SHC (Spontaneous Human Combustion)

A confrontation with a fortune teller sends Sweeney and his girlfriend Cathy wavering
between paranoia and superstition as they anticipate the premonition of Sweeney's unlikely demise.

SHC production: June-November 2010
Robb Thompson (director) 608-215-7575
Melissa Schaefer (producer) 612-805-5817

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Central Wisconsin Film Festival

Alterity Productions is pleased to announce that SHC has been accepted to the Sixth Annual Central Wisconsin Film Festival on Friday, November 4, 2011 at 7:30pm in Plover, Marshfield, and Amherst. SHC will screen again on Sunday, November 6, 2011 in Stevens Point and Marshfield at 2:00pm.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

SHC - Accepted to Driftless Film Festival

We are pleased to announce that SHC has been accepted into Wisconsin's Driftless Film Festival. The festival runs October 6-9 in the following cities: Baraboo, Mineral Point, Platteville, Richland Center, Spring Green, and Viroqua.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

SHC - Accepted to KahBang Film Festival

We're honored to announce that SHC has just been accepted to the KahBang Film Festival in Bangor, ME!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

SHC - DIrector's Cut on the web

Director Robb Thompson's interview on Wisconsin Public Television's Director's Cut is now on the web. You may want to click on "watch full episode". Blogspot doesn't seem to like this size of video.

Watch the full episode. See more Director's Cut.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

SHC - dvd for sale

The SHC DVD is now for sale, priced at $10/ea.

Our other film, Shadow of Lies, is also on sale for $10.

If you would like a DVD, please send your address and how many you want to and a check to...

Alterity Productions
2203 Woodview Ct Apt 15
Madison, WI 53713

... and we will mail it to you.

All proceeds from DVD sales go directly to film festival submission fees, for SHC.

Thanks for your support.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

SHC - featured on wpt

Robb joined host, Charles Monroe-Kane, on Director's Cut this afternoon. The episode will air next Friday, March 25th on Wisconsin Public Television at 8pm, promoting the Wisconsin Film Festival.

Meg Hamel, the coordinator of Madison's finest film fest, was interviewed along with five filmmakers.

Robb was superb! Charles Monroe-Kane is as charismatic in person as he is on screen, and it was really a pleasant experience taking part in the show. If you haven't seen the show before, definitely tune in! And be sure to watch next Friday.

SHC - trailer

We have completed the SHC trailer. Yes, most trailers come before the film is screened, but we are Alterity Productions and we do things a little differently (wink). Watch it here.

SHC trailer from Alterity Productions on Vimeo.

SHC - Director's Cut a success

The interview on Wisconsin Public televisions "Director's Cut" went very well. Fellow filmmaker and our on set sound mixer William Hartin was also interviewed for his film "Dark Ways", which will be showing at the Wisconsin Film Festival with our film.

We thank the host Charles Monroe-Kane and Producer Mary Pokorney-Donelan for having us on the show, and of course the Director of the Wisconsin Film Festival, Meg Hamel who was also being interviewed.

The episode of Director's Cut will be aired on Friday, March 25th at 8:00pm on channel 38 WPT. Click HERE to see the schedule and get an e-mail reminder to see the episode. Just search "Director's Cut" and look for the WI Film Festival episode.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

SHC - shc to be featured on WPT's Director's Cut

SHC will be featured on Wisconsin Public Television's Director's Cut.

What is Director's Cut?

Charles Monroe-Kane hosts this series for fans of independent films and creative thinking. Director's Cut introduces narrative and documentary films made by indie directors, and explores the Wisconsin connections.

Director Robb Thompson will be interviewed on the Wisconsin Film Festival edition of Director's Cut on Thursday March 17th. More information to come on when the episode will be aired on television.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

SHC - on vimeo

Check out SHC on vimeo at

or watch it here (be sure to view it in HD though):

SHC from Alterity Productions on Vimeo.

Friday, February 25, 2011

SHC - accepted - EgoFest

SHC was just accepted to EgoFest in Brainerd, MN!!!

This is the second festival to which we've submitted and the second festival to which we've been accepted. Not bad... let's hope it continues.

Last year we screened our short film noir, Shadow of Lies, at the EgoFest and it was well recieved.

Don't forget that SHC is also being screened in the Wisconsin Film Festival. Schedule is released March 3rd and tickets go on sale March 5th.

Monday, February 21, 2011

SHC - shc is up on youtube

If you didn't make it to the premiere, check out SHC on youtube.

You can watch in HD1080 and make sure to listen on some good speakers if you can (the sound really drives it).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SHC - reminder

Our next screening is at the Madison Media Institute (map) this Friday at 7:00pm.

Along with "SHC" we will be screening our neo-noir film, "Shadow of Lies" and our music video for the song, "The Real Me" by the band, The Kentucky Waterfalls.

(See "second screening" post below for more information!)

SHC - premiere photos

Check out the PREMIERE page to see photos from the event!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

SHC - thanks to all premiere attendees

Thanks to everyone who came out last Thursday on a cold night to join us for the "SHC" premiere at the Chazen Musuem of Art.  We had a great turnout and it was nice to see a lot of familiar and unfamiliar faces. Your support has been outstanding.

Wisconsin Screenwriters Forum was kind enough to sponsor the event.

Kim and Rebecca greeted guests and handed out programs.

We gave a welcome before screening the films, but can't seem to say Thank You enough!

Randy Lee was there to help us out with all the technical details.  He made sure all five films looked and sounded great.

Monday, February 7, 2011

SHC - chazen museum of art

The Madison premiere of SHC will be held at the Chazen Museum of Art THIS THURSDAY! (Invitation below.) This is what the theatre looks like:

This is Robb, checking out the projector to make sure it will produce a high quality picture for the screening.

This is the North entrance to the Chazen. Enter here on Thursday- room L160 is just inside, down the stairs.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

SHC - accepted - WI Film Festival

Pleased to announce:


So far, this is the only festival to which we've submitted, and it was accepted based on a work-in-progress version. The final product is being printed, rendered, burned, and assembled this week. More details about the festival to come!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

SHC - second screening

If you can't make the Madison Premiere at the Chazen, consider attending the next screening at MMI:

Friday February 18th
7:00pm - 7:30pm

Madison Media Institute
2702 Agriculture Dr, bldg B
Madison, WI 53718

This screening is FREE and students are welcome. Afterward, there will be a Q&A with the filmmakers, 2009 graduates of MMI.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

SHC - Madison premiere

The Madison premiere of SHC has been set!

Thursday February 10th
7:00pm - 9:00pm

Chazen Museum of Art
800 University Ave, room L160
Madison, WI 53703

This is a FREE screening sponsored by the Wisconsin Screenwriters Forum, a not-for-profit writers support group organized to provide educational, networking, and marketing support for individuals interested in learning the craft and business of screenwriting.

Friday, January 7, 2011

SHC - behind the scenes

Here is a Behind the Scenes video of our film, produced (shot, edited, etc.) by Jackson Eagan:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

SHC - nearly complete

The finalizing processes of a film can drag on and on... Every detail must be accounted for, and when everyone involved is tired and over-saturated with familiar material it isn't easy to stay focused.

That said, we have been working steadily to rein it in, so SHC's Madison premiere should be at the end of January 2011.

Before you see the trailer, glimpse the dvd cover design, or watch the film, we've got a phenomenal behind-the-scenes video to share. Look for that, produced by Jackson Eagan, in the next couple weeks!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

SHC - submitted

Today is December 1st, 2010: the deadline to submit SHC into the Wisconsin Film Festival (where our student film, Shadow of Lies, screened last year).

Did we get it submitted, you ask? Yes, a version that is 95% complete was mailed today for consideration and we have our fingers crossed that the unrefined 5% won't deter its acceptance.

An update from the Wisconsin Film Festival will be available by February 15th, 2011. In the meantime, we have other festivals to look into and a Madison premiere to plan!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

SHC - sound design

RJ Beyler and Jack Sayre have brought together some incredible sound effects, enhancing the 'logic vs. superstition' theme of SHC.

Because there is quite a bit of dialogue, music is only used during the title sequence, film intro, and during the end credits. Most of SHC involves an intricate soundscape of tones and effects.

Monday, November 1, 2010

SHC - color

Color correction is a very complex process involving subtle changes of primary and secondary color grades, luminosity, key framing shadows, etc.

Thankfully, we have colorist Randy Lee perfecting the look of SHC. He has a LOT of experience with every part of production, assisting with nearly every local independent film going on in Madison!

We are very grateful for Randy's help both in production and now in post-production.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SHC - funds needed

The search for funding continues!

THANK YOU to everyone who has already contributed- you've helped bring SHC this far.

We have raised half our goal and set up an account through PayPal and IndieGoGo for the other half:

Please take a moment to check it out- THANKS!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

SHC - final edit

The final edit is complete!

To celebrate, I think we will watch a movie that is not related to SHC (or spontaneous human combustion) in any way!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

SHC - voice-over

For the last few weeks we've been fine tuning the final edit of SHC, adding cool effects and choosing the optimum audio sources.

We realized that a couple lines of dialogue needed tweaking, so Colin came over and recorded some voice-over. Even just a couple lines can take 30-40 minutes for multiple takes!

SHC - musical score

RJ Beyler has joined the team for composing music, sound design, and rendering the final audio mix.

We plan to meet once/week to discuss the evolution of our film. So far it's been a pleasure working with RJ and learning how to describe sounds with un-spellable vocabulary!

Check out his other work HERE
(No Country For Old Men has no soundtrack, so RJ gave it one!)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

SHC - contribute

We have a fund raising site on IndieGoGo and a goal of $2,000 to meet in less than 100 days!

Please help our film making endeavors by contributing to SHC through IndieGoGo. It is secure and very easy to use (only takes a couple minutes). We are offering perks at different levels of contribution, so check it out!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

SHC - artwork on set

Sweeney the artist required some artwork on set, so we turned to a local artist for help: Daniel R. Castle.

Not only did we borrow many sketches to hang in the apartment, Dan was kind enough to paint an unfinished work for Sweeney's easel. This is a close-up of that painting, after some on-camera destruction.

In the apartment you can also spot a couple photographs by the director and producer, along with pottery made by Christy Straavaldsen.

Friday, August 20, 2010

SHC - 30 sec video

SHC - production Day 4 from Alterity Productions on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

SHC - editing

Well, it's time to edit!

Randy Lee converted the footage and synched audio. Once we're through with the final cut, we'll send it back to him for color correction.

This is Robb working with our new Dell monitor and KRK Rokit5 speakers, editing the intro of SHC.

Meanwhile, the search for funding continues...

SHC - film stills

These are actual film stills from the SHC production shoot. They haven't been color corrected, but they should give you some idea of what the film will look like. Be sure to check out the SHC facebook page for more photos. We'll be posting a behind the scenes production video from Jackson Eagan soon too.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

SHC - facebook page

Don't forget to check out our SHC facebook page at:

We have production stills and,
soon to come, video of the shoot. Become friends with Melissa Schaefer and Robb Thompson and be sure to "like" the SHC page.

Monday, August 2, 2010

SHC - principal photography

phewwwwww. What a weekend!
We're very proud to announce that principal photography is done. Our cast and crew did an amazing job over the weekend and we were able to cover everything we needed and stay on schedule.

Thanks to everyone who helped out, from craft services and our caterers, to the locations and everyone who donated props, to our wonderful crew and our great cast who all worked their asses off. It was a great collaborative effort and we can't wait to start editing. Keep an eye out for behind the scenes photos and video.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

SHC - associate producers

Alterity Productions is pleased to announce that Bob & Nan Schaefer are Associate Producers of SHC.

Not only have they contributed monetarily, they have loaned a vehicle for the gathering of props and furniture, they have stored said props and furniture in their house and back porch, and they're even going to cook a meal for the cast and crew during production weekend.

We are proud to include Nan & Bob in this process and...
we are forever grateful.

Friday, July 23, 2010

SHC - one week 'til production

The countdown begins!

Pre-production is a time-consuming process... Wardrobe, set design, insurance and liability, food, equipment rental, shooting script, shooting schedule, etc. We have been securing locations and finding generous people to loan props for production, which begins Friday July 30th.

If you would be willing to lend items for the sets of SHC, please send an e-mail to and we'll let you know what we still need. (This will, of course, garner you mention in the end credits.)

SHC - thank you!

A world of thanks to everyone who contributed to the fundraiser and helped make it a wonderful evening. We had great Brocach Irish Pub food (including stuffed oysters and scotch eggs) and spectacular live music.The night's gracious performers were the following: Melissa Simonson, Sean Gartlan, Katie Powderly, Gabe Burdulis, Joe Shaffer, Joe Schiro, and Dave Day.Debbie Smoker and Anna Vembu gave tarot and astrology chart readings, and our guests kept them busy! Most of those who bought raffle tickets went home with armfuls of gifts, including bottles of wine, beer growlers, massage and restaurant gift certificates, and much more. The participation of the Madison community was apparent, and we are grateful to involve so many people in this project.
We have been receiving cash and checks from new friends and people we've known for years, and would like to say a special Thank You! to those who have given personal contributions.

Monday, July 12, 2010

SHC - poster

Kent Steine did a GREAT job on the poster and promotional flyers. Check out the poster in the column to the right. We've been passing them out to local businesses to promote our fundraiser and get donations for the raffle and silent auction.

We have some awesome prizes, so come on over to Brocach this Friday and buy some tickets.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

SHC - locations

We have our locations secured and it's going to be some fun shooting.

The library scenes will be shot at our own UW-Memorial Library. That's right, if you went to school here, we'll be shooting up in those creepy stacks among all books. It's perfect for when Sweeney researches SHC. Thanks to Dineen for making that work.

Kappel's Clock Shop will provide us with many clocks for a creative intro to the film. We plan to use the footage from this location for the intro credits.

Our psychic parlor- interior- will be shot at the Rifken Group Historical Building on S Blount St, near Williamson St. The space is an unfinished 30 square feet, so there will be some work involved in the transformation but plenty of room for equipment.

The apartment scenes will be shot at Rosemary Zurlo-Cuva's apartment near Camp Randall. It's a nice swank apartment that will fit right in with the look we're going for.

We fell in love with the staircase at The Baskerville, downtown Madison, so that will be used to show Sweeney approaching his and Cathy's apartment.

Stony Hill Antiques on Regent St will be our exterior psychic parlor. It has a window we can dress and plenty of brick surrounding the door and window. Thankfully, it's the side door we need, so our disturbance should be minimal.

Thanks to everyone who helped in securing those locations!

SHC - fundraiser

Here is the Evite invitation link to our SHC fundraiser at Broach Irish Pub on Friday July 16th. Be there or be square.

Remember, if you can't make it, you can still contribute. Check out our contribute page in the column to the right.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

SHC - debra lopez as cathy

The role of Cathy has been filled!

Debra Lopez of Madison, WI has agreed to be our Cathy. She is a strong actor, whose sense of humor will translate well into the dialogue of SHC. Debra has been in a number of independent films, commercial work, and she has an impressive collection of print work as well. We are so happy to have such experienced talent on board for our film!