Friday, July 16, 2010

Art Machine

So we're making a new feature film called Art Machine, and we just started a Kickstarter campaign for the project. If you're unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it's this cool new tool for projects to use as a means of fundraising. Basically, you set up a project, set a certain monetary goal, and then ask everyone you know to get involved. Then ONLY if you reach your goal through individuals making contributions, does the donation go through, so it's pretty low risk for funders. Take a look and if you can, support the film, that would be fantastic. just covered Art Machine in a front page article and the campaign is starting to pick up steam, but we could really use all the help we can get. And if you know anyone who might be into this kind of thing, please feel free to pass it along, as well!

Here's the link:

And here's a link to the Indiewire article:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

prize + non sequitur

I just won the Best Director prize at the 5th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival for Ten for Grandpa and to celebrate, here's a very short video I shot in Thailand earlier this month...

Monday, July 06, 2009

Pictures & Progress

Since Sundance, things have been progressing at breakneck speed.

Ten for Grandpa
has gotten into 19 film festivals since January, winning a Special Jury Prize at Aspen ShortsFest. I just got back from the Los Angeles Film Festival, where the film played to very receptive audiences, and I had a ton of meetings about our latest project, my fourth feature screenplay, Dwelling. A major star recently signed on in one of the lead roles and as the executive produce the film, and we'll be beginning production next June. In the meantime, we're starting to raise the financing and package the film with other other major screen talents. So it looks like I'm finally barreling into production (at a very controlled pace) on my feature directorial debut. Better start downing the vitamins, and taking better care of myself...

As a research tool for one of the characters in Dwelling, I recently bought a medium format Yashica from the 70's and have been shooting a ton ever since. A bunch of my photos are now up at:

Apart from that, we're also continuing to developing a bunch of TV series, documentary projects, and three other feature films so stay tuned...

Friday, March 06, 2009


It's 6am in the Lower East Side, the sun is rising over East River and I'm waiting for a render to finish. Eddie and I haven't pulled an all-nighter in a while, but when when we got approval late in the day yesterday on a spot we're directing for Nick at Nite, we knew we were in for a late one... of course a raid drive failure didn't help our cause.

Sitting circumspect as the streets just begin to bustle with traffic, it occurs to me that an awful lot has happened in just a few short years in NYC. Chop Wood Carry Water has grown from a tiny corner of a DUMBO office share into a lovely corner office overlooking much of Manhattan. And as the economy tanks, boot-strap tightening aside, we're still making movies. Having just returned from 10 crazy days in Park City, Utah where our film Ten For Grandpa played to sold out audiences at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, we're back in the swing, writing and re-writing our four feature screenplays, getting them polished up and starting to work on packaging them with cast.

I've got a few more gray hairs than when I stepped off the plane from Tokyo after many months traveling around the world and landing in NYC, but I've finally kicked my Ethiopian (Tanzanian? Indian?) stomach bug, and I'm feeling pretty excited about what the next couple of years are going to look like.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

New York in June

OK, so that was the longest gap in this blog's history. It's not that I haven't had anything to report, quite the opposite in fact. I've been entirely overwhelmed. We're finally making some serious headway breaking into the commercial world:

We just finished post production on a series of spots for Playtex including this one that got over a million hits so far... Nightclub... church?

A spot that we recently completed for The Lunchbox Fund stars Billy Crudup, Mario Batali and Piper Perabo...

And we're directing numerous music videos:

Our recent viral hit video for Kaki King (best score 2008, Golden Globes) had a front page premier on Youtube...

And a recent one for Rustic Overtones...

And things on the creative side are clipping along nicely. I'm 30 pages into my newest screenplay, and writing hot. Yesterday I wrote for almost eight hours and kept myself awake till 3am tweaking away on scenes in my head.

We also recently hired a new full time producer at
Chop Wood Carry Water, so our feature projects and commercial works have that much more support.

Apart from that, we're finishing up the post on our new short film Ten For Grandpa, and should have a trailer up soon. As well as developing two brand new feature screenplays and a host of other stuff that you'll be hearing about soon.

Oh and I just looked at my last post, and Anniversary present has since almost tripled its hits on Atom films, having now climbed up to 374,827 plays.

I'm gonna get back in the habit here, so check back soon...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Anniversary Present on

Big News Item #2... our short film "Anniversary Present" , staring David Alpay (Ararat) and Liane Balaban (New Waterford Girl) was recently acquired by a number of broadcasters as well as AtomFilms where the film has so far been viewed over 166,000 times online (as of today), garnering an 83% approval rating. If you haven't seen it yet, you can check out the film in it’s entirety:

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Thermonuclear Family Award

OK... so I have so much news to report that I'm gonna have to split it up into a bunch of individual posts... (sorry I've been off the radar for so long, things have been crazy) first up:

I'm very pleased to announce that the screenplay I've been working on (forever) for our feature film project "My Thermonuclear Family," has just won the Grand Prize at the 2007 FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards. FilmMakers International's annual competition attracted over 1300 entries worldwide this year. The crazy prize includes a healthy (much needed) dose of cash, a trip to San Fran for Screenwriting Expo 2008, professional script coverage, the works.

But as exciting as that may seem, even more exciting is the fact that I just got my fingers printed and an official all access corrections pass in my continued attempts to research and add verisimilitude to "My Thermonuclear Family". That's right folks Doug's going to jail:

Coming right up... a series of posts covering the production of our new film "Ten For Grandpa" and other stories from the front including our recent work with Billy Crudup, Mario Batali, Piper Perabo and Allan Cumming... and much more...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Next stop... Soho

Life is good. We're finally moving from the construction site that is our DUMBO office to the beautific palace of our new Soho loft space at 180 Lafayette.

"Anniversary Present" was just accepted to UK's 15th Raindance Film Festival, Canada's 27th Atlantic Film Festival and will be screening in NYC in August at The Ace Film Festival.

I'm off tomorrow on a short but (as usual) insane little romp across North America: Chicago/Toronto/Iowa/Michigan. I go from a wedding in Chicago to director of photography on a new Bravo film in Toronto, to shooting for one our new client in Des Moines and Detroit.

Gotta keep packing up the DUMBO office.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Too much travel has caused my head to spin uncontrollably. Now I'm back and a million things are going on at once, which is compounding the issue. We're editing our new Malawi documentary, prepping a new film for Bravo! and re-writing "My Thermonuclear Family" for a certain interested party. In two weeks we move out of our DUMBO offices into a 3000 square foot ravioli factory in Soho that we're converting into production/office/retail space. There's a couple of other significant events that have recently taken place, but we haven't announced them publicly yet, so...

Here are however some things that I can (and am happy) to report:

"Lifecycles: a story of AIDS in Malawi" is now available at

A Deal At Twice The Price

Our new production company website is FINALLY (almost) finished:

Chop Wood Carry Water

There are a couple of new articles that came out about us recently:

Aliant Article
The Gate

Anniversary Present will soon be screening in New York City on the opening night of:

The ACE Film Festival

And somehow in the middle of all my travels and moves, I managed to sneak off to Coney Island with my friends Edward and Marta Mckeever to catch the Mermaid Parade:

OK that seems like enough news for now. I guess I better stop procrastinating and get back to work re-writing the screenplay or editing the documentary or checking my email or something.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Mexico, Malawi, New York, Halifax, Vancouver...

It feels like I'm on my round-the-world trip all over again. Just got back from two weeks working vacation in Mexico, getting a little R&R while researching and writing a new thriller screenplay, and now I'm off to Malawi, Africa on Friday.

My Chop Wood Carry Water partner Eddie Boyce and I are going to Malawi for 2 weeks with Fordham Law School's Crowley Program in International Human Rights, to follow 15 law students and faculty on a fact finding mission focusing on the Feminization of HIV/AIDS in Malawi. They hired us to tag along and make a TV half-hour documentary covering the mission that they then hope to get on PBS and an audio version on NPR.

Aside from that our projects are starting to pile up at a whirlwind pace: a huge international broadcaster is getting interested in 'Circus in a Suitcase'; the prospect of some very major strides forward are seemingly just over the horizon for 'My Thermonuclear Family'; a new New York City based television series is gaining some headway; the 6 week production of a documentary in India is on the rise; we're working away on a video project and the entire new album website for the Beastie Boys (who are releasing a new album imminently); and traveling around the US and Canada as we continue to produce industrial pieces for our corporate clients... and the list goes on.

Basically moving to New York City and partnering with Eddie and Spiros was the best professional decision I've ever made.

Gotta get back to work...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Feeling Lucky

Saturday I pitched 'My Thermonuclear Family' to a film studio here in town (which I can't name at this point) and the pitch went... VERY WELL! They really liked what they heard and the head of distribution asked to read the script immediately. I'm trying to remain cautiously optimistic, but really I'm ecstatic and I can barely contain my excitement. These are people who have the funds and ability to not only green-light a picture, but to distribute it theatrically both on a domestic and international level. And not only did they respond to my idea, they really liked what they heard and are enthusiastic enough to read my 122 page script.

Rejection is the name of the game, but it only takes one yes.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Big Dog Refund - Turbo Tax Rap

Get that big dog refund....

Eddie, Spiros, JQ and I spent a chunk of last week putting together this viral spec spot competition entry for the 'Turbo Tax Rap' Vanilla Ice hosted YouTube contest. If you have a sec, check it out... and don't forget to vote:

Watch & Vote Here

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

'My Thermonuclear Family' - Fade In awards

I just heard the news: 'My Thermonuclear Family' is a quarterfinalist in the Fade In Awards.
This is the best possible birthday present that the cosmos could have sent my way.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Developments, Surprises and Progress

Most of the time the pace of independent filmmaking is painfully slow as one develops projects and tries to get them off the ground, sending them off into the vacuum then waiting (sometimes forever) to hear back from producers, agents, actors, readers, commissioning editors, acquisitions people, etc. You keep pushing, trying to stay motivated, using all your strength and stamina to move an elephant up a mountain, and all the time you're just waiting for something to hit so you can put it on the front burner and get to work.

Well, refreshingly, the last few weeks have been full of pleasant surprises and progress:

Anniversary Present is starting to get some traction with film festivals (more on that soon) and after months of redesign work, the DVD is finally finished. Copies are now available for purchase on our website Human Scale Productions (just click the 'buy now' button under the Anniversary Present picture). But even more exciting, is that the film now has an international distributor! (we're working on the contracts for the deal now... so more on that later too.)

And on another burner, Charles Mann who we worked with in Africa and who brought us to the Communications Program of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government to do some lectures back in 2001 has just put the finishing touches on a DVD of our hour-long documentary 'Lifecycles: a story of AIDS in Malawi' and will be distributing the film through his development education organization DevCom. The DVD will also soon be available for purchase on Amazon.

And last but definitely not least, we've been hard at work in our little DUMBO, Brooklyn creativity factory developing the website for our new company Chop Wood Carry Water, and we should be launching the site sometime in the next week... so say tuned...

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thespians in Prison

Well I may not have managed to raise over a million dollars yet, but I've succeded in filling up my calendar with 'Down on a Dime' writing/directing homework. I've started a 10 week acting class at Michael Howard Studios and I've also finally secured a prison volunteering spot teaching a literacy class at Riker's Island every Friday morning. So far the acting class is excellent, and I'm really looking forward to my first experience inside a correctional facility this friday.

On top of that I'm back at work re-writing the screenplay (currently in it's 4th draft) in an effort to get it polished before pitching it around town.