Sold Out!

NThe Bunker DVDo, not me personally, although to be honest, if someone tapped me to write a Lifetime MotW about a drunk who turns his life around because he’s pestered by cherubs? Yeah, I’d write it. But no, this isn’t about anything like that. As of today, August 1st, The Bunker ltd ed of 500 is officially Sold Out on Amazon.

Pretty happy? That’s an understatement. After all, for a while there, when I was scrambling to raise the funds necessary to finish the film, there was one liar going around to my friends and bragging online that it would never happen. Well, we all see how that turned out, eh? And, while the standard edition of The Bunker (unsigned, without the first issue of the Sick ‘N Twisted comic book) is still available, we’re gonna make some changes. Starting next week, I’m going to be including Howling Wolf Records’ score CD with the DVD & “Making Of” documentary for free. Yup, we’ve reached an agreement with the estate of composer Robert Feigenblatt, and will be packaging the DVD and film score together for the first time.

As for the ltd ed DVDs. I’m a comic book guy. I know what it is to be an indie creator, going to conventions and selling cool stuff. So, the last 25 DVDs I’ve got with the comic? They’re gonna be available until they’re sold out, too, by clicking HERE.

Oh, and since I wouldn’t put you, the fans, into a tough spot by making you choose? Yeah, I’m also going to throw in the Bunker score CD for nothing.  If you want one, just click, when these’re done, that’s all, folks.

Thanks to everyone who bought a copy of The Bunker, any edition. Or came out to see it at one of the many festivals I was fortunate enough to screen it at. Or who RT’d a link, or contributed to the Kickstarter campaign, or who wrote about the film on their site. You guys all helped make this happen, and I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.
Currently listening to: “Revenge” by MINISTRY

Just so happens.

Caitlyn JennerI teased this blog the other day on Twitter, saying that we’d had a pretty good meeting with CAA, one of the alpha-dogs in all of talent management. I mentioned that we’d been talking to the agent for one of the top 5 celebrities on the planet, and I wasn’t joking. IMO, she’s currently the top, but in some circles, they count people like President Obama as ‘celebrities’ and while I don’t (it isn’t like he’s gonna take Amazing Grace onto American Idol this season), I get it.

So, here’s the deal. A buddy and I are working together on a film project. One of the studios we want to pitch seems pretty open to just about anything horror-related, and when talking with him about this, a second property I have started to look like something we might be able to get an LOI for, if the talent I was thinking about was interested. Yes, that talent. Long shot? Hell no. More like a moon-shot.

But, what the hell, right? You don’t shoot for the moon, you’ll never even make it to the corner. So, my attorney contacted CAA and the agent in question, and got a return call.

A fast return call. Surprised? I’ll say. I didn’t even expect to hear back, but sure enough, they were willing to meet that day if it was possible. For us, it wasn’t, but still.

So, Friday, the proposal was made. And, while we got a pass on it, we didn’t get the door slammed in our faces. In fact, everything went pretty damned good, as far as I was concerned. I understand the celeb in question not necessarily wanting to be in a slasher film. Because that’s really what it is, even though I think we have a pretty good storyline. And, I’d never intended to approach this celeb about being in the film. It never occurred to me until last week, when I saw a producer’s listing, looking for LGBTU screenplays (dramas only, though, sadly.) But when the world was turned upside-down by the media’s fascination with transgender issues? And suddenly people were looking for scripts featuring a transgender character? Well, just so happens.

Yeah, we pitched Caitlyn Jenner. No BS. We knew that this probably wasn’t a property she’d be interested in. Even if we sold it to a studio, it wasn’t like it was a role she needed. Not at the moment, anyhow. But for us? Damn, we got a meeting with Caitlyn Jenner’s people, a day after making contact, and they were willing to listen, even knowing the project was a horror film. I know she’s everywhere right now, but that’s just it – being everywhere, and yet, us getting the meeting at all??? Not too shabby. And, Ms. Jenner’s people were great. As mentioned, the door wasn’t slammed in our faces. So sure, they passed on taking a role in a slasher film. To be expected, I’d say. But the fact that they were willing to consider it, and listen to the pitch?

Big step forward. At the very least, a step in the right direction is how it feels to me.

Here’s hoping we take some more in the coming weeks. I mean, you didn’t think I was sitting around with only one bullet in the gun, did you? Caitlyn Jenner or bust? Nope, not even close.

I’m not sure where the next contact will take us. But I don’t really care. So long as we’re still taking our shots when the opportunities present themselves? Then we’re still in the game. Sometimes, that’s all that matters.

Another Outlet Makes History

Never before had a blind filmmaker directed a feature film. There’ve been some other handicapped filmmakers, most notably Christopher Reeve, who directed from a wheelchair after his tragic accident, but.a guy who can’t see?

History was made when I succeeded in not only completing The Bunker, but in getting multiple distribution deals. We’re streaming in Europe. We’ve got deals in Asia. The film is available on DVD in the U.S. through a number of retail outlets, and now?

Now history is being made on IPTV as The Bunker premieres on Halloween night, running through November 6th, for free. Yep, you read that right. Zip. Nada. Nothing. Only thing it’ll cost you if you want that true theatre experience is some popcorn.

Visit any time beginning on Halloween, or pick a day during the following week, and you can check out a flick that, quite literally, broke new filmmaking ground. Then, come on back and let us know what you thought. You’ve got a whole week. No excuses! 

Terror, Texas Style

Image of Joseph M MonksHeya gang,

The fine folks at Texas Terror Ent have made yours truly the featured author of the month, which means that not only is there a brand-new interview up, there’s an original piece of flash fiction that’ll be available exclusively on the site for one month only. Since the interview went up a couple days into August, they’ll be extending my stay through the first week of September (which is perfect, seeing as my story is about college frat initiation gone awry). Anyway, drop in on ’em here:

Featured Author: Joseph M. Monks

and let the boss know what you think. As always, any additional questions or comments, feel free to post them there and I’ll reply as soon as possible.


Doing it backwards.

Got a tip about a company looking for scripts based on existing work (novels, short stories, comic books, etc.). Unfortunately, while I have plenty of all of those things sitting around, I don’t have a script for a feature based on something already-published.

“Damn,” thought I, having to pass on the opportunity. “Gotta fix that.”

So, looks like I might take one of my existing scripts and turn it into a novel. Sort of doing it backwards, I know, but I love the screenplay
(it’s a bloody ’80s horror flick brought to life), and I think it’d make a
great book. Plus, heck, I don’t even have to outline the thing—it’s already a script. What better outline could I ask for?

Got a couple of short stories I have to wrap up first, but could very well be that the next book project is nailed down. Will keep you
updated as progress continues, but in the meantime, check out my new anthology, Grave Choices. It has stories collected from other books that I have the rights to again, some neat comic book stuff with the prose versions of those stories, and a bunch of brand new material, including the novella, “Morland”. More on the new writing projects soon.

Commercial Appeal

Couple months back, Pam told me about a film festival contest for commercials with a horror theme. Turns out the festival was Denise Gossett’s Shriekfest, a long-running California event that I love to promote because I know Denise from my earlier work and she runs one of the best in the country.

A one minute commercial hyping Shriekfest’s 13th year? No brainer. I was in. Unfortunately, weather killed my original idea. We had horrendous rain all summer, and it just didn’t let up enough to allow me to shoot the original concept. So, I went to a backup possibility. Problem was, I couldn’t assemble the necessary crew to get it done on such short notice.

The contest deadline was fast approaching, and for a day, I thought about just not shooting anything. Then, I had the idea to do a spoof commercial that could be shot without much crew, hardly any cast, and with total control over the location. I scripted it out, got some recommendations, and with only a couple days to pull it together, made it happen.

During the shoot, I got it in mind that maybe, regardless of how we did in the contest, I should figure out some way to multi-purpose the thing. We were all there, after all, makeup was set, cameras were rolling, why not?

So, we did some alternate takes, and bingo, the end-product was just what I wanted. BackStreets, our favorite watering hole and place to see live music, uploaded the spot yesterday. Sometime this coming week, it’ll be on their main site, and we’re talking with a local TV station about airing it.

Shriekfest is going on right now, which makes this even cooler.

Having multiple outlets running my spot isn’t something I expected, especially when I had to strip it down like this. Still, I’m thrilled about what we accomplished, basically in four and a half hours in one room without a professional makeup artist or the cameraman I’d expected to be behind the lens.

Fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants filmmaking? Sure was. Successful? Hell yeah, beyond my wildest dreams. Here’s the extended cut, which allowed us to get a little more creative and have a lot more fun. Hope you like it. Denise sure had nice things to say about it, and if it’s good enough for Shriekfest and BackStreets, that’s good enough for me.


Didn’t feel like that the past couple of weeks, let me tell ya’. Last month, Pam sent me an e-mail about a film festival contest. The idea sounded interesting, so we decided we’d enter. I spent that night writing up a short script, something we could shoot quick, as there was a tight turnaround to put it all together. I got in touch with a few core players, and we went to work. Scouting locations, casting, figuring out the makeup and F/X. Everything was good to go.

Then the rains began. And didn’t stop. I’d set this thing outdoors so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a good indoor location. I live right by some great looking, creepy woods. So, shooting outdoors with generators, a whole lot of extension cords and some lights and gels seemed the easiest way to do it. Until the neighborhood turned into a swamp.

After getting rained out and losing a whole week, I decided to go in another direction. I’ve got great friends at Backstreets. They’ve let me shoot there before. I wrote up a different concept with some more laughs and we set about getting that rolling.

Which was when we ran into serious problems. Some of the cast members couldn’t make it. One of my shooters was only available certain days. The makeup F/X artist has a job where her schedule constantly changes, and so on. After ten days trying to make that concept work, and with the deadline fast approaching, we hadda scrap that one, too.

So, early last week, I wrote up a third concept. One that wouldn’t present any location problems, because we’d use my home for it. One that wouldn’t require much cast. Only two people, in fact, and I wound up being one of them because the F/X makeup was going to require latex and full-facial coverage and I wasn’t going to put anyone in jeopardy of having an allergic reaction or getting makeup in their eyes. I was on a shoot in L.A. back in ’06 where a girl got poked in the eye with an eyebrow pencil for unnecessary makeup, and we wound up losing the actress for the night and having to reschedule.

There was an added bonus. My eyes? They’re seriously messed up. Having them cut open and peeled back a dozen times will do that. Try and avoid it if you can. Plus, I wrote the thing. I had it pretty well memorized in the days following the rewrites, and I knew my availability wasn’t gonna change. All systems go, right?

Not so fast. We had two possible makeup artists. One, a zombie fanatic who attends ZombiCon religiously fully done-up. One, good with makeup, but we didn’t know if she’d done zombies before. I scheduled both, figuring at the very worst, we’d have somebody extra on set to help out with the shoot. You can never have enough people willing to help out, trust me on that. So, we got a recommendation from my theatre friend Gil Perez, we cast Rob Green to play opposite yours truly, and figured we were golden.

Nope. One makeup artist? We never heard back from. The other? Tells us on Sunday night that she can’t make it. Call time for the shoot is 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Yikes.

Down one shooter, with no makeup F/X artist, and praying that Rob doesn’t back out on us, I scramble. I got somebody to monitor camera 2, and Billy handled PA duties. Makeup duties fell to.

Pam. Yep, my wife. We’d bought the makeup so that the F/X artist wouldn’t have to dip into her own supplies. Hell, it was a no-budget shoot, coffee and a gas card was about all we could throw at this thing, so I wasn’t going to ask anyone to dip into their own supplies. Pam has never done makeup before save for Mary Kay, but trooper that she was, she was willing to give it a shot. Monday night was spent testing out all the goodies I’d shelled out for.

8 hours before call time, we had a pretty good idea that this would work. We’ll be posting the entry as soon as we can, but here’s a little zombie teaser for you.

Joe as a Zombie

The shoot went great, even with a crew of four and Pam pulling double-duty with Margaret on makeup. We actually got so much stuff in such a short period of time, we were able to cut Rob loose earlier than he expected, and to shoot a quickie thing for use as a possible web commercial. Not bad, considering 9 hours before call time, we didn’t know if we’d be able to shoot anything.

Ahh, indie filmmaking. Nothing more fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, in my humble opinion. Nothing demands that you be flexible and able to shift gears with no time to prepare like being on a set. If you can’t be fluid and roll with what comes your way? You need to find another line of work.


Currently listening to: Bottoms Up by Nickelback