Everyone at Jason Harris Promotions wants to wish you a Happy Halloween. Have fun and be safe today.
By Stacey Longo
SL: Matt, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. I think the first thing our Throg fans will want to know is, how did Throg come to be?
MTP: At a local indie film screening we actually showed a three-minute pilot scene of Throg walking into the Sword in the Stone scene in the woods, pulling the sword out and the stone, tossing the sword away and walking off with the stone. The audience went NUTS. So we (perhaps crazily) said . . . Throg needs to be a movie!
By the way, here’s a link to an article on Throg special effects I wrote for Moviemaker magazine: http://www.moviemaker.com/archives/moviemaking/directing/articles-directing/chromakeying-can-change-your-life-2935/
SL: Had you directed or acted in anything prior to Throg?
MTP: Well, I had directed a few plays in college, and done a lot of acting. I trained at National Shakespeare Conservatory and the University of Maine, got my degree in theater . . . and my dad is a theater professor/director who was actually pals with Kurt Vonnegut. Tony Shalhoub was one of his acting students, too. I still do acting now and then—usually Shakespeare—I played Caliban in The Tempest at the Freeport Shakespeare Festival a couple of years ago, then Sir Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night a year later. Recently I played the lead in an Irish stage drama called Someone to Watch Over Me.
SL: Well, that explains the Shakespearean undertones in Throg! You were able to get some fabulous actors for this film—Dana Lee, Stephanie Hughes, Dale Phillips, and your own performance as the Fool were among my favorites. Where did you find your cast?
MTP: Some were just old friends like Dana and Dale, who had done medieval reenactment with me for years … others were people I met in theater school, and others were anyone we could get to wear a pig suit! My friend Dennis Green — Urshag the Destroyer, the big villain — passed away this year. He was a gentle giant and we really miss him … so gentle that we sometimes had a hard time getting him to be “scary” in the part.
SL: That’s terrible news, and I’m sorry to hear it. Urshag was certainly a memorable part! Watching the movie, one gets the sense that you were all having a lot of fun filming Throg. What was shooting like?
MTP: Well, it took us four years to shoot it, mostly on weekends, and it was often fun and we laughed a lot, though it was also very exhausting. We had no crew really, so a handful of us: Melissa Ross, Lori Power, Wayne Woodbury and myself, had to lug lights, gear, costumes and so on everywhere we went and that started to wear after about the third year. For the last shoot, we rented an airplane to shoot Throg on that island getting hit by bird crap and we “missed” when we tossed the bird crap, and had to crawl on hands & knees scraping it out. That was the last straw for some of our poor crew—we needed it to end!
SL: What was the budget for this fine movie?
MTP: We paid the whole thing out of pocket, probably a total of about $35k over the whole period, which I attribute to my being in film school. We spread out the pain, in other words.
SL: Tell us about the Boston International Film award you won for Throg.
MTP: The award we won was for Best Cinematography, and I think it was in 2004. The movie also showed at the Magic Film Festival in Maine and the Rome International Film Festival in Georgia. We sort of annoyed all the “serious” filmmakers at that last one, because Throg got a huge front page write-up in the local paper, and I kind of agree with [the other filmmakers] that the films they had there were probably more important socially and, well, just better. But I did get a laugh out of some of the curves that Throg’s very short-lived popularity threw at us. I always looked at the movie as an in-house experiment, not something I’d want to show off to the world . . . I don’t take criticism or praise too seriously; that’s a good way to lose your creative drive.
SL: I think Throg fans everywhere are dying to know: are there any plans for a sequel?
MTP: Not to the film, but I’m really interested in making an interactive graphic comic that could include clips from the movie as a special bonus . . . and I think the Throg character could continue to have many adventures and maybe eventually his own web video series of shorts.
SL: Where can people go to learn more about you/your company/the movie?
MTP: Well, right now I don’t have a Throg website or anything up that tells much about the film. I have done a lot of other short videos since then, including a comedy that won Best Comedy at the Phoenix Film Festival, if people want to see other stuff I’ve done post-Throg.
SL: Well, Matt, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today. We look forward to seeing your next endeavors, especially if they’re as enjoyable as Throg!
MTP: Thanks, Stacey.
By Jason Harris
Vermont Comic Con, the first ever comic con in Vermont, took place at the Sheraton Hotel in Burlington over the weekend. The two-day convention was a huge success and will happen again next year, but on Labor Day weekend.
Books & Boos will be sharing space with Fenham Publishing this weekend at Rock & Shock, which runs from Oct. 17 through 19. Publisher Jim Dyer will be representing Fenham Publishing and author Stacey Longo will be on-hand to sign her books (Secret Things, Insanity Tales) at the Books & Boos table. Longo is also a movie reviewer and writer for Jason Harris Promotions. She will be on the Writing panel with Joe Knetter at 12 p.m. on Saturday.
By Stacey Longo
If you’re wondering what to get the horror fan in your family this holiday season, look no further than Grinning Skull Press’s O Little Town of Deathlehem, a robust collection of holiday horror stories. Edited by Michael J. Evans and Harrison Graves, this anthology, is sure to please the most twisted of souls.
Starting off strong, the anthology opens with “One of His Own” by Catherine Grant, a Krampus tale that offers an almost tender-hearted look at the Christmas demon. Almost. It’s followed by “Christmas Wine” by Matt Cowan, a fun little story about having to make a terrible choice around the holidays. As you turn the page to the next story, and the next, you’ll be happy to realize that each tale is a delightful holiday present of its own.
Other personal favorites in this collection include “All I Want For Christmas” by Raymond Gates, about a writer struggling to finish his novel who unwittingly accepts help without considering the source. John Boden’s “The Antiphon” was a fabulous, lighthearted look at what can happen if you make a spelling mistake when addressing a letter to the big guy at the North Pole. And “Special Delivery” by Simon Bradley reveals a different, more human, and not always jolly side to dear old Saint Nick that you won’t soon forget.
Overall, O Little Town of Deathlehem is an enjoyable read of high-quality stories that is sure to please the hardest people to buy for on your Christmas list this year.
Dale T. Phillips and Vlad V., two authors in the Insanity Tales anthology published by Books & Boos Press, will be signing copies of the book at Haunted Acres in Candia, New Hampshire this Saturday, Oct. 11, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
It’s a collection containing stories and one novella by such illustrious authors as David Daniel, Stacey Longo, Dale T. Phillips, Vlad V., and Ursula Wong. Enter a world of madness as you read these nine tales of twisted psyches, peculiar people, and demons of the mind and spirit.
This anthology includes a foreword by award-winning author Jonathan Maberry (Rot & Ruin) and the cover was created by Melinda Phillips.
Insanity Tales debuted this week. It’s a collection containing stories and one novella by such illustrious authors as David Daniel, Stacey Longo, Dale T. Phillips, Vlad V., and Ursula Wong. Enter a world of madness as you read these nine tales of twisted psyches, peculiar people, and demons of the mind and spirit.
This anthology includes a foreword by award-winning author Jonathan Maberry (Rot & Ruin).
The book’s cover was created by Melinda Phillips.
The 11th Rock & Shock is less than two weeks away and the organizers have brought horror fans another great line-up this year. Some names fans will recognize celebrities such as Tom Savini, Brad Dourif, Roddy Piper, Derek Mears, and Sid Haig. There are also new ones to the convention such as Sharknado and American Pie star Tara Reid and Jeffrey Combs (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Enterprise)
Celebrities who had to cancel their appearances last year are back on the guest list for this year and they are Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster) and John Ratzenberger ( Cheers and the Toy Story movies).
Check out the guest list here.
Once again, there will be authors, publishers, and bookstores at the convention. Authors include Bram Stoker award-winner L.L Soares, Joe Knetter, Stacey Longo, Tim J. Finn, and Bracken MacLeod. Knetter and Longo will be participating on a writer’s panel at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18, with a few other authors. Publishers and bookstores include Fenham Publishing and Books & Boos respectively.
Rock & Shock takes place at the DCU Center in Worcester, MA. from Oct. 17th through the 19th.