Today, I am climbing out of the Pit of Despair. My heart is not filled with revenge, nor do a search for my one true love. I just want to be healthy, positive and make a kick ass movie. I reference The Princess Bride (1987) very very often. Probably too often for most people. But that is because I have a passion for movies; specifically comedies. I am not a big horror guy – which is all the rage these days. Smart comedies, silly comedies, dramas and some action sprinkled in (Indiana Jones, et al.) are my jam. So, I have been wanting to make a movie since I can remember.
I saw Back to the Future and I was enamoured with Doc Brown’s JVC Camcorder. I wanted a video camera so badly I was going out of my mind. Most kids my age wanted G.I. Joe or Star Wars toys, but I wanted a video camera. (The JVC GR-C1)
My uncle Dennis had a Panasonic Video Camera that you attach to the VCR, so my filmmaking was limited to the living room of our small apartment. Well, it really consisted of stop motion-esque films of coasters moving around the table and Star Wars figures walking. Unfortunately, I had to give that camera back to my uncle and it was a while before I got another video camera. By then I had discovered girls, so yeah.
Now, skipping a LOT of time, I fast forward to this morning, July 6, 2017. I’ve been working on getting a feature film made. It was written by my friend Steve Miller and I jumped in to “help” with some of the story. We shot a teaser for about $1100.00 and are trying to raise $250,000 to make it. We can probably shoot it for considerably less, but it will not be how we want it. We want to pay people their correct rate. There are so many things we have to do to get this made and we are learning about it as we go. As a writer/director, I’ve directed about 6 or 7 short films – some of them I wrote or was on the writing team. But a feature is an entirely different breed of cat. It is a gnarly cat that lives in the woods behind my house and cries at night. It scratches at the door and leaves dead mice on the doorstep. He’s a nasty wild cat, but I have seen him be sweet from time to time…with others. With me he scratches and hisses. I believe he can be tamed. How? Perseverance.
So, over the past um – 8 months or so? Yeah, maybe longer…I’ve been very unhealthy. Not eating right, drinking too much, being lazy, etc. This has made me the weak link on my team. Those guys may not agree because they haven’t seen me be ineffective in this process, but I know I can be a better producer. So this morning I got back into the right frame of mind: lifting, running, eating right, meditation and positivity. I thought I needed to kick the evil feral cat so he wouldn’t come around crying outside my house at all hours. But now I realize, I just need to be patient and kind, feed him and make sure he safe. How is that for a terrible analogy? Well, this is a journal entry and I plan on doing this forever.
Last night I was fortunate to be in the audience for the first public performance of Stephen Sondheim’s classic, A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum. I have to qualify this”review” by stating the simple fact that I am just a radio guy who makes short films and is rehearsing for my on-stage debut later this month. I am not a theatre critic and don’t pretend to be. This review is for the people who don’t often go to Geva for whatever reason. Once again, I have no business writing this review.
First of all – this is a comedy. Just in case you miss the word “Funny” in the title. It is whimsical and loads of fun. Steve Rosen is Pseudolus, a slave who is hoping for his freedom. He is the host of this romp through this fictitious Roman neighborhood. Rob Riordan is Hero – the very man who can grant Pseudolus his freedom, if only Pseudolus can deliver Philia (Anna Bucci), a virgin who has already been sold to a Captain in the Roman Legion, Milos Gloriosus (Tim Rogan). One of my favorite aspects of this show is that they continuously break the ‘fourth wall’. (Which means they address the audience directly). I tend to prefer plays over musicals, but this one is so chock full of raw physical comedy and witty repartee that I didn’t mind it when the characters broke into song. Many parts were almost self-deprecating, like they were making fun of the fact that they just broke into song. Scantily clad men and women perform circus-like acrobatics with the grace of the ballet and the timing of old school vaudeville acts. Like I’ve stated, I don’t know what critics who review plays for a living will write about, but I can’t imagine they would write one negative word about this experience. The intimacy of Geva’s Wilson Main Stage and the talent in this cast really make for an extremely enjoyable theatre experience. It would also be a crime not to mention the stylings of Bill Nolte as Marcus Lycus, the local brothel owner. His booming voice and flamboyance really kill. The whole cast rocks. Do yourself a favor and see this show. Get Tickets Here
My friend Alex Ferrari is a Film Director in LA. He’s making a movie called This is Meg. Alex and I went to high school together in South Florida and I ran into him again in 2004. I was a freelance video editor and he was running his own post production company as well as preparing to make his first short film Broken. Then life got in the way and I lost track of him. Then Facebook happened and I found him on Facebook in 2010. I think I found him because we share a filmmaking friend in South Florida. Over the years I’ve seen him share some links to his short films, post some pics of him working on set, real professional work – work I wished I was doing. In 2010 I made my first short and in 2012 made my second. I noticed in Alex’s latest production, which was an animation Red Princess Blues: Genesis. This starred the wonderful character actor Lance Henriksen , which I thought was very impressive! That’s the dude from Aliens!
Then the guy does a complete 180 and starts hocking…Olive Oil??? What? I see pics of him behind these huge camera rigs, sitting on cranes and directing these impressive sets…but now he’s branching out into designer EVOO? You can’t write this stuff! So I continued following him. I even considered buying some of the Olive Oil because I figured it had to be good, everything this guy touches is a success.
Case in point: Indie Film Hustle. I’ve seen online courses for video production. I’ve seen ‘No Film School’ videos which show how to do things for cheap or whatever, but they never stood out as very good. Then I see Alex’s new venture, which caters exactly to people like me: wanna-be filmmakers. I don’t mean that in a bad way either, I really ‘wanna-be’ a filmmaker! Well, Alex put this site together – then started a podcast and began interviewing big names in the biz. Again, another home run. So I asked him if he would be on the radio show in Rochester to talk about what he’s up to. Here is the entire interview in Podcast form for your listening pleasure.
So, I noticed that a mutual friend, whom I respect, commented on this story. I noticed that he was being attacked for implying something he didn’t imply with words he didn’t use. The person attacking my friend was an African American woman. She had an agenda. My friend was commenting that not all cops are ‘D’ students – which is what the original poster stated when he shared this video. Here – you read them for yourself:
If you see, he replies…”typical…” As in, typically on Facebook, people who have the opposing position are often called names or vilified. Why? Because they have an opposing view. But what did she imply?
My friend legitimately thought she was messing with him. She immediately brings race into it. Now, I will admit that my comments are not seen, because I blocked her when she went bat-shit crazy on me, threatening to “expose” my racism to the world and get me blacklisted from radioland.
I jump In, to Help
I first commented, “What planet is she on?” (I will freely admit that I was being confrontational with that comment) But, it gets nasty from there. The worst I ever commented what that her anger doesn’t do anyone any good. Her response was to call me out for automatically assuming she was an angry black woman. So, there was no winning this one. She then checked out my page, discovering I worked for a radio station – which then led her to the wonderful conclusion that I am a public figure and should NEVER comment on such business.
A few lines later, I even apologized for making any assumptions. I figured, my pride isn’t all that important and if I take the high road she will do the same, it has worked before. NOPE. She used that opportunity to call me out for my weakness. That’s when she deiced that I should pay with my job: (I add it again, so you don’t have to scroll).
What is my point? I see arguments all over social media about #BlackLivesMatter #AllLivesMatter #BlueLivesMatter and other associated hashtags. We all know there are bad apples on both sides, but neither side will admit it. Maybe we need to use our brains for something other than creating witty memes. #UseYourGreyMatter
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