What's Your Favorite Scary Movie?

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Ah, October. My favorite time of the year. Where the ghouls, goblins and ghosts make their way out into the mainstream and many of us fill our month with horror movies and horror show marathons (thank you Haunting of Hill House). But, why do we do it? Why do we like to be scared?

Better yet, why do many people not like to be scared?

It’s quite strange isn’t it?

  Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House is spectacular.

Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House is spectacular.

Fear, like art, seems to be extremely subjective.

Some feel the 1978 slasher Halloween is terrifying, while others think it is hilarious.

Some can’t sleep at night because of Freddy Krueger, while others brush him off completely.

Personally, psychological fear has always unnerved me the most with shows like Sharp Objects and Stephen King’s IT discovering my deeper fears that I didn’t know existed, until they were exposed in a creative medium.

  The actual scariest person ever.

The actual scariest person ever.

So, again, why do we do it?

According to an article on Psychology Today and a 2004 paper in the Journal of Media Psychology by Dr. Glenn Walters, “The three primary factors that make horror films alluring are tension (generated by suspense, mystery, terror, shock and gore), relevance (that may relate to personal relevance, cultural meaningfulness, the fear of death, etc.), and (somewhat paradoxically given the second factor) unrealism.”

Another study carried out by Haidt, McCauley and Rozin in 1994, involved showing a number of college students three different documentary videos including the slaughtering of a cow, a monkey being hammered in the head and a child’s facial skin being turned inside out for surgery. In the study, 90% of the students didn’t finish the films!

But, when questioning the students on why they would then pay money to see a horror film with more shock and gore, McCauley found that many of the viewers feel a “sense of control by placing psychological distance between them and the violent acts they have witnessed.”

He claimed that since many students knew the horror movies were not real, they could distance themselves from the shock value of it all. There is also evidence (Hoekstra, Harris & Helmick, 1999) “that young viewers who perceive greater realism in horror films are more negatively affected by their exposure to horror films than viewers who perceive the film as unreal.

If this is the case, it would make sense why the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre haunted me to my core. I had just worked a double shift at Dewey’s Pizza and was ready for a nice relaxing night with a couple cold Guinness, some slices of ‘Za and a great scary movie. It was a chilly night in October and my roommate was out of town for the weekend. So naturally, I decided to watch what is heralded as one of the scariest movies of all time, alone, in the dark, at my own apartment.

WHY?

As the movie progressed, the fear began to seep into my pores.

I felt like one of these poor kids caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

When the film ended, I sat in silence for 15 minutes. Didn’t move. Didn’t text anyone. I just sat there motionless unable to comprehend what I just saw. Now, some people may say this is dramatic, but for me, the fear was that powerful. I was scared to go to the bathroom (and believe me after 3-4 cold Guinness, I had to). My room was upstairs as well and I don’t remember if I made it up there that evening or not. I’m 90% sure I slept right there on that couch after quickly using the restroom, brushing my teeth and hoping to God I could close my eyes for the night. Morning would come soon enough.

  Leatherface haunting my dreams like…

Leatherface haunting my dreams like…

Maybe, deep down, we are attracted to the darkness of it all. It’s quite possible.

But, I think it’s more than that.

1.) We love to see people defeat their demons.

With stories like IT and The Haunting of Hill House, we see kids and their adult selves forever affected by their childhood traumas. The only way they can defeat them is by facing these lifelong traumas head on. In A Nightmare on Elm Street, we love seeing Nancy stand up for herself and her friends to kill Freddy Krueger and put him back into Hell for good (or do we?)

2.) We love to feel like we are in control.

Throughout our lives, we are hit with questions like, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” or, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” These questions give off the false narrative that we are in control of each and every step in our lives. Can we control some things? Absolutely.

But the illusion that many hold is that we can control it all.

What if I get into a car wreck? A loved one dies of cancer? Get fired from a big job? Or, what if a fu*&^%$ tornado hits my house?

With horror films, the audience loves to feel as if they can control the characters and tell them where to go next. They love the safety of sitting on their couch/movie theater seat and playing puppet master. But, when the film ends and the credits roll, all bets are off. There’s no one else to control and that is scary. Fear takes over and we start to think of all the different scenarios in our head, conjuring up a whole slew of death, destruction, violence and fear.

3.) We love the music.

The psychology of music on human behavior is a thing of wonder and the best horror films are always remembered for their haunting scores. The Exorcist, Halloween, A Nightmare on Elm Street, the list goes on and on. Music has a unique way of making us feel emotions that we may never even knew existed.

Certain songs evoke certain stories we contrive in our heads and when we listen to movie soundtracks, we can often see the scene right there in front of our eyes. Or, better yet, we have the ability to construct a completely different scene in which this music would fit right in.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some scary movies that don’t utilize much of a score which actually may make the film scarier (Texas Chainsaw comes to mind), but as humans, we are drawn to the primitiveness of music and all that it can do.

4.) Fear is extremely primitive.

Think about it for a second. Fear is one of the most primitive instincts in our bag. Researchers at the University of Exeter and Canterbury Christchurch University found that, “The subconscious has a bigger impact on our response to danger than previously thought and that humans share a primitive response to fear with other animals, despite our ability to consciously assess danger. All our conscious assessments fly out the window when danger rears its head.”

  “1,2 Freddy’s comin’ for you…”

“1,2 Freddy’s comin’ for you…”

So, if we compare these statements to the studies conducted by Haidt, McCauley and Rozin, a horror movie might be the only barrier between our fear and conscious decision-making. Think about it for a second. How many times have you watched a scary movie only to find yourself yelling at the screen and telling a character to “Run!” “Grab the knife!” “Make sure they’re dead!” “Check on the kids!”

I mean, the list goes on and on. We all do it or have been ‘guilty’ of this before. But, do we really know what we would do in any situation we haven’t been in before? HELL NO!

Take this story for instance. Awhile back, my girlfriend was home alone at her dad’s house in broad daylight. As she sat in her room, she heard a man whistle and make his way up the steps. She quickly became terrified. In her head, a man was coming up the steps to kill her as she was smack dab in the middle of a home invasion.

So, what did she do?

Well, as an audience member, we would have probably been throwing our popcorn at the screen because she didn’t do ‘what we would have done in that situation.’

Fear reared its nasty head and my girlfriend was completely paralyzed from head-to-toe. She couldn’t move. Couldn’t call 911.

She couldn’t do anything!

She finally mustered up the courage to call her dad and ask if anyone was supposed to be in the house that morning and he replied by telling her that “Yes, the exterminator would be there that day.”

Crazy, right?

Just like that, fear set in and her fear turned into paralysis which controlled her brain, thoughts and even her limbs. What would you have done? Trick question…you have no idea!

So, that brings me to my next question…what is your favorite scary movie? Do you like psychological thrillers, slashers, haunted houses, realistic ones, or don’t put me anywhere near a scary movie ever!

Respond with some of your favorites in the comment section below and check out this list of the "Top 50 Best Horror Movies of All Time” here:

Happy Halloween!

Sources

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2088436/Eeek-Human-response-fear-like-animals-thought.html

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-excess/201510/why-do-we-watching-scary-films



Happy One-Year A-Town Divided!

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It's been a year since we debuted our first documentary, A-Town Divided! Currently, we are working hard to put together something special for the upcoming history documentary on Anderson football and its relationship with Anderson Township.

We can't wait to show you our next project! It's got some time to go but it's finally starting to click. Everyone we've spoken with has been AMAZING and it will show on camera.

Either way, take a look back at our first today or send it to someone you know loves sports and a good story. As always, we appreciate the love and support. Stay tuned for updates on our next project (with a possible new name, trailer, Vimeo page for rental link and more!)


How HBO’s Sharp Objects Pulled Out My Inner Fears

My girlfriend thinks I’m crazy.

I’m sure I’m not alone in that sentiment here.

Right, guys?

Anyway, Ever since we started watching HBO’s Sharp Objects together, she is probably not too far off in her thinking of me. I have been waiting for a show that explores life’s deepest darkest fears, a show that pushes the envelope and presents fear in a way that only a handful of talented directors, editors and filmmakers can do, and one that legitimately scares the absolute shit out of me.

Well, Sharp Objects has accomplished just that.

When I think about my own fears throughout my life, a specific few come to mind.

Growing up, I was completely terrified that a man in a white van would pull up to my driveway, hop out and take me away. I had nightmares of these white vans rolling down our neighborhood with a bearded and scraggly figure getting out of the van and proceeding to chase me as I tried to run out of the quicksand that was my driveway.

 FUCK no!

FUCK no!

Why does that always happen in dreams by the way?  About 10 years later, I saw The Silence of the Lambs and the white van scene is still hard for me to stomach.

When I started watching Sharp Objects, several new fears arose. It was like they came from a place deep within my soul that I did not even know existed. When I saw these fears materialize in a visual form, I knew how real they were.

 

For starters, the fear of abuse ran much deeper than I ever anticipated. I lived an incredible life growing up. I was never around abuse and I don’t have any friends that I know were physically or mentally abused as children. I am beyond lucky for that. Many children are not so lucky and it truly makes my gut wrench.

As I started watching Sharp Objects, I couldn’t believe the amount of abuse Camille has endured throughout her life. Much of this abuse stems directly from her mother (we now know a lot more), the men in town, her sister, herself and many more people and demons (they seem pretty closely related in Wind Gap, don’t they) we don’t know about quite yet. With some insanely creepy and effective editing techniques, the echo chambers of Camille’s haunted memories will forever be etched into my subconscious.

As the show carries on, we start to see exactly how people in Wind Gap deal with their demons. Just like the demons that exist in their subconscious, their methods of coping can be hard to watch. Sadly, we’ve all dealt with our demons in ways we aren’t proud, and even though the residents of Wind Gap take it to an extreme level, I can still relate on some sort of humanistic level.

I think that’s what makes it so scary.

 Oh Hell no...

Oh Hell no...

Second, I didn’t realize I was so afraid of a potential female killer until starting Sharp Objects. Or a few of them. Or a lot of them. I don’t know. Either way, it is terrifying. We’ve seen the male psychopaths in films, on television and in reality before, but there is something even more unnerving about seeing female rage and violence on camera depicted in such incredible acting performances. Maybe that’s part of the point — we are seeing something new right before our eyes and just like Chief Vickery, we are in denial about the fact that the killer might be a woman(s).

 Chief Vickery likes to pretend nothing is out of the ordinary in Wind Gap (HBO) 

Chief Vickery likes to pretend nothing is out of the ordinary in Wind Gap (HBO) 

As I mentioned before, we’ve seen serial killers and fictional characters like Jack Torrence, Norman Bates, Jeffrey Dahmer, William H. Gacy, Ed Gein, Buffalo Bill, Ted Bundy — the list goes on and on. Even the fictional characters are based off some psychopathic male murderer who roamed this earth at some point in time. Which, don’t get me wrong, is still absolutely terrifying, but pop culture has taken a bit of an obsession to the male serial killer and its lost some of its horror genre luster.

 You think Jack Torrence wasn't based of a real psychopathic male?

You think Jack Torrence wasn't based of a real psychopathic male?

With the exception of Charlize Theron in Monster (which I have still yet to see),

 Charlize Theron in Monster

Charlize Theron in Monster

I can’t remember more haunting characters than Adora, Amma and the mysterious “Woman in the White Dress.” Sure, we finally see why Amma may be lashing out the way that she does, but most of her behavior is downright creepy. The evil smirks, the flirtatious nature with her own sister, the rampant drug use, the bullying, teasing, and so on and so forth.

However, she is nothing compared to the walking nightmare that is Adora Crellin.
 

 Adora Crellin is absolute nightmare fuel (HBO) 

Adora Crellin is absolute nightmare fuel (HBO) 

In Episode 2, there is a scene in which Camille is at the playground talking to a couple of kids. One of them tells her that a boy named James told him that a “Woman in White” emerged from the woods and took Natalie.

It is then that one of the scariest scenes on television takes place. As the show so brilliantly pulls off, we see a “Woman in White” emerge from the woods like Freddy Krueger emerging from the depths of hell. She is slow moving and inviting, yet it is so unnerving to see such a mythical, yet real ‘person’ surface directly from the woods of this Wind Gap playground. We bounce back between Camille’s nightmare visions and her chat with the young children as the audio changes back and forth between dream state and reality.

Once again, it is pure nightmare fuel.
 

 Is Adora the "Woman in White?"

Is Adora the "Woman in White?"

Many films and shows have explored the deep, dark depths of family dynamics, but Sharp Objects does so in a way that is completely claustrophobic, spinetingling, and terrifyingly realistic. Each time we enter the Crellin’s southern mansion, I feel as if all of my positive energy has been sucked right out of me and my anxiety goes through the roof.


These emotions point to the brilliance of Amy Adams, Jean-Marc Vallée, and his filmmaking and audio teams in their use of music and sound effects used during flashbacks, dreams, nightmares and reality juxtaposed against their visual representation of the Crellin’s gothic mansion. With every walk up those creepy ass steps, I can’t help but think of Adora dressed in some lavish night gown, prowling her own home as if its some sacred (evil) universe, waiting for Camille one last time.


As Sharp Objects progresses, we also see the evil nature of many of the men in Wind Gap on full display. As Camille bounces back and forth between dream-state and reality, we finally learn what happened to her in the woods that awful day. Well, we learn most of it, but that is the way that Camille would want it. No one sees everything. Watching these football players undress with eyes like rabid dogs waiting to prey on Camille is extremely hard to stomach.


Because too many of us know someone that was directly affected by sexual assault and rape, these scenes are difficult to watch. However, as Jean-Marc Vallée shows us from a technical point of view, they are perfectly crafted and constructed to make the viewer feel extremely uncomfortable. From the color changes to the brilliant use of audio, editing techniques, handheld cameras and more, the viewer feels like we are trapped in those massive woods and terrifying shed. Yet, in reality, we are not. And that makes it much worse knowing how we feel about it is nothing compared to the way it has changed and altered Camille’s life forever.

 Detective Richard Willis searches Wind Gap's creepy woods for clues (HBO) 

Detective Richard Willis searches Wind Gap's creepy woods for clues (HBO) 

So, I leave you with this, what is scarier than something that runs too deep? On the surface, sure, there are hundreds of thousands of scary stories out there that will make your skin crawl. But, when we dig deep into the dark and twisted history of Wind Gap, we start to see just how poisoned (this makes sense now) its roots really are. From cycles of abuse, to sexism, racism, gossip, fear, corruption, cover-ups, demons, silence and more, we start to see the true shapes and sizes of Wind Gap take form.

Let’s use The Exorcist and IT for example. The Exorcist is often voted as one of the scariest films of all-time, while IT is often described as one of the scariest novels. What is universally terrifying about them both is the fact that infinite demons, Pazuzu and Pennywise, find home in a young girl to possess and a town full of small children to eat. When space and time warp into something that we cannot comprehend, it scares us deep down into our cores. Just like in Derry, Maine, the town of Wind Gap, Missouri has a history that smells of violence, corruption, death, darkness, suffering, pain, abuse, and even demons(Woman in White/Pazuzu/Pennywise) that roam the land.


However, in Sharp Objects, we see that these demons are walking, talking, breathing humans. Do they seem that much different than the Pennywises and Pazuzus of American literature and films? Not really. But, seeing them in human form makes my skin crawl and Gillian Flynn, Jean-Marc Vallée and his team know exactly what they are doing.


So…


Am I more terrified of the thought that a mother killed her own child or that she is going to do it again?


The fact that several people in this town know what is going on but won’t say a word?
Is it the small town cover-ups firing nurses from their jobs for knowing too much about Marian’s death?


Or is Chief Vickery’s strange closeness with Adora? (even he is worried at the end of Ep. 7)


Or could it be the fact that Amma is overpowering, menacing and terrifying until she is a just sweet little sick angel in the care of her own sick mother?


Or is it the fact that I saw a mother openly bite her child to cause her pain and suffering so that she could care for her?


When I really break it down, it’s baffling how much has been covered in seven episodes.
With one week left, we’ll all find out the true secrets in Wind Gap, Missouri, and I have a feeling we are all in for some crazy shit ahead. Buckle up, folks.


Episode 8 runs on HBO at 9 pm EST on Sunday evening.

Try Something Different

Welcome to our first vlog here at PK Productions!

Every single day, I have ideas and thoughts and advice in my head, and often, they goes nowhere.  So, instead of writing them all out, I figured I'd start a daily vlog to spread good vibes, share industry knowledge and chat on topics that you may not think about that often.

I hope you enjoy!

Why 'The Thin Red Line' Snuck Through the Cracks

The year is 1998 and America is in a much different place than it is today.  Big-time movies and A-list actors still control the entertainment landscape, Blockbuster still exists, and movies are now in the 'everything after Titanic' phase.  The following year, Director Steven Spielberg releases his classic war epic, Saving Private Ryan, with one of the best 'opening' sequences in cinema history and the recipient of five Oscars.  The same year, Director Terrence Malick releases another WWII film titled The Thin Red Line with a star-studded cast and a glimpse into the Battle of Guadalcanal.  

The Pacific Front, which was fought as an entirely different war, Malick takes on a part of history that isn't discussed as often as D-Day and the storming of the beaches of Normandy.  With Saving Private Ryan, Spielberg takes a stance on the patriotism of America and the great men that have stood their ground fighting for this country.  In The Thin Red Line, Malick presents a different opinion and viewpoint on war -- with a level of beauty and grittiness that is unmatched in its 1998 counterpart.  Now, if you are looking for intense war scenes, graphic battle sequences, incredible sound design and a visceral war experience, Saving Private Ryan is one of the best war movies of all-time.  However, in The Thin Red Line, war and battle are almost after thoughts to the inner battles each character faces in taking the lives of other men.

From unique voiceovers to scenes juxtaposed with nature and the destruction of man, The Thin Red Line uses the beauty of nature to show how man always puts himself first in order to get ahead in the world.  After watching this film, I sat in great silence for 15-20 minutes after the credits rolled, and contemplated life on this earth.  I couldn't imagine being thousands of miles from home engaged in the heart and brutality of jungle warfare.  While both films differ greatly in film style, color, technique, message, theme and so much more, I am writing this as an appreciation letter for the greatness that is The Thin Red Line.  

Got a few hours this weekend?

Rent it on Amazon for $3.99 here.

Check out a little sneak peak below: 

 

PK's Score - 8.5/10

PK's Movie Reviews: Vol. 3

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (2017)

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*Spoilers Ahead*

Where do I begin?

First and foremost, Three Billboards is a fiery movie. Frances McDormand is, as always, superb. But, can a superb actress fix a sub-par film? As the movie begins, I really enjoyed it. It seemed like it was really heading somewhere. However, as time wore on, my opinions changed and I had no idea what this movie was attempting to say. It was also very difficult to feel any connection with McDormand's character and her daughter or son. One flashback the entire film? Strange choice.

Second, there are some crazy weird scenes in this that don't quite hold up, or make any sense at all. A cop throws a man out of a window, punches him in the face in the middle of the street and no one (not even the officer assigned to take over the Sheriff's duties) does a damn thing? I get it. It's trying to make a point. And, we've seen some crazy things in our days and times way before our generation. But, this one just didn't do it for me. I thought it was forced. Then, things got even weirder after this.

Rockwell is fired by the new Sheriff in town for his behavior. Due to the beloved Sheriff's suicide and his note to Rockwell about being a 'good man' (are we sure about this?) deep down, he needs to get his act together. As a flaming mazel tov cocktail nearly blows him to pieces, Rockwell runs through the flames (symbolism?) and is suddenly this changed man. Maybe, but again, it didn't seem very realistic to me. When the film ends, I remember sitting at my girlfriend's house and saying aloud "what in the *expletive*?" 

I'm all for indie films. I'm all for different ways to tell stories. I'm all for innovation and experimentation. But, is this film really as good as so many critics say it is? Art is subjective and I want to make my own movies some day, but I just don't see it. Maybe that's the beauty of it but I'm sticking with my 5/10 and telling you to skip this one. It's just not a very good movie.

PK'S SCORE: 5/10

 

PK's Movie Reviews: Vol. 2

Robocop (1987) Review

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I remember the first time I saw RoboCop sitting on the shelves of a video store (remember those?) in Cleveland, OH back in 1996. For whatever reason, the cover always caught my eye. Was I afraid of the robotic police officer on the front cover or did a movie about a robotic police officer just sound pretty amazing? I think it was a little bit of both. 

After watching RoboCop for the first time since seeing it in a store 21 years ago, I couldn't believe my eyes. From the very beginning of the film, we are brought into a cinematic universe of parody, comedy, violence, drama, action and so much more. From the spot on newscasts where war and violence are mixed in with feel good stories and cheesy dialogue, I knew from the onset that RoboCop was going to exceed my expectations. 

This movie is violent, folks. It is done for effect but the brilliance in RoboCop is that the film actually shows what powerful and technologically advanced weaponry does to a human body. It will make you cringe, but while these companies and organizations fight for ultimate military dominance, we see first-hand just what these weapons are doing to the people of this world.

It is a pretty amazing feat. For starters, RoboCop is a direct reflection on society in the 1980s. Watching it in 2017, it didn't feel very off from life today with its portrayal of excess, greed, violence, militarization, fear, politics, corporations, money and more. RoboCop is very much a futuristic Western with its "There's a new Sheriff in town" feel and it's focus on putting the bad guys behind bars. Yet, just like many of those Westerns, we realize there is always a bigger motive at hand, and in RoboCop, it is all about the money. Isn't it always? 

Lost lives throughout the film are calculated as company costs and financial losses, instead of as emotionally tragic events. The corporate dollar is king in RoboCop and at OCP, where employees fight for recognition, control and power, while placing a hold on American society at-large. This mega corporation isn't far off from a slew of companies running our world today and the film quickly turned pretty scary when I started to think about it that way. 

From a character standpoint, there are some true gems in this film. Clarence Boddicker and his goons are some of the best around and the real scenes of their violence and mayhem are actually pretty terrifying. RoboCop does an amazing job of portraying the parody of American society and corporate greed, but creating real scenes of violence and mayhem that are downright terrifying. 

Where OCP gears up for their war on crime (sound familiar?), we are left wondering who the bad guys really are in this film. It all seems pretty blurry to me. Overall, RoboCop is a smart, fast-paced, violent, parodic observation on American society and is an all-time classic in my book. I almost didn't take the time to write this review out today, but in all honesty, I never miss a game!

PK's SCORE: 9/10

 

 

PK's Movie Reviews: Vol. 1

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A few months ago, I started writing movie reviews for IMDB.  Writing has always been therapeutic for me, and I figured writing out my movie reviews on an actual platform would be a great way to start writing more again.  Especially since it is about something that I love, I figured why not?

I was thinking earlier this morning that it might be cool to share some of my reviews on the PK Productions blog with you folks too.  As you can probably tell, films and movies are a big thing for us here (really Patrick?), so why not bring you some more content on a daily basis?  

Last night, I watched Scream with my girlfriend for the first time in years. Wow. I truly forgot how visceral, disturbing and awesome it is!  Check out my newest review below and follow me on IMDB here.

Scream 1996 Review:

I re-watched Scream last night with my girlfriend for the first time in a couple of years. She had just watched Scary Movie the night before with her roommate and had a scary movie in mind for the both of us to watch together. Before viewing, I could tell that she didn't remember much about Scream and the fact that it is actually a scary slasher movie. I couldn't wait to see her reactions.

From the onset, the opening scene with Drew Barrymore is still one of the best in horror/film history. It's absolutely terrifying. The music? 10/10. The cinematography? 10/10. Writing? 10/10. Suspense? 10/10. Hitchcock elements? 10/10. It hits on all cylinders and then some. When Barrymore's character is attempting to scream for her parents in front of a tilted, uneasy camera, with the killer right behind her...that is horror movie magic right there. Now, don't get me wrong. Scream is a brutal film. That opening scene could emotionally scar you, especially if you are a young woman in this world. 

That said, Scream plays on itself and other classic horror movies, while also playing the same game the killer plays with his victims, with the audience. Horror movie tropes are a real thing, just like action movie tropes and romantic comedy tropes and suspenseful film tropes and cliches. The list goes on and on. I always find it funny when people think horror movies are the only films with these scores and scenes that can be predictable for the audience. How about Tom Cruise hanging out of a car door 565 feet in the air with machine guns firing at him, a beautiful woman by his side, and the fate of the world in his hands? 

Yeah...I think you get my point.

What Scream does so well is relish in its self-awareness and then some. As I watched the movie a second and third time, it's so blatantly obvious who the killer is, it's hard to believe I ever thought that was the point of the film in the first place. Yet, there is still a twist. Just like in Pyscho, we know something is off about Norman Bates, yet we don't know the entirety of it. We're just scratching the surface. 

Now, does Scream have its faults? Sure. I'm not really going to dwell on them. From the tilted camera and quick zooms used in the film, I felt uneasy and slightly off throughout. Wes Craven has a way of making you feel uncomfortable just like he did with Freddy. The killer is a bit clumsy...but when you watch Nightmare on Elm Street, so was Freddy. He knows how to ride that line so well. The last few scenes are also pretty disturbing to watch, but with the music and the strange acting and horror movie games and cliches, it's just bloody fun. 

So many movies copied Scream that it can be hard to take it serious at times. When I tried to explain to my girlfriend that they are self-aware in their horror movie cliches and rules, she didn't seem to agree with me. "It's just being a horror movie." Which is true. It is. 

But, it's also playing on itself and so many that came before it, and now, so many that came after it. I can't imagine reading the script for Scream (originally titled Scary Movie). It is seal-vacuum tight. I am a firm believer in catching the viewer from the opening scene and with no cuts for the first 10-15 minutes, I was on the edge of my frickin' seat! Isn't that the joy in seeing a movie in the first place? I can't imagine seeing this in theaters and I hope it is re-released soon. It would be worth a visit to see on the big screen.

PK's Score - 8.5/10

 

 

Making a Change

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Life is strange, isn't it? 

We work through all of the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the trials and tribulations to make things work.   It's just what we do.  As life goes on, we start to find work that means more to us and in turn, brings more happiness into our lives. 

If we are spending most of our waking hours working, why not spend it doing things that we love? 

However, so many people go through life dreading their day jobs and the responsibilities that come with them.  It leads me to ask the question,

Do we really have to be so miserable?

"Yeah, but it pays the bills." 

"I'm just used to it by now."

"It's pretty simple at this point."

"I've learned how to ignore my boss." 

The list goes on and on.  I've heard it all, I've said it all and recently, I'm starting to question it all.  Is that really what life is all about?  Going through your day-to-day in fear and dread?  I sure hope not.  Yet, so many of us do it.  We fight through the dark days, work hard, save money, take on roles we don't enjoy, and do our best to please those around us.  When you're in that groove, it's difficult to even consider making a change.

"That would be too much work."

"I can't afford it."

"I'm not sure I have the time to start looking for a new job." 

"I'm happy enough where I am."

"The grass isn't always greener."

Another list that goes on and on.

Will it ever end?

In all likelihood, probably not.  The grass isn't always greener, life isn't all rainbows and unicorns and making money is hard work.  However, there has got to be some middle ground here.  Life should be celebrated, business should be fun, and working with people should bring joy into our lives. I see so much of the opposite, however, that it's scary to realize how many people are unhappy in their current situations and roles to even do something about it.

There's a reason this movie will never age.  It's just too spot on.

It's also terrifying.

Are you ready to make a change?

 

Say It Ain't So, Amazon

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The year is 2058 and four major companies run the world.  

Google. Apple. Amazon. Disney.

How did we get here?

For starters, Amazon is the greatest site I have come across in my 27 years on Earth.  Need a book? We got you.  Movie? Check.  Clothes? Comin' right up. Music? Sure. Household items? You got it.

What else could a consumer possibly ask for?  A year after taking home Oscars for Amazon's Manchester by the Sea (the saddest movie I've ever seen by the way), Amazon looked prime to continue their run with low-budget, indie films that delivered.  With successes from Manchester and The Big Sick, it felt like 2018 was the year of the indie.  For an avid movie-goer and film enthusiast, this was big news.  Low-budget films being picked up by a big player in the game and delivering on all the goods?  Count me in.

Three weeks into 2018 and it's safe to say that these days might be long gone there at ol' Amazon Studios.  In a move announced yesterday, Amazon Studios will look to distribute more mainstream films with higher budgets and a wider audience.  

Uproxx said it best: "Amazon Studios Reportedly Plans To Shift From Prestige Movies To Popcorn Flicks."

Ain't that the truth?

As a filmmaker, seeing the approach Amazon had taken to low-budget films was inspiring.  Write a good enough script, and who knows, the sky was the limit.  Now, that dream takes a slightly different form, as Amazon once again shifts their approach in the film industry.  I'm not sure how to feel about.  Is it always about the money in this world?  It sure seems like it.

I understand.

"It's a business!"

And, technically, Amazon 'never makes money' so maybe it isn't all about that.

Maybe I don't know enough.

But, it does seem a bit disheartening for those indie filmmakers and writers out there who had forged a great relationship with Amazon and their release style.  That said, the hot thing to do these days is to give a hot take, act irrationally upon giving it, and then completely fail to mention your cause ever again.  See *Twitter*.  

So, we'll sit back on this one.  There is just too much information in the world, and everyone 'up in arms' usually forgets about what they were even fighting for in the first place.  Who knows, maybe the greatest film of the 2010s will be released through Amazon this year and you'll be sitting there laughing about how wrong we were.

Art is subjective, you know.  

It's All About the Journey

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This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.  You can find it and follow me here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/its-all-journey-patrick-kollmeier/

So I know what you're probably thinking:

"Oh jeez. Another clichéd LinkedIn article."

And, that's fine. You're allowed to think that and no one is forcing you to keep reading. But, if you're reading this, it's too late. Okay, that was a Drake cliché, but that is neither here nor there.

So, back to the title:

It's All About the Journey.

I have been thinking a lot about this statement lately. Currently, I am working at my third company since graduating from college back in 2012. From Information Technology Sales to Marketing, Publicity, Customer-Service, Restaurant Management and more, it's been quite the ride. I've met a lot of amazing individuals, learned some tough lessons along the way, negotiated pay and salary, worked in an office with 30 people and an office with two, waited tables and tended the bar six nights a week, and so much more. Often, I try to focus on the present, while preparing for the future. However, I do believe it is important to take a look back every once in awhile, just to see how far you've come.

Think about that first job you had out of college, or that first internship. Remember how nervous you were? How many skills you felt you had, but actually lacked? How tired you were those first few weeks? I'm not sure I've been that tired since. Actually, that is a lie, but I was pretty darn tired. Fast forward to today. Think about how much more prepared you come into the office every day. Or, how much better you are at speaking with your manager, standing up for yourself, and navigating the trajectory of your own career and life. And, think about how long you have to go.

It's a little scary, isn't it?

Now, I want you to think about all of the self-help and business books circulating the globe today. Some are written marvelously, as the writer understands the importance of the struggle and knows how to share in the essence of those emotions. Others are a little more difficult for me to enjoy. The writer has no idea how to share the struggle or journey of their career and life with their readers. They seem to compartmentalize the two, and it is always difficult for me to really feel the authenticity of their work. Life happens. Or, in layman's terms, s*^$ happens. This stuff is all a major component of the journey, and often, successful people forget to mention just how hard it is to become successful. The ups and downs are all a major component of the ride and this is something I'm really trying to keep in perspective lately.

As I work through my career and the ups and downs of my career and life, I have started to notice some things along the way. Maybe they'll help you out, maybe they won't. But, my hope is that they get you thinking and putting things into perspective. You never know.

  1. Money comes and goes.

Some weeks and months you're feeling good, and others, not so much. It's just the reality of the situation, but it might be the hardest one to accept.

2. You must define your own success.

Seriously. Turn off your phone. Delete your Instagram. Block out the noise. Focus on what you deem successful. What do you want your future life to look like?

3. Life has a lot of ups and downs.

This one is always hard to accept. It's not all unicorns and rainbows. Would you really want it to be though? Sometimes, I say yes, but when I really think about it, the struggle is always worth it.

4. Don't be so hard on yourself.

This is the hardest one for me. I get so down on myself sometimes. Maybe we all do but it's something I've been working on for a long time. Just think about the ways in which we speak to ourselves. Are you happy with your tone and how you make yourself feel? I think this is something we can all work on.

5. Time is scary and hard and scary. Did I mention it was scary?

Time is a flat circle. Some days, you don't have enough. Other days, you feel like the world is moving in slow motion. It only speeds up, it only gets tougher to balance (in my opinion) and it sure as hell ain't slowing down for you. Take deep breaths, stretch, meditate, listen to great music, stop checking your watch every 15 minutes and just breath. It'll all work out.

6. Never give up.

Maybe that job isn't a fit anymore, but in the grand scheme of things, never lose sight of your vision and where you want to be. Don't let the roller coaster of life stop you from achieving what you want to achieve.

The New Year is Always Daunting

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2018 is right around the corner and those new yearly goals are starting to stack up.

"I'm going to get in shape this year."

"I'm going to quit eating junk food."

"I'm going to become a morning person!"

"It's time to get focused."

We all go through it.  Each and every year, we look at the things we want to improve in ourselves and make lofty goals that are usually unrealistic to accomplish.  Setting goals is a great thing, but often, us humans like to set so many that we don't even know where to start.  We make a massive run at the local grocery, buy some protein supplements online for the gym, look up a bunch of workout videos on YouTube and start reaching out to hundreds of people on LinkedIn for that dream opportunity.  

It's not necessarily a bad thing.  Naturally,  most of us are always looking to improve.  The new year brings new opportunity and there's a completely new vibe in the air. 

"It's in the past!"

Yet, I've been challenging myself to think about improvement on a different scale this year and I am starting to like the results.

You see, I've gained a little weight this past year and a half.  I'm sure many of us have but mine was starting to become noticeable.  And, I didn't feel very good.  I was eating poorly, skipping exercise, and finding ways to complain and make excuses about the way I was starting to look.  It was tough for me because I've always been an exerciser.  I used to work out religiously in high school and college and usually only took one day off during the week.  However, I lost myself this past year and a half and I am finally just starting to get back on track.

How?

By taking it one day, and one daily percentage point of improvement at a time.

I got that one from my friend James Altucher

"1% a day makes every habit work. Every."

And, he's right.  You're not going to start running 6 miles, bench 185 pounds and do 200 push-ups the first day of your new workout routine.  Or, the second day.  Or, the third. Most likely, you won't get to that milestone for several weeks or months!  Humans are amazing beings but we're not that amazing.  Forming good habits is hard work, but this 1% rule has forced me to look at the bigger issue with my weight and health and maintain it on a much smaller scale.  100 push-ups yesterday?  Try for 101 the next day.  Then, 102.  103. 104.  Slowly work your way up instead of stacking everything together, becoming so sore you can't walk, and eventually just giving up on your entire new habit after the first week or two.  

We've all been there so please know that you are not alone in the struggle.  It is difficult.  We all get down on ourselves and listen to those negative voices in our heads from time-to-time but I'm also adding that to my 1% rule in 2018.  Listen to one less negative voice tomorrow than I listen to today.  Don't even give it the time of day.  You know why?  

BECAUSE IT DOESN'T DESERVE MY TIME.

Or yours.

Or anyone's for that matter.

So, let's get in on this one together this year.  Let's vow to improve 1% each and every single day.  1% more exercise, 1% more time spent working on our craft, 1% more time calling our parents and thanking them, 1% more time putting others needs before our own, 1% better food choices and more. 

You choose what fits you best.  I'll do the same.  We can see where we are in a few months and if we stuck to our word.  A little better than scheduling a marathon in January, am I right? 

KEEP GOING!

PK 

Need Some New Art Work?

 Great American Ball Park print in Lincoln Park, Chicago 

Great American Ball Park print in Lincoln Park, Chicago 

It's been a heck of a ride here at PK Productions so far.  We've met and worked with some amazing people, debuted our first documentary, stepped outside of our comfort zones, developed new projects, ideas, and so much more. 

Since life is all about the journey, we are excited to add a new section of our website highlighting our photography work throughout these past few years!  Each print comes in 11x14 E-Surface quality paper with a matboard to keep your photo in great shape. 

You can check out our newest page at www.patrickkollmeierproductions.com/prints

Prints will be shipped directly to your door in 3-8 business days and you'll be able to choose from 25 different photos for $30 each.  Who knows, they might just make the perfect Christmas gift for that special someone.  Happy Holidays ya'll!

Mindhunter is a Complex Dive into the Human Brain

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Warning: Spoilers ahead. If you have not watched Netflix's Mindhunter, please proceed with caution!

David Fincher's newest Netflix drama, Mindhunter, hits on a lot of uncomfortable themes, misogynistic qualities, twisted individualism, failing relationships, human differences, self-identity, group identity, human behavior, repressed sexuality, and life the working world. In a show filled with FBI Agents, scientific research and serial killers, Fincher and company demonstrate an understanding of these worlds and how to depict them to their audience. However, after finishing the 10-episode run, I began to analyze how this show is about so much more than FBI Agents, serial killers, and science.

First, Mindhunter is about the work that we do each and every day. In doing this work, how do we define our own identities to those around us, and most importantly, to ourselves? Should work be our identity? Is work our only identity if we let it be? Where do we draw the line? As the season progresses and Holden tumbles further and further out of touch with his girlfriend Debbie, we start to see his obsession with the work that he does. It slowly becomes less about Bill mentoring Holden and more about Holden's obsession with his work and how much good he is doing for the world.

Similarly, several of the serial killers Bill and Holden interview are pretty obsessed with their work, wouldn't you say? When speaking with killers like Kemper, Bill and Holden are exposed to someone that meticulously plans out his killings, takes pride in his work, and loves to talk about it when given the right avenue to do so. Sounds a little like our guy Holden doesn't it?

Obsessed with his process? ✓

Obsessed with his work? ✓

Loves talking to others about his amazing qualities and work style? ✓

So, when we compare his behavior to Bill's and Dr. Wendy Carr's, it is interesting to note the underlying differences and similarities between the three. For starters, Bill is also completely obsessed with his FBI work and brings it home with him each and every evening. Grotesque pictures fill his unlocked office cabinets, stopping the bad guys controls his inner thoughts and emotions, and his relationship with Holden becomes a massive part of his everyday existence. Throughout the series, we see glimpses of Bill outside of work and learn a little into his backstory as well. Growing up, his 'old man' never spoke to him, which is why Bill has such a tough time connecting with his son, communicating with his wife, and showing compassion and love. He didn't grow up with it, and as Fincher notes throughout Mindhunter, sometimes we can never escape our upbringings and past.

Now, think about Holden. He seems to be pretty innocent when we first meet him in the show, right? A little off, yes. But, a viewer might say he seems like a nice guy, that might be a tad inexperienced with women. However, from his first bar interaction with Debbie, he seems to hit all the right notes. Is he faking this bravado? Looking back, it would seem like he is. Holden doesn't seem to know or ask about his relationship status, is sexually blown away by Debbie on all accounts, and also seems to use her intelligence as a way to justify these two being together in the first place. Because when you really think about it, these two could not be more on more opposite ends of the spectrum if they tried.

Or, take the scenes with Carr and her newfound pet that she discovers in the laundry room basement of her building. As we all know, Carr is one smart person. She works extremely hard, has built her way up in both respect and status, and is always there to provide insight for Bill and Holden after their interrogations. She is also a lesbian in a largely 'straight' world in which she now works. Throughout the series, we start to see Carr's struggle with the cooker cutter apartment (it already came furnished) and her lack of love interests since her move. We see that Carr (the sharpest of the three), can turn her work off and attempt to relax. However, her fixation on helping a hungry animal shows her compassion and necessity for love and connection. She is living dual lives (not far off from the serial killers or Bill and Holden), and when the termites take over the tuna in the season finale, we see just how much this affects her.

How about Bill? He finally cracks during the babysitter episode and can no longer hold in his bottled up emotions as an FBI Agent. His wife begs and pleads for him to show compassion and love for their son (he doesn't know how), and to tell her more about his days at work. What does he do every day? What does he see? Is it difficult? Easy? Fun? Boring? Exciting? Scary? She is kept completely in the dark (think Jerry Brudos and his garage) and it is completely tarnishing their family's relationship with one another. When Bill finally breaks down, his wife gives him a hug which lets him know that everything is going to be okay. Bill gives off the 'man's man' style of masculinity, but deep down, we all know that he just wants to connect with his wife, son and family to lead a happier and more fulfilling life.

Holden? He's a different story. You see, while Carr and Bill are both attempting to build relationships or show love and affection, Holden is starting to act completely different. Instead of asking Debbie about her partner in class, he tells her very creepily while she is bathing, that she should call him next time she needs a ride. Do we ever see Holden ask Debbie any questions about her classes? Her friends? Her interests outside of class? The only question he ever asks her revolves around the number of sexual partners she's had in her life so far. As Holden states after one of his interrogations, "The motive is always sexually driven." Now, that's interesting.

So, as our agents take a deep dive into the minds and 'patterns' of serial killers, do they really understand them?  Will they ever understand them?  As we see in the personal lives of Carr, Bill and Holden throughout the series, do we even understand ourselves and our own strange behaviors?  I guess we'll find out in Season 2.

Did you watch Netflix's MIndhunter? 

What did you think?

Do you agree with some of our takes or have your own spin on things? 

Comment below with your thoughts and opinions!

Are You Letting Others Dictate Your Happiness? Am I?

 Photo courtesy of www.pexels.com

Photo courtesy of www.pexels.com

Humans are a strange breed. For starters, we are warm-blooded mammals that have hair and produce milk, like whales, only slightly different. Second, we are self-aware beings. As we grow older, we learn more about ourselves, while only asking more questions about our origins and how we fit into the world that we know. As time passes, many of us start to see that some folks never leave the world that they know, and others, well, they yearn for the adventure to start something new and uncomfortable in their lives.

Some of us create our own happiness or the pursuit of it at least, while others drift through life and let others take control. It's a tough balance. Especially in the working world where lines are drawn and limits are tested, letting others dictate our happiness is a major issue I have noticed not only in myself, but in those around me as well.

Why do we let it happen?

Is the thought of actually enjoying to work for someone else completely dictated by their management style, leadership techniques and emotional intelligence levels? Or, is it dictated by how much money you make and how much value you bring to the organization? A little bit of both? Yet, when work ends and we all go home at the end of the evening, morning, or afternoon, we usually forget about our boss's leadership qualities that we dislike or admire, and move on with our lives.

So, why do so many of us let others dictate how we feel about ourselves both personally and professionally? Sure, we're afraid of losing it all to some degree or not having enough money to pay the rent, but why do we let fear dictate us at times when we need courage the most? Is it that powerful? Heck, if you saw the sales numbers for IT this summer, you'd say that fear is definitely that powerful and we're all just along for the ride. Maybe we like being afraid. Fear seems to be pretty ingrained into our systems, so maybe it naturally brings out the bravery in us all. I wouldn't be too surprised if that was the case. However, there is a major difference between the acknowledgement of fear and the paralysis it can carry on a personal level.

So, I want you (me) to try something.

Think about some things that bring you fear and write them out.

I'll start.

1.) Failure and bankruptcy

2.) A trapped mentality

3.) Loss of desire or passion

4.) Loss of key friendships

5.) Neglect

6.) An authoritative boss

7.) Ego

8.) War

9.) Hate

10.) Violence

11.) Relying on others for everything

12.) Letting work dictate my own happiness

13.) Accepting that happiness is a destination and is not always the answer

14.) Ignorant people

15.) Spiders (yes, I included them)

16.) Spiders crawling on my face when I sleep (that's much scarier than solely seeing a spider in my room)

17.) Stagnation

18.) Boredom

19.) Death

20.) Growing old and losing touch

21.) Etc. etc. etc. -- I could probably write down 100-200 of them.

Most people don't like sharing their fears. Many mantras preach never to show it, but I am a firm believer in showing vulnerability to gain trust. Let it all out there, folks. The coaches and bosses throughout the years that I never clicked with were always the ones too afraid to show their vulnerabilities and fears. We are all humans and we all are afraid. While some believe that showing vulnerability and admitting our weaknesses is in fact, weak, I would urge you to think just the opposite. By being completely open to failure and risk, we open ourselves and all of our doors to the endless possibilities that we face in this life and the next.

My coaches that were too afraid to admit their weaknesses were never fully able to coach. My teachers, the same. My bosses too. Once we stop putting our happiness and dreams into the hands of others and let our guards down, good things start to happen. Walls break down. Doors open where others close and we start along the rightful path of what we want.

What do you want? Think about it for a minute today. What do you want in life and the life of those around you? Forget about your parents. Forget about your student loans. Forget about your boss. Forget about your business coach, past sports coaches or teachers. It is not about them. It is your life.

How do you want to live it?

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.  You can find it and follow me here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/you-letting-others-dictate-your-happiness-am-i-patrick-kollmeier/

Where Do You Draw Inspiration?

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As I start to plan my next video project, a lot of different ideologies, inspirations and ideas have come to mind.  Do I stay on the sports route?  Tackle a completely different topic?  What direction should I take?  Will we show this next film in a local theater?  Do I have an audience willing to watch my next film?

All of these questions have come to mind moving forward and at first, it was all a bit overwhelming.  However, I realize that this is the challenge everyone faces when moving forward with their next project.

"What's next?"

Instead of over-analyzing and getting down on myself (sounds weird, right?), I have decided to turn to countless films, music, speakers, eras, television shows and more to draw inspiration for my next projects.  It's a big world out there with talented individuals and teams putting out amazing content and art for people to consume. 

In the age of Vimeo, YouTube, Netflix, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon and countless websites, stores, museums, pop-up shops off the beaten path, it's safe to say we are living in one of the most exciting cultural eras of all-time.

Into rock music?  There's an outlet for that. 

What about an 80's inspired hit television show that feels more like a Hollywood blockbuster each and every episode?  Check. 

Incredible documentaries and films?  Check. 

Music videos at your fingertips?  Yup.

It's almost overwhelming.  Wherever you look, there are new shows and stories being told.  The game has changed, folks.

So, where do you draw inspiration from?

If you're interested, here's my current list.  There's probably a lot more but I thought I'd get it started.  

  1. Stranger Things 
  2. Synthesizers (thanks Stranger Things)
  3. 80s music videos 
  4. 80s music 
  5. Classic NBA games 
  6. Jim Croce 
  7. Instrumental horror scores
  8. A Nightmare on Elm Street
  9. Crazy fonts 
  10. Stephen King
  11. Audio Books
  12. Legendary Directors 
  13. Hall and Oates 
  14. Key & Peele skits 
  15. The influx of social media 
  16. Live music - any kind 
  17. Men's fashion 
  18. Keyboards 
  19. Cinematography 
  20. Blade Runner 
  21. Wes Craven 
  22. Everything on Vimeo 
  23. Colors and tones

I'd love to see your list.  Share this on your Facebook page, shoot me an email at pkollmeier10@gmail.com or write us a post on our Facebook wall at PK Productions to share!

All You Need Is Love

 My amazing family at the A-Town Divided Premiere on October 6th, 2017.

My amazing family at the A-Town Divided Premiere on October 6th, 2017.

Wow.  Where do I even begin?  The past five months have been special, and I couldn't be more appreciative for everyone who helped make A-Town Divided a reality.  I work full-time in Marketing, so I knew before making this film that it would be a challenge.  Working some weekends, writing scripts after work, reaching out to folks after work hours, setting up interviews -- the list goes on and on.  The amount of support I received from DAY ONE is truly incredible and the amount of comments, love, positive vibes and gratitude I've received this past week have truly been a highlight of my entire life.  From support from my parents, friends, girlfriend, former coaches, players, administrators and more, A-Town Divided would be nothing without the help of everyone who pitched in.

I wanted to give a special shout out to Stephanie Bruner at WLWT-Channel 5 for the help in accessing and getting permission to use clips from the 2007 season.  Caroline Armstrong at WLWT.  My parents for loving me and helping me purchase my camera. My girlfriend Kelly Pulskamp for loving me (and putting up with me talking about the documentary for five months). Denise and Mike White for the amazing footage from the 2007 Regional Final game. Catherine Neal, Lynn Seibert and Karen Bruner for the amazing Turpin & Anderson photos. Nick Watkins for taking time out of his weekends to help us get some amazing footage.  Eric Fry. Dan Albers. Chris Newton. Andy Cruse. Ryan Fehrenbach. Luke Kelly. Tyler White. Brian Thatcher. Kevin Chapman. Daniel Rod. John Runk. Jason Bruner. Max Elliott. Jeff Giesting. Dan Kraft. 

And to everyone that showed up last Friday, you all are the greatest!  The list goes on and on and on. 

Last Friday night was one of the greatest nights of my life.  80 or so people showed up ready to watch my film, and I can't even really describe that feeling in words.  It was truly magical.  Thank you to anyone who showed up, watched the documentary, commented on Facebook, sent me Snapchats, sent me a text, gave me a call, sent their love and support, shared it with friends and so much more. 

It means the world to me and I truly feel lucky and blessed for how the evening turned out, and the overall response to A-Town Divided as well.  Here's to good vibes and all the love, folks.  Let's keep spreading it!  Thank you for the love and support. All you need is love.