Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Schlocked Out

What a nice treat for my birthday; Tim at the site Mondo Schlocko posted the first part of an interview with me today, here.

On my 34th birthday I decided to spend one year trying to get back into freelance scriptwriting after a long hiatus. That was the year 2000, which had a nice ring to it. I had some good luck that year and on my 35th birthday decided to keep going. Now every year I at least stop and think about whether to keep going with screenwriting. Last year I had a lot of momentum so it was kind of a given, but there have been years where I looked at belly-up projects and derailed scripts and thought about packing it in and just reading more comic books.
This year I worked at a nice steady pace, but what is keeping me going is the possibility of writing scripts this year with some people I really want to work with. Even if they fall through, I am interested to see where they lead.
And yes, novice screenwriters, if merely the possibility of doing something isn't enough for you, don't pick up the pen.

So on my birthday my wife lets me pick my own birthday meal, and this year I asked for pulled BBQ pork, her homemade potato salad, baked beans in the special bean pot, and her great chocolate ganache scratch cake with the raspberry filling and mint chocolate chip ice cream. Life is good.

Until later, I'm at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, August 29, 2005

La Dolce Vita, Part Two

Another shout-out from the b-fans of Italy; according to Babelfish, they are saying:
The beautiful one to discover in net the blog of a writer for the cinema comes above all when you can exchange again months of most interesting participations with a simple one link. Necessary, then, a visit to the blog of John Oak Dalton, papĂ  of the script.
Find out for yourself here.

My bigfoot opus AMONG US gets three screenings at Cascadia Con, the North American Sci-Fi and Fantasy Convention, at the Seattle Airport Hilton and Conference Center this weekend. I wonder if Cascadia's "Sasquatch Militia" had anything to do with this.

My first volley of full-length reviews of what I saw at Microcinema Fest 2005 is going up at Microcinema Scene. You can check them out here.

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Black Mass Updates

A Canadian Polonia Brothers fan has built a site dedicated to "Black Mass," their latest penned by yours truly, here.

And "Black Mass" is up at the IMDB here.

A lot going on, so I'll report more later. Until then, give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

MCF Wrap-Up

I helped judge at Microcinema Fest, but these are my personal awards:

BEST FOOD AT FEST: (Tie) The Meat Skillet at Billy's Pancake House or the BBQ meatloaf at Durty Nellie's. I bet Canadian filmmaker Jay Lupish a U.S. dollar that he could not finish the skillet, and he couldn't.

BEST DRINK AT FEST:Raspberry Iced Tea at Durty Nellie's.

BEST AFTER THE AFTERPARTY PLACE: Spunky Dunkers. A donut shop, not a strip club.

BEST MOTEL MOMENT (Tie): Jeremy Neander taking a picture of someone who may have been only sleeping but possibly dead; a woman two doors down standing in the doorway in bra and panties while an entrepreneurial friend invited an unnamed filmmaker in for "a party."

BEST REVIEW OVERHEARD AT FEST: "What happened? I fell asleep."

BEST OUT OF CONTEXT LINE AT FEST: "Just what the fest needs--a thousand troubled teens coming to Palatine."

REwindvideo.com's Wally Fong (talking about his integrity): I never lie.
Me: Okay, then. Wally, did I look fat in that striped shirt?
Wally: Yes.

MOST SURREAL MOMENT (Tie): Seeing the "CSI: Palatine" truck; filmmaker Jon Solita pointing out his shower looked like the "Quantum Leap" machine.

BEST EDITING: What Wally Fong tells his wife about how much he drank when he goes back to Canada.

LEAST AMOUNT OF SLEEP: Fest coordinator Mike Noens.

My thanks also to...PETER O'KEEFE: for being what I always wanted to be--taller and more talented. WALLY FONG: for his uncompromising values and loyalty to the scene--the cool older brother of microcinema. MICHAEL NOENS: the true iron man of the fest, literally behind the scenes the whole time. Did everything right down to stapling the freakin' programs. JEFF GREENE: for running a great movie venue, and a flawless house on lights and audio. STEVE COULTER: whose insights and viewpoints really helped the other punch-drunk judges get it together at 2:30 in the morning. MICHELLE HIGGINS: for reminding everyone why there should be more women behind the scenes in microcinema. JON SOLITA, JAY NEANDER, TYLER WILSON: return of the Five Deadly Venoms! Unofficial party openers and party closers, and then showed their skillz on screen. JAY WOELFEL AND JOHNNIE YOUNG: for hanging out, sharing stories, and giving people a glimpse of the possibilities. PATRICK READ JOHNSON: for taking me back to the old Super-8 days of the late 70s and getting it right, then kicking it with everyone after. CAREY AND JAY (and the other Canadians): Closed every joint in Palatine, then brought down the house Saturday night with "Streets of Wonderland." Oh Canada, indeed. MY BROTHER ERIC: for preventing me from being killed falling asleep behind the wheel on the way home; on the way up to the fest he didn't know what the hell I was talking about with this microcinema thing and on the way home he was a fan. JEREMY NEANDER, JAY BAUMANN, WARREN BLYTHE, JONASON HO: for keepin' on keepin' on for another year of the fest. EVERY EATING ESTABLISHMENT IN PALATINE where I could not clean my plate. ALL THE PEOPLE who attended our workshops and provided good questions and feedback. ALL THE PEOPLE I met and got to talk to, including but not limited to MARC MUSZYNSKI, MARK IVERSON, NICK MACULA, ANGELA WASHLER, CHAD RICHARDS, MATT MEINDL, JESSE COWELL, RJ and CJ, and especially my old friend who I finally met IRL GARY LUMPP as well as many, many others.

That's all I have to write about Microcinema Fest 2005. Until next time, give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Microcinema Fest Updates: Saturday

I checked my stats counter today and was astounded to see that I have been getting over 250 page loads a day this week. Before Jonason Ho writes to tell me he loves my site so much he has been looking at it 250 times a day, my stats tell me that more than 100 unique visitors have been visiting the site each day. That seems crazy to me, but one supposes it reflects how much interest there was in Microcinema Fest.

So here are my quick capsule reviews of Saturday's showings.

Shades of Gray was first, and I was very eager to see this one. Director Jesse Cowell has a larger-than-life personality. He is constantly taping himself to chronicle his life for his website (and you can catch up with him here), and has attracted a seemingly sizeable following. A message board about the movie features 75 pages, and over 2,000 entries. Probably 25 fans showed up with matching t-shirts and hats and hung around a lot of the weekend. He is "playing forward" his DVD by giving away free copies everywhere.
But Jesse could also walk the walk, and I really enjoyed his corrosive comedy about a genial weasel who backstabs his friends until they plot an elaborate revenge. Very nicely shot and edited, with lots of kinetic energy, and a really well-rounded ensemble. Some real gut-busting moments as well.

I already reviewed Coming To My Senses here, and enjoyed a second look at a housewife's rebirth. One of the best-lensed projects in the fest, in my opinion. I've seen Cassandra Schomer in a handful of shorts and think she's a great actress as well. Directed by Indiana's own Chad Richards.

I think Amir Motlagh is a potential breakout star from the microcinema world, and a lot of people were talking about his very strong, emotionally powerful short Still Lover afterwards. Also reviewed it here.

Rounding out the afternoon session was Comic Book Issues from RJ Buckler, a post-modern superhero story about an average joe who gets blessed by superpowers, and his handful of friends who try to egg him on to do the right thing. The tech side (shooting, lighting, sound) was a bit of a wreck, but a really neat story kept poking through. Although it undoubtedly owes a lot to the Warren Ellis/Alan Moore school, it ends up with its own takes on things. I was wholeheartedly behind it by the end, after my initial reservations based on the technical shortcomings. I felt it was one of the better scripted projects of the Fest, much like last year's American Indian Grafitti, which was ragged production-wise but had me in tears by the end in its tale of the ravages of reservation life.

We came back after dinner to Cloud Symphony, a meditative short about two people who decide to travel to wherever the world takes them, and the bond that forms between them on the road. In Japanese (though it was shot in Oklahoma), from director Shogo, it won for Best Cinematography. And I was glad to see the shooting was good, as Shogo DP'd director Christopher Sharpe's Sex Machine that I did a rewrite over and will hopefully be screened somewhere soon.

Next was Automated Assets, another exceedingly clever short from the Dastoli Brothers, featuring two robots on a helpdesk. This won for Best Comedy Short and really showcases their ingenious ideas.

Waiting for Time: The Lives of USP Marion was a documentary from Jonathan Hayes about life in a supermax federal prison, and would make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. This doc won hands down for Best Documentary and was well shot and edited throughout.

The knockout punch of the Fest was delivered by Streets of Wonderland, a Canadian drama about a gang of junkies and thieves who terrorize tourists in the Niagra Falls area. Certainly not destined to be screened by the Niagra Falls Chamber of Commerce, this harrowing tale of one guy's attempt to break free and drag his emotionally crippled girlfriend with him floored the audience, and led to Streets bringing home a half-dozen awards, including Best of Fest, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Drama, and Best Screenplay. Although there are a few technical missteps, the storytelling is impeccable and the acting top-drawer. Really heart-wrenching narrative and mesmerizing acting.

Next was a nice little short from Vices director Mark Iverson, Downtown, sort of a variation of the "meet cute" idea with two teens' paths crossing and re-crossing on a day trip to downtown Chicago. I believe this was done for a high school AV class and reflects that in its production, though it is nice of its type.

Mike Losquadro's Mascara Streaks, a brief yet incisive parody of art films, was met with booming laughter from those "in the know" in the crowd, and was well-received by all. I felt it hewed a bit close to its source material, and that idea that if you look into the abyss the abyss looks back. Such a close parody that it almost became an art film itself, but still with funny bits.

The festival ended with Miguel Coyula's The Plastic Fork, a true art film, a strange improv (with musical numbers!) about the marginalized life of a serial killer. Coyula tore the roof off of last year's Fest with Red Cockroaches, to me still one of the top microcinema outings ever, and his attempt to go from heavy Shakespearean drama to an experimental, breezy comedy sits a bit uneasily on his shoulders. I think Fork is still worth a look for Coyula's signature elements, but it is not as intense as his milestone work. I still think Coyula is the first true rising star from microcinema and am glad to see him at every level of his evolution. Coyula and I split a bunk bed at Natioinal American University during the Fest in Rapid City last year, and every so often I try to remind him, "when you become famous, remember who shared your bed in South Dakota..."

And that was the Fest. Next time, what I really thought about the film festival overall. Until then, give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Happy Trails

A shot on the last evening of screenings of my brother and I preparing to bid it all farewell and return to the real world. We came, we saw, then we saw some more. Posted by Picasa

Cutting Hall

A look at the Cutting Hall lobby during an intermission. Posted by Picasa

Night of the Living Dead

Festival organizer Mike Noens and I after "Plastic Fork" on the last night of screenings. I think Mike had been up for about 72 hours straight, and we still had about three hours of judging to go. Posted by Picasa

Indiana Wants Me

My Hoosier homeboy Chad Richards answering questions after his excellent short "Coming To My Senses" during the Saturday afternoon session. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 18, 2005

MCF Updates #3

Today I'm going to take a quick look at the projects we screened on Friday at Microcinema Fest 2005.

First was Counseling Day, a mild comedy about a flustered minister who spends a long day giving advice to a parade of misfit parishioners. Sort of executed like a modest sitcom, with flat lighting and journeyman shooting, so I was duly surprised to note that it was actually shot on 16mm. There are some good laughs, especially from the pastor (who looks like Gene Hackman to me) and his thick-headed assistant; but I felt a little uneasy when they preach that "God loves everyone" on the one hand while making fun of "retards" on the other.

Gemini is a dark, and darkly shot, martial arts action piece in the vein of The Crow, with a woman returning from the dead with a spooky mask and a can of ass-whip to administer revenge to a bevy of the usual suspects. B-sized but watchable.

Halfway Point is a comedy/drama about a young Nebraskan who decides to move from a rural area to see the city lights of Omaha, at the expense of his hometown sweetheart and friends. The usual story beats ensue. I think the director's heart was in the right place, but poor shooting (too many master shots), spotty lighting, a shaky sound mix, and lukewarm acting sinks it. It hurts my heart to say that it laid a huge egg at the festival, and many people left for dinner early.

After the dinner break we got back on track with A Wind to Shake the Stars, a brief absurd comedy that sets an average family's mundane conflicts against the tapestry of world events. This wholly unique comedy short, from a pair of wonder twins known as the Dastoli Brothers (why are there so many twins in microcinema?), was my favorite comedy in the entire fest. Great FX, acting, execution.

Then we screened Memories of Tomorrow, one of two features I have given five stars to at Microcinema Scene (read it here), and probably raved plenty about. This feature and the Canadian drama Streets of Wonderland took up most of the conversation at the festival judge's meeting late into the night after the screenings were finished. First-time director Amit Tripuraneni brought home Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Editing, second in the fest only to Streets. Memories is a ruminative espionage thriller with flawless acting, crackling shooting, and polished production values. However, I was surprised that it didn't play as well as I thought it would. I think the audience generally acknowledged its high level of accomplishment in microcinema, but I overheard some in the audience dismissing its more "European" feel and cryptic storytelling. I think the audiences generally skewed younger at this year's fest than in past years, and perhaps that played a part.

Next was The Hook, a clever retelling of the urban legend about the hook killer at Lover's Lane, presenting the hook-bearer in a sympathetic light. The short's nice shooting and good attention to period detail (it takes place during the 70s, natch) landed The Hook the best horror short of the fest.

87 Topaz is another emotionally resonant short from filmmaker Bill Kersey, done in his usual style of mixing photos and archive footage, this time dealing with the death of his grandfather. I really like his work.

Broken is a very stylishly done, but ultimately hollow, horror short where a young woman is kidnapped from her room by a scar-faced creep and destined to provide some slimy "entertainment" for a handful of fetishistic sleazeballs, until a masked man enters to even the odds. Great set pieces and visual interest, but the story feels familiar at the end.

Javelin, from the London Film School, pits a Eastern European sports star against the political machine in a very sophisticated and well-directed short. Thoughtfully done, and a notch above for looking at bigger issues.

Ghost Lake, from director Jay Woelfel, finished out Friday's screenings. Ghost Lake has the trappings of b-horror, but Woelfel tries for more by focusing on dreamlike elements, including surreal shooting and highly stylized dialogue and acting. A thematic sequel of a kind to Woelfel's cult fave Beyond Dream's Door, the feature hits the right genre beats but tries to offer more to discerning viewers.

Next time, Saturday's screenings. Until then, give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.


Jonn Solita, Jonason Ho, and Warren Blythe enjoy the "barnside" screenings. Posted by Picasa


A gang of filmmakers watching Wally Fong upload to Rewindvideo.com during the opening night cookout. Posted by Picasa

Dinner Bell

A table full of filmmakers at a dinner break during a daylong screening. Durty Nellie's also hosted the afterparties. I recommend the BBQ meatloaf. Posted by Picasa

At the Rooster Crow

The filmmaker's breakfast at a great place called Billy's Pancake House, where my brother and I ate six days in a row. Great liver and onions. I bet a Candian filmmaker, Jay Lupish, a U.S. dollar he couldn't clean his plate, and he couldn't. Some people here are just getting up, some never went to bed. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

MCF Updates #2

Today I'm going to give some capsule reviews of the projects shown Thursday, August 11 at Microcinema Fest 2005. Some of these will appear in longer form at Microcinema Scene, someday. But, off the top of my head:

TOMORROW'S LULLABY by S. Tyler Wilson: Tyler Wilson looks like your average college student, but I think he has an old soul. Last year his short Abomination, about the parallel lives of two gay teens, brought home Best Drama Short and Best Score. And he won the same two awards again this year with this short, which deals with a shattered family in the wake of the mother's death. Great shooting, great storytelling, the best way to kick off the fest.

HER SUMMER by Bryan Woods: I already reviewed this one at Microcinema Scene here, and as I suspected it played better at the fest than it did in my living room. This half buddy movie, half skin-crawling horror flick walked out with Best Horror Feature. I have seen Travis Shepherd in three different movies from three different Iowan directors, and I think he's a really good talent. Travis Marxen is sharp here, too.

OH CANADA by Jay Neander: Canada attacks Illinois with a nuclear missle in this raw, funny short with an improvisational feel. The audience was rolling.

THE NIGHTWALKER by Brian Holcomb: Old-school tech (it looks like it was shot on VHS-C) and old-school scares Lovecraft-style in this supernatural short. Weird and edgy.

MUMBLE BABY by Matt Meindl: Optically printed film short is a real accomplishment in style and substance. Done by a well-spoken University of Toledo film student. Won Best Experimental. A lot of people talked about this one after, and I still am thinking about its visuals.

TUBER by Iskra Valtcheva: A warring couple get a glimpse of their future when a vegetable turns into a baby in this surreal short. Very well shot, very cryptic; sophisticated storytelling, European vibe.

REAL LEMONADE by Matt Meindl: Meindl gets another short in, this one very greenscreen-heavy and more whimsical, as a young man and woman rekindle their childhood fantasies. A talented guy.

LEGENDS by Gerald Godbout: A Friday the 13th Jason fan film, really as good as any of the real films (which is good or bad depending on your outlook); cuts a few corners and is sloppy at times, but I liked it for its representation of people of color in all of the main roles.

Day One of MCF! Tomorrow, a look at Friday's movies. Until then, give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

MCF Workshops #2

Wally Fong, Jeff Greene, and Mike Noens help get the production workshop at Durty Nellie's get set up. Posted by Picasa

All-Star Lineup

Microcinema Scene's own Gary Lumpp chilling with Johnnie Young and Jay Woelfel during a dinner break. Posted by Picasa

The No-Tell Motel

Wally Fong and Jeremy Neander roll out at the motel. As seen by this elaborate, patriotic cart, a lot of people were in residence there...and as we saw in the middle of the night, were engaged in a variety of entrepreneurial interests. Posted by Picasa

Bottoms Up!

Yeah, still too much of this. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Microcinema Fest Updates

MONDAY AUGUST 8: My brother Eric and I rolled into Palatine around 10 p.m. and hooked up with a friend of Eric's, Ravi, who has been working on a couple of documentaries and was interested in coming to our workshops. We then trooped over to Fest organizer Michael Noens' house, where a cookout was still in full swing. It was great to see a lot of the people from last year, including my roomies out in Rapid City Jay Neander and Jon Solita, and Calgary's favorite son Wally Fong. Everybody got acquainted or re-acquainted, and then I called it an early night as I had to meet Peter O'Keefe at the train station the next morning.

TUESDAY AUGUST 9: I finally met Peter O'Keefe, and it was another of those surreal moments where someone you have emailed with and talked to on the phone over a long period of time is suddenly standing there in the flesh. People are always taller than I think they'll be. Perhaps I'm just short.
Peter and I had lunch and talked a bit about our presentation. My feeling is that if there are more people in the audience than on the stage you have been a success. When you write it on your resume or whatever, you never say how many people were there. So I was pleasantly surprised when we ended up with about 30 participants, many with good questions and feedback.
That night I decided to attend a local premiere of a feature shot by a recent high school grad called Vices. It was a cleverly executed story about a high school basketball star who begins to get entangled with an apple-cheeked homeroom godfather, and that eventually leads him to some bad decisions about sex and drugs. The director had about 200 people at Cutting Hall, the same venue for MCF later in the week, which was an encouraging sign. The teens in the crowd enjoyed it thoroughly while the collective blood of the parents ran cold.
I think Vices had some great storytelling, and a very natural performance by director Mark Iverson and some others, but suffers a bit from poor lighting and shooting, rough editing, and an uneven sound mix. But you have to give him credit--when I was his age I might be able to rouse a dozen neighbors to watch one of my Super-8s on the side of my garage.

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 10: Today Wally Fong and I were planning on teaching two sessions, one on basic production and the second a moderated roundtable for advanced filmmakers. I think we may have been hurt by the location being listed wrong in the newspaper, but we ended up with 12-15 for the first session and perhaps 20 for the second. I think the second roundtable session went especially well and could have probably gone on even longer. There were a lot of people with a lot of different talents there. It's hard to teach basics when people come from all different backgrounds and you need to keep them on the same page, but I think everyone got at least a little something useful from it.
That night I met my Rapid City crew at a local laser tag venue, which first I thought I was too old for, but before long was running and gunning with everybody else. It is such a guy thing that the guy gene sort of kicks in regardless of age, race, creed, status, whatever. We were pretty well pounded by Wally Fong, who apparently still had the secret map tattooed on his eyelids from his days working at one in Calgary.
I think I came in dead last, even behind some little kid who cornered me and kept pelting me with laser beams.
That night was the "barnside" screenings, a traditional festival event where filmmakers can show work in progress or screen things that did not make the festival. I saw a short from a guy I like named Bill Kersey who had something else in the festival. This one was called Permean Flow and was striking images married to found audio. Six Feet Frozen, which I reviewed at Microcinemascene.com, played pretty well, as did a comedic short called I, Crapbot. Wally Fong showed some music videos and an episode of his online web serial GCU and Jon Solita showed some commercial work. A filmmaker named Jesse Cowell showed a moody little film school short that played well. I think there was a Dr. Who fan film, and a bit of something shot nearby in Illinois, but I was eating or talking during those. But easily the gut-busting success was a sketch comedy piece done by college chums of Jon Solita called Live to Tape. I actually thought it was funnier than anything in the festival, by far.
Later some more Rapid City friends, including Warren Blythe and Jonason Ho, rolled in, and it seemed like the festival was ready to take off. And it was.

Next time, almost thirty movies in almost three days. Until then, give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

MCF Munchies

My brother, Warren Blythe, Jonason Ho, and myself making a 3 a.m. donut run at an excellent place called (somewhat unfortunately) Spunky's. We also did the judging here, with a constant influx of coffee and sugar. Sort of looks like that famous painting "Nighthawks," only with that fresh-baked smell. Posted by Picasa

Once More, With Feeling

Yeah, there was a bit too much of this. Posted by Picasa

MCF Workshops #1

Writer/Filmmaker Peter O'Keefe and I bask in the warmth of adulation after our screenwriting workshop at Durty Nellie's on the Tuesday of Microcinema Fest. About 30 people turned out to hear us. Posted by Picasa

Bustin' Caps

Rewindvideo.com's Wally Fong warms up before beating a bunch of us mercilessly at Laser Quest. It turns out he used to work at a laser tag operation in Calgary, and also wants to be a cop. I wish there was more crime in Canada for him. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 15, 2005

2004 MCF Reunion

Here is a dinner reunion of filmmakers who also attended the 2004 Fest in Rapid City, including folks from all across North America. Posted by Picasa

Live from Cutting Hall

Rewindvideo.com's Wally Fong and I shortly before co-hosting the last night's film festivities at Cutting Hall. Wally had just cut his hand trying to climb the side of the building. Don't ask. Posted by Picasa

CSI: Palatine

While in Palatine I found myself lucky to be cast in the new CSI spinoff, CSI: Palatine. Jon Solita is the tough but fair lieutenant, I play the maverick investigator haunted by his past, and Jeremy Neander plays the rookie cop hiding an online porn addiction. Inside the truck are half the filmmakers from the fest, moments after being stungunned into submission. Posted by Picasa

The 411

At the "barnside" screenings Jon Solita (whose short "The Hook" won best horror short) and I check out the mad props given the fest by the local media. Posted by Picasa

The Aftermath

I'm back online after returning from Microcinema Fest 2005 last night. I have a lot to absorb but will catch loyal readers up on my adventures over the next few days. I promise plenty of blackmail photos as well. Until I can get back up to speed, check out the fatigue- and beer-fueled reports from Wally Fong at rewindvideo.com, right here.

You can also catch a brief dismissal of Razorteeth at Cine-Schlock's podcast here.

Christopher Sharpe has also posted a few new updates on Sex Machine here. His pal Shogo's short Cloud Symphony played like gangbusters at the fest.

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

Monday, August 08, 2005

All Roads Lead to Chi-Town

I am off in a few minutes to Microcinema Fest 2005 in Chicago, so things will probably fall silent here for a few days. You can check out more about the Fest here, hopefully with some updates during the week. I will definitely be back on line with photos and feedback shortly.

Shawn Hoke at Size Matters takes an in-depth look at my poorly-drawn "Volunteers" minicomic series here. Even if he hadn't like my comics I would still say it was a good site.

Don't know if I'll be able to check my mail, but feel free to give me a holler at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Live Nude Girls and Other News

The Reel Pie Film Festival will be in Muncie, Indiana tonight at the Civic Theater at 7:30 p.m. The short I DP'd for the Small Town Scenario show, "A Postcard from Farmland," will be shown. I'll be ducking down in the back row. More info at http://www.reelpie.com/.

Oh, and you can now buy the nude calendar featuring the elderly women of my little town online at http://www.courthousegirls.com/.

I got a couple of nice emails this week out of the blue about my work on some of the Polonia Brothers movies. I talked a lot in earlier posts about people who look down a bit on the humble b-movie screenwriter, and when I did so I sort of forgot about the fans. I really think your sci-fi/horror/fantasy fan is the best fan to have, as they are voracious in finding new material and vocal in supporting what they like. Those are who we are writing for, after all, and these little e-missives reminded me of that.

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

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

The Days and Nights of Buster Sampson

A question about my yet-unused psuedonym. Loyal reader Joe writes:

How did you come up with the name "Buster Sampson?"
One of those "first dog's name plus street you grew up
on?" things. If so, I'd be Brock Ember.

If so, I would by Daisy Colson. It would be a really bad porn name for me.

Way back in 1987 A.D. I wrote a series of scripts that won the first David Letterman Telecommunications Scholarship awarded to a writing project. It was called "West Coast Campus" even though it was of course based on Ball State University and my life as a newspaper reporter for the campus daily, though with a lot more sex and violence and that California allure that I knew nothing about. My barely disguised alter ego was named Buster Sampson, Sampson because of my love of Sampson and the Vampire Women and Buster because it connotated the kind of sharp-witted yet reckless, soft-hearted but street-smart, guy I maybe thought I was or more likely wanted to be. Come to think of it, it was a heavily disguised portrayal.

Do you think John Oakley would be too obvious?

Thanks for asking! More questions welcome at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Sasquatch's Thumbs Up

I was asked a question about screenwriting in my last post's comments sections, so I added some links to some previous posts on the subject, for what they are worth (Check out the comments section of the last post). But here's what Bruce Campbell thinks about screenwriting, here.

A Bigfoot Sighting Newsletter gives a shout out to Among Us here.

In just a week Microcinema Fest 2005 starts in Chicago. Here's some info on some workshops I am co-hosting Tuesday and Wednesday:

TUESDAY AUGUST 9, 1-3 p.m.
FROM MUSE TO SCREEN: John Oak Dalton and Peter O’Keefe will be covering all aspects of scriptwriting from the ground up. O’Keefe is a previous winner of the Writer’s Guild East screenwriting fellowship and the Guild’s Paddy Chayefsky Award. He has written for episodic television (including Tales from the Darkside), theatrical and direct-to-video (including for Full Moon Entertainment), and directed several festival-screened shorts. John Oak Dalton teaches scriptwriting at Ball State University and has several projects in development, in production, or on the video shelves, including Among Us and Peter Rottentail, and the upcoming Sex Machine and Cow Boy.

1-2:45 p.m. NOVICE TRACK: Wally Fong and John Oak Dalton will instruct emerging filmmakers in a variety of fundamentals, including basic lighting and shooting and discussions of audio, editing, and post-production.
2:45-3 p.m. BREAK.
3 p.m.-5 p.m.: FILMMAKER’S ROUNDTABLE: Film fest participants are invited to attend this “round robin”-style presentation and share their feedback about their experiences in the microcinema world. We will focus on discussions of a number of technologies on a variety of platforms, such as camera shoot-outs, editing suites, and more. Wally Fong and John Oak Dalton will moderate.
Wally Fong is a founding member and contributor to REWind.com and Microcinema Fest, as well as wearing many hats in the Calgary-based production group Infiniti Productions, creators of the GCU web serial. John Oak Dalton has taught video production at the university level and has previously worked in broadcasting, educational media, and corporate production.

You can read more at www.microcinemafest.com. Until then, give me a shout at johnoakdalton@hotmail.com.