What’s life without a little whimsy on wheels? Throughout my twenties and early thirties I, quite accidentally fell into a life of screenwriting and independent filmmaking. We’re talking seriously, micro budget, guerilla filmmaking. Long hours, little if any pay for people involved, nothing ideal involved. Along the way we met some great actors (Donavon Shain, Paul Reynolds, Vicki Jones, James Tackett, Stacey Gillespie, Jennifer Boeringer, & Joyce Casey). Met great friends, Pamela Turner, (yes, the Pam Turner of my many posts).
She came in for an audition as Grace Donovan in a screenplay that is in its umpteenth incarnation. Missy and I thought it was a simple romantic drama and in competition at Nashville. But, as Kevin Smith once put about certain works of his, You’re the Reason, is as indie fuck as it gets. It weaves tale incorporation addiction, mental illness, abuse in all its forms.
But that film didn’t get made, we reconnected with Pam when she became the DP on Too Far From Texas. Mine and Missy’s first foray into indie as fuck filmmaking. Solid script. With four fantastic actors, and two complete unprofessional. Working in the hottest and humid temps that year without a/c because interfered with budget level sound equipment. We dealt with prima donnas who were constantly changing their lines making it ultimately impossible to edit the film. We were green and at times the inmates were running the asylum.
Our second foray into film, the hero (our lead) showed up hung over and proceeded to drop his lines making a short film shoot into an agonizing affair where the competent actor caught it like a dread disease. However, the competent actor was also a graphic designer and created a fabulous movie poster for us. We were able to edit the film (also an indie as fuck affair) and were able to screen it for a small cast and crew. We entered it in a multitude of film festivals, but again solid script, solid cast, cheap equipment. You do with what you have and what you can afford.
The third film we shot and cast, we had a superb script, a fantastic cast, and we we’re thwarted by a hurricane. By the time we finished shooting I was exhausted. And indie as fuck filmmaking is hard as hell. I was burnt out and I’d decided I didn’t want to write screenplays or make movies anymore.
I just wasn’t built for the grind. I was still getting better. I wasn’t at a place where I could handle that much stress. Where I was responsible for dealing with the different personalities when I could hardly handle my own.
So I turned to novel writing. In 2009 I saw this movie, you may have heard of it, Casino Royale. In May of 2010 I wrote a novel, Another Way to Die. It sat on my hard drive until November of the same year. When Missy’s dad was in the hospital dying from the botched liver transplant surgery he’d received. I had a few scripts on my hard drive as well. I submitted them to a film festival. And the book to Lyrical Press. I never heard back from the festival. Lyrical Press asked for an R&R (a revise and resubmit). Under the mentorship of Julie Butcher I burned it to ground saving what I wanted and rewriting from start to finish. In February of 2011 I attended digicon. I submitted the book to six publishers. 4 of them offered me a contract. I went with MuseItUp. And well, 28 contracts, 4 Amazon Bestsellers, 4 publishers, a new job as marketing director for a small press, 7 preditor and editor awards, 2 Moondance International Film Festival Awards, and the 2013 Fright Night Film Fest Award for Best SciFi Screenplay I stand ready to do something I thought I would never do again.
Make an indie as fuck movie. Only, this time it will be a documentary based loosely on this blog, and the bestselling memoir it inspired.
People need to know things.
Like there is a light at the end of some pitch black tunnels if you are suffering from mental illness, and no, it’s not a train.
People with mental illnesses are NOT freaks, lazy, or any other derogatory term that comes to mind. We are simply sick and in need of treatment and with treatment, recovery and great things are possible.
I am also a survivor of extreme childhood sex abuse. As the previous post talked about, I brook very little argument about this subject. This documentary is meant to take away the taboo that puts the blame ERRONEOUSLY on any victim of abuse whether its rape, physical, emotional, or psychological violence.
To talk about subjects that when hidden do their most damage and lets the abuser off the hook.
This is a passion project for me. And I’m going set up a fund me, indigogo, or kickstarter campaign. I don’t know if I’ll raise the full amount or 3-5K I need. But that’s my next project. After I write the last few thousand words of Devil’s Backbone I will be faced with many things to do. Getting a script/shot list prepared. Getting funding.
Edits on Bella Morte:Beginnings. Reading Gunpowder and Lead: Outlaw for my partner on that project. Lining up publicity for Beginnings. Lining up marketing for Hekate Press.
And of course next month I hear back on something I thought I’d never do again. Write screenplays and enter them in competition. This one Nashville Film Festival’s Screenwriting Competition.
So, now you’ve inspired me to write this blog. To publish a memoir. And a documentary. Along with all these other good things. Whoever is reading this, you are all my silent witnesses. But Daniel, or whoever is reading on his behalf, thank you for making Casino Royale. It changed my life. 2011 I turned a corner in my treatment. But you work changed my career, it gave me one. It helped me make my own dreams come true. And for that I could never thank you enough.