Sunday, August 31, 2008

Four Decades Plus Two

I had a nice birthday yesterday. I woke up to a puppy licking my face and my wife handing me D&D 4th Edition. We had coffee and donuts from Farmland and then went to the Farmer's Pike Festival nearby where I found some cool old Ace Doubles Westerns and had good BBQ. I watched a cute movie last night, MISS PETTIGREW LIVES FOR A DAY, and slept the sleep of the contended.

I always use my birthday to take stock of my freelance career, ever since the year 2000 when I decided, with the birth of a new century, to give myself one year to get my freelance screenwriting career off the ground. Longtime readers know that I have worked steadily in the eight years since, and though some think it's ridiculous to pick a particular day to decide whether to go another year I still do.

Early this morning I tried to add up in my mind all of the projects I have been hired to write or rewrite and for some reason, like counting sheep, I fell asleep both times I tried. But I think, in order, they are PLAYER IN THE GAME (Myriad Entertainment Group), MECHANIZER (Sterling Entertainment), AMONG US (Polonia Brothers Entertainment/Intercoast), BURNING GROUNDS OF THE UNDEAD (Polonia Brothers Entertainment/Intercoast), PETER ROTTENTAIL (Polonia Brothers Entertainment), RAZORTEETH (Polonia Brothers Entertainment), GIZZARD GUTS (Polonia Brothers Entertainment), DEMONS ON A DEAD END STREET (Polonia Brothers Entertainment), DEAD LAKE (for producer Bob Dennis), SEX MACHINE (for Asphalt Planet), THE PAYBACK MAN (for producer Ivan Rogers), DEAD KNIGHT (for Cine Excel), COWBOY (for producer Terrence Muncy), SPLINTERHEAD (for Polonia Brothers Entertainment), PRIMAL (for Sterling Entertainment), NEW JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH (for Polonia Brothers Entertainment), MENTAL SCARS (for producer Richard Myles), and two scripts written under a nondisclosure.

I have been telling people fifteen but when I sat down and actually added them all up, I guess it's nineteen.

You can buy or rent or see on TV or see at a film festival or buy in a dollar bin five of these. One other came out without any of my rewrite. Two are in post-production. Two started shooting but never finished. I've done fresh rewrites on two more this year. The rest...well you just never know what might happen.

Somewhere in there I found time to write a few specs, including HANDS DOWN, ONIBOCHO THE DEMON KNIFE, RING OF THE SORCERESS, ROOK, and my modern dress/original prose adaptation of Shakespeare's TIMON OF ATHENS (yes, you read that right). Three of those five have had interest at one time or another, but nothing has really happened on them to date.

I have been proud of everything that left my keyboard and I have never used a psuedonym, two things I promised myself I would hold to those years ago.

Having worked in direct-to-DVD and microcinema for a number of years now I find myself spending a lot of time in 2008 thinking about what might be coming next with delivery platforms and entertainment options. But way back at the headwaters of that entertainment river there is still a dude with a keyboard. I am still speculating on what I may be writing next.

Give me a shout at


Tom said...

Happy belated birthday, John! Looking at your list of credits, I realize somebody could throw a John Oak Dalton film festival and, if I had the theatre and the money to promote it, I would gladly throw one right now! And, as you explore your creative options, remember: If you ever get the itch to make your own film, I would gladly participate at a moment's notice and I know a network of potential actors you culd cast from (And community theatre actors are known to do it for free!).

Tom said...

Argh! I misspelled "could"! And I pride myself on my proofreading skills! Hope this doesn't ruin your post-birthday afterglow!

John Oak Dalton said...

Thanks for the film fest offer, Tom, though I hate to see a perfectly good theater burned to the ground! I do still think about doing my own project, specifically around the Creative Commons licenses.


Dr. Squid said...

Sounds like a wonderful birthday! Donuts, a movie, BBQ and sound sleeping? Sounds like heaven!

Todd Merickel said...

Happy Birthday my long time friend. Thank you for reminding me of the great newspaper drive to Marion. I had forgotten that episode and it brings a smile to my face everytime now thinking about it, along with the threatened school suspensions we thought we were going to get.

Westies Rule!


John Oak Dalton said...


I don't think I ever thanked your mom for keeping us from getting kicked out of school that one time!