Thursday, December 3, 2009

Son of a Seahorse Got on a Best of the Decade List!

... well, it's my list, but still.

Hasn't been much happening since the last post-- we've sent several screeners out, received a lot of private feedback, not much public as of yet-- just one extremely negative review and one extremely positive tweet. The film seems to be very divisive-- slightly more than half the audience loves it passionately and the rest despise it, with no middle ground, no shades-of-gray. So either we're on to something. Or we're not.

Either way, we'll keep you posted, and as more reviews come in (i.e., as soon as we get some positive public feedback to balance out the negative public feedback), we'll be sure to link to them in this space.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


  1. David Schonscheck telling God that He has an anger problem.
  2. Robot that dispels steam from its ears, created by Steampunk Legend Jake Hildebrandt.
  3. Joe Swanberg remains clothed for his entire performance.
  4. Samurai duel at sunset.
  5. Porn starring Daniel Taintview and his son, B.J. Taintview. What does he eat? Hint: it ain't your milkshake.
  6. Bonus features include: three episodes of Ned and Sunshine (the zombie sitcom) including one no longer available online; a children's film about a suicidal snail; and a discussion of the film with the cast and crew.
  7. Nothing happens in the last twenty minutes.
  8. The film provides a probing examination of self-hatred, anger, and masculinity that informs the way the film is structured.
  9. Every time you spend $15, we get $3.30. Support real independent film!
  10. It's a god-damn masterpiece.

Son of a Seahorse-- Now on DVD!


Our film Son of a Seahorse is at long last available on DVD.

From an audacious opening scene that runs over 22 minutes (before the credits!) to an ending that is as quiet as it is disquieting, SON OF A SEAHORSE is an unusual (and unusually satisfying) comedy from the Russells. It's a very funny film about a very angry man. That conflicted and explosive man is played by David Schonscheck in a star-making performance that is contrasted and complimented by Adrienne Patterson's smart and stylish performance as his no-nonsense, sharp-edged wife.

The film features creature effects by Steampunk Legend Jake Hildebrandt, a supporting performance by filmmaker Joe Swanberg, and awesomeness, as always, by the Russells. It's DIY filmmaking at its boldest, brassiest, and funniest in a disc that's jam-packed with extras.

BONUS FEATURES: Three episodes of the zombie sitcom Ned and Sunshine; the full version of suicidal children's story Bernard the Lonely Snail; "Indoor Voices", a discussion of the film with Mary Russell, Tom Russell, David Schonscheck, and Adrienne Patterson.

It's only $15 dollars-- a bargain, to be sure. We're not saying that you have to buy it-- we're just saying if you don't we might not be friends anymore. BUY IT NOW ON AMAZON!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Finalish DVD Slip Cover

As we finalize the details/contents for our self-distributed DVD of Son of a Seahorse, we gave the cover another once-over and spiffed it up a bit.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Son of a Seahorse DVD Cover Design

For many low-budget filmmakers, marketing is a word that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Marketing is about selling, not about art; about targeting an audience, not engaging them. And then there's those filmmakers and studios that are all about the marketing, all about selling the tickets and not about, you know, making a good film, making something that lasts.

In fact, so much was Tom's dislike of marketing that the first film the two of us made together, Milos, did not have a website, as was the trend. It was Mary, perhaps the more realistically minded of the two of us, who insisted on having a page for The Man Who Loved and Son of a Seahorse.

But now that we're self-distributing our films via Amazon (starting with The Man Who Loved), we can no longer ignore that marketing aspect. DVDs require DVD slip-case covers, and self-distribution requires some degree of self-promotion.

And actually and honestly? Mr. "I Hate Marketing" finds that he kind of enjoys the process of finding & creating images that might (1) communicate what the film is about and (2) persuade someone to purchase it, of deciding on and then arranging different elements, of creating "logo families" and tag-lines. It has absolutely almost nothing to do with filmmaking, but it is a sort of bastard art in its own right. (And even Mr. "I Hate Marketing" can admit that he has some serious love for some of the old posters, especially those that came out of Eastern Europe: so striking, so lovely, so kinetic.)

Anyway, with that preamble out of the way, we thought we'd take you through some of the various forms the marketing (such as it is) for Son of a Seahorse.

To begin with, there was this poster:

Three things here that you'll note: the blue font (Aardvark Bold, which was actually used in the film), this particular shot of David screaming, and the salmon-coloured suit that he's wearing. These three things remain pretty constant through-out the various itinerations that follow, mostly because they're distinctive and, we hope, memorable.

Our second poster is really just the first with the full cast; a miniature version of this was sent to festivals along with the screener. Were we doing this to try and capitalize on the presence of Joe Swanberg in our cast? You bet your ass we were. Did it work? Not in the slightest.

Our next poster concept was a little more daring:

Notice that the three motifs we mentioned before are present: the blue Aardvark, the screaming David (in the form of the line drawing), the salmon-suit. In this case, the suit is suggested by negative space, the colour filling up the poster. The shot of David walking also had a nice "lonely man" motif-- something that we felt reflected well on the film.

I think it's a really neat concept for a poster. Unfortunately, we couldn't quite execute it to our satisfaction. The major problem was the drawing: if you look back at the first two posters, David's facing left. We drew it that way, and then flipped it; flipped, it just doesn't feel "right". At the same time, the head facing inwards (towards the walking David) didn't feel right either. We tried it without the drawing--

-- but it's not striking enough, doesn't communicate enough about the film. When we started working on the DVD cover, we abandoned this concept and went back to our original for the front. We tried the drawn version of that same image, now facing left once more, for the back.

We added as text one of the best lines from the film:

Unfortunately, that line is Adrienne's. Putting it next to the David head makes it look like it's his line. And then it doesn't make any sense: is the angry guy yelling at himself to stop yelling? We decided we had better go for a more traditional back-of-the-box text, in all its ego-stoking glory. Gone went the head.

Also note that instead of a solid orangey-pink-salmon back we added a blue box and separated them with a bar of black/stills. This put a greater deal of stress on the use of blue for the text, making blue and salmon our film's two marketing colours. But that "Jam-Packed With Extras!" blue is a little lost in the bottom box, and so we made one more change:

And, by the way, it is going to be jam-packed with extras. In addition to a mini-commentary like the one we provided on The Man Who Loved, you'll find the complete short film Bernard the Lonely Snail, and three episodes of Ned and Sunshine, the zombie sitcom, including one no longer available online. And, heck, we might even throw in a trailer or two:

(Really, seriously, click on that HQ button; the "standard" edition lags and chops all to hell.)

Unless we get a sudden offer from a distribution company (which, being poor, we'd be more than happy to accept), you can expect Son of a Seahorse to be available this June for fifteen measly dollars. Heck, buy it with The Man Who Loved to qualify for that free super-saver shipping. Or wait until later in the summer, when our long unseen original cut of Milos will be made available for the very first time, also with various fine and sundry supplements.

The marketing of that one, of course, will be a whole 'nother discussion...

Monday, April 27, 2009

DVD guarantee

There are two "burnable" DVD formats: DVD-R and DVD+R. DVD-R are compatible with 90 to 95 percent of players, while DVD+R are compatible with about 87.6 percent of players. (The players that can't read -R's can read +R's and vice-versa.)

The copies of our films available through are burned onto DVD-R discs. Our own DVD burner burns DVD+R discs; our player, like most newer players, plays both formats just fine.

If, for any reason, your player cannot play the DVD-R disc, we will be happy to replace it with a DVD+R copy. Our e-mail address is on the back of each DVD slip-case.

Son of a Seahorse should be coming out in early June.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tom and Mary Russell Interview at The Counter Project

The Dearborn-centered culture and entertainment site "The Counter Project" recently asked us a few questions about our films and our decision to distribute our films ourselves, starting with The Man Who Loved. You can read the entire interview here.

This is the first time we've ever been interviewed, and so as you can imagine we're pretty psyched about it. Go ahead and give it a look!

Monday, April 6, 2009

New Trailer!

Hey, everybody! It's a new trailer for Son of a Seahorse!

We'll probably be releasing a dvd of SOASH (as all the cool kids call it) sometime before the summer. In the mean-time, you can take a gander at our film from 2007, The Man Who Loved, now available for purchase via and CreateSpace.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bookmark Turtleneck Films

It's been a while since we posted over at Turtleneck, and as more than one friend has remarked, we have so many blogs that it's hard to keep track of it all.

The New Turtleneck Films makes it a lot easier. Everything posted on our other sites-- for example, Son of a Seahorse and The Man Who Loved-- will be cross-posted here. And there will be new news on both sites (and, by extension, this one) very, very soon as we have some rather exciting things in the works.

You'll also get some movie and game reviews. All in all, we should be posting more frequently. So stay tuned and check back often.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Five Years

Today is our fifth wedding anniversary.