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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Sleep, Perchance to dream and shit

Aaargh. Shiver me fuckin timbers, and shove 'em up ur ass.

Yes, friends and lovers, I am in a mood. I'm most displeased.

Why, you ask? Oh, pray, tell.

Im getting to it. Still shiverin me timbers over here.

The chief aint ready to pop me 500 K for the horror movie! And I thought I had it like that. It’s a horror movie for god sake. And Im producing it, I mean, like, is it not gonna make money? Puhlease!

Yet, can I complain. Me. After all, lets recount the Chief’s recent contributions to the continuation of my livelihood:

1. He floated a cool mil Dec 04.
2. Over the last twelve months hes added another 300 grand or so, give or take.
3. He has been the only investor to step up with more money.
4. He is holding back on his funding because he’s considering investing in the distribution of the family movie, or matching someone elses funding of the family movie.
5. His funding of the family movie’s distribution will benefit me directly and inditectly.

So why, dear boy, are you griping? Ciz I was pretty sure he said he would do it. He told me while I was in Florida that he wanted to do other projects with me. He told me he liked the script. He told me that if the whole studio thing didn’t work, we could still proceed. And now, hes on the fence.

Also asked me to continue to try to raise some money elsewhere. Spoke to a partner on the project, and a Company in Germany is interested potentially in taking foreign rights. Then if the Chief will go half, we can get this going. Course, I know him, and once he hears that someone wants half, he may change his mind and put up all of the money.

So it goes. What can u do?

Had dinner with E and her mom. Went to Uncle Nicks, a Greek place in Hell’s Kitchen. I don’t think it was as good as it used to be, maybe just this meal, maybe not (thought the red snapper was great, however). E somejhow saw through me immediately, saw something was wrong. I asked her how she could tell, and she said, well, you’re always so happy to see me, and tonite you aren’t?


No really?

I guess I got no game. Ugh. That’s not a good way to maintain. She thinks Im that into her – sounds like a dangerous set of circumstances. Also told me the fact that we live so far apart isn’t so great (about an hour on the train). So to retaliate I give her “You’re tough.” Yeah, I didn’t think it was that bright either.

She took some offense, I had no purpose in saying it except maybe to get a little sympathy, which I got from her but which was not nearly worth the accompanying “bitch” feeling that washed over me for my acting like such a little bitch.

Shes working for my associate Russ in my building tomorrow, as his office is in the buiiding. He knows we’re dating and he asked her – Don’t you have the address, haven’t u been to Grumpy’s place. She told him she hadn’t. As I am sitting next to her at dinner. Helluva day.





Tuesday, May 23, 2006

To be loved, To be loved...Oh Baby, To be loved

Birthday, mostly uneventful on any kind of grand scale, came and went. Which is ok, im 36. But people from work did get together and get me a 150 dollar gift certificate to BLT, one of NYC finest restaurants, and I got pretty good birthday cake, and Big Man, my biz partner brought me 4 movies (Fearless Vamp. Killers, Divorce Italian Style and Straw Dogs all referential to the upcoming Horror movie, and Ronin, for no particular reason). Got a bottle of good red from my bro, shit between us can be water under the bridge. I don’t have the energy to stay with it, and he finally brought me a fuckin check, and it’s a bank check, so it can’t bounce.

Had some people down to the studio – had wine and beer on the deck, and it was a little chilly. And DB (who I believe paid for the gift certificate) got E, her mom (Ugh) and I a table with a few other people at the Blue Note. Band wasn’t that good, but it’s the thought that counts.

Actually, doesn’t it only seem that the thought is what counts when the gift sucks. Why is that?

Got calls from the people that count, those I didn’t see. Most of em. Not from the ex – wonder if it occurred to her. Course I didn’t check messages last nite, but this saves me from having to call her back. Pain is still here, maybe, sis, but the relationship is dust.

So meeting E.’s mother after going out for a short period of time. Kinda easy, cuz the woman doesn’t speak a lick of English. She musta known who I was. Been instructed that women tell their mothers everything, that the mother would have known exactly who I was when they showed up at the studio. If she didn’t then, she does now after multiple PDA between E and I. I guess I have credibility.

Do I want it, a completely different question.

Though Im leaning towards yes. Yeah. I do. OK.

Got a call from the beauty queen today, of course. Timing always seems to work out that way. Dunno if I will call back, could always downshift it to the friend zone. Women love that, they love being rejected.

Well they don’t quite love it, but in some way it does turn them on, make them interested, in that what am I missing kind of way. No, Sis, not all of them, and not once you’re already involved, but at the beginning, the Neg is king. The more I neg, the more women I respond. And the better looking or more desirable they are, the more Neg required, the more they need.

Bring on the Neg.

Oh. And I can prove that ahm not that cocky, cuz im posting a bday pic of me that absolutely sucks ass.





Friday, May 19, 2006

The Song Remains The Same

So my birthday is around the corner, on Monday, actually. Heading into my late thirties (some would say at 35, I was already there, but Im not so literal).

What have I accomplished to this point, besides making women have multiple orgasms.

Hee hee. That’ll teach Bitter to talk about her sex life.

Lessee. Spent nine years in a career I never particularly enjoyed. Made bunches of money, didn’t save any unfortunately. That’s prolly OK, cuz I prolly would have spent it on making a movie, rather than raising money from others to make one.

I went through biz school and law school, in three years, and got a CPA. Such a rush to get nowhere I wanted to be, ahh, the irony. These are all tools in the toolbasket, of course.

I have no little amount of schooling – but Ive learned so much, good and bad, the past couple of years, about human nature, about how life really works. When you work for a big firm like I did, you live a little bit in a glass tower. You don’t so much interact with how life is for most people. I got my check, my problems were which vacation to take, how much to work (still a problem actually), which neighborhood to live in (could choose any I liked).

Being on my own, my entrepreneurship, makes things totally different. After leaving corporate America, first running a restaurant for some time, and then turning to the movie biz, and the film festival I run, these are very different from the experiences I had before. There are a lot less bites at the apple, people have very conflicting agendas and with very limited resources. These are the tradeoffs I made when I left doing something I didn’t enjoy for something I do- I don’t regret it, but things have become very different. My priorities changed, by necessity. My needs diminished in some regards. My expectations, vastly altered.


Things with E and me. She and I went to Brick Monday nite – BTW, great great movie, everyone should go see it and support it. Then, the nite before her mother came in from Russia, we got together. She got together with me, she tells me, despite wanting to spend some time alone because she wanted to see me. But while at her house, she started a fight about a joke I made, and was petulant. We made up, went for a motorcycle ride for an hour or so, then went back to her house. It was already quite late and she made me a cup of tea, to have before I went back on the bike for the ride home. As I was leaving, she told me that my goatee hurts too much, she cant and wont kiss me with it.

Half a joke, maybe two –thirds.

But of course, the issue is not the goatee (though I have had it for six years). The issue is what the HELL is going on. Then I got a text message, late last nite while I was out to dinner.

It reads : I mixed up the things was clumsy and felt hopeless last nite. I have some inner conflict and it got stress from it. I made u confuse I guess.

Seems like an apology. Or is it a backstep. When we spoke today, she told me that she was going to email me or talk to me today, that she needed some time alone. Didn’t know whether she meant in the future, or the time she had already taken. So yeah, she made me confused. We definitely have communication issues, when we aren’t in person.

And maybe more than I know, when we’re together as well.





Tuesday, May 16, 2006

As The Worm Turns

Busy, busy, busy.

Been cutting down the Script for the chicks strike back flick. Its fun, campy stuff. I should send it to bitter, get her taste (shes into genre), but she never finishes reading the stuff I send her.

Just emailed it to her and Happy. We’ll see if they read it. Happy will, he likes to procrastinate at work.

Happy, hope you put my free agent pick through by now. It wasn’t in, last I looked.

So yeah, the script. As I said, its campy, horrific, thrilltastic, and gonna make it tight. Had to cut back some stuff that would be too expensive to shoot and still keep the budget at what I consider to be no brainer level- No I wont tell y’all. What kind of producer would I be.

The chief thought I was talking even smaller – when I told him where I thought the budget was coming in, he said Woo- but I think he’ll still do it. I’ll offer him partners potentially, but he doesn’t like partners, and I think he’ll just do it himself. Particularly if things are looking good for the Family Movie.

Called E Sunday nite, and didn’t hear back from her. I wasn’t seeing her Sunday nite, but thought I would have heard from her.

So called her again, on Monday, around noon. I gave E the straight of it. (No Happy, not that straight, I meant a conversation).

It went a little like this…

I tell her that I like her. I tell her that I think about her and what she’s doing when she isn’t around. I tell her I would like to spend more time with her.

She says “FINALLY,” and we chatted a bit, made no plans.

Guess Bitter mighta had a point there. Maybe not though. I dont know, these relationship things are tougher. And we arent even sleeping together yet. But why (Keep reading, Gus)?

She called me in the evening to remind me of the plans we tentatively had, asked why I didn’t call her, and so we went to see Brick last nite at the Angelica. Best indie Ive seen in a long time (Thanks for Smoking was also really good, but since the budget was akin to a small studio movie, Im not comparing them. We did our smooching on the street, and went our separate ways. She wanted to get one drink, I didn’t –moneys tight and I was tired anyway. She did tell me that she wanted to tell me something, especially after I was so forthcoming that morning.

Cut to:

Interior, Bedroom (tonite)

Me: So what were you gonna tell me. (She mentioned last nite she had something to tell me).
E: I don’t know if I want to talk about it on the phone.
Me: (Very convincing reasons to do so- I don’t want to wait).
E: It doesn’t concern you, it concerns me.
Me: You’ve been married,
E: I still am. Getting divorced, but still married, that’s why I left Tokyo.

Well, it doesn’t really bother me that someone is getting divorced or is still married. We weren’t at the point of full disclosure, and a very smart therapist told me once (while I was in therapy) that people who are married, naturally, show much more propensity to be involved seriously then those who have never committed to that kind of relationship.

And she did tell me, I didn’t just find out on my own.

Yes. I know.






Saturday, May 13, 2006


OK, so i admit it. Im outta practice. I havent really gotten involved with anyone on a meaningful level since J and I split two years or so (wait, its three now, goddamnit) and though I've dated, in some cases, for months at a time, it was with any committment (or desire for it). Now that may seem to be changing.


But Im confused, don't know whats goin on. Now faithful reader(s!?) - E is from Russia, by way of Tokyo, Paris and god knows where else. We dont communicate in the same native tongue (heh, heh, he said Tongue - right Bitter). I think that we often have this problem, thus far, where I say something that is intended to convey my meaning but its not direct and she doesnt get it.

For example, consider, if you will, kind readers, the following interchange

E; How is Miami?
Me: Great. The beach is wonderful. You should come.
E: You're having a good time.
Me: Very much so.
E: Why dont you invite me? Don't be mean.
Me: What do you think I was just doing?

That was from while I was away. We seem to have had a bunch of those kind of exchanges.

I think she is definitely, if you'll pardon me, hooked but we're just not clicking on things quite as well as we should, particularly when we communicate when we're not in person. She was going to the Russian bathhouse today - invited me to join her yesterday, but then she didnt go and we never got together. When I told her I was going to a birthday gathering for one of the investors in the family movie, again, that familiar pause.
E: Who are you going with?
Me: (Sensing where she is going) Um,....I'm going with (The Director). Are you asking if Im taking a date?
E: (No answer)
Me: Are you asking if Im dating anyone else?
E: Yes, I am asking.
Me: No I am not.

I didnt invite her because when I've been out with this investor its been a guys nite out kinda thing. And this wasnt dinner, just drinks I was told, which made it seem even more a guys nite out kind of thing. I told her as much. She said she understood.

Course, when I got there, it was dinner, and the wives/girlfriends were there. She had texted me just fifteen minuted before I arrived to see this, congratulating me again on the family movie situation, saying she was very happy for me (Aside- I think we text too much). When I see the dinner situation, I call to invite her, but she's already on her way to some downtown party. I tell her to call me if its no good.

No call.

I text her, How is It. She says Good. How's urs? I say We're done. It was nice.

No reply, and now Im typing.

Was I too indirect again? Should the response have been - Coming to see u OK?






Having A Little Faith

So the inkling of a big breakthrough on the Family Movie. Been plugging along with it for a bit, now, working towards finding a distributor for the movie. Now in all candor, it’s a good movie, and its also one that I’ve worked my guts out on, for over a year and a half. I’ve put a lot of eggs in this basket, and I want the movie to have a good release for personal reasons as well as for the health of the Studio.

We hired (at gunpoint) an Exec. Producer type who basically held us up. He had the talent we need to make the movie, we needed the talent, his entry fee was that he’d sell the movie for us for a 5 percent commission when we were done. Problem is, when we signed (never actually did a contract) or agreed with him, he was a senior partner in a huge agency. Since then, he’s departed the agency and probably lost a lot of the leverage that he had before. Consequently, its been a struggle, because he doesn’t seem entirely able to do the job he pitched himself for. Ive been working on trying to disconnect the Studio from him, as he seems out of ideas. Sent him a sort of ambiguous email the other nite asking if he had any other ideas. He said he didn’t so I asked if we should move on….

No Reply.

Anyway, using our contacts and not his, we’ve gotten some strong interest in the family movie from a smaller company that has a biz plan pretty similar to ours. They loved the movie, thought it had a lot going for it, and they want to release it theatrtically. They don’t have the cache of a big Hollywood shop like a Lions Gate, but doing this business, they’ve started to make some inroads. They are saavy, but most importantly, they are talking about a decent sized theatrical release for the movie, 200 plus screens. While this isn’t the 800 that we bandied about, it would still be great to have that happen – particularly when we were thinking that maybe we’d be relegated to a video/TV deal instead.

Anyway, they are talking to their financing partners early next week. In the meantime, upon presenting the Chief with the news (he financed a healthy share of the family movie), he was very pleased and inquired after the budget of the first little movie we’re going to do together, a sort-of Russ Meyer horror film, to be directed by my biz partner, BigMan. Gotta see if we can make the budget workable, but all in all, was a very good end to the week.

Had dinner after seeing a show with my Russian model, E. DB and a friend tagged along, then we hit Johns on 12th. Bitter knows the place, took her there with my folks when she was in town. It was the site of her meltdown (which one – heehee), and my terrible behavior.

E told me I was handsome – gonna have her eyes checked.





Thursday, May 11, 2006

An end and a beginning

So the camel’s back finally broke. I imposed my will, long at last. My housekeeping deal at the Studio has become full service- we’ll be doing more movies, different genres, and moving forward to make entertainment and make better livings for all of us. Finally.

Two years ago (not quite, but almost) when I started here, it was all about making one flavor of movie, for the African American audience. To be sure, the concept of making fulfilling and entertainment for the audience is a good biz objective, one that makes sense for both the audience and for the general commercial goal of making a dollar or two. At the same time, what it took me over a year to get across is that it is not sound biz to solely occupy one spot on the horizon, and that all businesses that survive are properly diversified.

Even more, the Studio was a one man show, artistically. The director, a great artist, is also quite a slow worker, and we’ve languished for months into a year, not working on any new Studio projects (though to be sure, I’ve worked on outside projects), spending money on overhead, watching bank accounts diminish.

No more.

We’ll be going ahead, trying to attract outside work. Trying to do our own movies with the Chief and other investors. Making this a factory that’s working full time. No more one-armed paper hanger stuff. So it begins.

Now the challenge will be different, making commercially viable movies that recoup for their investors at moderate budgets, in between the occasional larger projects that come through the studio, both for the Director and for other directors we bring in.





Saturday, May 06, 2006

A pic of my LA Actress





A little wiggle room

So I just had my first experience with something akin to Hollywood shadiness from a close tie. A director who I’ve been working with was brought onto a project that came to me by my biz partner, BigMan. Anyway, this director, who was brought onto the project not as a director, but part of the overall package, continued conversations with the writer of the script after we had walked away from it because the writer couldn’t really deliver the attachments that she said she would deliver. That in and of itself is not a problem. But he never told BigMan, his friend for years and year, not even when he was attached as the Director of the project, replacing BigMan. I think that’s kinda shady. Anyway, I’ve been working to get him this other film and he shows up to talk about it, and tells me the whole story about how he’s been meeting with financiers on this other project. I ask, Did you tell your close friend BigMan.

“Yeah, he knows about it.”

“Oh. OK” - Strange cuz BigMan tells me everything and I hadn’t heard word one.

So of course, I bring it up with BigMan and he doesn’t really know anything about it. Now, a little discourse on producing – As a producer, if I get involved in a project and I can’t or don’t make it go anywhere, I am not really in a position to complain if I walk away and someone who stays around makes something happen. However, BigMan is a director, brought this other guy (call him Talk) Talk onto the project and then Talk replaces BigMan – OK- but without telling him. When BigMan brought him to the table.

I don’t think its right. I am not cutting off ties with Talk, but somehow it doesn’t sit right with me.

Family movie is getting hot again – seemingly – with some smaller partners coming in with interest. Might actually end up better to have smaller partners that care more about the movie. Im expecting a lowball offer from Lions Gate – that’s what Ive read between the lines on our communications with them and its also what I have become very familiar with hearing when talking with people who have dealt with them selling movies. Spoke to a prominent actor/producer who declined to sell his movie to them. He told me to expect a lowball offer- that’s the way they play- their playground.

So we’re also considering smaller companies that have the financial power to push a theatrical release, and where we won’t get ripped off and we can retain some control over the marketing.

In the personal life department, just having gotten back, hung out on thursday nite at a Tribeca FF after party with my LA Actress. Definitely screwed that up a bit. She was going home with her friend, but changed her mind when I said I was staying. We left the club for Pastis for a bite to eat. After dinner, she asked me in the cab if I had to be anywhere the next day (um, Clue 1). I said I had to go to the office. Then when we got to her place (shes staying at the apt of a friend who’s out of town), after kissing good nite, she starts to go to the door, but then runs back into my arms and starts kissing me again (Hello, Clue #2) . Anyway, I got back in the can and went home. About five seconds after watching her head into the Apt bldg, it hit me. When did I become so dumb that I don’t recognize an invitation. She went back to LA yesterday.

Went out with the Russian model yesterday nite. Had dinner then went our separate ways. She’s doing some work for La Perla. I guess that makes her a lingerie model? I guess I get points for that.

Time to start the day.







Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Trapped on an island

Trapped on an Island
DAY 3. Starting to write this entry, though, it has nowhere to go. Kinda like me.

In Barbados, in a house that has a view that would make an artist spout in his trousers. I like it a bit too, but remember, Im in my thirties.

Got to Barbados two days ago, staying on the less populated Atlantic Coast of the island. Trade winds on this side of the island make it cool, and the water is a clear azure blue. The waves, however, are strong, and the surfing (I’m told) is intense. Been in the sea a few times, the waves are strong, there is a powerful undertow. Its pretty much great swimming, mixed with a wrestling match with a much stronger opponent who never tires. (Reminds me of the movie biz).

Thing is, we’re very far away from most of what’s going on, and the roads here are best explored with a little bit (read – tons) of faith. They wind, you’re driving on the left side of the road, and people whip by inches away without a though (and without insurance much of the time, but hell, probably die anyway due to the gullies and cliffs that side many roads- who needs insurance).

Still the weather’s gorgeous, and the guy who invited DB and I down, lets call him Stork, has been a great host. The house, while not overly fancy, serves its purpose. What purpose that is, for me, I haven’t yet figured.

Other than swimming, and drinking and smoking, there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of things to do – sail, scuba, go whoring, you know, the typicals. I don’t sail and I am not much on prostitutes (never feel comfortable, kinda like taking a taxi ride from NYC to JFK when you only have 45 dollars in your pocket, and you don’t know if its enough, and then you get there and you missed your plane – SO I’M TOLD).

The sun blazes into the house every morning, around six thirty. The wind howls mightily all night long, there are barking (and whining dogs) and a big cock (i.e., rooster) that does his thing all day long. Talk about hormones.

Mediocre greek food and some Metaxa last nite. A little peaked this morning, but generally OK. It’s a bit strange for me to walking around for 72 hours and never not be a bit sweaty, but we’re only a hundred miles from South America.

Alright peoples. I gotta go sit around.


Day 6. Leaving on a Jet Plane

So heading back to the mainland tomorrow. Its been an interesting trip. The stork is an absolute whirlwind, a constant source of noise and energy that are a bunch for me to swallow, particularly because (not through all my fault) I often can’t understand what he is saying, and when I do, I often find it doesn’t make much sense to me. Still he is undeniably brilliant – just not sure what the application for his brilliance can be, and if I can bear the energy storm enough to enjoy it. Crazy stuff.

Talking about doing a slate of three or four movies in Barbados – low budget, product place, action comedy thrilla whateva. Guy next door, turns out, is a sculptor and a playwrite- gonna have him email me some ideas. His sculpture is great.

DB and I had lots of fun, today, on our own. Somehow, DB and I have our best days on the vacation on our own (though we had fun with Teach as well). DB met a pretty young Basian honey yesterday and we shepherded her and her cousin around the island all day. They were nice girls, poor (by American standards, though I think they’d be middle class here) and very classy. DB offered to buy them anything they wanted from the fanciest shop on the island and they demurred.

Im pretty sure Lana, the cousin, had it in for me. I wasn’t aboard though. Not really my type, though she was nice. Didn’t want to start something that meant nothing – especially because of DB’s interest in his girl and my general physical attraction indifferent to Lana. Though she looked good in a swimsuit when we hit the baths.

Trip is done. The best things down here, to me, are the coasts, especially the desolate and beautiful Atlantic coast, the baths in the coral formations, the Oistens fish fry Friday nite, friendly Basian’s who go out of their way for you and the tradewinds. The worst things are driving at nite on roads with no signs and with highbeams from oncoming cars rushing by inches away during the 35-50 minutes rides to and from the West Coast, the heat (on the West coast only), Cheffette (one meal only but terrible) and the fuckers at the airport.

Sayin goodbye to the fuckers, and the rest of it tomorrow. Pretty sure I’ll be back.