Horror Film Director

Perception is KING


Posted on October 3rd, by Darren Lynn Bousman in blog, film, general, inspiration, news, Ramblings, The Barrens. 32 comments

On September 28th, The Barrens opened in theaters, and on October 9th, the film expands to  VOD/DVD and Streaming.

LIFE LESSONS:

It is this writer’s humble opinion that one of the most difficult aspects of being a filmmaker is taking criticism.

There are those out there who will argue YOU CHOSE THIS, so stop being a whiny little bitch, and take it like a man…

You are right.  I did choose this.  I chose to create art, and then put it out there in the world to be judged.

I didn’t say I disagree with it, I said it was hard…

I have written numerous blogs in the past about dealing with criticism, so I will spare you repetition.

Today, we will talk about PERCEPTION, and its effect on the already fragile filmmaking process…

I woke up last Friday morning, my stomach in knots, nervous, embarrassed, anxious, and a little depressed.

See, Barrens was opening, and though I say “opening”, that is kind of a false statement.   It was appearing in a few theaters… Well… a few theaters is also kind of a stretch… It was placed in TWO cinemas.

 

When a movie like Barrens is released, it’s key that it opens on SOME screens.  It’s a perception thing.  If it opens in on the big screen you can call it ‘theatrical’.  And calling something ‘theatrical’ allows us filmmakers to hold our head up high…

Barrens was a passion project of mine.  It was a script I had wanted to make since SAW 2.  In fact, the late Gregg Hoffman and I had planned on making it as my follow up to SAW 2.  However upon Gregg’s death, all movement on the Barrens stopped.

Some six years would pass before I would finally get the chance to see The Barrens become a reality.

Nothing ever goes the way you plan.  When we set off into the woods, we all assumed, as I think all filmmakers do, that this would be a WIDE THEATRICAL release… I mean, how can it not?  It’s a cool script (I know, I am biased).  It’s a got a cool monster (The Jersey Devil – the stuff of Legends), and it’s got Stephen Moyer (The Star of one of the most popular cable TV shows out there).

During production we were met with the normal hardships:  not enough time, not enough money, blah blah blah.

However, at the end of the day, when we wrapped the movie, I was happy, and I was proud.

I got to make the movie I had set out to make, even if we had less than 20 days to shoot it…

For those of you unaware, The Barrens tells the story of the Jersey Devil.

Well, not really, it’s more of a character piece, a man’s descent into madness, set against the idea that there MAY be a monster following him and his family on their camping trip.

I wanted to make a film where the monster was the B story, and the characters and their own drama was the A story.

I always try to ask myself, IF I remove the gimmick, will the movie still work…

Example.  In Repo, if I remove the element of the music and singing, do the film and story still hold up?

 

In the case of The Barrens, the question became, IF I remove the monster, will the movie still work?

 

My goal was to create a film about a dysfunctional husband, that happens to have a monster in it.  Not a monster movie that happens to have a dysfunctional husband in it.

 

The movie was edited and finished, and I found myself once again left with a movie I loved, but maybe not the most commercial of films…
A mish mash of genres… More a drama than horror… But too horrific to be a drama… But one thing I did have… Amazing performances…

 

I can’t say enough good things about my cast:  Mia Kirshner, Allie McDonald, Peter DaCunha all amazing.  But I had an ace up my sleeve, I had Moyer.  Stephen FUCKING Moyer turns out a fucking chill-inducing performance… In a lot of respects the entire movie rests on his shoulders…  And he kills it; he makes this movie his bitch.

 

I remember getting the phone call that the movie would only be released on a handful of screens and then it was doing VOD/DVD/ STREAMING.

This was a punch in the gut.  But a feeling I was getting all too used to.  Dear Baby Jesus, what do I tell my cast?  What do I tell Moyer?

Ten years ago, I would have been happy to just be in the game…

Now, that I am in the game, my views have changed… Now, my happiness is relegated by the size of a release?

In ten years from now, how will I judge success?  Happiness?

I had success.  SAW 2, 3, 4.  All box office hits… Thousands of screens, tons of press…

But Repo, Mother’s Day and 11-11-11 were all released with next to no support.  And no marketing dollars…

When a movie is ‘dumped,’ the PERCEPTION begins.

A ‘dumped movie’ equals a BAD MOVIE… If a studio dumps a film – the belief is, the studio doesn’t believe in it.

I used to believe this, too… At least with Repo, I did…

But one needs to look behind the curtain to really grasp the bigger picture.

P and A (‘Prints and Advertising’) is expensive… To put a movie in theaters, you must advertise the movie is in the theater… There must be awareness… What good is putting a movie out if NO ONE knows it’s out?

For something like Barrens, if a full theatrical release was planned, it would cost upwards of 10 even 20 million dollars to make an impact…

 

In the scheme of movie making, 10 million dollars does not seem like a lot.  But you have to add that 10 to 15 million to the budget.  It increases everyone’s risk… The Investors, the Producers, the Studio… Suddenly this little movie has to make back 15 to 20 million dollars JUST to break even…

Whereas if it goes straight to VOD/DVD it doesn’t have to sit behind the P and A spend.  So the movie begins making money for everyone almost instantly…
I fucking hate it, but I get it… It’s a business… These movies aren’t made to make art, they are made to make MONEY.  The greats, however, can accomplish both.

I rebelled against this formula with THE DEVIL’S CARNIVAL, and with much success… With a handful of friends, and a whole lot of passion, we got The Devils Carnival in over 60 cities, sold out crowds nightly… and we did this without having to take out huge ad buys… We resorted to creativity and desire…  Our not having money did not fuck with our ability to get it to its audience.

But this is a different movie, and a different situation…

When releasing something like The Barrens on 2 screens, PERCEPTION IS KING.

The worst thing in the world is, it’s released, people hate it, and then no one buys the DVD, no one downloads it, and it goes gently into that sweet goodnight, as so many films do…  At this point, The Barrens is all about one thing… Moving DVDs.  (pre-order DVD here)

 

So, back to where I was… It’s Friday morning and I wake up, roll over and flip on the computer.  My first stop is IMDB.  Has anyone posted a review?

And then I see it… At first I wanted to throw up, then I wanted to start drinking, then I wanted to punch something….

 

IMDB user score 1.2.

1.2?  Are you fucking kidding me?

30 votes, and I had a combined average of 1.2?

How was this even possible?  This movie is not everyone’s cup of tea…. I get that, but for 90% of the votes to be 1 means that I failed harder than when I tried to pick up Jesse Biel at a Super Bowl party.

I am a masochist… I have stated this over and over… I read everyone’s blogs.  I read every message board… I am obsessed.

Almost immediately twitter conversations started.  Barrens has a 1.2!  Oh snap – Barrens must suck…

By noon, 75 users had rated it, and it was sitting at a 1.5 rating.

First off, the movie was only playing in two cities, and there was NO P and A.  I am pretty confident in saying 75 in total had not seen the movie.

Then the email I feared the most came to my inbox.

THE BARRENS ON PIRATE BAY.

 

Ahhh, my pirate friends… You…. YOU!!!!!

By Saturday morning, The Barrens had a 2.4 rating on imdb.

I was contemplating disappearing for a few weeks…

The embarrassment you feel when you have such a beautiful disaster can not be explained.

I looked over at my phone and saw Moyer was calling me.. What the hell do I say to him?  Hey, brother, awesome job in the movie… Oh, by the way, people hate it and think you suck.  Don’t quit your day job, Vampire Bill.

Here is a movie I am fucking proud of, worked for years on, and it’s been squashed by those very movie goers I am trying to win over…

Saturday night I stayed in… More like hid… I didn’t leave my computer.   I just stared at the imdb rating agonizing in my head, where did I go wrong?  The rating had gone up to a 4.8 but still, that is pathetic…

Then I clicked something that made my night a little better.

For whatever reason, imdb was using something called WEIGHTED AVERAGES.  Basically it’s a formula they use that determines which votes count, and which votes do not count.   While I had a 4.8 rating, the actual user rating was 7.6.   80 of the voters gave me a 7 or higher – yet somehow I have a 4… Perception is killer.

 

For some unknown reason imdb refuses to count certain votes, as it tries to protect against ‘vote stacking’.

At this point now, I have already received concerned phone calls from my mother, my friends, and even the cast.

Why was this movie, one we were all proud of being ‘dumped’ into the void of nothingness?  Why did the imdb users give us such a low score…

I did a little research and found a few of my friends were having the same fate befall their independent movies.  Scorpion, himself, Marc Senter’s new movie BRAWLER has a 2.7 raiting on imdb,

BUT, if you actually click inside, its user ratings are actually 7.7.

 

So, whats the big deal you ask?  It’s just some website…

It’s about PERCEPTION!  So many people use Rotten Tomatoes and imdb to sift through the good and the bad… I know I do… and here my movie was being rated one step above TERRIBLE… But… But… it’s really a 7.7 not a 4…

So many people take this for granted, but Perception is everything… At least in the eye of the typical movie going public.

A movie is held for THREE YEARS, it must be a stinker…

A movie that has a 1.1 rating on IMDB must be terrible…

The movie isn’t being released theatrically; it must be shit.

How do you fight against the exact same things you yourself are judgmental towards?

I am like everyone else.  If I see a movie has a 1.2 rating on imdb, I skip it.  If I notice a movie has been held for years, I bypass it… If I realize a movie I have been looking forward to goes straight to video I frown upon it.  It’s the way the world works…

Perception, my dear readers…

However, by far the worst part for me is not the ratings, or the Rotten Tomatoes, or the phone calls from Mom and Dad checking on my mental state…

 

The internet has given everyone a voice… Everyone a pulpit… Yours truly included…

I can send a tweet out, and instantly 20,000 people can read it… I post a message on facebook, and it gets in front of 100,000 eyes!   This is a blessing, and a curse.

Daily I check the twitter stream, and my searches are filled with ‘WATCH BARRENS FREE’  – ‘DOWNLOAD BARRENS NOW FOR FREE!!’

For almost a decade I have fought, and gone to war to make this movie… I have burned bridges and lost friends to get it made… And finally after jumping through countless hoops, and running a marathon straight out of a SAW movie – I get it out there, and with a click of a button, it can be shared for all to see for FREE… and promoted through twitter and facebook no less…  You click it, and you watch it for free, and you convince yourself somehow this is all okay, you are not doing anything wrong… I won’t argue this point, but it does effect people… It effects me, the filmmaker who has EVERYTHING riding on it’s opening.  You call it harmless… I call it detrimental…

This is not an attack on Torrent users.  Hell, my sister is the fucking wench of Pirate Bay, but the Perception to those in middle America – The Barrens is a disaster – STAY AWAY.

It’s a hard pill to swallow…

One can’t help but feel defeated… What’s this all for?  Why spend the years trying to make anything if this is its fate??? Why jump through the hoops, why subject yourself to the sleepless nights and all the bullshit if THIS is what is to come…  Why try to make a living as an independent filmmaker when in the end, some twitter user can freely share the art I just spent years making HOPING to prove my worthiness by selling it?

I ask myself this every time a movie is released… What the fuck, Bousman?  What the fuck are you doing?

It’s easy to be come disheartened, want to give up, want to walk away… want to run…  But after all the bullshit, the sleepless nights, the bad reviews, the lack of promotion, I have been allowed to tell my stories… People will review them, some will love what I do… Others will hate it…  People will torrent it, others will buy it, so is the cycle of life…

When it is all said and done, all I can do is stand behind my art… I am proud of my accomplishments, and damn proud of my films…

The Barrens is a new chapter in my life.   A film I am insanely excited for you all to see.

I failed at attracting Jesse Biel, but at that very same party I met my future wife…

Perception… it’s all how you look at it.

Part of being a filmmaker is dealing with that Perception, and then saying fuck it… Let the art speak for itself…

I stand behind my art – I stand behind this film…

What say you?

Check out the Barrens on DVD/VOD on October 9th and judge for yourself…





  • Chelsea

    You stand behind your art, and we stand behind you. As soon as I’m home for break, I’m going to be getting my hands on a dvd, and I’m going to sit everyone down and make sure they watch it. Screw IMDB’s stupid rating scale- most people know it’s crap, anyway. Awful movies end up with ridiculously high ratings, and really great movies end up with mediocre ratings…It’s a mess. You do great work, and you know it; that’s what’s most important. Being able to make the projects that you really want to do- like The Barrens, or Repo, or TDC, etc- that’s a brand of success all its own, and that beats not getting wide theatrical releases or low IMDB ratings.

  • Sarah J

    I know I’ll be investing in The Barrens as soon as I can get my hands on it. I’m really looking forward to it, and, as I’m doing with TDC, I refuse to get it for less than full price. I feel the money is well earned, and well deserved. I’m sure it will be fantastic, as your work always has been.

  • http://www.alienbee.net Brian Shirley

    Darren, I really enjoyed The Barrens! I’ve enjoyed all of your projects so far, even traveled several hours to catch The Devil’s Carnival in ATL earlier this year.

    I also enjoyed reading this latest blog and will continue to help spread the word for this cool little movie!

  • Christopher Brandon

    Perception is everything. They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover but that’s exactly what we as humans do whether we admit it or not. I watch the blockbusters like everyone else but I also watch and support other works of art as well, from low-budget to no-budget films that even some hardcore Indie fans won’t view. When I watch a film, it’s not just 90mins of a movie about something with that one guy/girl in it – I watch stories unfold that someone invented from a unique perception other than that of mine. We all have stories we want to tell; We all have perceptions that we want other’s to view through our own POV.
    The sad truth is only a select few are lucky enough to get to tell their story for the world to see while others are forced to only dream of what it would be like to get our story told. So, we as Indie filmmakers, spend our life’s savings (& money we haven’t even earned yet) just so a “few” people can actually watch our story unfold. So with all that riding on it, it is very disheartening when you receive negative feedback on something you’ve wanted so long and you feel failed when it doesn’t connect with an audience. You feel like did they not get my perception of the story? Did I not tell it right? I’m here to tell you Darren the film is great! Whether its a theatrical release or VOD. Your story is told the WAY you wanted to tell it. Sure, some young hollywood exec might come in and remake it with Tom Cruise and a hundred million dollar budget with all the bells and whistles in which people will flock to the movies to see it but that’s back to perception. This is what is hurting the Indie film market. This crazy business…and that’s what it is, all falls back on the all mighty dollar. Well, there are many films that failed miserably at the box office but found a cult following on DVD…sometimes years later! My personal fav, John Carpenter comes to mind. He had budgets; main stream stars, great stories, and yet…low box office returns. However, he is one of the most respected and influential filmmakers of all time with a HUGE fan base. So, Darren, although it is very disappointing to what’s been happening with your films, the big picture is to continue to tell stories that your passionate about whether they find an audience or not. Your a story teller Darren…it’s what you do, sometimes they’re good…sometimes they’re bad. It’s a lot better than not getting to tell your story at all. Whether it cost a $1 or a hundred million of them, You told your story. I’m a huge fan…my friends are huge fans. Someday our kids will be fans and their kids will be fans. One day you may get to tell a HUGE blockbuster story again which will no doubt cause ripples and re-visits or first time visits to some of your other stories. Time and patience. It’s not just advice for struggling filmmakers it’s for ALL filmmakers. I could go into how hard it is as an Indie filmmaker and how its a dying art but you already know this. Every filmmaker believes that their film will get a theatrical release – that’s our job. If we don’t believe in our own film, then who will? Your story is told…now tell another one… and another one after that. It beats working for a living. When I’m long gone, nobody will even know I existed. When your long gone, your leaving behind a legacy and plenty works of art to display it. You, as a storyteller, got to tell his stories.
    - Maybe one day you will get to tell Repo 2!! You have talent Darren…don’t ever doubt your work. There is a lifetime of people out there that have yet to even discover your existence…your still growing. SO don’t let a few IMDB reviews of people be the voice for every single human being on the planet…whether their positive or negative. You got to tell your story.

  • Susan Murray

    Darren, I am really looking forward to seeing The Barrens when my fully-paid-for, advance-ordered DVD arrives by mail. I was so hoping that it would have a theatre run in Toronto, as I had plans to attend with friends who, like me, are big Stephen Moyer fans. You are both deserving of success. We’ll have to hope that word-of-mouth will create a groundswell of support for the film despite the lack of marketing and distribution. Meanwhile, hang in there!

  • http://allstephenmoyer.com Lynnpd

    I was at the premiere at Grauman\’s on Friday night and I enjoyed the Barrens.

    I loved that you wanted to make a film where the monster was the B story, and the characters and their own drama was the A story. I think you accomplished that. Also, I agree with you, having Stephen in the cast was definitely a plus; he was exceptional.

    I also really enjoyed reading about the process you went through with the film\’s distribution. We learned a lot about the process trying to help promote it on our web sites and Facebook.

    We will continue to tell everyone to buy the DVD and to do their best to see it.

    Thanks for creating it and continued good luck with your future projects.

    http://allstephenmoyer.com
    http://trueblood-online.com (The Vault)

  • Terry Smith

    I can’t wait for this film…I remember, in Seattle, at Devils Carnival, Darren was upstairs having a beer, as was I, looking down on the audience. I interrupted his train of thought and said ” Man, I have to tell you, Mothers Day fucking rocks.”…”you saw it?” “Yes I ordered a region 2 blu ray cuz it was yours, and it fucking rocks.” he thanked me…I don’t make those comments lightly or because he was standing there…I buy any and every Bousman movie…I think he is a genius at what he does…and this atypical Hollywood bullshit…I have NO doubts Mothers Day properly handled would have been a HUGH hit…I’m sure this is the same…In the meantime, I (while unemployed for 3 years now) will sell blood to get anything and everything Devils Carnival…always my support……….

  • Alex

    We love you Darren, and we are here to support you!
    I will always be here to stand behind your work, and I know that all of your other fans will be there too. Don’t stop doing what you love, no matter what the big companies say.

    A true fan always,
    Alex

  • http://magentawallace1879@tumblr.com Samantha Jung

    Now that I’ve read about it, I can’t wait to see The Barrens. I’m really not a fan of modern horror at all, but putting the characters in the forefront and the “monster” secondary will be an excellent thing to see done well, which no doubt you have done.

    Totally off topic, the picture of your folks in REPO shirts is the best thing I have seen in a long time.

    Love and support from Tennessee.

  • Tori

    You have it spot on – perception is everything. It’s a fickle business but you have done something admirable! You’ve stood by your art, you’ve fought to create what you believe in, rather than just try to appeal what the industry believes the masses want. In my opinion, whether it’s a “sell out hit” or a piece of “art”, the films you make are far more worthwhile to watch because the passion is there and you have talent.

    I fell in love with Repo when you showed it in London at the PCC. It blew my mind to see something so refreshing and original. To this day it was one of the best cinema experiences I’ve had, and a film I adore. You’re an inspiration, in both your attitude and work.

    And I’ll be watching The Barrens, regardless of the scores.

  • Mark Mangino

    Fame and fortune are a lovely possibility in our industry. It does not define the caliber of our work, or our passion. It does not nullify the joy and pride in the work. It does not erase getting to work with the people we come to respect. There is no greater reward than getting to do what you love. I have been very fortunate in this respect.
    When Devils Carnival came about, I was blown away. It actually redefined the genre that Repo redefined. The best part was, It was somebody who did it. I am inundated with stories of people who almost did it, tried to do, did part of it, who speak grandly of how great it was going to be. I am a huge fan of people who actually do it.
    You have my respect and admiration, Mr. B. I would be honored to work
    with you anytime.

  • Heather Protzman

    I’ve got to throw my two cents in and agree with everybody else–you do great work, so don’t let perception get you too down. Payday=pre-order The Barrens day! Repo is one of my all-time favorite movies–I’ve had to buy multiple copies because I keep lending it out and not getting it back. Driving for hours both ways to The Devil’s Carnival was absolutely worth it–I’m already planning for the next part, whenever it happens. I don’t think I’ve ever *not* loved a project of yours…In short? You’re a genius and I stand in awe of your awesome talent.

  • Earendil

    I will admit I have been tempted to download it since I am no where near the two cities it was released in but I haven’t yet. Even if I did as with most things I intend to buy the DVD when I can.

    Perception is a funny thing. I know I have stopped paying attention to reviews and ratings for movies any more. Most of the time a movie I adore with have a low rating online or one that has a great rating I think is crap. It’s all about finding what you like as an individual instead of listening to what the masses think is entertaining. Personally I have loved all your films. I watch Repo multiple times a month (I put it on my Kindle, phone and MP3 player so I can watch it when I am out and bored) and I will probably watch TDC the same way when I finally get the DVD when it gets mailed out, and I listen to the TDC soundtrack pretty much on repeat in the car. I can’t wait to be able to finally see The Barrens when I get the chance.

  • mary g

    I am a movie-goer, an avid Stephen Moyer fan, and, thankfully, without a clue about the IMDB rating system. It seems arbitrary and therefore without any real value. I will choose to ignore it.
    Your comments certainly drive home the current state of affairs in movie making. It’s a huge feather in your cap that you got The Barrens made at all, and I’m looking forward to receiving my pre-ordered dvd, popping some corn, and enjoying every minute!

  • http://facebook fbforbill

    I am not movie artist but I am a visual artist. i paint. I paint pics of Stephen and Anna and other great actors on http://www.fbforbill.deviantart.com You don’t have to buy a painting or anything. I just know how you feel. I have tons of work on DA and it gets ridiculed and I have had to ban people from my page. Sometime people just don’t understand our hearts. Please don’t ever give up and i can wait to see the barens. Big Stephen Moyer Fan. From one artist to another..F*cken ‘Em! hehehehe

    • http://facebook fbforbill

      I ment F*ck ‘Em! Hahahaha

  • http://godhatesfangspodcast.blogspot.com AphroditeMF

    Man, I am deeply saddened by your post. I’m an avid fan both of horror cinema and of Stephen Moyer, and have been eagerly anticipating the release of The Barrens ever since it was in pre-production. So to learn that it has been beset by such difficulties greatly disappoints me. I sincerely hope that you movie finds an audience through home media, and that the fans are more appreciative than the studio execs have been. I have faith that after this set-back, word of mouth will ensure that folks invest their time and money in seeing this movie, and it will get at least some of the attention it deserves. The fact that it is available in illegal download sites so soon only proves that there is an audience out there who are eager to see The Barrens.

    Oh, and anyone who votes for a one-star rating for a movie they haven’t even seen (and is doubtless worthy of a much greater rating) is a turd muncher. Once the real fans have investigated the movie for themselves and voted accordingly, the ratings will balance out and become more representative of the true feelings of movie-goers.

  • http://youtube.com/ruwanheggelman Ruwan Heggelman

    Since the beginning a fan of your films, still being a big fan! I’m going to but it ASAP when its out :) .

    Its hard NOT to download it as a big fan. But I will wait till the DVD is out!

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/MorbidButterflyProd Krystal Donahue

    Darren, you are by far my favorite director of all time. I currently have been waiting for the Barrens and while I could go pirate it somewhere. I’m waiting until I go back to work and get money to buy your film.

    my funds may be limited but I at least and I know there are others are here to support you and your art because we love your art.

  • My Obsession

    I’m so sorry what has happened to The Barrens. As an obsessed fan of Stephen Moyer and a lover of horror/mystery movies, I cannot wait to see! And I won’t download!

  • Pat Honton

    I’ve ordered by Blu-Ray of the Barrens, and meantime, am hoping that TUGG can set up a showing here in Ann Arbor. I and two equally devoted Stephen fans from Toronto visited the Barrens’ set last October, and have been anxiously awaiting the film’s release ever since. I’m convinced it would have done well in theatrical release.

  • http://www.allstephenmoyer.com Shadaliza

    I was lucky to see the film because we received a review copy of the DVD, but otherwise it would be very difficult for me in Italy to see the film in a legal way since, as far as I know, the rights haven’t been sold to the UK. So it looks like there will be no English language region 2 DVD.

    • http://ristrettofacts.blogspot.com Elisabeth Schabus

      D’oh! that’s bad news …

  • http://www.mrpotent.com John Kent

    Great article.

    I saw the Devil’s Carnival in Philly, Mother’s Day is sitting on my shelf waiting to be watched, and I’ll be picking up the Barrens.
    Totally feel everything you are going through – my film Deer Crossing hit DVD last week, and the same things (insane IMDB reviews, Amazon rating bouncing up and down, 30,000 people downloading at one point) are happening to all of us, at all levels.

    There has to be something better than the current system.

  • Erica

    If it makes you feel any better, I never even notice the rating system on imdb. And I don’t base my movie decisions on what others say. I often like movies that others don’t/or won’t give the time to day to. Your fans will stay with you and support what you’re doing. In fact, I got you a new fan this year with The Devil’s Carnival!

  • Brazendale

    I was so excited when I heard of your project and now am gutted by the events surrounding the release and the fact that it is virtually going straight to DVD.
    Block buster over hyped epics are a dime a dozen, where as something that touches you, makes you think, is memorable and mesmerising – that is priceless.
    Never stop living your dreams, they are the stuff that life is made of Darren and it gives all of us nobodies out here hope.
    It may not count for much as far as dollar value is concerned but the respect that I have for you, this project and the cast and crew … that is something that money cannot buy.

    I am a rabid Saw fan and very very long time Moyer tragic and can’t thank you enough for what you have been through just to get this made.

    Men in suits with money – definition: faceless and nameless empty hearts, vacant minds and no artistic integrity.

  • Matt Webber

    I’ll always stand by you D. You’re a stand-up guy and I love your work.

  • Athena

    Darren,
    I want to thank you for your honest blog concerning the difficulties and hardships associated with film making. Its a hell of a business. And as for the ratings, I could care less, I will like what I like. And for those just rating negative to be negative, they never make any sense.

    That said, I also want you to know that not only did I preorder “The Barrens” but went out the day it was released and purchased another copy. I was too impatient for snail mail.

    A nice build up to a very intense movie. I was completely entertained, but you smacked my g-spot with Moyer in the lead. He blew me away, fantastic and mesmerizing, an excellent choice. The man has talent,

    Overall I cant believe you filmed this in only 20 days. The ending alone had me on the edge of my seat.

    You did right to make this movie more about a man thats in many ways relateable, instead of revolving solely around a monster. And hey, I thought the Jersey Devil was an awesome monster.

    Thumbs up.

  • CELKali

    I know I’m late on this, dude, but goddamn. This is why I hate rating systems. It’s why my screenwriting teacher abhors the grading system. It’s this strange method of putting work in so many sub categories that all you can focus on is the category you’re in; not the art and time spent to make it what it is.
    Nearly all of what I watch on Netflix I give 5 stars just to throw it all off. I’ll watch it if I find it interesting, not if it’s got 4/5 stars or some bullshit. Granted, I do look at that because I love reading what people have to think about the things I enjoy, even if most of the time it’s hatred.

    I fuckin’ loved Repo; my sister thought it was strange and loved it. But man, I listen to the songs from it all the time. It also has one of the more entertaining commentary tracks (fuck yeah I listen to commentaries). I mean, I initially watched it because the cover was cool and the idea of a rock opera was so out there from what I usually watch I had to get it. Now I’m actually studying it for class… and because Tony Head is amazing.

    It’s people like you and James Gunn that make me want to work in film. Y’all made me realize movies are more than just something on a screen to stare at. There’s a deep passion that goes into making film and you voice it here perfectly. I really hope you continue to make movies. You have a fanbase, man, and we try our best to support you.

    Oh, and one last thing. There’s a convention I go to in Minnesota called CONvergence, and I swear there’s a dude every year dressed as the Graverobber- he’s even got the Zydrate gun. He does an amazing job at evading all the cameras, though.

    ((Sorry for all the swearing, but if I censor that stuff, it feels fake.))

  • http://ristrettofacts.blogspot.com Elisabeth Schabus

    Dear Darren – I haven’t seen the film yet butI followed the process via Moyer and I’m sure it’s great. Why don’t you submit it to the Zurich Film Festival in 2013? From there it might take the leap it deserves.
    I covered the ZFF this year and I think it would be a perfect film for it.
    Contact me via mail if you want more details.
    Cheers, Liz

  • http://wesleyalley.blogspot.com/ Wesley Alley

    Great post! I try so hard daily to just get my name out there and for people to give me a chance to make a movie. Spreading around my music videos, my award winning short films, etc. Its hard. I love reading your blogs, because I see the path you made from kid wanting to make films to a film maker struggling to make the films that he really wants to make. I know its rough, and its not going to get any easier for me as I progress in my career… but i do get a boost of confidence seeing you post, because, its hard, and sometimes you suffer, but you are still making the movies you want to make, and your still a big name, and lots and lots of people love your work, and think your great.

    You are very inspiring and Hope you get to keep doing what your doing! Even if its hard and even if you suffer, I hope you can continue making what you want to make, and doing what you want to do.

    http://wesleyalley.blogspot.com/

    check out my blog and let me know what you think…

  • ^V^GlambertKitty^V^

    Dude, I hate horrors! But even I have to admit, Barrens deserved an eight. Only thing is, why was the Devil following the family? Was the father the 13th child and the Devil came to collect or something? That’s the only thing that confused me. Oh and why spare the kids? But other than those two points, it was a really amazing film. Totally shit me up though :( x