Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Movie Talk

Lately I've been watching a lot of movies on AMC and TCM. I'm going to post my thoughts about them here every so often.

Tonight I watched "Play it Again, Sam" (1972), the Woody Allen-written play turned into a movie, starring the Wood-man and Diane Keaton.

I remember seeing this movie back in '73, and it was great then. Boy, did this flick fail the test of time! The jokes were old and hackneyed, the acting was annoying, and the whole Woody Allen "nebbish" act was portrayed so much better in "Bananas" and "Sleeper". But I guess the fact that Allen didn't direct this film (Herbert Ross did) may have been responsible for not capturing the usual decent quality of Allen's earlier films.

My rating: 30% Rather than the traditional stars used to rate movies, I'm going to employ a percentage of satisfaction scale of my own design. I invented this. All by myself.

Okay, so it's not the greatest film I could have used to start my movie blogcasting, but the idea came to me right after the film ended, so here it is.

Buy the ticket, take the ride!

Last night we had an audition; we have another two scheduled for Friday and Monday. I'm getting constant emails from actors who want to try out for our short. It's cool.

We had fun with the audition. It's the first time we actually heard real people saying the lines written in the script. Anthony read with our actor. Anthony wrote the script, and he acted his part with obvious relish. He was really selling the script, probably because he knows that I'm not real happy about having to squeeze a four-page scene into the short.

But man, did he get into the role! I didn't know he could act, but I was impressed. The guy's a frickin' Hispanic Olivier! I should'a sold tickets!

At the very least he can be an emergency actor whenever we need one. It's good to have a backup available!

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A True Conversation

Him: A friend of mine wrote a screenplay he'd like to see produced.

Me: That's cool. What's it about?

Him: He wanted to write a mystery.

Me: Mysteries are great. They can be a lot of fun.

Him: I know.

Me: So, what is it about this mystery that's interesting?

Him: It's about two teenaged girls who--

Me (interrupting): Stop! Let's do it.

Him: But...don't you want to hear the story?

Me (uninterested): Nope! It's got the two things that matter most in a film.

Him: What's that?

Me: "Teen" and "Girls" me, it'll sell!

Him (suspiciously): Say, are you seriously a director?

Me: Oh yeah, absolutely!

Him: Sure, whatever.

Last night's meeting

We covered everything on yesterday's list, except #10...we don't have much of a plan for what to do if everything goes wrong, but we'll deal with that when we get to it.

Tonight and Friday we have auditions at the studio. Beyond that, we'll hopefully have the casting settled by the weekend, then we can schedule the shoot.

And Anthony finally has 'net access from home, so now he'll be able to read this blog and find out what I really think about him! So Ant...thanks for writing three and a half pages of extra dialogue for our FIVE MINUTE SHORT and SPRINGING IT ON ME LAST NIGHT!!! That really helped my mood, you pain in the ass!

...just kidding...well, not totally...okay, totally...

And I installed a very simple hit counter at the top of this page. I'm not sure how good it's going to work, so if it's suddenly gone you can pretty much assume I decided to ditch it. Let me know if the page loads significantly slower.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Putting together the storyboards

Here I am, having fun on a rainy Monday morning, clipping and pasting my little digital pictures into the storyboards for "Death Knocks". Tonight Anthony and I are meeting at the studio for a production meeting. Here's a little insight on what goes on at a production meeting; these are things we're going to cover tonight:

1. review storyboards
2. discuss shot lists and revise as needed
3. take additional digital photos for revised storyboards
4. work out lighting schemes for the set
5. discuss actors for Tuesday's auditions

The author under the influence

6. make up tentative shooting schedule
7. finalize costumes
8. plan catering for cast and crew
9. cover anything else we haven't gotten to yet
10. discuss what we'll do when everything goes wrong

I dunno...I think the fumes from the glue stick are beginning to affect me; I'm starting to believe that we're actually going to get this thing done.

Like, soon!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Casting Update

Actually, there isn't any update...I just wanted to post something today.

We had an audition tentatively proposed for last Wednesday, but we had a scheduling conflict (coupled with a late-season snowstorm...AGAIN!) that meant we had to cancel.

Today being a Wall Street holiday (my job is related to investment firms) I have the day off. So I'm going to spend all day emailing actors to try to set up a casting session for Tuesday evening at the studio. Plus, I'm continuing to assemble a shot list and story board.

Looking at the calendar, it appears that we may be able to shoot on Saturday April 2nd or 9th...if necessary, the 16th or 23rd. Beyond that, my schedule will get busy and it'll be much more difficult for me to take a full weekend day off; but if I have to, I'll work it out. I'm going to shoot for the 9th or 16th; that'll give us enough time to get everything lined up and adequate time to cast actors and to rehearse them.

Time to shift this thing into gear!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I'm sorry, but this picture just cracks me up. There's something...wonderful...about seeing George W. Bush sucking the soul out of a clueless Republican's bald head.

Because that's how he gets his evil Satanic super powers; by absorbing the life force of his unwitting supporters from deep within their craniums, only to discard their lifeless bodies in his wake. He feeds on those who support him.

It''s all so clear to me now!

Visit Juliusblog for more great pictures of Bush molesting hairless men's scalps.

It's mega-creepy in a really delicious way!

Monday, March 21, 2005

"You Are Alone"...the movie

There is quite an active filmmaking community in the New Haven/Bridgeport area, and this is a project that deserves notice.

Gorman Bechard wrote and directed "You Are Alone", a tale of alienation and loneliness, currently in post production. You can go to the website by clicking on

Jessica Bohl in "You Are Alone"

I'm looking forward to seeing this flick. Judging from the synopsis, it'll be extremely compelling. And looking at the soundtrack listing, it's gonna have a lot of musical depth.

Already Gorman Bechard is in pre-production on "The Second Greatest Story Ever Told", based on his book about Christ returning to us in present day, only this time as a rebellious young woman. We can only guess what happens to her.

I admire Gorman's willingness to take on subjects that are controversial and thought-provoking. There's way too many "safe" movies coming out of Hollywood these days; it's up to independent cinema to take these chances and push the creative envelope right to the edge. I find it really inspiring.

Maybe I'll take on something controversial for my next screenplay; that's the one I'm gonna write and shoot after I film this current one and the next two I've written and really want to shoot.

...damn, why aren't there more hours in the day? This lousy 24-hours-only per day shit AIN'T cutting it!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

"Rewrite Hell" rant

This is a phase of this production that I dread...taking my "shootable, just about good enough script", and trying to make it into something special.

I'm in the middle of, what, my fifth rewrite on this thing, and it's only a short! But this is the point where I'm trying to tighten it up, work out the pacing, inject some originality, and generally improve upon it. After rereading it for the millionth time though, I'm getting a bit sick of it.

And just think...after the shoot, I get to EDIT the fucker! Which means I get to WATCH it a million times!

How do Hollywood people do this over and over? I'm starting to understand why screenwriters shoot's because THEY'RE SICK OF READING THEIR SHIT OVER AND OVER! Christ, the NCAA tournement is on, and I'm here looking at my stupid computer screen!

But what's driving me to keep at it is the thought that maybe, with a little more effort, I'll manage to capture the feeling that I'm trying to bring to the screen. It's something that I have trouble expressing, because every time I try to put it into words, the signal gets lost in the noise and I end up with something "not quite" what I meant.

Which, upon reflection, is pretty much the story of my life. Sadly.

So, I'll keep at it. We have auditions coming up soon, and then the shoot. For all this hassle, it's starting to get fun!

Thursday, March 17, 2005


Today I helped out with the live St. Pat's parade coverage on Niki@Noon, the weekly live public access program. We did the entire show from the street in front of the studio...I did grip/gaffer duty, helping Sean on the hand held camera.

There were the typical problems when doing a live remote, but at least the weather was nice. Niki and Zeek both did great work despite the glitches. And Niki was nearly trampled by a police horse (below) when she thrust the microphone at the mounted officer...she's nothing if not enthusiastic, right?

Niki with horse and Zeek

It was fun, but we've got plenty of room for improvement. Communications needs to be upgraded, and maybe more remote control from the studio would be good. But hey, I got a free corned beef sandwich out of the deal! Not bad, eh?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Goddamnit...I'm hooked!

Minutes ago the premiere episode of Project Greenlight 3 ended. This is the first time I've ever watched this show, and I'm totally hooked!

Good golly Miss frickin' Molly! I can't believe how much this stupid show got under my skin! Watching those hopeful screenwriters and directors competing for a shot at the big time totally floored me. I identified so strongly with that weird David Lynch-y type director that I actually cheered when he won the spot.

John Gulager

They chose a script named "Feast", which apparently is about flesh-eating monsters of some kind. The consensus was that it wasn't the strongest script artistically, but the studio dicks seemed to think that it has the greatest commercial potential.

Which tells me that most likely the movie is gonna suck...that almost ALWAYS happens when studio execs force artistic compromise. But at least it'll be fun to watch how that weird motherfucking director dude copes with making a movie. I'll be rooting for the guy!

(note to Australian readers: "rooting" means "cheering for someone", not fucking him!...yeah, like I got any readers from "Down Under". Oh, and you can have Paul Hogan back anytime now; go ahead, just take him...wanker)

Okay, so now besides "24", "The Apprentice", "The Contender", and "South Park", there's another frickin' show that I have to watch! Project Greenlight has now made my "can't miss" list! I can't wait until next Tuesday.

In other news, we have auditions scheduled for the 23rd. It looks like we'll be able to finalize casting by a week from Friday, and plan on shooting the thing in the first half of April. I'll post updates as soon as I hear anything new.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Jumping in with both feet

I'm in a bit of a quandry (or is that "quandrey"?...I dunno...I'm going with quandry) I want to keep everyone informed about my thoughts on how our little production is going, but I'm a tiny bit worried about how my actors, crew, and production partner would feel upon reading my tactlessly honest posts here. I have to admit that I've gotten myself in trouble before by stating openly that which a more cautious person might keep to himself. If my mouth is working, there's usually one (or both!) of my feet not far behind.

However, I've gotten as far as I have in life with that same lack of inner-censoring. Exactly HOW far I've gotten in life is open to debate, but regardless of that, I'm going to stick with what I know. Anything else would be pointless.

Besides, even if I COULD be diplomatic, what fun would THAT be?

Jumping in!

So I've decided to continue posting my unedited thoughts here. I'll somehow keep my actors and crew in the dark about this'll be OUR dirty little secret, just between you and me. Nobody else needs to know!

And I'll do my very best to be gentle when I make an observation that may lack an acceptable level of diplomacy when it comes to the people who are giving their time and efforts to make this thing happen.

Besides, there's no doubt in my mind that the person I'll treat the worst is yours truly. Trust me on that.

More stuff soon.

(Photo courtesy of stock.xchng. I found this awesome stock photo link on Jane Hamsher's blog at firedoglake.)

Speaking of that, someday I'll have to ask her why her blog's name sounds like a David Lynch movie title...

Friday, March 11, 2005

Our Movie Poster

Yesterday Ant and I had a pre-production meeting at the studio. We looked over all the actor's headshots/resumes and decided which ones we'll contact about the casting. Then we took a bunch of digital photos of the location so we can assemble a storyboard/shotlist.

The process of actually blocking the shots with the camera gave us some great ideas for new shots, and it's helping me visualize the entire shoot.

Anthony had a great idea; he suggested I take one of the photos and make it into the poster below...there's nothing like seeing something like a poster to keep us psyched about the project! I'm sure we'll make a lot of changes to it as we go, but it's really fun to have something to look at right now.

Scary, huh?

I'm especially proud of the tag line at the bottom which says "You don't want to be caught with your pants down". I don't want to give away too much yet, but you'll see what I mean when I reveal more soon! (in the business we call that a "tease"!)

Today I'm going to the studio to help out "Nikki at Noon", probably to work one of the cameras. Of course, it's snowing again, so there's a chance it'll get cancelled.

But I'm not complaining about the weather...I promised.

More updates later!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

It never ends

Okay, I give up. Winter has officially won. I concede the election. I'll sign on the line. Whatever it takes, I'll do it.

Now will you kindly stop dumping snow on me?

Pretty Please?

This is my driveway ten minutes ago from my hallway window

Tonight I was supposed to meet Anthony at the studio, to put together a shot list/storyboard and discuss casting. But of course, the PLANET has OTHER ideas. Like another blizzard.

Because, we haven't had enough goddamned snow this year. So, fine. Whatever.

This is it.

No more complaining!

I promise.

( bastards...)

Monday, March 07, 2005

"In like a frickin' LION..."

Word just in...this so-called "global warming" scare is nothing more than a liberal falsehood that actually has NO effect at all on the climate. Lies, I tells ya, its all LIES!

Yeah, it's fun here in Connecticut right about now. Apparently there's some kind of ungodly low pressure system that's taken up permanant resident status in Greenland, and that pesky counter-clockwise rotation is bringing frigid Arctic air down through the mid-East and into our kitchen. Not to mention all those lovely BLIZZARDS that seem to enjoy getting a free ride on the Alberta Clipper express...and according to the Weather Channel (see last week's post regarding them), it's not going to change until well after the green vomit is hosed off the sidewalks the day after St. Paddy's Day.

Not that I'm complaining mind wife and I actually LOVE living in CT; it's just that this insane weather pattern is perfectly welcome to GIVE US A FUCKIN' BREAK ANY TIME IT DECIDES WE'VE MAYBE HAD ENOUGH! I mean, fer fuck's sake, haven't we had ENOUGH frigid temperatures and snow already? If I ever catch Puxatawny Phil, that goddamned rodent is DEAD MEAT!

Joyce's Snowdude

Joyce is so cute. She's one of those people who never lost her child-like love of Winter, regardless of the inconveniences it occasionally brings. We'd just finished taking a three-mile walk (where we had to walk in the streets at times because of un-plowed sidewalks) and when we got back, she decided to make a snowman. I just had to take a picture.

Oh, and we did see a large flock of wild green parrots roosting in some trees near the water. Some years ago a couple of parrots escaped in the NY/CT area, and they adapted to our climate and thrived. It's kind of cool to see them flying around the neighborhood all Winter long, squawking like crazy. Kind of reminds me of the Caribbean, except for the frostbite!

Friday, March 04, 2005

"Stewart Killed By Horse"

Martha Stewart was tragically killed early today by her pet horse "Cupcake" at her ranch in Bedford, New York. Stewart, released yesterday from the Federal Prison in West Virginia, was feeding her horse garlic-sprinkled scallops wrapped in bacon when the animal became spooked after her dog crept under the fence and bit the horse's tail. The frightened horse then lept over the fence and trampled Ms. Stewart, crushing her skull and breaking her electronic ankle bracelet.

Had she lived, Ms. Stewart would have been in violation of her house arrest for allowing damage to occur to her ankle bracelet resulting in a further five months in federal captivity.

Moments Before The Attack

Ms. Stewart had been enjoying her first day of freedom when she died within the grounds of her fortified compound, after spending nearly five months in federal custody for lying to a grand jury. Had she lived, she almost certainly would have had many opportunities to furthur cheat stockholders and sidestep the SEC with her illegal business deals.

Her favorite horse "Cupcake" was taken into custody and will be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Sorting through actor's resumes

Two days ago, the ad that I placed in New England Film appeared. Today, there are dozens of resumes in front of me! Damn, but that's a good return for a project that doesn't pay anything. Looks like NE Film gets a LOT of hits from actors.

"The Fog Of Casting"

So now I got to read all this head is spinning looking at all the credits these guys list! I'm worried I'll make a disastrous mistake and end up with someone who's entirely wrong for the part.

I know...I'll get Anthony to make the decision! Hee-hee

(when in doubt...delegate!)