Well, I've finally finished FEED ME, my short, low-budget, first-foray-into-horror film. The homepage is up and can be found here:
The cool as crackers website Sci-Fi Japan has done a story on the film, which can be found here:
Fangoria.com did a piece on the film too:
The film itself is kind of a mixed blessing for me. I'm always happy for the chance to make something, but the budget was extremely low and it was shot in a rather unorthodox way. I also spent way too much time editing it, which has the unfortunate effect of deadening you to the film. But it's like that with any art form. I know it was the same when I was making music with my band, although live shows help as the audience response can re-awaken your interest in whatever song it is you're playing for the millionth time.
I've ended my relationship with FEED ME by making it available as a download on the film's website. And I'm charging for it too! What? Has Norman gone capitalistic? No way! At $2 a shot I can hardly call that being greedy. I think it's fair enough given the amount of work my staff and I put into it. And any money I do make (which I don't think will be all that much) goes right into my new film, IT'S ALL GOOD. I just want to keep making films and hopefully the next one will have higher production values than the last. (Although, in the case of IT'S ALL GOOD, the production value is already heads and shoulders above FEED ME.)
Hmmm... I guess that's the source of my angst with FEED ME. I love the film, but it's got lower production values than my last two. Still, despite it's rock bottom budget, I like it a lot.
My favorite things about the film are as follow:
The Story – It's something I've wanted to do for a while. I've always wanted to add a viciousness to the Japanese ghost girl genre. I like the dialogue and I like the story structure. Even though I wrote the basic script in a day, it was a summation of ideas I'd had brewing in me for a while.
The Irehi – Hats off to Kaveh who made the film's totally awesome looking Japanese grave marker and to Ryoko for making the Shimenawa that was its finishing touch. It looked so real on location that Japanese walking by were stopping to check it out. It now sits in my room where it creeps out people who come to visit.
The Music – Pepe really gave me what I wanted. And even where it diverges from what I expected, it's still cool. I was also able to work with Pepe and apply some of my musical training. This is what I like about filmmaking. It's not just a single discipline. To make a film requires a lot of knowledge about various things. I should also mention that my friend Anne allowed me to use two songs from her catalogue of work. They were songs I loved on first listening and I'm glad they could find a home in my film.
Ryoko – She plays Mamiko, the star of the film. Ryoko was brought into the production via my producer JR. While I wouldn't call her an actress, although she has taken some classes, she has a natural style and she added an aspect to the character that I hadn't expected. And, as a person, Ryoko has become an important friend. This is another joy of filmmaking: human relationships. Filmmaking is NOT a solitary art form. You make friends (and enemies!). Getting to know Ryoko was a blessing as she's a very special person with a lot of potential and a bright future.
The Staff – Everyone on the staff and in the cast was cool, even if I think many of them didn't fully know what they were getting into. Working with Rob (camera operator) is always fun and he helped the production from day one to the final day through his great generosity. Rob edited The iDol too and if I had to list everything he's done for me or taught me this blog would never end. Working with Mariko Naka, a really great actress I met at Yubari Film Fest last year, helped give meaning to my going to that somewhat worthless film festival. Mari is also a lot of fun to be around and is the kind of actor you want on a film set. Yukiko Arai, our makeup person, did a terrific job putting together the look of Mari's ghost from all the junk JR and I picked up during postproduction. As I had ZERO expectation for the look of the ghost, I have to tip my hat to her for putting something together heretofore unseen. Mike, who plays Freddy, was a pain at times, but I can say this because he's one of my best friends in Japan and I enjoy giving him a hard time. Also, no one pulls weeds like Mike! Jon, who plays Jason, was total fun and actually put in a decent performance. Rachel, who plays Regan, I appreciate a lot too. I know she was in over her head, but she did what she could and gave the film a dimension I hadn't expected. And thanks to Vinnie for that cool ass title he made! I thank you all!
JR- FEED ME's production was held together by one of my oldest and closest friends in Japan. It's ironic to think that when I met JR he was just another Godzilla fan who knew my work writing for trashy fanzines. JR is the kind of guy who I feel compliments my annoying qualities, which is what a film producer needs to be. Directors are a particular breed and can't always be expected to have basic people skills. I can't thank him enough. I think it's enough to say that we are working again together on my new film, IT'S ALL GOOD. I hope the relationship continues beyond this too.
I know I'm leaving people out, as everyone did so much, but I gotta end this somewhere! Sure, it was tough at times. But we had some good times, like when everyone came over my place during post-production trying to make the Yubari Film Festival deadline, which we didn't make. But that all-nighter was a blast and it was a sight to see 5 guys on their Macs crammed into my room, each working on some aspect of the film and passing files around through their wireless connections (I was a PC guy at the time and so couldn't get in on the fun).
In any case, FEED ME is officially done. It's on-line and there for the world to see at $2 a download. I don't pretend to think it's going to change the film world, but I believe that we all made something a little different and unique. I hope those that download it will keep this in mind and not judge it against productions that cost thousands of times more than the $1,000 it cost us to make.