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R.I.P. Mike Atta!

April 22, 2014

Sad news for the punk rock community: Mike Atta, guitarist of proto-hardcore outfit The Middle Class, passed away this Easter after fighting a four-year battle with cancer.

Forming the band with his brothers Jeff and Bruce, the band was considered one of the first hardcore outfits in the US, at least on the West Coast as The Bad Brains were active in the Washington, D.C./New York area at the same time. Their Out of Vogue EP released on Joke Records in 1978.

The band reunited in 2010, and even though he was diagnosed with Stage IV kidney cancer in January that same year, Mike kept gigging with the band until the very end. Rest in peace.

More info at The Orange County Register and The OC Weekly.

photo courtesy the Orange County Register.

photo courtesy the Orange County Register.

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An Interview with Dawn Brown

April 14, 2014

(Following my interview with Tal Zimerman regarding his Why Horror? project, I decided to do an impromptu session with Dawn Brown for Swedish Gore Film Society.)

HoM01

Fans of Ray Harryhausen‘s work and Rankin/Bass‘ cult classic Mad Monster Party should definitely check out Dawn Brown‘s current Kickstarter project House of Monsters, that see classic screen monsters such as Dracula, The Mummy and The Wolfman revived in all their stop motion glory.

Having created (and directed) the 2012 short film of same name, Dawn, a Hollywood-based set decorator, is now looking to turn it into a web series. A Kansas native relocated to Los Angeles, she has worked with an impressive list of film makers that include Tim Burton, and she currently finished up The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, giving her time to focus on this project as well as answer a couple of questions I sent her way.

HoM04This is gonna sound weird coming from a horror fan – Tobe Hooper’s Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a personal fave – but House of Monsters really struck me as a nice throwback to the fun and naiveté of 1960s horror, and maybe even bringing back an “innocence” to the genre of sorts. What was the reasons for creating it?
Nothing weird about that – I’m a horror fan, too!  I love it all. Yes, House of Monsters is definitely a throwback to a simpler time. The Rankin/Bass classic Mad Monster Party is definitely an influence. Part of the reason for creating it may subconsciously be a reaction to a lot of the stuff that’s being produced these days. Corporate product that is so loud, so fast, so overproduced, so empty. I’m not going to name anything specifically, but I am going to go out on a limb and guess I’m not alone on this. So we made House of Monsters. It’s hand-made. It’s organic. It’s fun and simple, and hopefully something everyone can enjoy.

You’re definitely not alone. I personally haven’t been too impressed with the CGI effects that’s prevalent in the majority of movies these days. Not to take away anything from those programming said effects, but I miss the hands-on craft part of moviemaking. Like you said, it’s organic and, ultimately, human, I guess. Are you a Ray Harryhausen fan as well? What’s your fave film of his? Mine’s Jason & The Argonauts – love the skeleton army!
Mine is Clash of the Titans. Medusa scared the bejeezus out of me as a kid!

The 2012 short film received its share of awards. Was this the reason for deciding to create the web series or was it the growing grassroots support?
Both, definitely. We enjoyed connecting with people so much with the 2012 short, we absolutely want to build on that. We are launching a new studio, The Monster Shop, and this seems like a fantastic first project to get our name out there.

HoM02That’s awesome news! So will it focus on stop-motion animation or all kinds of features?
All kinds of features. We are artists, and our company is a creative services studio, offering everything from character designs, and set designs, pitch packages. All phases of creative development, including production.

So, is the plan to create multiple seasons or will this be limited to a certain number of webisodes?
That depends entirely on the fans. If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, we will make as many episodes as we can.

Great! What about a physical release? Any plans of having it released on DVD/Blu-Ray in the future?
Our plan is to distribute through Amazon.com. They offer instant video streaming, downloading or physical discs. It’s your choice! I’m really excited about that.

Sounds great. Technically speaking: I’m amazed by the sheer amount of time put in when it comes to creating stop motion animation. What’s the average amount of hours for creating say a five-minute segment?
We can shoot about a minute a week, so a five minute segment would take 5 weeks to shoot. Add 1 to 2 weeks for post production. If you don’t have sets or puppets ready to go, I would add a week of prep for each week you shoot. So the short answer is 12 weeks for a 5 minute segment – starting from scratch.

HoM05Wow! I thought I was a patient SOB, but you guys must be the Zen monks of the entertainment industry, ha ha ha. So will the episodes be posted monthly, bi-monthly or what? Considering the amount of work, what’s the schedule?
Ha! Yes, animation does require a zen-like commitment! Depending on how many episodes we will have, I want to shoot them all at once and release them all at once. This is the age of binge watching, after all! For example, we’d break down the scripts and shoot all the castle scenes at once, shoot all the village scenes at once, etc. This will allow us to release the episodes as quickly as possible.

Great! Yeah, this is the Netflix-era after all. Can you tell me a little bit about the crew you’ve assembled for this? Being in Hollywood I’m guessing you have quite a nice pool of talent to draw from.
Yes, I am lucky to have a very talented crew. Our core crew is very small. Warren Manser is the character designer. He is a concept artist in the film industry. Current credits include Man of Steel and Transformers: Age of Extinction. Dianne Chadwick sews beautiful tiny costumes. She is a graphic designer in the film industry. Current credits include Oblivion and The Lone Ranger. Jon Neill is a sculptor, his recent credits include master pumpkin carver on the television show, Halloween Wars. I have connections in every level of production and can expand our crew as needed to address whatever needs arise.

That’s great! I know directors like Roger Corman and Russ Meyer preferred to work with a skeleton crew but also heard major directors talking about the advantages of having a large crew where everyone is a specialist in a small field. What’s your personal preference when it comes to crews?
I work for the big studios as a concept artist and we have large crews and everyone is a specialist in their field. So in that respect, I love that. It’s job security. It pays the bills. As a filmmaker, I prefer a smaller, more flexible skeleton crew. I think the more people are personally involved, the more they care about it. And that magic definitely shows on the screen.

Agreed. Speaking of Hollywood: Has the project itself gotten some word of mouth going? I saw USA Today mentioning it this past week and Kickstarter stepped in to fund the project. That must’ve been a blast!
Yeahhoo!!

But has there been any interest by producers, studios etc? Are you planning to pitch this at a later stage?
Right now, I just want to get funded by Thursday and give you guys some really fun and cool monster shorts. My focus is not on the studios, but you guys, the audience.

Sounds great. Best of luck with the project!

HoM03

Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/houseofmonsters/house-of-monsters-the-stop-motion-web-series
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/houseofmonstersmovie

UPDATE: This campaign was successfully funded on April 17th.

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Amazon!

April 11, 2014

spacekitty

Here’s a quickie note for ya: Call Me Greenhorn‘s Space Kitty 2000 album is now available via Amazon.com. Eleven tracks in total mixing up a wide variety of influences in one retro-sounding mess – and it’s yours for merely $7.99. Check it out here and if you wanna give it a spin you can do so at Spotify, Deezer and Last.FM.

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“So, How’d You Spend Your Lunch Break?”

April 8, 2014

skeletor

I figured I’d share this: Been going through quite a nostalgic phase recently and roughly one month ago I decided I’d get myself a Skeletor tattoo. He was my fave character in Masters of the Universe and the first Mattel action figure I got – if memory serves me correct it was a X-Mas gift. What can I say? I was a pretty big fan of Darth Vader as well!

Anyway. This is roughly 2.75″ and took about 50 minutes from start to finish – giving me enough time to have a quick cup of coffee and a smoke afterwards. The image itself is actually based on Damaged GoodsMyaah! art print available via Society 6 in a variety of formats. Check it out here and does anyone remember the 1987 movie starring Dolph Lundgren?

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House of Monsters

April 6, 2014

Check it out: Here’s the latest Kickstarter project I decided to back, Dawn Brown‘s House of Monsters. Bringing back the stop motion fun of Ray Harryhausen and Mad Monster Party, Dawn – a Hollywood-based set decorator/concept artist – is planning an animated web series using the characters from her S/T 2012 short.

There’s a pretty cool buzz surrounding the project, with Kickstarter adding some funds – how’s that for an endorsement! – and USA Today recently plugged it in an article. The campaign is roughly 60% funded with less than two weeks left, so head on over and show your support! $50 gets you a pretty kick-ass t-shirt!

Kickstarter: www.kickstarter.com/projects/houseofmonsters/house-of-monsters-the-stop-motion-web-series
Website: www.houseofmonstermovie.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/houseofmonstersmovie
YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/dawnbrown123
IMDB: www.imdb.com/name/nm0113384/

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2014 MoCCA Artsfest

April 4, 2014

Hey, readers in the US, especially on the East Coast: This weekend sees Jamie and Erika of Loud Comix attending the 2014 MoCCA Artsfest in New York, and if you’re in the area you should definitely come by and show some support for independent, underground comics.

I checked the official page, and tickets are $5/day, it’s located smack dab in Manhattan (there are directions on the web site) and guests of honor include iconic artist Robert Williams (!!!) among others. Check it out!

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Official Ramones Day!

April 4, 2014

sellergrendesign:

Hey! Once again it’s 4/4 so Happy Official Ramones Day!

Originally posted on Sellergren Design - Art is the Enemy:

Tag along!

Tag along!

So, today’s April 4th – 4/4 – and I’m declaring it The Official Ramones Day! The “bruddahs” from Queens were truly masters of said beat, and a Google search confirmed that they actually didn’t have one. How disappointing is that? Jeez, are you even aware how many kids had their lives changed by that band? There’s a whole damn generation of musicians that owe their “careers” to what these guys pioneered as early as 1974, with myself being one.

Anyway, why bitch when you can be “proactive”? I’m going to spam post vids on my personal Facebook all day and maybe find the time to write a lil’ something about them here on this blog. Feel free to do the same. I mean, c’mon, we’ve got a pie day fer chrissakes! And as far as I know April 4th isn’t taken. Join the freak parade, honey!

View original

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Greenhorn updates

April 3, 2014

Here’s some pretty kick-ass news: Call Me Greenhorn‘s Simian Walk made number one on RMD Music Blog‘s Top 5 indie tracks of the week. “You know that feeling when you hear a song and instantly feel more badass even though you’re not remotely badass in any sense of the word? Well that’s how we felt after listening to this track” is how they summed it up. Check it out here, and if you’ve got Deezer Space Kitty 2000 can be found here.

Speaking of the song: The video featuring John Travolto is getting a fair share of views right now. I just checked on YouTube and it’s passed 4,500. Not too shabby for an amateur effort (I’d never call myself an editor). Still wish the better quality version on Vimeo got more views, but what’re you gonna do? You’ll find it here. Check it out.

Lastly, I’m not too sure exactly what it means – so far I haven’t found any info to make it any clearer – but you’ll find all (?) my albums, EPs and singles at OKMusic in Japan. Check it out here and if you have any information to share, feel free to do so in the comments section. I’d appreciate it.

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Censorshit (update)

April 2, 2014

Skärmavbild 2014-04-02 kl. 17.54.29

As indie DVD label Arrow Films & Video just posted it on their Facebook I figured I’d share it on my blog as well, hoping my readers based in the UK will take action.

Following an open letter by Moviemail‘s film critic and historian James Oliver on April 1st, there’s an online petition that in short asks Maria Miller - secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport – to amend the planned changes to the 1984 Video Recording Act.

Dear Minister

The forthcoming changes to the Video Recordings Act will harm UK small businesses and compromise a thriving industry that is admired around the world.

This is unintentional and can be avoided by refining your “Draft Video Recordings Act 1984 (Exempted Video Works) Regulations 2014″. These draft Regulations will make publishing comprehensive DVD packages – editions that dissuade people from turning to pirated copies – financially unviable.

In the light of these unintended consequences, please revisit the draft Regulations.

Now, even though things probably won’t turn out quite as dramatic as I wrote in my previous post on the subject, the new BBFC guidelines will hit the indie DVD labels pretty hard and affect us genre fans. In essence, the new law means that not only do you need to classify the main feature of your DVD/Blu-ray release, but every interview, documentary, featurette that comes with it as well – running up quite a tab if you’re planning a drool-inducing überfan edition, as the BBFC charges a flat fee for their (mandatory) service.

This will not be the end of the UK indie labels, but most likely the days of their beefy DVD editions of horror, cult classics and other films outside the mainstream that fans all over the world enjoy. If you’re a citizen of the UK, and actually give a damn about the smaller independent efforts in your country, please do sign the petition. All it takes is your full name, email and post code. Sign it here and please spread the information on your blog, Facebook etc. Cheers!

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Joe Davolaz

April 2, 2014

Here’s a quickie song byte I discovered via the UK show Project Moonbase: Joe Davolaz! A fellow Swedish sextet that really got the retro exotica sound down cold. Their track Piña Colada emulated the vibe so perfectly it had me convinced it’d fit perfectly in a mid-60s genre movie – maybe even a French one as there is a slight ye-ye influence to be heard.

Soon to be released as a 5″ flexi disc on Tona Serenad. Check out their SoundCloud for further info.

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