Archive for the Director’s Log Category

More screenings! More awesome reactions and more adventures!

Posted in Director's Log, Production with tags , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2015 by forbiddensecretsmovie

Greetings!  Had an amazing time in Orlando FL at the Spooky Empire Mayhem show.  Had a pretty damned good turnout for the film.  I was surprised!  There was a VIP party, a Q&A with the cast of American Horror Story: Freakshow and even a Haunted House tour going on at the same exact time and we still brought in a good crowd.  Really excited that I finally met my old friend Scott Gabbey in person.  Scott does Ultra Violent magazine and we have been friends for ages!  Also met Stephen Biro from Unearthed Films and the awesome effects master Marcus Koch.  The staff at the Spooky Empire show really made us feel welcome and treated us like royalty.  Truly a good group of people.  One of the highlights for me was also meeting Mike, the owner of Grindhouse Video.  They are gonna be our official South Florida connection!!!  Antwoine had a smile a mile wide as he signed autographs.  Hooked up with Damon Pro, Jason Fetters (my old school friend) and got to finally meet Alberto Giovannelli!  Made some great contacts and looks like we may be doing more business in Florida soon.

Drop in and catch us in Decatur!!!

Drop in and catch us in Decatur!!!

Coming up next is June 12-13 the Dead In Decatur Filmfest, followed by the great Double Feature at the Drive In June 17 at the Skyline Drive In – Shelbyville, IN –  An awesome double feature with Circus of the Dead! Part of the Indie SINsations series of films! All proceeds go to support the historic Skyline Drive In Theater! Drop in and have some fun and you’ll be helping keep this awesome theater alive!!!!!!!

DRIVE-IN-DOUBLE-1I am so happy with the love and support we continue to receive from Horror fans all over the world!  It has been a wild ride.  Screenings are slowing down a bit now, getting the extras finished and everything ready for the upcoming DVD/BluRay releases.  Really looking forward to that!!!

On a side note, I had mentioned a while back in this blog that there were a few rough spots in the Post Production process, and I am STILL working on the sound mix.  Many people who have seen it in a theater never notice any issues, but I am a perfectionist.  When we took it to a third party for the sound mix / Dolby 5.1 processing, it was scary as hell and even though the place where we took the film does great work and really worked hard, I have never been happy with the mix.  When we went from a Dolby Stereo to the 5.1… it just lost something.  Many of my old favorites when they put them on BluRay I notice similar issues with the new 5.1 mixes – I usually listen to the Stereo tracks.  Unless you have a proper 5.1 decoder, I feel the sound is a bit thin and “trebly” and that it takes some of the meat from the mix.  So for months I have regretted allowing any third party to touch the film.  I always said I would never allow it, and I caved in… not really by choice… I was kind of pushed into it.  And I regret it.  So I have been spending day and night remastering the sound the best I can without going WAY back to the original tracks – that was about 2 years ago and several versions of the film.  If I have to, I will do that, but so far it looks like I am going to be able to use these newer tracks and I will be able to fix them with the tools I have here.  Just goes to show that even now the film is not complete the way I heard it in my head, so I want to make sure to do the best I can to bring that version of the sound, to the DVD/BluRay.  Most theaters have the good 5.1 encoders so it plays fine…. but many home systems do not.  So I think this version is a MUST.  I want to make sure that everyone loves this film when it gets the home video release.  The documentary is finished and it is actually as long as the feature!!!!  I was surprised!!! For me, this has been a real adventure and through the ups and downs, the good and bad, the stress and anxiety and the great times, this has been my call to the world that I AM STILL ALIVE!!!!!!!!  And the Documentary really shows that.  Andrew did a great job capturing that side of things.  At first I was unsure about it, I am just seriously a NO EGO type of person… I hate it.  No delusions, no ego, no BS.  But as I saw the documentary come together, I bent a little… I realized it is an important story to tell, and my near death experience and rebirth from that was a major part of the story.  All of the extras will have impact and they will bring the viewer along on the adventure.  Also, for the BluRay, I want to include the full first uncut raw version of the film… a bit rough around the edges, it is the first draft edit, with pretty much every scene in the film.  Fans of the flick will be able to watch all of the deleted scenes in their proper place in the film, and see the changes we made.  There may even be a special commentary that I will do for that version to explain things.  We will see….

Our growing list of Film Festivals!!!

Our growing list of Film Festivals!!!

That’s all for this one…. we’ll catch up again soon…. and until then, hope to meet you at one of the screenings!!!!

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Still going strong in 2015!

Posted in Director's Log on May 7, 2015 by forbiddensecretsmovie

Been a while since I updated the blog here. Still doing Film festivals and Conventions, as well as some theater showings, including the Horror On Sea festival in London – It was a crowd favorite! Antwoine Steele and I went to Ohio in April for the always excellent Cinema Wasteland convention and it was a massive success!!! People loved the film, but more than that, it also helped us connect with more people who wanna show the movie! It screened a week or two later in Canada at Shock Stock as well. We have a small chain of Drive Ins preparing to screen it as well as a few more Conventions. It has been in over 30 film festivals and was just accepted to be involved in the “Dead In Decatur” Film Festival…

Our growing list of Film Festivals!!!

Our growing list of Film Festivals!!!

We are preparing to screen the film at Spooky Empire in Orlando, FL on May 16th as well. We have been very lucky and blessed by the amazing response this film has gotten and the great reviews out there. Of course, we have also been planning for the upcoming DVD and BluRay release of the film… the documentary is finished for the special features, the artwork is coming along nicely and there will be two versions of the actual film, the full uncut version and the Theatrical (Festival) cut of the film. We recorded the commentary track for the Theatrical version already… with Nicole Santorella, Antwoine Steele, Bryan David, Amanda Payton, Johnnie Reed and myself (Todd Sheets). It was a good time for sure.

It is so nice to have so many people enjoy the film on behalf of the cast and crew, we thank every single person who has watched, supported, promoted and fallen in love with House of Forbidden Secrets!!!!

HOFS-2015-Orlando

We hope to have the film out on these formats by mid-Summer 2015. After the next screening, I’ll be back to give another update…

Still Haunting America – the Theatrical Tour and more Festivals!

Posted in Director's Log, Production on November 15, 2014 by forbiddensecretsmovie

Been ages since I was able to sit down and write on the blog.  Since last I wrote, House of Forbidden Secrets has been playing all over the US in Theaters as well as Film Festivals.  So many awesome festivals!  19 to be exact!

house has been playing all over!

We will be having our British premiere at the Horror On Sea Film Festival 23rd JANUARY TO 1st FEBRUARY 2015, In October and November, we just finished the Omaha premiere at the awesome SCREAM IN THE DARK Festival and we invaded Phoenix at the Fearcon!  September was insane as we screened in Los Angeles, CA and the Scare-A-Con Film Fest in Syracuse, New York!  In August we were part of the Crypticon Film Festival as well as the Bloody North Canadian Film Festival.  We have had such an amazing time… reviews are flowing in about the film as well!  Check em out here – http://www.zombiebloodbath.com/house-reviews.html – So much awesome has been going on for the film – getting closer to the DVD/BluRay and VHS releases as well.  And don’t forget that the film plays next in IOWA CITY on DEC 3 – Please join our Facebook page for faster updates http://www.facebook.com/houseofforbiddensecrets

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One of the things I learned was to watch audiences close… it helps to relate to what works on screen and what doesn’t.  I am happy to say that with HOUSE, 93% of what was there worked just as I hoped, but there were some spots that I, as  Writer/Director/Producer felt were off a bit – maybe it was flow or timing, maybe it was just the vibe of a scene and what I had intended… so after a few screenings, I went in and made a “Theatrical Version” of the film.  That is the one I feel is strongest for a live screening -I will also keep the full version as well, for use on the DVD / BluRay as an extra WITH the Theatrical cut.  The VHS will just be the Theatrical version.  There is also that wonderful Documentary that Andrew shot and that will be on the DVD/BluRay as well – I am honored by it… he decided to do the documentary as basically my return to film after the long break and the heart attack and such… it was humbling and amazing to watch all that footage.  I never promote myself really and I feel funny about it and I felt a bit embarrassed too. I just didn’t want it to seem like some Vanity project thing – it was all dictated by Andrew, so I thank him. But I have been told by the few people I have shown it to that it is a good documentary and that they like what it is about and that there is no shame or harm in allowing him to tell my story.  SO I guess I will embrace it a bit more, and not feel self-conscious….



OK, gonna go for now – I’ll get back here sooner, I promise.

 

Kansas City Alamo Drafthouse Invasion was a SUCCESS!!!!

Posted in Cast, Crew, Director's Log with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2013 by forbiddensecretsmovie

We had our big red carpet Kansas City premiere at the Alamo Drafthouse on Dec 6th… I was as nervous as a person could be, but it went better than I ever dreamed.  First of all, the event SOLD OUT!!!  I was blown away – but more than that, the Alamo Drafthouse really bent over backwards to make this event special for everyone.  Zack and Erica from Atomic Cotton were on hand to celebrate with some T-Shirts and huge smiles, George Hardy flew in from Alabama and the whole cast and crew pretty much joined us for an incredible night!  The Kansas City audience has not always been kind to me in the past, since I am from this town they tend to be pretty hard on their own.  Admittedly my early movies were pretty damned awful, and many of them I have disowned over the years… but a kid has to start someplace.  I was still in my teens when some of those films were done.  Still, to see the reaction from the audience was pretty darn astounding!  It really seems as if everyone loved the film!  Most who I spoke with after the event said it exceeded their expectations. A  huge weight was lifted from my shoulders!!!  For me, the cast and crew who worked so hard loving the film is the best gift I could ask for.  This film may have been my brainchild, and it may have my name on it in many areas, but without the cast and crew, it would not be anything but an idea and a script.  They helped me bring it to life.  Each person put their stamp on this film, their hearts and souls, their passion and hard work.

Alamo Drafthouse Kansas City Red Carpet Event

Alamo Drafthouse Kansas City Red Carpet Event

As I stood at the back of the theater and watched the crowd and the film with Johnnie Reed, my good friend and gaffer on the film, I could not keep the smile from my face.  Everyone jumped at the right spots, laughed in the right places and seemed to really get into the film.  George Hardy told me that the film pulled him in and he felt like he was truly part of the group experiencing the horrors as they unfolded onscreen.  He said that he forgot it was a film he was actually IN as a star, and just fell in love with the story, getting shocked by the twists and turns and just really enjoying the ride.  It blew me away.  George Hardy is such a great guy and someone I truly looked up to and enjoyed in not only Troll 2, but Best Worst Movie as well.  Adding that to the comments I got from Dyanne Thorne and Howard Maurer in Las Vegas when we won 6 awards at the PollyGrind Film Festival and I truly am on cloud 9 when it comes to the reactions the film is getting.  This film is a true homage to the films I grew up loving as a kid, only with a modern spin.  Inspired by Italian Horror like Lucio Fulci, Ricardo Freda, Dario Argento, Joe D’Amato and American directors like John Carpenter and HG Lewis… It won’t win the 2013 Academy Award… and it was never meant to.  I get bored by most so called “Oscar-worthy” films… with a few exceptions of course!  If they gave out Oscars for heard work, passion and love – and a damned good ride at the movies, we’d win!  This film is part of my heart and soul.  It is exactly what I wanted it to be, a fun movie – it’s heart dripping with Drive In Theater / Grindhouse ambiance and it is 100% authentic.  No BS.  No trends.  No fakes.  This one is for real – A modern day Grindhouse style Horror film made by fans FOR fans, made by people who truly LOVE the genre.  No ego either – I detest ego… we have all been victim to it at one time or another… what you read here is never about ego – but I will say this:  It is about being VERY proud of this film and everyone involved.

Alamo Drafthouse - House of Forbidden Secrets

Alamo Drafthouse Seating Chart! Sold Out, even had to bring in chairs in the back!  Thanks to everyone for a great event!

The cast Q&A went pretty well, considering it was cut short due to the incredible amount of people we had on the red carpet.  Pics were taken by Anna Perry, our gifted company photographer… and she did an outstanding job, but there were so many people who wanted to get pics with our amazing cast and crew that it went a bit longer than expected.  Of course, no complaints at all, but I was hoping for some more time for audience questions and such.  The Q&A was hosted by my buddy Tim Sweeten for his awesome TV show Drive In Movie Maniacs – and he did a fantastic job, he also interviewed the cast and crew on the red carpet for his show and for the documentary about the film and my return to Horror…LOL.

Just an incredible night for us all.  Thanks to Ryan and Chance, to Anna and Tim and to the whole cast and crew of House of Forbidden Secrets.  It was an honor and a perfect night for all!  Thanks to every single person who came and watched the film as well!  I was at the door saying Thank You to every person I could as they left the theater after the event and all I saw were smiles and I got a ton of hugs, handshakes and happy reviews.  Thank you for giving a damn about our little film and for selling it out.  Alamo was proud!!!

REMEMBER THE ALAMO!!!!!! Here we come Kansas City!!!!!!

Posted in Director's Log, Production with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2013 by forbiddensecretsmovie

After our award winning turn at the PollyGrind Film Festival, we came back to Kansas and had a screening at the awesome Boulevard Drive In Theater.  It went great and everyone truly seemed to enjoy the film.  It does me good to watch it with an audience who “gets it.”  After that screening I went back to the editing studio and made a few minor tweaks I had been wanting to make.  Things I had on my final tweak list.  Each time I would finish an edit, I would go back and watch the film a few times, making notes about things I needed to adjust to get as close as possible to my vision.  As I went along, the lists would get shorter and shorter.  My final tweak list was based on what kind of emotion or reaction I wanted from both myself and an audience while we watched the film together.  There weren’t many things, so I got it done pretty fast.

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Now things are really rolling, with another awesome screening scheduled for DEC 6th, 2013 at 7 PM at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Kansas City.  I truly want this event to be a success so we can also do a similar screening in Austin, TX.  If we show them that people will come and see the film, and the buzz gets big enough, they will certainly let us unleash the movie in Texas!  Chase and Ryan have been great and very supportive about the film.  They gave us a prime slot on a busy day, proving they believe in the movie.  We will be showing a couple of special surprises before the actual film, a couple of short subjects, and then it’s on to the HOUSE OF FORBIDDEN SECRETS.  There will be a Q&A with the cast, including George Hardy and Allan Kayser – autographed prizes will be given away and much more!  This is going to be a great time for sure!  The film is finally ready to live on it’s own – everything is done except I am STILL waiting for visual effects from this company that Bryan David has hired – they had an OCT 1st deadline and here it is NOV 1st and still nothing.  It is ridiculous and very unprofessional.  Guess I have nothing better to do but wait for the effects.  I don’t want or need to do a final render or anything.  LOL.  Other than that setback, and a few loose ends that are causing me some undue stress, all is great.  The buzz is starting to build again.  It seems like it took so long to get the edit done, people were moving one…. not losing hope, but getting into other projects and such.  Most big budget films and many low budget ones may take a year or two, sometimes even three to see release… so in that regard, I think we are not too far off of target.

ImageI have to say that in so many ways, this has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.  Sure, there were things that really didn’t need to happen – some stressful politics going on and some ridiculous arguments, things that threw a dark cloud over things at times – but now, being at this point and looking back, those few dark spots are washed over by the good things.  I really want to say how the main cast, the “up and coming” stars of tomorrow – Nicole, Brad, Millie, Paxton and of course Antwoine (but he and I go back 18 years of working together) – all brought these characters to life that lived inside my head for so damned long.  You all exceeded my expectations and really deserve the recognition here.  It is your passion that really jumps at people and brings them into the film.  It is you whom the audience has to identify with in order to make our story real, and you do that.  And our supporting team of genre icons, the great support from our extras and cameos in the brothel… everyone brought their “A Game” and I really appreciate it!!!

We formed a family together to make this movie happen – to make my words on paper jump to life… but the adventure is just beginning – now we gotta get it into theaters and on video and TV so the world can join us in celebrating this movie!  Anyone who can help us get the word out – street team stuff, online promotion, anything you can do to help – please contact us through our official website at http://www.HouseOfForbiddenSecrets.com – you can also contact and join us on Facebook and take 2 minutes and give us a “LIKE” at http://www.facebook.com/houseofforbiddensecrets.  We all worked so hard and spent so much of our lives on this – I know for me – almost every single day for a year I have been working on it – please help us by giving a few minutes to the film!  Thank you!

Unleashed At Last!!!!

Posted in Director's Log with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2013 by forbiddensecretsmovie

Finally getting to the end of the production road.  We actually have screened the film twice now, once at the amazing PollyGrind Film Festival in Las Vegas, NV and also at the Boulevard Drive In Theater in Kansas City, KS.  I was blown away by the reception at both events, and Dyanne Thorne and I both won awards in Vegas!!!!  She won for her amazing acting talent and I won for my directing / producing!!!  It was unreal!  There are still a couple of small visual effects shots that we are waiting on from a company that executive producer Bryan David has working… he gave them an OCT 1st deadline, so I truly have no idea what is taking so long, but after that, the film will be 100% complete.  Of course, this film can survive just fine without them, but they will enhance one or two spots that are already awesome.

Chad Freeman, yours truly, Dyanne Thorne, Antwoine Steele, Howard Maurer

Chad Freeman, yours truly, Dyanne Thorne, Antwoine Steele, Howard Maurer

I really have to say that Chad Freeman, the man who created PollyGrind, held an amazing event.  We were really pleased how all the film creators in attendance really treated each other with so much respect and gave each other true support!!!  It was a dream come true!

Speaking of a dream coming true…. this film, as you know, allowed me to work with many actors and actresses I absolutely love… starting with Dyanne Thorne and Howard Maurer.  Dyanne is such an icon of the film world, and very loved by everyone.  And the dream of working with her is now a reality for me, but also, she and Howard have become like family to me.  An Aunt and Uncle I never knew I had…. we shared so much on this film, and we have truly become family.  I love them dearly…. and I respect them so much.  Antwoine Steele, who plays the male lead in the film, Jacob Hunt was there and it truly was a shining moment for him.  It did me so much good to watch his face light up.  Antwoine has worked hard over the years to end up where he is now – we have been brothers for 18 years… making numerous films together… but this one was special.  For him as well as for me.  And he delivered.  Every member of this cast and crew delivered.  And it shows.  SO much passion and heart and soul went into this film… it truly has a life of it’s own.

And seeing it with an audience is the best…. I truly wanted this film to have meaning, to have a solid story and some cool twists and turns.  This film was not made for the MTV generation of 2 second edits and shaky camera crap.  This film was made in honor of the classics that I love.  The Italian Horror of the 70s and 80s… the films of Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento, Joe D’Amato, Mario and Lamberto Bava, Luigi Cozzi, Umberto Lenzi, Ruggero Deodato… and so many more.  The music reflects this fact with Fabio Frizzi being involved, creating an amazing musical soundscape for the film.  This is not for people with a short attention span… it requires an audience to meet these characters, become invested in them, and take this journey WITH them.  Chad said it best when he described the film as “Super Ambitious” with many twists and turns – it begins as one type of genre film and ends up being 4 at once.  And that is one of the strengths – the film has real characters.  Not just cardboard targets for a slasher.  It has a storyline that is refreshing, original and complex…. if you want flashy, shakycam fluff with no lasting value… better move along.  One other comment that really makes me feel great is that the more times you see it, the more little things you learn… the more you see and the more the details emerge.  Plus, there are a ton of genre “in-jokes” in the film that you may not catch the first time… but you’ll start seeing them as you watch it again.

The music again, continues to amaze me…. so many people have come to me after the screenings and raved about the music from Fabio Frizzi, with assistance from our favorite Japanese Horror composer Toshiyuki Hiraoka.  They have truly created masterworks here… some of the best of their careers thus far.  Our soundtrack will be released in November via BEAT Records in Rome.  It will be all over Europe and Asia, and soon in America, but you can still buy it as an import and I’ll post that info when I get it.

A civilization is as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamt by artists.  Keep your heart open to dreams. For as long as there’s a dream, there is hope, and as long as there is hope, there is joy in living.  Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.  Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall at last unveil.  My dreams have come true, for the most part, on this film…. along with dreams comes the danger of nightmares, and I have had a few of those creep in as well… but I fought to push through the shadows and the dark times… and now the dream is a reality that I am able to share with everyone on earth.

Until next time….

Todd Sheets

Director / writer / producer / editor – and tired bastard.

The Long and Winding Road – That leads to SUCCESS!

Posted in Director's Log, Production with tags , , , , , , , on August 21, 2013 by forbiddensecretsmovie

Finally finished all of my editing on the film around August 2nd.  Then I had to begin looking around for a third party to help us on our final Dolby 5.1 sound mix.  After some false starts and dead ends, I decided to go with my old friends at Chapman Recording.  I have known Chuck for years and I trust him and his company to treat my baby the way I would treat it…. Got Evan the files right before I left town last week for some film related business in Florida.  I got back Saturday morning, did the always awesome Crypticon Horror Convention all weekend and then got together today with Evan and he showed me what he had so far…. blew my mind.  It its really coming along.  Seems like an eternity in some ways, but also seems like it was only yesterday that I was just starting the editing process.

The Crypticon was a major success for Chazz and the gang as well as for Extreme Entertainment.  Every year it seems we get more solid connections, plus we were able to hang with old friend like Lew Temple and Allan Kayser who starred in House of Forbidden Secrets, but also with some old friends like BIll Moseley, Sid Haig, Doug Jones and others,  We had a blast and I look forward to next year!!!  A big thanks goes out to the whole Extreme core crew who really stepped up and held things together while I was in Florida.

Looks like we will be moving forward soon on a new feature, Dreaming Purple Neon – so it is very important to make sure that “House” is finished to the best of our ability – film festivals are knocking on our door and I am very excited about the film finally being unleashed this Fall.  Our first film festival looks like it may be in Las Vegas – we have been accepted to the PollyGrind Film Fest and it should be a blast!  With Dyanne Thorne and Howard Maurer being so close to Vegas, my hope is to bring them to the fest for a Q&A before or after the screening.

Stay tuned, I’ll be posting more updates soon – as well as a “Look Back” retrospective on the entire shoot… I am so excited that this creation is about to fly into the world!

Todd Sheets

Director/Producer