Archive for Cinema

Like the Boomerang That Won’t Quit

Posted in Blog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2017 by Rathan Krueger

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I’m making a film! This year! May! What does the pic up top of the dearly departed have to do with it? Lots, but not at all in the way you’re thinking.

Early-Summer of last year, I decided that I finally had enough experience behind and around the camera to make my first film (look at that IMDb page). There have been a few false starts over the years, and even a start that came up shorter than I wanted it to because I wasn’t quite ready to wield the camera long-term. I don’t have a problem with waiting ’til I’m ready for something. I could’ve made films ten years ago because I had a strong visual sense and knew I could show a good story. But I couldn’t tell a good story yet. The only reason I wanted to be a director is because I could write scripts for me, and my writing didn’t match quality the pictures I could make. So I chose to focus on making it easier for me to make characters more defined as well as make better dialogue. Somewhere around there, I realized that although I enjoy a good plot-driven tale and could easily write more than a few, my home was with character pieces. It’s much more interesting for me to see people deal with each other instead of giving them something to do. Then I found women more enjoyable to write than men and never looked back.

I knew that I wanted my first film to be a generational snapshot (like Easy Rider or Clerks). There hadn’t been one for my ilk yet, and I knew that it’s bound to happen sooner than later. I’d rather be part of the “sooner” crowd, so it was a matter of finding out what about my generation I wanted to say. As I think about what I wrote, I feel that I’ve said enough but I’ve left out a lot. Maybe next time. Isolation was the thing that caught my attention the most, so I followed that train of thought. The ending is one of the first things I think up no matter what story I tell. It’s something I realized recently, wished I knew a lot sooner, and was grateful for knowing at all. Lucky, lucky me, what ended up being Wake Up Alone had an ending that came to me briskly. I wanted it to start with drama and end with horror, and the ending didn’t disappoint. Why is the end so important to me? It gives me something to work towards and earn. You’re not gonna be able to figure out how it ends, but you’ll also see that it couldn’t have ended any other way.

And now, we get to Ms. Winehouse. In the early planning stage, I quickly latched onto naming the main character after her and titling the film after a song that felt right. So Amy became the star of Wake Up Alone. I changed her name to May because of a subtle(?) joke involving her name and the names of two other characters. But the Winehouse goes deeper because the film, in a way, is a nod to the “Rehab” lyric, “I just, oh, I just need a friend”. There are a few other big and little nods to her, but I’ll let the film show you them.

After lots of thinking and planning and writing, I finally finished Wake Up Alone… and it clocked in at 63 pages, I think. My intent was to get some producers interested, and no one’s gonna read a script that’s around 60 pages. That’s basically a short film, in their eyes, and they don’t make money. I decided to put it away for a little while so I could look at it with fresher eyes and see how I could add more pages. I was worried about doing that because it’s such a tight script. Every line lead to the next, so to add anything new could’ve fucked everything up. While I was distracting myself, I reread Mick Rock’s excellent Metallica biography, Enter Night, and read a Tweet that changed the rest of my year.

While reading the book, the idea of a blind woman starting a Heavy Metal band came to me. As I kept reading, the idea started to congeal. I was gonna resign it to my idea notebook and come back to it later, then I saw her bump into a wall and say “Wall.” just before she did it and knew I had to write her story double-quick. How could I ignore a blind woman Metal guitarist who’s comfortable enough with her handicap to knowingly bump into a wall? I’m not at all someone who’s constantly writing scripts. If I’m writing it, I intend on directing it soon. Or at least doing something with it. Then I read a Tweet from BBC’s Writers Room, a site the channel has that fosters writers (more things should do this). It said that it would be accepting unsolicited, one-hour, dramatic scripts in December. I was glad and worried at the same time. I’d been waiting for that, but didn’t have any ideas. Then I remembered my blind guitarist. Writing her was more instinctual, and I quickly found out that I wasn’t interested in writing a dramatic story about her. It was more interesting to write something lighthearted because anyone could do the “woe is me” tale about a blind woman trying to do something. Not many would not let her handicap get in the way. Fewer would make her a leader. But the BBC thing would want a dramatic script. Then I realized I could give them Wake Up Alone since it was around 60 pages and make Turn the Strange my first film.

If I could go on a tangent, I’d like to talk about how Doctor Who, Wonder Woman, and Supergirl allowed Wake Up Alone and Turn the Strange exist the way that they do. I’m a huge fan of the Sturm und Drang. The bleaker the story, the better. However, those three characters injected something in my storytelling palette that I wouldn’t have put on my own: the dreaded c-word, “compassion”. I didn’t know it was there, but I also didn’t try to get rid of it when I looked back. Wake Up Alone is about three women, and two of them fit quite well in my house of malaise. The third, though, is definitely a by-product of the Gallifreyan, the Amazonian, and the Kryptonian. She might’ve popped up a few years ago, but she would’ve been someone the film made fun of. Instead, she’s an integral part of the tale and as fucked-up and bleak as the ending is, it’s also full of compassion. And I wouldn’t have bothered with Turn the Strange’s blind Emily if I wasn’t such a geek. My storytelling hasn’t changed completely because compassion was added. What’s happened is now I have an opportunity to create richer stories. I also get to see me war against compassion with nihilism. Should be fun.

So. Back to Turn the Strange. I wrote it and had a great time and accepted that Wake Up Alone was gonna be made by someone else. Then I started location-scouting (finding places to make a film) and making a style guide (a portfolio that shows ideas of clothes and things as well as cinematography). Metallica’s new album came out the day I was location-scouting, so that was a particularly fun and karmic time. Then December hit and the BBC started taking scripts. Two funny things happened. I realized that sending Wake Up Alone to them would’ve been like spending time getting to know a woman who was really into me, telling her that she should date a stranger when she’s ready to go on a date, and think “They sure look great together. Wait a minute…” The other thing that happened was, unlike other script things they had, the BBC was only accepting scripts from the UK. Thus, my decision was made on two fronts: Wake Up Alone is mine. But I also had Turn the Strange. After moping for a few minutes, I told myself that I now have a second film script already ready and felt groovy. Well, there was another script idea, but that’s for another blog.

I now had my original problem with May and friends: how the fuck was I gonna pump the page count up without making the script bloated? I hate deleted scenes. If there was more attention paid to the script, those scenes would’ve been taken out and not wasted lots of time and money. So if I was gonna add more scenes, I had to be sure that they HAD to be there. One of the characters is damn verbose, so I wanted to try avoiding her scenes because they’re exhausting to write. Her scenes were the ones that would’ve suffered the most from adding, anyway. Because I walked away from the BBC thing, I got to make things more adult, which was nice. Those lines of thought made me develop scenes that I wanted to kick myself for not think of initially, but I’m glad I found them at all. Then 63 pages became 75, and things were groovy.

Starting today, I get the gears going for Wake Up Alone on the intense road to get behind the camera on May 1st. I’ve got a schedule set up, so it’s just a matter of tenacity and ingenuity. I’ll update when I can, so I’ll see you when I have more to say.

TURN THE STRANGE – An Excerpt

Posted in Blog, Fiction with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2016 by Rathan Krueger

I’ve been pretty busy lately, and I wanted to show you a few pages of a script I finished recently. It’s about Emily, a woman guitarist who’s trying to start a Heavy Metal band with a handicap she won’t allow to get in her way. I had a lot of fun writing it, she’s a lot of fun, and I hope you have a lot of fun reading her.

FADE IN:
INT. EMILY’S BEDROOM – MORNING
An old alarm clock goes off, glass absent from its face,
ringing its bells like a caffeinated woodpecker. The woman
it’s trying its best to win the attention of currently has
her head buried under a pillow. A feeble attempt to stop the
day. She eventually gives up and tosses the pillow at the
clamor. Or rather, tries to. She overestimates how far the
clock is by a few feet. She then lets out a defeated sigh
and sits up.
EMILY VERDA’S hair sticks up at all sorts of angles,
compliments of sleep. She sits on the edge of her bed, hands
on thighs, wearing a simple spaghetti-string top and pajama
pants. After slapping her legs rhythmically, she almost
immediately switches from being exhausted to being wide
awake, then turns off the alarm.

EMILY
You’re gonna get them today.

INT. EMILY’S BATHROOM – MOMENTS LATER

EMILY brushes her teeth while humming the same four notes
over and over. Faster, slower, higher, lower. The fingers on
her free hand, black nail polish chipped, rap upon the
mirror at the same tempo changes. Her eyes in the mirror are
unfocused, yet there’s still thought behind them.
She locks onto a particular tempo, repeating it twice, then
smirks before she spits into the sink.

INT. EMILY’S BEDROOM – MOMENTS LATER

A proper view of the BEDROOM shows amazing organization
skills. Apart from the pillow slumped in the corner and the
messy bed, everything is exceptionally neat and tidy. Three
other stand-out features are the lack of closet doors, of an
entrance door, and of any mirror. Just outside the doorway
is an astroturf rug.

At the closet and in a terrycloth robe, EMILY chooses
something to wear for the day. Her hair is now combed flat,
and her lips are painted black. She quickly flicks through
hung shirts, pants, t-shirts, skirts, and dresses, giving
some a stroke or two before passing them up.

She goes to a window and opens it. She then licks a palm and
sticks into the world…

EMILY
Pants and a button-up.

…then gets what she needs while wiping her hand on her
robe.

INT. EMILY’S KITCHEN – MOMENTS LATER

EMILY sits on the counter, twixt the sink and toaster, as
she tosses the last bit of one waffle in her mouth. A laptop
sits on the table. She then snatches another waffle from the
toaster. She tears off pieces and eats them, avoiding her
lipstick. While this is going on, she hums the melody she
came up with in the BATHROOM while tapping her bootheels on
the cabinet.

Until she almost chokes on a waffle bit.

She tosses what’s left of the breakfast pastry in the
garbage, in a fit of betrayal, then briskly washes her hands
in the sink. Her boots make the plastic mat on the floor
click and pop.

INT. EMILY’S LIVING ROOM – MOMENTS LATER

Sliding on her armor, a well-loved frock coat, EMILY
prepares to leave her apartment. Next, she tucks a pocket
recorder and a flipphone inside the coat. By the door is a
beaten-up guitar case ready to be slung over her shoulder
like a sword. On a short bookcase is her helmet by way of a
top hat and sunglasses. Both are vertically-striped black
and white, with the hat having a bit more business. The
black stripes are felt, the white are like silk, and a ring
dangles from the brim. A finger can easily fit through it,
which she does as she positions the hat so that the ring
hangs over her left ear.

Ready to face the day, she grabs one last thing: her folding
cane.

EXT. STREETS – MOMENTS LATER

EMILY walks with a little pep in her step as her cane goes
TAK-TAK-TAK-TAK, making sure that she doesn’t bump into
anyone (while not really caring if she does).

She points a twirling finger in the camera’s general
direction as she taks and trots along.

EMILY
‘Ello, dear viewer. Emily’s my name
and I was put on this planet for
two reasons: shredding guitars and
bumping into furniture. If the cane
didn’t give the game away, I’m a
bit blind. Don’t feel sorry for me,
though. You’re the ones who have to
see the state the world’s in.

She takes her finger away and continues walking to…

INT. QUEST CAFE – MOMENTS LATER

The bell over the door DINGS as EMILY enters. After folding
her cane, she approaches the register while getting her credit card.
At the counter, a clerk waits with a mug full
of the hot stuff.

CLERK
Ms. Verda! We ran out of white
chocolate last night, but we have a
nice–

EMILY stops in her tracks, flicks straight her cane, and
doffs her hat.

EMILY
I bid thee good day.

CLERK
Just kidding, just kidding!

EMILY
Don’t toy with my heart today.

EMILY folds her cane and continues her morning routine
towards her white chocolate mocha topped with whipped cream
and coconut sprinkles.

CLERK
I’m a wage slave, I have to get as
much harmless fun as I can to pass
the 9-5.

EMILY
And normally, I’d understand. Nay,
I’d encourage. But I need all my
strength for later.

EMILY swipes her card and enters her PIN as the CLERK
extends the mug.

CLERK
Oh? Why? Oh yeah, you’re still
doing those auditions. How long
have you been holding them?

EMILY
Doesn’t matter.

EMILY takes the mug and her receipt.

EMILY
(cont’d)
I’m gonna get them today.

CLERK
How many are you meeting?

EMILY
Two, but two’s all I need. Thanks
for letting me post my ad here.
That’s how they found me.

CLERK
Ah, no problem.

EMILY
Kayley and Leslie. Gonna have a
chick band.

CLERK
You just be sure to play your
second gig here.

EMILY
“Second”?

CLERK
Who’s ever great their first time
out?

EMILY
Har har har. I was gonna leave a
tip, but now…

CLERK
You can’t tip plastic. Besides, you
already swiped your card.

EMILY
Maybe I was gonna get a few
macaroons.

CLERK
Were you?

EMILY starts to step away as she sips her coffee, then turns
back to the CLERK.

EMILY
Do you know Kayley and Leslie? All
I have are texts that my phone
reads aloud.

CLERK
I only know you because you’re a
creature of habit and this place is
lucky enough to be within sniffing
distance of your apartment.

EMILY
Heh, too true, too true.

EMILY continues to an empty booth, but not before…

CLERK
Good luck today, Emily. Really.

She gestures a salute with her mug, then sits. She then
takes a big gulp, points a circling finger towards the
camera, and sets her mug down with a big whipped cream
moustache on her face.

EMILY
I know what you’re thinking, but
chick bands rock. No, you’re
thinking that other thing and, yes,
I know it’s there. No, no, you’re
thinking that OTHER other thing,
and we’ll never know if Neo
would’ve knocked over that vase.
It’s best to just let it go, I’ve
lost far too much hair over that.
Roy Orbison and José Feliciano.
Drawing blanks? I’m drawing
circles. They’re two of the best
guitarists to have ever lived. They
also found that blindness didn’t
take away frets and chords. Herman
Li is a beast with a guitar THAT HE
PLAYS WITH THE WRONG HAND, just
like Hendrix! So my heritage has
that covered because we all come
from the same womb. Joan Jett,
Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Nancy
Wilson.

She brushes the dairy facial hair off with her finger, then
eats it with a grin.

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Cinema. Comics. Piracy. “Dreams and Things”.

Posted in Blog, Making-Of with tags , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2014 by Rathan Krueger

Or, what I’ve been up to since July.

Ahoy, all. Whew, I can smell the formaldehyde and abandonment all over. I guess I should get the obvious out of the way: “Quagmire” was a bust. The crowdfunding didn’t do much of anything except give me a few bucks. And a new appreciation of how selectively apathetic the world can be. But nay! This shan’t be a post of wet blankets and razor blades! I just need to say a few things before moving on. Hopefully, I can stay chipper. Yeah, two things and I’ll be fine. One: the “Quagmire” project wasn’t a perfect fit for me. Fuck, I doubt it wasn’t even a shrunken sweater of a fit. The film had things I’m drawn to (imperfect characters and lots of talking), but what didn’t work, ultimately, was the subject matter. I thought that I could convince myself that I could write something about teachers. Or rather, hold the enthusiasm it takes to move a film from page to screen. Two: I don’t like crowdfunding, as a funder or fundee. I could write a blog about that alone, but I’ll just say that there needs to be a better way.

I didn’t mean to be away for so long, but I didn’t wanna come back until I had definite things to talk about. Few things are as bad as someone always saying “But THIS one will be different!” with fuckall to show for it. There was a lull when I had absolutely nothing, which is why I’m forcing myself to always be creative somehow. Sucks to have an imagination with no engine to drive it. My first almost-return involved my first album. I’ve been making songs for a few years now, but none with the intention of presenting to the world alone or as a piece. “Her Revenge Will Be Vicious” looked like it was gonna be my Neo.
It was gonna be a concept album because they’re a lost art and I wanted to give people a reason to listen to the whole thing. It was gonna be about a woman who’s stalked by a bastard of privilege., frontloaded by his part in her story. It would’ve been a tactic to weed-out reactionaries. My hope was that the clever people would see the title, hear the first songs, and know that the second half would be all about comeuppance. I’d bait the reactionaries, too. The bastard’s songs would’ve been misogynistic and poppy. Trust would take them to the dramatics and the vicious revenge. It wouldn’t have been misogyny for misogyny’s sake, though. Poppy as they would’ve been, they’d also reveal a very pathetic character (sans sympathy).
So what happened? I wrote all the song titles and structured the album, even wrote the first song (“Exploding Sun”)… then I realized it wasn’t time. There’s one piece missing. Perhaps a female vocalist.

My second almost-return involved my short film , “A Real…” I got tired of being a director who hadn’t directed something they were proud of. I’m proud of the opportunity for leaning that “Dirty Thoughts” presented to me and the help I got, but I’m not proud of the end result. So I swore that I’d make something prideful by my birthday. And I did. Even started sending it to film festivals (three, so far). The problem was that I wasn’t sure if I could post it to the world yet. I’d rather not shoot that opportunity in the foot, so I chose to keep it secret/safe.
I felt that I should have a script ready, just in case, so I dug out “Academia” and started readapting it. Instead of being something heavily-inspired by “Battle Royale”, it became a meditation on suicide. Not mine, I’ve too much to do. Alongside that, I was preparing another novel. A very intellectual spy novel with flights of fancy. Metal Gear Solid fans will know what I mean. Alongside that, I found out that once in a while, BBC accepts unsolicited scripts (here). A backdoor into “Doctor Who”: are you fucking kidding? Granted, it’s implied that one should write an original thing, which this one will. I just hope to amaze enough that the TARDIS doors’ll crack open a little for me.
So I was juggling (successfully[!]) preparing… when an old friend reentered my life and ruptured a new path for me.

I gave up comics almost a decade ago for lots of reasons (none of them female [I never understood why people give up something that means a lot to them for the prospect, not even the promise, of a piece of ass… sex is great but it’s not worth giving up an important part of yourself for]). The state of comics was bland and there were attachments to people I couldn’t shake off in my head. It wasn’t until earlier this month when I was presented with comics’ state of the union address and my head was held still by two characters: Harley Quinn and The Twelfth Doctor. I have a very particular sense of humor that Harley’s comic serves up with ginger ale. The Twelfth Doctor (of the “Doctor Who” medical professionals) is the first Doctor I could say was My Doctor, so I support him however I can, within reason. When I got Harley’s graphic novel and the first issue of Twelve’s comic, the four-color flame burned brighter than the Batsignal. It was like reconnecting with an old friend.
Since then, I’ve been buying mainstream and indie comics, reflecting my tastes in films. If you can get beyond the title of Alan Moore’s “Saga of the Swamp Thing”, you’ll be rewarded greatly. “Wonder Woman” is great because it’s, among other things, a nurturer’s take on war. And the art doesn’t sexualize her:

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At least, until issue 36:

image

“Daytripper” is a great comic about the life of an obituary writer. It was particularly important because of my new venture by reminding me that Americans want stories like this, too. Rewatching “Chasing Amy”, I was inspired at one point to write a scene with two women talking. I didn’t have anything planned, I just knew that their names were Vicki and Tracey. An hour later, I had pages of dialogue of what would become my first comic: “Dreams and Things”. I say comic, but I mean graphic novel. I hate single issues and monthly schedules. Anywho, it’ll be about two women who live together in a loft, and one gets the idea to make a horror comic. “Dreams and Things” won’t be a horror comic, I just needed Vicki to make a comic and I didn’t want it to be a superhero one. That and I love the challenge of making a horror comic since that’ll be in the graphic novel, too. I’m in the planning stage and I’ve got a long way to go, but I’ve drawn the two gals and I’m stupid-excited to get to the end of their book.

There’re SO many things in my head going into planning DaT. It’ll be about two women, obviously. It’ll also be about making a comic. I’ve come across a few narrative features about making films. I’ve seen series’ about making anime. The only narrative books I’ve read that are about making comics have come from Japan (“Comic Party” and “Genshiken”). Plenty of how-to-make-comics books stateside, but nothing making a story out of it.
DaT will also be an incredibly selfish endeavor. “Lie” was a selfish novel, but I also wrote it for women. Although people’ll be inspired by the comic-making portions of DaT, I’m doing them for me. To show myself how I made it and to save myself questions about how I made it. Vicki’s path is mine (or “mine”). But that’s not my only bout of shameless selfishness.
I also wanna present sex in such a way that it’s character-centric and non-distracting. The only way creatives figured out how to do that is with sex addiction and prostitution. Shame and dismay (I’m not knocking sex workers, only pointing out how society feels about them [they fulfill a need like any other kind of worker, they’ve been around since time immemorial, and they’ll be around long after you’re dust: cope, puritans]). I love a good action scene, but I have to admit that it’s absurd how you can show a woman getting her heart ripped out on network TV, yet the camera cuts away away if her boob flops out. It’s just flesh, and I know from firsthand experience that it appreciates attention.
Another bout of selfishness involves me watching myself improve my drawing ability. I dunno how long DaT with be, but 300 pages doesn’t seem absurd to me. Oh, before I go on, I wanna say that I haven’t given up on filmmaking. I’m still sending “A Real…” to festivals and “Academia” just needs the ok to be made. Anywho, 300 pages is quite an amount, pregnant with potential to grow as an artist. I’ll be pushing myself throughout, but my goal is to make it all seem like stylistic choices and not someone who’s learning. Turn the negatives into positives.
DaT, like all the tales of this mythmaker, will be multiracial, but there won’t be any fucking pandering. They’ll just be people who look different.
As a System of a Down fan, there’ll be a subversive thread. As a System of a Down fan, I’ll make sure that it’s too fun to complain about.
There’re also so many other character, story, and tertiary things that I’m gonna stuff into “Dreams and Things”… but I hope the end result is something like this:

image

…instead of something like this:

image

Piracy. As an artist of the 21st century, it’s something that I need to deal with. I had the fortune in 2008 of seeing “Punisher: War Zone” in theaters and thinking that the person behind that was a genius. Then I saw “Green Street Hooligans” and thought that the genius had range. It’s so hard to find a comic book movie that unapologetically has the tone of its source material. It’s also very hard to get me to sit through anything involving sports. Lexi Alexander managed to pull off those feats so well that I thought she could do no wrong as a filmmaker. Then “Lifted” came out and then… nothing. I wondered what happened to her and figured that she left the game. Shame, but it happens a lot.
When I decided to join Twitter, I did what any cinephile would do: track down directors and wait for 140-character-sized chunks of wisdom. On a whim, I looked up Lexi Alexander. There she was. And angry.
Turned out that she didn’t leave the game. Turned out that the game remembered that it was a boys-only club and shut its doors on her. Turned out that she was beating on those doors. Not out of desperation or a plea to be let in. Each fist slammed was a shout that bellowed “YOU FUCKING SEXIST BASTARDS!! YOU’RE RUINING IT FOR WOMEN WITH FUCKING STORIES TO TELL!!” Each kick was a rallying cry that echoed “WOMEN, LET’S STOP PUTTING UP WITH THIS BULLSHIT!!”
But the bastards ignored.
The women were frightened and complacent.
So an exhausted Lexi Alexander let her bloody hands slide down in defeat and her sticky soles took her home.
Along the way, she saw something in the distance. As she got closer, she saw a person being arrested for stealing a movie. Made by those sexist bastards who routinely spat on the faces of the workers who helped make them billions. Made by those sexist bastards who have been selling the same movie for years and strangling creativity. Made by those sexist bastards who would rather their industry burn than adapt to the changing winds.
So Lexi Alexander became piracy’s Wonder Woman and like Diana of Troy, enlightened and inspired others to address piracy in the changing world. People like me. If you go to her blog (here), you’ll read lots of explanations of what’s happening with piracy on both sides of the argument. I can only talk about my feelings of piracy. That and laugh at Disney, wondering if they don’t see the irony yet.
It’s a lot like a library. People take things for free and if they like it, they can go to a store and buy it. If they don’t like it, at least they didn’t waste any of their money. If they like it and don’t buy it, keeping it instead and feeling that artists don’t need to be paid, fuck ’em with a two-headed dildo that spews fire and glass shards and screams at them.
“Dreams and Things” will be a thick book, which means it’ll cost a few bucks. It’d be wise of me to give people a free option. Make a PDF or something with enough pages to entice people and throw it in the torrents.

Well, that’s enough for now. Thanks for reading and if you feel like doing something good today, donate to Action Against Hunger.

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

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…