I spent a good portion of last night fishing through film
festival information in the hopes that spending some of that time researching
various festivals would help make a better informed decision. Not much was
really done, though. Some festivals are creeping up quickly with regular
dates and late submission dates and all of the like. It gets quite
expensive to submit films, get all of the discs and media stuff together, and
then the shipping... whew. My bank account has dropped drastically.
I know that I've always said that we didn't have a budget while making the
movie.... well, we really don't have a budget while trying to send this film off
to other festivals. This is all out of pocket. There was a frail
hope that some of the money from the DVD purchases or T-shirt purchases would
have helped alleviate this drastic drain of funds... but that money goes
quickly. I guess all money goes quickly to tell the truth. It would
be nice to have some support in the monetary realms of pushing a film to the
public eye. However, there is a lot to be said for muscling through the
fray all by yourself. I'm not putting myself into too much debt but all of
my spare change and drinking money has definitely fallen to the bullets of a
better tomorrow for the film.
I'm getting some good reviews from those that are watching the "library copy" of the film. It's kind of like running a Blockbuster service but for free. I'm now remembering that I need to drop a copy by Black Lodge Video in Midtown to see what happens. I think that they'll be quite receptive to putting it on their shelves. I suppose I would just like to know how many people are renting it. The next few days should be interesting. I should be meeting with some various individuals for working on scripts. The next project might not be that far away... even when we haven't pushed "A Cowboy's Silver Lining" quite far enough, in my humble opinion. Oh well, back to the daily grind. The news waits for no one... especially if there is a funeral.
I feel like such a slack-ass. The premiere for the film
has come and gone, the requests for discs still lingers within earshot, and life
has gotten back to the normal hustle and bustle. I can imagine what stock
car race drivers feel like after leaving the rocketing speeds of an asphalt
track to make a trek with the family across the highways of America. Going
that fast for so long does take a toll on you. However, I immensely
enjoyed it (even though I had become prone to bitching about no sleep, long
hours, and a need to see the project done).
Well, it's done. The premiere was a fantastic light at the end of the tunnel... all silver smiles, long doused drinking binges, and most of all laughter. Everyone was extremely thrilled to finally see the film as they seemed equally blown away at the quality and nature of the picture. I worked hard. They worked hard. It all paid off with putting butts in seats (and that's all the people dumping money into films want... they want asses in seats... paying asses). On that aspect we delivered. I also feel that we delivered so much more. Every bit of excellence shined through. I'm still getting asked when we will show the film again for all those that missed the premiere. Sometime soon. I've got to gain my footing again even though I'm a little hesitant to throw myself full force into the fray.
I do miss making the film. As frustrating as it had become over the near 7 months of weekend filming, I miss it. I miss the challenge. I miss the feeling of accomplishment... accomplishing the shot... getting it right and knowing that it was right. We're already working towards some new projects, for you're only as good as your last film. I'm as pleased as I am yearning for that feeling of the world shrinking in around my shoulders. I guess it's the release from all of the stress that I enjoy the most. I liked the idea of being able to chill out for a while and gather my tools and senses. I'm packed and ready. Anyone care to help us out with the next film platter? We'll serve up another blue plate special... an economy feast for the eyes and senses. This one will be a laughter Twinkie (it's in the filling, get it?) Ah, I'm ready to go home anyway. It's been a series of long days in the "job" world. Hopefully the paycheck will be decent. It's never really !
Enough of That...
Well, I'll try to push some more of these out before too long. Currently I'm helping Forrest with his script as well as working up some dialogue ideas for a romantic comedy penned by my good friend Jamey Tucker. I've got to keep on Jamey though. He's a working man too. There just doesn't seem to be enough time for two or three jobs in the day. You run yourself thin. That's why I'm trying to do everything I can to help boys. Plus, I love the writing. It makes the juices flowing again, and by the time the scripts are done... we'll be-a-rockin'.
Late nights again. The media push for "A Cowboy's
Silver Lining" went into labor last night. God knows how long it will
take to get through the birth pains and spill this movie all over the publics
eyes and ears. There will be posters to hang in high traffic areas, to
catch the attention of the wayward traveler... or the avid movie-goer that might
find a man aiming a gun at them appear like good fun. There should be
hand-bills and postcards wedged in between handshakes and fevered explanation of
why people NEED to go see this film. Hopefully they won't end up in a
jacket pocket only to be found next fall when they try on the same jacket.
(Or maybe they'll think to themselves, "I remember when I ran into this guy
on the streets. I loved that movie. I wonder what the next project
is.") With all good timing intended, there should be logo emblazoned t-shirts wrapped around people all over the city... showing pride for one of the
local boys that finally made something of a daydream. Of course, I'm not
really sure when or if when can get the shirts done. I have to give one to
each and every person involved with the film... and that's a lot of out of
pocket dinero. There will most likely be TV, Periodical, and radio
interviews rumbling about the sidewalks and air-waves. I'll have to polish
off some ready-to-fire clever little quips about the who, what, when, where, and
why. We've only got a handful of days to pimp this bitch out to the
public. I could troll the deep waters to see what bites, but most likely
I'll start catching everyone I know to come view the film. I'll be lucky
if I get half of them to actually show up. People make promises that they
soon forget. They also make promises that they have no intention of
keeping. I'm guilty as well. They forget, they have busy lives, they
have better things to do. That's life. However, this film has become
my life this year. There is little that has been done or experienced or
even challenged that has not had some kind of connection to this picture.
That's my life. It's all or nothing. In the words of the all knowing
Jedi Master Yoda, "Do or Do Not, There is No Try." You're either
good or you're crap. There can always be the best of the best... the top
five... the top ten... but once you cross the level over to bad, there is no
keeping your head above water. You sink to the depths of it all.
Which describes quite a bit of my own battle with Manic Depression. Severe
highs and severe lows. It takes a while to get through both of them.
You're doing okay if you find some comfortable spot in the middle. God...
now comes the rational reflection of it all? How did that start?
Must be the lack of sleep again. Hmmm. It won't get any better any
time soon. Blahz.
Oh, now comes the battle of show times for the festival. I
tried to make a point to all of those involved in the film that keeping dialogue
with those who are in charge of showing our film at the festival was the best
way to get a good screen time. I'm not totally aware of the conversations
that have taken place... but I can tell you that the first time they shot by us
was a Wednesday night at 8:30. My heart sank. All of this sweat and
blood for a Wednesday night? No, it couldn't be. So I had Brad and
Christine continue to pester the individuals making the festival layout for a
I mean, come on... we're locals, we can fill the theater, and we do want to make sure people can come out and see the PREMIER of the movie! Did I mention premiere? I wasn't sure because that's kind of an important point to get across. I know what most people think of local Indie film. They think that they've seen better images (and plots) streaked across the stark white of one-ply toilet paper. To be perfectly honest, they're right. I've seen better movies made by kids in "special classes" than some of these "Indie veterans" that have a certain bullshit tendency to grab the spotlight. Everyone tries very hard. Not everyone can do it. That might have been a bit harsh... but I'm a critic. I'm also an asshole. So all in all, I guess I'm wiping myself with a piece of one-ply and seeing what sticks. FCUK (sp) you.
Now, we're having conversation that would land us a nice Soda Fountain Sunday afternoon. There was even talk about a Friday night... but I think that I can handle Sunday much better than any Wednesday or Friday. Sunday is a movie going day... relax, be entertained, watch someone be beaten to death with a pair of channel-lock pliers. Then talk about it. It's just frustrating. I want people to see this film. I want people to take me seriously when I'm talking about this film (or any other project that we may take-on in the near to far realms of the future). Did I mention it's the premiere? Okay, just as long as we're all on the same page... even if we're not reading the same book.
Perhaps I'm jumping ahead of myself or leaping before I look.
I suppose no amount of firm and safe ground is enough to really start rolling on
the next project. The film as a whole (including the documentary and other
extras) is nearing the stages of completion. We're just about ready to put
all of the diligent hard work of our "first feature" behind us.
It's kind of sad, though a restful break will be more than welcomed. I
just don't want to get too lazy or comfortable, then start to drag my ass
through all of the paperwork processes that HAVE TO happen before hitting the
starting gate of the next venture. One of the most difficult steps of
getting started will be deciding exactly what we do next. There will have
to be a choice of direction... and what people will want to see.
There are a series of short films that some of our comrades want to do. Perhaps gunning a few of those shorts will give us another sense of accomplishment... however, short-films run a dangerous road. The idea is to move farther (further?) down the path. Would short films just be jerking ourselves off? Don't we want to continue making features with the hopes of being taken quite seriously. Hell, anyone can do short films. Making a really good short film can be done. Making a really good feature film is another story. You've got to have a great deal of talent and know how.
We've done a bloody dark and twisted tale. Should we move on through the doors of comedy? Comedies are winners. Everyone loves a laugh. I just don't want them to seem pushed or contrived. Who am I to say anything? I don't pretend to control any kind of decisions. I don't even know if I've got much pull in the say. I can shoot, act, write, produce, direct, edit... whatever. I like being fully immersed in the process. Which is another grand blessing that I work with such great people. They allow me all of these touched freedoms. I don't think any of us should be held back. I guess I just don't want to be stuck doing one thing when I've got so much to offer. Well... I suppose we've still got a ways to go before we get to the point of making solid decisions on what happens next. Then again, if there is a great deal of money involved... we may not have much of a choice. I hope it doesn't get to that point.
The weekend has been a blur of sorts. A friend of mine
(ours) came in from wonderful San Fran for a visit. The visit was far too
short, for we had to cram a lot of drinks, talks, and viewing into a two and a
half day span. Partying like rock stars is a hard feat to accomplish on a
small amount of pocket change and limited sleep. We did go see the Rev.
Horton Heat. How I would love to be able to pay for music in the next film
project. I really feel that songs make a huge connection with the
Anyway, Gabe (the guest previously mentioned) did seem to be thrilled about the picture. Thankfully, he seemed blown away with the production value. Unfortunately, there are a lot of poor Indie projects out there... they just don't know how to do it well or don't have the capabilities or talent. We were (and are) very, very fortunate to have such a talented and willing group of people ready to take on the world with open arms and gnashed teeth. As much as I have gone over the film and kicked myself for the smallest of flaws, the picture does blast off of the screen with a shining gloss... or "silver lining" if you will. It takes a critic to know a critic... and I was sure that someone of Gabe's opinions would tear the film apart point by point, bit by bit. There was nothing more than generous praises spilling out of his mouth. Thank God.
I made the movie for people like Gabe. I made the movie for people that are going to be critical... people who love movies... people who wish to make movies... people who know the difference between good, bad, and faking it.
On another note, Anthony has finished the 5.1 mix. I'm truly excited. I would love to have that mix (or the stereo downmix) for the festival... but beggars can't be choosers. I'm happy to have the finished product in hand. Can anyone else smell the hometowner award? How about the overall award for narrative feature? Wouldn't that be wonderful? (what the hell is wrong with me today? the alcohol must have short circuited a vocabulary fuse. My head is spewing out nothing more than sophomore literature.... maybe less). Ack! Well, it's back to work. Fight the good fight. And if anyone knows how to connect with some monetary backing, please, please, please let me know. I'm ready to get cracking on the next project.
There are probably better things I could be doing with my time
at this moments (namely practicing more with the new Avid edit systems at the
station) but I've become more prone to write my little thoughts and rants down
for all those who would care to read all of this nonsense... here goes...
Anthony and I took a much needed brake from the "A Cowboy's Silver Lining" project after we made deadline for the Indie Memphis Film Festival. There was a weekend during the Cooper Young Festival that we used for drinking and merriment... then the following weekend, Anthony's wife made him go out of town. (See, Anita played nice for the duration of our filming and editing marathons... bending to nearly our every whim... now she has an agenda. Resistance is futile). Monday September, 27th was the mark-point of going back to work for a while. We still have to finish all of the special "ins" and "outs" of the DVD package. We've also got to start moving on the media focus and marketing campaign. I'm not sure how far or how much we will eventually end up spending on either of these ventures... but I'm sure it will all fall into those comfortable little crevices that end up being used for beer at the end of the day. The price tag will hurt... but it doesn't hurt as much when you're working on something you love.
Last night (Mon.), we worked on piecing together the 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound mix. That is, we got started on the set up. We have yet to assign much of anything to specific speakers. Again, I will be traveling to Bartlett tonight for further experiments in the land of Indie movie making. I did figure out a way to fit everything that the camera captured onto the home television screens. You see folks, the television picture cuts off a little resolution on the right and left sides. If you digitally push the picture back to fit the TV screen... the picture looks more like the industry standard widescreen quality. The only problem is that the particular segment pushed back is already a 24 frame render. I wonder if we'll screw it up rendering it again under a 24 frame project. We're still learning here.
Anthony caught something interesting about the script that I had never told anyone. He's the only one that caught it. There are numerous series of clues that are held within the film. You just have to catch them... find them interesting enough to link them to some other portion of the film. I mean, nine fucking years of thought went into this project. It's not perfect... but it's good, damnit!!!
I am kind of looking forward to the gag-reel portion of the DVD. I do, however, dread going through all 12 of the tapes to catch all of the goofs... or at least the really laughable ones. Most of the good laughs require some profanity though. We might have caught some one the documentary tapes but that's a whole other story all together. It's going to take some time to pick and choose my way through that mess. There was also another question of whether or not we wanted to add a commentary track on the two-disk version of the DVD. I think that I would like to... but again, I don't know if anyone gives a crap about the film or gives a crap about what I have to say. And what the hell would I say? Work again...
I'm terrified about cutting my hair.
This should be of no real shock
to the system. Hell, I've always hated haircuts... since the first gleam of
scissors popped through my eye. I hate them. I suppose that would make
more sense now, seeing as how my hair line is running away from my face. I
didn't think I was that ugly. We'll get to see how ugly I really am when I
buzz all of this hair off of my head (that is if I have the balls to do it).
Part of me wants to cut all of the hair off-- being ready for some
physical change in the making-- partially wanting to add something even more
odd to the character of Billy. The other portions of me are screaming at
the top of their follicles, begging for mercy. Hair grows back... or at
least it used to. I'm so damn afraid of not having hair that I don't know
what I'm going to do for the film anymore. There was always a notion of
good intentions. Now I'm not so sure that I want to go through with it...
so that I might hide the fact (from others as well as myself) that I'm going
bald. Okay, maybe bald is a bit much... but my hairline isn't where it used
to be damnit. That shit is scary. I don't want to be one of those guys
that casually tries to comb it over into something that it's not. I want a
nice healthy head of natural hair. Fuck.
Scheduling a shoot for Labor Day weekend has
been another step in a
field of dog-mines. It seems like a few key players have conflicts with
dates and times, out of town trips, church revivals, and even the
possibility of coming down with the flu. Have I screwed my karma up that
terribly? The best I can hope for is shooting Sunday and on into the night
because most everyone will be off on Monday (Labor Day). Thankfully due to
a work switcheroo I've managed to get Monday off so that I'm not filming
until 4am and have to be into work at 9am. At least I've got that... geezus!
I'll most likely spend the rest of Monday loading tapes into the
computer and frantically rushing to edit the rest of the film so that I can
then spend the remaining days between hell and "the deadline" editing the
audio effects and music score. Oh sure, that will be an easy task. What
was I thinking? This was supposed to run near flawlessly. We had
everything on paper... and now I feel like we've just been winging it the
entire damn time. Who am I kidding? We have been winging it. It still
looks good, though. It looks damn good. I need to pay more attention to
the script when I'm editing. I start going with the flow of ideas and later
realize that I had meant to stick one scene in the middle of another
scene... I meant to chop another scene into several sections throughout the
film. These visions all come to me in the moments before sleep or ten
minutes after waking up. "I spent the entire night editing a scene that was
originally three separate pieces... and I stuck them all together, like a
moron," I said to myself this morning. It's an easy fix but it's not the
first time that it's happened. Anthony didn't notice either. We just kind
of went with the flow and put it together. I'm going to see a lot of items
like this come up in the future, I'm sure. Unfortunately, the future
doesn't give too much. I can't stop or slow down time... I can only slow
down production and screw the entire deadline. In the words of the immortal
Jackie Gleason, "Som-bitch."
One fine point of interest in
this film is something I like to call
"low-tech." In this technological age of enlightenment, we have cell phones
with TV's, LCD screens with DVD pumped entertainment glowing through the
tinted windows of moving vehicles, I-Pods, and bionic implants that I can't
even begin to comprehend. Well, we don't have any of that shit in our film.
As a matter of fact, the coolest thing we had while making the film was a 5
inch LCD monitor that we hooked up to the homemade-steady-cam (which, by the
way is one of the coolest damn things Anthony has ever made).
The "low-tech" feel of the film is what keeps it gritty. I mean,
when you kill someone with a pair of pliers instead of a wristwatch with a
C-4 detonator you might lose some cool points. Billy isn't James Bond. To
think of it, he's really not that efficient of a killer. The explosives set
up is as hi-tech as we get. I guess it keeps the viewers more focused on
what's "going on" with the characters than what trick he'll pull out of his
sleeve next. When you have NO BUDGET, you have to pull a few punches. It's
great having all of the computer toys at Anthony's, though. It's saved us
on more than one occasion. Hell, George Lucas has maintained a career from
it (but I'll be damned if I release a 'Special Edition' with more Banthas).
I just finished browsing around the Filmmaker Magazine site and the
Garden State Blog. There are a whole hell of a lot of Indie projects going
on. So many of them never make it to light (or the darkness of a local
theater). I mean, we can all burn our own DVDs and sell friends copies of
our weekend warrior films... but isn't the dream to get someone else to take
the effort to sell your vision? Don't we want to share these things with as
many people as we can possibly touch? I often wonder what breaking point it
would take to get any project into some branch of mass media. I'm sure
we'll be up to our necks in researching venues on the months to come. If
anyone has any assistance or point-of-view for those matters your tips and
hints would be of great assistance.
How and when shall we get there? (Oh look, Van Halen is still
playing... WTF?) Stranger things have happened. Who knows what evil lurks
in the hearts of men? Your Momma, Do...
I feel like such a slacker being
that I didn't take the time to
travel out east and edit some further rough cuts for the film. This weekend
was hard to schedule. I usually don't allow these personal plans and
gatherings to get in the way of the films progress... now that we are on the
last leg of time available. This inaction on my part forced me to pick up
the working script and "blue highlight" the sections that I've edited
through. It's a rainbow of color, I tell you. I've nearly managed to piece
together all of the scenes that we've shot (including some scenes that are
not in the script). Therefore, I feel a little calmer about the whole
thing... and perhaps not so melancholy over not getting any work done this
I will have to force myself to ramble on eastward tonight. I cannot
have a continuation of running stagnant. I guess this is a written pep talk
of sorts. There are times when I have to convince myself to get the engine
running again. Mornings are the most difficult. I am simply not a morning
person. There are daydreams of what it would be like to work all of the
"spicy" little talk shows, morning shows, and the like to promote this (or
any) film. What would it take to spark some life into my body during these
brain clogged morns. Hell, I don't know if this makes any sense. I guess
I'll have to come back somewhere around 1pm and make sure that these
ramblings have some sort of point. But do they really need a point
after all? It's just the random typings of a madman... who would read this
It's funny how far along we've
all managed to grow while making this
film. I've built fantastic relationships with people that I never really
gave much of a chance to be friends with earlier in my days. I guess I took
a lot of things for granted in that lost period of 24 to 26. How about I
make up for it now? Back to the point.
I've been watching and putting together pieces of the movie that were
some of our "first shoots" if not the first shoot of the process. In
comparison to our later efforts, the baby steps process of putting script to
screen took longer than it should have... and we didn't get as many angles,
cut-aways, and other technical stuff that I would have liked to have
caught... or that we caught later on in the stages of the other scenes.
It all falls together just fine... almost as magical as the other
scenes that contain twisted amounts of madness. Just different. I just
want to make sure that everyone gets their best on screen. I guess that's
also the role of a director. Hmmmm... Wonder what people thought of my
directing abilities on the set. Editing does wonders...
Perhaps, this shoot isn't as typically organized as "The Visitor" had
been. It's a monstrous project to take on... and I'm definitely wearing
too many hats. I guess that's what you get when you don't have money to pay
people. That rounds off the conversation full circle back to "the people."
It takes a lot for me to open up and get to really know people for who
they are... or for them to accept me for who I am. Working with and
spending as much time around the cast and crew has taught me more about
myself than I could have ever thought possible. I have to thank them for
that. I would only imagine that the various others involved in this opus
would say the same thing. It all makes for a better bowl of soup.
Anthony (in a drunken stupor, I might add --joking assholes)
stammered something about everyone becoming a tight knit family. Through
the tireless hours of shooting, setting up, and tearing down we've all kept
a cutting smile. We joke, we stab, but it's all in good fun and
entertainment. I've always said that through this process I've met people
that I will work with again and again and again. That's probably because
the relationships with these people are still very good. Through working on
other films I've met people that I never want to work with again. It pains
me when egos get in the way. Thankfully there have been no incidents where
things got heated enough to say "never again." The questions most asked
are, "When can we see it?" and "What's next?" Everyone seems excited as
hell to work with us again. That excites me... because even though the
frustrations have made me go all old and gray, I have had the time of my
life. I don't think that I've laughed harder at any point. There are just
so many funny things about a camp of gypsy-rogue film makers chasing a
dream. Especially when someone "leaves a nickel."
There's a hell of a lot of talent in these folks. They're putting it
out there for the world to see. Hopefully, the world will see it.
Hopefully they'll see more and want to see more. Hopefully sometime in the
near future I'll be able to get some sleep.
After another long night of editing the
first rough cuts of A Cowboy's
Silver Lining, I'm learning a little more about structuring the scenes to
make sense. Now, that's not to say that they didn't make sense in the first
place (obviously shooting some scenes to be intentionally confusing--not
misdirected-- there are fun little clues to catch). I spent the evening
editing the infamous SCENE 27. Within the often chaotic confines of the
script, I realize that now that this massive scene should have been cut into
three scenes... ah, but what the hell, I know what I meant... I think.
It's one of those points of the film that I've thought about while
driving the mean streets of Memphis (not focusing on driving but day
dreaming of better things--more important things-- movie things-- shit I
just missed my exit kind of things). I knew that I would have to edit this
segment differently. I had already mapped all of the answer out in my head
before confronting the problem. Why? Because the problem was apparent. So
what did I do? I edited the damn scene as scripted. I finished the 7
minute scene end to end before remembering, "that's not what I wanted."
Now, it was vividly apparent what I should have done. All in all, I spent
the evening working against myself, upon remembering the answer I worked to
fix the ailment.
I'll most likely go over every little sequence saved on the computer
second guessing myself. So when do you say enough is enough? There are
moments of confidence that outshine the original inspiration. There are
scenes that I "know" are right... I think. Will I end up tearing this thing
a new ass just because I'm not confident that I pieced it together in a
compelling enough manner? I don't want to be one of those film makers that
goes back some 20 years later to "add" scenes that I originally intended. I
wanted to do a lot of things with this film... but I couldn't. You find
creative solutions to acting issues and stick with those solutions. Some of
them are a little harder to swallow or a great deal more frustrating than
they should have been. Then, all of the sudden the answer is staring you
right in the face. It's been there all along. Finally you're able to clear
your head and see the obvious. How could this have ever plagued me? Of
course... this makes sense... it's so easy.
> I feel fortunate to have the time and capabilities to see these
things now. I just wish it wouldn't have taken me an entire night of
editing before the puzzle pieces fit into place.
On another note, I'm still excited at how the various sections of
this film are rocketing out of the birth canal. Anthony stated the other
day that "Now it's starting to make sense... I can see what's in your head."
That's kind of the idea. I'm a little afraid of what people will say about
the things "inside my head." I have no doubt that certain individuals will
say, "Boy, I knew Bevan was strange... but man is he fucked up. I had no
idea. Let's have an intervention." People could say all sorts of things
about this film (as they all will... everyone is a critic). I would like to
think that the majority of quotes and gestures will flow positive. I really
want the viewing public to like this movie, regardless of what they may
think about me. I want everyone involved to shimmer with glee when they see
the final product. I want people feel proud about this project.
My mother, however, will probably have a shit-fit that I kill both of
my brothers on screen. It's a movie, Mom. I know that I knocked their
teeth out and sent them running and screaming to you in the past... but they
let me bruise and bash them with a smile on their face this time (it's all a
movie... I didn't hurt them). Besides, they absolutely beat the hell out of
me in those scenes... that's real pain you're watching. It's also real duct
tape on real arm hair. That shit hurts!
I think of all of the creative
individuals that have graciously come
on board for this project... and then think about all of the individuals
that have been helping out behind the scenes in so many ways... then there
are those that we didn't get to involve or squeeze into the production in
some form or fashion.
Usually in grand projects of this nature, there are infinite numbers
of positions and slots to fill (acting, producing, extras, contacts,
etc.)... however, everyone involved has been doing this for the love of the
game or perhaps the belief in this particular project.
When I brought the idea of this film to Anthony and Brad I had been
shopping various forms of the "idea" around for years. I keep telling
people that I've had this film on my hard drive for about 9 years now. It's
never been completed until I actually thought that I could get it done.
Hell, the same could be said about the other ragged and scattered scripts
that I've kept in the dark cobwebbed corners of my ol' computer's hard
drive. There are some comedies, some depressing romantic dives that have no
beginning or end... all sorts of ideas that have managed to stack up to
near-nothing. A Cowboy's Silver Lining, however, seemed to have more
headway than the others. After working on "The Visitor" (Brad and Anthony's
first short film) the idea that my Dark-Gangster-Film could actually be made
didn't seem as far of an impossibility as I had made it out to be all of
those years. The idea needed more spit and polish... the story was
splintered... it just didn't seem that interesting to a viewing public.
Maybe I wasn't hungry enough. I went to work on finishing a rough draft of
the script. It was originally titled "The Target."
"The Target" was a concept that had been born some 9 years previous
(as I had mentioned before). My best friends (at the age of 19) were Dave
Hart and Daniel Bond. We were all aspiring film makers, with no money, no
camera, just an idea and a faint sparkle of inspiration-- not to mention the
delusions of grandeur. We set out to make a feature length film with
$3,000 in two months time. We started hitting up friends and family for
donations, we built a company account, and we thought that it was going to
work with no problem. We bought reels of 16mm film, we drove to Jackson, TN
to rent a 16mm camera (that didn't work half of the time). The end result
was about one can of film transferred to beta tape. Everything else seemed
to fall apart... except for the dream.
You see, the story revolved around a series of short stories that
Dave and I had written in Humanities (I think... could have been English).
The tales recanted the adventures of a young hit man, his contractor, and a
girl. We loosely put together a script (or the idea of a script-- I'm not
sure if there was ever any paperwork, certainly not story boards, certainly
no schedule). We took the idea, the small gathered funds, and flew by the
seat of our pants. Unfortunately, when Daniel left of college, and Dave
dropped out of NYU's film school after 4 days the idea of making "The
I still wanted to make the film. This was our dream. Dave abandoned
everything involving the film with me, saying, "You can do what you want
with it." For a number of years I did nothing with it. The VinCity
Productions company was disbanded and we all went on with our lives. That
little sparkle of film still stuck to my heart and head. It still kicked
the brain every now and then desperately trying to breathe again. Who knew
that I would have to hit 26 years of age before it would come back to life?
I re-worked the script, changed all but 2 of the characters, added 11
or so more characters, took the black depths of my manic depression (along
with some witty dialogue) and started to build a new home for this fighting
element that would not die. Yes, there are parts that are confusing. I set
out to make a mental thriller... something that would make the audience
think... something that would bring them to their own conclusions through a
series of subtle clues. I built scenes with uncomfortable stress, then
brought them back down again... just to give those who might wish to see it
a chance to calm back down, take a breath, and prepare for the next fucked
up swell of madness. The end result is what we have given to "A Cowboy's
Silver Lining." It's a film about loss, confusion, death, brutality, love,
and all of the in-betweens that make us grit our teeth in distaste. There
are some laughs too... though I think that I might change some people's
ideas of what is funny. Maybe not. It's truly up to them to decide. How's
that for a campfire story? Go fetch my slippers, Johnny.
The idea was to start a diary or
"Blog" of sorts for all of those
people who might care to read such a senseless stream of loosely threaded
thoughts. I had some spare time at work these days, therefore, I thought
that spending most of the time sitting on my ass and surfing through the
various movie news sites could have been put to better use. The jury is
still out on that one, eh?
I've been traveling the long roads to Anthony's house every evening
after work. Christine has been joining me, for she loves the whole
"film-making" process and I do need another set of eyes and ears to look
over all of these rough-cut edits I've been slaving over. The time spent
editing these various bits and pieces of a great film-to-be should save me
some very valuable time when there is no more time left to burn. Restful
sleep has escaped me. No longer does the Sandman come to shower my eyes
with dream dust. Lately he's been punching me in the nose every hour... on
the hour. But at least the film is getting done, right? Yeah....
I started to think about all of the work that we've done on A
Cowboy's Silver Lining. Hindsight is always 20/20. We torture ourselves
with the "what-ifs" and "what we should have done" scenarios night after
night after night. "Why didn't I see it?" "Why didn't I think of that
then?" "Well thank God we caught that sun visor in the shot before we left
the location." There are so many times I kick my own ass for stupid little
Did I really think that it was going to be so easy to make a feature
film with no money? To tell the truth I would have thought the road to be a
little smoother. I never would have imagined having to jump through so many
hurdles and hop over so many road blocks. There came a time where I was
convinced that God hated me... that he was truly out to get me... stop my
project... and finally crush me once and for all. I guess the jury is still
out on that one too. I'm still working to finish the project against this
myriad of problems that have been dropped in my lap. (That banging sound is
me... beating my head against the wall).
Oh well, back to work. Another day, Another dollar.
Copyright 2004 Rusted Sun Films