Nut Bucket Films

Posts Tagged ‘brendan coughlin’

SUCCESS, a great start to June, premieres and festivals galore

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2011 at 10:45 am

DANCES WITH FILMS opening night


What’s my theme? What’s my theme? That’s gonna be in my dang head for a month until I figure this shit out! Thanks Justin…

Well the theme for this weekend and the next is SUCCESS. This is what all the hard work is for, people. This is why I bust my balls almost everyday. So I get to share what I did. All that blood, sweat, and tears paid off. Of course it was with the help of a bunch of other people. Just look at the movie poster of CLOSING DOORS and you can see a smidgen of them. You will have to come see the movie to see the rest, in the credits. wink, wink.

We kicked off an awesome weekend last night at the opening night party for DANCES WITH FILMS film festival here in L.A. They threw a nice little get-together at FALCON bar and restaurant in Hollywood. Loads of filmmakers showed up. I met a bunch I didn’t know and surprisingly saw a bunch of people I did. Actually not too surprising, this world is so small just when you think it isn’t. Funny, I met a guy that my girl knew from some project a few years back who has a movie in the festival, and co-stars a girl I studied with, but also knows my roommate in college at Michigan State who is also from my hometown of Traverse City, MI, like really knows him, hangs out with him. He popped off the question, “You are from Traverse City? You know ‘so and so’?” You mean my roommate in college? What the hell? Crazy. That’s just a taste.

Me and that same guy, Matt, shot the shit for a while. Chatting about how great this stuff is. A bunch of passionate filmmakers in a room. A REAL Indie crowd. Everyone supporting everyone. Outside of a lot of normal L.A. hoopla of “gimme this, or what can you do for me?”, yada yada…this is more, “When is your film playing? Where you from? Check this out? This is my story! Dude, that’s crazy! Wait, your company’s name is CAKEBABY? Mine is NUT BUCKET! We gotta make a movie together…ha, ha, ha”.

Just a great feeling. I was supported by my girlfriend, co-producer, and publicist last night. They brought their game too. Adrienne is a superstar. She works for Inside Edition and is helping me with PR. She runs around like crazy and chit-chats with everyone. “Meet this person, meet that one, oh, I am going to talk to him or her”, she is great.

I am grateful, man. I get to premiere my film in a theatre in L.A. in front of almost 300 people. My writer, William Wanek, is flying out here for a festival that truly rocks and supports the shit out of itself and each other. The festival founders have become good friends of mine. I hug Michael and Leslie every time I see them. They are so supportive of Indie film. True Indie film. My feature ALPHONSO BOW premiered here two years ago and is now getting a national release June 21st from Vanguard Cinema. It will be in about a 1000 stores nationwide and online everywhere. The link says Netflix, so keep looking. On a special note about this film. One of the stars, Jeffrey Pierce, has a new show coming out on TV called “Alcatraz”. Check it out. Also another star, Kasey Buckley, is in a newly signed band called MISS WILLIE BROWN and has been touring the country with Dierks Bentley. They should have a record out soon. SUCCESS!

Next weekend we are off to Saugatuck, MI to premiere at WATERFRONT FILM FESTIVAL. This is a crème de la crème
festival of the Midwest. I like to say it is a SUNDANCE of the midwest. It is a little lake town and the whole city partakes, kind of like Park City does for Sundance. They do a bunch of lake-type fun, outdoor concerts, and crazy parties, lots of parties. We are in unbelievable company there. The quality of films is amazing. I never use that word either. It has been a goal of mine for years to get to show a movie at this festival. And now we have it. We open for a feature that has Bryan Cranston in it. Pretty dope. I can’t wait to share what happens there.

Just when you start to think you have fallen off track a bit or been on hiatus for a month, the next two weeks kick in. That’s what I am motha’ f#$%in’ talking about. SUCCESS. Makes you wake up and smell that sweat. You smile. You start to look forward to what’s next. Man, I am excited about it too. Because I know this is just a small piece of what I am driving to. It is only still the beginning. Moving forward, always, with knowledge and skill-set, and there is a big and bright future ahead.

So if you are in L.A., come out and see the movie we worked on. CLOSING DOORS. It is playing at the Laemmle Sunset 5 at 5pm Sunday the 5th. That’s a lot of 5’s. It is at 8000 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, CA. here is a link to the press release. Closing Doors Press Kit

If you are in Michigan next week, come to Saugatuck. We play Friday the 10th at 7pm and Saturday the 11th at 9pm at 400 Culver Street. Closing Doors Press Kit

Here are a bunch of pictures from last night and a some stuff from Nut Bucket Films, movie posters and our new icon.

Thanks for continued support from everyone. It continues to help me continue down a path that is full of boulders and rivers and alligators and sharks and obstacles that try to stop me everyday. Personal and exterior. But it is a weekend like this or next that prove to make it all worth it. SUCCESS. That’s for you Justin.

much love,









jump off a bridge or into a shark tank?

In Uncategorized on May 10, 2011 at 11:30 am

I love where I live

Or both?

This Sunday is my pal Kerry’s birthday.  What is he doing for his birthday?  Dragging all his friends northeast to the “Bridge to Nowhere”.  I freaking love it!  He always has the best birthdays.  Last year we went paintballing.  The trip is a 4 1/2 mile hike to the bridge followed by a bungee jump off the bridge, then lunch, and a leisurely hike back.  Sounds awesome right?  What’s more awesome is the text I got from my friend Sarah last night after inviting her along.  Here it is: So I met a guy wearing a suicide ‘bridge to nowhere’ t-shirt today and he inspired me to do some research. F that place!! Over 100 people have committed suicide off that bridge.  Apparently it’s beyond haunted!”  I called Sarah last night and all she would say was, “If I jumped, all I would think about is all the dead people and what they were thinking while they jumped!”  I love you Sarah.  This makes me want to go even more now.  I didn’t know it was haunted or suicidal.

As for the Sharks, you all know how much I love my Detroit teams.  The Red Wings come back home to the “Joe” to host San Jose for game 6 tonight.  If they win there will be a game 7.  They will win and there will be a game 7.  Which means my buddy Brandon and I are driving our asses up to San Jose and jumping into that Shark tank to watch the Wings take ’em down.  We were supposed to go up Sunday for game 5 but shit got all f#$%ed up and we ended up watching the game at B’s.  Turns out this was fate.  What better than a game 7.  B is heading over to my pad tonight for rib-eyes and shark meat.  Go WINGS!!!

Lot’s of stuff happening in my film world so I am going to give you all a quick update.

orientation at DWF


This little short I directed is now on its 3rd festival in as many months.  We will have our West Coast premiere at Dances With Films film fest right here in Los Angeles, CA.  It is actually playing at the Laemmle Sunset 5 theatre on June 5th at 5pm sharp.  I will be throwing a dope-ass after party like I did two years back when the feature I directed, Alphonso Bow, premiered there.  If you come to the screening, you will know about the party.  “Like” us on Facebook HERE please!  We would love some more fans.  It is a great little film and the stars, Dave and Brendan, are f#$%in’ great dudes!  Check their interview HERE.


It has been almost exactly three long years since we wrapped shooting this feature film that I directed and my father, M Sarki, wrote.  I remember because we started shooting on “Cinco de Mayo” and we wrapped in five days.  Crazy that we did this feature in five days.  It feels great to say that it is being released in just over a month by Vanguard Cinema.  If you click the site you will see it in the upcoming releases.  June 21st is the date.  We are so proud of this accomplishment.  It has a been a bumpy ride and a hustle but soon enough you will all have the opportunity to watch it if you like.  They have done some great new artwork for the DVD!  It really brings it to life.  We are also releasing it in color and b&w.  Most of the festivals had only seen it in b&w so this is new look at the film.  I will keep everyone posted as it gets closer.  “Like” us on Facebook HERE!

fight scene, UNDERBELLY


This Pilot project in itself deserves its own long write-up.  And I will get it done.  Soon.  We are about three more “shoot days” from wrapping the shooting portion of the project.  It has been a hell of a ride.  Shoestring budget, amazing cast, great director and producing partner, all the favors for locations and props, the time donated, and I could go on forever.  I am going to save it for later though.  Our director is on another job for three weeks so we have to push finishing until mid-June.  I am going to leave you with our cast list so you can see for your self how awesome it is.  “Like” us on Facebook HERE please if you want to keep up with the project and learn more about what it is.  Hopefully you will see it on Showtime in the near future…

CAST: Andy Dick, Reid Scott, David Rogers, Lije Sarki, Phillip Jeanmarie, Greg Evigan, Jamie Harris, Vanessa Evigan, Sonia Rockwell, Lauren Ziemski, Stephanie Rae Anderson, Natalie James.  If I forgot someone I am sorry.

Underbelly has been a trip.  I am an executive producer on it as well as a producer, production manager, sound guy, camera operator, driver, actor, and whatever the hell else you can imagine.  I have learned a lot once again.  I will share a lot more once we finish.  We have a lot of work to do.  Still have to sync and edit this thing.  Ryan, I love you for that.  Lauren, I love you for all your help too and just being you.  It has been a ride that I will not forget.  It has engulfed four months of my life.  I was recently on the verge of explosion until Ryan got a gig he couldn’t pass up.  It’s a good thing.  It has allowed me to take a three-week hiatus from anything film/TV/production/creating related.  Granted I still audition and go sling some drinks at a bar but that is all mindless.  Effortless.  It is just fun.  Not that the other isn’t fun.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the shit out of it.  I will love it even more when that is all I have to do to pay the bills.

For now, I am on vacation.  Enjoying where I live, the fruits of my labor, baseball, hockey, the beach, hikes, skateboarding, my lady friend, other friends and just being present and put together.  I love you Life.

Cheers!  GO WINGS! and Happy Birthday Kerry!

Lije and NBF

I am going to leave you with another quote from my good friend Sarah, “Hi kids! I’m going to work out with Richard Simmons at 6:30 on Tuesday at Beverly Hills studio. If anyone wants tocome let me know! Class is $15 and eveyone needs to be there 45 min early so factor it in!”  

SPECIAL NOTE:  Think twice before you ever ask me to do some shit like that again!  I am experimental, of course, but Richard Simmons scares the shit out of me.  

slingin' drinks

pal Brandon (B), repping the beer for the ticket to the game, GO WINGS!

Steph Rae, pre-fight scene, UNDERBELLY


Mike, on a boat, Catalina

psychiatrist scene, UNDERBELLY

me, life, fun, Catalina, again

poolside, UNDERBELLY

My lady friend

L.A. shows up! not true what they say…rain or shine

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2011 at 10:26 am

the crowd...watching CLOSING DOORS...look at the lemons!

This city actually shows up!  I swear it’s hard to get a crowd out to see anything around here and sometimes it feels like support is lacking, but I want to say those thoughts I have at times are so f#$%ing wrong!  I am more than grateful and so dang impressed by the loyalty of my friends and their friends and just regular friggin’ people.

the crowd at Baby Blues BBQ

I showed my short film, Closing Doors, last night at Baby Blues BBQ in West Hollywood.  I threw a little cast and crew party and invited some others to privately view the short.  I was treating it as the last little fundraiser to get us through the festival circuit too.  A 100 people must have shown up!!!  Insane.  Grateful.  Impressed.

the screen!

I actually bartended through the party.  It’s not like I could find someone else to work and donate their time to give the money made to the film.  Actually I am wrong.  Celso stepped up and helped me sling some drinks!  Shout out to you, my friend.

waiting to begin...

I am going to make this short and sweet.  Come see the film if it comes close to you.  I will leave you all with pleads for donations for now and strictly give you the successes of the project.  Success #2 came last night to a huge crowd..  I am going to try to remember everyone who came and tag them in this post.  If I miss you I am sorry and please tell me!  The fundraiser portion raised over $1000.  Woooohooooo!!  Thanks everyone!

chad, hot liz, and her friend

We are off to Tampa in two days to show the film at a really great film festival called The Gasparilla Film Fest (GIFF).  I will also be hitting some Detroit Tiger spring training baseball games.  Don’t worry, the film fund is not paying for the trip.  Hehe.

the bar...pre-movie

As for the film itself, this little story written by William Wanek has gotten such an awesome response.  People have cried.  Lots have laughed.  Everyone has been full of compliments.  I could not have done this without a great little story.  I owe that to you, Bill.  Love you brother.  So many people relate to this story and the actors did a hell of a job bringing it to life.  And to my cast and crew, you all deserve a HUGE thanks for making this little film that we shot in ten hours one day really come to life!

more screen...

It is pretty F#$%ING good!  I love you all.  Peep the photos from last night and be very jealous that you didn’t attend.  And once again, “thank you all who came to the screening last night and to everyone who made the night so memorable!”  I will not forget it.  I woke up so damn happy this morning.  So relived that I did a good job.  Thanks.  We did a good job.


Lije and the NUT BUCKET TEAM


In Uncategorized on March 18, 2011 at 11:05 am

Premiere at the Uptown 8

For those of you who read this Blog, sorry I have been short on recent posts!  It has been a hell of a week and a half.

Last week was full of shooting the Pilot, Underbelly.  I was doing a little acting and a lot of producing and very little sleeping.  It was worth it though!  We got to shoot so many great people and we have a hell of a cast.  You can go to our Facebook page and read more about it and become a fan!  Here are a couple stills…

Phil, Reid, Lauren, and Sonia

Reid Scott and Andy Dick

After shooting all week I hopped on a red-eye to Detroit to premiere my short film, Closing Doors, at the Detroit Independent Film Fest (DIFF).  It was my second year attending it and let me be the one to tell you that they kick ass!  In one year they have grown a huge audience and several new venues.  I was lucky to have a great screening time at the Birmingham Uptown 8, the nice rich part of Detroit.  Thanks to Robert Butler for that!  He is the director of the festival and a solid dude and excellent filmmaker.  Props to Aaron Karns too.

In thirty-six hours in the “D” I managed to do a ton of shit.  My best pal Justing picked me up from the airport at 9am and we headed back to his house to play with his daughter Olivia.  She is going on two years old and is much more fun than she was last time I visited.  She is so cute and so friggin’ happy.  She has a liking to me too.  She kept following me around the house and I’m not even very nice.

J and ILater we headed into town and did some shopping.  I bought a bunch of “Made in Detroit” gear.  Kid Rock’s company.  I realized while I was trying on the clothes that some of them were Alternative Apparel.  My pal Greg Alterman owns that company so I supported heavily with some purchases.  I actually went to Greg’s fashion event Tuesday to celebrate the new line coming out but that’s another story.  Ran into a ton of old friends.  Just like at his birthday.  Whatever.  Getting sidetracked.

My pals Stone and Canoy at the film screening

We packed up the car with people and hit the screening of the film.  Movie started at 5pm.  The theatre was packed.  I had never seen anything like it at all the festivals I have attended.  It was awesome!  I had some college buddies come to the screening too.  We had the entire back row of the theatre.  The show was sold-out!  The experience could not have been better except for the fact I wanted to gouge my eyes out while watching the first of the four films.  We screened third.  Lot’s of laughs and a chick next to me was actually balling her eyes out at the end of the film.  It made me proud to get such a great reaction to the film.  There were a lot of great comments after the screening.  Good times all around.

We hit Dick O Dow’s after for some grub and pints.  The closing night party for DIFF was there too.  It started at 10PM so by the time we finished eating and drinking the festival peeps showed up and I got to do some more mingling with the “movie” types.  Kudos To Rob and Aaron for putting on such a great show.  And to everyone who helped them!

I was exhausted by Sunday and didn’t fly out until the evening so Justin and I headed up to Mario’s to watch the last of the college hoops games.  We always go to Mario’s.  It is like our little watering hole.  Shitty music, bad food, and boring people.  But nobody bothers us.  That’s how we like it.  Just us.  Sitting there.  Not talking really.  Didn’t need to.  Just hangin’.  Like buds do.  I needed it oh so bad.  Check out this review of Mario’s on yelp.  Hilarious!

“Dear Kat:

If you’re reading this, I’m sorry, but after this weekend, your dining out recommendation credentials have been revoked.  On Friday, we hit Station 885 and then on Saturday, we hit this place: East Side Mario’s. C’mon!  Are you trying to kill me?

Now, I am ready to accept responsibility and acknowledge the truth:  I brought this on myself.  I forgot to make reservations at Izakaya Sanpei and they couldn’t take our table of eight.  There, I said it.  IT’S MY FAULT I HAD TO EAT AT EAST SIDE MARIO’S EVERYONE.  Are you happy?

But the fact remains…you said this place was good…and well, I feel like you lied to me.  This place sucks and deep down inside, I think you know it sucks.   This place is everything I hate in a restaurant.  Let’s start with the “ambiance.”  This place is decorated like a ShowBiz Pizza minus the creepy singing animitrons.  It’s obscenely loud and full of children, some of whom were singing.   I wanted to jam a fork in my eye.

Now let’s move on to the menu.  Once again, I will take responsibility and say I have some weird ass dietary restrictions, but all I wanted was a vegetarian salad.  That’s all I need.  They have three salads at this place and all of them have meat and/or fish.  While they have lots of stuff on the menu, none of it even approaches healthy.  In the end, I got a Caesar  and called it a day.  In all honesty, I shouldn’t complain about the food because I didn’t really eat it and it doesn’t matter…because I wouldn’t come back to eat here if the food tasted like it was beamed down from heaven and was simultaneously calorie free.  Why?

THE SERVICE!  My salad (Caesar) had four ingredients.  The seven other people we were dining with all got their lavish dishes and had eaten half of it by the time I got my salad.

This place is cheap so it gets a star for that and I’ll give them another one for being able to immediately seat a table of eight and as an acknowledgment that I was cranky on the night in question.



Me at Dick's

I realized taking that trip that I need to bust over there more often.  It’s an easy flight and a quick hang.  I am gonna start doing it every other month.  Tiger games and hangin with J.  Nothing better.

This week has not slowed down at all.  A little more shooting and some auditions.  I am prepping the secret screening of Closing Doors at Baby Blues BBQ on Monday the 21st!.  Come down if you are in the neighborhood.  Here is a link to the party invite.  CLICK HERE

I am off to Tampa next week to take the film to the Gasparilla Film Fest (GIFF).  This I have been told it is going to be insanity.  I guess they host a hell of a party.  Justing is meeting me down there and we are going to a bunch of Detroit Tiger spring training games at the same time.  Hells yes!  Get excited people.  Life is good.  Enjoy it.  And say something for the peeps across the ocean.  That is so sad and even a positive thought might help.  Much love,


Uptown 8

the packed lobby!


Closing Doors!…plead for help and festival update

In Uncategorized on February 3, 2011 at 9:36 am


"Official" movie poster for CLOSING DOORS...constantly updating

I am going to make this short and sweet.  We need more money.  Not a lot.  Quite a little, from a lot of people.  We are almost to the $2000 mark for funds raised.  With the festival run ahead we will need at least a couple thousand more.  Any little bit will help.  If you give $25 bucks you get your name on the poster.  Look at all the names on the poster!  So much thanks to those who have already donated.  We are also making a really cool t-shirt that will have all the names on them as well.  ALL DONATIONS ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE BECAUSE WE ARE SPONSORED BY A NON-PROFIT “SPONSOR A FILMMAKER” PROGRAM FROM “PATRON OF THE ARTS”.


Quick link to donate ——>  click this sentence HERE

Here is a quick rundown of what you get for donating:

$25 – name on t-shirt and poster AND DVD copy of the film.

$50 – name in film credits at the end of the movie.  plus all lower perks.

$100 – associate producer credit and mention in press release!  This just lowered from $500!!!  plus all lower perks.

$500 – you are now an executive producer of the film.  you will be listed on IMDB.

$1000 – you can come to any festival you like.  basically can do whatever you want within reason.  Lije will be your slave for a day.

Quick link to donate ——>  click this sentence HERE

A quick rundown of what has been happening with the film:

Lije has been submitting to a ton of festivals.  There is a list of them CLICK HERE.  Just recently added to list of submissions:  Newport Beach, Palm Springs Shortfest, and Detroit Independent.

Closing Doors has officially been selected to the Gasparilla Film Festival and the Detroit Independent Film Festival.  That is 2 for 2 you guys!  Very awesome!  And we are honored to attend both of them.

I wish I had a trailer so I could show everyone the film but the dang this is only 10 minutes long and I wouldn’t want to ruin it.  I can guarantee we will be attending a festival near you over the next year.  This film will do well.  it is a great project.  Everyone will have the chance to attend a screening.  Please help us out and donate.  Anything is appreciated.

Closing Doors is a coming-of-age story of a father struggling to find his way and let go of the past in order to raise the daughter he loves.  “like” us on Facebook

Quick link to donate ——>  click this sentence HERE

Much love,

your Director,

Lije Sarki

my head is a constant mind-f#%k…

In Uncategorized on January 20, 2011 at 9:47 am

I am alright...I really am

Or my mind is getting away from me.  Sometimes I don’t even know what I am thinking about.

That is a stretch.  My mind works just fine.  In fact, it works too much.  Too much thinking and over-thinking.  What has really been getting to me lately is my career.  It is a serious mind-f#&k.  It is not that I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.  Shit, I am plenty grown up even though I like to act like I am not, more times than not.

It is just that I feel that my plate is too full.  How can you be good at everything when you do so many things?  I Produce.  I started to do this TV Pilot about a month back with a talented writer/director I know and another close friend is Producing with me.  It is a great project and I think it has a lot of potential.  So I am digging through all my resources to make some shit come to life for this thing.  We start shooting this Saturday and we shall see.  We have put together a hell of a cast so far.

I Direct which by default has me producing as well, at least until someone comes in and gives me the “big bucks” to hire a great Producer.  I have two projects in the early stages of creation that are both very f#&ing good.  I have told you all before.  One is a thriller/horror feature film made for the Internet and the other is “MY NEW BABY”.  It is the creme de la creme.  The mother of all ships.  This one is gonna affect some people.  I have never been more excited and passionate about a project yet.  And best thing, the excitement and passion has not faded one bit.  Usually when you think of something it is the best right away, then it gradually fades out from being this superb idea into something mediocre.  Not this one.  I will share no details because it is that close to me.  I have lived a lot in the years I have been alive.  Soon I will get to show everyone.

A still Act.  Commercial acting pays a lot of bills.  It is great money when you get the job.  It is fairly easy too.  You don’t really have to prepare.  You can just go and show up to the audition and go into the room and do what you are supposed to do.  Rarely you will get some material ahead of time and have to learn a page of script.  But if so, it is still rather simple.  It comes down to advertising a lot.  It is common that Chevy or Bud Light wants a specific look and really you have no control over what happens.  It is a numbers game.  And it doesn’t take a lot of time.  As long as you do what you are supposed to do when you go into the room you should get a few jobs here and there.

Now theatrical acting is what has been getting to me.  That is when you get to go to audition for TV and Movies.  It is a whole different beast.  This takes time.  You have to prepare.  You get material and have to learn pages.  Sometimes six, sometimes more, sometimes less.  Sometimes you need to read an entire script to understand what is going on.  I take an acting class every Friday.  That helps keep my theatrical skills in check.  It also helps with my directing because my acting teacher is amazing and watching him adjust actors and work with them is awesome.  And stealing from him helps me out tremendously.  Thank you John Rosenfeld.  Here is the credit that is due.  But, being in class takes time.  It is the same as an audition.  You get material.  You have to rehearse it.  Learn it.  Maybe read a script.  Class is four hours long.  Let’s do some math here.  Say I have one audition for a TV show and some class material.  Let’s say I am getting really good at auditioning.  I maybe spend two hours on the TV audition, plus two hours reading the entire script (if it is a new show or a Pilot) and then two hours driving to and from the audition.  Class that week has a scene from a movie.  Two hours reading that script and another three hours rehearsing it and maybe even driving to meet a classmate to work on it.  Then four hours in class.  One audition and one class and I have spent fifteen hours on being a theatrical actor in a week.

That is fifteen hours that could have gone into creating my passion project or my horror flick or even time to prep the Pilot.

Not to mention the time I need to allocate to Alphonso Bow and Closing Doors, the last two films I completed.  Alphonso Bow is with a sales agent so that helps.  Closing Doors just got into its first festival and should have a lot more follow.  Which means traveling to all of them and having a f#%ing blast celebrating our accomplishments.

The point of all of this, I have no gosh darn clue.

I am happier than I have ever been in my career and life.  I think it stems from life at home too.  I love where I live and everything about what I have built here.  I am more successful than I have ever been.  My skill set is improving everyday.  I am pretty damn good and most of the things I listed above.  I am great at a couple of them.  The question is, can I be great at all of them?  Is my time better spent at losing one of them?  Fifteen more hours making a movie each week could be vital in it ever getting finished.  But those fifteen hours have introduced me to talented people I would have otherwise never gotten to know and which some of the actors in the Pilot would have never been cast.  Hmmm.

BUT, I will say that this is the shit that drives me as a human.  The hustle.  The f#%ing “TO DO” list that is constantly getting adjusted daily based on what I checked off from the day before and what I have added that new day.  I love this shit!

I guess the Universe is saying to keep doing what you are doing.  Stay on track.  Stay focused for now.  The train is still running on the tracks.  It is actually cruising right along.  Life is rad.  Shut up and enjoy the ride.

Deep thoughts today,

Yours truly,


this is why we call it “Nut Bucket Films”

Closing Doors’s FESTIVUS’S’S’S 11111

In Uncategorized on January 11, 2011 at 10:25 am

"you know you at the top when only heaven's right above it"...thx Weezy

Dudes, Chick, Adults, Kids, friends, family, and small mammals,

It is clearly time for an update on the status of the film, Closing Doors.  Let’s start with the most recent stuff since a lot of you keep up with it already.  Let me jump into the snow to show you how excited I am.

The film is completed.  Yup, I finished editing the f#%$er and, oh man, it was a ride.  I will save the trials and tribulations for the acceptance speech.  Or the DVD “special extras”.  I am really proud of it and want to thank everyone who has been involved so far.  I am keeping good track on Facebook and in the credits so I promise no one will be missed.

We have officially entered the festival circuit.  We got a few “late” submissions into a couple of the “Top 10” fests and also some community festivals that we felt were right for the film.  This movie has been funded by all those I addressed at the start of this post, therefore I feel they should get to know exactly what is going on.  So here are the festivals so far.

The kinda big ones:  Tribeca, SXSW, Seattle, LA Film Fest, and Cleveland.

The “other big one” goodies:  Aspen, Athens, Martha’s Vineyard, Atlanta, Ashland, USA Film Fest, Gasparilla, and Nashville.

I want to give a broad “thanks” to all of the festivals that I mentioned.  They have all been very responsive to the film and to my emails.  And most of them have helped in one way or another.

We are in consideration for a couple already.

Closing Doors stars Dave Rodriguez, a super talented director and filmmaker, and Brendan Coughlin, a very talented actor.  Here is an interview with them:

Closing Doors is a coming-of-age story of a father struggling to find his way and let go of the past, in order to raise the daughter he loves.

We have been able to get this far because of the donated time from the wonderful cast and crew, the $$$$ donated from the crowds, and of course the awesome staff over at Nut Bucket Films.  They are working their juevos rancheros off everyday.

We need to raise more money.  It seems like every week someone new and special hops on the “Closing Doors” train and gives a helping hand.  If you want to be that person, all you have to do it click this link and donate as little at $10.  Below.

If that is too slow or doesn’t work, go HERE.

$25 gets you more free stuff regarding the film and perks to go with it.  $50 gets you more than $25 and so on.  To check out the different perks, click HERE.  I listed them all.  All from an old BLOG where you can find out even more about the movie and the road already travelled.

And lastly, please pass it around to anyone who might want to help.


Lije and NBF


In Uncategorized on December 8, 2010 at 12:01 pm

Time to break away...

Yo yo yo yo!

I have been gone for almost three weeks.  I was on track to writing at least once or twice a week, but I tell you, life gets ahold of you sometimes.

I have been on a few adventures, that’s for sure.  Every single one of them deserves their own separate blog.

I went to the Red Wings vs Kings game this last weekend with my pal, Sonia Rockwell.  “Big Ups” to my man Will Wright for hooking-it-up with the tickets!

Detroit lost but the poster was a hit.  Go Wings

I spent my Turkey Day  in Maui!  I have a buddy by the name of Keith Zielinski who has a house out there.  he is a real Estate guru.  if you ever need a house there look him up.  Pacific Shore Realty.  He puts me up, cooks me dinner, and takes care of me like a five-star hotel.  My wife outside of America.  I like to think Maui counts as leaving the country.  It is far and definitely doesn’t feel like I am in the USA.  I got SCUBA certified there and swam with some more sharks!  I got a nice video to edit so that will go up this week or next, hopefully.

"Big Beach" in Maui

Me and Lenny Schmidt shot some more little web gems for Baby Blues BBQ.  Here is the latest.  I truly believe this one to be funny.  You can find them all at or the Facebook page.

Lately, I have been editing Closing Doors. Yup, that’s right, I edited the film.  I was not an editor before this.  I had very basic skills on Final Cut Pro.  But, like I said in the last post, I took a tutorial on AVID and BAM!  I was not an editor before but I am now.  Thankfully, I am a quick learner.  Minus a couple of hold-ups, actually a giant f%&*ng hold-up (the 30-day trial for AVID stopped working on day 14), I am almost done with the edit.  “Thank you” people at AVID for saving me.  I will save the story for the “trials and tribulations” section of making a movie when I write my biography or accept my Oscar.  The last piece is the Score.  I am so grateful to have Lol Tolhurst from The CURE composing it!  Now that is cool.

OK, so now what?  I am almost finished with Closing Doors.  We are going to do a festival run.  I hope.  I think it’s pretty dang good.  It should do well.  So, minus submissions and some marketing, that project is in a holding pattern.  We still need help financially help to finish the project so if you want a perk, feel good about helping out, and be a part of a dope-ass film then check this out right HERE.

I am working on a TV Pilot with writer/director Ryan Philander and my producing partner Lauren Ziemski called Underbelly.  We have some super talented and “working” actors attached.  I will announce the names when the time is right.  We are still casting a couple of the roles.  Patience people.  We start shooting after the new year begins.  Not only producing it, but I will also be playing the role of Eric, an out-of-work actor in rehab, struggling with life and a cheating ex-girlfriend who we find out is pregnant with one of his best friends.  That is just episode 1.  Can’t wait to put the acting hat on again for something substantial.

Now for the big announcement!!  The big punch!  The motha f%&*in snake on a plane!  I am going to direct the teaser (Episode 1) of a 10 episode web project me and my partners in Texas are creating.  Yup, I am working with the Fu Man Kru once again and Jeff Grettler is playing “point”.  It is a high intensity thriller/horror in the realm of  Traffic meets Lost in a little dirty Border Town.  It will represent a feature film in length and could play out as that, but instead will play in 10 separate episodes in the Internet.  That’s about as much info as I can give at this point.  We have a little handshake deal with a company that wishes to stay anonymous for the time being.

How did I get to here?  Today?  Now?

I have done some projects.  I directed a feature called Alphonso Bow.  I produced a couple features with my partners in Texas, For Whom He Tolls and Stabbin’ Kabin.  I just directed the short film, Closing Doors.  They are all solid projects.  I am especially proud of each and every one of them.  I am excited about the new one, Underbelly.  It has a lot of potential.

I am having a wonderful time creating and I love my job.  I wear a lot of hats.  I want to get rid of some hats.  I want to Direct and I want to get paid for it.  I have talent.  I need to get noticed.  I have decided I have a Mentor.  He doesn’t know it.  Maybe he does.  It doesn’t matter if he does or doesn’t.

I went to my mentor on Monday and said “Yo, ____ , what the hell do I have to do to get to do what you do?  This is what I have done…How do I make the leap?  How do I get to the next level?  What the F%k do I do next?”  He replied to me, “Do the ‘Narc‘ version of your movie.  Do something that will knock people’s socks off.  You either got to do something really funny or really action packed or really f%&*in’ relevant.”  That’s when it hit me.  Why produce just a script for the web series?  Why not shoot the opening episode?  Why not you, Lije Sarki, direct the opening episode and show what you got?  Why not knock the doors off it?  Why not blow people away?  Then we have a teaser to pitch with the project (the already great idea).

So there you have it.  The next big thing for me is this teaser. This BIG teaser.  Lots of work ahead.  Shooting in the Winter/Spring 2011.

Muchas Gracias Mentor.

Lije and a bucket of Nuts…

Life’s a BEACH…zero downtime.

In Uncategorized on November 19, 2010 at 10:20 am

photo by E Michael Sarki.

Well I wanted to quickly let everyone know that I have not won a million dollars and gone on vacation to Africa to help cure world hunger.  I would LOVE to.  I really would.  That is something my sister did.  Minus the million bucks.

Or Life’s a Peach.

I did NOT book a recurring role on Mad Men.

I have not gotten eaten by a shark paddle-boarding.

I am trying to get my online SCUBA certification done in the next 24 hours.  This is easy but it is time-consuming.  If they didn’t make you take a quiz every three questions!  WTF!  My friend has a friend who knows someone who has a friend that has a cousin that might know how to do the open-water portion of the certification progress once I get to Maui on Monday.  I got another friend who is going to take me to Catalina when I get back to do some scuba diving with the GREAT WHITE SHARK, in a cage of course.

Michigan State University will be in Maui for the Maui Invitational Monday through Wednesday.  I will be attending those games!  HOLLA!!!

I am spending Thanksgiving in Maui.  Well deserved.  Thankfully my pal Keith  has a house there and accommodations are fantastic.  He has a bunch of toys to play with as well.

I have been sitting in front of a laptop editing Closing Doors for 18 of the last 24 hours.  I had also spent the last three days before that setting up my laptop with AVID media composer while taking an extreme crash course in editing on AVID.

I am familiar with Final Cut Pro, but that does me no good when the project was edited by the first two people on AVID.  Unless I start from scratch.  Which would be more time-consuming.

I have had two different editors on Closing Doors so far.  They are both talented as hell and I love them dearly but I have NOT gotten to see the cut I wanted or envisioned as of yet.  The big reason for that.  MONEY!

We have low/no budget for this project and we have no money to pay people for their time, so they have little or no time to help out for free, so we get the best of what we can get from them in the shortest amount of time.  We also get help via NYC and an external office which means I am not present at the time of editing to make changes and share my lovely opinion of how I see the film playing out.

NOW I AM EDITING THE FILM.  These are NOT complaints!!  i am actually really enjoying this.  I just wish I knew a few extra shortcuts but they are coming along the way.

It is cool though.  If you are going to be a true filmmaker you should be able to do it from the beginning to the end.

I just received a new camera two days ago.  A Canon 7D.

So theoretically if I find a sound guy I can shoot a film and finish it all by myself, with a sound guy.  And then I will need some color correction and some score and some music.  But that is close to doing it by myself.

I also have a few other jobs.  One is producing this Pilot called Underbelly with Lauren Ziemski and Ryan Philander.  Ryan wrote and will direct.  I am acting in it.  So is Lauren.  Ryan took a stab at editing Closing Doors.  He is a super talented editor.  He did a great job and I got a lot of ideas from his work.  I am hoping he will make a hybrid between his vision and mine when he gets back from NYC.  It is a Tit for Tat situation.

Speaking of a Tit for Tat situation, you can still donate to the film!  We need your help.  We have a few thousand bucks left to spend on submissions and marketing and it is almost time to spend it.  it you give a measly $25 you get a copy of the DVD and your name on the t-shirt (official) and movie poster (official).  Come on people!!!  That is the best deal on the planet.  Click HERE.  There are a bunch of other perks at the link below.  Also, you can write the donation off!  We are sponsored by a non-profit.  I know you all have taxes to write of for the end or the year.

or here

I am trying to get a trailer together to give everyone a taste of the film.  Soon enough!

OK, enough rambling, I need to go back to editing.

I got a haircut.

Love you all,



In Uncategorized on November 11, 2010 at 10:43 am

Tit for Tat is a 1935 short comedy film starring Laurel and Hardy. It was the only direct sequel they made, following the story of the previous year’s Them Thar HillsTit for Tat was also nominated for the Academy Award for Live Action Short Film (Comedy), but did not win.

Pretty coincidental how Wikipedia has this information.  See how it says the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Live Action Short?  That’s the same expectation I have for the film, Closing Doors.  Except I want to win!

The film is coming together really nicely.  Sorry I have not been able to show more.  There is a surprise ending so I can’t even show photography stills of the film just yet.

I bring up Tit for Tat because we need to raise money.  We are at about 1/4 funded.  The beautiful thing is that funding has gotten us almost all of the way through post-production.  Problem is, the most expensive part is the road to come.  We have festival submissions, marketing, and transportation to and from.  We are smart and budget very wisely so please trust us with your cash money!!  Proof is in the fact we are almost through post-production only spending 1/4 of our budget.

We need your help.  A Tit for a Tat.  If you all give us some $$ then we will give you some perks.  The best deal we have is this one.

$25 donation gets you a DVD of the movie before it is released AND your name on the official t-shirt and movie poster of Closing Doors. Maybe I can bribe you with this photo we might use for the movie poster?  Your name will go up right in the corner!!!!  Sweet deal.

photo by Morgan Arnold

It is a no-brainer.  Especially if you are a fan of Nut Bucket Films or Brendan Coughlin and Dave Rodriguez (leads of Closing Doors) or even the film itself.  Here is the link.  Click $25

Just go in a enter how much you want to give.  You can give more Tit and get more Tat?

Here are some other Tats for your Tit…

Click $50Name in film credits.  And all of lower donation perks.  Yes, your name will roll in the credits at the end of the movie.  Everyone will know you helped out.  Plus you get all the stuff the lower donations get.

Here are some more Tats if you are really generous.

Click $100 – Receive a mention in the first Closing Doors Press Release. And all of lower donation perks.

Click $500Associate Producer Credit. And all of lower donation perks.

Click $1000— Invitation to the set and can have your “look” at the first “cut” (throw in your two cents). Plus all the lower perks.

All right, if you are strapped for cash and can only give a $10 spot then just do it!  It all helps.  Seriously!  We need it.  $10 will get you mentioned on our blog and social media sites.  And of course invited to anything and everything that Closing Doors does!

And, just so you know we are legit.  We are sponsored by PATRON OF THE ARTS (POTA).  This is a program designed to help filmmakers fund their projects.  It is similar to sites like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter but the beautiful thing with POTA is that it is a non-profit organization so EVERY DONATION IS TAX DEDUCTIBLE.  YOU CAN WRITE THE DONATION OFF!!!  Click POTA to read more about the program.


Thanks for your time today,

Lije and Nut Bucket Films

follow Nut Bucket Films and Closing Doors on Facebook.

for a more detailed description of the film and the people involved, please go HERE.