klugulablog

Prepare to face the ultimate boredom...
an ongoing description of my life, loves, thoughts, fears, work and lustings.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Halloween 2001

I'm prepping for a big writing project -- taking all of my old stories (since age 10), journal entries, etc. 

As I was sorting everything out, I came across a lovely typed piece, simply titled Halloween 2001.  It's a list of 15 classic horror films and a brief synopsis for each.

I've no idea what this was for -- perhaps a list of suggestions for a friend?  Based on the year, I'm guessing a co-worker at an old day job.

At any rate, as I move to preserve all of these various writing chunks from my life -- this particular item won't be placed in any book, but I can't part with it until it's found a "permanent" home.

*Please note, I'm not proud of the nasty (and unnecessary) comment regarding Shelly Duvall, but I'll keep it intact.  Accept that I was an asshole when writing this, apologize for it and chalk it up to apparently being a douche-bag when I penned this.  My apologies to Ms. Duvall and any potential readers...

So here it is:

I have narrowed my search down to the following 15 titles, in no particular order:

1) Night of the Living Dead
The 1968 black and white classic about 7 strangers stranded in a farmhouse in the backwoods of Pennsylvania, while hundreds of recently revived corpses; hungry for human flesh; attempt to break through their haphazard barricade.  Tensions flare between the living, as the dead pound mercilessly on the windows and doors.  George Romero directs.

2) The Blair Witch Project
Released in the summer of 1999, this film became a phenomenon.  Filmed entirely with handheld cameras, the film is eerily realistic.  It follows three young filmmakers into the woods to discover the real truth of a local legend.  What they find is much more than they bargained for.

3) Poltergeist
Steven Spielberg wrote and produced this suburban nightmare.  Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) directed, although it is believed Steven Spielberg had more than the regular producer's  hand in the final product.  Whoever was involved, the film is a genuine find.  The genius lies in the happy-go-lucky atmosphere created.  Goes to show you, bad things happen anywhere and to anyone.  Note the great performances of JoBeth Williams as Diane Freeling and Beatrice Streight as Dr. Lesch.

4) Candyman
The urban legend at its best.  Look in the mirror, say his name 5 times and he will appear behind you.  Or better yet, don't.  The underrated Virginia Madsen delivers a powerful performance as Helen, the object of Candyman's deadly desires.  The film takes place in Chicago's infamous Cabrini Green.  Eat your heart out, Bloody Mary!

5) Halloween
John Carpenter's 1978 masterpiece of unstoppable suspense.  Jamie Lee Curtis stars in her first film role as Laurie Strode, the babysitter who must overcome her shyness and naivete to battle and honest-to-God boogeyman.  Spawned 6 highly inferior sequels, with another on the way.  It doesn't get any better than this.

6) The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Loosely based on the real life murder spree of Wisconsin's own Ed Gein, this is a non-stop joy ride of depravity and sickness.  Cannibalism, cross-dressing, skin wearing, chainsaw murders, and family dinners.  This film has it all.  Extremely intense and sometimes difficult to watch.

7) A Nightmare on Elm Street
Johnny Depp has his first starring role opposite a filthy child murderer who uses knives like giant fingernails.  How can you not love this film?  It seamlessly intertwines reality with dreams (well except for the last 20 minutes or so) and created the one and only Freddy Krueger.  Really great special effects, especially for such a small budget.  Keep in mind, that almost every major studio turned this project down, before New Line Cinema picked it up.  Robert Shaye, the head of New Line, calls his studio, "The house that Freddy built".  To those studios that shrugged off Wes Craven and his "wild" ideas, "How wrong can you be?"

8) The Exorcist
Six words.  "Your mother sucks cocks in hell."

9) Rosemary's Baby
This story is about an actor, his wife, and their new home, opposite devil worshippers.  Well, there's nothing wrong with that, unless they have evil plans in mind for you, and you are trying to get pregnant, and your actor husband is down on his luck in the theatre circuit, and you happen to be Mia Farrow, and you just happen to crave raw meat, and of course are too nosy to not let things go.  Ruth Gordon won the 1968 Supporting Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Minnie Castavet.  Enjoy!

10) The Shining
Jack Nicholson acts in a Stanley Kubrick film, based on a novel by Stephen King.  Sound kinky?  Well, not so crazy as the result.  Some amazing imagery in this film, and some if doesn't seem to mean much, but it sure does look good.  Very atmospheric.  Shelly Duvall is about as homely as any human being could be, but man, she sure can act.  If this film taught us anything, it was to always keep an eye on things as you turned the corner on your Big Wheel.

11) Carrie
Surprise!  Another Stephen King product.  This one concerns a young girl with telekinetic powers (the power to move things with her mind) an the onset of puberty, which only gives her gift more strength, and allows her to have more control over it.  Not a good thing if you happen to be one of the bullies at school who has the urge to mock her at every chance.  Sissy Spacek was nominated for an Oscar as "Creepy" Carrie White, the poor put upon nerd with the psycho bible-beating mother, and the schoolhouse full of (insert sarcasm here) caring, supportive, sensitive friends.

12) Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Perhaps more of a sci-fi film, however, the scary scenes in this film certainly raise it to the status of honorary horror film.  An all star cast must outwit, outplay and outlast, in essence, survive the onslaught of nasty doppelganger pods from outer space.  The ending needs to be seen to be believed.  The whole idea behind this film is terrifying, things from outer space come to earth to clone the human race, in the interim, killing the real people.  To what end?  It is never really explained, but who cares, the whole time you're wondering who is who and what is what.  Leonard Nimoy even gets in on the fun.

13) The Thing (1982)
Here we have John Carpenter again.  And again, we have a sci-fi/horror crossover.  Another all star cast must fight against something that looks like them, talks like them, but certainly doesn't scream like them, especially  when it gets a flamethrower to the face.  Also, this group of people is stuck in the Antarctic.  So they are cut off form everyone and everything.  After they dig up a spaceship that has been stuck in the ice for millions of years, the incredible special effects take flight.  They are a gooey icky mess, but certainly not the star of the film, as so many critics have said.  The star (opposite Kurt Russell) is the complete sense of hopelessness and isolation that permeates the film.  It really delivers the goods.

14) The Hitcher
This film explains in gritty detail why you should never pick up hitchhikers.  Start Rutger Hauer, C. Thomas Howell and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

15) The Entity
Barbara Hershey stars as a woman living a normal life, until a ghost in her home decides to rape her... and rape her... and rape her.  Extremely painful to behold, but Hershey's performance is riveting and the story is creepy enough to maintain full attention by the audience.  The ending here is tricky, but pay attention and it will be worth the price of admission.

Note: The original printed document was not saved.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

2018 TO-DO LIST Extravaganza!


2017 is almost in the books.


So let’s take a gander at last year’s to-do list and see how I rated as far as completion. Hold onto your butts...

1) The Costume People: Again, it’s that script I began early last year. first reading has been scheduled for early February, and thus I am planning for all of the bells and whistles to get it completed very early in the year. So, complete the current third draft, a fourth draft, send it out for notes, complete a fifth draft (pre-reading) and then post-reading; a sixth draft and a seventh (and potentially final) draft.

HOW DID IT GO?

This can be marked as DONE. The reading was wonderful. I got tons of notes from that group of folks as well as from several smart readers elsewhere. When all was said and done, I completed NINE total drafts. Not too shabby. The piece was sent to several producers who expressed some interest. One particular production company is very interested… details (hopefully great news) to come when I can release such things.

2) The Costume People: To at least 5 festivals (highest priorities: Nicholls Fellowship, Screamfest, Filmquest, Shriekfest).

HOW DID IT GO?
All four of the listed festival/competitions… I did it. Submitted to them, and ended up being a TOP TEN finalist for both Filmquest and NOLA Horror Film Festival. I was a quarter-finalist in Shriekfest. The script didn’t do anything at Nicholls or Screamfest. Other festivals where the script did nothing: Bluecat and Austin Film Festival, although I received very positive feedback from Bluecat… hmmm. The script is still out to one festival, to be announced in July of 2018 – Script Pipeline. So I can for sure mark this as DONE!

3) Brand new feature script idea I had while on a recent vacation to Vegas – currently titled Dead-On. I would like a first draft of this piece by year’s end.

HOW DID IT GO?

Not so much as a looky-loo on this baby. So this is a big ol’ FAIL!

4) And since I seem to find other projects to work on, which never were on my initial list at the beginning of the year, I’ll simply state this – another feature script first draft by the end of the year – but in order to find success, it’ll remain unnamed. One script – doesn’t matter what – needs a first draft. Make sense? And there are plenty of properties to choose from – Harsh Critic, Clare, This is Julia, Lindsay’s Locker and The French Toast Nine are great options.

HOW DID IT GO?

See below for all the stuff not on the list which got some serious facetime in 2017. But I didn’t actually complete a first draft of any script. Currently, two scripts are in the works. One of them has about 80 pages on the first draft, but it’s certainly not complete. So sadly, even with plenty of work throughout the year, this is a FAIL.

5) I am setting myself up with a goal for Horror Freak News. I want to complete (at least) 10 articles per month. Very reasonable, and once so many of the festivals come back around on the calendar – it’ll be a cinch!

HOW DID IT GO?

I’m quite pleased with my progress on this one. It’s not yet the end of December, but I’ve already completed 8 reviews/articles, so no doubt I’ll make my quota for this month. As for February and March, I didn’t make my quota. Apparently not a lot of titles out there for review, or I was particularly lazy those months. November, I also didn’t make it. But that was post festival season (Filmquest, Shriekfest, Screamfest, Horror Haus). In September and October, I did close to 40 reviews, so November was a “I just can’t month” for reviews. I ended up doing 4 total.

Now, I am going to mark this one with a “conditional” DONE. Reason being, with all of the extras I did in the busy months, I surely made up for the slower/less productive months. And since this is my list – by God, I’ll do what I want.

I was truly debating if I should mark this in the positive column. And with the addition of Dances with Films to my festival schedule this year, I worked very hard during June, September and October for the fests. I feel I can justify this choice. So for last year’s #5 chore, I’m gonna call it DONE!

6) Complete a new/updated and shiny draft of Tonight I Shall Lease Your Soul. It’s been sitting on the shelf for 5+ years, but I think there’s plenty of goodness there, and potential for festival love if I can get it back in order. This is the script I wrote w/ my buddy Chris McCaleb. He’s already agreed to let me take on the rewrite and then we’ll pow-wow after that. At a daunting 125 pages, this script needs some serious trimming!

HOW DID IT GO?

I did a few piddly bits of work on this – nothing notable. But the biggie news on this front – an interested producer. So I have to mark chore #6 as a FAIL, but there is definitely movement (in an unexpected direction) on this script. So a “fail” doesn’t necessarily mean a total failure, right?

7) I’m gonna go ahead and put Scratcher (my first novel) back on this list. But instead of saying I’ll have a first draft by year’s end, I’ll make it more feasible. How about 40,000 words by years end? Let’s see how it goes.

HOW DID IT GO?

Ha. Ha ha. Not so much as a re-opening of the file itself. Wish I could find a way to move ahead on this one. We’ll see if it makes the list for 2018. Verdict: FAIL!

8) The short film, A Great Yard is also back on the list. Pre-production, production and post. It’s gonna happen this year

HOW DID IT GO?

It’s gonna happen this year.” Yeah, not so much. I think there was some brief brainstorming on this, but absolutely nothing else. Sigh. Call it as it is. FAIL!

9) A Great Yard: To at least 5 festivals – top priorities are Screamfest, Filmquest, Shriekfest.

HOW DID IT GO?

Hmmm… let’s examine the response to the last one. That’s right. No film, no festivals. FAIL!

10) Travel back home to SD! I didn’t make it last year, and that was on my list for 2016. But with reservations already set for the summer, it seems more likely that this will come to pass! It will be almost exactly 10 years since I was back in the Black Hills!

HOW DID IT GO?

DONE! As part of an epic road trip which included The Black Hills of SD, Yellowstone and many more amazing spots along the way, we had time to see family (after this 10 year hiatus). I spent time with my two nieces, whom I’d not seen since they were toddlers (they’re teenagers now for goodness sake). Connected with so many fun folks of my past. We drove our brand new vehicle, which we purchased in April.

And SD wasn’t the only big trip. Lots and lots of glorious travel this year! Love, love, love being on the open road! So yes, this one can be marked DONE!

11) I’m gonna put some more acting wishes on this year’s list. Let’s shoot for 5 films – short or feature (to audition, be hired and shot). I mean, why not!

HOW DID IT GO?

Sadly, this one will be marked with a FAIL. Out of the five projects I would have liked to do, I only ended up doing some work on one short film for my buddy Monte. It was a lot of fun. But only one out of five potential acting gigs, = a big nope. :(

12) I am also going to put out there a possible return to the stage. If something presents itself and the timing works out, I say yes!

HOW DID IT GO?

While I didn’t get back on stage per se, I did take up with a new friend, actress and producer Arielle. She’s got an acting workshop/class and I joined up with the group in June. Sure, I’ve missed several classes while out of town, but I’m totally committed to being a full time face there. Amazing people from all acting levels and some exciting scene work. It’s become a necessary therapy which I constantly look forward to each and every week. And since my chore is listed as “a possible return to the stage”, not specifying that I’m “in a show” on stage, I think I can interpret it (again, this is my list) as a DONE. Yes. I’m back on stage and that’s that. :)

13) Continue to put Spider Eaters out there. Whether it’s through adt’l competitions or query letters or bothering potential producers, I feel that this is the most marketable piece I have, and with the many kudos it’s received, it seems wise to continue to tout the wares of this busload of tourists out to have a spidery-snack!

HOW DID IT GO?

I can certainly mark this as a DONE. I don’t know how many folks I sent this out to this year, but it’s a respectable amount for sure. There’s definitely interest, but with the high budget price tag – it’s scaring some folks off. However, it’s obviously a good example of my writing, for some of these producers who have passed on it have asked if there are other properties. So, there’s that. #13 is DONE!

14) On the home-front, we’ve got a brand new mattress arriving soon (our current one is 13 year’s old, folks!) and with that, I’ve been discussing w/ the other half about re-painting/redecorating our entire bedroom. Some updates and re-organization – just some changes to spiff it up! Therefore, a complete bedroom re-do is now added to my list.

HOW DID IT GO?

While we didn’t actually repaint the bedroom, we did get a brand new set of bookshelves to display knick-knacks and of course, books. There are also several drawers for easy and out-of-sight storage. So the room was definitely “spiffed” up. So I am going to mark this one as DONE.

15) Although it’s now some sort of depressing, running joke, I’m still putting The 53 Zombie Moods: A book for your coffee table– back on the list for 2017. One of these days, everything will align and this project will be off the ground – finally!

HOW DID IT GO?

FAIL. While I still hold out hope that this will eventually find completion, I also believe I just need to let it happen organically. So this may make it to the 2018 to-do list as well. But it certainly didn’t happen in 2017. :(

16) I’ve never truly used this “To-do List Extravaganza” as a real list of resolutions, ‘cause, let’s face it, life changes are much more difficult than a monumental to-do list, right? However, I am going to add on here – somehow, some way – that I need to lose about 30 lbs. It’s not a joke. Since I stopped working my day job (well over a year ago), the pounds have been coming fast and furious and I don’t like the way I look. A little pudge, whatever, but a full-on beer belly, no thanks! So whether I get back on a hiking regiment or return to running (as I so often dream of doing), something has to change about my health and my weight. I’m not getting any younger, friends… We’ll see how it goes.

HOW DID IT GO?

Not 30 lbs., but about 20 lbs. Not too shabby, but not the total goal I was hoping for. So despite some definite progress in this arena, I have to mark it as a partial FAIL. Poo...

17) I’m gonna throw this out there as well. I have another short script which I’d love to produce. If I can get A Great Yard completed, then the short film I wrote a few years ago –Valet – might have a chance. So I’m putting pre-pro/production/post for Valet on the list. I’ll leave festival possibilities for next year!

HOW DID IT GO?

While I discussed this project with my friend Monte (asking him if he’d like to direct), not much headway on this piece. He has already done some prep work, so I’m thinking I’ll put this one back on the list for 2018. It’ll be a lot easier to tackle than A Great Yard, so fingers crossed. But for 2017: FAIL.

18) With dreaming and pre-planning for some longer and more involved travel (we love our road trips, but I want to go bigger), the other half and I need to get our passports updated, in order to be ready for some world travel in the near future. I’ve truly been nowhere and the other half has been everywhere. It’s time he showed me around, right?

HOW DID IT GO?

At press, we didn’t get this done. However, there’s still some time left in December. Right now, FAIL. But we’ll see...

19) Putting this back on the list, because I am absolutely ready for it. I want to move into a house. A home. Something other than communal living. Its novelty has worn off – did a long time ago. Again, more of a wish than a number on a “to-do” list, but this wish for a happy, single family home is making a comeback!

HOW DID IT GO?

We’re still in the same place. So this is an easy mark of FAIL. But I might put this back on the list for next year.

20) And finally – the other half will hate this one – along with a new house, I want a dog. Hello universe? You hearing what I’m throwing out at you? A house and a dog. There. And no more excuses from the other half.

HOW DID IT GO?

No dog to go with the no house. FAIL.

As is the norm on my lists, I have to negate some of the neuroses all of the above “fails” create in my brain, by advising of the many things which weren’t on the list, but which got some face-time as far a productive work throughout the year.

In February, I was inspired to start a new script. Christian Demons has gotten plenty of work throughout the year. It’s another feature length piece. While I didn’t quite make a completed first draft, it does have almost 80 total pages at the moment. This will be a big project on next year’s list.

In early July, a fun project fell into my lap. While I can’t discuss any details, it’s consumed a lot of my brain power and writing time in the second half of the year. I’m hoping this will find completion throughout 2018. So while it will remain “unnamed”, it’ll find plenty of spots on next year’s to-do list.

A buddy of mine is putting together a book of essays on horror films. He’ll serve as editor. I got to submit an essay on one of my faves. I’m done with that, but you’ll still need to stay tuned for release info. :)

We traveled on a total of 9 road trips this year. The longest one was 36 days away from LA. So simply enjoying the open road, seeing friends and family and visiting numerous national parks/monuments – took a lot of time this year. But I wouldn’t change it in any way. Wonderful experiences all.

I’m now set for next year, with the addition of some new festivals this year, to cover a total of seven film festivals in 2018. It think that’s right. Dances with Films, LA Film Festival, Filmquest, Shriekfest, Screamfest, Horror Haus and AFI. 2017 was a busy year for festival screenings.

Also on the film critic front, this year found me contributing a few reviews to the good folks over at Tom Holland’s Terror Time. We’ll see how that relationship expands in 2018!

But enough of looking back on 2017 – personally a good year for me, but with all of the craziness in the world, I’m certainly ready to put this year into the rearview mirror.

So without further ado, here’s my TO DO LIST EXTRAVAGANZA for 2018!

1) 8 (EIGHT) REVIEWS/ARTICLES for HORROR FREAK NEWS or TOM HOLLAND’S TERROR TIME (or any other potential outlets) per month.

Since there were a few months in 2017 where my 10-article self-imposed quota seemed to be too much, and based on the fact that I truly believe 2018 will be a very busy year for screenwriting, I’m going to keep my article/review quota in place for each month. But instead of a daunting 10 articles, I’m going to expect only 8 reviews/articles per month. It feels like something of a cop-out, but I’m willing to make the attempt to keep my sanity. Believe me when I say that having the 10 articles over my head every month, and then not making a couple of those months – I was beating myself up… and good. It’s not worth the neurotic flare-up.

2) Complete Christian Demons.

As always, this will require many, many steps to achieve. So before the end of 2018, I need a 1st draft, 2nd draft, 3rd draft, send to readers, 4th draft (with reader notes), 5th draft, reading prep, reading, 6th (post-reading) draft, 7th draft. And I’ll finish this one up with an 8th draft. Obviously, I’ll do more if necessary.

3) Christian Demons to festivals.

I’m up in the air about this. Perhaps a couple of select festivals. Since the film is heavily LGBT, I might try my hand at targeting those fests, in addition to some of the horror ones. I’m gonna leave this open about which specific festivals, but I’m gonna shoot for 5 total festivals – where Christian Demons can/should be submitted.

4) First draft of any script.

Like last year, I’m gonna put out there for a (currently) unnamed feature spec script to find completion on (at least) a 1st draft. Several options on the table already, but I’ll be open to some random inspiration (like what happened with Christian Demons in 2017). If not some wonderful random idea – then I’d like to see a potential first draft for The French Toast Nine, Harsh Critic or Lindsay’s Locker – all of which are projects I’ve already begun.

5) Work on the “unnamed” project which found me in July of 2017.

Again, no details can be divulged, but I’m hoping this will find completion (in the many multiple steps necessary). When making my “tab board”, I’m going to put down 8 total (vague) steps. A nice round number, as I actually have no idea how/when/where this may go. Obviously, there may be more than 8 steps. There may be less. Time will tell how this gig goes… For now, fingers crossed, yo!

6) The 53 Zombie Moods: A book for your coffee table.

Putting it on here again. Again, let it organically happen and all will be right with the world. Is this the year we make it to the finish line? Frankly, any push toward making this work will be welcome.

7) The House up the Street.

I’ve got four bursting at the seams folders of old handwritten stories, poems, etc. From as far back as 1984. I’ve had on the agenda for some time, plans to put all of these into a book and get it self-published. Kind of a progression as a writer from the very beginning. First and foremost, I have to get these old pieces typed up and saved into a computer, before I begin to put it all together. It’s a big project, so tackling ONE folder seems a reasonable way to move forward.

8) Valet.

I think this will be an easier production than my other short, A Great Yard. So I’m putting this on the list. 12 months to make this happen. Update the script. Pre-production. Production. Post-production. C’mon, let’s do it.

9) Valet to festivals.

If this finds completion before year’s end, I’d love to get it out to festivals for the following season. Let’s shoot for 5 of them (for starters). Festivals to be determined...

10) Passport renewals.

Didn’t make this happen in 2017. But I think there may be opportunity (wink, wink) for world travel in 2018, so obviously, this is a must. And it should be (and should have been in 2017) an easy one to mark off the list.

11) Move Penelope’s site.

Several years ago, I befriended actress Penelope Sudrow of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. I built her personal website. But as is, I am the only one who has access to updating it – as it’s connected to the same site building platform as my own personal websites. Bottom line, I need to open her own account and rebuild the site – eventually passing off complete control to her. I unfortunately no longer have the time to manage it for her. I don’t think this is a major undertaking – but time will be required nonetheless.

12) Lose 20 pounds in 2018.

With the loss of 20 pounds in 2017 – I know this is totally do-able. And with that extra 20 smackers off of my gut – I will be at a more ideal weight. Make it so.

13) 40k words on Scratcher (novel).

Trying for this again. 40,000 words on my first novel. Not anything to be “completed”, but this would be a huge push in that direction. C’mon, Klug – do it!

14) Tonight I Shall Lease Your Soul (update).

With interest from a producer, this script will require a little updating, development and stream-lining. Gonna put this one down for THREE steps – potentially THREE new drafts before it moves into exciting new steps.

15) The Costume People (update).

Same thing here. THREE updated drafts of this – to appease potential development by interested producers.

16) Acting – THREE gigs.

I hoped for FIVE total acting gigs last year, and did one. So I think downsizing this on my to-do list is reasonable. Three short film or feature film acting gigs. And with all of the lovely connections I’ve made at my new weekly acting class/workshop, this feels promising.

17) House.

Gonna throw this wish up here again. I’m so totally ready to leave communal living behind and move into a single family home. Why not? And I’m DYING for some new decorating/re-organizing projects in my life. I find them supremely relaxing. What better way to feed that need, than to have a brand new home/canvas in/on which to create!

18) Update my personal website.

That’s kind of a vague title, but whatevs. There are lots of piddly little things (all of which add up to plenty of work) which need to be fixed/updated over at notmymess.com. One of the glaringly obvious ones is to properly link up all of my reviews to their actual location on the interwebs. Not a tough job, but certainly time-consuming. This could potentially be an easy one to mark off of the list.

19) Keep current on horror film releases throughout 2018.

This is a weird one. It’ll certainly be hard to qualify success or not. But over the past two years, as I get ready to write my “Best of Horror” end of year list, I find there are major gaps in my horror education as I come into December. And right now (as at this time last year), I’m scrambling to get in a dozen or so horror films under my belt (whether I’m reviewing them or not) in order to make the most educated decisions on which pieces end up in my top 15. Obviously I can’t see everything, but I want to feel like I’ve done my best. So rather than kill myself in the last weeks of the year, I want to watch them as they come up (even if I’m not reviewing them). Make sense? I guess a good way to determine success, is if I have – let’s say – 6 or less films to take in at year’s end. Totally reasonable.

20) Produce a stage-play starring me! :)

This might be a high-falutin’ pipe-dream, but I’m gonna see how it goes. I’ve been itching (as last year) to get back on stage again. I want to produce some sort of stage show where I can highlight myself as an actor. Something small. A few plays come to mind – or perhaps I can write something myself. Do a show that runs like two or three weekends and that’s it. I like this idea. Hmmm...

And that is what I’m up against, folks. See you in just over 365 days with a full report of my rousing successes on these (and many other) exciting fronts! Have a happy and productive 2018!

Stay tuned for my updated TAB BOARD!



Saturday, May 06, 2017

Life's Embarrassing Moments #324984

Yeah.  That's a random number, as such memorable moments of sheer embarrassment are infinite.

To this day, as a 42 year old man, I still carry around the guilt or red-face-inducing flubs of so many things from my many years -- that it's become something of a neurotic obsession.

Something random and seemingly unrelated will whisper in my ear, "remember that over-the-top embarrassing moment when..."

Some things have fallen into the category of a goofy memory -- no longer inspiring unrest or discomfort, while others still have the mighty power to make me feel bad right then and there -- years -- even decades after the original event.  What a thing is the human brain?

Well one which has been on my mind -- only because I intended to write about it some time ago -- is about to come to light.  It's one of the now-goofy ones which makes for a fun anecdote, not something which requires an immediate trip to my therapist.

One of my summer jobs back home -- during my college years (and I actually worked this job right after graduation for a few months -- before I moved to Minneapolis) was as a hotel housekeeper, for a hotel called The White House Inn.  It was a good gig, with good people in the higher-up positions.  And if there weren't many rooms, you could be done w/ your work day in a flash (they paid by room, of course -- not by the hour -- thus the faster you worked, the faster you went home).  I think it was the summer between my junior and senior years at college -- since my mountain bike played a large role in this story.

My younger brother and I went biking quite often in the rocky and sometimes steep terrain of Lead (that's in the Black Hills of South Dakota -- where I grew up).  And this summer was a good one (and if I recall, the summer I fully came out -- even beyond my initial "bi-sexual" label).  But I digress.

Anyway, it was an average day.  I rode my bike to work and was assigned my rooms.  It could be a nasty job, but I'll save some of those truly disgusting encounters for another time.

I went into one of my rooms and found a note from the folks who had obviously just checked out.  I don't recall the exact wording on the note, but it was something along the lines of,

"Someone left some filthy magazines in the nightstand drawer".

Well -- and here's where you'll want to stop reading -- if in fact you hold me in high regard as some sort of innocent, God-fearing creature --

Being someone who enjoys pornography, I was naturally intrigued.

I quickly opened the drawer to find two straight, hard-core porno magazines.  If I recall, one was a "Cheri" magazine (was that a thing?) and I don't remember what the other one was.

Now, being in a small town, I wasn't big on going out to buy magazines at our local convenience store (and they wouldn't have the gay ones I would prefer anyway).  And I had a limited collection from my 3 years in college.  So some new spank-material was not a bad thing.  Luckily, some of the hard-core straight mags have ample male exposure and actual climax shots.  This was long before the internet, folks, so this was some high quality material.

So I decided right then and there that I needed to find a way to smuggle this contraband from the hotel room and to my home -- following my day's work and on my bicycle no less.  I didn't carry a backpack or anything, so this was going to be a challenge.

First thing I did toss the note of course.

I then wrapped the magazines in several layers of trash bags.  They were clear, so this was ultimately pointless.  But I put them under a stack of towels in my cart.

As the day went on and I continued to clean pubes from the tubs and scrub the toilets, my mind was only on how best to make my end of the day exodus with these all-important magazines.

Luck!  I found a stack of magazines in the laundry room -- People, Us and other like-minded publications, left over by other hotel guests.  I asked the boss if I could take those home.  The answer was, "of course!"

Success!  So I loaded them up with the contraband and wrapped them in several layers of more garbage bags.

And most of you will know how awfully flimsy those hotel room trash-bags truly are -- so this was an uneasy effort to begin with.

The day ended and I mounted my bike, with this probably 8 magazine-high stack in these piss-poor garbage bags.  I balanced them all for a good while, but when I crossed the street while riding my bike, I came up on the curb.  There was no gradual slant to accommodate potential wheelchair-ridden citizens, so I tried to wheely my bike up over the curb, while still balancing my valuable parcel.

I didn't clear the curb, and smashed my front tire (bending the rim) into the cement.

Naturally, the already-delicate package flew from my hand (obviously I was steering with only one hand).  Upon landing on the sidewalk, the bags tore and split open (of course) and that stack of magazines -- including the deeply hidden gems I so desperately wanted to get home -- slid out in a pattern which can only be described as a perfectly fanned-out giant-sized deck of cards.

Luckily, it wasn't a heavily-traveled walkway, so I quickly snatched up the stack, but was now left with torn bags.  I don't recall how I managed to re-wrap them, but the bike tire was still sound enough to continue the ride home (a week later, while out on a ride, my tire went flat -- no doubt punishment for my sinful urges).

At any rate, I got my new magazines home and I'm sure I enjoyed them.  The People magazines, of course.  Ahem.

For years, my face would redden at the random remembrance of this caper.  Today, at my ripe old age, I'm finally able to let something like this go and simply laugh about it.

Looking back -- with who I am and the sometimes confidence I now have -- if I was who I am now, I would simply have told my boss, "Hey, I found these porno mags in one of the rooms.  Okay if I take them home?  Do you have a bag I could use?"

With age comes indifference to those around you, I guess.  Judge me.  I don't care (except when I do).

The bottom line is that I can finally let things like this roll off of me.  I don't have the time or energy to lend to these potentially guilt-laden memories.

I guess I should write about all of the rest of these embarrassing moments -- in an effort to vanquish them forever -- but I don't have enough life to live to accomplish such a feat.  Besides, I've no doubt got so many more to experience in the second half of my life.

I've won this battle, but I doubt I'll ever win the war.

Friday, January 06, 2017

"To-Do List Extravaganza" for 2017!

It’s coming up on the end of the year (this list – believe it or not – was begun while 2016 was still in session).  2016 has been a tough one, but all of the tempers and craziness and high profile deaths aside – I personally had a pretty good year… when looking at my To-Do List Extravaganza for 2016.  As usual, not everything was met with success and completion, but I feel pretty dang good about where I ended up.  And with that, I have some new ideas for outlining the tasks at hand for 2017.  We’re gonna shake things up a bit – thus allowing for more possible success stories before we reach 2018.

But first, let’s copy and paste all of the 20 items on my 2016 list and answer to each one of them.  Are you ready?  I am, let’s put this year behind us and start anew!  Old business:

1) SILVER SPOON script update.  Basically another couple of drafts to get this into ship-shape before festival submissions -- including incorporating all notes from Ms. Jackson.  Several steps, but one goal -- to call this COMPLETE!

HOW DID IT GO?  Well, Silver Spoon as a whole did not get much play in 2016 – in fact, little to none.  It’s not been a top priority, with such a busy year.  Will it find a spot on 2017’s list?  Keep reading.  We shall see.  VERDICT: INCOMPLETE

2) SILVER SPOON to (at least) 5 festival/screenwriting competitions -- top priority: Filmquest, Screamfest, Shriekfest.

HOW DID IT GO?  As you can tell from the above comments, not well.  No updated script means no festival entries.  VERDICT: INCOMPLETE

3) SPIDER EATERS to (at least) 3 festival/screenwriting competitions -- top priority: Screamfest, Shriekfest.  Once this is done, I can basically call this project COMPLETE.

HOW DID IT GO?  This project was a rousing success in 2016!  I entered the piece into multiple festivals, including those listed above.  It was a Top Ten Finalist for the NOLA Horror Film Festival, a Top Ten Unproduced Screenplay for Filmquest, an Official Selection for RIP Horror Film Festival, a Quarter-Finalist for Shriekfest and get this – a TOP FIVE for Screamfest (considered to be the Sundance of horror festivals!).  I also had some interest from several producers (nothing’s come of it yet, but who knows).  So I think it’s fair to stamp #3 as VERDICT: COMPLETE!

4) A GREAT YARD short film.  Pre-pro/Production/Post-pro.  Lots of steps, but again -- one goal.

HOW DID IT GO?  Lots more talk on this, and some additional drafts on the script itself, but as of now, we’ve not officially begun pre-production.  But I intend to make this a reality in 2017.  No further excuses!  VERDICT: INCOMPLETE

5) A GREAT YARD short film to at least 5 film festivals -- top priority: Screamfest, Shriekfest, Filmquest

HOW DID IT GO?  Again – look at the comments in #4.  No completed film means no film festival entries.  Blah…  VERDICT: INCOMPLETE

6) LINDSAY'S LOCKER -- feature script first draft (let's try this again)

HOW DID IT GO?  Not so much as a looky-loo at this project.  I’m going to incorporate this one into 2017 – in a creative new way.  VERDICT: INCOMPLETE

7) HARSH CRITIC -- feature script first draft

HOW DID IT GO?  Also – not one look at this piece.  Plans to get this some face-time in 2017.  VERDICT: INCOMPLETE

8) FURNISH feature script -- reading prep (a couple of drafts more) and reading
HOW DID IT GO? Another rousing success in 2016!  All of the drafts leading up to the reading (which took place in early March) made for a great time on this project.  At the reading, along with so many of my talented friends – I was able to get two terrific horror actresses of note to offer their voices to the reading:  Cerina Vincent of Eli Roth’s original Cabin Fever and Lynn Lowry of George A. Romero’s original The Crazies and David Cronenberg’s Shivers!  Couldn’t believe that stroke of luck!  VERDICT: A BIG FAT COMPLETE!

9) FURNISH feature script -- post reading draft (s)

HOW DID IT GO?  Another yes!  Several drafts following the reading, properly prepped the piece for submission to festivals!  VERDICT: COMPLETE

10) FURNISH feature script to (at least) 5 film festival/screenplay competitions -- top priority: Screamfest, Filmquest

HOW DID IT GO?  Furnish was submitted to several festivals over the past year.  Didn’t make it to Screamfest, but submitted to a total of six others.  It was an Official Selection at Fright Night Film Festival, and is still awaiting announcements on three of them.  Also on the Furnish topic, it’s currently in the hands of a French film producer.  So keep your fingers crossed!  And a buddy of mine is a big proponent of the piece, and has been attempting to get it into the hands of other producers.  Godspeed, Furnish!  Despite the fact that it wasn’t entered into Screamfest, I’m still stamping this one VERDICT: COMPLETE

11) THE FRENCH TOAST NINE feature script -- 1st (I expected to have this done before the end of the year 2015, but not looking probable) 2nd and 3rd drafts

HOW DID IT GO?  Don’t make me laugh.  Not a damn thing on this project.  Nada.  Zilch.  VERDICT: INCOMPLETE

12) THE FRENCH TOAST NINE feature script -- reading prep and reading

HOW DID IT GO?  See #11’s notes for proof of failure.  VERDICT: INCOMPLETE

13) THE FRENCH TOAST NINE feature script -- 4th and 5th drafts (post reading)

HOW DID IT GO?  Rinse and repeat.  Nothing.  Will we see this on 2017’s list?  Stay tuned.  VERDICT: INCOMPLETE
 
14) SCRATCHER novel -- first draft (trying this one again)

HOW DID IT GO?  Tumbleweed and the sound of a bird high in the desert sky.  It’s been so long since I looked at this project, I simply don’t know what it is anymore.  2017?  We shall see.  VERDICT: INCOMPLETE

15) HORROR LADIES OF THE '80s -- this series of articles for Horror Freak News MUST find completion -- probably w/ in the first month of the year!

HOW DID IT GO?  Did I get it done in the first month of the year?  Ha!  Try the eleventh month of the year.  But who the hell cares!?  This project is DONE, DONE, DONE!  Such a load off my chest to find this project complete.  Something I started in May of 2015 for Godssakes.  Ecstatic to be done w/ this.  I will never again take on something like this.  If I ever bring it up – something similar – just shoot me.  VERDICT: COMPLETE

16) Putting THE 53 ZOMBIE MOODS book project on the list once more -- with continued hope to see this project through!

HOW DID IT GO?  Um… shamefully, nothing happened on this project… again.  VERDICT: INCOMPLETE!

17) Begin the flirtations with taking a possible look at sometime in the next year -- maybe thinking about kind of pursuing some acting scenarios again... how that goes, remains to be seen.

HOW DID IT GO?  I blew away this piece of my To-Do list – with flying colors!  In March, my buddy Maggie got me an acting gig with a regional theatre in Clarksville, TN, where I took on a role in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew as well as a part in the World Premiere stage adaptation of The Magnificent Ambersons.  It was an amazing experience, and my first time onstage in about 10 years.  Upon my return to LA, I hooked up with a company called Hollywood Casting and Film (again, per Maggie’s suggestion) and I’ve done countless auditions.  I booked a television gig for a courtroom show called Justice for All with Judge Cristina Perez (it aired in November, but I’ve yet to see it), got a juicy part in a short film which is in post-production now, co-produced and acted in a short film with my friend Rahvaunia and through that, worked on another short film with a friend I met on that set.  Also – to add whipped cream to the delicious frosting, I am now eligible to join the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG)!  Not too shabby!  So yes, I can say with complete assuredness, #17 will be marked VERDICT: COMPLETE!

18) This is more of an "out there wish" rather than a task on a to-do list, but what the heck, it's my life and my list!  MOVE INTO A HOUSE and leave behind community living once and for all!

HOW DID IT GO?  Welp… still living in an apartment.  Not ruling this out of course, but things didn’t come to fruition to make this wish a reality.  Not sure whether I’ll include this in 2017’s list… but who knows?  VERDICT: INCOMPLETE

19) Summer trip back home to SD.  (It's been over 8 years).

HOW DID IT GO?  Didn’t happen.  As simple as that.  However, hotel reservations have already been made for a trip in the summer of 2017 – which includes almost a week in the Black Hills.  So there’s that!  However, VERDICT: INCOMPLETE

20)  THE FRENCH TOAST NINE feature script.  I am putting it out there.  I want to be into pre-production on my first feature by year's end.  So there!

HOW DID IT GO?  Um… yeah.  Take a look at all other entries with ties to The French Toast Nine.  Found ‘em?  Then, that means #20 has a big bold stamp of VERDICT: INCOMPLETE!

But as always, in a valiant attempt to make myself feel good (even though so many things remained undone from the list) I will make note of the many other things NOT on the list which found success and/or completion.  Which then makes sense why so many of the actual LISTED items were undone.  It’s rationalization to be sure, but hell – it’s my damn list!

I began a new feature film script called The Costume People, based on my experience at the aforementioned theatre in Tennessee.  See below for where that piece is.

Each year, my line-up of film festivals I must cover for Horror Freak News – seems to grow.  While some of them I didn’t attend completely (since they’re not all genre festivals), I saw films from 7 festivals throughout the year (I think that’s right)!  Not much compared to other full-time journalists, I’m sure, but a big undertaking nonetheless.

On an additional fun festival note, I got to do an interview with my biggest name to date Golden Globe nominee Maria Bello – for her role in this year’s Lights Out.  Also on behalf of Horror Freak News, I got to do my first set visit – for a big budget horror sequel being released this year!  Stay tuned!

So again, while I didn’t get everything on last year’s list done, I was nice and busy (when I wasn’t a slob sitting at home playing online slots).  I did get 6 out of 20 completed!  Go me!
So, without further ado; here we are at the 20 items on my To-Do List Extravaganza for 2017!  Let’s waste no time and dig right in!

     1) The Costume People:  Again, it’s that script I began early last year.  A first reading has been scheduled for early February, and thus I am planning for all of the bells and whistles to get it completed very early in the year.  So, complete the current third draft, a fourth draft, send it out for notes, complete a fifth draft (pre-reading) and then post-reading; a sixth draft and a seventh (and potentially final) draft.

2   2) The Costume People: To at least 5 festivals (highest priorities: Nicholls Fellowship, Screamfest, Filmquest, Shriekfest).

3   3) Brand new feature script idea I had while on a recent vacation to Vegas – currently titled Dead-On.  I would like a first draft of this piece by year’s end.

  4) And since I seem to find other projects to work on, which never were on my initial list at the beginning of the year, I’ll simply state this – another feature script first draft by the end of the year – but in order to find success, it’ll remain unnamed.  One script – doesn’t matter what – needs a first draft.  Make sense?  And there are plenty of properties to choose from – Harsh Critic, Clare, This is Julia, Lindsay’s Locker and The French Toast Nine are great options.

5   5)  I am setting myself up with a goal for Horror Freak News.  I want to complete (at least) 10 articles per month.  Very reasonable, and once so many of the festivals come back around on the calendar – it’ll be a cinch!

6   6) Complete a new/updated and shiny draft of Tonight I Shall Lease Your Soul.  It’s been sitting on the shelf for 5+ years, but I think there’s plenty of goodness there, and potential for festival love if I can get it back in order.  This is the script I wrote w/ my buddy Chris McCaleb.  He’s already agreed to let me take on the rewrite and then we’ll pow-wow after that.  At a daunting 125 pages, this script needs some serious trimming!
 
7   7) I’m gonna go ahead and put Scratcher (my first novel) back on this list.  But instead of saying I’ll have a first draft by year’s end, I’ll make it more feasible.  How about 40,000 words by years end?  Let’s see how it goes.

8   8) The short film, A Great Yard is also back on the list.  Pre-production, production and post.  It’s gonna happen this year.

9   9) A Great Yard:  To at least 5 festivals – top priorities are Screamfest, Filmquest, Shriekfest.

1   10) Travel back home to SD!  I didn’t make it last year, and that was on my list for 2016.  But with reservations already set for the summer, it seems more likely that this will come to pass!  It will be almost exactly 10 years since I was back in the Black Hills!

1   11) I’m gonna put some more acting wishes on this year’s list.  Let’s shoot for 5 films – short or feature (to audition, be hired and shot).  I mean, why not!

1   12) I am also going to put out there a possible return to the stage.  If something presents itself and the timing works out, I say yes!  J

1   13) Continue to put Spider Eaters out there.  Whether it’s through adt’l competitions or query letters or bothering potential producers, I feel that this is the most marketable piece I have, and with the many kudos it’s received, it seems wise to continue to tout the wares of this busload of tourists out to have a spidery-snack!

1   14) On the home-front, we’ve got a brand new mattress arriving soon (our current one is 13 year’s old, folks!) and with that, I’ve been discussing w/ the other half about re-painting/redecorating our entire bedroom.  Some updates and re-organization – just some changes to spiff it up!  Therefore, a complete bedroom re-do is now added to my list.

1   15) Although it’s now some sort of depressing, running joke, I’m still putting The 53 Zombie Moods:  A book for your coffee table – back on the list for 2017.  One of these days, everything will align and this project will be off the ground – finally!

1   16) I’ve never truly used this “To-do List Extravaganza” as a real list of resolutions, ‘cause, let’s face it, life changes are much more difficult than a monumental to-do list, right?  However, I am going to add on here – somehow, some way – that I need to lose about 30 lbs.  It’s not a joke.  Since I stopped working my day job (well over a year ago), the pounds have been coming fast and furious and I don’t like the way I look.  A little pudge, whatever, but a full-on beer belly, no thanks!  So whether I get back on a hiking regiment or return to running (as I so often dream of doing), something has to change about my health and my weight.  I’m not getting any younger, friends…  We’ll see how it goes.

1   17) I’m gonna throw this out there as well.  I have another short script which I’d love to produce.  If I can get A Great Yard completed, then the short film I wrote a few years ago – Valet – might have a chance.  So I’m putting pre-pro/production/post for Valet on the list.  I’ll leave festival possibilities for next year!

1   18) With dreaming and pre-planning for some longer and more involved travel (we love our road trips, but I want to go bigger), the other half and I need to get our passports updated, in order to be ready for some world travel in the near future.  I’ve truly been nowhere and the other half has been everywhere.  It’s time he showed me around, right?

1   19) Putting this back on the list, because I am absolutely ready for it.  I want to move into a house.  A home.  Something other than communal living.  Its novelty has worn off – did a long time ago.  Again, more of a wish than a number on a “to-do” list, but this wish for a happy, single family home is making a comeback!

2   20) And finally – the other half will hate this one – along with a new house, I want a dog.  Hello universe?  You hearing what I’m throwing out at you?  A house and a dog.  There.  And no more excuses from the other half.

So that’s it, my friends.  Hold me to this.  Remind me.  Nag me if you must, but see that I get all of this shit done.

Who am I kidding?  No one but me will be reading this, and besides – you all have your own lives to live and your own possible to-do lists staring at you from somewhere atop your own desk.


Chat with you again in (less than) 365 days – where I’ll see how this all came down!  Happy 2017!

a little bit 'bout klugula...

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Hollywood, California, United States
I'm an actor, writer and director. And I like zombies...A LOT.

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