Friday, August 6, 2010

Playing Indians

If I have one fault, it is that I am too optimistic. I remember telling the cast and crew of THE PROMISE KEEPERS, as well as all of the fine men and women who donated money to help fund the project, that we were looking at a three week shooting schedule, with the film slated for release in early August. Now here we are, four months in, and we still have at least two days of full-cast filming, some pick-ups, and post. Yikes. The good news is that we have a much better film on our hands than we would have had otherwise, and the even better news is that making this film has been one of the best experiences of my life. The people that I have met and the friendships I have made are on their own worth the budget of the film, but then to have this movie, this piece of art that we have all created together... Well, it is simply magical.

(Driving around in drag with Sophie)

I have made this claim before, but really, we are close to being done. We have a few more full shoots, then pick-ups, and then we enter post-production. I have been editing the movie as we go, so most of it will piece itself together pretty quickly when we are done with filming, but we have a lot of sound design to worry about, and then marketing, and then of course touring the country.

(Dave and I going over storyboards)

We recently wrote and recorded voice-over for the official trailer slated for release by August 10th, maybe sooner if we can find the right font. The trailer is pretty rad, and it makes me excited for the movie in a new way. I am so close to every aspect of production that it is often difficult for me to think about it as an outsider, but the trailer allows me to do that, and every time I watch the rough cut I think, 'Man... I wanna see that movie!' I think you will feel the same way (let's hope!).

(Our friend Luke, held against his will)

In other news, we have a twitter account now for Gunther and Dolores, the two main characters in the film, which, if you twitter, you can access by following this link -

(Some of our beautiful ladies getting ready for a shot)

Thank you, once again, to everyone who has been supporting this film, and our cast, and just us in general. We really appreciate it, so, so much.

(Oh, you'll know what this is soon enough)

Friday, June 11, 2010

hot gossip, hot lust

Hey Sailors!

We are approaching the home stretch on the PROMISE KEEPERS shoot, and damn excited about life! The footage is coming back looking pretty great, and though we will be spending longer than I had originally anticipated on post-production sound design, we are still looking at having a finished project before the end of the summer!

Here are two of our leading ladies in a borrowed Cadillac, the preferred vehicle of all incestuous polygamist families.

Last Saturday was some of the first good weather we have seen when we had possession of the camera and equipment, so we took advantage of the sunshine and went out and filmed some exteriors. We borrowed a beautiful white Cadillac from a friend of some of the actresses in our film, and then drove around terrorizing the neighborhood, hooting and hollering and kidnapping sexy young men. And believe me, we got some reactions from the neighbors. There was one guy who came out asking questions, and then settled in as if he was invited to watch the filming, which would have been fine except for the fact that one of our actresses was flashing her goods and this was the kind of man who would call the cops. The last thing I need right now is an actress in jail and blaming me for a life-time of having to go door-to-door to tell any new neighbor she might get that she's a registered sex offender. Nosy neighbors... Pshhhh.

In between takes people are having a pretty good time.

But the most exciting thing to happen this last weekend was being able to work with Wendy "Hatchet-wound" Jordan, a young woman who has been a friend of mine since my Junior year of high school. If you know anything about the Vonnegut novel CAT'S CRADLE or the fictional religion of Bokononism, then you will understand what I mean when I say that Wendy Jordan (along with people like Jacob Adkison and Maurice Burford) are a part of my karass - Wendy is a person I am supposed to know and work with. We have, since high school, fallen out of touch more than once, and then, miraculously, we run into one another. Once in Bakersfield California, just an hour from where we went to school, and then three years ago on Burnside here in Portland Oregon (she moved her, unbeknownst to either of us, one month after I did). And now she's in my movie. Fucking amazing.

Wendy is the one in the purple shirt.

So anyway, thanks for checking in. We wouldn't be making this movie if it weren't for the help of our friends and our various supporters from around the country, so thank you once again (you know who you are). Also, I want to thank Sophie, Dave, and Mike, our incredibly small, yet dedicated and hard-working, talented crew. You are doing such amazing things, and we love you.

Sophie doing whatever it GD takes to get the MF shot.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Family Romance

Loser-weepers -

Things are going swell on the PROMISE KEEPER set. Our days have been long, but we're getting a lot of awesome footage, and things are really coming together! Watching the dailies has been extremely rewarding, seeing all of our weird and perverted ideas coming to life on the medium screen (I have a projector, so it's bigger than a TV, but not quite as big as a movie house). I would love to show you some screen shots, but we don't want to spoil anything. I will say this - our own cast members, some of the people that helped come up with pieces of the script, are surprised on a daily basis by how dirty and weird the movie actually is.

It just warms my heart to hear things like that.

Meet our newest additions to the cast!

(Left to right - Colleen, Stephanie, and Aubrey).

As a special note to everyone who pledged money to the film, I can not thank you guys enough. This is honestly one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life, and we wouldn't be here without your help.

The fam.

We don't update this blog very frequently because we don't know how interested people are in reading about our day-to-day. If you want to know more about the process of all this, subscribe to the blog (it's free, of course) and let us know, and we'll keep you up to speed.

Thanks again, everyone.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Making Out in Drag

Ghosts -

We have been pretty busy working on the film as of late, which is fun and stressful and exciting all at once. We are trying to get the more difficult shots out of the way first, so it has been slow, but busy. The amount of shots it takes to get a mere two minutes of film is just ridiculous, and the time it takes with lighting, and with make-up... So much work for such a small product! But it adds up, and each shot we get is closer to a finished scene, and then the film, so it is all worth it.

Here is a shot from our third day of shooting.

This picture was taken after twenty minutes or so of Carolyn and I making out. The things we do for art!

There have been a few setbacks for the project recently, such as losing one of our actresses due to increasing responsibilities in other areas of her life, which has changed our production schedule, but we are working hard to replace her and fix a bunch of other little problems. Until we find someone who can do the job as well as our previous actress we will be shooting around that character's scenes, but what complicates the situation is that this particular character is in close to 65% of the film, not always with lines, but just there in the room, and it is hard to shoot around such a large portion of the film. But we march on! The film must be made! And we do have a few very promising leads with a replacement, but until we have something set in stone it we must act like it is still an issue.

This is Carolyn and I mugging for the camera after filming one of the most difficult special effects shots for THE PROMISE KEEPERS.

I can't really say much about it, so you'll just have to wait to see the movie to find out what's going on!

Filming, as most of you know by now, is predominantly done in my apartment, which has been causing a few problems as well. I am not the cleanest person in the world - I'm not disgustingly gross or anything, I am just am a bit cluttery - which has compounded since the beginning of pre-production, and as the mess grows it puts a strain on my relationship with my roommate Francis. Now Francis and I normally get along famously, and not just as roommates but as friends too, but with the film taking so long in pre-production, and now with these long shoots and continued delays, things had gotten pretty bad between us for a while. There have even been a couple of few-day-stretches of silence, which if you have ever lived in a situation like that you know how stressful it becomes rather quickly. Eventually, as all things do, it came to a head and there was confrontation, but luckily for us it was resolvable. Francis is a very supportive friend and roommate, and he believes in the film. His main problem is with the clutter, and though it is against my general character to always be cleaning up behind myself, if it comes down to the ultimatum of clean up the living room after filming or don't film at all, I will of course alter my behavior. His arguement is a valid one - he lives here too, and though he supports the film it can't get in the way of day to day life. When we are shooting, Francis is great. He stays out of the way, he stays quiet, and he is tolerant of the ruckus the cast and crew can't help making. All the guy asks is that when we are not filming that he be able to make dinner without having to move piles of props first, which is something I am happy to facilitate. Oh, the ups and downs of living in your movie set!

This is outfit 2 of 3 for Carolyn's Gunther.

Doesn't she look like she could beat you up? She can! And she will!

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

A little slice of Heaven.

Guys! We have begun filming for THE PROMISE KEEPERS! Our first shoot was of Heaven, one of our more ridiculous scenes in the film, but one of the hardest, set-wise. Heaven didn't really look all that heavenly, but it was the perfect set for a down and dirty exploitation film like ours. Here are some shots from the first day!

(Carol as Gunther and Karl as Sky Man, practicing their lines)

(Kimberly as Geraldine (she's new to the project))

(My continuity pic as Dolores)

(Sky Man's cloud chair in the clouds)

(Sky Man is upset with his sexy angel)

It may not look like much here, but the acting is great and the shots look pretty darn good. Like Dolly said, it takes a lot of money to look this cheap. That being said, if you have yet to pledge, please do so now because we need your help! PLEDGE NOW! Because we are running out of time!

Here are a few more fun pics!

(Gunther and Jake as Toby)

(Sophie getting ready to film Marika and Jake)

(Me as Cousin Percy)

(Jacob and Jake as Joseph and Merril)

We won't make it without your help! Please! PLEDGE NOW!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

God Hates Ladyboys Part One: The Amen Brothers

Crusaders -

Can I get real with you guys for a minute?

I was raised, every other weekend and two months in the summer, by a very devout Christian. As a child my relationship with God was directly tied to my relationship with my father, as he was the one I went to chucrh with, prayed with, got dipped and saved with. We weren't the best Christians in the world... Always cussing, and we were both perverts (he owned porn, I would sneak peeks at it, both sins), and we would lie ("I don't own porn..." and "I don't look at the porn you don't own..."), and we would covet, and gloat, and eat too much, et cetera. Also, we were always late to church. Like hella late. Like last ten minutes of service every single week late. A couple of our church friends called us the "Amen Brothers", which I just loved. One time we got to church and no one was there, which was really confusing to us because it was the one time we thought we were on time (or almost on time... we thought we were only thirty minutes late). Turns out we were early because of the time change. Thanks to Spring Forward we were going to look like good Christians, but that seemed dishonest to us, so we went to breakfast and ended up showing up to church (at most) fifteen minutes before the end.

That's a true story!

Still, I respected my father, and our shared faith, and took everything he told me about God to be the absolute truth. Like God hating Ladyboys. My dad said it, so it must be true. "All gays are going to hell," he said, "because it is an abomination to God. He meant for men to be with women and nothing else." (I would like to mention, as a testament to my father's conviction on this matter and to show you that he wasn't a HUGE hypocrite, that he didn't own any lesbian porn - never has, never will. ABOMINATION!). He also told me, "Catholics are going to hell because they worship Mary, and God says that is heresy." This was our own team he was speaking against! Not just because Catholics believe in Christ, but because half of our family is Catholic (we're Mexican - I know I don't look it, but he does, and you need to trust me on this). But I believed him, again, because he was my father and my connection to faith. Poor Uncle Andy! An eternity in hell for worshiping Jesus' mother! What luck!

This is how I was raised, and though my father still holds a lot of similar beliefs, since I have grown up and left the house he has become softer around the edges, because with me as a son he sort of has to. My first roommate out of high school was a tall gym-queen named Steven. Steven had been raised Christian himself, had even attended a Christian high school, but all of that was behind him (sort of). When he came out he burned the closet down! Shaped eyebrows, painted toenails, flags, murals (honestly, he painted our hallway), the whole works. But he kept his politics! He was raised conservative, and he stayed conservative! He voted for Bush! Log Cabin Republicans will always puzzle me... Anyway, when I told my father I was moving in with Steven he was heartbroken.

"Dad, I have good news and bad news. I found a roommate, but you're not going to like him."

"Is he a punk?" (this was during my punk phase, and dad didn't like it).

"No, dad, he's not a punk..." Silence. We looked at each other. "He's gay."

"Are you gay?" he asked, his brown skin turning red, holding back tears of frustration (we are emotional boys, my dad and I).

"No dad, I'm not gay."

"Are you bi?"

I didn't even know he knew what that meant.

"No dad, I'm not bi."

And then I told my dad about high school, about how all the kids thought I was gay, about how I got teased and bullied over it, and how I was angry at first - not at my aggressors, but at gay men and women for even existing, for allowing me to be confused for one of them, angry like God and my father that they were alive and walking among us. If only they would do what they were supposed to, I thought, I could be spared this grief that they deserved. But then, slowly at first, I began to see the flaws in my logic and that of my father. We weren't hating gays because it was what God wanted, but because we had been taught to fear what is different from us and to attack such behavior wherever we could find it. But we were different! My father is a Mexican by blood but was born and raised in America. He grew up in white towns and had to face intolerance every day - how could he think this way? He was a hippie in the sixties, a big fan of Hendrix and Dylan - then and now - and a singer in a band. My father dreamed of being a DJ and has always been a good artist - in fact it was him drawing pictures from my comics and Mad Magazines that led me to pursue art in the first place. My father appreciates good films - he introduced me to THE GRADUATE, Marx Bros films, and Bill Murray, and we have watched nearly every Wes Anderson film together, lauging and crying and what have you. My father is a cryer! I have never seen another grown man cry as much as he does. Being such a sensitive and caring man, how is he filled with such hateful ideas?

Drugs were the catalyst.

My father, being a hippie and a man open to the world, became a drug addict in the late 60's early 70's, and pretty much stayed on them until I was born in 1984. He had grown tired of his life with drugs by then, had hated his mood-swings, his aches and pains, and his wounded soul (he too was raised a Christian). My father turned to his mother, a source of strength for him, as well as to the Lord, a bond he had shared with his mom just as I had shared with my father. My dad asked God for something to help him get off of drugs once and for all, and shortly after I was conceived (or so the story goes). My father got off of drugs and never looked back, but he lost my mother in the process, and because of California laws, I went with her. To stay off of drugs my dad devoted himself to God (again) and rejected his past life, but as it is with the baby and the bathwater, some of my father's tolerance and open-mindedness that had defined him for so long went out with it.

But those were not my experiences. I had these ideas of sinful gays and hell-bound Mary-worshippers because I was taught them, and when I looked at the world outside of the church and my father I found that people are just people, and I began to embrace cultures other than my own. Over the years I have shared a lot of my new opinions, and how I came to them, with my father, and we have more common ground than you might think.

Still, until today I have hidden THE PROMISE KEEPERS project from my father, because as open as I am with him, the project has a lot of potential to upset him. But it is important to me that my father knows who I am, what I am doing, and where I stand, so I sent him the link to the Kickstarter video earlier today. If you have yet to see it or haven't seen it in a while, click HERE and see all the things that will likely earn me a talking to. But I have faith in my father, in myself, and in the project. I think there is a good chance that my father will be open to this, that he will encourage me to follow my dreams, and hell, that he might even pledge some money. Time will tell, and so will I - there will be a follow up to this story to tell you just how my father reacts. Keep your fingers crossed!

One last thing to leave you with. When I was a kid my father would buy me a lot of Halloween costumes and make-up, because back then I was obsessed with monsters. He even got a big refrigerator box for me to sleep in as a coffin, believe it or not, because he was an amazingly supportive dad. There was one outfit in particular that I like to put on - maybe once a week or more - that had a black curly wig, a pointed hat, and fake plastic nails. I would dress up like a witch - an evil, spell-casting female witch - and dance around the house cursing things and making potions, and my father would high-five and hug me, or counter-curse and banish me, depending on what character he was playing. I reminded him of that in my e.mail, hoping he would see how harmless my current cross-dressing is. Here's hoping.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Life on Venus

Kittens -

The Promise Keepers and I just finished UNCLE JOSEPH'S HALF HOUR PRAYER HOUR, which will premier on public access next week, and will show up on THIS VERY BLOG in just a few days! We filmed the program as a test for the feature film and it will be included on THE PROMISE KEEPERS dvd as an extra! Until the release later this week, here's a sneak peek!

This is not a pyramid, but in fact a spaceship from outer space! When we came from Venus (because we are all from Venus, not just women, as the early nineties would have you believe), we flew in these! Check it out! Up top? That's the Lord, on top, where he belongs! And below him? The Pope! Archbishops! Church folk! His best friends! And below that is the pool! We had pools in our spaceships! And Stairmasters! And spin classes! And below that we have a buffet! And below that we have bees! Or beds, or something. I don't know.

But yeah, Venus! That's where we all came from! Did you know that? That's why no one has found the Garden of Eden! Because it's on another planet! And believe me, life is good on Venus! There is no sin in the Garden - did you know that? It's before sin was even invented! As long as you don't eat the fruit, everything is fine! You can do anything you want on Venus! You can fist-fight dogs on Venus, or make love in the morning on Venus, or wear a suit made out of an old lady's skin on Venus - you can do a lot of things on Venus that God won't let you do on Earth! That's what's so great about it! Life on Venus rocks!

And here's a picture of the bear puppets we made!

(You'll see more of them in UNCLE JOSEPH'S HALF HOUR PRAYER HOUR!)

Also, here are some pictures of one of a kind masks that will be seen in THE PROMISE KEEPERS (or, two of a kind... We made two of each)!

We're getting really close to our first day of shooting for the feature film! If you have yet to pledge money, please do so by clicking HERE! The fundraiser is coming to an end soon and we need your help to reach our goal! We can do it!


Check back in a few days to watch UNCLE JOSEPH'S PRAYER HOUR!