Monday, May 30, 2005

on with the show!!!

All I need now is Dr. Teeth and the Electric Machine to play the theme music with a bunch of dancing muppets. To get on with the news of Rusted Sun Films, we had another production meeting last night. It took us a week to schedule a time to look over the audition tapes for our next project. Some of the auditions gave us a feel for who might be able to carry a part and some of them brought about some very fearful questions of paperwork and unions. There are more than likely quite a few SAG members that are running auditions for independent films. The more work that they can get under their belt and the quantity of quality feature films (indie or not) that they can put on the resume will help them out somewhere along the road.
However, the whole SAG thing is a bit of a problem when it comes to people wanting to make a feature film with little to NO BUDGET.
Sure payment deferrals can be organized and if any sales or money ever comes out of the picture then they have to be paid first... then they pay their agents... then the union... blah blah blah... Unfortunately it causes a lot of paperwork and headache for those of us that are trying to keep the filmmaking process simple and very NON-HOLLYWOOD.
How are we supposed to keep fighting the good fight against all of the Hollywood bullshit if we in turn have to play Hollywood's game? Sure, if I had a chance to be part of the Screen Actor's Guild I would most likely jump at the chance. However, the union doesn't really do anything for you. They don't pay your bills. They don't win you auditions. Most people that I know don't really give a shit if you're a SAG member or not. They only care if you can act and if you will work with them.
There are a great number of people (that are my personal friends) that have been lucky enough to become SAG eligible... then pay the thousands for Union dues... then never really go on to do anything else. More than likely they became SAG eligible because they were hired for cheap to do a film that came to town. Then they were given a line (or a great part in a mini-series) to help them out along the way of the Hollywood game. Some pay the fee to become a part of the Union. Some don't. Unfortunately I've seen situations where people won't go through the paperwork or stress of dealing with the SAG bullshit in order to have someone act in their movie. It's a double-edged sword... and being SAG doesn't guarantee you shit.
I couldn't be part of the Director's Guild of America. Here's why: They don't allow two directors to be credited as the director of a feature film. Robert Rodriguez quit the Director's Guild because he insisted that Frank Miller (the creator of Sin City) be given a director's credit on Sin City. The Guild wouldn't go for it... he said, "That's bullshit" and let them eat their stupid f-ing rules. Did it hurt him any? No. It probably never will. He makes his own films. Now, he was using SAG actors. If they had all quit SAG and decided to work on Sin City would there have been problems? Who knows? But doesn't that small fight against the system still give you hope that there are actually filmmakers left out there that actually give a damn about the craft and not about all of the politics and moneymen?
Someday, if I'm ever given a chance to play "The Hollywood Game" I'll probably have to bend to make things easier and get the people I want to act or work production. Unions had a good idea at one point... but they tell you that you can't work for free? Or if you do work, you have to pay us? Tennessee is a right to work state. Maybe there are some loop holes. I certainly hope so... because I don't like some paperpushing shitheel telling me how I'm going to make my movie... actor or not. Of course, I'm just mad right now. It's another holiday and I have to work. I'm sure there is some Union irony in there somewhere.
Anyway, we watched tapes and made some decisions on some roles rather easily. The hard ones are coming. We're getting closer to hooking up the propeller, tossing this dingy in the raging waters, and throwing the lever full-throttle. Still some prep work... and a dance routine to figure out... Thriller baby, Thriller.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

naps, reshoots, and more parties

Okay... sick of me bitching about no sleep and too much work and whah whah whah... I'm a cry baby. Or as Anthony might say, "And egotistical crybaby." Things get really f-ing weird without sleep. My brain hurts and I can't make heads or tails of anything that might have made the slightest bit of sense before and the things that seem terribly mad and monstrous make me laugh violent bursts of delirium... because they make heavenly perfect sense and I know that deep down these acts of random craziness aren't supposed to make sense... they're evil... and I know it... but I don't care because my eyes are on fire and the fluorescent lightbulbs overhead are screaming an electric chorus of demon lullabys.
Yeah... catching up on sleep is hard these days but I'm getting a few extra minutes here and there. It makes for some interesting film making, insane dialogue, and plots for a better tomorrow.
With all of these late nights, there have been a call for re-shoots. I've had to make sure that it wasn't because I was crazed and the acting was terrible. Apparently the acting was right on or at the very least "good." I hope so, anyway... that's what I'm being told. However, the reshoots involve some of the intricate party scenes. We shot those scenes for three long nights... drank a hell of a lot of beer (it's the only thing we can use to pay the extras with... though in retrospect we might have been wiser to give them the money we spent on the beer... we might have gotten off cheaper).
So, more parties over at my house. My neighbors are sure to come to the conclusion that a madman is ruining the neighborhood with latenight parties and hordes of degenerates piling cigarette butts and empty beer cans on the lawn. We should have kept all of the garbage scattered across the lawn just for the party exteriors. I think that I'll have to make mention of that for the night that we actually shoot the exteriors... plenty of "logo-less" party cups and all sorts of drunken mess strewn about the exterior of a midtown townhouse apartment. Well, that's not for a few days anyway. I'm sure to catch up on a bit of sleep sooner or later... I guess I'll chase down a fine rum drunk or something. There is nothing quite like a great rum drunk climbing up from the base of your spine and pouring sweat across your brow. You'll soon understand pirate mentality. Johnny Depp does a damned dead on impression of a Rum drunk...
It's hard to make a good pirate movie these days... however, they don't have to worry about Bud Light cans littering the yard... or cigarette butts for that matter. And if they want to sleep all they have to do is bake in the sun. Oh, George Lucas sucks...

Friday, May 20, 2005

oh sweet jesus, the pain...

Have you ever been so tired that your eyes burn? The lightbulbs and bleached rays of the sun pour in through window shades and stab my eyes with lemon doused razors. I close my eyelids and smile with the soothing pull of the depths of sleep... just a small continuation... thirty minutes perhaps... just laying in bed a few moments longer.
But... I can't. I have to get up and start getting ready for work. So I open my eyes again and the fires of hell start to scrape across my retina. Sleep is a thing of the past my friend. The only thing that can get you through the day are shots of caffeine, caffeine pills, the occasional bite to eat, and nodding off in the car for ten minutes in the warm afternoon sun. Deep breaths, take it all in stride and just make it through another day.
So, the plan is shower, get dressed, take care of the dog, make lunch, drive to work... then that fuzzy period of time for eight hours... then after work when I will open up my house to hordes of extras for a party scene that will take 2 to 3 days to film. Did I mention that I'm just acting? Apparently I've been given a producing credit on this film too. That's a bonus... I've kind of done the Indie Film thing before, so I'm willing to help every bit along the way.
I got home from filming around 1:30 AM this morning. I felt great. I love acting. I would have stayed up until 4 or 5AM filming these scenes if I could. Unfortunately I have to get up at 8 to go to that "job" thing. It's a rough gig... all of this energy spent, thrown around in various directions simultaneously, then no replentishing sleep to keep the days on end going.
One might think that Saturday an exhausted aged "young" man might be able to sleep in an catch up or at least repair from all of the physical and mental strain that's taken place. No. I've got to get up early for a casting call... followed by a production meeting... followed by God knows what (but I would like to catch Episode III sometime Saturday). I'm either going to start drinking heavily or doing speed. At this point it seems like the only feasible answer. Anyone know where I can get some Benzedrine? That worked for Kerouac. Coffee just doesn't have a firm enough kick anymore... plus is makes the bowels rancid swirls of gurgles and pain. Did they stop making Benzedrine in the 50s? Or mescaline... hell I could use a good Brain Wipe. I haven't been able to remember what the hell has happened for the last 3 weeks anyway. Insomnia and sleep deprivation will do terrible things... or is it the constant strain of roots, pills, power drinks, and other shit that I cram down my throat to keep me moving that has made this an ethereal trip? God knows... but I will tell you that I can look at a lightbulb and hear it. It's amazing what you can focus on or drown out when you're this tired. I could probably solve the Cold Fusion equation if I could stay focused long enough. Ah, I'll just keep acting for a while. Good night, johnboy...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

stagnance new information...

I'll warn you... well, those of you that might actually give a crap about the minute details of my life... but I'll warn you all the same. There will be a long period of time where no new information gets written down on this blog or the news updates page on . We're going to be very busy making movies... with no budget... with no payment... plus the day job... family obligations... trying to maintain a relationship... trying to schedule meetings... shooting dates... casting calls... producing small projects... writing scripts... no sleep... no sleep...
It's going to be rough. There may be sporadic bursts of information that make the long trip from my overloaded synapses to the end of my fingers through some caffeinated overdose of sugar and pure delirium... I'll do my best.
If you've noticed on the RSF film page, there hasn't been an update since February. Yeah... well, that's why we've got the blog. I haven't put anything out in 12 days here. I'm sure you were all weeping in malcontent that there was now a void in your life. Well, we'll get back to you with all the information that we can... in good time...
Life and movies are hard to mix. Right now we've got a lot of stuff in the blender and nothing to plug the bastard into. Somewhere down the road we may have to hook a key up to the end of a kite string and to get the juice we need... but eventually there will be a smooth (or chunky) cool mixture of blood, guts, sweat, and film to enjoy in the comforts of production aftermath. Then festivals and onto more of my senseless bitching. We should get Anthony one of these things too. He'll most likely bitch about me. Then we'll start a war and I'll have to melt his face with a magnifying glass. But that's a long way down the road. Beware...
sleep deprivation strikes again!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

too much to take or is the plate too small?

I've often wondered how these "actors" and "film makers" get all of their shit together so that they can complete more than one film during a year. Now, directors usually only take on one film a year. It's a long and difficult process. Actors have it easier. A lot of times they'll take on more than one project at a time... or be signed up to start work on films one right after the other. I think that some actors are quite fortunate to land so many roles within a short period of time. It gets their name and face out there to all of the right people in one fell swoop so that at some point further down this long and winding road called life they might actually be able to step back and take a break from the pursuit of money and madness... maybe take a vacation or spend some time with the significant other that stuck with them through all of those long nights and weeks spent "filming." (try getting all of that in one breath)
Long story short, "it ain't easy." There is a great amount of time and energy burned trying to get any project completed. Here's the current rundown of how the rest of the year looks.
1. I'm acting in a film for a director I've worked with before. It should be fun and hopefully will be filmed rather quickly. I'll know Saturday when I read the script. (payment deferral)
2. I'm holding auditions for the next Rusted Sun Films project on Saturday May 21st. I'm thinking that we'll take it somewhere around 9am to 12pm. It will take some time to get the rest of the pre-production going before we start filming. (payment deferral)
3. I've taken on another lead role for a film maker that is making a film in town, Of Saints and Sinners. It's a smart move and I'm looking forward to meeting and working with new people. I have no idea how long it will take to film. (payment deferral)
4. I work a full-time job at a news station that doesn't exactly like the idea of me making movies, acting in movies, and doesn't have a flexible schedule what-so-ever.
5. I have to pay the bills.

Okay, that's 3 feature films that are going to start within the next couple of weeks and months. Have I bitten off too much to chew? Yeah, probably. But I don't think that I would have if these gigs actually had some money behind them. Having a full time job takes a lot of time. It takes up a lot of energy... and the business I work in can drive a Bible-beater to curse and kill in red-eyed rage. So, the plate is a little small. I've only got so much time to work with... and I'm going to be exhausted. I just hope that it all pays off somewhere down the road.
People say that we work hard so that we can enjoy life later. Well, I'm tired of busting my ass and not getting anywhere. I think that there are a lot of people like that. There are also 5 percent of the actors and film makers in the world actually getting paid and making a decent living off of this business. They bust their ass too... they just get paid a few million dollars to do it. It would take me about 3 years of 60hour work weeks to make just a little over $100,000.
This is the hope that all of my hard work of acting and making films for free, on my spare time, on weekends, losing sleep, losing sanity, and doing it for the love of film... doing it for the hopes that one day it will pay off and make something better of my life will finally happen sometime. You don't get things for free. You don't get anything without hard work.
I'll give it a shot. I'll bust my ass to all points of exhaustion... all for the love of film.
When it rains it pours, eh?