We won Best Comedic Short at Sonoma International Film Festival. It's going to be pretty hard for another festival to live up to this one. Not just because the festival was amazing, but because it was so close to home.
I'm not going to wax too poetic about Northern California. Mostly because I don't want too many more people to move up there. But I will say that it is still a very clear personal goal to shoot at least one feature film in our home county.
And so playing our film in this community and meeting cool filmmakers, film buffs, and generally-supportive-of-the-arts type folks was one step closer to that goal. It's unfortunately rare to find people that are both motivated and not cynical. But we met a lot of them up here.
Sonoma County, we will not let you down.
In other news, we leave for New York this week. (I feel like we just had a Woodie Guthrie moment: "...from the redwood forest...")
This will be our second time at the Tribeca Film Festival, and We. Can't. Wait.
Basically, we won't sleep for the next two weeks. There's going to be a lot going on, and we'll probably be tweeting and updating a bunch about it, but just so there's a solid spot with all out screening info...
Here is your handy guide to...
ALL THINGS STRONG BROTHERS AND TRIBECA.
Real Live Screenings
Part of the Shorts Program "Mix Tape"
For you New Yorkers. The Dungeon Master the way God intended it: on the big screen. We're going to be at each of these for a Q&A along with our producer Alexandra Barreto. For the premiere screening, our actors Adam Busch, Chris Wylde, and Chad Crone will also be there.
Saturday, April 23rd, 5:30 pm at AMC Loews Village 7 - 66 3rd Avenue
Thursday, April 28th, 3:30pm at Clearview Chelsea Cinemas - 260 West 23rd Street
Saturday, April 30th, 5:30pm at Clearview Chelsea Cinemas - 260 West 23rd Street
Sunday, May 1st 5:00pm at Tribeca Cinemas - 54 Varick Street
We're really excited about this. From anywhere in the US, you can watch our movie. This is also a competition (though we're not quite sure how that works, but hey, we'd love to win!). Watch us. Vote for us. Spread the word. You have to reserve a "virtual seat" to these screenings, but you'll be able to watch it anytime within a 24-hour window.
Friday, April 22nd 2pm at SVA Theater - 333 West 23rd Street
Filmmaker Feed on Tribeca's Site
This is Tribeca's hub for the Strong bros. We're doing a Q&A on here, and will probably be posting videos, photos, and updates throughout the festival (when we're not, you know, sitting in movie theaters with our eyes peeled open like Clockwork Orange).
After you see the movie
Let us know your thoughts! Send us a comment, write a review, tell your friends...
This little movie is entirely a labor of love and took up a lot of our time, energy, and money. It's only a short film, so there's no reward other than reaching people, entertaining, and getting a reaction. So if you have a reaction, whatever it is, we want to hear it.
My understanding is that you can buy individual tickets at the door - but pass holders get in first, so if you want to be guranteed to get in and see some other films you can get a one-day or more pass here.
Supposed to be a great festival and it's in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Hope to see you there!
When we were on set of The Dungeon Master, our prop department made fake beer labels that said, "Guysler." While we were shooting late into the night, the actors kept themselves entertained by coming up with mock commercials for Guysler. I wish we had filmed some of them...especially since one of our actors has gone on to achieve ubiquitous commercial status.
If you've watched TV at all in the past month, then you've probably had this song stuck in your head at some point:
That's our good friend and Dungeon Master star Chris Wylde being insanely brilliant. When you can improv like he can, it's one thing, when you can improv and sing like that? Crazy good.
You have to see this "behind the scenes" footage of him entirely in character as Buddy Mignon:
"Buddy Mignon's minions"? Are you kidding me?
Chris is so clever it hurts.
Looking forward to putting him in many of our movies to come.
Tonight, he will be acting in his friend Chris Levitus' short film, playing a disturbed gangster named Thad - who is described in the script as "manicured and sickly...he will slit your throat slowly."
Tonally, though, it's a comedy. A neo-noir comedy. So...funny, gross, kind-of-old-fashioned gangster-killer.
After much consultation with Chris, it's time to get ugly.
The shaving begins. Mustache. Definitely.
And flatten down the hair.
Next step: skinny black pants and undertaker shoes. Button the shirt all the way up.
This is the key. I imagine Thad as sinewy, lizard-like. In the script, he's touching things, molesting objects. Smelling his fingers.
He needs to be uncomfortable to look at.
I've always thought it's most uncomfortable to watch somebody who thinks they have a better body than they do - when they move one way (graceful, sexy, slinky) but their body tells a whole other story (forced, flabby, soft).
Which means: a belly. Definitely a pot belly.
Add a coat and make the posture more effeminate and creepy. It's becoming less and less likely I will get laid during the shoot.
Once on set, we do the final touches. We discover the key to a true pedophile stache is shaving down the top of it. Just a pencil-thin line of anti-sexy.
Hair is flattened and parted in the middle. Some make-up for a more pasty look, and glycerin for a sweaty (no, greasy is a better word) forehead.
An even tighter shirt to accentuate the belly. Unexplainable, dirty band-aids added to random fingers.
And Thad is born.
Me with writer/director Chris Levitus on set, photo by Mallory Morrison
Now that it's completely picture-locked, I thought I would post our Director's Statement for The Dungeon Master. Sometimes when you're submitting to festivals they ask for one of these - it's supposed to be an explanation of the why and how of your movie.
If you've been reading this blog from the beginning, there's probably not a whole lot of new stuff in here, but nonetheless...enjoy.
We developed the story for The Dungeon Master to explore what is "cool" and what is "geeky" in a world where adults regularly collect action figures and dress up for conventions. Even the most tolerant and open-minded folks seem to have a point where they snap - where they look at a Star Trek fan, or a video gamer, and want to scream, "Can't you just be normal?!"
We were fascinated by the fact that in our culture, we don't judge people if they wear the jersey of their favorite basketball team everyday of the week, or obsess over fantasy football, or paint their faces in their team's colors...but good old fashioned geeks are still fair game to ridicule.
Also, The Dungeon Master is based on a true story. Mostly.
When we were kids, we were both geeks - we played Dungeons and Dragons and all sorts of other things that make you a social outcast as an adult. As teenagers, we discovered how uncool girls thought these activities were, and so we let them fall by the wayside.
A couple years ago, however, we decided it might be fun to try again. But we approached it in an ironic way. We decided to have a tongue-in-cheek D&D game night.
We couldn't remember all the rules, and so we invited a friend-of-a-friend to come and help us. When this person came to our big game night, he was - in many ways - a stereotypical, awkward geek. We all got along fine and had an OK time, but the next morning the two of us realized a couple things:
1) that we felt compelled to make fun this poor guy and
2) that we were doing so out of of our own insecurity.
We were too cool. Our irony was a self-defense mechanism - and we were letting our insecurities get in the way of having a good time. We were acting like self-loathing snobs who go to a dance, and then stand on the sidelines and make fun of the people dancing.
If we were honest with ourselves, we wanted to participate in a geeky activity, but we were still scared of being perceived as geeks.
The Dungeon Master was our way to dramatize this tension and weave it into a fun, revenge-of-the-nerds narrative.
Stylistically, we wanted to shoot the short in a way that gave nods to both a hipster, mumblecore sensibility (handheld, improvisational - dripping with irony and sarcasm) and big budget fantasy films (sweeping, rich in color - earnest). We wanted our visual style to cross from one to the other and grow more beautiful as the story pushes our identification away from the judgmental cool kids and towards the brave, lonely geek in a cape.