Dec 18, 2008

Comic Book Resources

Comic Book Resources just ran a nice interview with me, at:

I apologize ahead of time for some of my rambling answers... ;)

Check it out.


Dec 1, 2008

Victims of Love

Here's a really, really cool new short film from Justin Lutsky, titled Victims of Love. Justin is a fantastic director, who also doubles as a green screen compositer (well, at least for The League he did) and webmaster. As payment, I contributed sound design to Victims.

Check it out!

Nov 30, 2008

Onwards and Upwards...

Well, as you can tell by taking one look at this page, I've never been that frequent a "blogger." I initially started this site as a way to show people test frames from the short film, as Dylan and I worked to finish editing.

But after I designed The League website in June, I asked my friend Justin Lutsky to code it for me, since I still have never gotten around to learning HTML. Of course, it became apparent rather quickly that it would be a pain in the ass for me to update the site (with me not having easy access to the Dreamweaver files, or knowing HTML). With the film going live, and interviews/message board posts starting to seep their way across the net, what better time to revisit the old blog for updates?


We're currently working on an outline/pitch for the world of The League, that could be done in several different mediums. Well, right now Alec's working on it... I'm updating this.

Oh, and if you haven't seen it yet, we just did a pretty extensive interview with Jennifer Contino at THE PULSE, regarding the short film.

Getting into Higgins & Siegel's League Film

Stay on the lookout for upcoming interviews with Comic Book Resources and RedEye...

Nov 18, 2008

Final Poster

Courtesy Eoin Colgan

Feb 25, 2008

Final weekend

Our last two days of shooting were originally supposed to be our first. With location setbacks, we were forced to push the climactic fight to the end of the schedule. However, locations in February proved to be just as hard to find as they were in November. After a series of all-night scouting trips (Hi, Justin and Alec), we settled on a warehouse facility in Long Beach.

We lit the warehouse from outside (in the rain) with 9 Maxi Brutes up on Avenger stands. Jason Gray, Adam Hart, Alvin Zalamera and Steve Shriver made up the stunt team for the weekend, and pulled off some pretty fantastic stuff (little wire work anyone?).

It was an interesting experience, with the amount of visual effects plates that we needed to shoot. Mike Grier (Effects) was on set to supervise, as well as work with his brother Josh in managing our giant warehouse puddle. There is some nice ambience added to the scene courtesy of a super soaker. When you watch the scene, look for the water drip from the rafters. I swear it wasn’t inspired by a late night viewing of Alien the night before.

Chicago shoot

When Michael Nie (camera operator) came on board, one of the first things he brought up was the idea of shooting B roll in Chicago. We had considered this previously, but until that point it didn’t seem possible due to crew and equipment. I was willing to settle for still photographs, with a little digital wizardry from Mike Grier. However, when we started talking about the idea, we realized that Michael and I would both be in Chicago over Christmas, and we had a friend that might be able to get us a hook up on a camera package. Baring a complete blizzard, there was no reason we couldn’t go shoot establishing shots and inserts of the city.

Of course, when we decided this, it was still November, in California (which feels like September in the rest of the country). Fast forward three months, to one of the coldest winters I’ve ever seen.

Michael and I operated (by ourselves) with an Arri SR-3 package for about two days, in 10 degree weather. We caught two sunrises (5:30am) and two sunsets, since on paper it had sounded so cool for our daytime scenes to take place in the “early morning.”

The real break came when we were able to talk our way up to the 45th floor of the Hancock building in order to grab some really fantastic shots of the Palmolive building.

It’s funny—when I watch a cut of the film, I forget how much went into getting these shots. All I see is a “larger” movie

Jan 15, 2008

Clothes Make the Man

Early last summer, just as we were finishing up the script, I started looking for a costume designer. Of course, with the subject matter we're dealing with, there's only one kind of artist I was looking at-- someone who did comics. Cue Eric Wight (

I remember first seeing Eric Wight's art the summer before, when he did some really cool Mike Sekowsky-esque pages for Meltzer's Justice League #0. After that, there was the Mon-el story for the Action Comics Annual, and then at one point I stumbled across The Escapist. I was pretty much sold even before talking to him. Eric designed four of our characters-- Wraith, The Grey Raven, Helio and The Dart. When Helio's name changed to Sparrow, we did some alterations to the design (including colors and the logo), and eventually I decided I liked The Dart's costume so much that we would instead use it for Blaze (sans the helmet).

But anyway, here are Eric's original designs. With a movie that is supposed to take place in 1947 and then 1963, it was obviously important to have that golden and silver age feel to the suits.

The Office

The first of our (it was then supposed to be three) weekends was in the works for months. Even before Alec and I started breaking the script, we knew we would be building the Grey Raven’s office. With the amount of screen time (three scenes) that take place in the location, and the logistics nightmare that filming in an actual office would provide (twenty stories up during the day and at night, with a superhero coming in through the window?) made the decision pretty simple.

As we started discussing the shoot with the production coordinator at Chapman (Michele Kennedy), the only sound stage that was available was the smaller of the two main stages (Stage A). Don’t get me wrong, even having a stage is pretty sweet; however, Stage A provided to be a touch crammed when trying to fit a 30 foot green screen at a far enough distance away in order to light it. When all was said and done, we were punching a 10K through the side window and 16 park hands on speed rail worked as sky bounce.

Because of all the visual effects, our DP (Andrew Davis) picked the 7218 film stock from Kodak—at 200iso, the plan was for our grain to be nice and tight, making effects tracking/compositing much easier. However, as you can see from the pictures, the stock has a lot of latitude, and as a result, our window did not blow out (of course, it’s times like these you realize why the term “fix it in post” was coined heh)

The set was designed by Dorothy Street (Production Designer) and Mike Grier (Art Director/Visual Effects). The cabinets (and most of the office) were built from scratch by Mike Grier, Josh Grier, and Mitch Fait. The below render was an early test from Mike, to give everyone an idea of the kind of set he wanted to build.

The Safehouse

Text coming soon. But for now, enjoy a couple frames

Jan 13, 2008

The Crime Scene

Ah, night exteriors in LA.

Lacystreet Production Center is a backlot studio in downtown LA, just north of the city where the 5 and the 110 meet. It's an old textile mill that has been used in a variety of films ranging from Catch Me if You Can to LA Confidential. And it looks freaking amazing.

Due to problems with locations, we had scrapped the idea of shooting the crime scene and climactic fight until after New Years. But when I got the call that Lacystreet was available for 1 of our previously planned 3 nights (Sunday), we decided that it was too good to pass up for our crime scene, especially since all the actors schedules worked, we had a great crew lined up, and the editor was yelling at me to "for the love of GOD, at least shoot SOMETHING before Christmas-- we're supposed to screen this in April? There's no way we can screen this in April. You're out of your mind if you think we can do this by April..." Of course, this meant renting equipment for the entire weekend, and only using it for one night. Yeah, model of efficiency we are. Sigh.

Now normally, a night exterior would require a day of pre-rigging (setting up all the lights) so that when the rest of the cast and crew walk on the set for the night of the shoot, everything is ready to go (due to SAG regulations, you cannot legally shoot for more then 12 hours before taking 12 hours off--which is why you pre-rig). Of course, because we're students, and have the budget to match, we could only afford the location for 12 hours. How the hell could we do a days worth of lighting, and a full night of shooting (some 37 shots), in 12 hours? Going over the 12 hours (even illegally) was not really an option. The location contract was quite clear that for every hour we went over would cost an additional $500.

We got to Lacystreet around 3pm with a 30 person crew and a 5 ton grip truck. As the sun began set, and the lighting crew donned walkie talkies and started scaling buildings, ladders, and catwalks, production design started work on the alley (you know, with the required debris, fog machines, dry ice, flyers, trash cans, and fake blood that you've come to expect at a night time crime scene). At the same time, I was coordinating with Andrew Davis (cinematographer) about the first shot, which would be used for the end of the film (a sunset shot of Wraith atop a rooftop, battle torn and backlit by the sun). It would be sweet-- if we could get it off before the sun went down.

More soon.

First post

Sigh. It must be a cold day in hell.

I'll be honest-- I'm not really a blog person. Writing about events in my everyday life for family or friends to read doesn't exactly enthrall me, but alas, I have resorted to starting one of these here journal type things because:

I'm making a movie.

Well, it's not exactly a movie, or at least not the kind that most people are familiar with... It won't play in theaters around the world, shatter box office records, or catapult me to international stardom (I'm making that one next year-- a sequel to Signs tentatively called Signals... I kid. Or am I?). But, in my own small world (and hopefully around the internet), it could be cool.

The film, titled The League (, is about the superhero labor union in 1960's Chicago, and a former sidekick's journey to redeem himself. It's a short film (25 minutes), with a murder mystery plot that's heavy on the shadows. The whole thing is being done as a Senior Project for Chapman University.

We're currently wrapping up principle photography, with two nights of shooting left (February 1 and 2), and a screening date set for April 5 (but more likely May). As the website is still in development, I figured this would be a good place to start posting bits about the film. I'll hopefully be updating this thing fairly frequently in order to chronicle a bit of our journey.

So welcome to my corner. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.


It must be a REALLY cold day...