Great Faces! Great Places!

Hey folks! Andrew here...

This last weekend, Eric and I drove back to my old stomping grounds for the Eighth Annual South Dakota Film Festival! This is the second year Two Jackets has attended the fest to support a film of ours. Last year our film, You Only Die Once!, took home the award for Best Comedy Short at the fest. This year, we attended to represent our electrifying superhero comedy, Meanwhile, at the Citadel of Superheroes...!

This fest holds a special significance to me. I grew up near the city of Aberdeen, which hosts the festival, and visited frequently over the years. Both this year and last, we stayed at my uncle's house - also his and my mother's childhood home - which brings a lot of history back to mind. The experiences of the last two festivals have become part of that history, creating a sort of bridge between my past and present. I wouldn't consider myself a pessimist, but maybe that's was Rust Cohle meant by the flat circle of time. Or not!

Weird philosophies aside, this year's fest was fantastic! The fest's producers, including ringmasters Tom Black and Brent Brandt, don't believe in separating the celebration from the cinema. They treat their guests like royalty, and the filmmaker attendance shows it. Over half of the 70+ films screened were represented, which meant Eric and I not only saw a whole bunch of movies, we got to meet and party with the folks who made 'em! We were especially excited to meet the producers of DESTROYER, who have been making films in South Dakota with actual budgets; Adolfo Martinez Perez, a Hollywood storyboard artist who's worked on notable movies like Oblivion and Terminator Salvation; and the producer of Fort Tilden, the Brooklyn-set winner of the South By Southwest 2014 Grand Jury Award! Eric and I spent most of our drive home on Sunday processing everything we'd learned from these talented and gracious folks. Our summation: making movies is hard and stuff.

We had the additional pleasure of chatting with the students, faculty, and fellow alums of our alma mater, Minnesota State University Moorhead. Our professor, Tom "T-Bone" Brandau, screened his latest short, Home Delivery, which features performances by Eric and me; our pal Conor Holt screened his excellent sci-fi short, A Better Life, which also played at Fantasia in Montreal earlier this year; and we caught a few impressive MSUM student-produced projects, too! A couple of the student films even featured performances by one of Two Jackets' favorite collaborators, Bill Dablow!

Photo by Conor Holt

Photo by Conor Holt

Meanwhile, at the Citadel of Superheroes... screened on Sunday afternoon, and we were quite pleased with the response the film received. It was an exclamation point at the end of an already rather exciting weekend! The positive reception garnered by the film has us excited to continue its life on the festival circuit. Look out genre-fests, Lizzy Lectric is on her way!

This upcoming weekend, Two Jackets will be facing the spooky/scary trials of the Minneapolis 48 Hour Horror Film Project. If we survive the terror, we'll be back to tell the tale. Keep the lights on 'til then, won't you?

2014: The year of the film challenge

We're happy to announce that Two Jackets Productions will be participating in not one, not three, but TWO filmmaking competitions in the month of October! That brings us up to FIVE for 2014. Whoa!

I know what you're asking yourself, "Hey dicks, after doing Z-Fest, 48HFP Minneapolis, and 48HFP Columbus, what other film challenges could you possibly be involved in?" Well, I'm glad you asked. First up on the first weekend of October is the 48 Hour Film Horror Project! It's just like the regular 48 except it HAS TO BE A HORROR FILM! Obviously, this is awesome. Marcus will be in Minneapolis to write and Andrew will be directing. We're all really excited to do something a little different and decidedly un-Two-Jacketsy! Stay tuned!

The second challenge, you ask? For the first time since our college days, we will be participating in the Four Points Film Project (formerly the National Film Challenge)! The rules for FPFP are similar to the 48HFP, except we have 72 hours to complete the film instead of 48! That's like... twice as much time or something! The competition kicks off the last weekend of October. I'll be directing this project, with Marcus writing remotely via science, and Andrew producing and AD-ing. Forecasts are indicating that it will be "bomb." I've been promised that "bomb" is a youthful colloquialism meaning "a good thing," which means I'm suddenly very excited! 

We'll be posting after each weekend to let you know how the competitions went and to post video links! Until then, stay classy!

Eric

Squarespace

The online presence of Two Jackets Productions has been, in a word, neglected. We've been jumping around from blog to blog, trying out different avenues of hosting, and have been utterly underdeveloped in the website department. Now, however, we may have finally found something that works: SQUARESPACE.

Okay, so we're late to the party here. You've all known about Squarespace forever, and we've finally picked up on the trail. Sorry about that.

Anyway, the site is all here now! All of our old posts will be copied over and backdated onto this newly built site so that you can enjoy all our wisdom and witticisms until the end of time. Enjoy!

With love,

Eric

NOW ONLINE: The Home Office

You thought Keeping Up with the Cloneses was Two Jackets Productions latest 48 Hour Film?  Think again!  Shortly after moving to Ohio, Marcus did a 48 Hour Film solo.  While "The Home Office" features remote performances over the phone and on Skype, everything else was shot by Marcus himself.  There was a lot of setting up a camera and running in front of it, as well as adding shake in post to make it look like he had a camera operator.  It was a fun experiment in a different sort of filmmaking.  See if you can spot Andrew and Eric in the video!

The film has also been selected to screen this Thursday, September 4th at 7:00 PM at Studio 35 in Columbus, as part of the Best of the 48 Hour Film Project showing for the city.  If you're in the area, stop on by!  If not, check out the film above.  Marcus will be back with an update this Friday on how the "Best of" screening went.  He's honored to be a part of it!

Where's Marcus?

This summer I moved to Columbus, Ohio to pursue my dream of writing full-time. 

“That’s great, Marcus!” you say.  “How did you find a full-time job writing?” 

To which I say, “I didn’t!  I’m working on some spec projects and attempting to get into a writing development or graduate program.”

“Oh,” you say, and then avoid eye contact until someone comes by and changes the subject.

So, what am I doing in Columbus?  Is this the end of Two Jackets!? 

I’m writing, of course, and this is far from the end of Two Jackets.  In fact, we’re hard at work preparing another feature film script.  I’ve blocked out most of September to work on the first draft.  Additionally, I’ll be driving up to Minneapolis to work with Andrew on the Minneapolis 48 Hour Horror Project this October.

While we may now be in different time zones, Andrew, Eric, and I have lots of exciting plans for the future of Two Jackets Productions, and we’re excited to share them with you as they come to pass!

Stay tuned!
Marcus

Turn off your buffalo phone!

These immortalized words can only mean one thing: Two Jackets is going back to the South Dakota Film Festival!

2014 SDFF Laurels.jpg

This year's fest will be held September 24-28 in Aberdeen (the Hub City!) Eric and I will be in attendance to support our electrifying superhero comedy, Meanwhile, at the Citadel of Superheroes…! The South Dakota screening is especially exciting because we will be premiering the extended festival cut of the film, which presents Lizzy Lectric’s story as we originally intended. The new material fully develops the soul of the movie, thanks in huge part to the sincerity and hilarity of our cast’s work. Some new music from rhythm-writer Reed Reimer and more post-production wizardry from Master Carlson elevate this new cut into a special experience. We can’t wait to share it with you!

If you’ve never been to SDFF, I highly recommend it. Last year was my first year in attendance, and I had an absolute blast. The fest’s organizers know how to treat their guests right, with entertaining and eclectic programming and plenty of food, beverage, and hootenanny at the after parties (which go until dawn). I love my home state, and I’m incredibly proud that it hosts such a welcoming fest, celebrating the art form I love in its incredibly diverse and fantastically weird glory.

There is indeed something happening in the middle of nowhere, and I’ll see you there!

-Andrew

NOW ONLINE: You Only Die Once!

That’s right! Our horror comedy, You Only Die Once!, is now online, just in time for the spooky/scary Halloween season.

This story of zombie-burdened ex-lovers holds a dear place in the twisted recesses of my heart. With this project, I wanted to experiment with some of the more wild and kinetic cinematic techniques, including split-screen, Dutch angles, and – my personal favorite – ZOOMS! In the projects that followed, Eric and Marcus have tried their damnedest to break me of my zoom addiction. They mostly succeeded, but I've gotten a few in there and yearn for the next opportunity! (Perhaps in our Minneapolis 48 Hour Horror Project entry?! MWAHAHA!!!)

Don't worry. I get it. Zooms don’t belong in everything. We devised YODO’s story as a foundation for such techniques, which is a backwards way of doing things, but hey, it worked! The whole project was an exercise in melodrama, and we had a helluva-lotta fun doing it. 

So if you're in need of a laugh right about now, check it out. The film kills every time we screen it - in more ways than one! (Uh oh, look out!) 

-Andrew

2014 Minneapolis 48 Hour Film Project

Folks, we're going to Filmapalooza!

Eric here, and I'm so pumped to announce that our entry into this year's Minneapolis 48 Hour Film Project, "Keeping Up with the Cloneses," has been awarded several honors, including Best Sound Design, Best Writing for Marcus Mann's script, Best Actress for Debra Berger's performance, Audience Favorite for our screening group, and BEST FILM overrall! That's right, errbody, we did pretty good this year!

The 48HFP took place the weekend of June 6-8. At 6:30pm Friday Night, Marcus, Andrew, and I hit the Crooked Pint in downtown Minneapolis along with the other 67 teams to draw our genres and get our required elements. We then dashed down to our location, a lovely old house in South Minnie, and started brainstorming! It didn't go well. After two hours our only decent idea had been offered by Marcus who said, "so she's a government cloner, okay?"

A few hours after that, we had a fantastic script, Andrew and Sam Johnson (our Cinematographer (he also shot Boxing with God)) were shotlisting, and our actresses were all lined up to begin shooting in the morning!

Saturday was a long day. We began bright and early, bleary-eyed and un-showered. I sat upstairs editing the footage as it came in, while Andrew directed the action below, and Marcus kept everyone on-track by playing Assistant Director. Our great friend Craig Larson (the titular character in Boxing with God) recorded audio, Sam Johnson ran the BlackMagic Pocket, and we all had the pleasure of working with Katie Vannelli again! Keep an eye out for her in the lead role of the upcoming Meanwhile at the Citadel of Superheroes...! We were also lucky enough to experience the acting talent of Debra Berger for the first time, a relatively new friend of the Jackets who we've been dying to work with!

Despite some last-minute, late-night rewrites, we managed to finish shooting around 1am Sunday morning, catch some Zs, and finish up the edit on Sunday. It was a race against the clock as we rendered the final file, hopped in the car, took some liberties with some Speed Limit signs, and handed the film in with minutes to spare!

The following Wednesday, June 18, "Keeping Up with the Cloneses" debuted in front of a large audience at the Riverview Theatre along with several other films in our screening group. The reaction was spectacular and the following Tuesday we were floored to find out we had made it to the Best Of Fest screening on Thursday, the 26th!

Although Marcus wasn't able to attend (he'd scampered off to Ohio just days before) it was a fantastic night of great movies and bated breath! We swept every award we were nominated for (Best Sound Design, Best Actress, and Best Writing) and were thrilled to receive the Audience Favorite award for our screening group. After "Cloneses" closed the screening portion of the night, the big moment arrived. We all held our collective breath as they counted off the runners-up awards, and we could not believe it when "Keeping Up with the Cloneses" was announced as Best Film of the 2014 Minneapolis 48 Hour Film Project. Simply amazing.

Overall, this year's 48 was a challenging one. We pushed ourselves to make a movie the likes of which we've never done before, and ultimately we were rewarded for the effort. We couldn't have done it without our dedicated supporters, amazing crew, and freakishly talented actresses. From myself, Andrew, and the not-so-distant Marcus, we'd like to thank everyone who saw our weird little movie. I'll be posting it online ASAP, so check back here over the weekend!

Left to Right: Debra Berger, Eric Carlson, Andrew Neill, Katie Vannelli, and Craig Larson

Left to Right: Debra Berger, Eric Carlson, Andrew Neill, Katie Vannelli, and Craig Larson

Now on to the worldwide competition.... See you at Filmapalooza 2015!

Overwhelmed,

Eric