Tohubohu Autumn Update

Just a few quick notes, and then we’ll let you get back to work (or Facebook viewing, which may be more likely).

We recently attended Stonehenge XII, held at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson in Baltimore. Saw a whole bunch of great audition pieces (including some stellar showings from several Tohubohu veterans), and are really hoping to work with some of those actors in the future. Stonehenge is on hold for the winter, but keep an eye out at Team Jabberwocky for details on next year’s events.

The TIVA Peer Awards are coming up on November 13, and Tohubohu has not one but two films in consideration for awards — “Liability” and “Number One With a Bullet.” Tickets for the award ceremony at the National Press Club are still available, but going fast. We’d love to have a great turnout, so please consider joining us there. (And hey, drop us a line to let us know you’re coming!)

After a lot of hard work, all fourteen of the Tohubohu short films are now represented at the IMDb! All the way back to our inaugural pieces, “Loose Ends” and “Schlimmer.” We’ve done our best to make sure everything’s accurate and up to date, but if you worked on any of our films, give the pages a quick look and note any errors or inconsistencies. If you’ve got an IMDb account, you can request the changes yourself, or just pass them along to us and we’ll get repairs under way.

A quick notification for any of our younger readers — NASA is promoting a video contest for third through eighth graders. Videos will showcase how NASA technology is “transformed” into everyday use (yes, there’s a Transformers theme). Might be an interesting opportunity.

Otherwise, there are a few special projects in the works, but unfortunately nothing ready for promotion just yet. So that’s it for now — hope to see you soon!

Back-to-School Update

Sorry for the long absence — it seems like only a couple of weeks have passed, when in reality it’s been quite a bit longer than that. In looking back I realized that we haven’t sent out a group update since before our 48 Hour Film Project screening back in May — so it’s effectively like we took our own little summer vacation (alas, if only we had really taken such a holiday...). But now with Labor Day upon us, it’s time to head (metaphorically) back to school...

Speaking of the 48 Hour Film Project, our screening at the AFI Silver went very well, and the audience really seemed to love it. Unfortunately, we lost out on the audience award to the Eastern Avenue Films entry, “Quelques Instants” — so (since we were out of the running for the other awards due to our late submission) that was the end of the road for “Liability” as far as the competition went.

But that wasn’t the end as far as we’re concerned — we are actively submitting “Liability” (and some of our other films) to festivals around the country, so we’ll be sure to keep everyone posted about any upcoming screenings!

Along those lines, because of our active festival submissions, several of our shorts have now joined our list of IMDb-listed films (bringing our total up to 12). As of right now, the films that have been newly inducted into the Internet Movie Database include:

The IMDb transfer process is a gradual one, and invariably introduces a number of errors and omissions (such as inadvertent duplication of people’s pages, mixing up of people with similar names, leaving off particular credits, etc.) I’ve been working to correct errors as I see them, but — particularly since it takes up to a couple of weeks for changes to be approved and made — there are no doubt still several mistakes. So if you see anything amiss, please drop me a line and let me know. (You can always create an IMDb account and make changes yourself, but I’d just as soon avoid duplicating any requests we’re making of the IMDb editorial staff.) A special congratulations to anyone who’s now listed for the first time!

We’ve also submitted some of our work for consideration in the 2010 TIVA Peer Awards — though given the rigorous judging process, I’m trying not to get my hopes up for anything. Still, fingers crossed...

In other news, the latest Stonehenge mass auditions (hosted by our cohorts at Team Jabberwocky) are coming up on Sunday, September 26, at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson in Baltimore. Tohubohu will be in attendance, so this is a great chance for the actors among you to shine — not just for us, but for a whole slew of area filmmakers. Registration is now open, so hurry over and sign up — especially since there are a limited number of audition slots. Those slots will be allocated by lottery, so (though there will be more applicants than slots available) don’t worry that other actors have already gotten in ahead of you — just make sure you’re signed up before September 11 and you’ve got an equal shot at one of those coveted positions. (As a side bonus, check out the Team Jabberwocky News Blog for Stonehenge-specific tips and tricks.)

And finally, I wanted to give a quick notice that “Number One With a Bullet” is finally in the can! With everything else going on, this one ended up spending a lot more time in postproduction than we’d planned. Not that we waited around — we’ve been sending it out to festivals even with temporary scoring and effects — but now we can say that it is officially complete! I’d love to do a formal cast-and-crew showing, so if anyone has an “in” with any promising screening venues, please let me know!

That’s it for now — hope everyone has a great Labor Day weekend!

Shawn Felty

It is with a heavy heart that I pass along the news that Shawn Felty — or “Felt” as we were wont to call him on set — passed away this afternoon, after a long struggle with colon cancer. While it seems all too clichéd to describe someone’s battle as “courageous,” in Shawn’s case it certainly seemed apt, as he never stopped remaining positive, never fell into self-pity or victimhood, even when his illness was at its worst (the title of his blog — “All It Takes Is Guts” — speaks volumes).

From our first meeting — on the night before we were to shoot “Schlimmer,” Tohubohu’s inaugural entry in the 48 Hour Film Project — Shawn showed himself to be not only talented, but creative and extraordinarily dedicated to his work. Following quickly with his starring turn in “Screening Process,” he cemented his position as a regular in front of the camera, appearing in nine of the thirteen short films we’ve produced. But his contribution never stopped there: We rapidly came to depend on his assistance in the postproduction arena, where he would jump in on everything from researching to organizing to editing (earning him the official title “Switch Hitter” on the Tohubohu board). When his health wouldn’t permit him to take a more active role, he would help in any way he could — on “Number One With a Bullet,” he took a turn helping coordinate the auditioning process, a task that he leapt into without a moment’s hesitation. And then, when his health improved, he was right back in the thick of things with “All Roads Lead Away” and “Please Forward.”

But more than all of that, Shawn was a good and valued friend. He never ceased to make the often arduous process of filmmaking a fun experience for everyone involved. His upbeat attitude, positive outlook and unbridled enthusiasm were truly unparalleled, and he routinely made friends everywhere he went; seventy people came by to see him in the hospital yesterday. And while I consider myself fortunate that I was able to be one of those visitors (where despite his weakness, his infectious smile was as wide as ever), that small feeling is overshadowed by the larger recognition of the tremendous impact he has had — and will continue to have — on my life. The world is measurably poorer for his passing.

Thanks, Shawn, for leaving the world a little brighter than it was before you entered.


Service arrangements are still being made, but Shawn’s family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the American Cancer Society — Colorectal Cancer.

Upcoming Tohubohu Production Plans

Well, it’s been a while, so I figure it’s way past time I sent out an update with our latest production plans. I’ll try to keep this brief, but those of you who’ve been reading for a while will know that my definition of “brief” differs substantially from most others’.

The first thing to note is that we will not be participating in the National Film Challenge this year. While we’ve had a good run at it in years past (and won two awards), we’ve decided that we’re better off producing something over which we’ll have more control, and that we can produce on a schedule we’re happier with. (And furthermore, I’m committed to working as a production designer on another short film this month — from some of the creative team behind Codeword Secret, “The Kumbio Takedown,” and Buddy Jackson.)

Which brings me to the second thing, and that is what we will be producing in the short term: the long-delayed short “Number One With a Bullet.” This story has been kicking around for more than two years now, and I think we’re finally ready to commit to making it. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, “Number One” is a dark comedy about a struggling writer whose debut novel is about to be scuttled by his unscrupulous editor. That is, until the editor suffers an untimely accident — and the writer decides to turn things to his advantage. But what starts as a simple (if morally questionable) cover-up rapidly escalates as others in the publication chain get a little too close to the truth.

Bjorn Munson and I are still hammering out revisions to the script (from a story by me and Lauren Walsh), but we’re far enough along that I feel confident in starting preproduction. I’ll be directing, and there will be plenty of opportunities for help on this one, as the script is fairly ambitious. If you’d like to offer your services, it’s never too early to throw your hat into the ring; while this will be put together on a tight (i.e., practically nonexistent) budget, we are looking at ways to extend our professional “footprint,” so to speak. We’re targeting a November or December shoot date, though we’ll have some firmer details once we get the preliminary paperwork rolling.

Beyond that, we still have the script for “Some Kind of Hero” (a darker crime drama) and the series Quorum on the horizon (along with any other scripts that may fall into our laps), but I’ll keep those details under my hat a bit longer. Well, except for the fact that I just announced them here...

We are also a step closer to incorporation as a nonprofit, in that our attorney (who leads a secret double identity as my brother Ken) has just sent me the latest versions of the paperwork (well, he sent them a while ago, but I’m just getting around to dealing with them). Ideally, we’ll get those filed before too long, so that “Number One With a Bullet” can be produced under that framework.

And that’s all for now. I’m looking forward to working with many of you again soon — take care, all!

A Little Facelift

Well, we’re trying out a new website design — probably just a stopgap measure until we get our ideal site up, but since we’ve been tweaking that “ideal” for more than a year now, I think it’s way past time we put up something that seemed at least reasonably respectable. So check it out, run it around the block, and let us know if anything else needs fixing.

In other news, I just received the official word that “Machinations” was received and is considered eligible for awards. Now it’s all a matter of waiting.