Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays to Kevin Smith

To Kevin Smith at Viewaskew:

Happy Holidays, sir. Here's to hoping you have some wonderful family time with the wife and rugrat.

It's been quite the year, eh? You had a feature come out. I had a feature come out. You had a birthday. I had a birthday. So many parallels.

I'm starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel, sir. Not sure if its a train barreling in my direction, but I don't hear a whistle yet.

I was just approached yesterday to direct a little direct to video project. I'll add that to the stack of stuff on my plate and I might have a good year:

1) Evil Dead Breakfast Club the movie. Yes, the movie. Our little web series has garnered some attention as is the hilarious script. It's definitely an R-rated comedy. Here's the trailer for the webseries.

2) The Cleaning Crew. This is the script I offered you last year. More precisely offered your bride, Jennifer Schwalbach Smith:

Jennifer, your lovely bride, takes a crack at producing a movie she said she always wants to see and never finds. One that reminds her of Alias and the reason she fell in love with that series.
A strong, take no prisoners, female action movie with humor and heart. A story about a widowed soccer mom who, struggling to make ends meet, turns to the only line of work she has ever been any good at: contract killer. And then top it all off with the fact that her deceased ex-husband turns out to be not-quite-so, kidnaps their daughter, and forces mom to fight for the daughter's life.

Throw into the mix lots of hilarity, some keystone criminals, and kick ass action... what more could you want?

Well, it has gotten some traction this week as well. Had potential investors talk to me at a networking event. Sending a top sheet their way, but there's still time for you to invest some Zack and Miri dollars in it.

Oh, and I heard you finally contacted Gavin Michael Booth! So I do know you really exist and are not just some actor hired by Hollywood to promote movies.

Happy Holidays!
Jon Bonnell

Friday, December 5, 2008

Dear Kevin Smith,

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. We did, but had an even better time since.

First, MATCH.DEAD has been sold. Seven months from production to sale... and we kept to the budget the whole way. Now it's sold and I can almost walk away from it and just collect the checks. Yeah, right.

Second, we shot a web series back in October. You might have read about it: The Evil Dead Breakfast Club. Well, the trailer is out now. Check it out. We hope you like it:

Let me know, one way or the other, sir.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

How can you stand LA?


Wow, after just two days in town I don't know how you can stand it. Where you're from in Jersey just can't be replicated in LA.

And the traffic and conjestion and...

That said, its where business gets done. Two days in LA and I walk away with a green light, so it's not all bad.

Great place to visit, but I couldn't live there without some major incentive... ;)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

MATCH.DEAD first written review is in...

The first written review is in. It’s full of great sound bites, but this sums it all up:

"And when it comes out, in however limited or wide a release, I want to watch again."

Check out the review. If you didn’t see the last screening, don’t worry, you still have a chance. The friends and family screening is still coming and we’ll have another online screening coming soon. To get in on that you need to join our facebook group at:

Here’s the review:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cynical Film Making

Kevin Smith, sir, I can imaging you must see stuff like below every day. I'm starting to get cynical and I can't imagine how you keep from getting there.

WRITER/DIRECTOR with great properties and first class actors seeks, professional, experienced producer. As most creatives, I would much rather focus on the content rather than the commerce of filmmaking.

So without flowery words, and a remarkably well written sales pitch, let me get to the point...

I need a producer, with experience in raising capital, contacts within the industry, and the right amount of vision and madness, to allow me to create the type of movies that will be both entertaining and profitable. I am going to do great things in film, be with me at the beginning.

Fair compensation is negotiable, you get me the money, I'll create the product, and we'll make history.

What makes this guy think he's anymore great than the other dozen people that sent me the same thing today? If you want to work in the movie business then LEARN the movie business. Go out and raise money for your film. If you can't raise enough money for your buget, adjust the movie and make one for the amount of money you can raise. Baby steps. Do one, sell it, now make a bigger one, etc.

Sure, if you can convince someone to do all the work for ya, that's great. But you should also be aware that you won't own anything when its done. Its the producer that makes money AFTER the fact on the film. The director gets his paycheck during the film making process.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

MATCH.DEAD to Kevin Smith

Kevin, sir, I know you, or at least your people, read this blog. Must be nice to have people.

I'd like to invite you to take a look at a rough cut of my feature, MATCH.DEAD. I know you hang out with your lovely wife, Mrs. Jennifer Schwalbach Smith, and just go through DVD's. What's one more to the mix, eh? I'd love a little feedback.

Drop me a line (or one of your people so you can remain anonymous) at jbonnell (at)

I'm shopping some other scripts around and starting to pursue investors for my next project. I figure I need to do two a year to keep afloat. Of course when I start getting budgets like yours are these days, that won't necessarily be the case.

Until then I still think I have a project that the love of your life (not Harley, the other one... no not Jason Mewes either) would love to produce. Strong female lead kicking butt and saving her daughter... just think of it as Le Femme Nikita the Soccer Mom...

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Kevin, Mr. Smith, sir, this interview recently ran on both online and in their newsletter. Thought you might find it interesting.

Working Successfully in Collaborations

You always hear that the movie world is a collaborative business, but most writers don't know that a lot of the writing that goes on here is also collaborative.

Here are just a few examples:

- You've been hired to write a script by a Studio or Producer.

- You team up with a Director on a script that is their idea.

- You are hired to do a rewrite of another writer's work.

- You work with an A-list actor to rewrite ONLY their part.

Once you make it in the Biz, chances are you'll do at least one, if not all of those. And many of you will make "Assignment writing" your primary source of income.

So I'm presenting an interview today that came from such a collaboration. This is from an Independent film, but these same points hold true for paid assignments with Studios. The sooner you learn these key points, the easier it will be for you to become a writer that Industry players pursue.

The film is MATCH.DEAD (Match dot Dead). Jon Bonnell is the director and Alyssa Alexandria is the writer. As you read this interview, I'll put in notes to add information or expand upon what is being said.

Please play careful attention to the notes.

HAL: Jon, Aly, can you give us some background on each of you?

JON: I've had three screenplays produced, and filmed five different films this year in some capacity, three of which I directed. Now I'm doing MATCH.DEAD as director/producer, which Aly wrote.

ALY: I started screenwriting five years ago and my first class with you, Hal. My biggest project right now is with NEHST Studios and Larry Meistrich in New York. It's a feature that I wrote in ProSeries 7 and I took it through the rewrite class as well, which was probably one of the reasons it did as well as it did. It's in production. I'm not supposed to mention the budget but it's a very large budget. I'm very proud of NEHST Studios and how they've handled everything. They have been amazing with me.

HAL: Where did you two meet?

ALY: Jon put out a request for a script for a low budget horror film and I responded. However, I didn't respond with a script. I responded with a pitch and said I could write a rough draft in a week. He responded back and we started writing.

HAL: So, Jon, behind the scenes what was your experience?

JON: I put out a call to quite a few different places as well as the ProSeries Alumni that we were specifically looking for a low budget genre feature to go direct to DVD release. It had to be able to
be done on a small budget, which we outlined. I needed limited cast, limited locations, everything about that to keep this as tight as we possibly could. I had funds already established going into this, so I knew what the budget was that we were trying to hit. So, I put out that call. I had probably received three dozen scripts. Aly's was most appealing because she came back and said, look, I want to work with you to get exactly the story that you want with all the constraints that you have, and here's my idea for a story.

NOTE: So this collaboration began with Aly pitching a High Concept and making a promise. Notice that the promise is to be completely collaborative. She said she would work with Jon to get EXACTLY the story that Jon wanted.

If you're wondering why a writer would do something like that, there are many reasons. First, Aly recognizes that the director is going to spend a lot of time and money making this movie. Second, she gets an amazing benefit -- a movie that is ready to go into production
the moment the script is done. That means an instant IMDB credit and the chance to see her writing on the screen within a few months.

Third, she gets the experience of doing another movie. And finally, she creates a very strong relationship with a director who is moving up in this industry.

BTW, Jon is also a very collaborative director who loves to work with people to make films. So it is natural for him to be more interested in someone else with the same values.

JON: Of the 30 submissions, Aly was the most appealing because she said, I want to work with you and work in your constraints to get something that we're both proud of. At that point, it was a pretty much a done deal. It helped that she was less than an hour's drive away. So we were able to actually meet face to face. She took a crack at it before we met, so I got an idea of her writing and I got an idea of the story that she wanted.

ALY: It was definitely a collaborative effort. I sent him the first draft in three days and he came back with some amazing the feedback and some amazing twists and turns and different takes on it which I incorporated immediately, and he just loved it. Jon pushes you when you write and because he's a director and an actor and he's a screenwriter, his feedback is a tick up from what you normally get.

He has a really well rounded vision of the film, and it's all about the film. Not so much about me writing it or him directing it. It's the whole package. It's about the end result of the film. That's always what's most important for all of us. So, together I think that it only took us about two weeks after the feedback and it was done, and it was amazing.

JON: I think it was 10 days to the day from start. We literally spent a day, probably 6 to 8 hours going through outlining this story beat for beat, not worrying about the dialogue but working out to the characters and plot points and everything else. And like she said, three of four days later, boom, I had the rough. It was back and forth a few days with notes, the story itself was intact and we were ready to go.

I like working in a give and take environment. Everyone throwing in ideas and actively listening and building off the conversation. Alyssa was great in this respect. If I felt we were off track and reigned in the scope or, the reverse, felt we needed to go over the top, she kept step with me.

NOTE: Notice the collaboration. She's writing. He's giving feedback. They're both working together with the same vision and throwing ideas back and forth. Notice that their focus is on the completed film -- not on arguing over minor details. Also, notice the speed at which the
script was completed. That really is possible when the vision is shared and both are intensely focused on the same destination.

Later, you'll hear how this process changed Jon's view of screenwriting.

JON: My vision from the beginning was that story is the key. It isn't about the all the other aspects of a typical direct-to-DVD genre-type piece. It's not about blood, or body parts, or swearing, or whatever. All it is about is story. Everything else will come. But if the story is not there, we didn't have it. Everyone that has read the script before we even started production was immediately sucked in because the story was so good. That's really helped us.

HAL: Sounds like it worked out for both of you.

ALY: It was great. Jon is such a professional.

JON: Working with Aly was just amazing. It truly was what a collaboration or writing partner is supposed to be like. I don't think I'll ever look at working on a screenplay the same way ever again.

NOTE: As a screenwriter, that is what you want directors saying about you. It creates the kind of reputation that builds careers and long term working relationships.

HAL: Both of you took the ProSeries. Any comments on it?

ALY: Yes. That's how I started. I believe that's what took me the farthest in my career. Everything that I've learned in the ProSeries I've kept with me, it has staying power. I still use it today. I have it on my bulletin boards. The rewrite process is looking at me as we

JON: Yeah, I would say the same thing about the ProSeries. I've kept all my notes and everything from it, and all the emails and the lessons. I constantly go back and review them. And on top of that, the ProSeries Alumni community has just been great. I've made all kinds of contacts and friends through that group as well.

ALY: The ProSeries taught me how to deal with professionals in this business. There are no excuses. Learning to write a screenplay is only half the battle. The other half is about being in
a meeting -- focused, streamlined, and thinking in High Concept. I learned that from you.

TWO RECOMMENDATIONS: First, if you haven't already experienced a collaboration like this, start thinking and planning to have one in the future. Start imagining yourself in a supportive
collaboration and setting the mental processes into motion.

Second, please be as supportive as you can of this movie. Every time one person from this group succeeds, it opens up possibilities for others to succeed. And if you can help spread the word in
some way, please feel free to do so.

MATCH.DEAD is just finishing up production. You can keep up with it at these pages:


Friday, May 2, 2008

Match.Dead is wrapped.

OK, so this is premature by about 24 hours, but by the time you read this, sir, we'll be wrapped.

Yes, after three weeks we've wrapped on match.dead. Now starts the long post process. But the nice thing is, we're already getting calls from acquisition execs.
Who knows, maybe we'll be coming to a screen near you later this year.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Big Feet Nominated for five awards!

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Passing of a Legend

You know you are getting old when your heroes and legends are passing. Gary Gygax was one of those people.

I know, that sounds a little geeky, eh? But it was he that told me if was ok to dream. When an 11 year old kid discovered Dungeons and Dragons, and entire world of possibilities was opened up to him. There were others out there that read fantasy, dreamed of slaying a dragon, and that still strived to play make believe -- some were even adults!

I moved on from Dungeons and Dragons, but it never left me. The creativity it spawned, wonderful, not to mention that it taught a teenager how to socialize and write. Many a night was spent crafting stories with plots and subplots. Second guessing my players, who were my characters.

Dungeons and Dragons taught me to be a writer.

I owe my career to Gary Gygax.

Monday, March 3, 2008

match.dead Casting

I'm already hearing stories about Zach and Miri Make a Porno especially like this video (I can't believe she'd do that to Seth Rogan). We've put together an awesome cast as well.

James Ray leads the pack as Ridley, the Southern American Psycho who falls in love with Valora, played by Kathleen Benner. One look and you can understand why he does.

Michael Harrelson plays Valora's grandfather and surogate parent. Along with his best friend Guy, played by Greg Joseph, they try to watch out for her. I stress try, because there wouldn't be much of a story if they were successful.

Round it all off with Ashley Francis as Valora's younger self. Ashley is a champ and a star in the making.

We're well into pre-production on this one now. Always looking for someone to die on camera. Kev, you wouldn't happen to be coming through Phoenix, Arizona in late April would ya? Just a day part.

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Kevin, sir, I mentioned the web series last month, Lutz and Balls. It's a great project, but it's a big one. In the meantime we've hooked up with a great writer, Alyssa Alexandria. We're putting together a thriller: match.dead. I can't wait to see your new film, Red State, but I also can't wait to finish this film.

Valora was just your average, all American girl; looking for love in an online world. Then she met Ridley. He was strong, good looking, and best of all, he listened. So she agreed to meet him. It was a public place after all. What could happen?

Ridley was just your average, all American psychopath; looking for love in an online world. Then he met Valora. She was strong, good looking, and best of all, she listened. So he arranged to meet her. It would be a public place; after all, he was careful.

Shortly after their meeting, Ridley kidnaps Valora and takes her on the date of a lifetime. She can stay and talk or she can run; her choice. He likes when they run. It becomes sport. Valora chooses not to run and the courtship begins.

So there you have it. Its a great thriller: Misery with a serial killer. Stay tuned for more as we go. Did I mention we're still looking for investors? Drop us a line for a complete investors packet.