Friday, January 26, 2018

Lightning and Thunder

This post first appeared earlier in I WAS BIGFOOT'S SHEMP, an e-newsletter you can subscribe to in the sidebar of this blog.

People always ask me if I watch the Oscars.  I never have.  My interests are so far removed movie-wise it might as well be a whole different industry.  My heart has always been with the DIY, be it movies or zines or comix or bands.  I used to say if I watched the Oscars I would feel like a homeless guy looking at Trump Tower, but now Trump Tower isn't a funny thing to talk about any more.

I started on a new project--actually a rewrite of an old favorite.  I have two or three I really wish would get made some day, and this one is probably at the top of the list.

Back when the first screenplay I sold (that got turned into a movie), AMONG US, was being shot, the director was offered a three-movie deal.  That director, Mark Polonia, asked if I would write all three.  At that time, way back in the early 2000s, I didn't think I could write three movies in a year, so I offered to do rewrites over two existing scripts and write one new one from scratch.

Funny to think I just wrote three movies from page one for Mark Polonia, on another three movie deal, in six weeks.

Anyway, one was a rewrite of a John Polonia script called PSYCHO CLOWN that became PETER ROTTENTAIL, which Nerdly has rated one of the Top Ten Worst Horror Films of All Time and Fangoria devoted an hour-long podcast to, and the next was a rewrite of (I think) Mark's script RAZORTEETH, but the deal fizzled out by the fourth one, which was called DEMONS ON A DEAD END STREET, and was kind of a Gremlins-type film.

I liked it so much that a few years later, when I was working up a project with a New Zealand director on the exact opposite side of the world from me, I did a rewrite of it, making it more of a straight supernatural film called URAMESHIYA (GHOST SCREAM) because I was on a bit of a Japanese horror kick at the time.  Unfortunately the pieces didn't come together again and I stuck it in my back pocket.

Recently I went a year without a writing deal, or more accurately a deal I wanted, and I have promised myself not to wait around any more for stuff to happen.  So I wrote a project just for myself this fall, and am digging this one out to rewrite once more.

And it needs it--it has videoconferencing instead of Skype, no mention of social media, and more--and maybe a fresh coat of paint will give it a third life.  This time I want to call it WOKE UP BLEEDING.

And if nothing is brewing when I get done with this one, I have one more--kind of a nerd Terminator I wrote in longhand, a long time ago, in a huge burst after waking up with a migraine--that could use a freshening up that I have never given it.  It is really only one of about three or four spec scripts I have ever written.  Everything else I have been hired for, and sometimes the poster and title were already there.

I have nothing to complain about.  I finally sat down and penciled out an accurate count, because I've lost track, and since 1999 I have sold 38 screenplays, 12 of which turned into actual movies with the 13th one in post-production right now.  That means about one third of the movies I have sold turned into actual movies, which is a good batting average in the business, I think.  And if I'm not forgetting anyone, that is spread among nine different directors.

So I am going to spend some winter nights and early mornings like this one working on WOKE UP BLEEDING and see if I still like it as much as I remember.

Thanks for sticking with me.