Friday, January 28, 2011

The Trailer

The Dungeon Master Trailer from The Strong Brothers on Vimeo.

Acting 101 - Finding Thad

We begin with Rider on a typical day.

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.

Body posture?

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

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Director's Statement

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.

-The Strong Brothers

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Story Published

I have a short story in the current issue of Whiskey Island Magazine.

My story has war! Sex! Gambling! Yes, it's all crammed into only a few thousand words.

They have some of the issue (#58) online, but not all of it.
So, if you're interested in reading my story, you got to do this the olde fashioned way and order the single issue for $6 ... or hey, go ahead and subscribe to a whole year of this fantastic magazine.

You'll physically get a copy in the mail. Crazy, right? But when we meet someday, I can sign it for you.

Here's their Facebook page.

Here's their site.

Hope you like the story. Drop me a line after you read it.