Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Dangit … @Trent_Haaga

After a year away from social media I caved and started a Twitter account. CHOP the Movie used to have one, but this is the first time Trent Haaga the Man has had one. Don't really know much about Twitter and I don't really plan to blow up there, but after that awful Twitter Search of "Trent Haaga" a few posts ago, I figured that maybe I ought to have SOME sort of presence. And, lo and behold, I go on Twitter and all of a sudden people start to realize that I made some movies. So I guess it works.

But this blog is still going to remain my home on the internet - my comfy couch where all three of my hardcore fans can get to know the real scoop in many, many more characters than 140.

In the meantime, you can follow me: @Trent_Haaga.

@TrentHaaga is gone forever - got squatted on a few years ago and is now verboten on Twitter, so I had to add the underscore.

CHEAP THRILLS opens in the UK on June 6th. They just released the UK Quad-style poster today:

CHEAP THRILLS is such a strange movie - part comedy, part tragedy, part horror movie - that it's really hard to convey the tone correctly in a trailer, much less a poster. I understand how difficult it is to market a film like this, but this poster … I mean, what is going on here? Why does it look like everyone is attending a party on a cleaver while wearing leather pants?

Whatever. I'm not a graphic designer nor am I a marketing specialist. Hopefully they know what they're doing over there.

As always, thanks for visiting!

-T

Monday, March 31, 2014

Final Los Angeles CHEAP THRILLS Screening ...

CHEAP THRILLS played a few shows at a different theater in Los Angeles this weekend - The Crest in Westwood. Since everyone else involved with the film were on the road for the other screenings, co-writer David Chirchirillo and I attended and did a Q&A with Ethan Embry and Producer Gabe Cowan that was moderated by CHEAP THRILLS super fan David Arquette. A good time was had by all, prizes were given away, and dares were met.

It was a good run, CHEAP THRILLS. Now you're off to the rest of the country. Hope you keep that great per-screen average up!

David and I doing the required "marquee" shot:

On stage for the Q&A:

David and I with David:

That's it for now. As always, thanks for reading!

-T

Thursday, March 27, 2014

We're Number 4! We're Number 4!

Well, CHEAP THRILLS "opened" in theaters and became widely available on streaming platforms like iTunes and Amazon Instant … and Pirate Bay … last weekend. To be fair, it only opened in two cities - Los Angeles and Austin - but it expands to New York and Chicago and some other cities this weekend and even further in the following weeks.

By all measures, the film seems to be a success considering the kind of movie it is. If you go by a "per screen average" breakdown, CHEAP THRILLS was #4 at the box-office this weekend behind GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, GOD'S NOT DEAD, and DIVERGENT. No, seriously. Take a look:

Yep, it's pretty crazy. I've been largely absent from the promotional train on the movie, but I did go out to the theater on Friday night to see what the crowd was like at the Cinefamily:

I did my only post-screening Q&A for the small crowd that showed up for the 7:20pm screening. I didn't stick around for the Q&A after the sold out 9:50pm screening. But I hear that the film played very well and the "Twittersphere" backs that up. By the end of the weekend, #cheapthrills was going bonkers and amazingly positive Tweets were put out by diverse celebrities like Edgar Wright and Morgan Spurlock among others.

People seem to dig the movie, which is a great thing.

While I was reading the Tweets about CHEAP THRILLS, I foolishly decided to search the phrase "Trent Haaga" out of curiosity. The results were interesting and show a common theme:

So I'm a guy that's apparently done a lot of stuff that people think is cool, but they had no idea that I had anything to do with it. One part of me wonders of it's simply because of my bizarre career path … I mean, I've got to be the only guy who has written a Toxic Avenger movie, played a killer clown for Charles Band, written some movies for the Lifetime Network and also a few indie festival hits like DEADGIRL and CHEAP THRILLS. I've pretty much made it impossible to put me in a box of any sort … Which, as far as I'm concerned, is a good thing.

Another part of me thinks that this general state of confusion is because I'm not out there TELLING you that I'm involved in this stuff. It's as if one doesn't even exist unless one has a Facebook and a Twitter and spends an inordinate amount of time screaming about their accomplishments into the ether … Well, shit, man, if I spent all my time talking about things I already did, I wouldn't have the time to do more things … or at least that's how I look at it.

Instead of watering myself down into sound bytes and 140 character re-tweets, I have simply made this blog the place to go if you want to know what's going on with me. There's nothing wrong with that, right? And if you're bothering to come all the way here, I know that you already know that I co-wrote CHEAP THRILLS and that I'm also KILLJOY and wrote a TOXIC AVENGER movie. We're all a big, happy family here … that would be myself and the three of you. And there's nothing wrong with that!

Just so it's not all about CHEAP THRILLS, I found this pic from last year but I'd never seen it before. The promotional poster for THE PACT 2, which I have a small role in. Dig it:

Future tweet a few months from now: "I had no idea CHEAP THRILLS co-writer Trent Haaga was in THE PACT 2! And also a Troma vet! WTF?"

-T

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How About Another Free Script?

As the three of you who visit this site know, I'll sometimes throw up free downloadable PDF files of my screenplays here. Sometimes it's to see the difference between the movie and the script (as was the case with DEADGIRL and AMERICAN MANIACS, both of which are buried in this blog's history) or to give you a look at something that was never to be, like DEADGIRL 2 (also back there somewhere). I decided (for no good reason whatsoever) that I'd do it again today. And this is another one of those never to be projects …

Several years ago - around 2006 or so - I wrote a script entitled POOR THINGS for an independent film producer. It was a black comedy about two elderly female career con artists who decide to do one last score by murdering a homeless junkie that they've taken a life insurance policy out on. I dunno. Seemed like an interesting idea at the time.

Anyway, I wrote a script, got some rent money, and promptly went on to other things. A few months after turning POOR THINGS in, I got a call from a Producer on the project telling me to go look at the day's copy of Variety … And there was my name on the front page, announcing that Academy Award winners Shirley MacLaine and Olympia Dukakis were on board to play the leads.

I was completely shocked and amazed as I watched the project turn into a genuine Hollywood "thing." All of a sudden, directors were attached, more stars came on board, meetings with major studios were happening. There are all kinds of stories out there on the internet about the film's development if you care to search them out. Here's a typical story from Slash Film about the project … and the typical journalistic response to the idea:

Slash Film on POOR THINGS

… Yeah, at this time there was no DEADGIRL, no CHEAP THRILLS, no TALHOTBLOND. I was just the fucking idiot who had written CITIZEN TOXIE. How could a dumbass from Troma write something that attracted actual talent? Something had to be amiss …

Anyway, re-writes were requested, meetings were taken, money was raised, parts were filled. They even made me turn a 70-plus year old character into a 23 year old so that they could up the "sexy factor" and cast Lindsay Lohan (who was veering off the tracks at the time, but hadn't quite crashed the train yet).

A production office was established. The DP of CHILDREN OF MEN was onboard. Locations were rented along with equipment. The cast fluctuated, but at one time or another included Rosario Dawson, Channing Tatum, Giovanni Ribisi, Christopher Walken, and James Woods in addition to the three female leads. Millions of dollars were in the bank with hundreds of thousands being spent on pre-production …

Hell, here I am at Shirley MacLaine's house for a script meeting. We actually got along famously. She even made me lunch:

But as you know, there never was a movie called POOR THINGS. Less than 48 hours before we were to begin shooting, Lindsay got busted for cocaine possession and DWI and immediately went into rehab (her first of 6 stints), which pushed production … and eventually the money ran out and everyone went home. While the Lohan meltdown was a contributing factor in the death of POOR THINGS, there were many other things that prevented the film from becoming a reality. I could fill a whole book about how Hollywood greed and avarice and stupidity jettisoned the project. A series of terrible decisions and a ton of massive egos were the real problem and the film died a horrible death before a single frame was shot.

Here's a Variety story when things were still trying to be put back together again.

Yep, it was disappointing to say the least. I think that my life might be a little different now if this thing had been made. But it wasn't …

Nevertheless, people seemed to really love the script and it got me some meetings and my first Manager and Agent. I made a little bit of money from it by doing the re-writes and stuff (but my big paycheck, which I was supposed to get on the first day of production, never came), and - most importantly - I learned a valuable lesson about how this silly town can be when the stench of money starts to waft around. There were non-monetary benefits to the whole experience, I suppose, but I would have loved to have seen the movie made.

In lieu of that, I'm doing the next best thing, which is making the script available to the public (and by "public," I mean you three). Now we have made a movie together - a movie in your minds. So here it is, for your reading pleasure:

POOR THINGS - a screenplay by Trent Haaga

This is an earlier draft of the script before some of the changes were demanded of me … Maybe a "purer" version of it. In this one, there is no sexy 23 year old … Lohan's character is as I originally intended her to be: an addled 70-something woman (the character of "Phoebe," just FYI).

Enjoy and thanks for visiting the site, folks!

-T

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Neighba'hood Is Still Going …

… Yep, that's right, I'm still making stuff. I know that CHEAP THRILLS is such a big hit that I could easily take the next several years off to contemplate my next move, but that's not how I roll …

… That was sarcasm. No one knows I had anything to do with CHEAP THRILLS because no one looks at the part of the credits that says "Written By." Also, I still haven't had a chance to see BLOOD SHED (and I'm sure none of you have, either) … So in lieu of rock-stardom, I opted to go to San Francisco this weekend to shoot more of THERE GOES DA NEIGHBA'HOOD … I think that this is the sixth stint up there. Started this gig in October, which makes this the longest-running acting gig I've ever done.

Here are some photos from this weekend's epic shoot:

Director John Osteen taking a break in "Ol Sparky:"

Just another day at the office with my co-star, Mubia:

That's it for now. I'm sure something else report-able will come down the pike sooner than later. In the meantime, I've got to work on my latest Lifetime Channel script, so I'm outta here. Thanks for visiting!

-T

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

BLOOD SHED

Yay! Finally time to talk about a movie other than CHEAP THRILLS!

I acted in a movie called BLOOD SHED at the tail end of 2012 and apparently it's out TODAY on VOD and iTunes an maybe some other places? I honestly don't know … this new distribution model where tittles come out in some places on a date and on other places later make it somewhat confusing … like CHEAP THRILLS on VOD but only from two providers for a few weeks before limited theatrical and other on demand formats … Don't want to sound like an old fogey, but it was a lot easier when movies just came out on DVD at Blockbuster on a Tuesday.

Anyway, BLOOD SHED is apparently available in some streaming formats now and the DVD comes out on May 6th. I haven't seen the movie at all, so one of these days I guess I need to go out there and find it so I can see how awesome or terrible my performance is (and how much of it made it into the movie)!

Official BLOOD SHED site

DVD from Amazon.com

Good luck finding it out there!

I'm off to do another shoot this week, so stay tuned for some more updates very soon.

-T

Friday, February 21, 2014

CHEAP THRILLS on VOD Right Now ...

… So the only excuse you have is if you don't have cable. And that means you're gonna have to wait until theatrical/iTunes/etc release on March 21st.

CHEAP THRILLS, while new to the public today, has been a very long journey for me. I finished the first draft of the script on June 6, 2007 - almost 7 years ago. And today is sort of the final step in the process. For me, this is a little bit of a funeral for the film. Or maybe it's like dropping your kid off at college for the first time - either way, it's out of my hands and into the world's now. While this is the beginning of the film for the viewing public, it's the end of it for me. And, quite honestly, I'm happy about that because I can finally stop talking about the film and let everyone else discover it and talk about it amongst themselves. It was a great run, CHEAP THRILLS, and I'm glad you're out there. But I'm tired of promoting you … now it's your turn to speak for yourself!

They grow up so fast …

Thank god I've got a new movie coming out in 11 days to give me something else to talk about - BLOOD SHED comes out March 4th!

- T