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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, August 24, 2008

Film Announcement, Log Flumes and Banana Splits

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.


I don’t like having so many days without Craig to talk to. The Archive was a bleaker place during his absence. There was a floppy-eared puppy for a few days though. The little fellow was so adorable that he made Jon think about getting a dog. We hope he’s there Monday as Craig with dogs is a lot of fun to watch. It’ll be good to have Craig back. He never fails to make me laugh, even when I’m highly stressed. And I am highly stressed.

Name that Film

The developing project that has been consuming Jon and I for about six weeks to the exclusion of everything else – including The Gunslinger – is called Luv U 4 Ever. The casting Breakdown went out this week. Our Casting Director wrote the following:

TAGLINE: A love triangle that comes full circle.

STORY LINE: A former teen pop idol, Billy Swain is driven from his home when the IRS seizes everything except his Corvette and a bag of fan mail. In it, he finds a touching letter from an old fan and decides to show up at her doorstep completely destitute. He finds a family going through their own issues, some with music, and in the midst of reconstructing their lives. This romantic comedy is about music, the price of fame and the consequences of life's choices.

I wrote the first draft of this script in 2002. It’s going through a lot of changes. Part of those changes were at the behest of David Cassidy who is our choice to play the pop idol, Billy Swain. My language about all of the actors involved will be tentative, because no contracts have been signed yet. We actually wouldn’t have sent out the Breakdown at all, but the funding source insisted that we start negotiating with the leads asap. We’re to shoot in late October through November. Yes, it looks like I’ll either be cooking Thanksgiving dinner at a Residence Inn or we may actually have to go to a restaurant. Why won’t we go to Philly while we are only 90 minutes away? We have family scattered all over the county there, and all of them would be hurt if we didn’t find a way to have food with them that day. So, I will avoid that stress and stay in New Jersey. But I’m digressing. Many people who’ve followed my work loved that script and the core of it remains. It’s just that we’ve become better writers since then. The new script will be sharper and more sophisticated while remaining quite funny and, hopefully, touching. Casting brings delightful surprises, but it also brings big balls of stress.

Bathroom Blues

No, there’s nothing wrong with the bathroom or my ability to use one. We have reached the stage in the pending film when I can’t seem to get to the bathroom because of incoming phone calls, e-mails and faxes. Thankfully, I’m not that deeply involved in the initial casting. Thus, I don’t have to field countless calls from agents and managers while the field is whittled down. Some of the roles are already filled with actors we’d cast when the project was first in development. I’ll make those announcements when contracts are signed. The film’s info will also go up on the Dragoncor website at that time. Still, there is a lot happening to keep me out of the bathroom. Jon said I was sighing heavily an hour after waking on Thursday. That was because the first time I answered the phone, I found myself on a conference call with the head of the New Jersey production company. We had a little fire to put out and we haven’t even set foot in the state for the film. My partner knows that I really loathe surprise conference calls, so I knew it was a necessity. Still, I was rattled all the rest of the day.

But then, there was Friday. We had a hard deadline to get in all of the paperwork for the funding. That included a commitment from a bonding company. We’d sent everything to get that weeks ago with no response from the man who issues the letter. He’s a nice man whose inbox is perpetually filled with equally urgent requests. We all understood this, but we had a hard deadline. I don’t like calling in favors from my big guns (really connected people are hard to find and you never want to wear out your welcome), but I had to in this instance. He made one phone call and in less than an hour, the fax arrived. We got everything in a mere 45 minutes before the close of business Friday. Most of my role in that was played while I was at work. I had a headache the rest of the shift. My partner had a migraine, and he never gets those.

Late Night Fun

Well, it was amusing to me, anyway. While we’re in this phase of development, I’m doing a lot of research into the cost and feasibility of some of the shots and sequences that Jon wants to do in the film. That way, when the key crew is hired, they have what they need to figure out how to execute the shots or how to execute alternatives if our suggestions are too expensive. One was whether or not we could use 2-D FX software to de-age our pop star to match his archival footage. That way he could perform songs now and the shots could be made to look like they were from the 70s. This FX was used on Patrick Stewart on the last X-Men movie and on John Goodman in Speed Racer and on Bruce Boxleitner and Jeff Bridges in Tron 2 (Tron 2???). Sound software exists to de-age voices younger as well. The question is, as always, how much does it cost? We’re still waiting to hear if the price of the shots will give the line producer a coronary.

That research was interesting, but not as much as finding elements to create a title sequence for the hit 70s show, The Billy Swain Show. We want an opening that’s a cross between The Monkees and The Banana Splits. Naturally, Mr. Stickler to Detail, Jon, wants to find a period correct amusement park either here or in New Jersey and preferably with a giant sliding board. Right. Strangely, I found one in relatively nearby Riverside, CA. It doesn’t have a giant slide, but it has a log flume that was also in the Banana Splits opening. We shoot several pages in California before moving to the Central Jersey coast for the rest. While researching the opening sequence, I spent a great deal of time on the evil and addictive Youtube. While looking at the opening for the Monkeeys, I saw links to Bobby Sherman (I think he’s now a Sheriff’s Deputy somewhere out here). Those links lead me to Here Come the Brides. I remembered that David Soul was on that show, but had forgotten about Sherman being there was well. I don’t remember Mark Lenard on there at all, and why did Bruce Lee ever guest star? Mind you, this is usually happening at 3am. The mind tends to wander. I got the answers we needed, but still don’t know what the cost will be. Meanwhile, I have all those extremely catching opening themes stuck in my brain. Jon has been asking me script questions at different points in time and all I have in my head is "Tra la la la la la la.' It's maddening. And that TV theme show site is as evil as Youtube.

The nights are late, because it’s been hard to sleep. This is our first full budget feature. None of us want to make a misstep. And there are still a lot of elements in the air. I know that in about three weeks we’ll be doing a lot of flying and that the script has to be finished. But there are no firmer dates than that. That drives me crazy. And we had to postpone our trip to Paris. It looks like our tenth anniversary will occur in the middle of pre-production while we’re crazed and tired. Still, it’s a very exciting prospect to be back on the East Coast for a while. I have plans to visit family and some often touted restaurants in Philly and NYC (Including Bourdain’s last haunt, Brasserie Les Halles) among many others. The hotel has a very nice kitchen, so I can still have my cooking therapy. As for the Paris trip, that apartment is available for Christmas. :)

Publishing Updates
Due to the insanity that will ensue during the next several months, Sybaritic Press is suspending submissions of prose until Spring, 2009. There are still a couple of things in the pipeline, but there will be nothing new on the prose side until then. I need to remove at least one hat.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Mark Lenard is/was a major guest player in the Trek Universe. I remember him in the "Here Comes the Brides" as the foil for the three brothers that had brought the 100 women to the mountain in Seattle. He played the banker that was going to repossess the mountain and environs for breach of contract. Remarkably, each week another bride got married off until the last one married ML who had to face the decision to have true love & marriage or by not marrying the young woman (Biddy was her name) be able to possess the mountain. P&LL