Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Full Dark No Stars

Did I post that one already? I have no idea. All this cleavage is starting to look alike to me.

Full on pre-pro has begun for Ttory 2, and not a moment too soon. I mean, I just flipped my calendar and I'm literally IN the month I start shooting. And there isn't gonna be much of a break after we shoot this first segment. Maybe 2 weeks, then boom--into the biggest and most complicated part of the movie.

Went location scouting for the 2nd time this week. Found a crazy hillbilly kinda guy who owns 4 acres of woods and weirdness. Walk a ways and there's a school bus covered in trees. Why? Who knows?

Keep walking and there's a pool, now filled with disgusting green algae and a ton of frogs.

I mean, I sorta want to write a segment around that pool, but ain't nobody I know going in THAT.

After that, met up with a local horror author again. For just a quick one hour meeting, that always turns into an all nighter. Met him at 8, didn't leave the bar until 1am. He's got some great stories, and we were hashing out shit. Still working on a story that maybe will be in Ttory 2.

He also told me the entire plot of a new book he's almost finished that's not exactly horror. It's pretty good though. Trippy and complex. I'd like to read it, so I think he'll send it to me before he gets it published.

But TODAY....

Posted the first notices about casting. I've already pre-filled roles with actors I know and like, but now I've got the harder part of filling with people I don't know. Are they reliable? Are they good?

It's rough, seeing people do audition videos but they're not nailing the part. Especially when they LOOK the part. So I'll keep looking at people, and then probably get him to try the video a 2nd time with some notes. See how he takes them. If he doesn't adjust, it's probably not going to work.

But man, I need a peppy, fun young actress and I'm not hanging around with that group anymore. (I'm old now, don't ya know)

If I was in NY or L.A., it would be easy to fill. But we don't exactly have the budget to ship a NY actress down and keep them here for 3 days, or I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Just can't believe there isn't some young actress around here dying to take the part. There isn't any nudity involved...

Did get a VERY attractive woman for the nude part. The model from the first Ttory vouched for me--I didn't know they were friends, but she texted me to tell me the other lady had texted HER to ask about this director who wants to make her a topless monster in the woods.

She's like "DO IT, it's fun!", so she's in. Very cool.

SOOOOOO much work to do.


Camera wise, still trying to figure out what to shoot on. 4K means literally nothing to me other than giving me some room to re-frame shots, which is why I'm gravitating back to the Canon 5D Mark 3. I can rent one for a month for like $300. The lenses will cost a little more, but I also can then use my brother's nice glass.

I thought about going to the 5D Mark 4, but apparently other than the 4K it doesn't have a lot of improvement. (no pop-out screen, which is INSANE in this day and age). The real kiss of death though is that it records in a highly uncompressed, nearly lossless codec.

Which will burn up TONS of card space, and apparently makes editing tough for even fast computers.

Which takes me back to the Mark 3. I've used it. I like it. My brother has a Mark 2, so there's a lot of interchangeable stuff I can use from his camera.

I have to get my steadicam back from Jared. I haven't used it in 10 years, so I gotta get it, get it weighted right with the camera, then retrain myself to use it.

THEN figure out if there's ANY way I can adjust focus while floating without messing up the steadiness. Because that ain't the way it's done in hollywood...(there's a motorized focus puller mounted on rails on it, and another guy elsewhere pulling focus, so the camera operator only has to make sure his frame is right)

Gonna be a lotta sleepless nights coming up...

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Glasses Situation

I'm not sure how I forgot to mention this in last night's blog. I WAS a little stoned/codeine cough syrup messed up so...

I was at a concert for autism support the other night that my kid played at. The governor's wife and some other minor dignitaries were there.

The big story here is, though, I lost my sunglasses. They were in a glasses-case inside my camera case. I pulled my camera out a couple of times, and noticed the glasses case had fallen out. I pushed it back in the bag, but the glasses must have fallen out.

I really can't survive with them.

You may think it's a fashion statement or an attempt to look cool, but bright light KILLS me. Especially sunlight. Any irritation can cause uveitis which, if you forgot, looks like this only worse:
It feels like you have glass in your eye, and the pain doesn't stop when you close your eye. It just keeps watering, pouring out and won't stop. You have to get steroid eye drops to put in your eye at irregular hours, and then hope your retina doesn't detach.

The optometrist guy, one of the best in the state, told me: If it's daytime hours, wear sunglasses. Even if it's cloudy. He advised me to avoid bright light.

All of this is impossible when you lose your sunglasses. They're prescription. I can't just throw on regular sunglasses because then I can't see.

Anyhow, I went back the next day but the venue didn't find them. Nobody turned them into lost and found.

So I hightail it to my optometrist. I need an updated version of my prescription so I can get the glasses. I just want a new date on the form, I don't want my prescription to change.

My doc's not there. No adult one is. They refer me to a store in S.P., say it should be no problem because all I need is a refraction. Not a health test of anything.

The store in S.P. says they can't do that. I'm like, "Why? I'll pay for the test. You can put my glasses in the machine and see what my prescription is." But they act like I'm a fucking dude trying to get more oxy at the pharmacy counter.

Like, what possible way could I be abusing the system by trying to get my prescription? They finally say they'll do it, but they have to give me a new test anyway. I say fine, as long as the form you give me says exactly what this other form says.

They do it. I get the form. I rush it to Costco--under the wife's health plan we get a free pair of glasses every year, up to $175. So the glasses are free.

My only worry was that they may not carry the exact type. It's been a few years.

But they do have it. They say it'll take 5 days. I'm thinking...I can't leave the house in the day for 5 days...

I dropped the prescript off on Friday. It's Tuesday and they got me my glasses. And they're perfect. I'm whole again.

I know. Cool story, bro, tell it again.

They can't all be winners. *

*this is actually a line in the Ttory 2 script....

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Life Returns To Suck

Am back from Cancun. Let me tell you, did not want to come back.

This is weird for me, because usually when I'm on a vacation a part of me always is sort of anxious to come back to get to normalcy. I like my routines. I like, in general, things to go according to my expectations.

In Cancun, every day was wide open. We were there with 10 other people. Weirdly, every day I woke up around 7am because even with the curtains shut, there was a crack of that sun coming through and you don't know what bright sunlight is until you go to Cancun.

This is what the beach looked like:

We'd head down to the pool or beach, and people would be drinking. We'd go to the buffet and get whatever we wanted, all paid for already.

Day 1 got crazy--we got there, got set up, and everybody got WASTED. There was some inappropriate flirting, some flashing of the boobs from some of our party, some passing out. I got pretty drunk, but not too crazy.

We got dinner and went to the "theater" where they had one of the worst shows I've ever seen. It was like a high school musical but these people were adults. Luckily, the drinks were still free at every bar on the grounds.

We actually were up and in bed by like 11pm.

This was the view from our balcony:

Everybody decided that day 2 we'd take one of these catamarans to snorkel and drink. We headed out, and it started pouring. Like, SUPER pouring.
This was most of our motley crew getting ready to get on the catamaran. We were down one man due to Montezuma's revenge. He couldn't leave his room all day.

The rain disappeared fast though, and we got in the water to snorkel with some fish. The current was STRONG. My wife actually had to get a tow back to the boat, it was that strong. Even some of the other guys used the rope to pull themselves back in.

This is a shot from the water. (I had a cheap water-proof iphone case)
I have video, but haven't uploaded it yet.

After snorkelling they took us to an island with tons of shops and stuff. We rented a golf cart to drive around in, which was funny because you're driving in the same road as regular cars and shit. We ate a quick snack at a restaurant that gave us two kinds of cheese. "This is very hot," said the waitress as she pointed to one. Then she pointed at the other. "This one is worse."

Understatement. I barely touched the super hot to my tongue, and it was burning for the next hour.

We returned the golf cart and I bought my wife a cool Cancun cowboy hat(they love haggling there). Then back to the catamaran to go to another island that had more drinks and food. More swimming if we wanted. The whole time these guys are feeding us drinks CONSTANTLY.

I now have  a favorite new drink: Sky Blue. It appeared to be 50% vodka, 25%blue curacao and 25% 7-Up. No shit, I probably drank 40 of them over the course of the day.

We headed back, them blaring the radio, people dancing, drinking. It was a pretty amazing time. My wife described it as a perfect day, and it's hard to disagree.
Saw this shirt. Hard to disagree with the first part, right?

Back at the resort, we kept drinking in the pool.
The days sort of all blur through, but I think we laid down for a quick nap around 8pm. I woke up a couple of times and kept trying to get the wife up, but she was out. So we just stayed in bed until morning.

The rest of the vacation mostly was us hanging in the pool or the beach. (I liked the beach a lot more than the pool, but my wife thought it was "too cold", and it was nearly impossible to escape that sun. My pale skin couldn't take it too long.

I played about 2 hours of pool volleyball one day. Kept forgetting my fucked up shoulders, so when I'd go up to spike...I'd swing, and then the blinding pain that makes my arm numb for about 60 seconds.

Still, fun.

I'd say the one down side is that most of the restaurants on site weren't great. The buffet was, much of it being made right in front of you, but the steak house wasn't great. Their salmon didn't seem fresh. The 2nd time I ate there I just wanted a burger, and it tasted weird, and I threw it up later that night.

They had a 24-7 snack thing, but it was TERRIBLE. Nothing there was good. We didn't find out until the last night that we could call free room service and order whatever we wanted.

One night we went out to Senor Frogs to celebrate the wife's birthday. She likes it, but I found it a bit obnoxious. Lotta loud noises, horns, the waiters want you to interact with them all the time. I would have enjoyed it in my 20's...

Then we went to a mall with a Hard Rock Cafe shop. My wife was gonna get the kid a souvenir with a guitar or drums on it. We pulled a T-shirt and I'm not exaggerating: A regular, short-sleeve T-shirt. $40. American. Couldn't believe it.

We put it back and found him something at another shop, plus found me a cool hat for $10.

Later we may or may not have had a spiked brownie and laid on the beach from like midnight to 3am. It was INCREDIBLY relaxing.


Now I'm back though, and Ttory2 has to start getting moved on. The serious casting and scheduling, which is a nightmare due to everybody's schedules.

Going location scouting on the shore tonight. (never seen one of the houses we're shooting in, so need to get an idea of the layout for the shooting script)

Later this week or next, gotta head into the woods and find my specific locations plus do some other tests. And great news--sounds like it's gonna be the worst tick season in like a decade!

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Returned from Dallas

It was a fast trip. Something I've noticed the past couple of years: There are no 100% smooth flights anymore. There's always a couple of minutes with decent turbulence, if not longer.

I get there and realize that we're like a 10 minute taxi from the Texas Frightmare Weekend. My buddy Dom is gonna be there, and he reps some awesome actors. If I got out of the auction early enough Saturday and I wasn't tired, I could head on down and hang out with Batmanuel(for one).

So Friday I go to bed early--I had only gotten a couple of hours of sleep the night before so I figured I'd be out until I had to get up.

Nope. I woke up at 4:30am. I only got five hours of sleep, for a total of about 9 hours over a two-day span.

Did the auction. It was hard to keep my eyes open at times. But we got out early. I grabbed a burger downstairs, headed to my room. I figured I'd take a short nap, wake up at 9pm and head over. Could be there from like 9:30 to whenever Dom called it quits(usually like 2am).

I set my alarm. I woke up and glanced at the clock. 11:15pm.

I'm like...huh? I check my alarm. I set it for 9am instead of pm. At that point I was like, fuck it, it's too late. But I was pretty pissed.


Got back. Super tired. Took a little nap, and went out to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2. It's fun. The IMAX 3D looks really good. I didn't like it as much as the first film, but still a good time.

Hardest part was dodging THREE trailers on one film. Normally it's maybe one, but this one had a trailer for the new Alien, Spider-man and Star Wars.

Definitely dodging all the trailers about those three, 'cuz I'm already going. Don't want anything ruined.


I think the impending stress of T-tory 2 is starting to affect my sleep.  Not in a positive way.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Almost Fight

Fred(the actor who plays the clown in Ttory) wanted to meet me to get his copy of the dvd. I told him to meet me at Friendly's.

I get there. It was 9pm. I get out of my car and see some people standing around(waiting for their ice cream order, no doubt). Some other people chatting by their car, having probably just finished their dinner.

And a heavy-set black guy on the bench.

I get out of my car, looking around for Fred. I don't see him. So I stand there.

"Boss man!" I hear. "Hey boss man!"

It's the guy on the bench. It's dark, so it's hard to tell if he's looking at me or not. I don't say anything. He's pretty clearly gonna ask for some money.

He points at me and says again, "Boss man?"

I snap out a very clipped, "What?"

Guy says "Nothing."

I figure he got the gist from my demeanor that I'm not giving him anything. A family of three pulls up, gets out, and I hear him ask them something. I can only hear their reply which is "Sorry, only have a card."

Obviously I was right. Looking for money.

I'm texting Fred to see if he's late when I sense the guy approaching me out of my peripheral vision. I look up. He's a little taller than me, and bigger, but he's limping a bit.

"Hey man," he says. "I was just trying to ask you a question."

"Yeah," I reply with a face that says Like I Care.

"You didn't have to snap 'What?" at me like that. I just wanted to see if you could help me out with a couple bucks to get home."

"No." I reply.

Here's where it got weird. I've always been a reader of body language. Like, a REAL good reader of body language. I started reading books about it in high school in further pursuit. You can really tell a TON about a person by how they move or carry themselves.

And this guy's right fist balled up. Then he did a way-too-casual look to the right.

It was at that moment I realized--He's going to try to sucker punch me. I've seen this sort of shit in those knockout games videos that were going around a while ago.

I stepped back into a defensive position and shouted, "Step the fuck back!"

"Okay, okay," he says, but he doesn't move.

"Back the fuck off or I'm gonna knock you out," I further inform him, and I can already feel the adrenaline going through me. Been a long time since I been in a fight, and he's a big guy, but I'm actually kind of excited I'm gonna get to punch somebody again. Been a LONG time since I been in a fight.

"Come on, swing at me bitch, " I say, since he seems conflicted about what to do.

He finally backs off though. I tell him get the fuck out of here, and he starts walking away. He gets about 100 feet away and starts shouting shit at me. Something about "Bet you ain't gonna say 'What?' to nobody else!"

Fred had texted me back. He was already inside in a booth.

I went in and had some ice cream. Chatted with Fred. Came home. A little disappointed there was no fight.

Yeah, I'm probably too old to be fighting, but the spirit's still willing.


Anyway, still trying to get shit together for Ttory2. This is gonna be as challenging as usual...