“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

 

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Give me those neon vibes!

So, just like everyone else I am obsessed with Stranger Things. The cast, the production, the MUSIC, THE 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.

So much catching up to do…

Lately, I’ve felt like I’m always behind on something. I’m not quite sure what that could be considering I’ve become pretty consistent with using Google Calendar to keep tabs on all of my tasks, events, and what-nots. However, I feel it is necessary to give an update on here as I fully intend to use this blog for several purposes. Here is a quick, bullet-point list rundown of things going on right now:

  • We are expecting!!!!! Our new baby alien will be born sometime early 2017!
  • We shoot Dead Hearts in just over a month; I am beyond stoked for it!
    • With that being said, we are working on all of the small details now…this is the main source of anxiety right now; this is what is causing me to feel like I’m always behind.
  • Production on Gene, our documentary, will pick back up after we shoot our short
  • I started working at an animal shelter in the greater KC area as an adoptions counselor; it has been amazing and life changing! I’ll post more about that later!
  • I’ve been compiling blog/vlog ideas for the past month and I’m starting work on them now. Pretty soon you’ll have a long stream of content coming your way!
  • I got the amazing chance to help a few days on a friend’s feature length film and was such an awesome time! I’ll do a follow up blog on that as well.
  • A new furry one entered our family a few months ago; her name is Xena and I’ll share tons of pictures soon!
  • Finally, I’m going to start logging all of my workout/health successes and failures on here soon as well. Need that accountability yo!

Now I know this seems like a cheap cry for attention to the blog, but trust me, substantial stuff is coming! Until then –

My suggestion of the Day: Kicks dir. by Justin Tipping, co-written by Tipping and  Joshua Berne-Golden. Comes next month and it looks AMAZING!

 

 

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

 

Why I cried when the Chiefs won…

Yesterday evening, I was driving home and listening to the Chiefs play the Texans in the AFC Wildcard. At this point in the game a victory for the Chiefs was a forgone conclusion. We were up 30-0 and had just hit the two minute mark. Basically there was a better chance of winning the Powerball that night then the Texans making a comeback (I didn’t win and the Texans didn’t make come back.)

As I pulled in to my driveway, Mitch Holtus (The “Voice of the Chiefs”) was giving the play by play, literally counting down the seconds. Once the game hit the one minute mark, I could hear “the chop” being chanted in the Houston stadium, letting me know the KC Faithful had made the trip down to watch our boys in red. Once the game hit 22 seconds, Holtus started counting it down. Each second that ticked off the clock was a representation of the 22 years of playoff misery for this franchise.

Once the game clock struck zero and Holtus started the celebration in the announcers booth, I reacted in a way I did not expect…I started to cry.

Now let me clarify; I am a diehard Chiefs fan, I am not afraid to show my emotions if the mood calls for it (like a really sad Doctor Who episode), and I am sure I am not the only KC Fan who cried at that moment. However, this show of emotion was different for me. You see, I didn’t cry when the Royals had their amazing run over last 2.5 years (even though I am just as big a Royals fan as I am a Chiefs fan.) I cried because this win brought back a very specific memory from my childhood. It came rushing to the front of my mind like a gunshot, so strong that I could think of nothing else.

The last time KC won a playoff game was on 1/16/94 (against the Houston Oilers no less.) I had just turned eight years old. And that was the day that Grandpa H introduced me to the Kansas City Chiefs. I sat next to him at my grandparents house as Joe Montana and Marcus Allen led the Chiefs to victory that day. I watched the whole game entranced by what I was seeing, asking Grandpa questions about what this player was doing and who that man in the striped shirt was. To this day that is one of my favorite memories; not just of my Grandpa but for my entire life. The way Grandpa talked about KC, the way he laughed at my silly questions (in a grandfatherly way, not in a mean way), and the smile he had when I said I was a Chiefs fan too (not really knowing that meant)…it was as close to perfect a memory could get.

So when KC won a playoff game for the first time since that day in 1994 when I watched their last playoff victory with my Grandpa, I couldn’t help but cry. That victory yesterday meant a lot more to me than just my favorite team finally winning a game in the postseason. That moment let me feel close to my Grandpa H for the first time in years.Yeah, it made me miss him terribly, but I know for a fact that Andy Reid and the boys in Red made my Grandpa smile.

No matter where we are, we are all in Chiefs Kingdom.

Keepin’ it Geeky,

The Oey