Trailer for my AFI Thesis film, PERSUASION

Stay tuned.



 My new film, BRUISER drops tonight. Below are a few of my favorite stills from the set. Be sure to follow the link to the film this evening, it's been 15 months of hard work, and I'm very excited to share the final product.
Brian Ronaghan (producer) and Elissa Ruminer (makeup)

Leslie Meeker (Martha)

Joe Burch (Ryan)

Filipp Kotsishevskiy (Cinematographer) and Kevin Henthorn (Lighting)

Jenna D'Angelo (Sarah)

The Bruiser

Mattson Tomlin (Director) and Joe Burch

Mike Pappa (Production Designer)

On set

Light Bulb Room

Kevin Henthorn, Mattson Tomlin, Filipp Kotsishevskiy



it's been a while.  another film in the can, a new life ahead.  with a little bit of a push from some old and new friends, I've been encouraged to use blogger to give a few quick updates.

BRUISER is in post-production, and there to stay for a bit longer.  It's an exciting little film, and a new, purist view on the superhero mythology we are all obsessed over.  More on that in years to come (we hope.)

GRUNDY is in post-production, and almost out.  Pick Bickmore has been working tirelessly on the score and the visual effects are now underway.  It's a constant struggle, and my answer is always that we're almost there. no one is more excited than I to deliver.

I am about three days away from some big changes.  Moving from the East Coast (NYC + MA) to Los Angeles to attend the American Film Institute.  I was accepted this past spring and will be in a small group with a concentration on film directing.  A lot of work ahead, and a whole lot of life changes ahead.

Twitter has turned into my beast of choice, and if you're reading this and want to have a sense of the day-to-day work going on in my little corner of filmmaking, please drop me a line over at that nifty place.


I haven't moved from blogspot, and will continue to use it, but for more succinct, often, and visually interesting thoughts (As well as a LOT of posts on the amazing work the creative people around me are doing) you should



Had a great meeting with our sound designer, who I can't help but refer to as Broadfoot, this afternoon. He handed over the sound design for Dream Lover, which he and I have been bouncing notes on back and fourth for a little over a week, since the task was given to him. I was surprised how fast he works. This is important, because it's the last piece. Capital D. Done.

I've just begun to export for DVD Studio Pro. It will take all night, and possibly through the morning. On October 30th, you will be able to watch Dream Lover online. This will be the case for ten days, then the film will unfortunately go offline for a few months so we can run festivals. I'm working on a venue in New York (not a theater) to screen Dream Lover on the 29th or the 30th, and there will be big shouts about that when the time is right. In any event, mark your calenders for the 30th, and get ready to watch and share a dream with me.


The Release

I'll keep it brief. Tomorrow's a big day. Brian is coming in. A lot of you haven't met Brian, and may not be as familiar with him as you are the likes of Neville, Chris, Mak and Adam, the faces from the original short. But Brian's important, and you'll remember him. Sure, he plays an interesting character in the Solomon Grundy saga we'll all be seeing soon, but he's also a tremendous actor, with a ton of patience.

Brian's coming in tomorrow is a big deal. Not just because he's Brian, but because he's coming into the cave to do some ADR and additional voice work. Said differently, Brian is the first scheduled to come in and lend his voice back to production so that we can really get cracking on sound. We're not picture locked there, and there are strange editorial reasons why we're capturing Brian's voice at this stage, and not after we've locked.

The wonderful D. Yee, whose work has always been an inspiration to my own (dating all the way back to the days when I was shooting the Projectionist in 2007) brought together a wonderful poster for the film. Expect to see it everywhere.

Solomon Grundy will be out December 28, 2011. Make sure to follow us on the 'book to keep up to date on the daily happenings.


The Break Up.

My computer is reading 5:01 am. I've got 16 minutes where I am barred from doing any work as I wait for the rendering to complete on some final color tweaks.

My first announcement about Dream Lover came, surprisingly (to me at least) over a year ago. On September 21, 2010, I revealed what would be both my Junior film at SUNY Purchase, and my obsession for a pretty solid 18 months of my life.

14 minutes left to render.

Tonight's the last night with Dream Lover in my hands. It's been written. It's been shot. It's been extensively cut, recut, reworked molded, and crafted from a lot of clunky raw footage that had a lot of the crew scratching their heads on set, into something that I think accomplishes what I hoped to do.

From the beginning, my hope was to capture my dreams. A real dream. Grab the fuzziness around the edges, the uncertainty of how I got here from there, or what her face really looked like. Take myself out of narrative film world, and dance on the edge of a more experimental genre to try to capture that familiar haze we all know when we wake up.

After tonight, Dream Lover will go to the last people that will touch it. Our Sound Designer will take a crack at the material and fill in the remaining sonic holes left in the wake of the film's surprisingly robust and beautiful score, compliments of Andrew Fox. The mixing will wrap up, picture now long since locked, and it will be rendered one final time, along with the special features I'm including, then pressed onto a gorgeous DVD designed by two good friends of mine at Salt+Seed. None of this will be done by me.

9 minutes to go.

I've watched Dream Lover hundreds of times now. Over a dozen today alone. Just to make sure there aren't any slip-ups. Can that sound better? The color temperature isn't quite right here. It's both mathematical and chaotic at the same time. But I'm finding, as it turns to 5:11 in the morning, that I'm dreading the sunrise, and dreading the accomplishment of no longer having Dream Lover in my hands.

It's not because I'm not excited to have it complete, and it's certainly not because I don't want to show it- I've been dying to put it out into the world since it was written. It's that familiar feeling each time a film is finished, and each time lovers part ways. It almost feels like someone's died. Finishing a film is so much like a breakup. The lover you know so well, each nuance, turn of the phrase, look, and feel that you are know so god damn well.

6 minutes.

Sure, you may see your old lover walk down the street, or go have a casual lunch with them. But a door has closed, no matter what. Watching this film on the big screen will not be unlike lunch with an old romance. It may be nice to see them, and you can learn a new thing or two- but the real fun, the real adventure of coexisting and living that experience, that is gone.

2 minutes.

So I'll watch you one more time tonight, and make the tweaks I can't live without. I'll watch the sound levels carefully, and make sure the color grading is as accurate to the projector as it is to the monitor. I'll finish my notes for filling those sonic holes. And then I'll say goodnight, Dream Lover.

Rendering Complete.


Content. Updates.

So much to update, but no time to do so. A robust, all out post coming on Sunday/Monday. Dream Lover, Solomon Grundy, and a few additional things on the rise. In the meantime...



The past year has been another leap into adulthood. Though I'm not there yet, it becomes clearer every day that I am soon going to be the man I'm going to be. Through my teen years, being a film person had just as much to do with the image of being a director as it did with the final product. I'm breathing a sigh of relief as I get older and finding that it's unlikely I will be one of "those guys" in my career. No silly hats, no wearing suits on set, no sunglasses at night. The image is cool I guess, but you should never be cooler than your films.
I've now spent 18 months on Solomon Grundy (hard to believe that a year ago today we were gearing up for the Massachusetts shoot with a team of 11 people) and a year on Dream Lover. I rewind through that year and think about how I approached Solomon Grundy as a director at 19 year old. When I watch the cut of the either film, I still agree with many choices, and disagree with others. Is to be expected, always. However, there is a jump in how the story is told when you compare Solomon Grundy and Dream Lover. Maturity isn't the right word, as they were both conceived and have been growing side by side.

I find both films to be the two examples of my strongest work at this time. But they seem almost like the work of two different people. Perhaps because in some ways they are. Solomon Grundy I kept my grip tight on, and Dream Lover I was far more open to creative input from others. An interesting situation, as Dream Lover was a far more personal story to me than Solomon Grundy.
In the next few months, both films will be done, in your inboxes, mail boxes, ipads, computer screens, big screens, film festivals, and hopefully, your hearts as well. Forgive the smarm on that one. I think more than anything in my growth this year, I'm looking forward to sharing my films to different people. Not so I can talk about them, but instead, so I can listen to others. Showing rough cuts has been a suddenly fun experience for me. The negative, the positive, the blue sky thoughts, and the bursts of energy- my favorite new ability is the ability to listen to not just an audience, but listen to a person.

Off of the introspective for a moment- this past weekend was a photographic playground. My good friends, Derrick and Garrick Kwan (who you might recognize from here) joined me in the wild for a while, and we had a photographic retreat. Investigate more of GKwan's work here. He's responsible for the banner photo of me above, and hundreds of others through the year. Spending time with the two of them, snapping upwards of 1500 pictures in about 30 hours, it was sudden burst of creative energy that I needed. In some ways, fucking around with the Nikon's and the boys out in the middle of nowhere was exactly what I needed to remind me of how much fun it is to just play and be wild. Now Go Play.


Dream Lover Trailer

Wow, double whammy. My daily routine is mostly going to my posterous which is generally a photo every few days. I'm going to get back into the swing of blogging, as I'm in total post production mode and actually have a few posts I could really elaborate on right now for the process. In the meantime, I've dropped another trailer. This one for Dream Lover.

Please watch with the sound up, the lights off, and in full screen!


Teaser Trailer 2

New trailer up. Article on ItsJustMovies.com where they were kind enough to host it.

Something from Dream Lover coming soon.


Campfire Melodies

Took a night off of editing Grundy + Dream Lover to relax with a few friends. I couldn't resist but to bring the EX1, so maybe that's cheating. In any event, some great shots, and pushed the camera best I could with extremely low light. I think we might have read at best a 2.8 through most of it. I recorded about 10 songs from Kevin Olken, Emma Tringali, and Jesse Doherty-Vinicor. Will be releasing a few more in the coming days, but here's the first one.


Ethereal Architecture

Post-production is always the largest rollercoaster for me. There's usually enthusiasm during the writing, and always a whole lot of enthusiasm during shooting... But once editing comes in, there's a much larger back and fourth of "I love my film" and "I hate this fucking thing."

This is not an usual thing in any creative department (I think?) but it's really taught me how to use my emotions as a propeller. As I work out the Dream Lover cut, there's a constant question in my mind- "is it dream like?" this question is haunting me, because I've realized that I'm really trying to say something with this film. There's an experience I'm trying to convey. A message I want to send.

As I cut along, I start on a conventional path. Cut here for this person and then cut here when they say this. I cling to the narrative and try to make exactly the movie that plays on the script. But there's an etherial quality of dreams doesn't usually jive with straight narrative filmmaking.

This was what I found disappointing with Inception, and what I am constantly fighting. I found Inception to be a beautifully made film with some good and some clunky writing. However, it was incredibly tied into a mechanical narrative. Much like the Matrix's need to explain the technical aspects of the worlds, Inception made it architectural. Inception's logo is made in a blueprint style. It insists on certain rules, constructs, levels, that make the world tolerable and have limitations. Though one would argue that Inception shows a ton of limitless situations- it keeps itself limited with the mode of storytelling. For a character to get from one room to another, they have to walk there. Each scene has a world and we're usually kept in that world. Maybe I'm alone, but I find dreams are anything but architectural.

The Dreams I've experienced are usually entirely emotion driven, the dream goes down a positive path, it's like lazily being carried in the wind from one random place and sequence to another. Very rarely is the continuity of the surroundings, people, or situations honored in my dreams. Inception tried to honor this idea with their line, "you never remember arriving at the place you're dreaming about" but that's as far as they took it, sticking closer to honoring a narrative convention with rules you follow.

This is not a bad thing. It's just not very dream like. So here I am- my movie works about half and half on this dream level. The half that works seems to be really able to flourish in the constructs of the dream world, and therefore the narrative sometimes takes a second chair for the sake of the feeling. The half that doesn't work is made like a movie. Let the characters say their words, let the progression be very logical. Is it a bad movie? I don't think so. But it's not a dream movie.

I took everything back to square one today, and really got creative with the cutting. When I hate it, I use the emotion as a motivator to make a big mess and find the new spark in it. I put everything I had already built out of my mind, and tried to approach the material much more hands off. I believe I can get the narrative story across in this dream world, but it's gonna make me fight for it.