Posts Tagged ‘film’

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

It’s 2017.

Resolutions are here again. We all make them. Then we spend months, days, hours on them. Hell sometimes people stick to them for mere minutes. The promise of self-reflection and self improvement. I know I was among the masses who did so. I had a few goals laid out on Jan. 1 2016. Some of them I succeeded in. Some of them, a lot of them, I am big enough to admit, I did not. So it’s time to restock and try again.

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Getting my director on during a 2016 48hr Christmas Horror Film Shoot.

On the job front, that was a big goal of mine in 2016 and that is one I feel I succeeded in. I spent eight years at the Denton Record-Chronicle and while I loved the life of a journalist, I felt I needed more and a job that catered to my interests and goals more, so I looked for another job. I spent a year and a half actively looking for a new 9 to 5 gig and finally landed one. It caters more to what I like and is a bit of a bump in the wallet so it works out. The next goal spun out of that, which has turned into a resolution, is to dig myself out of the financial hole I have been in the past few years making only pennies before. It’s slow going and I will admit, I expected instant turn around with my first new paycheck, but reality set in and has shown me it will take time, patience and work to get to my goal.

Production wise, I said I wanted to grow my brand and make sure more people know who I am and what I can do. In that area, there is still work to be done. So I will restock that resolution and give it another whirl. Over the course of the  year I have heard friends, people I worked with come up with ideas for things, films, series, music videos and all manner of production related things. They have worked on mine and seen what I can do, yet some of them look over me when it comes time to do other productions. Now I know I shouldn’t take that personally, I know that I can’t work with everyone and there are more people out there that do what I do, but I feel I need to do a better job of showing people, those I know and those I don’t, just what I can do and how good I can do it. Then perhaps I won’t get looked over. Also need to expand the circle of people I work with as well. Restocking and reloading that resolution.

On the project front, I have my list of things to do.

Cheerleader Karate School

Of course this is at the top of my list. The screening event is in a few weeks and ideally it will be successful and we will manage to get people interested in the show and into backing it so we can produce the second episode. From the second episode we hope to raise money for the first season.

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We’re also working out a crossover adventure with the flagship character from David Doub’s Dusk Comics. That should be fun.

Speaking of Dusk, that is a big project as well as I will help in the production of a pilot episode of a Dusk live action series.

DadBodies

DadBodies is a comedy that actually should have been written by now. The plan was to have a draft done late last year, but those involved with it were not as interested as I am in working on it, so I have chosen to move on with a friend of mine, Billy Mau, in the script writing. Mau is great at comedy in ways I certainly am not and while I will pen the initial draft, I am counting on him to help me punch up the draft and make it as funny as I think it could be.

HTB

Annie Cruz as HTB's Vanessa Bachman

HTB is going to happen this year. Has to. Too good of a story to not happen. It’s the first big project my brother and I are producing together. It has Annie Cruz attached to it and will foster a graphic novel and film.

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Wrapped after a long but fun HTB teaser shoot.

20 Minutes or Less Trilogy

The first one is in the books. I wrote it as a trilogy with a fun ending, at least I think. Now it’s just a matter of getting the other two done.  Gabby’s plate has filled up in recent months and looks to stay stocked going forth so it’s a matter of seeing if she is up for another go.

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Thinking of doing them for the next round of Rack Focus, to go ahead and get them done and get those and every thing else I have done on Amazon video. Good way to get more eyeballs on what I do and thus, getting more people to know what I do.

 

 

 

 

So those and a few other things are the goals in the new year. I have some goals for my kids and family as well of course. It’s going to take work, grinding day in and day out to make it happen. I’m not saying I will succeed in it all. I am sure I will take my lumps here and there, but I will give it a very good try.

 

Almost done, yet so much to do with Cheerleader Karate School.

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Last weekend saw us engage in the dreaded R word.

Reshoots.

Thankfully the cast and crew were willing to make it happen to make the final product better from a technical standpoint. We have finally got a handle on the environment of the dojo and the lighting needs to make sure everyone and everything is properly exposed. A common problem from previous shoots. Not to mention everyone in the cast is so much better in every way than they were during the first shoots. They are more comfortable with each other and with their characters.

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We have a few more weekends of filming on the pilot and then the work begins to get the word out to get people to watch it and to become fans of it and thus join the team to help us make the rest of season one happen.

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It’s gotta be all hands on deck going forth and many of the cast and crew are and it’s great to see everyone get invested and get involved in what we are trying to bring forth.

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Meantime it’s more planning for promotional ideas as well as an upcoming crossover comic appearance with Dusk Comics. That shoot be fun and interesting to see the characters from CKS interact with a totally different world. And if it gets us more eyeballs, and it should, then so much the better. It also helps that the Dusk Comics creator is a local Denton guy and we’re trying to keep everything connected to the production of CKS as local to Denton or the DFW area if at all possible.

Lots to do.

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