Thursday, November 25, 2004

a quick Pre-Thanksgiving note

Marianne is preparing a pumpkin pie and an apple pie. The smells are driving me nuts.
I'm finishing a third draft on an article I'm writing for Moviemaker magazine.

Soon, we'll be heading down the hill for the traditional Thanksgiving extravaganza. The record was three years ago, with a 12 hour dinner. 2nd place was a 10 hour fest of debauchery.
Let's see how long this one goes.
Lou and Keith are away in London. They wrapped production on their new movie "Brothers of the Head", and are moving into post. We all got an email from Keith bemoaning the fact that they weren't going to be on the hill this year, and worse, that England is a tough place to find the fixins for an 'away thanksgiving'.

Yeah, but your new movie is in the can.

In this time, like New Years, it's natural to reflect on the past year. It's been very good, and I do feel incredibly fortunate.

How about you?

Anyway, have a Happy Thanksgiving and if you can't be with the ones you love...
Yeah, Baby!

If I'm in any condition, I'll report again after the meal.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

A good life is not necessarily a creative one

A blog entry means that it’s procrastination time…

Picture this moment:
I’m sitting on the couch in my living room. In front of me, a beautiful fire is burning in the fireplace. A glass of wine sits at my feet, as I type this on my laptop. The smells of a wonderful salmon dinner are wafting in from the kitchen as Marianne finishes the final stages of cooking one of her specialties. This is my life on the evening of Nov 23rd. I pinch myself frequently, so don’t think I’ve gotten used to it.

Maybe later tonight, we’ll fire up the hot tub.
If you’ve seen the movie, you can picture the scene I’ve just laid out perfectly.

If you care to email me about this preceding image, the subject line “I hate you” will suffice.


Okay, fun time over, guilt time next. Excepting for a few looping sessions, I’m done with “Headhunter”. I haven’t started any kind of rewrite on “Diamond Road” and am currently a blank in terms of what to do with it or any other movie ideas. What the heck kind of a storyteller do I think I am? I’m a big fat fake.
I did a few interviews in the last couple days, which has created a certain “rest on your laurels” sensation, which I better kick in the butt in the next twenty-four hours.

It’s comes to this – I’m about to write about the weather of Los Angeles. The last couple days haven’t been cool, they’ve been downright cold! I don’t think we broke sixty twho degrees for the last three days. Night time has been falling into the low fifties, even high forties!! Frigid. With a little rain(!), the climate’s been veritably winter like. Northeasters need not respond; I know how silly it sounds. I admit it, my blood has thinned out since living on the west coast.
Anyway, this weather should theoretically make for some good writing. Gray skies and all. Worked for a lot of other writers, didn’t it? Instead, today I decided I needed to expand the range of the wireless network. Marianne needs access in the bedroom (internet) so it’s not officially procrastination. Just the hours of research on the internet deciding which high gain antenna, or power amp would be best are.
But – because of this research, I helped the economy (namely Compusa and Hawkings technology) with a purchase of a wifi power booster and – well – you read the beginning of all of this – I can now comfortably write this rather pathetic entry from in front of the fire with a glass of wine… and upload it too.

And full circle we’ve come in this blog. I apologize for the waste of bandwidth and your precious time.

Soon, perhaps very soon, I will write things of great import.

Hmmm… noticed my battery is running down quickly. I guess I should research any potential solutions to that.

(Of course, I could just plug the power supply into the wall socket that’s five feet away from me.)

I close this entry with a couple extremely clever photos I recently shot.
(Actually you can take the exact same pictures on a walking trail at Griffith Observatory)

The Road to Hollywood -- get it?


Sunday, November 14, 2004

don't hit the "Edit Posts" button

Note to self... save the blog before doing anything else.

If you see a change in the software I'm using for this (ug) blogging, it'll be because it pissed me off too much. I was well into writing when, I simply wanted to hyperlink to something. Should be easy, right?

Suffice to say I was reminded to always save as you work. All I wanted to do was link someones name. Well, I figured it out, but it's like going back to 1996. I don't want to have to relearn HTML, for crying out loud. To the programmers of this blog software... do something so that I can highlight a word, click on a box and add a link. Thank you very much!

Okay, a quick correction... Seems as though all of the things I want to do, and more ARE available with this most excellent blogging program. Seems as though, ahem, I had to upgrade my current version of IE. I had wanted to avoid that as I had problems with it on this laptop... but I think maybe the problems have been worked out, overall.

Okay - I'm the dumbass.

Now, what did I write about that I lost? Oh yes - AFM.

AFM, The American Film Market, is a crazy, seedy time. The entire film world, every country, gets together at the Leows in Santa Monica, and buy and sells their wares. Wares being movies. For a week, the place feels like the international terminals at LAX.

People were expecting and hoping this to be a hot market. It recently switched from February, and with the move to November, and essentially killing another market in Milan - blah blah blah... it was supposed to be good.
It wasn't all that great though. In hindsight, everyone said - "ah yes, it's because there were two AFM markets this year.
Hindsight is always 20/20, especially in the movie business.

Still, I had a decent enough time. Saw some old friends, met some new ones. (This is about where my last try at writing this went wrong... see, I'm about to add a bunch of hyperlinks to this blog)
In from Atlanta, were Brian and Laurence Avenet-Bradley. They are close filmmaking friends of ours who are in post on what I think is going to be a very very cool Horror movie. They also have the same agent as myself for their current movie, Dead Still -- Ghost of the Needle in the U.S.
Also, I met a writer/director named Jeff Burr. Jeff knows a lot of people and is a great host, so that met meeting a lot of other people - fun was had. Thanks Jeff.
So, here is my strange AFM story.
I'm going to use a couple dates, not for boring accuracy sake, but so you see the weirdness of the situation.
I met Jeff on Thursday the 4th. We shot the shit, had some drinks, etc.
On Friday the 5th, I see Jeff again. He tells me about a story in the Thursday the 4th edition Variety magazine where I'm credited with being the writer/director of a movie called Straight into Darkness. Cool, I'm in Variety. Trouble is... I didn' direct that movie. I didn't have anything to do with that movie. I didn't see the movie. Guess who did direct that movie?

Jeff Burr.

Now - what makes the story even stranger is that for a story to be in the Thursday edition, it has to have gotten to the 'desk' at Variety by 3:00 pm the previous day.
Which means, the story went into the paper on Wednesday the 3rd -- before I ever met Jeff Burr.

Now kids, Hollywood isn't a big town, but it ain't that small either. I mean, they could have screwed up with any one of a thousand people. Heck, it would have made sense if the screw up happened with someone who was in the next story.
But no.

Anyway, I'm real glad that Jeff is an established and rather well known director. Otherwise, instead of laughing about it, he could have been pretty sore. I know I would have been.

I also got a chance to see the movie. It's really good. I'm glad because if I'm going to be miscredited, I don't want the movie to be a piece of junk. haha

Now, if we can just figure out who sent that story in. Jeff and his agents have no idea.

Well, it looks like my landlord may have backed off for a little while. He's thinking about selling our place, which is why I was looking at having to move. Incidentally, for those of you who so kindly wish me to stay in Los Angeles - never fear. The move would be within the LA area. I admit it, I love it here, and have no intention of leaving.

So, for the moment I don't have to add moving to the list of stressful things in life. I think my landlord would love for us to buy the house - as would we - but it's sooo expensive. It would take a real miracle of video-rentals of Ghosts of Edendale for that thought to even be entertained.

Couple thoughts on that coming right up...

But first - a little Outlook message just popped up reminding me that Clu Guluger's birthday is coming up. Clu's a good friend who used to live on "the hill" with us. Helped us a bit on Ghosts. His son John is directing the new Project Greenlight movie Feast, and Clu plays a bartender in it.
Happy Birthday, Clu.

Okay - back to the program.

A couple of things -- Ghosts of Edendale is a very small movie. For those of you who bought it, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Renters too. Thanks so much!
So, it really pains me when I see that you can download it at bittorrent sites. I don't want to go off on the whole copyright/piracy thing, but stealing from a huge company is one thing. And you shouldn't do it... but stealing from a small company really sucks. Sonic Foundry - they made Sound Forge, which is an awesome piece of software - which everyone bootlegged - went out of business. They had to sell to Sony. So now we, the public are the losers.

I guess I'm asking - please don't steal my movie. It's only 3 bucks to rent it or 16 to buy it (or less) If you all steal it, I won't be able to pay all the people I owe money to, which means they won't work with me on another movie - which means, no more movies.

Also, for those of you who don't like it... Hey, you can't please everyone. Sorry. Maybe you'll like my next movie.
For those of you who don't like it and have a real mean streak...
There are plenty of websites where you can let the world know how you feel about the movie. Too many, in fact. And you know what? Chances are, I will read your comments and either think you're an idiot and be really bummed and hurt or I might agree and still be bummed and hurt. But do you really need to find me on the internet, and email me telling me that I suck? Why get so personal?

Okay, getthing close to the end of this entry... pretty exciting, eh?
I'm wrapping up sound design on Paul Tarantino's new movie, Headhunter. I'm also excited to finally be back on track with my next project. Romantic Action movie? or Horror?

Stay tuned for more details...

I close with a picture taken at a recent DVD signing event at Dark Delicacies in Burbank, Ca.

L-R - Me (Stefan Avalos), Paula Ficara, Marianne Connor, Stephen Wastell, Maureen Davis

Monday, November 01, 2004

I'm back - a mere two months and change later

Well, I have no idea if anyone is bothering to read this whatsoever.
If someone is, it's more than I deserve. Really.

I'm sure I would rank as a most pathetic 'blogger'.
ya know, I see this whole 'blog' word as being about done. It's a dumb word, attempting to coin an idea which is very very old. Older even then frickin Gutenburg's press.

Come on, I'm writing something and you're reading it. Anne Frank anyone?

Lots and lots of stuff has happened since my last 'blog' (ug) some time in August.
Oct 19th has come and gone. It was an important date for Marianne and myself - the date our little baby, Ghosts of Edendale, would finally be thrown from the nest. Hopefully to fly, and not hit the ground with a wet splat.
Well, it's flying. Better than some birds, not as good as others. I am actually very happy with it. On that Tuesday, we went out to various video stores to see if it was available. It was. We went to retail stores. It was there.
At BestBuy, we found ten odd copies in the horror section. Marianne moved five of them to the new releases, right next to Star Wars.
It's called end capping, we call it pro-active work.

Amazement of all amazements - we're in Walmart! How about that?

Flash forward to present though future blogs will go backwards again. Call it non linear daily or thereabouts blogging.

So, here I am on Halloween night, finally writing a new blog. There is more. Always more to write about. But the buzz of the wine will last only so long. Best to write only what counts most right now.

Please vote on Nov 2nd. I guess that counts most now. I hope you vote the way I am (which is Kerry), but if not, please vote. Otherwise, what's the point of saying you live in a democracy? Doesn't really matter, does it?

What else? Oh yeah - think we may have to move pretty soon - as in pack up your life and move. Funny, the movie gets done and out there, and instead of being able to sleep in late - we're looking at having to start all over again. Isn't that interesting? Ha fucking ha.

Having come from a rather rural part (I realize now) of the east coast, I was used to a place where things didn't change too rapidly. There's something really nice about that - stagnant - feeling. A little sarcasm? Less then you think. There is something nice about it.

Marianne and I have taken to calling L.A. "Dark City". For those of you who haven't seen the movie, "Dark City" is a place that changes from day to day. Nobody sees it but the protaganist. It's a great movie (the good arty version of "The Matrix"). In reality, it's a bit disconcerting. From day to day, we see friends, places, homes, etc. simply vanish.
A mere four years in one place, and we're the old timers.

And now, it seems, is our turn to walk into the tundra.

Went to a 'hill' Halloween party. If you've seen "Ghosts of Edendale" then you know about the 'hill' parties.
Lots of the usual suspects - always great to hang with. Met a new couple Samantha and Johnny. Samantha is a writer. Johnny was a scrappy dude who looked like he'd just been in a fight. He had, it turns out - with Ice Cube. Johnny's an actor. Just wrapped "xxx state of the union" with Willem Dafoe, Sam Jackson, et al.
Hey, check him out -
Johnny is the bad guy, it seems.

AFM (the American Film Market) starts this week, right after the election. It's the most important market for film, along with Cannes... So, for a week, Santa Monica will be more of a snake pit then usual. Time to don the gear and jump in.

Maybe I'll have some super cool news to tell you afterwards, or even during.

Till then...
Over an out.

Psst - actually, I promise that I will have a couple good AFM stories. I guarantee it.