Welcome to day 1 of 7 Days in Strangeville! This will be a little retrospective series for those of us who lived through the heady days of the Hack Movies era, while it also serves as a primer, or introduction to the world of Strangeville for those of you who only know me through the literary world. For years I made movie after movie with the most dedicated, loyal and trustworthy crew on planet Earth. We made anything we set our minds to with no money, little skill, but a fucking metric ton of heart. So here we go. Day 1 in Strangeville:
Before the feature length films, endless convention tour screenings and probably the worst online reviews you’ll find from any one single filmmaker not named Uwe Boll, there were the infamous Hack Shorts. These little guys were talked about for years, but only recently, through the help of Hack Movies Super Minion Adam Troutt have resurfaced online for mass consumption.
Way back in 2004 I shot this little guy. At the time, I didn’t realize how ambitious it actually was. I was just a young dumb kid who was tired of hearing the people at my video store talk about being filmmakers. So my buddy Jonny and I bought a 250 dollar camcorder from Walmart and got to work. I wrote the script in about 20 minutes, and filming took about 4 hours. Since I had no idea how to make movies, it would end up being the second film I released after it sat on a hard drive for over a year waiting for someone to edit it. After asking around and trying to get people to help, I ended up just teaching myself how to use the Windows Movie Maker software and the rest is history:
The Pumpkin Menace
After shooting Zombage! I had the bug. This was also around the time Star Wars Episode 3 came out. I was collecting a lot of Star Wars comics and my roommate at the time was obsessed with one of the Star Wars video games. So we decided to do a Star Wars parody film with a monster I’d created for an aborted mocumentary we’d given up on a month or so prior. The Pumpkin Monster would go on to become the Hack Movies mascot and appeared in sketches, at conventions, and even in our final feature length film NIXON AND HOGAN SMOKE CHRISTMAS. Again, I edited this one on Movie Maker and uploaded it to the brand new Youtube video sharing website.
Winding up a very productive 2005, I wrote, shot and edited this one in the span of about 3 hours. By now I was a wiz with movie maker and my acting and directing chops were starting to grow. This would be the last short film I would make before launching Hack Movies as a feature length film production company and beginning to tour the country selling DVDs at conventions. It was also the last film I made before meeting the primary crew who would work with me for the rest of my filmmaking career. Bonus fact: This is the first appearance of Joshitsuo Montoya (Nixon from the Nixon and Hogan Movies) who would go on to star in every movie I made thereafter. He plays the Pumpkin Monster.
That’s it, folks! I hope you liked this little blast from the past! We’ll be back tomorrow for a look at my very first feature length film. DREAM REAPER!