William Shatner’s autograph on the 95ers movie poster…  That about says it all.


Comic Con was awesome.  It’s where legends, upstarts, and fans cross paths.  Ali kissed Bill (on the forehead) in an epic moment of boldness that will echo amid warp trails for ages to come, and he graciously signed.  I think it says: “To Tom, Bill Shat.”

The movie screening itself went great.  We had a decent crowd and people seemed to enjoy the film (which incidentally won BEST VISUAL EFFECTS at the Con (which incidentally had over 70,000 attendees)).

After the screening, one very sweet attendee (forgive me I can’t remember her name) said: “I won tickets to the Con and I’ve enjoyed all three days.  But this was the highlight.”

There was sort of a strange nostalgia combined with a gravitational shift in the universe while the movie played for the thousandth time in front of my eyes.  A weight lifted.  With the domestic distribution deal signed, and this last massive output of energy for the Con… the “95ers:ECHOES” chapter of my life is ending.  I’m not talking about about the 95ers sci-fi universe in general (which you’ll be seeing more in this blog in the coming months), I refer specifically to the strange, painful, and joyful experience of making this particular movie in this way.  On my way home after one last panel where we had fun comparing potential apocalypses (robot vs. zombie vs. alien), I asked myself: Was it worth it?

Well, was it worth it?

I’m not qualified to summarize Ali’s challenges during this adventure, but for me… I am several years, millions of dollars, and a dozen director’s chairs behind where I had hoped to be in my professional life.  Many tears have been shed.  Many checks have been bounced.  There has been enormous waste learning things I had to learn the hard way.

Pride is a cruel taskmaster.

Countless more months were spent wearing hats I had no real desire to wear.  For years, Reaper-like fingers have hung over Ali and I as we balanced our nerves and bills against the need to shoot the perpetual “next” sequence of the movie.  The crews got smaller and smaller as the years dragged on until the final months which became a lonely procession of interminable nights.  Then followed a certain “innocence lost” as I learned, again the hard way, how the movie industry works.  And even after deals have been signed, the debt monster laughs, and must be fed.  Gradually over the last six years, the supernova of enthusiasm that started the whole thing had condensed into a black hole that was my near constant companion, a Sysiphustic stone to be—

Okay OKAY!  This is getting a bit melodramatic.  In a nutshell, it was really really hard.

But the dream!  Mustn’t it be chased?  Even in ignorance?  And the story!  Mustn’t it be told?  And though this movie only scratches its surface, haven’t the depths of it grown far richer?  And weren’t there triumphs enough to keep us going?  A good scene here, an effects shot that worked there?  Maybe maybe maybe…

But what really scintillated throughout were the people—supporters and fans, cast and crew, and especially Ali.  I have sampled the love, support, and awesomeness of a shocking assortment of cool people around the world.

I will selfishly add that in the end, I am a slightly better person than I was.  And I like to think that the world is a very slightly better place because this movie exists.  Finally, though there were many seeming cataclysms that brushed by us, Ali and I were careful to NOT sacrifice our marriage nor our kids.

…So, the answer has to be, obviously, YES it was worth it.

Thank you again for your support.  We’re already planning our next one…  Get in on the ground level! 

Here are some fun pics from the Con...



Actually getting PAID for an indie film!


So, Ali and I got a very unusual piece of mail the other day… a CHECK. People on the other side of planet Earth PAID us for our movie.

First of all, I must apologize for being AWOL for the past many weeks. Since finishing the movie, I’ve had to do something vitally important: PAY MY BILLS.  My day job required lots of attention, and they’ve been more than patient with me.  At the end of this post, you’ll see the big project I produced/directed for them.  And I’ve also been waiting for some cool movie news to share…

And this is indeed cool.  After a ridiculous amount of ado, we actually got a check for the movie!  The mad tangle of hoops which defines movie distribution was boldly and defiantly navigated by a little bitty check with numbers and “$” sign on it.  Though it weighs a fraction of an ounce, its arrival in our mailbox is actually quite magnitudinous. (Yes, “magnitudinous” is a word, appropriately rare and justly invoked for this occasion.)

It means that someone on the other side of the world saw our movie, wanted it, received its components, arranged for its distribution, paid for it, and some of that money actually found its way back to us. The archaic system actually WORKED! On November 2nd, people in Japan will be able to buy the DVD!  Other Asian territories are soon to follow.

There is a certain “legit”-ness that comes with actually being paid for a movie. A certain “full circle”-ness about it all. A sadomasochistic satisfaction of having our movie on a shelf somewhere: “Ha ha you naysayers and oh how the pain was worth it!” Well, that last bit maybe not so much.  But Ali and I are very happy and very grateful for everyone who has been part of this adventure. And we have new respect for the sci-fi instincts of the people of Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam!

SO, you may be wondering, “What kind of money are we talking about?” Very little, unfortunately. I don’t make a dime off this check! But you may find “how it works” interesting…

Ali and I funded about 80-90% of the movie budget ourselves. The rest came as investment from friends and family, and from generous donations, like from our Kickstarter peeps.  Additionally, the movie is very much in debt, having borrowed significant sums to fund its completion. So before the movie can profit, first it must pay its creditors, then it must pay its “deferred” contractors (people who worked for low rates in exchange for potential back-end payments), then it must repay the investors. THEN it will actually profit and people can start making money. And of course, out of each “sale” price (meaning the amount a “buyer” pays for rights to distribute the movie in a given territory), a horde of fees are taken—distributor fees, market fees, SAG fees, etc. And then there are the wonderful accounting, marketing, festival, etc etc etc. fees.  And taxes.

But regardless… it’s a check.  AND, there’s even more light at the end of the tunnel.  Right now 95ers is at one of the biggest film markets in the world: MIPCOM in Cannes. At the end of the month, it’s off to LA for AFM, the American Film Market. Please send us your prayers and vibes. We’re hoping hoping hoping to snag a European and domestic deal!

I know many of you have NOT yet seen the movie! My distributor and I and working very hard to remedy that! Thanks for your patience. I didn’t design this archaic system. But… my next project may circumvent it a bit. Stay tuned for that…

Anyway, here’s the big project I recently cranked out at my wonderful day job, with the help of lots of talented people.  3D projection mapping and augmented reality live performance… it’s all the rage.  Some of you may recognize the voice of the high-tech narrator…


If the video box doesn’t show up in your email, click on this link to see it.