Archive for the ‘Dead Red Eyes Films’ Category

Standard of Living

Monday, November 16th, 2015

We’re back. New short. “Standard of Living”.

More to come soon. For now, watch this……

Long Time No Short (The Goon & The Dangler)

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

The Goon & The Dangler – by Dead Red Eyes.

The posts have been slow the past month, but here are the first of two shorts we did during that time.  This short was for “Sparrow Film Project 11 (June 2014)” which had specific rules to it.  It had to be under 3 minutes and we had to randomly draw a genre and outdated law.  Picking a genre out of a hat, we drew “Sports Drama” while the second hat was to make the film based on a strange legal oddity in america, the one that we pulled out of the hat was “in Alberqueque it is illegal to pull prospective passengers into your car”.

So what better way to represent that with a couple of ex-hockey minor league players, one now a cab driver, the other, a flower delivery guy. To represent the two characters, we called the short “The Goon & The Dangler” (both are hockey terms to represent types of players – Goon = Fighter, Dangler = Sharpshooter who isn’t much of a fighter)

We filmed it all within a day and did some crazy editing the night before the deadline to cut this down to 3 minutes.  Based on the amount of entrants, it sounds like many teams didn’t make this first cut and meet the deadline. Sadly, we didn’t make the main cut and will not be shown as one of the 20 finalists at the Museum of Moving Image this June, but we had a good time throwing this together, and lots of thanks to Sebastian, Helen, Telis & Nic for their roles and all your help. Soundtrack (3 songs used within this short) courtesy of Stereo Off.

Scary Short Film Fest, Presented by Wes Craven – Film in 30 Seconds

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

We decided to make a last minute entry into which is the Scary Short Film Fest (presented by Wes Craven, famous for movies such as Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream) – after reading this and finding out that we had one afternoon to put it together, we decided to take up this challenge. While a lot of entrants looked at the haunting backdrop of music with an ambient edge of fear to it, and cryptic notes in blood, we decided to take the more comedic angle of horror (after all, Scream was more comedy if anything)!

Its got an element of humor, horror, stereotypes, references, odes and homages to, double entendres, you name it. And its black and white, 30 seconds and all done today from 5pm. Couple hours later, the audio was synced, the clips cut and the short film entered into the contest. And here it is….. “Math 101 – The 30 Second Tutorial“.

Not bad for a quick 30 second film. Though I do have an earful of chocolate syrup / blood. I guess that’s what you have to go through in order to make a short film in less than a day. On the next day, write a screenplay – here’s how to do that in a day!

Almost Halfway There – Or What I’ve Learned in 6 Months

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Almost 6 months to the day, we thought about finally getting our act together, taking things a bit more seriously perhaps. We always had an interest in film and writing, but couldn’t quite get it off the ground. Life got in the way.

We had to make ends meet, we weren’t quite ready for the critique yet, confidence fluctuated, ideas came and then became blurry. Time flew by. The latter continues to keep going at an increasing pace – backing my firm belief in how life is proportionate. For those that don’t know, its the whole theory that when you’re 10, a year is 10% of your life and thus seems like quite a long time (even summer breaks took a while).  Where as when you are 33, each year is just over 3% and things become a bit more blurry.  When 50, this drops down to 2% and so on.

However, that’s perhaps best reserved for another post. This is more for Dead Red Eyes, which was started in late October 2012. For some background, its probably no shock that I’ve always been inspired by writing, inspired by film. At least I used to be. The last few years were not the case, and very little was written once other immediate requirements occupied my life. So perhaps this is about putting that effort, making it count this time.  Only problem is some things haven’t changed since my early 20’s, other than I can actually pay my rent and not have to crash around and move all the time, yeah that’s probably a plus! I may have gained experience work-wise in a completely different industry, thus my writing and film knowledge has receded – or has it. Perhaps more experience in any manner of life helps, if you have the time to harness it.

Several things inspired these last six months for me.  While I can’t fully speak for everyone else, here’s what I think kicked things off.

Motivation and People. I’m glad to be working on this with people who are motivated (somehow managing to squeeze in acting on stage, filming, writing and multiple jobs), especially when I might not be at times (my day job takes up the biggest cut of my time, but there are other factors too – whether personal or creative) and need to keep things on track, or at least a reminder. Props to all those that can go it alone, however I’ve recently realized I am not one of them. Especially nowadays, when other aspects of your life are fighting for time, you need to manage things as well as you can.

Unfortunately, if its not as pressing, you push things back. That’s why I think we’re all grateful for the collaboration element. Sometimes you need others to push things forward. Back in October, I was able to help Justin finish off a screenplay he had been working on for a while, but perhaps wasn’t quite ready to let go of.  Later on in the year, Bryan and Justin were able to collaborate on getting a couple of short scripts and film them in very quick succession with the help of some great actors and people overall. The least I could do was help out where possible with the scripts and the soundtracks to them (as per my other current push with music, which I also couldn’t do by myself, as much as I used to once think so). Have also had a hand in getting the word out there, whether with this site, or by testing the waters of various film festival events.  Pushing the name is certainly something I want to be able to dedicate more resource in the coming months too.

So far we’ve fared ok. Nothing spectacular, but a start. We’ve submitted the two short films – “Alphabet Soup” & “The Torment” to just a few festivals, however its a slow turnaround, and some of these are several months away still – so I guess we’re in suspense for the most part.  Going against the unwritten rules, we’ve also been rejected a couple of times.  Of course, we’ve also pushed the screenplay, in this case “The Havenots”.  It’s early days, and we’d be naïve to think we’re going to rack up awards from the get go – and so some of it is to build a bit of a portfolio.  We had some positive feedback including The Havenots making it as a finalist (but missing the cut on the top 10) at the Richmond Film Festival, which was a nice tease for the first stage perhaps.  A few years ago it might have hit home a bit more, but instead it felt like we finally shook off the rust and could improve on it – and thus we’re working on a few different screenplays, some of which I’m pretty much narrating how the process goes for, as per my recent obsession with outlines for instance.

Without sounding too cheesy, that’s the main lesson we’ve learned. It takes a while to establish oneself, and we’ve only just begun. That said, we’re looking forward to turning things up a notch in the next six months, and then likely realizing 6 months later that we still have a ways to go.  But we’ll get there.

P.S: Other miscellaneous learnings include:

– Over 1,100 visitors have been on this site, which might not be saying much, as I’ve worked on sites that get way more.  But considering we had nothing a few months ago, its a start.

– Feb was our biggest month for overall visits, which is when the films went live on site too I think.  Though April has already brought more search traffic than any other previous month.

– 90% of them are from the US, 4% from the UK, then its pretty evenly split with one or two visit each amongst 19 other countries

– We get a fair bit of search traffic for “baseball movies 2013

– Twitter brings us more traffic than Facebook

– We made 32 posts in 26 weeks

– There are two short films on the site, though more people went to the trailer page than the full length

The Torment – Full Length

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Read the commentary about the making of the movie here (opens in new screen).

Commentary About The Filming of The Torment – All In One Day

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Guest post from our own Bryan Reklis. (Editor Note: If I could sync this piece to the film as a sort of commentary, I would).

Hello person. I’m glad that you are looking at these words right now. I’m going to write more words about the filming process of The Torment (a short horror film that I co-directed, DPed, edited, and scored as a part of Dead Red Eyes). If that is something you are interested in, keep reading these words. If not then I’m honestly surprised you’ve made it this far. Seriously, if you aren’t interested, why aren’t you doing something that you are interested in? This is the internet; no one will see you leave. If you aren’t interested, may I suggest the Kid President pep talk video? I know you’ve probably seen it already, but it’s still super adorable and inspirational. OK, I’ll shut up and talk about the filming process.

The Torment was filmed in one day (one long 14 hour film session) in a shitty apartment building on Rosemary St. in Chapel Hill, NC. I used to live in the apartment building and had been forced out because they were going to tear the building down and make it into not-shitty apartments. Luckily, my landlady let us use the entire building for filming before it was demolished. It was a micro-budget filmmaker’s dream. Speaking of micro-budget, our budget was so small that we couldn’t afford to pay any crew members. So, to make up for that, we just asked the actors to be crew members. There were a total of four people who participated in the production process from a non-acting stand point (and three of them also acted, me being the only exception). I was the only one with production experience, so I ran the camera (a Canon 60D with a Sigma 17-55 2.8 lens) and lighting (A basic Arri lighting kit with additional soft box setups from Cowboy Studio). I trained Justin Mejia (the co-director), Brooke Hamrick (actress and production assistant), and Rob Priester (lead actor) how to run audio when they weren’t in front of the camera. Audio was recorded with a Sennheiser shotgun mic into a Tascam DR-100. It was a true team effort that was fantastic to be a part of.

Filming a 30 minute film in one 14 hour session is absurd. When I think about it, I still can’t believe we pulled it off. Everyone worked so hard and had such great attitudes that it was one of the greatest filming experiences of my life.

After filming, we had an extremely tight turnaround for post production because we were submitting the film to a local horror film festival. The only thing that is more astounding to me than filming a 30 minute film in one day is editing it in 7 days. I edited the film on Final Cut Pro 7, and did color correction with a Magic Bullet Looks filter.

Filming occurred on a Sunday, and the film was finished the following Sunday. At some point on Wednesday, I realized that 30 minute films need a lot of music. I knew exactly where I needed music and exactly what I wanted, but when you have no budget, you can’t afford music. So, I did the only thing that I thought I could do in such short time. I recorded the score myself (Editors note: one song late in the film and at the end is courtesy of one of Niall’s bands). Necessity is one hell of an inspiration. Using the equipment that I had available (from Atlantic Creative, thank you to them), I recorded the score with my Fender P-Bass on a Peavey practice amp by clipping a Shure Lav mic to the front of the amp and praying for good results. Necessity is one hell of a creator. I would have never made it through that crazy editing week (of which I had to still work my full time job) had Justin Mejia (director, producer, actor, Dead Red Eyes co-founder) not been super supportive and encouraging. Also, he brought me dinner basically every night, which was amazing.

So that’s it; that is the rough story of how The Torment was made. We used the same equipment and software for Alphabet Soup give or take a lens or so. If you have more questions about it, I’d be happy to answer them. If you are thoroughly bored by this, go watch that Kid President pep talk video? Seriously, isn’t that video so good? Anyways, thanks for reading all these words. If you just skimmed this and are now reading these words, but you didn’t read all of the words. Thanks anyways, but not as much.

And remember, the Lord can touch you anywhere, Bryan Reklis

Alphabet Soup – Short Film by Dead Red Eyes

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

Alphabet Soup – by Dead Red Eyes films.

This was the first of the two shorts we made in the last couple months and premiered on Feb 2nd in North Carolina. It’s a light hearted comedy about a day in the local Cafe where everything goes…. well, like a regular day at the local cafe.