The Big Screen

Posted in Filmmaking, promotion with tags , , , , , , , on April 12, 2010 by Richard Diaz

The Distortion trailer plays on the big screen at The Music Box theatre.

For years I have been going to The Music Box theatre. They show many foreign and independent films. What I tend to love watching are the midnight shows. They show all kinds of films at midnight on Friday and Saturdays. Whether it’s cult hits like ‘The Room’ or even childhood favorites like ‘The Dark Crystal’ and ‘The Muppet Movie’. They also help put on these events put on by Movieside Film Festival which includes a 24 hour marathon of horror films done every October called the Music Box Massacre. In the spring time they do the Sci-Fi Spectacular which is a mix of science fiction and horror science fiction films which they just had this past weekend. This year’s line up included such classics as ‘Them!’ and even more recent cult favorites like John Carpenter’s ‘They Live’.

One big addition was the showing of ‘Q The Winged Serpent’ with writer, producer, director Larry Cohen in person. I have wanted to meet him for years because his way of making movies was a huge inspiration on me. He would write the script the way he wanted and then just go out and make the picture. Sometimes literally just showing up somewhere and start shooting without a permit or anything. That gung ho attitude was something I tried to emulate while making ‘Distortion’.In fact, it was a big reason why I think the film got made because I knew I needed to just plunge ahead and make it. As an added bonus a great store called Horrorbles had a discussion group the next day with Larry Cohen. It was a small affair of only about 20 people so I was excited to be among them. To hear him talk about his writing process and different anecdotes was just so great. I tried hard when I talked to him to not be overly fan boyish but how could I not be? The guy inspired me in so many ways.

Getting back to the Sci-Fi Spectacular – one last bit happened. The week before I was at a special screening at The Music Box of ‘North By Northwest’ which was part of the Turner Classic Movies film festival featuring Robert Osbourne and Eva Marie Saint in person(!). Such a great night. Afterwards as I was coming out I ran into the guy that puts on the Sci-Fi Spectacular as well as the Music Box Massacre. He asked me if I wanted the new ‘Distortion’ trailer shown. I was about to jump out of my socks I was so excited. The theatre that I go to all the time to watch all kinds of movies new and old was going to have the trailer for my film showing on that same screen. So after I meet Larry Cohen after the ‘Q The Winged Serpent’ screening they played my trailer (a double whammy if there ever was one) in front of what had to be at least 400 people.

The picture above is a bad one because it doesn’t show how big that screen really is. Nor does it show how big the theatre is. Nor how big the audience was. Trust me, the answer to all is big. I was both nervous and excited. Luckily I had a few friends there cheering it on. It didn’t exactly get an introduction so it played like any other trailer would have. While I couldn’t garner the reaction since I was in a surreal state at that moment I did notice one girl screamed out at the very last shot of the trailer when William’s face changes as he roars. The title pops on and there was applause. Some of it may have been just people being polite since I’m not sure they knew what to think. But for me it was a big moment. So many times have I sat there wondering what one of my films would look like playing on that very screen. Kind of funny how two of the big influences on me and the film were part of that evening. John Carpenter was a big influence on me and to see ‘They Live’ two hours later in the exact same spot my trailer showed was amazing. And to meet the man himself Larry Cohen right beforehand and the next day was just incredible.

As I said the whole thing was surreal but then again so is making a movie. In one day I shared the screen with two filmmakers I greatly admire at my favorite theatre. I’d say this is one of those moments when that little kid who dreamed of making movies one day would be proud.

Larry Cohen and I after the discussion at Horribles.


No More Hiding

Posted in misc with tags , , on March 29, 2010 by Richard Diaz

Shooting a shot at the old post office in Gary, IN.

I had one of those moments tonight where reality set in. I spent most of the day working on finishing some editing and music for a short film I co-directed. I guess my head was in that mode so when I called it a night I wanted to settle in with a movie but couldn’t decide what. Instead I opted to throw my own film in. Not because it was my movie of choice to watch but because I wanted to work on it a little. I wanted to see if there was anything left I wanted to alter. There are a few things but one audio mix I do want to adjust. I will do that and then finish the DVD I am making for the actors and a few close friends.

While I was skimming through the movie I was hit with a very intense feeling of nervousness. I was thinking what the film would be like playing in front of an audience. I was trying to see it through their eyes to see if anything stuck out. What it made me realize is that the time has come where other people will now see the film. I will no longer be hiding behind it. There was a sense of anxiety as it is now going to be in front of people and this film that I have spent years of my life getting made will be judged for better or for worse.

You become protective of something you create. Especially when it has so much of yourself in it. However you can also hide behind it which I was able to do. Almost no one has seen the film. I could post a few stills. Cut a trailer using pieces of my choosing. But there was the fact that no one had seen it. Sure a few strangers at a few film festivals deciding if it’ll be shown there but no one I know personally except for one person who saw a rough version. That is about to change. It’s like when you fall in love with someone and you start showing them all parts of you. The good and the bad and you hope they still feel the same way after. I guess it’s a sense of vulnerability which I know goes with the territory. It’s one of the many things that drew me to making movies. Even when you make something for entertainment it’s still going to have part of you in it for everyone to see.

I got the feeling because I know it’s time. The film is done and I need people to see it. I no longer have that safety net of hiding behind the post production title. When people asked when they could see it I could always say it’s getting there or it’ll be done soon. I can’t say that any longer. Here is the film I made. Here is a part of me. For all to see. The good. The bad. And yes, the ugly. This is me, Richard Diaz. And this is my film, ‘Distortion’. No more hiding.

Dread Central Piece And New Trailer

Posted in promotion with tags , , , on March 24, 2010 by Richard Diaz

Today is the day. The new trailer is online and ready for everyone to see it. I’ll be posting it on YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, the official website soon but today it is premiering on Dread Central and I could not be more excited!

This is a special thing on so many levels. To have your film mentioned in any way on a site like Dread Central is cause for celebration. It’s one of the main horror film sites in the world. It’s also special because Steve (aka Uncle Creepy) and I have known each other for years and to have him be the one to do the article made it even more special. Way back on the old Fangoria message boards (2002?) he was a moderator and I was a fan. He eventually moved on to another website (which shall remain nameless) and then finally ending up at Dread Central. I went with him to each of these places because he has been so nice to me over the years. Plus how can you not be around a guy that loves horror movies that much? The only downside is we’ve never met in person. So one day I want to be able to personally thank him for everything.

Here is the link to the article with the new trailer:

I think this trailer works better than the last two. It also has the benefit of having all of the new stuff included (the last trailer was done in January of 2009!). It’s much tighter and I think it works. Maybe too well. I hope it doesn’t make the movie look better than it is. Er … um … hm.

Thanks again to Steve for this. Many more things are in the works but they deserve their own posts.

Much more to be done. I created the test DVD last night and watched the film (at 3am!) and it looked and sounded great. A few areas I want to add some sound effects to cover some dead space and a few audio levels I want to tweak but it’s stuff I’ll worry about later. Not anything I’m going to let hold back the film. It’s time to get it out there. Two more festivals to submit to this week with one more in the next few weeks. Plus I should start hearing back from Cannes soon (gulp). Also I’m getting back to work on the new film. A lot to do but I need to do it. If I don’t who will? No one is going to make my career. If I’m going to have one I need to keep working at it. I may complain sometimes about being a bit tired but I have the energy to keep going. As I said in the previous post there is a young boy in me that has had a dream for so long. I am not going to let him down.

As a friend said I am one busy little bee. Actually I think it was busy wittle bee which sounds much cuter.


Posted in Post Production with tags , , on March 22, 2010 by Richard Diaz

The journey is over.

Here it is. The day has arrived where I can say that ‘Distortion’ is finished. At 12:38am on Sunday night (or Monday morning if you want to get technical) on March 21, 2010 I announced it. Granted there will still be final tweaks here and there. I’m sure once I see it in front of an audience things will jump out at me but that is all part of the process. As the saying goes films are not finished they’re abandoned. At some you point you just have to walk away from it otherwise you’ll spend your whole life working on it. Too many other stories to tell.

My 7 year journey has actually come to a close. Not sure how to feel about it. I think I’m still wound up in the technical stuff and the festival submissions. I’m sure it’ll hit me at some point. I actually made a video blog about it right when I finished. It’s on my Facebook profile. I was going to post it here but it is one long rambling bit. I was so tired that I went on and on. I even had one bit where I got a little emotional but caught myself. I thought back to my post Binary Sunset (which you can read here) about when I first saw ‘Star Wars’ and what it means to me. Kind of an odd moment where I saw myself almost through someone else’s eyes. I saw me at 4 years old being amazing by movies and how my life changed in one moment. All those years of dreaming to be a filmmaker. All those years of people telling me I can’t do it. All those years of finding the strength to keep going. Now it all came down to me making my first feature film. I saw that kid and wondered if he would be happy of who he grew up to be. I hope so. I don’t want to let that little boy down.

So what now? Is this over? Not by a long shot. The film itself might be done but now it’s time to start getting the film out there. Promoting it. Getting it into festivals. Much more to write about I assure you.

Also, there is the next film ‘Killer Talk’ which also has its own blog here. Just when you thought I was nuts the first time I’m going to go through it all over again. Only in a much shorter time span. What I did in years with ‘Distortion’ I plan to do in months with ‘Killer Talk’. Took a bit of a break while I finished ‘Distortion’ but I will be getting back to the script this week.

A new ‘Distortion’ trailer is almost done. I’m giving it the next day treatment. Meaning I liked it last night but wanted to sleep on it and see if I’m still happy about it this morning. There are some exciting things in the works including a piece over at Dread Central with the premiere of the new trailer and two possible interviews with the Horror Society which should be a lot of fun. All of those links will be posted here when they are online.

So this marks the end of one journey but another begins. What does the future have waiting? I have no idea. Not sure I’d want to know anyway. I have many more stories to tell and one way or another I need to tell them. The road is long but I made it this far. No turning back. Just taking a quick breather and enjoying the flowers off to the side. Deep breath. Continue walking.

Render This

Posted in Post Production with tags , , on March 15, 2010 by Richard Diaz

An early effects shot that will be redone.

Due to some technical issues it looks like the tweaks I want to do to the older effects shots may require me to almost redo them from scratch. Not completely as certain elements I had to create as separate clips. However I may have to recreate most of the elements. Or, I just leave them as is. Well, if you know me then you know I don’t like to settle. I admit I have my lazy moments but when it matters I fight. And I fight to win. And in the case of my film I am fighting for a victory.

So as much as it will probably kill me this week I will redo a lot of those early effects shots. A lot of shots need to be done too but it just means I’ll be putting on more coffee. Also means I need to delay the new trailer a little as there are three effects shots that will be in there from the newer batch.

I also decided to slightly reedit one sequence as I think it’ll work better a different way. Which in turn might mean I need to re-score it. I’m not sure if the current score for the scene will time out correctly now.

Just when I think I am so close I am so far away. Seems to be a running theme lately. But like I said I fight to win. Time to roll up the sleeves and get to it. This will be a very long week but once it is over I will finally be able to say the film is (basically) completed. Or I will be hospitalized. Whichever means I can get a little rest.

Two more festival deadlines are approaching and fast. It amazes me how time is flying by lately. Outside of the trailer there will be several promotional items created. Time to start heavily getting the word out.

Then it’s back to work on the new film. Wait … I thought I was going to be able to get some rest?

Horror Society Piece With Stills

Posted in promotion with tags , , on March 14, 2010 by Richard Diaz

A very quick update. I’m working on the final bits of ‘Distortion’ so it is literally days away from being completely done. Also the new trailer is almost done as well. Once it is expect it to be posted everywhere I possibly can.

In the meantime the awesome people over at the Horror Society did this piece on the film which is filled with stills. I hope you like it. Including stuff I have not posted anywhere else.

Big thanks to Mitch at the Horror Society. Also be on the look out for an upcoming interview I’ll be doing with them. I am so excited!

Now back to work.

Binary Sunset

Posted in Distribution, Post Production on February 24, 2010 by Richard Diaz

It took a lot longer than I expected but the day has come. The DVD of ‘Distortion’ has been mailed out to the Cannes Film Festival and to the LA Film Festival. Not really sure of my chances but it marks the end of one thing and the start of another. Unlike the Sundance submission the film is basically done. A few things I still need to tweak but the film these festivals are receiving is the film I made. The version I sent to Sundance was still rough and had some missing things. This version is what it is. While I am still working on a few audio issues and reworking a few effects shots the film is completed and will now be judged on its own merits.

I hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours. I barely slept. I made a DVD yesterday and watched the film last night but there were some things that stuck out too much. So I went back in and fixed them and had to export the entire film and then recompress it for DVD. All total it’s around 7 hours or so just for that. I slept for just a little bit and then got up and checked it out. Burned another disc and went through it. There is one audio issue but I can live with one. For now. I got all of my information together and finally headed out to Fed Ex. Shipping was super expensive. Overnight shipping with one item going to the UK? Ouch!

As I was getting ready I reached for a shirt and next to the one I was reaching for I saw my Star Wars shirt. I put down the shirt I grabbed and put that one on. I wasn’t trying to be my geek self today. This was something personal. A circle has closed. When I was 4 years old I saw Star Wars in the theatre. It changed my life forever. The images were so powerful that I was forever in love with the movies. If that one moment where a young boy’s eyes were mesmerized and imagination soared had not happened then there is no telling who I would be today. Ever since I was a kid I have dreamed of making movies. Even before I knew what a director was I would imagine my own films. The day finally came where the little kid grew up and made his first film. I don’t know what my future holds. All I know is that in many ways I am still that young boy filled with dreams and wonder.

If I ever had to pick one moment in any film that expresses who I am it is from Star Wars when Luke looks out onto the horizon at the two setting suns. He looks out and dreams of things far away but feels like he can’t reach them but hopes that one day he can. Nothing has ever been more true for me. I still look out onto the horizon. Hoping. Dreaming. Maybe one day I will reach them too.