Saturday, August 26, 2017

Mott the Hoople and the Game of Life

Sometimes work leads to more work, which is why I haven't boomed out a secret e-newsletter for a little while.  I have been getting up early, working through lunch hours, and working into the night when I would rather be binging on WESTWORLD on a new script project that is due quickly.

It's funny how many parallels there are between the first screenplay I ever had turned into a movie, the Bigfoot mockumentary AMONG US, and the most recent (lucky thirteenth) one, a retro-styled Bigfoot movie titled IN SEARCH OF (ISO).

When I was working on the set of AMONG US, Mark Polonia was asked by a distributor to produce three more movies that year, and he asked me to write all three.  At that time I didn't believe I could write three screenplays in a single year, so we agreed that I would re-write two and the third one would be an original script.

The first became the infamous PETER ROTTENTAIL, which was a rewrite of a handwritten script called PSYCHO CLOWN, and it has entered the halls of infamy by being rated one of the Worst Horror Films of All Time by the British website Nerdly, and no less an august publication than Fangoria devoted an hour-long podcast to its wonders.  I did the rewrite over a delirious long weekend and I think it's raw and funny but obviously your mileage may vary.

The second rewrite was of a piranha movie called RAZORTEETH, which made nary a ripple, so to speak, a worse fate than its predecessor.  Only about 25 percent of my rewrite made it to the screen through various production hiccups and I think now it is a bit of a rarity.

The deal came apart before my original screenplay DEMONS ON A DEAD END STREET was filmed, and I have been sorry about that all these years later as I think it is my best screenplay that has never been made (the second best is a science fiction screenplay I wrote called TETHYS).  It once looked to be produced in New Zealand when the rights came back to me but that didn't work out either, so I have it around if the day ever comes that somebody might want it.  I just this weekend heard from a friend that a colleague of his had sold a screenplay, with all rights attached, over Craigslist, so there's that.

So on the set of IN SEARCH OF I learned Mark was working on a three-movie deal and again asked me to be a part.  By now, almost 15 years later, I have learned through much trial and error that I can crank up a screenplay in three or four weeks.  But what caught my attention about this one is that all three screenplays would be more or less shot back to back, more or less on the SyFy Channel model with crazy premises, and would all be needed in about six weeks.

Challenge accepted.  Loyal readers know that I have made much of the accomplishment of stalwart b-director Thomas Carr, who in 1950, at the very ass end of the b-movie western era, took a pair of aging former Hopalong Cassidy sidekicks and a handful of rewritten scripts and shot six c-grade oaters in 30 days.  That these are all watchable, and in fact enjoyable, is a tremendous achievement and not talked about nearly enough today (and you can buy them all cheap as THE BIG IRON COLLECTION on Amazon).

These new scripts are all high-concept titles, but I will again take a page from better (comic book and fiction and newsletter) writer Warren Ellis and give them all non-disclosure-like codenames here (and by high concept, I mean like the guy who thought there should be a bunch of movies about sharks that get sucked up into tornadoes).

One idea which I am going to codename KRASNIKOV caught my fancy right away, and I broke my landspeed record by writing it in two weeks.  The distributor told Mark that they had to be weird and crazy and as loyal readers know I don't have to be told that twice.

A week after and I am halfway through the one I am calling SEQUENCE SIX which started off nutty but got a little nuttier when Mark called last night and said "put some zombies in it."

The third one which I am calling THE HORRIBLE ASP, because I just heard that REM song, I have had the most trouble wrapping my mind around, even though it was the only one that also came with an outline.

I am hoping that in about three more weeks I will have them all done.  I am to the point in my career that I only work with the people I want to and do projects that are interesting to me.  And I have always wanted the kind of Nerd Extreme Sports Challenge that Thomas Mann took on, all those years ago.

I'll let you know soon about my progress.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Valhalla, I am Coming

Treated myself to a few days at GenCon this summer.  The first picture is the first ten dollars I spent--used, on the goodbye shelf at the Auction--and the second a mix of all kinds of things I bought and liked, from zines to small press games. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fair Warning

Loyal readers may remember that the Mooreland Fair parade leaves out of the large side yard of my house.  We can walk along the route--just a shade over a half mile--all the way to the fairgrounds, still a high point for many people's year.  Candy thrown on the route, elephant ears when you get to the end, as well as pork chops and lemon shake-ups.  A great tradition.