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

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!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Y'know, I'm STILL an actor...

Somewhere around the time that I began writing my first screenplay (2004-ish) -- my acting life started to diminish.  I still did a few things here and there, but was in no way pursuing it or truly seeking out auditions/opportunities.  Screenwriting slowly crept in (although I had been writing in some form or fashion since I was 10 years old) and became my main and ultimate focus.
But flash forward to February of this year, and a chance to do two live shows on stage at a regional theatre in TN, and I was suddenly back in.  It felt good.  It felt right.  It was meant to be.  It was as if no time had passed.  And frankly, with no bothersome day job to keep me away, why not take another look at my history in acting?  The itch, no matter how small, was still very much in the back of my head -- it always had been.

Let it be known that I don't intend to pick up where I left off and pursue acting as a full time gig.  I've got far too much on my plate with screenwriting and working for the good folks of Horror Freak News -- doing horror film reviews, covering festivals and popping out fun feature articles.  Not to mention my own neuroses and self-doubts -- I'm not ready to get back on that acting/auditioning horse completely.

But over the past year and a half, I've met lots of talented filmmakers (mostly horror) through that horror gig, and that fact, combined with the rumblings to return to my acting roots -- well, I want to reach out to all of these new friends (in some cases I already have) and let them know that I would like to audition/read/work for them in this acting capacity.

Thing is... my assumption is that 95% of them have no idea that my history and training is in the theatre.  My BA is in theatre arts -- both acting and directing.  There's no reason they would see me as anything other than a journalist (still sounds funny to say that, but I guess after this much time, that label applies) or a screenwriter (which I talk about endlessly).

But you know what?  I'm still an actor too.  And I don't expect to be handed roles (although that would be nice and I wouldn't say no), but I'd love for these gifted directors and writers and producers to think of me when they have a role that needs filling, and for which I might be a good fit.

So I'm putting it out into the universe (not solely relying on the kindness of friends -- as I've already signed up w/ a casting site and submitted myself) and to my filmmaker friends -- look at me as more than a film reviewer or a writer.  I've got a long history in the acting arts.  I'm frankly pretty good.  So look beyond what you think you know of me or what you believe to be my artistic ambitions/limitations, and give me a shot outside of that preconceived box.

I won't let you down, and I'll get to do (even if it's on the side) something that's never really left me, only been put on the back burner for a decade or more.

I've got an updated resume and some brand new headshots.  Take a gander, and let's talk.  I'm for reals here.


Saturday, March 26, 2016

"I don't know why I'm frightened..." A Return to Form

10 years.

Unbelievable.  I was 31 when last I tread beneath the proscenium arch (thank you Llewellyn Sinclair) and looked up into a spotlight... then down into the faces of a live audience.

It's been 10 years since I was last on stage.  But as one of my beloved cast-mates pointed out last night -- as we celebrated post-opening show for the World Premiere of The Magnificent Ambersons at the 33-years strong Roxy Regional Theatre in Clarksville TN (yes, made famous by The Monkees song, "Last Train to Clarksville") -- "It's not 10 years anymore."

Indeed, the clock has been reset, and I've made my way back to my roots -- first established with a touring children's theatre out of Missoula -- some 30+ years ago.  The past many years have seen a marked shift in priorities and interests.  Screenwriting has taken over my free time, and now that I have no day job to interfere with my creative ventures -- the rest of my time as well.

So when my dearest college chum and fellow LA resident Maggie called me one morning -- oh, a little over a month ago, saying, "I have a proposition for you", there was nothing to stop me from taking a step into an almost-distant past.  Frankly, acting still held interest, but I never felt as though I'd ever again pursue it.  If something were to fall into my lap (as it did here), then by all means, I'd jump on it.

I've been telling numerous filmmaker friends back in LA that I want to read for them and be cast in their films.  I want to do it, but I don't have time to make it "my thing".  Hopefully these requests will not go unanswered.  'Cause, you know what?  I'm a good actor.  It pains me to say that or to actually acknowledge my strengths -- for fear of sounding pompous or self-important.  But facts are facts, and despite my ever-sagging and ever-present feelings of pitifully low self-worth, there are moments when I can actually bask in the idea that I am good at something.  Such as right now.

And with that, I'll return you to my regularly scheduled program of crippling uncertainty and debilitating self-doubt.

But here I am, in what is virtually a return to college-form -- sharing a townhouse in a small community north of Nashville -- with 8 other people (including my beloved Maggie) and rehearsing the hell out of two shows (the other being a trimmed production of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew).

Where am I?  What am I doing?

To put this in perspective:  The last show I did was with the good folks of The Griffin Theatre -- in CHICAGO.  You're saying, "But Michael, you haven't lived in The Windy City since 2008!"  Precisely.  And the Griffin production of Sleeping Ugly: The Musical was in the summer of 2006.  And therein lies the 10 year lapse.

But as I marvel at this strange return to acting, I'm struck my many things.

I'm so much older.  My body feels it.  My mind feels it.  But most of all, overused and cliche phrases such as, "It's like riding a bicycle" have wormed their way into my consciousness.  But it's the absolute truth.

As nervous as I was -- especially considering that my 10 year-absence would find me returning with Shakespeare, for Godssake -- it's as if no time has passed.  I remembered all of my old tricks for memorizing lines, for remembering entrances, for warming up, for clearing my mind, for building cheat sheets, for reacting but not drawing focus.  It all came back with ease, and now -- with no fanfare -- I'm an actor again.  It's absolutely surreal.

And for the past many weeks since the gig was thrown at me, I've had the phrase from this entry's title (from the musical version of Sunset Boulevard) swimming around in my head, "I don't know why I'm frightened.  I know my way around here."  It so perfectly captures this little side-line (will it be more?) in my current lifestyle.  And of course, the timing of all this hasn't gone unnoticed.  No day job.  No obligations.  And serious thoughts of looking for some acting projects.  Why, in my "To Do List Extravaganza (my fun form of New Year's Resolutions), entry #17 of 20 read like this:

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.


The people have been remarkable, the connections have been made and the friendships have been formed.  But most of all, the ever-present strolls down the memory lanes of the theatre have been replaced by breath-taking sprints to my next entrance stage right -- IN THE HERE AND NOW.

I know I'm a sentimental old fool, and I realize how mental this all is.  But I'm at an age where apologizing profusely for my own real (and perceived) shortcomings is no longer of any interest.  I'm who I am -- and there's no changing that.  So by reveling in this joy of one of my all-time life-loves -- well, to hell with anyone that will mock my sentimentality.

It remains to be seen if I'll keep rushing out to find stage opportunities.  Frankly, my creaky old body is wondering what the hell is going on.  But I wouldn't be opposed to simply returning to the Roxy on an annual basis.  Keeping my acting chops moving, adding some credits to my resume, enjoying the hell out of the people and community and doing something I loved and still love -- but not going crazy or taking away from that equally time-consuming mistress -- writing.

But rather than hem and haw over what this all means -- I'll just enjoy the fact that I've still got it.  That I can still pull from my bag of tricks, and that the lure of a live audience is still as strong as it used to be.

The bottom line here:  I'm still an actor and I always will be.  Is it like a lapsed-Catholic?  I was a lapsed-actor until a few weeks ago?  Sure.  Feel free to use this newly-coined phrase.  You're welcome.

I hope to see you all in the audience for our second night of The Magnificent Ambersons.  And with a great show and great performances, you can also catch a glimpse of an actor who has always had that special sparkle in his eyes and that joy in his soul -- he just forgot about it for a little bit.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


For those not in the know, my so-called, "to-do list extravaganza" is my own version of New Year's resolutions.  But rather than lose 10 pounds (which I need to do) or do 100 sit-ups per day (I should do), each year I make a list of tasks to be completed -- generally having to do w/ my 804 or so creative projects currently on the burners of an overflowing stove-top!

And, as always, I'll begin by taking a look back at 2015's list and see just how well I did.  And I am keeping in mind that as I begin to pen this entry, there are still 20 days left in December, and thus 2015, so you never know!  :)

Here's a link to that 2015 list: http://klugula.blogspot.com/2014/12/2015-to-do-list-extravaganza.html

But for everyone's benefit, I'll display the list and answer to each one of them individually.

1) SPIDER EATERS -- 2nd and 3rd drafts complete.
DONE and DONE! (That's one!)

2) SPIDER EATERS -- Prep for reading / READING
DONE and DONE! (That's two!)

3) SPIDER EATERS -- 4th draft / post reading
DONE (That's three!)

4) SPIDER EATERS -- 4 contest entries (including Shriekfest and Screamfest)
This is a mix of "done" and "undone".  I did enter the script into 3 contests, but none of them were Screamfest or Shriekfest (I missed those dates).  So while it's not a completion of task #4 (resulting in a "DONE"), I'll still mark it as a success!  But have no fear, as Spider Eaters will enter those two festivals this season!

5) ME and SIMON BAKER -- new draft / clean-up
Didn't happen.  Oh, poo.

6) ME and SIMON BAKER -- 3 final contests before "retiring" script (Night of Terror, Shriekfest, Screamfest)
I got two out of three on this one!  Not too shabby, but also not enough to call it "DONE"!  Alas -- still a 66% success!

7) CLARE, THIS IS JULIA -- 1st draft
I looked at this script once -- and did NO work.  FAIL!

8) SCRATCHER novel (formerly LOTTO) -- 1st draft
I think I may have glanced at this, but I don't recall actually doing any work on it.  Maybe a little.  Since it was supposed to be a finished first draft, we can safely stamp this one with FAIL!

9) A GREAT YARD -- short film (pre-pro / shoot / post)
Not much.  I had a meeting w/ my lead actress and possible co-hort in the production, but that's about it.  FAIL.

10) A GREAT YARD -- 5 film festivals entered
Based on the fail of #9, I think we can venture a guess as to how this task fared.  FAIL!

11) LINDSAY'S LOCKER -- feature spec / 1st draft
I think there might have been a brief look in the direction of this script, but no writing was done here.  FAIL!

12) ANGELICA -- 1st draft
Not so much as opening a file.  FAIL!

13) SILVER SPOON -- 5 contests entered
Nope.  However, I did do a little work w/ my beloved friend and story editor (Ms. Jackson) on this, so this baby will definitely see some work and traffic in 2016!  However, still a FAIL!

14) THE 53 -- complete or "retire"
Not a Goddamned thing!  FAIL!

15) FURNISH -- 3 more contests entered then "retirement"
Lots of feedback on this one, including a lengthy discussion w/ my story editor.  I still have 3 weeks in the year, and this project is one of my biggie tasks for December.  However, I did enter this into Shriekfest -- where it ended up a semi-finalist!  

16) TONIGHT I SHALL LEASE YOUR SOUL -- trailer (pre-pro / shoot / post)
Haha!  Nope.  Another FAIL!

17) A. FAMILY PORTRAIT -- 4 contests entered
Not quite 4 -- only 2.  So not a total fail. 50% success rate!

18) THE FRENCH TOAST NINE -- 1st draft
This saw some work, but again, I have plans for the final 3 weeks of the year to complete a first draft on this baby.  Still a possibility!  We'll update before year's end!

19) Leave behind day-job for full-time writing!
You know what?  I passed this mother-effer with flying colors.  I left behind my full-time day job in retail -- all the way back in April.  I stuck around for part-time work until September then left it all behind for good.  Now, I am a full time writer!  How's that for an Extravaganza?!  DONE!

DONE!  With extensive road trips to places like Utah and Tucson -- as well as plenty of gambling trips to Vegas and Laughlin, we got out of the house a lot.  #20 can consider itself stamped with a YES!

Now...as is also the common case, I will make note of the other projects I completed/worked on in 2015, thus offering some rationalization as to why some of the above tasks were left undone.

* In addition to all of the drafts of Spider Eaters, I actually made it all the way through 8 total drafts, including several incarnations post-reading.  That one saw a buttload of work in 2015!  And as mentioned above, 3 contests have been entered!

* October saw my one year anniversary writing movie reviews and feature articles for Best Horror Movies.com (now Horror Freak News).  Since my begin date, I've written over 100 pieces!  That means a lot of movies watched and reviews penned!  That's a lot of time writing!  I also attended three film festivals where I covered some red carpet events and wrote a heckuva lot of reviews and met some awesome folks!  So while not all of the tasks in the list were completed, I still wrote lots!

* I started work with a company (through the referral of my buddy Lisa) doing script-writing and editing for corporate videos.  Basically, interviewers in the field gather information for clients by discussing shopping/eating/living habits of consumers.  All of this info must be edited down into a digestible and entertaining 5-10 minute video which will later be used in training at the client's offices.  Lots of info in a tiny little nutshell.  So I write the voice-overs, assist in the overall look of the completed video and spend lots of time going through transcripts to find appropriate consumer feedback to fit the story of the video.  So far, I've worked on 3 different projects!  And it pays well too!  Being paid to write... what a novelty!

* I've begun a new feature script (not far along) about a film critic (imagine that).  No further details, but I think it could be promising!

So drum roll, please...

The official to-do list EXTRAVAGANZA for 2016!

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!

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

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.

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

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

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

7) HARSH CRITIC -- feature script first draft

8) FURNISH feature script -- reading prep (a couple of drafts more) and reading

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

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

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

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

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

14) SCRATCHER novel -- first draft (trying this one again)

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!

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

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.

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!

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

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!

And there you have it, folks!  My biggie To Do List Extravaganza for 2016!  Lots of do-able tasks, and many more extreme wishes and tasks.  But if you don't put it out there, you won't get anything, right?

So I'll check back on this monster list in about 52 weeks to see how far I've come.  I must remember too, that I no longer have a day job -- so not completing many of these would be shameful!  That's the spirit, Klug!  :)

Hold me to 'em, friends!

Stew of Sin #166

For you Shonda Rhimes fans, you'll recognize this new inductee into my hot-tub debauchery from her fantastic and addictive new show, How to Get Away with Murder.  He's AnnElise's right hand (and shady) man, Frank, played by the absolute hunk that is Charlie Weber.

Since he first arrived on the scene, I can't get enough of him.  And he's constantly shirtless -- okay, not constantly, but when he is, it's smelling salts-worthy.  And even when he's fully clothed in his sleek vest and tie combos, you can still tell he's sporting that hot bod, just waiting to explode through those useless clothes!

I welcome Charlie into my overflowing Stew of Sin.  And we'll make room over here next to me.  Move aside, boys!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Official "I would totally pee in my pants if I met them" Celebrity List

After today's events, I think a blog recounting the miracle meeting would be in order.  Also, since I get such a thrill out of lists, let's make a new one!

It's a bucket list of sorts.  And while I'm a celebrity/actor whore, and have an extensive autograph collection (I have no shame), there have to be certain stars who would truly make me short of breath, who would no doubt bring me close to tears and who could possibly -- make me wet my pants.

Well, today -- mark another of these luminaries off of my list.

I met Jane Badler at my day job today.

Don't know who that is?  I wish you ill-will.  Okay, not really.  But you should educate yourself.  She's an '80s diva like no other.  If you don't know the mini-series/series V from back in the early '80s, again -- educate yourself.  Meeting this love of my life today, got me to thinking.  Who are the biggies?  Who are "the ones"?

So here is my list of celebs who would make me pee -- in no particular order:

George A. Romero.  I've met him multiple times, but following the first time, a defibrillator was almost required.  He's my main man, and without a doubt, the celeb on this list who put me on a very specific direction in my life -- mentally and professionally.  He's an inspiration and a motivator.

Madonna.  She's been one of my girls for 30 years.  Seriously, despite my waning gay fan-boy craziness for Madge, I would still certainly pee my pants if I met her.  She still means the world to me.

Sigourney Weaver.  I've loved her for a very long time, and next to Meryl -- she's prob my favorite actress.  There are lots of fave actresses, but I think Sigourney holds a higher position in my heart -- therefore, she's on the "pee pants" list.

Meryl Streep.  Duh.

Jane Badler.  We can mark this one off my list, bitches!  I can't stress enough the miracle of meeting this woman today.  She was a bad-ass lizard alien in the '80s and she hypnotized me as a little kid.  I absolutely adored her back in the day, and seeing her in the flesh (lizard or not) threw me into some sort of time-travel, nostalgic trance.  And she was as gracious as could be -- even in light of my fan-boy weirdness.  Of course, it helped that I have a personal connection to her through friend Jeffrey.  He used her in his recent short film, and forwarded to her -- a blog I penned some 10 years ago, firmly establishing my geeky love for her.

Robert Englund.  Freddy himself.  I had a long love-affair with the Elm Street films.  And like Madonna, that obsession has waned as I've aged, but there's no denying that meeting him would be an out-of-body experience.

The only other person I believe would be appropriate for this list?  Nancy Thompson herself -- Heather Langenkamp.  I loved her as a kid and of course, through the nostalgia that is middle age (really?) no horror heroine could hold a candle to her.  Maybe scream queen goddess Jamie Lee Curtis, but if I'm pulling these names from deep within my heart, I think that Heather would have a leg up.

And that's the list which comes to mind.  My bucket list of celeb meetings and the promise of peed-in-pants.

Am I missing anyone?

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Cassandra and Seeing the Future

I returned from a lengthy get-away for work and pleasure.  The work (what work?) portion was spent in Salt Lake City for the second annual FilmQuest festival.  It was a lovely experience, where I met tons of amazing people, saw some incredible films and made some awesome new friends.

But with one of the people I met -- there turned out to be a very odd and cool connection.

Chris Fitchett was there from Australia to promote and screen his latest picture, The Fear of Darkness (it's my last review to complete for the entire event -- it's on its way, I promise!).

I got to chat quite a bit with Chris -- one on one, and even sent off a script for him to read -- and if all goes well, he'll send it off to the many producers he has close ties to and my screenwriting career will be made.  Easy, right?  Well, bottom line, he's a nice guy and I'm glad I got to hang out with him.

The wacky part of our meeting, one day as we sat in the lounge -- just off the red carpet -- I brought up that I happened to be a fan of many Australian horror films -- particularly of the '80s.

The 1985 made-for-HBO film Fortress is one of my favorites.  Chris worked with that production company -- I don't believe on that feature.

Razorback.  He knows many of those folks, including Everette De Roche (screenwriter for that and Fortress).

Road Games.  He was a close friend of director Richard Franklin (also director of the Elisabeth Shue/Terence Stamp vehicle; Link and Psycho II).  Okay.

So I then brought up a feature from the late '70s which I recently reviewed and loved, Long Weekend.  To which Chris replied, "Oh yes, the Colin Eggleston film."  We then talked about a recent remake, and I brought up the fact that as I did my research for the review, (cuz I recognized the director's name) I discovered that Eggleston had directed a film in the mid-'80s which I fondly remember, but not with great detail.  A film called Cassandra.  This was one of those fun finds on the video store shelf for myself and my best bud, Eric.  We would grab anything which sparked our fancy on the shelves -- eyeing the intriguing cover art and being fearless and completely un-jaded.  We found a lot of favorites in this way, and it saddens me that this long-ago openness has all but vanished.  The fact that I now am sent many films to review -- which I have no previous knowledge of -- sort of takes me back.  Lots of clunkers, but lots of goodies too.

So as the conversation goes on, I advise him of this film, Cassandra.  He lightly smiles and points to the laptop I am holding and says with his delicious Aussie accent,  "Look up the IMDb page for Cassandra."  Me being awfully dense half the time, I do so -- not sure what to expect.

I get to the page and ask him what I'm looking for.  "Look at the writers."

I had already scrolled down to the main portion of the cast, so I moved back up to the top where the director/writers were listed.

There was his name as one of the film's screenwriters!  My response as my jaw dropped and I looked over to him, "No way!"

His response?  "Way."

Being the neurotic I am (I bring this ridiculous quality to the level of art), later that night I hemmed and hawed over the fact that it must have looked set up.  The next day, I advised him of my pathetic mental problems.  He laughed it off, and said, "I could tell it was a real reaction."  Problem solved.

Anyway, it was a striking highlight of the event, and I hope I can stay in touch w/ Mr. Fitchett.  He's good people.  At the closing night party, we chatted a long time -- about film, about coming out (a family member of his is gay) and about life in general.

But the big point of this post (notice it's been 6 months since I've posted on my beloved klugulablog) is that back in the day, when Cassandra was released on video (it shows a date of 1987 -- so we can assume I saw the film in 1988 or so), I was 13-14 years old.  I told Chris of an illustration I did after seeing the film, obviously inspired by the cover art and the film itself.  I knew I still had it somewhere in a file.  I promised I would send it to him once located.  Within 1 minute of searching, I found it.  Here it is.  I figure I'll go ahead and send this entire link off to Chris, whereas before I was just going to send him the pic.  Note the notebook edges of the paper.  It's old and authentic, I tell you.

The bottom line is that I met some fantabulous folks at this event, among them, Chris.  But it seems to be some sort of kismet that the conversation took this turn, and the Cassandra "connection" revealed.  I've not seen the film since that sleep-over w/ friend Eric so many years ago, but it seems prime-time to seek it out for another viewing.

I'm also attaching a pic of the VHS cover art -- so you know where I'm coming from.

It's a weird world, isn't it?  And I love it!  :)

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Who is the ULTIMATE 80s Horror Hunk? NOW WE KNOW -- The First Runner-Up & THE WINNER!

July 28th, 2014.  I embarked on one of the geekiest (and sexiest) projects of my writing life.

I was going to take my love of writing, my passion for horror films, my unhealthy obsession with the 80s and my constant, uncontrollable, almost adolescent boners for hunky horror actors -- and came up with this series of blogs.

I took 40 of my personal fave male hotties from horror films of that era and pitted them in a battle to the death (I changed it from the "Sudden Death" round to the "Sudden Erection" round -- at the last minute).  Dozens of beautiful men have fallen, including many I would run over my own mother for -- for just a brief moment of passion with them...and many whom I never expected to be cut so quickly...and many for whom I personally cast my vote during these multiple months of wackiness.

And we made it here.  Hundreds of votes from a small core of devotees, direct on-line contact w/ a great many of the hunks themselves...prodding them to get their fan-base to the polls, and many voting surprises.

Fourth runner up:  Robert Rusler of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2: FREDDY'S REVENGE


Second runner up; Michael Biehn of ALIENS

First runner up: Jason Patric of THE LOST BOYS

With a total of 122 points from 38 ballots (on this final round).
SIX votes for first place
THIRTEEN votes for second place
EIGHT votes for third place
FIVE votes for fourth place
SIX votes for fifth place

And the winner: with 140 points!  

NINETEEN votes for first place
FOUR votes for second place
FIVE votes for third place
FOUR votes for fourth place
SIX votes for fifth place

from horror projects -- THE STEPFATHER, AMERICAN GOTHIC and TALES FROM THE CRYPT: "Lover Come Hack to Me":

STEPHEN SHELLEN has officially obtained the title of THE ULTIMATE 80s HORROR HUNK!

And just a few final notes:

Several ballots were not counted, as the voting rules on this final battle were not followed.  And you'll note -- there was no cooking of the books.  My choice for the big winner did not come to be.

Danny Hassel had an early lead in this last battle of the top five, but once Shellen's people caught wind of the competition (the third day of voting), his margin just got bigger and bigger (ooh, kinky).

This project was a total hoot, and I want to thank all of the hunks for being so hunky, for the many hunks whom I was able to personally correspond and to my friends and co-workers who followed along for the majority of the voting-- and in some cases -- the entire process.  Almost five months of brainstorming, writing and voting on a bunch of really hot horror actors.

I loved this process, which means -- you should stay tuned for something else in the very near future.

After five months plus, this project is over (with the exception of designing, processing and sending a certificate to the winner) and I will gladly put this boner to rest.  And after this long, and this much blood rushing, I have one helluva headache.  :)

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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