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"Sick Boy"
  • In June of 2010 my brother Tim and I shot our second independent feature length motion picture. Our first film, Xtracurricular (shot in June of 2001) was in that first handful of feature length narratives shot on the CineAlta F900 in 24P. This time our weapon of choice, or rather, weapon of availability was the Canon EOS 7D.

    We chose to raise just enough to do a feature on the cheap, quickly, and the camera was actually a loaner from one of the exec. producers. A buddy of mine who's got a rather serious hobby as a stills photographer lent me his bag full of L-Series glass, as well as a neat little squishy lens from Lens Baby that I was determined to use somewhere in the film. Penny pinching aside, we still managed to get multiple SAG actors and have 3-meal catering for the entire shoot. We weren't going to put everyone through Subway every day like on our first picture.

    ...thanks to our connection with Fangoria magazine, through our third lead, B-movie legend and "scream queen" Debbie Rochon, we had sales reps sending us inquiries within hours (no b.s.) of the trailer being featured on the magazine's website. We ended up signing with Raven Banner, a Canadian company that impressed us with their enthusiasm for independent film, especially horror and the more "pulp" end of the cinema spectrum. It helped that they're also part of the Alamo Drafthouse's distribution channel in the Great White North.

    It's now available in multiple markets around the world with several pending (UK, Australia/NZ). We're particularly proud that we're distributed in Canada by Anchor Bay via WB's home video division. All that sounds really impressive (eh, or not) but it's likely going to be another six months to a year before either Tim or I see a dime out of it, after paying off the market fees for the reps, the initial investment and then some deferrals.

    Here are some clips showing off each of our leads. Skye McCole Bartusiak, who played Mel Gibson's youngest daughter in The Patriot and had a recurring role on 24 some season plays "Lucy", recently engaged and unsure of her career path. She steps in for a friend at a too-good-to-be-true babysitting job and would later regret it. Her fiancee, "Chris", is played by Marc Donato from Degrassi, The Final and, more recently, Bad Kids Go To Hell. Horror icon Debbie Rochon plays "Dr. Mrs. Gordon", mother of the titular sick boy...

    Sick Boy marks my first time shooting anything feature length. My background is in visual effects and on our first feature that was what I brought to the table, in addition to a few b-roll shots that appear in the film. Once we were "in the can" Tim handled editorial in LA while I handled all but the audio finishing in Texas, having moved back here at the beginning of 2009.

    We operated with mirrored arrays, trading project files via DropBox. Tim worked in FCP and I would import his EDLs via Automatic Duck into After Effects where I worked out the color grading as well as most of the visual effects. AE was also used for compositing of a handful of "serious" visual effects shots that were tackled with SESI's Houdini, my usual weapon of choice.

    Anyhow, with so much interest in independent shooting I figured I'd post something about the project. Even though I've moved on to greener pastures with my GH2, and so, so wish I'd been able to shoot Sick Boy in anamorphic, you gotta make the best of what you have. Moving forward and actually making another film was the most important thing for us at the time. Hell, we were originally planning on shooting it with my Redrock Micro M2 and our DVX or HVX rental.

    EDIT: LOL, going back and looking at the "making of" videos I was reminded that we shot this in June 2010, not June 2011. These things take time... ...Sick Boy @ FaceBook



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  • 5 Replies sorted by
  • @BurnetRhoades Very cool. Definitely let us know when available in US.

  • It is now, it was released here late October. You just sorta wouldn't know it right now.

    We ended up signing with Grand Entertainment Group for the USA portion of N.America, a brand new company. We were really impressed by the pedigree of their executives and liked the idea of being in the first slate of titles for their first year of business but that's meant they don't have a lot of capital to spend on advertising or the immediate connections we'd hoped for in retail.

    So far it's in several online retailer's catalogs but the only brick-n-mortar retailers it's been spotted in, in the USA, is Blockbuster. Who knew they even still existed? Anyway, hopefully they expand its reach here soon.

    Oh, it's Canadian premiere was at Montreal ComiCon and will likely be playing at the Macabre Festival this summer in the USA.

  • I put a little pre-production video together back when we were still scouting locations and such, to present at our first production meeting to get the crew and some of the producers jazzed that we were actually starting...

    During production I gave my little Sony DCR-PC1000 handycam to one of our PAs and told him to shoot the days events whenever he wasn't doing something else and it would be occasionally handed off to other crew members here and there to catch what was going on.

    Once we wrapped, and I finally got to sleep and relax a little, I started in on this box of DV tapes while Tim worked on getting a rough cut of the film proper. I started releasing videos for each day of our production. My ultimate goal wasn't to show anyone "this is how you do it" or serve in any sort of training capacity but to show a glimpse of what it's like shooting an independent feature.

    ...and at this point Tim sent me our first full cut of the film. When I had a chance, later, to go back I saw the fairly low hit count and just wasn't compelled to finish out the remaining days. The format was likely too boring for the average youtuber since I just wanted them to watch and take in the energy.

    Anyway, one of these days I guess the completist in me will finally get its wish and I'll do those last couple days of production. That, or squish it all down into a single doc-style program with V.O.

  • One of our stars, Debbie Rochon, sent this picture to me today...I'm not really a fan of the retailer but, shot in two weeks during the director's holiday from his "day job" producing VFX on a big-ass blockbuster, for less than $50K and about a year later, with no money to spend on marketing, it's on the shelves of the biggest retailer in the known universe.

    Yeah, we would have liked at least a limited theatrical but we got to see it projected edge-to-edge, straight off my timing array, at the Alamo Drafthouse for our crew screening and that was pretty special. We'll push harder for theatrical on the next one and, who knows, maybe that new RED network will be in play by then.

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