Bad Advice For Good Times

News and fodder behind the films of Joseph Nanni.

CONFRONTING THE FEAR FROM WITHIN

In 2009 I started working on a public service ad for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Truth be told, at the time I was extremely reluctant to get involved. Like most people, the subject of cancer terrified me.  I didn’t want to talk about it let alone develop a deeper understanding. As it turned out, the more I learned about the disease the less I was afraid. And when I met the doctors and researchers on the front lines, I became even less afraid.  But when I finally met survivors and people personally battling cancer, I found their bravery inspiring. My fear was overcome by understanding but it was the people I met that made me want to do something about it.
 
We did a great piece of work for the cancer centre. It captured the progress made against the disease. But when it came to the survivors and those deep in their fight, I felt like we needed to tell their whole story, as there was no way a 30-second ad could do them justice. There had to be something more.
 
A few years later, I got together with my old boss from the project and the idea of doing a documentary came up. Neither of us had ever made a documentary and neither of us knew more about the disease than what we learned through working with The Princess Margaret. What we did know was how we felt about the people we met in our initial endeavour. They made us believe that conquering cancer was possible. We felt all we had to do was turn our camera in their direction, capture their stories and their passion and the viewer would feel the same way we felt when we first met some of the people featured in the film.
 
I put together a plan, talked to my production company and my colleagues and I approached The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and asked if they would like to come on this journey with us. They were more than happy to, and over the course of a year, we shot interviews with doctors and researchers from around the world and, most importantly, survivors — people from all walks of life who had stared down the disease until it retreated, sometimes over and over again. Screening and sifting through the over 70 hours of footage to weave together our story was no small task. To quote our narrator, Bryan Adams, “The politics and emotion surrounding it are as complicated as the disease itself.” We were surprised by the wash of complimentary and contradictory views and opinions we received from everyone we talked to. But our mission stayed the same: let the survivors tell their story and simply show the audience what these people were up against.
 
At our initial screenings, I noticed people going into it with the same trepidation I had when I started the PSA. It seems to me that for some people, just talking about the disease somehow gives it power. The opposite is true. The more we share, the more we tackle the subject, the weaker it gets. One of the things I learned while making this film is that we need a stronger unified public movement.  
 
We want people to easily relate to the information delivered in our film. It isn’t meant to be complicated; to come up with all the answers or address all the issues. It is meant to take the complicated problem of cancer and simplify some of the obstacles we face in defeating it. ‘A Day Without Cancer’ is a testament to those fighting their own war on cancer. At the end of it, I hope people come away a little less afraid, a little more understanding, and inspired by those who have conquered cancer in their own lifetimes.
 

Filed under: Uncategorized

A Truth in True Detective

*Spoiliness Ahead*

When Stephen King ended his epic Dark Tower series he gave his readers a choice – they could conclude their 4000+ page journey with a “happy” ending or they could turn past King’s afterward and follow Roland into the Dark Tower.  It was a ballsy move, something that only a genre king like King could pull off.  Who could possibly be happy with a single narrative solution after the epic commitment they’d just made to the series?  Inevitably most of us read to the last page, and as it turned out, for Roland, time was a flat circle.  But what King did was remind many of us why we read – it’s about the journey, sometimes through strange and dark places, with characters you relate to, sometimes you’re not sure why.

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Take Rust Cohle for example, I’m sure no one ever wants to hear, “you remind me of that character from True Detective,” any of them for that matter, but there are days, mostly commuter mornings on the subway, when I hear his dialog in the back of my head and I know exactly where he’s coming from.  The seven hours I’ve spent with Cohle have been mostly uneasy, they’ve made me feel strange inside, mostly because sometimes I can see his POV, but the journey through his world, from a narrative, visual, and metaphorical perspective has been fantastic.  I work in TV, and film, schooled in visual arts, love genre fiction, and True Detective, like a car battery and two jumper cables, has jolted my enthusiasm for all of the aforementioned.  The misdirects, the illusions, both visual and written, the performances, the dialogue (sorry Emily Nussbaum, you’re not even wrong), the show is a prime example of not just what TV can be but what a good narrative can achieve when it is focused, detailed, littered with references, social commentary, subversive ideas, the stuff that has you lingering in the staff kitchen, talking until your tea is lukewarm.

Sifting through the daily dirge of content this show is generating, from Pinterest boards to poignant articles, I can’t helping feeling how great it is we have popular art that instigates such in-depth analysis.  Even the show’s detractors are using the content to draw attention to their own little end of the universe.  Most critiques chide TD for not having what the reviewer themselves wants to see, but I don’t know anyone who would go to a ballet and expect break dancing.  The show is dark.  It is about two broken men dragging themselves through the mire of a world made by even more broken men.  And that’s what I expect each week.  If I want a unique feminine perspective I watch Girls, it’s great.  But all this speculation, detraction, invention, praise, around a single piece of entertainment, it’s the stuff powerful popular culture is made of.

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No doubt the next few days will be filled with spec spoilers and conjecture as to how the show will end, incidentally Charlie Lange outlined the entire plot when he gave up Ledoux, so there should be no surprises.  But I’ll wager that people expecting a Weird Tales-esque reveal are going to be woefully underwhelmed. Pizzolatto’s references are nothing more than window dressing, an homage to predecessors who have influenced the tone and atmosphere of the show.  They have added a massive amount of intrigue but the truth is the plot has more in common with The Wicker Man and Timothy Findley’s Headhunter than it does with Robert W Chambers.  And that’s cool.  For me we’ve already been provided multiple satisfying conclusions like a bullet in the head for Ledoux, Marty and Rust reunited, Tuttle’s “suicide”, justice is getting served along the way, alas, I highly doubt our investigators will be venerated a second time.

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Which brings me back to the beginning.  No matter what happens next Sunday night, it probably won’t meet everyone’s expectations.  Harrelson and McConaughey’s perfect performances,  Pizzolatto’s deft pen, and Fukunaga’s flawless direction have delivered an impeccable season of TV and storytelling, they’ve taken us on a journey we seldom get to take in this medium.  What a dream, regardless of the monster at the end of it.

Filed under: Production, Uncategorized

HAVE YOU HEARD THE GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL?

Time to bear witness, believers. You have not watched enough documentaries and that, my friends, is a sin. But we have good news for you, the good news of Price, Doctor Robert M Price. The good Doctor has had many lives but as of today he stands with two PHDs, a love of HP Lovecraft, an advocate of the modern myths of Marvel and DC, a avid reader of the bible, but, curiously, not a believer. What? How’s this? All shall be revealed in the new documentary from the folks who brought you Elder Sign and The Necronomicon. Coming next year, this doc on the doc will delight atheists and agnostics and terrify the holy at heart. So step forward… and justify!

Filed under: Coming Soon, Cthulhu is Coming, Festivals, Love to Lovecraft, The Necrocomicon, , , , , , , ,

A DIFFERENT KIND OF MONSTER

Many of you know us for our humorous takes on Lovecraft’s strange and ominous ideas so it was a surprise to everyone, including ourselves, that our first feature would be a serious documentary concerning the subject of cancer. A Day Without Cancer is the story of where we are in the fight against cancer as told by the patients, doctors, and some of the world’s leading authorities. The material is well within our wheelhouse as there are few things more horrific than being attacked by the very system that keeps you alive. The film will be released later this year and you can follow the latest developments at https://www.facebook.com/TheCancerDoc

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , ,

THINK FOR YOURSELF

Here’s our new short.

Filed under: Uncategorized

WHAT WE DO WHEN WE’RE NOT DOING WHAT WE DO

Life’s not all tentacles and Tsathoggua.  Sometimes you stare into the void and sometimes you give back.  Here’s us using our powers for good in a new PSA for Champions Against Bullying directed by Joseph Nanni.

Stand up.

Filed under: People, Performance, Production

Awesomeness On The Way

Black Goat production design is crawling along and we have several talented individuals working away including Anthony del Rizzo, Velocity Branding from Winnipeg, and THE Dave Carson.  You’ve probably seen Dave’s Shub illustration making its way around the web – this is NOT the design for the creature in Black Goat; Dave did this before we invited him on board so expect to see something new.  In the meantime we are slowly posting character design on our Facebook page HERE so drop by and check ‘em out.

Filed under: Black Goat, Coming Soon, Love to Lovecraft, Production, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Black Goat Won’t Be First

Despite all the hype around our planned period piece it won’t be the first feature from Bad Advice For Good Times.  Pre-production has begun on Black Seas, a reference from H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu, and the feature is scheduled to shoot in March.  The plot revolves around a man known only as J who wakes up in an escape shuttle with no recollection of who he is or how he got there.  His only clues come from a virtual HR representative who helps J rebuild his fragile psyche.  Things take a turn for the worse when an alien presence appears aboard the craft and begins to contradict everything J believes about himself and the situation.

Fans of Elder Sign and The Necronomicon will appreciate the darkly comical script, while HPL fans will love the cosmic horror, both felt and realized.

 

 

Filed under: Black Goat, Black Seas, Coming Soon, Cthulhu is Coming, Love to Lovecraft, Production, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Black Goat Update: No CGI, New Creatures, Much Darker, More Humour

Much has happened in the world of the Goat since we last chatted – we’ve got a distributor interested, the script’s been covered, and pre-visualization has begun. As mentioned, Dave Carson will be working on new designs for both the Dark Young and Shub which will depart from the designs depicted in the short film. The main reason for this is we’ve already shown our cards in the short, so we need something different. But the creatures in the feature are sparser and more indistinguishable, and by virtue more Lovecraftian. We will also be visualizing them through practical effects, rigs, and large scale models. There was great debate over VFX and in the end it was decided that CGI characters are too literal. There will still be a ton of effects shots but you won’t see the wires, as they say.

The script has been out to readers and is receiving rave reviews. And while the content is dark, the locations grim and frostbitten, there is a fair amount of humour on the page. We simply can’t make a film about The Necronomicon with a straight face, you should know us by now. Jock is much more of a noob, the 17th century version of a trust fund brat, and less the RJ MacReady inspired coureur de bois of the short.

The teaser continues to delight and polarize viewers around the globe.  Shit went crazy when Guillermo del Toro said he loved it, called the atmosphere “impeccable”, and compared it to Algernon Blackwood.  Most recently it has popped up at io9 – view it HERE. We love the exposure, but who knew we were making the genre short equivalent of the Sex Pistols? Some of the comments are pretty funny and we find it amusing that people would take the time to seriously evaluate a switch axe.

Filed under: Black Goat, CGI, Coming Soon, Production, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DAVE CARSON JOINS BLACK GOAT

We are pleased to announce that Lovecraft luminary Dave Carson will be helping us realize  some Elder God nastiness for the upcoming feature Black Goat.  If you are not familiar with Dave’s work, shame on you, then go check it out HERE!

Dave seems excited, we say, “Be careful what you ask for.”

Filed under: Black Goat, Love to Lovecraft, People, Production, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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