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, October 12, 2008

Film Updates, Cannibals and Naked Rugby

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 hardly know where to begin this week. There is so much happening personally, professionally and creatively, it’s hard to prioritize. Why not start as I often have with the weather. I’m not sure if it’s Hurricane Norbert (huh?) or what, but yesterday I was actually cold on the way home from the weekend errands. Cold as in goose pimples and shivering in the afternoon sun. The temperature dropped almost 30 degrees from Thursday to Friday, and it’s been very windy – tree felling windy. It’s typically windy this time of year, but the Santa Anas are hot winds from the desert. This was cold air from the ocean. It was refreshing, mind you. And it was nice sleeping without fans and with blankets. It was just surprising. I’m seldom cold in LA.

I’m on major drugs today for my back. It was a necessary step to get me to sleep through the night and further the healing process. I’m a bit disappointed though. My dreams aren’t any stranger than they are normally nor are my hallucinations. And I still can’t sleep through the loud and enthusiastic choir soloist who takes the microphone each and every blessed Sunday promptly at 10 am in the church across the parking lot from our bedroom. Bless her and that snare drum. I’ll never oversleep on a Sunday, nosiree. I may drift onto wild tangents. That is, I may drift onto wilder tangents, but I don’t think so. My back is feeling better though.

Sign of the Season
No, I don’t mean the Christmas decorations that are already up at my local Costco or the Freddy Kruger scary stuffed people lurking near the laundry room. Seeing them at 12 midnight while tired was almost very exciting for our sleeping neighbors. I mean the appearance of the Dieux De Stade calendar and making of video. My dear ami in France sent me a link which I enjoyed thoroughly. Those lovely men always find just the right place for that rugby ball and they still remind me of Greek statues. I have been without that calendar for far too long. This year, I’m making sure it once again adorns my work space. It provides inspiration. Though I grumble about the ever earlier Christmas displays, Jon and I have already begun the early cookie prep. The list (even with yearly culling) has become ponderously long. And we’ve added to our variety of treats. Jon’s compiling a spread sheet of recipes and ingredients, so we can take advantage of sales and get in all the necessary supplies. Last year we did 2 gross of cookies and dozens of mini-fruit cakes (and they are quite good) and baklava. The organization must begin early.

Film Biz, Silver Linings and the Re-write
The current financial craziness has had some effect on our current film’s development. Mainly, it has distracted our funding source and slowed the process down considerably. In the short run, that means that Jon and I remain at the Archive until the film is fully under way, and it means the pace of the re-write is not likely to change anytime soon. However, we find a huge silver lining in everything slowing down. The release date will be pushed from spring to the fall. Thus, the main part of the shoot – the Jersey scenes – will be pushed back to the spring. We are more than a little relieved about that. There is a lot that needs to be done in LA prior to the Jersey shoot (the opening of Billy Swain’s hit 70s show in the amusement park, a video of Dave Martin’s band on the 3rd Street Promenade – hopefully next to the Psychic Cat, and at least two 70s style video’s of Billy and his band). Then there is the opening scene in the Bel Air Mansion when the IRS kicks Billy out, and there are highway scenes that have to shot in the desert as Billy makes his way across country. Every one of those locations is more than one day and quite complicated. I didn’t know how we were going to squeeze them into the initial schedule and have them look like anything resembling good. We were very worried about that part of the shoot and more worried about shooting the rest during the dead of winter in New Jersey. The weather is really unpredictable and that can eat up a budget and the contingency. I’d prefer a slower pace even if it means working the day job longer. This also means that my Thanksgiving will be here. Plans for the Christmas holidays are still in flux. We’d still like to go back to Paris. The nice people who rent apartments there moved our reservation from Oct to Dec. I’d really love to spend the holiday there.

All that said, the re-write is progressing nicely. I received a good comment about how difficult it is to re-imagine a story once it has been written. That is very true. It isn’t easy to re-write a completed work. Time helps. Six years changes perspectives to be sure. We didn’t change the events of the script as much as we’re giving depth to the motivation behind the characters actions and sharpening the focus of the story. I’m hoping that the lines are as funny to other people as they are to us. We won’t know for sure until it’s finished. We crack ourselves up, but that may not be true for anyone else. Comedy is really hard.

When It Rains
When a casting breakdown is run for a show, all sorts of attention is paid to the production company. We get no end of composer resumes and reels. There are tons of stunt resumes and other key crew resumes filling all of our mailboxes. And we hear from people we’ve approached about funding for older projects. It’s that old situation where if you have money for one show, you get offered money for other things. It’s always harder to get money when you don’t have it. If that makes sense, please explain it to me. At any rate, in addition to Luv U 4 Ever and The Gunslinger and the cable TV pitches, we’ve been contacted about two other films we’d been trying to mount for a few years. I have to push aside my annoyance (oh, now this show is worthy of attention, eh) in favor of the notion of working back to back shows for a couple of years. We’re also getting a lot of practice at writing business plans. Our attorney said there will be even more interest in our older work once we start filming. It’s really scary how often making it in this industry is all or nothing. That’s why we seldom think about it in those terms.

Fine Young Cannibals
Warning Spoiler for CSI: Miami
Well, there was no spontaneuous human combustion two weeks ago on CSI:Miami, and last week's episode was sort of blah. But this week, it seems that at least one cannibal is staking our brave lab techs in the everglades. Or there had better be one. I was promised werewolves and zombies on other occasions only to be disappointed.

Food Stuffs

I’d been asked why I’m not talking about cooking much anymore. The blog has been too full of late. I really want to talk about the CBC’s The National news broadcast, but I haven’t had the time. I’ll get to that eventually. Back to food. I have been cooking up a storm amidst all this stress. I’ve been expanding my repertoire to include more Mediterranean foods and more and more home-made items that I used to order from take out menus. I have some new Food Network chefs that I really enjoy. There is Anne Burell who growls at her food and says things like ‘meat good.’ I like that. She’s also taught me a lot of new professional short cuts in a short span of time. There is Alexandra Guarnaschelli who solved my problem of getting my pizza dough crispy without a wood fired oven or a pizza stone (pan fry that sucker fist in a cast iron pan, top the slightly fried dough then put it in the over – yummy). Then there is Aaron McCargo, Jr., winner of The Next Food Network Star. He hails from Camden, NJ (yeah!) and sometimes cooks with Velveeta, but he has some mad skills otherwise. His method for an 18 minute chicken parmesan was the best I’ve ever done. I think it is even better than my cousin’s and hers was my favorite. I’m also very happy about the return of Ina Garten and Giada de Laurentiis. These are two of my favorite chefs and they never fail to inspire me. I look forward to their new shows. Jon looks forward to them as well. Aside from the yummy meals, nothing keeps me calmer than my time with the cutting board and the stove. In fact, it’s calling me now.

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