In February 2010, we were still recovering from the hectic shoot from the previous fall. Our plan was to recharge during the winter and regroup in the spring. So I put together a trailer using the available footage to get everyone – including myself – pumped up again about making this film, and also to be able to show to people we were trying to entice into working with us.
On YouTube, our trailer was spotted by Avery Guerra, who seems to be some kind of highly skilled professional cool-stuff-liker/promoter. (Not that our film is cool – just Bigfoot.) His IMDb listing includes credits as publicist on The Devil’s Rook and Gila! (The Giant Gila Monster remake. Awesome.) as well as “thank you” credits on several other horror/scifi films, including Paranormal Activity. (!) So from what I can tell, he’s helped a lot of indie filmmakers like us out with spreading the word about their films.
He was nice enough to ask for some info that he could pass along to some cool-stuff-liking websites. I wrote up an email describing the film to him and sent it to Dennis to look over before I sent it off. I have a tendency to be a little too flippant, and Dennis helps me curtail that because he hates laughter (and puppies).
In my email, I had described our film’s tone by comparing it to what they were going for in the 1999 The Mummy remake, with the combination of horror, humor, and adventure, adding that I thought The Mummy wasn’t entirely successful at the mixture. Dennis said The Mummy sucked and changed it to:
“Our prior horror efforts, including Consumed are dark, grim tales, which we enjoy, but didn’t feel that tone was what we wanted in a Bigfoot film. We agreed that Jaws had a good balance or horror, comedy, and adventure which we are attempting to capture.”
Which I would never say. Ever.
We went with that and the story, along with the quote, was posted on Ken Husley’s awesome site Monster Island News. And that was really cool. Someone actually gave a crap about our movie. It was like a real movie. Cool.
And then, much to our surprise, other sites started picking the story up, mostly due to the fact that Avery is awesome and spread the word around. And then i09 posted an article titled “Screw K-Pax We Want Zonad, French Mutants And Bigfoot’s Cousin The Grassman” Yeah! Screw K-Pax! We were getting lots of hits and praise on the trailer, and it felt good. Very motivational, too.
Cool! Wait… They just called us absurd. We were actually more offended that we’d been labeled “The Meyer Brothers,” the inevitable moniker we thought we could somehow avoid – made all the worse here by shortening “brothers” to “bros.” Shit.
The first line of the story was “Wow. Talk about a schlock party!” I was pretty sure this was an insult, but had to look up “schlock” in the online dictionary to find out what it meant. Seemed like an insult, but the addition of “party” made it sound like something fun. Futhermore, who had been talking about schlock parties? As far as I could tell no one, or I might know what a schlock party is.
Just called it absurd again. Son of a – wait, they’re talking about us like anyone has any idea who we are other than the 30 people who watched The Spooky House at the 2003 Ohio Independent Film Festival. And, look, next he’s quoting me like a real filmmaker! Awesome!
Hey, cool, he made it sound like Consumed was an actually film we made! Wait! We didn’t say it was like Jaws! We said were were trying to mix comedy, horror, and adventure like Jaws did! Son of a shit! We look like complete tools!
Who was talking about nepotism? Did I miss that? Was that at the schlock party?
The “absurd” and “schlocky” comments didn’t bother me so much as looking like a complete tool who thinks he’s Steven Spielberg. We get negative comments about our work all the time – If you can’t deal with that, you shouldn’t be making movies. Or doing anything, really.
This isn’t a tirade against the author of that post. It’s his job to post cool stuff or lame stuff and either praise it or make fun of it as he see’s fit. He just called me out for sounding like a complete tool. This filmmaking stuff is a very public thing. And, as you learn and grow, your failures happen in front of everyone.
The lesson we took from this experience at the time was that that you have to be extra careful about what you say to the press because it can be easily misinterpreted. But then I decided that lesson is stupid because we kind knew that already anyway. I have since found a much more profound lesson in all of this, which is also something we knew already anyway but is the kind of thing you can know for years, but not really know it until you finally find out.
I’ll get to that next week in Schlock Party II: Out of the Closet, Into the Fire.