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!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Los Angeles - Elbow Room, Film Updates and Dangerous Minds

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 now have a dateline on the blog. That's because it's being fed to some networking sites from now on. Welcome all!

The musings below may appear to have a lot of whining going on. I'm not really unhappy. This week has had some really positive things happen. It's just been longer and stranger than usual. And the weather has been weird. It was 99 degrees at the Archive on Monday. By Wednesday the temperature had dropped more than 20 degrees. And my allergies are back to a level I hadn't experienced since leaving Philly 15 years ago. Thus, I'm a bit cranky, but not unhappy at all. Though as I take a break from cooking to write this, I realize that stoves and allergy meds may not mix. I just burned the op of my foot while making chili. And no, I don’t know how I pulled that off. I am backing away from the stove now.

A Room of One’s Own

I am starting this blog on a Thursday from my own PC! Jon and I share our toys very nicely. However, for the last two years, we've been on the same schedule. The last time that happened, I had a laptop. But we tried to make do. Most of the time he's working on stuff that has to get done for either Dragoncor or for Sybaritic Press. Since I tend to write my first drafts in longhand, we thought we could make using one machine work. Well, once you toss in having to do business plans for the films at the same time Jon needs to do stuff things got difficult. I realized that doing all the work I needed to do for the Blood Oath network pitch (scripts, character breakdowns and schedules) would be impossible without a second machine. We also needed a lot of hard drive space for all the editing on Jon's plate. So we combined my basic needs with his graphic needs (film making graphic needs, not those other kinds) and found something properly affordable for our modest means. It's not the newest bit of technology, but it's got speed and a lot of space. And I can write while sitting on my beloved sofa! I've decided that all office chairs, no matter how ergometric, do not agree with my singular shape. I need to be cushioned, dang it.

Since writing the above paragraph, Jon and I have been involved in a comedy of errors (Why do they call such sequences comedies. They don't seem remotely funny at the time.) trying to get the most important piece for the machine working. First, the unit we ordered didn't come with the device (though it was advertised as one of the features). No worries, we'll pick one up at Best Buy where we'd seen the item at a great price. Best Buy has been boon or bust for us. It was the place that had the best price on our floor model air conditioner I so adore. However, there are many times when I've wanted to run screaming from the place while pulling my hair out. Friday was one of those trips. We'd already been frustrated by the lack of service during our initial search for a new PC (we ended up buying it online). This time, we found the additional internal card was three times the price we expected, and despite assurances to the contrary, didn't fit our PC. We managed to get it exchanged, but the camera we need to do the files dump from doesn't have the appropriate cable. It has a gazillion cables, none of them are the right one. Poor Jon has to set off once again. When does this film thang get glamorous? And I still don't see the funny.

Month of Fun 09

I count the new PC as the beginning of the Moth of Fun to celebrate my years on the planet. I will be 49 on May 11th (ACK). That kind of birthday requires a whole lot of pampering. My hubs started off the month last Saturday by buying me two bottles of Vampire Merlot at a small grocery store near my Doctor's office. This tiny supermarket was the first market we shopped at in Los Angeles as it was just a few blocks from the motel we stayed in after we landed. The neighborhood is a groovy mix of the well-heeled Santa Monicans (did you know that the term Monican in Aeon Flux was derived from Santa Monica), aging hippies and Hispanic families. Thus, the tiny supermarket that is a few doors down from a Panaderia Bakery, has an amazingly deep selection of wines and champagnes. I had been trying to find Vampire Merlot since having it in San Francisco in 1998. I had planned to save it for the actual month of May, but I used some to make a sauce on Sunday. I believe that uncorking wine is like unsheathing a Samurai sword. Once opened, it must be consumed. What happened to the other bottle? Tuesday. I never really liked Tuesdays. And this past one had Jon and I carrying the PC from our local UPS store in the blazing heat. No, I'm not saying that red wine is good for heat exhaustion, but it was what I needed. As for the rest of the month? I have many fun things planned, including things I've never done before. It will not be extravagant, but it will be lots of fun.

Taking the Reins

We haven't had a lot of control over what happens with our film projects once we send off the plans and materials. However, we've got a bit of control over Demon Under Glass once again. We got our license back for the US/North America distributor about a month ago. We waited until the master was actually returned before initiating anything. It's here and we're pitching it to cable outlets for a run. We've had our first nibble from just the email with our website info and the great Fangoria articles and review. It's being hand delivered on Friday. We'll have no control over it after that, but it's good to get a strong response right off the bat. And we have others on the list. The film got some very positive response from the horror community, and we've always thought it should have had a wider release (especially when you consider all the crying that went on during the production and post). We plan to rectify that.

Since writing the above paragraph, we have approached the first network. They responded well to our promo materials and requested a copy of the DVD. Given how amazingly busy this acquisitions exec is, wanting to spend valuable time on our film is a promising sign.

Film Updates

When there is a lot happening from the people we've been negotiating with, I get a little panicked. Not that I mind the thought of doing a full budget film (au contraire), but it's the whole thing about travel and me. I really like to know where I'm going well enough in advance to prepare to go there. And I’m talking weeks. There are lists to write and re-write and re-re-write. I have a system! Jon sagely points out that the travel anxiety is a manifestation of the uncertainty as to which of the three disparate films we’re supposed to be getting our heads into until we’re actually making the film. Yeah, yeah. Very logical. All I know is that we’ll get a phone call late one night informing us that we should have been on the way to the airport an hour earlier. But I can’t worry about that until the call comes. I am very happy to report that negotiations on funding for the three films are underway once more. After the long lull, everyone wants to work quickly and get them underway. I look forward to running around like a crazed lunatic and kvetching to all of you about it.

And now that we have the equipment in place and working (keeping fingers firmly crossed), I hope to have images from the Blood Oath shoot and audio this weekend.

Right now, the apartment is filled with the smell of roasting garlic. That makes me thing of Vincent and helps me with writing him and Rik. I’m a very peculiar writer. I almost never write while listening to music. I If I’m listening to anything at all, it’s an old TV show like Dragnet hulu.com. Even the TV version sounds like a radio program. Sometimes I’ll listen to Hawaii Five-O, which has turned up in full episodes on CBS.com. I’ve seen those episodes so many times, I don’t have to actually watch them. Why TV over music? I grew up in a noisy house that almost always had the TV on. It just works for me. I’m distracted from the keyboard by the editing Jon is doing across the room. As when he was editing The Gunslinger, I tend to look over when there’s a lovely, male torso filling the screen. Unfortunately, none of them have been bare. Still, they are lovely enough to distract me.

A Dangerous Mind

I found the post-it note to the right on my workstation on Friday. I can share this one because it doesn't lapse into violent obscenities. However, it is dangerous nonetheless. The note reads:

Worst Pitch:
“I, Madame” The Waylon Flowers story. Flowers, a noted, gay ventriloquist and game show fixture is revealed to be a deep, undercover international assassin. He is aided by his diminutive lover who pretends to be a mannequin of an old woman. David Spade and Vern Troyer attached.

This little note brightened my day, but such musings from Craig are really dangerous, because he has made similar statements around the wrong ears. There are many ears connection to film production in LA almost everywhere we frequent. There were a lot at the Borders we worked at. Many major production companies have offices in Santa Monica. In fact, these companies had corporate accounts at our branch. The personnel from these companies were always listening to conversations around the store. When Craig would goof on pitches like that, the result was very bad cinema. Craig casually mentions that Dwayne Johnson would make a great Buford Pusser for the new generation, and voila we have Walking Tall. He has a long talk with someone he thought was just interested in a good Science Fiction novel, and we end up with Kevin Costner’s The Postman. No offense to those who may have like these films, but to me, oy! I admit to being at fault in this as well. A few months after I had a long talk with my supervisor at Borders about Josie and the Pussycats, a former screenwriter, I heard that a feature version of Josie and the Pussycats the Movie had been greenlit. That had been the topic of that chat. My supervisor wasn't involved, but he was fairly sure that a corporate client who was hanging around the info desk was. The film sucked and tanked. Now, I won't get to make the version I wanted to see. As for Craig, I know he'll be goofing on I, Madame this weekend in ear-shot of the three writers who work near his apartment. The result will likely give critics a big headache.

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