Huff is finally finished. Audio done. Color done. And we had our first screening. We went to Dallas, TX for the Texas Frightmare Weekend. We took most of the cast and packed the 600 seat theater out the doors. The film was buzzing all around the convention… It was slightly overwhelming yet insanely exciting at the same time. We are screening again at the Philly Comic Con June 1…. and found out today that we were accepted in the Fright Night Film Festival in Louisville, KY in late June. More screenings to come
Here is a promo clip from the Texas Frightmare Weekend. Enjoy !
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Meg Hairell Tel: (661) 964-1345
Cell: (661) 313-9353
HUFF MOVIE ADDS BLOODY TWIST TO TALE OF THREE LITTLE PIGS Independent horror-thriller feature film inks stars, set to begin principal photography in December.
SANTA CLARITA (November 21, 2011)—In this dark, allegorical adaptation of The Three Little Pigs, Virgil “Huff” Huffington (Charlie O’Connell) is an abusive stepfather to three teenage girls living in poverty in rural Southern California. Huff is on the verge of a lucrative drug deal that will finally give him the money to escape his miserable life and retire to Mexico in style with his sexy mistress, Laci (Natasha Alam).
Huff’s plans begin to unravel when his battered wife, Lorelei (Elina Madison), secretly gives the money intended for the drug deal to her daughters and tells them to run away and seek better lives for themselves. This triggers a chain of rage-induced asthma attacks (yes, the villain “huffs and puffs”), violence, and murders as Huff attempts to locate the three runaways and recover his money.
Brixi (Amber Bollinger), the eldest and smartest daughter, must fight for survival as she attempts to protect her sisters from their beastly stepfather.
Charlie O’Connell, younger brother of Jerry O’Connell (Stand By Me, Jerry Maguire), has signed on to play the title role of Huff. The younger O’Connell is best known as The Bachelor (2005) and makes a departure from his handsome charmer persona by assuming the role of a manipulative, volatile, asthma-stricken stepfather who adeptly uses Bible scripture to oppress, manipulate and abuse his wife and three stepdaughters.
July 2010 Playboy cover model Natasha Alam (“True Blood,” “The Bold and the Beautiful”) shows up as Huff’s kinky mistress and his source of funds for the big drug deal. Insiders say to expect a “closed set” for her scenes. Mayra Leal, fresh off the success of her memorable role in 2010 action-thriller Machete from Robert Rodriguez, stars as a strung out neighbor who befriends the young girls until her addictions get the best of her. Multi-talented fan favorite Clint Howard (Apollo 13, The Dilemma, Evilspeak) will also appear in this twisted tale.
“We’re combining the dramatic story elements of a thriller with the kills of a horror film, so don’t expect campy dialogue in this pic,” says Director Paul Morrell. “This will be disturbingly real.” Morrell, is coming off a successful 2011 theatrical release of his independent feature Filth to Ashes, Flesh to Dust which debuted nationwide on 11 screens and came in fifth at the box office in per screen average (38th overall). The film also garnered accolades for Morrell for accomplishing so much with so little—he had a budget of only $18,000 for Filth. He’s been given a budget many times that for his latest effort.
For HUFF, Morrell has reassembled key members of his Filth team, including Producer Terry James, Cinematographer Royce Allen Dudley, and Production Designer John Nasby. The screenplay was written by enigmatic newcomer Sydney Corpuscle who has declined to comment.
About Windchaser Pictures: Windchaser Pictures is a privately funded independent feature film company. This is Windchaser’s first feature film project.
For more information on the independent feature film HUFF or to schedule an interview with Director Paul Morrell, please contact Meg Hairell at (661) 313-9353.
28328 CONSTELLATION ROAD • SANTA CLARITA, CA 91355
Photo Below , Samantha Gutstadt with Paul Morrell at the “Filth To Ashes Flesh To Dust Premiere. Red Carpet Sponsor Producer Bob Bekian CEO of Loyal Studios.
Here we go again… Making movies.
It’s been a little over 2 years since we shot Filth To Ashes, so needless to say my juices are flowing and ready to do all over again. Cast is finally locked. Crew in place. And we are 2 weeks away from rolling camera.
Film is called HUFF. It is based on the Three Little Pigs, about 3 beautiful girls, an evil step dad and a $120k. Going to be a fun December!
HUFF – Charlie O’Connell
LACI – Natasha Alam
KARL – Clint Howard
GINA – Mayra Leal
LORELEI – Elina Madison
BRIXI – Amber Bollinger
STYX – Jenna Stone
SHAY – Elly Stefanko
WOODY – Randy Blekitas
I am the featured filmmaker on Daily Grindhouse this week! Thanks to Geoff for doing the interview. Please click thru to read the article. These guys are doing some really cool stuff!
Daily Grindhouse Article
Filth to Ashes, Flesh to Dust is a modern day slasher film with an unconventional
cast of characters. Despite being of different races, from different socioeconomic
classes, and in some cases from separate sides of town, this motley crew of
teenagers does have one thing in common, they are not perfect in the eyes of Purge.
Purge has taken it upon himself to cleanse the earth of these teenagers one by one,
even if he has to do it with his bare hands.
Staff member, Annie Minervini, caught up with director and co-producer Paul Morrell to talk about Filth to Ashes, Flesh to Dust.
Horror News Network: I think this film is unique among the constantly growing list of slasher movies. The
connections between the characters, as well as what motivates their actions gives
great dimension not usually found in a horror movie these days. How do you think
this film separates itself from just another bloodbath slasher film?
Paul Morrell: I think a lot of low budget horror films forget to actually attempt to tell a story.
They lean on the gore and nudity to push it along (which is probably what the fans
are actually seeking… ) I find it the cheap way out to just go campy and make a
film that is obviously intended to be cheap comedy. We actually attempted to make a
real movie. One with story and characters along with combining elements of the old
school slashers with the gore and blood you typically find in the gore fests of
late. I think we did a pretty rockin job.
Horror News Network: Emotions run high with all of the characters; how did the actors take to these
roles, and was it a challenge to direct the highly charged emotional scenes?
Paul Morrell: Challenge is a loaded question. We shot this film in 12 days. We didn’t have a lot
of time for rehearsals nor mistakes. The actors really stepped up and did their
job. They brought themselves to the characters and really shined. Bianca LeMaire
was probably the biggest surprise. She was a last minute recast of the role and she
absolutely nailed it. As for the actors “taking to the roles”….. The opening
scene was first thing we shot. It was intense. We actually had someone throwing up
on set. It was pretty gnarly.
Horror News Network: What did you find to be most challenging about creating Filth to Ashes, Flesh to Dust?
Paul Morrell: Probably the most challenging was the budget. The Budget defined how many pages we
shot per day, how much prep time we had, how much crew we had, etc etc etc.
Unfortunately, in these types of films, the budget really defines the project…
Fortunately for us, we were able to cash in a ton of favors. Even tho we had a very
low cash budget, we had over $200,000 in time, labor, locations, props, product
placement and equipment donations. Without these, this film would have been a
As for a specific challenge… on 2 different occasions we lost an actress and
had to rewrite the story on the fly. Specifically in the scene where Shelly is
taken by Purge, the actress playing Shelly (Diana Quezada) became very ill and was
not able to make it to set. We actually shot that entire scene with a double
(Meredith Laine – the actress playing Kimberly) and overdubbed her lines in post.
Purge’s lair seemed extremely claustrophobic, at times it even resembled a cattle
run. Was it difficult to film so much action in such tight areas?
Talk about tight! The entire lair was 1 hallway and a room. We varied the angles
added plastic sheets, props, changed lights, everything we could think of to vary
that hallway to feel like you were in different places. Cinematographer Royce Dudley
and Production Designer John Nasby made that possible by constantly giving me
options. Michael Muscarella (known for his work on many of Clint Eastwood’s films)
actually came up with the set design. He had used pallets once to create a set for
Tales from the Crypt and looking at the limitations of space and time we had to
build this set, it was the perfect solution. We spent a solid 3 days planning out
where each scene in the lair would take place, from which angle and how we would
vary it. These guys really made me look good!
Here is a Behind the Scenes video of the set being built :
Horror News Network: What can we expect in terms of blood, guts, and scares in Filth to Ashes, Flesh to
Paul Morrell: We did a really good job with our kills. You will have to watch to see…. but we
had an award winning Stunt and FX Dream Team. They were badass. From wire rigs to
fresh liver…. we got it done…. and did it right.
Horror News Network: Where can our readers find out more about Filth to Ashes, Flesh to Dust?
Paul Morrell: Gordon Vasquez over at RealTV Films has done an amazing job at getting the word out.
He maintains a site for us at: www.filthtoashes.com Other than that we are at
the mercy of word of mouth and sites like yourself to spread the word. So, Thank
Horror News Network: What are you currently working on?
Paul Morrell: I have a day job in advertising. I am the creative director for a direct response
advertising firm (Cort Howell Productions) that has the Zumba Fitness account. If
you see Zumba Fitness on TV, my hands were probably all over it.
I just wrapped production on a show last week called “America’s Superwoman : Next
Action Diva”. We took 8 girls and put them thru a 5 week action, stunts and acting
course in search of the next female action star… The Judge panel included UFC’s
Big John McCarthy, 2 Time Golden Globe Winner Karen Black and “The Toughest Man
Alive” Gene Lebell (trained Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and more) as well as Action Diva
herself, the fabulous Mimi Lesseos (Million Dollar Baby, Scorpion King). Girls,
Guns, Bikinis….. I don’t think it gets any better than that. It was a fun show and
will make for a lot of great TV.
Horror News Network: In closing, what would you like to say to our readers about Filth to Ashes, Flesh to
Paul Morrell: I’ve cut my chops as an editor for nearly 15 years now. Over the years, I have been
told by so many peers that I wouldn’t last as a director… And I would love to
thank all those assholes who said we couldn’t do it. And I have 3 other films in
pre-production. Whatever it is…. if you want it: Go get it.
Horror News Network: Thank you for your time, Paul. Good luck with Filth to Ashes, Flesh to Dust. Comment on this interview here.
My oldest son, Alex (6 years old) has started writing stories. He writes them out illustrates them, then staples them together as books. His first one was called “The Lonely Race Car”. Thanksgiving weekend, we got out his toy cars, lincoln logs and some thread, built a set and off we went. Alex helped with the entire process. Even down to directing camera on several shots. He is my little rockstar.
I am happy to present “The Lonely Race Car” by Alex Morrell. Enjoy!
Yep, we did it. Put the bonzai blades to the test. Too much fun. The last one is a picture of my sliced finger…. Enjoy!
Hey, it’s done! This was a fundraiser piece, that I directed and edited for My Broken Palace. MBP is a teenage suicide prevention organization out of Orange County. They are doing some pretty rockin’ stuff for kids. Have worked closely with nearly everyone in this organization over the last few months… They are the real deal and their hearts are big! Please check them out: MyBrokenPalace.com
Director of Photography – Royce Dudley
Music – Ah2 Filtered
Audio Mix & Sound Design – Jimmy Jernigan
Directed & Edited – Paul Morrell
I was recently asked to use a series of single words to describe who I am, what is my personality. At first I was like, OK this is easy. But as I thought about it more and more, the string of words changed again and again. Here is what I ended up with. Perhaps I missed psychotic….. but here goes.
Paul Morrell in 5 single words.
Now I will explain each.
Stories. I love to tell stories. And I am not talking about the cliché film maker response. I literally LOVE to tell stories, face to face with my mouth. I love to see the reaction when I tell a funny story that really happened to me. Bathroom stories, getting mugged, getting hit in the head by a baseball at the Dodger game, etc etc etc.
People. I am happiest when surrounded by the people I love. My Wife, My Kids, Parents, Friends, Old Friends as well as new acquaintances. I love solid conversation, happy conversation, debates, differences and most of all just sharing a laugh with others. I love it.
Food. I am a foodie to the core. All of it. Not picky. Greasy, healthy, whatever. I love it. If I haven’t tried it, I want to and will be excited about every bite of it.
Emotional. I am super emotional. The smallest things in life will get me rolling. Good and bad. It doesn’t take much. I get stoked, pissed, offended, and fall in love really really easily! And sometimes all at the same time. Whether it is people, food, God, my wife, whatever. I am passionate about everything in my life, and thus, my emotions are a roller coaster. But whether I am upset or excited, my passion level is the same intensity either way, in all aspects of my life.
Risk. I am not afraid to take risks. I am always looking for opportunities to do something big. Perhaps, this falls into the emotional category, but whenever I dive into something, I go fully in and don’t look back. The problem is that I don’t always check out how deep the water is before diving… but I dive nonetheless.
Wow. what a year this has turned out to be. From bottom of the barrel financially to back on top in a matter of weeks. This time last year, I was casting for a feature film. Didn’t make a dime off of it. In fact, I ended up putting thousands of dollars of my own money into the film… Ultimately killing my year financially. This year, I have chosen to focus efforts on making money versus spending it. In this awful economy, I have somehow found work, and for this I am super thankful. What feels like a million deliverables before Thanksgiving is going to keep me busy the rest of the year, and hopefully into twenty eleven.
I have some exciting stuff cranking on the creative front as well. My next feature is well underway “Raymond & Gladys” is in full on development. We plan to go into production early 2011 and “Rusty Revolver” (a deranged badass TV Pilot) in a few months. Unfortunately, until someone wants to pay for it, “Wailin’ Jones” has been iced. Wailin’ is the passion project I’m willing to wait for to do it right
Until then, it is kitchen appliances and exercise videos……………………………….. lol. After a day of meetings and research for a Kitchen Appliance show, one of the PA’s asked me if I loved my job. I said “hell yeah”…. and as I thought about that more, I realized I really do. I freaking love every aspect of it. Loving this journey. The ups and the downs. Thankful I can do this fulltime.
Rusty Revolver is going to rock…. I am busting at the seams to tell you more… but you will have to wait :)
Shot my 2nd piece on the 7D last week and spent this week cutting it in Florida. I am still blown away at the image quality off this little guy. Budget was too low to rent the hi-quality glass, so we shot on the stock $200 lens…. Everyone told me not to, but I will say, the thing stood up just fine…. You can definitely see a difference in the glass, but it looks great. To save on budget we used my A1 as a 2nd camera in lieu of another 7d and they cut together just fine. The project is a combination PSA & Fundraiser piece for a teenage suicide awareness non-profit My Broken Palace One of the spokespersons for the piece was Bradley from the Groovaloos (watch the video below) … Great to help support and meet people with passion for art and a desire to love the unlovable.
A week in Florida also brought me my first eyebrow waxing….. yeah, not really sure why I did that, it hurt like crazy. yeah, I’m a wimp.
I just wrapped up what was possibly the busiest start to a new year I have had in my career, and after a very rocky 2009, this was VERY welcomed.
It being the new year, there have been an onslaught of new interns that have started working. The typical fare, you can see immediately the ones that will amount to something and the ones where you just wonder…. what are they thinking… they are going to get eaten alive in this business.
Well, the guy managing the interns ran out of stuff for them to do and had them follow me around. Now, I don’t move very much. And for someone to follow me around really just involves sitting in a chair and watching…. So I got to spend 1 on 1 time with each of them over the last couple months and 2 of them really stood out. The first reminded me of myself. He was constantly asking questions, driven to do something at whatever costs, and just immediately jumped right in. You really can see the passion in this kid. He wants this.
The other that stood out, was COMPLETELY the opposite. Now, he may have the exact amount of enthusiasm about his dream, but he definitely isn’t expressing it. He NEVER asked me a single question. I asked him, and his responses were under 10 words, everytime. And on days when he wasn’t shadowing me, I would catch him peeking around the corner into my edit bay staring at me… still never saying anything. lol. it was rather odd. funny. but odd.
I came in from lunch one day and there was an intern sitting at the front desk and I had to pause a second. For a moment, my head went right back to 1998. Working in Nashville, TN right out of college, I was the staff PA at Stephen Yake Productions. When the receptionist would go to lunch, part of my daily duty, was to man the phones and play video games on her computer while she took a break. I just snickered.. what a killer time that was. So many people around that inspired me. People that I wanted to be just like. Mike Ashcraft directing a music video, teaching me to document/journal my experiences as each project is a new adventure that I need to remember and take things from project to project to get better and better. Darla Korieba showing me how she does a radio edit of the dialog before she covers. Dan O’Connell teaching me the processes of maintaining a system. Sylvia Avalos (who managed the interns / PAs) telling me to go sit in a bay and watch Darla or Patty cut. To go sit with Mike and pick his brain. And ultimately, Steve Yake and Randy Brewer giving me opportunities to work even tho I was NOT qualified.
The stuff that I got from these guys, I literally use now, EVERY DAY. These were people that made a HUGE impression on me. So much so that 12 years later, I can sit in an edit bay on the other side of the country and remember their faces, their expressions when I walked into their offices. People that listened to my stories and ideas and encouraged me… I realized, Dang I am now on the other side. All those years ago when I would peak around the corner to see if they might invite me in to watch what they do…. I was thinking, I can not wait to be like them. I can not wait to do that. I can not wait to be the guy sitting at the console running the AVID. The director yelling back at the producer when he is trying to change the vision for a piece. The guy that walks into a production company for a meeting to pitch a project, and says hello to the intern covering phones during lunch.
Now I sit here. That guy. After a rough 2009, I sit here wondering how in the world am I going to take my career to the next level. How am I going to get to the point where I am “successful”. And I realized, success is all about perspective. Because 12 years ago, I don’t know that I would have really believed I would be where I am today. 12 years ago, I would have given my right arm to be where I am today. How quickly I forgot. How easy it is to look at where I sit now, and feel underachieved. Until I look at where I came from and how far I actually have come. Of the 25-30 people I went to school with and interned with, I seriously can only think of 3 or 4 people that are still working in the business and doing what we all started out to do. And for that I am thankful to be one of the few still going after it. I am stoked for the projects on my plate this year. 2010 is going to rock. I hope and pray that I can rock the world of the interns that pass thru my life just like those of you that rocked mine.
For those that haven’t seen this yet. Here is the trailer and the official website. Enjoy!
A long one today… down to the final scene tomorrow… then a mini screening. I am super stoked with the progress. This clip features Jimmy Von Jernigan hard at work, a visit from The Cricket Toy and a little blood gurgling.
Day 1 was great! got thru 5 of 11 segments today! It is freezing cold here. woke up to snow.. had BBQ for lunch. I love being back in the south.
2009 was probably one of the roughest years for me thus far. But at the same time was possibly one of the most memorable. From the economy nearly killing one of my largest clients, to identity theft, check fraud, license plate stolen and being held at gunpoint, this was definitely a rough one. So I am super stoked to see 2009 go away.
But in 2009, I also saw some significant career jumps. “Oversold” signed worldwide distribution and I finally made the leap from shorts & commercials to features – As a Director for Hire, I directed my first feature film “Filth to Ashes” which we are finishing post this week!
My oldest son also started school this year, he loves it. Will be interesting to see how long that lasts. (him loving it, not how long he’ll stay in school )
Music… I tripped up on an artist that just blew me away. I was surprised as this wouldn’t normally hit my radar at all, but PHIL WICKHAM rocks. I also fell further in love with Country Music: Brad Paisley and Zac Brown Band…. hah, never thought I would say this… but these guys definitely made my list of 09 faves.
January 8th marks 10 years of being in Los Angeles, I have lived in LA almost as long as I lived in my home town. Does this mean LA will soon be “HOME”? lol. I don’t know. It still doesn’t feel like it. I have spent the last 2 weeks with Mom and Dad in Florida… and this is definitely “home”. And the food is WAY better in the south
Back in LA January 7th… a couple infomercials on the slate and another feature.
Happy New year. Twenty Ten. Let’s rock it.
PS…. an update and footage from my 7D shoot are coming… wasn’t completely prepared for the workflow when I headed home for the holidays… (I loaded all the footage onto a USB bus powered drive…. and it needs FW800) So I will get er done when I get back to LA.
Today was rad. Spent the day in a casting room, which is always fun… but what made it rad was that I used the Canon 7D to shoot it all. It was fantastic.
I used the kit lens with nothing other than the room lights.. and the stuff was great. I can’t wait till next week when we shoot with a proper DP, better glass, stage, crew, etc etc blah blah blah…
We are shooting 2 7Ds and an A1. 2 day re-enactment shoot with Moms talking about Juice and Chocolate Milk! Will post the results!
The Oversold Tour has officially started. We did our first date this past Thursday night at Pepperdine University. The event was hosted by the Intercultural Affairs Office, and they really treated us like rockstars. It was incredible.
The event started at 7pm. From my experience in the past, it is always nerve wracking waiting to see if anyone was going to show up… I mean after all who the heck am I that they would come to see my film. (which has been the case at most of the festivals I have had films showing at… in a theater to an audience of 12. lol) Well, this one is a bit different. We slammed the pornography world with the church world and needless to say, people came (obviously Crissy was a HUGE draw ). This is the 2nd public screening of the film. The first, in Phoenix, AZ – we had a packed house of a little over 200 and then at Pepperdine, the theater sat 399 and there were over 450 people! The line was literally wrapped around the building, they ran out of seats and people were sitting on the floor in the aisles!
They played the film followed by a Q&A with Dave Cowan and myself followed by an intimate interview with Crissy. The evening was lead by Author, Radio and TV host Reba Toney. After the program they opened the floor up for questions from the students, followed by an hour and a half of chatting with kids after it was all over. We wrapped up around 10:30pm!
Thanks to Kortland, Don and Claire for putting this together, as well as the handful of friends that made it out to support us! We had a blast, and can’t wait to do it again!
Enjoy the pix from the evening. Photography by Kevin Trang.
Several new projects on the horizon… time for a refresh of all the promo junk!
I recut my reel, however I can’t show it yet as it has a truncated scene from Filth to Ashes on it… I also updated my bio and resume. VIEW HERE
I would love to “beef” up my followers. Scroll down to the bottom of this page and click on “FOLLOW THIS BLOG”… I need to fill that box up. Well, I guess I don’t need it, but it sure would make me feel better about myself. lol.
Filth to Ashes is in the final stages of post. 2 rough cuts have been completed and we will be locking picture by next week. Score is nearly complete and then we are scheduled to start audio post (sound design and surround mix) the 2nd week of November. The last puzzle piece is color correction and grading. (don’t know when that will happen! lol.)
Thanks for everyone’s input on the artwork. Here is what I hope to be the last round of these photos.
Special thanks to Royce Allen Dudley (Photographer) and Josh Sullivan (Digital Artist & Title Design) for knocking these out of the park. Trailer is coming… then off to hit the pavement trying to sell this monster.
These are my choices:
Director, editor and motion graphic artist Paul Morrell – right image
drawn by Paul’s five year old especially for this interview!
Paul Morrell is a freelance director, editor and motion graphic artist in Los Angeles. His portfolio includes movie trailers, music videos, commercials, infomercials, TV shows and short films. In 2007, Morrell was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Movie Spoof, for a film titled Texas Chainsaw Musical. He am currently in post-production on a good, old-fashioned teenage slasher film titled Filth To Ashes. You can view Paul Morrell’s online portfolio on his website.
Christian-Movie.com: What audience did you have in mind when you wrote Oversold, a modern adaptation of Hosea’s story – about a pastor who falls in love with a stripper?
Paul Morrell: I love telling a story where two worlds that do NOT belong together are slammed into each other, falling apart and then ultimately surviving. Originally, Oversold was a mainstream feature film script. But as everything fell into place (budget, talent, etc.), the scope changed and we honed down who the audience is: the church. Out came a Bible study film, and not just a film.
However, we do still hope to produce Oversold (the feature) some day.
Oversold: A pastor marries a stripper in a modern-day
adaptation of the biblical story of Hosea
Christian-Movie.com: How did former pornography star, Crissy Moran, get involved in this project?
Morrell: We asked, a lot. It took a bit of persistence, but after a few months we got a meeting, pitched the project and she came on board. We initially approached Crissy to be a consultant for the adult business side of the story (for the feature). Once we really got into the thick of it, we realized she would be perfect for the role.
With her testimony being so close to the story, combined with the teaching aspect of the film, it makes for a one-two punch that is incredibly powerful.
“With [Crissy's] testimony being so close to the story…it makes for a one-two punch that is incredibly powerful.”
Christian-Movie.com: How has Oversold been received in Christian circles? Have you received any backlash for handling a topic that many Christian filmmakers avoid, or for working with Crissy? What about the response from secular audiences?
Morrell: That’s a touchy subject. We have had a rollercoaster ride with soooooo many people on this. From people not wanting to be a part of the project and walking off set because Crissy was in it, to literal hate mail from “believers,” the reception has completely blown my mind.
“The reception has completely blown my mind.”
When we did a rough cut screening to 50 pastors around the country, the feedback had nothing to do with who was in it, or about the stripper scene. It was all about how the church in the story didn’t accept the stripper and “that was too close reality,” or “you guys shouldn’t be exposing that underbelly of the church.”
I will tell you why it is too close to reality. It is because that scene was not invented by a writer. That dialog was pulled directly from conversations I had with other Christians who didn’t want to be involved in the film because of “who was in it.” That scene was an afterthought, due to all the responses we were receiving.
Oversold lead actress, Crissy Moran
We submitted to the Gideon Film Festival. I was super stoked about this festival. My father is a minister and I grew up going to Ridgecrest every summer for conferences, and the thought of spending a week in the mountains with other filmmakers was riveting.
After submitting the trailer, the Gideon Festival’s immediate response was “we would love to show the film during the film festival part of our conference,” and we began the process of getting the film over to them. But then suddenly, our contact with the Gideon Festival became MIA. After a couple emails, I finally got the response that because of who Crissy was, and because she was in the film, they could not show the film at the festival. Keep in mind: THEY NEVER WATCHED THE FILM. They completely judged the film by the past sins of our lead actress! I responded to the Gideon representative with the request that they at least watch the film before making their decision, and I got NO response.
On the other side of the fence, we were greeted with open arms by nearly every “secular” media organization we approached: The Today Show, Extra, Reelz Channel and we were even featured in a documentary that was funded by a major cable network (not supposed to say which yet). Actually, our crew was made up of mostly non-believers. The majority of my Christian friends would have nothing to do with it (family and a few close friends, on the other hand, were VERY supportive).
Paul Morrell directs Crissy Moran and Stephen Zimpel
“All that to say, a huge chunk of the people that judged our project before seeing it have apologized since watching it, saying that the film made them think about how they really see people outside their Christian circle.”
Christian-Movie.com: Oversold’s production quality is impressively high. How did you round up the production crew, including DP Royce Allen Dudley? What is Royce’s background?
Morrell: Wow, thank you. That is awesome of you to say. I am BIG on production value. I will push my budgets to the limit. I put EVERYTHING I have onto the screen. Royce has shot 35 feature films, from $15K features to million dollar features. He is the best that I could find on my budget to do the job.
“Always surround yourself with people
that are better at what they do, than you are at what you do.”
Which brings me to one of the most important things I can say to aspiring filmmakers (and it took me a long time to realize this): Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you can do it all yourself. I was told by a college professor one time that you should always surround yourself with people that are better at what they do, than you are at what you do. It will make you better.
Director Paul Morrell (center) in Oversold’s Coffee Shop Scene
YOU HAVE TO HIRE PROFESSIONALS if you want it to look like a professional did it. I know that sounds obvious, but in this “DV” age, people think they can literally wear all the hats. Sometimes they can…but 99% of the time that they do, the production quality suffers or just isn’t up to where it could be.
I hired a DP to shoot and light my film. It made all the difference in the world. And don’t be afraid of the old guys, they just want to work. Because of their experience, chances are they are going to bring a lot more to the film than their talent. You will get wisdom, advice and plus they usually have incredible stories to tell! And believe it or not, you CAN afford them. Their rates are very competitive.
“YOU HAVE TO HIRE PROFESSIONALS if you want it to look like a professional did it.”
The ironic thing is that Royce was one of the FEW crew I hired. Due to budget constraints, most of my crew ended up being family members who I flew out to LA and gave filmmaking crash courses to as we went along. Key department heads – DP, Grip, Audio and Makeup – were hired; everyone else were family member volunteers.
Christian-Movie.com: If your viewers took only one message away from Oversold, what would you want that message to be?
Morrell: Christ loves us. He wants us as we are. I think so many times we forget that, without Christ, we are unworthy of anything God has to offer. We can’t clean up to come to Him. He cleans us up. We are broken people and HE heals us. We have to stop judging other broken people; that is God’s job. We are to just love those “unlovable people” and spread the good news.
“Christ loves us. He wants us as we are.”
Christian-Movie.com: What is the most meaningful comment anyone has made to you about Oversold?
Morrell: The most meaningful thing for me has not been comments (although there have been many), but the relationships I have forged with some of my crew. If you are familiar with my portfolio at all, you know that I am not your typical “Christian Filmmaker,” and making this film has opened doors for conversations that I would have never been able to have otherwise. Opportunities for me to share my faith with people that normally wouldn’t listen.
Crissy Moran and Stephen Zimpel
Christian-Movie.com: What are the top three things you wish you had known before you started?
- Make sure everyone knows what they are getting into before you start. We lost an entire group of “extras” for the dinner scene (notice there is no one else in the cafe), once they realized Crissy was in the film.
- Vegas was an unnecessarily expensive place to shoot. We could have saved thousands of dollars doing it here in LA, and taking a smaller crew to Vegas for exteriors.
- Unless you have the money to pay for it… don’t try to get Label-owned music. There are thousands of bands and musicians out there that are willing to give you a needle drop for no charge. The Label side of the music business will charge you an arm and a leg for a song, plus an ongoing royalty. At least they did to us. We had to remaster the entire project once we sold to distribution, as the royalty to one record label for one song was more than I was making. And I fronted the money for the production.
Christian-Movie.com: What was the biggest hurdle that you faced during the filmmaking process, and how did you overcome it?
Morrell: The biggest hurdle has got to be the lack of support from the Christian community. How did we overcome it…don’t know that we did; we are still battling it.
“The biggest hurdle has got to be the lack of support from the Christian community.”
Christian-Movie.com: What was the most significant lesson that God taught you, from a personal standpoint, during the making of Oversold?
Morrell: In the midst of how our project was received, God revealed to me that this is exactly how I have always been. It was time to start loving the unlovable.
Christian-Movie.com: What’s next?
Morrell: We are currently in fundraising mode for Wailin’ Jones – an almost-modern retelling of Jonah and the Whale.
Christian-Movie.com: How may Oversold be purchased?
Morrell: We currently have distribution through Heritage HM for Australia/New Zealand and through Osmango Distribution for the U.S. and the rest of the world. Osmango is expecting to have DVDs on Christian Retailer shelves by the holidays. In the meantime, though, you can get it from our website.
Christian-Movie.com: Any closing thoughts?
Morrell: Rock it.
My Interview with HOSFU!
Time for new glasses… (and a shave ) 3 years with these red glasses next month… I think this is a record time for a single pair for me. choices choices choices:
Alright, need some help here. I have been going back and forth with production on the look and feel of the marketing package for this horror flick. Here are 4 mockups that we have put together. These are no where near done, so please no comments on the photo editing blah blah blah. All of these are by different artists. I am not going to tell you which is my favorite…or why… not yet. But here they are. Please let me know your thoughts and why! Rate them in the order you like best. You can leave comments below and or send me an email to : firstname.lastname@example.org