Friday, December 31, 2004

New Year's Evil

It's been a good year professionally for me. Both AMONG US and PETER ROTTENTAIL came out direct to video, with RAZORTEETH and SEX MACHINE in production. A few failed projects along the way, as well but that's par for the course and perhaps best to let them stay buried. In the summer I had a great time teaching workshops and helping judge MicrocinemaFest 2004 in Rapid City, as well as helping select films for the Oranje Art and Music Event in Indianapolis. I have gotten a chance to meet and work with a lot of good people. I went to Dayton's Scary Camp con as well as Indy's GenCon, and in the fall my brother and I roadtripped to the Polonia Brothers suprise birthday party in Pennsylvania. I got interviewed at b-movie.com and was reviewed in Cinescape Magazine. Hopefully there will be some good projects in 05 as well. Every year I stop and think whether I want to keep going. This year I've had a good spate of luck, but everything's cyclical. I hope the wave doesn't crest for a bit longer.

For 2005 I would like to see a few good projects come to fruition in the movie scene as well as break into comic-book writing. I keep thinking I'll jump behind a camera and put together something for myself as well. Who knows what might happen.

I wish all of my loyal readers good luck in 2005 with your own projects.

Feel free to give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Black Christmas

Where has the holiday blogging gone? I think it started when a foot of snow dumped on Indiana the day before Christmas Eve, snowing us in with knee-deep and above drifts, followed by subzero temperatures that froze my pipes Christmas Day, thawed out four hours later via hair dryer and space heater; then there was the flu my daughter and I have struggled with since, wasting several good loaf-off vacation days (thanks for the flu shots, W!). It was so bad, we actually watched a marathon of The 4400 taped off of the Sci-Fi Channel. So no blogging from my tin-can-and-string home dial-up, and no scriptwriting; I had hoped to work like a coked-up 80s sitcom writer over break, to no avail. Nothing but cough medicine and Alka-Seltzer cold tablets coursing through my veins. Luckily my pal Doug dropped off the Identity Crisis miniseries from DC so that I can slump on the couch and figure out what all the fuss is about.

Favorite gifts: a Carhart suit, a six-foot fiberglass ladder, Bill Clinton's autobiography.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

OMAC: One Man Army Corps

I'm doing a bit of soul-searching right now because I learned that my subscription folder at the local comics shop was emptied, as I had three issues each of all my monthly titles backed up. I can understand, I had only been going to that shop for ALMOST TWENTY YEARS, with subscription service since around 1990, and had co-hosted a local cable access show about comics that ran for over 75 episodes, so I could abruptly decide to quit reading comics and leave town at any time.

But to be fair, three months of comics is three months of comics, and I have to wonder where the time went. I think I got a steady fix from the several-foot stack that my pal Doug leaves at my house regularly, plus the stuff I mooch off my brother, plus the blissful shelf of TPBs at the local library. But I think what I posted on here a while back is true; I read more ABOUT comics every day (as seen in my links column to the right) than I probably do actually read comics. I think bursts of work, then shots of personal and professional setbacks, perhaps played a part as well.

At least it's a chance to evaluate my subscription list and see what I still want to get in the new year, and see what's worth catching up on and finding in the back issue bins. A slash and burn, followed by a recon mission, if you will. The start of a new year.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Feeders 2: Slay Bells

Our little town has a "Christmas Walk" where all the local businesses are open late and have cider and candy and there are carolers and carriage rides and pretty much all the yuletide stuff one would expect. We thought it would be funny to have our sixteen-year-old daughter get a picture with Santa and after much arguing she agreed. Unfortunately we did not get a look at Santa beforehand, assuming he would be an old guy smelling faintly of something medicinal. This turned out instead to be a twenty-something dude who was more than happy to have my teenaged daughter sit on his lap. An elf even high-fived him as we left! That little bastard should have been paying ME, not the other way around!

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Power Man and Iron Fist


Found when cleaning my desk at home. This is me and my pal Doug getting ready to host a talk about comic books at a local library some years back, when we used to host a local cable show before my movie-writing days. An old lady came up after it was over with a suitcase full of pristine comics from the 50s for us to evaluate. I wish I'd told her they were worth nothing and given her $20. Posted by Hello

Friday, December 17, 2004

Bill Smalley and the Power of the Human Eye

I went to two blogs today that were doing the same meme, screenwriting pal Scott Phillips and comic book writer Will Pfeiffer so I decided to do it as well:

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the "coolest" book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.

Conan and the Shaman's Curse by Sean A. Moore. I read this one a long time ago and enjoyed it pretty well, out of that long series of Tor knock-offs that were done. I am carrying it around to Bookcrossing it somewhere.

"Ngomba had lost so much blood that his skin was as pale as the stranger's."

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold

Some of my Hoosier-flavored reviews are now getting cross-posted at another good site, IndianapolisFilm.net. So if you missed them at MicrocinemaScene.com you can catch up with them here.

More info on RAZORTEETH from the Polonia Brothers popped up on IMDB.com here.

Still interested in this. (Link poached from my pals at Cinema Minima).

Some people found my blog by typing in john dalton begging middle end after, picture someone screaming, how to beat shadow queen, and cornhole games. Um, thanks for visiting.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Kill the Boss Good-Bye

Loyal readers know I write a column called "Book Beat" for the quarterly publication Pomp and Circumstantial Evidence, a magazine from the Magna Cum Murder Mystery Conference. Here's the article I wrote this time out, maybe of some interest to people here:

It’s always fun to review the newest bestsellers from the latest hot writers, but sometimes it’s even more fun when you find an old yellowed paperback for a quarter or a dime at a yard sale or flea market that turns out to be a real treat. For this installment of BOOK BEAT, I am going to turn the pages backward, to a baker’s dozen of old favorites that deserve a second look.

A SWELL-LOOKING BABE by Jim Thompson
This one’s a bit easy but it’s a good way to kick off the theme. Because of a spate of movies and re-releases Jim Thompson went from being out of print to being somewhat popular again, with AFTER DARK MY SWEET, THE GRIFTERS, and others. This hard-boiled thriller with a shocking denouement is a lesser-known entry in his rediscovered works and worth a read.

PHANTOM LADY by Cornell Woolrich
Also a bit easy, and Woolrich isn’t quite as unknown as he once was. But I have to include this one on the list as it is one of my favorite novels of all time, eye-opening writing by a haunted and scarred author; and if you haven’t discovered Woolrich yet, grab this one, then THE BRIDE WORE BLACK and I MARRIED A DEAD MAN.

THE DRAGON’S EYE by Scott C.S. Stone
This tidy little spy thriller won an Edgar in 1969—surprising, as you don’t hear much about this author anymore, though he went on to do other work in a number of genres. This one deals with a war correspondent who ends up a reluctant spy behind “the bamboo curtain” in 60s Asia. Finding this one at the Indiana State Fair for a quarter, then looking up more info about this author after reading this paperback in a single setting, sparked this article.

PICK UP by Charles Willeford
Willeford had a late-career burst of recognition with his Hoke Moseley novels (notably MIAMI BLUES, made into a film of the same name), but this early work is a devastatingly blunt looks at the human condition, framed in the bleakest noir setting.

RIDE THE PINK HORSE by Dorothy B. Hughes
Curiously, Hughes quit writing mysteries at what was basically the height of her popularity; and it’s a shame, as one will find when reading novels like IN A LONELY PLACE and this one, a revenge story set in a southwestern locale.

ASSASSINS HAVE STARRY EYES by Donald Hamilton
I’ve been surprised that Hamilton’s extremely tough-minded Matt Helm books aren’t discussed more often anymore; but, fortunately, neither are the woeful Dean Martin film versions. This non-series entry is one of my favorite outings from the prolific author.

THE SCRAMBLED YEGGS by Richard S. Prather
Here’s another guy that’s off the radar now after a long run with the enjoyably tongue in cheek Shell Scott detective series. Lots of good choices here, like SLAB HAPPY, THE TROJAN HEARSE, and DIG THAT CRAZY GRAVE, but this is probably my favorite mystery novel title of all time.

THE HEAT’S ON by Chester B. Himes
I am a long-time fan of Himes’ Harlem detective novels (which include COTTON COMES TO HARLEM and THE BIG GOLD DREAM), and this is probably my favorite; Gravedigger and Coffin Ed, Himes’ two pistol-whipping police detectives, prowl the back alleys of the big city in their huge slab of low-riding Detroit steel. This entry especially is written with lots of energy and humor.

NIGHTMARE ALLEY by William Lindsay Gresham
Some might remember the Tyrone Power movie based on this novel, about the rise and fall of a con man working in a carnival sideshow—but it’s not a patch on this novel, harrowing from top to bottom.

THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY? by Horace McCoy
Also the basis of a film, and again the original—about the desperate people involved in a grueling marathon dance contest—is a stark portrayal of down-at-the-heels characters in marginalized lives.

DOWN THERE by David Goodis
Better known as SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER, a story about a fallen musician trying to keep on the straight and narrow is a crackling read. Goodis’ works seem to have fallen through the cracks over the years despite the success of this one and DARK PASSAGE, both of which were turned into films.

WITH MY KNIVES I KNOW I’M GOOD by Julian Rathbone
British novelist Rathbone is still writing, in a number of genres, but some of his early works have gone out of print—including this one, a unique spy story featuring a circus performer and his twin, a secret agent. Original storytelling and offbeat characters, as well as an unusual title.

A HOUSE IN NAPLES by Peter Rabe
For me, Peter Rabe is the perfect writer for this article; in my mind the best mystery writer nobody has ever heard of. Although I also really like JOURNEY INTO TERROR and MURDER ME FOR NICKELS, this one gets the nod because of the unusual (for a noir) overseas setting.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.







Friday, December 10, 2004

Glass Onion

I haven't done a meme in a while, so here's an odd one from Four for Friday, with answers off of the top of my head:

Q1: A 14-year-old Australian boy, Christopher Harris, announced yesterday that next Spring he plans to become the youngest person ever to attempt to climb and summit Mt. Everest. How do you feel about someone as young as Harris attempting such a risky endeavor?

Where are this kid's parents at? They should read "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer.

Q2: Are you better off or worse today financially then you were four years ago at this same time (in December of 2000)?

Probably a bit tighter, but pretty close to the same.

Q3: Do you personally know anyone who has made it really big either in Hollywood, politics, sports, or business? If you don't know anyone directly, how about thru that whole X Degrees of Separation thing?

I know a ton of people through the six degrees of separation, though my brother doesn't believe in it. No degrees of separation, I went to high school with Cynda Williams and used to work with Richard O'Brien's son Linus. My wife's childhood best friend is the bestselling author Haven Kimmel.

Q4: If you could choose one event from any point in the future whose outcome could be known to you now, what would you like to know?

Like most people I'd like to scope out my funeral.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.


Thursday, December 09, 2004

Mind Games

I meant to post yesterday about the anniversary of John Lennon's death, way back in 1980. It was a very snowy day in Indiana. I remember my mom waking up and telling me he had been shot the day before. She was more upset than I was at first, I think. I was a freshman in high school, and that day the Art Club was going to go around and paint holiday decorations on city buildings, like the post office. We thought we'd get a snow day, but no luck. I got thrown in a group with a lot of older kids, including a senior artist I looked up to named Harold and a funky girl named Melissa I was afraid to talk to. I kind of hung back and listened to Harold and all of the older kids talk about the Beatles all day, and their music played out of every radio. I know the 70s were wild if you were older, but in my estimation it was the last good time to be a kid. When John Lennon got killed that seemed to me to be the death knell of that time. After that, all crazy things seemed possible.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The Legend of Justice Bao

Some preliminary info about RAZORTEETH has popped up on imdb.com here.

My pals over at REwindvideo, an amateur moviemaking site who are also responsible for MicroCinema Fest, did a nice site relaunch here.

We posted our 200th review at Microcinema Scene today. I've put up about 90 myself. All the news fit to print here.

Some long-time readers may recall the discussion when I realized that I was actually the Bizarro-John Dalton and that this other guy, who attended the Iowa Writer's Workshop, taught fiction, and lives the artistic life in North Carolina, is the real John Dalton. I first came across the real John Dalton when I opened a copy of the acclaimed "Story" magazine at the hospital during a life-and-death visit and found my own name staring back at me. Well, now the real John Dalton has published his first novel.

A sometimes reader of my blog sent me the following email:

have you really becomes as cool as the photo tries to suggest? reminds me of steve martin in father of thebride 2 (I only saw the trailer but you get the idea?)

Sorry, no. Good picture, though, taken at Mt. Rushmore by Jon Ashby at the aforementioned REwind.com, poached for my own evil purposes. Thanks for writing!

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com




Friday, December 03, 2004

Bang the Drum Slowly

Why nobody likes prognosticator "Johnny Ace" in my online fantasy football league:

MONDAY NIGHT MATCHUP: BISONS (5-4-1) VS. THUNDER (6-4): Two premiere teams in a really close matchup. But the Ace believes that Bison is the plural of Bison, not Bisons, so the Ace takes the Thunder.

INDIFFERENCE BOWL: PATS (4-4-1) VS. PUNT (5-4): A couple of dozy middle of the packers that the Ace doesn't have any feeling one way or the other about. Does he dare to eat a peach? The Patriots, in another moderate upset.

DOG OF THE WEEK: BISONS (7-4-1) VS. EXPRESS (2-9-1): The buffalo vs. the buffalo chip. Brazil by a brazillion.

DOG OF THE WEEK: WOODSMEN (4-5) VS. EXPRESS (2-6-1): How much wood could the Woodsmen chuck, if the Woodsmen could chuck wood? A lot, against the truly woeful Express.

UPSET SPECIAL: T&R (6-4) VS. WARRIORS (3-7): Last week the Ace had some Italian sausage and picked the Warriors for the first time all season--but guess what, the Ace had bratwurst last night and can't help but pick the Warriors again this week.

YET ANOTHER DOG OF THE WEEK: PATS (5-4) VS. EXPRESS (2-7-1): The Express are probably wondering when the Ace is going to eat something and pick them in an upset. It would be arsenic, and then the Ace would predict no more.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.


Thursday, December 02, 2004

Du Bi Quan Wang Da Po Xue Di Zi

A student asked to interview me for a newswriting class at the university, obviously sorely wanting for better subject matter. Here for your modest enjoyment is how I responded to his email.

1. What is your background? When did you start writing? Did you have any specific inspirations?
I started drawing comic books when I was a kid, and when I was in high school I realized my word balloons were bigger than my pictures so I switched mostly to writing. In high school I won several awards in a statewide one-act play contest for high school kids, and that encouraged me to keep going. In college I won the first David Letterman award ever given a script project, and that gave me the confidence to continue to pursue it. I have always been interested in a number of different elements of scriptwriting, including comic books and radio dramas as well as television and film.

2. What do you feel are your major accomplishments so far?
Winning the David Letterman Scholarship in 1987 was a big accomplishment and has opened a lot of doors, and if nothing else it is an interesting conversation piece. Having my name in Variety and the Hollywood Reporter was a big thrill the first time until I realized it really didn't mean anything. Seeing the first screenplay that I sold getting turned into a movie, and then finding it for sale and on the shelves, was really exciting and probably another milestone.

3. What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy all kinds of things, from camping and hiking to winemaking to reading to watching movies. I collect stamps and comic books. I still every once in a while put out my own 'zine or comic.

What are your favorite movies and why?
My favorite movies include Dr. Strangelove, Manhattan, The Bridge Over the River Kwai, Sunset Boulevard, and Stalag 17. I think that not only are they movies like I would like to make, but I suspect that--like with most people that talk about their favorite anythings--they represent certain times of my life.

4. Do you have any amusing anecdotes regarding scriptwriting?
One of my favorite scenes in "Among Us" is when the characters sit around a fire and tell about their own Bigfoot sightings. Unfortunately that blazing fire was built with a copy of my script, since so much of the wood was wet that day. I think that's an important lesson for any budding screenwriter to learn.

5. Who do you feel has made the biggest impact on you as a writer?
I have always looked up to William Goldman and read all of his books as well as peruse his screenplays. Once when I was really low professionally one of his books kind of sprung off the shelf and helped me over a rough patch. My wife is a good sounding board and we worked a lot together doing tech writing projects for a lot of years. Now she writes poems and short stories but still can give me good tips. Ironically I have made more money writing Bigfoot and killer rabbit and piranha movies than she has writing actual literature.

6. What are some pieces of advice you have for others interested in scriptwriting?
A lot of people are talented, but talent is an empty bucket; you have to fill it with projects and deadlines and commitments. The hardest battle to fight is not coming up with ideas, but sitting there typing them when a little voice in your head tells you nobody will ever read this or care, and you can hear the Colts game on in the next room. It is butt to chair, and no muse can change that.

7. If you were stuck on an island and could choose one item to have with you, what would it be?
I think if I had a big crate of paperbacks I could figure out the rest.

8. What are some of your goals for the future?
I would like to write a film that is released theatrically--I have worked on several that might yet make it. I would like to bring my production background to the fore again and direct my own direct-to-video feature.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Hot on the Trail

My filmmaking chum Joe Sherlock has lept into the blogosphere right here. When you get sick of reading me, go there.

I have finally decided, in the spirit of being fair and balanced, to put up links to all of the reviews for AMONG US and PETER ROTTENTAIL that I know of. And here they are:

My favorite, a good review from Cinescape Magazine, available online:


A less agreeable one from dvdtalk.com (scroll way to bottom of page):
http://dvdtalk.com/cineschlock/light4/index.html


This review starts with “Ugh.” From the website “Creature Corner”:
http://www.creature-corner.com/reviews/petterrottentail.php3


From CultCuts Magazine in Seattle. Thought one movie stunk and the other was okay, so I’m batting fifty percent:
http://cultcuts.net/reviewsmovies/a/amongus.htm
http://cultcuts.net/reviewsmovies/p/peterrottentail.htm


Same with the people of England:
http://www.sexgoremutants.force9.co.uk/amongus.html
http://www.sexgoremutants.force9.co.uk/rottentail.html


Here’s a guy who runs a site called “Wheels of Terror” which is about disabled horror fans. He reviewed PETER ROTTENTAIL here:
http://wheelsofterror.com/Reviews/Movies/PeterRottentail.html


From a site called “Ultimate Horror Collection”:
http://www.ultimatehorrorcollection.com/movies/a/amongus.asp?t=70


From Kristy Langford at “The Gates of Gore:”
http://www.freewebs.com/peter_rottentail/

I know imdb.com is unjuried, but I like this most recent review from James Lisk here:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0360361/combined

Of course others have had their say at amazon.com and other places where customers can put their thoughts.

Enjoy!

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Red Women's Detachment

Thanksgiving passed painlessly enough, and by painlessly enough I mean nobody peeled out of the driveway with their middle finger sticking out of the driver's side window.

The post-Thanksgiving fugue is when you think you want to do better. You want to like listening to NPR, read more of The New Yorker besides the movie reviews, rent important movies from Netflix instead of Shrek 2, to not eat M&Ms out of the candy dish two handfuls at a time.

Speaking of Netflix, last year this time Peter Rottentail was in post, now you can see it for yourself. Time marches on.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.



Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Lurking Fear

Strangest spam I got ever, and here is the entire text of the message:

delphi subsistent loggerhead arlen arragon froze logic alabamian pliers redstart

If this was a Robert Ludlum novel, this email would send me off on a world-spanning adventure to uncover a government conspiracy formed in the darkest days of World War II.

Or if this was an H.P. Lovecraft story, a gate to an unknowable dimension would pop open and rob me of my sanity.

Speaking of fantasy stories, have you noticed that a lot of them start with some farm boy in a backwater somewhere who is actually destined to marry a queen and be a great ruler and all the politics and machinations of the entire planet have secretly been revolving around his arrival for a few centuries or so? This would be like me somehow meeting Chelsea Clinton and becoming the president. I'd love to write a novel where the old wizard shows up and says, "Eh. You're just a farm boy. Now take my steed to the stables."

This weekend I went to see an excellent staging of Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors" at Ball State University. It was an offbeat adaptation, with nods to surrealistic painting, and done with a techno music backbeat. Nicely done, and makes me think about reverse engineering my Shakespeare adaptation back to a play from a screenplay.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Daikaijû Sôkôgeki

Man, those Indiana Pacers--the biggest story in my Hoosier Home probably since 9/11, with just as much dawn-to-dusk coverage. To fully understand the gravity of the situation, here is how people worship in Indiana:

1. Larry Bird.

2. Bob Knight.

3. Jesus.

4-10, depending on where you live in the state, will include some or all of the following: Steve Alford; many Muncie Central Bearcats including Bill Harrell, Chandler Thompson, and Ray McCallum; anybody who ever played for Milan; John Wooden; Oscar Robertson; Slick Leonard; Isaiah Thomas before he coached the Pacers; Reggie Miller; and on and on and on.

If you don't live in Indiana, you don't understand: the feeling of hearing "The Star Spangled Banner" at the beginning of a high school basketball game in a packed gym on a snowy night is the greatest feeling in the world.

In political news, how come the Republicans want to allow foreign-born people to run for president when they were afraid John Kerry was going to turn over the keys to the U.S. government to the United Nations?

Once upon a time I wrote a lot about screenwriting in my blog. And I will again. Many know that largely because of some family issues I've had a long drought on freelance work and am just trying to get back on the horse. I had a dinner meeting late last week with an old friend who did the L.A. thing and came back, and that is a good start. I think it's a bit more of a personal crisis than a professional one. I was saved from my last professional crisis when I stumbled across a William Goldman book called "What Lie Did I Tell?" by accident when browsing the stacks. I woke up this weekend humming Jimmy Ruffin's "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?" and then turned on the radio and found it playing. Strange but true! A sign? I do believe in them. I'm going to peruse the library stacks again.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.



Friday, November 19, 2004

Mosura Tai Gojira

On Fridays I like to do memes, and this isn't exactly one, but my scriptwriting pal Gary Lumpp put it up so I thought I would play along. Gary once gave me the best coverage I ever had on a script, and he didn't even like it.

1. PICK ONE OF YOUR SCARS OUT, NOW HOW DID YOU GET IT? I
Once I was lighting a set early in the morning at a TV station I worked at. I accidentally brushed against a large, heavy set piece, which fell over and drove me to the ground, ripping the shirt off my back in the process. I got knocked out when my head hit the concrete of the studio floor. I have been told I have a long, thin white scar down my back where the hinge of this set piece scratched me. I have been knocked out at every job I have ever had except this one I have now, where I just passed out one time.

2. WHAT IS ON THE WALLS IN YOUR ROOM?
Family photos and a framed print or two.

3. WOULD YOU RATHER PLAY FOOTBALL OR WATCH IT?
Watch.

.4. WHAT SPORT WOULD YOU SAY YOU ARE BEST AT?
Tennis.

5. WHAT WAS YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE?
As a teen I used to have a recurring dream that a nuclear bomb went off, and I saw a white light and my skin was peeled back. This was of course during the Reagan years.

6. HOW DO YOU EXERCISE?
Stairs over elevators.

7. APPLES OR ORANGES? Apples.

8. GRAPES OR WATERMELON?
Watermelon.

9. WOLVES OR TIGERS? Tigers.

10. WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO?
70s soul, old country, classical, blues, bluegrass, a little of everything else.

11. HAVE YOU EVER WRITTEN POETRY?
Yes, I once wrote a bad poem about seeing a grisly car wreck when I was a TV photog up in Minnesota.

13. DO YOU REMEMBER BIRTHDAYS?
Mostly.

14. DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME YOU WERE BORN?
I believe it was 7:30 p.m. I know my mom has told me there was a window open in the room, somewhat unlikely today.

15. DO YOU HAVE A BIRTHMARK, WHERE?
I have a brown freckle on one of my butt cheeks.

16. WOULD YOU CALL YOURSELF A ROMANTIC PERSON?
Oui.

17. WHAT IS THE WEIRDEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE?
Pass.

18. WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE YOU STARTED FILLING THIS IN?
Eating a microwave lunch at my desk.

19.. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE GUM?
That baking soda gum.

20. FAVORITE CHOCOLATE?
Anything mint.

21. FAVORITE CANDY (NON CHOCOLATE)?
Anything carmel.

22. CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA ICE-CREAM?
Chocolate, or why bother?

23. DO YOU OWN ANYTHING LEATHER?
Never, I don't think. Shoes.

24. FAVORITE COLOGNE?
Nomad.

25. FAVORITE PERFUME?
Dandelions.

26. DO YOU OWN AN INSTRUMENT?
A big-ass piano we bought from an auction.

28. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SMELL?
Baking bread.

29. FAVORITE SOUND THAT YOU HEAR OFTEN?
My teakettle whistling.

30. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING RIGHT NOW?
That my hands are getting tired.

31. DO YOU GET CLAUSTROPHOBIC?
Just flashes.

32. COULD YOU EVER SEE YOURSELF MOVING FROM WHERE YOU LIVE NOW?
Sure, to southern Indiana, or back up to Wisconsin or Minnesota.

33. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DISNEY MOVIE OF ALL TIME?
The Barefoot Executive, one of the first movies I remember seeing.

34. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SONG OF ALL TIME?
Right now I think "Day after Day" by Badfinger or "Tangled up in Blue" by Bob Dylan or "Driver's Seat" by Sniff N the Tears or "Daddy Sang Bass" by Johnny Cash.

35. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE COLOR WHEN YOU WERE TEN?
Purple.

36. WHAT COLOR ARE YOUR EYES?
Brown.

37. HAVE YOU EVER SLEPT WITH A STUFFED ANIMAL?
Don't remember, not sure.

39. WHO WAS YOUR FIRST CRUSH WHEN YOU WERE LITTLE?
A girl everyone called Oyster Crackers.

40. MOST EMBARRASSING CHILDHOOD MOMENT?
Accidentally pulling some hair out of a neighbor girl's head.

41. WHAT KIND OF HAIR DO YOU LIKE ON THE OPPOSITE SEX?
No visible bald spots.

42. WHO OUT OF YOUR FRIENDS (SAME SEX) HAVE YOU KNOWN THE LONGEST?
Dan, who is the curator of the Dan Quayle Museum, which is a real place on the Highway of Vice Presidents in Indiana.

45. SUNRISE OR SUNSET?
Sunset in Panama City, Florida.

49. WHAT ARE YOUR FIVE FAVORITE MOVIES?
Dr. Strangelove, Manhattan, Sunset Boulevard, The Bridge Over the River Kwai, Stalag 17.

51. CAN YOU PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?
Never really. I tried clarinet in elementary school but never learned to read music.

52. DO YOU SPEAK A DIFFERENT LANGUAGE?
I wish I did--I still remember a smattering of Chinese from when I was an exchange student there one summer.

53. WHAT WAS THE FIRST GIFT SOMEONE EVER GAVE YOU (OF THE OPPOSITE SEX)?
The Police, Synchronicity, on vinyl.

54. WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE SINGER?
Johnny Cash.

55. FAVORITE BAND(s)?
The Fifth Dimension, ELO, tons more.

56. WHAT KIND OF BOOKS DO YOU LIKE TO READ?
I alternate between good literature and then some genre trash, then switch it up again.

57. DO YOU LIKE POETRY?
Sure, and my favorite line is, "I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, I have seen the eternal footman hold my coat, and snicker, and in short I was afraid."

58. HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR COFFEE?
Lots of cream and sugar.

60. DRAGONS OR DINOSAURS?
Dragons, cuz of D&D.

63. CHOOSE A NUMBER FROM ONE TO A HUNDRED:
23.

64. BLONDES, REDHEADS OR BRUNETTES?
Raven-haired beauties.

65. WOULD YOU PREFER TO GO ICE SKATING OR ROLLER SKATING?
Neither, though I have done a lot of roller skating in my youth. Favorite roller skating song: "Undercover Angel."

66. WHAT IS THE ONE NUMBER YOU CALL OFTEN?
Home.

67. WHAT ANNOYS YOU MOST?
Rudeness.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.



Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Gojira vs Mekagojira

I really enjoyed this article on independent filmmaking at backstage.com. I poached the link from my buds at Cinema Minima. I especially like when James Cameron says you have to quit being an "aspiring" filmmaker and start doing it. And it's the hardest part--actually doing it.

Since I'm feeling all linky, it's been a while since I mentioned Christopher Sharpe's filmmaking journal about SEX MACHINE, and there is some new, cool stuff up there. I hope he shakes and bakes out a trailer soon.

Today I am thinking about podcasting, as if I don't have enough to do.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.


Monday, November 15, 2004

Alexander Nevsky

My wife made one of my deepest fantasies come true this weekend.

When I was in high school the cafeteria served a dish that nobody I talk to believes was served, or that anyone I met has heard of. It was, simply, a hot dog, with a perfectly sculpted round scoop of snowy-white mashed potatoes on top, and a bold yellow square of melted cheese over that. I believe this savory delight was called the One-Eyed Jack.

My wife fried some italian sausage, then threw in some pierogies and at the last minute sprinkled it wit a cheese blend. The minute it passed my lips I realized: it was a One-Eyed Jack. One for a more sophisticated era, but one nonetheless. My offer to dub it the One-Eyed Beth was declined.

Another of my deepest fantasies is to build my own low-power TV station, and that could be filled right here. Everything's coming up roses.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Friday, November 12, 2004

El Santo Contras Las Mujeres Vampiro

On Fridays I like to do blog memes; here's an unusually chatty one from Four for Friday, with answers off of the top of my head:

Q1: If you were given the opportunity to perform in the circus, and you knew ahead of time that you would not fail, what would you do?

Drive the tiny car.

Q2: You've just been hired to a promotions position at a major breakfast cereal company. What would you put in a new cereal box as a gimmick?

A Mego action figure.

Q3: Who is the most famous or well known person you've had a face-to-face encounter with?

Probably Richard "Riff Raff" O'Brien from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," whose son Linus worked for me when he was a college student, and I met the weekend of his college graduation. The first time I went to England, I turned on the TV after a long plane ride and there he was, in a show called "The Ink Thief." Linus is now a popular DJ and one of the most talented people I've met.

Q4: Can you comfortably eat alone in a restaurant with nothing to do at the table but eat, i.e., nothing to read, no earphones to hear music thru, no one to talk with, etc.?

No, it's a bit difficult, perhaps because I've never really been single or been alone much. As an example, I have never learned to play Solitaire, on a PC or IRL.

Oh, and the verdict's in--my daughter has a fractured nose, so the play is still in but the home opener against the Union Rockets tomorrow morning is out.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Santo En El Museo De Cera

I have had a surprising burst of emails about me closing the door on contributing to National Novel Writing Month. Unfortunately too much real life has intervened, but there's always a next year. Thanks to everyone who chimed in.

I have a couple more comic book reviews up at Pretty-Scary.com, a site for women but since they couldn't find any female comic book nerds they asked me to write up some stuff.

My daughter took a hard elbow to the nose during a high school basketball scrimmage and may have broken or at least fractured it. Of course, she is appearing in the school play Friday and Saturday night. Hard to be a Renaissance woman in this day and age. Actually kind of reminds me of that "Brady Bunch" episode when Marcia takes the football to the nose before the big dance.

These plays are put on in the high school "cafetorium" and are always debuted to packed houses. Say what you will about DV, but the power of live theater is still with us. Check out the documentary OT, about the first play put on at Compton High School in thirty years, if you don't believe me. Last year the high school put on "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and the magic of it was all there. This year's is something about some cowboys buying a salon instead of a saloon and having to dress like women, a slight comedown from Shakespeare. But every parent will be cheering along.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Das Geheimnis der schwarzen Handschuhe

I've decided to pull the plug on my National Novel Writing Month blog. I only wrote two thousand words the first week, and needed about ten thousand to stay in the game. Too much going on right now, and two new projects in the hopper made me decide to keep GHOST SCREAM for another day.

I went to visit my brother-in-law Sunday and my ten-year-old nephew drew a picture on a napkin of "the food chain" that I just had to keep. It showed a kangaroo being shot by a man with a gun, who was being attacked by a vampire bat, who was about to be stung by a giant bee, who was about to be bit by a snake. And they say elementary schools are on the decline.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.



Friday, November 05, 2004

Ritorno di Zanna Bianca

I am not big on advice, except what I've already given, which is to keep your mouth closed while changing the cat litter or refilling the water softener. But perhaps I have a bit more, for young aspiring writers out there:

Always bring your best game. Because if you don't, there are 100 people behind you who would like to have your job.

I woke up today thinking about my first job out of college, at a TV station in La Crosse, Wisconsin, where I knew nobody and had never in fact visited the state. The first night I was there way back in 1988 I stayed with a couple of guys from the station who were kind enough to put me up until I could find my own place. I found out after a fashion that the weekend news director had applied for my new job as field producer but had been passed over in favor of me, a guy from a far-off land called Indiana. And by 'after a fashion' I mean he got drunk and busted out the window above the couch I was sleeping on and wanted to fight me. So he got fired and I decided to take his job too.

So for a while in my youth I directed local news cut-ins on "Good Morning America" from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., then from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. shot commercials and spot news and whatever, then worked Saturday and Sunday nights for no extra money to learn how to direct news. So when the weekday director began suffering from a chronic illness I filled in for her, which meant I went home at 2 p.m., came back at 5 p.m., directed the 6 p.m. news, went home and came back at 9 p.m., directed the 10 p.m. news, got home by 11 p.m., got up around 4:30 a.m., and this went on for about a year. And yes, it was uphill in the snow (in the wintertime, on top of a bluff outside of town). And because I did this I had a chance to return to my hometown and work at my alma mater, and have had three jobs there since, and am still waiting for that warm flush of money and power, but am doing okay.

You can't sit around and wait for the door to ring, and expect Spielberg, Coppola, Scorsese, and the ghosts of Hitchcock and Welles to be standing there waiting to take you on as a right-hand man. You have to feel some hunger, some spark, even if you don't know what it's for yet, how to articulate it, how to achieve what you want. Because if you don't, there are lots of people standing behind you that do, and will want/take what you have.

Don't get into the industry if you don't feel it down in your bones, because there are too many ups and downs, sometimes long stretches of bad and only brief sputters of good. And sometimes the other way around.

Did I mention not to open your mouth while changing cat litter?

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Paura Nella Città Dei Morti Viventi

Four more years (of turning the channel really fast when I see George Bush on TV)!

On the way home yesterday I saw a political sign which read "hope" that had been knocked over, presumably by the icy wind, and splattered with mud. It sounds like allegory, but it really happened. Thus ends my political discourse.

I updated Ghost Scream over at my National Novel Writing Month blog. I am glad I started it. I feel my modest writer's block that I was starting to feel trapped by beginning to thaw.

Yesterday I was matched with a new Little Brother in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. Harold is my third little brother. Oddly, I found out that his mother was a high school classmate of my second little brother Anthony. It made me realize how much time has passed since I got involved in the program, way back in 1987. I believe my first little brother from the program, Brian, is 30 years old. Funny how the world spins 'round. Harold is a really nice, big-hearted kid who gave me a Matchbox car to memorialize the first day of our match. It is sitting on my desk at work.

A long-time reader asked if I had found an agent yet, as I posted a while back. Unfortunately the floating world has intervened a bit and I have yet to embark on that rocky path. But thanks for reminding me!

Hopefully I can talk about some potential new projects soon. Until then I am at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Akage no Anne

I tried to go see Brian Flemming's musical play BAT BOY (about the Weekly World News character) at Ball State University over the weekend, even though all shows was sold out. I got on the waiting list Friday and watched as every person on the waiting list except me got in. The stage door swung shut and the music started up inside, and I was on the outside looking in once more. Such is life. It's too bad, as I really liked Brian's movie NOTHING SO STRANGE (which I reviewed here) and would have liked to see what he did with this odd topic.

I carved pumpkins Sunday afternoon and chatted with some friends from Ohio, a "battleground state" in tomorrow's elections, which means that they get recorded messages from people like Laura Bush and Bill Clinton while we in Indiana cling valiantly to the thought of the popular vote even though we know full well our Electoral College, whatever that is, is giving our state to Bush.

I started my NaNoWriMo Blog today, and the first sentence is: The debauching of the slave girls began at noon. I always thought that would be a good first sentence for a book. 1,098 words today.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Uchu Kaisoku-sen

Today I finally decided to bite the bullet and participate in National Novel Writing Month. You will be able to follow my luck here, at a new blog I have created just for this event. I guess it's my version of rock climbing or bungee jumping or some other tests of manhood, like when I did the 24 Hour Comics Challenge a few years ago on my 35th birthday. Nerd extreme sports, I guess.

All I have decided is that I am going to call it URAMESHIYA, which translates from the Japanese to "Ghost Scream," because that was a cool word I ran across while reading LONE WOLF AND CUB and I have always wanted to use it for the title of something. I will probably do a sci-fi or fantasy story. I'm not going to actually cheat, like some other NaNoWriMo bloggers I came across today, and start writing early, or spiritually cheat by thinking of plots and characters and so on ahead of time.

More here and at my other blog later; until then, give me a holler at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.


Thursday, October 28, 2004

Ghost Fever

We tried to force some family togetherness on our teenaged daughter and watch the Charlie Brown Halloween show on TV, which I hadn't seen for quite a few years. I think the cartoon was made sometime around the birth of Jesus so I had sort of forgotten about the lengthy World War I subplot. Odd.

Afterwards we watched OUTFOXED, a documentary about the Fox News Channel. I had no concept about it as I had never watched one second of FNC before (it resides somewhere below HGTV in the 50s or 60s on my cable dial where I never go). It seemed to be about how FNC was basically a propaganda arm of the Republican party, which seemed unbelievable, so as soon as the movie was over I turned on the channel to see for myself, and saw Bill O'Reilly telling someone to shut up because we were winning the war in Iraq, and John Kerry wanted to turn the country over to the United Nations to run (as a Communist Utopia, one supposes), a surprising bit of news to me. So the documentary may be worth a look after all.

I mean this without rancor; I wish someone who is intelligent and reads this blog (one hopes this is not mutually exclusive) would write me an email and tell me why they are voting for George W. Bush.

Speaking of my teenaged daughter, I anticipate being the recipient of a "shock and awe" toilet paper campaign over Halloween weekend; the young Hoosieroon boy's way of saying "I like you."

Still need to check on whether AMONG US has made it to the local video store. In the meantime, got a few threads out there that may yet turn into projects. More later.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Solar Crisis

My new favorite website is this place. It would be funnier if it wasn't so painful, and if I hadn't lived just a little slice of it.

I also really liked this article from The Nation called 100 Facts and 1 Opinion. No matter what you think about it, don't forget to vote.

Apparently RAZORTEETH was well-received by the distributor; hopefully more news on that shortly.

It has been reported to me that AMONG US has finally shown up in my own hometown video store; I will try to confirm this happy report on the way home.

More later; until then, give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.



Monday, October 25, 2004

Canadian Mounties vs. Atomic Invaders

Saturday was my 17th wedding anniversary and we decided to go camping, even though rain and cold were forecasted (accurately). Saturday afternoon it poured, so we hunkered down in our pop-up camper and read and played board games and dozed. We had fun, though, and I had a dream that John Kerry passed through the state park where we were camping and thought our camper was so cozy that he asked if he could sleep on the extra little single bed and get away from the campaign for one night. What a happy dream. Today, more harsh reality.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Operator 13

On Friday I like to do a blog meme, so here's one from Four for Friday, straight off the top of my head:

Q1: When and/or where do you do your best thinking?
The day after a migraine.

Q2: Do you ever have epiphanies, moments when things become so abundantly clear that you're left wondering what in the heck you were thinking up until that point in time?
Yes, often when listening to 70s soul music.

Q3: They say every one of us has at least one in our lifetime... Without revealing something you're not comfortable sharing, have you ever had what you believed to be a million dollar business idea?
In college I did a Super-8 Batman movie before Tim Burton and a sunglasses-and-trenchcoats movie before Quentin Tarantino. Later I had a comic book character called "Retro Girl" before Brian Michael Bendis. Having the idea isn't the hard part.

Q4: Mandatory/planned fire drills in the workplace... an unnecessary waste of time or in the best interests of the employee and company?
Sure, everybody likes to loaf off for a few minutes!

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Blogger Photo Request #3


Everybody should have one nude bathing shot on their blog. Here I am showering with a hose behind a barn while camping on my wife's family's land on the Ohio River recently. Posted by Hello

Blogger Photo Request #2


Me hiking at Brown County State Park. I took this so the guys who made that t-shirt (a couple of skatepunks who work for me) could use it if they ever did a Lands End style catalogue (as if!). Note my "superpants," my favorite durable hiking shorts. Posted by Hello

Blogger Photo Request #1


Blogger HQ recently asked all bloggers to post three pictures at their sites, as per readers' requests. I didn't get any, so here are some shots I thought might be interesting. This is me tasting five gallons of a very good Merlot I made with a "wine thief," just after racking. Posted by Hello

Monday, October 18, 2004

Da Hong Deng Long Gao Gao Gua

I found out Saturday was the 30th Anniversary of Dungeons and Dragons, which was fitting as we played the first installment of Dungeon Magazine's ten-adventure "Shackled City" Adventure Path, a pretty clever, chromed-out adventure IN WHICH EVERY CHARACTER GOT KILLED. An editor's note in the next issue basically gives helpful suggestions for what to do in case of TPK (Total Party Kill) during the first module, always a warning sign. It was fun, until the last few minutes, when it wasn't so much.

Still getting over the flu and needing to get back in touch with the muse. Until then, give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Bronenosets Potyomkin

I've been knocked out with the flu for the last few days and thus had disappeared from the cyber-world, if anyone noticed. I'm going to play D&D with some friends tomorrow, then hopefully feel well enough to get back into writing on Sunday with some new projects.

I keep forgetting to mention that my beloved Cleveland Spiders finished third in my Yahoo Fantasy Baseball League against some rugged competition.

Here's a meme from The Friday Four:

What's your favorite type of:

1. Cookie Chocolate Chip

2. Candy York Peppermint Patty

3. Chocolate The chocolate maker in Union City, Indiana, whose name escapes me

4. Cake A raspberry-filled cake with ganache frosting my wife sometimes makes for my birthday

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Ladri di Biciclette

I have been a bit ill the last few days, but still trying to cast my net far and wide to root out some new projects. This time last year, I had just finished the rewrite on PETER ROTTENTAIL and started the rewrite on an as-yet unrealized Polonia Brothers project, a ghost pirate movie called GIZZARD GUTS. A few new possibilities are in the works, more later.

Last night I went to the first preseason game for the Indiana Pacers, playing the lowly Washington Wizards and barely scraping out with a last-second tip-in to win. Slightly disappointing that the heavy hitters only played the first quarter, the bench the middle two, and all the scrubs the last quarter.

Saturday my brother and some friends and I are going to try to start playing Dungeon Magazine's D&D Adventure Path "Shackled City," which is ten modules over ten issues designed to take new characters to around 20th level. I am curious to see if this could be done in theory as well as practice, and will report more as it is ongoing. We are hoping to write a sage article about it when it's all over, at some point in the far future.

I have been so jazzed about SEX MACHINE lately that I just had to post a few more cool pictures today, courtesy of Christopher Sharpe.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Sex Machine #14


On a roadtrip to Ass-Kicking Town from Christopher Sharpe's SEX MACHINE. Posted by Hello

Sex Machine #13


High-Tech Noir in Christopher Sharpe's SEX MACHINE. Posted by Hello

Sex Machine #12


Frank hits a seedy strip club (is there any other kind?) on his quest through the underworld in Christopher Sharpe's SEX MACHINE. Posted by Hello

Friday, October 08, 2004

Ubijtsi

An interview with me by Oregon filmmaker Joe Sherlock popped up today at b-movie.com. I tried not to sound too half-assed. The site isn't 100% workplace-friendly, so a direct link to my interview can be found here.

My first comic book reviews for Pretty/Scary went up today, which is a new women's horror site covering movies, books, comics, and so on. I guess they just couldn't find any nerdy girls who read comics, so they asked me. More of my comic book reviews to come there.

Leonard Mogel's new book "This Business of Broadcasting" lists the top 8 university programs in broadcasting:

1. USC
2. Emerson College (Jason Santo of MicroCinemaScene's alma mater)
3. NYU
4. Ball State University (my alma mater)
5. Temple
6. Boston University
7. Michigan State
8. University of South Texas

Go Ball U!!!

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Sex Machine #11


A meeting of badasses, with noir lighting and all, in Christopher Sharpe's SEX MACHINE. Posted by Hello

Sex Machine #10


A neat look at Frank's tattooed arm, a critical plot point in Christopher Sharpe's SEX MACHINE. Posted by Hello

Konna Yume Wo Mita

Blogger is asking everyone to ask their blog readers what three photos they would like to see posted on this site. I suspect it is to interest people in using the new blog photo feature, which I already have well in hand (as seen today). But I'm curious what people will ask for. Please, no nude photos of me, those can be found at other places on the internet.

There's a new update on SEX MACHINE over at Christopher Sharpe's site here.

Lots of irons in the fire with new projects I hope to talk about shortly.

Until then, give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Kumonosu Jô

So I found out today PETER ROTTENTAIL has shown up on one of those Bit Torrent DVD-ripping sites. Is it a compliment? An insult? If people like the movie, will they go buy the DVD to get the packaging and the extras? If they don't, will my children be forced to eat cat food?

People say that making bootlegs and burning CDs and so on doesn't hurt people, only corporations, but Mark and John Polonia are real people and so am I (to some extent). I can't take the road of righteous indignation as I have copied a few CDs in my time, and taped shows off of TV back in the day, and maybe borrowed a bit of software here and there, but it does make me think twice.

If you want to see what a microcinema filmmaker would look like if you punched him or her in the stomach, go to a film fest (like I did in Rapid City this summer) and tell them that you liked their movie so much you make 20 copies for all of your friends (substitutue "garage band" and "CD" if you are into that scene).

So is it okay if you only steal from big people? It's a rocky road, ironic as the answers are easy. Nobody should be ripping, burning, taping stuff that is the intellectual property of somebody else, for free. What kind of sea change in the culture would that entail? Just because it would be difficult, does that mean it shouldn't be done?

Will I ever stop asking rhetorical questions? Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Polonia Brothers #8


Dalton Brothers. Polonia Brothers. The team-up that had to happen. Posted by Hello

Polonia Brothers #5


Todd Carpenter, me, and Todd's wife at the Polonia Brothers surprise party. Todd Carpenter has probably been in more b-movies than Elvis. Posted by Hello

Friday, October 01, 2004

Polonia Brothers #7


Me and Steve Torpy, John Polonia's brother-in-law, who I think had hilarious bits in AMONG US and PETER ROTTENTAIL. The Brothers left him in the wings too long! Posted by Hello

Polonia Brothers #6


Me, Dave Fife from PETER ROTTENTAIL and future PBE director Anthony Polonia, already enjoying craft services. Posted by Hello

Kakushi Toride No San Akunin

On Fridays I like to do a blog meme, so here's one from Four for Friday, somewhat wordy today:

Q1: When shopping for food or related sundries, how important are brands in your decision-making process? For instance, let's say you're standing in the cereal isle at your local supermarket, and right there in front of you are two of essentially the same item, but one carries a brand name or label you're familiar with, while the other is labeled with the name of the supermarket? All things being equal except price, which box of cereal do you purchase?

I like to try off brands more than generics because I've read a bit about positioning in stores and how certain items which are perfectly good get nudged out by big companies paying "shelf fees" and what have you. I also like trying regional brands.


Q2: If you wore eyeglasses, based on what you know today about the procedure, would you choose to have elective laser surgery to correct a common eye disorder such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or an astigmatism (distorted vision)? Do you know anyone who has had this sort of surgery, and if so, what have they said about the experience and/or the results?

I know everybody gets through the surgery fine, with no complaints, but I can't help but think someday there will be all these old people walking around with raisins for eyes. Just like I think somebody will say to me, "Grandpa, did you guys really think microwaves were okay to cook with back then?'

Q3: What do you do when you're given the wrong amount of change when purchasing something with cash? Does your reaction differ depending on which side of the equation you land, i.e., receiving too much change verses not enough?

I actually was given ten dollars too much in change just the other day and I gave it right back. Call it karma or whatever, but I think I might get shorted one day when I really need the money to balance it out, so I am always very careful not to consider it "found money."

Q4: Do you have confidence in the airport screening procedures in place in the United States?

Yeah, because the last couple of times I've flown I got pulled aside and given "the full Monty."

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Polonia Brothers #4


John Polonia tries to explain his actions at the sneak preview of RAZORTEETH given to some of the cast, crew, and their families post-party. Posted by Hello

Polonia Brothers #3


Me, Brian Berry, and Brice Kennedy at the Polonia Brothers surprise birthday party, with John Polonia in the far background and Dave Fife trying to get into the picture. Posted by Hello

Mio nome è Nessuno, Il

I guess I was a bit premature on my news of Christopher Sharpe wrapping production on SEX MACHINE, as he is going back for a few more scenes. If you're in the Oklahoma City area, check out his blog, which includes a call for extras here.

I got two nibbles yesterday on some interesting projects that I hope I can report more on later.

As I have mentioned before, I write book reviews for a magazine called "Pomp and Circumstantial Evidence" that comes out in conjunction with the Magna Cum Murder Mystery Conference. In case you don't get the magazine or go to the conference, here are my latest reviews:

THE NARROWS
By Michael Connelly
Longtime fans of Michael Connelly’s work might be duly surprised at the outset of his latest novel, which features the sudden death of Terry McCaleb, the FBI profiler hindered by a heart transplant in the thriller Blood Work (and the movie of the same name). Although the death appears to have been by natural causes, Terry’s widow thinks otherwise, and brings in retired LA detective Harry Bosch (the star of his own series of novels, who crossed paths with McCaleb most notably in A Darkness More Than Night) to find out the truth. At the same time The Poet, a notorious serial killer who has cropped up in Connelly’s work before, seems to be back from the dead and wreaking havoc in Las Vegas. How Connelly picks up characters and plot threads from a handful of his other novels and weaves an edgy new work from them will be immensely satisfying to his faithful readers, but somewhat confusing to new ones. Still, the mystery elements stand on their own merits, and Connelly delivers a strong entry.


THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME
By Mark Haddon
Bittersweet story of an autistic boy who decides to uncover the mystery behind the killing of a neighbor’s dog, reasoning that there shouldn’t be any difference between an animal’s life and a human life. Unfortunately the boy begins to uncover painful truths about his own life at the same time, but as the story is told from the emotionless boy’s point of view the devastating facts are delivered rather matter-of-factly. A wholly original novel with a unique protagonist, with fully-realized drama and humor springing from realistic characters and situations.


LITTLE SCARLET
By Walter Mosley
Walter Mosley has used his reluctant detective character Easy Rawlins to chart race relations in Los Angeles from the post-World War Two era forward in a literate and compelling series of novels (and a solid film version of Devil in a Blue Dress, with Denzel Washington). The latest outing, Little Scarlet, is especially strong, taking place in the uneasy days after the Watts riots of the 1960s. A young black woman is killed after protecting a white man from a beating, prompting the police to once again conscript Easy to go on a mission to places they cannot reach. Easy feels the world shifting under his feet as he delves deeper into the killing, and the changing cultural landscape, with his steely-eyed friend Mouse by his side. A dynamic mystery in a mesmerizing political and social milieu.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.




Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Polonia Brothers #2


Bob Dennis (AMONG US), me, Brice Kennedy (PETER ROTTENTAIL) at the Polonia Brothers' surprise birthday bash. Posted by Hello

Polonia Brothers #1


An All-Star gathering at the Polonia Brothers surprise birthday bash. Back Row: Bob Torpy, Bob Dennis, Ken VanSant, Brice Kennedy, Gale Largey, Todd Carpenter, John Polonia, me, Steve Torpy, Steve Hensley, (front) Mark Polonia, Dave Fife. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Giù la Testa

The truth can finally be told--the secret road trip I was taking this weekend was to a surprise party for the Polonia Brothers in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania.

My brother and I joined such luminaries as Bob Dennis from AMONG US, Brice Kennedy from HOUSE THAT SCREAMED 2, Dave Fife and Steve Torpy from RAZORTEETH, Brian Berry and Ken VanSant from PETER ROTTENTAIL, and Todd Carpenter from, well, damn near every movie the Polonias have ever made. There were about 50 people all told and lots of good food and drink. The Brothers were duly surprised, if not stunned, and the bash went well into the night.

Even though it was about 10 hours' driving each way, it was worth it in the end. Professionally, it was good to meet so many of the people from the movies, and hear about all of their other work and projects. Personally, it was a fun road trip and a good party. I think the Brothers regretted later the surprise element, as it was rare to have so many actors from so many different features there at once, and if someone like myself had thought to bring a script who knows what might have happened. Even more alarming, an irate webzine reviewer with a well-placed pipe bomb could have done untold damage to the b-movie industry.

Credit the Polonia Brothers, though, for having so many loyal friends and coworkers, which no matter what people think about their films speaks highly of them as people.

I got a sneak preview of RAZORTEETH while I was there, and will say that if you are a fan of killer piranha you will think this one descended from on high.

Of course I will post some pictures of my adventures over the next few days.

Until then, give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Per Un Pugno Di Dollari

On Fridays I like to do a meme, so here's one from my pals at Four for Friday, right off the top of my head:

Q1: Breakfast: Do you eat breakfast every morning?
Yes, I like to have a bagel and a big mug of tea every morning if I can.

Q2: Lunch: If you could have lunch today with any two or three people you wanted (dead or alive), who would you have lunch with? Also, if you were able to eat that lunch at any location on the face of the planet, where would that be? And finally, if you could choose to eat anything you wanted, what would you have?
Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and his date; at an ice cream stand I stopped at in 1987 at the foot of the Great Wall of China; a BBQ sandwich and a chocolate malt.

Q3: Dinner: On average, how many nights per week can you be found cooking dinner for yourself or for yourself and others at home in your own kitchen?
I cook for the family Mondays, Wednesdays, and sometimes Saturdays. My menus: grilled stuff, pancakes and french toast, chili, spaghetti, buffalo strips, leftovers.

Q4: Generally speaking, which do you feel you have more of in your life... control or influence?
An odd fourth question; I think influence, but when you're at the bottom looking up it's hard to tell which is greater, or if it matters.

Give me a holler at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.


Thursday, September 23, 2004

Sex Machine #9


Leather Girl and henchman in a reflective moment between bouts of mayhem in Christopher Sharpe's SEX MACHINE. Posted by Hello

Sex Machine #8


Some bad guys with low self-esteem get ready to put the hammer down in Christopher Sharpe's SEX MACHINE. Posted by Hello

Quel Maledetto Treno Blindato

I have received a lot of comments and emails over my last post about getting an agent; do you really need one, do you need to be in the Guild, pros and cons, and so on. I guess to clarify I would say I think having an agent, and to a certain extent being in the Guild, would be beneficial to getting certain kinds of projects; but I am afraid that it would be detrimental in being involved in certain other projects that you might want to be involved in, but can't (although I don't think it's nearly as complicated in the WGA as it is for the Screen Actor's Guild). So here's another hot-button question: what about psuedonyms? I think no, never, I would never do something I wouldn't want to put my real name on. And that's held so far. But many, many people have, for all sorts of reasons. Have I thought of a psuedonym? Sure, it would probably be my somewhat autobiographical protagonist from my Letterman Scholarship-winning script "West Coast Campus," Buster Sampson.

Over lunch I went to the local gaming store and played a new card game called "Dungeoneer" with my pal The Caveman. You run a hero through a random dungeon (made up of cards from the deck with sections of map on them) while playing cards out of your hand to help yourself (like spells and magical weapons), then playing cards on your opponents (traps and monsters) to hinder them. You basically try to win by accomplishing little missions, or more simply by killing your opponents. It has a more complex mechanic than it lets on at first, but it's fun. I'll have to try it again before weighing in for sure, though I did win the first game by wiping out the Caveman with my one-two punch of some sort of evil dragon and a monster with two tails.

Give me a shout at bustersampson@hotmail.com.

Just kidding.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Zorro's Fighting Legion

Damn, according to Netflix I've rated over 1,000 movies. I've seen a lot of flicks, I guess.

I've decided I need to take another spin at finding an agent. It's tricky, as you often can't get an agent unless you have something produced, but of course you can't get something produced unless you have an agent; just like it's hard to get into the Writer's Guild without having a sale to a guilded production, but of course you can't sell a script to a production that is going to be made through the Guild unless you happen to be in the Guild already. I guess I should say that it's more than tricky.

I'm probably going to have to stop typing in a moment as I am bleeding from the eyes.

Some loyal readers might recall that after my first script sale, details of which appeared in Hollywood Reporter and Variety (though it has not to date gone past development), I sent letters to every agent I could find--and got not one single response. Perhaps I will have better luck this time. We shall see.

Until then, give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Phantom Cowboy

I went to see Neil LaBute's "The Shape of Things" this weekend at Ball State University. A young art student takes on a nerdy guy as as sort of a reclamation project, but what exactly this "project" entails becomes more and more sinister as the play progresses. I thought the theatre students were excellent talents and I liked some elements of LaBute's play, though I figured out the twist ending about ten minutes in. He has a lot to say about the nature of art, especially performance art; I liked the scene where the nerd says, basically, that Picasso never took a dump and called it a sculpture.

There's a movie version, also by LaBute, that I'm going to try to snag off of Netflix to compare. Really a bitter pill, and I've thought a lot about it since. I know LaBute has been accused of being sexist and misogynst and several other -ists from time to time, but all I know for sure is that brother sure must have taken a bad p-whippin' once upon a time.

Next at Ball State is "Bat Boy," written by this guy, who directed a microcinema feature I really liked called NOTHING SO STRANGE (and you can read my review of it here).

It turns out the people of England like AMONG US:
http://www.sexgoremutants.force9.co.uk/amongus.html.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.



Friday, September 17, 2004

Sex Machine #7


Frank, Claire, and Owen enjoy a pause in the carnage at Owen's bowling alley. Posted by Hello

Sex Machine #6


Frank's pal Owen pining away for Frank's gal Claire; he runs a bowling alley, he's sort of like, well, a Frankenstein. And you thought your love life stunk. Posted by Hello

The Big Gold Dream

This week's meme comes from The Daily Dirt:

1. Who is your hero?
Jimmy Carter, currently spending his retirement building houses for homeless people.

2. Your angel?
William Goldman, whose words have saved me from screenwriting despair before.

3. Your best friend?
Matt Booty in the 70s (currently at Midway Games in Chicago), my brother in the 80s, my wife in the 90s.

4. Your imaginary friend (when you were younger, if you had any)?
A real kid named Jackie who only became imaginary when he moved away and I still pretended he was around.

5. Your favorite TV personality?
TV Horror Host Sammy Terry in the 70s, MTV VJ Martha Quinn in the 80s, Jerry Orbach in the 90s.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Sex Machine #5


When you're a Gen-X Frankenstein, sometimes only a beating will do. Posted by Hello

Sex Machine #4


"The Old Man" and his organ-harvesting crew want our humpty-dumpty hero Frank back in the fold. Don't do it, Frank! Posted by Hello

The Shattered Eye

In another disaster update (following up on the Daryn Kagan dating Rush Limbaugh story reported yesterday), I was watching the Weather Channel last night and caught a glimpse of Captain Anderson's in Panama City, the site of one of the top five meals I ever ate in my life, which looked to have been directly in the path of Hurricane Ivan, as part of the roof and sign seemed to be somewhere farther down the beach.

The dominoes keep falling.

For those keeping track of my homemade winemaking, I bottled off my Cranberry Shiraz, a rich and fruity summer wine, and started a drier fall Gewürztraminer that hopefully will be ready for Thanksgiving. I hope to publicly debut my Shiraz at a surprise gathering a week from Saturday, details forthcoming.

So this week a Hollywood pro came and spoke at the local college and apparently told everyone not to move to L.A. because it was full of evil and you would just get chewed up and spit back out. One wonders how aforementioned Hollywood pro is making it himself, and why he doesn't move away; but what really made me think is how this is like the microcinema world, where there is always someone telling you a cautionary tale about how you'll never sell your project and nobody will ever see it, and yet this person is currently working on something right that second. Probably these cautionary tales are worthy, and these people are just trying to save others agony, but the painful truth is that once that little spark inside you starts, it is incredibly hard to stamp out. Perhaps a better lesson might be that you do not have to move to LA or NY to make movies, that in fact they can be made anywhere.

For instance, I just watched a funny, full-throttle zombie movie from my pal Scott Phillips called THE STINK OF FLESH that was shot all in New Mexico, and of course there is the very promising SEX MACHINE from Christopher Sharpe of Oklahoma City, and a goofball vampire comedy from my pal Joe Sherlock called BLOODSUCKING REDNECK VAMPIRES in Oregon, and a thoughtful sci-fi movie from New England called GHOSTS OF HAMILTON STREET, and I have to give a shout out to fellow Hoosier Peter O'Keefe and a great little short called LULU TAKES A LOVER. And these are just off of the top of my head, and stuff I've watched recently.

One of the great things about microcinema--you see places, people, things you don't see from Hollywood. And for some people, people like me, that's a powerful magnet.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.



Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The Keep on the Borderlands

Whenever I write a post where I mention the lonely and oft-desperate lives of writers I always get a handful of emails from people in the same boat offering sympathy/empathy. We are all alone, but we are going through the same things together. I think that makes it better.

I was stunned to learn that Daryn Kagan of CNN is dating Rush Limbaugh. She's dead to me now. Now Linda Cohn has moved up in the #1 spot in the "In Case I Become A Widower" sweepstakes.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Sex Machine #3


The Leather Girl, a bad girl with a heart of gold (leaf) that is after our spare-parts hero Frank in Christopher Sharpe's SEX MACHINE. The last two photos point up the main problem with shooting a feature in Oklahoma City, which is the lack of attractive women to cast. Posted by Hello

Sex Machine #2


Roommates Zoe and Claire confront a welcome/umwelcome intruder in Christopher Sharpe's SEX MACHINE. Posted by Hello