Archive for April, 2008

Save New Jersey Film

A few years ago, while still in college, I interned at the New Jersey Film Commission, located in Newark, NJ. That semester was probably one of the best of my entire college career.

Working on that side of the business that I loved so much was definitely an eye opener, and made me see things in a completely different perspective. It taught me a lot about the business end of things, and how much hard work really goes into getting a film off the ground. It also provided me access to my first real ‘on-set’ visits (Find Me Guilty and War of the Worlds) that I still cherish to this day.

Not only that, but I made some great friends while there. David S is the second in command at the NJ Film Commission, and a great guy. He has a real love for movies, and will talk your ear off endlessly about them. He was incredibly smart in the business end of things, and really knew how to get stuff done. Steve G, third in the chain, was always there to tell me a story about the ‘biz’ that I would enjoy, and answer any of my (seemingly endless) questions. Andrew and Charles, also in the office, were also fantastic people. Andrew always made me smile with his overly sarcastic readings of that day’s Family Circus (‘And, haha, get this…and then PJ says…’), and Charles is a great friend that I still constantly speak with today.

A few weeks ago, at the Garden State Film Festival, I ran into Dave again. He was there with his partner in movie making crime, checking out this year’s entries. We were talking for a good while, and he told me that, due to budget cuts, it was almost certain that Corzine was going to shut them down this year.

Truth be told, I didn’t make much of it. The same thing was threatened, back when I was there, and McGreevy was in office. I just assumed that it, too, would pass, and the Commission would continue to live.

But then the news came out about Corzine cutting back on a TON of public spending. Though he eased up on the toll hikes and the closing of the parks, he decided that he still wanted to shut down the Film Commission. This would take place on July 1st, 2008.

This is absolutely ridiculous.

For those of you who don’t know, NJ is literally the birthplace of film. Edison created the first movies right here. Film has a very long, deep, and rich history in the Garden State…a history that still continues to this day.

In fact, last year alone, filming in the state generated $92 million dollars. That’s a lot of money.

However, in an age where Corzine is making off the wall decisions to ‘balance our budget,’ he is cutting off several aspects of our state that are pretty much guaranteed money makers.

I’ll admit to you all, in the grand scheme of things, I’m no one. However, I am a lover of film, as it’s something that I’m extremely passionate about. And as much as I rag on it, I love New Jersey. I grew up here, and all of my memories are of this place. Hell, this is even the birthplace of film for ME.

Closing the New Jersey Film Commission would be a tragic mistake. Not only would it cut back a great deal of revenue that this state undoubtedly needs, but it would also cut short the life of film in New Jersey.

I don’t ask you for many things, but I will ask this. Please visit www.savenewjerseyfilm.com and read what they have to say. Sign their petition. Send in a letter. Do anything that it takes to help save film in our state.

Please help stop the closing of what is one of our state’s most valued assets.

Thank you.

Burlington County Prison with Garden State Ghost Hunters Society

So, this past Saturday, Lynda and I went out with the Garden State Ghost Hunters Society to Burlington County Prison. It was for research for one of the books, and I think this section is going to come out quite nicely.

First off, everyone in the GSGH is extremely nice and welcoming. They made us feel right at home. While they were setting up all of their equipment, Lynda and I walked around the Prison, taking photos, and just getting a general feel for it. It actually would be a nice day trip for a lot of you folks out there who are into historical places. They are open to the general public quite often, and it’s extremely interesting.

By the time we finished, they had finished setting up their equipment. I was very impressed with all of their gear…various camera set ups, EMFs, digital recorders…they pulled out all the stops.

We had a brief ‘meeting’ before the investigation began. Boni and Rob, the co-founders of the group, introduced me to everyone again, and let me explain what exactly I was there for and what I wanted to do. After, while they had a ‘general meeting,’ Marisa, one of their members, and the prison’s curator, took Lynda and I on a more in depth tour of the prison. She explained all the historical, paranormal, and generally interesting aspects of the place.

By that time, it was time for the first ‘lights out.’ We went with Rob and Boni to the top floor to do our investigating. I was impressed with how everyone worked like a well oiled machine together. They all knew what to do and when to do it.

Overall, there was a total of three ‘lights out’ periods, and at the end of each one, the group came back together to discuss their findings, and try to corroborate stories together. It was definitely a fantastic experience for me. I don’t want to go into too much depth(I’m saving it for the book!), but it was definitely well worth my time.

Aside from meeting this fantastic new people (who I hope to go out with again soon!), we definitely saw some things that went above and beyond normal explaination!

Also, as per usual, I took along my digital voice recorder, so when I could easily store all the answers to my questions, and everything else I learned during the night. It also served a dual purpose of trying to record EVPs.

Since my book won’t contain audio, I’m going to post them here for you to enjoy, and explain them as well as possible.

You can listen to them all at www.bamferproductions.com/evps

For most of them, I included the original piece, lifted straight from the recorder, and then a version with the background noise modified out. The modified ones have a little bit of ‘electric interference’ but it helps you hear some of them better.
I’ll explain each one the best I can, and where it was taken from:
Unknown Voice 1 – I’m unsure about this one. This is from the first ‘lights out,’ when we were on the top floor. We moved to another debtor’s cell to try EVP again. Rob says ‘Let’s try this again,’ and you can faintly hear something. I could be hearing things, but it could be a voice.
Unknown Voice 2 – This one I’m a bit shaky on still, too. This is from the first ‘lights out’ when we were on the top floor. You can hear it right before Rob asks a question. I vaguely heard something when I was listening, so I isolated the clip, and reduced the noise. It could be a voice from downstairs, or something outside…or something else entirely.
I’ll Fix… – Taken when we were downstairs in the basement, second ‘lights out.’ Rob asks for them to come toward the green light, and afterward, it sounds like “I’ll fix it,” or something to that extent.
Pot Roast – From the basement, during second ‘lights out.’ I didn’t hear it when we were down there, but this is someone saying ‘Pot Roast,’ that Rob and Lynda both heard.
Stop It – Taken during the second ‘lights out,’ right in the hallway where the guard was killed. Rob asks ‘Are you a guard?’ and it sounds like someone says ‘Stop it, stop it!’ Very creepy, considering what happened in that area.
He’s Bad – Taken inside the dungeon during the first ‘lights out.’ Rob asks about a favorite newspaper, and it sounds like a voice whispering ‘He’s baaaad.’
Humming – Second ‘lights out,’ in the basement. Rob heard a woman humming, but no one else did. It sounds exactly like he described it, though. Clear as day!
Screaming/WeCanTellHim – This one, I have absolutely no explanation for. This is during the second lights out, in the basement. There is a bit of commotion of us moving around, and you can hear us talking in the background about something. Then, out of nowhere, a woman lets out a blood curdling scream of ‘No!’, sounds like she’s about to say stop, before she is cut off by a voice saying ‘jesus christ.’ Then, you can hear us talking again before another voice says ‘We can tell him,’ before getting cut off by a rather hostile sounding man saying ‘Shut up, bitch.’ This one literally scared the hell out of me. I got cheers when I heard it the first time. Very, very scary.

You can also view some of the photos I took at http://www.bamferproductions.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=2062

Overall, a great night! Be sure to check out the Garden State Ghost Hunters Society’s website at http://www.gsghs.com/

A very special thanks to Rob and Boni for allowing me to join their group for this investigation!

Garden State Film Festival

So, this past weekend was the Garden State Film Festival, and the premiere of Leeds Point.

Friday night was the opening cocktail party, where Mike and I were out in full force promoting our film. We put posters and little fliers EVERYWHERE hoping that people would see them and come out.

We also learned that our venue was changed yet again. The 5th Ave Pavilion, where it was supposed to be, was apparently under construction. A lot of it. So they moved us directly across the street, to The Wonder Bar.

Saturday, we spent most of the day wandering around, and checking out a few screenings, and promoting our screening a bit more. By the time 8 PM rolled around, we had a ton of people ready to come see the film.

In fact, they had to turn many people away, due to fire hazards. For a place that fit 150 people, though, we managed to squeeze in over 200, which was pretty awesome. The screening itself was nerve wracking, but it went over extremely well.

Sunday was the awards dinner, which was huge for everyone! Kevin won the Rising Star Award, which is a pretty big deal. He definitely deserves it.

Also, we won Best Horror Feature AND the ever so pretigious Audience Choice Award! Whooo! Go us!

All in all, very good weekend, and more festivals to come.

You can check out all the pictures and press coverage we got over at the photo gallery I set up.