Hello dear friend…I’ve missed you.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m sorry I’ve been away. Life has been crazy busy. I let everything else take priority and you got pushed to the side. I feel really cruddy about that. Hopefully, someday, I can make it up to you. Let me start by feeling you in on everything that has happened since we last spoke in February of this year.

  • Our baby was born!
    • Since the birth, we’ve had some health scares with the little one. A good handful of ER visits. At least one several night stay at the hospital. But Peanut is doing good now.
  • I started a new job!
    • This job is pretty awesome but requires a lot of my time between May and August. But the rest of the year it’s pretty chill filled with team building, planning, and leadership training.
  • Surprisingly, I haven’t seen very many films this year. I think maybe two? That’ll change in the off season but besides a select handful, I think my summer blockbuster viewing will be taking a hit.
  • We’ve had a run of bad luck over the summer; our little one’s health, then our health, then the car went out, and then our basement flooded…twice! But we’ve kept our heads up, looking at the positive, and pushing through.
  • I am sooooooo close to being done with the edit of Dead Hearts! I just need a day or two to wrap things up. Yet, I can’t find the time due to the previously mentioned issues as well in addition to the time parenting and the new job takes. In a few weeks my work season slows way down and I’ll finally be able to take two days off in a week, back to back, and that’s all I’ll do.
    • Once I finish the final cut, I’m sending a copy to everyone who helped with it. I’m going to book a private screening for everyone to attend. I’m going to apply for a bunch of film festivals. I can’t wait!
  • I have a bunch of new ideas for my next film project, but before I just dive in to those I’m doing some self education. Working on learning the 3 Act structure, what rules to follow (or break), adding depth to my writing, etc. Once I have that down, I’ll feel more comfortable and confident on actually putting my ideas in a script.
  • I’m working on several podcasts with various folks that hopefully will premiere later this fall! More details to come!
  • I’m back on track with my health; I have a pretty solid routine where I do the same stuff throughout the morning and mid-day. Oatmeal w/1 tablespoon of PB, vitamins for breakfast. Apple for first snack. If I’ve been active, I’ll have an Elevation bar (from Aldi.) Lunch is a Lean Shake w/some string cheese. Afternoon is a protein bar and/or apple. Dinner is where I struggle. Sometimes I rock it, others not so much. But I had my food prep containers arrive this week so I’ve prepped several nights in a row of chicken and green beans. All I need to do is pop them in the microwave and viola! Dinner is served. I like this routine I’ve started because that means I only eat meat in the evening, for one meal. I’m trying a “reducetarian” approach to my eating (click the link for more info.)
    • I plan on including 3 days at the gym with daily walks w/the fam and dogs to help improve my overall health. I also hope to run a 5k at the end of October. I do miss those!
  • With the flooded basement, we’ve kind of kickstarted redoing our house. We were going to wait a bit but we feel now is the best time to do it, while we have the momentum (even if it was spurred on by a horrible incident.)
    • We have plans for each room, with themes for each. But before we do anything inside, we have to protect the outside. So we have to re-grade the dirt around our house, put rocks down to keep it there, pull a bunch of foliage/shrubbery from the fence, tear down the fence, put an new fence up, etc. Once we complete that we’ll move to the inside.
    • On the inside, the thing I’m most excited for…we are doing a theater room downstairs! After we’ve flood proofed it of course :D. More deets on that to come!
      • One cool thing we’ll do down there is we’ll adorn the walls w/alternative movie posters. I got a few in mind I’m gonna put up but I to do like a rotating thing where every few months I switch out the posters. If we host movie nights w/friends we’ll put up relevant posters. Lots of things we can do with them! I’ve really started to dive in to that art/design scene and the wife said we could go to MondoCon next year! Can’t wait!

That’s about it for now old friend. Don’t worry though, I’m not leaving ya. I have a feeling things are about to change. You’ll be seeing me a lot more around these parts pretty soon. See you soon!

Keepin’ it Geeky,

j

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“This is gonna take cracker jack timing, Wang”

I’ve been debating doing  a weekly (or bi-weekly) film review of films I love (or hate) or possibly films I’m seeing for the first time despite how long it has been out. Like a classic 1980’s flick that has flown under my radar or a small, indie film that came out 2014. I think it’d be fun. While I won’t have any great insight to a film (there are lots of folks who know film and pop culture way more than I) it would provide some interesting challenges to myself, such as:

  • Do I write a blog or shoot a video about it? Do I use this as an opportunity to work on my skills in that area?
  • Do I focus on just what I like or dislike about the film? Or do I give some history about  it?
  • What films should I consider? Should I take suggestions?
  • Do I keep this fairly private? Or open it up to the world, putting myself at risk for trolls?

All tough questions. But I do know this…I will do this in some form and I am going to try and have my first review posted by 2/17. And I already know what movie that’ll be…

“Dead Hearts” shoot starts tomorrow…

And I’m excited, nervous, scared, thrilled, over-joyed, etc, etc, etc. All of the emotions one could feel before such a big day, I’m feeling’em. This short film has technically been in the works for 10 years or so now. How do I mean? Well, check this…

To Recap:

2005: While at community college (don’t knock it, I highly recommend it as a great place to get a higher ed), I watch two films for the first time: Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Classics. I’m blown by how…cool each film is. The dialogue pops, the jokes hit perfectly, and the shocks are big. I was instantly in love. These two films coupled with my affection for Clerks (which I saw my sophomore year of high school) made me realize that film could be a possible career path. Well, I could at least try and make films, even if I never made it in Hollywood.

Late 2005: Still feeling the affects of those QT films, an idea popped in my head for a movie scene. Well, less an idea and more a small seed. And not really one scene but rather two. It was at first the question of “What if the roles were slightly changed for Jules, Vincent, and The Wolf?” From there, I started writing down little pieces of dialogue, snippets of visuals, etc. in my head. It was hackneyed, horribly written, formatted incorrectly, and I was writing it in a little 3×5 Mead notepad on my lunch breaks from work. But it was something.

2005-2008: That notepad followed me to my (2nd) brief tenure at KU, to Wisconsin, and to Minnesota. (Note: As a matter of fact, I believe I still have it somewhere in storage.) There are scribbles, changes, new *unrelated* ideas, and it’s all together awesome and bad. But I proceeded forward until…

Late 2008: I am promoted with the retail big box company I was currently working for. I went from being a simple hourly employee to a salaried manager. I went from working just 40 hrs per week to 60 (by my choice honestly.) I had no social life where I lived in Minnesota. Went on a few dates but nothing more. Most of my time was spent doing most of the following: A) Work B) Work from home C) video games D) watching movies at home and E) watching movies at the run down theater the small town I lived in had. It was during this time I gained a crap ton (that is an actual measurement in my opinion) of weight and started to suffer from severe depression. That little notepad I had? It just sat in a box, never being touched. I would talk about it sometimes with people, but that was it.

Mid-2010: I move to KS for work and Cuz R (who is my actual cousin and #BestFriend4Life) moved with me too. It was during our time living together that I would mention my story sometimes while also throwing other ideas back and forth every once in a while. But we were both so focused on our jobs and had no idea how to actually make a movie (at all or in the middle-of-nowhere KS) that if never became more than just talk.

Mid-2015: I know this is a 5 year jump, but not much progressed with this film during that time. However, at this time in the story, I had been talking to my wife a lot about actually making that idea from 2005 as a short film. I was working a job that had me on the road 95% of the time, I was miserable, and I was not enjoying life at all. The wife asked what would make me happy; I told her, “Honestly, getting off the road, working a part time job at a bookstore, and making my short film.” She could have been logical and rational and said “I wish you could, but we need to be able to provide for ourselves and the kids we want someday, so lets just find you a job in your field closer to home, etc.” But, that’s not how my wife rolls.

9/21/15: This day is specific for a reason: this is the day that a phone call between my wife and I would change everything. I was in St. Louis for work, having just completed an assignment, and I had seen her only a couple days over the last month. I was sitting in my car in the parking lot of the mall I had just stopped working at and I was crying. Literally crying. So of course she is too. There’s a break in the blubber-fest and she says “Why not? Why not come home and make your movie? What is stopping you?” It was at this moment that I fell even more in love with her and also realized that the answer of what I should do was right in front of me. So I literally called my boss once I got off the phone with her and put in my 2 weeks. Was it slightly foolhardy? A little irrational? Yes, oh god yes. Yet, it was the best decision for me to make. (Spoiler Alert: Our movie shoot is taking place almost exactly 1 year from this day.)

Late 2015-2016: So after I got off the road, I started hammering away at the script. It was too long, bloated, had plot holes galore, and just wasn’t that good at all. But putting those words on the page was the most thrilling rush of excitement; it was like riding that awesome new ride at Walt Disney World for the first time again and then riding a bazillion times after that, each ride better than the last. Knowing I couldn’t do this all alone, I sought the help of some trusted confidants.

Durka: To produce and push me to make this project an actual project, rather than a crazy fever dream.

Cuz R: To help rewrite, redraft, and redevelop the film. He became the official co-writer and my partner in crime. The film went from being a silly idea by me to a true vision for both of us.

The wife: She says she only wanted to handle craft services, but she really wanted to be in show biz 🙂

9/15/16: We are less than 24 hrs before we are on set, calling action on the first shot. I have so many worries going through my head. I am bouncing back and forth between extreme confidence to utter despair. But I wouldn’t ask for anything different. The call sheets for tomorrow have been sent by the 1st AD. Follow up texts are being sent by various folks to finish prepping for tomorrow. Equipment rentals and purchases are arriving at any time today. A final walkthrough for the biggest scene (the one that started all of this) is tonight at 9 pm.

It’s all coming together. 10 years of waiting finally coming to an end. Once we wrap Saturday evening…raising a kid will be a piece of cake (Cue nervous laughter.)

Let’s break some legs!

Keepin’ it Geeky,

j

 

Give me those neon vibes!

So, just like everyone else I am obsessed with Stranger Things. The cast, the production, the MUSICTHE SCORE!!!!!, etc…all of it is amaze-balls.

Whats the best thing about the show? It has itched the film/tv itch I’ve had for quite some time (and by quite some time, I mean a few years.) As I’m getting ready to start my next go around of the show, I realized that the era it represents (the neon colored 80s) may be my favorite film era. Seriously, looking at my favorite movies of all time, the ones that have stuck with me over the years are all from that decade. I have a feeling my future film projects will consist of a lot of love to the 80s. Yeah, it may become old hat and boring, but I don’t care. I plan on telling stories the way I want to. Until then, enjoy this great video from Vox discussing how the opening title credits to Stranger Things was created.

I come bearing gifts…

I know I had this whole plan with some amazing structure that would ensure I was blogging daily. Yeah, well, I obviously failed. But I need to do some personal reflection on whether I “failed” or I just set my standards too high. Since changing my job status last Fall (I went from being salaried to an independent contractor for the same company) my schedule has gotten more hectic and off kilter. I’ll have a few days where I am completely free to do as I please and when that happens, I have every intention to work on my projects. But then I let other, less important things get in my way (damn you Far Cry 4 and Assassin’s Creed IV: Blag Flag!!!!)

However, I finished the biggest distraction recently which was moving to our new house. Only thing now is I have to A) Get my temporary office set up, B) I have a bunch of work stuff for the next 3 weeks, C) I have to finish unpacking and setting up the house, and D) My partner Ryan and I are now entering in to crunch time for editing on the short we are working on for our friend Durka. Crunch time as in we need to get damn close to a final cut pretty damn soon because we have festival deadlines. (Note: This is not a complaint, we are loving working on this project, but it is a realization that things are gonna get tense soon if we don’t start wrapping this bad boy up.)

With all that said, I still think there is no reason why I can’t spend some time each day working on a blog update. I am going to try and get back to working on the format I laid out a while back (Film Friday and the like.) Until then, just bare with me and my randomness.

As a mea culpa for my ball dropping, I offer up this juicy morsel. A new short I came across on Vimeo (a place that I have fallen IN LOVE with) today. I think I’ll be posting more of these as well; link a few and schedule them to be dropped over the next several days so in case I don’t make it a priority to blog, you at least have something to entertain you. I give you:

But I’d Really Have to Kill You by Max Sherman, starring Ben York Jones & Tim Baltz. It is a simple short that does a great job of utilizing the typical office workspace and voiceover narration. The ending really sells it. Great job Mr. Sherman!

But I’d Really Have To Kill You from max sherman on Vimeo.

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey