Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"We Need Weapons"

Another publicity still I shot for the bigfoot movie AMONG US, as Bob Dennis, Hunter Austin, and Jon McBride try to keep the critics at bay.

Bridge Over Troubled Water

This exclusive behind-the-scenes shot shows the incredibly rickety, dangerous bridge that the Polonia Brothers made use of in AMONG US. They made me carry a heavy tripod across this thing, figuring that the writer was probably the most expendable person on site.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More Among Us

Here's another publicity shot from my bigfoot opus AMONG US, with Bob Dennis, Hunter Austin, and Jon McBride. That remote cabin was genuinely terrifying, being overrun with snakes, vermin, and sporadically visited by bears.

Actors Among Us

Hunter Austin and Bob Dennis prep for a scene while John Polonia lugs around a 16mm camera in the background. I think these two are super-talented and have a special place in my heart because they were the first actors I heard read some of my words aloud. Unfortunately those first sentences included the word "cornhole."

Monday, June 25, 2007

Back to Bigfoot

With my new series of articles "I Was Bigfoot's Shemp" appearing at Microcinema Scene, and AMONG US playing on the Space Channel, it dawned on me that I had never posted photos from my trip to the set of the feature--shot in the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania way back in 2003--and maybe it was past due. Here we see stalwart heroine Hunter Austin beseiged by Bigfoot, in a photo I took that was later photoshopped into a pretty good DVD box cover.

Burn, Baby, Burn

In this exclusive behind-the-scenes photo, we see our leads prepping for a scene around the campfire--a campfire started with pages from my script. And that's why writers aren't invited to the set.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Baby I'm-A Want You

I have been laughing until crying at Kathy Griffin's LIFE ON THE D LIST show. But if she's on the D List, where am I? Probably QQQ, like the top row of cold metal bleachers at the Colts' stadium.

I got a courtesy subscription to US WEEKLY when PREMIERE got canceled and thank God it's almost run out. I saw the new issue the other day and was like, "Oh, finally, Lindsey Lohan's mom is telling her side!" and "Brittany Murphy married a bad guy, oh snap!" I'm so ashamed.

I was out to dinner with some friends when they started talking about how funny Christopher Sharpe and Shogo were on the commentary track for SEX MACHINE. I looked kind of blank, and my brother asked, "Haven't you listened to it yet?" I admitted I didn't have a copy and had given both of my early screeners away. Another friend said, "You mean, of the people sitting at this table, you are the only one without a copy?" Damn, I better get my ass on Amazon.

My good pal Mark Polonia gets interviewed at the Houston Chronicle website here, and I link it even though he didn't mention me.

The Polonia Brothers' new movie SPLATTER BEACH is getting a lot of good buzz. But they always make their bikini movies with Misty Mundae without me.

Give me a shout at

Friday, June 22, 2007

Summer Reading

I think loyal readers know by now that I write a book review column for a publication called POMP AND CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE which is published quarterly by the Magna Cum Murder Mystery Conference. Here is the latest entry, for those who don't subscribe:

SUPSECT by Michael Robotham
A psychiatrist learns that one of his former patients, a prostitute, has been found murdered, and a dogged detective thinks the psychiatrist is a prime suspect. The problem is, by all accounts, he looks like a likely candidate; thus our (flawed) hero tries to untangle himself, and find the real killer, before time runs out. Nerve-jangling debut thriller from British writer Michael Robotham, though some of the nerve-jangling may come from the thick-skulled moves the psychiatrist makes throughout. Though I wanted to shout at the pages a few times, I kept turning them, all the way to a nice denouement.

MAISIE DOBBS by Jacqueline Winspear
The first in Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series features our plucky heroine looking into mysterious goings-on at a retreat for disfigured veterans in the English countryside, and being forced to face her own troubling memories as a nurse in the Great War. A nicely-wrought mystery, though the long flashback that makes up the story’s center about the war might be of greater interest. Perhaps works better as a rumination on changes in life in England between the two World Wars than a mystery, but is engaging and interesting throughout.

Darkly comic thriller features Dexter, a cheery police forensics specialist who moonlights, as it were, as a monstrous serial killer. However, thanks to Dexter’s foster father, a cop whose spirit looms large over the story, Dexter only hunts and kills greater monsters than himself. However, a killer with a similar style begins to disrupt Dexter’s peaceful existence and challenge his views. Dexter’s humorous, glib asides stand in stark contrast to creepy scenes of grisly horror, making Jeff Lindsay’s debut novel a unique and offbeat work.

BRANDED WOMAN by Wade Miller
I keep talking to anyone who will listen about how much I have enjoyed the new “Hard Case Crime” series, where lost noir classics are re-issued with classic paperback covers for new audiences. This one, by the writing team of Robert Wade and Bill Miller, is a scorcher. A pretty smuggler is branded across the forehead as a warning to stay away from the business by a bigger fish called “The Trader.” Upon recovery, she doggedly pursues revenge, capped with a particularly cold-hearted climax. One of the stronger entries in what has been a top-notch series of reprints.

Give me a yell at

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

One Morning From A Bogart Movie, In A Country Where They Turn Back Time

I am working on a new third act for URAMESHIYA for director Amit Tripuraneni, plus a few new scenes for NEW JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH for the Polonia Brothers. Both projects I'm excited about.

They tore down the Northwest Plaza Cinema in my hometown. It wasn't one of those fancy old theaters but it had a fair amount of history. Naturally, they are building a Ruby Tuesday's there. An old friend and local film history buff, Conrad Lane, talked about it in the local paper. When I was a scrawny high school kid and a scruffy college kid Conrad inexplicably regularly invited me onto his local film review show on the PBS affiliate and his show on an AM radio station, sending me on the path I am on today. When he retired he gave me a thick book of Oscar history which I still keep on my shelf. Conrad said that the old Plaza was known for debuting STAR WARS (and I was there), but its longest running feature was THE LONGEST YARD, of all things.

When I was a kid, going to see STAR WARS thirteen times was the magic number that entered you into that next realm of coolness. My kids never understood why we went to the movies so much. But they have never lived in a world where that movie was never coming to HBO because there wasn't one, or coming to a video store because there weren't any built, or going to pop up on VHS or DVD because they hadn't been invented yet. All we had was it might show up on one of three channels in the far future, all cut up with commercials. Such a strange world cannot be imagined by the youth of today.

Give me a shout at

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pieces of April

Yesterday was my daughter's 19th birthday. Since we just got back from a blowout Florida trip for graduation we went modest, buying her her own cell phone and adding her to our family package, upping our minutes and throwing in unlimited texting. She almost immediately raced from the room, and my wife and I looked at each other and wondered if she was unhappy. I peeked into the living room and saw her already texting people and adding phone numbers and taking photos of herself with the camera. And thus I learned that the separation between parent and child would not come from the packing of the van for college, but from the plaintive beep of an incoming call.

On top of that, I thought I was the only screenwriter in Farmland, Indiana. Then these two bastards come along.

But you can read the next chapter of I WAS BIGFOOT'S SHEMP over at Microcinema Scene.

And somebody has my copy of EXTREME DV by Rick Schmidt, because I can't find it anywhere. Anyone want to fess up? Write me at

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Also, call your dad if you haven't already.

This one has been a bit dull; I have been slouched on the couch all day watching my ball teams lose, suffering from a head cold. My wife was in a fender bender last night and is okay but not feeling too great either. Oatmeal and tea for supper, with Nyquil for desert.

I got a lot of emails during my Florida sojourn. Longtime reader Pete writes:

John, In case you didn't know, you can now watch Among Us on Netflix in their Watch Now offering. So, if you have a membership, you can watch it online for free. I'm going to check it out this weekend, if things don't get too hectic.

Thanks for the tip! That Bigfoot movie seems to have legs, or at least feet, it seems.

New reader Don writes:

You didn't go to Ball State by any chance? I remember the film programming at the Student Center there being first-rate, with flicks like Attack of the Mushroom People and Robot Monster--the Daily News offered up that a guy named John Dalton was to credit. Seeing that we're the same age and you're also a Hoosier....

Truly, that was I. That job was fun, but a struggle at times. We made money showing TOP GUN and FERRIS BUEHLER so we could show stuff like A BOY AND HIS DOG and BARBARELLA outside in the Quad at our makeshift drive-in.

I hadn't thought about that in a while. This interwebs is a funny thing.

Until later, give me a shout at

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Summer Catch

Everyone told me not to take my laptop on vacation, but nothing spells vacation to me more than uninterrupted writing time. I have been working on punching up the third act of URAMESHIYA for director Amit Tripuraneni and worked on that. A change of venue always gets my juices flowing. I knocked out reading RITES OF PASSAGE by Alexei Panshin and Philip K. Dick's FLOW MY TEARS, THE POLICEMAN SAID and then traded them at the paperback swap area for CITY OF ICE by John Farrow. I watched GHOST IN THE SHELL: SOLID STATE SOCIETY because we were on vacation and nobody would tell me not to watch it. I peeked ahead and watched the last episode of THE SOPRANOS and saw the season premiere of BIG LOVE. I laughed until I cried over that Kathy Griffin show on Bravo. I found out the Tampa Ray Devil Rays look pretty good this year. I loafed around and ate a lot of good seafood.

The batteries reloaded, and now I'm back to work today and cruising around cyberspace. Give me a shout at

Friday, June 15, 2007

Tequila Sunrise

I have been offline in Panama City, Florida, for vacation. I worked a little and rested a lot and read a couple of good books and ate some good seafood. More soon.

Really at World's End

More from Panama City. It was as pretty as it looked.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Green Grass and High Tides Forever

Is it just me or was ON THE LOT supposed to be on last night? Is it already box office poison this early in its run?

Well, my secret project is secret no more. Over a year ago director Amit (MEMORIES OF TOMORROW) Tripuraneni and I talked about doing a project together, but the stars were never in alignment. He began working on his new thriller FIVE and I wrote four other projects (but kept going back and tweaking the other during down or stuck times on those projects). Just in the last few weeks it has started to come together. And I have been very excited about this one because this is probably my favorite script that I've written, and Amit is a real up-and-coming director (and you can see what I thought about MEMORIES OF TOMORROW, long before I ever emailed with Amit, here).

Anyway, more about URAMESHIYA (GHOST SCREAM) soon.

Until later, give me a shout at

Monday, June 04, 2007

Pomp, Etc.

Yesterday my daughter graduated from high school. Strangely, I think I only sent her to school for the first time about three or four years ago. SNIFF!

And now, for Empty Nest Syndrome.

Saturday we hosted a graduation party that featured more guests than our wedding. The festivities were hampered somewhat by a hailstorm an hour before the party, knocking over Tiki torches and festive umbrellas and the like. My wife and daughter stood in the porch doorway laughing their asses off while I ran around getting pelted and trying to gather up the glassware. A hailstorm on June 1? Paging Al Gore.

Thankfully it blew over, and we were host to more than 125 people between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m. We set up a chocolate fountain that, combined with a big icy barrel full of Mountain Dew cans, proved the undoing of some of our younger guests. At one point I looked in the backyard and saw that several youngsters, led by my nephew and my Little Brother Harold, had smashed up the croquet set and were beating each other with the splintered ends. Later they broke the rest of the mallets trying to knock a seemingly lead-lined SpongeBob SquarePants pinata out of a tree, while a little neighbor girl watched from nearby, cupping handfuls from the fountain.

The highlight was the four graduation cakes cooked as a present by a family friend who just graduated from culinary school. They looked fake and kids kept poking them, so we were finally forced to cut them.

Later the teenagers, in a fit of irony, burned the corpse of SpongeBob in the fire ring in the backyard.

Graduation went about like you'd think, with the same speeches you have heard elsewhere, then a barrage of family members came back to the house and ate everything that was left down to the last slice of ham and the last roll. Which I ate just a little while ago.

Now I am completely toasted on both sides. So I will blog another time about my next project. Until then, well wishes can be sent to