Saturday, April 11, 2015

The ups and downs of being Topical - Are GMOs now safe?

If  you've followed my movies at all you've probably noticed that my style travels back in time quite often.  Rubber monsters, film noir types of "mysteries" and special F/X that pre-date the first Star Wars movie.  The actual first Star Wars movie, that came out in 77, not the "Episode 1" Star Wars movie, although I guess they predate that too, by a LOT.

Anyway, Lumber vs Jack, which is premiering in Asheville, NC this week, is no different.  It's a throw back to the creature features of the drive-in era.  The 50s, 60s and 70s.  Like a 1950s monster movie, we tried to tackle a scientific question relevant to our time.  In place of the all creature mutating radiation from the 50s we used GMO manipulation as the questionable science which runs amok.

Back when I wrote the movie and while we were shooting it, all the way up until...well this past week or so it seems...GMOs have been the talk of the internet and the talk has been negative.  Even the smiling Bill Nye the Science Guy seemed driven to stamp out the "dangerous" manipulation of plants and food.

However, my luck being what it is and people being the fickle species we are, the past couple of weeks have seen the internet come to the defense of GMOs and the corporations that create them.  They are now being defended as good things suffering from bad propaganda.   Bill Nye has been talking up GMO plants.  The negative stories are being "outed as myths".  Everything we thought we knew is being addressed, explained or proven false.

Just days before Lumber vs Jack is publicly screened for the first time.

Coincidence?

I THINK NOT!

OK, I think it probably it is, but doesn't it seem more exciting that our little movie has the big biotech companies so scared that they moved to preemptively squash the discussions Lumber vs Jack would inevitably cause?

Truth is, I think the movie's message still stands.  Genetic Manipulation is not a science to be handled lightly.  Much like the warnings about radioactivity from the 1950s have become cliché as we've grown into a world that uses nuclear power every single day, GMOs will undoubtedly continue as a science and may do great amounts of good.  However, nuclear power has also given us 3 mile island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima.

All advances come with risk.  Advances driven solely by profit come with even greater dangers.  In order to remind the public that corporate driven science needs to be regulated and watched, we give them rubber monsters chasing women in the woods.

It's how Hocus Focus Productions does our part to keep the future safe.

If you're anywhere near Asheville this Thursday,  you should come see the movie.

http://hocfocprod.com/lumbervsjack/lvjashevillepremiere

If you're not, look out for the online premiere the following week.

 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

101 signs that you spend too much time online.











1. You clicked the link to read this list.  Really, 101?  You were going to read a list of a 101 things that told you something you already know?  Who comes up with these lists? What ever happened to the "top ten"?  If you're ready to commit to reading 101 things that really wouldn't have meant anything anyway, you clearly spend too much time online, or you are willing to at any rate.

There is no number two.  I lied.  I spend too much time online as well, but not enough time to write another "100 signs" for this list.

Go play outside, write a letter, find a shorter list.

I'll see you later on Facebook or YouTube.

Or go watch a movie.

www.hocfocprod.com/free_cinema

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Cold Continues

I wish I had been more sure we would have this near week of snow.  It seemed like winter would end without it and so the movie I have been wanting to do with Ice Giants and Vikings was put off another year.  Then, boom, snow that has kept me from getting mail for three days.  Not because the whole area is snowed in.  Just the 70 or so households that live on top of the hill I live on.  About a third of us come and go in our 4x4s, but the rest of the folks just wait it out and the mail truck won't attempt the climb until the snow plows do.

That should leave me plenty of time to write, but I spent a lot of my energy clearing our driveway and trying to clear some space on the side of the road near our house for people to at least walk up and down the hill.  I did manage to get one more interview done over at the Cult Goddess Magazine blog with Serena Lorien and I wrote a movie review for the 1984 sci-fi zombie fest, MutantSo, you can read about the movie there and then watch it for free on our main site.  It was a pretty fun flick.

If you have a movie you'd like hosted on our site, please, contact me at hocfocprod@aol.com and send a link to a streaming version of the movie.  We'll  need to be able to embed it from YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo or the like.

Got lots of great gags planned out for Lumber vs Jack II: Jack vs Lanterns, but first we have to show that original movie and get more people talking about  it.  If you can't wait for the online screening you can buy a copy at www.hocfocprod.com/lumbervsjack

That's all for now. 

 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday the 13th and Valentine's Day in the Same Weekend?

Our Valentine's Day Weekend and Friday the 13th gift to you: INDISCRETIONS

It's sort of a romantic movie.  I mean, a couple is trying to fix their relationship.  A guy falls in lust.  A beautiful damsel in distress needs rescuing, or does she?  This movie has it all, except a budget.

Watch it in the Free Cinema, in the dark with someone you love.  Or, watch it alone, with a pizza, while imagining that EX you're so glad is gone.  Works either way, really.

http://www.hocfocprod.com/free_cinema
 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Reboot

I sort of let this thing go.  Partly because of a move.  Partly because, while I am still doing films, I do them less often.  As I've aged other priorities and interests have taken more time.  Not "normal" priorities like kids.  My sisters both have wonderful, smart, talented children.  They raise `em, my wife and I visit and I get to keep my own toys.  I'm more of a dog person.  Lots of fun, easy to relate to, never ask for the keys to the car or to go to college and pretty self sufficient after the first year.

Recently, however, I've been getting back into the swing of the sci-fi horror stuff.  We have a movie premiering April 24th online and hopefully in a few live venues that week.  It's a retro sci-fi piece about killer trees.  It takes a very broad stab at the problems with GMOs.  Look for it at www.hocfocprod.com/lumbervsjack .

And just this week we brought back Cult Goddess Magazine.  We're doing it as a blog this time around, but when possible the pages will be still fully laid out and the blog space will be used for clickable links.  This brings with it some improvements over the PDF format I loved so much.  It makes the interviews more accessible across platforms like phones and tablets.  No loading of giant PDF files (even when compressed they were pretty big) and the past interviews are more easily accessible and archived.

Since we post them one at a time we don't have to compile 3-5 Cult Goddesses for an issue, so we can put out interviews more often.  This month we have Monique Parent talking to us about her return to acting full time, although with the list of movies she's done the past two years, I'm not sure you call it part time.

My next biggest task is figuring out my writing schedule.  Winter has about past and I haven't finished my writing projects.  Usually, now that I'm a bit further North, I like to write when the weather is bad and then do pre-production and production during the warmer months.  Winter wasn't so bad this year though, so I'm coming up on Spring with some nice memories of going out with Nancy and Chaya, but not of lot finished scripts.

Also, trying to decide if my next book should be a collection of short stories, like "Off the Rails" is, or a full out Novelette.  Still don't think I'm ready for a Novel.  Any opinions on that are welcome, so long as you don't get insulted if I ignore them.

Keep checking this space and see if I keep up with blogging more often.  I just might since it seems to be considered a pretty old fashioned medium right now.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Black Hole of Second Hand Goods

Haven't blogged in awhile, but need to clear my head before some editing, so I thought I'd touch on this subject.  As a very low budget movie producer I often find myself in thrift stores and Goodwill stores looking for inexpensive props.  I've been doing this kind of thing for near two decades and lately I've been noticing a trend.  There are fewer and fewer worthwhile items that fall into that "gently used" category.

It's actually a bit of a boon for me personally.  If I need a toy ray gun that we can dress up to be Colonel Onyx's next super weapon in an AV movie I can usually get one for under 2 bucks because it doesn't work.  But what about the kid whose parents are buying toys at the Goodwill because they can't afford the brand new ones in Target or Wal Mart?  (After some thought I've started testing toys I find before buying them as props.  If they work, they're usually left behind).  Furniture, again, I can paint something, prop a 2x4 behind it and keep it standing as a set piece for a scene and then use it as a shop table until it fall apart, but what about the family who is in there to furnish the kid's playroom?  A piece of presswood furniture isn't even that easy to fix.  Sanding and painting hardly do the job.

What I realized is that we're coming to a black hole of useable second hand goods.  Sure, the upper middle class can still get deals on what was once very overpriced furniture and goods that the rich owned to look at and not use, but what does the middle class pass on to the up and coming youth who are just scraping by as they start life?  Junk!  We've been buying foreign made, cheaply produced junk for YEARS.  Stuff that was never worth fixing because it was cheaper and easier to buy a new one.  Non stick pots and pans with the Teflon flaking off.  Toys with busted springs and decaying, dried plastic.  Furniture that was 30% cardboard.


So, we go back further to find our "slightly used" goods, but those are becoming antiques and we all know that antiques cost more.  

Don't even get started on electronics.  You can't pass along a computer, phone, game or even TV on anymore.  They're outdated months after you buy them.  An entire segment of industry, keeping money local by recycling quality goods that kids have grown out of or adults have upgraded, is fading away and it leaves a segment of the population with no recourse except to buy the cheap, mass produced new junk that caused the situation in the first place.

Recycle, reuse, repurpose.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ebooks vs books vs Priority Ebooks

So, for the last 3 months or so "Off the Rails and Other Tales" has only been available in two formats, Paperback and Kindle Ebook.  Kindle made it easy to format the book for its reader, so it was a natural place to start, but I also have a PDF version, which I used to produce the final paperback and is readable on ALMOST everything can read an electronic file out there.  I'm comfortable with PDF's because it's how we brought the first two volumes of "Cult Goddess Magazine" to about a thousand online readers per month.

Kindle, however, has it's own format and by using that format I was able to offer my book for free to Kindle Owners through promotions or borrowing.  Sometimes I even got paid when people read the book for free, so it was a good deal all around.  But, my friends, as many Kindles are there are out there, they are not the only eReader in town and while you get free software on  your phone, computer, etc to read a Kindle book, some still prefer the other brands.  My Mom, for example, loves her Kobo reader.  She had her copy of the book on there before we went public with the Kindle.

Well, after 3 months our sales of that version of the Ebook, both free and paid, have dropped.  So, while it's still available on your Kindle enabled device for 99 cents, it is no longer available for free borrowing.  Time has come to launch our in house 99 cent ebook in PDF.  It's complete with the illustrations and I think the formatting is prettier.  It can also be opened on most computers, ereaders and anything that can read a PDF file, which means you need Adobe Acrobat reader.  It's a free software or app.

Of course, nothing compares to the paperback (unless we had it in hardcover).  I mean, you can't have me sign your ebook.  I guess you could, but I'm not sure where and when you're reading one of thousands of other books that would be weird.  And there's something nostalgic about the tactile contact with a paperback that I think works with the pulp style I used in many of the stories in "Off the Rails and Other Tales".

As far as supporting me, I like there to be a lot of physical copies of the book out there, but my "take home" doesn't change very much from one form to another.  Every time someone switches on a light at night because they're a bit scared due to reading one of my stories I feel richer.

As for specific e versions for other readers, vs the PDF file, they're planned, but may be awhile coming.  If I pay a service to swap them over I'll have to charge more and I want MORE people to read the stories, not fewer people to have PAY more to read them.

If  you buy the ebook and decide it's so amazing you MUST have the paperback shoot me an email for a coupon code for $1 off the paperback.

If you want the book or want to read parts of it, head over to http://www.hocfocprod.com/off_the_rails
While you're there also check out some horror books my friends wrote.