Monday, December 22, 2008

Japanese Key Art and the Dream of 3D

Just got an email from The Foywonder. I guess that the Asylum has ditched the idea of the 3D Transmorphers 2. That is a lump of coal in my Christmas stocking. Not only did the title have an awesome ring to it, but my heart raced with the thoughts of Z Bots reaching out of the screen and right at the audience. Oh well. Here's hoping that Transmorphers 3...D will be a reality.

On the Foywonder's blog you can see a selection of Asylum films and Sci-fi channel originals, Japanese style. American DVD marketing people just don't get it. Our entire entertainment culture is moving towards this international model. These DVD covers are not just appealing to Asian markets, but to everyone who grew up on MTV and graphic novels.

If only an American company were to make films that were marketed like this....hmmmm.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Buy This Album!!!

Everyone should click the link below and buy this album. I helped produce it and let me tell you...its awesome!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

They're Back!!!! Transmorphers 2 in 3D!!!!

A while back I got an email from my online buddy "The Foywonder" that suggested that the Asylum was planning a sequel to Transmorphers. I just read on the Asylum website that they were in fact sequelizing my 2007 cult classic. On top of that happy news, I learned that it was going to be filmed in 3D!!!!! That's motherfucking right. 3D Bitches!!!! I tell you right now that I will be the first person to pre-order a DVD of that film. I am looking forward to that release more than any in 2009.

Is my tongue planted in my cheek right now? Absolutely not. My enthusiasm is 100% genuine. Transmorphers was one of the simultaneous high points, and low points, in my tenure with the Asylum. As most of you know, I am a rebelious punk. An arrogant bastard who hates rules, hates taking no for an answer, and loves to buck the system (just ask IATSE, but that's a story for another day). The idea of trying to make a futuristic period piece with giant robots with the budget of the average AFI short film was a challenge that I couldn't resist. While most people in Hollywood marvel at their own excess, I have often been obsessed with the exact opposite; doing the impossible for absolutely no money. Was it a disaster? Sure. Was it fun? Absolutely. In fact, on set of the new film House Of Bones that I'm producing for the sci-fi channel today we were all sharing tales of the Transmorphers shoot. It was a memorable, unforgettable experience.

Outside of me officially making a plea to the Asylum to burry the hatchet and strike a deal to shoot Transmorphers 2 here in Louisiana with my new production company (tax credits, in house VFX, me) let me give some advice to the new team behind Transmorphers 2.

-We all have a shot here at cinematic immortality. Conventions, fan screenings, toys, graphic novels, etc. If you guys can go Aliens to my Alien, Terminator 2 to my Terminator, we got it. If you guys go Troll 2 or Superman IV on me, we are fucked.

-Watch the original. Study it. Feel it. Ask the Davids for a copy of the original Transmorphers story "bible" that I wrote. Stay true to the universe. We have a lot of fans. Do you know that people have written fan fiction? Or that I get requests every week for signed copies? Go ahead and reference the original. The loyal fans will love you for it.

-Help me fill plot holes. A lot of crazy shit went down during the development and production. Lot's of stuff got lost in translation. As you study the first (I suggest at least 20-30 viewings to really "get it") look for things that don't add up or make sense to you. Then, fix it with the sequel.

-Get better robots. Look, genre movies are a mathematical equation. 50% visuals. 50% sound. So, there was a sync issue on Transmorphers...there goes 50%. Then we couldn't afford a dolly so take away 10% of the visuals. Dock it 10% because we didn't discover the awesome set that is featured in the first ten minutes until months after principal photography. Then take away 20% because the film is called Transmorphers and the robots are lame and don't really Transmorph that much. So, you have 10% of a movie there. And let me tell you, the strength of that 10% has built an international fan base that demands a sequel. Fix any of the above problems and you will top the original.

Here are a few production notes and fun facts that you may not know about TRANSMORPHERS....

-Because the film was all interiors or night exteriors, it was shot 100% at night.

-Only a handfull of actors in the film (Kym Jackson, Elodie Hara, Danae Nason, Sofie Norman, Luke Jones, and Erin Sullivan) had never appeared in a Leigh Scott Asylum film.

-With the exception of six actors, the entire cast of Dracula's Curse appears in Transmorphers.

-The original script for Transmorphers was, in fact, called Robot Wars. The original story behind that script came from a script I wrote years earlier called EARTH EMPIRE. The plots were different, but the main character (an outlawed, renegade, military commander named Warren Mitchell) is in both scripts.

-Warren Mitchell's name comes from my father's middle name and aviation legend and Milwaukee hero Gen. Billy Mitchell.

-The average shooting temperature during the exterior sequences was 20 degrees.

-The main battle scene in the middle of the film is made up of two giant, tracking shots involving stunts, pyro and CGI. It didn't work in the original cut, so the traveling shots were intercut (maybe it still doesn't work, DRATS!!!)

-The opening of the film was shot months after principal photography. The initial cut was short on running time and the producers felt that the film lacked action in the first few minutes (which I agree with). Despite being shot in three days with a crew of four people, those scenes look significantly better than the rest of the film.

-Actress Amy Weber broke her hand during production. We were unsure if she was going to return, so an alternate ending was conceived where her character was killed. But, she came back and didn't die in the film.

-Actor Griff Furst (Itchy) demanded to perform his "unfreezing" scene totally naked as it made sense to him that people wouldn't be put in cyrogenic freeze with their clothes on. His request was denied by a majority vote of the cast and the crew.

-The film's main theme is actually a derrivative of the song "Wonderland" by the band The Divine Madness, who performed the film's score.

-The film is hated by a man calling himself "Decepticon Spike" on youtube. Check out his video. Let him know what you think.

-"Robot Girl" Erin Sullivan's wardrobe came from the closet of Line Producer Daniella Southgate.

-Production Assistant Nick Everheart tried to, one night, serve the crew microwave burritos for lunch. The crew attempted to kill him.

-The middle action sequence consisted of six stunt men, eleven actors, and seven separate pyrotechnic effects (the equivalent of 16 frames of a Michael Bay shot).

-Not a single prop weapon used on the film was returned to rental house ISS. They were all destroyed in the production.

-The wardrobe from Transmorphers was featured prominently in Griff Furst's UNIVERSAL SOLDIERS.

-The entire interior set (not the beginning, awesome set) was constructed from materials purchased at Home Depot and IKEA exclusively.

-The entire film was "looped" (maybe you knew that already).

Don't let me down Asylum. Don't let the fans down.

Promise the world that TRANSMORPHERS 2 in 3D will continue the legacy!!!!

Come on know the right call here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mockbust This!!!

Let me state, once again, for the record that I am no longer working with or associated with the Asylum. We parted ways more than a year ago. That doesn't mean that those guys don't have my utmost respect and admiration. I think back on my time with them and remember it fondly.

This week yahoo news splashed a story about how Fox was actually suing the Asylum over the upcoming mockbuster, THE DAY THE EARTH STOPPED. Of course, this was meant to cash in on the upcoming Keanu Reeves snoozefest THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL.

I've talked at length about how and why the Asylum makes mockbusters. I've defended the practice from a business perspective while I have expressed my disdain for the practice from a creative perspective. That's why I left. It makes sense to me for them to do and I don't find it reprehensible the way that some filmmakers and fans do.

I do, however, find Fox's lawsuit to be reprenhensible for so many reasons. First of all this is just another example of the big guys picking on the little guys. Independent film in general has suffered as a result of the studios making independent films big business through companies like Miramax and rigged film festivals like the deplorable Sundance. As we move into the digital world, the opportunities for small film makers is shrinking everyday as the big studios and media companies angle to take up the virtual real estate of the internet. The hope that one day people would have tons of options as to what they wanted to buy and watch is dissappearing. Instead, we will get the same old crap in a shiny new format. Just as people are stupid enough to pick up TRANSMORPEHRS thinking its TRANSFORMERS, they are not saavy enough to realize that the featured band on myspace isn't some breakout group, but instead the latest prefabricated schlock from Rupert Murdoch's media empire.

What really rots my USC grad, filmmaker soul to the core is the fact that FOX has the balls to sue someone for being "unoriginal" or "trade infringement" when they are the ones perverting one of the true seminal films in science fiction history! Robert Wise's THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL is a near masterpeice. To remake it is near blasphome. To defend this blasphome by taking legal action against some scrappy filmmakers trying to get their .0000001% of the $2 Billion DVD market is just plain bad form. Fox is doing more than the Asylum to "confuse the marketplace" as I assume their claim states, by putting out a tired, boring, VFX laden imposter into the marketplace on the coat tails of a piece of cinematic history.

I truly hope that this recession forces major changes at the movie studios. Movies get suckier everyday. Being in the mix, I know that 98% of the problem is at the executive level. People on set and behind the camera really want to make good films, but are constantly hamstringed by the people cutting the check who assume that they know better. During the glory days of Hollywood and even into the early years of the Blockbuster, filmmakers ran the studios. Now, its corporate suits who look at test audience reports and make safe decisions to protect their over paid jobs. Lame.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I should have my own VH1 show!!!

This past weekend I took a brief trip to Los Angeles. As I no longer live there, I treated the jaunt like a vacation. I had no desire to live there as I had, sitting in traffic, getting parking tickets, or visiting the exact same five to ten restaurants/bars. Instead, I used my knowledge of the city to live like a tourist with the inside track. I checked into the Standard, went drinking at Sky Bar, shopped in trendy little stores, and ate a late dinner in typical Hollywood fashion (not ordering any full meals, but instead ordering appetizers and assorted entrees split at the table with no rhyme or reason, trust me, Hollywood people do this all the time). It was a lot of fun.

While living in LA, VH1 premiered "The Pick Up Artist", a reality show hosted by a man named "Mystery" who would teach socially inept guys how to work rooms and pick up women. My friend Jeff Denton and I watched it regularly. It was the only reality show that I've ever really tolerated. I found it quite entertaining. The train wreck factor of watching guys get shredded by mean girls and the clinical, almost scientific terminology used by Mystery and his cohorts was very engaging. Partly because it put names and strategy behind things that some of us do naturally and partly because it explained why things I've done in the past failed. It was a fascinating bit of human sociology.

Yet, as the show progressed, I started realizing that the show was inherently evil. Taking a socially inept computer programmer and turning him into a Hollywood douchebag is not a good thing. The whole point of the "pick up" isn't a simple score. It's about having fun and potentially meeting a longer term friend or partner. The only way to really do that, is to be yourself, not follow a pat routine and use basic human psychology to gain an advantage over people who are just having fun. The difference between the show and say a business psychology course is that people in the business world have entered an arena of competition. Girls hanging out with their friends in a nightclub aren't really there to mix it up with practiced psychologists and body language experts.

"Damn, Leigh Scott. Hate the game, not the player!!!"

So, while at the Sky Bar, already rather drunk, we noticed this guy wearing a glowing Marty McFly-style vest. I pointed out to the girls that I was with that this is called "Peacocking", a tactic explained on the show. By wearing something outrageous, your wardrobe becomes an instant conversation piece. It allows you to "open a set" as they say without an "opener" and generally leads to less "resistence" from the "target". See what I mean about this show and these guys??

Anyway, we all laughed at the guy and the show and the whole concept. Low and behold when we returned to the bar inside the Standard, we saw glowing vest man again. This time, however, all became clear. Glowing vest man was indeed "peacocking", and it wasn't an accident. He was there with Mystery and his entire crew!!!

As Mystery's crew of girls (two girls to about six guys by my count) wasn't very impressive, they instantly tried to move in on the group of actresses that I was with. Well, let's just say it didn't go well for them. Nothing put them off their game more than my friends (prepped by me of course) analyzing their every word. "Are you trying to bounce me?" "I mean are you trying to get me and my friends to another location?" "Are you peacocking?" "Or do you really wear those ridiculous goggles out to the grocery store?" They were neutralized. While I talked to his crew, Mystery instantly saw what I was up to. In their training, they teach the guys to openly confront and deal with other Alpha males that they encounter. It's a no lose. If the guy that girls are with like you, you are in with whatever girls are available in his crew. If you alienate the guy, there is little chance that you will be able to "bounce" any of his girls. Simple psychology. But a psychology that falls apart when your seemingly natural actions are exposed as the pat routine that they are.

Perhaps the biggest thing missing from the show is the true trick to their "success" with the ladies: a combination of persistance bordering on the annoying coupled with a ridiculous level of arrogance. I'm not sure if any of the crew "scored" that night, but I knew they were not happy with their treatment from my attractive actress friends.

Ultimately, Hollywood douchebags should hang with Hollywood douchebags. Reality stars should not hang with real actors. And that computer programmer shouldn't waste his time hanging out at Ketchup trying to hit on the girls from The Hills. He should go online and find that socially inept girl who loves Warcraft as much as he does. He will be much happier in the long run.

Me, I'm taking a break from directing to pitch VH1 my show: Leigh Scott's Playa Hater!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Chrome Angels Wraps!!!!

So, you know if I'm off the internet, that means I've been busy. We've just wrapped my latest film as a director, currently entitled CHROME ANGELS. The film is a bit of a departure for me. Sure, it's in the sci-fi genre, but its more of an action film, and dare I say it, a comedy. I don't want to divulge too much of the plot, I'll let everyone infer that when the trailer comes out (hopefully within the week, along with trailers for the other films that we've been doing down here) but I will say its very, very different.

This has been the smoothest and most rewarding film I've ever worked on. My capable and loyal crew is in tact, and everyone fired on all cylinders. I also had a brand new AD staff that completely rocked the house. And, we had great special effects from a local company, CFX, and our wonderful new friend Krystal.

But what has been super great about this show has been the cast. Paul Le Mat plays the film's villain, and while he has been absent from the screen for awhile, he hasn't missed a beat since his appearances in AMERICAN GRAFFITI and STRANGE INVADERS (a film that heavily influenced me while writing this movie, another clue to the plot). Richard Lynch stars as a character very similar to Sam Elliot's character in THE BIG LEBOWSKI. Both Lynch and Le Mat are great guys, both in front of and behind the camera. I brought in a few of my regular actors including Eliza Swenson, Kristen Quintrall, Rhett Giles, Griff Furst and Dean Arevalo. Every time I work with those guys I become more convinced that it's just a matter of time before those guys all hit it big time. Local actors Marcus Brown, Collin Galyean, and Laura Futch return to the show having worked in my film THE DUNWICH HORROR. We also added some great new actors to the team including Brent Lydic (who starred in FLU BIRD HORROR that I did last year) Frida Farrell, Jackey Hall, Monti Dominguez, Jessica Brodosi, and Sofia Kastens. My buddy Dave Kiiskinen returned to do stunts. All of them were beyond cool. Professional, courteous, hard working and best of all very talented. Oh, and Stacy Dash is in the movie too.

The film was pretty insane. We got to do things that only the big budget guys get to do (like ride Harleys through shopping malls and shoot gunfights inside grocery stores). We also shot on the RED camera. Whoa mamma. That thing is bad, bad ass! I've always been for digital cinematography but would be the first to admit that 35mm still had a big edge over HD. Now, not so much.

As a side note, I was really bummed that last week the HP Lovecraft Film Festival in Portland screened the wrong version of THE DUNWICH HORROR. Not their fault, we failed to get them the new copy in time. Not the end of the world, but I know the audience would have enjoyed the final copy better than the rough cut that was eventually screened.

Look for some new trailers and some big, big news next week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Yes, so finally I did what I said I was going to do I have started a "real" blog and not a myspace thing. Apparently, myspace is no longer "in", or at least that's what I've heard. These kids today are so fickle. But you know what? Nobody touches my kangaroo tennis shoes. I don't care what you say. They are still cool.

Over the weekend, Sci-Fi aired FLU BIRD HORROR, directed by yours truly. I am proud to say that the film had massive, massive ratings. In fact, it was one of the top five shows on the entire network this year! Not bad for a few weeks in the Romanian forest with a rubber bird suit.

If you didn't catch the initial airing, Sci-fi will be airing the hell out of it over the next few weeks. Oh, and if you don't trust me about it, here's a nice review over at Dread Central.

Foywonder's Review

The below is of Bill Posley in the film. ***SPOILERS*** He dies!

Special thanks to visual genius Eliza Swenson for the blog banner at the top. Aren't you jealous?