Thursday, December 11, 2008


I told Rick months ago, I would dance a jig when this thing was over. Well, I’m not dancing the jig quite yet, but I’ve begun polishing my dancing shoes. My job as Producer, Director, Editor is now over. I packaged the movie up and shipped it to LA for our Composer, Michael Dobbins, to build the last piece of the story onto a year and half worth of work. Is the film like I envisioned it....? No.... Maybe... I haven’t gotten to that point yet but I’m sure I will when I’m watching the last frame flash by after seeing all the elements together for the first time since shooting in September. For me.... The next two weeks, it’s on to preparations for the feature, “Invasion” AKA “The Red Plague,” and moving the family to the Pacific Ocean. Then it will be back for 3 days mastering and finishing the DVD Extras for the film and then.... YES, I will dance a jig. I may do it before that. It all depends on how I feel.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Debauchery - Six Years Later

For a small stint, I would say a year and a half of my life, (maybe two,) I was a very angry person. Not so much, if I saw you in public and you gave me a look, I'd try and rip your head off, but more an angry brewing deep in side. An anger towards myself kind of thing... Anyway, I was watching the news and some young man was arrested for attacking a rapist on trial in the court room. This rapist had raped and impregnated his girlfriend in their home while he was working third shift at a local factory. He had been sitting in the court just brewing at this guy as the rapist spewed lies on the stand. A source had said that he had maintained his composer for over twenty minutes before rising from his seat, jumping over the railing and slugging this rapist. He not only clocked him in the eye, but it took two bailiffs and three security guards to pull this man's hands from the rapist's neck. I started thinking... Here you are with a great simple life. A house, a dog, marriage on the way, a great life ahead of you. You go to work like any normal day, trying to make some money, and by the time you reach your lunch break, your whole life has been turned upside down. How a man's fear of not being able to protect his home becomes reality and a man's dignity and pride is taken away and that just being one little element in a complete mental breakdown he would experience in a situation like this.... I don't know how I would react. How would you react? I felt this to be an interesting take on a story so I began writing notes and really thinking hard about it.

I have always been a huge fan of the "payback is a bitch" genre of action/drama movies. So I thought: What if a man's wife was raped and this man walked in on the act and nearly killed the rapist. The only problem was this rapist was a very important person in the small town they lived in and because of other technicalities, the rapist got off and the man was tried and convicted of attempted murder and aggravated assault and was thrown in jail for four years.....Four years... To sit around and think about that guy.... Four years to let it seep in... Four years knowing he is walking the street a free man while your life will never be the same. Would you ever even be able to forget it or forget it long enough to be OK?
So here's the pitch: Parker West was convicted for attempted murder and assault. He walked in on an assailant raping his girlfriend in her house. Because the assailant was who he was, nobody including his girlfriend wanted to testify. Parker was sentenced to four years in Alexander County Correctional Facility. It would have been more, but the judge was lenient on him due to the fact he had tried this assailant with no conviction two times before as a prosecutor. After doing ninety five percent of his sentence, Parker West was released a free man. For four years, he's waited for this moment. For four years, he's planned his revenge. Four years in prison was enough to trade his life for his assailants. Parker will not be denied. He's gonna finish what he started....
Sounds like a run of the meal "payback" movie, right? Well, almost... I have a little twist at the end of it that throws you for a loop. I would love to share it with you, but that would spoil the surprise.
This story was conceived five years ago. With a pencil and notebook I scripted a rough draft that reached about ninety one pages. A friend in LA and myself thought it was too long and drawn out and needed to be tightened up. I thought about it for months and couldn't come up with a way to tighten it up without losing character build and also not giving away the secret before the finale. Ninety pages is about the minimum to make it a feature. You get much shorter than that these days, it feels like you are cheating the audience out of their ten bucks admission. I moved on to new jobs, new towns and ultimately lost the notebook with my original written script in it. I moved back into North Carolina and that aura of the story came back as I was driving by the small hole in the wall bars and as I talked to some of the more simple, but troubled folk I had always encountered during my stays here. The story started brewing again. New ideas started popping up.

Now when the eff am I going to have time to pick this one back up with all that’s going on?? Maybe 2014....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


I’ve had a lot of bullshit sarcasm and speculations as of late that I somewhat don’t appreciate the importance of finishing the film. I do not feel like I have to justify my actions when it comes to MY film, I’m in the process of finishing. Let me, let you know that, (with the exception of Rick, who wrote it,) I’ve been there since day one on this thing and I WILL BE THE ONLY ONE there at the end as well. BUT if you must know “what’s taken so long,” I will lay it out to you.

September 30th - We shot it.

October 1- 21 - Was spent working on the proposal and script for the horror feature we were pitching to some big wigs out west SINCE it had already been decided that I was going to LA to cut the film. (We weren’t going to mess things up by starting on one computer and then getting to LA and realizing this computer doesn’t have this or this or this, so we left it alone.) I did capture the Documentary footage if you must know.

October 22- November 2 - LOS ANGELES - 18 hours a day editing, flying in planes to get shots, syncing ADR, adding sound efx, cleaning up sound and even trying to score the thing ourselves. The last day I worked on the film for 22 hours.... 22 hours straight.

November 2 - Upon looking at the film a couple of times, I realized it needed a lot of work.

November 3 -4 - Ryan did a cut without me. I flew back to Hickory.

November 6 - I figure out what the film is lacking with a few days away from it. Ryan uses his cut to get what he needs from some connections and a plan is set forth to make a documentary and then make the alien invasion film.

November 7th - Ryan washes his hands of Jeopardy and sends me the external drive.

November 8 - 17 - Absolutely nothing.... I cut two trailers and begin work on Strapped and Strained because I couldn’t work on the film because I needed a $700 upgrade in order to open the fucking file and oh yeah, I quit my job to go out to LA and cut the film so guess what.... I have no fucking money to float a $700 Upgrade so I’m fucked........

November 18 - The upgrade and a HD Monitor miraculously show up on my doorstep with a note reading “Finish the Fucking Movie” on it. The deliverer still unknown. (I’m gonna’ say it was my father or Ryan.... I don’t know.) I get right to work.

November 19 - 26 - Recut the film, redoing all transitions, flashback sequences and even adding some footage unused in the first cut. Three things that took the longest: 1) Redesigning the Transition from present to flashback and back-- made everyone of them unique this time around 2) Learning the program Color and building some extensive effects for imaging composites 3) I fucked up and cut the 2nd cut on a timeline which frame rate was 29.97.... (It was suppose to be 23.97) ---- That took a day to fix the amateur screw up of mine.

November 27 - December 3 - After breaking up the timeline by at least a minute and half and because of rushing through the process in LA’s cut and being very unorganized in the Sound Department section of the film, I opted to start the Workflow of the Sound Design and Editing completely over, using nearly 34 additional effects than the first cut and laying it all on a new timeline instead of using the first cut time line and trying to re sync up all the ear candy individually. (It will make it easier for transfers, surround packages etc....)

Tomorrow - I will fine tune every burp, fart and tweep’s levels/pans on the timeline, making sure foley like footsteps match and assuring DONGS hit when the DONGS should.

Then I ship it off to the composer.... While the composer is scoring the film, I’ll clean up the god awful sound we have in a couple of the key scenes. When I get the score back, I’ll master the sound effects, score, dialogue together, tweak any last minute color issues and render out the final movie.

How much longer? Depends on Greg, the composer. As of Friday..... I’ll be idle waiting for the final master.

You ask about a finished movie/premiere..... Let’s say by Christmas, no later, I’ll have a finished piece.... Getting a place to have a premiere, probably won’t happen until after the New Year considering the Holidays are terrible for movie premieres unless you are George Clooney or Tom Cruise.... Sorry, but going back to the first couple of sentences in this glorified timeline, “I’ve been working on this movie for a year and half.” With the pressure of the money men off my back, I would just assume, if it takes me until April put out the absolute BEST film I could possibly put out and not let everybody’s hard work go to the shitter because I am being told “Finish the fucking movie” by people who aren’t doing crap to help my cause. My career is waiting... Yours can too. Did I forget to tell you also that during all this I’m raising two kids, prepping to new projects, trying to save my marriage, and having to move back to Los Angeles by the third week in January. LAY OFF, I’m doing the best I can......

Here is a couple screenshots of the bullshit I’m having to methodically and precisely lay down.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lane on Burton

tim burton by ~theFATkid on deviantART

While we are speaking of Tim Burton, a conversation came up about his films and which ones were my favorite yada, yada. I actually have not “disliked” any of Burton’s stuff. I will say Planet had to be my least favorite and the only film of his I do not own. As for the rest, here’s how it lays out.

This is based on personal interest, not from a non-biased film critique point of view. Some of obviously goes hand and hand.

1.Ed Wood
3.Edward Scissorhands
4.Corpse Bride
5.Beetle Juice
6.Sleepy Hollow
7.Mars Attacks
8.Charlie and Chocolate Factory
9.Sweeny Todd (For Personal Reasons only. This may be his best film yet from a critic point of view.)
10.Batman Returns
11.Big Fish
12. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure
13.Planet of the Apes

Frankenweenie, Nightmare Before Christmas and Vincent have not been added to this list.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Remaking OZ

My Sophmore year at UCLA, I actually outlined using, the Annotated Wonderful Wizard of Oz an epic remake of the family classic. Mine actually followed the book much closer incorporating the “political” undertones and also came with The Quadlings, The Queen of the Field Mice, the Special Glasses that had to be worn in the City of Emeralds and had the Lion becoming the King of Beasts. These were just a few of the small elements of Baum’s masterpiece left out of the original 1939 Musical. Sure the film was a bit more “adultish” but would be a musical and would still be an easy PG film.

With a pitch like this, (back then of course,) you have to have some clout just to get a meeting with a middle man that would listen to you before going to the big men who would then go to the bigger men who would then go to Oz the Great to do some more deciding, before they would give you 10 reasons why you would be “mad” to remake OZ in anyway shape or form. With that said I put the Composition Book away figuring I had 10 years before I could ever get that meeting and another 100 before they would ever let ME or anyone else remake OZ.

On the last page of my scribbled outline and sketches there was a list of other kid films I would give, (or would have given,) my loins to remake. On this list were some of the familiar titles:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Tales of Petter Rabbit
Treasure Island
Peter Pan
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Now years later, I can only be angry (and pleased because of who it is) that, Tim Burton has had the privilege of remaking Wonka and Sleepy Hollow and is in production on Alice in Wonderland now. Peter Pan, I believe with the assortment of various Pan stuff including that bomb of a film, (that I loved regardless,) Hook, Neverland will be Neveragain. If I don’t get moving getting “clout” soon, somebody or Burton is going to get to do my Wonderful Wizard of Oz film.

From what I’ve seen, I’m unsure of the look for Tim Burton’s Alice... I mean he’s been spot on for all his films in the past but I’ve always seen Alice as very primary color, deep space and most importantly lots of visuals. The original book actually is a bit darker and a little more should I say realistic. I’ve only seen a few pictures so far so I may be completely wrong. Alice is to be released on my daughter’s birthday in 2010. I have until that date to lock in my Oz remake or I’m sure with his and I’s track record, he’ll have it locked down.

Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Trailers & Snags

Well the momentum of the finished film was bound to hit a wall sooner or later. For the past two weeks it has done just that. The problem has been remedied or should I say will be remedied come Monday and the movie will be back in business. When we started editing we were using Final Cut Pro 5. When we relocated Post Production to Los Angeles, the bays there were on FCP 6. Well, after returning needing a couple of re-edits I realized that once we saved the Jeopardy file in FCP 6, I wouldn't be able to go back to FCP 5 which I have on my bay at home. With that said and the fact that I blew my job to go finish the film and have no money on top of the budget for the film being completely tapped, a $600 upgrade was gonna' take some work. By the end of the day, today, the upgrade should arrive, making it to 'The Asylum' by Monday afternoon, so the film with some luck will be complete by the end of next week if Phil and I get the little things done this week.

As far as Strapped and Strained, there has been another snag. We are going to need interviews to bookend the footage. We have a lot of great footage but kind of need a narration to tell the story as it goes. I am going to try and schedule some interviews next week. The preparations for the road ahead will require the Lane family to relocate to California in order to do what is needed to be done. I'll keep you informed. For now, if you haven't seen them, here are the trailers for the film and the documentary.

Standard Version

Monday, November 3, 2008


My eyes burned worst than they did following an all nighter after a Grateful Dead concert. My mind was mush and my next move completely unknown. I had just woken up at 5:00am to catch a flight home after bingeing and purging the Jeopardy post production process. I was cutting the film 16 hours of the day and by the time I finished it Friday morning at 8:30am, I didn’t know what I was looking at. I slept for nearly all of Friday and watched the movie on Saturday and knew we needed to adjust, so I did so before having to get on a plane and leave it all behind in Los Angeles. I couldn’t help but worry that I was going to watch the film a couple more times and I was going to figure out what was missing but it was going to be too late do anything about it. Ryan and I had already come up with one quick fix by the time I arrived home. So now the film I was completely engulfed in, that I thought was a masterpiece is completely in limbo because I spent the only week I had to analyze it, logging, and editing a semi rough cut and now I’m unsure what or where we stand. As I have been typing this entry, I spoke to Ryan who has made another cut and then is sending me the external. I am going to analyze all the footage all the ways possible to tell this story and then I will finish the film while I search for a music composer. The film is basically done, but like I was telling Mark, there is a certain feeling you get when a film is “complete.” It is a feeling like no other. I have yet to have that feeling with Jeopardy even though I will say, “the film looks great and is great if we just find that little thing that is missing. Wednesday, I will compose a trailer so we can start getting the word out. As a surprise, we actually shot our own city skyline footage for the film. Here is my BTS from a cramped ass four seater plane.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Invasion on Bunktown Asylum

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have a winner! First thank you all for submitting your ideas and outlines, but Ryan's pitch won over the investors so our first feature will be a horror/sci-fi film. (Doesn't mean we won't shoot yours too. We're just shooting this one first.) The film will probably be shot in North carolina AND the Mohave Desert and we're looking to try and get it rolling in February/March if everything goes well.

The plan now is: I will head to LA on Friday and cut Jeopardy. I honestly probably won't get it completely finished during my stay but hopefully get it to the point where all that's needed is the score.

Ryan and I will be hashing out the details and outline for the script in between cutting. We'll meet with the investors the Saturday before i come back to NC with an almost rough cut or film using licensed music and a heavy outline or hell 50 pages of a script. (I've secretly written 40 pages of it already.) Get them to sign off, so I can really get started.

I return from LA on November 1st and am jobless if you keep up with this stuff. I'll take a couple weeks off to complete a rough draft of the script, cut the Extras for the Jeopardy DVD, (documentary, etc..) have a premiere for Jeopardy and start submitting it to the big festivals while we finalize the horror script and begin pre production on the feature. That is the plan from here.

The working title is: "The Invasion on Bunktown Asylum." That will change I am sure but for now, I've titled that since I'm set to scribe it.

Menacing flesh eating aliens land for a human gorge fest while the local asylum's sickos escape!!!! It is up to the Sheriff, his deputies and his family to save the small town from fatal terror even if it means joining one of the gruesome bunch of baddies.

Gore, Action, Suspense and Humor kinetically merge in this over the top tribute to the 1980's action and horror films.

It's gonna' be awesome: "Think Planet Terror meets slasher film[insert any of the normal] meets Aliens."

Here are 2 pages of my script. Go easy on me. I have not proof read nor looked back at what I have written yet.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Strapped and Strained - Four Days on the Crazy Train

Many great decisions were made in the three days of principle photography of Jeopardy. Some more highlighted than others, but one that may be Top 4 on the list is when I grabbed my Panasonic 3 Chip and handed it to Skip Myers during the first hour of PP on the movie and said,"You wanna' run BTS camera?"

I had 7 tapes alotted to shoot the behind the scenes but was going to be happy with 2 hours worth when the smoke cleared. Skip, I think rarely took the camera away from his eyeball and the times that he did, was when he was playing an extra or when everybody was sleeping. He filled 8 hours of tape, (and that's having to tape over an old junk wedding tape I just so happened luckily to have in my car.) Anyway, what he captured was every argument, victory, blown take, insightful, and educating moment of our 3 day shoot and because he didn't listen to me when I said, "just shoot some stuff here and there," and shot everything instead, he'll/we'll/everybody will have a feature length documentary that will go along AND separate with the film we were actually there to shoot. I was thinking about cutting it just cause documentary editing is my forte', but may not get to do it by myself due to the strain of the deadline of Jeopardy for the big film festival deadlines, the script for the feature, and an official website for Jeopardy that I have to do cause we've run out of money to delegate anything else but before I pass it on to him and Phil to piece together, I'm logging and capturing all the footage and have access to the raw clips of the magic Mr. Myers performed and will be adding them to my You Tube Channel, Myspace, Facebook and Official site as I get them completed and encoded.

By the way, great job SKIP--- you want to edit it too??? I should probably ask you before I start tossing your name around, shouldn't I?

Check these clips out. The only bad thing I will say is there are a lot of meaty conversations and good stuff that I can't post until after the film is out. Reasoning is if people pay attention and remember stuff, we give the twist ending away which will deteriorate the films marketability.

Here are some of the early finds:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

John Harvey's 'Suicide Jack'

John Harvey's phenomenal short film 'Suicide Jack' played at the Indie Memphis Film Festival this past Friday. We are sending out our congrats to John and hope the film has great success down the festival highway. If anybody hasn't seen it, get in touch with him. He may be nice and send you one. Other wise you may have to pay. I don't know. Just get in touch with him and find out how you can see it. If he tells you to F off. Contact me. I have one copy I may lend out to somebody if they catch me in a good mood. It's a must see.

The Festival

The Film

The Man

Friday, October 10, 2008

BTW - The Inspiration for the Last Entry

By the way, the inspiration for the reason I chose to put it all out on the line was some inspirational words from one of the best crew guys we had on the Jeopardy set. The Great John Harvey who pushed us all by out performing us all.

His email read like this:

That's great that Ryan is going to put this thing on the front burner and get it out the door. That should help you to keep your momentum moving forward and your passion high, which can only lead to good things. Congratulations. I haven't seen any of the footage, but it sounds like you guys are really pleased with it and I'm glad that I was able to be a small part of something successful. You and Ryan are both consummate professionals and your patience in the face of adversity (even when someone unplugs the hard drive with all your footage on it) speaks volumes about you both. I read on your myspace about some potential future projects that you may be doing; I know that your group is tight, but if there is a way for me to be involved with any of those things, I would love the opportunity. Even though I'm in school, my passion is still with film (working on your set reminded me of that), and I'm going to fight tooth and nail to make sure that I stay involved, some way, some how. So, please don't hesitate to ask if something comes up to which you think I may be able to contribute.

Thanks again for the great experience and I wish you the best with getting Jeopardy finished. I can't wait to see it.

Keep in touch. Oh by the way, this is a great article that my brother sent to me CLICK HERE . If you have ever doubted taking the plunge, this will remind you why you push so hard to be successful.

John Harvey

By the way, John, Law School or no law school, I'd pay your tuition if it meant always having you around on my sets. Thank you.... And yes, that article along with your words made my decision easy and anybody who has ever doubted their place in life, read it. It's worth the ten minutes.

The Fog Clears and a Decision is Made

About the time I was able to relax and enjoy the victory of putting Jeopardy in the can, I came down with pseumonia and was bed riddened for nearly a week. I have/had never been that sick in my lifetime and I mean that. I mean just the smallest things like thinking, moving a mouse, reading a book to my daughter were not done without discomfort or stress. There were two days where I nearly slept all day without even a sign of the bug letting up. I missed valuable time logging and preparing Jeopardy for editing on top of dug a hole on actually talking my boss into giving me another a week out of the office to finish my opus. (I don't think he was going to allow to take another week off anyway, but since I ended up missing 4 days due to the pseumonia, I was now DAMN SURE, he wasn't going to.) So let's rewind to three days ago... It was at the heart of sickness. I was rundown, grouchy, strung out and could do nothing but lay on the bed and think about it all.
All that kept running through my head was money to feed the kids, giving up my movie, what life would be like if I were unemployed until Christmas. Just everything... It was just another day in Garrick's life, only with this time it seemed the worst of all worlds because not only had I been battling with all these same problems since Hickory's economy had faltered nearly a year and a half ago, but I had also said, "as soon as I finished shooting Jeopardy, I would fix all this other shit." Well, that time had come and gone. When I had planned on handling that I had not planned on being put on a tight schedule to have Jeopardy complete because I had never been on a deadline with any of my films in the past. Basically, Ryan did what he wanted to do and that is put me in a situation where I would be forced to make a decision and risk it all. His favorite saying used to be my favorite saying,"Shit or get off the pot." Where I had idolized Ryan in the way he lived his life, and how he had accomplished so much and continued honing his craft through it all, he had idolized me for my love and passion for what I did and how nothing got in my way when it came to making films. He was worried that had all changed with my bitter years of being holed up in North Carolina. This was his chance to break me out and get the old Garrick back.So back to the situation:

What was more important? The Movie and my future in them or My shit job and the money that comes along with it that keeps my wife off my back? There were two choices: "You are etither coming or not?" He knew I would come. He knew I would not sacrifice his money nor my hard work by working on this movie a little at a time over the next 5 months, (in between feeding bottles and giving the wife assistance in mopping the floor.) Or even worse, just hand the movie over so he could have one of his guys cut it together off of my notes. He knew even if I thought it to be a bad idea, I would wrap that external up and throw caution to the wind and go cut the thing myself. This movie was huge and we had a huge opportunity in the worst of economical times and I would be stupid to play it safe and not take a chance at it all.

Well, since my daughter was born my days of taking chances have grown very scarce and I can truly say, money wise, I have not made a mistake since April 11th, 2006. Throwing caution to the wind now and putting myself in a situation where there may be a couple of months of no income, (close to Christmas,) may end up screwing that perfect track record if I would make the wrong decision.

This is all I kept thinking about. Thinking how I can't win either way I go. If I were to walk away from the movie, send the external to Ryan and have him and his guys cut it, number one, Ryan would lose faith in me as a partner and a huge piece of me would discentagrate because like Ryan said, "The old Garrick wouldn't even make this an issue." Well, as the sickness began to leave me last night so did the doubts. My wife who knew I had been extremely miserable with my current place and employment in life maybe sort of got on board. With our relationship challenged lately due to alot of things, maybe she realized that no matter what Garrick would be doing in two months he would be away from that job and that would make him more happy than anything else in the world at the present time and maybe he deserved that much. No matter what it was, the plan had been set to begin looking for another job, (even if I didn't need it after the Los Angeles trip,) and if one weren't found by October 25th then I would go anyway and not look back. The thought is scary considering Christmas being right around the corner, but there are just some things you have to risk in life. My kids will understand one day if Santa Claus is a little slimmer this year. Who knows? It may be the best Christmas of all.

But as the fog from the sickness fades I can't help but be excited and not worried about the time after October 25th. I'm getting on a plane and I'm flying out to finish my movie. What happens from there is yet to be written. The only thing I can foreshadow is a happier Garrick who will finally put his "bread and butter only" job away. He can walk away from the job where he could have been so great yet spent two years on the bench as a whipping boy waiting to get fired. And now, he gets to keep his dignity, by laying it all out to them on paper and leaving them instead of trying to come up with more ways to get fired.
And when the narcisstic owner/boss asks me, "Well, Garrick, what do you plan on doing when you got back? Haven't you even thought about that you idiot?" I'm going to finally get to say what I've dreamt of saying for a year and a half: "I was thinking about Burger King. The pay's not so good but they promote you pretty fast if you a hard worker. I want have any problems getting noticed there."

The most exciting part of all this... We're starting the next one already.

Ryan, Greg and I began writing our "Horror Film" over the weekend. I'm looking forward to having a first draft packed with the Jeopardy external drive. My life has just begun.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Out of the Wreckage

My first correspondence since completing shooting of Jeopardy Tuesday Morning.

OK, so I'm finally awake. Sorry for the pause in this email, but the 39 hour purge without sleep for the last two days really kind of did me in and I needed some time to recuperate before getting my thoughts back together. I've told you all plenty and I'll tell you one more time: Thank you. I might have been hard on you, but this to me was the make or break film for my career personally and I had to protect Ryan's investment in me by assuring closure. Everyone of you threw caution to the wind and trusted Ryan and I to assure your hard and strained work did not go in vain and it did not. I know a lot of you may be still pissy with Adam-- Don't be. If Adam seemed like an ass or bossy it was only cause I pushed him to be that and trust me, nobody was harder on Adam than myself but you know what, that was just one element of many on this set that made it the well oiled machine that it was and it showed Monday night when we went into the toughest and biggest night of the shoot on 4 and less hours of sleep and with the exception of a frustrating smoke machine performed flawlessly.

Ryan and Phil stayed up all morning and watched our footage while I ran the kids to daycare and Ryan hit me with the news that the 16 hour shoots had produced exactly if not better than what we had envisioned and he didn't think waiting for little ole me to cut the whole picture, sound, efx, etc... would be in our best interest so the plan changed dramatically for the out come of the film. He's shutting down his post house out in LA and putting everybody on this for a week. I will be flying out on October 24th and Ryan and I will be cutting the film within the course of a week WHICH MEANS it will be much earlier than projected that our little opus, (or sunuvabitch,) will hit the public and the investors hands.

I'll keep everybody posted, but we just decided why wait when we have so much momentum. Again thank you all for your contributions and being willing to go down with the ship no matter what. It's truly inspiring to have seen so many people stand behind me despite their doubts at times and no matter what give their 100%. I am extremely in debt to you all and I can only hope seeing this project through in swift fashion will allot us all to begin again a little bigger and healthier than before.

Ryan and I will do everything in our power from here to do just that. For now all I can say is "get the golf shoes out of the hallway," "stop fucking with that suitcase," "keep Adam's snoring ass out of your room if you wanna' sleep," and always, always give the camera man the bird. I'll talk to you all really soon and keep you all up to date during the grueling post production period. As corny as it may sound, I miss everyone already and would love just one more day to shoot with you all.

Yours truly,

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jeopardy Mock Movie Poster

As We Move to the Other Side...

This will be the last entry made before Ryan and I step onto the concrete of the college with 13 of the finest filmmakers and 8 of the best actors following us. From the first film we ever did back in 1996, Ryan and I were a well oiled machine. I guess you can call him my heteroexual soul mate and although we haven’t shot anything together since a real estate commercial back in 2004, it will take us about five minutes to find the rhythm again.

There is a trust and a loyalty that will never be broken and so when Ryan said, “You put it together like you always do, I’ll pay for it," it started a plan of epic proportion.
That demand has evolved into a massive and exciting collaboration that within a week will spill out in explosion of creativity from two guys who have matured in their craft ten fold since 2004. It willl be a weekend not anybody involved will soon forget. From the first scene we shoot of a flashback sequence at Lenoir Rhyne to the last scene we shoot where Henry peers through the doors of Dana's apartment complex, it's going to be the most exhiliating experience since my son was born.
This is what God put me on this earth to do. This is all I know. This is my life.

My wife will never understand my drive and passion for this trade. She calls it "unrealistic." She misses the point. I love doing it. She'll roll her eyes but if I didn't have this I would be dead or in jail. If my father had not given me an opportunity when I was 20 to go out west and go to college and I hadn't had the balls to take off by myself to the big city, I could safely say I would not be the person I am today. With the exception of my kids, it's my happiness, my love, my passion and my drive.

So you can imagine the excitement I have being able to do this and not only that, but do it with the guy who seven years ago made a pact with me to make films together as we grew into old men. I can't sleep. I can't stop smiling and I can't sit still. As this entry becomes emotional for me, I have to thank Richard Deal who generously gave us the rights to adapt his award winning short story. I have to thank my Father and my great friend Colin who have unconditionally contributed start up funds for this venture. I have to think the great cast: Phil, Christina, Mark and all the others for believing in me enough to waive their fee and take a chance on me as a filmmaker and the valiant crew members: Skip, Ennix, Lane, Kelby, Brian, Mark, Freddy, Zak, Adam, and Shane who I threw every obstacle at in the past three months and they just kept coming, determined to help me succeed.

To Freddy Hedrick, who generously devoted his time and expertise in helping me build the massive newsstand needed for the key scene in the film. He then generously donated his whole erray of toys from a camper to a generator for the cause.

To Megan who even after being told she couldn't get paid her fee decided to stick with me and contribute her special effects and makeup genius anyway.

To all the brave people who have agreed to watch Payton and River for the entire weekend so I can stay focused and away from the house for the time needed to complete principle photography.

To all the Extras coming out to do what's referred to in Hollywood as "the most boring job in pictures." I promise I want let it get boring.

And finally, to Ryan who not only is paying for a majority of this film but is also providing his talent behind the camera, the HD Camera, the still camera, the mobile editing bay that are all key elements in giving this film the high production value needed to be a competititor in festivals like Sundance, Telluride and Tribeca. But scratch all the assets and financials he's provided. It goes much deeper than that. I've let Ryan down much more than he's let me down. From not returning to LA to become his business partner to bailing on a job opp in Rhode Island, our friendship has stood the test of time, but somehow we are still collaborating, still dreaming and most importantly still working. I am a lucky bastard to have him as my wingman on this project.

To get him briefed on all the work I've done I've duplicated my Production Notebook. The film was too big to just tuck everything in a back pocket like I normally would so I had to actually do some work and organize all of it. He'll have a five hour flight and everything in that notebook will give him my vision on the film. All he'll have to do is come up with how much color, shadow, and light he wants to use.

The next entry documented on this site will be on the other side of production and every thing will be changed whether it be good or bad. For I always say, "Creating your vision on film is a dream. It's watching the vision you created that is the nightmare."

... I believe this film will abolish that train of thought for me.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Herrrrrressss Henry!!!!

A still shot of the talented Phil Vaglia preparing for his role as Henry in my short film Jeopardy, shooting September 27,28,29th.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Future

With Jeopardy's initial production a mere 11 days away from being completed and post production beginning, the time to start thinking more down the road is upon me. I am great at multi-tasking but that doesn't mean I like to do it and when it comes to my craft, I walk a very fine line. Luckily I have four/five things on my plate that I will begin tackling come maybe two Fridays from now and none of them really overlap each other where I compromise creativity by trying to do too much.

One: My friend Clint, who starred in my Junior film, 'A Soldier's Battle,' and then 'Jobbers,' has begun making a pretty good living making horror movies and has his epic western horror film, "Dead Man's Draw," filming in Dallas in October and he has privileged and honored me by asking me to be the 1st Assistant Director. That will be just what the doctor ordered coming off of a year of internal misery over prepping Jeopardy. It will be nice to be on a real set again.

Two: Of course, Jeopardy's Editing. The plan at this point is to cut a rough cut of it in NC and then break out to my home away from home, LA and master it. All the while meeting with our new investors about the future of Roadhouse Pictures and Horror Films.....

Three: That's right.... It looks like we've been tapped to do a couple of B Horror Films/Straight to DVD kind of things to get us moving in a Filmmaking kind of direction. They pay, and are fun as hell to do. We're looking at 3 titles at $300,000.00 a piece. (I'm sure that will go down before the smoke clears. It always does.) So funny, Ryan, Rick and Garrick [me] the three guys responsible for merging to make Rick's story finds themselves kind of all writing their own on their own and then merging ideas to fine tune all three. I cheated. I started writing 'Blood on Ansel River,' a year ago. Of course I got to page 30 and re invisioned it and stopped writing it as Jeopardy and Meter began taking all my time. Well, it's back to the 'Blue Pencil' and notebook to finish and get my career moving at a faster pace.

Fourth: Real simple... Find a new real job to get me until January. I REALLY REALLY HATE MINE.

The first three pages of "Blood":

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Where's My Badge At!?!?

Well, just as I reached the relaxing period or should I say quiet before the storm that begins next Friday morning, I got hit with an issue.
It is probably mostly my fault for taking it for granted or should
I say depending on somebody else to come through on time.

In one of the key shots of the film a police officer shoves a badge into
one of the leads faces and there is a POV shot and Reaction shot that
basically... Well... Mean everything. So where I've had to cut corners
in the finance department in almost every column, this prop was not
being compromised. I cut the fake magazines to a 30 count instead of 50. I
cut the color newspaper print to black and white. I settled for many
compromises along the way. This particular prop, I was not going to.
The shot is too important for the film and needs a clear BAM! in your face
shot like you see underneath.

Storyboard sequence of shots with badge.

Well I designed and found a custom shop up in Pennsylvania to do the badge.
They denied me because I didn't have a police certification so I sent them all my credentials, even background check and sketches and boards of what I was going to do with this badge. I simply wanted 'METRO/HARBOR CITY' on the top of insignia and 'VICE UNIT' around the bottom.

That was a no/no so I had to go back and forth with them over the wording allowed on the badge. We finally get it settled and I wasn't thrilled with what I had to do, but was sure with the word 'METRO' and 'DEPARTMENT' on it, I could figure the rest out. (A custom badge without credentials cannot for any circumstances have words like, UNIT, DETECTIVE, OFFICER, NARCOTICS etc on it unless you have the police department on payroll and extensive props that are licensed and inventoried.) That is not me so I had to comply with the rules. Well, I did all they asked and in return they promised me the custom badge would ship in two weeks... It's been five and I have heard nothing about where it is or its status. The last I heard it was going to the plant to be made.
I am a week and a half out and I don't know if it is going to make it AND like I said the shot is OF KEY IMPORTANCE!!! Anybody got a badge or know a cop. I'm sure if some of my friends read this, that question is a no-brainer.

Here is one of the drawings I sent them to prove I was not a police impersonator. It did not matter.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Stronger and Stronger...

So the weekend found change. Lots and all for the good. It was as if the low budget filmmaking angel came down from the heavens and said, "ah shit Garrick, we'll let you have this one." A camper and generator were found free of charge. Ryan booked a flight, (arrives Thursday night.)

We ended up reacquiring our first lead of choice for Dana out of default and the small things and elements needed have been put on a tight schedule to be taken care of through out the next two weeks. The only thing we did lose and lose big on is our Make Up artist. As horribly sad as it is, (I was looking so forward to working with her,) I almost am relieved because I feel this shoot will be a fast and furious kind of workflow and Megan likes to be very methodical and precise about every little thing. This may have clashed, it may not have. I will never know because we had to trade her pay for a plane ticket and van. We'll look down the road to begin a working relationship with Megan on the next, not so low budget, outing if I can't figure out a way to keep her. As far as me, my mind is clearing and the stress is lifting. As I step into the abyss in front of me, I am with every day growing stronger and more anxious to shoot this film.

Here is what I did all weekend. Porno Mags and Cigarettes.... It relieves me.
(These are props. You should be keeping up.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Words of Wisdom to Carry On

Last night, I sent an email out to everybody that may have sounded like I was less confident than I normally would be about this production. I explained to them every little problem I was having with the preparation and I believe looking back I was very apologetic but at the same time may have sounded like I had begun to lose passion and determination to make this film. That I will say is not true. I was just trying to say, I am done trying to predict the different scenarios that could take place over the three days and from here on out I was just going to go with it and they were either in or out. (Even as bad as I feel for having to go back on many words of mine.) Then this morning, Mark secured the classroom location, I took care of a couple of the bigger loose ends and I got this reply back from one of my crew guys who had been around since day 1, Shane Meador.

He's damn right. 18 days and counting...

Monday, September 8, 2008


Like 'Red Apples' in Tarantino films and 'Nails' in Kevin Smith films,
I finally got to make my own cigarette brand. I've been waiting
for sometime for the opportunity. Jeopardy will be the first film that,
'Squares,'are revealed. A roommate from college called cigarettes
squares for some odd reason. I never really asked him where that came
from, but always thought it was a cool name for them.

I had already done the design for the cartons, but this what the individual
pack will look like.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Feelin' Like Francis

I feel like Coppola on the set of his Apocalypse Now and we haven't even started rolling camera yet. Where Coppola's budget ballooned out of control as a result of little elements missed and uncontrollable circumstances mounting up while they were shooting, mine is swiveling up like a dick in an ice box with only three weeks to go before shooting.

I was relieved for two days at the thought of all the large and larger tasks being complete with time to spare, but as I started jotting down the small and smaller things to do, I realized if I added them all up I was in for large and larger amounts of work. You could say I didn't prioritize correctly, but let's be serious. One guy, working full time, raising two kids, and trying to put a film together all by himself was just asking for failure in a prioritized world. Let's look at the problems to come:

1) Out of Money: The budget started at $6000.00. That quickly moved to $5000.00 realizing that all my work over the last year had really not left the film at that amount of budget, unless WE WANTED TO PAY EVERYONE. (What a novel idea.) Anyway, from $5000.00, I crunched the numbers to a VERY tight $4700.00. Well all of a sudden, that was too much and I needed to get it down to $4000 so I was pitted into shaving more or halting all progress and going out and raising the difference, so I was forced to cut the out of town crew we had hired which was heart-breaking, because we just couldn't get the hotel total where we wanted it to be. The funny thing is the out of town crew didn't go away. They said, "FU Garrick," and demanded they were coming to help if they had to pay themselves. As much as I like that spirit, I couldn't help but be embarrassed that not only could I not pay them, I couldn't afford to put them up after all this time of waiting. Then two days ago, I was told $3000.00 was all there was, which is not enough to make the film and has put me in a situation of either one- finding someone to borrow money from or two- finding a new location. There is no time for location scouting, contacting owners etc, so it looks like I'll be back where I was a year ago, preparing to sell somebody into investing in the film.

2)Crew Quarters: With the out of state crew coming in anyway, I am trying to refuse they spend their own money to stay over, even at bargain rates, so I offered my house as a free bed and breakfast. There is only one issue: I am having additional family room built on as we speak, BUT it's not done yet and sure, it's big enough to fit the cast, crew and their families, IF it is livable by September 27th. If it isn't I have enough room for maybe two if I'm lucky, unless I run my wife and kids out, then maybe 4 if one can fit on a 2 year old's bed. This is the biggest problem of all.

3) The Little Things: With this newsstand, I was so consumed with getting it constructed along with the magazine and newspaper design that I didn't realize, (or I did just failed to register it,)is that I'm going to need a lot more than just cigarettes and magazines at this stand. Those vendors sell magazines, crossword puzzles, potato chips, bubble gum etc... And just like the cigarette licensing I would/will have to avoid showing any name brands for those items as well. On top of that, I will have to construct some sort of side shelf to put all this stuff on and even another key point: The Newspaper Vendor has to have a stool to sit on. Every vendor has a stool. All that stuff as small as it is, costs money. Money, I now, don't have. Heaven forbid the newspaper stand after all that work, look plain sitting there in that alley. I don't know if I could live with myself.

4)Back to the Hotel: There was another thing, (a huge foul up,) I missed with our hotel location. The Quality Inn has plastic card entry everywhere. From the pool to inside, to the hall into your room, it is all card entry. This does not work for my story nor one of the key elements of suspense where we have close ups of keys entering locks and because we can pull off an apartment building with our angles and the way we're shooting it, leaving the card entry thing in the film would be a no-no. So now Adam and I have to build two fake door bases equipped with a door knob and lock on it to substitute for the lock leading in the building and the lock leading into Dana's apartment. Then we have to be careful not to show the card entry on any of the doors while shooting in the hallway or anywhere else.

5)Home Base: A luxury some would say, to others a necessity, but our idea of renting an RV was flushed the minute we realized we were running out of money. It was a big expense. The Rental was $668 for the three days and along with that a $500 deposit in cash was needed when we picked it up. Not a Credit Card swipe deposit, but actually cold hard cash. In the words of my daughter, Payton, "not too good." So as relieving as it is to be able to take $700 non-refundable funds off the bottom line, it wasn't so relieving to realize that the tool would have been completely useful. Since Saturday we would be shooting a slew of little setups all over Hickory, the RV would have been a perfect place to store and carry the main tools of the shoot. Since we would be doing makeup the RV would have also acted as the salon where Megan could work her magic without disruptions as well as a place we could keep the laptop and drive we need to load the footage from the camera. Ennix could work without disruption on his trips to empty the P2 card. From there it could actually be a place where 4 crew members could sleep be it in my driveway or in front of the hotel. And if nothing else, it would have been a good place Ryan and I could have gone to yell the stress out on each other. Now... I don't know. I live in frickin' KOA heaven and have yet to find somebody who would loan me a RV. (Do you blame them?) So now we will have to put up a tent or set up camp in the back of my Jeep. Not the coolest thing in the least bit.

So with principle photography looming, the proverbial low budget production plan shuffle begins. The last minute adjustments start happening that make or break a picture. I've had plenty of energy in past films to endure this frantic period. This one, I'm unsure of. I worry, I'll forget to do MY job. The job I planned to do when I started all this. Focus on the storytelling is my job, so why am I at Sam's Club trying to figure out if I only have the budget for the cheaper "Faygo" version or I actually saved enough a long the way to splurge and go with "Fanta." Why am I suddenly consumed with a fear that my room won't be done in time and I'll have no where to put the crew, instead of being joyous about the fact that in the next month I would have finally made the movie that took me a year to put together? As my next three weeks are limited in time and my financial responsibility at this point in time has to be shifted to my family, I fear what is not done on Jeopardy will have to remain undone unless the answers come and knock directly on my front door. I will do whatever I can whenever I can. If accommodations don't arise now, we will deal with it when the time comes. For now, I must focus on the story and making the picture… My job is what I have to focus on. The Unit Production Manager part of my job will just have to wait until I am mentally prepped to yell, "What the fuck are you waiting on? Roll the camera!"

Here is where my addition is as of this morning at 5:30am.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Vision Stays Intact

The Biggest Challenge of Jeopardy's Pre-Production is FINALLY complete.
As far as Prop/Set Construction, this was the first thing I started and like the Location Problem, was the last thing I completed. With the exception of hammering the roof on the Newspaper Stand and making a little nook for cigarettes, candy etc... It's done. Looking at it without periodicals on it and by itself without the vendor table, and attachments
it doesn't look like much and of course, I couldn't stand it so I had to add to it to make it more believeable by itself so I went out and blew the budget on these fancy lights to raise the production value. (Honestly, it will probably be one of the better impulsive purchases when it comes down to it.)

The story behind the Newspaper Stand and the Majority of Set Design for the film was really a funny thing. Rick's original story was told in the 3rd person and how he sets up the premise in it, you just can't do telling a story visually.

Excerpt from the Original Story

We had to visually explain in seconds what was going on, so I came up with the sidewalk vendor newsstand that's riddled with different Newspapers and Weekly magazines all with the same headline of a serial killer threat looming. Boom! Knocks it out without saying a word. To boot, the Newspaper Vendor would be listening to a radio where a Newscaster would be talking about the killer on the loose as well. Now, with my idea I knew I was in for an undertaking. Not only would I have to build an entire newspaper stand, but I would have to design enough fake magazines and newspapers to fill it. That or spend $30,000 in licensing
fees for every old Time, Sports Illustrated, and GQ magazine I used that showed up in the foreground or background of a shot. That wasn't going to happen obviously. So I went to work.

My Original Schematic for the Newspaper Stand I made to show Freddy

My Father-In-Law, Freddy, was the smartest man I knew in the construction department that probably would not charge me much for some advice. I drew up a diagram of what I wanted it to look like and went to him for an estimate. My original estimate for the venture I gathered from lumber shopping was upwards of $360.00. After he looked at it, it was under $100.00. He gave me a shopping list and Payton and I went to lumber yard.

The Expensive Designer Lights

With Freddy's intuition we constructed the stand in 4 sessions and Freddy, God Bless Him, keep me not cutting corners. Every screw was flush, every board was measured and every nook and cranny was painted. From there we installed some designer halogens to the tops of the shelves to add a little extra illumination to the six months of hard work: The Magazine Covers.

If you keep up with this journal I'll spare you another explanation on them, but for several months I got a crash course in InDesign and created using a lot of my father's photos, 30 fake magazine covers. Upon completion, I sent them to a friend, Chad East's outfit and they printed me 3 covers of each and scored, (pre-folded,) 2000 sheets of paper to be

inserted and stapled to the magazine cover. Once it all came back, my wife and I worked diligently one night folding, inserting and stapling the mags together. The stapler was brand new when we started, now it's just a piece of cast iron junk.

Couple of Pictures of the final magazines

The most important periodical was that day's newspaper and the headlines screaming: Leather Strap Strangler Kills Fourth. This was the hardest job of all of the prop design. I contacted the local paper and the Layout Editor, Lori Dellinger was kind enough to give me the measurements and format of the Hickory Daily Record. Using the specs, I created a front and
back page, inside and out, of the 'Metro Post' and two different versions of the 'Skyline Daily Record.' Reasoning for two is, every city has at least 2 different papers, BUT we also have a flashback scene that happens a week prior to the present night, where Henry, the main character is watching Dana, the female, at a coffee shop and uses a newspaper to conceal
his face. So we couldn't very well use the same paper. I had originally done all three in color praying for a break from the "Expense Gods" when it came time to print.

The Original Color Layout

After several dead ends, The Taylorsville Times committed to helping us out. The problem was we couldn't afford a color run and in all honesty I had seriously contemplated the final looking better for the movie to be in black and white. I had spent hours and hours inserting pictures, text and laying out these papers. But in order to run the paper, I would have to convert all the images from CMYK Color to Grayscale which was an absolute undertaking. The problems didn't end there. The HDR paper's measurements were much larger than the Taylorsville paper and in order to stay in our price range, we had to comply to the Times' specifications, so then I was pitted with the task to fix the layout to fit the paper size. When it was all said and done, the adjustments took longer than the original layout did. Nevertheless, the nicest guy in the world at the Times, Mica, worked with me and happened to be a movie junkie like myself and was excited about the project. I was skeptical after all the adjusting on how the finished paper would look. When he called me to come down and pick them up, I cringed.

Then I walked into the office and there they were... And they looked phenomenal. I couldn't have been happier or prouder of the key prop of this film's outcome. So as the hustle and bustle of pre-production design subsides and we look toward the final nerve wracking thirty days of creative energy working for one common goal, I rest easy knowing that my vision of this film has stayed almost completely in tact thus far. That to me is the biggest accomplishment of them all, because never when you are working with no money, limited resources and time, do you ever not have to compromise. I have yet to do so, (location situation pending.)

I guess I can be grateful. With a handful of people's generosity and work combined with my bordering compulsive patience for detail and perfection, I am one step closer to what I have now been calling, "my finest hour."

The Final Newspapers After Print

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