Bad Advice For Good Times

News and fodder behind the films of Joseph Nanni.

OUR NEWEST SHORT IS OUR MOST TERRIFYING!

Not really…but insurance can be pretty scary.  You have to sit and imagine all the things that can go wrong and then fill out forms and give a corporation money every month.  Yikes!  But here’s something you can’t plan for – the gibbering madness that awaits on the edge of reality.  The third in our HPL comedy trilogy.  Prepare to laugh WITH TERROR!

 

 

Filed under: Black Goat, Cthulhu is Coming, Festivals, Love to Lovecraft, Performance, Production, The Necrocomicon, Uncategorized

Fanboy to Farmer: In Which We Explore The Dark Corners and Blinding Lights of Hard Labour and Hardcore Fandom

Y’all know me, still the same old G, but I’ve been low-key, so you’ll be happy to see, we…are back.  Yes, we’ve been shooting and producing, and post producing a couple of projects but we’re getting back to the mythos in a big way.  But here’s a small step, not a full plunge, into the world of HPL, HPL fandom specifically.  This is the first episode of our doc-series/social experiment which follows me as I attempt to lose the trappings of fandom for the tractors of labour.  Sound inexplicable?  It sure is, but what comes to light in subsequent episodes is that fandom has more practical implications than one would imagine.  During the series we’ll also travel behind the scenes of our upcoming production The Festival so stay tuned if you want a sneak peek of what’s coming next from Bad Advice for Good Times and Affari Di Famiglia.  You’ll see a lot of visual references to Lovecraftian accoutrements in episode one but we go fully into the mouth of madness by episode three so make sure to subscribe:

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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.
 

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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

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

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THINK FOR YOURSELF

Here’s our new short.

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You Haven’t Lived Until You’ve Set A Twenty Foot Elder Sign On Fire

That’s a wrap.  Principle photography on Black Goat is finished.  It was an incredible experience and there will be a long list of thank-yous.  In the meantime, all I have to offer are epic shots of what’s to come.

 

 

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Lovecrafting: A Film About Making A Film About Lovecraft

Cameras have already started rolling on a documentary called “Lovecrafting”.  The film follows myself and some other filmmakers as they attempt to create and sell films inspired by or based on the work of HPL.  Interviews began during preproduction of Black Goat and so far they’ve caught some hilarious stuff.  Describing Lovecraft to the uninitiated is always fun  –  describing the indescribable to a production designer is even better.

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Black Goat Will Be Grim And Frostbitten

Last Monday the producer, DOP, and myself, Joseph Nanni, took a trip to The Slough of Despond to do some camera tests for the upcoming addition to our Lovecraftian lexicon of films.  The temperature was minus 15, the sky was dark and grey, the land was windswept and covered with three feet of snow, it was perfect.

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Black Goat Begins!

It has been a long, long, long time since I announced this project but now, after a couple of years and some false starts, I am happy to say we are in serious pre-production on the first stretch of Black Goat.  I will share more specific details in the coming weeks but rest-assured, it’s goin’ down.  And this will be THE place for news and the inside track on the film so drop a bookmark or RSS ’cause you’ll hear it here first.

I am very happy to be bringing this idea to life in an untampered form.  Part of the reason there were so many stops and starts was trying to figure out how to get a film going without giving up the farm.  I think we have a solution, and after the holidays I will be asking for your help.  There’ll be a special announcement for serious HPL and Sci FI fans where they can support and participate directly in Black Goat’s production.  We’ll see what happens.

In the meantime, please enjoy this little bit of production art by ANTHONY DEL RIZZO . . . OMG, are those tentacles?!

Keep watching this space.

It is going to be a busy but wicked 2011.

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Twits

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