Thursday, 8 March 2018

Artistic Therapy Part 3

Previous Artistic Therapy here.... 

The Credits:

Me - struggling creative type, wanting to write and direct. 
Winnie - Producer and ex-gf
Mel - my ex DoP
Lester - The New DoP
Ned the Assistant Director
Boris the Assistant Camera Guy
Tony - the Sound Guy

Herb, the American Jock
Ash, the Quiet One
Tim, the Joker
Demi, the Native Girl
Rachel, the Trophy Girlfriend
Amy, the Angry Woman

Pestilence Part 3.

So, we're now in production. We have a 3 man crew, not including me. I can't recall much of that first week - it's a blur of waking early, driving 45 minutes to the set, lighting the stove in our crew/cast cabin.

But this isn't really a memoir, this is my memories of some of the struggles I went through, most of it after filming so I'm going to skim through most of this.

I recall near the end of the week thinking we were in a deep hole. The cast was great, I was barely holding on to an image of things were going swell. My DoP and I were the only ones who had been on actual film crews before. One of the cast had experience as an extra and wanted to make acting a career.

I called up an old friend from film school who wasn't working at the time and willing to fly up and help out. 'Tony' stayed at my mom's place with me. After his first day he pointed out a shitload of problems I was facing, none of them new to me. It was the reason why I called him. I was taking on too much of the AD role, not through any fault of Ned, just more because I had experience and wasn't able to properly delegate things to him.

So I patiently listened as he told me everything wrong. It was tough to sit through and not lose my shit. I knew all the problems. I needed someone to hold the boom and be an all around grip. Ironically, by the third day Tony had severe bowel problems and came down with the flu, causing him to hole up at my Mom's for a day or two.

Days later, Tony and Les the DoP ge in a huge shouting match one day, far from civilization. I don't know what it was about but it was just another small thing to try and mend. They managed to stay civil to each other for the rest of the script but you bet your shit there was tension building between 'them' and 'us'. The us being me, Winnie and Tony, who was guilty by association. I have no doubt there was a lot of shit talk after we'd call it quits for the day back at Herb's basement suite. Why? Because it's human nature to bond over things we are mad about and here I am, trying to make them famous through an indie film during a typical Canadian winter.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Artistic Therapy Pestilence, Part 2

They made a movie about a killer snowman so...

Recapping the failed launching of my cinematic career.

Here's what happened last week;

-I talked about pre-production, of losing Mel and getting 'Lester'.
- we held auditions and casted.

Here are my players so far, using pseudonyms to protect all concerned, although many I have lost track of.

Winnie - Producer and gf
Mel - my ex DoP
Lester - The New DoP
Ned the Assistant Director
Boris the Assistant Camera Guy

The cast with names changed even from the script

Herb, the American Manly Man
Ash, the Budding Hero
Tim, the Comic Relief Guy
Demi, the Native Girl
Rachel, the Trophy Girlfriend
Toni, the Strong and Angry Woman

Let's move on to Production.

It's winter, early March if I recall. I solved that one problem of the DoP, which I thought was due to 'schedule conflicts' but turned out to be drugs. I've booked a month off to leave work and go shoot this horror flick in a winter setting.

Usually, the weather during this time is around 0 to -10. Nothing too bad, snow is melting. I come back to town, storyboards in hand. I've arranged cheap flights for those that needed them. Herb has offered his place as a crash pad for those out-of-towners.

I am pretty excited to meet my cast and crew altogether for the first time. Winnie and I run out to the film set, talk about glorious things and feel somewhat nervous but good. We're about to shoot a movie!


Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Behind the Curtains of An Indie Author

If you came here from Reddit or any of my writer forums, welcome to the show.

If you came here from Facebook, welcome back.

In the interest of anyone thinking of self-publishing or already are a self-published writer I have decided to write about a subject all of us dread to think about but must be acknowledged.


On the forums I lurk and participate in, it feels like talk about Sales goes one of two ways; either someone is humble-bragging about what they've done or, and this is far more common, someone is panicking about not having enough sales.

Now, to be honest, the self-published books I've read tend to be either a) pretty bad or b) close to pretty good.

For me, most are too 'wordy'. If I had to take a guess, I'd say many of these fellow Indie writers are in their twenties, as I was as well at one time. That's okay. But I'm a talk and plot guy, not a preach and describe the scenery guy.

Back in my twenties, we didn't have the ability to push out whatever we chose without having to go through the hoops or getting a professional opinion. If you wanted to be published, you had to rely on someone else's opinion, a gatekeeper so to speak. You had to submit it and wait weeks, months for a letter.

I once received a form rejection letter from a publisher that I had no recollection of contacting, much less whatever it was I submitted.

It felt like a preemptive rejection and quite rude, to be honest...

For those who may fall into the b) category listed above, I usually want to say 'hey, let me help you trim this a little'. But then it is probably too late and perhaps a little rude. After all, they have already published and moved on to checking their sales stats, Kindle listing, book 3 of their fantasy epic trilogy, etc, wondering when the gold will start rolling in.

So with that said, I'm peeling back the curtain on my book sales to explain why you don't see a Tesla in my driveway. Maybe it will help some of you indie authors feel better about yourself or at least not as alone and worthless, as I sometimes feel.

Click that little 'read more' link below to continue.

Monday, 19 February 2018

My Personal Curse of Pestilence

Part 1 of Many

Artistic Therapy.

Pestilence; The Spaghetti Incident Edition

One of the few remaining transitional stills
I photoshopped for the movie.

I made a new friend recently. I told him I once made a movie. He wanted to see it so I gave him the DVD to watch. He called later to say there was no DVD in the cover. I laughed and said something to the extent of 'oh, that sucks'. I haven't bothered to look for the actual movie yet and that was three months ago. Just another big chunk of my life gone with no souvenir to show for it. Even all my publicity work for is stuck in one of my old hard-drives from some old computer tower, waiting for me to see if I can mine it out.

Everybody has their skeletons in their closet. My biggest on, in terms of my artistic aspirations, was a movie with the working title of Pestilence. This is that story.

I've lost track of many of the people involved over the years; some became Facebook friends for this story pre-dates Facebook. For their own privacy, if they read this, they can feel comfort in knowing I have not used their real names. Except for Trey, cuz Trey was a jerk.

Now, I've always fought a personal philosophical battle of 'going with the flow' or 'fighting to make it happen'. Many of my jobs came because of personal connections, not necessarily because I was the one best suited for the job. I've often taken a passive role in my life and sometimes I am surprised I am still alive. In truth, I wouldn't be if it weren't for many of the friends I've made along my way that have encouraged me, made me laugh, and made me believe in being able to attempt my dreams. Not that it was always the best thing for me but often, we choose who we want to hear.

I pitched a movie idea to John Henson (of Muppets fame) because a fellow PA said I was 100% guaranteed to not have it happen if I didn't at least try. I met him half-way, mailed him my pitch instead of telling him in person. I'm still here...

So this is a story about 'Going with The Flow' vs. 'Making It Happen'.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Sneak Peak; Karmageddon Chicken-style

Karmajuana In The Chicken Coop

ABB +93 (93 days After The Big Bangs)

“Let me ask you this. What’s your passion? Because I don’t feel you are passionate about this job.”

Curt Camfield cursed under his breath. The chicken gizzards, guts or whatever you called the inside of a chicken was piling up in the pail beside him. Three months ago, before the bombs hit, he had been a simple financial officer, living a comfortable life in a mid-level bank in a mid-level town in mid-level mediocrity. 

Chester Cloverfield, the semi-geriatric man currently standing across from him on the slaughtering table was waiting for his answer. In one hand he held the carcass of another headless, featherless chicken, the other a butcher knife. He held it more for effect than for efficiency as all he did was bring the headless chickens to Curt from the killing room.

Chester reminded Curt of his former district manager, who asked him the same question four months earlier, one month before the shit really hit the fan, six days before the financial markets collapsed and all the money in all the vaults was efficiently taken away by armed men in armored cars.

His former manager ordered Curt to calmly reassure those who cared too much about their money that their deposit was insured by the federal government, even if it wasn’t there. That was the last he ever heard from the district manager.

As Curt dutifully repeated those words to clients he never met, he had felt a gnawing unease in that part of the brain he assumed was his intuition. Soon someone in the growing mob would stop being vocal and start being physical. Especially when one of them voiced the suspicion Curt shared; there was no more federalized Bank of Canada, much less a working government able to guarantee their deposits. His promise was worth no more than the paper it wasn’t written on.

At that life-evaluating moment, as he looked over many of his employer’s most valued and valuable clients, he reconsidered that question. What was his passion? Was he truly that passionate about his job he was willing to risk his life over someone else’s money? Wasn’t that his superior’s job, the guy who disappeared three days earlier, with a simple ‘Gone fishing’ email, leaving Curt the one with the most seniority in the branch? Was he that passionate about that job he was willing to defend the honor and empty coffers of his employer?

Fuck, no.

So he led them all into the back and pointed to the vault’s open door. They surged in, victims of cinematic shortcuts, envisioning shelves stacked with dollar bills. He relied they would be so anxious to get their life savings they forgot they needed Curt for more than directions to the vault. As the last pushed their way in and the first realized they had no combinations to the vault’s many empty safes, Curt was out the door faster than the stock market crash. He ran to his car, thankful that in the banking industry one made clients, not friends. None of his clients knew where he lived. Still he raced home, told his wife and kids to get their shit in the RV and headed north as quickly as possible.

They drove two days before the back roads and gas ran out. The caravan they inadvertently joined on the highway led them here to Bluenose City, one of the many small city-enclaves survivors had established. It was here, Curt and his family found themselves new-age pioneers, living a simple, non-currency based life. Now it was all about survival and showing your worth to the whole, not to the stock market.
But still it was the same crap. Chester was an original resident of Bluenose City, back when it was too far away from anything to remember other than it was a small hamlet carved into the mountain which bore its name.

Chester thought he liked the isolation and solidarity of raising chickens but it took until the refugees coming to realize he enjoyed even more being a head rooster. When the bombs hit and the community grew, he felt he was meant to be a leader and it certainly helped his political aspirations that he owned the biggest chicken coop in the area.

He once confided in Curt weeks ago he dreamed of a moment such as this when he took over the chicken farm. There was a decades-long stigma to the farm due to the infamous, yet rarely discussed, Church Easter Egg Massacre of ’08. But Chester felt he could break the Cloverfield Egg Farm curse with hard work, dedication and by not dabbling in God’s creations, which was whispered to be the reason behind the massacre.