Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Pie Birds, Skin Flicks, and Deaf Doggies

Warning: If you find yourself here via a google search for such things as TV shows or films, recipes or cities, this blog has some facts. However, this blog is one author’s very twisted musing on many weird things. It is sometimes graphic in content. If you read on, don’t write to yell at me.

The Pie Bird

The pie bird was the final clue. I’d never heard of them before two weeks ago. Then, it was in my kitchen along with a tart/quiche pan with the push out bottom. This cooking thing has moved beyond routine to something of a specialized hobby. When I informed Jon of this revelation, he gave me that very patient husband look one gets when the incredibly obvious has been stated. Arriving with the pie bird was Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook (scroll down to the Publisher's Weekly review). I ended up ordering that when I was searching for online recipes for the fish soup he had in Arcachon, France. While searching, I discovered he’s written a book on French cooking from Les Halles, the popular New York restaurant he worked in last. I knew Mr. Bourdain would provide a different spin on cookbokos, but I never expected to be yelled at in the introduction. In fact, there was lots of yelling and cursing. There was a full page diatribe before the actual recipe for Poulet Roti. I have many cookbooks. I even have French cookbooks given to me by my two lovely friends there (Bonjour Michele et Sylvette). But I’ve never had a cookbook call me a numbnuts. Needless to say, it is a hilarious book. I’ve never laughed so hard at a cookbook. And it is inspiring, if more than a little pushy. I spent Saturday making stocks from veal and beef bones, and I made another attempt at frites. The Wiki entry is French Fried Potatoes, but that does frites no justice at all. We never had less than an extraordinary experience with a plate of potatoes anywhere we went in France. I have yet to really capture that cricpy, crisp exterior and delicately tender interior. The pie bird went into an apple pie a al Alton Brown. It was an ordeal that we do not know for sure worked. I’ll let you know next week. I am happy to have attempted home made pie crust for the first time in decades. Tonight, I make the Poulet Roti and reduce my veal stock to a glace. Yep, I’m obsessed.

Love Scenes and Skin Flicks

The main reason for doing the trailer prior to the shoot was to assure skittish distributors of two things. The first was that the concept was interesting and in keeping with other films they’ve acquired. Two, that the film could pass broadcast Standard and Practices at any basic cable outlet. Though some outlets have aired programs like Bliss which is quite racy, a film like The Gunslinger cost more to acquire and needs to generate more ad revenue to make it profitable for the broadcaster. That means it can’t have anything that makes advertisers nervous. Thus, we chose the first intimate scene in the film for the trailer. It sums up the plot quickly and cleanly, demonstrates the chemistry between the lead characters, and has a very hot clench – all tastefully done. I also chose that scene because the trailer will be used to market the concept of Hidden Passion Films at its main audience – readers of historical romances. We will advertise the trailer on romance themed websites and internet groups, and give it away at the major convention for readers and writers: The Romantic Times Booklover’s Convention in April. Thus, the trailer has to have what those readers want, a great looking, compelling hero and heroine, incendiary chemistry (no chaste kisses at the end of the story here) and a good plot (yes, they want that, too). This was what we needed to capture in one long day in a very tiny space. We were lucky to have great-looking, compelling leads who have a natural chemistry and great command of dialogue. Once the choreography of movement of plates and cups and the book were finalized, that scene went well. There were pauses for lighting issues and sound issues, but the scene itself was easy to film. The first time Travis and Jennifer actually went through the clench on the kitchen table, I forgot to turn on my camera. I was just frozen there gaping at the proceedings, toes curled. Jon asked me if that was what I was after. Witnesses claim that I made a coherent reply. To me, it sounded like babbling. I was overjoyed at how good our KD and Matt looked together. Travis has an amazing control over that deep, sexy voice (little wonder he’s in so much demand as a voice actor). He purrs and growls at different spots in the scene, depending on whether or not Matt was hearing something he liked or didn’t. (Jon confirmed this, so I’m not imagining that). The sound of that vice jolts right down the spine. At certain points, it was clear that Matt was barely restraining the urge to tear off KD’s clothes and carry her off or not carry her off. That kitchen table seemed to suit him. And KD was perfectly torn between the intense attraction and curiosity and fear of consequences.

Now, typically, I am sick to death of my own dialogue and any given scene by the time Jon has been editing for a week. How many times can you see something before it gets to be too much. Surprisingly, I haven’t had that problem. I always seem to look across the room when something really interesting is going on. Last week, I always looked over when there was this lovely expanse of chest and abs rippling with water on screen. Yesterday, I kept looking up when Shadow was hoisting KD on that kitchen table. Nope, not tired of it yet. And I'm holding those photos for a while. We have to build an audience, after all.

The Sound and the Hoby

One of the sound issues was the ranch’s old herding dog, Hoby. He is a very old fellow who is deaf and blind in one eye. He’s a great dog, mind you, but he was a problem during the love scene. We were filming in his sleeping area. As it got dark and cold, he wanted in. Well, we let him in and had to let him out. First, there was the snoring. Though that is a tradition on our sets. Poor Randy usually succumbed after a 56 hour day somewhere on our sets and fell asleep. During The Privateers, it was in President Lascar’s office. During Demon Under Glass, it was while playing a corpse in the operating theater. Upholding the tradition was great, but we didn’t have much time. When he wasn’t snoring, Hoby panted – loudly. Made the love scene sound like something from a porn shoot. Hoby had to go. He put up with being out for a little while before pounding on the door with his head. No very good for a love scene. Fortunately, we’d wrapped the fried chicken. Ralph went outside to lure the poor thing away long enough to wrap the shoot. There were lots of dogs on the shoot. We brought three. Ralph and Marguerite’s pugs rode up with us and provided much entertainment to the horses. Then there was Jack Jack, an exuberant Corgi who loved everyone. All the dogs were great for the easy-going, fun environment at the shoot, but they can cause sound problems. Fortunately, the problems were fixable and made for great stories.

Crew Guys

Before I go on and on, I must take some time to compliment Ryan and Matty, our camera man and sound man respectively. They traveled far, worked hard for many hours and always had a pleasant demeanor. They were creative on the fly even at the end of that very long day. The end result of their labors is looking good. We can’t compliment them enough. I know we all look forward to having them work on the behind the scenes video for the feature.

Captions and TV Rants
I have the captions contest winners for another week. I also have new TV rants and recs on my favorites in inspired insanity, but no more time.

A Soldier’s Fate Excerpt
There will be on later tonight or tomorrow. The novel is coming along very well despite interruptions to look at a certain glistening chest and abs.

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