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.

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 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?

Oct 252011


This month we’re releasing the first 5 minutes of the new lo-fi sci-fi movie, which introduces the digital janitor. In each of the coming three months we will be introducing a new character from our mockumentary. Check it out here.

It’s also a part of the Celtx Seeds program, where we’ve additionally posted a little quick-and-dirty interview with a couple of us. We focused on a tips/how-to approach rather than, y’know, our motivations and artistic aesthetic. Not that that’s irrelevant, but since Celtx is a scriptwriting app we figured most of the people watching would be fellow filmmakers.

Jun 162008

libertyskin.jpgPretty nuts: that goofy Grand Theft Auto 3 video I made five years ago for my zine has been watched by the guy who designed SimCity, the Sims and the upcoming Spore. He actually mentioned it last week in a rather brilliant-sounding videogames-as-art speech.

That video (part of my Pleasure Circuit Overload series of vids about videogames) has gotten a ridonkulous amount of attention for what it is and it seems to keeps bumbling into places it doesn’t belong. (CTheory? The New York Times? Whaa…?)

But just so my head doesn’t inflate too much — I didn’t win the Shuster award for best comics writing I was nominated for last week. My new pal Cecil Castellucci won it for her excellent P.L.A.I.N. Janes graphic novel about a clique of nerdy girls transforming their town with art-terrorism.

Undeterred, I’m diving into researching and writing a new comics project, Time Management for Anarchists: The Comic. Which is gonna be drawn by Marc Ngui, the genius behind the My Trip avatar skins (pictured below).

It seems random, but everything in my life connects if you have enough time and graph paper to map it out. Continue reading »

May 052006

Raigan BurnsI’ve done a fair amount of writing about Raigan and Mare, two indie game developers I know. This 10 minute documentary I made was a bit of a revelation, however: instead of writing about how fun and stylish their game was, I could show it. Instead of talking about how they’re not your typical nerd coders, I could show them in person. It’s the cardinal rule at writing school — showing, rather than telling — and with this project I realized that video was really good at this. As the kids say, it’s a powerful medium, but I seem to always have to learn these trite truisms myself before I believe them.

I’m going to be screening this video and my six other videogame shorts at a screening of Pleasure Circuit Overload at the megacool Blim Gallery in Vancouver. Monday May 8th, 8pm, $5-7 sliding scale. If you can’t make it, click through to see my mini-doc.

Continue reading »

Mar 312006

A man alone with his unit.My series of short movies about videogames is being screened together for the first time as part of a really fun event on Saturday April 8th in Toronto. It’s put on by the dorkArmy crew at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen Street W., 7:30pm, $5) — come for the vids, stay for the Drunken Dance Dance Revolution & karaoke! There’s also a screening at the Blim Art Gallery in Vancouver on Monday May 8th. I’ll be going to both and really looking forward to them — as well as six videos I’ve released on the site and elsewhere, there’s a brand new minidocumentary piece about two indie game makers. Click through to see one of the series, “Mark Slutsky Reviews the Nintendo DS.”
Continue reading »

Mar 052006

Girls don't play videogames.For those of you who’re still in an Oscar mood, Susan and I made this fake movie preview that asks: what if the plucky heroine from Million Dollar Baby was into the Dance Dance Revolution videogame instead of boxing?

This is one of the pieces from my new video series about videogames, Pleasure Circuit Overload. I’m looking for screening possibilities over the next little while so let me know if you know of a good series — I have DVDs I’m sending out. I’ll be posting other new shorts from the series in the next few weeks so stay tuned!

Click through to watch the three minute vid.
Continue reading »

Mario’s Pain

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Nov 102005

Mario at the doctors.Novel Amusements #5, my DVDzine, is available online now. [UPDATE: Sold out.] This issue’s theme is “Games and Shames,” and it’s the biggest issue yet: 85 minutes of short vids, two digital toys to play with, and comes with a 16 page booklet with interviews with the creators. Click for a close-up of the front and back covers, featuring art by Shannon Gerard.

I’ve got two vids on it, Yoga Deathmatch and the brand new Mario’s Pain. To watch the played-out plumber talk about his back problems, click on through.
Continue reading »

Feb 272005

The headstand asanaI’ve just finished making a video about the similarities between the ancient Hindu art of spiritual discipline and the rather more modern art of online gaming. Watch the higher self rack up high scores getting to the next level of consciousness in the transcendentally physical world of Half-Life 2: Deathmatch! It’s a little over four minutes and change, keep reading for the download links and screenshots.

Continue reading »

Novel Amusements Goes DVD

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Mar 032004

Amazing cover art by Lisa Smolkin.I’m kind of sad to leave behind the CD-ROM format for my digital zine, we’ve had some good times together, but with more and more people owning DVD players and burners and media costing less and less, it was a no-brainer. Not to mention that a poll on the site indicated that given a choice between a $5 CD-ROM and a $15 DVD, twice as many people prefered the new format.

The format change’s slowed me down a little, so the new deadline for submissions has been extended to May 1st [UPDATE: Passed.]. Check the submissions page if you have an odd or interesting vid you want to be considered for the new disc. It doesn’t pay anything, but these damn things have a way of getting around — thanks to Astria a bunch of the vids from #2 and #3 are being screened in Germany at Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, My Trip to Liberty City among them. According to my stats counter, it’s been viewed 20,000 times so far. Not bad for something I made last minute because it fit in with the Dress Up theme of #3. If you’d like to see it, keep reading… Continue reading »