Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Red Archery Girl

The day after tomorrow I'm going to Indianapolis to judge media arts entries in the Indiana Arts Commission grants process. I have been reading through the materials and preparing for an interesting day in the Circle City, but in the back of my mind my brain is ticking over another project, I hope.

In the meantime, here are some dudes in my hometown, trying to make a living.

And this is pretty cool.

My brother sent me a Wu-Name Generator. Mine is "Crazy Menace." 'Nuff said.

Along those lines, look up my humble blog using this.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Rottentail Redux

Another entry in the "People I Went To School With Who Are Doing Better Than Me" Category? Depends on what you think about this article, "1,000 Things To Like About Comics."

Yesterday I was driving my Little Brother Harold home from my house, where he joined my family for a big Easter dinner, when suddenly a rabbit bounced across the road, and I had to swerve to miss it. Harold looked at me, wide-eyed, and said, "That would have been really bad if you killed a bunny on Easter!" Indeed.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Polonia TV

John Polonia gives a shout out to screenwriter John Oak Dalton on "The Brice Kennedy Show," one of the many, many photos at the new Cult of Polonia, located at: http://movies.groups.yahoo.com/group/poloniacult/ Posted by Hello

Friday, March 25, 2005

The Q-Man

I haven't done a meme on Friday in a long time, as I've been busy with scriptwriting updates; but now that I am enjoying a brief respite, here's one from my old pals at Four for Friday, with slightly more than four questions:

1. What time do you get up on your day off?
About 8 a.m.

2. If you could eat lunch with one person, who would it be?
My wife, because I haven't been able to lately; otherwise Bill Clinton, with my wife somewhere at a secure location.

3. Gold or silver?
Errr, gold, I guess. Girly question.

4. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Last night I saw RING 2, which had some good shocks interspersed with long periods of indifference, which I let my daughter pick as she has misspent her entire high school spring break with strep.

5. Favorite TV show?
Right now, Deadwood on DVD from Netflix.

6. What do you have for breakfast?
Bagel and tea.

7. What is your middle name?
Oak. My parents thought the oak tree lived a long time and grew to be big and strong. By the way I was born in 1966.

8. Beach, city or country?
Cabin in the country.

9. Favorite ice cream?
Mint chocolate chip.

10. Favorite color?
On me, khaki.

11. What kind of car do you drive?
A Windstar and a Saturn.

12. Favorite sandwich?
The BBQ pulled pork sandwich at a local rib joint.

13. What characteristic do you despise?

14. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I'd like to go back to China and see what's gone on there since I last checked it out in 1987.

15. What color is your bathroom?
Kind of a forest green.

16. Favorite brand of clothing?
I like the Nautica shirts, the Izod sweaters, and the Lands End pants. But most of my stuff comes from places like Wal-Mart.

17. Where would you like to retire?
A cabin in Kentucky.

18. Favorite day of the week?
Honestly, who is going to put anything but Friday, Saturday, or Sunday? Saturday.

19. What did you do for your last birthday?
Worked, I think. Had a really nice dinner that night with my favorite foods.

20. Where were you born?
In the same hospital as my daughter.

21. What fabric detergent do you use?
On sale.

22. Coke or Pepsi?
Vanilla Pepsi.

23. Shoe size?
I used to think I was an 11 until I had a proper shoe fitting and found out I was an 8. Make of that what you will.

24. Do you have any pets?
I have two stray cats, a tabby and a black and white cat that howls like a Siamese, named Harriet and Pandora.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Invaders from Mars

I fixed up a few bits and pieces of COW BOY last night and fired it back to director Terrence Muncy. I also had a chance to talk with director Mark Polonia for an hour or so about HELLSHOCK, and got all excited about it again (and if this gets you excited, go here). The casting is falling into place with a lot of the people I imagined in the parts, including Jon McBride, Bob Dennis, Brian Berry, Brice Kennedy, Dave Fife, and Ken VanSant. They've got a CGI guy to do some FX, a lighting guy coming in, and a composer to score the project. It goes before the cameras at the end of May, and I'm hoping to be able to join the gang out there for a few days.

I had a bizarre kind of physical and emotional letdown yesterday after pumping out that rewrite for COW BOY in just shy of three weeks. I'm already trying to smell out the next project, though. But tonight my daughter and I are going to see RING 2 to sort of cap off this whirlwind HELLSHOCK-COW BOY trip I've been on the last two months.

I'm going to have to keep an eye on my daughter, as I hoped the apple would fall farther from the tree. She had to make a display for a class at school featuring the ubiquitous "Peeps" and centered around a classic movie, and came up with PEEPTOWN CHAINSAW MASSACRE, complete with Peeps hanging off of little fish hooks and a paper chainsaw and strawberry jelly all around. I'm sure I'll be called to the guidance counselor's office today.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Hangover Square

Fired off the completed first rewrite on Terrence Muncy's COW BOY last night, and got good feedback today. Have to fix a few little things, for instance like a gun that gets knocked out of somebody's hand that pops back up again in his hand later (hey, it happens), but overall got good feedback from the director and got it done ahead of schedule. I'll post more details of the production as I know them.

For the many, many Polonia Brothers fan who hit my site, there's finally a place for you to go where you won't be a danger to normal society: a new fan message board called The Cult of Polonia.

Here's a little quiz about comic-book movies. I didn't miss a single question. Some days it pays to be a nerd.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Time To Get Down

Here's a nice review of AMONG us from a new site called Z-Horror. The "Cast and Crew" page has a link right back to this humble blog. Okay, being on a site called "Z-Horror" is a bit like being on a site called everybodythinksyousuck.com, but it's still a good review.

I saw the mentally disabled man who on nice days walks up and down the highway outside of my little town for the first time this year yesterday, smiling and waving. I smiled and waved back. After a long winter, it seemed like the first sign of spring. When I drive by and see my former neighbor Junior in front of his junk shop without his shirt on, I will know summer has arrived right on its heels.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, March 21, 2005

992 Arguments

Because of some Blogger hiccups, and also because I have been working like Bob Cratchit on Christmas Eve trying to get COW BOY ready for the cast read-through Saturday, I haven't been feeling too bloggy lately. Please enjoy some great sites in my sidebar until my return, when the feeling returns to my extremities.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

The Vow Pt. 10

The Vow, my serialized comic strip experiment, part 10--halfway there, more or less. Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Back in the Saddle Again

I've knocked out about twenty pages of COW BOY in the last two nights, so my fingers are a bit numb for blogging.

Aw, this is nice.

I wish I had this guy around when I drew "The Vow."

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

I Want to be a Cowboy's Sweetheart

I talked with director Terrence Muncy yesterday about the batch of pages I sent him on COW BOY thus far. It seems to be boiling along nicely and I'm on track to finish it in two weeks.

Did my taxes this weekend, always a pain in the butt because I have a full time job, a part time job, and freelance work, and my wife has a full time job and grants. But I got to talk to Christopher Sharpe from SEX MACHINE, because I couldn't find some of his paperwork, and I got excited about seeing his project all over again.

This guy rules the school. Actually so does this guy.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Vow Pt. 9

The 9th edition of my serialized comic "The Vow" from 2001. The last image of Captain Gravity, slumped over in his chair, not sure what to do next, represented how I felt at that moment...and it would be a while before I picked up felt-tip pen once more and drew part 10. Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 10, 2005

It Came From The Mailbag

I got this email today:

Hello John. My name is Matt and i had a question. Well actually a couple. I love b movies. Adore them. and i have always wanted to make my living making movies. So my queston is how do the Polonia boys make money off of their work. I realize they are made for 0 budget. but how do they get them for sale on amazon and things like that? And my second question is how do you even break into the field of filmaking? If you want to e-mail me back that would be cool. Peace man.

I decided to answer this email in my blog, as I get this question a lot. First things first, how do you break in to filmmaking? My advice is at the outset, learn the craft, either by going to school or reading books or studying movies or by picking up a camera and trying trial and error. Art is part of it; but the truth is a lot of it is craft, and you have to get your technical skills down cold for the artistic side to be acceptable and in fact enjoyable by audiences.

Next, network. Write emails (how I met Mark Polonia), go to cons and film festivals, visit message boards and e-mail mailing lists, volunteer to help others on their projects. I was an assistant editor on the feature film FORGIVE ME FATHER, which opened the door for me to work on a screenplay with the director, Ivan Rogers, who introduced me to Terrence Muncy of COW BOY, and on and on. Sometimes you have to nurture your contacts for years before they pay off. But if you prove that you are reliable and professional, eventually people will come to accept you. The problem is that there are so many people out there talking noise who don’t have any game to back it up that many producers and directors are gun shy and have a tendency to stick with who they know.

The truth is that nothing is ever made for $0 (even if it looks it). Equipment costs money, and its depreciation, there’s tape or film stock, even on down to the fact that people’s time and expertise has some monetary value as well. You should always be aware that your skills are worth something, and you should never give them away for free; however I think it’s perfectly acceptable to, as they say in baseball, trade your skills out for “future considerations.”

I would say that on the b-movie level there are a lot of people, though certainly not all, with day jobs that help offset the fact that the money side can be a real roller coaster. There are all kinds of ways to make money, but even more ways to lose it, making movies. One thing I’ve learned is that you have to find a reliable and honest distributor for your work. Again there is an art side to it but it is also business, and you have to have an awareness of that and protect your interests.

But most importantly, do something you feel strongly about or something you really enjoy doing; otherwise an audience will smell a rat, even if they don’t know how to articulate what’s wrong with your work.

I hope this helps.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Microcinema Day May 2

Support Microcinema Day May 2! More info here: http://www.microcinemascene.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=1158 Posted by Hello

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Boys of Chorus

Hello, and welcome to another edition of "People I Went To College With Who Are Doing Better Than Me." Today's guest, Doug Jones.

I spent the weekend working up the rewrite of Terrence Muncy's COW BOY. I've basically got to put together 30 pages a week to be ready for their cast read-through March 26. So, no American Idol for a while. But it is coming together well.

It looks like Polonia Brothers master thespian Jon McBride is signing onto HELLSHOCK as the nefarious, supernaturally-charged bad guy. Brian Berry, Brice Kennedy, and Dave Fife, all alums of PETER ROTTENTAIL and RAZORTEETH, look to be in the pipeline as well. This one goes before the cameras the last week of May.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Don't Go Into The Water

Fresh out the box, the DVD cover for RAZORTEETH, debuting Tuesday, April 26. Posted by Hello

Friday, March 04, 2005

From the Banks of the Wabash

I'm off today to Indianapolis to judge entries at the Indiana Arts Commission, for their media arts area. Should be interesting. I just read an article that there is a huge "brain drain" of people leaving Indiana, which I have a hard time believing, though there are some that might say that me being here does subtract from the sum total of brainpower.

Fellow Hoosiers, there are some interesting things about film-related legislation (called HB 1639) currently underway right here. Fee-free locations, tax credits and tax exemptions for Indiana filmmaking, and more.

I was in the comic book store the other day and saw CONCRETE, FLAMING CARROT, and GRIMJACK. What is this, the early 80s again?

Give me a holler at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name

A nice email I got about AMONG US yesterday:

I finally had a chance to watch this courtesy of my Netflix and just wanted to congratulate you on the spiffy writining that you did for the film. This film completely renewed my love for any Polonia Brother film...My wife and I loved the film and even jumped a few times at the scare scenes like when Billy turns and comes face to face with the bigfoot. Very cool stuff. I plan on ordering a copy off Amazon some time soon and add it to my Polonia brother collection. Next up for me is Peter Rottentail.

Ironically, PETER ROTTENTAIL is on sale for $5 at www.b-movie.com. We all end up there someday.

I'd love to know who keeps googling john oak dalton likes farm sex. I'm starting to feel like Paris Hilton.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Johnny Got His Gun

I spoke on the phone with Mark Polonia the other night about a polish on HELLSHOCK, and today over lunch I'm looking over my notes, and they read like this:

crater--charred soldier--knife in neck--lousy whore--rotting zombie Nazi--fly around balcony--confessionals--Nazi suicide (Luger)--POV creature in cemetary--

Let's just hope an FBI profiler never gets ahold of this.

Mark also asked me to take out some f-bombs I put in there, since most of the feature takes place in an actual working church. Now if the Polonias and I are going to hell, like some critics have encouraged us to, it won't be for cussing in a church. Maybe I should change it to "fug," like Norman Mailer did in THE NAKED AND THE DEAD.

NAKED DEAD, damn that's a good title. I should suggest that to Mark as an alternate.

I am starting on a quick polish for Terrence Muncy's COW BOY, a cautionary tale about the perils of teens having sex in the woods while monstrous creatures lurk nearby, and need to have it ready for a cast read-through March 25. Apparently they also have some FX work underway. When the website goes up, I'll provide the link here.

Give me a yell at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

One Piece At A Time

A guy with a great blog (and any blog is great that references one of my favorite Johnny Cash songs in its title) posted a comment here, and in case anyone missed it I thought I would answer it on the main part of the site. He wrote:

So how formed was the script in their heads before you wrote it? Did they come to you and say, "I want this, this and this to happen?"Just curious. Thanks for the great site.

In this case, and in fact in most of the other cases with scripts I've worked on with them as well, the Polonia Brothers sent a several page outline that touched on characters, certain locations, and some touch points for particular scenes they wanted to see, with a smattering of dialogue thrown in. I worked it all up from there. I have had pretty good luck working on stuff for them because I understand what the parameters are going to be, what their resources are, who is probably going to be in it, and so on. This is a comfortable way for me to work with them, but every situation is different. Some producers/directors will want to spitball ideas with you and have you take notes, some might provide more detailed outlines on up to almost short-story length, and everything in between. In general I suggest trying to find like-minded people that you enjoy working with, because movie projects are long-haul commitments filled with anguish and peril.

Give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.