The horror comedy anthology, A Comedy of Horrors Volume 1, which I produced, directed, edited and star in, keeps raking in the excellent reviews from around the country this Halloween season! Here’s a review from Jeff Frumess at https://www.frumess.com. He flat out loves the whole concept and enjoyed all the stories! Check out the video to find out which one he likes best!!! And watch the film today. Click this link to stream now or get your collector’s blu-ray. https://linktr.ee/acohv1
The film stars Ken Arnold, Dan DeLuca, Dan Franko, Christopher Walker, Jimmy Bellinger, Furklee, Jaci Jones, Alexis Barone, Melanie Mahanna, Christine Nelson, Anna Fagan, Henry Zebrowski, Matt Servitto, and Addie Weyrich.
Recently I had the fabulous opportunity to work on the new HBO mini-series, “We Own This City.”
What an incredible experience to be invited to work on the amazing show. It was based on the book of the same name written by Baltimore Sun writer Justin Fenton. It was created by David Simon and George Pelecanos who created “The Wire,” which is considered one of the best television series ever. I was fortunate enough to have a small role in “The Wire” and so grateful to be brought back twenty years later to play a slightly bigger role in this series.
It was a reunion for me in other ways as well. I got to work on another project with the incredibly talented Jon Bernthal, who plays Wayne Jenkins in the series.
Jon and I worked on the first feature film he starred in over twenty years ago. A film named “Mary-Mary.” Shot in Washington, D.C. in 2000 as part of American University’s grad program. It was so nice to see Jon in the hair and make-up trailer before we shot. We jump right back into where we left off twenty years ago. He is such a genuine person and good human. I can’t even say that enough. We talked baseball(he played professionally overseas), we talked kids, we talked about careers. It was as if we had just been on set yesterday for Mary-Mary. Jon is now, well…Jon. But he is still the same fun loving, kind, caring person I met twenty years before. And that makes him even more impressive in my mind.
I also got to work with Wunmi Mosaku. What a pleasure to work with this woman. She was kind and friendly and was willing to talk about her background as an actor and more. I was kind of geeking out a little because she plays Hunter B-15 in the Marvel series “Loki” and I am a huge Marvel fan. I asked her about Tom Hiddleston and Owen Wilson and she had nothing but nice things to say about both of them.
The director of the series, Reinaldo Marcus Green(directed Oscar nominated King Richard), was a pleasure to work with. If you’ve seen the series it was his idea to throw a little dance in there in one of my scenes. It was brilliant. Thank you Rei! You don’t know how many messages I’ve gotten about my dancing skills or lack there of. He also played baseball and we had some conversations about college ball as his school was in the same conference as mine. So we had a little rivalry going.
But the one thing I was so proud of was being a part of the local acting cast that showed up and did such a fantastic job in the series. So many DMV folks who made us all look incredible. Actors like Delaney Williams, Bobby Brown, Kevin Murray, Ryan Scott Thomas, Paula Black, Jesse Milner, Chris Anderson, Antoinette Green, Paige Carter, Joy Jones, Victor Dobro, Kathryn Klvana, Kim Tuvin, James Lewis, Michael Johnson, Jermaine Crawford, Shaun Woodland, and many more. I am sorry if I missed you. A special shout out to Pat Moran and Associates for the opportunity to audition and book this role. Pat has been exceptional to me and the acting community as a whole here in Baltimore. A genuine treasure!
This is a series based on true events. It is a hard story to watch. It is a story that needs to be heard so real change can come to our policing efforts and justice system. Not only in Baltimore but around the country. I am honored to be a part of this project. One of the best I’ve done. It’s special when it can create change in how we live as a community and it makes it that much more gratifying to have had a small part.
You can stream the series now on HBO Max. “We Own This City.”
This past week I traveled to Atlanta and The Buried Alive Film Festival for the long awaited premiere of “The Night Watchmen.” I gotta say…IT WAS AWESOME!!! We finally got the opportunity to screen the film for a public audience. And what a fun screening it was. Lots of laughs throughout. We also got our first review from a horror blog writer. You can check out the review from Mondo McLaren here: TNW Review.
The festival was a cool experience in the horror fest genre. Our hosts at the festival were incredible folks who made our experience there top notch. We screened at 7 Stages Theatre in Little Five Points area of Atlanta. A cool ass arts district with excellent restaurants and shops. A perfect place for a film fest.
I got to travel down with my co-stars in the film. Dan Franko and Donald Imm. Two guys I’d take a road trip with any time!!! We got there in about 11 hours as we stopped to get Krystal Burgers. My stomach is still thanking me for that one.
Once there we met up with other members of the cast and crew. Dan DeLuca, Mitch Altieri, Kevin Jiggetts, Gary Peebles, Ashley Byrd and Cheryl and Leo Staurulakis. We had a nice little contingent representing our film.
The week started out with a trip to The Vortex for dinner and drinks. You can click on their name for more info on the best burger place in the ATL. The following day we went back there to record one of the most fun podcasts in which I’ve ever been a part. It was a blast. You can listen to it here: TNW on Vortex Radio.
After that we had a poster signing at Criminal Records. A plethora of vinyl and comics all around. A stellar place for a music/comic fan.
And then we had our screening. I was a bit nervous since this was our first public screening. It was going to be interesting to see their reaction as opposed to a theater filled with friends and family. We had an enthusiastic crowd. And from the get go there were laughs all around. People seemed to really enjoy it and that’s all I could ask for!
When Dan DeLuca and I set out to make this film, that’s all we wanted. To make people laugh and be entertained. I think this film accomplishes that!
The following day we got to tour Shane Morton’s studio…Silver Scream FX Studio! What a cool place. To get a tour from Shane was an experience like no other. His passion for the history and process of special effects is clearly evident. His knowledge of the horror genre is surpassed by no one. And he’s super cool. Glad we got to meet him and see his work first hand.
And to top off the weekend we won Best Feature at the fest!!!
Ashley Byrd with our new hardware!!!
We couldn’t have asked for a better PREMIERE!!! Thank you Buried Alive Film Fest and the city of Atlanta!!! The Night Watchmen got your backsides, back doors and your booty!!!
48 Hours to make a film!!! What? And you want it to be good? OK.
So a few weeks ago a group of my filmmaking colleagues and I decided to participate in this year’s DC 48 Hour Film Project. Basically, you have 48 hours to write, shoot, edit and turn in your film. They give you a genre, character, prop, and line of dialogue that must be in the film. This keeps you from preplanning or doing the bulk of the work ahead of time.
I’ve done this competition before. Many times. And have had some stinkers and some really good projects. We actually won the Baltimore 48HFP in 2013 which was an outstanding honor. We represented our city in the International Competition at Filmapalooza in New Orleans that year.
Well, someone made a comment recently that kind of irked me a bit. (Not kind of. It pissed me off.) If you’re so good at these 48 films why don’t you do a feature? Ok. Done. Check out the trailer for my feature in which I created the story, produced and star in. The Night Watchmen Teaser/Trailer.
The reason I like to do these projects is…they are fun. I get to work with people I enjoy collaborating with. You don’t always get to pick and choose whom you work with. But in this competition you can. My philosophy…choose a team of talented folks, easy to work with, fun to be around, and then get out of their way and let them do their job. And that’s how I handle it. I am listed as the director but everyone on the team has a say in the final product. That’s what filmmaking is all about. Every person on the project pitches in, from the writers, to wardrobe, editing, music, sfx, actors and more. It translates into an entertaining well-made film. Are there moments of tension during the process? Yep. But because we have a group we know and have worked with before those moments turn into opportunities to make the film the best it can be.
We also bring new people on board as well. These are people just starting or trying to get some credits. It’s a good way to introduce new crew and actors because for better or worse at the end of the weekend you have a finished film that will screen in just a few days. And folks from every team I’ve been on go on and collaborate on future projects.
So to the person who wants to know why I still do these 48HFP. Well to put it simply…it’s fun! I love the process and will do it as often as I can with a great group of people who feel the same way. Surround yourself with like-minded individuals and the final result will always be a positive!
So check out our entry into this year’s DC 48HFP! We walked away with 5 awards! Best Writing-Best Ensemble-Best Costumes-Best SFX and 3rd Place Overall.
It was by far one of the best year’s I have been involved in. So many great films deserving of awards!!! It’s good to be involved in a filmmaking community that produces so many phenomenal productions. So the next time you’re looking to do something over the weekend and you really don’t want to sleep…sign up for the 48 Hour Film Project!!! It’s a hell of a good time!!! The Baltimore 48 is happening July 8th!!! Register your team today!
Six years ago, maybe seven, my good friend Dan DeLuca stopped by my studio in Baltimore to talk for a bit. Don’t exactly remember what it was about but we got onto the topic of doing a film that took place in the building where my studio presently was calling home. What kind of film could we do using one locale, a certain group of actors, a limited budget and was as entertaining as hell? Well we didn’t come up with any good ideas that day. But that night, after having a few cocktails and thinking about it, I called Dan and had the perfect idea! We’re security guards and we get trapped in the building fighting vampires!!! Dan didn’t seem too excited, at first. It was really late. He says 3 am. I beg to differ. But after waking up a bit and appeasing my slightly inebriated self he came to like what was spewing from my face hole. Within a few days he had a rough outline for a feature horror film entitled, THE NIGHT WATCHMEN. It starred us, using one location and best of all…it was low budget. It was a genre that most definitely sells and using the actors we wanted would be as funny as shit.
Fast forward to now!!!
So here we are 7 years later on the precipice of releasing our film. We still need a distributor, which is the key to getting our film out to the masses. We are working vigorously on that and the moment it happens we will put it out there. But recently we released our teaser trailer for the film. We weren’t sure what was going to happen with it. Would anyone even watch it? Even care? Our director has a following and so do some of our actors. Maybe their following will like it.
Dan and I always knew it was a good project, maybe even great. We came up with the idea GOD damn it!!! I’m a little biased. I think all my shit is great! BUT YOU NEVER KNOW!
So our director and producer sent the teaser trailer to a couple of their contacts in LA. And we waited. Just like fishing for that huge trophy Marlin! You put your bait out there and wait. And when it hits, it’s an incredible rush!!!
At first there was nothing. The water was steely calm. No sign of any fish, big or small. And then…Deadline Hollywood picked it up. WHAT??? That’s awesome!!! Let’s spread the news. We tweeted and facebooked and shared and liked and instagrammed. Within an hour it was all over our social media pages. People were finally getting to see what we’ve been working on! And they seemed to like it. The comments were pouring in! We had hooked something but were not sure exactly how big yet. And then after a small fight…BOOM!!!Entertainment Weekly picked it up!!! WTF???We’ve hooked that huge ass marlin I was talking about!!! I’ve been fishing before, but never hooked something this big!!! It then jumped up out of the water and we saw it for the first time!!! And it was beautiful. It went from something our friends liked to EVERYWHERE!!! All over the world!!! Germany, Brazil, Russia. Every horror film site and the like was reposting and reviewing!!! Most were awesome reviews!!! Some folks criticized the trailer. It is the internet. Somebody is gonna hate no matter what. But the thing just blew up!!! It was phenomenal. Finally folks got to see and taste what we’ve been working toward this past year and a half. People are ecstatic!!! The excitement is real! We cannot wait to release our film for all to see. We knew we had a great product. We just need to get the marlin on the boat!!! In other words…get a distributor. And that’s coming. We’ve gotten such great exposure over the past few weeks. It’s been a fantastic journey so far and hopefully will continue. Keep spreading the word about our little indie film shot here in Maryland. We are so grateful for all this excitement and hype!!! Currently we are over 80K views and growing. Can’t wait to release this beast so you guys can see how much fun we had making it!!! So many magnificent folks involved. Please go to our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @TNWmovie for updates.
Whoa!!! I am tired. But it has all been worth it! We are making our way through the film and it’s been a great ride. Long days of being bloody and sweaty but it looks awesome on camera.
And the people we have met and established friendships with are amazing. This past week we got to work with Matt Servitto. You might remember him from The Sopranos or his most recent show Banshee. He is one of the coolest dudes in the business. He came in and brought a great energy to set. He was fun, gracious and understood what we were trying to do.
He had everyone on set laughing the whole time he was here. I hope that one day I can be the type of actor Matt has become. Great at his craft, grateful for the work, realizes we aren’t performing heart surgery and has a great sense of humor. It was a pleasure and an honor to work with him and hope that I get the opportunity to do so again.
If you haven’t already please like our Facebook page and follow us on twitter @TNWmovie.
Wow!!! The past two weeks have been a blur!!! Fun. But a blur. We are in the middle of shooting our feature film, “The Night Watchmen.” What an experience it has been!!! The film is a horror action comedy. We are having a blast doing the stunts, the fx and the comedy. What a great team of filmmakers from all around the country. We have Mitch Altieri directing. His vision is starting to develop and it looks amazing. It’s been a pleasure to work with him on a daily basis. A true actors director he lets us explore as much as we’d like yet keeps us grounded. Playing our leading lady is Kara Luiz. Funny and beautiful she kicks ass as our strong vampire killing machine! You might recognize her from The Big Bang Theory. Max Gray Wilbur plays our naive trainee who enters a world he never thought would ever happen to him. We were lucky enough to have James Remar join the cast. A veteran Hollywood actor his career spans over 4 decades with memorable roles in “The Warriors”, “Sex and the City”, and more recently “Dexter.” He was a blast to work with and brings a whole new dimension to his character Randall. So as we proceed into the second half of our shooting schedule we look forward to many more fun days of vampires, stunts, comedy and memories. It has been hard work but when you see the final film I have a good feeling you will be entertained. Check back for more updates as we continue shooting. Ken
As an actor we have to constantly keep adding to our skill set. I recently added PADI certified Scuba Diver to mine. During a recent outing to Lake Rawlings, VIrginia I spent two days finishing the required dives and skills to receive my certification. It was a great experience with Stingray’s Scuba School and head instructor Sherman Casto. He is a wonderful instructor who makes the learning experience fun and, of course, safe. Scuba diving is something I was not too sure I could do but since working with Sherm I am addicted. It is a surreal experience that I can’t wait to do again. In the spring I am going to continue my training and get my advanced training certification and by the end of summer my rescue diver cert. It’s going to be a fun challenge. Below is a video from my weekend in Rawlings as well as a picture. Notice in the photo the name of the film that was shot under water at Lake Rawlings. Whoa.