Movies

Apr 152014
 

otherworlds
I first heard about Vodo a few years back when they were using BitTorrent as a form of alternative distribution for science fiction shorts and web series — something we did as well with our 2007 effort Infest Wisely. Currently they’re trying out a pay-what-you-want model, and they approached us to include Ghosts With Shit Jobs in their indie sci-fi Otherworlds bundle. They’ve brought together a great bunch of sci-fi shorts, experimental videogames (Tale of Tales) and speculative graphic novels (Cory Doctorow), and we get a bit of money whether you pay-what-you-want for the main tier or “unlock” our movie on the second tier. (I guess we’ll have to update our profit-reporting post after this!) Incidentally, this is the first time you can buy a DRM-free digital version of our movie since the Kickstarter.

The Otherworlds bundle is available for the next two weeks.

Mar 152014
 

Factory_Interior-Press-Kit.resized

We started making Ghosts With Shit Jobs in 2009, released it in 2012 and screened it in 25 cities thanks to a Kickstarter campaign through 2012-13. We’ve learned a ton and recently applied what we know now to a proof-of-concept trailer for a new project — it’s called Haphead, and features the infinitely stretching electronics factory pictured above. And bunny-ninja fights.

But before we move on we thought we’d talk frankly about the numbers behind our lo-fi sci-fi feature.

We attracted attention to the project by being up front about our original $4000 production costs, and now we want to do a final accounting in the hope that it’s useful and/or interesting to other indie filmmakers. There’s a certain amount of pressure to not talk about this stuff when it’s not super-impressive — that somehow it hurts our credibility — but we think it’s useful to show people what very minor success looks like.

Ghosts With Shit Jobs cost $20,180.97 to create and promote and earned a gross of $39,317.18 $40,917.18. Continue reading »

Mar 072014
 

Ten years from now, videogames are so immersive that teenagers learn lethal skills just by playing. They’re called hapheads.

The folks I made Ghosts With Shit Jobs with made this trailer I adapted from a book-length story I’m working on. Don’t know if we can honestly call what we do lo-fi sci-fi anymore — with fight scenes and full-on special effects, it’s way more in the mold of traditional action sci-fi. I’m thinking what’ll set it apart is the characterization of the father & daughter (my emotional entry into the story, thinking about my relationship with my daughter in 10 years) and the subcultural mileau that’ll emerge. This trailer a proof-of-concept thing meant to rally the interest we need to get it made — so if you’d like to see it, share it.

Feb 042014
 

I’ve been getting together with folks I made Ghosts With Shit Jobs with to make a trailer for our next project, Haphead — starts shooting on Sunday, get in touch if you’d like to help out. We’re going to be working with the same actress who starred in “Just Ella” — a short I wrote/directed for the Lo-fi Sci-fi 48 Hour Film Challenge. It screened at Toronto After Dark (my favourite Toronto film fest) a few months back, and now you can watch it here.

“Just Ella” posits a future overrun by gibbering monstrosities. Ella takes refuge in a “the Ossington Safehouse, a collectively-run space dedicated to human sovereignty.” But despite doing the assigned tasks on the chore list, the Safehouse isn’t safe — the terrors outside are nothing compared to those within.

Contains perhaps the first cinematic example of autocomplete used for a dramatic reveal.

Credits here.

Sep 052013
 

At a time of year when everyone’s talking TIFF, we thought we’d talk BIFF. For us, getting into the Beijing International Film Festival was a bigger deal, what with Ghosts With Shit Jobs being about a future where China’s the first world and North America’s the third world.

Co-director Tate Young interviewed BIFF-goers earlier this year on what they thought about the premise of our flick, and got lots of great city shots to boot, in this 6.5 minute mini-doc.

It’s now four years since we began this project and it’s been quite a trip — literally and figuratively. Since its London, England premiere last year we’ve toured with the movie to nearly 20 cities across the world. Figured it merits its own commemorative tour t-shirt, which you can buy at cost for the next week (mens | ladies). It’s got all the cities on the back!

As an aside, you should enjoy TIFF while it lasts — it ends in 2019 after cultural funding disappears completely. BIFF buys all the red carpets at an auction afterwards.

Jan 142013
 

Put your trillion dollar coins away! Ghosts With Shit Jobs is available to rent for as little as $4.99. Our lo-fi sci-fi mockumentary about the slums of Toronto in 2040 is now in wide digital release at the links below.

To help support this we’re offering to do 20 videochat Q&As between now and when the Debt Ceiling falls in. To enter, sign up over here and plan a GHOSTS screening party of five or more people in January and February. Then, if you’re one of the lucky 20, one of our lo-fi faces will be beamed via sci-fi into your very home!

iTunes / Amazon (US only) / Xbox / PSN Vudu

Trailer / First 20 minutes

For people looking for DRM-free options, we recommend buying the DVD and then ripping it.

(And sure, Cloud City is a bit of an ethically dubious place. But it’s not like Lando would sell us out or anything, that dude is solid!)

Sep 082012
 

In the next month I’ll be visiting a bunch of cities to do Q&As after the screenings of Ghosts With Shit Jobs. If you know folks in these cities, it would be great if you spread the word!

Ann Arbor (Sept. 9, Workantile)
Ottawa (Sept. 14 [with Q&A], Sept 15 & 16, Mayfair Theatre)
Austin (Sept 19, Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek)
Tucson (Sept 27, Arizona Underground Film Fest)

Note that the Austin one will only happen if 30 tickets are reserved in the next 4 days as we’re using Tugg to gauge interest. (UPDATE: Austin is Go!) We can do it in other towns in the US too, so if you’re interested in bringing GHOSTS to your town in November, just fill out this form and we can start to try and make it happen! If you’re not in the US, just email us directly.

Jul 242012
 

I’m involved with the new Lo-fi Sci-fi 48 Hour Film Challenge that’s happening at the end of August. In my role as Creative Director I’ve programmed four Lo-fi Sci-fi Salons in the run-up to the Challenge.

Each Salon will be hosted by a different local filmmaker who will be showing some inspiring fantastical shorts and then sharing some tips from their experience making science fiction movies. There’ll be lots of time before and after to meet & drink with other lo-fi sci-fi enthusiasts.

  • July 30: I will be chatting with Louis Savy, Programmer for SCI-FI-LONDON, over Skype. S-F-L is a big inspiration, and we’ll be watching some of the best shorts from its long-running 48 hr Film Challenge.
  • Aug. 6: Matthew Nayman (“Blind Spot“) will be talking quick and dirty visual effects
  • Aug. 13: David Fernandes (“Re-Wire“) will be sharing tips on props and sets on the cheap
  • Aug. 20: the folks behind the upcoming feature A Brand New You

They’re happening Mondays at 7pm at the Monarch (12 Clinton St., Toronto). They’re free and open to the public — you don’t have to be signed up for the Challenge.

But you totally should! It’s a great way to collaborate with new people, try something too weird and experimental for a feature, and get something small and achievable in the can. Hot tip: if you check out the first Salon you’ll get a sense of what it’s about and still have time to get the Early Bird rate ($50/team til Aug 1st).

Jun 072012
 

Only now recovered from the Toronto Ghosts With Shit Jobs screening last week — we sold out the theatre and got a really nice response from people. Thanks to all the folks who came!

We showed trailers prior to the screening for our pals at Iron Sky, ByoLogic, Manborg and Rasputin’s Bastards, and afterwards Sean announced the Lo-fi Sci-fi 48hr Film Challenge and I showed off a brand-new GHOSTS USB Bracelet.

We’re excited about our next screening and Q&A: Saturday July 14th at 8pm at MIT in Boston. It’s a free screening and open to the public, and I’m doing a bunch of other game related stuff while I’m in town.

May 272012
 


It’s been a wild week! Our Kickstarter ended up raising $20,000 (quadruple what we asked for!) and we got the Best Feature award from the awesome Sci-Fi-London fest. The Grid also just posted a great article on the movie with a bunch of tips from me on low budget filmmaking — the writer really got the spirit of the thing, with phrases like “happiness is the only real currency exchanged on an all-volunteer set.”

Next week of course we have our North American premiere in Toronto. (We’re 2/3s full at this point, so you might want to pre-order tickets.) But the day before that is the party for the new issue of Spacing – the Disaster issue. Spacing is one of my favourite magazines both to read and to write for, and I’m delighted to reveal that I wrote a Ghosts With Shit Jobs-inspired spread in this issue — it’s a tour given by Anton Karrento of Toronto in 2040. Plus, the Karrento Brothers are going to be at the magazine launch party, combing the area for spider silk caches in the nooks and crannies of the Evergreen Brick Works. Spacing parties are always fun and the location’s amazing — come on out!

The little article below was a sidebar that didn’t end up in the spread, but I thought I’d post it here as an early taste. Continue reading »

May 142012
 

I’m not crazy about Blu-ray, so I started to think of alternative ways to deliver the 1080p version of the movie and came across these usb bracelets. When I started to think about what else you could put on it, I realized there was a connection to one of the ideas in the movie: that in 2025 the Cloud was repossessed. I like the idea that people can also use it to store their own locally owned data, as insurance against that day. Or even if nothing happens, for a time when you make the choice to get off the Cloud (or the grid) and find out that something you clicked I Agree to years ago limits that choice.

You can buy it here. (Sorry, only DVDs left now.) More thoughts below. Continue reading »

Apr 302012
 

Hey, I’m taking part in this youth initiative that looks pretty good! More deets here.

BFI Future Film and SCI-FI-LONDON Present… Micro Budget Sci- Fi Filmmaking – May 5th, 12:45
Join us for a Q+A with Directors Jim Munroe (Ghosts with Sh*t Jobs), G B Hajim (Strange Love) and Sloan U’Ren (Dimensions) as we discuss the future of sci-fi on film, and making sci-fi movies on a micro budget. Our panel will also be giving feedback on sci-fi shorts made by young filmmakers that will be screened as part of this event.

Apr 242012
 

Fantastically, we reached our goal of $5000 in three days, and it’s still climbing. Thanks to everyone who pledged or told their friends. Thanks also to the Kickstarter folks who made us a staff pick on their blog.

Now we get to decide where we go!

If you have any interest in seeing us bring Ghosts With Shit Jobs to your town, please drop a line. We’re looking for people who’re willing to spread the word in their community and in teaming up with like-minded organizations or collectives (or mythical constructs) to make it happen.

Some interesting stats: approximately 25% of the money funded came from Kickstarter inbound links. The platform more than earned its 5% cut.

I recognized about 25% of the names of the donors, and the rest were lovely, generous, strangers to me — but probably many of them were familiar to our large cast and crew.

For those who haven’t pledged yet, you have until May 18th to get a DRM-free copy of the movie direct from us for ten bucks.

Apr 182012
 

My new lo-fi sci-fi feature, Ghosts With Shit Jobs, will be screening in a few cities in May. We’re running a one month Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to screen it in more cities, and if you support us for $10 or more you can get a special advance copy of the entire feature in June. Please check out our video and rewards!

Our world premiere is happening May 7th at 7:45pm in London, England, as a part of the excellent Sci-Fi-London festival. It’s then screening at Moviemento, Germany’s oldest cinema, in Berlin, Germany on May 10th at 10:15pm. Then we’re back home for our Toronto debut at the Royal on May 30th at 7pm (you can buy tickets here!). I’m going to be present at all the screenings, doing my best to represent for our incredible cast and crew.

If you’re not sure if it’s for you check out the trailer (over 125,000 views!) and the first 20 minutes of the movie — we’ve just posted the introduction to Serina, Human Spam.

Jan 112012
 

Check out the introduction of Anton and Toph Karrento, the Silk Gatherers, the latest clip from my lo-fi sci-fi feature Ghosts With Shit Jobs.

This is actually the segment I directed, and although I did it reluctantly (I figure my real skill sets are producing/writing), it was a joy to work with these two super-talented guys. Fantastic at improv, they totally internalized the 2040 world in a way that just floored me. And I felt they nailed the dysfunctional brothers dynamic. After we wrapped I made a text adventure game starring them that you can play here, just so I could spend some more time hanging out in my head with them. Is that weird, bro?