Burn Hollywood! Burn!

Since I was very small (or should I say, ‘Since I was very young,’ seeing as how I stand a whopping 5’6″) I wanted to be a filmmaker. I spent my youth reading movie magazines and daydreaming about writing, directing, editing, and marketing films. Like with the book thing, I fantasized about genre work. No dramas, or comedies, or documentaries here, only crazy horror and dark fantasy and the occassional sci-fi freakout. I took these dreams as far as college. I spent a year enrolled in Cal State Northridge’s RTVF (Radio, Television, & Film) program, made a few shorts, did a little, uncomfortable networking, and then promptly changed my major to Creative Writing and got the hell out of Dodge.


Well, for the first time I got a whiff of reality. While watching movies rules, making movies freaking sucks.

Films are collaborative efforts. They cost a crap load of money to make. And most of the people involved in the industry are Royal Douche Bags. The thing is, I like to work alone – I need to work alone (save for working with another writer – I can handle that from time to time) – I don’t do well with dumbass directors and producers and investors who know nothing about what I am trying to do, who don’t really understand my blood-soaked vision, trying to stick their fat, greasy fingers where they don’t belong. Also, I was broke and developing film was damn expensive (I suppose the digital explosion had made things a little easier in this regard). And lastly, I don’t like working with Royal Douche Bags – they’re full of rank air and suck the joy right out of the art. Writing – novels – not abbreviated screenplays – helps me get my Art on, and the complete, creative control feeds the ego and keeps me sane (not to mention it’s free – all I have to do is fire up the computer and start hacking away).

(But not I. Get back to work lazy kitty kat!!!)

Still, movies rock, I’m a cinema addict, and I keep dreaming about crafting a feature done right, and I can’t help but to hope (yet I watch my filmmaking buddies go crazy and think, no thanks). Maybe one day I’ll have the opportunity to do something Auteur style, an MLC joint from beginning to end. In the meantime, though the majority of my career aspirations are spent writing creepy novels (and the like), I still write the occasional screenplay and have done a bit of work with up-and-coming filmmaker, Robert W. Filion.

I met Mr. Filion at Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors a couple of years back and we’ve forged a nice working relationship. His zombie short, SEE THE DEAD , was playing the festival. I checked it out and was impressed. He read my book, AS FATE WOULD HAVE IT, liked it, and then asked me if I would be interested in working together. Though I was still leery of film and didn’t really want to get involved, I figured what the hell, I want to write for a living and the only way to make enough money to support a family is to just do it. If you throw enough stuff against the wall, something is bound to stick, right? I told Robert I’d be happy to team up. We laid out a few plans and got to work. Since then (about two years ago), we’ve made a few nice short films (my screenwriting, Robert’s production, direction, editing, money, everything else).

(Don’t forget – It’s all about that source material!)

The first short we put together was based upon my story, Chekov’s Children (from my collection, Stoker finalist BLOOD & GRISTLE). I wrote the story back in college during an exercise where we were to emulate a classic author’s style. I modeled my piece after Anton Chekhov. What struck me about Anton’s work was how he mastered capturing a small moment, loading it up with all kinds of subtext and undertone and metaphoric detail, then he’d let the vignette play out until it came to an abrupt end that gave zero resolution but filled the reader’s head with possibility. He let you fill in the ending, often forcing you not to just imagine what came next in the current action, but what happened to his characters’ throughout the rest of their lives. Good stuff. My story came out pretty cool. Whereas Anton was a true master, I was more than happy to accept a young padwan-in-training role and do what I could with my growing powers. There’s some subtlety, some metaphoric detail, but it’s mostly overt, college-kid, A-for-effort type craft. Not bad, worthy of publication and a few kicks, but hot damn, subtlety is tough, man. It’s a skill I still work at every day. I nailed it back then in a raw fashion. And though I still work at it, Loyal Reader, my powers have grown exponentially since then (pick up some of my new work and prepare to have your mind blown – subtlely of course). (Isn’t subtle and it’s brother subtlety, a pair of great words? The way they flow? What they mean? God, I loves me some language). Anyway here’s Filion’s short film. I think he did an excellent job (the actress playing “Ivana” is pitch perfect). Enjoy. Comment. Praise. Kill. Get your Ebert on…

The following video rocks, but be sure to go out and read the source (via BLOOD & GRISTLE).


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