Monday, October 30, 2017

Sunday's on the Phone to Monday

This blog post first appeared earlier in my secret e-newsletter I WAS BIGFOOT'S SHEMP which you can subscribe to on the right.

 Just recently I cranked out three scripts in six weeks that would all be shot more or less simultaneously, to me an interesting exercise.  Two of those, which I refer to as THE HORRIBLE ASP and SEQUENCE SIX in this newsletter not because I signed any non-disclosures but more because the writer Warren Ellis does it and probably signs a lot of non-disclosures, are cooking along in rural Pennsylvania and the East Coast.  Director Mark Polonia is trying to beat the clock because there is a lot of boating, swimming, mysterious coves, and general outdoorsyness going on.  The third one, KRASNIKOV, can probably be shot rain or shine, snow or green.

I'm sitting here on a frost-bound Sunday morning hoping he gets it all in.

I'm getting feedback on the screenplay I wrote for myself, THE GIRL WITH THE GRINDHOUSE HEART, and after some tuning wondering whether I should just keep up with my writing timetable I've established lately and write another screenplay for myself or try NaNoWriMo, which I consider every single year and have only given a serious go once.

My brain seems entirely wired for screenwriting and not fiction, but many of my screenwriting colleagues have jumped over and adopted their previous screenplays to e-books and such.  I have said before, it seems like the e-book world is sort of a wide-open frontier with low barriers eager for content right now, just like direct-to-DVD was when I broke in all those years ago.  We will see which way I'll go.

Speaking of reading, I think it's been a minute since I recommended any books, so let me turn you on to Yuri Herrera, if you haven't been already.  I just finished THE TRANSMIGRATION OF BODIES, which takes place in a epidemic-ravaged Mexico City where a peace broker tries to solve the problems between a Romeo and Juliet-type pair of crime families.  If you chew through a lot of noir like I do, it's worth checking out for something fresh.

Hopeful to have news on a new project soon.  Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

From my Laboratory in the Castle East

This post first appeared in my e-newsletter I WAS BIGFOOT'S SHEMP, which you can subscribe to in the sidebar and have delivered right to your inbox.
About a week ago I finished the first draft of THE GIRL WITH THE GRINDHOUSE HEART and boomed it out to a couple of b-movie friends to see what they think.  Usually I only have to please a director and, if the deal is set up, the distributor, but since I wrote this one for myself I thought I would send it to a close circle of honest b-movie friends to see where I'm at.  Either way I like to leave a script sit for a few days so I forget what I was thinking when I did it and then look at it with fresh eyes.  Sometimes I have time for it and sometimes I don't.  This time I do.  We'll see how it looks when I open the file again.

I was flattered to be interviewed for a midwestern movie site recently, and I don't want to give away the whole game until it comes out, but I wanted to share this part:
What advice would you give an aspiring screenwriter living in the Midwest?
There is good work being done everywhere. You don't have to live on a coast to do it. I live on several acres with chickens and dogs and so on and I have done pretty well for myself. When I was starting, I went to a lot of conventions to meet people and prove I was a normal person. There are so many people just dreaming about movies, that you have to be able to tell who is trying to make their dreams more real by making you believe their stories and who can actually do something. On the writing part, remember a lot more is craft than art. Talent is an empty bucket you have to fill with kept promises and met deadlines and finished pages. You have to work on it, by watching a lot of movies including those outside of your comfort zone and reading, reading, reading everything. You have to sit and type even when the football game's on.

I have wanted to watch only horror movies this October but the actual world seems pretty horrific at times so it's been hard to do that.  I did watch CHILDREN OF THE CORN, as I somehow missed it in 1984, and now live surrounded by cornfields, but it was pretty benign to me and mostly churned up 80s nostalgia. On a whim I bought the entire seven movie series for I think seven bucks and maybe can coax my wife into watching more of them.

So I have stuck with milder stuff, except I have picked up Inktober again this year.  It's where you try to draw and post a picture every day, and speaking of 80s nostalgia, my cartooning style frozen in 1978 is in full effect.  I'm sticking with stories I wished existed, characters I wish somebody would bring back, things that seem fun to draw.  At the end of the month, I'll post the most popular ones here.  If you can't wait, look for me on Facebook and Instagram, if you haven't done that already.

I found out the movie I wrote codenamed THE HORRIBLE ASP has already started shooting, so I hope to have more about that, and some more interesting projects, soon.  Thanks for hanging around.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Everyone's a Superhero, Everyone's a Captain Kirk

I slipped over to HorrorHound in Indianapolis, as part of my plan to hit the convention circuit again, and found it to be a good show where I was able to connect up with a number of independent filmmakers.  They had a great independent filmmaker's panel and I ended up buying THE BLACK ROOM from Rolfe Kanefsky, a director a met some years ago who has done a lot of good work over the years.  I was also pleasantly surprised to meet b-movie king Dave Sterling, who I have worked with peripherally over the years trying to get various projects off the ground.  He palmed me a secret 16 GB USB drive which I was happy to find was chock full of his movies when I got home and plugged it in.

It's been good to get back out there a bit again, even though people really don't think it's as cool to talk to a screenwriter as, say, a director, or somebody who was in a FRIDAY THE 13TH movie.

Since I had to develop a rigorous schedule to complete three screenplays in six weeks for director Mark Polonia's three-picture deal, I decided I would just keep knuckling down and do something I very rarely get a chance to do--which is write something for myself.

I think a lot of people don't realize that a lot of b-movies already come with a title and maybe even a poster and sometimes even a plot, so as it happens I have never sold anything I wrote on my own, nor do I usually have time to write on spec even if I wanted to with a fairly steady workload.

But I've been holding onto an idea for a while, and while I'm percolating along on a strict schedule thought it might be the right time to work on it.  Since I'm writing it for myself I don't have to give it a non-disclosure name and thus will tell you loyal readers it's called THE GIRL WITH THE GRINDHOUSE HEART.  It's slow-burn psychological horror full of all the stuff I'm interested in, which is the best way to write if you are writing for yourself, I always think.  I'm about two-thirds done on a first draft.  Soon, I'm hoping to tell you a lot more about this screenplay.

Although my reading has slowed down a lot since I've done so much writing, I have been buoyed along by reading SHOCK VALUE by Jason Zinoman, which is all about how 70s horror filmmakers are awesome, which I agree with, and even more so about how DARK STAR and Dan O'Bannon are underrated, which I agree with even more.  That it is giving GRINDHOUSE HEART a 70s vibe is probably no coincidence.

Also binge-watched TOP OF THE LAKE, which isn't exactly a palette cleanser after THE HANDMAID'S TALE but does have Elisabeth Moss slaying it again and is worth watching.

Catch up with you soon.