, i have to add in things like titles, cut-aways, filler shots (donut shop, moon shots, etc.) and credits, but the basic assemblage of the film is now in the can. today i trimmed up the big battle, cut together the final closing scenes, and then braved the customer sequences - lots and lots of cutting, trimming, editing and playing.

end result? something that is really, really looking good!

the one semi-disappointment is the running time, however - we’re currently at just under 38 minutes, with the above-mentioned bits to add. it’s looking like “feature length” could be a stretch - maybe we can get ‘er up to 45 minutes once titles & credits are added, but then i think it’s better off being a long short than a short feature… or maybe not… i dunno.

regardless, the positive is that this is going to be a lean, mean, muffin machine with no dragged-out, boring parts in the middle just to pad it up to 70 or 80 minutes - what you’re going to get is beautiful b-carnage for 40-odd minutes, and that’s a beautiful thing.

stay tuned - trimming and other fun stuff soon… as well as the “creative” editing (let’s see what kind of effects we can play with!!)

final showdown - edited!

Saturday, March 4th, 2006

that’s right folks - just mere DAYS after writing my plea for leniency in non-posting and non-editing, i snuck away from newborn baby duties and did some more editing! not much, admittedly, but i felt the fever, so i acted on it.

the final showdown is now complete. sure, there needs to be a whole whack o’ sound effects, explosions, music, etc. added, but the raw assemblage is there.

what remains? still quite a bit, but i’m hoping to have it all done this month, so i can then move onto things like editing effects, titles, credits, sound effects, ADR, music, etc. scenes left to be edited: the big customer scene (still nervous about the sheer magnitude of editing that one), final scenes (with my firstborn, no less!) and cutting in all of the gonuts footage (interior & exterior shots).

anyway, i’m back on, and hoping to spend even more time tomorrow (while my family is engrossed in the oscars, i shall sneak away)… stay tuned, faithful readers!

a quick (non) update

Monday, February 27th, 2006

folks - apologies for the non-updates the past few weeks… i’m very, very happy to report that my wife had an adorable bouncy baby boy back in early February, but what that means is that zero work has been done on The Muffin Man since then…

I’m hoping to resume editing in early March, so please check back then for updates!

kitchen showdown + the chase

Wednesday, February 1st, 2006

another editing session tonight folks, and we’re getting closer and closer!

tonight, i trimmed up the showdown between the mighty muffin-headed warrior and the awe-struck jane, trying to strike the balance between pacing and full-on, eyes-bulging-out-of-your-head-when-you-see-the-special-effects type of reaction i’m hoping most will have…

and then, logically, chad had his own battle with the deformed mr. bailey, before running out into the night. the chase ensues, a reunion with an old friend takes place, and the preparation for the final showdown is made…

it’s all coming together - we’re at about 30 minutes now (rough, rough cut), so i’m not sure if a 60 minute cut is a realistic goal anymore. granted, there’s still the biggest scene to cut into film, as well as the final battle, the titles, the credits, and all the “filler” shots… but i don’t think it’s realistic to hope for 60 minutes of runtime… ah well, that’s okay - it was a lofty goal that is actually about 10-15 minutes more than was originally estimated, and anyway, the most imoprtant thing is that the end product is entertaining and worth watching… there’s no point in padding just to add running time and kill any of the film’s vibe or pacing in the process.

as an aside, i also received a generous donation towards the production: a moody, atmospheric jingle for usage in the film! while i am still on the hunt for some heavy metal banjo players for the intro and/or theme song(s), this creative joint from the mighty essoill will be a fantastic addition to help create the spooky, moody atmosphere as the Muffin Man unleashes his carnage!

editing has (finally) begun!

January 8th, 2006

after many delays - caused by hectic work schedule, entire family coming to town for christmas, nervousness and procrastination - actual gosh-darned editing on THE MUFFIN MAN has begun!

admittedly, i've only just begun the 2nd state of editing - the 1st being logging (digitizing) the footage, the 2nd being organizing all of the raw footage into named/numbered/organized "clips" - but now that that is done (7 hours later), i can start piecing together each scene, time permitting.

now that this is done, for some reason a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders - i've been pretty reluctant to begin the editing process, waiting for some fiery muse to light a fire under my ass to get me going - but i finally just sat down to at least do the clips and, in so doing, realized that the excitement and enthusiasm is already there - i was just burned out from the ridiculously-packed shooting schedule!

it was also a relief to see that the few one-take shots we did (due to complications and/or the mess created by each shot) all turned out great and will all be useable - for a minute i thought i had somehow NOT recorded a key single-take shot, but after crying for 30 seconds, i realized it was right there - i was just skimming over it too quickly with my fingers of fire on the keyboard. whew!

now it comes together folks - expect more frequent blog entries (after each editing session) and note that the new plan is to have the movie edited by mid-february and handed off to the sound designer thereafter.

here's hoping.

footage digitized, editing about to begin

December 11th, 2005

well, it's been slow going, but i haven't been looking to force the issue - all of the footage is now digitized and logged, so i'm ready to begin the editing process. there was a time where i said i'd have it edited BY christmas, but now im thinking more like sometime in january - just been dragged down with normal daily activities, so the last thing i want to do is force the editing and not be inspired...

so stay tuned - once it begins, i think it's going to be a wild & crazy ride...

wrap party - yowzers.

November 20th, 2005

on friday night, the actor formerly known as "hank" was kind enough to roll the MUFFIN MAN wrap party into his already-scheduled night #1 of 2 nights of christmas parties... so nearly the entire cast & crew gathered chez mike to sample some egg nog & ice cream (plus more rum than you can imagine), crantinies, cooked yummies and cigars galore. it was a houseful and the party went into the wee hours of the morn, with laughs and good times aplenty.

it was a rip-roaring evening, enjoyed by all, and i was very happy that i finally got to spend some time hanging out and getting to know my cast & crew a little bit better (as it's not always possible or easy to get to know someone when you're trying to figure out how to fake someone being dunked in a vat of grease by a giant muffin-headed demon). i consider myself very fortunate that such a high calibre of people made up the cast & crew of this production, something that was also commented on by numerous party attendees. all seemed to really enjoy working on the production, everyone seemed impressed by everyone else and all were effusive in their praise and support of the film itself.

i also want to say a special thanks to everyone to came up to me with the kind words directed at me, personally - it was humbling and an honour to receive these words of praise and i assure each & every one of you: the feeling is 100% mutual.

note to self: do not provide liquor to gunther (kind of make-up & special f/x), or else make sure i get him to film his scenes IN a dumpster before i ply him with booze (lest i be subjected again to his drunken insights - man, was he funny when he got those 2 light beers in him!)

it's a wrap.

November 15th, 2005

unbelievable - the film is now wrapped. after weeks & months of talking, planning, casting and more talking (not to mention literally hundreds of emails flying around furiously, clogging up the 'net), THE MUFFIN MAN has now wrapped production!

sunday was the last day of shooting and it went very well - a quick closing scene inside the donut shop (chad vs. roy in a battle to the death - well, to a mushed donut in the face, anyway), Margo and the kid in stroller (played by my darling son Ben) and then tear down of the Gonut Donut shop...

it was amazing to see that in the span of 30 minutes, what had been our donut shop and central location for the past week and a half was no more, reduced back to the lounge area it had been before, and shall always be. gone were the Gonuts posters from the walls, the 10-day old donuts sitting on the counter, the stickered cups & paper bags... somewhat sad, actually...

i'm now taking a week off to rest my head, reconnect with my family and recharge the batteries. then, i start logging all the footage (about 10 DV tapes, including 2 for behind-the-scenes) and will start the editing process.

i just want to extend a hearty thanks to the cast & crew on this one, who all worked tirelessly to make the production a truly fun and exhilerating process. the big wrap party is this friday night, and excuse me if i end up drinking more than 1 or 2 :)

mr. hank + the bailey

November 13th, 2005

On this final day of shooting, I thought it might be a good time to document how the last 2 days of shooting have gone..

Friday night had 2 big dialogue scenes to film: the first is Baljeet (Gary) training Suzanne (Holly) on how to server donuts & coffee to a customer... and she's lucky enough to pull Hank as her first customer. Poor girl.

The next scene was Hank sitting down with Gary and Chad to warn them of the dangers of a strange muffin-headed killer, back from the dead. This was easiest the longest dialogue scene in the film, so it was not a quick one to knock off, but the 3 actors involved were prepared and ready to rock. We probably filmed this scene a doen times, from various angles and perspectives, and I'm very happy with how it turned out!

Saturday night (the last "night" of shooting) we filmed the film's opening sequence: pre-Muffin Man Desmond Bailey working away in his kitchen, preparing his "special" birthday cakes and Detectives Hank and Carl (played by Chris) coming in to get their man.

We first filmed at Tech Squad, as they were kind enough to lend us the usage of one of their 70s-style squad cars. However, the car had no insurance, so we had to film in their parking lot, which wasn't a problem, save for the incredible chill in the air. Thankfully, lighting set-up was quick, the 2 actors were on point and ready to rock, and we banged that one out in an hour.

Next up, back to indulge's kitchen to film the opening fight sequence. After preparing Paul to look more "serial killer"-ish for his role as Bailey, we started to film. This sequence was pretty involved, as we had to do a would-be "Goodfellas" kitchen walk-through, prepare some cake icing to be spread, get the trinity showdown, turn a tray of muffins into a ninja throwing star (and embed it into a human chest), prepare a bat of oatmeal to coat a face, rig a pack of corn flour to bust apart, and shove a man into an oven. All I can say is the umpteen run-throughs the actors did was fantastic, and Paul put himself through Hell to play this role (he'll be washing his face & hair for weeks).

Next up: 2 more quick scenes, then we tear down indulge and it's a wrap. Holy smokes.

muffin battle + kitchen craziness

November 11th, 2005

Continuing with the trend of posting 2 day summaries in each blog entry, here we go!

On this warm night we shot some outdoor battle scenes. After creatively solving some lighting issues (thank-you to the businesses who unknowingly supplied our lighting kits with power!), we filmed the various scenes that make up the chase sequence with Chad & The Muffin Man. His knee banged up from a previous night's collision with a kitchen sink, Chris (Chad) was a trooper, running & leaping all night. As for James (The Muffin Man), this guy was truckin' it, running all over the place with a giant muffin for a head (even managing to avoid crushing the foam head when he accidentally tripped at one point).

It was a late night - I think we finished at about 11:45pm, but a solid one, as we were able to get all of the shots we needed - including the "Evil Dead"-like camera shot with the flying globule of nitro-glycerin in front of the camera lens. The cast & crew tonight deserved extra medals for their tireless dedication to this crazy film and I really appreciate everyone's hard work on this, and every, night

Thursday night was pegged as the "easy" night - all we had to film was the scene in which Gary has the dubious distinction of meeting Muffin Man in battle. However, what should have been a quick shoot turned out to have an extended waiting period to begin, as one of the Muffin Man's gloves completely disappeared. We scoured the location, the previous night's outdoor location, vehicles, etc. - nowhere to be found. Just when we were going to do on-the-spot additions to have him put on oven mitts, the glove turned up (buried under some electrical cables in a crate!). Whew - crisis averted.

The shooting itself went great - Baljeet (Gary) was a trooper, screaming his lungs out on take after take after take, and as always, James (Muffin Man) was on point as the title character.

The end draws near - 3 more days/nights of shooting, then it's time for me (director) to battle my computer (editing) in the final showdown! Stay tuned.

corn syrup & 2nd-hand smoke

November 9th, 2005

The fun continues, with 2 more nights of shooting under our belts!

I figured Monday night was going to be a quick & easy one (something the crew cringe at when I say, since it usually means the exact opposite) - we film Max's scenes at the back, interacting with co-workers, have him meet his demise at the hands of the title character, and then Chad & Jane just walk through the scene. Easy right? Yikes.

Huge set up involved: we had to basically gut the (very full) loading area of a catering company, do a total set decoration and then run through lines... factor in a very cramped shooting location and we had the makings of a long night!

That being said, it turned out great - the corn syrup (which doubled as strawberry jelly and gave the secondary appearance of blood) looked great and Brian (Max) was fantastic as the slouch who dies a memorable death. This guy let litres of corn syrup dry on his face, facial hair and chest hair, while we filmed around him, and did it all with a smile - what a trooper.

Chris (Chad) - who has already been pulling extra duties in lighting, sound and acting coaching - secured a pool hall for us to shoot a quick scene in for Tuesday night. Walking into this dimly-lit room with no breathable air, I was all smiles - this was a perfect setting.

After entertaining some questions from the (inebriated) on-lookers, we got to work, filming multiple takes of a conversation between Chad and Jane as they shot some pool. Note to self (and all screenwriters reading this): shooting pool is not condusive to easy film editing, as there is so much random action that having actors always be in the same locations when they deliver lines is a virtual impossibility. Ah well, it's all a fun learning experience!

FYI - record time: we were in & out within 2 hours. Wow.

ye ol' donut shop.

November 7th, 2005

It was a solid weekend of donut shop-related activites this past weekend and we're now halfway through shooting! (roughly speaking, of course)

Saturday was the big set up day - the fine folks @ indulge were nice enough to give us full run of their facility and we had to transform their front lounge area into something resembling a donut shop. With the hearty 5 people who showed up, we were able to whip that sucker into shape in 90 minutes flat - counters set up, the entire donut selection from Co-op displayed behind, artwork, menu, cash register, tables, etc. Fantastic group effort and we finished it all up in record time!

A big day of shooting was scheduled for Sunday, as we were going to shoot all of the customer scenes, Jane vs. Muffin Man, and Gary vs. Muffin Man. Unfortunately, the latter had to be postponed due to cast availability, but as it turned out, that was a blessing in disguise...

Call time was 10:00am on Sunday and the indulge crew were furiously preparing a large catering order, so a couple of us rolled up the sleeves and chipped in to help. (Our motives weren't completely selfless - the more we helped, the sooner they'd get out, the sooner we could start shooting - a win/win situation all around!)

Once we got to shooting, it went really well - customer after customer lined up to place their orders and while we had to get a couple crew members to fill in for actors who had said they'd show up and instead did not, we were able to get all of the dialogue delivered and delivered well. Some of the customers even showed up with their own personal touches, such as the southern preacher or the fishnet stockings (2 different characters - not a fishnet preacher!) They were all great and were welcomed additions to the festivities.

Next up was Jane vs. Muffin Man (and her memorable and original death scene). This actually took quite awhile to set up, since there was some special lighting rigs required (handled deftly and amazingly by Mr. Lighting himself, Dave) and some very tricky special effects (tough to try and keep brains inside a fake head, fyi :)

But - we got it done, it looked great and then the Muffin Man was able to do battle with Chad (who threw himself to the ground mercilessly and literally took about 20 for the team in banging his knees, hands, back and butt all over the place).

There's really something to be said about making a no-budget independent film - sure, you get cast & crew that can flake out on you and leave you high & dry, but then the ones who DO show up (for both cast & crew) are the most dedicated, helpful and enthusiastic group of people a guy could ever hope to work with. I'm truly appreciative of everyone's efforts and can't wait to see more magic happen tonight! (Muffin Man vs. Gary!)

3 nights of shooting under our belt

November 5th, 2005

apologies for the tardiness in posting updated blog entries - we're well into production now and i've been so busy with the day job, so busy running around after work to get final things needed for each night's shoot, and so busy with evenings full of fun shooting, that my intentions of daily blog entries have fallen by the wayside... something i hope to make right henceforth.

we started shooting this past week and we've now got 3 nights under our belt - summaries of each are included below:

the first day (night) of production had an ominous start: cast & crew having difficulties finding the location, the expected deluge of production assistants ending up being only 2 (very, very helpful and capable 2, but not the 10 i was expecting), body doubles gone missing, zero lighting help, etc. there was a point in the evening, just before we started shooting, that i was standing out back in the loading area/back alley and thought to myself, "what the hell am i doing?" and felt overwhelming waves of anxiety wash over me... but then i looked behind me, saw the excited and eager cast & crew that were all there to help make this crazy goofy movie with me, and the anxiety was wiped away by eager anticipation. (special thanks for the cast & crew of day #1 for this - you may never know how much i appreciated it)

this was a tough night - it was freezing (literally), everything was outside and the scenes involved holly being thrown into a grease pit (garbage dumpster) and being drowned in grease. our volunteered body double was lost, so we had to fake the shot of holly actually being tossed INTO the grease pit (garbage can), and then the brave actor playing holly allowed us to lift her into an actual dumpser, dump (warm) water over her, smear her face, hair & hands with knox gelatin and have a 9' tall muffin-headed man shove her repeatedly into the garbage. yikes. this she did without complaint and the shots all turned out fantastically - in the end, it's going to be a series of quick cuts in editing, but i'm confident it will all come together as it should.

day (night) #2 involved the scene with chad & jane walking down the street and encountering the man with the perpetual toothpick, mr. hank. rather than crusing around in a single vehicle to find an ideal street location with enough natural lighting to allow us to do the scenes, we opted to film on the street behind indulge catering (our central location) - it's an industrial area, but there were some trees and grass, so it worked. plus, we could run lights across the back (with a 100' of extension cords), so we could set our own lighting.

on that note, special appreciation must be given to chris (lead actor playing "chad") - with his experience in previous productions, he was able to come up with some fantastic lighting calls - i.e. using car headlights for ambiance as well as character lighting - and using duct tape to mount a light way up on a street sign, to double for a street light - all of these turned out beautifully!

the acting was top-notch this night - these 3 jumped right into the roles and nailed the characters, making them their own and even adding some additional elements to flush the characters out (i.e. hank flicking the little bud on the tree branch). despite the proliferance of c-trains, passerbys, airplanes and metal workers, the shoot tonight went quite smoothly and was lots of fun... and we finished up with special adult-only jello shots mike (hank) had left over from halloween.

ah, we finally get to shoot inside! after many hassles trying to book emmedia's screening room, we finally got the confirmation that we were good to go, so after failing to purchase some folding card tables (to act as cadaver tables), i showed up at 6:00pm, pulling in at the exact same time as helen (playing the role of "karen"). once we got inside, mark (stuart) was already there waiting for us - both of these actors were rookies, but what they may have lacked in experience they more than made up for with their sheer enthusiasm and positive attitude. it was such an enjoyable shoot with these two! we had also had numerous people exclaim that they'd love to play corpses in the morgue, but when it came time to step up, not a single one was able, interested or available. however, anders was there, and as it turned out, the location only allowed for 2 corpses (muffin man + extra). special credit must be given to james (muffin man), who not only was under a sheet for hours, but also had a jacket on his face (to lump it up under the sheet) and discovered that it's possible to indeed suffocate under loose covering. yikes.

our ever-reliable chief production assistant, jennifer, was there to lend her able hands, as was greg to wield the mighty boom mic. i thought we were going to be fudging our way through the lighting, but thankfully dave showed up to lend a hand. this guy came ready to rock - an experienced indie dv filmmaker himself, he showed up and immediately suggested ways to improve the lighting set-up... his input was fantastic and really had a powerful improvement in the look of the set. he's going to be available for the next couple days, which is fantastic - for the remainder of the shoot, we'll have a rotating crew of 3 gaffers (lighting folks), which is fantastic.

Countdown: 5 days

Friday, October 28th, 2005

Well, the rollercoaster ride continues as we inch ever-closer to the big first day of actual shooting (next Wednesday!)

We had our lead cast "get together" on Tuesday, in which we all gathered together in a room, sat in a circle, and did some chanting in psychological preparation for the events about to unfold... Okay, that's b.s. (except for the sitting in a circle part, we did do that) - basically, the main cast got together in a room so we could all come face-to-face with one another, discuss all manners of film-related things, and do a couple read-throughs of the soon-to-be Oscar-nominated script.

Having everyone together was fantastic and the energy that came from this strong group of unique and talented individuals was inspiring. Hearing each assume the role of their respective characters and deliver the lines to one another was magical - I was giggling throughout I was so excited.

Some of the lead cast are getting together again tonight (Friday) for a few whiskey pops and continued discussions, at the suggestion of Hank (the dogged detective in the story). I thought it was a great idea, but I intentionally kept this one "informal" - i.e. I'm not involved or participating in tonight's get-together... not because I don't want to (I do), but because the cast have already been so accomodating with their time (not to mention it took several attemps to get the first get-together scheduled for a night that worked for everybody) and I didn't want to turn around and say "You must all get together again, 3 days later!" Frankly, I'm humbled and grateful that the cast are so inspired and eager as to want to get together to discuss further - that is very heart-warming.

I picked up the keys to our central location yesterday and got the lowdown on where things are (light switches, fire extinguishers, etc.) - we have full run of the place during the shoot and it is going to be absolutely perfect.

A good friend (who is way too generous with his time & talents) has been working on the artwork required for the movie (i.e. donut shop-related signage) - the poster he did up for the shop's donut holes is possibly one of the single greatest pieces of cinematic artistry that will ever be recorded onto film (well, digital video) and will look fantastic hanging on my wall at home once the shoot is complete.

We're close folks - I'm waiting ot hear back if I have enough able hands to help out this weekend to start the initial set-up of the donut shop (fingers crossed) and then next Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005, 6:00pm - shooting day #1 begins.


it's getting close...

Saturday, October 22nd, 2005

it's now a one-week countdown until the first day of production begins. the past week or so has been spent trying to come up with a shooting schedule that accomodates everybody's work schedules (not always easy when there are so many actors involved), as well as firm up things such as special f/x and locations.

this coming week is going to be a busy one, as we have the main cast members getting together tuesday night for our lone meet & greet, where all the leads are in one room, reading through the script, finding out more about their characters, getting pumped to do battle with a giant muffin-headed villain.

as well, pre-production will continue in the latter half of the coming week, as i try to wrangle up enough hands to help transform our central location so that it looks like a donut shop, a kitchen, a morgue and a lounge area. all do-able, just needs lots of help to be done.

but, with the amount of enthusiastic crew members who email nearly daily to offer their help, i'm confident we'll get it all done and ready.

stay tuned - this is going to be a wild ride!

first draft of shooting schedule now complete.

Sunday, October 16th, 2005

pre-production on this muffiny opus continues to move along - here's all the latest:

SHOOTING SCHEDULE: the first draft of our shooting schedule is now complete and has been sent out to the entire cast & crew for their input. various schedules had to be accomodated and worked around, and hopfully the ambitious 2-3 week shoot (with most shooting taking place in the first 7 days) is both do-able and organized enough. the majority of the film should be "in the can" by halloween, leaving only a couple days in early november to get the final shots locked down.

GAFFER/LIGHTING: we've got a very strong lead on an experienced lighting person and i'm just waiting to hear back from him to firm things up. failing that, one of our supporting cast has some (theatrical) lighting experience, so he may be conscripted yet.

LOCATIONS: the decisions has been made to film the majority of the locations at indulge catering, which we had originally planned to only shoot the kitchen scenes at. however, given the unexpected difficulties in securing an actual donut shop or bakery location, and given the incredibly generous offer of full run of indulge during non-working hours, we've decided that this fantastic location will serve as the donut shop, kitchen, staff lounge area, morgue, and exterior back alley scenes. work with what you have and don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

LLOYD KAUFMAN: requests have been made the president & founder of troma studios (creator of "the toxic avenger") to do a cameo in the film - sure it's a shot in the dark, but it can't hurt to ask.

location scouting

Thursday, October 6th, 2005

as we move ever closer to the transition from pre-production to production, we're left wondering what will happen with the donut shop. despite quite a few leads and possibles, we keep hitting brick walls.

there is a possible location that a friend of a cast member works at, but the vibes from the owners thus far have been tepid at best. so we'll see.

however, i paid a visit to the location of our kitchen today, and had an incredibly positive chat with the friend who runs the place - he's offered up the full run of his industrial kitchen, the storage room (morgue?), the back loading area (employee lounge area?) and even the front sitting area (donut shop?) it would be a lot of work to get it all switched over for shooting, but i think everything is leaning that way - we'd have free reign evenings & weekends to shoot everywhere and do whatever we needed, so that's a tough thing to pass up. stay tuned for more details.

also still in desperate need of an experienced gaffer - anyone know anyone who can run some lights for us?