Sunday, March 17, 2013

I'm no Carpenter or Romero...yet!

While I like to consider myself a horror writer, I always had secretly harbored making creepy short films too. But, until recently, this all seemed like a pipe dream and I never really pursued it. But then a chance event occurred, almost like karma I suppose, having an opportunity to speak with Joops Fragale, the director of the critically acclaimed short film The Guy Knows Everything from 386films. Suddenly, everything changed and inspiration reared its head. Of course, don’t get me wrong, I still write every single day and suspect always will, but I now have this crazy notion of somehow also being able to fit in the time to make my own short film. That single conversation motivated me so much that, after a small bit of researching, I went out and bought a camera more than suitable for this project. However, I didn’t stop there…no, no, no, but also got a tripod, a zoom lens, and a few other miscellaneous items too.

Well, I then dove, head first, into camera angles and filmmaking in general. This brought on the realization that, since the film I intend to create is primarily dark; needing filmed at night, lighting will be crucial. So, there I go again, purchasing, cheaply of course, various lights. By now, I’m starting to think that I pretty much have everything I need in order to get this film underway. But then, besides reading a few associated books, I started seeking and watching various YouTube videos that also explained some of the finer nuances of creating a movie. And, I did learn quite a bit. However, I also happened upon a few other videos that caught my attention. The videos were how to make a camera jib (the kind that allows the high, overheard sweeping shots), various sliding mechanisms and basically little tidbits about all sorts of fantastic tricks and shots that will make any film stand out. But, probably the most valuable piece of information I gathered was what they refer to as one of Hollywood’s dirty little secrets…the wonderful DfN filter. This is a filter that cost about $50 and allows and overcast filmed day scene to appear as a night scene. And, considering my potential night filming dilemma, this was quite a revelation. Of course I bought one. Now I’m ready!

So, what else happened this week? Well, the Frankenstein episode of my Interview with a Monster series in Suspense Magazine began this month. It’s a bit of an odd little fictional series that has me sitting down and chatting with some of horror’s finest, as if they were actually living, breathing folks.
Coincidently, Shannon, the editor at SM, now possesses the next two pieces, Dracula and Wolfman. Not quite sure who’s up next, but I will tell you that it may take a coin toss to select from either of the two.

And, as always, my Land of Shadow and Substance column, this week featuring “Time Enough At Last,” is up at Horror News Net. For those unfamiliar, this is a weekly column of Twilight Zone episode reviews, along with a bit of trivia tossed in and should offer me not shortage of writing material throughout the rest of the year and probably beyond. Let’s see, one hundred and fifty odd total episodes divided by fifty-two weeks in a year equals…

And, this week I also revamped Staying Scared dot com, making it one single page, a launching portal if you will, that includes links to both my works, as well as Willie’s too. Considering all the websites we tend to traipse around to, leaving this and posting that, Staying Scared dot com is a one stop location for finding them. And besides, it’s considerably easier to remember Staying Scared dot com rather than Staying Scared dot BlogSpot dot com.

And, as far as my novel A Lawnly Existence is concerned, I haven’t written on it all that much recently and am considering placing it on the back burner for a bit, and instead, writing on Future Past. Of course, I don’t intend to leave A Lawnly Existence simmer for all that long, but it will make for a nice refreshing change. Future Past is a tale about a government agency that can show you what could have happened had you taken different routes in life. But, you can’t change it and this causes repercussions, both good and bad, for the characters. With Roswell, NM and the Bermuda Triangle tied in together, it’s a believable tale that may have some conspiracy theorists drooling. While it’s a bit of a deviation from horror and mostly science fiction, it’s a tale that I’ve had bouncing around in my head for years and I’m finally going to commit it to paper. As a matter of fact, I have quite a bit of it there already, included the fleshed out characters. But, as any writer knows, along the way things have a tendency to change and therefore, these characters and scenarios are subject to subtle changes. Nonetheless, since I’ll be in Orlando next week for ongoing training, I plan to take the James Caan writer character from Misery’s lead and fully utilize the time at the hotel.

Now here's a flick that I'm terribly excited about

Here's a few more!

And, since Easter is fast approaching, I thought I'd share one of my favorite bunny pics.

And ghouls, so goes another week filled with words. Have a gruesome time, whatever you do, and remember…Stay Scared


Thursday, March 7, 2013

The gruesome birth of W.W.Wickedfilms

Well Kiddies, I quickly learned that there is a lot more to making a film than simply shooting a few shots, editing them together, and putting them on YouTube…especially if you want to be taken seriously as a filmmaker. While it’s no secret that I have a more than average warped humor streak and usually will be found laughing and joking around, make no mistake, with this venture I am deadly serious. Therefore, I started putting all the pieces of this puzzle together and W.W.Wickedfilms was born.

The first short film will be While You Sleep, a tale of mine that was best suspenseful runner-up at Litfest Magazine. It’s a creepy psychological ditty that will probably scar all who see it, forcing uncontrollable random thoughts as they climb alone into bed. Shown from and narrated in first person, the film will have a planned running time of somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 to 30 minutes.

This week I learned a thing or two while filming a few scenes, and was perplexed as to why my Canon 3Ti would stop filming after only a few seconds. After exploring all the settings, ensuring they were correct, my neighbor, who happens to be attending college for digital media, explained the situation. It turns out that there is a BIG difference in writing speed ability of SDHC cards. A class 4 card may be perfect for still shots, but it will only allow a few seconds at a time for video. My problem was that I needed a class 10 card…problem solved. Look for the number in the circle.
The second thing learned was lighting, which coincidentally after studying a few film books, made me aware that I was only half right. Therefore, after toying with directional shots utilizing various strength three-way lighting, I finally found what I was trying to achieve and the scenes are quite good. Huh…and after only 30 or so takes. Regardless, experience is the best teacher and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Well, maybe the world…but nothing less!
The main hurdle with a film like While You Sleep is that, it being a nighttime based film, lighting is essential. But, it needs to be limited, otherwise the overall creep effect is lost to biligerant brightness. As mentioned before, being the filmmaking novice I am, I’m experimenting and having some success and things are getting rather exciting. Nonetheless, I still have a long way to go, but it’s going to be a fun, gruesome ride along the way and when finished, the While You Sleep should provide a few scares.
And, I started pondering a name for this venture, coming up with W.W.WICKEDFILMS, and having my sinful, demented clown, Wee Willie Wicked, as the brand. What’s more frightening than a demented clown? Heh heh…Mwhahahahahahaha. Anyways, wwwickedfilms dot com should be up and running sometime in the not so distant future. Speaking of Willie, Bike Week is fast approaching here in Daytona and Willie really wants to loiter. His jester brother Jack pranced about Biketoberfest and Willie said its his turn this time. So, there may be some future photos involved…We'll see.
Wee Willie Wicked's brother Jack at Biketoberfest
Writing, writing, writing…

Having worked six days in a row, I was completely drained and plume worn out. However, besides the film thing, I did find the time (4 to 6:30 am and 9 to 10:30 PM) to write this week’s Land of Shadow and Substance Horror News Net installment (Escape Clause), as well as most of the werewolf piece of my Interview with a Monster series for Suspense Magazine. Maybe one of these days the couch and I will have a little intimate time…yeah! Right! No rest for the wicked!
So, until next week ghouls, remember...

Stay Scared,