Onward and Upward

This weekend we finished post-production on a short film, No Time for Romance. It’s a fourteen minute short about a pregnant wife who must decide to stay with her live-in boyfriend or prepare for the end of the world. It’s really about much more than that though: the rising nuclear tensions and the effects it has on a relationship with differing views.

My producing partner and I shot the film earlier this year. It’s been a long time coming. The production didn’t go as planned and the audio was a mess. There were disagreements on the script (that never fully felt complete by the time of filming). In short, we learned a lot.

Upon finalizing and exporting the film, my partner expressed how much he liked it. How good it felt to be done. I felt the same way, but differently.

I replied, “No one will watch it and we’ll make more. Onward and upward.”

He agreed. This might sound complacent but it’s the opposite.

The film won’t win Oscar. And it most likely won’t launch our careers into quitting our jobs and becoming full-time moviemakers. We had a story and we wanted to tell it. Did it come out EXACTLY the way we wanted? No. But that’s okay. Few things do.

I have boughten into this idea/advice from filmmakers like Mark Duplass (and others) whose motto of “just make movies.”

Every project is another lesson for the next one. We have other projects in the works, both together and separately, my producing partner and I. Writing is the same way. With every project you learn something, you get better, you home your voice, your practice.

And as much as we’d love the fame and attention for our projects, the likes and the shares and the views—we know it’s not about that. It can’t be. If it was, we would have quit a long time ago. It’s about the work, the process, the collaboration, the storytelling.

Just write. Just paint. Just workout. Just sew. Set your goals but know it can’t be about the outcome. It has to be about the work.

When facing that lurking feeling of creative self-doubt, born from resistance, waiting to devour all of your dreams and ambitions—Theo Roosevelt said it best:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Come join us in the arena.

This isn’t our first film and it won’t be our last. The next one will be better, and the next one better than that. Fail again. Fail better.

Check out the film here:  No Time For Romance

Thanks for reading. Always be writing.



New Orleans Film Festival, here we come!

Good news!

The short film I produced earlier this year was selected for the 2013 NEW ORLEANS FILM FESTIVAL!

I blogged about it about five months ago, just after our kickstarter-funded production wrapped.  The writer, director, and editor, Gus Péwé, is just finishing up the final cut to send it off.

In all honestly, we weren’t expecting to have a final cut until Spring 2014.  You have to understand, this movie is like none other.  One of the characters in this 20 minute film, is completely rotoscoped.  Frame-by-frame animation had to be done.  It’s a total pain in the ass.  Just ask Gus.

To make things easier, I purchased Gus a Wacom Tablet, along with a carpel tunnel wrist guard.  The past month has been long and tedious for him.  I commend his endurance and drive.

So a trip to New Orleans should ease all the pain…

Our big plan was to take our time to finish the cut, and complete the animations.  We would then work the film festival circuit, and try to build a platform for the film.  Then we would release it  online.  From here, we would seek out funding for our next film — a feature Gus is currently writing.

But, we released a short teaser trailer this summer.  Actually two of them.  The second one was more revealing than the first. This is when Gus received a message from the director of the New Orleans Film Festival.  He he had watched the trailer and was very excited to see the final cut.  He  also expressed interest in the possibility of  showing the film in this year’s festival. See, another short Gus made, This Vacuum is Too Loud, was shown there last year.  So Gus knows it is a great festival.

Gus uploaded a very ROUGH cut of Same Ghost.  He sent it over to the director along with an access password.

A couple days later, Gus received a message.

The film was selected and, according to him, everyone at New Orleans was very excited to screen such an original movie.

Despite unedited sound, and animation that wasn’t even close to being done, the film was selected.  A deadline was set, and Gus got to work.

The NOFF staff saw what Gus and I saw when we filmed this movie: an original piece of work.

We are honored to premiere the movie at New Orleans this October.

We just recently purchased train tickets to New Orleans (I don’t fly).  We are ecstatic about the trip.  We are forever grateful for those who donated to our Kickstarter campaign, to those who helped make this possible and most of all, the support we have received from NOFF,  and our family and friends.

Today, we are looking forward to what the future holds.

Be sure to check out the trailer here.


Our Next Movie

So hopefully you guys all took the time to watch the latest film I produced called THE BIG WEST.  It was directed and written by one of the more talented people I know, Gus Péwé.

We shot the film for relatively cheap, and seeing as we’re students with minimal wage jobs, I think we produced something very special.  The film is awaiting notification of qualification in The Frozen Film Fest and The New Orleans Fest (Both are festivals where Gus’ previous films have shown).

We have since moved on from THE BIG WEST.  We just finished shooting a music video for a musician, neat beats.  It’s a montage of pretty ladies in lingerie, bathtubs, and twirling around with hula-hoops — editing should be finished at the end of the month.  During this shoot, Gus and I started talking about our next project.

He says it’s his longest script to date — 11 pages.

SAME GHOST EVERY NIGHT, will be the biggest budget movie we have yet to do.

We lined out a budget, secured our locations, paid for insurance out of our pockets, and found our actors.  As of now, we are in massive debt and a camera has yet to be lifted.  If you follow the link below — we have set up a kickstarter campaign.  Look it over and pass it along.  I appreciate any pledge you can make, if any at all.


Thanks for the time.


THE BIG WEST. Watch it here.

Some months ago, I blogged about a short film I produced called THE BIG WEST. It was written and directed by young and upcoming filmmaker Gus Péwé.

On Tuesday, at a local non-profit location, we premiered THE BIG WEST to our friends and family.

The final cut was 15 minutes. With a micro-budget, friends for actors and little resources, I believe we took a step into furthering our careers.

And that’s what it’s all about.

I utterly enjoyed making this movie — with people who take movie making as seriously as I do.

I hope you enjoy.


Music by Sonic Mound

THE BIG WEST trailer. It’s an Indie Western

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a special blog about a movie I was producing called the THE BIG WEST. Well now I’m here to present to you all — the first trailer.

Watching it, it’s hard to believe it’s only a short film. As you can tell, this is no average western tale. We are aiming for a final cut time of around ten minutes and so far let me tell you, it feels much quicker than that. It’s a story unlike any other, that isn’t worth missing.

We are currently in the process of finding a suitable location for its premiere.  We plan to display Gus’ earlier films and then  follow-up with THE BIG WEST premiere.

I’ll be posting further details later down the road. You can always contact me if you ever have any questions. I’d be happy to answer.



THE BIG WEST. It’s an Indie Western.

Earlier this summer I went to a fellow film making friend of mine, Mr. Gus Péwé, and told him that I would like to invest and produce his next movie — It was called THE BIG WEST. The script, I got to say it, was nothing special. Nothing to flip a lid about. It was brief. Short. Straight to the point. I wasn’t worried one bit.  This was how most of Gus’ scripts were. He had all that visual stuff in his head….waiting to come out on-screen.

Gus and I met in high school, where he was three grades below me. I think it’s safe to say we hit it off, mainly due to the fact we loved the same thing: Film. I graduated and Gus went on to make the short film  THE THREE VIVID DREAMS — eventually winning an award and tuition to the Interlochen Arts academy in Northern Michigan. Gus was always talented, but it wasn’t until this movie, where I really began to believe in his ability to direct an original film.

At school, he went on to direct a senior thesis project MY FAVORITE PLANET, which has since appeared at multiple festivals. During this period Gus and I had kept in good contact. But had never collaborated on much, due to the fact we’re on different sides of  the spectrum when it comes to ” genre” and ” story”. Our styles remain very different.

After Interlochen, he enrolled in the liberal arts school Denison in Ohio. There he made another short THIS VACUUM IS TOO LOUD. The film was recently a winner of the The Hammer to Nail Film Contest and is set to appear in multiple film festivals around the country. Gus was on his way. I enjoyed his success as much as he did.

This is when I decided to invest and produce Gus’ next film THE BIG WEST. With Gus at the helm as director, there was no doubt, we as a team were going to make something special.

With his creativity and my resources, we could really put something together that could further both our careers.

And that’s what exactly we did. Or that’s exactly what we have done.

THE BIG WEST is a tough one to put into words. It combines a western, science fiction, a buddy-journey story, with moments of comedy — See that’s another thing Gus is so talented at. He always said, ” I hate the idea of genres”.

This film is low-budget. Using our well-trained, very talented friends,  preparing our resources with vigilance, we shot the movie in a long 10 days. We have since put together a rough cut and I’m proud to say the investment was well worth it —  We made a movie. To me, nothing is more satisfying.

We have yet to set a release date for the film. As we are preparing for a local theater release. We’re working on a cut for the trailer, various marketing techniques and already started thinking about our next project — “Same Ghost Every Night”.

We’re creating. We’re striving. We’re trying. “Writer, director” at one time sounded great. But now I’m liking to sound of ” Writer, Producer”.

I always say, ” Surround yourself with people who inspire you, and there’s no telling what you’ll come up with”. I’m glad I met Gus.

Gus Péwé – Director

Tommy Colangelo – Original Music


Good film directors know how to use music: Three examples

Martin Scorsese. Sofia Coppola. Stanley Kubrick.

If you don’t know these film directors, try Googling them, you may find they are responsible for the direction of one of your favorite films.

After watching many  great movies, I have come to the conclusion that they all have sometime in common: They all have great soundtracks. Thus giving me yet another clue on how to make a good movie…

It may just be coincidence, but I doubt it. I have also come to the conclusion that good film directors know how to use music to tell a story.  And I think it’s safe to say, the scene or movie can create the song.  Sometimes literally — with original soundtracks.  But most of the time , not literally, using songs we already know and have heard before.  But they always seem to make the song memorable.

When you’re driving down the road, listening to the radio and a song comes on and immediately you remember the scene from one of your favorite movies. Now that’s power. The workings of moving images with sound is incredible. Suddenly you’re overcome with the feeling that scene held along with the song that it came with. This is when you know the director has correctly chosen the right song for the right scene. That’s not easy.

Good movies have good soundtracks.

ROCKY. STAR WARS.TITANIC. GOODFELLAS. 2001 SPACE ODYSSEY. PULP FICTION. THE GRADUATE. REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. APOCALYPSE NOW…oh god, I could go on and on. But I know you know multiple songs played in these movies. And if you heard them, images of these characters and their actions would or could be played in your head. That’s power.

Music is used to create the scene.

I think good directors do this so well, it really in a sense made them ” good directors”.

*Of course, picking the right music is the second task, first you must have the right material and the right actors. So let’s give the screenwriters and actors some credit too…. But the director must direct a strong enough scene, shoot it right and correctly set the mood. But what really tops that scene off, is the music. It’s the whipping on the banana split. Without it,  the scene wouldn’t have been nearly as good, says Captain Hindsight.

Lets break it down now!

Here are three great movies, by the first mentioned group of directors. In each scene the music is crucial. It sets a vibe. The images by themselves wouldn’t be as powerful with out the music. That’s just all there is too it. We could really get into the science of it, but we won’t. We will sit back, watch these scenes and take it all in. I must note  different song could completely change the complexity of the scene. Each of these tunes were chosen on purpose and for a reason… It really separates them from the group.

1. FULL METAL JACKET — ” These Boots  Were Made For Walkin” — Nancy Sinatra

This is a transitional scene. We are changing location, from boot-camp to Vietnam. I know — big changes. Big changes call for big changes in ” feeling “.  Kubrick chose this song wisely. It comes right after one of the darkest scenes in the movie and becomes the biggest turning point; a break into a new act. It’s not so much the lyrics that really penetrate the scene, but the feeling of the song, the rhythm and the beat that really sets the  vibe.


For more of Kubrick’s work, check out THE SHINNING — where he masterfully ques up one of the scariest movies of all time. See ” The Shinning Hallway Scene”.

2. VIRGIN SUICIDES — ” Magic Man” — Heart

This is a montage and intro to a key character in this movie. There isn’t much to say, because Coppola decided to show it all with music, images, character movement and then going into a brief narration to fill any holes. Although an easier way to tell a story, the scene says it all. Everything you need to know in a short two minutes. Unlike our last clip, the lyrics add a special touch…

3. Goodfellas — “Atlantis” — Donovan

This scene, which I think will go down as one of most memorable scenes in film history, is a huge turning point in this movie and our characters actions here  will ultimately lead to their demise (spoiler!). So it’s crucial!  The song emits a special feeling, one that I can’t pin point, but really makes this ultra violent scene, something very ” dreamlike” or “gentle” in many ways.


Check out THE DEPARTED. The first few minutes are well worth it. Many great songs set the vibe.

I could have chosen many movies with various great scenes. I chose this because to me, they were the most memorable. I’m sure you have a scene, with a great song, that really sticks out in your mind…

I’d like to thank YOUTUBE.

For other great movie soundtracks: Drive, 2001 Space Odyssey, Apocalypse Now, Star Wars, Social Network, Pulp Fiction, Requiem For Dream, The Graduate…