Things we learned this week (10/2/09)

Last Sunday, Anthony and I edited for 15 hours straight. Our process has been pretty straightforward, we just go through each scene chronologically, watching it, looking at anything that bugs us, and finessing it. It's a great process because by starting at scene 1 and ending at scene 121, by the time you get back around to scene 1 again it feels fresh. You haven't looked at it for a little while.

We had our second crew screening on Monday night, and it was hard both technically and emotionally. We hadn't had enough time to burn a dvd, so we were screening off of our computers. It took 3 computers to get one that would play the file (my laptop had actually crashed and was in for repair). Then we had to connect the computer to a TV, but unfortunately the TV turned off and crashed the computer everytime the image cut from a black screen to a bright screen. Throughout the course of the movie, we use the transition of sharp cuts to a black screen constantly. So this wasn't going to work.

Thankfully, both Jerren and Michelle had video projectors in their cars. Jerren also had a keyboard amplifier. So after much tinkering, we had a little makeshift screening room in Anthony's house. And it felt like a screening - there was a screen, and a projector, and all of us had to sit in rows to watch it. It felt like a movie.

The film played, and I experienced a complex series of emotions while watching it. First off - I was feeling very sick. When I get stressed, my body just falls apart. Between trying to finish a cut of the film by next Monday, and also at work I'm prepping to leave to go to Florida for a documentary project, I'm burning the candle at both ends. The other tricky part of screening the movie at this stage, is that I hadn't watched it all the way through since June. The last time we screened it for people, I was able to sit and watch it twice beforehand. Once by myself, and another with Anthony and Stephen. I knew where I stood with it. Here, I felt a little bit naked.

I was also really nervous. A few of my friends at the screening hadn't seen the movie yet, but had worked on it more than a few weekends. I've been so anxious to show the film to them, because they're my core audience. While we hope the film reaches a broader audience - these guys have the same taste as me, and I knew from the beginning that at the very least, my friends would see the movie.

The screening went very very well. It was awesome to see how all our reshoots fit into the larger puzzle, and to really feel that tangible improvement to it all. We reshot pretty much the first 10 minutes of the film; this impacted the ENTIRE movie. Moreso, it is so rewarding to hear people laugh, and laugh loudly, at things that weren't as funny as before. There's one scene in particular that we've been struggling with - we've cut it, and re-cut it, and tried just about everything with it, and on Monday night it got one of the biggest laughs out of the entire film.

At this point it is much much harder to gage the dramatic scenes. For the comedy scenes - they can be measured. If people laugh, the scene is working. If people don't, then we have work to do. It's that simple. But for the dramatic scenes, unless people vocally gasp at something, it's harder to measure. You don't know if people are invested or bored because the room is quiet.

The thing that gets you through is honesty. And that's the thing I really value in all of our friends - the feedback we've been getting from everyone has been both brutally honest, but handed to us in such a delicate way. The reason we showed the film to people is because we know that there's only so far we can take the movie ourselves with our well-worn perspective. Their fresh perspective is going to keep us going.

And we're in a great spot - it's nice when you get feedback from four disparate people, but people who you entirely trust, that all agree on the same handful of issues. And the issues right now are not all that major - the primary one is simply pacing. There's a couple points in the movie that feel a little long.

This is where the invention of DVD extras is able to get me through. There are some scenes that we're looking at cutting that are my favorite scenes. But at least in this day and age, I know that they will continue to exist separate from the movie; they won't disappear forever. It stings less.

That said, it's still an emotional decision. And to me, the really hard part with all of this is making sure that both Anthony, Stephen, and myself can stay calm and even keeled when faced with making difficult decisions. I've heard a lot of stories where people get into vicious arguments at the end of the editorial process about how the movie needs to be cut, or what is going to stay in, etc. And after so much hard work, it would be a total drag if that happened. So we're taking a really pragmatic approach.

On Wednesday we got together, and rather than talking about the solutions to the few issues in the movie, we just literally wrote down all the things we want to look at, that will either be trimmed, or certain shots we want to look at alternate takes, etc. If we can agree on the issues of the film - we'll always be on literally the same page.

I have two rules that govern this process. I'm going to try everything. Any idea, even if I disagree with it, I am going to try it. It's free to do it. And I could learn something I don't know. The second rule is that if anyone feels really strongly about a scene, and not wanting it to be cut - it will stay in the movie. That way nobody is totally depressed about it. Friends first, movie second. Because even if it turns out a scene is not necessary to the final version of the movie, we did write it for a reason, emotionally or thematically. But we're going to try it either way, and decide after we see it.

So yesterday, I took the day off from work, and dove in. Chronologically again. I was able to see the scenes with real clarity. Many of the scenes that people said we outright didn't need - some of them we cut (for now, at least - they can always go back in if it doesn't work), and some of them, I was able to make far shorter versions of. One scene in particular, after seeing it in it's current state, I completely forgot what was even said in the full minute we cut out of it.

Additionally, I was able to instantly see any redundant lines within scenes. I'm really concerned about making sure that the performances in the film feel natural, and a lot of the time if the actors repeated themselves or left long pauses in between words - I left it in. That's how people talk. But I was able to really hone a lot of the scenes, and make the scenes more articulate by making the characters more articulate. It didn't hurt the performances one bit.

I'm about halfway through, and somehow we've managed to cut 6 and a half minutes (!!!) out of the movie very very easily - while only making one drastic change. Now, of course we could watch this cut of the movie, and find that it goes way TOO fast. And in that case, we'll have to go back in and add some air to it. But it feels good. By Saturday night, we'll definitely have a much more improved cut, we'll show it to a whole new batch of friends, and keep going from there.

How We Shot Scene 2 (9/21/09)

One of the most logistically challenging things to do in an indie film is shooting in a moving car. It sucks. Cars are hard.

In so many low budget films – if a scene takes place in a car – the camera is almost always handheld in the passenger seat, shooting profile at the driver on the widest lens possible. This shot is always there by necessity – it’s the cleanest shot you can get of the actor driving, while not needing to add a car rig onto the car. It’s a pet peeve of mine – to me, profile shots should mean something. There should be a specific emotional or intellectual reason why you shoot someone in profile instead of straight on, or at an angle – it’s a visual decision, and it’s unfortunate that the confines of a car dictate that you have to shoot cars in this very basic way.

Additionally, cars are loud, roads are loud, and many car scenes, in addition to looking bad, also need to be ADR’ed (re-dub the actors reading their lines).

So, when writing the movie, we were thinking so much about the resources we did have, and thinking about it in a way where we knew we could achieve a specific aesthetic within that limited range. For this very scene, I made cars off limits. One very short, dialogue-less car scene made it into the script, but otherwise – off limits. We couldn’t afford it – we didn’t need it.

Until our reshoots.

When we reconceived how we were going to be introduced to the characters; there was one piece of information that we needed to get across: Peter had driven all night long to get to Fischer’s house. The easiest way on paper that we could achieve this is by showing him that morning, sleeping, but seated at the wheel of the moving car. I loved this idea for many reasons. Like the rest of the film, it’s both really funny, but also kind of terrifying. It also serves as a larger metaphor for his character – without giving anything away, you could say that Peter is asleep at the wheel of his life, really. It’s a perfect solution to both setting up his character, but also giving the audience the information they need to get the story moving. But writing a scene is free. Shooting a scene is a whole other story. So how were we going to do it?

The simple answer is: illegally and dangerously.

On a “real” movie that has a budget for such things – we’d simply close down a street and tow the car. But we didn’t have money for closing a street, nor money to even rent a u-haul hitch. It was out of the realm of possibility. So really, we just needed to do it for real.

The first step was finding a road. We needed a stretch of road wide enough so that we could drive alongside the picture car in a second car. It also needed to be off the beaten path so that there would be a lot less other cars on the road. More importantly, it needed to be straight. And ideally –this would be a bonus- it needed to be visually interesting.

So back in June, Anthony and I took a whole day and just drove around. We were delirious. It sounds kind of simple, but all the roads we were finding that were wide enough, they were simply too main of a road. We would have been stopped by the cops in no time. All the roads that were off the beaten path – they were too skinny. We drove all over Camarillo, Oxnard, Simi Valley, and found nothing. Just strip malls.

Finally we somehow found ourselves in Agua Dulce, not too far from the rocks where several episodes of Star Trek were shot. There were definitely houses and small businesses around, but it was otherwise fairly desolate.

Next up, we had to figure out where to put the camera. I mean, we're doing this for real, we’re putting Anthony’s life in danger – so let’s flaunt it. We did this in two ways. The first was we got this specialty car mount that Elisha borrowed from a friend (for free!) that was a series of industrial strength suction cups. So we could mount the camera almost anywhere on the car.

Additionally, we borrowed a van from another friend (for free!) so that we could drive parallel to the moving car, and shoot from the side of it. We could see the entire car and clearly depict that in no way was this an illusion.

The day of the shoot we woke up at 4:30am. That way we could start shooting right as the sun came up; there'd be even less of a chance of people catching us.

We didn’t realize this – but at the end of the stretch of road – the one house we would meet in front of, a fireman lived there. At one point he got out, saw us, got in his firetruck and left. At another point his wife came out to check out what we were doing. We called that meeting point “the fireman’s wife’s house.” We were kind of scared of them.

The one expense we incurred – we rented walkie-talkies. It cost $40. But that way we could communicate with everyone all at the same time. For most shots we had one car driving in front of the picture car, and one car driving behind it. Meg was up ahead at the end of the road on lookout. If a car was coming up ahead – Meg would call out “car coming!” and we would stop.

Like everything– I think a hefty amount of naivety is important to success. Otherwise you may psych yourself out of doing it, knowing what the difficulties are going to be. So that, mixed with a large dose of luck has lifted us and our ability to craft what I think might end up being one of the most visually compelling scenes in the film.

Our fingers are crossed for many reasons, but the current one is that this is hopefully the last set of pickup shots we need. Onward and upward.

Pickups (6/16/09)

One thing I learned from my days working in the Feature Film Program, is that the best independent films save a little bit of energy at the tail end of the project to do pickup scenes. While some people view this in a negative light - as if we messed up the first time around - I view this as an opportunity to take the film from good to great.

Editing a movie isn't that much different than writing. The only difference is that you have a limited number of shots to "write" the movie with. And the film changes - I've written about this before, but it's true: you learn what it wants to be. It resembles your script, but hopefully, it's better. It's kind of like a 12 year old boy going thru puberty. It's growing, you can see the adult that's waiting to come out, but there are definite awkward bits. It's voice cracks every few sentences.

Some people just hack their way thru this - forcing the film to be less awkward through editing. Sometimes you have to do that due to budget or logistics. For us - we have the luxury of an insanely dedicated crew, and only internal deadlines, so we can take the time to make the film as best as we possibly can. Not only that - rather than just simply smoothing over any editing bumps - we can take this opportunity to look at our film as a whole and see what it needs, and give even more depth to our characters.

I'm running off to meet up with Stephen and Anthony so we can prepare for these reshoots next month. We're not making it easy on ourselves - writing one scene in a moving car, and another with a large group of children. Wish us luck!

Cuts (4/25/09)

At night and on the weekends, I've been slowly chipping away at this film. It's my first time editing something feature length, and so even though there are probably better ways to go about it, I'm attacking it the same way as a short: one scene at a time. Right after we wrapped back in October, I dove in and got my way through the first 20 minutes or so. Then Sundance happened - I was so busy working on all the videos for that, that the film was pretty much completely pushed aside for a period of three months or so.

That period of time away from the film was pretty amazing, because the videos I was working on for Sundance were all about filmmakers who had just finished working on their own films. During that time, we made over 80 videos or so, many of them comprised of simple interviews with all the directors at the festival. I was fortunate enough to even conduct some of those interviews myself. (I won't go into too much detail, but one day I was very suddenly and unpreparedly thrust into interviewing Soderbergh; to say that narrowing down many imagined afternoons worth of questions down to 5 minutes was nerve wracking would be an understatement)

One of these series' of videos I took on the editorial duties. It was intense, simply because there was so little time to crank them out - this was prior to the festival, editing from my childhood bedroom in rural Massachusetts during xmas. It was a boot camp of sorts - when taking a 20-30 minute interview and cutting it down to 3 minutes, there are really unique challenges. Some of the filmmakers, while super smart, were not the most articulate. Some of them hadn't even finished their films yet and were still in the process of really learning how to talk about their films (which is a really good skill to develop). So I'd have to really get in there and do some sentence surgery to allow the filmmakers to say their point in a way that was simply shorter without being too overtly manipulative.

At three minutes, after the filmmaker gives a synopsis about the film, there was only a little bit of room left for two or three pieces of anecdotal information. Deciding what to leave out was the hardest decision, but ultimately had to be made fast. This was another challenge.

During the actual festival, my team and I were producing two clips or more per day about various things Sundance. It was a brutal schedule, but awesome to run into some of my friends from overseas from past Directors Labs who now had films at the festival. They were sharing their stories about how their films came to be, and in this moment, while I was working the hardest I've probably worked in my entire life, I seriously could not wait to get back into working on my own film. The physical exhaustion from the experience could not trump the extreme inspiration by sitting down with so many filmmakers and watching them finally bring their films to an audience.

So starting in February, I picked it right back up and started chipping away at it. Bit by bit. I kept everything in - even if it didn't feel right, I left in pretty much every single line from the script, every single scene. I figured the best thing, at this early of a stage, was to just put my trust in the script. And in a weird way, the film started dictating what it wanted to be. After getting all the way through, scene by scene, to the end... I went back in and started making those obvious trims - again going scene by scene.

As I was going through, all the things I learned from making the videos for Sundance started creeping in, except in this case - scenes that were long and inarticulate, they became more and more precise. And I felt like I had the tools to be able to do this. The 2 hours and 20 minutes of scenes quickly whittled it's way down to a 1 hour 43 minute rough cut of a movie. A movie that still, of course, needs a lot of work.

But it's getting there. I watched the film for the first time all the way through last Thursday morning, and it was a complex emotional experience. First of all, 5 minutes into the movie, I realized that I will never ever be able to see this film as if I was watching it for the first time. Simply put: I know what is going to happen. And at that moment, I thought there were going to be zero surprises for me.

After the cut ended, and it was very clear what parts of the film worked, and what parts of the film still need work... I took a walk around my neighborhood. It was on this walk that the film surprised me.

We went into making this film knowing it was going to be a long-term process, and understanding that we needed to make it personal to us in order to maintain the passion to see it through over several years. And so we simply attempted to make a film about our own relationships both as friends and lovers.

On my walk, when thinking about the film, and the road it took to make the film, some themes that are in the film revealed themselves to me in a way that felt like someone else had made it. Specifically, I started thinking about how as we get older, our friendships to one another change. Friends go away. We lose them to other relationships, we lose them to disease, we lose them to distance. And we cannot rely on friends to fix our own problems. They can help but only to a certain degree.

And even more tangibly speaking, I thought about how people with a really strong sense of self, these are people I admire, and these are people that are able to get through life in a way that's meaningful. Like knowing ourselves incredibly well is what keeps us confident and rational. And back to the subject of friendship - I now think the way one's sense of self is shaped is through the strength of past friendships. Very simply - our friends shape who we are. We are the sum total of the bits and pieces of intimate relationships we have had up to this point. That is how we can define who we are. And in essence, all our friends that move away, or that we lose to alcoholism, etc... these people don't go away. These people are indeed a part of you. And in that sense, can help solve problems when absent.

Perhaps this is just my own personal relationship to this particular story, but with all the short films I've made, I've never had a film talk back in this way. In fact, up until this week, I can't say I was discouraged by film, but I always thought it to be one of the more inherently frustrating art forms. That it's a one-way conversation, muddled by all the practical compromises that get in the way of making it. I remember David Fincher once said that if you get 20% of your original intention when making a film, that you can call it a success.

I now disagree with that, or rather, think there's far more to it. As of right now, I'm of the mindset that if you have a clear and personal intention going in, and you shepherd it with care and with awesome people, there can absolutely still be a sense of discovery, even in your own work. And I feel so fortunate to be having this creative experience.

The editing continues and the discovery continues. We're sanding down the jagged edges, and figuring out what holes need to be filled with our reshoots next month. There is still a very long road ahead, but what a great road to be on.

POST (3/01/09)

"Editing! Sorry for not a lot of recent updates but we are deep into our editing process. Mike is really working hard, long hours to get the first cut done. As of right now we are half way through the process, and everything is turning out better than we had expected. That's all.....back to editing."
MUSIC UPDATE (12/30/08)

The OTMM theme song ended up #9 best song of 08 on the music blog Vampire Barn. THANKS! HAPPY NEW YEAR
NEED TO SEE THIS (12/04/08)

I was surfing the internets and stumbled upon a small doc film that looks awesome. It's called "Died Young, Stayed Pretty" directed by Eileen Yaghoobian. The movie is about rock posters and the people behind them. I hope it gets distro. The trailer is tight! WEB PAGE w/ trailer Share
Nitro ARTICLE AKA Todd Sklar (11/14/08)

Find out more about Todd's tour and all the awesome movies he's screening all across the US. CLICK HERE. Share

We did it. And by "we", I mean the boat load of people who donated their time and energy to the project. As a filmmakers, we feel completely blessed that we had such a windfall of generosity to help roll this ball of a film uphill. While there's still loads of work to come, in our minds, the hard part is over. Thanks to everyone who helped us. It was an incredible experience, and many of us will remember 2008 as the year we all made our first feature film.

Mike, Anthony, Stephen

Hey Everybody, Anthony worked on this. These dudes are awesome... Take a look and support. Thanks! VAL VERDE CLICK HERE.
BECOME A FAN! (10/14/08)


Thanks Ohio University! (10/12/08)

Last night we screened the OTMM Trailer to a packed house at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. It was a great success. We received tons of great feedback and new interest in the film. I would like to personally thank Frederick Lewis, Roger Cooper, Gretchen Douglass & Jen Jones for the opportunity to screen for alumni and current students.

Also saw some great shorts:

Yeah! Weed! Written/Directed by Steve Guerrieri. Starring Nicholas Bunker!

The Dying Western is a pretty amazing feat for a student film! Watch out for this young director Michael Kortlander. More Info Here

Finally, the 419 class, which is the equivalent to a thesis project, is combining forces this year. Instead of shooting 6 separate projects they are shooting a feature length film. Please support this awesome project. Check out their web page and feel free to donate. 419 Feature!

Little Victories (9/15/08)

In the process of writing the script to One Too Many Mornings, one of the main factors we had to keep in mind was very practical. That anything we wrote - we had to be held accountable for making sure we could actually pull it off. Meaning, if we decided to write a scene set on a sinking ship - it would be up to us and our friends to figure out how to 1. get a boat, 2. figure out how to make it sink, 3. figure out how to get it back out of the water for a second, third, and fourth take.

At the same time, if the entire movie is comprised of simple "two guys talking on a couch" scenes, we might as well stage it as a play instead of a movie.

The one moment in the writing when we decided to step out of our comfort zone involves a scene where the main character punches his fist through a window. When we wrote this scene - we knew full well that we didn't know how to do this, and over the next few months - this was the one thing that we needed to figure out.

Last week, almost a year after we finished the first draft of the script, we still didn't know how to do this. Two days later - Cindy and Michele, our bottomlessly resourceful production designers, had built a fake window frame, painted it to match the door, ordered 5 sheets of custom made breakaway glass, and basically, Saved Our Asses.

This moment is complicated further by taking place during a party, with many extras, and preceeded by a fist fight. In thinking about how to capture this moment with the camera, one option would be to get lots of sloppy, energetic, handheld coverage (Bourne Identity style), and cut it in a way so that it looks much more realistic than it actually is.

The more difficult choice, is to let it all play out in what's called a moving master. Where the camera is on a dolly, and it glides around in one, unbroken take to capture all of the action. While the camera is not necessarily telling the audience to feel on edge, in a way it seems that much more harsh because there's zero cinematic trickery.

The reason it's more difficult is because everything has to go right. The extras have to hit their marks. The special effect of the glass breaking needs to be perfect. Because the camera is constantly moving, so does the focus marks.

Additionally, this is probably the most important moment story-wise as well. The entire crux of the movie hinges on us being able to capture this emotionally as well. So while everyone is running around worried about the technical aspects of the shot - we absolutely cannot lose sight of character.

We attempted this scene on Saturday night.

Sunday morning, at 5:30am, when my head hit the pillow, I slept soundly, knowing we nailed it.

Thank you to all of our patient extras, who kept up their enthusiasm take after take after take. Thank you to our new actors Ed Flores, Bridget Moloney, Daniel Casey, and Jeanette Baity, who were able to maintain a looseness, despite the technical constructs of what we were doing. Thank you to our crew, new and old, who rallied together to really Make It Happen.

In the last half a year we've gone under the bridge, over the river, down the hole, across the street, through the marsh, and into that tunnel that we can finally just now see that glimmer of light at the end of.

21 and 7/8ths pages to go,

The State Of Hipster Typography (9/5/08)

Ever since Napoleon Dynamite became a surprise hit in the summer of 2003, and the subsequent rise of Judd Apatow a trend in sentimental but cynical film comedy was born. But this post isn't about the comedy...

Read the full article to see where You Can Awesome fits in! I guess we're hip. Read Here!

Weekend Update (9/2/08)

We just finished a great long weekend of shooting. Actor's Gang co-Artistic Director / Really Awesome Dude VJ FOSTER both began and wrapped shooting with us. The last film director he worked with was Steven Spielberg; before then it was Clint Eastwood and Sam Mendes. Now he has Michael Mohan to add to that list. We are so grateful to have him in our film.

Additionally, now JONATHAN SHOCKLEY has wrapped all of his scenes with us. We'll miss working with him, though know he'll probably somehow end up in all of our movies in some way.

Lastly, we began shooting with enthusiastic actors DEBBIE ISRAEL and LIBBY WEST. We're lucky to have started with Libby, as she's in the middle of acting in Frankie and Johnnie in the Claire de Lune. It's a fantastic play, and will be running at the International City Theatre in Long Beach through the end of the month.

We have one sad note, and that is our DP, Elisha Christian got in an awful car accident on Saturday night after shooting. He's okay; his fiance's car is not. Even with that horrible news, and the millions of phone calls it takes to the various insurance companies, he came to set the next day with the same energy and creativity as always.

This upcoming weekend we are only shooting for 1/2 a day, but the following weekend (12th - 14th) we're tackling a large party sequence in the film. If anyone out there wants to come hang out on set, we'll put you in our film as an extra. In the meantime, we've got 1 final role left to make decisions on casting.

30 pages to go,


Dear Internet,

Here's a quick update on our little film One Too Many Mornings. We've spent the summer trying to get the raise the rest of our financing for the film, and we did it! Thanks to one very generous man named Robbie. Because of him, we can finish our film!

Right now we are back in pre-production, trying to gather all the resources we need to put this film completely in the can. We also had several roles that we are in the middle of casting. Already we are very excited to be able to work with VJ Foster, Libby West, and Debbie Anne Israel; who have recently agreed to be in the film.

Even though we have the actual funds to shoot the film; everyone is still donating their time and resources to us, and we have some uphill battles ahead of us with securing locations. We simply do not have the money to pay for locations.

So if any generous people in the southern california area has access to either a dive bar, or a large, brightly lit sanctuary; these are the two things we need. We would be shooting in each for 1 full day. Ideally the sanctuary scenes would be filmed on September 1st (labor day).

Aside from that, we're just scheduling and logisticizing and scratching our heads trying to piece together this very complicated puzzle that is the rest of our film. But it's happening.

Slowly but surely,
The One Too Many Mornings Team


Sunday Pre-Sale! Drexel Box is currently taking pre-orders for their latest film by Travis Betz, SUNDAY. All pre-sale money will go to the cause of self-distribution, helping our little company grow a little bigger so that we can continue to make unique and risky films. Click on SUNDAY in the features section to watch the trailer, read about the production and purchase the DVD. More Info Here!


Stephen just recently booked and shot an episode of Californication, which will air on Showtime in the fall. They also gave him his own trailer, which you can see from the picture, in which he clogged the toilet and couldn't get it fixed. Show business is crazy!

Stephen in his trailer.

SUMMER UPDATE  (5/22/08)

ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS is officially on hiatus until Mike gets back from Utah. So far it's going so unexpectedly well, and we all can't wait to really get our hands dirty with the rest of this. During this month we'll be trying to raise that last amount of money we need to do so, and Mike will begin editing.

We could have never gotten this far without the support of Elisha Christian, Meg Halloran, Michele Yu, Cindy Chao, Todd Sklar, Brock Williams, John Lynch, Brad Breeck, Erica Acevedo, Tina Kapousis, Jonathan Shockley, Julie Mitchell, Peter Szilagyi, Cheo Ramsey, Zack Fox, Todd "eye on the ball" Luoto, Jon Frechette, Graham Sibley, Bryan Irving, Alex Swakauski and his awesome car!, Tucker Marolf, Dave Canseco, Joe Weinstock, Shaun O'Sullivan, Aaron Martz, Joey Rassow Kantor, Babette and William Hale, Kayleigh Duffy, Beth and Dennis Mohan, Kelly Tillery, Anthony's family, Mary Deptula, Cara and Jacob Farlow, Karen Sampson, Robert Byington, Catherine Conway, Virginia Meredith, Mark Gardner, Courtney Morrison, Michael Burton, Gina Spampanato, Michael Rhodes, Danielle Renfrew, Anish Savjani, all the bloggers, and all the Anonymous Donors. Thank you all so much!

Check out The Kommune  (5/21/08)

A new video site launched by some dear friends.

Click Here

THE BLAH BLAH  (5/21/08)

We've been found! Don't ever stop believing, our long lost email in The Blah Blah's inbox has surfaced in the form of a post. Thanks for the support! Check it out here.

QUICK UPDATE  (4/24/08)

We are currently rolling into our 6th weekend of initial production, out of 8 weekends total. By the end of this leg of production we'll have about 2/3rds of our film "in the can" as they say. As of right now, I've never been this happy with the way a film has been turning out. The usual ebb and flow of self-doubt is there for sure, but slightly less, just because I'm assured in the fact that we're making this film for all the right reasons.

There are many pros and cons to making a film in this scrappy of a way. Many of my friends who have made features with larger budgets than ours (while we initially tried to raise 150K, so far we have been operating with less than 10) say that they would have traded money for creative freedom. This is something I won't ever take for granted. Even though we are faced with compromises of having a smaller crew, and having to scrounge for resources, I can confidently say that at the end of the day, this film will be as close to the film as we set out to make.

Every June, I spend the entire month at the Sundance Directors Lab in Utah as a part of my job. It's an amazing experience; and feels like 4 years of grad school all rolled up into a concentrated 4 week span of time. Everyone who is there, from the creative advisors, to the fellows, to the boom operators, are there for the love and exploration of film.

While I'll have to spend this time away from the film physically, it couldn't be better for the project. I'll have that time to reflect on what we shot, and develop the plan for the rest of the shoot that much better. If I'm lucky there might be a chance I can edit a few scenes at night and on Sundays. I'll probably screen a trailer for the film at the "crew shorts" night.

When I get back in July, the current plan is to finish editing what we do have just to make sure we don't need to do any re-shoots or get any additional scenes. We'll then be finishing up shooting the last 3rd of the movie in August.


Big thanks to David Malki ! who posted OTMM's link this week!

Check out his comic!

OTMM TEASER  (4/16/08)

Here's a short teaser we wanted to share with you:

The big highlight of the weekend happened around 1am on Saturday night when I was trying to silence a really loud cricket and ripped my pants. I wonder how many directors have actually ripped their pants during the middle of shooting a scene.

Extra special thanks to Ron and Mike at the Westside Vicente Pharmacy for letting us shoot there (Mike makes a cameo appearance in the film). Also to Tucker Marolf, who drove all the way to Samy's Camera just for a lens filter. And also to Alex Swakauski for driving his sweet 1968 dodge dart convertible up to Malibu for a few scenes.

QUICK UPDATE  (4/8/08)

From the set of OTMM:

We've got a little over 20 pages in the can, and are going in to our 4th weekend of initial production.


Here's what we learned this weekend. If a character has to eat a taco in a scene, and you do 40 takes of the scene, the actor has then eaten 40 tacos. How Stephen Hale managed to not get sick is still a mystery.

After a long Friday night of shooting, myself, Elisha, and Bryan Irving slept on the floor of the set for a couple hours. Bryan snores like an old man.

Click here for more images.


We just found out that You Can Awesome has been selected for the Arizona State University Art Museum's Film Festival. It screens on April 12th at 8:00pm, and the cost is Free! For more info click here!


We started shooting last Saturday on a deserted beach in Oxnard. 5 pages in the can, 88 to go.

Click here for more images.

PITCHFORKED  (3/18/08)

Here's a nice write-up on OTMM on major music site Pitchfork Media.

MINI-UPDATES  (3/12/08)

We're moving forward, and start shooting our movie on March 22nd. In the past week, major progress has been made.

Post-Production Audio Services has been graciously donated by the fantastic music production company Mophonics!

Thanks to the blog mentions from Coffee Snorter, Gimme Tinnitus, Classical Geek Theatre, and The Daily Growl!

And thanks to all the people who have donated money to us. Even $20 helps us get that much closer to our goal. We appreciate each and every cent!


This just in! We literally just found out that our web series You Can Awesome! is one of five finalists for the "Best Original Digital Series Production" award at the South By Southwest Film Festival! The judges include Richard Linklater, Luke Wilson, and Matt Dentler. We will find out next Tuesday night if we win - if so, the cash award will go directly towards production on One Too Many Mornings.

SXSW Rules!

NEW VIDEO!  (3/3/08)

Thanks to our friends Todd Sklar and Brock Williams, our HD Camera package arrived on Friday. In order to test it out, we shot this music video for Brad's song.

The idea for the video comes from a real woman who parks in my neighborhood, sits in her car, and listens to music real loud. Last time I saw her she was blaring Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down." I think she has problems. Whenever I walk by her car, I want to approach her and ask what's wrong, but always chicken out. We put this scenario in the context of our film, and while it probably won't make total sense to people who are unfamiliar with the script, my hope it that it at least creates a strong sense of intrigue.

HELP THE U.S. ECONOMY  (2/28/08)

As you probably already know, George Bush has decided to help our economy by giving every tax paying citizen a "stimulus package" of $300 - $1200. In order for his plan to work, people need to spend this money. If you don't spend it right away, the US will go into a recession, and it will be all your fault. I can NOT think of a better way of spending this money than by donating it to One Too Many Mornings. Click on "You Can Help" to see how!


Meg Halloran is joining OTMM's team! Not only is she super nice, she also hails from the great Heart of Kentucky, which probably explains why she's so nice. She left Lebanon to pursue Radio/Television/Film at Northwestern University. Presently, Meg is a Production Coordinator at Spike TV.


This is a true story. Yesterday, as I was leaving work for the day, I saw a clear "Washington Mutual" bag lying on the ground. I opened it up, and there were several envelopes, stuffed with hundred dollar bills. A lot of them. Not a split second later, a girl runs by, looking intensely relieved from being intensely distraught. "Oh-my-god-there-it-is-thank-you-thank-you-thank-you." Before I knew what happened, she had grabbed it, hopped in her car, and peeled out.

For five seconds, I was literally holding the budget of the film in my hands. Prove that karma does exist: click on "You Can Help" to see how.


Yesterday, Anthony and I went location scouting and found an amazing stretch of beach in southern Oxnard. Here's some of the footage we took:

Next to the beach, there was the grossest, most polluted bay. It was also full of discarded sporting equipment. We found a football, three basketballs, a golf club, a few golf balls, a softball, and the most incredible bashed up green bowling ball. Oh, and a really nasty Yu-Gi-Oh themed throw pillow.


Greetings to everyone coming from Music For Robots, Pinglewood, Berkeley Place, or GreenCine. And thanks to you bloggers for the mention.


A big thank you goes out to our web designers for their hours of hard work donated to us. To Brad Rodstrom for his beautiful design and to Bobby Kosmatka for putting everything in motion. THESE GUYS ROCK!


Even if you can't donate money to our film, join the street team! It would be a ton of help by simply posting this flyer around your town.


Hey kids, even though we haven't started shooting yet, Brad Breeck's already hard at work churning out some tunes. Check out this awesome song he wrote by clicking here. This might appear in a "party" or "bar" scene in the "movie".


Brad Breeck's band THE MAE-SHI just released their new record "HLLLYH!" and received an amazing review (scoring 8.1 out of 10) on super-influential music journal today. Here's an excerpt:

"All the shrill exultation and greasy glisten of hyper-compressed guitars and loping Casios build up to something like an album-length musical for the tweakers in after-school detention by a band that sounds the way Ecto-Cooler tasted." - Jason Crock

Read The Full Review


Michele Yu has signed on to be the production designer for One Too Many Mornings. Michele is the Master of Operations for the awesome art gallery Machine Project, which just hosted the first championship for "Competetive Cable Untangling."

THANK YOU!  (2/10/08)

We all just want to thank everyone who has donated money to our film project. You are officially awesome; every little bit brings us closer to our goal! If you are not one of these awesome people and want to become one... click here.

While at Sundance, two of Mike's previous short films sold to Comedy Central! Look for I Heart Billy and One Lucky Fan in the coming months.

Brad Breeck signed on to be the composer for One Too Many Mornings! Brad is a founding member of the awesome and award winning experimental punk band The Mae-Shi. Check out this video Mike and Anthony made for them a few years back.

MIKE'S @ SUNDANCE!  (1/25/08)
Mike's webisodes for "Live @ Sundance" have been picked up for syndication by Yahoo!, the Sundance Channel, and the New York Times! Check out this piece he made on Michel Gondry and the influence of music on his writing process. For complete pieces Check Live @ Sundance

HD PACKAGE  (1/07/08)
We just received $50K of in kind support from Gold Soundz Productions. This includes all our camera gear: a full HD camera package, with 35mm lens adapters and primes.

Copyright © 2008 One Too Many Mornings