• AT LAST!

    Just shows to go ya…determination is KEY in everything. Undaunted and unalterable in my quest, the cast and production team for familiar strangers DID begin shooting last week and got some GREAT work done.

    Although it will be a few weeks before we can take up the project again, due to the impending Holiday Season, we are all committed having gotten several scenes shot and are looking forward to the remaining few weeks of shooting to complete the project!

    So…good, bad or indifferent - my first feature WILL become a reality!

    ONWARD!

  • Happy, HAPPY, Joy, JOY!

    VERY happy to FINALLY have familiar strangers cast, AND to have secured a location for filming!

    Looks as if we can plan to begin principal photography in just a few days! Updates posted HERE, and the GALLERY page will have stills from each day's shooting, MAYBE even some rushes!

    Peace. out.

  • Ladies & Gentlemen, Now Boarding!

    The first of the passengers have boarded and we're awaiting our final few before the production of FAMILIAR STRANGERS taxis down the runway for take off!

    A GREAT read-thru last week with two of the prinicples in the cast, and we secured an ART DIRECTOR/PRODUCTION DESIGNER in the bargain! I hope to meet with-and secure-another principle cast member next week. Then it'll be four down, TWO to go!

    While it looks like the cast will have to be pared down some, and a couple of scenes may have to fall by the proverbial "wayside", I am undaunted, as we are close to our first day of shooting!

    As Harvey Dent so aptly put it…"you make your own luck".

    Now if I could JUST get my hands on a two-headed coin…

  • dawwwww, HELL!

    This week marked a couple of steps back and maybe a baby step forward…

    One of the setbacks affects familiar strangers, the other, I'll just save for my autobiography some day.

    But I lost my DP for the film project, and while I won't throw the guy under the bus here, because I totally get his reasons for stepping off the project, it is nonetheless a setback, but one with which I will deal.

    After all, that which doesn't kill us, simply makes us STRANGER, right!

    SO…I shall sally forth and either find someone to fill those shoes, or try to do so myself.

    It's on the heels of an incredibly successful weekend event, at which we announced the Charles B. Pierce Film Festival, so I remain inspired by the spirit of our Guardian Angel Charles, who was as fierce and as independent a filmmaker as there ever was! Look down with favor on me St. Charles, and guide my vision and my hands as I plow headlong into the yawning hell fire of production!

    Despite the Summer Vacation plans, the loss of a DP and some spirit dampening due to the aforementioned unmentionable setback, I WILL make this film…THIS year!

    Perhaps another viewing of LOST IN LAMANCHA is in order…?!?

  • sHaReD hAlLuCiNaTiOnZ

    "Ahh…the TAO of Calvin" is how my dear friend and production assistant so aptly describes the musings of my favorite 6-year old philosopher. Bill, if you come across this - or does one of your minions - and wants it taken down, I'll gladly oblige. But this strip means SO much to me as a creative professional who's never truly allotted the time necessary to create something of which they can be really proud.

    And more often than not these days, she and I find ourselves the embodiment of Calvin's "Last-Minute Panic" theory. And as artists, it's not unlike being the lithium battery in the phone of a person who constantly has the phone on trickle charge, so "it's always FULL". 

    Yet just like the battery, it's those LONG, S-L-O-W, charges that help us to perform the best. Of course I don't have to tell YOU this dear reader, you know it already. The "walked" 18 holes, the "waded" fishing trip, watering the lawn by hand, or just spending 2-3 days lolling on the beach, or by the poolside or in a cabin, whatever muses you…you MUST demand time to daydream and get the long, slow charge.

    I've heard it hypothesized that Christianity and other organized religions are just a "shared hallucinations". A theory which I suppose MIGHT be possible if a group of clones were to drop the same purple microdot in sync, but otherwise, not so much. I'm not an advocate at ALL of religion, but I do believe strongly in FAITH.

    And whether it's theology, or pharmacology, I think that the true change agent, is faith.

    So what IS happening when you share an idea with 4-5 people and they love it… and immediately set in to making the idea a reality. Shared vision, hallucination, or FAITH…it's a refreshing change to the sorrily one-dimensional, pencil-pushing mentalities with which we creative types so often find ourselves dealing. 

    Seek the walked golf outing, the cane-pole and crickets fishing trip, the hand watered lawn, the extended dog walk. INSIST upon the time you need to thoroughly recharge your creative batteries, so that they may function at their optimum levels.

  • wHy?

    I just finished listening to a fascinating interview with Ted Hope, the new head of the San Francisco Film Society. Hope produced or executive produced 69 films over a span of four decades, including American Splendor21 Grams, and In the Bedroom.

    Hope was being interviewed by radio station KLAW and was discussing "Why Do We Need Film Festivals?" He told the listeners that globally, some 50,000 films are made each year. Yet only a very small percentage of those films actually make it into cinemas and get seen by audiences. Many of these films speak to a niche audience and that's where the film festival comes in. Festivals are needed to help these films and their audiences find one another.  

    It's a great interview and worth a listen. If you'd like to do so, you can check it out here:

    http://kalw.org/post/international-film-festival-kicks-san-francisco

    Hope is considered by many to be a father of the independent film movement in the U.S. Well that movement has a number of paternal units, one of which hails from right here in good ol' Texarkana, USA.

    That's right, Charles B Pierce, writer and director of such cult classics as The Legend of Boggy Creek, The Evictors and The Town That Dreaded Sundown, began his filmmaking career here in Texarkana, shortly after working as an on-air personality for KTAL-TV.

    To honor and commemorate Pierce's contributions to filmmaking and the positive recognition he and his work brought to our area, be on the lookout soon for the announcement of yet another opportunity for filmmakers and audiences to find one another…or just click the "RETURN OF fest•EYE•ful" link above!

  • All These Ideas Are "WARING" Me Out!

    It's been awhile since we last chatted. Gee…almost a whole MONTH now?!?! If I keep this up, my blog might actually become regular!

    God forbid.

    Which seems an apropos segue into the topic for this post, since my brain seems to be currently residing in a blender. I am plowing ahead with plans to put familar strangers into production this Spring, having reached out to some close friends for technical and casting help, and have begun a discussion group at First United Methodist Church, Texarkana, AR, on the relationships between Faith and Film, and I also haven't given up on getting something going with Not Yours To Give, the biopic of Davy Crockett's career as a Statesman. 

    You'll note I did NOT refer to Crockett as a "Legislator" or "Congressman", as I do not wish to insult the memory of this heroic, Christian, gentleman - adjectives which are antonymous with today's legislators and congress persons.

    But I digress…

    I recently came across the 168 Film Project's page, and am feeling called to participate, just as I felt called to establish the Faith & Film discussion group at FUMC. 

    Today I get an email from a LinkedIn connection who's just had a new book published about the Texarkana area, and it's curiously tied to our Phantom Killer lore, and it's curiously the 75th Anniversary of the birth of Texarkana's own Charles B. Pierce this year. Pierce wrote and directed the 1976 indie film hit The Town That Dreaded Sundown. I mused an unusually long time over my tuna and crackers at lunch today on the idea of producing some sort of rememberence piece in his honor.

    SO many things going on in my head, it's as if the blender is slowly spinning up. Lots of ideas, lots of directions in which to go, lots of choices. Guess that's preferrable to the proverbial "idle mind", eh?!?!

    God has a plan. Guess I need to just shut up and listen.

  • the GLAMOURous world of indie film/video production

    yessir…it's often more FrankenSTEIN than Frank LYMAN, as I learned again over the weekend as I went on a shoot comissioned by Assignment Desk.com to gather some b-roll for a nationally syndicated TV show.

    Now, I'm not so much with/on Facebook anymore - really never was - I have no interest in who the divorcees are being "tagged" by OR with, nor can I muster any enthusiasm about what others are eating for dinner.

    Likewise, I'm certain that no one's life is any the richer by reading of my exploits, so I'm off that grid.

    However, I DO find myself captivated by Twitter, as some of those whom I'm follow offer sage and cogent advice on hardware, software and other things digital videorati like myself enjoy. One such Tweeter frequently posts photos of celebrities, apparently shot by equally celebrated photogs. A recent post featuring a snap of Scarlett Johansson had me musing, why can't I get gigs like THIS?!?! To be sure, one must crawl, before one walks, and while I've got a considerable amount of production work (some of it award winning), I'm admittedly not yet a "photographer to the stars" candidate. Another tweeter I follow recently exhorted followers to "just get off your asses and go wherever the work is-you never know where it might lead!"

    So, when this quite unexpected gig came in, (with the chance to shoot b-roll for a national TV show!) I leapt at it.

    While I can't disclose any particulars about the shoot, or its subject, I can say that it lead me to a sadly blighted place, and some terribly impoverished folks dealing with a most unfortunate situation.

    I left there thinking "there but by the Grace of God, go I", and giving thanks to the Man above for all the blessings I have: a great job doing what I love - even if I'm not my own boss, a nice home in which to live- be it ever so humble, and above all-my family.

    Not Assignment Desk's fault by ANY stretch of the imagination…nor are those who produce the TV show to blame. I made a nice paycheck off the work, and will likely take any future offers they might be good enough to send my way. Point is, it just got me to thinking about how lucky I am. Puts a LOT of cred in the words of Sheryl Crow who tells us that "it's not about having what you want, but wanting what you've got."

    It's a hard, ugly world in which we dwell, and it's tough to make a living these days. Some aren't living though, they're merely existing, and what's worse, they didn't get a say in the matter.

    Well, that's CERTAINLY enough melancholy for one blog post, morale of the story is, yes…work is work and any honest day's labor is indeed its own reward. Thank God for whatever paying opportunities come your way, and just keep in mind that the legal tender spends just the same, whether your shooting Scarlett Johansson, or someone living a considerably less glamourous lifestyle.

  • The Dreaded Creek of Boggy Sundown Town

    Well, Hollyweird is at it again. As if the unnecessary reboots of SpiderMan, Red Dawn, and Judge Dredd weren't enough to keep you away from the cineplexi, the news that there are plans in the works to redux classics such as, All Quiet on the Western Front and Barbarella, should have you profusely wailing and gnashing your teeth. I read in VARIETY recently that some 50+ films are being "rebooted" as they say, with releases scheduled through 2013 and into 2014. 


    Clearly there a few or NO new ideas on the left coast these days.

    To add insult to that injury for those of us who are avid cinephiles, two of our best homegrown tales are currently being revisited by these idiots devoid of originality - Charles B. Pierce's The Legend of Boggy Creek and The Town That Dreaded Sundown, are both in pre production at the moment. As campy as both these flicks were, I think it's fair to say that they both are meaningful films to our area - especially since Pierce shot them in and around the area, and used a lot of community folks, both in featured and as extras. I was one of the latter on The Town That Dreaded Sundown, and while attending the local college, dated "Mayor Chuckles" daughter for a few weeks. Now, even though I was an aspiring thespian, I didn't know WHO she was at the time. If I HAD, I'd likely have tried to parlay that relationship into something more, but I didn't, and alas - I digress.

    Again both these films were low budget productions, but respectfully received at the box office and, to a certain extent, by the critics. The actors weren't "A-listers" and the craft service was likely Guy's Cheeseburgers and Orangeade, but Pierce carved out two good screenplays, and those stories (along with Vern Stearman's familiar voice for narration) struck a chord with those of us here in the Ark-La-Tex.

    In a well-written op-ed piece in today's Texarkana Gazette, Russell McDermott muses warily while reporting that one of the producers who is on board for the "Sundown" redux, says it will be a "modern" version of Pierce's story. McDermott writes that Pierce was none too fond of Hollywood's propensity for graphic violence, sex and foul language. It's almost a lead-pipe cinch that Pierce wouldn't be fond of this "modern" version of his story.

    As a matter of fact, it's likely that "story" (as it so often does these days), will take a backseat to the obligatory T&A scenes, junior high school vernacular and profanity passed off as dialogue, and as Joe Bob Briggs was so fond of saying, "buckets of blood". No doubt all of the denizens of this area will be portrayed in the same corn-pone fashion as Hollywood is so fond of doing, with our city resembling a suburb of Hooterville. 
But who knows? MAYBE the filmmakers will have an epiphanic moment, and instead of gratuitously exploiting Pierce's film, will decide to instead produce a creative 40s style film-noir, or simply a respectful and respectable retelling - much as Pierce himself would do today, were he still with us and had a multi-million dollar budget at his disposal. 




  • fyi…

    fyi…

    …newcomers to this site will look at the blizzard of blog activity occurring on Jan 9, and suspect me an overly-caffeinated globetrotting blogger. 

    While I've been called MUCH worse, I can't in all honesty accept that moniker either.

    You see, I've migrated my website off the subdomain of my ISP, where it has dwelt for a number of years.

    With HTML5 now widespread and SO much of what constitutes (and gathers) good SEO having changed so drastically, it was time for me to purchase my own domain and set up a "proper" website.

    So, on Jan 9, I sat down and migrated the site to its own domain. Thanks to my ineptitude and/or the limits of the software, all of my previous blog posts lost their original dates, and were dated Jan 9.

    So while I am occasionally over-caffeinated, do some globetrotting in conjunction with my work, and yes, sporadically post a blog, I've not to date combined them all into a 24 hour, multi-city blog fest.

    And I hope that remains the case.

    As for this post, I have almost 3 weeks of social media sobriety under my belt, having jumped off the grids a few days before Christmas. I've not been on FaceBook, Twitter or LinkedIn since. And I don't really miss it. I must admit I HAVE gotten a lot of good information from those I follow on Twitter, and perhaps some of the LinkedIn connections will result in something gainful. But FaceBook…meh.

    I read a disturbing article yesterday wherein the author proposed that the prevalence and easily manipulated forms of social media are resulting in the creation of a generation of deluded narcissists, who because they can so easily be "friended" and "liked" and "followed" a throng of others, believe themselves to be "special" and "superior" to a large percent of the population.

    Perhaps the zombie apocalypse is closer than we think. And the "Walking Dead" will turn out to be these socially-starved, tablet and smartphone dependent, textophiles who are shuffling through their lives void of any real, meaningful relationships and are hungry for true, emotional interaction.