Thursday, November 17, 2005

A brief history of (my) films

All my free time is gone.

I suppose it's my own fault for being obsessed so much about my own films. Yeah, I own that. But wow, I'm also completely obsessed with blogging right now. It's been so long since I've wanted to put a lot of this shite on paper... I mean, "paper". Now I'm conceptually dry heaving all this bunk through the keyboard. Heh heh. Nice image, eh?

All my free time is gone because in addition to working a full-time job, I'm using my free Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays to work 20+ hour days on a feature film, and any time left over is furiously spent working on two other films of my own. Who has time to sneeze anymore?

Whoa, speed racer. How did we get here? Put it in reverse.

Well... I began studying film at NYU in 1988, but after a number of 6AM no-sleep film shoots, I deduced that this life was not for me. I like my sleep. A lot. I mean, a fuck lot. (Sorry, people, I do curse like a sailor at times.) I figured if I were going to lose sleep over a project, either it would be on my own film or it would be on a film worthy of losing sleep. So years crept by while I pursued a career in graphic design...

But burying the passion only means it takes root and bears fruit later. 1995: during my Underground commute in London one morning, I saw a promo ad about a contest to win a 35mm motion picture camera if you could read a copy of Robert Rodriguez's Rebel Without A Crew and answered a few silly questions... It wasn't long before I was writing screenplays again. Soon my first feature script of It Runs In The Blood was complete. Blood garnered a quarterfinalist award with 1998's Empire Screenwriting competition.

Then one day, the digital revolution revved up and suddenly the once-exclusive endeavor called Filmmaking (cue random thunderclap and synchronized lightning flash) had been democratized for all to pursue. So in 2000, I wrote, directed and produced Metronome, my first three minute film, with my old college classmate and filmmaker fiend, Jena Starkes. Metronome was a fun little film to do and I treated it like a real film all the way from casting through making a press kit. Metronome even got selected for a local film festival where I once used to live in San Francisco.

Two years later, a wonderful soul named Josh Mehler invited me to help him on his superb A Fairy Story, and I saw what was possible with a G4 computer and three months of skullsweat. In fact, A Fairy Story would lay a great deal of the groundwork for the CGI project I'd be attempting five years down the road and had Josh foreseen the sheer magnitude of what I would be trying, he might have thrown himself on his sword right on the spot.

But once again, I—stupidly—let the creative bug be planted once more. Years passed... Then I got an email from my two friends about an college alumna who's a producer in Hollywood looking for scripts. It was starting to feel like the universe had me on a leash and kept yanking me back when I got off track. Suddenly, I'm writing screenplays again, and with vengeancece. About a year later I have about forty intriguing story ideas and the finished feature screenplay 62 Blocks To Battery Park under my belt. As a chatty romance about two people walking around Manhattan, it wasn't the most marketable script, but it helped me remember how much I love writing. It's hard work, but fun.

Finally, last year, I decided it was time to seriously jump back into the fray. When I was offered the chance to be a Production Assistant on a feature film here in Sacramento, I latched on and didn't let go. Oddly, I ended up being its Production Manager, then the Assistant Director... and then the Director! No thumbscrews, no Borgia rings... it just happened to me, I swear. One of my overriding goals, though, was to get to know as many people in the Sacramento film community as possible, and this was a great start.

Best of all, as often happens in the ways of the world, that project led to a referral for a Script Supervisor job on the inimitable horror flick Threading Over Dark, now my latest gig.

Today, at the end of my journey so far, I'm poising myself to shoot my 2nd short film—about 25 minutes long—and a major feature film project after that sometime in 2007. I am so excited about each of them that have to tell you them in separate posts. I will say this: the short film is a techno-thriller about a CIA super-analyst working from home, and the feature film is a 90% CGI film to be release online in webisode installments.

All my free time is gone. Because I'm up late at night writing this blog!

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