Thursday, May 29, 2008

News and Newspapers

I am averaging about one magazine cover every 3 days. I imagined 10 covers and a couple should do it, but now measuring the shelves and space for the news stand I realize, I’m going to need like 30 different magazines and 3 different newspapers. Anybody got any good ideas for names of magazines? Mine are getting staler and staler the more effort I put in to it. I need some help.

Here are some of the completed ones and if you notice the captions etc and you know me, you will realize that there is an inside joke on each cover of each mag.

Film Fanatic - My constant argument on how film is still better

Dark Woods - Originally Dark Wood Chronicles, but I didn't like the name and when it comes to the fine print on these covers, it is somewhat irrelevant. Those are my boys from out west I got started in this business with. They are doing well making horror flicks. I had to pay tribute.

Design Magazine - Legacy Furniture is the commercial furniture manufacturer I work for now. They've made it possible for me to do all this. I had to give them a free plug.

City Story - The original paper. I used the NY Post as inspiration.

Vaudeville Weekly - A quick one I made just so I can make that headline.

Other news: Shane Meador from Asheville is officially hired as the Production Manager.

John Kearnes and his company Cinewerks down in Wilmington have been hired on as the Gaffer and lighting crew. Megan Baxter, an old friend, is taking on the responsibility of trying to make Phil look tired and haggard and Dana look pretty and mysterious.

As far as those names dropped, the other usual suspects are all still on board.

If you are on that cess pool social website called myspace, CHECK US OUT add the film to your friends. All the art, boards, info is there. I’ve been neglecting it as of late but now that the production is in full swing again, I’ll try and keep it up.

Friday, May 23, 2008


And just like that the production is BACK on track. Props are being bought, magazines are being made and cast and crew are being put together. Mandi, my wife, has never really been a huge supporter of this thing I do. She's a realist if there ever was one and honestly I love her for that, because I'm a dreamer if there ever was one and if she wasn't around to put my feet back on the ground every now and again, I'd be freakin' lost on Mars somewhere by now.
She grinned and beared Meter during all my pre-production BS and when I asked her if she would help me shoot the film that freezing cold November night, she didn't say no. In fact, had she not been there and worked her charm with a tempramental cab owner, Meter may have never had the claim to fame of "shot in one night." After that night she didn't speak much of it. Even as I pulled my hair out on the audio mix, she let me do my thing and never really asked any questions.

Then one night just a little before it was completed, she sat down with me and watched the film. She was sort of on the fence. She saw the lighting issues, sound issues and gave me her insight. Now Mark's performance was nothing short of brilliant, but for my wife to go and on about how he was sooooo good and he's the reason that it works kind of hurt my feelings. Yes, Mark made the movie, but I thought the script was quite good and my editing was methodically calculated to keep the pace of a 15 minute conversation in a car interesting. Either way, the night of the premiere when that audience ripped up an applause and I went up and spoke with everybody, Mandi later said, "she had never felt so proud of me."

With Jeopardy, things were a little different. There was more preparation, money and time involved. I don't think Mandi ever thought it was as big a movie as it actually is, so she looked at it as yet another film like Meter that was just kind of getting prepped on free time and free money. As I progressed in my pre-production phase, just the words, "my movie," would get a roll of the eyes. I chose just to not fill her in on what was going on to keep from hearing, "you need to be doing something else with your time." It was clear she thought making the film was "unrealistic." She's always thought my goals of securing a job at camera or editing for a company was an "unrealistic" goal. Everybody immediately associates video, editing etc with the word "Hollywood," when in fact there are an abundance of jobs doing that kind of stuff in every city and many if not 99% never walk down the red carpet on Oscar night. They make a great living because it is a skill, but are never tied to say Jessica Alba romantically. There is nothing unrealistic about it. And I hate to toot my own horn, but I've been working really hard at this for a very long time. No goal I would like to achieve in that trade is unrealistic, (with the exception of maybe making a short film with very little spare time.)

Then the other day, Mandi shocked me. I had begun to see the light at the end of a long tunnel of mistakes, miscalculations and just plain exhaustion. Ryan and I had decided pushing the film back a month was a good thing and upon a record breaking 10 hour edit and completion of the second wedding of three I had to finish to get back to where I needed to be, I almost felt the film may triumphant after all. My stimulus check came and I already knew it wasn't $600 like it should have been, but a mere $170. Mandi relayed the message to me on the phone at work. I came back with a typical Garrick smart ass joke,"Yehhh! That might be enough to take the family out for a pork dinner." Then Mandi said something I never would have dreamed her saying.

You remember Rocky II when Adrian was all to hell about Rocky fighting Apollo again and then she ends in a coma after giving birth to their son. When she finally comes to she says to Rock, "there's only one thing I want you to do for me.... Win." Then it gets all dramatic as it blasts into his training montage? Well, this moment felt like that for me. After my smart ass comment she said, "One hundred and seventy dollars should be plenty to get the rest of the lumber and paint you need to build the newsstand, shouldn't it?"
I paused shocked, ".... Yeah."

"Well, then you need to get on it."
I smiled. She had been paying more attention than she led on. "Yes maam," I thought. I hung up the phone and Bill Conti's soundtrack of Rocky Training began in my head as I marched back into the office.
I had to make some calls and spend some money. I had a short film to make.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Life Measured in Inches

With the threat of pushing Jeopardy back to August or September looming near, I worked vigorously to re-invent my schedule to free up some time to allow me to co-exist as Producer of film slash working family man slash wedding videographer. I managed Monday and Tuesday to tie up some loose ends and took care some of the little details such as getting the police jackets to the press, purchasing the fake police gun and finishing the sketches for the storyboards. (I did not add color to the final sequence being that nobody was allowed to see them due the twist ending.) What lies ahead: Props, props and more props which is…

You guessed it!!! Computer work which means I may never get to it. Besides that, the completion of my newspaper stand is PRIORITY #1.

All that in my eye and then the low budget film Gods dropped a bombshell. On top of bad decisions to take on too much work to raise money for the film, I was also DEPENDING on the Tax Stimulus check to supply me the remaining monies needed to keep up my end of the deal on the film.(Dumb me. No excuses.) Four years ago, new to the 1099, I got into some tax debt for some money I failed to report. (Not out of malice but just sheer stupidity.) Anyway, after losing a two year battle of fighting to see the debt disappear, I gave in and took a monthly payment plan to get squared away with the IRS and had been religiously paying it. My balance as of last month was $438.00 and I guess I was clueless, ASSuming that they wouldn’t deduct that money from my stimulus check since I was paying payments on time. OUCH! They took it as the finished payment leaving me with $125.00. That minor technicality screwed the world. Now on top of needing more time to plan and make props, I’m going to need more time to raise money to finish building the Newspaper Stand. Shit like this just isn’t fun for me. I don’t need this kind of stuff in my life.

We’re still working for July. As soon as I can forecast my possibilities to get this film shot in July the better off I’ll be. For now I look to inspiration through Al Pacino and the speech he makes in ‘Any Given Sunday’ to his team. (It may in fact be the only great part of that film… But it sums my life up as of the moment and I let his dialogue echo through my thoughts as I fight… FOR MY INCH.

Here is the jacket Odem and the boys will be wearing.

Design Image for the Printing Press

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tired But Mounting A Comeback

....And we're back. After several meetings with the city and other people
around town to lock down locations I can finally say "GAME'S BACK ON." I
met with city officials last week and then secured the Quality Inn in
Hickory for my apartment complex sequence, (don't worry, I know what you
are thinking and I got it covered.)

See the downtown schematic for shooting here

I also acquired the Catawba Science Center as an added treat. What happened
was... I was getting a little worried about the Apartment Complex so I
started looking at alternate spots when I found the Catawba Valley Science
center. It had an elevator and almost everything else we needed and just
had so much character. The powers that be said "no problem" to using it,
then the day after they signed off, the Quality Inn was OK'd. I think I'm
going to switch the classroom scene from Lenoir Rhyne to the Science Center
if the schedule allows it. It would be a nice set piece.
With the location burden behind me, I move on ever so slowly. There is a
looming threat of pushing this movie back until September unfortunately.
Losing nearly two months on location scrambles did not help. Then I went
and screwed myself royally by taking on 3 weddings back to back to put some
money in the "Jeopardy budget" only to not take in account that when River,
my new baby boy, showed himself to the world, it would inadvertently deduct
my already dwindling "free time allowance" even more. To be honest, it
would not hurt my feelings in the least bit if I had to move the shoot back
a month or two. I mean we have the actual money to shoot the film so when
we shoot it is completely irrelevant at this point in time, although I
would love to move on sooner or later. I want to be ready for this and
there is so much more to do and with the end of my wedding videography days
in clear sight ahead of me, I almost wonder if it is not the best idea
right now. It would take some pressure off me and at least get me back to
where I AM JUST THINKING ABOUT THE MOVIE and working creatively, not
I worked on wedding 1 of 3 last night and am only half way through and that
was working on it 7 hours straight.(The only reason I was able to put that
time into it is because Mandi and the kids are at the beach.) Added to the
already 8 hour block I had on it from earlier in the week, makes 15 hours
so far. With that rough calculation, I'm looking at 40 hours a wedding
which is three weeks doing it straight, (which won't happen,) so I'm
looking at say, 5 weeks just to get those off my plate which puts me in mid
June if I'm lucky, leaving only a month to prepare all the loose ends of
Jeopardy's film. May not be the best idea...
I started contacting crew members from my crew call I put on Craigslist two
to three months ago and they had forgotten what the call was for, (if that
tells you how under water I am.) A really nice guy by the name of Shane,
contacted me, eager to help out on this project and has been in constant
correspondence to help and at this point in time, I don't even know where
to begin delegating work out and because I just got my hands around the
location situation, I have not even been able to finalize and budget to see
if I can even pay anybody....

...Am I rambling? It's been a long night. From the redundant cross
dissolves of a wedding video ceremony to the formula leaking down my shirt
to chasing Payton around with a toothbrush, I'm so far away from Henry,
Dana and Leather Strap Strangler, I almost forgot there was still work to

We're back and pre-production rolls on.... We'll just have to play it by
ear on when this labor of love will go into production. If it is for the
better of the film, August and September are OK with me and TRUST ME WHEN I
SAY THIS. This film will be shot and in the can by Halloween at the latest.
I’ll take no Bullshitting for 200, Alex.

Click on the picture below to see the full set of storyboards for the film.

Shooting 24/7

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