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The Ballad of Living Dangerously

September 8, 2014

Why I Will Never Have A Girlfriend: A Filmmaker’s Perspective (Menage A Trois of 5)

December 23, 2009

THE ACTOR’S METHOD

 

“What’s My Motivation?”…

 

….would make great name for a game show.  Often times you will come across that phrase in acting classes or on an actual movie set. It’s a very stereotypical phrase, but it’s one that still hold up in today’s world. As an actor, you need to, in a sense, become your character. The words are on the page, but that person is represented by you. Actors and actresses must be able to adapt to any role, no matter how challenging or taxing on their mind. This is why auditions are such an important process. You have to become that role in the eyes of the audience (or in this particular case, the casting people). Any idiot with enough time and/or money on their hands can go to ‘acting class’. But as the saying goes, “learn by doing”.

Five years ago, I learned that lesson the hard way.

I was still in high school at the time. It was my senior year, so I was psyched that I could finally leave the horrible school I was in. My life in high school was pretty much nonexistent. I had a handful of friends that I hung out with, my grades were suffering, and home life was no better. I didn’t really talk to anyone at my school, and even then, it was just to tel them to leave me alone. In fact, this was my second high school that I was in, because I left the first one. I would talk about it, but I try to block it out of my head. That’s how horrible it was.

Anyway, I couldn’t wait to leave. I planned on keeping a low profile in order to make certain that I was able to graduate. Now don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I couldn’t do the work; it’s just that i couldn’t concentrate on doing it. It is kind of hard to concentrate when everything in your life is against you, but I’m getting off-track. I hated every single one of my classes except one; drama.

Due to the school scheduling I only went to drama class every other day, but it was always at the end of the day, so I had something to look forward to at the end of my miserable day. I loved everything about that class; the small size, my classmates, the fact that my teacher was smart (and pretty), and that she was young (and pretty).  It was the only time that I was truly happy. I could write, act, goof around, and generally be the closest thing that I could ever be to myself.

It is in this class that I met Starbuck (for the sake of the story,we’ll call her that). Starbuck was beautiful. Some would say she was stunning if they ever met her. She was in my class, but I didn’t really talk to her until about 2-3 months after the school year started. We had been paired up together for an assignment, a task that required us to be separated into groups.

Why I Will Never Have A Girlfriend: A Filmmaker’s Perspective (Part Deux of 3)

December 20, 2009

THE WRITER’S TREATMENT

 

By now everyone and their mother knows how movies are made. From the building of sets and shooting on location, to the actor’s and actresses acting out their roles. And let’s not forget the ones behind the scenes, such as the makeup artist or the amusingly named “Best Boy Grip”. Hell, even the person whose job it is to cater at the eventual wrap party has his/her story to tell. Of course none of this would even be possible without the most important ingredient; the script.

If you want to get technical, it actually starts with an idea. Someone always has an idea or an inkling of what will be the next big thing. A backwards robe? Eureka! Now people are crazy for SNUGGIES!* Giant Fucking Robots fighting each other? POW!! ZONK! WHIZZ!!!! We get Transformers, which brought all that (and Megan Fox’s sweater cows to boot) to the celluloid mirror. The written word is only a servant to the conscious thought. For better or for worse, or world is forever changed due to another person’s actions.

People are always saying, “write what you know’. Why? Because sometimes (re: most of the time) the best stories are more often than not the ones that we have already lived. We have seen movies and television shows alike have often featured thinly veiled portrayals of the lives of those in front of or behind the camera. Movies like ‘JCVD’, ‘Last Action Hero, and the recent Mickey Rourke-starring ‘The Wrestler’ have all served as a kind of meta approach to that actor’s life. Although is it made clear at times that the characters are NOT based on the actor or actress, the too-close-for-comfort story can endear that actor to their audience even more, and in the process, gain them a lot of respect in the eyes of their peers.

 So the question remains; how do you use your experiences to your advantage? What if the experiences that you had weren’t all that great? Who wants to see a movie where the protagonist is basically treated like shit THE ENTIRE MOVIE?  While there have been notable exceptions to the rule, that doesn’t make it an easier sell. Some studios seem to be taking lesser risks, opting for more established franchises & name brands rather than more risk-taking, original fare. As much as I love film and the very idea of it, I still find it weary that movies like Paranormal Activity & Precious are good and find a notable audience, but when push comes to shove, will go down as nothing more than “happy accidents”.

Another example of a ‘happy accident’ occurred about a year ago. It was around that time that I completed my first ever screenplay; Gale Force Trauma.

What’s Gale Force Trauma, you ask? Here’s my synopsis;

“It’s the story of  Samuel Richardson, a man who, after graduating from high school seems to have everything going his way; a beautiful girlfriend, great friends, and a promising future to look forward to. So when he begins to suspect his girlfriend is cheating on him, he feels compelled to act. Enlisting the aid of best friend Davis to spy on her, he tries to hold on to the hope that his suspicions are just that: suspicions. But as Samuel, and those he cares about most will learn, even Hope has an expiration date. And when Samuel’s decisions no longer begin to affect only his life, but the lives of those around him, all will be swept away by the winds of change.”

 

Now, obviously there is more to the story than that, but if I tell any more it may spoil the script, and I don’t want that. It’s needless to say that this was an attempt to exercise that old ‘write what you know’ adage. I was in a situation like the main character Samuel (notice that I said ‘situation’ and not ‘relationship’. More on that to come…), but unlike the screenplay that I eventually wrote, I could not control the actions of the people I knew in real life. Whether you like in or not, when you sit down to write a story, what you are doing is creating something out of nothing. You are the ‘God’, in a manner of speaking, and as such, you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want. Of course, once this world is actually created, there are the expected hurdles (budgetary constraints, rewrites, etc.), but for now, the ideas, people, and overall environment is yours and no one else’s.

However, like I stated earlier, how could I have used this as an advantage (writing said script) when I had myself lived this horror (in addition to my suck-ass life)? The answer is simple; I didn’t.

Let me clarify; If all you know is pain, then that is what you will know. Forever. Say that you were taken from what the dictionary defines as ‘normal’. When you look around and realize where you are, you know that this is not what humans think of as normal. It is in fact “Bizzaro-World”,, where up is down and left is right (right? or is it left..?). Once you stay in Bizzaro-World long enough, you yourself begin to adapt to the notion the up is in fact down, and so you live accordingly. Your very beliefs have been stripped down to the skeletal foundations, and have been proven to be false. So now, to you, everything in Bizzaro-World makes sense.

And that is exactly what I, too believed. That is, until I met…her.

 

TO BE CONTINUED

 

 

*SNUGGIE is a registered trademark and is the rightful property of its respective owners.

 

 

Why I Will Never Have A Girlfriend: A Filmmaker’s Perspective (Part Juan of 5)

December 18, 2009

THE DIRECTOR’S VISION

 

“I can resist everything  except temptation.” – Oscar Wilde

As a director of any motion picture will tell you, it is job, no… it is your duty to see the production through until the end. Not just during the good times, but the bad. You’re taking another creation and placing your personal stamp on it. The director is the captain of the ship, willing to lead his crew to the depths of hell and back.

Even if it’s to you death.

Especially if it’s to your death.

Because that’s what a leader does; he assumes command. Takes control. He keeps order when the world arond him in chaos. When a building crumbles, his foundation must be solid. He gives his heart to his cast and his crew, not because he has to, nor does he want to. It is because he is the facilitator of an idea, and as that facilitator, he must be willing to fight for something, to love something, that others may fear; The unknown.

The Undiscovered Country.

 My heart cannot be fixed. It is broken.

 

There was a time in my life when I believed in the notion of love. You know the one; boy meets girl, boy falls in love, and so on. It’s a formula that’s as old as time itself. But as we all know by now, pretend life is just that — pretend.

Most people live vicariously though their fantasy lives. From the Internet to books to the spoken word, there have always been outlets for the persons who suffer throughout their lives. We, as a species, seem to think that we can be doing better than we are, and as a person I am inclined to agree. Never settle. Don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do anything. Words to live by, but can be dangerous once we practice what we preach.  But as much as we are a danger to ourselves, we can rest assured that we are dangerous to others.

Which brings me to my drug of choice…Love. Ah, Love.

Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m a writer and aspiring filmmaker. I have loved movies for as long as I can remember, and while I haven’t made anything you may have seen yet, that doesn’t mean that you won’t. I go to movies every weekend like clockwork (yes, by myself), and I am a constant staple on message boards. Recently I have entered the social networking realm, my Twitter and Facebook accounts joined at the hip. I have even applied to be a volunteer at the 2010 Florida Film Festival in Maitland.

So as you can see, I’ve got movies on the brain. Some would say…obsessed. Those people are idiots. Now if you were to talk about things like love, sex, and or relationships, then you’d have a valid point. I. Don’t have. A clue. About love

Never have.

Probably never will.

Let’s get the simple stuff out-of-the-way first; 1. Not really that attractive/2. Never had sex./ 3. Struck out with women more times than a Minor League baseball player at a sport’s bar (What the hell does that mean?!). Sure there were crushes, infatuations, even the occasional ‘ummmm, er, uhhhhh (drool)….er, ahhh…”. Sadly my mad skills never equal success. There was that one time….but I’ll save that for Part Deux. I have tried for years (re:YEARS!!!) to understand my awkwardness; was I trying too hard? Not hard enough? Did I need to be some self-centered, good-looking pretty boy like I’d seen so many girls with. I mean, is that what it takes? Some good looks and the impressive ability to blow smoke up someone’s behind?

Did I really need to act like someone I wasn’t in order to meet girls? It seemed to work so well for the Mark Sanfords and Eliot Spitzers of the world. I mean, if you have enough money, power, talent (hey 1 of 3 ain’t bad…right?), and charisma, there are those who’ll pretty much believe anything you, no matter how much of it is laced with B.S. This is the kind of behavior that I witnessed firsthand throughout my life. High school was particularly bad, but then again, whose isn’t? I dare you to go out there and find one person who didn’t feel life wasn’t fair because some douchebag guy got with a girl that you just happened to like. Just one. Go ahead, I’ll wait….

….and we’re back. Haven’t found one? Good, then you’re not crazy. It doesn’t exist. It’s a near-perfect tragic flaw, Ladies and Germs; someone always wants what they can’t have. The Unobtainable. In Layman’s Terms; Jealousy. Personally I’ve never had the pleasure. I suppose sulking away like David Banner in The Incredible Hulk has hardened my resolve a bit. But the point of all this, and the rest of these articles, is that in the future, people can avoid in the mistakes I made. They can keep the idea of love alive inside of them, because as far as I am concerned, love doesn’t exist. Whatever pieces of my broken heart are gone, and I am not going to miss them.

I am writing this because…I don’t want you to suffer….like I have.

TO BE CONTINUED…..

 

 

 

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November 23, 2009

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