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 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!