Archive for Filmmaker

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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This Week’s Interview… Myself!: “Temet Nosce”

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2012 by Rathan Krueger

What’s your favorite word?
“Aeaea”.  It’s a Greek word, I think.  I love the idea of a word with no consonants.  I came across it two years ago researching things for an animated film that–  Well, more on that someday.

What’s your least favorite word?
The one that pops up in a conversation with a gal you fancy when you realize she doesn’t care.  It’s not any one particular word, it’s more of a moment.  When she checks out of the conversation yet still feels the need to talk to you.  If you don’t wanna talk, go away.  I would.

What turns you on?
Joie de vive.

What turns you off?
Decrepitude.

What sound do you love?
The one the Batmobile makes when it turns on in “Batman Returns”.  I could listen to that forever.  The second I find out that you can program electric cars with specific engine sounds…

What sound do you hate?
That weird baby voice gals do when they’re talking to their fella.  That’s not sexy, it’s creepy.  Gimme a phone convo with Kathleen Turner any day.

What’s your favorite curse word?
“Fuckmook”.  I don’t get to use it nearly as often as I’d like but when I do, it’s always a great moment for me.  You could almost hear the Final Fantasy victory music playing in my head.

What profession other than yours would you like to try?
Sword smith.  Those scenes in films where someone’s making a sword never gets boring to me.  I also like the idea of getting bored and deciding to make bladed weapons out of strange things.  Like in “Rambo”.  He makes a machete out of rebar.

What profession would you not like to do?
Anything papal.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“Uh-oh.”

Top five influences?
What do you mean?  I mean, in what way?

What other ways are there?
Well, if you’re asking me as a filmmaker or as a person–

You’re an author at the moment, so let’s go with that.
Alrighty.  Lessee…  The three Davids.

“The three Davids?”
Cronenberg, Fincher, and Lynch.

Aren’t those directors?
Yeah, but I’m more of a cineaste than a bibliophile.  That’s not to say that I don’t read books, I do.  But I feel much more… “fulfilled” isn’t the right word…

Comfortable in your skin?
Yeah, we’ll go with that.  I feel more comfortable in the skin of a lover of films than of books.  Besides, I like the idea of being an artist who’s influenced by something outside of the medium they’re working in.  A big reason I love Cronenberg and Lynch’s work is that they didn’t start off as lovers of film.

How did they start?
Cronenberg was the bibliophile (ironic that his first novel comes out soon and so late in his career) and Lynch was the painter.  Then they kinda accidented their way into filmmaking.  If you get a chance, you should pick up “David Cronenberg: Interviews with Serge Grunberg“ and “Lynch on Lynch”.

They’re on my shelf.
Oh yeah…

What draws you to those three?
They deal with the darker side of life in very distinctive ways.  And of humanity.  And, apart from Lynch with “Wild at Heart”, you don’t get happy endings with them.  But The Happy Ending was part of the point of “Wild at Heart”.  And it was a rough road up until that point.  Not nearly as rough as “Lost Highway”, but that’s another story.

Back to your influences.  Do the three Davids count separately or–
No, they’re as one.

What are your other four?
Music.  I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t have music going.

Would you say that you’re an audiophile?
…that’s a little hard for me to figure out.

Why?
Because I don’t feel I know as much about music as I do about films.

Do you listen to music more than you watch films?
Fuck yeah.

Well then.
I still feel that I haven’t quite earned the title of “audiophile” yet.  I’ll have to read at least one more book before I feel comfortable.  It should be on my shelf next week and it’s about the history of dance music.  Daddy loves his electronica.

We have music and the three Davids…
Hai, hai.

“Hai, hai”?
“Yes, yes” in Japanese.  I guess anime would be the next influence.  Methinks it’s safe to say that I’ve moved on from specifically talking about authorial influences.

Do you consider yourself an anime fan at the level of films and music?
My passion for anime matches them, but I haven’t seen enough.  Especially now.  That’s not to say that I’ve only seen a few.  Nerts to that.  But in my group of friends, I consider myself an otaku, not The otaku.

Otaku being an anime fan?
You catch on quick.

What’re some anime you like?
I wanna jump back to something I said about the three Davids and then I’ll go back to anime.  Another thing I love about their work is that they’re low-brow and high-brow.

In what sense?
They could have potty humor and intellectually challenging things minutes apart in their films.  Ditto the Wachowski Starship.  That’s not my name for them, it’s theirs.  They said it jokingly, but I’m fully embracing that name for them.  Which is a great segue back into anime because they made “Animatrix”.  That’s on the list.  There’re some I don’t feel the need to acknowledge because they’re so into the DNA of every otaku.  “Dragonball Z” and “Sailor Moon”, for instance.

Who’re your favorite characters from them?
Vegeta and Sailor Saturn.  “Akira” and “Ghost in the Shell” also fall into that category.  Other anime, other anime… “R.O.D. the TV”, about bibliophile sister detectives who can make things from paper.  “Requiem from the Darkness”, a horror anthology.  “Record of Lodoss War”, Japan’s answer to Tolkien.  Let’s get something that doesn’t begin with an “r” in there… “Ergo Proxy”.  Oh, and “Excel Saga”!  And “Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi”.  And “Hell Girl”.  And “Witch Hunter Robin”.  And “Texhnolyze”.  And I should stop.

Sounds like you’re pretty otaku.
Yeah, but there’re ones out there who’re much bigger than me… literally and figuratively.

Two more influences to go.
Women.

That’s interesting.  Why?
They’re very much the pallet I’ll be working with in my novels, films, and songs, so I’d like to think they’re a big influence to me.

What sort of women?
All kinds.  I should say here that although some pretty horrible things will happen to women in my stories, it doesn’t come from a misogynistic place.  I am a dark storyteller.  I want to make stories with women.  My women stories will be dark stories.  But I’d never do something that would demean them.  Humble, but not demean.

Explain.
The idea of a woman in today’s culture is that of a flawless creature on a gilded pedestal… and they’re not like that at all.  No one is.  Women are like men: human.  And humans come in different varieties.  My nose would crash through the window if I said that I didn’t like pretty women.  I’m not sure where I’m going with this and I get the feeling that I’ll be redundant soon so I’ll end it with this: I’ll be looking at the female race through a prism.

And the colors you find won’t be typical.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.  Last influence.  Last…  I’m not sure, really.  Success, I guess.  That doesn’t apply to just the monetary reward, although that’s also great.  Completing an idea is success.  Someone liking what I did is success.  Influencing someone is success.  Not quitting is success.  I wish there were more people who don’t quit, but I also don’t wish that.  It’s like YouTube.  How much of what’s on there is of quality?  I don’t mean in terms of what kind of camcorder was used or if there’s a story.  Do we really need millions of videos of cats yawning?  I’m saying this as a cat-lover.

What’s your story about?
“Love! in Bedlam” is about an asylum for love fools.  And love comes in different shapes and forms.  That’s all I feel comfortable saying, which is enough.  If someone gave me that synopsis, I’d run to my nearest… Barnes & Noble.

Why do you feel the world needs you and your stories?
The entertainment world is rather stagnant and needs someone to freshen things up.  I wouldn’t be so bold as to say that I’m That Guy, but I’m definitely one of those That Guys.  We need more That Girls, too.  I’m a fan of equality and I don’t think guys are better at telling stories than gals.  Neither is better, but the latter obviously knows different stories than the former.  Part and parcel of chromosomes.

If someone were to ask you how much writing you’ve done, would you be happy with your answer?
Yes and no.  Yes because I told myself that I wouldn’t start writing in earnest until January.  No because I know I could get a lot more done by then.  But that’s also because I don’t have books I didn’t think I’d need yet.  Like the dance music book that’s a-comin’.  It didn’t occur to me, having a character who’s a clubhead, that I should read–  No, that’s not right.  I did have a book, but it was more a history of a club as opposed to a history of clubs.  But when I got that book, I thought that there wasn’t a dance music book at the scale of the one I found.  Silly me.

What writing checkpoints have you set for yourself?
To finish writing by the end of January.  After that, it’s a bit of a haze.  Mostly because the next step of my plan depends on when I get my first royalty check for a short story I wrote.  Whenever I get that, I’ll be off to the book printers.

And after that?
There’s a bi-monthly craft fair I can sell things at, plus I’ll be sending copies to various people with mighty opinions to get word out that way.  Which’ll be a payoff to what I’m doing now, building an internet presence and winning contests.  I’ve learned there’s no right way to become successful.  Plenty of wrong ways, but no right way.

How do you feel about interviews?
Heh.  Contrary to how many folk I’ve interviewed and how willing I am to interview someone and how many interviews I’ve read and how well this interview seems to be going… I’m not a big fan of them.  Largely because the interviewers tend to ask the same vapid questions over and over.  Some of these journalists went to school and have degrees… why don’t they ask better questions?  You’re doing ok, though.

Thanks.
Next question.

What are your thoughts on privacy?
Another contrary appears…  I’m a very private person and can’t understand or stand nosy people.  I like to know things about the folk I admire, but I wouldn’t raid their garbage.  All the interviews and things about them, for the most part, are from their mouths.  If it’s not from them, it’s from someone they allowed to be that close.  I’d never read a tabloid thing or hound them for an autograph if I saw them in public.  Wait for ‘em to show up at a convention as a guest or something.  I’m sure they’ll be more pleasant.  I also don’t wanna be a bigger star than what I create.  By that, I mean that I don’t want people thinking of me as they watch/read/listen to something of mine.  I want them to know my style, not my phone number.

What are your thoughts on fandom?
I love the idea of fans as long as they’re respectful.  Knowing that someone sold one of John Lennon’s teeth recently reminds me of how dark that hole can get.  But I’m a bit dichotomous, going back to privacy for a minute.  For instance, I want as few photos of me as possible… but I want a place to basically shut down when I get there.  “Oh shit, Mr. Krueger’s here!”  I want the right people to know me, I guess, and to know me under the right circumstances.  Like, I’d LOVE to be a cause celebre in any dance club I go to.  Not so much at a Goodwill.  But back to fandom.  I think the word’s overused.

How so?
I get the feeling that when people say that they love their fans, or statements derivative of that, it’s not always genuine.  When I decided to be an entertainer, I thought that I should come up with a specific name for my eventual fans.  Y’know, so we’re all part of the same club.  Like Whovians being fans of “Doctor Who”.  Up until recently, I was trying to tie it to opera because my establishment is “Darkness Opera”.  But last week, I decided to call them the Hexalone.

“Hexalone”?
It’s the name for the inmates in my novel I made up.  There’re six characters, “hex-” is Latin for “six”, they’re alone, blah blah.  “Hex” also floats around spells and curses.  I consider myself my audience and biggest fan, so I assume that folk who like my work are like me.  I’ve had a fucked-up life at points.  Or “cursed”.  And being alone is part of being me, which is different than being lonely.

In what way?
Being lonely, to me, means that you take discomfort in being alone.  I don’t.  Anywho, I thought that Hexalone fit well with my fandom and was proud that I made it personal instead of finding it in a dictionary.  Can I tell you about my 5G network?

Sure.
Gotham, Gondor, Goths, Gallifrey, and Guns (lots of guns).

What’s all that represent?
My five biggest geeky loves.  Gotham (Batman), Gondor (Middle-earth), Goths (Goths), Gallifrey (Doctor Who), and Guns (lots of guns [a Matrix quote]).

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Living in a loft apartment in Downtown Chicago for almost five years with my own studio.  Enjoying life.  Working on my next project.  Buying cat food.  That sort of thing.

Fears?
Settling.  I want only the best for myself so settling for anything that’s sub-par, from women to music to pizza, is something I’ve denied myself.  But settling is always tempting.

How so?
It’s easy.  It’s easy to settle.  You don’t have to work hard to settle for anything.  You wake up and take the first thing that comes your way.  Working for something is a spiked bitch.  However, working for something is infinitely more rewarding than settling for whatever.  And when I say “best”, I don’t mean “most expensive”.  I mean what it says on the box: the best.  Let’s take a supermodel, because most hetero males want one.  For some reason, she–  We’ll call her Megan.  Megan Runway decides that she’s gonna date Rick.  Rick is ecstatic.  “I’ve got a centerfold, fuck the rest of you!”  But they’re not a good fit.  Rick finds Abby Geekqueen.  She’s no supermodel, but she and Rick are like the perfect film.  But Megan’s hot.  But Abby’s interesting.  Long story short, brains are sexy.

But what if Rick finds a more attractive Abby?
Methinks you better ask their marriage councilor.

Any habits to break?
Daydreaming.  I have an active and strong imagination and sometimes I get lost in imagining the future instead of making it happen.  But daydreaming on its own is a good thing.  Take a break from your day and stare out the window for a while.  My issue is that I try to live in Imaginationland for a while.

Thoughts on religion?
Mine.

Politics?
Also mine.  With whatever I say, and I’ve seen it happen with many folk, whenever someone says their affiliation…  Too many people see things as “you’re wrong” instead of “I’m right”.

What’s that mean?
Let’s say that I believe in Scissors, God of the Kneecaps.  I tell someone that who believes in Tape, Goddess of Reception.  Instead of simply letting things go, the Tapist will go out of their way to prove me wrong.  Now, I’m quiet until I’m attacked.  I’m a Wobuffet.  But if I’m attacked, I show no quarter.

Do you believe in Scissors or Tape?
I’m a Carpet guy.