Friday, November 17


Every artist ought to have a website...or two or three.

For most artists, this would be a "solo" website--preferably with your name as the title of the site, if available. If you work in a long-form, collaborative medium (e.g., feature films) then a separate site for each project is probably also a spanking good idea.

The foundation of all our marketing and publicity efforts on Z: A ZOMBIE MUSICAL is, naturally, the OFFICIAL SITE...which is necessarily the largest single repository of news, pics and info about Z.

All of our promotional efforts--MySpace pages, blogs, viral videos, reviews in the press, etc.--are designed to feed into the official site.

And this shit really works.

Look, we just recently finished the picture and haven't even gone to our first film festival yet. We're still at the very starting point of the long, uphill climb to raise awareness for Z. And yet currently averages over 1500 hits per DAY!

Day in and day out, more than 1500 hits!

No matter how you slice it, upwards of 50,000 hits per month is a LOT of views for a still mostly unknown, low-budget musical out of Austin, TX! A whole bunch of people are discovering our picture and, hopefully, developing a desire to see it.

In future posts, I'll break down each facet of our marketing push and how we're driving that kind of traffic to our site. Best of all, virtually every single one of our marketing efforts are FREE!

Sorry to be the bearer of good news, but if you were thinking about using lack of money as an excuse for not promoting yourself and your art, you're shit out of luck!

Just as everybody can make art, everybody can afford free. So go do it!
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Tuesday, November 14


I suspect the reason more people don't create art is because once you create something and send it out into the world, other people are gonna judge it...and, by extension, judge YOU.

And, Zeus knows, some of them aren't gonna like your art, or like you.

But others are gonna like you plenty fine and enjoy your creations, for the most part.

Apropos which, the very FIRST REVIEW of Z: A ZOMBIE MUSICAL has just been published online by Mr. Scott Johnson of Dread Central!

By the bye, if you wanna review Z: A ZOMBIE MUSICAL for your website, magazine or perhaps the monthly newsletter at the local Old Folk's Home, simply send a request and we'll try to send a DVD screener your way.

The only caveat is that you've gotta pretend you like it, even if you don't. (You wouldn't wanna hurt our feelings or something, would you?!)

Saturday, November 11


I have this buddy, a former film major, who wants to be a director.

About 10 years ago, my buddy gets this idea for a Vampire pictore--very hip, very contemporary Vampires. He's got some connections in LA, so he starts flying out from Austin. To take, you know, meetings. With his connections. In LA.

Dude wants to make this a Low Budget first feature--so sets his sights on a budget of "only" $15 million!

He's pals with some B & C list actors and they're up for it. But first my buddy has to raise the money. Oh, and finish the script.

Years pass. He's always working on the script, but he never gets far because he's got so much invested in the outcome of this one story. It's gotta dazzle folks. It's gotta be...egads, PERFECT!

Cut to the present day...

My buddy's a full decade older and he still hasn't finished the script, because even though it's "only" gonna cost $15 million, it's still 15 MILLION dollars--which is a lot of money. And a lot of pressure.

I sometimes wonder what my buddy might have accomplished, the stories he could've told if he'd used the resources at hand?

Over the past 10 years he coulda made 2 or even 3 independent features using low-cost digital technology. With each picture he would've gotten better at his craft, figured out his vision, matured as an artist. And, in all likelihood, with each new picture he could've found ways to bump up the budget a bit until one day he was playing with some real money.

And, best of all, we would've had 2 or 3 pictures to watch and enjoy from my seriously clever, hugely talented buddy.

If you have an idea for a story, find a way to tell it with whatever resources you currently have at hand! The world really wants to hear your story. I really want to hear your story. And it's a crime against nature NOT to tell it to us!
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Tuesday, November 7


One of my core beliefs is that if you're gonna make art, then you should also go through the additional trouble of finding a way to share it with the world.

Thanks to Al Gore and the Internet, artists have more opportunities today to get the word out than ever before in history. So, like, take advantge of 'em and stuff!

No matter what kind of thing you create, there's probably 5 kajillion websites about your art. Contact some of 'em and share samples of your work or ask them to view your website or review a show or offer to walk their dog in exchange for a favorable mention. Each new site that finds your work interesting will expose you to a larger potential audience for whatever you do.

Just last night I was Googling "Zombie Musical" and chanced upon a pair of sites that mentioned Z. Both of them were a little off-target--one seemed to think the picture was a stage musical and the other speculated it was based on PASSION OF THE CHRIST!

But exposure is exposure, right?! The loyal readers of these sites may take a moment to check out our Official Site and then hopefully they'll really wanna see the picture once we land a Distributor.
Arrow In The Head

The Backdoor of Reality

Monday, November 6


Two things I'm really passionate about are making art and helping others make their art.

When I'm not actively writing and directing movies or writing novels or, best of all, gluing together bits of colored string, I love helping others pursue their artistic dreams in any way I can.

This could mean giving feedback on a story or script...lending out my production gear...crewing on a shoot...writing a blog to share what little I've learned about creativty over the years. There's an almost infinite variety of ways to help others make art, if you're so inclined.

Now I'm not doing this for any altruistic reasons. Just the opposite. I'm a totally selfish bastard when left to my own devices.

I just believe that the more Art in the world, the better.

And so it's for entirely selfish reasons that I want to aid and abet those around me in creating a movie I can watch, a play I can attend, a picture I can look at.

So, please, CREATE something today!

And if you need a hand, just lemme know.
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Sunday, November 5


Yo, check out a few promo trailers we've made for Z: A ZOMBIE MUSICAL, along with a totally unrelated infomercial for the greatest product ever invented!

  • Just Z It!

  • Harvey Fierstein's Zombie PSA

  • Blood-Weiser

  • Order Now: THE WIFE

  • If you have any comments or suggestions, or just wanna send me naughty pictures of yourself, drop me a note anytime!


    I visit a fair number of advertising and marketing sites each week, studying the sometimes clever ways businesses promote themselves...and learning from the mistakes of those who aren't quite so clever in their promotions, which is most of 'em.

    Recently I stumbled upon a wonderfully eclectic and erudite site by Hugh Macleod--who apparently also attended my alma mater, The University of Texas at Austin, but who now seems to reside in Scotland...or maybe New York City...or possibly London.

    Hell, I can't figure out where the hell he lives, but what difference does it make, really?!

    (Okay, it DOES make a difference, if only to me. I like to know where people are located in the space-time continuum. When I call up Tech Support for whatever I'm needing help with and actually get a human on the line, the first thing I ask is where they're located, because it's interesting to find that out.)

    (By the way, I live in Austin, TX, in case you care. Or maybe I live in Chicago. I spend so much time on the Internet that I hardly ever go outside anymore, so it's hard to be sure one way or the other.)

    Anyway, where was I?!

    Oh, yeah, this dude--wherever the hell he lives--has a cool site called Gaping Void that's chock full of nuggets about marketing, creativity and his concept of the "MicroBrand".

    And if there's anything that fits the bill as a MicroBrand, it's definitely an individual artist.

    Of special interest is his wonderful treatise, How To Be Creative, which I heartily encourage you sit down with over a cup of coffee and a six-pack of donuts and read in its entirety.

    There's gold in them there hills!

    Saturday, November 4


    Wanna talk about taking a Dangerous approach to your Art?! Then go check out BORAT--motherfucker is daring, outrageous, offensive and dangerous at every turn!

    I wonder if part of the reason for the spectacular success of BORAT is that many audience members watch in slack-jawed awe, wishing they had the guts, the temerity, the confidence to say or do even 1/16 of the things Borat says and does in the picture?

    Borat isn't afraid to fail. He's not afraid to look ridiculous. He's not afraid to say what many people are already thinking, but would never dare say out loud.

    You can embrace Danger--whatever that means for you--in your Art, and create something like BORAT. Or you can play it safe, and create uninspired and uninspiring work like SANTA CLAUSE 3.

    Which one would you rather have your name on?

    If it's SANTA CLAUSE 3, that's fine. Just know that about yourself, that this kind of work is "good enough". And realize that the competition's gonna be a little tougher, because lots more people are willing to play it safe in their life and, especially, in their art.

    If it's BORAT, then maybe you might wanna create opportunities for yourself to take more chances and be more daring in your creative work.

    Just a thought.

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    Friday, November 3


    Figure out who you are, what makes you unique as an actor, painter, whatever. That’s the first step, natch. And that can take a while…or you may grok it right away.

    But after that, the next step, the important step, is to put your brand—that would be, ohhh, YOU!—out there for all the world to discover.

    This is no different than starting up a business, except you're the product.

    Imagine you knew someone who’d created an incredible widget—something never before seen in the world—and then they tucked this new invention away in a briefcase and just went on with their life, hardly ever showing it to anybody…apparently hoping the world would magically guess what was in the briefcase and suddenly start paying them great money for it.

    Believe it or not, here in Austin, TX I meet so many uniquely talented actors and actresses who do this all the time. They don’t realize they’re a unique Brand. They don’t promote themselves. They don’t take advantage of all the myriad—usually free!—marketing opportunities available in this delightful Digital World in which we live.

    In upcoming posts, I’ll examine in some detail a few of the ways artists can promote their creative endeavors.

    Until then, I would encourage anyone who’s remotely in touch with their Inner Zombie to at least start thinking about the business side of their creativity. Because, in the immortal words of GODSPELL, “If your light’s under a bushel/ It’s lost something kinda crucial!”
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    Thursday, November 2


    It sometimes seems to me that one of the first things we're taught in school--viz., "Write your name at the top of the page"--is also one of the first things we forget when we "Grow Up".

    For me, Writing Your Name At the Top of the Page means making your art distinctly your own...being true to who you really are in your artistic endeavors...making whatever you create true to your vision of the world.

    Of course, this can be a frightening prospect. Because if you reveal Too Much of yourself, maybe people will judge you and, Zeus forbid, actually dislike you for being Who You Are.

    Well, the hell with 'em! Here's a little secret: the people who don't like you aren't gonna like you no matter WHAT you do!

    If you're holding back in your art, if you're toning it down and trying to make it look-sound-smell-feel like something safe or like what you think they want, not only are They still not gonna like you, but chances are pretty good you're also not gonna win many new converts over to your cause...whatever that cause may be.

    So why not write your damn name at the top of the page and be proud of who you are, with all the flaws, foibles and idiosyncracies that make you such a unique individual in the history of the world?!

    Now I've written and directed two independent feature films--a comic mockumentary, THE PERFECT MAN CONTEST, and an original musical, Z. In both cases, I've had people take me aside afterwards and chide me for making fun of the Catholic Church or for including gratuitous nudity or for any number of perceived transgressions. My thinking is, "Hey, this is who I am".

    I'd rather write my own name at the top of the page than pretend to be Mr. Perfect. An audience should be able to experience your art without the benefit of credits and know YOU created it because you've written your name at the top of every single page.

    Besides, the way I look at it...if you're not pissing SOMEBODY off with your Art, then you're probably doing something wrong.

    Wednesday, November 1


    Release Your Inner Zombie is already getting some online press! Kevin Nalty over at Will Video for Food goes a-pimping for the Blog, labeling it "Liquid Plumber for the Creative Pipes."

    Murphy had his laws, so here is Nalts’ first law. You’re usually out of ideas when you have time to shoot, but loaded with video ideas when there’s no time to make videos.

    If you’re ever in the former state, it’s time to bookmark a new blog, Release Your Inner Zombie. This Austin filmmaker and actor is exploding with ideas about the creative process. We started an e-mail exchange and he wrote me long notes about how to clear the creative arteries. I encouraged him to start a blog, and I hope he keeps with it. You can also check out his film called “Z” at A Zombie Musical.
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    One of my creative mentors, Dan Fauci, likes to say, "If you're not dangerous, you're dead."

    Although Dan Fauci was addressing his comment to actors, this is true in any artistic endeavor. If you're not dangerous, if you're not challenging yourself and challenging the audience, you're probably dead...or not far from it.

    One of the problems with most contemporary motion pictures, for example, is they're not remotely dangerous. Just the opposite. They're watered down and sanitized until they offend no one...and thereby appeal to almost no one. Worse still, young filmmakers (and actors, etc.) often self-censor their own work in the hopes that they'll appeal to the "broadest possible audienc" and make a name for themselves.

    The end result, of course, is they don't stand out from the crowd. They remain safe and bland and unknown.

    The other day I watched I a recent Dick Cavett interview of Mel Brooks, and Mr. Brooks talked about the process of creating BLAZING SADDLES. At every opportunity, Mel Brooks and his fellow screenwriters (Andrew Bergman and a then-unknown Richard Pryor) went for the craziest situation, joke, insult or gag they could imagine. During production, Mel Brooks encouraged his actors to go even further, telling them, "Don't worry about offending anyone. Nobody's EVER going to see this picture. It's never going to be played anywhere, because it's too crazy, so let's just have fun with it and make the picture we want to see."

    By the way, BLAZING SADDLES came after Mel Brooks had two terrible flops in a row...THE PRODUCERS, which made absolutely no money on its initial release, and 12 CHAIRS, which somehow lost more money than it cost in the first place. So at this time in his life, Mel Brooks was starving and desperate, barely able to pay his rent and with a baby on the way, but he stuck to his creative guns and went for the most dangerous comedy he could imagine, despite the fact that it didn't seem to be in his best financial interests.

    And the end result, of course, is history. BLAZING SADDLES today is considered one of the classic American comedies of all time.

    But it never would've happened if Mel Brooks wasn't just willing, but insisent, on being dangerous.