Sunday, December 30, 2007

Making Funny Papers

Jeopardy's early, early pre-production stages has already surpassed the early stages of 'Meter' by over a mile in the tolerablebility race. The pre-production stages of any film can be pain stakingly, slow. In the case of my films... Deathly slow. Meter was agonizing and the 'conceptual art' or 'art department' was utilized by the count of big goose egg. Jeopardy... A whole different bird. I won't say it has been agonizing though. Sure, I want all the red tape to be done so I can begin really planning the shoot but I know I have props and sets to build on this one so I've tried to keep myself a little more grounded. The schmetics of the newspaper stand are complete and building has begun. (Even if it just be nail a day... HA! HA!) On my week off from the "norm job," I managed to storyboard the first 2 pages of the script and even cooler, really began to spend time on one of the more timely jobs of prepping the film, the Art Direction/Set Design.

In the original story the "Serial Killer Threat," was told through third person narration. For the film, the Narration was not going to work so a 'Backstory Catalyst" had to be inserted. From the first draft until the final draft we had the same idea on what that catalyst would be. In the big cities I've lived in, I was always a frequenter of the street vendor newsstand. You could get any magazine, newspaper, tabloid in any language at most of those vendors. If you wanted a Playboy in Cantonese at midnight on a Sunday.... No fear... The corner of Ventura and Coldwater's LA Times Stand had you covered. I thought, what could be more fitting than to use the street newsstand as the narrator for this fast paced, light dialogue driven film. I knew going in that committing to this would mean building an actual stand.... Or fly to a metropolitan area to find one and get them to let us shoot in front of it with little control over one of the key scenes in the film. I chose the first option. I was not worried about building the stand. It was filling the stand with periodicals that I semi worried about. Building the stand would mean I would inherit the task of making at least 2 newspapers and five magazines of my own to cover the racks of the stands. When I say making, I mean creating my OWN funny papers. I may even have to create more than than that. We will have to see. (If I were to use Time Magazine, Baltimore Sun etc... My budget would quadruple times another quadruple.) So like Quentin, who created 'Kahuna Burger,' and 'Red Apple Cigarettes'

and Kevin who gave us 'Mooby Fast Food' and 'Nails' Cigarettes,

Garrick gets to create his own brands and world. Of course, there are no cigarettes or fast food needed, but like LA Confidential, you can assure there will be some cool tabloid titles like "Hush Hush" Magazine in there.

The actual story is based in Baltimore, but we may leave it ambigious so we can make our own world with our own rules. Here is the traditional newspaper conceptual drawing, 'Metro Post.'


There will also be a more New York Post style paper. (My personal preference over the NY Times.) There is the 'THE METRO MAGAZINE', (the logo will stay like that, but the cover will change to a more autumn feel, since the story takes place on October 18th.)

Then there is the Reader's Digest slash New Yorker magazine, "THE CITY STORY." The sketched belt and blood will be a real photograph for the final print. Stuff like this is extremely fun.

You got any good ideas for magazine or newspaper names. Let me know. I'll be happy to use them and give you credit for them as well.







Sunday, December 16, 2007

Moving Forward With Rick and I's Project

I will be honest, the merging venture of mine with Borderline Films to make a couple of films has become quite stale. There have been no set plans that have been set in stone for over a year now. In filmmaking unless you have assistants and other collaborative people who have assistants working for them, working with you, then your plan has to be suttle and simple. There is no such thing as 'six projects on the table' at once when you are not making any money to do this. It's not mentally or physically possible. It is one project and one project only. With this venture, one day it has been one thing, the other day, something completely different. Before we knew it, a year had passed by and we really, (with the exception of a meeting with important well established filmmakers,) were not or are not any closer than we were. I will not say I am not part to blame in the situation. My lack of extra time made it very hard to consistently pump out progress on scheduling, trailers, websites etc… But then again, I only re-scheduled, re-budgeted, and broke down that script four times or more, because it kept changing. Maybe that was my fault too. I could have intervened and made sure we had a ready to shoot script that was locked and loaded. I will continue to be a part of Borderline and do anything needed to be done to further advance our progress, but my visions, projects and ideas have taken a backseat to a list of projects that are no where near ready for pre-production which means if I waited for my spot since apparently there is no room for it, I would be 50. Everybody at this point in time seems to be doing their own thing anyway.

Either way, with the future of The Tag Along feature undetermined, I figured I'd go off on my own until further notice. Many people will say that another short film at this point in my life would be a waste of time. I don't think so. I think my plan is going quite well, even with the extended period of stand still I just experienced. Shorts are easier to put together and more importantly, are huge for securing the right people to help you take a huge step in the right direction career wise. (That is of course if your film is any good.) I'm not taking any chances in that particular department.

For the past year, Richard Deal aka "Demus" and I have tried to put a short film together based off of one of his short stories. He is a brilliant writer and I am not, but I can adapt a story for the screen and shoot it pretty well, so putting our heads together may make for a great team. I have read five of his past stories. Two of them would be too much to take on with a shoestring budget. Two would be borderline pushing our luck, but may be able to be pulled off and one is a simple one to two day shoot in a hotel room entitled 'Two Wrongs.' We had planned on shooting 'Wrongs' when I completed 'Meter', but something happened on the way to the forum. I studied this script and even had adapted it almost word for word. It was again a dialogue driven piece. I as I thought about it, began to realize another film in a confined area with 75% of it being dialogue would be almost repeating myself considering 12 minutes of the 15 minutes of Meter is dialogue in a cab. I was stuck again. Then Rick wrote yet another brilliant short story that actually won a contest on The Mystery Author's Site. It was and still is amazing. I read it six times in one sitting and started to think: This one would make a fantastic short. This is the one with Meter in tow would be all the calling card we'd need. It would involve money. Not too much, but way over Meter's budget including constructing a couple of minor sets and finding a little access to a green screen studio. (I think I have that handled.) I also started to think or maybe it was more like assume with a nicely produced recent film under my belt, I may be able to find a couple of investors to float us a couple grand to make the film because these days in fact, short film investors tend to make their money back if the investment didn't exceed the $15,000 mark. If it is done right, I am confident it would put both Rick and I on the map for possible future jobs or maybe even one of the features I have planned for my 35th birthday. For now, I am designing story boards, gathering lumber, working on a business package and most importantly, going back to work for myself again. Step 1: Finish my Wedding Video Step 2: Make Jeopardy. If you want to keep up with pre-production,(like Meter's Corner of my site,) Click Here.It will be more of an in depth look. To read Rick's brilliant award winning story. Click Here
*Disclaimer: This story's rights have been secured and copyrighted. Any replication or material taking directly from this story is eligible for prosecution under the law in Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act.
Here are some of my boards I am using as part of the business package.

Designs for constructing the Newspaper stand:

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I Miss My Friend

Three years ago, I was given a golden Labrador retriever by a friend of mine. He was beautiful, cute and irresistible. I got him at exactly six weeks. Even though I had experiences with Labs and knew the first year was a very difficult and frustrating time, I didn't care. I was traveling back and forth from Asheville to Hickory quite a bit so I figured he would get out quite a bit and stretch his legs, maybe muffling the Lab Angst everybody talks about. I named him 'Vinyard.' (**After Ed Norton's character in American History X.)

Vinyard was a hell cat. He chewed his way through my life. Legs off chairs, killed two mattresses and boxsprings, jumped out a second story window and that was all in his first six months on earth. As the year went on, he began to get better only on occasion eating my computer keyboards, DVD's and couch cushions. When Mandi and I moved to Florida, he really shaped up… Probably not so much shaped up but was just too miserable to find the energy to tear anything up. He hated it there. He was stuffed in a small apartment. It was hot as hell and we lived in a neighborhood that was a 'mandatory leash area for dogs.' Ironically enough, we ended up in that apartment because 75% of the apartments and houses either did not allow dogs over a certain weight, (Vinyard usually surpassed the limit by at least 50 pounds,) or pit bulls were forbidden. I had gotten used to it. Due to my job in Asheville, I had lived in three different apartments in a year and every one of them was decided by the acceptance of my dog. (The places were also usually shit holes.) But in Orlando, we were able on a weekly basis to take the "kids" to this huge dog park where Vinyard felt right at home. He swam, chased bitches, and fetched for two to three hours at a time. The more I took him, the more I came to grips with who Vinyard really was. He was a lab. He needed space with a little containment. He needed to get dirty. I had been forced to keep him shut in his whole life.
Upon returning to North Carolina, it only got worse. We had to get a cheap place because one, Mandi was pregnant. Two, we had spent all of our savings moving home. We ended up in a basement, "bachelor pad," place that had a bathroom, living room and bedroom. (The kitchen was a hot plate on the bathroom counter. … No kidding.) To boot, the front yard was host to the busiest highway in Alexander County. We managed to acquire a fenced lot to put out in the yard. We would put them in it on nice days when we were gone. This new environment would be the first sign that I had created a monster in Vinyard.

This fenced lot was no small container. Hell, it may have been as big as the apartment we were in, minus a pregnant woman and a quickly gaining sympathy weighted man. Yet Vinyard never left his stoop at the gate door. If I was gone for three hours, he waited there, watching, barking and digging. I didn't mind the digging, for as big as he was, it would have taken him two pregnancies of Mandi's to dig a hole big enough for his big ass to get under the fence. I worried about his behavior, but didn't think there was that much of a problem because when I was around, they were inside. We moved to a bigger place on a farm and Vinny seemed a little calmer. Of course now, he was two and a half. He was able to be left out without a leash a lot of the time. Vinny was good about sticking around, but there was an issue where, if I wasn't with him, it was 'Bark Fest 2007' on the front porch. If I went inside and left him out he would sit at the front door, barking to come in. Again, whether it be 10 minutes or two hours, Vinny's bark was constant, loud and annoying. If we were both inside and I even so much as moved a finger towards the front door, I was mauled as he scurried to get out. He wanted in if we were out, he wanted out if we were in. It began to anger me, because it was getting to the point where, because of his size, I would literally have to trick him to get out of the house or worse, slam his nose in the door trying to get out with out him blasting out behind me. He wanted to play. He wanted to be around me. I loved the dog but there was like anybody only so much attention I could give. Then Payton came and uncontrollably due to Mandi and I's opposite schedules, I played full time Dad on almost all my free time, which made it harder on Vin. I got to throw the ball, play in the yard, and take trips a lot less than before. He was big and clumsy and would run into a crawling Payton quite a bit when I included him on inside activities, so we tried the full time outside thing after Deja was killed. It didn't work.

He barked hours on end at first. He slowly got used to it, but I still would have to con him with hot dogs to get him into the lot. He had a plush dog house, lots of shade and lots of room and it wasn't enough. I couldn't let him run free because when I would try to leave for work he would blockade himself in front of the car or chase me down the road. I couldn't leave him in the cage too long, because the dog was so clean that he wouldn't piss or crap in it. My whole lunch break and time after work was devoted to getting to the babysitter, scooping up Payton and getting home to let Vinny out. One day, I commenced to give him tough love and left him in the lot for 11 hours. Not because I wanted to neglect him, but I was hoping he would have to pee and maybe realize after he did, that it was OK every once and a while. It didn't work. When I let him out he peed for at least five minutes.

I dreamed of having my own home with a big yard and electrical fence and screened in porch. It would be the perfect situation. When we moved into our new home, my mom kept him for about a month which was the wrong thing to do on my part. She is the Pet Spoiler Champion. We had to get settled in and I had to save up a little extra money to get the electrical fence. I brought him out before the electrical fence was in place just to let him get a feel of the new surroundings. He never left my side. I couldn't go in the bathroom without having to move him. He would circle my every step when he was inside, which usually meant he would walk on Payton, because Payton too after she started walking never left my side either. The problem worsened as Vinny would not be contained or let me contain him without a fight. He snapped two tie offs, broke two barriers, and fended off a high powered bark collar with resilience. I was forced to park my car outside the garage, bring his dog house into it and close him in the whole time. And 75% of the time he was in there, he barked. When I was there and when I wasn't, Vinny was stuck in the garage, because I simply could not get him to cool down, relax and be independent. The electrical fence after all the wait and hoping for better was installed and didn't work. He barreled through the barrier like it was a thin rubber band. He may have been big and clumsy, but he was smart too. He knew it would only sting for a moment and then he would be free if it stung him at all. I was out of options, but out of selfishness, kept him in the garage for another week, trying to figure out the next move. The end came on a Saturday afternoon when the barking persisted for two and a half hours in the morning. I decided I would open the garage and see if he would roam the yard and street but stick around. Wrongo- He was gone in a blink of an eye. Twice, I was carrying Payton around the neighborhood looking for him, finding him in neighbors' yard eating flowers, bushes, whatever. I threw the ball to him for a while but that ended when he mauled Payton, sending her flying though the air on a thrown ball that was no where close to the vicinity where Payton was. What really pissed me off, is he saw her. He had plenty of time to move and he didn't. He put his head down like a Running Back barreling into the endzone, and wailed her. The day came to a head about mid afternoon. I didn't have a key to the front door therefore could not leave through it because I was not able to lock the dead bolt back, meaning I had to leave through what was now known as 'The Dreaded Garage.' I literally had to push the garage door button, constrain Vinny until it closed, then open a window, put Payton, the diaper bag, and me through it and escape to the car… Just to go to the grocery store. All that just to get out of the house for an hour? By 10pm, the barking had become high pitched howls. A neighbor, not knowing my phone number beat on my door to tell me to shut the dog up.

This routine went on Sunday as well. By eight o' clock Sunday night, I finally succumbed to the thought of what really had to be done. It killed me. Mandi's family had offered a friend who lived on a farm. It immediately threw up a red flag. I knew what this dog needed. A farm if was as big as Africa would not be what Vinny needed.

Vinny has bad separation anxiety. If we take 'Me' out of the equation with this dog, he may be better, BUT, you can't just throw him on a farm with no containment and no attention and expect him to stay there. It was that simple. The offerers let my words go in one ear and out the other. With no other offeres, I was down to two decisions: 1) Board him for four days and find him the perfect home or listen to my mom, who was the President of the Humane Society for six years and have him put down. It sounds terrible, but her thoughts on it were simple: This dog was so attached to me. He was stubborn, resilient, had ear problems, and a list of other things that only I knew how to handle to keep him safe from himself. Another owner if not perfect would not due.

My father who is the most down to earth guy I know put it simply: This dog is a huge pain in the ass. If you give this dog to somebody even with credentials that you have even a slight doubt about, you are going to worry about that dog for years. It may be selfish of you, you may be torn up about it for awhile, but you would never have to worry about the dog again. You won't have to worry if he is being treated right, has what he needs…. You will not have to worry again period.

I was so against that idea until he told me that. So I boarded him, giving me a week to make a decision I felt was unfair for me to ever have to make. Sandy at the vets asked, "if I can find him a home with one of our top clients would you let him go?" I said yes. (We had been taking our pets to this vet for years. I trusted her judgment over anybody else.)

Two days went by with nothing… I had checked into rescues and was refused because he wasn't coming from an "endangered environment." I asked every friend I have. They all knew Vinny. That was a dead end. Then Sandy called and said she may have a prospect. She began to tell me the living arrangement: Big fenced in back yard, doggie door to an enclosed patio and when the family was home the patio slide door was opened to the house. Their record for shots etc, was better than my mother's. I said that home would be perfect. She said she would call me back.

Twenty four hours went by, nothing. It was down to the wire. Friday, I asked Dad to go get him from the vet and I would take him back on Saturday to do the deal. Dad called me back twenty minutes later and said, that him and Mom would take Vinny for the time being. Maybe keep him until we could get a fence and maybe some professional training… Whatever. As much as my father said he hated my dog, I knew the truth. He liked the little goofy fucker. The weight had lifted. Dad said he would go up there and get him.

Seconds later, I called Sandy to tell her our plan.

She interrupted me: "Good news. That couple is going to take Vinny. We're bathing him now. They will be here in fifteen minutes to get him…"

My heart sunk. I could not stop it now. I had given them the permission in writing. It was over. Vinny was gone.

I said, "Well, can I get their contact info?" Sandy said no. She said in cases like this where the dog is going from a good home to a good home, they give the new owner the discretion to contact the old. Meaning, if they didn't call me to give me updates on Vinny or trade emails and pictures, I would never see him again.

Three days later, the couple called Sandy to tell her that Vinny was settling in quite well with the other dogs and new surroundings. Sandy called my mother. My mother told me. As upset as I was, I couldn't have made a better decision. I didn't stall too long to have to settle on a decision and I didn't impulsively make a hasty one either. For one time, every decision I made throughout the ordeal was right. Miss the hell out of the kid already. It's only been four weeks. I know his new home is giving him everything I couldn't and I'm sure he's already king of the house. I sometimes feel I failed…. Or failed him. We had spent 3 years together. There was a lot of thick and thin. Kind of humbling…

What does this say about my character? I have a 'child' for three years and just can't no matter what I do get the kid to behave so I pawn him off on somebody else?

Although, I know the situation benefits all involved and my fear of worrying about how he's being treated and if he is OK is gone. There is still no and will never be any resolution… Vinyard, I miss you. I wish you could read this and understand why I had to do what I had to do.

I would love to see you. I would love to bring you a big bone every Sunday and throw the ball to you, but apparently things don't work that way.

So now… I wait and hope that one day, our roads will cross again. Look for me. I'll be the guy with a deflated soccer ball and mangled black collar in my hands…

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Nine Month Makeover

On Nov. 4th, 2006, Mark, Freddy, Phil, Mandi and I went out into the coldest night of the year and filmed Meter. At 5:11am the camera was so cold it stopped working. As I drove home, I worried what I really had captured. It wasn't until February that I realized that we had done a damn good job and something small turned into something huge. Within the nine months that Meter has been in circulation. We have been excepted to 6 film festivals, placed a close second in two, capturing a mediocre sixth overall prize, with three that have not even taken place yet, (and this is all in North Carolina.) Meter will hopefully be making it to Boston Theatres as it just entered the Boston Film Festival and New England Underground Fest. With the exciting journey of "the little film that could," my buddies who assist me in some of this marketing stuff advised me that I should change the box cover art of the DVD and utilize some of the good review quotes and add the 'official selection' logos given along the way. So over the weekend I did just that. I stripped down all the beveled yellows and pointless 'snaz' making it more basic black as this film is: No Frills. No Snazz. Just Dark.

Let me know what you think.

(Two Official Selections have been blurred out because the festivals have not yet released the finalists to the public, only to the filmmakers and I was told not to spill the beans.



Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Curse of the Little Bambino

I about plunged into the world in the floor board of my father's car back in 1974. It was the first year they were letting dad's back to watch the birth. They wheeled in my mom and by the time my father had put on his gloves and scrubs, BADA BING, I was out. Having little boys in the Lane family would not be so easy after that faithful night, for the Bambino Curse began. Italians are usually good at producing 'little bambinos,' aka, baby boys. It comes natural.

Not in the Lane Family. I was the last boy produced in several attempts with various family members. Estrogen bomb, after estrogen bomb, the little BambinAS arrived.

Upon turning, 21, my grandfather began pressing the issue of how important it was for me to, stay alive long enough to have a son. (I honestly think that may be the only thing he has said to me in 12 years.) "You are the last Lane. You must carry on the Lane name," is what my father and he always say. When Mandi and I decided to have a baby out of wed lock, my family, I was sure was going to disown me, until I realized, "wait a minute... They need me as much as I need them." If I was to have a son, the other technicalities would be overlooked. Well, I guess it is not hard to figure out that in fact, I not only had a baby out of wedlock, (and had not planned to have a shotgun wedding,) but well, I had a girl. "Boy" was I in the shit house. My cousin, (Jennifer,) had no problems producing a boy. My sister at 38 years old had no problem, (will have no problem in December anyway,) in popping out a boy. Imagine that... THEY WEREN'T LANES anymore! Meanwhile, in my wife's family, they were having the same problem. Girl after girl after girl were being produced. They had not had a boy of any sorts for nearly 8 years and there had been a lot of offsprings since. Even in the extended families they were coming up short in the 'little pecker department.'

We were doomed. The odds were stacked against us. Mandi and I reluctantly knew that if we to have another girl we would have to try a third time. We had been real careful and decided on reading "the book" to assure we would get a XY mix the second time around. Then suddenly, we were a cliche' as we got pregnant on our honeymoon. It wasn't quite what we had in mind. The days and weeks pressed on. Mandi and I were both sweating bullets because she wanted a boy as well to be the first for her family and thank God pitied me. She knew my mission would somehow have to be accomplished. "If it is a boy, we're done. If it is another girl, well, we'll wait three to four years and try one more time.... But that's it!! You get two more chances," Mandi professed.  Shit, I didn't want two more times. I was barely making it through the first. The days closed in. Mandi and I both had come to grips with the fact that we were having another girl. 'Preston Velna' would be her name. It was destined. Karma, would come back and beat my ass.


Tuesday we went for the sonogram. They made us wait twenty minutes. Within four seconds of the little thingy being pressed on Mandi's belly we knew.

It was over.....................................................................................................................

IT WAS A BOY! I damn near fell out. Anxiety rushed over me as she showed me his little winky. I had never been so relieved in my life. We had done it. I if a failure in everything else I did had produced a little Lane Bambino. We were going to keep it a secret until Thanksgiving. Mandi lasted about 10 minutes out of the doctor's office. Me.. Maybe 15. My grandfather will not know until about 2pm on Thursday afternoon. It may bring the morale up at the Lane Family Thanksgiving. (They had been getting quite bland.)

The curse had lifted. The Lane name will continue on for I am happy to announce that sometime in mid April, Boston Winslow Lane will explode into the world. The reason for his name.... One I love the name and have been waiting years to name him that name, (get past the city, and think about it,) and two, I find it fitting because I had called the drout of testosterone in the families, 'The Curse of the Bambino,' for the last eight years. It was fate that his name would be this. When he asks,why we named him this, I'll give him this exact story and say... "If this doesn't explain it, touch up on your Red Sox history, son." There really is no other name that will suit….


Friday, November 2, 2007

I'm Writing a Horror Movie????

Anybody I have ever talked to says that horror film screenplays follow a completely different set of rules and formats. I had always taken a non shalant attitude towards them in general. My theory was, "A bunch of kids somehow congregate in somewhere in some woods or something. Some crazy circus animal shows up in a mask wielding a metal sharp thing of some sorts and well.... The rest is history." The characters in these "slasher/supernatural" films are one dimensional and are basically props for our demented appeitite for blood and destruction. There are exceptions to the rule. See List below:

1. The Shining
2. Rosemary's Baby
3. The Exorcist
4. Psycho
5. Cannibal Holocaust

I had always wanted to write a good Slasher flick. My slasher flick was to be handled a little differently. I wanted to keep all the great qualities of the '80's style horror flick such as, old style effects in gore, cheesy Whitesnake big hair music, mystery machine vans, pot smoking hippies... You know the rest. The difference would be, the kids that normally posed as slabs of meat waiting to be selected by the meat cutter, would actually have stories. The atmosphere would have a story as well. For example and I hate to use this because it kind of blows my cover on a little of the story I stole off of to tell mine, but in 'Delieverance,' the film/book wasn't about four old koots taking off in their canoes down a river just to end up getting caught by a couple of imbred bumpkins who well treat them to a taste of backwood hospitality. It's about riding the river one last time before it disappears due to growth in industry around it. It's about getting out in the wilderness at the ages they are. It's about four friends who have all let life change them in different ways and how they try to get back to the good things during the weekend. Around all that, comes the horror of what happens after the boats hit the river.

All the drama and set up makes the horror way more harder to stomach after you meet these guys. That is what I am going to try and do. I want the audience to like these kids and yes, even though they know the inevitable outcome, they almost fear the moment the nightmare begins because they like these guys so much.

In typing the first 25 pages, I realize I have plot holes and will have to do some reverse engineering to make it perfect, but it is a start.

I use to crank these things out in weeks flat, but then would spend three months to a year rewriting. I found, writing ten to fifteen pages at a sitting, then taking time off, bouncing the ideas around in my head and then going at it again, gets me closer the first time around. One of the most exciting elements of this venture, is that it will be the first feature screenplay, I will have written in almost six years. I wrote two shorts, ghost writed four of my friends', and written 30 pages of an incompleted one since-- But this one, will be the first feature I complete.

I kind of walked away from it, because let's be honest. If you don't have the means to make the film or don't have some kind of clout or know somebody that can get you in a literary agency somewhere, you are really just doing it to make yourself feel good. I have LSD, cocaine and tequila to do that with.

A quick inked sketch of one of my Demented Circus Animals I drew on a 2 hour ferry ride to Ocracoke Island.

Keep up with the all the horror.HERE

Thursday, October 25, 2007

My Ugly Mug in the Press

Anybody who lives in Hickory, pick up today's newspaper and check out the article on our latest film venture, Tag Along. We've had about four or five other articles written about us since Meter began pre-production and I've always tried to kind of let them fly under the radar. This article I am proud of. Mrs. Robinson, the writer, touched on the things I had always really wanted the others to touch on.  She wrote of where all the content of our stories were so heavy we were not and were very light hearted. Finally, after so many, somebody quoted me about how bringing big business films to this area would start rejuvenating the stunted economy around here. I had inputted this theory with a heavy hand in all before and somehow not seen a glimpse of it make it on paper. This time was different.

Mrs. Robinson "got in and got out" like we were always taught in Film School. Hit the point. Hit the door. The only thing I am weary of is a quote she used of mine. To me and anybody that knows me, it won't come across badly. To anybody that doesn't know me, it may sound as if I would rather film movies than take care of my daughter. This is not true. She was shocked to find out that I was doing all this and had a forty hour a week job. I stated that this film thing isn't making steady enough money to do full time and my wife was a full time student so I didn't have the luxury of quitting my job to PURSUE this. "I have a kid I have to keep and a full time job, I gotta' keep too," was the quote used. Right before the quote she used this sentence: 'What Lane wants to do is contrary to what he needs to do.' So if you think about it… Could come off as sounding bad? I hope my wife doesn't raise hell. Check it out anyway. It's a good article about us and Kevin Richmond, another filmmaker in town.


**They didn't put a picture of my ugly mug in it for the first time too... Seacrest--Out!


By the way, Hickory, NC is rated one of the worst places for jobs on MSN. They were pitted next to The Bay Area, New Orleans, and Sacramento. This article was out yesterday.


Read it Here



Thursday, October 11, 2007

Another Ride in the Wheelbarrel

OK, so right when you think all the hard work and frustration never pays off and the years of eating shit have made you a sour, haggard pissed off casualty, somebody comes and throws you in a wheelbarrel and carries you a couple more miles, (or until, you wake up from your drunken stupor and realize, that you are too old to change professions.) The wheelbarrel came to me in the form of a review this time around. Another film festival down…. Another set of steak knives… But maybe a win worth more than the Grand Prize cash. As my lack of sleep from not having enough time to get pre production done on TA and JEP, made me a basket case and again, put me at the point of saying, "Eff it," and finding a new career,  I receive a review from a small paper publication in Wilmington. It read like this:

In the words of Al Pacino, "I try to get out and they KEEP PULLLINNNGGG MMMEEE BACCCCKKKK IIIINNNNN!" – Without the heart attack of course.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

An Echo of Norwood

If I had to compare my life to a sports teams success and unsuccess, I would be right at home with choosing my very own team, the Buffalo Bills. In my 26 years of being a fan, I have seen them at their best and seen them at their worst. Just like a life like most people. There are ups and downs, but where theirs varies from normal life, is all of the 'almosts.' If the Bills were a Horseshoes or a Projectile Vomiting Team, they would be the frickin' longest running champs that had ever graced our planet. Unfortunately, in football, 1 point will beat you every time… Again, and again. The reason I say the Bills mirror my life is simple… I have had more disappointments in my life than I have successes, BUT when I had or have successes, they are huge, BUT those successes will always fall short of GREAT. They are GOOD, but not great. This situation is usually due to some late monkey wrench or munson that I carelessly miss or just some act of the Gods that comes out of nowhere to ruin the moment. (I'm not being a drama queen here. I take part responsibility for many of my ALMOSTS in my life.)

With that said, I sat down for Monday Night Football last night as excited as a kid on Christmas morning. For the first time in 13 years the freakin' Buffalo Bills were hosting MNF!!!! And who against, the most hated team of mine and most Bill fans: The Dallas Cowgirls. This was the team that basically wiped their ass with us two years in a row in the biggest most watched football game in the world—The Super Bowl.

Note 1 – Success, but Not Good Enough Example 132: The year after losing the 2nd Super Bowl to them, the Bills played them in the first game of the season. The Bills won it. I believe it was 28-14. The season after that…. Won again, but apparently we just couldn't beat them in the big game.

So, the Bills… Well they've sucked for a very long time. In fact, they have sucked ass well since another one of their ALMOST MOMENTS that again goes down in Infamy as one of their 7 games that made NFL history of BIGGEST CHOKE: The Music City Miracle. For anyone that doesn't know: The Bills were playing the Titans in the Wild Card Game. Doug Flutie drove down with seconds left of the game to score and put the Bills ahead. It looked as if they were going to advance to the Semis. It should have been a sure thing and what happens: On the ensuing kickoff, the Titans with an erray of backward laterals went all the way down the field with no time left, scored and won. The Titans went on to lose the Super Bowl by 1 yard.

OK, the Bills suck ass. I was expecting a massacre against the undefeated Cowgirls, but I would watch it being a loyal fan. Over the years, I had become numb to the many Bill losses, what was another? Then something happened. Tony Romo threw 5 picks and fumbled one for a whopping 6 turnovers. The Bills scored two TD's from the interceptions. They then ran a kick off back and held Dallas in a defensive bombardment and I am sitting there with 9 minutes left in the game, saying, this win may change the momentum of the Bills' season and would be huge for Buffalo fans all over the country. It may have been as big a win since the greatest Bills game ever played when they came back from being twenty eight down to the Oilers in the playoffs the year they went on to face the Redskins and LOSE.

Then…. The Buffalo Bill Munson began to take its evil shape. The echo of the Scott Norwood wide right field goal that would have given the Bills one ring of the four
consecutive Super Bowls we went to, began to take its evil shape as well. The kick that had it gone through, may have given the Bills the confidence in the big game to win the 3 after.

Tony Romo, who had not done a damn thing for almost 53 minutes of the game, managed to put together a 9 out of 11 with no interception drive to score off of an Edwards interception. Then minutes later go on a rampage again only to score with 20 seconds left in the game. The Cowboys had no timeouts left and had to score a two point conversion to tie the game. Terrell Owens then was stripped of the ball and the two point conversion failed, leaving the Bills ahead. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS RECOVER THE INEVITABLE ONSIDE KICK and the game would be over. The Bills biggest win in years would again go down as one of the most exciting games in MNF history.

The Special Teams, who had not made a mistake all night, would screw the world on that play.

The Cowboys got the onside kick. Then Romo threw an incomplete putting the clock down to thirteen seconds. Right after that on that play, a five yarder. Then WHAT!!!! Another almost ten yarder. A 52 yard field goal would be the fate of the Bills win with 1 second left. The kicker's longest was 47 yards. He split the uprights, but WAIT!!!! Jauron, Buffalo's coach, called a timeout at the last second. The Cowgirls would have to kick it again…. Unlike Scott Norwood--- He split the uprights again. Game Over. I cut the TV off mid air on that game winning field goal. It was an easy prediction being a Bills fan. It may have been the most upset I've been since that Norwood kick. I have never cried over a football game but that one time. I almost did again on this occasion. I lied in bed for an hour thinking about yet another 'classic Bills performance.' I wondered how they could have been in so much control for most of the game only to somehow lose?

Then I thought of the many opportunities I made the wrong decision on and how many great things I was on my way to doing only to have the slightest hang up change the course of my life. Then it all of sudden was easy to understand…. The Bills and I were the poster boys for the famous Marlon Brando saying in 'On the Waterfront', "We could have been a contender." It is a fuckin' travesty.


Monday, October 8, 2007

Sometime in October Film Festival

The Sometime in October Film Festival in Wilmington, will be the next stop for my little bastard film, "Meter." I'm very excited, but am disappointed in the same, because I will not be able to make the trip down. I will be in Charlotte with one of my partners, the ever so talented Skip, shooting a wedding. The film will be there nonetheless and is again in the running for best short. I'm unsure if a panel or the audience decide who wins. Either way, who knows? 'The Van' and 'Warlord,' (the two films that beat us out in the last two,) will not be playing. If I were to place money on it, I would say I will be collecting another 'set of steak knives.'**

Saturday, October 6th
Rhino Club
125 Market Street

If you are in the Wilmington Area, stop in and see it if you haven't already. I think the admission is four dolla'.

**Ok, so anybody wanting to know where I get the 'steak knives' saying from… I'll tell you now. In the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, the wonderfully talented, Alec Baldwin comes into this office of smoes to give them an ultimatum on their real estate salesmanship. (Glengarry Glen Ross is actually a play, but the Alec Baldwin character was written especially for the movie.)

At the end of his gut wrenching, condescending spill he leans on the desk and tells them the incentives that are offered for closing.

He says: "First Place, a new Corvette… Second Place, set of steak knives… Third Place….. You're Fired!"

So there you go.

Monday, September 24, 2007

My Wedding Ceremony is a Train Wreck

My wedding weekend was a blast. My friends from LA came in on their own dollar to see get married and volunteered to shoot in and around my wedding which I am very grateful for. I love and appreciate them tremendously. So with that said it's time for a Film School Lesson.

Lesson 716

How this rule blew by all three of my friends, I will never know. Correction: How it blew by two of them, I will never know… BUT IT DID.
What is the number 1 rule when shooting multiple cameras on a live event? Here's a Multiple Choice Question:

A- Be Sure you are capturing different angles from one another.
B- Make sure you designate a master shot

Now does this help? Not even if you are running hand held and come down with a sudden case of the shits, do you cut the camera off. You simply keep rolling, excuse yourself and come back and pick it up. Why is this? Real simple… So the Editor only has to sync the sound up once. Sure, you can call it lazy, but it is more about efficiency and sanity. In big productions where they are running soundboards, live feeds, massive editing systems with all the bells and whistles, it is much easier for anyone to quickly put everything back in sync. For little ole' me, its fuckin' impossible. On top of having to resync the footage I was dealing with sound issues. It is a church with internal mics. That makes matters worse, because unfortunately I am going to have to use some of one camera's audio in spots and some of another in other spots. THANK GOD FOR AMANDA, who never once cut the camera off and got a full recording of my ceremony and established the master, to which I could sync the others to. Forget that the white balance on that particular camera was way off, because I would much rather color correct than to deal with sound. OK, so here's the issue I am bitching about: If I am going to use three angles to make my ceremony look professional, like I do when I shoot weddings then they are going to all have to be in sync. Every time the camera is cut off, I have to resync that particular cameras footage on the time line. Forget that the two cameras were cutting off in different places in what felt like two minute intervals, but my God, they were cutting off numerous times during the two songs that were performed. OF ALL THE SPOTS! The place in the Ceremony where it is imperative to cut from camera to camera while the song is playing to prevent redundancy. (CUT TO: Bride and Groom --- Dissolve to person SINGING – DISSOLVE to bridesmaids, groomsmen and back to BRIDE & GROOM) It's standard. My wedding ceremony will not have so much as a dissolve in it, because one, the footage is so shaky, I have cut a particular clip right at the part of shakiness because there is not enough time of still camera to cover what that shot is covering up on the others OR I can't dissolve because well…. THE SOUND IS OFF. Between the two cameras a whopping 11 times they were cut off in a sixteen minute period. My ceremony took nearly two weeks to cut and closely estimating about 35 hours to complete… (And that's just the syncing sound and picture.) I still have to color correct, image stabilize and find the best combination of the audio. I have never been so frustrated in my life editing. (Not even when cutting Meter's sound) Not only did this process take so long that I didn't finish the entire wedding video before the busy time of my schedule, (I'm booked for every weekend for about two months straight,) but as shitty as it is to say, it almost sucked the creativity of the process out of me. I had so many visions of what I wanted to do with MY WEDDING VIDEO, but now it is just a matter of COMPLETING THE FUCKING THING BEFORE CHRISTMAS. While family members hound me to get finished, they don't understand how much I wanted to put into this thing and I knew the longer it sat and the further I got away from that magic weekend, the harder it would be to carry out my vision. Cutting the Ceremony did just that. It kicked me in my nuts and spoiled my creative feast for the NC Incident. I am not mad at them at all. How were they suppose to know. Others may say, "it's your own fault. I would have gone with Amanda's one shot and moved on," but you know what, I've been shooting weddings, commercials, and everything else for years and have put 100% into every one of the productions. I never hogged the lens and have shot many family functions and friends' wedding for free. Would it be too much to ask that mine look as good as theirs. Would Mandi be disappointed if she felt I half assed our own wedding video never understanding the reason I did it, so I struggle on.

To give you a better understanding here are two examples. The first example is the actual train wreck of a timeline for my ceremony. The read boxes are every spot I had to literally sync that cameras sound back up. (I usually used the beginning of my daughter's cry in the audience to mark the sync spot—Funny.) The little triangles are where I cut the timeline to be able to switch out the overflow of audio clips I had to move. That timeline looks like what an action sequence in a Die Hard movie would look like after adding all the sound effects and ADR.

This is what a 3 camera ceremony, effects sound and all took me about two hours to cut. This is how easy it should have been.

This is what a 3 camera ceremony, effects sound and all took me about two hours to cut. This is how easy it should have been:

Friday, September 7, 2007

A Great Bloody Mistake

With Bobby Badluck, Tag Along and Jeopardy penned for the rest of the year into next summer and everything pending finally finished, I found myself with a minute or two. I was going to finish my Wedding Video and then look ahead. I had spent some hours QCing Jobbers Deluxe Edition DVD and Tag Along Promo Trailers, finished early and really didn’t have enough time that night to start on anything else. So I started watching some of the raw files and DVD extra clips of Jobbers, as I have done so many times before. The movie that basically started, ended and restarted my career had always been my ‘memory lane’ given I had time to walk down it. Despite how horribly hated or how horribly loved that film may be to people, it will always stay in my heart as my favorite. They say your life passes before you as you die. There will probably be a good six minute block of the Jobbers experience in my last breath… Guaranteed.

Obviously the memory that stands out, (both mentally AND PHYSICALLY,) on and in MY HEAD is the set up between Justin and I. It was the first match we actually shot for the film. I had shot two others just to get a feel of how these “wrasslin’ matches” were suppose to pan out. This one was the first shot in what has been referred to since that night til now ‘THE INFAMOUS GARAGE.’ We had purchased some fake blood for the occasion but it just didn’t shoot good under the seedy light of the garage, so I decided, if Ric Flair could do it, I could so the plan was to blade my head and produce a little of the real thing. Seconds after I did the deed, Justin proceeded to grab and slam my forehead into an old metal fence. With just enough torque, and angle applied, a point on that fence fish hooked that little incision I had made and ripped the wound down across the crest of my temple. We continued to fight for a minute before the cameras stopped to realize, I was in bad trouble. With the crew wanting to stop and get me to a hospital, I insisted that we might as well continue on. The damage had been done and I thought, “well, this would really halt production if minutes into the first set up the first actor was physically injured. We had planned and prepped for this for months. I had tacked on ten pounds of muscle weight for this. So what my brains were hanging out, I was the captain of this ship. If I pussied out, so would everybody else. The cameras whipped back on and Justin and I went at it. For five minutes, we fell, slipped and fought up and down that garage with pints of my blood washing away every footprint we made. When I finally stifled the word, “cut.” The parking garage looked like kids had played ‘slip and slide’ in ketchup through it.

After a quick quip to the camera, Justin whizzed me to the ER.

This is the actual match from about a minute before the injury until the end. Watching the match like this, (out of context of the film,) you will probably say, “Man, how boring,” and will no matter what say, “What a frickin’ idiot!!!!” But if you have seen the film or plan on picking it up in the store at Christmas, then you will see what a great element it adds to MY character and the story itself. It may still be the deemed, “The Best Directing Decision I ever made,” even if it cost me $1500.00.

If you can not tolerate blood. I would not watch this.

Countdown to Jobbers - A Minor Head Wound.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Trilogy Ends If I can Find THE MUSIC

Music is an important if not the most important part of what I call, "Chop Suey" editing.
(Def: Chop Suey Editing – basically home video footage cut into montages, documentaries, or MTV style vignettes.)
In shooting weddings, is it important? Sure. Is it easy? Oh Gosh, yes…. Most of the time. When I shoot people's weddings, I document the songs they use from their ceremony to their reception. Go home, get on Itunes buy five dollars worth of songs and drop them on the timeline. From there it's just a matter of pacing the picture around the music.

In doing my wedding, it has not been so easy. Sure, I'm deathly attached to it which makes it harder for me to just slap it on a timeline and start cutting, but again, this one, like Wheeler & Steff's, Ryan and Jess' is no regular wedding video. This was the FINAL INSTALLMENT OF THE TRILOGY. (You get that if you read my wedding intro on my site.)

So OK, with the Wheeler Wedding, I actually maintained a theme both visually and musically. In the visual department, I kept the color flat with restricting saturation on all levels so if you watch the film the footage appears very blown out in parts and your color palette is white, gray and blue. Sure there is color, but your primaries are very cool neutrals. Even the titles stayed relatively flat. Musically, I mixed it. Some older stuff with some new stuff of all variations from rap, the Beatles, Staind was used. The older stuff was mainly, music Wheeler and I listened to in High School and early college. (It had meaning.)

In the Weitz Wedding, I had approached it differently. This was my College Gang and we had developed quite a different taste in music. I hardly forsaw having Ryan and Jess say their vows, kiss and walk down the aisle as Slipknot kicks in when they hit the doors. Their wedding also took place in Vegas. What could be a better theme than an Oceans 11 style. Ten friends reuniting in Vegas after years of being a part was destined for that kind of feel. The footage was saturated. The color palette was off the screen and the titles were big color, big pop. With the heavy metal years of college being a nit even for one of my friend's weddings, Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy were on the mark, only going out of the range for the finale of Coldplay that would pave the way for future montages with this reunion of friends.

With that, it leaves my wedding, and a stumped editor that has no idea what to do. I have made some creative decisions so far, but still kind of out in the dark on others. I have mixed and matched music far too much to feel safe with my decisions. One of the decisions I have made is the color palette. It will eat up a least a week of editing because it is very hard to convey to even well rounded camera men and women who are shooting on the fly and from the hip that I want every thing slightly desaturated so I can treat it with a warming filter to give it sort of a bronze effect. Their reaction would have probably been, "fucking film student." With that said, I will have to do it all in post, hence time. So as the Wheeler wedding was grey and cool, the Weitz wedding fully saturated, the Lane Wedding would be orange and warm. I wanted to keep sort of a Southern feel to it. Here's the rub: The way I did the titles for this one I fell in love with immediately and almost refuse to change them. They are simple yet, contemporary so don't really fit into a more traditional southern kind of feel. That is problem 1.

Problem 2 is much bigger. The music used. Like I said, I have already traded out music several times which worries me, because I normally know what song I am going to use the minute I envision the clip edited. That is not the case this time. I won't say I am over analyzing this because it is MY wedding and I want it to be perfect, because that would be easy to make that assumption. There are actual variables to which I find the conflict.

The weekend went by so fast I don't remember any music ever being played.
I drove a big white van around for three days. In that white van there was only one CD. It was a timeless classic from the Black Crowes entitled, 'Amorica,' and I could really almost cut the whole show using that whole album and get away with me being completely satisfied, but there is another more important person involved…
Mandi… And we have the exact opposite taste in music. Granted, there are exceptions that manage to conform to both of our likings, (See Wedding CD we gave away at reception,) but honestly there is no way to evenly spread the different tastes out in this video.
So you say, well why not use your Wedding Compilation CD to do it… Well, half the CD again, does not fit with the video and some of the songs we share are rather gritty. Mandi and I are not saps, so there really are not any O Town, Mariah, Rod Stewart or Shania Twain love songs in our I Pods.
So then I went to the 'Southern Rock and Roll Theme.' It would include some of my Crowes and anybody's favorite rock songs. I could mix up a little of Mandi's Rascal Flatts, but would leave off entirely any hip hop or 80's music that I am sure she would like put on.

I mean even the songs I picked from the start, (my first instinct in editing is always the best…. In some cases,) are not flowing. Hell, I was dead set on putting Pearl Jam's 'Alive' in it somewhere for my boys and I and I can't find even a remotely good place for it unless it belongs at the party back at the hotel after the reception. The Ceremony walk and picture montage was to be Peter Gabriel's 'Book of Love.' It is a beautiful song, but it does not transition into Rascal Flatts 'The Day Before You.' Which basically starts off right after it. Hell, the opener!!! It looked great… The first ten times I saw it, but the more I look at it, the more I think it's not right and it's the effing music there that is throwing the monkey wrench. Uggghhhh.

I will say that I am happy thus far with two songs used and it makes me happy that both of them were on my list to start and were to be used exactly where I had envisioned them. Train's 'Free,' which is one of Mandi and I's shared songs and 'Simple Man' by Lynryd Skynrd. The first script I wrote my Sophomore year of high school was fucking awful, BUT there was one really good scene where the main character, busts into the bad guy's brother's house walks through the kitchen, up the stairs, and into the bedroom where he and a whore are goofing off under the sheets. The brother looks up and not one pause, beat or word is said and the main character fires three bullets, killing them both. We follow him back down the stairs and out and the whole scene is in real time and the radio in the house is playing 'Simple Man.' I have for 18 years tried to find a way to incorporate that song into something. It works here.

OK, you are saying… "Dude, it's a wedding video." I am saying, yes it is, but I have my vices and my particulars and this is one of them. Yes, it's my wedding. No it doesn't have to be perfect, but this one will be the one, that I will watch in six years and don't want to say when I do, "Why did I use that song there? I should have used this," or "I could have cut five minutes off this scene, tied it in with those two and just used that one song." I want to be able to sit down and watch it and be relieved that it was perfectly put together. God knows, if I had the time and energy, I would recut the Wheeler Wedding in a heart beat. Now think about how I feel about mine if I second guess anything.

I have had a break from it while doing some corporate jobs and Tag Along, so maybe when I go back, it will come to me.

To give you a little insight of what all this mumbo jumbo means, I have stuff to look at.

This was a scratch piece of paper I wrote on as I watched all this footage being captured. I made a timeline, inserting different songs in different places, trying to figure out before hand how I was going to cut it.

When I spoke of color palettes, titles, etc—

This was the trailer for the Wheeler Wedding aka The Jersey Bootleg. Notice the color in the clips. Lots of white, blown out, flat, gray and neutral color.

Wedding One - The Jersey Bootleg Trailer

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You wanna' see more clips from Wedding One Click Here

This is the trailer leading up to the Weitz Wedding aka Vegas Wedding. Although there is no actual footage of the wedding in this clip you will immediate get the idea of the 'Vegas/Ocean's 11' theme used.

Wedding Two - Vegas Wedding

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You wanna' see actual clips fromWedding Two Click Here

And finally, a clip from the Lane Wedding aka The NC Incident. I wasn't big on giving any sneak peeks, but I feel I need to explain myself so you don't think I'm crazy. The clip is still rough so sound and picture will be a bit unclean but you will get the point. This is the clip where Train's 'Free' is used. It's the night everybody gets in. The title flashes across the screen, but this is really already about 15 minutes in. Notice the warm bronze look and the simple yet non traditional use of titles.

Wedding Three - "Reunion"

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Let me know what you think.

And honestly, if all this shit I just spewed clicks with you, I would be happy to have any creative input on the matter.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Tag Along Begins

On August 4th, Tag Along, Freddy's Spiritual Thriller began its journey as production started. Although we have a long road ahead of us, it was nice to be doing it again and know that the first film, (which I thought was just going to be a once in a blue moon run,) had built the foundations of a filmmaking machine. With having to work full time jobs and do pre production over the computer and phone due to distance and schedules, the process has been slow, but with Freddy helming the Up Close And Personal Aspects of raising money and awareness and me, being the proverbial "Man Behind the Curtain," we've managed to put some of this together and with funding in place for this one, (or the trailer being finished away from it,) I hope this begins the glorious journey into the exciting unknown... And just maybe this last ten years of starving, eating shit and doing shit jobs will be behind me and at least I can live comfortably enjoying the only thing besides my friends and family that I can say I truly love. Here is a clip of our production.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Bobby Badluck

I have always wanted to get into Flash Animation or just animation in general. I have tried to tinker around with it for quite sometime. I read tutorials, books… Pretty much everything, but right when I sat down to utilize the stuff I learned, a video gig would come up so I would put it on the back burner. I say over and over that I should go the animation route instead of film, simply because with animation, for me there is no depending on anybody else. I could make my cartoon all by my lonesome, locked in my room and I wouldn't have to do the run around, get the run around, and be frustrated when gigs would and will fall through. To me, it's worth it. Granted, I am 33 now… Meaning I would be getting into it a little late. I'm sure my skills would not be at "professional level" for at least 4 years unless I am a natural and that I can tell you I am not. I've always, always had trouble drawing women and finding the perfect perspective for which my people's surroundings are based around, so there would be that hump to get over in general. SO, I'm going to start as simple as possible. One Dimension, simple movement, funny cartoon is where I will start. "Bobby Badluck," who is basically a Charlie Brown on meth . He is the guy I will start with. He is a guy who seems like he is always in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is pummeled, laughed at, hated by and just seems like a perfect target for the most unusual disasters. He's haggard and beat by the world, yet he continues with everyday life. It should be fun. In clip number one, he is knocked into a sink hole by a kamikaze bird. Yes… I know. I'm still working on scenarios. Here are my quick early concept sketches.

If anybody out there is interested in animation in anyway and has some time on their hands, John Kricfalusi has been generous enough to share his insight, education, and knowledge to how to do, what to look for, and what makes it good on his Blog. If you don't know him... He is the man that created George Liquor and Ren & Stimpy, (among others) He does an in depth entry everyday. How he finds time, I don't know, but it may be THEE most comprehensive text book ever created by any industry professional. If you don't have time to read online, I suggest, do what I did. Stock up on printer cartridge and paper and print the months dating back to '06 and read it as a book.

It's free and he's very, very informative.

Check it out here.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The ABC'S of an Ignorant Liar - Part 2

In Los Angeles, I dropped the art pens for a camera. By the eighth week in, I was shooting on 16mm, writing story and script after story and script. When I wasn't in class or working, I was typing away. I would drive down the road and come up with five story ideas. Everything from drawings to outlandish ideas to raise money to make a movie, I was thinking out. One week my sophomore year in college during Spring Break, my head had filled its capacity and I had to get it emptied or I would have been 'certifiable.' I locked myself in my room and punched out four first drafts of screen plays at 120 pages a piece. Not just to write, mind you, but full fledged characters, story and settings in these manuscripts. Upon review of my friends and colleagues, they were 'damn good.' They needed adjustments like any other story, but nonetheless my brain was empty if only for a day. By my junior year, I had written a 307 page fantasy adventure story & script that was grand in scale and elaborate, complete with sketches, maps, timelines and back story to all of it. By my senior year I had shot two films and written a post-apocalyptic script that was given rave reviews, even if the films were 'green,' (novice Student Films.) Along the way, I had compiled journal after journal, (nearly fifty,) of every move and story idea, I had thought of in my life. I didn't go anywhere without a pocket notebook and pen, because if I got to thinking I had to get it out. I have pocket notebooks full of just bulleted set ups for scenes. When I went to my first,(and only Rave,) I filled up a whole book on just the experience. (That being the only surrounding that had me fill up a book. I wrote everything, person and light I saw, because at the time, I knew there would come a day where a film of mine would require a rave scene.) Funny part and here's what I am trying to get out: I didn't need those notebooks, because I remember every look and feel that's ever caught my eye or interest. A song playing on the radio takes me on a journey. When I shoot or edit something, if one of those scenes pops into my head that matches, I use it and the music involved. Friends and Co-Workers will always say, "Garrick, where do you come up with this stuff?" or "Man, that song and the way you did that scene was perfect." My answer, "it just happens." I remember all those little or large moments and store them. Does that sound like an ignorant ADD riddled person? If it does, I'd like to meet the smart ADD guy.

There is only one problem I have with my method of madness and that is, I sometimes let my mouth go as fast as my brain. I blurt out things that may not be dead on, but not so much to 'lie' or 'tell people what they want to hear' but because in my brain I have already figured out how the story will go and I let everybody in on it before the story has actually finished running its course from being excited about it. It's an impulsive thing that I have managed to tone down but not out quite yet. For instance, I would be offered a contract job and get it in my head and begin telling everybody and planning everything, then they would call and cancel the job and I'm stuck telling everybody that I am not doing it now or I'm real bad about saying that a job is done, when I know I still had a couple more adjustments to make. It's not to outright 'lie,' it's just that being done on a job is so exciting, I tend to after all the work say it's done because to me, after 60 hours in front of an editing bay and I am down to my last few, it's finished. These accusers of ignorance and attention deficit will also say, I don't listen or follow through. That may or may not be true. I may appear to be a space cadet or off in "Garrick Town." It's because I'm planning my next venture and when the thoughts of it embed into my brain, it overruns every spare thought I have. Then it builds on others and then those build on others and the only way I can keep myself sane is to push it out of there whether by, writing, shooting, drawing or whatever. Why do I have that big website full of shit??? Because I have to put it somewhere or it would sit in Garrick Town and crowd my creative process. Why do I write these blogs? It is not because I want to be popular. It's not because I feel like this will get me noticed or to be a part of this MySpace craze. Hell, I don't think but a select few read the damn thing to begin with, but it is easier to do it this way and get it out then leave it in a pocket notebook somewhere. Maybe one person will read it and feel the same way about them selves. Who knows, maybe somebody will say, "Man, that Garrick guy is as fucked up as a mayonnaise biscuit." At least somebody sees the ABC's of me.

If all that I have done in my small 33 years sounds like the works of an incompetent, ignorant, space cadet who has no direction in life, I'd hate to pick Bill Gates, John Ford or Colin Powell's brains.

And if I sound certifiable by this TRUE analysis of myself, at least when I pass on, my kids can have months of entertainment watching my 500 plus raw recorded DV tapes of footage I've captured since I was 8, the films, and other clips I cut from all of it. If that's not enough to keep them busy they can read, laugh and cry at my newspapers, scripts, short stories, long stories, and over 50 hand written journals I have scribbled in. If that's not good enough, they can watch a home video of me thrashing on a skateboard or study my drawing books with all sorts of craziness in them. Maybe after all that they can say, "Man, I know it sounds cliché' but you have no idea when we say our father was one of a kind."

You wanna see smidge of stuff that my brain has to deal with?


Sunday, July 29, 2007

The ABC'S of an Ignorant Liar Part 1

I'm going to clear the air for anybody that has the wrong idea about me. I have been being called stupid and ignorant from someone very close to me for a very long time and I have just now decided that I was going to share to the world including this person what I think of me being ignorant or stupid.

Number 1 - I am not incompetent. I am not a liar. And I'm not irresponsible or "flaky." I am either a frickin' miracle of modern science or I am certifiably insane.

You make the decision. In my defense on the 'certifiable' thing, I'm not a violent guy nor paranoid nor homicidal. I was never abused as a kid. In fact, I grew up in an upper class, typical family. Sure we had our things but what family doesn't. My great grandfather, grandfather and father were and are brilliant men. My father, along with being a city renowned dentist is also an established professional photographer. He devoted his life to his family and I've spent my life trying to make him proud.

OK, so enough about that. Through the years, my mother was certain I was "mentally awkward." I visited distinguished hospital after distinguished hospital to have tests run on me. I don't remember specifics but I do remember the doctors saying I had what they called 'Attention Deficit Disorder.' This was 25 years ago. It was back when the government and the medical industry realized how much money they could make hammering the American Public with all these new ailments and dysfunctions of the human body through books, propaganda, PSA's and billboards. Of course I was going to be ADD. Forget the fact that my IQ test at 10 revealed my score was 100. (*This was Above Average. Genius was up in the 130 range.) Yet I was still a 'kook' and my mother made sure everybody including myself knew that everyday of my life, because I didn't pay attention in class. When I did pay attention, I scored 98s like they were going out of style. The SAT [Psssstttt!] 990. (Granted, because I was "ADD" I got no time limit and a room to myself to do it in. I would have probably done better in a timed environment. Who knows?) My life thinking back with or without ADD ….. Fucking Achievement.

I was shooting music videos in my backyard, (directing my father on camera,) when I was eight. I was playing soccer by nine. When sixth grade came along, I was writing short stories and episodes about my group of friends being in Squaw Valley as Professional Snow Skiers, dealing with relationships, growing up and skiing competitions. By 14, I was a well skilled skateboarder while snow skiing in competitions for the Appalachian Junior Ski Team. By 15, I was shoved into Boarding School for 'Learning Disabled' kids. I would have schooled on the fucking equator if that is what would have kept me from any more doctor tests. In boarding school, I was a collegiate wrestler, (and fake wrestler as well,) lobbying for a ring, (to box and wrestle in,) to be put into our dorm room and through liabilities and other BS red tape… Got it. I invented my own Wrestling Federation and held tri monthly 'pay-per-views.' I also kept coming up with innovative ways to sneak into the girls' dorm… HA! (Just seeing if you are still with me.) I was listening to The Cult, Dead Kennedys, The Misfits, Zeppelin. "Very unusual taste for a 15 year old," a teacher stated. Too bad they are all classic rock bands now, lady. When I wasn't in the dorm arena kicking ass or getting my ass kicked in, I was writing an 'underground' newspaper that touched on Student Opinions and my own thoughts of the rise of "authority" in schools and government in which they had gradually under the radar begun to take peoples' right to think for themselves away. Upon my parents deciding to give me my junior and senior year at public school on the advice of two of my teachers that said it was time for some real classes for me, boarding school and yet another group of great friends I had acquired at a school were gone.

In public school was where I began realizing I wasn't like other kids. I carried on my 'underground newspaper,' to the masses and it blew up like the Harry Potter books, (in Hickory High School anyway.) Once a week, a four page handwritten, hand drown and animated paper was distributed to lines of people in lunch wanting to read my garble. The first couple had a 30 copy run. By number seven, over 100. After the debacle which I will tell you about in a minute, I was pumping out 300 copies like it was boogers. On top of all of this I was still doing my work. Granted, I was only doing enough to get by, but doing it nonetheless. Then, my real encounter with the 'new authority' I spoke of would change my life and perspective of life all together. A kid was expelled from school for outrageous reasons. I won't get into specifics, but let's just say he was a less fortunate kid who had a food card. The public school and Booster Clubs didn't need him. His parents were never going to contribute to their cause. He came to school in the same clothes three days a week and occasionally was tardy because his parents were too drunk from the night before to drive him to school forcing him to walk three miles to the school on a very short notice. I didn't know him that well, but I wasn't your normal 'click' guy who didn't associate or acknowledge people outside of my "rich friend group." I knew and liked everybody equally. Well, I along with a few others felt the reason for expulsion was because the faculty felt he was one kid that didn't belong in the "prestigious" HHS and used a ridiculous excuse to get rid of him. Well Garrick decided that wasn't going to stand and again, being cool with everybody managed to get my hands on some documents that would at least put the expulsion in question. In Issue 12 I exposed the situation. It was probably not the Issue I should have also gotten into depth with sex and what teenagers were actually doing with their spare time in our high school. As many before it, this issue did not fly under the radar. It caused an up roar with the Administration and they impulsively suspended me for 10 days. (A 10 day suspension would inadvertently fail me for the semester.) My father as mad as he was at me was just as mad about the Freedom of Speech and Press theory being negated and it was. There was no slander. What I wrote was all true. I didn't point fingers or attack anyone. I just put it out there. Two days into my suspension, there were petitions, banners, protests and sit outs for the 'miscarriage in justice' bestowed on me. The punishment even made the majority of parents angry and although some did not agree with what I was writing, they did deem it unique and innovative. By the fifth day of my exile, I was back in school and pardoned. (*So was my expelled friend.) The agreement was I could do the paper, just couldn't distribute it on school grounds. I designed and wrote 96 of those papers before I left for Los Angeles.

Sound like an ignorant dumb ass, yet? Read part two for conclusion.

Here is just one of the covers to my "controversial" newspaper.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Another Set of Steak Knives

OK, so we didn’t win at the festival this past weekend. 95 shorts submitted and we were 1 of 10 they picked which is good, but no excuse to come home empty handed. We received some great reviews. The committee in fact said it was one of their favorites And I heard through somebody else that the decision came down to "Warlord"[winner] or our film. If this is true and they weren’t just fancying us,) we would have been Runner Up but the festival does not give out a ’Runner Up’award.There is only one winner per category. So... I guess a PG movie with a kid in it probably supersedes a movie with harsh language, opinions, and violence to the older ’big wigs’with the financial donations to the festival.It’s fine. We had a great time and everybody hosting the festival were really nice, generous and professional.

Filmmaking is an art. How people judge art probably has to do with the venue, geographics, and taste. You don’t put a Picasso, Van Gogh and Warhol next to each other and say, "Pick." Regardless whether you are Picasso or Joe Smo, art is an expression. It is also an overwhelming profession that will take over life, (during the duration of the piece,) and will mentally impair you. Anybody that does it take days off their life on every venture.

Point I am tryin to make is no matter if there are 5 people or 500 on a film crew; whether your movie is an aesthetic disaster or critically acclaimed masterpiece, those people that worked on it were inspired, and engulfed in this
particular piece of art forever how long it took to complete. They worked their ass off bleeding, sweating, and crying over that small hour and a half that is either forgotten or remembered for eternity. If you sit the credits at the end of a film you will see what it takes to make a movie.

That alone is why they do it. Awards are what you get when you see a theatre full of people and a part of you displays itself on the big screen above. I’ll take this honor and move on to the next one.

Although, I will say, the sets of steak knives are beginning to pile up.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

More than Meets the Eye.... Eye doubt it.

I’m only going to answer this question one more time. Here are the reasons I am not seeing Transformers.

1)Michael Bay
2)$200 plus budget rarely makes a good film
3)When Computer EFX take over the importance of sets, story and now acting duties, you’ve lost the word ’Cinema’ altogether completely, (which started the phenonmenon to begin with)
4) Again, Michael Bay

Yes, I’m old school. Yes, I am a prude when it comes to devoting time to watching films. Yes, I owned every Transformer that filled the toy store aisles back in the day. (Prowl was my favorite.)


If I were to spend $15.00 on a "Dreaded Summer Movie," Box Office Ticket... It would be... (WAIT I DID!!!!) Oceans Thirteen. --Wonderful by the way!!!- If I were to get two more choices, they would be:

Bruce, Kevin and this franchise they call Die Hard. They are saying it is the smartest of all the DH’s before it. If no "Yippy Kah Yah" then it would have to be "Bugger..." The Pirates World End. You are now saying what is the difference?

Two Things: One, I’m a huge ’Adventure’ movie buff, obviously and that movie the last time I checked, the Pirates movies still spent money on real sets. IE: Boats, Oceans, Swords and Two, It’s the final of the 3. I own the other two... Why wouldn’t I at least give the finale a day in court? With Indiana Jones 4 in production as of June 18th there is no room for no brainer EFX movies. Transformers is just that. The movie shot almost completely from the Autodesk Software Platform, this movie from what I’ve read and obviously seen has no substance. No story, (or one we consider halfway descent.) I hear everybody say, it’s great and yada, yada, but they are not saying it’s great as a piece for your collection of ’Cinema Storytelling.’ They are saying it is great because the filmmakers... Scratch that the Computer Effect Makers green screen a bus getting hit with a wrecking ball and then superimpose ’Rock Crusher’ in the wrecking ball’s place. Cool and all but I’ll pass. Robot movies have never been all that cool unless you have seen Short Circuit and hell, the cartoon for these ridiculus hunks of steel wasn’t all that good to begin with. You know why you haven’t seen a GI JOE movie? Because they realized after Dolph Lundgren effed up He Man, that these kinds of cartoons based on old school action figures don’t play well. This one will not either. Gimme’ Rum, Nakatomi Plaza, a Fedora or even then an R2-D2 Beep. The Transformer schtick should have stayed where it belongs... The discontinued item list at Toys R Us.

Prove me wrong.

**Good Old Fashioned Fantasy, Adventure, Action Driven Movies I am putting on my TO WATCH LIST.
***In Order

1)Indy 4
2)Sweeney Todd (Tim Burton)
3)Live Free/Die Hard
5)Pirates World End
6)Batman - The Dark Knight


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