Thought Diarrhea

First, all apologies to anyone who might actually care for my being so remiss on updating or posting anything on this blog. To be honest, sometimes to me blogging is simply just a way to have far more thought out and wordy Facebook status updates.  It often seems that calling it “blogging” creates a sort of bubble that allows a sufferer of “thought diarrhea”  (aka blogger) to attribute a false sense of legitimacy with a dash of pretentiousness akin to what I see all the time in any creative community. I have done so myself more than I’ll ever admit. Many creative people who say I’m an “artist” or I’m a “musician”  or I’m a “writer” or worst of all I’m a “filmmaker” and now throw in I’m a “blogger” find that doing so is an awesome way to clothe one’s self in a fiction suit of validation.  With all of the above monikers, the substance and output are what makes someone a real artist, musician,writer,  filmmaker, or blogger, and that output is what separates the real from the full-of-shitters.

Example of a "creative artist" who doesn't actually do anything.

Example of a “creative artist” who doesn’t actually do anything.

So let me get back to it so I can really call myself a blogger with substance and output. Let me get on with communicating with the world via this silly and strange and wonderful and terrifying internet, the “WWW” also known as the World Wide Who gives a fuck what it’s called ’cause lookit, boobs and kittens! So here’s a little rundown of what’s to come for Universal Half Truths in the days ahead:

A pointed remark or two or three about how if you are still against the legalization of marijuana you are, simply put,  stupid.  Plus a thought or two on how corporations and businesses who adhere to strict drug testing and no tolerance policies are going to be steadily left behind and become stagnant by refusal to adjust to the unstopping growth of working professionals who are cannabis users.

A word or seven on how awesome it would be if the band Queen did the soundtracks to all movies. With examples from “Highlander” and “Flash Gordon” (both films with soundtracks by Queen) to illustrate the point.

A running update on how the work on “Rolling With Kings” is coming along as we try to take 400 or so hours of footage and interviews and turn them into an 1 and a half hour film that is enjoyable.

A post here or there in which I share excerpts from scripts I have written in the vain hopes that more people will read them, offer constructive critique, and maybe even give one to someone who wants to buy one or all of them.  Look, if you know anyone who is a writer, much less a screenwriter, you know they will slap you in the face with their scripts until you want to pull their tongue out through their navel to try and get you to read them.  And even then the screenwriter will keep trying.  So please, when these posts start coming up, read them. Seriously, don’t push me or this can happen:

Read my work or unbelievably heated up innocent blood will be on your hands.

Read my work or unbelievably heated up innocent blood will be on your hands.

Here’s to one hell of a 2014 everyone!!!

Illustrations by my awesome sister Lyn (captions and the wordy things by me), you should follow her rather enjoyable blog The Lazy Lady.

Blitching!

I admit I have been more than remiss about keeping the blog updated as of late. Not that there isn’t or hasn’t been anything to write about. I have been more focused in on the fundraiser for the documentary I am making, and on the old day job and all its stress, and on myself. As for the fundraising, we didn’t hit the goal, alas, but we did get some good donations in, and as we used Indiegogo we still get the funds regardless.  A HUGE thank you to my incredible fiancee, the lovely and amazing Diana, the Part Time Monster, and to her bro Gene’O, the Sourcerer, for getting the word out and supporting me in this crazy endeavor! On the day job front, well, it’s the day job. I’m not in the mood to write about it for now but I will say that I’m working on improving that particular subdivision in the neighborhood of my life. 

As for working on myself, I mentioned in a previous post (look, I won’t even link to it, just scroll down for god’s sake) my ongoing love hate hate/loathing relationship with my depression. I’ve begun a new line of medication and therapy that has been showing good results. If you’re wondering why I would be so open with that info it’s quite simply because there is NOTHING to be ashamed of if you are dealing with depression, or any mental/emotional issue. At. All. I don’t feel like wearing the issues I deal with on my sleeve, I feel like wearing them like a cape flowing in the wind, akin to my own type of superhero. Emo-Man! Or something like that.

Okay, perhaps a cape is a bit much, but you get the point. Thing is, I needed a moment to adjust as it were. And I got it, and I have, and I am still a work in progress, but we all are. Constantly.

So, onto the mountain ahead. A mountain I will be bitching on this blog, or “blitching”, about for some time to come. We are getting into turning about 400 to 500 hours of footage and turning it into roughly 90 minutes (give or take) of a film people can actually follow. And enjoy I hope. Maybe just maybe even inspire someone or sometwo or somethree to make their worlds a better place. So as of now here is the current thing we are doing that is in no way, shape, or form actually everything that needs to be done. I write this with certainty because literally every time I have learned about doing something that needs to be done on a film I have also learned about the 357 or so other things that have to be done as well (there’s a reason the crew credits take so long at the end of movies, because there’s a shit ton to do to make them). Ah, indie film.

I, along with the awesome editor and worthy constituent and cool ass friend Gospo, are transcribing the interviews we got on film. What is that, and why? Transcribing the interviews is essentially typing them out word for word, noting who said what, with occasional time codes thrown in on the transcript. We do this to help us find the exact right moments and words from our subjects to use in the context of whatever moment is happening in the film. We have well over a dozen full interviews, and quite a few on the fly interviews, which are spots where I asked subjects quicker questions at events or parties, rather than the more formal sit downs.  I might ask each and every person about say, their scooter or their favorite throw, so upon grabbing the transcriptions I will highlight those particular answers for each subject, make a note of it, and then cut and paste those answers together along with notes for what footage to use with that Q and those A’s. We will do this following an overall outline or story arc of sorts, to put together what can best be called a script for the film, and from there get into the rough cut, then from there add music, effects, graphics, etc. By the gods, this is enough to make one go batty.

Matter of fact, the image above is sort of how I get sometimes thinking about how to get this film turned into something that people will love. But I know we can do it. More people than just me want this film to be made now. More people than just me want it to be great, and to succeed. Honestly, it’s everyone else who wants this to happen that keeps me going if I ever have moments of doubt. I used to think I was doing this for me, but I’m doing it for them, I’m doing it for everyone who has supported this project, I’m doing it for everyone who has ever doubted me, I’m doing it for the love of my city, I’m doing it for the sake of my own sanity, I’m doing it because I think the world needs to know this story.  And until it is done, well, hey, I’ll have plenty to be blitching about.

 

 

The little documentary that will.

There are 15 days left on the fundraising campaign for the documentary I am working on.  This one:

Rolling With Kings, The Story of the Krewe of the Rolling Elvi

About these cats:

          Image

   At this rate we’ll fall well short of the fundrasing goal. It happens. Happened last time too, even though we got just what we needed the last go around.  It’s disheartening I have to admit. I’ve been given advice on how to make a crowdsourcing campaign work better, and while it was always sound enough advice, it was the kind not well applicable to filmmakers in my position.

The advice was usually as follows –

1. Spend hours a day pushing it!  Which would be fine, if I didn’t have a 9-5 that has an insane busy pace, and a family to take care of and all the things that go with that, and actual work on the film to do (transcribing interviews, getting releases and legal docs signed, hell creating said docs in and of itself, putting the puzzle pieces together so the film can actually make sense, this is going on a whole different post there’s so much). There also comes a point when I simply am sick of looking at a screen, be it TV, computer, phone, I don’t care. It brings on a down swing emotionally for me.  Bad enough how many people live more of their lives looking at some glowing screen rather than actual life. But I understand the need to escape actual life and call that living instead. 

2. If you don’t have time, then hire someone to put it out there for you, buy sponsored ads on FB, Twitter, and the like. Which sounds neat, now if only that elusive “money” thing were to be found to hire someone, much less someone who’s commission (let’s just call it what it is) makes the fees taken by whatever funding platform seem miniscule.

3.  Tap into your “fanbase” and “core audience”!  The fanbase thing only works if you have actual fans.  It works great for celebs like Spike Lee and Zach Braff of course. Not to mentions popular musicians who now think they want to make movies. Once one has tapped into the celebrity vein of this culture you can practically film yourself shitting in a bucket and there would still be a few thousand folks willing to throw some bread in to see it.  As far as core audience goes, it’s a bit of a different thing to look at metrics for a documentary than say some horror or comedy film. The core audience is everyone.  It isn’t an advocacy documentary nor is it a tear jerker telling the tragic, yet inspiring tale of some village of crippled children or some such shit, so drumming up a more impassioned line of support is tricky. I went to a networking event not long ago, and when talking about my documentary to someone there I described it as light hearted, funny, and an unusual slice of New Orleans culture.  His response: “Did anyone die, go to jail, or did anything controversial/sexy/tension raising happen?  Not really? Then I don’t care. People who watch docs to feel better about life need self help books, not films.”  This from a film executive. Sigh. I know, one person’s opinion and all that, but stil.   

4. Offer great perks/gifts for donating! Well, I am, and have. I’ve even put out there an even less expensive perk of a digital download of the film for just an $11 donation. 

Truth is, just as I am learning about filmmaking as I go, it’s the same for crowdfunding.  I haven’t done this all too well or perfectly I readily admit.  Matter of fact I’ve never met anyone who has done it successfully, at least for a film project.  If I ever do such a thing as crowdfunding again, I like to think I’ll go about it smarter next time around. 

That said, there is simply no giving up on this film. I just can’t.  I know it will make the world a better place for being made and seen. Now, how exactly we’ll get it finished and out there, well, still figuring that out. 

Them storm clouds.

The smallest drop of water was once part of a dark storm cloud that was bigger than mountains. Give or take.  It came from that cloud, and it will eventually be part of a new one. So storm clouds bring us the small drops of water, but what if a small drop of water brought a dark storm cloud all by itself?

So let’s say you, dear readers (all 4 of you), wake up to some annoyance. Say you were stirred out of bed by an annoyance of the dog taking a piss on the bathroom floor. Sure it sucks, is messy and smelly, and does not put one in a great mood on a Monday morning. Granted the only thing that usually can put one in a great mood at all in the A.M. on a Monday is being able to sleep right through it.  What does one do when faced with this unpleasant hello to the long work week ahead?  I imagine the normal answer would be to clean up the piss, maybe yell at the dog or at least get its ass off the bed, then crawling back into that bed in hopes of catching those last few, frustrating minutes of extra hitting-the-snooze-button sleep before slouching off to the morning ahead.  What do I do though? Continue reading

Rolling With Kings, The Story of the Krewe of the Rolling Elvi

Rolling With Kings, The Story of the Krewe of the Rolling Elvi

This is the big project I have been and am still working on at present. It is a feature length documentary about The Krewe of the Rolling Elvi. Here’s some background info:

Back in 2003, a small group of friends were watching a Mardi Gras parade together and they saw a bunch of Shriners in dune buggies pass by in the procession. They thought to themselves “Why don’t WE do that too?” thus was born a new krewe, but not just any krewe. Together they were inspired by the image of the king of rock ‘n’ roll, Elvis Presley, to don the attire of said king, and ride forth onto New Orleans and the world on little scooters, as members of a new kind of Mardi Gras royalty.

Elvi9

In the 10 years since then, The Krewe of the Rolling Elvi have grown to hundreds of members, and have become one of the most popular attractions to Mardi Gras visitors, and the people of New Orleans. As the krewe has grown, so has its positive influence on the world, with countless appearances for charity fundraising and great causes not just in New Orleans, but internationally as well. Their very presence creates laughter and smiles wherever they go. This is their story, the story of men and women who become kings and queens, and make the world a better place.

Elvi at LASPCS

I feel that this is an amazing story which should be told to the world, and hope that in doing so other people will be inspired to make their world a better place too. I want to give the world a slice of what it is like to be a Rolling Elvi, to be in a Mardi Gras parade, and to showcase this part of New Orleans culture.

Making of RWK                 Making RWK 2

This link is to our fundraising campaign on Indiegogo and it has a clip to show you how the film is looking.  ANY little bit really helps me and my crew (krewe?) get that much closer to getting this film made and shown to the world. I hope you enjoy the glimpse of what I’ve been working on for the past year and a half.  If you’d like to throw in awesome! If not, then maybe just help spread the word out there about a New Orleans film about some amazing people.

It’s not easy being green.

One of the biggest reasons anyone is on social media is to show off.  People show off their kids, their pets, their food, their homes, cars, new shoes, new girlfriend/boyfriend/whatever object they have happen to currently have sex with.  In some ways it’s a remnant of being a kid who upon getting a new toy runs out to show the other kids on the block. If we were lucky enough to have some sort of middle class upbringings we all did it.  And we continue to do so as adults, only our block is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and probably some other platform or two by now at this rate.   

So there we are on Facebook and such showing off. It’s awesome when we can do it, but it can turn one a gloriously puke tinted shade of envious green towards others when we can’t .  Happens to me all the time. I see plenty of my friends and contemporaries with posts about buying a house, or travels to exotic places, or whatever other shiny pretty things that we for some reason expect to have when we hit certain ages in life.  And that green shade creeps in on me as I am at a certain age in life and feel far way from making that post about buying a house, or traveling to an exotic place, not to mention those shiny pretty things.   But that shade of green fades fairly quickly.  After all, comparing one’s life to someone else’s on such a materialistic slant is as big a waste of time and energy as showing a card trick to a house cat.  

As an indie filmmaker struggling with my career, on the other hand, holy asscrackers does that shade of green blast off like a death ray straight from an Oscar statue’s golden butthole into my very soul when I see the success others appear to have in their careers.  I get that success is a relative thing, but still.  The green shades of envy cloud the mind. They make me question everything – Why am I doing this? What have I gotten myself into?  How come that piece of shit got funded and made and my amazing project is barely funded at all? I could go on and on.  I imagine I’m not the only film maker with such feelings when turned green.

Trying to break into the film industry (and let’s not ever kid ourselves, it IS an industry) and becoming at least successful enough to make a living out of it is tricky.  Well, unless you are either born into it or already have that whole money thing taken care of.  Turning green with envy is a growing pain of it all. The only cure for it that I have is to just get back to the project(s) I am working on.  I have BIG ones to finish and smaller ones as well. It sucks when I turn green, because it sure as shit isn’t easy, just ask Kermit the Frog when he sings that song. But at the end of the day, it must be shoved aside and dropped like the bucket of horse shit that it is.  All that green envy won’t get my documentary made, or a new draft of a script done, or one of the short films that have been lingering in post finished. 

 

Come with us now on a journey through time and space…

The opening line from The Mighty Boosh and a fitting hello from me to blogging. Which, to be honest, feels a bit like being on a more complicated version of Facebook. I’ll talk mostly about being an ever struggling indie filmmaker, hating the day job, stuff I am learning about in this world, and things I think the world needs to know more about. And probably weed and bacon. Occasionally ninjas and boobs, if only to be a hashtag whore. Enjoy!

Come with us no…