Posts Tagged ‘journalism’

Felt good to get back behind the camera this past weekend for some filming. It was the best kind of weekend really, one that involved both wrestling and film for me. Saturday was a Christian Wrestling Federation show at Hope Irving church and Sunday was filming on the current project, Wildcat. Wildcat is a fan film (lord knows I love them) based on the JSA character of the same name. Our’s is a more grounded take on him. (I really hate that word, grounded, such an overused buzzword). We’re looking at the Arrowverse as a sorta template for what we would like to do for Wildcat. I have done a few fan films in the past a Suicide Squad one a few years back and a Super Sentai/Power Rangers one many many years back. While the Squad one had some things I liked and some things I truly hated, the sentai one had sooooooooo many things in hindsight I don’t like. But it’s something I can reference for mistakes I don’t care to make. Gotta keep moving and keep producing to keep learning right? Wildcat Shoot 2

Wildcat was something we were supposed to film back in January, but my lead actor dropped out right before filming was set to start. That was kind of annoying to say the least seeing’s how I had worked with this person several times before and felt that if things had changed, if their desire to participate had changed, well they could have simply told me beforehand and I would have adjusted. But they chose the path that leaves me with little respect for them now. But that’s the path they chose, I’m not getting too bent outta shape about it. I recast the role with AD Scott in the lead role. He stepped in like a champ with enthusiasm and acting chops to do the job.

Fabian XIV, a guy you have seen in many many many of my projects jumped on board last minute to help me fill an important role. He is one of my go to champs as he always helps me out of a jam and he has been as real with me today as he was years ago when we met. I need more people like him. Aquetta Stiger is kicking ass in her role as well, glad to have her on this and hopefully I will have her talents on a few other emotionally charged scripts I have written to come. Marqui Leanno and Davonate Hogan were late additions to play a pair of thugs who get dealt some hurt in the short and I was glad to have them and hope to have them on other projects in the future where their acting and their physical talents are needed again. Wildcat.00_00_10_10.Still001Lakesha Felton played AD’s sister in a couple scenes filmed early Saturday. It was one of those instances where she knocked it out of the park and I wish she had more to do. But that can change in the future. Wildcat shoot

 

 

We have a few more shooting days to go on this. The plan is five chapters, five to 10 minutes apiece. There’s more after that but it will all depend on how people feel following the five chapters, if they want to do more or not. Obviously I hope they will want to do more.

Gear of choice is of course the Sony FS5 I endeavor to continue to learn and get better filming with it. Also put my Atomos Shogun Flame into action for the first real shoot. Of course with that comes trial and error. I have already noticed some things I need to tweak and get better with for the next shoot. Some scenes were a bit underexposed for my liking, so that will have to be studied and improved. I am happy overall with the roughs so far and look forward to the shoots to come.

Teaming up with Billy Mau

There are plans to collaborate with Billy Mau on a script he has adapted from a short story he wrote. The first draft is a good read and we can already pencil in talent for some of the roles. Though at least one round of auditions will be had to see what other talent can be pulled in, perhaps some that we have not worked with before. Billy has a talent for comedy and has written two scripts for short series that we have wanted to film, Insourcing and Sand in My Cubicle, the former has been attempted four times already and seems to be cursed, but it is funny as hell and something I am bound and determined to see through to a successful finish.

HTB Comic Book

HTB Graphic NovelOn the HTB front, we have seven days to go on the crowdfunding campaign. It has not progressed as we would liked it to have gone. But there is still a week to go. Of course there is $3,000 to go. And it’s fixed funding. So if we do not make the goal, we get none of the contributions and they go back to the contributors. Where will that leave us, well the amount we set was supposed to go to the artist and a limited print run for sell and to cover the perks that offered contributors print copies of the book. The plan may be to go for a smaller amount, in the neighborhood of $2,000 to $3,000 to cover the artist and I will just pay for the print cost myself. The big thing is just getting the book done. We have a few publishing folks who are interested in the book, we just need to them the product. We will keep plugging away and see what will happen in the end. If nothing else the campaign (and the short teaser we shot a while back, which can be seen online now) can be used as a promotional means and when we try again, the people who contributed so far can just repeat the contribution and others may jump on board as well.

The Campaign can be found here

 

We shall see. We believe in the project, just gotta keep plugging away at it.

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2018 is nearly upon us. It seemed like just yesterday, we were looking back at 2016 and plotting and planning goals for 2017. cheerleaders colorsb.jpg

We had made goals regarding a few long gestating projects, among them, Cheerleader Karate School. This past year saw us putting it together and ending up with mixed results. We very much wanted to continue with it, but after some reflection (some of which we blogged about) you realize you sometimes have to make changes to your plans. CKS is going back to its comic book roots and recently we have landed the artist who is going to help make that happen.

Brian Brinlee. 

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Brian Brinlee, artist

Brinlee has been working as a freelance illustrator since 2001. Fun fact: Brinlee spent time living in Denton, TX and attending the University of North Texas. Given the fact that CKS takes place in Denton, it’s cool of the artist to have a connection to the city. While living here he pursued a degree in graphic art but soon realized his heart was in illustration. He found that creating a visual story was much more interesting than tooling around with graphic shapes and lines. Brinlee started out working in comics but eventually expanded into other fields such as game art and book covers.

He’s a talented artist on the rise and we can’t wait to let people see some of the designs he is coming up with for the characters in the book. We’re shooting for a mid-2018 release of the first issue. It won’t just be a comic adaptation of the pilot episode either. We retooled the story, the team, dialed up the action and over the top fun and have a great story in store for readers.

IMG_4331We have a couple leads on artists for HTB to get that very very long gestating graphic novel project going. It’s lead, Annie Cruz, is and always has been game to get the book done and play the main character in the film as well.

There’s a couple comedy projects on the docket as well as RAVE, which is a continuation of the Party Girl Series. There’s plenty of things to keep us busy all year. It’s a matter of making it all happen. We are still talking about things from 2016 and 2017 in the planning stages still. It’s kind of annoying actually. But it just shows us that we have to work harder at our goals to get them accomplished.

2018 is nearly here tho, and we are ready to get going.

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.

 

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.

kkm_8379

 

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.

AnnieUs

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.

20MinutesOrLess.Still001

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.