The famous story of R.U. Darby’s uncle when he went out West in search of gold was immortalized in Napoleon Hill’s book Think and Grow Rich.Now, I’ve listened to that audio book so many times I cannot recount them. The story is basically about not giving up and if you think you’ve failed, maybe ask an expert for guidance. RU Darby and his uncle stake a claim and get investors to buy the mining equipment. They strike gold and things are going well. Then, the vein stops and they have nothing. They try and try, but no gold. Finally he decides to sell the equipment to a junk man and retreat back East, defeated. The junk man hired a geologist who discovered a fault like and estimated the gold vein was about 3 feet from where Darby was drilling. The junk man followed his advice and struck one of the largest gold deposits of the time. I’ve searched the Inter-webs for a while and cannot find any information on R.U. Darby, his uncle, or the junk man…I only find links to that story in the Hill book.
The above quote hits so close to home right now. The reality it bleak for making this film. I’ve not given up, not at all! But, there have been quite a few developments that have not worked out…folks making promises they shouldn’t have, the overplaying of hands, etc. If I were to give up now, the obvious problem is that we’re probably only (figuratively) 3 feet from getting things moving. We still need to raise $250K somehow. We still need to get a named actor for one of the roles (We had Chris Kattan, but he seems to be MIA – he may still work out). It’s just a real pain in the aspiration when I see other people making movies in town. I see them doing what I want to do and cannot for the life of me figure out what we’re doing wrong. Perhaps I am just being impatient. At this point, I just need to fool myself into believing that everything is going just according to plan. Wish me luck.
I watched Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris (2011) this morning, It’s a romantic comedy, but is well written and it tapped into my love of literature, art and history (and time travel). These days, people ‘poo-poo’ the Liberal Arts, but I can never get enough. OK, well, I say that yet I have not read a book in a while (probably a few years). I don’t visit the Memorial Art Gallery or Artisan Works….but I want to and I should.
Owen Wilson plays a writer who is visiting Paris with his entitled fiance played by the lovely Rachel McAdams. He ends up walking alone through the streets of Paris. He gets lost and stops to collect his thoughts. An old 1920’s era car tools up and some raucous Parisians invite him to get in. They are dressed in 1920’s apparel and drinking Champagne, smoking copiously and being well, raucous! He ends up meeting Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (one reason why I loved this movie – Scott’s my boy), he ends up meeting a tough and opinionated, BUT HONEST Ernest Hemmingway, and others. Very remeniscent of Somewhere in Time (1980) starring Christopher Reeve. I am really jealous of these characters – because I want to do that! I want to go back in time and meet my heroes.
But, When Would I Go?
The classic time travel question: When in the hell are we? I have often thought of this and I cannot really decide on an answer. Considering it will never happen, I can dawdle and not commit to a specific era. Initially, I think about my own personal past and how I could maybe go back and visit my younger self. I don’t think I would alter my choices, but maybe I would try to set a few things in motion. Maybe buy a load of gold and bury it somewhere I know will not be disturbed until I get back to my present so I can open my new present. Quantum Physicists can poke a million holes in that plot I’m sure.
No, really. Where and When Would I Go?
There are so many places and time periods I would like to visit. I would love to witness some iconic speeches (FDR, MLK, JFK). Maybe solve some of the mysteries that haunt our society. Like the movie, I would want to party with the rabble rousers of the 1920’s. I really feel like I could hang with those cats. I don’t measure up mentally by a long shot, but I think I would get along with them and match their joie de vivre. I would not get along with Hemingway so much I don’t think. His ‘grace under pressure’ and general heroic themes are beyond my ken. But I don’t know for certain – maybe I’d like him.
I’d like to visit Shakespeare, just to see what really happened. But that’s too far back and I would get the plague or be burned at the stake for being a witch.
I’d like to witness the founding of this country. Thankfully the good stuff happened in the summer, because I don’t think I could deal with an outhouse in the winter.
I’d like to visit the days of the Civil War, but then again I wouldn’t (for obvious reasons). Plus, outhouses.
I would like to find Andrew Carnegie as a young man and just hang out with him. Try to learn from him. But life was tough back then and I could maybe get the flu and die. Plus, rampant pollution – some outhouses. Oh and exposed electrical wires and Edison electrocuting an Elephant.
I already mentioned the 20’s – but I forgot to mention I would have liked to have been in Hollywood from about 1919 to maybe 1928.
Skipping the Great Depression, because unless you are a pure historian, who would want to witness that. Maybe visit my relatives and see how they did things back then.
I’ve been fascinated with the 1940’s my entire life. “The Greatest Generation” and WWII have captured my imagination in movies since I can remember. I know it was not all ” doughnuts and USO dances”, but there is still something magical about the time period. But for the same reason me and Papa would not have jived, I’m not sure I have the courage to face almost certain death in battle, or endure years of a POW camp. What people endured during that time period boggles my soul.
There are pieces of the 50’s-60’s I would like to witness, which I alluded to earlier in this bathering. A lot of what I would want to experience are again in Hollywood. (I’m a sucker for Hollywood history).
OK, So I cannot Decide
There are many pluses and minuses to when and where I would want to visit. I find that my sensibilities contain a hodgepodge of them all. I credit with some of my wonderful humanities teachers and professors of my past.
I’m not as talented or versatile as Jimmy Buffett, but his song “School Boy Heart” is right in line with how I see myself.
“School Boy Heart”
I got a school boy heart, a novelist eye
Stout sailor’s legs and a license to fly
I came with nomad feet and some wandering toes
That walk up my long board and hang off the nose
The need to focus never arose
So something like a Swiss army knife
That’s my life
Frankenstein had nothing on this body of mine
The villagers still flockin’ to see, to see me
Breaking free, breaking free
Cause I got a school boy heart, a novelist eye
Stout sailor’s legs and a license to fly
I got a bartender’s ear and beachcomber’s style
Piratical nerve and a Vaudevillian style
I suspect I died in some cosmic shipwreck
With all hands spread all over the deck
What the heck
Then some kind of obscene and unscrupulous mind
Began to pick up what he could find
Added ice, shook me twice, rolled the dice
Now I got a school boy heart, a novelist eye
A sailor’s legs and a license to fly
I got a native tongue from way down south
It sits in the cheek of my gulf coastal mouth
I got a school boy heart, a novelist eye
Stout sailor’s legs and a license to fly
I came with nomad feet and some wandering toes
That glide up my longboard and hang off the nose
I know, my life is surrounded by music. I do radio in the morning and when I am doing things around the house I jam to Zac Brown Band or my favorite Reggae station on Pandora. But I really miss playing music. There was a time in my life when I went to band practice in a cool warehouse and we ran through our 45 minute set of originals 3 times, three times per week. We were tight. The guitars were heavy, the bass melodic, the percussion insane. We were a ‘musician’s band’. People used to come see us just to watch Denny Greco play the drums and to listen to all of our odd time signatures and changes. We dressed in bowling shirts, or all in red, or all in purple. We had super 8mm film projectors playing strange things, upside down lamps, a typing marionette that was beat to death with a golf club by Brian, the frontman. We were Phonetic Plumbing and it was 1994. Marilyn Manson was getting signed by Trent Reznor and Interscope/Nothing records and they had a signing show at the Plus Five Lounge in Davie, FL. The who’s who of the South Florida music scene was in attendance. I can’t remember who they were now, but back then I knew all of their faces, names and their music.
It was the height of the Seattle grunge scene and we were kind of on the outer fringe of that type of music – at first. Then we skewed even further out of that realm into something that was pretty crazy. My musical style was more blues and southern rock than the rest of the group, but I could chime in with a decent mix of the styles so it all worked out. We never did anything with our music. Honestly, there is so much I cannot remember from those days and it has nothing to do with drugs or drinking. We experimented with stuff, but we were serious about our goals and getting into real drugs was never on the menu. We did some cool stuff that, at the very least, was fun to listen to when we were all together – but nobody really cared when it came down to it. Our music had a niche audience that we never were able to reach. Common tale for many a band since bands were invented.
We got some music on the local radio – The Local Show – on 88.5 WKPX, which was Piper High School’s radio station. It was cool to hear our song on the radio. We’d try to request it as much as we could and make the list of most requested. In my previous band “Wood” we got to number one once, I think. I don’t remember that too much either. I do remember that we had to fire our bass player from that band. He was a good guy and was studying law. He was married with a young baby and of course the band was just a hobby, even if he shared our collective dream of getting signed. When we started to write more complicated music, he had a tough time keeping up. He was never a solid bass player when it came to keeping time, which is kind of important in the rhythm section. So I was elected to tell Mitch he was no longer in the band. I cried afterwards because that’s the kind of guy I am.
One day our frontman decided we should move to San Francisco. I wasn’t about to move to San Francisco. Such began a quick decline in the band’s future and overall relationships. Most of us have remained friends over the years and thanks to Facebook, still keep in relative touch. I miss playing music though. It was such a wonderful high and really got me through some tough times. I started playing A LOT of guitar when my life changed drastically when I was 18 and for years after, my guitar was an extension of myself. These days, that part of myself spends countless hours in my basement. That is a shame and I want to pick up the axe again and play. It has been so long that it is actually frustrating to play now.
It all started with a tuna sandwich and an unsweetened iced tea. Henry left his lunch on the picnic table outside in the office courtyard, he forgot his smokes at his desk and there was no way in Hell he was going to miss his after-lunch Marlboro. Henry lives for his simple pleasures: smokes, cocktails and sneaking in the supply closet with Lacy, the Boss’s Executive Assistant. Henry plays a little loose with his morals. “It’s fine,” he thinks to himself. “Twenty years as a Catholic will do that to ya.”
When he returned to the bench he was surprised to see a fox eating his lunch. “Get outta here dog!”, Henry shooed. Instead of fleeing into the safety of the nearby wood, the fox turned his sleek face and glared at Henry. “I’m not a dog, you ape!” Henry froze in fear and wonder. The fox maintained his eye contact as he continued to chew the tuna sandwich. “What’s the matter? Haven’t you ever had a conversation with a wild animal before?”, the fox confidently asked. “Um, not since college.”, Henry stammered. The fox laughed, pieces of tuna fell from his mouth onto the ground. He jumped down and quickly lapped up the tuna chunks. He reached out his front paws and dipped low, stretching his back. He shook his head quickly, licked around his mouth and with the grace of a cat, jumped up on the table to resume his meal. Henry just stared at the fox, internally questioning his own sanity. With his back to Henry, the fox continued, “So, you did a lot of drugs in college? Is that what you meant?” Henry widened his eyes and shook his head as though he just snapped out of a trance. “What? Yeah, um Yes.”, he was incredulous. “I mean no! I didn’t do drugs but that was what I meant.”, said Henry. The fox just grunted and sniffed the iced tea bottle.
“Hey. Wait, what’s your name anyway? My name is Lewis.”, the fox said, sitting back on his haunches. Henry blinked a few times, “Henry. Henry Jones.”, he said with a weak and cracking voice. “Oh, please say Junior, that would be too much for me to handle!”, the fox guffawed. “What?” Henry was getting angry. “Like Indiana Jones! Henry Jones Junior!”, the fox cackled, doing his finest Sean Connery impersonation. “You can talk AND you’re well-versed in 80’s pop culture?”, Henry yelled. The fox nudged the bottle of tea with his nose. “Hey Doctor Jones, can you open this tea for me, I don’t have any thumbs.” Henry cautiously glided over to the table, avoiding the chunks of sandwich the fox dropped on the ground. Henry opened the tea and slowly placed it on the table. With this right paw, the fox knocked over the bottle, the tea emptied out on the table, splashing between the planks onto the ground. The fox quickly lapped up the tea, his paws shook the wetness off instinctively while the tea continued to gurgle out of the bottle. Henry snapped up the bottle and twisted the cap back on. The fox looked at him with excitement, licking his paws and around his mouth. His head snapped back and forth from the tea on the table to Henry with the bottle. “Why did you do that?”, Henry protested. “What? Knock over the bottle to lap up the tea? I’m a fox, how the hell else would I do it? No thumbs, remember?”, the fox replied. “Well, you could have asked me to get you a bowl or something. More than half went to waste when it spilled on the ground.” Henry looked down and noticed the bread crusts from the sandwich. “I also find it interesting that you didn’t eat the crusts.” “Yeah, I don’t like the crust. Since I was a kit I’ve hated the crusts.”, the fox chortled. “So, who made you sandwiches when you were a kit?”, Henry asked. “Again, must I remind you that I am not a raccoon, so I don’t have need little hands.” quipped the fox. ” I’m a scavenger and a thief. I’ve been stealing food. I don’t like to kill for my meals.” He started licking his paws and then moved onto other parts of his body. Henry looked away uncomfortably. “Do you have to do that in front of me?” Henry whined. “Oh, my bad…” chuckled the fox, “…sometimes I forget my manners. The fox took his snout out from between his legs and started licking his paws again.
Henry stared in silent wonder at the fox as he cleaned his crimson fur. He could not believe that he had spent the last few minutes speaking with a wild animal. “So, you don’t kill?” Henry asked. “Nope. A buddy of mine still does and I hate it, but he’s a little closer to the wild than I am.” “Can he talk?” The fox sneezed, then yawned. “He can talk, but he chooses not to. That’s true with most animals.” Henry crinkled his brows and pushed his chin back into his neck. “Really? All animals can talk?” The fox sat back and scratched his ear with his hind leg. “Oh that’s better. Goddamn fleas. Most animals…For example, cats cannot talk. Well, they probably can, but those pompous assholes choose not to.” Henry laughed, “I hate cats too, that’s funny.”
The fox jumped down off the table and did his normal stretch. He trotted up next to Henry and sat down like a dog expecting a treat from his master. Henry went to pat him on the head, but the fox growled and snapped at his fingers. Henry pulled them back quickly and shouted, “Hey, what the hell?” “Henry, when you make a new human friend, what do you do?”, the fox asked in a monotone. “What?”, Henry gasped. The fox started scratching again as he attempted to clarify his question. “Would you pat your new friend on the head or would you shake his hand? People need to realize that when you pat us on the head it is really demeaning…and don’t give me the dog argument, because dogs don’t count. They’re brain-washed. Sorry do-mes-ti-cated. Little fools that live for that shit…petting and whatnot. Animals in the wild want a little more out of life than the excitement of hanging our heads out of the window of your SUV on the way to some manicured dog park.” Henry nodded his head, signaling that he understood the fox’s etiquette lesson.
Henry crouched down to the fox’s level and extended his hand, all the while making strong and sincere eye contact with the fox. “It was a real pleasure to meet you, sir. I hope you enjoyed my lunch and I would be honored if we could meet again sometime and discuss any topic that interests you.”, he said. The fox raised his paw and allowed Henry to take it in his hand. They shook. The fox then scurried off into the wood. Henry cleaned up the remains of the lunch he never got to eat. He lit his cigarette, sat down on the bench and smoked.
We’ve raised Zero dollars to produce #BottomFeeders
Yes, that is correct. However, we are not properly plugged into any kind of network that would have an opportunity to raise funds. I do know that my pursuit for investors has clearly outlined which people in my life believe in my goals and which ones see what I do as a fairy-tale waste of time. That’s quite alright in my book. I won’t hold a grudge, but I will also not smile and hug when things go well. I will not allow them to congratulate me and tell me they knew I could do it, because they really couldn’t care less.
So, What’s Next?
We are going to reschedule this production for next year. June/July of 2018. We will be mapping out our strategy and tackling it after the coming of the New Year. It will include crowdfunding and networking with people who have the means or connections to invest in a hilarious indie feature with a wonderfully talented cast. We have some other ideas up our sleeves that we will roll out soon enough.