When I learned that Kent Meister would be visiting Tulsa for Christmas break, it didn’t take me long to take advantage of the opportunity. After various visits to thrift stores, I was able to come up with replica costumes from a movie I had made over 10 years ago named Cai Chi. Sitting down in an esteemed interview, Kent and I ad-libbed answers to a variety of questions about making the Cai Chi movie. The footage will be combined with the release of the Cai Chi Movie in the Fall of 2013. Special thanks to videographer and photographer Valerie Grant for working behind the scenes to make it all happen. Thinkpierce, Something New Every Friday!
Archive for the ‘Films’ Category
One of the major goals for Thinkpierce in 2012 is to complete four films that have previously existed in “half finished” formats. The one I am currently working on is called “Annihilation Celebration”. This roughly 12 minute short has three speaking lines total and the rest of the movie showcases non-stop fighting sequences that Doug Lee and I choreographed and shot in various locations around Tulsa. I met Doug Lee in high school and we shared a lot of similar interests from the start. We were both pretty heavy in to physical fitness and one day we came up with the idea of shooting a short film with non-stop fighting sequences, similar to the fight sequences we had been watching in movies by Jet Li, Jackie Chan, etc.
Neither of us had any previous experience in “proper” fighting technique, but we met together and started working through and making up choreographed sequences. There were some locations we knew we wanted to shoot scenes in like, Woodward park and Riverside drive, but we found other locations just by driving by them randomly. We were around 17/18 years old and weren’t thinking about gaining permission to be at any of these locations we had found. Looking back, considering all the things we were doing at Woodward park especially, I’m still surprised a “park patrol person” didn’t tell us to stop. Maybe we got lucky and were there on a day when no one was around. We only had a problem at one location. We had just started filming a few short sequences outside the house and had just filmed me being kicked in to the house when a cop showed up. Some person driving by, who we assumed was a soccer mom or school bus driver, saw us outside the house and called the cops on us. But out of five locations that we didn’t get permission to shoot at, we couldn’t complain that we only got stopped at one. In one of the scenes, we actually did a fight sequence on top of the awnings at Jenks high School on a weekend, jump kicking each other, doing hand stands, etc. I look back on that particular scene and realize now how lucky we were, not that we didn’t get caught, but that we didn’t freaking break our necks and die!? Matt Minor filmed the majority of it with a hallway scene shot by Brian Spratt. Doug and I would have certain sequences figured out for each location and would combine it with on the spot choreography once we got there.
Annihilation Celebration will be available for download on Amazon and iTunes but anyone can watch it for free by “liking” the Thinkpierce page. I’ve recently been working on the near complete “movie art” for it, which you can see at the top left. I am estimating that I will have this available in May, 2012. Stay tuned, I will continue to post progress daily right here at Thinkpierce.com. Thinkpierce, Something New Every day!
It’s been a long time coming, but I’m proud to present the rough cut of the first Thinkpierce film titled The Turtleneck Club! The final version will be released for free on Youtube and will advertise a documentary style film about the experience of creating The Turtleneck Club movie. I originally thought about offering the second component as a book app, but I had so much footage to work with, it made more sense to offer it as a documentary instead. Once completed, the second film will be available for download on itunes and amazon.com.
The Turtleneck Club was originally shot and edited in 2006. The idea came from a short skit my brother and his friends created as teenagers at his Birthday party 10 years earlier. The skit was as simple as this: A number of guys were in my brothers room wearing turtlenecks and a couple guys knocked on the door wearing flannel shirts. They saw how cool the turtleneck club was and wanted in. They were each given a Turtleneck to wear, then they music was cranked up, they all danced crazy and it was over. For some reason ten years later, the humorous memory of that skit remained with me. I started to become serious about writing a short movie around that idea and my interest in creating a turtleneck club movie snowballed in to a script. I was even able to secure one of the original guys to be in the movie. At the time, everyone was spread out across the map; my brother was living in Hawaii and other guys were busy with other ventures, not to mention that 10 years had passed. But after offering to pay for his plain ticket from New York, I was ecstatic to have gotten one of the original guys, Kent Meister to be in the film.
Fast-forwarding five years, the movie has been through a few re-edits bringing it in to the final form that it is in today. Even though I had shot a couple of other movies prior to this one. This was the first one that I had completed from a raw beginning to a finished product….and I STILL have some finishing details to complete with it! Lol. The reason I decided to release a rough version was because many of the guys had waited so long to see the revamped final product, which now included additional scenes that had not been a part of the original. I had a number of things happening with Thinkpierce and this one was always my “mammoth” project that I was babying. I wanted to at least get something out there for the guys to watch, and I also figured it would help promote what I’m doing with Thinkpierce.
There’s much more I could say and that’s why my next film is going to be about my experience making the Turtleneck Club. Believe or not even a smaller scale project like this, took a tremendous amount of work and money to make it even the 27-minute film it is today. In the end I am proud of the finished product. I hope you enjoy watching it as much I enjoyed making it. Be on the lookout for other Thinkpierce films scheduled for release in the future. Until then enjoy the rough cut of Thinkpierce’s first movie, The Turtleneck Club! Thinkpierce, Something new Every Friday.
Creating some of the motion graphics for an upcoming independent film recently became a group activity. You might not be surprised to learn that all had to do with a crazy dream sequence. The task called for some odd requests involving animated brains. To have the brains created from scratch, there was only one person to call…Josh. And to have them animated on screen, there was also only one person to contact…Josh. The two Josh’s I’m talking about here are professional artist Josh Dunbar and Professional Editor Josh Mitchell. The goal was to create an animated brain that would show up in the characters heads, pulsate and then flash into a bright light. This sequence would allow viewers to understand the transition from the real world in to the dream world in the scene.
I started by contacting professional artist Josh Dunbar to create the individual brains. I provided him with screen shots of the different angles and explained the end goal. Josh did an awesome job selecting the colors and style I was hoping for and provided me with some awesome brains to work with. Next I used photo shop to crop out the section I needed from each brain. Once I completed the final edits for each scene, it was time to contact Josh Mitchell for the animation. Josh and I sat down in front of his Macbook and let the good times roll. He added a glowing effect to the brain images and caused them to move around on screen so that it looked like they were a part of the characters heads.
In the end both Josh’s rocked it out of the park I’m really excited about the result. There is additional motion work that I am in the process of completing but with the “brain animation” now finished, I’m much closer to finishing the movie. This film has truly been a labor love, a project that has been both my friend and my enemy, ha ha. When it is completed, I have an army of special feature footage that I will be unleashing to help promote it. So buckle up and let Thinkpierce take you for a wild ride around the block: Something new every Friday!
It’s not easy to be an informant in the medieval realm of Thinkpierce, but someone’s got to do it. That was the job of Jeff Phillips who played the role of Sidias in the newest short film from Thinkpierce titled: The Informant. The whole idea started with me thinking it would be funny for two guys dressed up in medieval robes to be engaged in a ridiculous conversation between a cracked door. It later evolved into a cast of four and included barbecue turkey legs, a beheading and ridiculous medieval attire. Once the idea clicked in my head I started to brainstorm as to where I could find a location that could pull off a “medieval feel.” I was driving around with my wife Rhona one day when I remembered a unique piece of property that had a cave-like house built in to the side of a cliff located on Charles Page Blvd. near Downtown Tulsa. Before we even got there I knew it would be perfect for the shoot. I drove up hoping I could find something on the property that would allow me to contact the owner. I laughed out loud with excitement when I walked up to the front door and found business cards for “The Cave House” in an envelope hanging right on the front door. I shouted to my wife Rhona, “Not only did we get the number; there are business cards for this place right on the front door!”
Now that I had a location in mind, it was time to throw it all together. I contacted a talented friend Josh Mitchell to see if he would be up for running the camera. When he jumped on board, I knew we would have something great. I then e-mailed Linda Collier, the owner of The Cave House. I gave her a brief run down of my idea and crossed my fingers. I will never forget her response. The next day I opened my e-mail to her three-word reply in all caps, which read BRING IT ON!!!!! Next it was time to gather some actors. I called three people who I thought would be a good fit and then the inevitable happened; one of them couldn’t make it. That’s when I randomly ran across Dalton McNaughton at work. He kept making me laugh and I began to envision him in the role of Zarious. I then told him about my crazy short film idea and wondered if he would be up for playing the part. As long as I could shoot his scene by 5:30pm so that he could attend a dinner party later that evening then he was all in: it was a deal.
I then contacted the number one resource for doctoral robes, royal gowns and over the top decorative costumes that include lots of bead work: a church. Luckily my dad had some connections; I got access to some ridiculously awesome robes and selected the cream of the crop. Andrew DeClue “The Evil Liege” however came on board with an evil robe and sword of his own, which worked out perfectly. A few days before the shoot I planned out the upcoming evening of filming like clockwork. I was the first to arrive on a Saturday evening and we started knocking out scenes one by one. Linda Collier, owner of The Cave House was awesome and made sure everyone got a tour of her unique historical property. For anyone interested in getting a personal tour of their own, The Cave House is open to the Public! Bring a friend or make it a group activity. Visit The Cave House’s website to learn how to schedule a tour and enjoy some great cave house stories. I want to give a special thank you to the entire crew who made the shoot possible including J.P. Moorman & George Altidor for running sound and props, Matt Minor and Ethan Pierce for capturing some great photos, Linda Collier for the use of her awesome Cave House in Tulsa, the media magician Josh Mitchell for running camera and applying color effects, and our awesome actors, Jeff Phillips, Andrew Declue and Dalton McNaughton. To watch Thinkpierce’s newest short Film project, The Informant, click on the videos tab and enjoy!
Recently I joined forces with the one and only Garrett Wiendorf to film a scene like no other. I am in the process of recreating an independent film I made a few years ago and decided I needed to film an extra scene to help with the pacing of the story. The character I had created in my mind was somewhat of a tech guy who was into “gearing up” with all kinds of electronic devices…but not just any electronic device; old school stuff, like VCRs, Palm pilots, and telephone headsets. In addition, I decided the character needed to be totally in to “snacks”, having a “sea of snacks” covering his entire bed. I even nabbed an odd tray furniture piece at the thrift store that set beside him in the bed, acting as somewhat of a “snack trophy table” specifically designed to showcase the “top pick” snacks for easy access.
And whom did I want to play the character that this would all center around? You guessed it, the world famous Garrett Weindorf. I had seen Garrett perform in his band, Ghosts and he was always so hilarious on stage between songs. Two acquaintances of his, Matt Minor and Dennis Pagano had already been in the film so Garrett’s involvement would complete the triforce. After randomly contacting him on Facebook, days turned in to weeks, then before I knew it, Garrett had strapped on a telephone headset, and was waist deep in a variety of “knock off brand” snacks.
I was fortunate to have Andrew Declue as the cameraman, who also allowed me to use his bedroom to shoot the scene in. I had it in my mind that I wanted as many “knock off brand” snacks as I could get. For the sake of variety though I did end up getting some of the time-tested name brand snacks as well. To start, I hit all the places one would hope to find “imitation” food: Dollar General, Wharehouse Market, Big Lots, then finished it off at Sam’s and Wal-mart. In all I spent over $200 bucks in hardcore snacks.
Very little of it was actually opened, so I did the only logical thing a gorilla film maker would do who had just bought over $200 in snacks that he only needed for his film shoot…I returned it. Well, not ALL of it…(I mean if I could have I would have), but I was able to awkwardly return about $130 of it back to the stores I bought it from. As an aside, when you pull your car back up to a Dollar General store you purchased a bunch of snacks from the day before, you almost have to get in a certain mindset before you grab 7 sacks of snacks out of the back seat and take them in to the store to return them. Luckily, I have been blessed with that mindset.
But enough about snacks, another thing I wanted to focus on in Garrett’s scene was an old school palm pilot. I had purchased one on amazon.com but a few weeks after I got it, it stopped working. So I turned to Facebook to see who might have an old school palm pilot they wanted to donate to my movie. I ended up hitting the jackpot when a former co-worker, Haley came to the rescue. Not only did she have a palm pilot, but in addition she had a keyboard docking station and camera kit that went with it! Incorporating the “palm pilot keyboard docking station” in to the scene was like experiencing an act of fate.
It didn’t stop there though, backing up to the beginning of the scene, I had Garrett’s character pull out a VHS copy of one of the first movies I ever made called “Cai Chi”, which he watches on his “Daytron” brand TV throughout the scene. All together, the entire scene only lasts a couple minutes, but it’s packed with nostalgia and well, lots of snacks. I’m getting very close to releasing this movie and I’m super pumped! In the mean time, check out Ghost’s MySpace page. They are awesome entertainers that know how to keep you laughing & rocking. If you ever get chance to go to one of their shows, I highly recommend it! Photos by Andrew Declue.
I recently shot a short “dream sequence” that will be part of a short film I am making. In the movie, there is a scene where a group of guys are enjoying chocolate candy…maybe a little too much… In fact, a couple of the guys enjoy it so much that it causes them to “loose control” and enter a hallucinogenic dream. To make this happen on screen I was faced with the task of creating a dream sequence that could fit in with the story but also not cost a lot of money. I ended up finding a location that had a two-lane bridge with a creek running underneath it. The idea was to “transform” the space under the bridge into a “royal room” that the character (in his dream) could stumble upon and realize ultimate chocolate bliss, where colonial servants are awaiting him with countless boxes of Whitman’s sampler chocolates. I mean, that’s what you would have come up with too, right?
To do this, I purchased red material at a fabric store, had it sewn together to accommodate the size of the bridge and hung it up with small clasps attaching it to the steel beams running underneath. I built a “royal throne” out of 2X4′s & plywood, spray painted it gold along with a couple of pedestals from hobby lobby, and purchased some crazy costumes online for the guys to wear. I didn’t exactly go through the proper authorities to “approve” the use of a dirty creek under a small bridge. But I figured no one would be too mad about it…
To avoid any possible problems though I shot it on a Sunday morning starting at 6am and we got it done in about 5 hours. Our only glitch was an elderly man driving down the road on his rascal scooter, and upon discovering us, insisted that he wanted to park in the middle of the bridge and watch us. After having to explain to him that it wasn’t a good idea for him to park his scooter on the bridge because he could be hit by a car, to which he responded by saying “it was ok” because he was “legal” on his scooter, I finally got him to agree to leave and after a couple more hours we were done. Funny thing is, all of that work will account for about 45 seconds of actual screen time in the movie…but it will always be a valuable 45 seconds to me! Ha ha.
A few days after the shoot, I asked some of my “actors” to come over to my apartment so that I could film an interview of them recalling what it was like to participate in this crazy film shoot. But of course, I couldn’t do it without adding in some unique props to put it over the top. I plan to use snippets of their interview footage to create short “teasers” to advertise the film. More work is ahead to finish the project, but I am planning for the movie to be available later this year.