During the final week of September, 2012, we officially wrapped up shooting on Stroke of The Devil. The journey to completing that film was difficult, to say the least. Pre-production had started nearly two years prior. Casting had proved to be more difficult than I had imagined. I wasn't sure if the film would ever make it to a set.
Much to my surprise, production wouldn't be any easier. A brutal drought had taken over the Midwest that year. With the largest budget, cast, and crew I had ever assembled, we set up for a shoot in the middle of July.
It was a disaster. Temperatures had skyrocketed to over 100 degrees. My cast, wearing all-black Priest garb or stuffy, thick, and itchy thrift store attire, were losing patience as we attempted to set up filming in a home that couldn't pump out enough cool air to keep the home's interior temperature under 80 degrees. I can remember trying to shoot scenes with Jon Marshall, playing the role of Satan, and feeling a sense of panic as I could literally see his makeup melting off his face as I attempted to set up shots as fast as I could.
With the extra encouragement of a very exhausted cast, I was able to get through a full day of shooting knowing none of the footage would ever see the light of day. After wrapping up and apologizing for such a rough day, I was able to talk everyone into returning to reshoot the entire film a month later in a new location.
On that final night of shooting, we didn't have the last shot until somewhere after four in the morning. As soon as it was over, I sent everyone home. I spent the next few hours cleaning and packing my gear by myself. This film had been my baby. The crew, which consisted of close friends, family, and former classmates had carried me to the finish line. They didn't owe me another drop of blood, sweat, or tears.
I made it home that morning just in time to crash on the patio in my backyard and watch the sun come up. The adrenaline rush, the kind I get every time I'm behind the camera, had finally subsided. However, my enthusiasm for the future of Amendment ONE had never been higher.
Sometimes, all of the enthusiasm in the world can't prepare you for the weird, cruel, amazing and sometimes unusual things life chucks in the road. On that morning, I had no idea that nearly four years later I'd still be waiting for another chance to be on set.
Yes, filmmaking had to take a backseat to this wild ride. But even when I knew I wasn't close to being ready to write a new story or shoot a quick short, filmmaking was always in the back of my mind. I was always taking notes, keeping an eye on the Omaha film scene, and most importantly - always dreaming.
There hasn't been a single day since that morning in 2012 where my next project hasn't crossed my mind. Since 2012, I have been quietly working on something new and I can say with complete confidence that it's finally in the pre-production stages and I'm ready to open up about it more than I have in the past.
"Losers Like Me" will be the next project from Amendment ONE Productions. Unlike any of our previous projects, "Losers" will be an episodic series with a reoccurring cast of characters. Speaking of reoccurring, I can also confirm that A1P regulars Mike Kasel and Sir Daniel Stewart will be joining the cast.
So what will Losers Like Me be all about? Well, the specifics are still under wraps but I will say that it will be a situational comedy series focusing on an ensemble cast. Unlike the fictional city of Peter Gryp's Shaftsburgh, Losers will take place and focus on real-life locations in and around Omaha, Nebraska. Some of the shows that have influenced me along the way are "Louie", "Maron", and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", just to name a few.
With the official relaunch of Amendment ONE and the announcement of Losers Like Me, you can expect to start seeing more updates. In addition to our A1P Facebook page, you can follow specific updates for our new project at the official Losers Like Me page.
I want to thank everyone who has encouraged and believed in me. After not having a new film for nearly four years, it's always nice to hear things like, "When's the next film, Kasel?" or "I'm glad you went back to Amendment ONE. 'Rebel Knight Films' was a whack-ass name for a production company."
Now, I'll close with a little self-made QnA.
Q: So, what exactly happened over the last four years?
A: Great question, me. At the end of 2012, I decided to go into business for myself. I left my full-time job, shut down Amendment ONE, and rebranded the company as Rebel Knight Films. It didn't end well, but it was a great experience. You learn so much more from your failures than the victories... and trust me, Rebel Knight Films was a total failure.
After rebuilding my professional career in the workforce, I brought A1P back in late 2014.
Q: You mentioned Losers Like Me will have an ensemble cast. Have you started auditions?
A: Not yet, but if you're interested in joining the cast and crew, keep your eyes on the Facebook Pages, this site, and Twitter. We haven't completed our starring cast and with the show being a situational comedy, there will be many, many opportunities for virtually anybody looking to act in a wide variety of roles in this independent film series.
Q: What's up with the new logo?
A: Which one? Anyone following us over the years knows the logo is always changing. It's the same reason I'll probably never get a tattoo - I can't make up my mind when it comes to a permanent design. I'm also not particularly good at making logos, but I will say that I like this one. It's different - and it at least gives the uninitiated an idea of what we do. It has a film strip, the state of Nebraska, and a few cool circles. The last logo looked like something you'd find stamped on a stack of printer paper at an Office Depot.
Q: Why do you always use the same people in ALL OF YOUR FILMS?
A: Because they're reliable, passionate about film, and pretty good at what they do. It's easier to build a story around a cast you know and can depend on.
Over the years, I've branched out and invited new people to join our crew. Of the few who agreed to join us, we've had people who flaked out on the second day of shooting and never returned, people show up to the set drunk, and people ask if they can leave when they realize that it takes more than an hour to make a movie.
I should say that it hasn't been all bad. On the set of "Stroke of The Devil", for example, we had a lot of new faces on the cast and crew that were amazing on set. When the time comes, I'll be reaching out to them again.
Q: Is it true that you're about to be a dad? How will you make time for a web series and a new baby?
A: Another amazing question from my inner dialogue. Yes! I am excited to announce that my girlfriend Angela and I will be having a little girl this summer. Of course, I will be spending a lot of time with Baby Kasel when she makes her arrival.
As she grows up, I hope to be someone she can look up to. Life if short, ladies and gentlemen. If you have a goal, something you want to accomplish, like the daunting task of making a low-budget film series, go for it. Whatever it may be. Don't limit yourself. Don't say, "there's not enough time." There is always enough time, if you want it bad enough.
I don't want to be spreading this wisdom upon her without having walked the walk.