BLAIR WITCH co-directorâ€™s next film going straight-to-DVD! PART II
The ALTERED saga began with a cool little script called PROBED back in the fall of 2003 or so. Jeff Johnsen, an upstart producer that had been crucial to the early internet success of BLAIR WITCH, sent it to me after months of searching through INKTIP
(which is a great site to find material). It was a cool script and I was instantly attracted to it.
It turned out that the writer, an almost-tall-as-me white dude named Jamie Nash, lived 45 minutes from me. What were the chances of that? A worldwide search for a script and the writer turns up less than an hour from my house in Frederick, Maryland. It was fate, I thought.
Jamie ended up being a great collaborator and we chugged through a bunch of drafts, finally getting to the point where we could send it out. I sent it to my usual circle of writing buddies and the response was pretty good. Gregg Hale, my partner at HAXAN FILMS and one of my closest friends, really dug it. He called me a while later and asked me if I was interested in him and possibly Rob Cowie, my former Haxan partner and producer on BLAIR WITCH, producing it together the following year. I was fucking honored, man.
Gregg and Rob got things moving in late 2004, raising the money and moving forward with a start date in the spring of 2005. I cast Michael Williams
from BLAIR first and then completed the cast with a talented group of actors from LA and James Gammon
, who happened to live an hour or so from Universal Studios in Orlando, where we were shooting the film.
Gregg got his friend David Goyer
to introduce us to the effects house SPECTRAL MOTION
, which had done some impressive effects for BLADE: TRINITY and HELLBOY. Once they got on board we really started having fun
The shoot went really well. Six weeks, not too many snags, came in almost 10% under budget. It was my first big shoot with a real crew and a real film camera and real craft services so the fact that it went great is a real testament to the producing and the cast and crew. We were all so fucking proud of ourselves!
Editing went well, we got the cut done pretty quickly with editor Michael Cronin
working his magic and notes from everyone and their mothers, it seemed. Tony Cora
from BLAIR WITCH fame came back to work the music out with his partner Exiquio Talavera, and we were well on our way to a pretty tight film by early fall. We were all digging what we saw and we knew it could only get better. I mean it wasn't perfect, but hell, it was already a fun film for us.
That's when FOCUS saw the first rough cut. That's when our beautiful little bubble in Orlando's Universal Studios began to burst a little bit.
Little did we know how much this bubble would blow up in our faces in the months to come...