Monday, August 04, 2014

Quarterly Update? Seriously?

Yeah … In this age of social media where we can all BLIP tiny bits of information into a never-ending stream of information, why bother with a blog? I ask myself this all the time. And, quite honestly, I have trouble talking about myself and my work … If you're into it, that's awesome. If you don't know who I am or what I do … well, then you're in the majority. Still, there's barely any excuse to go this long without a blog entry. What can I say? I've been busy working and living life. It's the summer, my older kid was out of school, I've been traveling, and - oh yeah, I also wrote a few screenplays and some other stuff. Let's see if I can run down what I've been up to since the last post …

- After coming back from Switzerland, I wrote another Lifetime Network movie - my 4th for them in just a couple of years.

- CHEAP THRILLS came out on DVD in the States and the UK.

- I wrote another script entitled 68 KILL, which is based on a book that I optioned from an immensely talented novelist named Bryan Smith (follow Bryan on Twitter). I'm really happy with the way the first draft came out and so is Bryan … most surprisingly, my wife, Lynh, really likes it (and she's my toughest critic)! The plan is to raise the financing and make this my sophomore directorial effort. Stay tuned … I'm working on Draft #2 now …

- Then I took the boys to Indiana to visit my folks for 10 days. While there, I wrote another draft of "Lifetime Movie #4"

- While in Indiana, I got to witness the World Premiere of Lifetime Network Movie #3, KILLING DADDY. I watched it for the first time with everybody else, and was pleased with the outcome. The movie did pretty well, too - it was the #2 most-viewed program the night it aired (behind a NASCAR race) with 1.5 million viewers.

- I came home for less than two weeks then headed to the east coast for a family vacation. While I was there, I did some work on a big top-secret project that I've been working on for a few months. All I can say at this juncture is that it's a video game. A really big video game that will come out on all gaming formats. I'll be able to talk more about this thing when it comes out sometime between now and the end of 2014. Stay tuned.

- Just got home a few days ago. Working on some more stuff now that isn't far enough along to discuss yet. Tomorrow I'm shooting a Kickstarter video for KILLJOY'S PSYCHO CIRCUS. A few meetings scheduled, etc.

- In the meantime, AMERICAN MUSCLE's release date has been announced - it comes out September 30th. Also, THE PACT 2 comes out on VOD September 5th.

So that's what I've been doing since the last update 3 months ago: wrote 2 scripts and worked on a video game and went on vacation. And now I'm back to the grind.

Does anybody even read this damned blog? I don't know. Maybe I'll post more stuff here in less than 3 month's time … Maybe I'll include photos next time. Or maybe I'll just switch completely over to Twitter, where I can just burp out stuff in tiny increments … We'll see.

Either way, thanks for visiting.

- T

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Various Artwork ...

Posters, posters, who's got the posters?

Cheap Thrills and American Muscle, that's who.


Thursday, May 08, 2014

A Few CHEAP THRILLS Nuggets ...

… Cheap Thrills is slowly coming out in various formats all over the world. The Blu-Ray DVD came out in Germany a few months ago but it still hasn't gone theatrical in the UK yet, which shows you just how kookoo crazy the distribution world is.

The movie comes out in the UK on June 6th, I hear … I think that it's a simultaneous theatrical/VOD/DVD release, but don't quote me on that. In the meantime, the UK distributor released these promo images. Not sure if they're character posters or trading cards or what. Nice to see the extra effort either way!

And it looks like the DVD and Blu-Ray comes out in the U.S. in just a few weeks (May 27th, to be exact). There's an audio commentary and all kinds of bonus materials including a making of documentary that I have yet to see (I hear that there's even some footage of the elusive screenwriter in there). Here's the box art:

And HERE is Drafthouse's CHEAP THRILLS Blu-Ray page - if you order it from them, there's a cool bundle option with soundtrack download and a limited edition retro press kit!

That's it. Gotta go and make more movies instead of promoting the old ones … no paycheck in that!


Monday, May 05, 2014

April 2014 - What a Month!

I haven't updated in almost a month and I SWEAR it's got nothing to do with my Twitter account … Travel and work really filled my time up for the last few weeks, but the end result is a big update with a ton of pictures. Here we go …

… I was invited to screen my directorial debut, CHOP, at the 15th Installment of a festival called 2300, Plan 9 - The Strange Nights of Cinema in the beautiful city of La Chaux De-Fond, Switzerland. Of course I said yes, thrilled to have the movie play anywhere. I was even more thrilled when they then invited me to attend the festival and be a jury member for their shorts competition. So I hopped on a plane to Zurich and spent an awesome 6 days watching movies, eating good food, and checking out Switzerland.

The festival itself was really amazing, well-run, and had a great atmosphere. It took place in an old temple in La Chaux De-Fond, a relatively small city in the French province of Switzerland. The fest took place nightly from about 5pm until 4am and every single screening of every single night was packed full of enthusiastic film fanatics. What I really loved about the fest was the three-ring circus atmosphere … The temple was decked out in amazing decor, they had a couple of bars in the theater itself to keep the crowd lubed up, and all of the festival workers, volunteers, and organizers got dressed up and made up into elaborate characters … It was kind of like a 6 night-long Swiss Halloween party. No pretension, no competition, just a supportive atmosphere of film lovers.

I was so busy enjoying the festival each night that I didn't take a ton of pictures of the festival happenings themselves, but there's a pretty great Flickr page set up that really captures the anarchic, great spirit of the festival right HERE. Check em out, it's pretty cool.

The other filmmaker guests this year were writer/director/FX guru Ryan Nicholson and my mentor (and the guy who gave me my entree into film), Lloyd Kaufman. It was really great to meet Ryan and to get a week to re-connect with Lloyd and his lovely wife, Pat … Also a pleasure to get to see both of their new movies with a crowd on the big screen.

Switzerland itself is like something out of a storybook. I understand that the weather there can be largely overcast, but it seems that California came with me, because for a good portion of the time I was there the Swiss enjoyed blue skies and unseasonably warm weather.

I managed to get out of La Chaux a couple of times. I took a day trip to the city of Lausanne to hang out with my good buddy Olivier, who lives there. Olivier played "Dolphin Man" in Citizen Toxie and it was great to catch up with him after an almost 15 year absence. Here are some shots from Lausanne:

The festival organizers were kind enough to plan several day trips for the guests of the festival. We went to this weird old mansion that had been turned into some kind of bizarre museum/interactive horror collage/serial killer's den called The Phantom Train.

The place was 5 stories crammed to the gills with horror movie memorabilia. I was disappointed that after all the years of work, I couldn't find anything Trent Haaga related … then I went into the bar/lounge, and was rewarded by seeing a framed postcard for DEADGIRL hanging on the wall:

Ha ha! I made it into The Phantom Train!

On another particularly beautiful day - my last in Switzerland - we went to the picturesque town of Gruyere (where the cheese comes from):

While in Gruyere, we visited the H.R. Giger Museum, where (unfortunately, because it was pretty amazing) photography is prohibited. But there were a few sculptures outside that were photo-friendly:

After the museum, we grabbed a drink at the H.R. Giger Bar, which you could take pictures in as long as you were buying:

I don't drink liquor, so I had a coffee, but there were all sorts of Giger-themed drinks available. Here's a look at Megan Nicholson's Alien Blood shot (although, technically, Alien blood should be green, right?):

As if the Gruyere day trip couldn't get any better, we then were treated to the best fondue lunch that I've ever had.

The festival was awesome and Switzerland was amazing. The 2300 Plan 9 festival is a hidden gem of the international festival circuit and the organizers really took great care of me. I want to extend my warmest thanks to everyone involved … now I just need to make another movie so that I can go back!

… But there is no rest for the wicked, as they say. I flew out of Zurich directly to the East Coast of the U.S. to do a week's worth of writing on a massive top-secret project that is … NON-FILM RELATED. I signed non-disclosure agreements, so I can't really talk about it, but I can say that the project was awesome and I am thrilled to be a part of it. Stay tuned, because once this thing hits the streets, I'll be telling you all to take a look at it.

… Finally, after two weeks in hotels in two parts of the world thousands of miles apart (and thousands of miles from my home), I returned to Los Angeles and the rest of the Haaga family rested and invigorated …

… Where I locked myself down for a week and finished the first draft of my new Lifetime Channel movie, which I turned in Friday.

And that's why I've got a moment to do this big-ass blog update: I find myself in the rare position where I don't have an immediate deadline. Don't worry, this break won't last long … and there are ALWAYS personal deadlines that I create for myself, so I'm not gonna be sitting around and sipping smoothies poolside … too much to do!

As always, thanks for visiting my little corner of the interwebs …


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!


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!


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?"