Skin and Bones

omfg this is the best thing I’ve ever seen


omfg this is the best thing I’ve ever seen

SongBlog #1 - State of Eclipse

So… in an attempt to get myself writing and also to share with YOU (that is anyone who reads these self indulgent rants) some of my musical projects from the past and the present… I present a SongBlog.  I will try to select a song of mine (or a recording I took part in) once a week  to feature.  You can listen to the tune and read a few thoughts and/or memories I have about it’s creation.  I will also post the lyrics to said song in case anyone is curious.  Remember I’m a child of the nineties and you can rarely understand anything I sing.  Hopefully someone out there finds some value or entertainment in this.  I feel like I need to share these things more often and with more people so.. here goes. 

Song #1:

"State of Eclipse" by Forever 27

This is a song by my high school band Forever 27.  Forever 27 had a knack for being loud, kitschy, and NOT very talented BUT I maintain that we had a lot of heart and knew how to put on a great live show.  It was a lot of fun and I seriously have nothing but the fondest memories of the band and the many members that came and went (myself being the only permanent fixture of the group).  I DO NOT believe in any way that made Forever 27 MY band.  The others in the group, primarily Derek Squires and Bryce DeVol, had a TON of creative input and authored just as much material as I did. 

That being said let’s talk about this specific track: State of Eclipse

State of Eclipse, as I remember it, was written a day or two after Bryce [DeVol - Bass and Vocals - Forever 27] and I had had a pretty serious fight that had come to blows.  Teenage drama I’m sure of it… in fact I think I will blame it on my own drunken shenanigans.  The song evolved out of a jam session in our practice space in Gavin’s [Volkert - Drums - Forever 27] basement.  I don’t want to put too much weight on the events of teen life in Pecatonica, Illinois [population 1800] but I think both Bryce and I were reacting to the situation we sound ourselves in.  Making up with one another musically, if you will.  However I ask you not to take that too literally when reading the lyrics (which were completed at a later time).  Bryce wrote the lyrics to the verses and I wrote the chorus.  We in turn sing the parts that we wrote.

The music developed like all of our sings did someone ( I don’t remember who) brought a guitar riff to the table and we would jam it out till we constructed something out of it.. or not.

The song ended up on the self produced CD we called "Bad Dream Nation" and we also handed out a CD single version on our mini-tour that we did supporting the Bad Dream Nation album.  It was also the only song of ours to ever be played on the radio.  The Rockford “rock” station WXRX played it on a local music showcase.  The Disc Jockey had the audacity to compare the track to Guns ‘N Roses… (what?!?) … whatever dude. 

All in all it’s a decent track. It’s poorly recorded and poorly performed but I like to think you can hear how important it was to us.. or at least it was to me.. at the time.  I hope you can find a way to enjoy it.  It was nice to hear it again (warts and all).. it’s been a while.  Enjoy or something.  ( And please keep in mind.. We were 17 years old.)


Lyrics (as best I can understand them)

I remember, times we had.

I remember, things we said.

But they all look so much darker now

The only thing we care about is getting out

why have faith now?  when we had none before

we’ve stared too long and now our eyes are sore

I will bleed on you

Now my life’s on sale again

and all the walls are closing in

everything is in a spin.

and I feel I’m for sale again

now I’ve lost my one best friend

here I am alone again.

Tell me today, I won’t go

You say to have faith in God, I won’t go

say to believe, I won’t go

believe in you, I won’t go

I will bleed on you

Now my life’s on sale again

and all the walls are closing in

everything is in a spin.

and I feel I’m for sale again

now I’ve lost my one best friend

here I am alone again.

I will bleed on you

if you’ll bleed on me too.

Grease Paint - Some thoughts on it’s 10th-ish anniversary

According to Merriam-Webster Online:

Nostalgia - a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition.

I think I’m prone to nostalgia.  Even though I’m only 30 (not even) I’ve already blatantly over romanticized much of my life.  This is not meant as a gripe necessarily.  My life is fine.  Better than fine in fact.. it’s great!  However I do catch myself remembering things with a pair of rose tinted glasses.  I object people to this sort of thing all the time.  Welcome to the fold.  Here is your first Erik Gulbrandsen nostalgia trip.  Where I assign importance to things that may not be important to anyone except those involved.  At the end of the day that is who this is for… those of my friends who helped to create these wonderful experiences.  And things like this are also for me… I mean why have a blog page if you’re not allowed a little self indulgence?  These things are important to me.

So what put the bug in my brain to write a bit about my past film projects is that it is rapidly approaching, it’s sometime this month, the 10 year anniversary of my first student film.  The film in question is “Grease Paint”, a 7 minute silent (with music) film produced for my “Film Production I” class while I was attending Southern Illinois University.  The film stars two of my life long friends, who I am still very close with, Joseph Peterson and Nikolas Wenzel.  

I am still to this day very proud of this film.  I think it works very well.  Joe’s clown make up was fantastic and frightening.  The ending even plays better to me now than it used to.  (May I note that the ending was flagrantly ripped off by Darren Aronofsky for his 2010 Oscar nominated film Black Swan starring Natalie Portman.  And I haven’t even received a thank you from Mr. Aronofsky… totally kidding.. only not.. it’s pretty much the same ending… BTW I loved Black Swan but seriously.)  There are some moments here that are not TOTALLY embarrassing.  

I wish I could show it with the original music that I scored to.. but alas United States copyright laws.  So you’re going to see it with a secondary score that, at the time of writing, I have not finalized.  But it used to have a score of music including: Frank Zappa, The Damned, and System of a Down.  Things I was listening too at the time.  (And a Zappa record is playing on my turntable as i type this… serendipity.)

Grease Paint was an idea that was a long time coming.  It was not a complex concept.  I was inspired by the fact that the fear of clowns seemed to be so common.  And not just a slight fear but phobias that would result in hysterics when tested.  I knew no less than 5 people who would admit to being afraid of clowns.  So it’s actually quite an easy process from there.  I also came across an article around that time (sorry no source) about the history of “clowning”.  According to this unsubstantiated article “clowning” originated in Roman gladiatorial games where “clowns” would remove the face of the recently defeated (and deceased) and wear it as a mask making farce of the loser of the competition.  Tie that together with what “clowning” has become in the modern world… and WHOA creepy, right?  I think I was starting to understand the fear…

So Grease Paint was obvious.  In one way it succeeded before it was made.  There was a student in my class who refused to watch the film after she heard me pitch the idea.  I don’t think she ever saw it.  She excused herself from the screening while Grease Paint played.  SUCCESS!  Didn’t even have to make the film.  People were already scared.

My memories of production was that all in all it went pretty smoothly.  We shot at my apartment, in which star Nik Wenzel also lived, late at night on a cold winter evening.  It was probably in late January or early February but I honestly don’t remember for sure.  What I do remember for sure is shooting for most of the night in that sweltering (smoky) apartment.  Honestly I believe in parts of the film you can see the cigarette smoke hanging around in the apartment (and not just the scene in which Nik is smoking… he had recently quit smoking by the way and the evil director made him shoot the cigarette scene anyway… I probably set him back on quitting another 2 years… MY BAD.)  The film lamps had the temperature well above 80 degrees in the downstairs… Joe was sweating his make up off.

Other than that it was fun!  We went and shot the outdoor pick-up shots around the Southern Illinois University campus in Carbondale, Illinois.  Mostly exteriors.  

The film was shot on 8mm film in black and white.  The exposure is often a little off, or the focus a little soft.. but I love the naivety of this film.  I mean that in the best way possible.  Having continued to make films through the years I kind of regret not being able to return to this frame of mind.  I made mistakes… sure.  But there is a wonderful innocence about Grease Pain… yes I realize it’s about a knife wielding clown… I’m talking strictly in the sense of style and concept.  It’s the most straightforward of my films and I love that it just works.  It’s not pretty but it tells a story in a way that works… I even think the ending kind of works… and it manages to be a little creepy every once in a while.  

I tend to ramble on so I’ll wrap this up with this:  Most projects make me cringe at points when I go back and watch them.  Grease Paint is not an exception but as more time gets between me and the film… The more I like it.  It may not win any competitions.. and it may be obviously a student production.. but it’s a pretty decent first try… and I can truly say it was a learning experience that has formed the way that I approached every subsequent project… for better or worse.

I hope you can find a little enjoyment in the wonderful little less I dub ‘Grease Paint’.


(started in 2013 sometime)


Some thoughts about “Grease Paint” by Joseph Peterson:

“I have lots of fond memories of making that film. Working on the story development, prop and makeup designs, etc. Great times.

I think I played four roles: paper-delivery guy, smoke shop clerk, the bum, and the clown (and i don’t care what you say, I still think Stretchnuts the Clown was a stellar name). I remember getting weird looks from people on the main drag in Carbondale when I was in costume as the clown, with the John Wayne Gacy-inspired makeup design.

I remember that being the first real experience for me in working on a film beyond playing with a camcorder as a kid. I had not previously considered the subtleties of lighting and angles. It was truly eye-opening.

I remember Erik getting those ridiculously bright industrial lights. I remember having to re-apply makeup a lot because of those damn things.

I also remember a lot of stuff on the fly; the poor attempt at juggling plates, jumping on the bed, and the Evil Dead nod were not, as I recall, in the original screenplay.

Of course, how could I ever forget getting to achieve one of my lifelong dreams: dressing as clown and raping [Co-star Nik Wenzel].

That definitely should make its way into the director’s cut.”




The Horror art of Basil Gogos (via), via vintagegal.


Hellraiser (1987)

Kickstarter Campaign

Hey everyone… 

Please take a moment to learn about (and hopefully donate too) the Kickstarter campaign for a project I have the honor of being involved in.  

Resilient Spirits: Children, Trauma, and Hope is the new documentary series by the non-profit organization Artistic Circles.  I have had the pleasure of working with AC and it’s Director Ann Feldman, Ph.D. for the past 2-3 years. 

I am so grateful to Ann for this opportunity and to you for taking your time to read this.. and our Kickstarter page.

The video on Kickstarter will explain the rest.  THANKS! in advance for any help you can give.


"beauty standards come and go…it’s as if woman play genetic roulette ever 20 years or so. i for one am tired of spinning the wheel."
(thanks @lindsaykatt’s twitter feed.)


"beauty standards come and go…it’s as if woman play genetic roulette ever 20 years or so. i for one am tired of spinning the wheel."

(thanks @lindsaykatt’s twitter feed.)

Skin and Bones turned 2 today!  I promise to write more this year.

Skin and Bones turned 2 today!  I promise to write more this year.


Happy Birthday Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó aka Bela Lugosi (20 October 1882 – 16 August 1956)

I enjoy my work. I haven’t been an actor for 30 years without getting pleasure out of the profession.