Archive for the ‘movies’ Category

Pretty sure I almost died last Wednesday.

Well maybe not, but I could have come pretty close.

I was traveling back from Oshkosh, WI for the 9 to 5 job. I was dispatched to get photo and video of an event going on up there. I was there Saturday to Wednesday and it was a good experience, good food to be had and seeing the planes and helicopters at the air show is always fun. The trip up there involved flying from Dallas to Chicago and Chicago to Oshkosh. Going up there the flight was delayed due to a plane maintenance issue, which hey, if the plane is having issues I definitely want to be on a different one. My bag was checked at the gate, which annoyed the hell out of me. Sure enough when I got to Oshkosh, my bag was still in Chicago and coming on a later flight. My hotel was trash and my bag didn’t get to me until the next morning. Annoying to say the least. But the show had to go on, and of course it did. As I said earlier, fun airshow, good food.

Then comes the trip back. A storm moved through Oshkosh Wednesday morning. It was pouring at the airport when I got there. I waited in the rental car in the parking lot for about 40 minutes for it to clear up a bit before I went to drop the car back off and head into the tiny airport. Not sure why it’s called an international airport when it was tiny as hell and can only take you to larger airports to connect to another flight.

It’s a little ass plane. There is a single row of seats on the left side. Row of two seats on the right side. Small planes like that already make me nervous. Mind you I have been flying since before I could walk so I am fine with flying in general. Love it. Not as much as I did as a child because I am more cognizant of the fact planes can come down. But I still enjoy smooth flights.

I am looking over this little plane, a ‘puddle jumper’ as a co-worker called them, and I see duct tape on one seat handle. I get to my seat and even though it is in the upright position, it is still leaning back a bit. There’s scuffing on the sides of the interior and the emergency exit door handles were not flush against the plane interior.

Not.

Flush.

This plane done already been through some shit.

The flight attendant had a worrying tone when she was asking the people in the exit row if they were willing and able to perform their duties should there be an emergency. Like she was so hell bent on getting a clear answer from them. It was like she had the foresight to know that some shit was about to go down here.

I’m seeing and processing all this and it’s just adding to my general feeling of ‘oh shit.’

Plane takes off. There is some normal bumps here and there as the plane climbs to the cruising altitude of 19,000 feet. Well…we get up there. All is good. Until the plane starts trembling again. Turbulence. OK, no biggie.

Buuuuuuuut it keeps going and intensifies. The plane starts bucking and dipping all over the air, bringing audible gasps from my fellow passengers. Me I don’t vocalize. I went all internal with my feelings, saying a few silent prayers, a few Lords’ Prayers, a few Hail Mary’s and then onto practically every other prayer I heard in Catholic school at St. Phillips and Bishop McNamara and beyond. Shaking is still going. I’m gripping the arm rest with white knuckle ferocity and pushing myself against my seat, as if that is really going to help.

One woman sacrificed her purse to puke in since there were no bags on the plane. Her boyfriend dutifully held onto the contents of her purse with one hand and patted her on the back with the other. Myself and a few other people looked around at other passengers in the cabin to see how they were taking it in and well, to see all their faces because at certain points in time you got the feeling this might be the day and these might be the people you are going to go down in flames with. For a good 10 minute stretch during that ruckus I did not think we were going to make it. Damn near pulled out my phone and went to texting people last thoughts and shit. Yes. It was that bad.

Worst part about it was the silence from the cockpit. Like dudes said nothing. Usually the pilot will come on and talk about the turbulence, warn us, tell us there could be more and that they are doing XYZ to mitigate it, you know whatever. Anything. Anything at all to make the panicking passengers feel at ease. Even if you don’t feel it, even if you don’t know what the fuck is going on and how you are going to solve it, bullshit for us so we feel better. But nope. Silence until we landed.

It was about 25 minutes of terror on the flight. Something I haven’t experienced in over a decade. The last time was flying through a hellacious storm when my mother and I were on our way back from burying my grandmother. I was afraid then but nothing like I was last week and flying that first leg home.

We got to the airport with me having 15 minutes to make my connection, which of course I did not, but then again that was good as I was not in a rush to get right back on another plane after that experience. The next flight had some mild turbulence as we climbed to cruising altitude, but as soon as it happened, the captain got on the comm with the voice of a reassuring grandfather to tell us what was happening, why it was happening and what they were doing to mitigate it. It was what the guys in the first flight should have done.

Needless to say I wanted to kiss the ground when we landed, ending a hugely stressful travel day for me. And I know there are good days and bad days with any mode of transportation you take, just this one was very very bad. Glad it is over with and I am hoping the next one will be smoother. Might have to travel for work in September, we shall see if I need to and want to.

In other recent business…I continue my goal to make movies and kick faces as a filmmaker and professional wrestler.

A recent match at a Christian kids camp…

On the film front I am still working on the feature script retooling of Cheerleader Karate School. I am 50 pages in and I can already see some things I am going to correct in as I edit that draft. I am working on a couple character tweeks as well. Things that I took out when we did the pilot, that I compromised a bit on from my original vision as I did not think I would be able to find certain actors for certain roles. CKS on Amazon I am going with what I originally wanted and just going to search high and low for those who match up with it.  I had seen pages on the DUSK / CKS team up comic and they are looking great. Hopefully it will be well received as we continue to try and spread CKS to the masses and to those who have not seen it.

Of course people can see it on Amazon Prime and we encourage them to do so and if they have seen it to watch it again and to share it with those who they think may enjoy it. People seem to dig it once they have seen it, it’s just a matter of getting them to see it in the first place. So work on that goes on.

 

Finishing the edits on the full cut of Shrinking Things. It will be the first project of mine I really want to push out to film festivals as I think it has some great performances from those involved in it, highlighted by Mike Loud’s turn as the shrink in it.

Mike Loud on Set

So hopefully as we look over the lists of fest and start submitting, we start to hear some good news from them.

 

 

aliciaRave planning continues. The big thing now is getting the costume materials. My vehicle took a crap on me a few weeks ago which forced a shift in financial planning toward necessities, like working transportation, so it put things off. But we are very confident in it happening and we have a great actress in Alicia Underwood that will play our future version Rachel Buchanan. Really geeked to see her on camera and in what we have started to zero in on what the costume will look like.

This round of Rack Focus will see me team with Iryna Spitzer (Jamie from ZEE MOVIE, which you can see on Amazon Prime as well as CKS) on a short film she wrote. Should be a fun experience as I have yet to work on a script that was not written by me. So we shall see how it goes once casting and filming commences.

 

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So….if you are reading this blog then it means we are still here.

We are all still here.

I mean, that’s a relief. Why wouldn’t we be here? Well surely due to the apocalypse that happened Sunday when the 13th Doctor was announced and it was Broadchurch’s Jodie Whittaker who will take the mantle from the departing Peter Capaldi. Yep. A woman. A female Doctor. This isn’t fanfiction or a fanfilm (and I read and watch lots of fan stuff I love it). That is no longer the only way to see a woman Doc. It’s happening. Sure there have been female Time Lords, a female Master, but the first woman Doctor. I’m excited. jodie-whittaker-doctor-who

I make no bones about being liberal as fuck. I am all about equality in every way and for the shows I watch. Particularly for a show that made a point to show how the title character can literally be young or old, black, white, whatever. He’s been a white guy for 52 years, I think the character can stand to be a woman or a person of color at this point.

Of course lots of people’s heads exploded Sunday with the news and we got the usual reactions like “what else are we going to reboot with a woman?” and dumb questions like that. Or the usual people swearing off watching the show. It’s been curious to me to see women railing against the change. One woman in a geek group I am in said she would have a hard time seeing a woman in a classically male role. I told her that in the time the character was conceived, no woman or POC would ever have been considered for a role like that. And again, it’s been said the Doctor can be any gender or color, so why not?

I’ve seen reaction videos with little girls reacting with positivity and energy at the Doctor being a girl. I hope Whitakker has a great run and that this move opens the door for a black Doctor sooner than later. People want to see characters that look like them, nothing really wrong with that.

It sucks to have Whittaker have to tell fans to ‘not be afraid of my gender’ when taking on the role, that we have to deal with this sort of thing these days. But racism, sexism, those are eternal things I am afraid. I can’t wait to see the regeneration and her take on the Doctor. Hell my biggest concern is the showrunner. I was bored to death by episode two of Broadchurch so I worry about what he will do with Who. But I was told the guy did some Torchwood, so that gives me some hope that he can dabble in this universe. Of course I didn’t like the first season of Torchwood as I thought it was needlessly oversexed just because they were in a time slot they could get away with it. It’s like Suits on USA and their habit of saying ‘shit’ every five minutes because they can.

We have a long time to see how this will go, but it’s a long time for people to step off the ledge and stop being stupid about having a woman as the 13th Doctor.

 

We’re in a partying mood at Taurian Films, I suppose as we shall soon continue on the story of Party Girl.

But she can’t stay a little girl forever and Party Girl is growing up and growing in RAVE. Rave is a short film coming soon, that will transition from high school years to college years and beyond for our hero.

Party Girl, of course, is the story of Rachel Buchanan, a high schooler who in order to get out from under her mother’s thumb, she becomes a vigilante, protecting the streets of Pyramid City. Along the way she learns that being a hero is more than just putting on a mask and jumping out into the night.

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Jeanne Lampley, season one Party Girl.

She was a character that began as Marvel Comics fan fiction when I was 15 when they did the Heroes Reborn comics and rebooted Bucky as a female character. The more I wrote stories on her the more I liked her and wanted to make her my own so I started detaching the elements that tied it to the Marvel universe and filling them in with my own and making her into a wholly original entity, thus becoming Party Girl.

PartyGirl

Cait Pool kicking ass in season two.

I tried to bring her to life in college and managed to film one scene of it before things went off the rails. A handful of years ago I managed to produce the first season with Jeanne Lampley in the lead role She did a great job though she had to leave us after the first season was complete. Taking up the mantle for the second season was Cait Pool. A very talented actress who brought spunk, attitude and physical skills to the part. She was not afraid to mix it up when the time came for physical stunts and we appreciate her for her enthusiasm and commitment to the role. After the second season Cait left to venture to LA where she is an amazing actress, hustling, working hard and still as humble as they come.

So what to do with a third season was the question. The season has been written and though filming will not occur it may be revisited in the form of audio dramas. I am a HUGE fan of the work Big Finish does with Doctor Who and other various titles and I would like to dip my toes into that and see what kind of work I can produce by doing it. And it’s a way to still tell the story and not leave it unfinished as we have had more than one person asking us in the years since season two, if there will be any more Party Girl.

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Alicia Underwood

With Rave, there will be. The plan right now is just the short film, but depending on the response, we could see more adventures from an older Rachel Buchanan. I have already come up with a handful of ideas for those adventures. Stepping into Rachel’s shoes is Alicia Underwood, a talented Texas actress I first saw in the Rack Focus short, Birthday Girl. Alicia is amazing in that and through other projects and her audition for Rave, we have seen her acting chops on display and we think she will be great as Rachel. She seems game for the short and the character and had positive things to say after watching both seasons of the show to prep for her audition and participation in the series. We have already begun to look at the costume and how it can be updated for an older Rachel and over the next few months we will work on assembling that. Updates, info, costume tests and such will of course be posted so be watching for that.

Catch season one (and soon season two) episodes streaming daily on www.BlackFlag.TV

Check www.facebook.com/PartyGirlWebSeries to catch up on news and past episodes.

Shrinking Things

Great Cast

Great cast/crew, just great people to be around.

Shrinking Things is undergoing a slight tweak before it is submitted to a handful of film festivals we have checked off. This will be the first short we have really thought was good enough to submit to festival. It’s gotten great reaction and laughter from the two screenings it has had so we feel good about our chances. The cast was exceptional and while there are a couple technical snafus, we feel its still good enough to garner some positive attention from various fests. We will see what happens.

 

Cheerleader Karate School

CKS on Amazon
The pilot episode is of course on Amazon Prime and we want people to check it out. Work is ongoing on the feature script. We have landed our new Keegan Fox in Cassidy Gatlin. She’s a Dallas based actress taking classes where Cait Pool used to, so we know she’s coming from good stock.

Cassidy Gatlin - Headshot 6

Cassidy Gatlin

 

A few of our UK fans have been asking about more CKS content and we’re working on bringing it to them and others. Pages are continually being completed on the CKS / DUSK crossover comic. Definitely can’t wait for people to see that.
Keep eyes peeled to www.facebook.com/CheerleaderKarateSchool for more information on that and the latest updates.

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Mike Loud as Dr. Ronsenthal in Shrinking Things.

Rack Focus Round 5 came and went with some laughs and thrills and some great projects. Among them of course was Shrinking Things starring Mike Loud, Allan Thomas and Telisa Kyle. All three are talented actors and brought the fun to the short film.  Mike in fact scored himself a Best Actor Nomination from the judges. As well he should have. Mike, or as I like to call him ‘Capt. Clutch”, is a kick ass talent who has come through on each and every occasion we have asked him to for a Taurian Films project. Mike has been A-1 from Day One and is one of those people who we hope and plan to have along on set when we finally score that big blockbuster kinda project. The awards ceremony is Saturday evening, and we will be curious to see if Mike can pull out the win against some very capable competition.

 

The Party Girl Series continues on Sparkk TV. We of course see any new site and means of exposure to the work we do be it Party Girl, CKS or anything else as a good thing. As the days tick down to auditions for the Rave short film, we are growing more anxious to revisit the world of Rachel Buchanan, transition from the amazing job that Cait Pool did for season two and continue her story.

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Cait Pool, Party Girl for season two!!

We have a few interesting candidates for future Rachel as well as other parts, at least from e-mails. But we have learned that people who say they are interested and people who actually show up for auditions are two very different things. We will see what happens in this case. We are optimistic.

Writing on Cheerleader Karate School‘s reboot continues. It was actually through an audition e-mail for Rave that we thought about adding another tweak to the story and the re-inclusion (if that is a word) of a character that was removed from the script when we did the series. The part called for a 5’11 to 6’ actress and finding one who looks about 18 or 19 and has a physical/athletic background isn’t easy, but a submission for Rave renewed our faith that we could perhaps find what would have been Josey Rae in the story. CKS can be seen on YouTube, Amazon and Sparkk TV as well.

Work on 20 Minutes or Less continues. Schedules are proving challenging as they always do, but we know it will be well worth it to have the short film series done and done as it was intended.

Other than that, just continuing to write, work with others on their sets and projects and just making magic happen where it can.

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Legacy cast on set Sunday.

It’s another Taurian Tuesday coming off of a busy Sunday helping Fred Tee out with his short, Legacy, that features fairy tale characters as demon hunters. It was a fun shoot and fun getting to work on other people’s sets to see how they run things and handle themselves and their actors to pick up any pointers for mine.

Tiffany Hoa on set

Some cast members were people I have worked with before like the always amazing Mike Loud, and others I have seen a lot of but haven’t worked with yet like John Charles Dickson. It was a good time though that saw me in a tree to get a shot. Whatever it takes to get the job done I say. Ideally everything works out in post. We got in a bit of a time crunch a couple places being backed up against call times for some actors on other sets and dying camera batteries toward the end of the day, but things worked out. Definitely dig the concept of what Fred is doing and hopefully it can take off.

Perky Chicks and Roundhouse Kicks!

Cheeerleader Karate School
On the subject of demon hunting, which is one thing CKS is about it was good to get a chance to talk to Tiffany Hoa, who played a witch in Fred’s short film. Tiffany is also slated to play a role in CKS. In our original plan for the series, she was going to play one of the past cheer team members who comes back for reasons. In the feature she will play the same role and in the same capacity but we will see her before she comes back in the last battle that is the reason the team is disbanded at the start of the film. CKS is still on Amazon, Youtube and now on Sparkk TV for people to check out and see what the concept is about as we work to retool it a bit.

20 Minutes or Less
We’re casting for 20 Minutes or Less as we retool that series. The first of the trilogy is set to shoot May 21 at what we have affectionately come to know as Mabrey Studios. It’s the home of the Mabrey family. Jenni Mabrey of course known to us as Evelyn Buchanan in the Party Girl series. Jenni opened up her home to us last time for the shoot and is willing to do so again which is awesome. But she is an awesome individual and talented actress, so it’s natural for her.

Cait Pool as Season 2’s Party Girl.

Party Girl / Rave
Speaking of Evelyn Buchanan, Jenni will be dusting her off for a short film that will time jump Party Girl from where she is in the season two finale to a handful of years later. We’re looking for the older Rachel now. It will be a nice and tidy short that will set us up for anything we may way to do storywise as in live action form, I wouldn’t want to do high school PG without Cait Pool involved. I suppose I guess unless we got a lot of money to produce more. Folks who have not seen Party Girl can catch it on youtube (of course) as well as Sparkk TV, a site that aggregates web series for people to discover and view. Also the first season of PG is on BlackFlag.TV with episodes playing daily. Working on getting the second season on there. For more info on Rave folks can email or give a like to www.facebook.com/PartyGirlWebSeries.

In the Hopper
Plenty of projects are in the hopper. A few of them, HTB and Get In will star Annie Cruz in lead roles. We are determined to do and finish Insourcing. We had contemplated a gender swap just to be different since it had not worked in three incarnations with the roles as guys so we wanted to change it up and see what would happen, but things fell through with the actress we planned to take the lead with it. So we retool and we move on. Too many ideas to do and no desire to let the action or more importantly the inaction of others deter from our goals. It’s a grind and that’s OK we will continue to do so, learn, get better and will get to the top.

OK, well not really but we did turn in our entry into this round of Rack Focus, Shrinking Things. Now there’s a couple things with it. Bj edited the Rack Focus cut of the short in place of his brother Jermaine who had some things come up to where he would not be able to. Now Jermaine will cut the final cut of the film which will actually be 2.5. minutes longer than the Rack Focus cut which had to be 10 minutes or less.

Telisa Kyle and Allan Thomas of Shrinking Things.

Now the film turned in can be viewed just fine and viewers will be none the wiser that is it missing about two jokes from it, but indeed it is. Before submitting it to wider places, the full cut will be done and done by Jermaine. It’s still a funny short as Allan, Telisa and Mike did an amazing job and kept the dialogue flowing in the script which called for a lot of dialogue in one location. Will be curious to see the response to it from the audience.

Cheerleader Karate School

On the CKS front we’re still trying to get people to see the pilot and see the potential in the concept. The episode is available on Amazon Prime, Youtube and will soon be available on Sparkk TV, a web series gathering site as well as any other site we can put it on to get eyeballs on it and hopefully the eyeballs of people who see what CKS could be with some funds through at us.

Perky Chicks and Roundhouse Kicks!

Work continues on the feature script, with season one of the series being retooled a bit as the film script takes one of the concepts and villains from the first season to be the threat in the film.

For more information check out the FB page: www.facebook.com/CheerleaderKarateSchool

20 Minutes or Less

Nearly ready to roll on that and excited for what the trilogy can be when it is filmed in its entirety. Wen-cheih Chi is ready and raring to go in the lead role of the series and Bj is ready to take lessons learned from shooting the Rack Focus Round 3 entry and other shoots since then to make this one the best it can be and get some results we were not able to get before in the previous shoot.

For more information check the FB page: www.facebook.com/20MinutesOfLess

Party Girl

Party Girl The Series will get some more eyeballs on it we assume as just like with CKS, Sparkk TV will be showing both seasons of the series. Of course we wished it could have continued but we did not want to do anything without Cait Pool in the lead role and we weren’t going to be able to get her back in the saddle unless there was some actual money and status behind it. Though we have found an idea, a way to carry on past Party Girl. More details of that to come in the next few months.

For more information check the FB page: www.facebook.com/PartyGirlWebSeries

Various Projects

There are a number of projects being worked on, scripted and such chief among them DadBodies, a comedy, Sand in My Cubicle, a comedy series, HTB, an action drama starring Annie Cruz and Get In, an action short also set to feature Cruz.

Lots to do and hopefully the right people at the right time will see what’s going on and want to jump in.

A looking from the view of the trusty, Atomos Ninja Blade courtesy of Chance Carroll.

…Sunday a handful of us descended upon an office in Denton, TX to film ‘Shrinking Things’ a short comedy that will be my entry into Round 5 of the Rack Focus film competition. I had wanted to continue 20 Minutes or Less, the short action film I did a few rounds ago, but after some casting issues and then some location issues I decided to back burner that and do it outside of Rack Focus. We’re rebooting that series to ensure it is closer along the lines of what I envision for it. More on that to come in the future though.

Mike Loud getting ready to rock it.

So, I needed a script that I could manage to do in a weekend or two, pretty low maintenance, so I thought about doing something more comedic to be different. Shrinking Things is about a couple who have a free session with a counselor and come out a lot worse than they went in. After all, you never realize how bad your life is until someone else points it out for you right? I called in the incomparable Capt. Clutch himself, Mike Loud to play the shrink as I knew he would kill the roll. Telisa Kyle was going to be great in the wife roll and Allan Thomas, who I worked with in a video for my 9 to 5, he was brought in for the husband.

Ready to run another great take.

Isadora Viana and Chance Carroll helped out on set as with a number of things, among them script super and photographer. Had some bumps when it came to the location as some folks who looked they were going to help out the production, didn’t. It’s OK, that happens. It would be easy to let that frustrate you, you want people to stick to what they say they are going to do, but it happens. Improvise, adapt, overcome, that is indy filmmaking. I called in a few favors and we were able to secure the law office of County Commissioner Hugh Coleman. Hugh and I go back a little over nine years now to when I started working at the Denton Record-Chronicle and he was a newly elected county commissioner. He was always a good interview and helpful source and fun to talk to about sports and movies. And best of all he supported Taurian Films. So when called upon, he let us into the office to film.

Great cast/crew, just great people to be around.

The shoot went OK. There are of course any number of things looking back on it, that I would change a bit. Nothing the cast did, but just organizational things, technical things that I need to iron out and fix in my own work flow and will endeavor to do next time. I brought in new gear to shoot with so that provided new challenges and new lessons on how I need to fix my work flow. But I will learn and grow.

Usually I would have a rough cut done by now, but I am not cutting the film. I am not touching it in any way shape or form.My brother, Jermaine Spencer, out in Cali with his new baby boy, he will be editing it. J is great at it and has done work for BET, Playboy Channel and a number of reality TV productions. This will be the first time I have had someone else edit my footage so it will be interesting. A little nerve-wracking I suppose, even if it is my brother, lol.

We shall see how it turns out.

Perky Chicks and Roundhouse Kicks!

On the CKS front, Cheerleader Karate School should be on Amazon Video soon. As I have stated before, I want people to see it and hopefully some people like it and see potential in it and will help us do a second episode. There are a multitude of things I want to do different in another episode, casting I want to change and other things to improve the quality of the show. The first is a good first try but I want another crack at it.

Work on the crossover between CKS  and Denton comic creator David Doub’s Dusk comic is ongoing. I have seen a few sketches and pages and it looks awesome. Can’t wait for people to see that.

Previous work on HTB with Annie Cruz

More CKS is coming, 20 Minutes or Less will be retooled, remolded and redone and a short film with the incomparable Annie Cruz will be filmed in late September. In addition Jermaine will be jumping down to Texas to co-direct that project under he and I’s Jigsaw Entertainment banner. Looking forward to that.

 

Lots to do, lots to come. Just trying to get better, get seen and have some success at following this big dream of mine.