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Saturday, November 25, 2006

That Guy!!!! (Top 10)

OK. So I don’t blog for a week. More than a week. Now I am home for Saturday night, writing, sitting around, reading old movie reviews at RogerEbert.com (which I very much recommend) and I thought of a good list post, so even though I just posted, I wanna start this one off. The list is one Happy will definitely appreciate – It’s the “That’s the Guy From” List, meaning a list of the character actors that we have seen a million times, but their names have never quite crossed into the public consciousness (based upon normal people’s knowledge, not yours, Happy).

So lets hit it.

1. Vincent Schiavelli - With that unmistakeable mug, the face of a corpse (he actually died this year), appearing in movies from Cuckoo’s Nest to Batman Returns to Better Off Dead.

2. Wallace Shawn - Best known as The Sicilian from The Princess Bride. "Never go up against a Sicilian when death is on the line."

3. Henry Silva - Always the bad guy, in so many different cultures, too.

4. Alison Janney - A happy choice.

5. Tony Goldwyn - Shouldn't be on this list, too good an actor (and quite the acting coach as well, apparently.

6. Dan Hedaya - One of the top character actors over the past twenty five years. Made his mark first in Coen brothers movies and on Cheers, as Nick Tortelli.

7. Frank Whaley - Great in Swimming With Sharks, a personal fave. Also a good director, but number seven on the whose that guy list (no Its not a Madonna song).

Feelin’ kinda lazy.

I went out last nite to Ultra. My friend and new biz associate Ryan was hangin’ there with a bunch of friends and invited us to come meet him.

Ultra is this chic newish lounge, with the velvet rope, the huge bouncers, and the models, the whole deal. So it’s the shit in NYC, for whatever that is worth to you. I’ve been going to clubs in NYC for the last twenty years, since I was 16 going to Tunnel on the west side on Manhattan, getting chosen in by door men who thought I was a 25 year old investment banker (thank god for Willy Wear suits and limited lighting). So while I do like going out to these new exclusive places (Why not?), I have seen basically everything (except for seeing a topless woman give a lapdance at Cain on Wednesday nite, a first for me to see that in a club).

So I am going out to this ultra hip lounge for drinks and chillin and dancing. Whats the best thing to do first?

Right.

Karaoke.

So I meet my brother Rich and my sister (in town for Thanksgiving this week) at Karaoke 17. Now I used to be a little bit of a karaoke whore, which is the term I use for people who get a little bit too into it. I used to go quite a bit, a few times a month, spend an entire evening belting it out. I even went to karaoke in Bulgaria one nite when I was there recording the score for “My Brother.” I know, ultra cool.

***********************FILM ASIDE*************************************
BTW, I am watching the remake of “When A Stranger Call” and while I think it’s a great premise and I think Camille Belle is sexy as hell and a good actress to boot, and the movie is very well made, I am not quite sure that it cuts the mustard. It just doesn’t pack the punch of the original – she just found out that the Caller is inside the house. And I am just not that spooked. Now I knew it was coming, because I am a fan of the genre and I saw the original last year, when I was prepping for a horror movie that I never ended up making (though it was made with other producers). I watch tons of horror films as a form of instruction when I make one, both to remind me what I think works, and as much, or more, what doesn’t.
It just seems to me that while there isn’t enough here to carry a story for 90 minutes, and I’ll be damned if its readily apparent to me why it worked OK the first time and now, its falling short. I think its just too focused on the one character being traumatized, without interruption, and her breasts just aren’t big enough when she is running around. Did I say that. Im not even a boob guy. Never mind.
It just turned into The Shining, with the dude trying to break down the door to get to her, Not scary. And hes walking after her and the kids are crying kinda goofily. OK, enough about this, I am moving on. But I still love Camille Belle. Total fox (and shes getting all wet in the pond now, hehe- OK, maybe the movie isn’t so bad after all).

*******************************************************************************************************************

So I am at Karaoke, but my voice is really no where near where it was, strength wise. I do a few tunes, Steve Miller Band’s Take the Money, Cheap Trick I Want You, and my standard, Journey Don’t Stop Believin’. Also a little Clapton, some G&R, and Brandy, What A Fine Girl from the Looking Glass.

Haveta say, I haven’t lost it. Kid has still got it.

Went over to Ultra to meet Ryan. He actually told the girl at the door, Mia (I think, you know, you’re typical supermodel with a clipboard who watches to make sure that regular folk cant enter without the grace of someone far cooler, which I may pretend to be, but that’s why they call it pretending) and she said hi when I mentioned his name and then rather than just comping us and letting us in, actually walked us inside and took us to Ryan’s table. I guess I am a big shot now.

The place was fun (places populated by 80 percent women, and a very good looking crowd at that, for some reason tend to be fun, not only for guys but for the women too, because women don’t seem to mind being in groups that are mostly female, as opposed to us guys who dread the sausage party). We drank, danced a bit. Bitter shook her thang and was having a great time with 24 year old boys hitting on her. While Richard had left, Newman had replaced him, meeting us just before we got there. A good time had by all, thanks to Ryan’s seemingly never ending supply of hospitality.

We left at three AM or so, and Ive barely left the bedroom today. I didn’t think I drank that much, but it musta added up. So I’ve been home. Briefly contemplating going out, but I think its one for them, one for me on this Saturday nite, though (I am told) the weather is gawgeous.

Hope you all had a great thanksgiving.


Grumpy

Friday, November 17, 2006

Whats with all the quitters in the blogging world?

Seems like in the blogging world, every week, someone is quitting something. They might be quitting dating. They might be quitting blogging? They might be quitting blogging about dating, or dating bloggers.

But what it all really seems to amount to, more than anything else, is an announcement of something that is bound to change in like two days. Or three.

I don’t think its any terrific big deal, and I am writing about it probably because it popped into my head after reading two blogs in a rom that I frequent, one announcing that someone was going to stop dating (or looking to date) and the other (BITTER) an updated blog from someone that I am quite glad has decided to continue blogging, after saying that perhaps they wouldn’t be so bloggy for a bit (DAVE).

Now, I believe in changing your mind when it makes sense. Im not stuck with a decision forever, if it doesn’t work for me. But it just seems that people get pretty capricious with what they say and do on their blogs.

(Aside: I think there are a number of women I have met who have this behavior in real life, and so maybe its not so miraculous that I see women online with the same characteristics. Dave, however, well, we can write it off to an emotional moment, and rightfully so. You’re a little bit chick I guess.)

But what about commitment. Honesty. Don’t falsely lead me on to think A, when its gonna be B twenty four to seventy two hours later. I’m invested and then I have to rethink your whole psychological dilemna.

And is it something particular about blogging that makes people try to draw these lines in the sand, very demonstrably, about life changes that they are making. Changes they are making in the way they live, they love, they leave.

But really, you just cant believe everything you read.

And Dave, Bloggers do it while watching The Empire Strikes Back, which really stands up to todays crappy sci-fi wanna-be tentpole summer popcorners.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Airplane Bloggin

Sorry I haven’t blogged since before I left. It was a crazy busy week on all fronts during the week I spent in California. Russ and I headed out there together to get some work done on individual projects and on a project we are working on together.

I got out there on Saturday nite and immediately headed to a house in the Hills for a party at a well-known producer’s house, off Laurel Canyon Rd. Now, I live in New York, I’ve spent a total of three weeks or so in LA during the past fifteen years (all this year) and needless to say, when I go to a party in the Hollywood Hills I don’t really expect to know anyone beyond the people with whom I showed up (and in Hollywood, even knowing the people with whom you’re traveling is an “IF”).

So wrong.

I walked in and I knew five or six people at the party from the forty people there. A producer with whom I worked on The Ten, a producer/line producer who worked with Johnnie G. (I think as a prop master), and the beautiful young actress Katherine Winnick. Also a well known NYC entertainment attorney, Steven Beer, from the same firm that my brother works for in Miami, and one or two more people. All of sudden, heya, I am on the scene. And I know people.

I guess all the networking is paying off.

The next few days were spent attending the AFM, which is the total meet market (pun intended) that its made out to be. As Johnnie said, a Fellini Film. Borat was there, but I musta missed him. Did see David Carradine, hung with a slightly egotistical Fred Williamson, met with bunches of biz people, and pitched a project to Focus, that seemed to be well-received.

Also, one nite we crashed the Google Party at the AFM. We basically talked our way in, and it was a good one. I guess those google guys are doing OK. Ran into Dan Mirvish, Slamdance cp-founder, and invited him to serve on the Jury of the next PictureStart Film Festival (aka the Home Film Festival). He accepted, so I guess we’ll be seeing him in NYC. I like the idea of having someone from Slamdance there, given my recent production deal with them.

At the Google party, I also ran in Oldenburg Alum Chris Stromopolous, who I met first in 2004 at Oldenburg. Chris did something very unique as a young man. With two of his friends, Chris, at the age of eight, began a scene by scene remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark, exactly the same as the real deal (or as close as they could get - a dog played the monkey and chris, I believe, played Indy), complete with rolling boulders, etc. It took Chris and his friends ten years or so. After they were finished they put aside their opus, and went on with their lives, until years later, someone got a copy of the film to Steven Spielberg. Her was very impressed and thought it was a great story, so he sent it to Scott Rudin. Voila, three years later they are close to a final script from the writer of Art School Confidential, Chris is producing, and the movie is supposed to be shot in Alabama in 2007. A great story.

Rest of the week was many meetings, get togethers and as common in LA, lots of driving around. Went to New Line, CAA, and made a bunch of other stops, including a lunch/pitch session with a legendary tv producer who produced both Star Search and Solid Gold, the type of guy who pitched directly to the decision makers at the networks. And he liked my idea.

“My Brother” screened to a crowd of 450 people of so at the Writers Guild Theater on Doheny on Friday nite, and that seemed to go very well.

But the big professional highlight of the week was the Slamdance release, which kicked off a bunch of press, with Angel Baby Entertainment appearing in Variety, Hollywood Reporter, IndieWire, Reuters and IMDB News all on one day, and in the LA times over the weekend as well. I met with the Slamdance people, and they are all very excited about going forward with the deal, as are people in the industry who are talking about various distribution alternatives with the movies made out of this production deal. Also, dropped off Hot Baby for the first time, and The Insurgents, which already had gotten good marks from its initial screening at Slamdance. Hopefully, one or both of the movies will be playing at Slamdance. Either way, I will be there, giving away a ten thousand dollar check to the writer of the winning Horror Script in the Competiton.

BTW, trying to figure out a name for the brand of movies coming out of the competition and production deal – the first idea I’ve had was “Screaming Voices” which pays some homage to the Writers who fuel the competition and also obviously makes sense for the Genre. Gonna keep thinking. If you have any suggestions, lemme know. Maybe I’ll get one I like better.

After the screening, I went to meet Heidi’s sister, Kristina, who attends USC and is, personality-wise, a spitting image of her older sister. She was definitely the coolest girl in the very hip and crowded place we met, Monroes, as her co-revellers seemed to make very clear. She’s an actress as well, and she has quite a presence, I think she’ll go far.

The irony of coming home is that perhaps two of the most important conversations I had in LA ended with my counterparty asking me when I am back in LA. Like, can I come back next week. Ugh. I like LA. I hate flying (especially when there is turbeulence, like there is right now). But for obvious reasons, looks like I am going to be a bi-coastal blogger for the time being.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Slamdance Writing Competition - Production Deal

We’re live, and I am damn happy about it. The Angel Baby (Ahem, yes us) sponsorship of the Slamdance Horror Script Competition is up and running on their site, thanks to me and John Sawyer (who, as usual, does boatloads of work without taking any credit), and Peter and John from Slamdance.

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I love this concept. Here it is….

Slamdance is the top genre film festival. The one that introduced to you horror classics like Zombie Honeymoon. It just is a great program, done by filmmakers whose dedication to the independent film world has been unwavering since their inception. And now, as one of the biggest and best festivals in the world, they sponsor script writing competitions for new talent. They are bringing it out, just like they’ve been doing for years and years.

And now, Angel Baby Entertainment is going to partner with Slamdance, to take the best of the best from the wildly popular script competition and make a movie from it every year. So the writer that wins will get his script bought (at a nice fair price, I might add) and made into a movie.

Y’all will never guess where this writer will get to see his movie premiere the next year.

OK, ya guessed it, at Slamdance in a special screening, in front of the genre fans and the industry and everyone else he needs to have see it.

Pretty cool, huh?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dis-concert-ing?

I went on a date tonite. We hadn’t been out before, and I am of course going back to California on Friday nite, so there was limited time to get together before I leave for a week or so. Not or so. A week.

Anyway, I don’t think I am going to start blogging about my dating life again. We all have seen where that can lead. Interestingly enough, the person with whom I went out has also seen where it can lead – she used to have a blog about dating in NYC.

How many of these things are out there, anyway? Perhaps I’ll check after posting.

And for anyone who thinks that this isn’t a new person, but that this blogger is someone I have spoken about on here before, you’re wrong. Control your imagination (Dawn). All that is as over as writing about it is. As in, moveonmofo.org.

Thing is about this date, is because of the limited time before I was leaving for Cali, we decided to do something kind of untraditional on a first date (not water sports, Lozo). We went to a rock concert. A good old fashioned rock concert, with loud music.

Now I wondered about this a bit before accepting. A couple of reasons why include, spending 60 bucks on my ticket for a date I might not enjoy, plus food and drink and whatever else; the relative inability to have a conversation during a concert that was sure to be loud (it was); and maybe the most important, did I like this band enough to go to one of their concerts. I am not a huge concert fan, as I am not a huge fan of crowds. I love music, but the vibe of the concert has to be right. Otherwise sometimes I can’t wait for it to be over.

The band, you ask? What band? Alice in Chains, with a new lead singer.

I was overwhelmingly pleasantly surprised by the concert. It was really great, the band put on a great show. I even knew a bunch of songs I wouldn’t have been able to mention had someone asked me to name song by AIC. Some of course, I knew I knew. They were great, the vibe of the crowd was cool. Just nice all around. I think one think that helped the vibe of the place is that their fans are adults, mostly. They began, I am told (my date lived in Seattle for ten years, where she was a college DJ at a big school, so I’ll take her word for it), in the late eighties. As a result, many of their fans are my age or thereabouts (I am 36). So less annoying kid shit at the concert. Very few teens, from what I can see. Just an adult crowd loving a great show put on by a great rock band. It’s a little weird to me that the singer that replaced Len Staley (sp?), who died of a heroin overdose I think, sounds a lot like him. You’d think they guy would want to take a different approach. But, in any case, it worked and they sounded terrific and I highly recommend them, thought tomorrow nites show is sold out, SRO.

So far as the lack of conversation, it was a little bit of an issue, but since we got together before for a bite and there were intermissions etc. I guess not too much of an issue. Still, maybe not the best first date to get to know each other. “Course, if you have a good time on a date, that makes it a good date, no?

Grumps

Brand New Day

We’ve made peace, I think. There won’t be anything more on this from here, so if you’re stopping by to look for drama, you’ll have to look elsewhere. I’ve moved on. You are, of course, welcome to stay and enjoy (or not) whatever else I write about, but if your jumping back and forth looking for grease, well, Im not selling that anymore.