I know I haven’t even gotten to DAY FOUR of production on
The Shower Killer Party yet on the blog, but we’re gonna have to jump ahead about four years because after a pretty unbelievable odyssey the movie will be coming out in North America on VOD on August 16 (and in the UK on August 22.)
There’s a lot of catching up to do, but for now, I’m just going to put together a brief (maybe not so brief) summary of events:
March 2012-September 2013
- Feel like my life is going nowhere, baby #2 is on the way, and feel the need to do something dramatic to change my life https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=129kuDCQtHs
- Decide it’s time to take the leap and make a movie
- Take the idea I had for a mumblecore-ish early mid-life crisis comedy, add a horror element and presto: A group of friends get trapped at a baby shower when a mysterious outbreak starts turning people into homicidal maniacs
- Write the first draft in about 20 days, quick polish after getting stamp of approval from Mr. Mike Kuciak
- Start giving the script to friends
- Decide to shoot the movie before the baby is due in mid-September, because I know that the first 6 months after the baby is born will be utter chaos (and would push production into spring 2013)
- Somehow we raise more than $40,000 from friends and family via our website
- We get our cast and crew and a great location (or two)
- We shoot 11 pages (or more) per day for 6 days, it’s nuts, but everyone pulls together and we get what we can in the can. (technically, in the tiny memory cards of Harry’s Nikon D7000)
- On the morning of the 7th day, Rachael asks if we have a “contingency plan” in place in case she goes into labor.
- I tell her “No.”
- Rachael’s water breaks two hours later
- We rush to Cedars Sinai and the doctors tell us everything that could possibly go wrong by having a baby this early
- I’m panicked that making this stupid movie might cost me my wife and child
- The baby (Isabel Rose) is born, and besides being jaundiced gets a clean bill of health. She was 6 pounds. The nurses didn’t believe she was only 34 weeks.
- The entire cast and crew are incredibly helpful and generous, especially Andy, Steph, and my good friend from NJ, Mike “Jersey Mike” Crossan (Mike flew out to help on the movie, and gets a good cameo)
- Stephanie Beran tells us that we can use the location to finish shooting whenever we are ready. Another act of kindness that helped us get here.
- I review footage, realize we were missing as much as I suspected
- We go back to shoot for two more days, try to get some of the shots we missed, we don’t get all of them
- We wrap on principal photography, but I know we are missing too many shots, so I don’t feel happy, I feel defeated. I scrubbed a lot of fake blood off the floors that night.
- Our amazing DP, Harry Frith, knows that we missed a lot, and offers to get whatever we need. (This movie would be nothing, except for the fact that a bunch of great people, many of whom were strangers to me 6 weeks earlier, sacrificed and pitched in so that we could complete the project)
- Two days later, as we were breaking down the location, we grabbed a few more shots
- I began working with editor Chan Candela on the footage
- I began working with editor Chan Candela on the footage and started thinking “What have I done???”
- I foolishly submitted a VERY, VERY rough cut to Slamdance (DON’T EVER DO THIS) I wasted hundreds of dollars on submitting to festivals we had no chance of getting in.
- Chan and I knew there were certain things we just had to get and started making a list
- We returned to the location again and got some exterior shots to help out with a fight scene
- We knew we needed little more, but had compiled a rough cut that we felt we could show people (DON’T EVER DO THIS)
- DECEMBER 2012. We showed this rough cut to cast and crew. They hated it. (I don’t know, maybe they did.) In hindsight, we should not have shown anyone this cut.
- JANUARY 2013. I showed the movie to a producer/distributor and he said “It’s unwatchable.” Probably the best advice I got on the movie. And I got a ton of good advice.
- We went back to editing.
- We got more shots.
- We reshot a couple of scenes.
- I drank a lot of bourbon
- We did MANY, MANY test screenings with producers and friends at our apartment. Copious amounts of Tecate were consumed.
- We raised more money for post-production costs (EVERYTHING COST WAY MORE THAN WE THOUGHT IT WOULD, so consider yourselves warned when you make your movie.)
- The movie started feeling a little better around July 2013
- I got another bit of great advice from the editor of Selma. “There’s a really good 75 minute movie in here.” (At that point it was 86 minutes and people felt it was too slow.)
- I submitted an 81 minute rough cut to Shriekfest
- I went Edward (Or Harvey) Scissorhands on the movie and cut it to just under 75 minutes
- I got this amazing call
September 2013-January 2015
- After it appeared like we had a movie that would go nowhere, we were accepted into a great horror film festival in our hometown. I had been to Shriekfest a year earlier, and we had targeted it because Mike Flanagan’s Absentia played there.
- We had to race to do ALL THE POST-PRODUCTION (sound, color, score, etc.) on the movie in less than a month
- There was a debate if we should do it or not
- I felt like we had to go now (And my friends Dave Samartin and Martin Washington, Jr. helped convince me. This all happened while working at Blu Jam. A lot happens while I’m at work… The process thus far had pretty much wrecked me. I needed good news. I needed light. And it was Shriekfest.)
- It was nuts, but we delivered a “Shriekfest” cut of the movie to Denise two days before our WORLD PREMIERE
- We had an amazing WORLD PREMIERE, sold out two houses and had to turn people away because there were no more seats and the aisles were full…
- For about 75 minutes, I was the happiest person on the planet. I stood in the back of the full theater and watched the movie. A highlight was when Anthony Mezza and John Kiernan (two good old Jersey Boys) turned around and gave me a high-five after a particularly fun scene.
- Shriekfest opened doors and we were immediately approached by Another Hole in the Head Film Festival in SF to screen in November
- I got an email from Stacey at Nevermore Film Festival requesting the movie for submission.
- We had two incredible screenings in Durham, NC at Nevermore
- We WON the Jury Award for BEST FEATURE at Nevermore
- I was on my break at work when I got the news…
- We started a great festival run: Phoenix Film Festival, Motor City Nightmares, Cedar Rapids Independent, Los Angeles Fear & Fantasy, Sunscreen Film Festival, Fright Fest Film Festival, NOLA Horror Film Festival, Spooky Movie International, Eerie Horror, Buffalo Dreams and Macabre Faire Film Festival
- We were nominated for a BUNCH OF AWARDS
- We won awards: BEST FEATURE at Cedar Rapids, BEST COMEDY at Fright Night, BEST ENSEMBLE at L.A. Fear & Fantasy, BEST ENSEMBLE at Buffalo Dreams, BEST DIRECTOR and BEST FEATURE at Macabre, plus we won BEST FEATURE, BEST DIRECTOR, and BEST ENSEMBLE at the 2015 Macabreite Awards
- Started reaching out to sales agents and distributors
- Met some great distributors who want the movie
January 2015 – August 2016
- Chose Epic Pictures Group as our distributor. They’ve got BIG ASS SPIDER!, TURBO KID, TALES OF HALLOWEEN and NINA FOREVER on their roster of movies. That’s a BFD for our little movie.
- Began the long slog of delivery and QC (This will cost tens of thousands of dollars and we were not prepared. But now you know, so no surprises.)
- Great photo shoot with John Allen Phillips at Epic to get promo materials for the movie
- The movie’s release is announced on ew.com http://www.ew.com/article/2016/07/27/killer-party-trailer
- It’s available to pre-order now on iTunes $8.99 https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/killer-party/id1136973911
Thank you for reading!
To be continued…