Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Back in 2011, I was lucky enough to attend the screening of the documentary film, ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ at the Berlin Film Festival, and it’s a film that I highly recommend. The documentary, directed by David Gelb, is the story of Jiro Ono, an elderly sushi master who owns the restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro, and is supposedly one of the best sushi chefs in the world. I’ve never eaten there….but after seeing the film and hearing the director speak during a Q&A session after the movie, I tend to agree. One of the things I remember him saying was that it’s very difficult for him to eat sushi now…..because Jiro’s sushi was by far the best he’s ever had. And at $300 for a starting course (plus a trip to Tokyo and lodging)….that’s a tough problem to have for a sushi lover.

GelbandJiro

There are plenty of other good blogs about the film and Jiro’s ideology… and I have no intention of going into details and spoiling it for viewers, so I’m going to keep this one short and sweet. It’s a well made and entertaining film that highlights a living legend in the sushi trade. It’s a film that has many layers and speaks volumes of truth on different levels because of Jiro himself. It’s a pleasant slice of Japanese culture. And it makes you want to eat sushi. The best sushi.

jirodreamsofsushi-4

I will probably never make it to Sukiyabashi Jiro while Jiro is still alive and running the restaurant. Unless maybe he lives to be 100 and is still working, which is entirely possible after seeing the guys work ethic. So, if you’re a traveler and have the money to do so, I’d say go for it. Check out Jiro’s restaurant and then write to me and tell me how awesome it is. I mean….even Obama went there and ate his sushi. But, if you’re not gonna fly around the world to grab the best sushi meal on the planet….pick up some nice sushi from your local Japanese place, rent ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ on netflix or DVD….and enjoy yourself. Oh yeah….UMAMI.

JIROSTRICTcrop-640x360

Look at that face! Who doesn’t want some Jiro in their life? I really, really hope you check out the film and learn about Jiro and support independent documentaries. It’ll be well worth your time. As always. Be good to yourself. Be good to others. And follow The Golden Rule.

Joe McConnell’s Film School 102

Alrighty then. I shall continue the free filmmaking lessons that I started back in December. If  you haven’t read part 1 HERE IT IS. Films. Movies. Hollywood. Most people think it’s magic to make a movie. Even I still think it’s magic sometimes, and though some facets of filmmaking are very special, I know better than to think that it’s ALL magic. It’s actually just pretty simple stuff that you can learn without taking out a 120K loan to go to film school. Because seriously….who in their right minds wants to do that?

home-alone

Ever seen the film Swimming with Sharks (1994)? Or Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder (2008)? Well…..give those a watch. Now, I haven’t worked on 200 million mega-budget Hollywood films, the biggest budget I was ever on I think was about 1/4th of that, but it’s pretty much the same deal every time. Someone/some company has lots of money. They hire producers to control that money in the film production. One of those producers or production managers is very mercurial, frugal and unsympathetic. They, ya know….kinda like having power over others and get off on it. Usually….that’s your boss. And that boss will put you through hell unless you follow the rules, are ALWAYS prepared, bust your ass and never complain. Even when you’re blocking traffic on a dirt road near a swamp and there are 10,000 mosquitos ripping you apart for 16 hours. Don’t complain. Just do it. Even when you have to drive 2hrs roundtrip to the nearest Home Depot and when you return to set they don’t need the materials anymore….so then you drive another 2 hrs roundtrip to return the stuff….but when you get back to set they need you to GO BACK to Home Depot for something else. Don’t complain. Just do it… with a smile on your face.

photo_7271

The people at the top aren’t always that bad. But….90% of the time someone in the group of investors, executives, producers and managers will be MORE THAN HAPPY to be a dickwad to everyone on set. If you’re lucky….you’ll only get those 10% of the time jobs when EVERYONE IS SUPER COOL. Anywho……What are those rules and ways of being prepared that I mentioned before? Well…it varies depending on your boss, your position and the production that you’re on (because there are no set rules…just general rules) but what I’ve found to be tried and true are these (if you’re working as a PA or anything comparable), ya know…a bottom of the ladder job. 1) Always have some paper on you. A small pad is fine or just some scratch pieces 2) Always have at least 4-5 pens on you. Producers/Production Managers are always on the phone and they’ll snap at you for a pen/paper many times. If you ALWAYS have them ready, you’ll be their best friend…for a couple of minutes. Some people like to have pens, pencils, highlighters and erasers on them (and that’s great!!) but that’s too much for me and it always weighed me down. So….a few pens and you’ll be golden.

john_griffiths_also_known_as_the_pen_man__has_won__1730844944

3) Keep your mouth shut. Keep it shut when they’re filming, when they’re rehearsing….hell….JUST KEEP IT SHUT. There will be time to goof off with friends you’ve made on set during lighting set-ups, lunch breaks and general WTF is going on!?! breaks. You’ll slip up for sure…most people on set do. We’re only human. But if you follow that rule 95% of the time you’ll be A-OK. 4) Have a good attitude. I’ve said this before. You don’t have to smile like a retard all the time….but just have an optimistic viewpoint towards the shit-storm of a movie that you’re working on. After all…it’s JUST A MOVIE. 5) This is the one I hate. Always pick up your phone…IMMEDIATELY. It goes without saying that during work hours you need to always answer your texts and calls….but when you’re off…..ANSWER YOUR PHONE. Yes…you just worked a 14 hour day and commuted home and have 8 hours to eat, shave, do your laundry and sleep. And then production calls/texts you. ANSWER IT. I’ve gotten into trouble with this one a lot because I hate cell phones and dig the off-the-grid style….but hey…..answer your phone.

There are certainly other rules…but those will do for now.

les-grossman

Whatever department you’re in….you’ll start to pick things up pretty quickly. Within 2 weeks to a month of production work, you’ll know more than most people in film school. It’s not really rocket science. Just do what you’re told, learn from your mistakes and anticipate when the demanding actress will want hot jasmine tea before she asks for it…and you’ll have a friend for life. Being on a movie set is kind of like babysitting. If you’ve spent time with kids, you’ll know that they’re selfish. They could be AWESOME kids….but still, they’re selfish. They wanna do what they wanna do. If they don’t get their way they’ll throw a hissy fit and you’ll have to spend 5 minutes talking them down or they’ll go out and randomly hit other kids. That’s like a film set…..just with a bunch of grown ups.

stressed-out-mom7

I hope you’ve enjoyed this M.A.V.B.L.O.G and it’s helped in your film pursuits, your knowledge of the filmmaking process or that it just generally entertained you. As always. Be good to yourself. Be good to others. And have an awesome day!

Joe McConnell’s Film School 101

One of my goals as a filmmaker is to eventually teach and pass on my knowledge; through my films, future classroom instruction & lectures etc. That being said, I’ve decided to make a fun little ‘Film School’ section on my blog. Film school is really expensive. Sometimes it is WELL WORTH the investment but other times students end up getting stuck in a crappy film school paying off enormous loans for the rest of their lives. So, if you don’t want to pay thousands of dollars for school and would like to gain knowledge through other means like Will Hunting did…I say GOOD FOR YOU!!!

filmschool1

I’m not saying I’m the most experienced and cultured filmmaker in the world….far from it. I’m no J.J Abrams, but I do have information to offer…..and it’s FREE!! Whether you’re a beginner looking to get into the world of film, an intermediate looking to change departments and learn some new stuff or a master who’s just looking to identify with another filmmaker OR maybe you’re looking for some Schadenfreude…..either way, enjoy.

OrsonWelles In Citizen Kane

So you want to get into Film & Television? Great!! Now take a deep breath and be realistic. You’re not going to step out of the gate and become Steven Spielberg right away unless Steven Spielberg is your dad…. OR if you have a leg up on the competition due to some serious nepotism. Even if you DO have great connections that can give you a high position right away, you’ll eventually flounder that opportunity and just be seen as a rich trust fund kid unless you’re dedicated, hardworking and talented. Note how I put those in order. DEDICATED, HARDWORKING and TALENTED. Lots of people in the industry might not have talent right away, whether they are a PA, Actor, UPM etc. but man are they dedicated and hardworking (easy to work with is encompassed in those two definitions and you’ll eventually understand why if you work on enough films). It’s much easier to re-hire someone when you know they’ll show up on time. Sure, maybe they’ll make a mistake or two….but mistakes in the film industry are very common. It’s better to have someone who LOVES to go to work rather than someone who is super talented but a pain in the ass.

acting-schools-careers-jobs-salaries_600x315

Next…… it’s all about networking so that means you will need to become sociable. Maybe you’re an asshole. Maybe you’re shy. Maybe you have a horrible stutter when you speak. But now that you’re in film you’ll need to work on your personality, you’ll need to be friendly, you’ll need to get peoples contact information and you’ll need to keep in touch with people. It’s not hard. Social media is very helpful. Just send a Christmas E-card letting your friends and colleagues know, ‘Hey! I’m alive’. Maybe you don’t even need a job….but it’s good to keep in touch because as many people as there are in the industry……it’s a very small business. I guarantee you’ll run into colleagues on film sets across the country and possibly the globe. One of your contacts may eventually recommend you for something or get you a job. You never know. And if you do know that a ‘certain someone’ is a complete fool and bad connection to have….well then….you’ll know what to do.

paul_newman1_300

See that last picture? No he’s not just the salad dressing guy!!! That’s Paul Newman. PAUL MOTHER F***IN’ NEWMAN. He was an amazing actor/director who was nominated for several academy awards, won one, and starred in films such as Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), Cool Hand Luke (1967), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), The Sting (1973) and my personal favorite Nobody’s Fool (1994). Have I seen all of his films? No. But I’ve seen a lot of them…..several times over. Why? Because I love film….no, I LOOOOOVEEE FILM. And if you’re going to successfully become a student and/or work in the business it would help if you educated yourself. Orson Welles, Jimmy Stewart, Buster Keaton, James Cagney, Alfred Hitchcock, Federico Fellini, Charlie Chaplin, Humphrey Bogart, Richard Attenborough, Sergio Leone, Tom Cruise, Steve McQueen, the black AND the white one,…..the list goes on and on. WHY AM I USING CAPS, CURSING AND USING EXCLAMATIONS!!!??!!!………….I’ll tell you why….

article-1093895-02C6D722000005DC-134_468x306

….it’s because you need to prepare to get YELLED AT. There are assholes in the film/tv industry. In the real world we call them Sociopaths, formerly known as Psychopaths. Yes, they’re in the film industry too. Most of them in the world are because it’s very easy to use and abuse people in this business. Sure, there are some really cool people….but you’re bound to run into some flaming douches. Let them yell. Take it in stride. Don’t get pissy. Let it go and do your job. It’s just like if your girlfriend is venting to you after a long day of work…..it’ll eventually end and she’ll go back to normal. If the person doing the yelling is in the wrong, eventually others will see it and slowly but surely said ‘nutcase’ will stop working in the industry OR you’ll get other jobs and stop working around them. Sometimes good people get shit-canned and bullied in the wonderful world of tv/film by these Sociopaths so watch your back. Keep records. Use your head just as you would in your normal life. Sounds fun right???

hugo1

I’ll stop the first lesson here….and I’m not going to make a numbered list reexamining what we’ve just learned. The info is there…use it as you will. We’ve got A LOT!!!!! more ground to cover in the future so start studying. I hope this M.A.V.B.L.O.G. has helped in your pursuit of and/or knowledge of the film business. As always. Have a great day! Be good to yourself and be good to others….especially animals.

The Tailors Apprentice

On Saturday Oct. 5th I was lucky enough to attend the cast/crew screening for the new independent film ‘The Tailors Apprentice’ (2013). Rowan Bousaid, a friend & colleague, had invited me to the screening and I attended in support of his acting efforts in the film. I went in blind because I knew nothing of the films story, plot, other actors, where it was made etc. etc……zilch, nada. And I will say that I was thoroughly impressed.

36552_433946673310003_1625675764_n

Without giving away spoilers, there are a few elements in the film that really stand out as being exceptional. First I’d have to say is the original score, created by Matt Bukaty. For a majority of the film you don’t even notice it because when music is THAT good it just draws you into the story. When you do take a breather and notice the music you say to yourself, ‘damn this soundtrack is good’. Major kudos on the soundtrack. Second is the films directing, which isn’t always obvious to the audience unless it’s really bad…..or really good. The director Jeff Lehmen did an amazing job and I’m not saying that for any other reason than…….he’s a talented dude and I hope he gets the opportunity to keep making films. His direction stood out to me so much because of the pacing, the freedom that the actors seemed to have to develop their characters and more importantly……a religiously oriented film with a small cast isn’t always my kind of movie, but there was a depth and meaning throughout this film that captured my attention and pulled me in to the story.

964428_522294297808573_1504405485_o

Lastly, the cinematography was very good. I also want to write about how good the acting was (which it was) but that wouldn’t be entirely fair because I’m friends with one of the main actors…so you’ll have to judge that yourself when you see the film. There were some flaws in the film (as I relayed to the creators on their FB page after the viewing) but really….what movie doesn’t have flaws? The most important thing is that those flaws are easily overlooked because the story is so engrossing that you don’t mind the minor imperfections.

469098_522291524475517_1550261807_o

After the screening the cast/crew answered some questions about the film and the audience got to hear thoughts from the main actor Stefan Laurantz. It really enriched my experience to hear how devoted and dedicated the actors and director were to not only making this film, but making the best film they could possibly create. I got a clear sense of the heartfelt camaraderie between the films team, which as a fellow filmmaker is refreshing to see. Of course my main man Rowan Bousaid might’ve had a few too many drinks before his speech…..but there’s nothin’ wrong with that.

978021_522292041142132_1737615521_o

As it was a graduate thesis project for UCF, the filmmakers are raising additional post-production funds through social networking. I highly recommend taking a look at the trailer, seeing the film when it’s available and even contributing to the films cause if you’ve got some cash to spare. And to be honest (sometimes I’m way too honest for my own good)…I wouldn’t be interested in seeing the film after viewing the trailer. But….you HAVE TO SEE THIS FILM. The trailer doesn’t do it justice….I don’t think any short preview can. You just gotta see it. If you liked ‘The Way’ (2010) or ‘The Razors Edge’ (1984) you’re almost guaranteed to like this movie. You never know what you’re getting into with an independent film…..and this is one I think you’ll enjoy.

Be sure to check out The Tailors Apprentice on facebook or on the official website for the film. As always….be good to yourself, be good to those that you encounter and be good to animals…even if they’re annoying little dogs who poop and pee on your carpet.

 

The Indie Film World and K.F.T.

The time has come. ‘Kung Fu and Titties’ (2013) is available for digital download via Vimeo On Demand. I’ve already written a M.A.V.B.L.O.G. about my film, which you can read HERE. But this short piece is a little self-promotion as well as a reflection on the film and indie filmmaking in general.

KFTscreening

‘Kung Fu and Titties’ (2013). It’s fun. It’s stupid. It’s got naked ladies. Well worth watching it in my opinion. As most indie filmmakers know, it sometimes takes years, if not decades to get your film off the ground. You’re going to do it low-budget…… then someone comes along and wants a bigger budget, then an actor comes along and needs an even bigger budget….and then that falls through and you’re back to a small budget…etc….etc…etc. It had been suggested to me that I document on video the entire process in getting the film made….. way back to 2006 when I first started talking about the film, and though that might have been cool, it wasn’t exactly feasible or constructive at the time. Long story short…..it took me about 7 years to get this movie made (technically 5 since we shot it in 2011…..but it wasn’t released until this year). And yes……even on a low-budget it took that long.

richardandjenny

I just want to say thank you to all the hard working cast/crew members on my film and on all other indie films. It takes a special kind of person OR an insane kind of person to survive in the film/tv business…..and I applaud them all. There are many people behind-the-camera and behind-behind-behind-the-camera that don’t always get recognized.

marv

‘Kung Fu and Titties’ had a limited theatrical run, topped by a screening at the Cobb Plaza Theater in Orlando, FL this past week on August 8th 2013. If we’re lucky enough, we may continue to do screenings (a la The Room) for venues that are into the film. Otherwise, go get your pre-order DVD’s, set to ship late September, or download it now via Vimeo On Demand.

KFT-WEBSITE-14

Thanks again to all the hardworking people that were on this film, actors, crew members, day players, investors, consultants etc. etc. As always. Be good to yourself. Be good to others. And have an awesome day.

Last Shift

I currently have the pleasure of working with the talented cast/crew on the upcoming horror film Last Shift. The film, from Skyra Entertainment and director by Anthony DiBlasi is a thriller/horror film about a rookie cop (played by talented Juliana Harkavy) who is pulling the night shift in a haunted police station. Those of you who read my blog already know that I’m not a huge fan of horror films. I only go for the reaaaallllyyy good ones (The Shining (1980), The Birds (1963), Rosemary’s Baby (1968) etc )…..though I think I’m gonna like watching this film. Just from what I’ve been seeing on set; the professionalism, the amazing make-up, SFX and design departments, the lead actress and the production in general….this film has a chance to be really cool. And really cool for me in the horror genre probably means FRIGGIN AWESOME to you.

OfficerLoren_Cell_PAYMON-watermarked

I’m sworn to secrecy regarding the film….so unless I feel like having producer Scott Poiley enact some horrible torture that exists in his scripts…..I will not be disclosing any information other than what is currently posted throughout the web. I certainly don’t want to end up looking like THIS GUY.

paymon

It’s not always fun working on a film set with the constant stress, the fights, dealing with people’s egos, condescending attitudes etc. etc. but this time….I can say that I am usually going about my day with a smile on my face. Well, not actually smiling constantly!… because that would be weird and I’d look insane…but you know what I mean. The team that was put together by Scott Poiley, Mary Poiley, Melissa Gruver, Michael Finn and Steven Shea have been doing an outstanding job. They have carried their weight and are a pleasure to work with. I’m being honest because MAN have I worked with some world class DB’s over the years. The point is… that when this film comes out you’ll be shelling your money out to talented people and the product you’ll see will be well worth your time.

paymon-pic.608x402-600x396

There aren’t too many more leaked pictures online from the film….so we’ll just have to wait until the official website launches, which is in about a day.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this M.A.V.B.L.O.G. about the upcoming film Paymon. As always…be good to yourself. Be good to others that you encounter, even if they’re an asshole. And be ESPECIALLY good to animals. They put up with enough of our crap already. But don’t put little sweaters on your dogs….I mean really…come on. Dogs are nudists. Duh!

Here are a couple links to articles written about the film. Dread Central, Shock. As well as the facebook page.

Tiggers Back

We’ve all had our favorite pet……well most of us.

080321-fuzzy-rabbit-02

Mine wasn’t a fuzzy bunny rabbit, but you’ll get the picture. Here’s an experimental short film I made years ago (not exactly sure- mid 90’s I think).

‘Tiggers Back’

Thanks to the new Vimeo Pro for providing an awesome resource to filmmakers. I hope you’ve enjoyed this super short M.A.V.B.L.O.G.

Have a great night! Be good to yourself and all those you encounter.

Horror Nights by HORRORNERD.NET

I’m a little late in posting this one, hopefully The Horror Nerd doesn’t mind. This past March I attended an event done by Todd Staruch, which was an underground screening of low-budget horror films. He’s really supportive of indie, micro-budget films that have trouble finding an audience in the mainstream market, which is AWESOME. We need more people like him! I must preface this by saying that I’m not the biggest fan of horror movies. That being said, I had an awesome time, the venue was great and I loved the films.

1791799_orig

The first film that I saw was a short film called ‘Doll Boy’ (2010) directed by Billy Pon. I won’t spoil it with a review (because I missed the opening of the film), but it was a cool film and I really enjoyed the cinematography. There was a pretty awesome twist too. I recommend seeing it, especially if you’re a horror fan.

precious jesus

The next one was ‘Day 9’ (2013) by Tom Ryan. This movie was made with little to no budget and for what it is, it’s really good. I can identify with the director because all of the films I’ve directed have been micro-budget or no-budget. Tom did a really great job with the story. Sure there are various issues but when a film has no budget, story is key. And he pulled off a really nice story in a zombie flick. I had the pleasure of speaking with Tom after the film and he’s a really cool guy. I wish him well and look forward to his next film.

470678_4456076847522_592884104_o

At the next event, I have my film ‘Kung Fu and Titties’ playing after ‘I Spill Your Guts’ and ‘Dead Road’ in Todd’s ‘Grindhouse Nights’ on May 18th at Cafe Z in Union, New Jersey. Some of the actors from the film will be making an appearance, such as Raine Brown and Comedian Mike Marino. So if you love titties, drinking and horror movies……COME ON OUT!!!

KFTPOSTER2013boy

As always…..be good to yourself. Have a great day!

Oblivion (2013)

Ok. So I went to see Oblivion (2013) last night, starring Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Olga Kurylenko and Andrea Riseborough. I was REALLY excited to see this film, mainly because I’d watched the behind-the-scenes documentary and was impressed, but the film falls flat. It’s a really cool concept and story, the casting was great, the acting was great (except for when Morgan Freeman’s character is wounded-you’ll see why and laugh out loud like I did) and the artwork and special effects were done well. Unfortunately though, overall…..it’s just not that good.

Oblivion

Now, I’m not condemning the film. It was entertaining for a once over viewing. I have respect for the director, Joseph Kosinski, because I really enjoyed his first film Tron: Legacy (2010). And I’d cover anyones house in raw sewage to be able to direct a film or even work on a film with such seasoned actors and such a large budget….but that’s beside the point.

Oblivion (2013)

Tom Cruise, however you feel about him, is a great actor and works hard. It shows in all his films. I’m a big Cruise fan…..and he makes this movie worth watching. He’s got good chemistry with the two female leads and there’s a nice love story, even if a bit overdone. The twists in the film are less ‘aha’ moments and more ‘oh…ok’ moments. I have no intention of spoiling the film because it just opened in theatres, but if you’re looking for the next 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), you won’t find it in Oblivion.

header-oblivion-2nd-theatrical-trailer-with-bad

I really like what Kosinski did with the work tower. Instead of putting up massive green screens for the actors to work in front of (with them having to imagine their surroundings), the director surrounded the set with giant projector screens, so that the actors could actually see the image of the world they were living in. That’s pretty cool. And it looks pretty cool too.

oblivion-sky-tower-bubble

Pros: Good acting. Great scenery and cinematography. Interesting concept. Good execution. Good chemistry between leads. Great artwork and special effects. Entertaining. Olga Kurylenko and Andrea Riseborough are very attractive and nice to look at.

Cons: The love story is played out too much. Flashback sequences get old and make the film boring. The twist elements aren’t that exciting. Script is a little….eh whatever.

Worth a rental? Yes. Worth going to the movies to see it? Yeah… Worth a purchase? I don’t think so.

M.A.V.B.L.O.G. Score- 7 out of 10. Hey, it’s an entertaining film. Just don’t go looking for the next groundbreaking sci-fi movie when you see it.

If you’d like to go see Oblivion check out fandango for showtimes in your area or head to the films website.

Movies: ‘Kung Fu and Titties’ (2013)

Reviewing my own film you say…..what an asshole! But I’m not actually doing a review….I’m doing a directors statement and a reflection blog on the purpose of this movie, my goals and what this movie ultimately means to me. A low-budget film is never an easy feat to accomplish. I do regret having to post-pone the film for a February 2013 release when I initially planned for a March 2012 release…but that is my only regret. Otherwise, I am extremely proud of this film, of myself for completing it, and for those investors & cast/crew members who worked so hard on the film. It’s a low-brow comedy with high-brow moments, it’s an homage to one of my favorite cheesy films ‘Big Trouble in Little China’, it’s a goofball film with naked girls and whacky characters….exactly what I wanted to accomplish. Pure entertainment for the regular Joe who wants to crack a beer after work, laugh and see some titties. Just look at the lovely Chiva Soriano below.

It was said to me, ‘Hey Joe. Your dad just died. You don’t have to do this movie. You can re-schedule it’. But, no….I had to do it. My father passed away one day before filming was set to begin in October of 2011. I thought he’d at least see me film the movie, if not hang on to see it completed and watch it on the big screen. And if you knew my father, he was BIG on finishing things. He was behind this movie 100% for the 5 years when I worked with various production companies in trying to get the film off the ground. He gave me his blessing, days before he passed, to go finish the movie. I had to do it for him, and for myself….because I’d waited for so long to get this film up and running. Maybe I could have used more pre-production planning, maybe things could have been different…….the timing seemed wrong….but it wasn’t. It was right. I’d waited long enough to make ‘Kung Fu and Titties’ and it HAD to be made. Just look at lead actress Seregon O’Dassey……man is she hot!!!

A run-n-gun style of shooting, all the trappings of an indie film set, dogs pooping in actors beds, the power going out, wild bears showing up on shooting days and a freak snowstorm later…and the film was in the can. We needed a couple of re-shoots, there were problems with special effects, no theater wanted to take the film because of the title….but we did it. There were mistakes, as always. Some scenes are perfect to me and I just want to scream out in joy (or do the Dance of Joy I guess, like Balki Bartokomous)…….. and then some scenes needed better lightning, or better camerawork, or better sound, or better acting, or better stunts. But, a movie is supposed to have mistakes. Especially a low-budget film that is meant to be cheesy and goofy in the first place. The problems, in my opinion, are minor and arbitrary. Most of them were circumstantial issues due to money and time constraints…and we all did our best. Well….. most of us. So who was in the film??……..

I’d met Comedian Mike Marino years ago in Los Angeles and kept in touch with him. I said, ‘Mike…..one day I’m gonna make a film and I want you to be in it’. And I’m very grateful to him for being such a professional and turning out such a great performance. He was really cool all those years I tried to get this film off the ground…..and he was really cool to work with. So kudos to Mike Marino….check out his work.

I obviously can’t thank everyone here…..that’s what the end credits are for. But I’d like to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication (ESPECIALLY all the actresses who did nudity and John Archer Lundgren, who is just larger than life). And now………I’ll share one personal story from the film. 2-3 hours before my Dad passed away, I received a phone call from Bronson Pinchot, telling me he thought the script was funny and he wanted to be in the film. For months, myself and Co-Producer Alice Ray were trying our hardest to get a cameo actor for the film (not so much a cameo role in the end though…..because *spoiler alert* he plays two different characters). My father and I talked about this for years before pre-production on this incarnation of ‘Kung Fu and Titties’ even began. So, I ran into my Dad’s room. I said, ‘We did it Dad! We got our cameo actor. Bronson Pinchot. We finally did it!’……and I kissed him on the forehead, squeezed his hand…..and ran out of the room.

Bronson Pinchot was a real professional. He was a lot of fun to work with. He played one of the best characters, in one of my favorite movies, ‘True Romance’ (1993). Having his veteran experience and knowledge on set and him being involved with this film is something I’ll be eternally grateful for. He could call me the worst director in the world and call ‘Kung Fu and Titties’ the stupidest movie…..and it’d be ok with me. He’s Bronson Pinchot! He’s the man! He even made me do a purposely goofy ‘directors vision’ picture with him.

So what was my goal? To make a funny, entertaining movie that would satisfy guys….and hopefully draw in some girls. I never set out to make an oscar winner. It’s ‘Kung Fu and Titties’!!! Come on! It’s a fun, low-budget, goofball comedy, with a bunch of topless girls and some kung fu. If that’s not pure entertainment for guys….then I dunno what is. And what does this film mean to me? Well, it’s not one of my drama scripts that won festivals which my Dad wanted to see funded and produced. But it’s something that my father and I worked on and bonded over. It’s kind of the last part of my Dad that I have. Regardless of what the film does or how the reception is…….it’ll always be a special movie to me. I’m not asking you to feel bad for me or to go see the film out of pity……I’m just telling my story.

Thanks for reading. I hope you check out the movie in theaters during its limited release (opening Tuesday Feb. 12th in Brooklyn at indieScreen) or when it comes to digital and DVD in a few months. And I hope you enjoy it. As always, take care of yourself, your friends and your family. And treat people with respect! Oh yeah…duh….here’s the website for the film.