A hopefully brief restrospective on my Vampire Obscura motion picture project. by Lawrence Hollie

I’m here editing my feature in Santa Barbara again and as always smoke is starting to flow out of my ears. Editing, while enjoyable, is a mentally taxing endeavor and every so often I have to come up for air, so to speak. So I got to thinking how I have never really documented the progress of this here vampire anthology that I’m working on. Without further ado I will make a go at making an accounting of the days and years devoted to vampire Obscura.

1997 – I’m in college studying television broadcasting and for my final I make a music video containing my first attempt at vampire imagery. The song I used was “Your Woman” by White Town and in the video I play a narcissist who feeds off the attention of a female love interest. I shot some scenes with an actress where I’m biting her neck and all the usual stuff. No fangs though. The footage was lost years ago.

1998 – During this year I worked with a couple of models on some abstract body footage with an emphasis on the neck, shoulders and chest. At the time I wasn’t entirely sure where the final destination for this footage would be, I kind of had a loose goal to make some sort of abstract art film that I would screen in an art house or something. I wasn’t thinking along the lines of film festivals, cable access or online viewing. Youtube was still a long way off and the idea of uploading the footage online seemed strange and complicated. The footage I shot is LOST.

2000 – Between 1998 to 2000 I became involved in the cable access television community and I finally had easy access to cameras and video editing equipment. I also finally had an outlet to screen my work, anything I ended up making could be aired over the local cable channels. It was in this community where I learned about film and video festivals so I started having a mind to make a film with intentions of screening it in a festival. Around March of 2000 I recorded what could be considered my first vampire vignette. I’ll reiterate that I had no intentions of making a full length feature at this point. To cast the vignette I looked in the Yellow Pages, called up a modeling agency and hired a model to record the short. The plot was simple. Woman is stalked on a dark and lonely street by a vampire. Arriving home she starts getting visions. She gets dizzy and vomits blood and worms into a sink only to see the disgusting mess vanish. When she enters her bedroom the vampire (played by me) appears and bites her. Everything was shot up until the point of the vampire bite. As the actress was entering the bed to get in position for the biting scene she grabbed her cell phone and claimed she got a call from her sister who was calling in a panic after being beaten by her boyfriend. The actress grabbed her things, apologized profusely and said she had to rush to the emergency room to be with her sister. Highly, highly suspect but I couldn’t blame her, it was just her and I and a camera and heaven knows what she was thinking about the whole thing. Again, the immediacy of Youtube and online video in general wasn’t common at this point. Once again the footage is LOST. we didn’t even record the biting footage so no one is missing out.

2001 – In June of 2001 I got my first job at a local television studio which provided me 24 hour access to studios, cameras and editing equipment. It was around this point where I started getting serious about the idea of making a vampire movie. I still wasn’t sure about the format but I was certain that I wanted to make a short film that could be screened in a festival and in art houses. Around November of 2001 I met with a yoga instructor to shoot abstract footage of the neck, chest and shoulders that could be worked into an artsy, fartsy vampire project with voice overs. Ultimately I ended up using the footage on an experimental public access tv show that I was working on. you can see this footage here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPsQuybL4m8.

2002 – Around March of 2002 I met a buffed up and beautiful woman at my gym who I became fast friends with. She was a martial artist and body builder with a knack for writing poetry. According to her she had the ability to commune with the dead and she made allusions to periodic possession by ghosts. Whatever. We got together and recorded another vampire vignette that would provide the template for my later attempts at vampire movies. The “plot” was simple. A woman is in her house doing yoga. During meditation she starts getting hypnotic suggestions from a vampire so that it can enter her home and put the bite on her. After a series of unsettling visions of being bitten she opens her window letting the vampire in. Upon removing the cross around her neck the vampire guides her to the bed and bites her for a protracted period of time. The end. Up until that point the footage I shot with my bodybuilder friend was the best representation of the type of vampire visuals I was going for. Unfortunately through circumstances which are too ridiculous to recall I ended up losing the VHS tapes that I recorded the footage on to so yeah, the footage is LOST. Later in 2002, July to be exact, I got together with another woman I met at the gym I frequented and we shot some abstract body footage focusing on the neck, chest and shoulders with an aim to use the footage in some sort of art house video project. The footage can be seen in the same video link I provided: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPsQuybL4m8.

2003 – Sometime in January of 2003 I attended a free African dance class at a community center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The instructor was this beautiful woman with dreads and a beautiful body. After the class I spoke with her about working on some sort of abstract video utilizing her dance moves. In February 2003 her and I got together at one of the cable access studios I frequented and we shot some footage which can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPsQuybL4m8. She is the black woman in the black sports bra. I also met up with the bodybuilder woman from 2002 and we shot some abstract neck/body footage.

2004 – In fall of 2004 I returned to college to learn more about film production and television broadcasting. While there I met a lovely young woman with long dark hair and lots of tattoos. We talked for a bit and subsequently got together to shoot some abstract neck/body imagery. Again the goal for the footage was to screen it in some sort of art house exhibit or short movie with a vague vampire theme. I wasn’t sure. At any rate, you can see the footage here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMC0BqfjD0M.The woman in question is the first model in the first few minutes of the video.

2005 – Sat on my laurels regarding vampire stuff. Too busy directing and editing shows at a cable network studio I worked at. HOWEVER a big thing happened to Earth this year, Youtube. The arrival of Youtube would change things for me considerably in regards to my vampire project, we’ll get to that.

2006 – Similar to 2005. Of particular note was the fact that myself and some friends held a screening of some of my abstract neck footage and other weird videos at an art house in Cambridge, MA called The Out of the Blue Gallery. My friends and I plastered fliers all around Cambridge and we told all interested parties. We even had a comedian friend of ours emcee the event even though the place was only big enough to hold about 10 people when chairs were set up. An XBOX was used to play the DVDs with our short videos. It was a step in the right direction. I also shot some very basic vampire footage with a woman I had a crush on in one of my social circles. I have the footage but it’s nothing to write home about. The tape with the footage is buried somewhere in a crate of tapes I’ve collected over the years. Oh! Around the end of 2006 I created my first Youtube channel dedicated to vampire and abstract neck/body imagery. Using the name Vampire Bro, I uploaded very basic black and white comprised of video I recorded with models between 2001 to 2006.

2007 – My Vampire Bro Youtube page starts picking up steam, people of like minds start to notice the page and begin requesting videos. I actually met a woman through my page who turned out to be a fan of my work and we ended up going out for five years. Around the early part of 2007 I called a modelling agency in Waltham, Massachusetts with an aim to hire a model to record some more abstract neck imagery. The model and I recorded footage which can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMC0BqfjD0M. The model is second one featured, there are only two in this video, one from 2004 and the other from 2007.

2008 – Around August of 2008 I wanted to record more abstract neck/body imagery, once again I phone the same modeling agency that I worked with the previous year. The model I ended up working with was the great Jennifer Mitchell who would go on to work with me on a landmark vampire vignette that would become a fan favorite. The footage that her and I recorded in August 2008 can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm9eRT4TTIc. Jennifer is the first model featured in the video. This year would also see the introduction of the Experimentally ILL Film Festival created by myself and Mike O’Toole. Some of my abstract neck/body imagery would be featured in this festival.

2009 – At some point this year my Vampire Bro Youtube page was renamed to Iamcamera. In the early part of 2009 a colleague at my job introduced me to the website Model Mayhem where I would use as a resource to hire talent from that point onward in addition to utilizing craigslist and other avenues. I started to record dedicated, abstract vampire imagery this year and the footage can be viewed in the following installments of my Vampire Obscura Gaiden series at these links:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlCROBg3rp8
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FjnYHTr2fg
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1i9gZ2Kv_c

I also shot some more abstract neck imagery with several models which can be seen here:

Finally on November 21, 2009 I recorded the short vampire film called “The Believer” with Jennifer Mitchell. By this point I had a goal of entering my work into festivals, uopload them to Youtube and then screen them on community access tv. You can see footage from The Believer repurposed into Vampire Obscura Gaidens at the following links.

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgcXrndkO4I
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Inek–9Wdak
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWecSsSKnPY
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ6zDSuk-oQ
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVk9MPGVIaM

You can see “The Believer” vignette at:

2010 – Big year for abstract vampire footage. Utilizing Craigslist I ended up working with several models and actresses to record abstract vampire footage which would go on to become material for my Vampire Obscura Gaiden webs series. You can see the work recorded in 2010 at these links:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfa7qP6Mmro
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTzy51Ho4Co
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdCvDBJJtrQ
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwgFhGsPhKw

Sometime in 2010 I started formulating an idea to make a series of short vampire films but not a full anthology. While brainstorming a title for the project, my friend Mike Phelan O’Toole came up with name Vampire Obscura and it would be this title that would become the name of my current anthology film project.

2011 – Another decent year for my vampire video activities. This was the year I shot footage for what would become one of my most popular videos called “The Carmilla Effect”. You can see The Carmilla Effect here:

I began to shoot vampire vignettes exclusively this year. One of the more notable ones was called “The Night Girl”. Footage from that vignette was reworked into one of my Vampire Obscura Gaiden videos and you can see the edited work here:

2012 – Another decent year for my vampire vignettes. You can see two of the vignettes I recorded in 2012 at these links:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEeUAZFSlAU
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIybe0M3Sns

In the middle part of the year I edited the existing vampire vignettes into a 45 minute feature. It was a first attempt at creating an anthology. There wasn’t any overarching narrative or any sort of connective tissue, it was just the existing vignettes stitched together. I showed it to a friend of mind and her reaction was severely negative. Part of her criticisms were that she couldn’t figure out what the point of the feature was and she was puzzled by the sensual nature of some of the vampire biting scenes. Her words hit me hard and I went back to the drawing board.

2013 – I finally start preparing to move to Hollywood, Massachusetts was too cold and miserable, I had had my fill. In anticipation of my move my filmmaking friend Rod Webber suggested that I make Vampire Obscura a feature length movie with the idea that an 80 minute feature looks good on the proverbial “resume” of a nascent filmmaker. I surmised that an 80 minute feature under my belt could be a good thing to have while selling myself as a director in Hollywood. With this feature mentality now guiding my Vampire Obscura project I set about recording more vignettes. One of the vignettes I recorded concerned a young female photographer who becomes smitten with the female model she is working with. In the throes of her lust for the model she imagines herself as a vampire biting the model she was crushing over. You can see clips from this vignette here:

I also began designing the one sheet poster for my Vampire Obscura feature. I may change things once I finally finish the anthology but here is how the poster currently looks:

10001503_266254846883264_1046730317_n.jpg

2014 – I finally arrived in Los Angeles in 2014 and for a while I spent the time just learning my way around and finding work. Often I would spend the time writing scripts for vignettes that would fill out the run time of Vampire Obscura. In October I shot a short segment with former WWE Diva Shelly Martinez where she played a laidback woman who tries to calm the neurotic and skittish vampire, Bob, played by myself, after he nervously tries to ask her out. No biting footage was recorded with her. This would be the first vampire vignette that I would record in Los Angeles. During the year I also began my first fundraising campaign for the production of Vampire Obscura.

2015 – The damn broke! After spending 2014 writing I finally got around to recording the vignettes! In 2015 I also got around to making a companion web series to my feature film project. Vampire Obscura Gaiden is a side project featuring abstract vampire imagery and occasional narratives designed to tide fans over until the full feature is complete. The Vampire Obscura Gaiden series can be viewed here:

http://vampireobscuragaiden.tumblr.com/

I also created a series of trailers and footage teasers for Vampire Obscura which you can see here:

  1. Trailer 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E90ruExiKM8
  2. Trailer 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgP8Bri5u3A
  3. Trailer 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQosoJMGm6o
  4. Teaser Footage 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6TUqW83qBo
  5. Teaser Footage 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-V7DIK-qrc
  6. Teaser Footage 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ExssWnh0_0
  7. Teaser Footage 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWy7C-yrRyo

2016 – I swear that this is the year that I will finish Vampire Obscura and release the full work to the public. Thank you for reading and if you are a fan, thanks for your support.

 

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