, , , ,

My Troma Story on the Good Story Podcast

I recently had the chance to speak with Eric Skwarczynski, host of the GOOD STORY Podcast. Eric, already a self-professed Troma fan, had read my book and was well-prepared with some great questions. In addition to being a great podcast host and producer, Eric has some great editing chops and put together some great short videos with excerpts from our talk, which I will share on Social Media. Meanwhile, below is the full podcast episode. Enjoy!

, , ,

“Michael and Me”

Author Sass (me) telling filmmaker Michael Moore about Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER

For the past few years, I’ve been visiting Traverse City, Michigan every summer to escape the Florida heat and humidity, and to enjoy the beauty, lakes, wineries, and breweries of Northern Michigan (fitting in some biking, hiking, kayaking, and sailing in between the wineries and breweries!) This summer, by pure coincidence I planned my trip during the well-respected Traverse City Film Festival. With its main venue the beautifully restored State Theatre, and the sister cinema, the Bijou, on the shore of the Grand Traverse Bay, and additional charming venues scattered throughout the small town, it is a perfect locale for a summer film festival.

The Traverse City Film Festival was started in 2005 by award-winning documentary filmmaker Michael Moore with a clear and determined mission:

“The Traverse City Film Festival is committed to showing ‘Just Great Movies’ and helping to save one of America’s few indigenous art forms- the cinema. We are committed to showing great movies that both entertain and enlighten the audience. We need movies that seek to enrich the human spirit and the art of filmmaking, not the bottom line. Our goal is for people to leave the theater with the feeling that they just watched something special.”

– Michael Moore, President and Founder

Back in my Troma days, I recall seeing Michael Moore and saying hello to him a few times on the streets of NYC, in and around Times Square, where he may have been doing post-production on one of his films. When I realized I’d be in Traverse City during the festival this summer, I hoped perhaps, to have a chance to see him again and perhaps even give him a copy of my book. As it happened, the summer stars aligned for me to be able to do just that.

The beautiful State Theatre in Traverse City, Michigan

Always Be Marketing

Knowing the town would be flowing with film fans, including some who would likely recognize The Toxic Avenger, I packed a bunch of my tee shirts that have my book’s logo on the front and www.ToxicAvenger.marketing on the back and decided I’d wear that shirt every day the Festival was going on. I also got tickets for the opening night party and brought some copies of my book which I kept in my backpack at all times. I also attended some festival events including a great panel discussion on the “Future of Film” with Michael Moore, some of the festival filmmakers, and Ira Deutchman, film industry veteran, and Columbia University professor. I sat in the front row, in my promotional tee-shirt, and was sure to ask a question during the Q & A (and shamelessly plug my book in the process.) Always. Be. Marketing.

The “Future of Film” panel at the Traverse City Film Festival

During the opening night party, a fun street party within a closed-off section of Front Street, with the classic State Theatre marquee as the backdrop, I did have the chance to say hello to Michael Moore and give him a copy of my book (see photo above). We had a brief and friendly conversation about Troma, and he could not have been nicer.

As I wore my Toxic tee-shirt around town during the festival, every once in a while I’d get a knowing nod from someone or a comment or question about The Toxic Avenger. When a short conversation would ensue, I’d always hand out a business card for the book. It was a lot of fun, and I was pleasantly surprised to even see a little spike in book sales during the festival days. In my book, there’s a chapter called “Alway Salute the Schwag” which talks a bit about the power of tee shirts and schwag. I put that power to work during my vacation in Traverse City! Remember, always be marketing!

, ,

My Interview “You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get!” on the Photogs Unite! Podcast

Mike Lloyd is a successful photographer, and, as I found out, a great interviewer. His podcast, Photogs Unite!, is full of insights, wisdom, and advice that will benefit pro photographers as well as anyone running a business. The show is targeted to photographers as the audience, but Mike doesn’t interview photographers as guests on the show. Rather, his guests are folks with all sorts of business and marketing advice that his audience of photogs can learn and benefit from.

I was excited that Mike invited me to come on the show and share some of the lessons I learned from The Toxic Avenger. I think it was a great fit, as there are many things I experienced making movies that directly relate to what a pro photographer does, from dealing with talent and teams to scouting for and securing locations, and we cover it all during our talk. Mike did his homework, and not only did we dive into my book, but we also talk about opportunities with domain names and my role as CMO at .CLUB Domains. All in all, I thought Mike asked great questions and added a lot to the conversation, making for a great interview. See for yourself by clicking here or on the embed of the interview below. Enjoy!

, ,

Legendary Indy Studio Troma Joins Hollywood Studio Legendary for Toxic Avenger Reboot

Still Toxic After All These Years!

My monster mentor The Toxic Avenger (aka Toxie) is in the news again as word spreads through the media touting a brand new Hollywood remake. Yes, the legendary independent studio Troma is teaming up with the Hollywood studio Legendary to bring Toxie back to the silver screen!

This is not the first time Hollywood has threatened to embrace Tromaville and welcome Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz (and their hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength) to cross over to the dark side and “go mainstream.” Back toward the end of my stint in Tromaville, riding on the grossly green backs of The Toxic Crusaders cartoon series (of which I was a co-creator), we had a deal with New Line Cinema to produce a big budget theatrical “Toxie” flick. But alas that flick flickered away and never came to be. Sad.

In more recent years, there have been rumors of a Toxic Avenger remake to star Arnold Schwarzenegger as Toxie. It looks like Arnold won’t be back, but at least now The Toxic Avenger will!

As someone who lived intimately with Toxie for more than seven years, through two sequels and a cartoon series spinoff, I can personally vouch for the lovability and durability of The First Superhero from New Jersey. Like Troma itself, this new take on The Toxic Avenger is destined to be Legendary!

I couldn’t be more happy for Lloyd, Michael, and the Troma Team. After all, “Everything I Know about Business and Marketing, I Learned from THE TOXIC AVENGER!”

, , ,

Indie Film Marketing, and How Things Have Changed… (video) #GetIndieWise

I was on a panel about Indie Film Marketing at the Grand Indiewise Convention in Hollywood (Florida, that is…). I had the chance to share some of my experiences in the “old days” and how things have changed today with the proliferation of Social Media and new distribution channels. As the saying goes, “everything old is new again,” and I think that many of the marketing angles we applied “back in the day” can be applied to the Indie Film world today (but with a few new twists), and I share some of those ideas and tips in the video below. NOTE: This is an edited version of the panel, of mostly my bits, as I just had my phone pointed at me…  🙂