• VINDICATION

    Image from BATMAN-ARKHAM CITY, by Rocksteady Games

    My last blog post chronicled the AGONY of defeat at the hands/pen/keyboard? of a Christian film produced who, while praising my screenplay NOT YOURS TO GIVE on some technical points, basically dissed the work as not worthy of production.

    Well, one man's trash…you know the old adage. It seems that some one dozen OTHER jurors/producers who scored the script for this year's CAPITAL FUND SCREENPLAY COMPETITION saw it a bit differently!

    The script amongst the Top 5 Finalists in the Competiton and won yours truly a 1/2 phone consult with a seasoned Producer, who said that he, along with the other 11 judges scored the script VERY highly and it was going to be one of the top projects he put before investors in the coming few months!

    Also, the MOONDANCE International Film Festival recently concluded in Boulder, CO., where familiar strangers was selected as a top 5 FINALIST.

    FINALIST

    I am humbled and excited beyond words.

    kl 

  • Things that make you go…

    Things that make you go…

    So, I'm beginning to get some good exposure with my script NOT YOURS TO GIVE, about the political life of Davy Crockett, and how a legendary encounter with a meager farmer changed Crockett's mind and his heart about his religious and political convictions. And I happen upon a Christian filmmaking site whose producer agrees (for a fee) to read and review my script for possible production value.

    Well, I submitted the script to him and got a disappointingly poor review. The reader DID say that the writing was "B+ grade at least, very professional", and went on to say that "viewers would learn much about Crockett they likely did not already know", but gave the script low marks for its "extensive use of a narrator, image sequences and long passages of dialogue".

    Now I had painstakingly rewritten this script to adhere as strictly as I could to what I have been told time and time again was "industry format". So I was more than a little dejected that it received such a poor review. So I wrote the reviewer back, and while thanking them for their time and consideration, asked them about the conflicting information I keep getting about scripts, versus what I continue to see being successful on the screen.

    Specifically I mentioned THE LOBSTER, A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, INGLORIOUS BASTARDS, STAND BY ME and BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID,  as examples of wildly successful films which "extensively use narration, image sequences, and/or long passages of dialogue". Now I'm not trying to equate my work with that of Stephen King, Norman McClean or Tarantino, but I did want the reviewers persepctive on those scripts vs mine.

    "Well I am not familiar with, nor have I seen any of these films.", the reviewer responded. 

    Now, I don't care what kind of card-carrying religioso you are - these are all incredibly important works in American Cinema. It's hard to fathom…and now put much stock in …what this person says, when they respond as they did to the aforementioned films. I certainly wish them well and hope they enjoy success with their current and future endeavors, but again, I can't imagine anyone presenting themselves as a professional in this industry, with no familiarity at all with some of the greatest films that have ever been made.

    The point…why of COURSE there's a point. Just realize it's nothing personal, the reviewer clearly has a narrow scope of reference and taste for they prefer, and my script simply didn't fit their bill. And yes, I take away more than a GRAIN of salt from this review, and realize that the shroud some people live under to protect themselves, certainly obscures their ability to see  -and appreciate - very much of our world. 

  • Viva Mezcal! It's not JUST for breakfast anymore!

    Viva Mezcal! It's not JUST for breakfast anymore!

    The eve of my soujourn to Mexico, for the Oaxaca FilmFest has arrived and I think I am finally getting excited.

    I guess it's all seemed too good to be true that something I created would be honored as an Official Selection by one of the premier film festivals in the world.

    But after a very warm and touching pep talk from my dear friend and CEO, Jay Wommack, in front of our entire company today, in which he characterized me as a "great storyteller",  I am energized and believing in myself again. Then comes an incredible Tweet from my uber enlightened 16-year old that states " …art is designed to make the artist feel personally addressed - it is a simple truth - or set of truths, that galvanizes a passion within the individual. And in doing so, immerses them into a community founded upon that same personal connection." 

    So I have that thought ringing in my synapses as i prepare to go into a community of artists who have a passion for telling stories. 

    A week of networking and workshops and mezcal and las festival de gastronomie await.

    ARRIBA! ARRIBA! YEE HA!

  • It's OFFICIAL

    It's OFFICIAL

    familiar strangers, has been made an OFFICIAL SELECTION in the 2015 Oaxaca Film Festival's Global Screenplay Challenge!

    I am humbled, honored, excited…beyond words.

    The Oaxaca FilmFest is an eight-days long film festival held every autumn in the colonial Mexican city of Oaxaca since 2010. The festival is composed of various categories and offers a large space in its selection to emerging directors and scriptwriters. In 2015, Oaxaca Film Fest 6 runs from October 9th to 17th. Currently celebrating its 6th year since being founded, the festival has been listed by Movie Maker Magazine as one of the most attractive festivals and among its Annual List of the Top 50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee, and Spot Light Magazine hails The Oaxaca Film Fest as "Sundance South of the Border", which contributes to making it one of the most important film festivals in the world each year. 
  • Peaks & Valleys

    Peaks & Valleys

    As I look past the words in my last post, deep down to the despair I felt on many levels, I am reminded that I'd forgotten that if God leads us to something, He will also lead us THROUGH it. And, that on the otherside of every valley, there is a peak.

    Thanks be to God for His love and mercy and the healing power of prayer, and for all those who prayerfully lifted up our family in a time of need. We now have many months of good health behind us and a prognosis for continued wellness.

    On the project front…NOT YOURS TO GIVE caught the eye of Christian FilmWorks Magazine, via an International Screenwriters' Association post, and that project has been featured in their Summer 2015 Issue. Thanks, kindly!

    AND…while I can't post the news YET, I am very excited about an incredibly fortuitous turn of events for familiar strangers. Stay tuned!

  • postponement…

    After a successful screen test with my new STRANGER and JOHANNA, a serious family illness has now forced indefinite postponement of filming. 

  • Paranoia the Destroyer

    Paranoia the Destroyer

    Hacking out this blog to the strains of the KINKS 1971 hit "Destroyer". 

    On the surface, it TOTALLY looks as if we are on track to get FAMILIAR STRANGERS shot during the first quarter of this new year!

    But lurking somewhere below…is that irrational fear (paranoia) that has me worried that somehow the train will derail and once again, I will be left admist a train wreck of unfinished work.

    There will be some struggles with overcoming the busy schedules of five cast and an out of town DP, but I will endeavor to perservere!

    And for now, I shall dwell in the sunshine whose rays have brought me two new actors a new shooting location, and the promise of shooting to begin in just a few more days!

  • back and forth

    back and forth

    Owing to the manifold scheduling conflicts experienced with putting together a shooting schedule for my screenplay familiar strangers, I recently had the "brilliant idea" of producing the work as a STAGE play, to benefit a local animal shelter effort. 

    It was a win-win-win, I'd convinced myself: my work would get produced and seen by an audience, the actors would finally get to finish the project and last, but certainly not least, the shelter would benefit from the event.

    When placed before the cast, the idea was met with less than enthusiastic responses and the majority seemed willing to sit down in early 2015 and hammer out a workable shooting schedule for everyone and produce a film, rather than do a stage play.

    Score: Actors - 1, Director 0.

    Stay tuned.

  • DISsocial Media

    DISsocial Media

    Pardon my naiveté, but I had high hopes when, earlier in the year, a project with which I was working had really taken off via social media. 

    The project seemed to gain almost overnight success and quickly gained "Likers" and "Followers" abound.

    Silly rabbit…I thought all those thumbs up and bird calls would translate into actual SUPPORT of the project. HA!

    Now that you've pulled yourself up off the floor and had a good laugh at my expense, think about how much time YOU spend with DISsocial media. All these so called "friends" you have…would they come to your aid in a time of need? Or if you were just doing a benefit concert, would they SHOW UP and financially -  or otherwise substantively support your cause/effort?

    I think you know the answer.

    The great poet and essayist, George Santayana wrote, "Those who do not remember the past, are condemned to repeat it." An even GREATER poet, Jesus Christ said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on Earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal." 

    DISsocial media may help you get noticed, but it doesn't do JACK for your bottom line.

    Jus' sayin'

  • At the Crossroads

    At the Crossroads

    We all reach a crossroads (or several) in our lives, if we live long enough. 

    A point where we must make a decision about how to proceed in our lives, or in a relationship, or with a job.

    Again, I have come to a crossroads.

    Robert Johnson's lyrics have him going to the crossroads, "falling on his knees, beggin' the Lord for mercy, sayin' 'Save me if you please'.

    In his letter to the Christians at Corinth, St. Paul tells us that there are many gifts, but one Lord. Many talents but they are all of the same Spirit. We are called to use those gifts, not for our own benefit, but to glorify our Father in Heaven.

    I've been witness to a number of things this week, all happening very randomly, but containing the same message - at least that's how I'm deciphering them.

    The message? 

    Stop making excuses and start making films. But not just any films. Films that advance the WORD. Films that spread the Good News of Jesus Christ.

    You see, I've been wrestling with this thing inside me for some months now, and I'd resist it long enough to make some progress, but eventually I would succumb. I even got a cast together, had a couple of readings and started filming a script I'd written entitled "familiar strangers". But it was a dark and hopeless piece. A joyless story, filled with heartbreak and tragedy. And as thrilled as I was that I had some friends who'd agreed to help bring the project to life, I kept running into walls with the shoot.

    No shows here. No responses there. Here a problem, there a conflict, everywhere a doubt doubt. And I began to see that this wasn't what I was supposed to be working on when ANOTHER script I'd written, which had Christ at its center got produced as a stage production and was praised by its performers and audiences alike. 

    SO…I've decided to shift gears, walk another path. Write and produce stories of joy and hope and the love of Christ.

    I too am down on my knees…save me Lord, save me if You please.