I have been off the grid a bit lately. For one, I have been building a DIY chicken coop, carefully designed by my dad, for the last six weekends, pounding nails until my hands throbbed. Secondly, I just wrapped on a new freelance project.
I had been turning down work for a while--what with moving, and probably the busiest year I've ever had at the day job in a long time, I'd decided I needed to go away for a bit. Sometimes I feel like I have to do like Lestat did in INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE--burrow down into the ground and pop out a long time later as somebody else. But I didn't feel like being gone quite so long.
I have patterned a lot of my e-newsletter on the one I admire from writer Warren Ellis, who comes up with code names for all the projects he is working on under nondisclosure, only revealing them when they become real. So in that spirit I am calling this one TWICE SHY even though I can't tell you the real name anyway because I'm not sure one has stuck. I'm getting to the point of only wanting to do projects that really catch fire for me, and this one did; an opportunity to write a second movie on a topic I like, and a chance to set it in a different time period--in this case, that ancient forgotten era that represents my early teen years.
If all goes well, this one should lens in June, and I was asked if I was interested in visiting the set, which a writer should never take lightly as by and large nobody wants to see you anymore after the screenplay is turned in. So it's flattering, and I think I will try to do so.
I am headed back to Chicago on Monday, April 24 for another Horror Society Trash Movie Night where the lunatics of the Horror Society will be screening my rubber dinosaur epic mockbuster JURASSIC PREY (which I wrote under the title MEATEATERS before it was mockbusted). For better or for worse, this is the screenplay that helped bring me out of a years-long self-imposed exile because I couldn't turn down writing a stop-motion dinosaur movie for my old friend Mark Polonia (that and HAUNTED HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW for director Henrique Couto, because I couldn't turn down writing a movie where the only superfluous word in the title was "on." Speaking of flattered, I was very flattered to be asked back after just screening SEX MACHINE there in December. It was flat cold zero with about a half foot of snow or more last time, so I think we can do better on weather this time--though it's still April in Chicago, so it's a tossup.
I'm a little behind on my secret e-newsletter Book Club, so let me get both February and March out of the way. I can't get John Darnielle's creepy UNIVERSAL HARVESTER out of my mind, a skin-crawling sketch of midwestern life centered around weird footage spliced into VHS rentals at a lonely store in rural Iowa. Next I have to recommend the absolutely bats PIRATE UTOPIA by Bruce Sterling, a post-World War I-era thriller about a little upstart sliver of a country between Yugoslavia and Italy chock full of anarchists and rebels with names like "The Art Witch" and "The Ace of Hearts"--all the more crazy because it is (somewhat) grounded in real events.
Talk to you again soon, thanks for sticking with me.