30 August 2008

A Girl Needs to Sleep

So we had a long, hot day of filming today; it was a good day but it was darn hot, and we were all exhausted afterwards. So I was looking forward to a nice drive home, food and going to sleep.

The fun part is that I got home, picked up my Mom to go to Target with me and get trash bags and miniDV tape, and I made her drive after Target because I hit my wall and was losing coherency. Then I got food, and headed home for food and a shower to realize that there is a quincera or birthday or something going on at the clubhouse for the complex across the street.

That was two hours ago. There is still techno-mariachi music blaring through my walls.

I am not sleeping any time soon.

Matt's Breakfast of Champions

1 package of pop tarts (your choice of flavor)
1 can of mandarin oranges

Open package of pop tarts and center them on serving dish.
With can opener, open can of mandarin oranges.
Pour juice from can onto pop tarts.
Add a handful of mandarin oranges.
Add more juice.

Note: If you think you've overdone it with the juice from the mandarin oranges,
think again. That's impossible. And delicious!

"Molly!!! Breakfast in 15!"

29 August 2008

4th Weekend

End - Cast & Crew #2
Originally uploaded by mrbosslady
We are about to begin what may be our last week of principal photography on End. While I am not treating this as the last weekend (both because that makes me sad, and because I have to get through the weekend and watch all the footage) I think my body has finally hit it's limit. I am exhausted.

I know that I will be able to kick in the energy again once I am back on set, it's going to be a battle getting there. Luckily, I am a creature that exists because caffine was discovered. I will be using it heavily tomorrow morning.

I cannot wait for Monday - the first thing that wakes me up will meet a gruesome fate.

Estrogen Everywhere!

I’m going to mention politics here for a moment, so please, don’t run. I promise I’m not going to espouse my complicated political beliefs it’s just that something happened in the world of politics today that made me think of END.

Today John McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate. Driving up to L.A. I scanned through all the A.M. and F.M. talk stations that were obviously abuzz with this news. One of the things that I found amusing and peculiar all at the same time was something that was brought up by pundits, politicians, hosts and the public alike. All of them were talking about how mothers could now tell their daughters “See what we can do”. Basically the sentiment is that this proves women, like men can do anything they set their mind to.

While it’s nice that the rest of the world seems to be realizing this I can’t help but feel that everyone is a bit behind the curve. Don’t believe me? Look at the set of END.

Other than Bill our editor and script supervisor and Kevin our all around go to guy, I am the ONLY male member of the crew. The director, cinematographer, assistant director, make-up artist, camera assistants, etc. are ALL female. These are all wonderful, strong, empowered women that decided years ago that they were going to prove that girls can do anything guys can, and often times do it a whole lot better.

Sure it’s cool that this obviously major and historic event will continue to chip away at the glass ceiling that has existed for far too long in this country and the world as a whole. I just felt the need to point out that there are MANY talented women who are running this project that decided to completely ignore the idea that said ceiling exists. For far too long Hollywood, at least on the production side of things has remained a boys club. I’m completely convinced that the women I am working with will help lead the way in shattering that status quo. Just watch, you’ll see.

28 August 2008

Enough about my beautiful bottom.

Hello Everyone,

I've been struggling to sleep the past couple of nights... and hoped that tonight a little bit of typing might help me drift off. When you are awake not doing anything the mind seems to focus in on things well and I've been thinking a lot about this whole filming process. I read Chris' exceptionally long blog entry and couldn't help but think along with him... IS this it? 

I really hope it is. I really hope that this film is recognized and helps everyone involved get further along their paths, whatever those paths maybe... But if it isn't it, I can honestly say that this has been the most rewarding experience. I have had a blast on set every day (even having my arse judged by a room full of people) and working with such talented people has been a blessing... I'm already giddy with excitement to see the film... and as a fan not just an egotistical actor anxious to see himself on screen (well maybe a little) In fact the more and more I think about it, I don't care if this is "IT" I'd do this film over again every day for the rest of my life. Its been amazing in every way possible... and if we get a cherry on top at the end of it then I know we'll be waiting to take a bite! Ha that was a cheesy analogy... I must get some sleep!

27 August 2008

Quiet on the set!

After all the hard work on Saturday playing scripty, I decided to play the bum on Sunday. I have to say, it’s pretty hard work, playing on the computer, eating and singing old commercials- oh and writing (half of) this blog! That’s right, folks, coming to you live-ish from the armchair in the den is your favorite producer, Caryn! Haaaaa! {FYI, that’s the sound you make when you blow into your cupped hands whilst imitating a roaring crowd.}

Anywho, on this very lazy day, I have learned so much about what happens on set when you’re not running around like your head has been cut. The toughest lesson of all is learning how not to ruin takes. For those of you who don’t know, let me tell you, it’s a difficult thing not to talk or even move for minutes at a time. You see, I am usually sitting in front of a monitor watching as the scene unfolds. If I’m not doing that all important work, you can usually find me all over the place running to and fro to check on this and that. So to sit around in an area where the camera isn’t rolling is an experience. As I am sure you’re dying to know, I’ll share with you the happenings of the Not!set.

Did you know that Dave has a proportional bum and that is very cute? Well, he does! I know because I’ve just touched it-- quite involuntarily I’ll have you know. It all started when the actor’s holding room/wardrobe was moved down to the dining room. Dave had to change into his jeans and, very proud of his gluts, he decided to change right there in front of Shannon, Pearce, Lorn and myself. This led to Dave declaring that he has a nice ass. To his surprise, Shannon and Pearce were quick to disabuse him of that notion.

After much back and forth, which included Pearce pulling down his pants to compare his ass to Dave’s, I stepped in to defend Dave’s butt. I did not know what I was getting myself into. I soon found my hand full of ass. Dave had decided that the only true way to ascertain whether he has a nice ass was for me to touch it. My refusal was ignored as Dave took my hand and placed it on his bum. Soon after, Pearce did the same with his ass.

In the end, Shannon and I both agreed that Dave has a nice butt, which is proportional and cute, and Pearce has an ASS. This all took place in the course of a take or two. Let me assure you, if you didn’t know, it is very difficult to whisper when you’re struggling not to laugh out loud.

After this adventure into laziness, I’ve decided to follow the camera around until the end of the shoot, even when it isn’t rolling. That area is bound to be marginally saner.

What Can I say...It's What I Love Most!

ok so really quick, cuz it's a school night and i have to go to bed so i can get up and be there at 7:40. These are not my words, nope, but my mother's. She said[about chris' entry below], "I don't really know what to say. That was really nice and it's not a big deal. It's helping someone accomplish their dreams". My father continued with, "Wow, that was nice. But I don't see why they are so worried about the wall..it was nothing horrible. S*** happens" :] Well, I guess I have to add and say that I'm so grateful that this has happened. It is in no way, an inconvience, it's just like hanging out with friends. It's probably been one of the best times in my life, just getting to do what I love most, with people who love it just as much. I really respect all of the actors, they are unbelieveably talented. So I would right more, but my mom is yelling at me to come up stairs and go to bed....*sighes* Alright, night for now!

Signing off,


END is the very epitome of a collaborative project. Without a doubt the movie that we are making simply would not be possible if it weren’t for the hard work, countless sacrifices and blood, sweat and tears of dozens of individuals who have poured their very lives into making this movie a reality.

While Megan and I were the ones that conceived this cockamamie idea all those months ago this ceased being just “our” project the moment we started bringing all these other great artists along for the ride. Each and every single person who has had their hand in this feature, whether it be the actors, the Assistant Director, the Director of Photography or even our great friends and family who have picked up food, built walls and most importantly lent us moral support, their individual signature is now permantly stamped onto the representation of our dreams. For that we obviously want to say thank you and I can only assure you that each and every one that has made this possible will receive a very personal show of gratitude from us over the coming months.

That however is not the point of this post. No, the point of this post is to make special mention of the two people whose roll in all of this goes beyond comprehension, David and Susan Dunacheck. These two saints have gladly and willingly opened up their house for us to shoot in.

The moment Megan and I realized that we could make our dream a reality and that we needed to do so FAST, Susan and David immediately stepped up and graciously offered their house to us as a location for our shoot. If they had not done this we would still probably be sitting around trying to figure out what we were going to do instead of being on the verge of going into our last weekend of principal photography.

I’m sure some people will notice that Lauren Dunacheck, David and Susan’s daughter is one of our cast members and I’m sure that will cause more than a few minds to come to the conclusion that it was in the name of their daughter’s self interest that they opened up their house to us. If you know David and Susan though you know there couldn’t be anything further from the truth. There is no doubt in my mind that even if Lauren wasn’t one of the performers in our feature Susan and David still wouldn’t have hesitated in allowing us to use their domicile as our make-shift studio.

In my brief 28 years on this planet I have been fortunate enough to have many kind and generous gestures extended upon me but I must admit, I’m not sure any of them can hold a candle to this. We have made David and Susan’s life a living, chaotic, cluttered, loud, annoying hell over the last month. We’ve nailed things into their walls and over their windows, we’ve dirtied everything we can get our hands on, stained carpet and literally driven people through walls and yet through all of it the Dunachecks haven’t even raised an eyebrow and have continually asked what more they can do to accomidate us.

For lack of a better term I am humbled and in awe of their endless generosity. These two people have given every single person involved with this movie the chance to pursue their dreams. They have enabled and encouraged us and through it all have shown us what true love and friendship looks like.

My sister and I will forever be in Susan and David’s debt and I think I speak for us both when I say that even if it takes us the rest of our lives we will pay their kindness back and honor their sacrifice and compassion by continuing to reach for the stars and with luck give them a handful of their own to play with. David and Susan from the bottom of my heart and I’m sure everyone else involved in this production, thank you so much and God bless you both.

Vlog 1 [part 2]


Christopher and I held out very first pre-production meeting for End in June, and we were off and running from there. This photo is actually of that meeting when we decided that this movie could be made, and it had to be made quicly for a variety of reasons. We were in that cafe for hours, but the staff never got annoyed with us.

I look much mroe well-rested in that photo.

26 August 2008

I Need A Camel and Some Rope!

Twice a week during our shoot I’ve been tasked with picking up the camera, sound equipment, etc. from Film Independent (A wonderful organization that everyone should join) and the bringing it back here. While I wish I could say that fighting the terrible Southern California traffic is the worst part of this ordeal it is not. No, that honor is reserved for the parking / transportation nightmare that is the building where Film Independent resides. Make no mistake I do not blame Film Independent for any of this; they just happen to be situated in what may be one of the single most poorly designed office buildings of all time.

When one goes to pick up equipment form Film Independent one must park at the very top of a 5 level parking structure and pay astronomical fees to do so (It’s $2.75 every 12 minutes or some ludicrously arbitrary number like that). Once one has parked you must take what may be one of L.A.’s oldest elevators in operation. While there are 2 actual elevators in the parking structure one was knocked out by the most recent earthquake so only one rickety, metal box of death remains. This wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that you will NEVER EVER in your life wait longer for an elevator because not only does this thing move slow as molasses but it stops on each and every floor, opens it’s doors waits for someone to get on and then closes back up and continues with it’s journey. It doesn’t matter what button you press or what you do the elevator simply cycles through all the floors doing this. When one pushes the button to call it up you can only hope and pray that it is in the ascending part of it’s journey, if not you have to wait for it to go down to each floor, then come all the way back up, all the while stopping on every single floor. Of course this might not be so bad if one could take the stairs instead but in a move that defies every form of logic and fire code I know of there are no stairs in this parking structure.

Once one has waited the normal time of about 5 to 10 minutes for the elevator (As your cost for parking rises in almost equal relation to your frustration) you get on the elevator where you luckily only have to take it down to the 4th floor. Of course one would think that this is where one’s journey ends but it has only just begun.

Having now reached the 4th floor of the parking structure you must traverse through cars and make your way to another elevator, luckily these move much quicker and there are 4 as opposed to one but then one must take this elevator to the 11th floor of the office building that Film Independent is located in because you see the slow, torturous elevator of death is only for the parking structure, not the building itself.

Now admittedly this might all be bearable if it weren’t for the fact that one must now transport twice their weight in equipment back to their vehicle. The first week I made this journey I had my lovely girlfriend with me and while it was a struggle we were able to make it back to my car in one trip. Sadly I have flown solo ever since and since a dolly or hand-truck will not fit into my little Scion XA and Film Independent has none for me to borrow I usually end up needing to make 2 to 3 trips. Each trip involving me going from one elevator to another and dragging piles of equipment through the middle of a parking structure, trying to avoid nicking the nice cars of the people that work for Fox, whose rights and clearances offices are also in the building.

By the time all is said and done from the moment I enter the parking structure to the moment I leave anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour of my life is gone and the price for parking for that long has ensured that whoever runs the place will be dining on caviar and lobster once again.

It should be said though that as big of a pain in the ass as this is its worth it because Film Independent’s rental prices can’t be beat and they’re such a good organization for independent filmmakers that it’s worth whatever literally physical obstacles you have to traverse to get to them. Plus the parking structure staff has started taking pity on me and if they see me struggling with stuff they’ll often time lend me a helping hand.

Does it suck? Yeah, but such is the life of an independent filmmaker and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Although seriously whoever designed that place deserves to get kicked in the yarbles.

25 August 2008

Is This It? Part 5

I wish I could say that plucky reserve or sheer pig headedness got me through this but that would be a lie. For all intents and purposes I had reached the end of my rope from a creative standpoint. I had stopped working on a script I loved and had been mucking around with this for at least 2 months now and I felt no better about it than when I began.

Whenever I work on a script I invariably hit more than a few obstacles but also invariably inspiration doesn’t take too long to strike and I get an idea for a scene or a character or heck even a line and normally that’s all it takes and the rest of the script grows out of that. After toiling over this script for months and trying to wrap my head around it in every way I possibly could I began to realize that I simply was not inspired. There wasn’t a single ounce of inspiration in me to write this script. It soon became evident to my sister that this was the case and try as we might things reached a boiling point.

A now very fateful meeting took place at The Marketplace in Tustin on a wooden bench outside of the California Pizza Kitchen. It was there that we spent the better part of 2 hours talking not only about our professional relationship. Try as we might we saw ourselves moving away from each other creatively, an idea that deeply hurt us both and one that was being amplified by my ability to churn out a workable script. At this meeting a lot of things were aired, tears were spilled and at least some small modicum of resolution was reached on certain issues. Unfortunately one of those wasn’t the script and as I drove away that night my heart was heavy as I realized that our partnership in more ways than one might be coming to an end. Then it hit me. That thing I had been looking for, hoping for, praying for all this time… INSPIRATION! One idea hit me then another, then another, then another and before I was halfway home I knew what I had to write, I knew what it had to be about and how it had to be done. Excited and giddy I called Megan, made sure that we were square and cool on an emotional level and then blabbed to her about how I had finally figured it out. Megan, God bless her listened to it and then laughingly reminded me that this is the way it always worked and that while she hadn’t necessarily intended to she had just flicked me in the back of the head and wallah it made me write better.

That’s the happy ending, at least the one that exists right now. I went home that night and started churning out pages and within about 2 weeks time had the script done and turned into my sister. Unlike the other times she loved it and in a very rare instance only recommended two or three VERY minor changes. It had taken months of headache, heartache, frustration, perspiration and so much more but we finally had a script that we thought we could make not only quickly and cheaply, but well.

I know that this is a very long post about something that may seem almost inconsequential but at least to me I assure you it’s not. I can say with utmost certainty that END is the best thing I’ve ever written. I have never been prouder of anything I’ve ever signed my name to and likewise nothing I’ve ever written has ever gotten the sort of glowing response that this script has. People have raved about it to me, they’ve told me how they’ve missed bus stops because they were so engrossed in reading it and most importantly so many very talented, very generous people have sacrificed so much of themselves to make sure it gets made.

This post is about what it took to write this beast that we’re now trying to corral. In the past it goes something like I get an idea, I play around with it, I bounce a few ideas off people, and it clicks, I write it, the end. That wasn’t the case this time around. The sole reason this script and eventually this movie exists is because of Megan. It was her vision and determination that brought us to the idea of undertaking such a grand task and it was our relationship and history together not only as creative partners but as brothers and sisters that made me realize the only way you could make a “zombie movie without zombies” work is if you made it about relationships. It was that angst filled conversation that night on that wooden bench that gave me the idea for Matt and Molly, it gave me the inspiration for the nature of their relationship and the way these characters and that relationship could affect the lives and the world around them, even if that world was coming to an end.

Megan told me to challenge myself, she demanded I grow as a writer and branch into new, undiscovered areas. With much kicking and screaming I did just that and I couldn’t be prouder of what I and as a whole we’ve accomplished so far. As I’ve mentioned countless times throughout this I’ve been asking myself the same question for years. Is this is it? Is this rinky-dink little zombie movie (That has no zombie’s) the thing that will get us noticed? Is this the thing that will get accepted into film festivals, noticed by studios? Is it the thing that will finally give me that foot in the door that I’ve been trying to get for so long now? Is this it? I’ll tell you after all this time I’ve grown wise enough to say I honestly don’t know, but it’s got a better shot than anything I’ve ever been involved with and one way or another it’s already been a hell of a ride and I have no intention of disembarking anytime soon. Is this it? You’ll just have to stay tuned and see.

Is This It? Part 4

As bad as my writers block was the first time, it made my second bout look like a walk in the park. I was on the verge of becoming homicidal I was having that much trouble coming up with anything that could even remotely resemble a watchable movie, particurly since I thought I had already just done one.

Finally, just as I was about to give up all hope once again another idea struck me and while I didn’t have it all figured out I sat down and powered through it. As time went along I can honestly say I never had a great feeling about the script but it started to solidify in my mind and with growing pressure from my sister I put all my time into finishing it. At last I thought I had come up with something unique and original, something that met all the criteria of what we could and would want to shoot and even though I had to take a day or two off work to complete it I was satisfied and convinced that this was something workable, something that could be made into an independent feature… I hoped.

Call it brash cockiness or whatever you want but I’ve always been pretty confident in my writing. I mean I know I’m not the next Hemmingway but I do think I’ve been given a gift and I do at least an OK job of using it. As such I’m normally pretty hopeful and optimistic about what I write. That’s why it was so odd when I turned in this new script into Megan. I knew that some parts of it worked but that it was still missing something. I wasn’t sure what it was but I knew it wasn’t there yet and as dumb as this sounds a part of me was hoping that she wouldn’t notice. Fortunately for both of us she did.

Megan will attest to this and for lack of a better term when it comes to my writing my sister and I have what I would call a “flick me on the head” partnership. Invariably I will write something that I think is golden and Megan will read it and like it, she’ll pick out all of the positives and laud the various strengths and gifts I bring to it. She’ll then sit there and completely deconstruct it and show me each and every little error and issue with it until I’m a fuming heap of writer angst. Literally this always ends with me storming away swearing I’ll never work with her again and that I’ll never let her so much as look at anything I write. Invariably though about an hour or two later her constructive criticisms start registering with me, I’ll call her and apologize and then we’ll actually talk about what can be done to fix the problems. Basically she has to both metaphorically and often times physically flick me in the head to make me realize what a jack-ass of a writer I’m being so that I can strip away all the bullshit and write something lean, mean and you know… good. As much as I hate the process and I, as well as the back of my head wishes there was some way around it, said process has yielded positive results every time and I’m a big enough man to admit that my sister’s critical and editorial eye makes everything I write substantially better.

Back to what I speaking of before, while this second script review wasn’t nearly as brutal as the first it was still not very pleasant either and while we both admitted that I had struck on a few good things, for the most part the bloated, over long tome was mainly unusable. Prepared but devastated none the less I returned home realizing that while I wasn’t quite back to square one like I was the last time, I was only a few decimal points off.

Is This It? Part 3

OK, so when we last lest left our little saga (Before I wrote my little ode to my sister) my sister and I realized that we needed to take the bull by the horns as it were and make a feature, on our own, for VERY cheap. As we sat around talking about all of this I threw out a couple of ideas and one of them that I mentioned in passing was that I wanted to make a zombie movie. I didn’t really know anything more than that but, I love zombie movies and in theory one could maybe do one pretty cheap if you handled it right. It was then that Megan handed me the idea that would really kick this all into high gear. “What if Robert Altman made a zombie movie?” It was ludicrous and brilliant all at the same time and as I went home and began brain storming scripts I could write that we could potentially make on the cheap that idea lingered with me.

After a week or two of hand wringing, banging my head against the wall and false starts on several other scripts I realized I was going to write a zombie movie and I realized that if done right I could take my sister’s idea and turn it into a zombie movie with very few if any actual zombies that would in turn make it nice and cheap to produce. Thus began the greatest hell I’ve ever been put through as a writer.

One of the very first issues I had to confront as I sat down to write the script was budget. We would have none and I knew that. Of course I thought I had known that in the past and yet I still wrote JOSSINGTON FALLS which has dozens of locations, seemingly hundreds of deaths and angels falling from the sky. At the time I wrote it and literally up until we started production on END I thought FALLS could be made for a couple grand at most. Obviously I have since learned differently but it took a lot of slaps upside the head from my sister to realize some of my ideas just simply weren’t financially feasible.

While I’ve always had a problem with thinking big, I mean REAL BIG (If I’m ever able to make half the stuff I want to I may bankrupt America) this issue was even more prevalent as I began trying to write what was supposed to be a micro-budget zombie movie. For a month or two leading up to our decision to make another movie, which obviously involved me writing another script, I had been writing a script that I intended to try and sell, not make, whose budget would be at least $10 to $15 million if not more. Probably a lot more since it involved explosions and car chases and the like but for me I thought it was a pretty modest little sci-fi / fantasy story.

What this meant, and the problem that this ultimately created was that for the first time in my life as a writer I had let my imagination completely go. Having had only written for independent, low budget productions before I’d always tried to write things that could be shot as cheaply as possible. Well for the first time ever I had decided not to worry about it and I was LOVING it. Never once did I have to stop and think about whether or not what I was writing could be done because my idea was to sell the script to a studio and let them figure it out. Also the script was like many of the things I write, pretty humorous. Sure it had lots of action and danger but characters were throwing out quips and jokes every other line. I never gave a second thought to any of this until I sat down at my computer and realized I had to write something that was highly dramatic (A mandate made by Megan so that we could prove that we could do more than comedic horror since this was going to be another kind of horror film) and something that we basically couldn’t spend any money on.

In the 18 years that I’ve been writing I’ve never really had writers block, at last not that bad. Sure I’ve hit walls from time to time but normally they last a day or two at most or are the result of having too many ideas and not knowing how to filter them into something cohesive but I can’t really say there’d ever been a time where I just flat out COULDN’T write something. Then this little zombie movie bitch slapped me and proved me wrong.

For days on end I sat there trying to make something, ANYTHING work. I would start the script, get up to thirty pages in thinking I was on a roll, then realize it was all crap and start all over again. I watched zombie movies, read zombie comics (The brilliant series THE WALKING DEAD by Robert Kirkman is getting a huge thank you in our credits) and still nothing even remotely passable came forth from my brain. Seriously it got so bad that I started telling Megan that I was going to have to come up with another idea, work on something other than a zombie movie because there just wasn’t a script in me that would work.

Luckily for me Megan kept pushing me and just when I thought all hope was lost an idea hit me. At least to me it seemed somewhat Robert Altmanesque, it was unique, it was different and as soon as I got the idea for one scene, another one popped up and so on and so on. As I am want to do I sat down at my laptop and immediately started pounding out something that I was sure was pure gold. Several weeks later I turned in the script (Which I had tentatively titled ZOMBIE APACOLYPSE) to my Sister and The End…. or not.

In some ways I wish I could tell you that’s where the story ends and I’m sure you’re tired eyes and ass are probably wishing the same but sadly that was just the beginning, the beginning of something that pushed my sister’s and mine relationship to the brink both artistically and relationally in ways I hope to never experience again.

After turning the script in to Megan I went about my life, happy that I had completed my task and raring to get back to work on the script I had dropped to work on ZOMBIE APACOLYPSE. A week or so after having turned in the script Megan asked if we could meet and certain that she was going to heap praise upon my literary efforts and laud me as the second coming of Lawrence Kasdan, Aaron Sorkin, William Goldman and Joss Whedon all in one I humbly accepted her offer and thus we sat and talked. The smile on my face I’m sure stretched from ear to ear as I eagerly awaited her praise and adoration. Of course that smile changed when she said something along the lines of, “Are you joking?” Over the next however many minutes she at least in my mind at the time destroyed me as she ripped my work to shreds and then urinated upon the remains.

Now would be a good time to make a little aside. First and foremost I realize that Megan was in no way trying to be mean or hurt me, she simply did not like what I had written. To this day I still hold that it’s pretty darn good and it is something that I may pursue doing something with later on but I also understand that it just wasn’t her cup of tea and that what would eventually turn into END is FAR superior, so please don’t think that there are hard feelings on either side here.

No matter how much I argued the point we were at an impass. I really liked what I wrote and she REALLY didn’t. This honestly created a whole new set of issues because for the first time in my life she was vehemently opposed to one of my works. Sure in the past she had disagreed with various aspects of my scripts and in turn helped me make them better but never once had she flat out loathed something I had written. Devastated, after several weeks of arguing I realized there was no way my script was getting made and as such I was back at square one.

Is This It? Part 2

All joking aside there is one large component that I have left out this story so far. It’s this thing that writers do because we know more than the readers, viewers, whatever and since we know how it all ends we hold back one piece of vital information that had you known it there would be no tension because the moment you find out about it you realize everything is going to be OK. See I can do this crap for a living! In this case the vital component is one Megan Welch, my younger sister and the director of END.

While I wish I could take credit for the wonderful woman my sister has matured into I don’t think it would be fair. When my sister was born 8 weeks premature, not breathing she proved before she could even walk or speak that she was a fighter. She showed the world that you would never EVER be able to keep her down and God help those who tried. The only thing I did was sort of make it so that she could NEVER escape movies.

Unlike most siblings my sister and I have a very good relationship. While growing up we had the normal animosities and petty bickering between us events transpired in high school that pretty much made us best friends. This was in large part due to the fact that due to circumstances outside her control she really couldn’t escape me and since I pretty much lived, breathed, ate, slept and drank movies from the moment I got into high school she was bombarded with hearing more about movies and seeing more movies than should can possibly be healthy. As an example I started working at Suncoast Motion Picture Company (A now pretty much defunct video store chained) and after a while she ended up getting suckered into working there as well and so on.

Now my sister has always been an artistic person. Painting, drawing, pottery, you name it she loves it and is pretty darn good at it. Having said all that I don’t think I could have ever expected the news she dropped on me one day when we were driving down to the San Diego Comic-Con.

Megan, unlike me had decided that she wanted to pursue higher education and was determined to get a degree no matter what the cost. Having gone through most of her general ed classes at Orange Coast College she was beginning to look into transferring and as such trying to figure out what her major would be. I feel blessed beyond compare that I was the first person she confided her choice in majors to. Apparently all those years of being stuck around me and her natural penchant for the arts had led her to the decision to become a director. No joke I was so surprised and so unimaginably happy that I literally almost drove off the rode and killed us both right then and there. Little could I know just how influential this decision would be on both of our lifes.

My sister was going through film school as I was pulling myself out of the mire of depression and apathy by writing JOSSINGTON FALLS. She was the one who graduated and decided she was going to fight her way into the industry no matter what. It was Megan’s idea to make the short films that we would shop around.

I can say with one hundred percent certainty that my dream would most likely still be floundering if not dead if it weren’t for my sister. My previous creative partnerships had left me bitter and wary about working with other people but the moment my sister and I put our heads together and started talking about working together we realized a life long creative partnership was born.

I know this is all A LOT of hyperbole but you’ve got to believe me when I tell you it’s important. You see what this post is really about is just how the heck I came about creating and writing END and before I can get into that you have to know about where I’ve come from, my relationship with my sister and just how vital of an influence and how much of an irreplaceable part she’s been in all of this.

Is This It? Part 1

Hi there everyone. My name is Christopher Welch and I’m the writer (Thus in some ways the deranged bastard to blame for all this) of END. It dawned on me that as of yet I may be one of the only people that hasn’t contributed to this blog and that’s just sad since you know… writing’s my thing. Before I get started I think it only fair to warn you of a few things. First as a writer I tend to be a bit… oh why bother sugar coating it? I like to talk (Or in this case type) a lot! Hey, I’m a writer so what else do you expect? Also you’re going to probably find that I have the worst spelling of anyone that contributes to this here thing. I know as a writer I should blah, blah, blah but that’s a common misconception about writers just because we know how to write the words (And in my case write lots of them) doesn’t mean we know how to spell them. Sorry to you know destroy any remnants of respect you may have still held out for bards like me but such is life. Finally before we begin, you remember how I told you I like to talk a lot? Well you’re about to see that in full effect because what you’re about to read has got a bit of history to it. So if I haven’t scared you off already pull up a chair, grab your weight in coffee and let’s dig in shall we?

Is this it? That’s a question that I’ve been asking myself for a long time now. Heck since the moment I graduated high school it’s been a query perched on the tip of my tongue almost every morning when I wake up. Is this it?

You see I’ve had the advantage of knowing exactly what I’ve wanted to do with my life since I was 10 years old. Many people that know me well enough have heard this story so many times they can probably recite it better than I can so I’ll try to keep it quick. I was home from school sick with Strept Throat. Drugged up on antibiotics I was lounging in the trusty family recliner watching THE original STAR WARS for the hundredth time. The Death Star blew up Alderaan and I started thinking about how cool it would be to create worlds out of nothing more than my imagination and then blow them up again. Even at age 10 I realized this left with me two choices, become god or a writer. Lucky for humanity I chose the latter.

From that point forward and for the last 18 years I have done everything I can think of to make that dream a reality. Several months after that fateful day I wrote my first novel, it was of course STAR WARS, written front and back on 100 sheets of notebook paper and TERRIBLE but it gave me the bug and I haven’t put down a pen (or now a lap top) since.

Now I understand that this may all sound like useless, smaltsy back story but I assure you it’s not. Like every good writer (Which I like to think of myself as when I’m drunk and no one’s looking) I’m building to a point so keep your impatient pants on and let me continue.

Sometime around high school I realized that movies were where my true calling was and quickly began churning out screenplays. This continued after I graduated and brought me to the point where I wrote something tentatively titled HITTING THE FAN and led me to begin asking the question; is this it?

Knowing what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and thinking at the time that college really couldn’t do much for me and high on youthful stupidity and Robert Rodriguez’s brilliant gorilla filmmaking manifesto REBEL WITHOUT A CREW, my friend and filmmaking partner Glenn Stitz and I decided we were going to go out and make a movie instead of sitting through school listening to people tell us how to make one.

The movie we decided to make was HITTING THE FAN and while I can look back on it now and realize it was terrible and thank God that it never got made, it not only became my life for over 2 years but also got WAY more attention than it rightly should have. For two dumb, punk kids fresh out of high school who had absolutely no idea what they were doing the project got a lot of attention, the kind of attention that to this day I can’t believe we got. Basically to sum it all up we had people that we’re so far above our meager station willing to look at it and support us that it literally makes no logical sense yet having lived through it I can assure you such people existed.

Either way as weeks turned into months, months into years and so on the project steam rolled ahead with startling fervency. In fact we were so close to shooting and the interest in the project was so high that I had completely convinced myself that this IS it. This is my big break, this is what I’ve wanted for so long and I get it right out high school, how lucky could one guy get?

Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the whole thing didn’t end there. I mean if it had I’d like to think I’d be in a Hollywood penthouse sipping Champaign out of the skull of a dolphin, sitting on a stuffed panda, not hacking away at this on a cheap laptop, sitting in a used, wobbly recliner in a cluttered rented room.

While I could literally make a full length feature film out of what happened with HITTING THE FAN I won’t bore with you the details at the moment so just know that the wheels ended up coming WAY off and things ended really badly. As a result over 2 years worth of work went straight down the drain and I had no choice but to start over at square one.

Sadly this pattern repeated it itself (Although without the same amount of fervor and interest from other people) for at least 3 more projects and the better part of a decade of my life. In fact all of it got me to a point where coupled with many other outside factors in my personal life I simply stopped writing for the better part of a year if not longer.
It was around this time that God and some people very close to me both literally and figuratively slapped me upside my head and one night out of the blue I got this strange idea for a script that would eventually become JOSSINGTON FALLS. Boom, there went another couple years of my life and I assure you that was not a bad thing. Having been dejected so many times as various projects fell apart for various reasons my hope, excitement and drive were rekindled as I along with a brilliant group of artists began trying to bring JOSSINGTON FALLS to the big screen.
The first step of this process involved shooting 3 short films all the way back in November of 2006 (I think, honestly there’s been so much that’s gone on since then I’ve sort of lost track of time). It took another half a year at least to get the short films edited and completed and once again that question that’s plagued me my entire life resurfaced. Is this it?

The brilliant idea behind the short films (And I assure you it wasn’t mine) was to take excerpts from the script, adapt them into short films and then submit them to every studio and production company possible so that someone would see them, like them and then give us money to make JOSSINGTON FALLS into the feature film it was intended to be. Sadly after sending these shorts, along with the script and all kinds of other goodies to every single place we could find in the Hollywood Blue Book we came up goose egg. Believe me it wasn’t for lack of trying but as so many people have sadly already found out there’s a mind boggling catch-22 in this industry. No one will give you financing, or well pretty much anything until you’ve made a feature, thus proving that you can do so. How you are supposed to make this feature if no one gives you money I have no idea but such is the ass backwards, circular logic of Hollywood.

And so there I was once again, having written something that to this day I think is a pretty damn fine little screenplay, put all kinds of time, money and effort into letting Hollywood know about it and I had nothing to show for it. Is this it? I guess not was the pretty resounding answer I got back. If this were a television show, this is where the commercial break would be to add tension to the seemingly insurmountable conflict standing in the protagonist’s way, so ummm… drink more Coors Light. See now aren’t you all nice and tense?

Vlog 1

24 August 2008

Weekend Three

Orange County Sheriff
Originally uploaded by bigmikelakers
Weekend three was fun. I don't think I am as tired as I was after the first shoot day, but I am pretty damn exhausted. I think I am going to hit the hay and be out until I groggily slap my alarm off in the morning. It's one of those nights where I wish I could call in sick tomorrow, but as my parter and my boss are out tomorrow I really have to go to work - the new girl faking her way through a day and pretending she knows the answers. Oh well. I will just have to think about the events of the past two days to get me through it.

While the weekend was tough, it was again a lot of fun. Saturday was crazy. The police were called on us and Christopher and I had to explain we were not breaking into Susan's house; we were also several hours ahead of schedule so that we should have been done nice and early but a scene that should have taken about two hours to shoot ended up taking over four hours. That scene is going to gnaw at me until I see the magic Bill can do to it in the editing room.

Today was a smaller day; we had more scenes to shoot, but less actors. No scene had more than two actors in it. Having a cast with eleven principal members has been quite an exercise. We shot a crucial scene that Lauren and Brian R. hit out of the park (they were absolutely brilliant), but durring which I got so giddy from heat and lack of food that everything got absurdly funny to me. Lorn kept making me laugh in one of his characters crucial scenes, but this was after I was over the heat giddiness. We used a ton more fake blood too which I know Daniella enjoyed. To cap it all off Stefanie ended my day by rear ending a car as we were leaving our evening church service.

Like I said - it has been a fun couple of days.