Back in the Saddle

15 Sep

How did this happen?

Six weeks ago, I could barely force myself to sit down and turn in a script for my (shameless plug forthcoming) virtual series, Frontiers.  Now here I am, two teleplays, one feature, and one short later still on a roll.  It’s refreshing and exhausting.  Last night, I fell asleep chatting with a friend on Yahoo! quite literally typing mid-sentence.  I’m drained and alive at the same time.  It’s a curious mix.

To say I’ve got my mojo back would be an understatement.  And in some ways, an overstatement.  Paradoxical, no?

I only mean that, while the stuff issuing forth from my keyboard is probably some of the best stuff that’s ever come from there, and while the pictures in my head are more clearly defined than ever, I find myself at a bit of a loss to put them to film the way I want to.  I think I’ve got a bit of camera rust to still shake off.  And it’s also in part due to a lack of equipment; I’m using my own camera and lights, which are sorely outdated.  That aspect will be cured with a renewed membership to Pittsburgh Filmmakers.  The other stuff will return in time.

Amongst my accomplishments this month: the full, final, beautiful draft of The Way of Seeming.  Folks, I love this movie.  I adore it.  It’s one of my favorite stories ever, and I actually feel very humble that I’m the guy who got to tell it.  Out of everything I’ve ever written, I’m probably most invested in – and most proud of – this piece.  More specifically, this draft of this piece.  Aside from getting fantastic feedback and an excellent critique from my instructor at FSU, the final draft I turned in received high praise and a nudge in the direction of, “sell this thing, man!”  Alas, I don’t think I can.  While I’m excited to think I’ve got a truly sell-worthy piece, I don’t think I could part with such a deeply personal story.  It would kill me to see it ruined.

For my current class, I was told I had to write a 1-10 page screenplay that we would film before the end of the course.  Make a movie?  Try and stop me!  I’ve not been behind the lens since 2009, with my final PPU film, Occupied.  Of course, back then I had pro light kits and HD solid state cameras.  These days, I’ve been reduced to classic DV (at least it’s a 3 chip…) and whatever lights I could get my hands on.  Given that, I still think my short has gone very well thus far.  Stellar casting and great performances have a lot to do with that.  Daniela DeNuzzio, the lead role at only 16, has really nailed it.  Add to that the likes of John Iwanonkiw (an utter legend in the ‘burgh) and Dawn Renee (who has appeared in River of Darkness, General Hospital, She’s Out of My League, the Mothman Prophecies and more) and brilliant up-and-comer Alicia Marcucci (not to mention long-time friend and star of 3 of my other films, Aaron Zimmerman), and it would be hard to screw things up too badly.

So what’s next?  Hard to say.  My current short, Time Between, wraps shooting on Saturday.  A cut of the film is due on Sunday, though I’m sure I will obsessively recut and edit over the coming weeks.

I’ve got my next short in mind.  It’s a story that suddenly showed up in my brain a few years ago, during one of my earliest PPU film classes.  Not only this, it’s a short film that serves as a prelude to a feature.  My muse has decided to encourage me to develop both of those.  I’ll be working on a script for the short as time allows amidst my other class work.  I’ve also got a second short gestating.  Both of these, I anticipate filming within the next 12 months.

After that, it will be time – and well past time – to bring The Way of Seeming to life.  The script is as it should be – no more revising, no more rewrites, no more tweaks.  All the pieces fit to my satisfaction.  And if you know me, you know that’s saying a LOT.  I can scarcely wait to begin.

But to all things a season.  Right now, I’m focusing on shorter works.  Time Between is my top priority, after which I will begin the script for The Hit.  I’ve already got quite a few cast members in mind for that one.  It will be much bigger than Time Between in terms of scale.  As the name might suggest, it’s an action piece.  But it’s not just action – it never is with me.  The lead is an ass-kicker to be sure, but there’s some tremendous background to her, and a lot of complexity that gets to shine in the short (and that will carry over into the full-on feature).

I’ll also be working on sell-able pieces, such as my old favorite Eternia and a few others.

For now, I’ll share a tune that has provided some inspiration for The Hit.  It’s a song about a solitary killer who is out to bring down evil wherever it’s found.  If that’s not a hint, I don’t know what is:


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Posted by on September 15, 2011 in Uncategorized


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