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Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 7:00 PM - Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 10:00 PM (PDT)
They say the average time a person reads a blog post is no more than 7 seconds. This is one of those times I hope you will prove them wrong, and read the ENTIRE message below, as it's probably the most important message I've ever written.
Why is the message so important?
Because I said, “The President of the United States of America.”
When asked in first grade what I wanted to be… with conviction and naivety, that’s what I said. “The President of the United States of America.”
Although I meant it when I said it, what I didn’t know at that time, was when it came to my aspirations of one day carrying the title of Commander in Chief… fate and destination had already ensured that my future would never befriend such an accomplishment.
You see, much like the military, in order to serve the people, there are certain criteria you must meet in order to hold public office. What I know now, but lacked the full knowledge of in the first grade, was that a my political goals had already been dashed by a birth defect, which I discovered at the age of 10, when my small town Alvin, TX, junior league football coach decided to go with a lesser-talented quarterback as the starter, instead of yours truly, simply because my last name didn’t match three decades of hometown hero plaques hanging in the locker room, fittingly… just above the shitters.
After rounding up the entire team to make the starting quarterback announcement at the end of practice, because he knew I was close friends with several of the starters, my Coach invited me into his office to discuss the situation, in what I deemed to be little more than an act of “damage control.”
I remember it like it was yesterday. He started out the conversation by attempting to compliment me into agreeing with his decision – a tactic that even at 10 years of age, I was all too familiar with.
“I know you have a better arm than him. And I know you’re a bigger kid. We all know you’re stronger too. Hell! You got a lot going for you, son!” He said. “But you have to understand what Brock (the other guy) has going for him too. His great-grandpa, grandpa and his father were all great quarterbacks. And their blood is running through Brock’s veins. You may have more physical talent, but Brock’s got what we like to call… ‘the intangibles’. Do you know what that means, son?” he asked.
“He knows how to win,” I replied.
“That’s right”, he said. “And you can’t measure those. So if you can just be positive and tell your teammates that you know he’s the right choice to lead this team, then I’ll make sure you get some more time on the field at another position. Because we all know you have a ton of talent. Do you follow me, son?”
This is the moment when I learned that because of my birth defect, I could never be President of the Unites States, nor would I ever be the Alvin, TX, junior league starting quarterback.
“Intangibles my ass,” I said. “This is some small town, hillbilly bullshit. And I’m not your son, dickface.”
To this day, like a still imagine captured on my iPhone, I can still see the expression of my coach, as it was one of confusion… with a hint of fear that a 10-year-old was about to attack him like an animal on fire.
What my coach and I both learned that day, was that I was born without the section of DNA code that allows politicians to compromise on shit they know is wrong. And furthermore, I learned that I also lack the “bitch gene”, which would allow me to be somebody’s whore for the right price… such as “more playing time” at another position.
Needless to say, I paid a heavy price that day, as I wouldn’t be starting at quarterback, nor would I ever see extra playing time at another position. But even if it only mattered to me, what I was damn sure of, is that my coach would never again in his life try to lawyer me into some bullshit that we both knew was wrong.
At 10-years-old, this situation represented only the beginning of my trials and tribulations.
So I went home, retired to my room with pen and paper, where I sat for hours, trying to figure out what I could be in the world. And with each profession that I wrote down, I became more and more frightened, as I quickly realized I wasn’t a match for any of them.
I couldn’t be a doctor, because the site of my own blood literally makes me pass out, much less the sight of someone else's blood.
I couldn’t be a school teacher because I lack the patience to deal with puppies, much less a room full of children. I couldn’t be a police officer, as even at the age of 10, I had been known to break a few laws here and there, so the thought of being a hypocrite for a living didn’t jive too well with me.
And as much as I truly admire my father’s military career, I’ve never responded well to any process that would attempt to strip away my individuality.
And when it came to being a preacher, trust me when I say that I am NOT cut out for that gig. Even to this day, beyond believing in a God and the battle of good vs. evil, I’m still not ultimately sure what I believe in. So to advise others on their spirituality, at best, would be irresponsible. And furthermore, when considering what it would take to be a priest… let’s just say that I wouldn’t be up to the challenge.
As my depression grew with each profession that I checked off the list, I eventually decided to switch gears, and forget about how I could change the world for just a second.
Instead, I thought that maybe I should just think about the things I was good at, as perhaps a profession could spawn from my gifts, and from there… the path would be clear.
“Let’s see,” I thought. “What am I good at?”
I came to the conclusion pretty quickly, that I was decent at a lot of things… but there was nothing that I could put my finger on that I had a natural gift for.
At that time, the best thing that I could think of, was that I was a pretty good athlete… especially when it came to baseball.
I could hit the shit out of a curve, knock the cover off a fastball, and when it came to fielding, at first base, I could short hop or scoop up most balls thrown my way. I was a junk ball pitcher as well, which I wasn’t bad at either. I had a curve ball that dropped off the table, a slider that I actually used as my change-up and an occasional knuckleball that I would chuck down the tube, not as a pitch I would throw for a strike, but purely as a method of freaking the shit out of the batter.
But even with those strengths, like all things in life, what I didn’t have, would ultimately define me. It was a good thing that I could hit, because the one thing God did NOT bless me with… was speed.
When it came to running, flat feet, an awkward stride and a keg (not a six-pack) for a mid-section ensured that “unhooking the plow” would remain a mysterious process throughout my life.
So there it was. Even with my biggest passion at that time, I had a glaring weakness that would ultimately stop me from reaching my goal of being the best at something I loved.
Eight more years would pass before I would actually discover something I was good at, quite by accident, when after telling my college roommate a few ghost stories about things that had happened in my childhood home, he said to me, “Damn dude. You can tell stories like no other, man. I felt like I was there with you. Jesus, dude. It’s 3 p.m. and I’m scared to walk to my car in broad daylight.”
At that time, I was also a journalist working at two different newspapers, which I never really saw as a “storytelling” gig, until my roommate gave me the praise he did. And oddly enough, as a hobby, it was at that same time that I was also learning to play guitar and sing, simply because I felt I could bring more emotion to the stories I wanted to share with the addition of music, as for whatever reason, music has always served as a soundtrack to my memories, as I associate certain songs with certain events in my life.
But beyond all of that, it was at the moment that my roommate gave me praise, that I realized something… I truly loved storytelling.
With that realization, I kicked my musical hobby into high gear, doubled up on the practice time, and focused for the next two years on being a musician. This ultimately led me to join a band called 35 Inch Mudder, which led to a burgeoning local fan base, which led to us opening up for the likes of Motley Crue, Limp Bizkit, Deftones, Incubus, System of a Down and a bunch of other incredible bands. This success ultimately led to a bunch of record labels flying us to L.A. to showcase, which led to my band playing the “get a record deal” game for a few years before certain members of the band wanted to start a family, which led to the demise of the band, which left me with a fire in my belly (no pun intended).
During that time, I was sharpening my skills as a musical storyteller, writing not only songs with my band, but hundreds of songs on my own, as I had become a pretty decent guitar player throughout this entire process.
Since I had no band to promote at that time, but the desire to see somebody from my music scene make it, I began working with my friend Joe’s band, Index Case, and playing their music for a bunch of different record labels… who initially just didn’t get it.
But because Index Case, at that time, had a crazy live image, in which they would come on stage in all white militant outfits, in which Joe had one arm painted blood red, I needed to show the record labels what the band looked like, as the visuals were VERY important to understanding the band. With that in mind, I directed my first music video for Index Case to a song called “Why Dreams Bleed”. I had no idea what I was doing, but the day I got behind that camera, I could have told you right then, right there, that my life would never be the same again.
The camera. It was something magical to me. It captured sound, image, color and emotion. It captured life. It immediately occurred to me, that as long as a camera was at my side, I would no longer have to tell people my stories. I could show them the magic of the moments that I had lived.
To make a VERY long story short, my marriage to the camera became my profession, as the harder I worked to understand it’s abilities, both filming in the field, and editing at home, the more rewards came my way, as for whatever reason, God had blessed me with the ability to mold picture, light and sound together in a way that made the public respond.
It was a blast. I truly enjoy being a filmmaker. And with this new found talent and profession, I was able to create opportunities for myself. In fact, literally five years to the day that I directed my first music video, I was cast by Drew Barrymore to be on a reality show about up and coming filmmakers, which I filmed one episode and then quit the show, because I was hired by Steven Spielberg to direct an online series called RISING, which was sidelined when he left Paramount, giving me the opportunity to hop ship to Paranormal State with my then new found friend Ryan Buell, which surprisingly led to me actually directing Paranormal State.
As I slowly perfected my own trademark style, to be completely honest with you, it was almost as though I knew a secret that nobody else knew. I knew how to do what only I could do. And with that, I began to view my ability as a filmmaker as somewhat of a weapon… and that’s how I used it.
If I came to a place where there was no window of opportunity, through my filmmaking style, I could make myself a door. And there was power with that. With the assistance of social media, I didn’t even need Hollywood, which was unheard of when I was in my band.
Hollywood held the keys to everything, and if you wanted “in”, you had to be their bitch. But the tables had turned. Now Hollywood could be fired. And I rejoiced in the fact that if I just continued to sharpen my skills, my ability would in fact be strong enough to pierce Hollywood’s armor, until one day, it would collapse.
It all happened so incredibly fast. Before I knew it, at the age of 33, I had all the things I had dreamt of when I moved to Hollywood.
I had a stunningly beautiful wife, two incredible puppies and I lived in a beautiful home on the beach in a gorgeous neighborhood. And through my trade, I was able to travel the country non-stop, visiting the most beautiful locations the U.S. had to offer, with each and every stop being an adventure from the moment I stepped off the plane.
I had even been blessed in ways that I had NEVER imagined, as my work in front of the camera on Paranormal State, quite unexpectedly, allowed me to experience fame and fan fare, not only in the U.S., but in 20 different countries. I was even given my own spin-off special to showcase my investigative team and our abilities. Not too bad for a guy who had previously never even considered having an “on-screen” career. And when it came to my career as a director, somehow, the trademarked style that I developed became in demand by everyone from Spielberg to A&E, which led to CAA signing me as a director – a feat that I had only previously dreamt of. Why? For those of you may not know, CAA is nothing short of the Hollywood elite when it comes to talent agencies, as they represent the likes of Tom Hanks, Ben Affleck and now, believe or not… me.
And when I wasn’t directing, I had signed with a top-flight college lecture agency, which booked me on lecture tours around the country to speak at our nation’s top Universities and higher learning institutions, which was just another reward that from my ability to simply tell a good story.
And when it came to my management, I had the best of the best, as my long-term manager and best friend Curt Smith, who many of you may know as one of the singers of the band Tears for Fears, had done an incredible job with my career, as he taught me the power of saying “no” to bad deals, the benefits of being patient when it comes to obtaining good deals, and most of all, he never let me hang my head when hard times hit, as in this city… with a phone call… it can all change.
I wasn't rich. I didn't drive a ridiculous car. I didn't have a mansion... but I never wanted those things. What I wanted... was to truly "live" life.
And at 33 years old, I had lived most of my childhood dreams.
I literally had NOTHING to be stressed out about… except for that thing.
That one damn thing.
I kept trying to avoid it, but like a burning itch that I fought not to scratch… I knew someday I would give in.
Then it happened. I woke up and I couldn’t take it anymore. I finally gave in and dug my nails deep into my conscious. And when I did, it burned like hell. And I knew until I found the cure, the burning would never stop. And I knew what the cure would be.
What am I talking about?
During the incredibly fortunate ride that I had been on for years, there were several times where I prayed and thanked God for everything he had given me. But not once did I think, say or pray to God to ask him if I was meant to do anything for anyone else.
If my work did in fact help people in some way, then I was proud of that. But your work effecting people in a positive way is VERY different from actually trying to use your skill set to better others.
And when you read these words, understand that I mean this to my core.
In between the self-appreciating moments of egotistical satisfaction… I felt shame. Not the second-guessing of actions that you can simply brush off. I felt real shame. The kind that lives within your memories, causing you to squint when you think of the past. The kind of shame that causes a “thousand mile stare” to replace what should be a warm smile letting loose a shallow breath of accomplished pride.
For those of you who have felt this, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, to be straight with you… it’s fucking horrible.
And to be clear, it’s not like I’m an evil person. I didn’t sit around laughing at the misfortune of others as my life got better. I truly do care about many people, far beyond my own needs, wants and goals.
But what happened to my desire to create change? Where did that 10-year-old child go? Why did I stop caring?
The answer is simple. Immaturity. Because everyone goes through rough times in their life, I’m not going to even attempt to make my rough times appear to be any worse than anyone else’s. But suffice to say, in my younger years, life was a struggle for many reasons. So when I finally got to a place where things were going my way, I decided I was going to live it to the fullest and squeeze every last drop of fun and excitement out of my situation… and that’s exactly what I did.
I lived for “me”… that was my focus.
Many times in blogs, tweets, during my college lectures or just hangin’ out with fans after our AGH events, I’ve half-jokingly said, “Listen… I’m not a role model. I’m a filmmaker”.
And the reason I’ve said that, over and over again, is because regretfully, I had not done anything that I deemed to be worthy of being a role model, nor did I want that responsibility, because I wasn’t ready to be one.
After years of wondering how I could change the world, when I finally had the opportunity to inspire others, I was too busy living real life scenarios that would rival the best scenes of HBO’s “Entourage”.
When it came to life, and all it had to offer… nobody had to ask me twice to do anything.
And for that, to this day, I carry a great deal of shame.
And my friends, when you carry the kind of shame that doesn’t allow you to rewind the clock, you have only two options. You say “fuck it” and continue down that road… or you admit your failures and do you best with the time you have left in the sun.
My first step and at doing my best, came in the form of a movie called AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER.
Because I know we all have things to do in our lives, and this message is already long, I won’t get into the minute details of what this documentary meant to me. But what I can tell you is that the film represents the first time in my life that I have been divinely inspired to do anything.
And when I say divinely inspired… yes… I mean God with a capital G.
Yes, I believe that my God truly wanted me to go on the overwhelmingly painful journey that was the creation of that film, as AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER was a nightmare to live. And the reason I say it was a nightmare to “live” and not a nightmare to “film”, is because we didn’t “film” anything. The cameras just happened to be rolling as we lived and re-lived my family’s darkest secrets, most painful memories and the horrific reality in which they still existed within.
And when it was all said and done, I can honestly tell you that if AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER was a film that was ultimately for me, it would have never existed, as I wanted to quit making the film the second I learned that my mother was still suffering in ways ways you can’t wash off once you’ve seen it up close.
But through the creation of that film, and through the 77 tour dates that we went on, when the film was done being screened, I watched real tears fall from the eyes of more people than I could even count. I literally held people in my arms, as they shared the most intimate details to stories that they had never shared before, simply because they felt alone and feared social persecution for speaking their truth. I saw tattoos people had carved into their bodies that simply read “AGH”, as they deemed those three letters to be a symbol of perseverance.
What I saw with AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER, was that the world does in fact have magic, as the pain we endured while making that documentary had somehow morphed from a gut-wrenching experienced into a blanket of hope for those who had been marked with the very same color of our family’s tragedy.
What I learned through AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER, was that I didn’t have to be The President of the United States of America, a doctor, a teacher, a marine or a priest to change someone’s life. Through the medium of the documentary, I found out that someone like me… a flawed man who’s just trying to do better… could use life through a lens to change someone’s future.
And that was a beautiful thing.
I remember being lost in thought for literally hours on my ride home after our last AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER tour date in Austin, TX.
The beauty of the road is that it gives you plenty of time to reflect, which I was engulfed in amazing memories of the countless incredible people who had shared such intimate details of their life with me. I knew that I had found my calling.
You see, I knew how to make films that scare people. You can’t grow up in a house as haunted as the one mine was and not understand the real life paradigm of a negative haunting.
While I enjoyed directing Terror Normal, all 18 episodes of Paranormal State and The Ghost Prophecies, my goals with those films were straight forward and simple. I wanted to bring the viewer as close as I could to the world of paranormal investigating, so that they may understand what it’s like to investigate the haunted.
With AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER, although I was initially attempting to unravel the mysteries that started a 20-year-long haunting, quite unexpectedly, the film became a window into the world of not only “the haunted”, but the struggle to survive when all hope is gone.
Because AGH taught me how powerful a film can be to an individual, when it came to A BLOOD RED SKY, I knew from the beginning, that for the first time in my life, I was going to do everything in my power to change the world for the better.
That sounds completely crazy, doesn’t it? How could some ghost hunting, filmmaking, ex-reality TV star possibly believe he could change the world?
I guess because I’m crazy enough to try… which is exactly why I am spilling my guts out in this message.
For those who have seen A BLOOD RED SKY, many of you are already believers in the ability of this film, it’s message and the potential that A BLOOD RED SKY has to transform the current movement behind the film into an actionable, worldwide change.
For those of you who have yet to see the film, but want to know what A BLOOD RED SKY is about, I’ve avoided answering that question directly, simply because I wanted people to experience the film first hand, without any preconceived notions of what they will be walking into. But since the film has already screened to nearly 4,000 people on our sold-out, 100 percent independent 25 city “A BLOOD RED SUMMER" tour that we just completed (something I'm incredibly proud of), I feel as though the time is right for me to properly answer this question.
What is A BLOOD RED SKY about? Simply put… it’s about you. It’s about the power of your mind. It’s about your hidden ability to physically alter your reality, thus altering your fate and destination. And furthermore, A BLOOD RED SKY is about completely dismissing the notion that you are powerless when it comes to creating positive global change simply because you are only one person. That is the kool-aid of a lost society, which you no longer have to drink… if you don’t want to.
And finally, A BLOOD RED SKY is about understanding the importance of making change RIGHT NOW, as “tomorrow” will be too late.
This isn’t a film about “conspiracies” or anything like that. It’s a film that takes an honest look at what is occurring in the world, while calling it exactly what it is.
Unexplained mass animal deaths, called “kill offs”, are occurring at a rate that is baffling scientists around the world. Corruption on a scale unlike anything we have ever witnessed has infected political, financial and religious institutions across the globe. The environment is being decimated, while the effects of climate change are occurring ten times faster than initially predicted. I could go on and on, but that is what A BLOOD RED SKY is for, as the true state of not only this planet, but our fragile existence on this planet, is clearly identified.
So how can any one individual change these things?
The answer isn’t as complex as one might think. You don’t have to directly effect the world as a whole to change the world. You can simply change “your” world for the better. And if everyone changes their individual world, meaning the people we directly effect, for the better, then it’s a numbers game, and the movement becomes and institution that creates change on a mass level.
That mass level is known as Global Consciousness, which states that we are ALL connected to one another, regardless of our unique differences.
This is something I believe in my heart and soul to be true.
We are ALL connected. There are no insignificant actions, thoughts or emotions. And when it comes to the state of this planet, nothing is more important than the emotional and psychological state of the only living organism on planet earth that had the ability to destroy planet earth.
But remember… if we can destroy planet earth with negativity, then with positivity, we can rebuild what was lost. We can stop the bleeding. We can heal.
A BLOOD RED SKY demonstrates how this is not just a simple theory. It IS a reality. It is possible… if we want it to be.
That is why I am writing you. Because the nearly 4,000 people who have seen this film on tour, along with the 28,000 plus people who follow A BLOOD RED SKY on Facebook and the 250,000 people who have watched the trailer to A BLOOD RED SKY online, have already done something spectacular.
They have provided the spark of a genuine movement.
But unfortunately, I have not yet been able to build a system that can fan that spark into a flame that can be seen by all.
Right now, I am limited in my abilities, which is why I need your help.
I am writing you, because I can take this film to cities myself, but I can only provide a singular experience. Once individuals leave my event, currently, they have absolutely no way of bringing other people to experience A BLOOD RED SKY, as typically by 1 a.m., we are off to the next city… and the film leaves with us.
Much like the documentary SIRIUS or AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, it is imperative that A BLOOD RED SKY cannot only be seen in a crowd setting on a single night, but that the opportunity exists for those who are effected to spread the word, so that they may bring their friends and colleagues as well, so that this message can be shared by large groups, night after night. Only then will I know that I’ve done all that I can do to effect this change.
In short, I need to get A BLOOD RED SKY into theaters so that the message has a chance to spread as I believe it will. If I don’t accomplish this goal, I will absolutely be selling this film short, this movement short and myself short, as I truly believe that A BLOOD RED SKY can bring about legitimate change that can be felt by all.
Thankfully, this opportunity is not out of reach in any capacity. We have spoken with a major theatrical company that will allow us the chance to release the film theatrically, for one week, in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. This is a huge accomplishment, as there’s only so many theaters in the country, and there will be over 8,000 movies made and released this year alone. So to even get the chance to have your film released in theaters is incredibly difficult.
I can confirm that we do have the relationships to make this happen, and we do have the invitation. And if A BLOOD RED SKY can get into those three theaters, and if it does as well as I hope it will in those three cities, the profits will be used to open the film up in more theaters. And we will repeat this process over and over again, until A BLOOD RED SKY is in every possible theater that it can possibly screen, playing for every last person on earth that it can possibly screen to.
That is my only goal with this film.
But we also have a roadblock, which is that in order for these theaters to allows us to screen, we have to have the marketing budget so that we can promote the release in those cities, otherwise it’s not worth it for those theaters to give us a chance, because they know that the major studios will have marketing budgets for their films that week, which they will absolutely spend big dollars to pack the theaters. And trust me when I tell you that Hollywood would LOVE to make sure that we don’t have the marketing budget to take one of their movies off the silver screen for a week.
So that’s it.
That is what stands between the message of A BLOOD RED SKY reaching the public in a way where thousands upon thousands of people can experience it for themselves, in which YOU, the public, can decide the fate of A BLOOD RED SKY… not a Hollywood studio marketing executive. You can decide if this message is worth bringing others to see. You can decide the ultimate fate of the movement behind this film. Because I only need one thing to make that happen.
A marketing budget.
I intend to raise that budget, as I can’t let this movement die.
My first thought was “crowd funding” with a “Kickstarter” campaign, which I’m ultimately willing to do if I have to. I watched Kristen Bell and Zach Braff raise millions of dollars for their films in a matter of days through their own Kickstarter campaigns, and immediately thought that would be my best first option.
But then I thought about a few things. First off, I’m not a Hollywood actor or a TV starlet with millions of fans around the world. But I do know that the fans that I do have are extremely loyal. After looking into Kickstarter, I also saw that you have to give away 5 percent of the budget “if” you reach it. To be honest, if someone supports me and wants to donate to this cause, I want 100 percent of their money going to the cause… not five percent going to an innate web business.
In addition, I don’t need 2 million dollars like Kirsten Bell or Zach Braff. I need $100,000 dollars to properly open A BLOOD RED SKY in three cities. And believe me… it’s very easy to spend even more than that on marketing and promotion. But those are solid numbers to launch solid campaigns, which I’m fine with. Because should we obtain the $100,000 we need, in addition, I will literally spend a week in each city doing press at every last media outlet that will answer the door when I knock, and I will schedule as many public appearances as I can to get the word out, as I will leave no stone unturned when it comes to making sure that A BLOOD RED SKY is a household name in those cities long before the film is released in those theaters.
So while I can’t rule the “Kickstarter” campaign out, I would much rather go directly to my fan base in attempts to gain their support, so that it’s something WE ALL DO TOGETHER. In a perfect world… this is how it would happen. This is how I am truly hoping that it happens. This is why I wrote this open letter… because I truly need your support, as we’re officially starting our Facebook donation drive RIGHT NOW, so that we can get A BLOOD RED SKY into theaters no later than next March, which would means I need to raise this money as soon as humanly possible, as six months is NOT a lot of time to plan this, as the theaters would need plenty of setup time as well.
Having said that, I want to be clear that I don’t “just want the money”. While we do need donations, I want your SUPPORT! That means that we want to actively achieve this with you in a fashion that not only takes you along for the ride, but in a way that HONORS your support as well.
Because we want to do it this way, just like Kickstarter, we have established multiple “donation packages”, ranging from $20, to as high as $10,000.
Each of these donation levels includes several exclusive goodies that, depending on your donation level, range from your name appearing in the actual credits of the film, to a series of private video chats updating you on the status of our attempt to release the film theatrically, to obtaining exclusive autographed memorabilia to even joining us at the theater for the opening of what would be our NYC, Chicago or L.A. theatrical release nights.
Again… I know that I can’t do this alone. Only WE can make this happen. And trust me when I say that it’s not easy for me to ask for help. I’m a proud man who all too often associates weakness with asking for help, as ridiculous as that is. But make no mistake about it, I’m asking for help in getting A BLOOD RED SKY into three theaters, so that this film has a chance at truly effecting real change.
If you know right now that you want to help us create this change, and you want to donate to this cause, simply email us at AGHSOLDIERS@me.com and ask for the donations package, and we’ll immediately email it to you.
In closing, I want to thank you for taking the time to read this very long, personal and detailed email. And that’s whether your donate or not. The fact that you gave me this much time out of your busy life truly means a lot to me.
Secondly, I am truly inspired by this entire process. I mean, I honestly don’t have to do this. I could keep making scary ghost movies forever and people would come see them. A BLOOD RED SKY is entertaining and fascinating enough to stand on it’s own without any attempt by me to do anything further than to just do some touring and release the film online and on DVD.
But I’ve done the “just do what makes money” thing before… and it left me empty when all was said and done. So it’s important that I say this… I’m not special. I’m not any more unique or interesting than the next guy. I’m just a dude that found his passion late in life, made some of the right moves at the right time, and some good things happened that allowed me to have the attention of a few more people than most. And for most of my life, I didn’t respect what it means to be in the public eye, because I didn’t want to be anything special. I didn’t want to be anyone that somebody looked up to, because the responsibility scared the crap out of me. I just wanted to make my films and have them be judged… not me.
But having said all that, I am doing this because I truly believe in it. I want to help. I believe I can. Five years ago, if you knew me, you wouldn’t have even recognized this letter as something I would have written. But what you are reading is authentic. And that needs to be said, as one of my flaws used to be that when it counted, I didn’t stand up for the things I loved, cared about and believe in, which is ultimately why I was ok with walking away from television, whether it ever comes back or not.
But this is different. I’ll stand up for this cause… as this is worth standing up for.
Because I’m still not a role model. And to be honest, I don’t know that I’ll ever be one, as that’s for others to decide, I guess. But even though I’m not a role model, what’s different today versus five years ago… is that I want to be.
And I hope one day that I can be.
After telling one of my good friends out here that I was going to try and raise $100,000, he asked me two questions that were hard to answer.
The first question was, “How will you feel if you raise the marketing budget?”
The second question was, “How will you feel if you fail?”
I told him it took me a long time to decide to try to raise the money, simply because I don’t like admitting I need help, which I mentioned before in this email. The reason I don’t like to ask for help is because I feel like I would be letting people down if they knew that I absolutely couldn’t do something on my own. I explained that I get that from my father, who has a stubbornness to him that is truly unparalleled. And because of this, my decision to ask for help was incredibly difficult.
But it became easier the more and more I thought about what could be accomplished if I was successful. Because I believe in the message of the film, and because I believe it will spread and truly create change. I believe in this so much, that at times I would start daydreaming of watching that change happen. And right when I would get ready to officially start the campaign, my childish pride would get in the way, and I would retreat, and talk myself out of it, for fear of my own “image” being somehow tarnished.
Then one day I was flipping through the channels and Paranormal State was STILL on the air, in which I sat back and watched an episode. It was literally like watching someone else. Don’t get me wrong, the show was fair to me in the sense that I gave them everything they used, so I have no beef with them in any way.
But while I do use swear words a lot, and I do get startled by paranormal activity, I am more than a big guy who says “fuck” while he jumps around. Believe it or not, I actually had calm, articulate conversations with Ryan. And when it came to video and audio analysis, I actually had a base knowledge of editorial software that surpassed the skill set of anyone else working on the case. Not to mention, Ryan and A&E did trust me enough to hire me as the Director of Paranormal State, which made me fully responsible for the spending of over $300,000 every time I got behind the camera to direct an episode.
But when I watched the show… I just saw this big dude that got bleeped a lot, in between moments of one liners delivered from a semi-scowl that popped the middle vein in his forehead slightly out, as though he needed to take a shit… or just did.
Again… I felt shame. Not shame for the show. Shame for not going after my dream.
What “image” was I protecting? What you saw on Paranormal State, although accurate, was merely a sliver as to who I am. And I call tell you this right now. Chad Calek does in fact “ghost hunt”. Chad Calek loves “ghost hunting”. Chad Calek is NOT a “ghost hunter”. Chad Calek is a storyteller. Chad Calek is documentary filmmaker that will got to the end of the earth to fight for a cause he believes in. And I believe in A BLOOD RED SKY with all my being.
So my answer to my friend was that if I succeeded, I would honestly be giddy with anticipation and completely fascinated as to what would happen next, as again, I truly think that REAL change in people’s lives would occur.
And as to how I would feel if I failed in raising the marketing budget, my honest answer was this:
“I would be hurt, because of my passion for the movement behind the film. Because I truly believe in what I’m doing, I would feel let down. But I would take great pride in the effort, as that is what A BLOOD RED SKY stands for. It’s about understanding the abilities that you have as an individual and doing all you can to create change for the better. So the worse that an honest person could say about me… was that I walked the walk. And no matter what… that’s a story I’ll be proud to tell.”
Thank you for your time.
If you wish to donate to the cause if A BLOOD RED SKY being released in the three major theaters in March of 2014, please email us at AGHSOLDIERS@me.com and we will email you the donation package list.
Much love, my friends.
- Chad Calek
Director, A BLOOD RED SKY
AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER is the paranormal organization started by Award Winning Director and Paranormal Investigator Chad Calek, who gained notoriety in 2008 as a fan favorite cast member (and eventual director) of the hit A&E series "Paranormal State", as well as the hit A&E special "The Ghost Prophecies" and the already critically accalimed documentary AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER (to be released worldwide in 2012), which features Calek with fellow AGH Investigators Mary Beth Wylie, Joe Ansley and Justin Holstein. Today, the AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER name has become a quality brand that includes a social network, as well as a paranormal event company that holds weekend long ghost hunting retreats across the country at the nation's most haunted locations. AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER events are celebrated by paranormal enthusiasts across the globe, with attendees praising the family atmosphere, accessibility of the AGH team and for often opening new locations up to the public to investigate. And to ensure that AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER events are about an intimate experience - not the profit - only 40 tickets are offered to each AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER event. In 2012, AMERICAN GHOST HUNTER will continue to provide new and exciting paranormal investigative retreats for both future and past attendees, while making friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. This is our promise to you... - Chad, Mary Beth, Justin and Joe
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