Friday, November 30, 2012

Changes... Version 2



Well, that's that.

Thanks to a debt I've been fighting for nearly ten years, the fairly high cost of living in Los Angeles, and the extremely high cost of making films, I have to leave California and the film industry for the foreseeable future.

Which, as everybody who's ever left California knows, probably means forever.

All good, though.  My production entity is alive and well and hopes to remain that way without me.  Go support them on Facebook.

Short Pajamas on Facebook

Good night, everyone.  And good luck.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Short Film Fever!

Note: This appeared elsewhere first.  Just reposting for good measure.

Most of you have heard, but JeffScape is making a short film.  And he needs your help.

Now, you're probably thinking, "With the economy like this, why should I help some petulant whelp make a short film?"  Well, because his last film, "Dog," was filmed on a budget of just over $10k.  And with that $10k, he employed 23 people, paying out almost $4k in wages for three days worth of work.  So, in a way, you're actually helping the economy.

Anyhoo, you can check out the pitch for his current project here:



Watch the video and then head over to show your support.

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shortpajamas/imaginary-friend

Also, "Like" the Facebook page!  It's just a clickety-click out of your day!

There's a pretty amazing cast attached, including some Australian up-and-comers, and a rising Iranian star!

And this guy, who made an appearance on Jay Leno:



As you can see, you'll be helping out some entertaining folks continue doing what they do best... and that is to entertain.

Speaking of... this awesome song is going to be in the short film:



So help JeffScape and his crew out.  Every $1 helps.  Every "Like," every "Share," every comment on their Facebook.  Spread the word.  Make someone smile.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Mid-November Ramblings



This song is going to be in my next short film, "Imaginary Friend."  Provided we can raise enough money to make the damned thing.  If you're interested in helping the production out (every $1 helps!), go here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shortpajamas/imaginary-friend

And here: http://www.facebook.com/shortpajamas

In Other News:


Skyfall was pretty friggin' awesome.  Maybe not as good as Casino Royale (although I'm still debating this in my head), but LIGHT-YEARS better than that crap, Quantum of Solace.

Of course, it helps that one of my friends looks exactly like the Chinese Bond girl (who is actually French).

And while it's not quite as good as How to Train Your Dragon, Dreamworks' Rise of the Guardians is pretty damned good.  I was invited to a special pre-release screening, and it's kinda funny hearing everyone cheer during the end credits.  I'm guessing that's because I was sitting next to everyone who was listed in the end credits.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Imaginary Friend

So, I'm attempting to produce another short film.  At great expense to myself, my family, and my friends.

People are asking me... why the Hell am I doing this?  Why am I wasting time and money making short films when I should be spending time making money?

Short answer: Because I want to tell stories.  I've been telling stories my entire life, since before I could even read and write.  And since I could write, I've been writing the damned things down.  They live in me, grow in me, scream at me until I let them out.

And when I let them out... I let them go.  I let them live in the hearts and minds of those who read them, those who see them.

That may seem pretentious, but let me be the first to admit that I'm no artist.  I don't think I'm changing the world in any significant way.  At best, I'm entertaining a handful of people who (hopefully) will be kind enough to let me know if my writing is any good.  I tell and write stories for no other reason than to tell and write stories.  Sure, I'd like to make money doing it (which would solve the "spending time making money" conundrum), but whether or not I can pay my rent with these tales of people and places that may or may not exist, I'm going to tell these tales.

Point of fact is... I can't pay my f@#$ing rent.  And I don't care.  I've got an imaginary friend dying to reveal his antics to the world.  Make no mistake... I'm going to reveal them.

I hope you'll help me.

Watch the video below, then visit our Kickstarter directly at: "Imaginary Friend"





Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What Are... The Animals?

So, a friend came to me a little while ago and asked me to help him write a rip-off/parody of The Expendables.  Being a fan of crap like The Losers and The A-Team, I immediately agreed.

Fast forward to last weekend and, with a budget hovering right around $0.00... we made a short film.

It premieres tonight (October 24th) at the Beverly Hills Playhouse.

True story.  Crazy shit.

Left to right: Le Fox, Wolf, Armadillo, Porcupine, Silverback, Bear, Giraffe
Click on the image for full-size. And check out the Short Pajamas Facebook page for more information.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Rubbing It In: Edition... Argo

So, I saw Argo last night.

Fucking brilliant.  I cried.  Several times.  No one in the theater saw me, but anyone who really knows me will know why I cried.  Several times.  My closest friends can probably tell you when I cried.

It was that fucking good.

RUB-IN #1

After I saw The Town, I wrote a little blog piece called Affleck: The New Eastwood.  I'd been saying Affleck would be a good director for a while, even before I saw his Freshman masterpiece, Gone Baby Gone.  Few believed me.  Then again, no one ever believes me... not even after I'm proven right.

Go on... read my Affleck piece.

And if you one of those who doubted... suck it.

RUB-IN #2

This one isn't really a rub-in, but I made the mistake (?) of seeing Argo with someone who was involved with the film.  I love the guy to death, but I didn't care for his "DVD commentary."  I'm there to watch the fucking movie, after all...

But... it was kinda cool at the same time.  On top of that, two other friends of mine had not-insignificant roles in the film... one even being one of the film's plot-points.  Her performance was solid... and it was cool that I got to text her how good I thought she was as I left the movie.

I know I'm being an arrogant prick right now, but a lot of people have been against me since I set off on my new career... and I can't help the pride.

RUB-IN #3

Actually... I'm going to save this one for later.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Return of 10thDoM...

Hello, everyone...

So, more than a handful of people have expressed distress at the absence of The Tenth Daughter of Memory from their writing lives and, as callous as I may be, I've decided to attempt a relaunch of sorts.

However... things have changed.

The new system in mind provides longer periods of both submitting and voting, as well as limits the types of entries a specific Muse will accept.  The system, so far, looks wonderful on paper, but it is obvious to those me that said system will undoubtedly run into problems.

Which means what, exactly?

Which means that, starting in November, I will launch a 3-cycle "beta test" at The Tenth Daughter of Memory to try out the next system, with the hopes of having a full relaunch in time for the "4th Annual River of Mnemosyne."

The beta test will be all-volunteer and done in private, and, well, we need volunteers.

Anyone interested in either participating or administrating, please email me at 10thDoM@gmail.com.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Friends of "Dog"

Any of you who are tied into any of my social networks, or my email lists, or know me even a little, have probably been bombarded by requests for money over the past few months.  In case anyone has forgotten, in late June, we launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a short film I wrote and am currently producing.

In a pleasant case of surprise, we wound up (initially) raising $7999.50 (rounded up to $8k by the website).  After fees and a handful of rejected contributions, we had $7050 in the bank with which to make "Dog."  So we started doing just that...

And, on September 7th, principal photography began on the film.  Almost immediately, cost overruns began cropping up (partially do to a poorly prepared, disturbingly under-budgeted preliminary budget), and I soon found myself fronting a lot of my own money to keep the momentum going on the shoot.

Stupid?  Probably.  Worth it?  See for yourself: Production Value Teaser.

As you no doubt noticed, because of these overruns, we had to launch a new Kickstarter campaign to recoup the money I had already spent.  In another pleasant case of surprise, we wound up raising $4198, which ultimately added another $3860 to the account for "Dog."

A grand total of $10910 to spend on the film.  And spend it, we have.  (Well, not all of it... yet).

What's my point?

My point is that I'm absolutely flabbergasted by and in awe of the 101 people who contributed funds to the project.  Like... in awe of.

Here's some factoids concerning the backers:
  • I have no idea who roughly half of them are.  Not only did complete strangers to me give money... complete strangers to EVERYONE INVOLVED in the film gave money.
  • A great deal of support came from the blogging community.  People I know via their words on a computer screen, but probably don't know by face, voice, or even real name.
  • Some support even came from bulletin boards (remember those?).  I used to hang out on science fiction bboards back in the day - much to the chagrin of my ex-girlfriend, who would claim that I was wasting my time - so I tossed a Hail Mary just to see what happened.  So what happened?  A plethora of Facebook likes, shares, and even some cash.
  • As I'm a veteran, I expected a decent amount of contributions from fellow soldiers... I was completely taken aback by how much they actually gave.  If there's ever a reason to join the military... it's the friends you make.
  • Quite a few contributors gave to BOTH campaigns.  Generosity rampant, indeed.
Anyway, given that this is a blog, I'm going to give an extra shout-out to the bloggers who supported my short film.  Do them the honor of giving them a visit.
And "Like" our Facebook page!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Speaking of Dogs...

After a two-year separation, I finally got to see my dogs!  I've been missing them something fierce, and given that I had to go get some Army stuff to use as props in my short film, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see them...

Did I mention it's been TWO YEARS???

Was I worried they wouldn't remember me?  To be honest, a little...  In fact, when I first drove up to the place they're staying, Jasper (the German Shepherd) barked and rushed me as if I was an intruder, and Jax (the pointer mix) approached suspiciously.

But then Jax smelled me.

And jumped into my face and licked my nose.

At which point Jasper starting WHINING and tried to lick my face.

It was awesome.  I made my nephew take a lot of photos and videos, but I won't bore you with all of them, so here's a sample:

Starbuck shaking dry after trying to kill some Koi in a pond.

Yes, actually, the first thing the dogs did when I opened the tailgate of my truck was to jump in.  And this after having not left the property - or been in a vehicle - since they were taken there TWO YEARS AGO.

Re-familiarizing.

Jasper, Jax, Starbuck

Not sure when it happened, but at some point, Starbuck tried to lead an escape attempt (I shit you not).  I would up having to chase all three dogs through the friggin' Nevada desert.  Good thing it was insanely hot that day... Starbuck gave up earlier than he usually does.


Starbuck's eying some domination...

Jax is, too.

I'm pretty sure I'm petting Jax while Starbuck is cleaning Jasper.

Just like old times...

The boy who started my menagerie.  The king.

Reliving lost moments... or something.

In a bit of a sad moment, as we were leaving, Jax walked up to the front door of the truck and tried to hop in.  He wasn't very aggressive about it, so it's obvious that his memories have faded a bit, but he clearly remembered something about my beat-up pickup.

I go cry now.

Friday, September 14, 2012

"Dog" Wrapped

So, we've finished principal photography on my first short film.  It looks friggin' awesome, but it ran waaaaaaay over-budget.

Check out this 35-second teaser video!  Keep in mind that it's all raw footage.  No color-correction.  No VFX.  No sound mix.  And it still looks friggin' awesome.


If you like what you see, please check out our Kickstarter and donate to our cause!


 http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shortpajamas/dog-production-value

Also check out our Facebook page (it's public... you do not need a Facebook to see it): http://www.facebook.com/shortpajamas 

I've literally spent every last cent of my savings to cover the cost overruns. I think the film is worth it. I hope you think so, too.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Scatter, Brains!

... eh.

Probably a little late for that.

They scattered a long time ago.  No, really, my memory's been very strange these days.  Only a few years ago, I would (accurately and honestly, I swear) often tell people that "If I tell you I can't remember, I'm probably lying."

And now I forget EVERYTHING.

No, I'm not probably lying.

I even started using "Google Calendar" to start keeping track of appointments and meetings, which I have been missing/forgetting at a record rate.  One problem with Google Calendar... when I started using it, I found myself INPUTTING THE WRONG FUCKING DATES!!!

So that experiment went nowhere.

That's not a surprise, though.  A lot of things go nowhere.  A lot of people, too.  I find it funny how they all claim to enjoy going nowhere.  Pride... probably means you're lying.

Hey, that's kinda clever...

Or not.

I think I'm going to attribute this flippancy/absent-mindedness to quitting smoking.

Shit... I forgot that today is my nephew's birthday.

Shit... and my parents' anniversary.

All good, though... my favorite Australian Football League team (the Sydney Swans) is probably going to have a Top 2 position in the finals this year.

Pity I forgot the game was last Friday and not Saturday... I even scheduled a get-together to watch the match.

Oh, and I'm flipping the bird to the Internet way of doing things and am re-familiarizing myself with using two spaces after periods (and other full-stops) when typing!  Take that!

But, enough about me.  How are you?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cinema Insomnia, Part 2

So... I was at a red carpet event... said event had a complimentary wine bar... which, well, yeah...

And at this said event, my producing partner won an award for "Best Feature Film." Which is awesome...

And, while drunk (or tipsy... or whatever...), I was hijacked by a tall Persian woman and pulled onto the red carpet...

I was kind of embarrassed, since I wasn't supposed to be there.

Ah, well...  Neither was she.

L-R: Tall Persian Woman, Me, Producing Partner, Other Guy

Goodbye, Dr. House...

This happened a while ago, but I feel the need to talk about it... it was very difficult for me, this thing... I even put it off for a week in some lame attempt at delaying the inevitable, but I finally did it. I sat down, dinner cooked and sitting on my desk, and watched the series finale of one of the few shows I watch(ed)...

House.

A good ending. Fitting, at least. Although the second-to-last episode was the one that tugged at heartstrings. The very sight of Gregory House coming to tears was enough to... well... yeah...


In Other News...

I'm going back to Australia this Christmas.

From March 14th to June 13th, I managed to smoke only 3.5 cigarettes.  Granted, I supplanted a lot of my nicotine intake with snus.  That stated, I cut all nicotine ingestion on June 14th, and will hit 70 days nicotine free this Thursday.  This calls for a celebration dance!

Jesus, I'm fat.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cinema Insomnia, Part 1

So... I've learned not to get too hammered at your business partner's film premiere. He may not like it. And when he's a former member of both the Iranian and Chinese national wushu (martial arts) teams... well... let's just say I wasn't going to win any physical altercations that may or may not have occurred.

I learned very quickly not to talk shit about his directing abilities...

Some of you might have seen our fundraising video for "Dog" on Kickstarter the other day... well... somebody kinda big saw it, asked for the script, read it, and asked for a meeting. Wish me luck.

Many of you like to bitch and moan about my methods regarding the creative writing process... I believe I said last time that, "As long as my methods are working, quit complaining." I am reiterating now for good measure.

It's cliché to point out that one should never give up on dreams. So I'll do you a favor and not point at you.

Am I being an arrogant prick? Yep. Deal with it. My friends do. And they know I'm always there for them. Even if I rub their faces in it. Arrogantly.

True story: I usually introduce myself as "an asshole" and "the most boring person you'll ever meet."

My favorite response to "What do you drive?" = "Public transportation."

Complain about me all you will... but when you can claim I'm not simply being bluntly honest, I'll already be dead... and you'll still be a hypocritical idiot.

Don't get mad at anything I write unless the shoe fits. And even if it does fit, what do you care? I'm an arrogant prick, remember?

Don't piss me off, either. I'll hire wushu champ to kick your ass. And, despite all the tough-guy rhetoric that's screaming through your brain right now... you're well aware he can kick your ass. And most of your friends' asses.

Actually... piss me off all you like. You'll find it's rather difficult. And I won't really give a shit. Only my close friends can piss me off effectively, and they've earned that right by putting up with my shit... that list includes... Orion, Pete, Andrew, Joe, Jessica, Helen, Pat, and Shahaub. And some family members... but blood is supposed to drive one crazy.

I love making movies.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Art Among Egos: A List

It's been a weird year...

Whiny, hypocritical bitches (non-gender specific) make me laugh. And I've been laughing A LOT these days.

I once said "the rock star poets are all dead." I lied... Buy this chap book: Slow Dance with Sasquatch. Dude's amazing. And, no, that's not vanity-published... it's legit. He's being paid to tour the country. As you realize how much better he is than any of us are, ask yourself, How's that blog poetry working out for ya?

Don't tell me "you will." Fucking tell me "you did."

Remember that 1099 you got in the mail for that thing you wrote that you sold? Awesome feeling, wasn't it?

If you want to be one of the bosses, don't sit around waiting for the rest of us to tell you to do something.

I used to refuse to date actors... felt they were all fake... but given the relative fakeness of "normal" people, and the fact that actors are worse liars than "normal" people (for real), I no longer have this arbitrary rule.

You can, with all due respect, take your god and do whatever the fuck you want to do with him, her, it, them. Once you're no longer a whiny, hypocritical bitch, I might start acknowledging the potential validity of your rhetoric. Until then, however... I shall wear earplugs.

Pats on the back have not, to my knowledge, managed to pay anyone's bills.

A fanboy telling me he likes my work is like a homeless man telling me he likes my house.

Show me - don't tell me - what you can do before we start our journey. And damn sure don't try to tell me what you will eventually do. Tomorrow's only important insofar as we'll get there... provided we get shit done today.

As long as my methods are working, quit complaining.

Envy suits you. But you're still just as ugly.

Writer's write. And write. And write. And rewrite. And edit. And write. Wannabes skip the third and fourth things.

How can one worry about producing or publishing when one doesn't fucking do anything? When's the last time you submitted formally? Oh, you haven't? Then shut the fuck up. This shit is hard. Deal with it or find something else to do.

Failure should breed a desire to succeed. If it doesn't... find something else to do.

Don't blame anyone but yourself if someone is better than you are. Improve. That is all.

Never forget the vanity of your friends and enemies...

I'm gonna go laugh some more.

It's been a weird year.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Dog"

So... I wrote a short film.


If you're inclined to help out, click the "KS" logo at the bottom-right of the video window, and it'll show you the way.

Fun times.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Silk


We had wings, when we were young
And now we're just winged
Winded
We had dreams, not so long ago
And now we're just asleep

All the good ones are dead...

RIP, Dan.

Airborne, Essayons, This We'll Defend...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Starbuck, Movie Star

So, my dog's going to be in a movie. Not like that's news, though, since he's been in two movies already (although his scenes were cut from one).

I saw some of the concept art awhile back... loving it.

Starbuck bored.
Starbuck taking his man for a walk.
Starbuck confused.
Starbuck screwed.
Starbuck with his personal assistant, Sagremor.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Irreviews, 2011: Issue VII

 So... wait... 2011, still? Yeah, well... that's because I got a little lazy, and these are still films I watched in 2011. At this rate, don't expect a 2012 edition of Irreviews until 2014.

You'll also notice (maybe) that I shrifted the film credit sections of each review. Yeah, well... that's because I got a little lazy. My OCD might overcome me at some point, and I'll return to put the info back in, but for now... bleh...

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
I've heard of this movie for years. Never really wanted to see it, but an Aussie friend of mine convinced me to give it a go and, you know what? I quite liked it. Following the adventures of three once-famous drag queens (including a eunuch portrayed by the great Terrence Stamp), it's a pretty funny and a pretty sad movie all at the same time... which seems to be the recipe for great films. Now, I'm not sure I'd call it great, but I totally understand why this is the film that's generally considered to have put Australia on the map (as far as cinema is concerned).
Verdict: SEE it.

The Final Countdown (1980)
I first saw this film years ago on television and I remember loving it. But, then, I've always been fascinated by time travel, World War II, and navy ships, so a movie with a plot that revolves around all of those things would - undoubtedly - appeal to me. At any rate, given some of my recent writing projects, I decided to look up The Final Countdown to give it another whirl (mostly for research, believe it or not) and, well, it still appeals to me. As a Navy film, it's pretty top-notch. As a time travel film, it's definitely better than most of Hollywood's recent attempts at the genre. And, as a war film, it's not too shabby.
Verdict: SEE it.

Halo Legends (2010)
The Halo franchise is one of my favorite video game franchises of all time. That stated, I'm not so much a video game freak that I had to rush out and watch this animated anthology of Halo cartoons. That stated, since Halo Legends popped up in my Netflix recommendations, I queued and watched it. As a whole, it rivals (and even betters) the ambitious The Animatrix anthology that came out to support the increasingly cheeseball Matrix franchise. Fans of sci-fi, animation, and Halo in general will love this (although there is one particularly bad entry in the anthology, one acknowledged by the series' creators).
Verdict: SEE some, SKIP others.

Ironclad (2011)
Paul Giamatti as Prince John? Surely not! Well, actually... yes... yes, he is. And you know what? He's pretty friggin' good. In fact, this entire movie is pretty friggin' good. I have no idea why this didn't get a wide release in the United States (probably because of that slightly not-that-great Robin Hood that came out), but it should have. The cast is solid, the story is much better than any medieval fare that Hollywood has released in the last three or four years, and even though it greatly fudges history, who cares? What film doesn't? Actually... I care... but if the movie's good, it's good.
Verdict: SEE it.

Jason X (2001)
I admit it... I've been dying to see this movie ever since I found out it contains copious amounts of homage to Alien. Did I think it would be good? No. Did I think I'd like it anyway? Of course not. And, let's face it, it's always a bad sign when a non-sci-fi horror franchise goes sci-fi. There were a couple of Jason-franchise in-jokes that were pretty funny, but you'd have to suffer through most of the other (mostly bad) movies to understand them, and I wouldn't recommend that to anybody.
Verdict: SKIP it.

Machine Gun Preacher (2011)
Of the ten films in this edition of Irreviews, Machine Gun Preacher is the only one I saw in theaters. And with all this "stop Joseph Kony" rhetoric going around thanks to a viral video, I'm kind of glad I did. Not only because it was a good film, but because I like having a leg-up on current events. Life imitates art, maybe? Or art imitates life? I don't know, but Gerard Butler's passion project was a pretty rough look at someone spiraling out of control, only to find their meaning of life. Violent and brutal (though not as much as it could have been - or maybe even should have), this film deserved more exposure when it came out. Better late than never, I suppose.
Verdict: SEE it.

Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008)
My experience to this point with Australian film has been of the really depressing variety. While not apologetic like Koreans tend to be, the Australians seem to (like the Koreans) prefer making really, really, sad and/or fucked up films. Or (as with The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert), hitting the other end of the scale - over-the-top comedy - while still somehow making them sad and/or fucked up. And then I saw this documentary and was introduced to a whole 'nother realm... over-sexed, over-violent, gratuitous and guilty pleasures. Needless to say, plenty of new Aussie flicks in the ol' Netflix queue.
Verdict: If you're interested in film history, SEE it.

Shiri (1999)
Way back in the year 2000, I saw a news report on American television pertaining to the fact that the South Korean film industry had finally knocked out a blockbuster film with Hollywood-style production values. That film was Shiri. The following year I moved to South Korea for a year and I tried like Hell to watch this film. Unfortunately, I remembered the title as being "Swirl" or "Spiral," so I couldn't track it down (in Korea it's known as Swiri, so I was close!). Fast forward to 2011 and I'm in one of my "watch anything foreign moods," and I happen upon the film. It is an action tour de force and, yes, it could have easily been a Hollywood production. And the story isn't half-bad.
Verdict: SEE it.

Sukiyaki Western Django (2007)
It's clear, given the Eastern-Western genre that's been making its way through Japanese cinema the past few years, the Japanese have felt slighted by the fact that there aren't many natural roles for Japanese actors in good ol' fashioned American Westerns. Of course, with the Japanese propensity to amalgamate anything and everything into highly stylized, visual displays of insanity, they've found a solution to that "problem." Samurai... meet Cowboy. Sukiyaki Western Django is, at its core, an amalgamation of Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars (itself a Spaghetti-Western remake of Yojimbo), with a touch of LSD for shits and giggles. And while I enjoyed the climax of the movie, the rest of it is just... weird.
Verdict: Um...

Swamp Thing (1982)
Once upon a time, Wes Craven (yes, that Wes Craven) made a comic book movie. It was part horror, part environmental warning, and part, well, comic book. And it's so blatantly cheesy that it rocks. The acting's not great (although Adrienne Barbeau is her usual saucy self), the action's not great, and the story is hokey, even by comic book standards. But, damn... it's about a mutated plant/human hybrid! Who gives a crap?
Verdict: Hehe... yeah, screw it. SEE it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Reflectivity

*Everything below is complete fiction, so don't get the wrong idea...


***

The M4 carbine is heavier than it should be, but so is the dying body strapped to his back, tied together in a fireman's carry as he makes his way through the deserts of one country on his way to the deserts of another. He's crying, and he knows he'll never admit that to anyone, but in the moment, he can't deny it. Can't even justify it as a result of exhaustion, a side effect of being alive, a reminder that life is beautiful. Even then, as young he is, he knows he's seen too much, learned too much, and he'll never feel comfortable again.

"Hey." It's a whisper from a dying man. One that wants to be ignored. "Hey... leave me here. Please, just leave me here. I don't want to take you with me."

"Fuck you," is all he can reply. And he continues to walk. Until sunset becomes sunrise. Until a dying friend is already dead. Until his legs are numb. Until it's all over.

Except... it'll never be over.

***

She yells at him and he laments the realization that she's not someone who'll ever understand. She's not someone who really cares. He's come close to telling her the truth many times, but her flippant attitude, her childish response to everything outside of her realm of comprehension, her defiance at his way of thinking... he's never told her. He figures out that he doesn't really want to tell her. If she really cared, she'd care to ask.

But she's not someone who'll ever understand.

***

It's a strange phone call in the middle of the night. He recognizes the international calling code. Israel. Even before he answers the phone, he knows who's calling. He answers in French, as she, too, speaks French. It's been a joke between them since both were barely out of their teenaged years.

She tells him his daughter is sick. But, still, she doesn't want him to meet her. She just thought he should know.

His girlfriend at the time wonders why he's in a sour mood. She even cusses him out for it. He refuses to let her see him cry.

It's another world... another life... one he doesn't want to share. Doesn't see the need to.

***

He's on a film set, working a new job, wearing new shoes not quite broken in. His heels are bleeding. He's waiting for his ride home. He's being yelled at on the phone. Nobody knows what's going on in his head. Nobody knows the tragedy he's pretending didn't happen. Then again, nobody cares.

After all, his ride - his girlfriend - is yelling at him for being a selfish prick.

He smiles at the transportation coordinator on set who was kind enough to offer him a ride home. He declines... instead, walking three blocks out of his way with bleeding heels in order to placate someone who doesn't understand.

C'est la vie.

***

It's another desert. He's trying to relive a life he left long ago. But he needs it. He needs it to feel young again. Too many friends have passed on to the next life. Too many friends... He should've been there. Could he have made a difference? Probably not, and he knows it.

That doesn't change the fact that he wishes he'd have been there.

As the dust storm envelops his position, he closes his eyes and pulls the drawstrings of his hood tight. He's lonely. Another thing he'll never admit to. But, for now, he believes he's where he should be.

***

A group of actors file out of his living room. He's still incredulous. These people - famous, talented people - just read one of his scripts in his home. His fucking living room.

Silently, he asks... What did I do to deserve this?

He answers himself. Nothing. Nothing at all.

It's almost enough to make him cry.

***

His aching foot wakes him up yet again, and he limps to the kitchen to grab some painkillers. His loyal dog looks upon him, and there's a sympathetic understanding. Pain is universal.

Irony sets in as the medicine takes effect. It's not even his dog.

Neither are the two cats who try to cuddle with him as he falls into a drug-induced sleep.

***

"So, what do you do?" the tall, beautiful Colombian-American asks him.

"I try to write," he asks, much to the surprise of his friend and business partner. He usually answers "nothing" to such questions.

"You're a writer?" she asks.

"I write. I am not a writer." He looks at her. She's not the most beautiful woman he's ever seen, but she's the most perfect.

And he knows he'll never have her. It's not the time. Not yet.

***

He hears the sound again. A strange, rubber-band like sound. His friend, Joe, looks up at him, confused.

"Dude, you might want to get down."

"Why?" he asks.

"Those are bullets."

Slightly embarrassed, he drops prone, thanking Joe as he does so. Joe had been in combat before and knew the sounds. It's a lesson learned right on time.

***

"Who are you? I mean, really?" she asks.

It's been a while since they've talked. He's apathetic. She's moved on. What-the-fuck-ever. He doesn't even know why she called. It's all so strange to him. But, then, he's drunk. His curiosity gets the best of him. There's a small satisfaction in the realization that she still hasn't found what she's looking for. He knows she never will. She claims otherwise.

At the end of the day, one will be proven right. He's certain it will be him.

"What are you talking about?" he asks in return. "I'm nobody."

It may sound like self-deprecation, but it isn't. It's simply a fact.

***

He stands over the unmarked grave of a friend he can't tell people he ever had. Such is their lives, their occupations, their decisions. Entire lifetimes lived, but never recorded. Never admitted to. Never acknowledged.

And... strangely... these men don't seem to care. It's what they do. It's who they are.

The unknown. The shadows. The ghosts. Those who cry before they fall asleep at night... but never when someone's watching. No. Never when someone's watching. The weight of the world is on their shoulders, after all, and nobody forced them to carry it.

***

"I miss you," he says, to no one in particular.

As the wind blows his words into nothingness, he sips a glass of cheap Merlot. And smiles.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Myths of Los Angeles


Everyone who's never been to Los Angeles thinks they know Los Angeles. People who've visited Los Angeles think they know Los Angeles. People who live here... don't really care. Granted, all of this is true of most large cities, particularly one that has a presence in the media as large as Los Angeles.

Hell... quite a bit of the time, the "New Yorks," "Miamis," and wherevers you're watching on television or in a movie are actually Los Angeles.

But, so what?

Nobody really gets Los Angeles. Not the tourists. Not the shut-ins who've never been here. Not the people who live here. Not the people who grew up here.

And that's what's so god-damned wonderful about this place.

Someone you know complains about the traffic. Well, duh... there's not a person on the planet who wouldn't complain about L.A. traffic. Or L.A. smog. Or earthquakes.

Someone else you know complains about the fake people here. Yeah, well... there are fake people everywhere. But how much time have you spent in a diner in Studio City? Or a sidewalk cafe in Los Feliz? Or on the beach in Venice? Most of the people are as real as you think you are, or as real as the "someone else you know" thinks they are.

And how do people know the people out here are fake, anyway? Oh, that's right... they buy the gossip mags at the local supermarket.

I will be honest here. I do not like 75% of this city. That figure's probably closer to 90%, but I'm being generous. But the remainder? I fucking love to death. I can honestly say I'm living in the best neighborhood I've ever lived in my life, and I've lived in seven states and three countries.

That stated, I'd still rather be in San Diego... but only because driving to Padres and Chargers games isn't as big a hassle.

It's not easy to live in the city, no. It's not easy to break into Hollywood, no. It's not easy to do a lot of things in a lot of places, and Los Angeles is no different. But it's a great fucking town.

Why am I ranting about this? I dunno... I think part of it has to do with the 20th anniversary of the L.A. riots. A scar this city wears to this day. My close friends know that I don't put much stock in anniversaries, but I had a bit of a profound moment this past weekend, when I went to a production of Twilight: Los Angeles 1992. After the show, the cast asked the audience to stick around for a Q&A regarding current thoughts of the riots. In the first round, they asked for people who were living here at the time. In the second, they asked for people who were not... and that's when I told my story.

See, I grew up just south of here, in San Diego County. I'd just moved to Northern Nevada before the riots starting. I followed the riots closely, still feeling that Southern California was my home (a sentiment I've never lost, even though I don't actually feel I have "a home")... but the one thing I recall the most about the riots? My dad walking in and saying to me, "The city's burning."

And burning it was... for all the wrong reasons.

I don't know what came over me, but something about the conversation prompted me to say - in front of a huge cast of fantastic actors (seriously... the IMDb resumes of these people are insane) - that "I fucking love this city."

It's true... I hate 75% of it... but I fucking love it. I've been to a lot of big cities in my life, and few have the personality that Los Angeles does. It's confused, lost, crazy, chaotic... and home to nearly 4 million people. Only one place in America has more... and it's nothing like this place. Oh, it's no better or worse (unless accounting for weather), but it's nothing like this place.

Anyway, I'm just being sentimental, I suppose. It's been a busy year, the phone's been off the hook the past few weeks, and I'm happy to say that my persistence in pursuing my career aspirations is paying off. Again, my close friends know that, despite that persistence, a lot of the credit in the payoff is due to this city. It's the right place at the right time. Who knew? I guess I did, really, but it's the arrogance of naivete that convinces people you can act the Roman when not in Rome. Look at all the film school graduates, including many of my friends, doing anything but making movies. They've never learned how warm and welcome this place can be. Never took the chance. Why? There are many reasons, obviously, but I'm willing to bet there's a fear of Los Angeles borne of those stupid gossip mags. If they only bothered to find out, it would only take a few months to realize how full of shit those admittedly full-of-shit publications and other media actually are.

Twenty years ago, this wonderful, weird, inspiring, and insane city was burning. Well, I got news for you... it's still burning.

Now, though, the reasons are better.

Hate this place all you want. Blame this place all you want. Just remember that, if you ever make it out this way, there's a part of the City of Angels that will always welcome you home. It took me some time, but I know that now.

Anyway, gotta run... three script deadlines this week. I fucking love this place.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Just a Couple of Songs...

... when you realize that the person you're stuck with listens to boring music, doesn't explore new music, never even bothers to experiment with music, and can't play any music...

... when you realize that, despite your public protests, you're not really happy...

... just play a couple of songs...

... and don't mind me... I'm just playing in the fields of worlds... the real one and those of my own creation...

... remember to smile.

Enjoy.



Sunday, March 4, 2012

Smiles and Everything They Can Mean


I was scolded for posting my last "mental beat" on my private blog, so I'll post one here...

Smiles and Everything They Can Mean

It's the first sunrise you can remember, and the last you think you will. Maybe it's not very warm, but it probably is. And, at the very least, it's bright enough. If you're on an east coast north of the equator, the reflection over the water will remind you how warm that water is. If you're on a west coast, you'll know that the sun is shining over the heads of almost everyone you know. It's all good. Smile.

It's the last sunset you want to forget, and the first you think you might. Maybe it's cold, but it might be warm. Purples, oranges, and reds inspire photographs because, well, it's not something we're supposed to see too many times. Only in Los Angeles, some people sometimes say, but one day you might find yourself in Los Angeles and wonder what the big deal is. And when it's gone, you'll miss it. Like people, things you see will touch and go. Felt and gone. But always somewhere in the back of your mind. She might hate you, you might hate her, you might not trade who you're with for any amount of memories, but they're still there... nagging the shit out of you. She might read this and smile, thinking I'm thinking about her... but she might be wrong.

Of course, she might be right.

Then again... who has the time to reminisce?

There's the girl in the coffee shop, talking to a friend of yours, but smiling your way. Life's not where either one of you want it to be, but if she's willing to take the chance, why aren't you? Why aren't I?

Because there are other things to be done. One thing at a time. Brick by brick, layer by layer. The wall of humanity is a careful construction always ready to fall. It's best not to crush anyone underneath your weight, even if you're weightless.

Another smile is crooked, because you're a creep. Or, at least, imagined that way. Someone's said something before you even got there and there was too much time for the thought to become belief. Nothing you can do except enjoy your coffee and get the Hell out of there. Don't linger, waiting for the expression to change. If you're important enough... or if they are... the chase will start soon. It might take a sunset to get it started.

A friend will make fun of you. All in good fun.

An enemy will threaten you. How empty of them.

It's all so fucking hysterical. Everything is everything, including a horse. It's all a horse. Hop on and go for a ride. Or don't. Just don't blame anyone else when you finally realize that the world has passed you by. It's your own fault you're so pathetic.

I don't blame you. Or you. Or you. Or you. I blame myself, if indeed there's anything worth passing blame for. And from where I'm standing, everything's okay. It can always get better, sure, and there's always someone better, but who cares? At some point, just pick up the fucking microphone and sing. Off-key, the door might be locked, but somebody's inside... and they just might answer.

Come inside. Have a Coke and a smile.

But mean it, this time. We can all be good company. It's okay to miss it. We all touch. And we all go away. I'll miss it, too.

While we're being honest, doesn't it suck that we even have that saying? Let it make you laugh as you realize that it implies that everyone's usually lying. Watch your favorite doctor on television and nod in silent agreement. Self-incrimination is the implication we live with, and only the laconic avoid the trap of telling on one's self. Just remember... even the loquacious do it with a smile.

Do you keep your head down when you walk around strange places? Is it because you live there? Do  you stare at the tops of tall buildings you rarely see? Is it because you're visiting? Regardless, is whatever you're looking at enough to keep you from saying hello to a passerby? Say it sometime. Chances are, you'll surprise everyone, yourself included.

Hello.

It's that fucking simple.

And notice that when you say it to a stranger, there's rarely a goodbye. Oh, you're gone... but you never left, so what does it really matter? Better to be remembered as a moving silhouette than as the angry words you said before a friend died. Or the out-of-place minority ripping the door off of your car when your sedan slid into a tree. We're never where people need us because we never notice who's in need. Irony? Or stupidity. Probably a bit of both... we are all extremely stupid, after all.

Cheer up, though. It's worth laughing about. You ever try to laugh without smiling? It's fucking difficult.

So smile because things are good. Smile because things are bad, but not as bad as they could be. Smile because you're nervous. Smile because, yes, dumbass, she's into you. Keep 'em coming, motherfucker, because no one likes a curmudgeon. I should know.

The world is small. Sit on a park bench in New York City long enough, and the whole world will walk by. No, I didn't say that, and I don't remember who did. Wise words, though... and I'm sure their wait will be perceptibly shorter if they're wearing a smile.

The world is huge. How much of it have you seen? Where were you when you learned your enemies smile the same way you do? Did you even notice?

It's the last sunrise you'll remember, and the first you'll truly appreciate. Maybe it's cold, but that's probably only because you can't feel anything, anyway. The arms holding you up are a stranger's, but they belong to a friend. Give 'em a smile. Let them shed the tear. Leave a mark as they take one. Touched. Gone. Not forgotten.

It's all good. I remember you, and fondly. We're just fine.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Weird Things I've Heard This Year

So, 2012 has yet to slow down, and (I am forced to admit) it is kicking my ass. I'm exhausted. But... gotta keep up. Anyone want to be a live-in secretary? You can have the bedroom... I'll sleep on the couch with the dog and cats.

Anyhoo... in the last six weeks I have, quite literally, been having two meetings a day, Monday through Friday, with some weekend setups just for shits and giggles. Lots of new partners, lots of new friends... and lots of new psychos (an ex of mine would posit that I should fit right in). I'll be peppering this blog with what my partners and friends are up to all year, I'm sure, but I figured to share some of the strange things I've heard in this young year. And since we just wrapped up awards season, I'll present these as the IrrOscars.


The "Where Were You A Few Years Ago?" Award:
"Oh my god. My baby is beautiful, but if you were the father, she'd be gorgeous."

The "Oh... Kay..." Award:
"There's nothing better than waking up to a mouthful of cock."

The "You Clearly Don't Know What You're Talking About" Award:
"Why did you tell my friends I do meth? I don't do meth. I do speed."

The "Thanks, but I Can Pitch Myself" Award:
"If his stories were women, you'd want to fuck them."

The Vanity Award:
"Did she pass the cold sore test?"

The "I Had No Idea" Award:
"You don't have to pay back your credit cards, because you don't own them and there's a $3 billion credit fund available for the public to use on whatever it wants."

Honorable Mention:
"If an ex has a kid within eight to ten months of your birthday, they were thinking of you while they were fucking."

The "You're an Idiot" Award:
"My girlfriend and I agreed to an open relationship, and she went and fucked some guy four times! She wasn't supposed to do that!"

The "Please, Stop" Award:
"I never thought I'd have to ask someone to stop humping my furniture."

That's all for now. 'Til next time...

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Vaguely Organized Musings, January 2012

Vague Film Stuff

Well, 2012 has only been 27 days (28 by the time anyone reads this... unless, of course, you're in a later time zone, in which case it'll still have only been 27... I'm too lazy to do the math, but I'm thinking nobody will be on January 29th when this goes up... but, yeah... I'm so off topic, I don't even know what the Hell's going on...)...

Lots of ellipses... hmm... Hey, there's two more.

Okay...

So, 2012 has only been 27 days (28 by the... shit... never mind), but it's already kicking ass and taking names. For pretty much the past two weeks (and maybe three), I've been locked in meeting after meeting, pitch after pitch, and shit is getting done. Scripts are out, indie films are in pre-production, and my living room (along with several other living rooms, a few coffee shops, a couple of sushi bars, and a handful of restaurants) have turned into impromptu, planned, and deliberated gatherings of talent and (the one thing every starving artist actually wants) money.

Yep. Money.

For all you aspiring writers out there: there is an end to the rainbow... and it is definitely shiny.

Anyway... pulled this picture off a filmmaker's Facebook page after an extremely long session...

Starbuck yawning, Sagremor (still recovering from shredding open one of his back feet - long story... one that involved me doing field surgery, but I'll save that one for another time) passed the fuck out. Definitely metaphorical.
(click for larger image)
For all you aspiring artists out there: this shit's hard work.

Vague Writing Stuff

First off, I'd like to apologize to the readers of Panoramic Mindscapes. After posting 100,000 words worth of short stories between June and September of last year, I started to slow down... not because I wasn't writing, but because I had to shift my focus to screenplays (some spec, some commissioned). I assure you that I kept up my goal of writing 1000 words per day for the rest of the year, and I even tried to post a script onto Panoramic, but the formatting proved too much of a hassle.

Anyway, I'm slowly ramping up the short story focus again, so expect a short story per day (or at least a chapter of one) again very soon.

Beyond that, some aspiring directors are scouring the shorts on The Tenth Daughter of Memory for material, so some of you might be getting emails from me asking for permission for these people to adapt your work.

Obviously, those of you who have shown unusual dedication, persistence, and a willingness to learn, edit, and rewrite have already received recommendations from me as "read firsts."

Vague Location Stuff

Yeah, so, I may be moving again. Don't know where, don't know when... could be tomorrow, right down the street. Could be the end of April to Australia. Basically, I'm going to wait until that nagging feeling pulls an ex-girlfriend on me and pushes me over the edge.

At which point I'll jump and see where I land.

Don't knock it... it's a fun way to live.

Vague Tommy Lee Stuff

Some of you know that, a few years ago (2007-ish), I wound up driving for Tommy Lee (he of Pamela Anderson fame... and a damned good drummer) during the filming of his reality show. I told a lot of people then that Tommy Lee was probably the coolest, most down-to-earth celebrity I've ever had the fortune (or misfortune) to work with.

Anyway, fast-forward to last week, and I'm going to dinner with a couple of lawyers, a video game designer, a Google programmer, and a film director, and we wind up standing in line at one of my neighborhood's awesome Japanese restaurants (like, really... there's a shitload of awesome Japanese restaurants within walking distance).

Let me back up a bit... I was already drunk at this point.

So, in line in front of me is Tommy Lee. Now, anyone who knows me knows that I don't bother celebrities. I don't get starstruck because, well, I just don't give a shit. But Tommy Lee was cool in Atlanta (where I drove him), so I interrupted his conversation with whomever and shook his hand. Told him we once worked together (because, you know, there's no way the man remembered me) and we had a chat... at which point he totally validated my theory that he's probably the coolest, most down-to-earth celebrity I've ever met.

Seriously, ignore his bad press. The dude's awesome.

Vague Teddy Bear Stuff

So, I just realized that one of Jon Stewart's teddy bear props on The Daily Show is identical to one of my teddy bears. Anyone recognize it?

Yeah, I have a teddy bear... so fucking what?
His name's Rar Bear, by the way.
Vague Nostalgia Stuff

Last, and probably least, I'm missing my other two dogs something fierce, so I figured I'd post some photos of them. Haven't seen them in 18 months. It makes me sad.

Jax, me with insanely short hair, Jasper as a pup

Jax and Jasper, early 2008
I'm gonna go cry now.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tenth Daughters of Memory, 2011: Volume 2

So, another six months, another round of short story entries for The Tenth Daughter of Memory. This will probably be the last time I link any of my creative writing from Irreverent Irrelevance, but for the sake of 2011 symmetry, here you go.

Happy to say that "Fig Leaves," "When These Angels Want You Dead," and "Effect" won their respective Muses, and "Walls Have Ears, Calendars Have Eyes" finished as a first runner-up.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

De-resolutions


Just some random musings to kick off the 2012 blogging year...

I hope to be a bit more active here than I was last year. I admit, I got bored with blogging in general (as I'm sure most of you do), but I'll try to pick things up in 2012... although this year I'll have less time. C'est la vie.

Advice: before you promise your producers a new draft of one script, the fine people at the BBC a spec draft of a different script, and enter a writing competition... do make sure the deadlines aren't all the same day. Ugh.

Nice to know that the Christian God is spending Sundays making sure Tim Tebow wins football games. Really, people? C'mon! God's not that crazy... he pulls for the Saints. We all know that already.

I miss my dogs. Jasper, Jax, I will come visit as soon as I can!

Why, oh, why, can't I avoid North Carolina in my life? Just for a little while... please?

The third series of the British TV show, Misfits, started off a little shaky... but, damn. Way to finish!

On December 1st, 2010, I received a fortune from a cookie that read: "You or a close friend will be married within a year." It did not happen. Just sayin.'

For the second time in my life I've learned that the following phrase is always untrue: "I will always help you out, no matter what." Beware of anyone who says that... they have funny ways of justifying why they left you for the wolves. It's a good thing I like wolves, but still...

I don't want to quit smoking. Take that.

Yeah, the Aussie accent is still the best in the English-speaking world. Probably the entire world, but I'm not here to force my subjectivity onto you.

Thank you, 2011, for being the first year in a long time that I didn't get invited to any funerals. I'd prefer it if the next one I attend is my own.

Someone please inform my cat, Sagremor, that while he's outside, it's not polite to jump up and latch onto window screens in order to scare the shit out of me and my guests while we're inside having a conversation. To make matters worse, one guest had just watched the movie The Breed and refused to leave for an hour.

Someone also please inform Sagremor that cats meow... they don't chirp. He really needs to quit doing that.

Just in case this ever comes up again... when driving me to the hospital, don't talk to me. Just get me there.

Nice to know my old unit inactivated with my record-score for firing the M249 unbroken. Yes, a mark no one will ever recall, but I do... and that works for me.

I do believe the above sentence is comprised of horrifyingly bad grammar.

Sorry, but texting me "I think your cute" is a good way to lose my interest.

I have realized that the apostrophe is sexy. Not as sexy as the semicolon, but close.

Aight... enough of this... I'll be around. And hopefully more relevant.

Irreview, Book Review: The Story of Earth

I've been a science nerd for a long, long time.  Physics was probably my favorite science subject in high school (perhaps other than oce...