Sky-Shrapnel and the Big Step

Posted in Blog, Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

I’ve been wanting to read a book about David Bowie for a while, but it seemed like EVERYONE had an opinion about him and his life. I finally waded through the piles and found the great, revised, and updated “Strange Fascination” by David Buckley. I’m at the “Aladdin Sane” portion and it’s still a fantastic read. It not only talks about Bowie, in a non-tabloid way, it also splits off into non-tabloid tangents about those around him and influences. It’s also been helping me create song titles. Not that I’ve been cribbing from Bowie. Rather, the constant stream of music discovery has kept the brain going. I have… ten, I think, which will be expanded into songs as the year goes on.

This week has been huge for me on the crowdfunding front. I felt a STRONG feeling of dread leading up to me submitting “Quagmire” to Kickstarter. Not for any “I’M DOOMED” reasons. A quote from one of my favorite films, “Kamikaze Girls”, sums me up at that point: “Humans are afraid in the face of true happiness.” We’re weird, aren’t we? To make things further geeky, I was watching “Doctor Who” episodes that involved The Doctor regenerating. Becoming a completely new person after a major event, which is a big reason why the show’s been around for over half a century. Gee, subconscious, you know how to be obvious sometimes.

It feels strange that I’m prepared for the hate to come from “Quagmire”, not positivity. Or rather, it should feel strange.

I had to switch from Kickstarter to IndieGoGo, which was aggravating. I was having problems with setting up the payment thing and called their help center, but I was on hold for too long. If anyone expects your business in the First World, they better answer their phone within a few seconds. And don’t try to convince me the non-American operator is American by making him say his name is “Josh”. Anywho, I migrated my business to IndieGoGo and everything went swimmingly. Except one thing, but that was my fault.

Setting up a campaign, you’re encouraged to make a video. I was prepared for that. I wasn’t prepared to be in it. My original idea was to record my voice and put it in a video with my film’s logo. Brilliant! But I found that it was frowned upon and that the best way to get support was to BE in the video. I’m not the most extroverted person when it comes to being on camera, less so when I have my director hat on. If I had my actor hat on and had to make the video, great. But I’m the director of “Quagmire” and I belong behind the camera, damnit (blah, blah, First-World problem, blah). And I don’t care about supporting someone without a video as long as they otherwise presented themselves as competent. But I’m not the world, and the world wants faces. So I wrote an 90-second script, got my tablet’s camera, and recorded myself. After three hours. With an hour break somewhere in there. And chopping out 30 seconds of script. I wish I was exaggerating. I could NOT get through the first paragraph. I couldn’t think of myself as an actor while I was recording. I was the director and the director belongs behind the camera, and that’s why it was a miserable night. But I broke on through to the other side and created a decent campaign page. Right here: Quagmire: About a Woman and a School Shooting.

Tiny Victory

Posted in Blog, Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

I was looking back on how prolific artists were and thought about why they were able to do so much as opposed to now. Figured that it was because they didn’t waste time with touring and interviews. I love the concept of fan interaction and don’t wanna be the asshole who rarely shows up to things, but I’ve got many things to create. I’ll find a way to perfectly manage my time. Someday. I also don’t wanna come off as a workaholic. I believe in work and rest and 12-hour workdays with six-day workweeks are fucking stupid. That’s when you get to the point of diminishing returns. I just wanna prove that the workhorse mentality in the current art industries is broken and that there are better ways to work. Time-management and proper preparation and stuff. Someday.

I finished the Doctor Who short story yesterday. Well, almost. Well, it’s more of a superfluous addition. Well, it’s what I had in mind since the beginning. Little world-building and character details need to be added… three, actually. Plus a few time-traveling tricks that made me wanna tell the story in the first place. I’ll add them before the day’s out and e-mail it to the proper folk and hope it gets selected. It was my first test of a few things. Telling a light-hearted story, telling a story with a plot, telling a story with no elaborate fights, and telling a Doctor Who story. According to a few folk who’ve read it, I did a good job. I wish I could share it but rules of the contest say that I can’t. My training helped, though. I knew that I could do a good plot back when I decided to be a storyteller, but I was worried that I couldn’t do good characters. Not to say that I thought my writing was weak, but characters are almost more important than plot so I wanted to make sure that characters flowed easily. You could watch a film with a shitty story if the characters were interesting, but the most beautiful tale ever told is worth jack and shit if no one cares about the characters (and Jack left town). But they’re fine so that’s great.

Gonna apply for Kickstarter Tuesday. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and I bought new shoes.

I thought up a fucked-up way to add zombies to “Academia”. I wasn’t thinking about adding zombies. I’m actually not a big fan of them (vampires, yo). But I was watching “Doc of the Dead” and remembered how much I missed the zombies of the Evil Dead trilogy, or Deadites. Undead creatures that exist solely to torment those around them. So I’ll be modifying the concept of Deadites so I don’t get sued and putting one in “Academia”. Hooray!

Thought Wrangler

Posted in Blog, Fiction, Making-Of, Poem with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

With, hopefully, “Quagmire” being shot in January, I realized that even with casting and rehearsing, I’m gonna have a lot of time on my hands. The idea started to creep in to write a script and have that script be “Murderhounds”. Then I started thinking about the first script I wrote: “Academia”. I thought that it’d be something I’d get around to in the distant future, but I feel that it should be next. It was originally about a group of down-on-their-luck women, but the concept of “Murderhounds”, punishing those who deserve it, remarkably translates. Plus, the only thing that REALLY made “Murderhounds” for me was its title. And a scene involving one of the killers. I can put the scene away and I already found a way to use that title in “Academia”. Another reason for the migration is that I noticed I accidentally wrote one character in it and “Quagmire”. Actually, it’s more of a character type and look. Instead of trying to think up another character, I embraced the similarities and made them the same character.

Now to get a little technical. I was researching camera lenses and was deciding twixt regular ones and anamorphic ones. Movies that have flares whenever a light is shown is shot with an anamorphic lens. There’s more to it but essentially, anamorphic lenses make films look more expensive. They also are expensive. And after thinking about it intensely, getting anamorphic lenses would restrict me visually. I’ll get around to getting them someday. Maybe for “Academia”.

The 28th is getting closer which means I have to write that “Doctor Who” short story soon. It’s plotted now, and I made it a four-part story instead of a five-part story. Divides nicely into a 40-minute format, which happens to be the average length of an episode…

When it comes time for auditions, I’m gonna write specific scripts. Usually, performers are given scenes from the film to act out. Many, many people audition. The scenes are stale by the time the film’s cast. Then there are rehearsals. By the time the scene’s shot, everyone’s so bored by it. So, remembering that I’m a writer, I thought that I could/should write scripts specifically for the actresses. Auditions are meant to find the right performers, anyway, not show parts of the script.

An article that explains how I wanna handle fame better than I can right now.

I’m thinking about opening a Tumblr account when rehearsals start. Gotta keep tearing down the wall that says only certain people can make films, right? Unobtrusive pics of the preparing process would help. Would help me learn photography, too.

I thought up a simple, effective trailer and poster idea. Studio marketing departments will either love or hate me and my hands-on nature, but I’ll have to live with my films longer than anyone else. So I have to make sure they’re presented well.

I’ve been thinking of backer incentives for my eventual Kickstarter campaign and one was a DVD with special features only the backers would get. Then I fell in love with the idea.

Wrote a song while brainstorming that short story that has nothing to do with that short story: “A Whore Named Irene”

Walking down the street
In her bookmarked feather boa
Not a care in the world
Except for where she parked her car
The street’s a dangerous place
And a streetwalker should drive to work
At least this one does
A whore named Irene

Her hair in a bun
Of cinnamon
Of flair
She fixes her bra
Smells like licorice
Tastes like sweat
Hasn’t washed it in days
Enough money for either a sandwich
Or soap
Johns don’t care about that
She’s gotta last to her next job
And she can’t eat her bun
Don’t worry, you can hide that rash
A whore named Irene

Made twenty pucks in the last hour
Goes to her light bill
She’s gotta watch her stories
The latest razzle-dazzle reel
An escape from her pain
Her pain from her need
Her need to escape
A guy pays extra for anal
She can get some ice cream
A whore named Irene

Her night’s almost over
She’s tired so she goes home early
A tally from the ticket man
Sways on the windshield
Tire on the curb
She didn’t plan for that
The bar crowds are let out
A drunk girl stumbles to a fence
It’s not rape if she pays
A deep breath and she’s off
A whore named Irene

The Story So Far

Posted in Blog, Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

The top of the week, I put my producer hat on for the first time. Looks suspiciously like a black fedora. The rest of the month will be dedicated to forming a budget so I can properly apply for a Kickstarter on the 30th. Also gives me a chunk of time to figure out incentives.

This week was about finding the location for my film. It takes place onstage in a theater (clever, clever me). I was looking for an all-encompassing one, a place that’d allow me to shoot as well as rehearse and audition. I could only get one of those, but it’s the most important so, yay. My plan was to shoot at Summer’s end, but the location won’t be available until January. In the bigger picture, that’s great because it’ll give me more time to find actresses and rehearse and junk.

Until I found out about January, I was thinking about which film festival to go to. Sundance is the more prestigious, but Slamdance gave Christopher Nolan his start. When I saw that I’d be too late for Sundance, I didn’t feel bad. Then I saw that because of January, I wouldn’t be able to go to Slamdance, either. Sucks but saves me the train ride and snowy mountains (the two festivals take place near the same time in Colorado). I’m not gonna wait for the next year to go so I might try distributing it myself online. With the eventual goal to get it on DVD. I have a few ideas for DVD special features, too, and another one has come to me as I type this.

I’m still looking for a rehearsal space. I’ve decided to have auditions online. Not quite sure how I’m gonna go about it but I have time.

My “Doctor Who” short story is almost finished, in terms of world-building. Knowing the (made-up) history and landscape of a place helps me write. I’m amazed at the sort of details I focused on. Next week, I’ll start breaking down the plot.

That’s all for now. Off to watch “Enter the Dragon”.

And Mistakes… I’ve Made a Few

Posted in Blog, Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

OK, now to get a bit more routinely.

“Nostalgia Season” is tucked away in a binder. It’s not complete, but it will be someday. However, it won’t be a novel. It’ll be a graphic novel, also known as a really thick comic. I’ve already written a novel and the process of going through that again was a bit boring. Coupled with the need to draw again, turning it into a comic sounded like a great idea. But that’s not for a while. A long while.

Early last month, I decided that I was a filmmaker above anything else. The pit stop into novel-writing started turning into the journey. The war drums of “Quagmire” began beating intensely as I was working on chapter four of “Nostalgia Season”. It got to the point where I had to stop fooling myself and just write the damn thing. So I spent a few days plotting it out with my handy-dandy corkboard. What I had in mind and what I ended up with were two slightly different things. My original idea was to write a 140-page script because a page equals a minute of screentime and I liked the idea of a 140-minute film about the subject in “Quagmire”. It was also gonna slowly turn into a horror film, and I was gonna write it in three weeks. Two weeks into writing, the film told me that it was finished on page 100 and that it was gonna throw out being a horror film. Which was fine. Plenty of stories to tell and plenty of life to tell them. Anyone who says that life is short is wrong: it’s the longest thing you’ll ever do.

I feel proud of what I’ve written. I’ll look back on it with more refined eyes someday with a slight bit of embarrassment for a few reasons, but I’ll stay proud for a while. A few losses aside, I managed to do what I set out to. I also see a few faults o’ mine. Scripts are supposed to be descriptive about certain things. Actually, I don’t think it’s a fault. The eventual film takes place in one location and it’s a pretty standard one, so I felt that I didn’t need to constantly detail it. And I feel that actors and actresses need to stick to the words in a script but are free outside of that to do what they want, so why should I detail their actions? They’re gonna get enough of me banging the words and camera angles into their heads, I don’t need to cripple their acting choices completely. I can always write a novel or comic, or make an animated something, if I want complete and utter control over acting.
I love how different the characters are and how their dialogue flows. Talking like this, it seems like I’m full of myself, but I can easily separate myself from my material. I can jump from creator to audience and critique myself, or enjoy the end product. I know that rehearsals are gonna be important because there are some parts that will be actor-dependent, and they can easily fall apart if I’m not careful. But that’s all part of the fun, right?
Once I copyright the script today, I’m gonna quickly dive into getting it made. I’ve learned a lot from my first filmmaking experience that was “Dirty Thoughts”. Next week and the week after, I’m gonna look into two places for actresses and a location. One place I’ve passed for years driving to Indiana, but the other is in the city where my favorite writing-directing team came from. After that gets settled, I’m gonna set up a crowdfunding thing. I wear too much black to go outside for money. But seriously, I tried the door-to-door thing before and it left me with a whole lotta nothing. The thing I’m not looking forward to is thinking up rewards. If I was established or had things to give, great. But I’m a nobody (for now) with nothing (ditto). Luckily, I’m also a researcher. I have an interesting idea to get people interested, too. Sadly, there’s a good chance that it’ll work because my script’s a tad too topical these days. I hope to be in at least preproduction by the end of August. With many more blog posts along the way. Hopefully happy ones.

Next week, I’ll also be working on my Doctor Who short story in earnest. It’s due on the 28th. I have a great concept and, given a day, I’ll have enough of it plotted to blaze through it soon.

Outside off all this productivity, I’m reading “The Art of Neil Gaiman”. It’s a sorta history a book about the author with photos, clippings, and excerpts. Just made it to the “Sandman” section. I’m also getting back into anime with “Hell Girl”. It’s about a site that allows you to send someone to Hell, but you also go there when you die. The other anime I’m watching is “Kill la Kill”, about a girl fighting her way through a high school to get to her father’s killer. It’s A LOT goofier than it sounds. I’ve also rewatched “Attack on Titan”. Gotta love my depressing stories. Gonna try to watch “Orange is the New Black” over the weekend, between making-of docs about filmmaking. Never stop learning, kids.

I should try doing the social black-clad thing more and go to those clubs, buy those magazines, etc…

Mischief of a D├ębutante

Posted in Blog, Making-Of, Nostalgia Season with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

Chapter three’s almost halfway done now. It’s been fun getting into Sadie’s head and using her voice instead of the narrator’s. Descriptives are new and interesting because I’m used to the narrator explaining as much as possible. Sadie wouldn’t bother with all that, so her descriptions of things are more broad. If she bothers to describe at all. I came up with a better ending for the chapter. Much more heartfelt without being sappy. My goal, at least with this novel, is to make the reader feel emotions, strong emotions, but to not make them cry. It’s easy to make someone cry. But to bring them as close to crying as possible with any leakage is a challenge. I have nothing against something making the reader cry, it’s just not challenging to me. Plus I feel that too many things go for the tears these days. So yeah, the non-sappy ending. I want Sadie to open up in a way to Luciana that she hasn’t to anyone before, in a way that Luciana recognizes as a resemblance of herself. I have that moment and I’m well on my way to earning it, but presenting it is another matter. If I write it the wrong way, it’ll get laughed at and that’s something I do not want. I’ll figure it out when I get there, though.

With my recent review and the reviews I’ve gotten, I realized that I’m one of those love-or-almost-like sort of artists. The “fun” will be to see which side of the scale will be more weighted.

As I was writing chapter three, I found out that, among other things, I was writing a Chicago novel. To the point where Sadie essentially gives directions to certain places. It’s been harder to write because of that, but I’m not quite sure why. I almost settled on it being because I’m more inclined to fantasy, fiction, and made-up places. “Lie” was easy to write because although it took place in England, the part of England was made-up. “Nostalgia Season” being a Chicago novel means that people can do tours of chapters. I’ll have to be sure to warn people to not go to certain places, though. They’re a bit… seedy.

I think I found a way to get “Quagmire” made.

New Review, Courtesy of Fresh Coffee Blog

Posted in Lie with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

Thanks to Tracy, and… spoilers.


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