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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Special Excerpt: Stalking Kevin Smith at Phillycon 2002

This hot chick really has nothing to do with this story...

I mean, first off, how many people have stalked Kevin Smith? It must drive him crazy...Also, it's funny to read that I was trying to give him a tape. Yes, a VCR, times change fast.

Anyway, I'm at the Philadelphia Wizard Convention in 2002 on Friday and I miss an early chance to get into a line to get him to sign shit. That is where the story begins...

Stalking of Kevin Smith:

I find out that Kevin Smith is signing stuff right then. I grab my movie and high-tail it over to him. They've capped off the line though. No more people until the signing the next morning.

Yes, that's right, morning. As in, A.M.

I try to put it from my mind. I buy some stuff for the store, try to get the lay of the land, and in general do nothing of consequence.

The next morning I get up at the ungodly time of 9:45am. I take my patented three-minute shower and am in the show within five minutes of it opening. Target: Kevin Smith.

I'm informed that they're already out of tickets for the signing. I'm like, What The Fuck? This guy's the Special Guest and they're giving out like 100 tickets?

My new plan involves bum-rushing Smith when they escort him in for the signing. The line has formed and he's supposed to show up at 11:00 A.M.

I figure I'll catch him on his way in, force the tape into his hands, and run off like a lunatic.

So I bide my time. I look at all the freakos and the Playboy chicks. I pretend I'm not going to assault the Special Guest.

One such Playboy chick

The time comes. 11:00 A.M. No Kevin Smith. 11:15 A.M. No Kevin Smith. I go back to the booth to make sure the guys don't need anything. As I'm coming back, Kevin Smith shows up. No way could I get to him before he was behind the line.

Thwarted! Lost the battle, but not the war...

Yes, I see him now...

I go up to the line. Instead of Smith sitting at a table signing, he's going to walk through the line chatting and signing. How cool would it be to get in that line?

I approach a decent-looking fellow. Not one of those raving Kevin Smith fans who can tell you how many minutes each of his films are. A regular joe. I ask him if he wants to make $50.

"Doing what?" he wants to know. I tell him. Give this tape to Smith. If Smith doesn't want it, fine, the guy can keep the fifty and give me back the tape. I'll be watching.

The guy says Nah.

I'm pissed. He asks me what's on the tape. I tell him. He says Nah again.

So I try to bribe a Wizard security guy. I tell him "I'm a retailer and I got in here too late to get a ticket. Any way I can get in?" He says no, Smith was late and has to get done so he can get to the question and answer panel.

"Fifty bucks?" I prod him. Clearly he'd like to, but there are too many other Wizard staffers there who'd see. He can't.

Now I'm getting steamed. All this effin work to get a tape to the guy. I decide to bum rush him on the way out then.

I spend the next two hours patiently watching and waiting. Some might say stalking. Those people are very intelligent and scare me.

Same picture, because I'm focused on my prey. He's in my sights.

The line dwindles. Smith gets closer to the exit side of the line.

I close in. I try not to make eye contact. Don't want to spook him.


I marvel at how Lou Ferrigno(signing right next to Smith) is still in awesome shape. Isn't he like sixty years old now?

Then, miracle of miracles, Smith is done. Other onlookers start to press against the rope trying to get him to sign stuff. He does!

I make a frozen rope right to him. Calm, cool, collected. "Hey," I say, "Just wanted to give you a copy of my movie."

He tells me he can't take it right now, but he'll be going by the Oni booth immediately after that and he'll pick it up there. Give it to Brian Johnson.

I thank him, but inside I'm crestfallen. Is this the way he blows off people? Hey, what's that chick got to do with anything?

At the Oni booth, I tell the guy that Kevin asked me to give this to Brian Johnson. He's nice, says he'll give it to him. He goes through the hut in the middle of the booth to the other side.

I take off my hat(incognito now, baby!) and walk around the other side. Brian Johnson is one of the guys from Kevin Smith's movies(I think he plays Steve-Dave). He takes out the insert of the movie poster from Hunting Humans(my movie) and looks at it, shows it to one of the other actors from the Smith movies.

After a moment he tucks it under the table. Will Kevin get it? Only one way to find out.

I go back to where Smith is finishing signing. He's being mobbed and the Wizard guys are trying to get him out of there. Finally, they escort him away. Like his shadow, I follow.

Sure enough, he goes right to the Oni booth. A mob follows him. As soon as he's on the other side, Brian Johnson(may his camels be forever flea-less) hands him my tape. Some words pass, but I can't make them out. Smith takes my tape into the little hut where he disappears for a half an hour to sign things.

He's got it! Sweet! Mission accomplished. I pat myself on the back and go snap some pictures. Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee are signing in preparation for the twelve-issue run of Batman that they'll be doing. Jeph even smiles for me.

Postnote: I don't know whether he ever watched it. Never heard. Ah, well. It's a fun story now though...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

October 27th, 2002: Making Deals, Joe Bob review

I have no picture for my post. So here's a hot chick I took a picture of at a comic convention where I stalked Kevin Smith. You'll read about it in the next blog post.


Funny afterword about this:
I'm not sure if we actually played the Chicago fest or not--one of our foreign dvd covers to HH says we played in it, so I'm confused...where'd they get that info? I don't know.

Also, Tony at IFM turns out to be Anthony Ginnane, who you can see in the very entertaining documentary Not Quite Hollywood, about Australian exploitation movies. He produced a bunch of movies before forming his own distribution label.


    Really ought to update this more often. So much has happened that it’s hard to believe.

    Okay, first and foremost, after a long talk with not only Paul(works at Tulchin’s) and Tony at IFM, we signed the deal with them for foreign. We’ll see how it works out.

    Second, I had sent the movie off to a couple of festivals to see if we could get in. Chicago Independent and Hollywood Film Festival both blew us off, not even telling us we didn’t get in. I mean, how hard is it to email someone? If you’ve got a small indy movie, DON’T send it to them. Chicago claims it’s independent but doesn’t seem to be.

    Anyway, the B-movie Film festival didn’t tell us that we got in, but they emailed me to tell us we were nominated for seven awards, so I’ll forgive them. Best Writing, Best Editing, Best Action Sequences, Best Villain, Best Actor, Best Score and Best Movie. Not bad! (Footnote: We ended up winning two, Best Editing and Best Action Sequences)

    And then there’s the sniper…

    If I had a dime for every person who jokingly asked me if I was the sniper, I’d have enough money to shoot my next movie.

    Then I get word from Mary Koon, assistant to Joe Bob Briggs.

A quick word about Joe Bob, in case you don’t know who he is.  You might remember him from his long run as the host of TNT’s Monstervision. He writes several syndicated columns throughout the country as well as putting out books with his compiled “Joe Bob’s Drive In” movie reviews.

 I had sent a screener to Joe Bob like eight months ago and figured it went into the trash(where the one I gave Kevin Smith probably is—see “Stalking Kevin Smith”(NOTE: WILL BE THE NEXT BLOG POST). 

Anyway, his assistant emails me to tell me Joe Bob’s review goes up on 10/23 and she thought I’d like it. She included the review with her email.

I was elated. At least he didn’t hate it! And hey, Joe Bob actually watched MY movie! This is a guy I used to watch on the freakin’ TV! I’ve got two of his books!

Then I read the review.

Holy shit. I was like…HOLY SHIT. He RAVED about the movie. I couldn’t have written a nicer review if I tried. He wrote:“The story twists and spirals several times in the very accomplished script of Kangas, and this might be one of those movies that's actually helped by the low production values. It looks so grainy and gray it's the kind of home movie a serial killer would make about himself.” Wow.

A few of the other words he used are: “It doesn’t disappoint.” “A well-directed movie”. “…eerily prescient”(go look it up). And then he gives it four out of four stars.

Quite literally, it’s the biggest high I’ve gotten since I finished the movie, including the public screening at United Artists. I mean…HOLY SHIT.

Another thing, Joe Bob GOT it. He actually understood the movie and some of the underlying themes. Few people have commented on the irony about Aric Blue, that he prides himself on how self-aware he is, and yet he’s caught in the same trap that he uses to kill his victims.(his pattern is that he stalks and kills people)

Believe me, I’m coasting on a high right now.

So anyway, we’re in the midst of negotiating the details of the domestic deal. What happened was that I couldn’t find any info about the company who wanted the movie. I thought it was Spartan—turns out it wasn’t.

I have to sign a non-disclosure agreement before I can find out who it is. I can’t say, but they’re small. I talk to the guy in charge who says he’s 95% sure they can get HH into Hollywood Video. They can’t make any promises about Blockbuster, but they have gotten movies in there before.

Out of the thirty grand, I’m gonna have to pay for an MPAA rating which will run about two grand. Then I have to pay Harris $1500 to go through HH looking for any copyright violations and other stuff, as it’s a pre-requisite for getting E&O insurance(which the distributor will pay for).

So the piece of the pie is getting smaller. Harris gets 10% of the thirty grand. In essence, we’ll be making our budget back from the domestic. If all goes well with the foreign, we could make up to 150 grand on that.
Biding my time to see if we get any other responses about the Joe Bob thing.