Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Big Premiere

So....I made a short film. Sure, I've made other little movies before but they've all been docs...and one video. Basically, I shoot footage, ask questions and cobble it together into a story. Easy. Sometimes. However my latest adventure is entitled "El Queso's Bad Day" and it makes it's debut tonight at the 35th Annual College of Marin Film festival. There's a photo from it above. I've never had an "actor" and tried to get him or her to do what I want them to do. It was tough! But I learned alot.

1. I learned I have trouble asking for what I want. Well, I already knew that, but the whole experience made me really realize it. I think I sound like an asshole when I ask for things. Sometimes, I do in fact sound like an asshole when I ask for things. Yet, other times I genuinely need something or want someone to do something for me and it's not at all asshole-like to ask for it. Asking strange girls to show you their boobs is not nice. Asking an actor in your film to really go over the top with a facial expression is A-O.K.

2. I learned that if you want to make something good, take your time and get it right. In the case of El Queso's Bad Day" I realized early on that the project was simply to force me to do something. I get so caught up in the process and negating my thoughts or caving into that little creative devil that sits in your ear repeating "you suck you suck you suck everyone hates you you suck you suck you suck everyone hates you you suck you suck everyone hates you" that I usually give in and don't finish what I start. This short film is really not very good, but 99% of people's first films are also not very good. But, I did it. I finished it. It makes sense and some people may laugh. Fuck you devil! YOU SUCK!

3. Editing takes a long ass time, but I genuinely love it! As I said in #2, I get tangled up in the process. I want everything done now and done right. But editing takes time. You have to start with a big ball of clay and cut it down and down and down. It's both meditative, cathartic and enjoyable. For me anyway. It's the epitome of artistic process and when I can stand up from 4 hours of editing and smile at what I've done, it makes me happy.

4. I need to move on and start a new project ASAP. Ideas are over crowding my head and that eventually leads me down the path of talking each one down. I have a really solid, funny, easy idea and I want to start shooting it by next month.

Keep an eye out for El Queso's Bad Day" on my website, Petaluma Films. Off to the big premiere...

Monday, May 15, 2006

I guess that's where everyone meets Mitch...

For Mother's day we had a big ole family outing to The Tides restraunt in Bodega Bay. I love the Tides because Alfred Hitchcock filmed part of THE BIRDS there and it's my second favorite Hitchcock movie (Behind VERTIGO, of course). The gift shop there has some really fun THE BIRDS gifts and the last 2 times I was there, they had a mousepad that had THE BIRDS poster on it. When I found out we were heading to Bodega Bay, I remembered the mouse pad. I need a new one because I spilled something (beer) on it last week. But alas, they were all out of THE BIRDS mousepads! All I got was a Tippi Hedren lightswitch cover. Truth be told, that's much cooler than the mousepad.

Anyway....dinner was good and very interesting. I took some photos for all you non-Nor Cal people who read my blog and have never been to Bodega Bay.

This is a dock that's just next to The Tides. In the movie, it's the spot where Melanie rents the boat to go stalk Mitch. My uncle said they tore down the dock that was used in the movie, but I think he might be wrong. He also thought my cousin had a bottle of Jamesons in his pocket so, he can't be trusted. They definitely took down part of the dock, but this looks like it to me:

Here's a view of the bay from the deck of The Tides. In the movie, it's the part where Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) crosses the Bay in the rented boat and leaves some lovebirds on Mitch's front porch.

There were eight of us in the car so I couldn't convince them to stop by the School House or the Church, both of which were in the movie. But I'll go back soon for the mousepad and I'll grab some pics then.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Yay..a poodle.

I had to work today which was not something I was excited about. There was a Cinco de Mayo celebration and I was asked to provide a fun game for the kids so I brought out the old BINGO set. Old people and kids love Bingo.

Luckily my booth was under some trees so it was shady cuz it was damn hot today! Then, the balloon clown lady showed up. Ugh. I, like most kids raised in the 70's and 80's, am distrustful of all clowns. I don't have to say why when I can just post this:

Nuff said.

Anyway...the balloon clown lady starts making (you guessed it) Poodles and the like and I can't tell if she's being silly or has a head injury. She just seems out of it. Aside from the last part of this story I'm telling, the second funniest thing of the day was when she kept trying to make a bunny for some kid and whenever she was just about done, a balloon would pop. After 3-4 times, she looks at the kid and goes, "So what color snake do you want?"

Yet the funniest thing was after I applauded her for making a really cool alien balloon. It really was kind of neat, considering. As the kid she made it for walks away, she comes over to me and goes, "You think that balloon is cool? I do parties for "all ages," if you know what I mean...all agesand I can make some balloons...well....I think you know what I mean. Balloons that I couldn't bust out here, you know? I'd get in trouble...."

Uhh. Yeah, I get it weird clown balloon lady. But what makes you think a slightly hungover man sweating and running a bingo game under a tree wants a giant penis or boob balloon?? I left soon after that. B-9 be damned.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Between the champagne, hand-jobs and kissin' ass by everyone involved...

Tonight the wifey and I are off to the glorious FILLMORE in San Francisco to see Chris Kirkwood (he, of near heroin death as well as Meat Puppet fame), Son Volt and, what may very well be a new member in my elite group of favorite bands, The Drive by Truckers. I'm super psyched as I'm also a hot/cold fan of Son Volt, but I'm a sucker for hard drinkin', heavy rockin' bands with a soft spot and that's the DBT's.

Originally the show was going to be Kirkwood, then the DBT's, then Son Volt and that bummed me out. Seeing Son Volt after the power and energy of the Drive by Truckers would be like....drinking Zima after a 12 pack of Coors light. We get the late night show with the Drive by's so you can expect a full report on the bottle of Jack Daniels they pass around! Hope I get a poster!

Oh, and here's a hillarious picture of Jay Farrar that pretty much sums up how I feel about him: "Uhhh...dude, what're you doing??"

Who the hell is the kid on the bike??

Thursday, May 04, 2006

No one here but us chickens...

I'm writing a screenplay adaptation and it involves a Rooster who must save his barnyard from an evil attack. I don't want to say what the book is or anything, I don't own the rights and I don't want to jinx anything. So I get up early and start writing. I've had "issues" writing lately. That's putting it mildly. I haven't really been able to happily write anything aside from movie/CD reviews, blogs and Film Threat headlines for well over a year.

At first I'd make excuses. But even turning on my lap top (that's NOT attached to the internet to avoid time wasting) would become like...physcially painful. Very weird. But I have a great screenwriting class with my favorite screenwriting teacher and a FAT deadline of the entire thing needing to be DONE by next Wednesday so, low and behold, I'm writing. That's not to say I don't try and wriggle out of it by washing dishes, putting away clothes, playing guitar or talking to myself.

This morning my story hit a snag as the main rooster has knocked up his hen. I needed to know how long the birthing process is for chickens. I quickly got online and googled "chicken gestation period." It said "21-25 days." O.K., cool. But wait. Does that mean 21-25 days between sex and birth? Is it like, 7 days from sex that the eggs are laid then 2 weeks until we have cute little chicks?? It didn't make sense. And, I could see myself trying to use it as an excuse to blow off my last hour of writing to "do research" online so I opted to call my in-laws.

They have alot of animals but they couldn't answer my question. No problem, I'll call the local feed store. I call and get a girl on the line who says, "oh...chickens have a gestation period of 21-25 days." Well, I knew that...duh. Then it gets tricky because talking about animal sex with a stranger over the phone is awkward at best. I say, " the chickens...the rooster and the hen....when they it....does it take 7 days for an egg to form inside the chicken and then 2 weeks for it to hatch or....what?" The girl on the phone didn't know and to me, it was sounding like a prank call. I quickly resorted to self-promotion. "See, I'm writing a screenplay about chickens and stuff and I need to know." Yeah, that made me feel better. Luckily, the girl said "Hang ona sec, I'll get Charlotte. She knows everything." Great. Now I get to explain it all again.

So Charlotte gets on the line and I decide to get right to the point since this is all becoming, what feels like to me, a huge distraction to keep from writing. "Hi, Charlotte. My name is Don and I'm writing a story about chickens and I need to know how long their gestation period is."

A chickens gestation peroid is 21-25 days.
Me: (Sigh)
Right. But what does that mean? Is that like, from the time the egg comes out or from the time they have sex until the time the egg hatches?
Well, chickens don't set until all the eggs are birthed. They wait.
Wait, what's set mean?
It means they don't sit on the eggs until they're all out.

Note: What this has to do with my original quesion is beyond me...

Me: So when the eggs are all out of the hen and she sets on them, how long do they take to hatch?
That depends. They don't all hatch at once.
O.K...right. So...once the hen and know....have sex. How long until the eggs come out and then, how long until they hatch.
Well, like I said...they don't start setting until they're all out.

At this point, I had been on the phone 5 minutes and just wasn't being clear or wasn't being understood. So, I did what I always do in those situations. Acted like it made sense.
Ohhhhh! O.K., I see. Thanks so much, you were really helpfull!
Oh, no problem!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

3 words about LOST....


That twist tonight knocked me out!! Brilliant!!!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Uhh...that ain't right.

We have Comcast On-Demand with a built in "DVR"...aka, Tivo. As such, I'm under constant pressure to scan all the movie channels at ALL hours to make sure I don't miss any movies. For instance, Robert Altman's BUFFALO BILL AND THE INDIANS was on at some ungodly hour and now it rests comfortably in our DVR.

Tonight I was scanning channels and stumbled upon what seems to be some weird racist night on Turner Classic Movies.As I look now, I see tonights theme is in fact, "Race and Hollywood." Still...this seemed really inappropriate:

5:00-8:30 D.W. Griffith's racist (but still brilliant) BIRTH OF A NATION
8:30-9:15 Harold Lloyd in HAUNTED SPOOKS It's a comedy about a heiress being scared out of her mansion by....spooks? Uhhh....

Then 9:15-11:15 is UNCLE TOM'S CABIN and after that, THE JAZZ SINGER (the first talkie!).

It's as if TCM thought some light comedy was needed to soften the seriousness of the African-American portrayl in Hollywood. Seems odd to me...