Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Film Study for a Horror Writer...

Well ghouls, this week I put some serious thought and study into creating a film. And, I learned a lot, but, I have a long way to go.

I also played with the camera, took some shots of the moon, which led into toying with a couple trial versions of editing software.
Vegas Movie Studio Platinum

CyberLink Power Director

While they are a far cry from finished quality products, it was terribly fun and taught me the gist. Now to fine tune and detail.
Besides a good camera, there are so many things a would-be filmmaker needs to consider. One is lighting. Good lighting is essential, probably the most crucial thing in filmmaking and so, I’ve begun investing (cheaply of course).
They may not be Hollywood approved, but they should do the trick.
 

 
While this film I intend to make has limited settings and very little FX, I suspect it will eventually lead into other films that will require it. And, since I already have a substantial make-up kit that includes various contacts, teeth, prosthetics, bases, colors and miscellaneous stuff that I create my clown Wee Willie Wicked and his jester brother Jack with. (By the way, I’m also a big fan of Face Off – the make-up artist competition on the Sci-Fi network, but am nowhere near their caliber...yet!) Nonetheless, I’ve pondered using it in the future.


Coincidently, besides the Canon T3i camera (which I’ve had more than a few folks tell me it is perfect for my intentions), I also have a tripod and 55-250 zoom and this is probably a very good start for a guerrilla filmmaker.


And so, basically this is where I’m at in this whole filmmaking venture, and it’s been tremendously creepy fun.

As far as writing is concerned..
  • I’ve put a couple thousand words into the new piece of my Interview with a Monster series at Suspense Magazine (Wolfman).


  • And, I’m currently in chapter 3 of my final rewrite of my novel A Lawnly Existence.

And, I'd like to say God Bless and Rest In Peace to Terri Ann Armstrong, a fellow Suspense Magazine writer who lost a courageous battle. Her family is in need and if anyone is so inclined to kindly assist with final expenses, telephone the bank at 888 751 9000. The account number is 8371753001


So fellow ghouls, zombies and creatures of the night, on a somber note, until next time...
Stay Scared,
Thomas


Saturday, February 23, 2013

So! You want to make a movie. Well so do I...


I’ve always entertained thoughts of making a movie, but never fully pursued it. This changed after discussing moviemaking aspects with Joops Fragale at 386 Films. He had directed The Guy Knows Everything (see my review HERE), a film that was offered a featured showcase screening at Sundance and more recently was voted Best Film Florida Flavor at the Love Your Shorts film Festival. Nonetheless, we briefly discussed a few film aspects, including location and editing software, and it set me to considering try my hand and eye at this.

Suddenly and automatically, while casually watching television and movies, I caught myself noticing the intricacies of soundtracks and camera angles. That’s when I decided to go full bore.

Well, a few days ago, I decided to give it a shot and asked him the type of camera he had used. Of course, being the novice I am and only being aware of those massive big budget type cameras you’ve probably seen before, the kind that runs on tracks and takes twelve people to move them, I was surprised at his answer…it was the Canon T2i.

Now, previously I had read a number of reviews and priced a number of different cameras during an arbitrary inquiring day, but never made an official decision. After seeing the quality and ability of that specific camera, as well as having a proven director put on his stamp of approval, it was inevitable that my next step would be a giant one.

So, I went out and bought the Canon EOS Rebel T3i and currently learning and exploring all its functions, which are too numerous to list here. However, a few specifics are 18.0 Megapixel, standard 10-55mm lens, 1080 full HD, 3.7 FPS (frames per second), a maneuverable LCD screen and weighs 18.2 oz. (minus lens of course). Of course, I also bought a few necessities too. Spare battery and memory card, tripod and a handy case to carry it all.

Well, lo and behold, my mostly better half became excited at the prospect too and surprised me with a 55-250mm telephoto zoom lens to go with it (God Bless her), and all I have to say is look out Steven Spielberg (ROTFL).

So, with a camera in place, I now need to explore video and sound editing software. From what I have read and in my humble novice opinion, Power Director seems the best, while a couple of friends suggested Sony Movie Studio. I’ve also had my eye on Magix Movie Edit Pro too. Trial versions here I come.

And then there is sound editing. Again, Magix makes a mixer that appears nice, and along with a number of others, Avid Pro Tools seems to be the best. Of course, price will dictate on both video and sound editors and until I test a couple of trials, I’m not purchasing.


Storyboarding is probably the most crucial preproduction any director wannabe can do. This gives you plenty of food for thought and will walk you through every scene of your movie. I’m no stranger to storyboards and have used them with my written tales. They are a fantastic way to think every scene through so not to miss essential aspects. Basically, simply a notepad will probably suffice; however, http://www.printablepaper.net/ has a free template one can print.

As far as all the technicials are concerned, this is probably the extent of my film making knowledge right now. But, I suspect that will only increase soon enough, especially since my next door neighbor is currently attending film school and has offered assistance.

What kind of movie am I going to make?

Well, it’s definitely going to be rated “R” and be a creepy little ditty of one of my tales. It’s called While You Sleep. Of course, I’m not going to give it away, but I will tell you that upon initial thought, most everyone will find the prospect more than a little unnerving and just plain terrifying.

While I’m sure there are many aspects yet to be discovered, this is where I’ve begun my potential film director life and it remains to be seen whether or not anything serious materializes. And, I’m treating it with the same old philosophy; all I can do is give it a shot (no pun intended). What’s the worst that could happen? I could fail and be left with some pretty nice camera equipment, which isn’t all that bad. But, if I succeed…


As far as writing this week, I’ve completed the third rewrite of chapter 2 of my novel A Lawnly Existence and wrote my next piece for Land of Shadow and Substance (my column at Horror News Net). I’ve also began my third piece of my Suspense Magazine series Interview with a Monster. With Frankenstein and Dracula already completed, this time it is Wolfman who I sit down to talk with…hopefully I stand back up in one piece. Heh Heh!

What I'm Reading





Creepy Links of the Week


Creepy Pics of the Week





Until next week ghouls,
Stay Scared,

Thomas

Sunday, February 17, 2013

To be weird or not to be weird is simply a matter of sales


While discussing various aspects or characters of my writing projects with friends or fellow coworkers, on occasion I have heard “you are weird.” Of course, I don’t take it personal and actually view it with some amount of respect. Am I weird? Well, that’s probably a matter of opinion, depending on whether the person actually knows me or not. At work and in passing, I suppose that would be a correct assumption. However, for those who are closer, this vague perception is not even a consideration.

Typically, I am just a normal, average, everyday guy who goes to work every day and prefers to write dark, demented tales in his off time, hoping to eventually write for a living. And, in all reality, with exception to the genre and bank account, I’m probably no different than some of the top writers. Was J.K. Rowling weird for dreaming up a boy wizard named Potter? How about George Martin? Is he weird for creating a world all its own that surrounds the chasing of a throne and includes dragons and dwarfs? Personally, if you ask me, I think E L James might be just a little bit warped, especially with the bondage thing. But, that’s because it isn’t my cup of tea. However, it has been a giant pot of tea for many, and that I can respect. After all, it only takes one million dollar best-seller to become a household name and suddenly that weirdness has magically morphed into genius and become an accepted norm.

Point being, every writer has a story to tell and they are going to tell it regardless of how they are initially perceived. Why, because they believe.


Well, I prefer to write horror. And, sometimes that horror takes a reader to a dark place where they feel uncomfortable. That was my intentions. Why? Because just like King, Little, Lovecraft, Barker, Ketchum, Koontz, Lumley, Lansdale, Poe, Straub, Serling and upteen other writers of the macabre, I too intend to frighten and scare. In this genre, normal is simply not a typical word. Words like creepy, demented, horrible, evil, terror, dread, shock, revulsion, dismay, fear, alarm, panic and weird are.

So, does all this make me weird? Maybe, at least for right now it may. While I am quite familiar that a breakout tale may never come, I am also quite sure that I’ll never stop trying. I enjoy writing and my only wish is that I would have followed my heart earlier in life and pursued it instead of being conservative. Who knows, if I had, I may have already stumbled upon my Raven, Cujo, Mailman or Necronomicon.

Regardless, my life's tale is far from finished and here’s hoping my latest lead character from my current in-progress novel entitled A Lawnly Existence changes all that. Otherwise, I do have another in mind that may…



With about fifty pages left to go and intent upon finishing it today, I think I can accurately mention my latest read, Bentley Little’s book, The Association.

Exclusive gated communities are welcomed sanctuaries to many, with strict bylaws that ensure consistency and behavior. These bylaws can cover everything from home color to noise control, and are usually a product of resident democracy.

Not in Bonita Vista.

During a trip through Utah, Barry and Maureen stumble upon a beautiful and picturesque gated community known as Bonita Vista. Before long, they have acquired one of the homes and have excitedly relocated from metropolitian Los Angeles.

With serenity that is overwhelming, a view that many would give their left arms for, and kindly neighbors that take the time to converse, the community seems like the perfect place, a high end version of Mayberry RFD. They quickly get to work decorating and planting, and before long, have settled comfortably.

They probably should have checked the community’s bylaws first, for The Association reserves the right to approve every aspect of your life, from d├ęcor to associates to employment to landscaping and friends. Your actions are constantly monitored and any infraction will result in severe penalties ranging from monetary fines to even death. And, just like a horror version of the Mafia, once you have been accepted and are in, without involving a pine box, you are more than likely to never be allowed to leave. For in this community, democracy is only a word and it is the robed elders, led by an old and seemingly decrepit Jasper Calhoun, the owner of the big house on the hill, that make the rules. And, you will abide by them…



It's official, my Land of Shadow and Substance column at Horror News Net will have a new episode every Wednesday.



And, just as a reminder, my Interview with a Monster series will be starting soon in Suspense Magazine. I'll let you know when the issues are out.

 

 I made a couple of friends this week.
Even had lunch with one!

And, last but not least, here's the tasteless, horror joke of the week...

How do you make a dead puppy float?

Two scoops of ice cream and two scoops of dead puppy!


Have a great week ghouls and I'll creep back by next week!

Stay Scared,
Thomas