Thursday, October 19, 2017

What's in a name?

"Addo" means "to add" (of course) in Latin. "Volt" refers to a unit of electromotive force in English.

"Addovolt" is just a word combo pulled out of the air that I smooshed together.  To me, it means "to add force" or "to add" voltage, electricity, life, etc., etc. you get the idea.

In truth, Addovolt Productions is really just a corny, obvious nod to Mary Shelly's Frankenstein (because I love the classic horror books/movies/shows and I always have, even when I was a little kid).  But it works and Addovolt's been the name for a long time now.

Do some projects feel like out-of-control monsters of my own creation?  Without a doubt!

Friday, October 6, 2017

So Here's The Deal....

I was rethinking my vow to put out a new Addovolt Exploration quick doc every single month.

But, instead, we'll do them regularly between more extensive projects (i.e. the lengthier documentaries, music video commissions, films, etc.).  Because I don't want to rush through them and be automatically popping them out all the time like some kind of deranged Pokémon monster.

But the Addovolt Explorations will be a usual thing, definitely. 

Sometimes there will be one once a month.  And then, at other times, it will be one every 2 months or 3 months depending on how the other projects are coming along. 

Because there are always other projects that are slurping up time, $, and production or pre-production (that can mean scripting, casting, settling permits, costume/prop construction, design stuff, etc., etc.).  Right now, for example, we're in the middle of shooting Pale Horseman's new music video which is a vast, bonkers, gothic fantasy-horror epic (we're into that sort of thing) and that needs full attention.......regardless, there will still be a fun, chilling Exploration coming up in a couple of weeks--an interesting piece of subject matter presented itself and sometimes I can't resist--so BONUS! for October 2017, that's nice.  But I can't do that all the fucking time.

Addovolt Explorations are just supplemental material bits between "fancy" projects.  That's all that they're meant to be....and so that I'm regularly engaged with editing material so that, when my editing software updates itself, it's not an alarming experience.  Just being honest!

So, instead, I'll modify that vow to say that I'll be doing updates on whatever's cookin' in the oven at least once a month.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

featured project

It's October now so let's revisit "October Sketches", last year's short film collaboration between writer Ashley Sant and myself.  Spooky Ooky, kiddos!  👻

The film is HERE on YouTube.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Addovolt Explorations: Mystery Masks

You might be thinking of picking out a superhero outfit but maybe you're more of a "Cracked Marionette"........

A suspicious plentitude of imaginative options are in the Portage Park district of Chicago.

For some odd reason, this neighborhood has two of the best costume shops in existence only a few blocks away from each other.  Weird and wonderful at the same time.

Watch the "Mystery Masks" episode of Addovolt Explorations right HERE on YouTube.

More Addovolt Explorations are HERE.

Chicago Costume store on Montrose Ave is no joke.

Meet new friends at Fantasy Headquarters.

Which one would you prefer to see popping out from under your bed?

Turn Your Frown Upside Down:  filmmaker Derek Quint gets into the spirit of things.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

not exactly raindrops on roses or whiskers on kittens

......but, despite that, they're still the Favorites.  I didn't really want to do a "Favorites" playlist on our YouTube channel but there's a kind of honesty to it. 

Some projects came out better than others.  Some projects people respond to more than different ones.  And that's fine.  It is what it is.

These are the projects that, I feel, best represent what we do.

Certain Addovolt films just didn't click with views even though I, myself, really hoped that they would so there's a couple that I included on the Favorites list that I'm hoping(....?....) will get a little bit of a retroactive bounce.  Or maybe not.

It'll be interesting to see which upcoming projects will be included on the Favorites list and which ones will just end up fading into the background.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

stuff to look at

We now have an Addovolt Tumblr rather than an Instagram account because I can post long videos up on Tumblr but I can't do that on Instagram.  And, considering that we do films, it makes more sense to focus on platforms that can play full videos (of course).  I kind of don't want to get into the Instagram game (even though friends and collaborators love it).  I love Instagram too but Tumblr makes more sense for what Addovolt does.

I'm going to have a legit website thingy up at the end of the year so I'm already working on that while working on the projects that are due to be online before mid-December.  Busy, busy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

exploring the Explorations

Sometimes there are 4, 6, or 9-month gaps between extensive projects.  This is because of preparation needs, other projects in the works, and $ (of course).

So, no, we don't pump out fancy, expensive or semi-expensive projects every few weeks (neither does any other boutique production company, big or little).  Nor would we want to for that matter.  I can't really imagine what that would be like.


I've noticed that when I go for months and months without shooting or editing material--which is rare but there have been a few years where that has been the case--processes can feel more difficult when jumping into extensive projects.  Like athletes, creative-types and technicians can get "rusty" (which isn't a good thing).

I also have a confession to make:  even though I'm a filmmaker, I'm not the most tech-y person in the world.  I love creating concepts, writing and directing films, working with actors and other artists, and I'm happy when these projects turn out as intended.

The technical shooting and editing parts of the equation are the aspects that I find the most challenging.  Gadgets intimidate me and I don't have that natural knack--or, honestly, either the passion--that other people, especially most filmmakers, have when it comes to being a whiz at the latest and greatest technologies and their various minutiae.  I just want the camera to shoot nicely and get the job done.  I don't want 2,000 different shooting mode choices.  Truly.  Let's just get the job done, not get overwhelmed by rabbit holes of button options and suboptions of questionable outcome/purpose, let's make sure that the actors are able to get home to their kids on time, and call it a day.  That, to me, would be perfect.

So, sometimes I need technical boot camps for myself so that, when I'm on set on a project with an actual (small) budget, and I have to make sure that we're staying within our allotted time and $ frameworks, I'm not getting tripped up by technical surprises ("surprise!  you accidentally pushed the wrong button and now the camera/shooting mode is fucked.  Enjoy!"), framing structures that vary from camera to camera, and precognitive editing plans that are forming either with or without my knowledge (because projects create themselves to some degree).  Plus, editing suites are constantly updating and sometimes I have no idea what's new with them until I'm actually in the thick of cutting a project (which is scary).  Basically, in order to be as up-to-task as possible, it's better to keep my "muscles warmed" regularly so to speak.

It's best to shoot little, silly documentaries here and there (with zero $ involved) so that when more extensive/challenging/"official" projects are happening, I can anticipate possible technical issues more effectively.  I'm guessing that you'll find this understandable.  I'm on my own here and I shoot my own material.  I would love to hire a cameraman for most projects but, because our projects involve mind-numbingly tight shooting schedules (and the acrobatics involved in getting everyone at the same space on the same day/time) and budgets, it's better for me to serve as my own cameraman.  For better or for worse, this works.  $, for us, is best angled at actors and location permits, makeup and costumes, etc.  Rarely are there more than 3 behind-the-scenes production people for us.  That's just how we roll.  Everything is minimal-team DIY.  Typically, it's just me shooting/clock-watching/sticking to the script and the actors doing their craft.  An indie film reality here.  Not glamorous.

Addovolt Explorations serve a few different purposes.  They allow me to keep in touch with my inner journalism nerd (he's in there, that's for sure.....), they give me an excuse to do some research/go to different places/engage with different people, to investigate new topics, to familiarize myself with whatever camera is being used, to get up-to-date on my editing software, and for me to stay technically versed on a constant basis.  Their flavor--in general--is sort of BBC, CNN, Vice, and 60's era "The Wonderful World of Disney" chopped together in a blender and tossed out of a window.

Addovolt Explorations are simply shooting, writing, research, and editing drills (to be blunt).  But sometimes the outcome is a lot of fun and they can be used to promote the works of others.  And some of the subjects will be boring to a lot of people (that's life).  I do them more for myself than for anyone else.

I'm not going to sweat about the view counts or anything like that.  If people watch them, cool.  If certain additions get ignored, then that's how it goes.  Oh well.  Addovolt Explorations cost nothing to make and they're good technical exercises.  Despite the easy-does-it, chilled-out approach to these little docs, I hope that you get something out them like I did.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Upcoming Projects

There are only 3 1/2 more months to go before the end of the year so hopefully I know what I'm talking about.....

(because things change a lot 'round here so you never know; projects can sometimes get altered when it comes to scheduling)

*new music video for Pale Horseman due at Halloween 2017

*new music video for The Baby Magic due around Thanksgiving or early December 2017

*feature length indie film--our first product (in the traditional sense of the word) as a production company--coming at the end of 2018

*it's entirely possible that there will be small, easy, little projects coming up in 2018 but, truthfully, the focus (i.e. $) all throughout next year will be on that feature film

*every month will have one of those quick, lo-fi mini documentaries--Addovolt Explorations--popping up on our YouTube page as well

Friday, September 1, 2017

Icari Hollow Updated Information

In the creative community, projects change often and things take longer than expected.  That's just part of the process sometimes.

So, no, Icari Hollow won't be happening this year.

But there's a part of me that wonders if, one day, the Hollow could possibly manifest in some other form or another.

That would be a genuinely great thing and I'd be thrilled to see that happen.  In the meantime, though, we all move forward with new endeavors.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Addovolt Explorations: Well, What?

The amazing (ly magical?) Schiller Woods pump located on the northwest side

In Chicago, we pride ourselves on having pretty much anything and everything a person could want and that, apparently, includes a modern-mythical well of wonder-water.  It's certainly worth a try......

Watch the "Addovolt Explorations: Well, What?" video right HERE  

"Well, What?" is the newest addition of the monthly Addovolt Explorations quick documentaries series which focuses on creators, locations, science, and history.

More about Addovolt Explorations is HERE

director Derek Quint samples the goods

Monday, July 31, 2017

Addovolt Explorations: White City, Emerald City

Majestic towers.  Shady politicians.  Strangers from Kansas......

Find out what else Chicago has in common with the Land of Oz as actor Michael Moody narrates a walk through Oz Park.

This quick documentary is HERE on YouTube.

More about the Addovolt Explorations series is HERE.

Addovolt Explorations

Addovolt Explorations is a series of quick, casual, mini-documentaries that we'll be doing on a regular basis between extensive projects (i.e. music videos, films, and longer documentaries).  The Explorations will be focusing on creators, locations, science, and history.  They're kind of like our version of a podcast (sort of, in a way).

The entries so far are (from most recent to oldest):

* "Mystery Masks" (a small neighborhood holds a ton of premium disguises)

* "Well, What?" (an allegedly miraculous water pump in a forest preserve)

* "White City, Emerald City" (Oz Park and the connection between L. Frank Baum and the city of Chicago)

slices of life in bite-sized pieces

An article HERE discusses the idea behind Addovolt Explorations as a series concept.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Super Fancy

Thank you to M.F.L. for sending me this picture that he took at Hearst Castle.  I'm gonna use it because it's perfect!  It's golden, gloomy, and it has a nice pair of booty cheeks.  Anyway, thanks Matt.

When we do the feature length horror film at the end of 2017/early 2018, yes, I'll do a website for that.  Because that's a product and will be its own thing.

In the meantime, though, it's more music videos and short films.  I feel like this blog is fine for the moment as our online headquarters.  Blogs are old hat at this point in Internetia Land but, oh well.  It's fine for now.  I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon every time some new and cute platform poops itself out for everyone to enjoy for a while (for example, we didn't get onboard the Vine ship when that was happening and, now that that ship has sailed, we're totally okay with letting that go; bon voyage).  We'll take things project by project and do what makes sense (for this specific production company which has a different personality type than other groups of our ilk) as things develop. 

We have a Tumblr account now!  Wow!


I actually like Tumblr a lot, and it's conductive to videos, so this makes sense.  I realize that everybody loves Tumblr because of the porn factor (of course) but I love it because it's very effectively artsy when done by the right creators and curators.  There are some seriously beautiful, emotionally engaging Tumblrs out there.  But mine isn't beautiful, per se, it's just a projection screen.  Which is fine.

I'm thinking about doing Instagram (I understand why people are into it, I get it) which would probably be a good idea once that horror film product is going to be pushed next year.  Yeah, I probably should do that.  We'll get to it later (....?.....[side-eye]).

I have a secret to tell you:

I don't love social media.  I love media (obviously), and I love socializing with people face-to-face, but I'm not a social media guy.  But I have to do it to some degree because I work in media and because it's 2017.  So I have to at least a little bit.  Whether I like it or not.  But I also don't want to be cornball or phony when it comes to social media (I feel like we're all dealing with that enough as it is, right folks?) so I have to reconcile those platforms in ways that don't completely contradict how I go about things or what our films are about (which is empowering the individual rather than drowning in the collective).

No Twitter though.  Twitter isn't my cup of tea.  I know that everything is SOCIAL MEDIA SOCIAL MEDIA SOCIAL MEDIA right now (will that be slowing down soon.....?......maybe a little bit.....?) but I'm gonna have to draw the line at Twitter.  Can't do it.  Doesn't suit my personality.  Not even to a minute degree.

I don't know what kind of website we'll cook up for the horror film, or what it will be like, but I just want some kind of simple, straightforward, unannoying website.  Nothing too trendy.

Deepspacepilots "Nebulizer" music video press release

Deepspacepilots:  Andre Almaraz, Ronald Strojny, and Bill Shanklin.

Chicago drone rock 3-piece, Deepspacepilots, have released a music video for their single "Nebulizer" from their most recent album, Point of No Return (2016).

Deepspacepilots features singer/guitarist Ronald Strojny, bassist Andre Almaraz, and drummer Bill Shanklin.

"The band wanted a video for their song 'Nebulizer' and suggested that it should have some kind of extraterrestrial storyline.  So we thought up a narrative with an inverse alien abduction done by a group of manipulative scientists," said the video's director, Derek Quint.  "Someone gets pregnant and there's a cover-up.  The alien protagonist gets sucked into some people problems on Earth right from the get-go which, in my imagination, is probably what would happen anyway."

The video for "Nebulizer" is HERE.  Deepspacepilots music and information is on their Bandcamp page.

all photos on this page by Derek Quint

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Deepspacepilots "Nebulizer" music video

The music video for "Nebulizer" from Deepspacepilots Point of No Return album (2016) is right HERE

An unfortunate cosmonaut from another planet gets "rescued" by a group of extremely sketchy scientists.  Basically, don't rely on the kindness of strangers especially when some of them are addicts, opportunists, bureaucrats, and/or religiously delusional.  That's a universal message, I think.

The "Nebulizer" music video has been featured on Radio One Chicago, Rockodrome, Sounds from the Underground, Fuzz FM, and Stoner Mountain.

Get more of Deepspacepilots by visiting their Bandcamp page.

Stills from this project are below.

Monday, October 31, 2016

"October Sketches" short film

"October Sketches", primarily a visual piece, tells a story about a young artist with an overactive imagination. 

The film, inspired by Ashley Sant's Icari Hollow concept, was produced to serve as a collection of B-roll visuals.  Sant's vision of Icari Hollow (plus a pic bunch from this project) is explored HERE.

"October Sketches", on its own, is a charmingly surreal short movie--a lightly spooky children's film, really--about fantasy, fear, and creation.  Watch it on Youtube right HERE.

claiming land for Icari Hollow

Updated information HERE

A friend of mine who's an author, Ashley Sant, asked me if I wanted to collaborate with her on an idea about launching a festival:  an October convergence of vampires, werekin (werewolves, weredeer, weredragons, you get it, part-human/part-animal beings), fairies, and witches.  These magical supernaturals come from all corners of the known world and some come from dimensions that we've never even heard of!  Victorian insect-people,  medieval warlocks, art deco elves, and some glamorous undead who just can't seem to let go of their 18th century finery (hey, everyone can be sentimental sometimes).  These spooks originate from a full spectrum of time periods so why should they hide it?

The essentials of the concept:

Outside.  Costumes.  Vendors and artisans selling amazing gear, products, and original works.  Food.  Performances.  Contests.  Characters interacting with guests.  Different factions of freaky entities mingling with each other.  Fun for the whole family.  An interesting place to take friends, boyfriends, girlfriends.  Or to go solo and soak it all in.  All ages.  Autumnal fantasy, not horror.

The idea is incredible; it was fun teaming up with Ashley to go on that journey.

The truth of the matter is that I love Ashley Sant's concepts.  She's a great storyteller with a great creative mind, and a wonderful person, so I was happy to be included in the process of idea-building.

Yes, the name of Ms. Sant's festival is Icari Hollow.  "Hollow" rubs beautifully with "Halloween" and it's a nod to haunt-ridden, classic places like Sleepy Hollow.  "Icari" is a word relating to the universe of her characters, serving as a reference to the legend of Icarus.  Icari are what the legion of animal-people are called.  The werecats, werebirds, werelizards, etc. are the Icari and, according to Sant's narrative, they're the ones running the festival, inviting humans to celebrate the season alongside the supernaturals.  Pre-written dramas ensue, spectacles take place, delicious food is eaten, costumes worn, and goods exchange hands.  I'm 100% for it.

Ashley and I created videos to present a sort of visual and tonal taste of the Icari Festival concept, to give a samples of what kinds of characters guests encounter.

A short film, called "October Sketches", is inspired by Ashley's concept.  The film toys with the idea of creativity/fantasy/phantoms of the collective imagination--the vampires, witches, fairies, and werebeasts lurking in all of our heads.  "October Sketches" is a series of drawings (and a loose narrative) via film as much as marker on paper.  Sketching can be done in all kinds of ways, whether it's poetry, songwriting, or--yes--filmmaking.  The "October Sketches" short film, which is right HERE, was created to present visual samples and as a kind of storytelling B-role.

Spooky, enchanting, and intriguing:  Yes

Terror and splattering brains:  No

Autumnal fantasy, not horror.

Could things be a bit.....unnerving?  Chilling?  Thrilling?  Definitely!

But, no, no chainsaws and dripping viscera.  Ashley and I do love that kind of stuff when it comes to slasher films and other people's Halloween events........but gore is off the menu for this concept.  Family-friendly.  No jump scares, no uncles having heart attacks.

Ashley's slogan, that she whipped up the other day:

"Let Us Enchant You...."

Sounds good to me.