Ian and the Bishop – A Short Film

If you don’t want to read my long winded diatribe about making movies and dreams coming true then here is this movie. I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

 

Oh – You would like to read about my love for filmmaking and how important friends are? Okay. Well then, here you go.

Ian and the Bishop started as a novel. It was about a character that was depressed and started drinking again only to be forced into saving himself by a new acquaintance and his drunken alter ego. It was based off of a very real character in my life that got thrown into a romantic dramedy setting because that’s what I know how to write. I got 4 chapters in before I realized I was writing a screenplay, not a novel.

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to make movies. I saw the film “Tall Tale” when I was a kid and it clicked in my head that this wasn’t just a fun story unfolding in front of me. This was a creative endeavor that real human beings put an incredible amount of hard work into and then came out on the other end with a finished product. I wanted that. I wanted to tell a story. But one person can’t make a movie, or at least, not the movie I wanted to make.

So I called my friend Dylan. He’s everything I’m not. He’s a wildly talented creative mind with a knack for the aesthetic piece of life. I needed him to say yes before anything else could actually happen. I was driving through New Haven, Connecticut on my way to Long Island for work way too early in the morning late in 2012 and called him with an epiphany.

“I want to make a movie.” I said.

“Umm. Okay. What kind of movie?”  He replied.

“I don’t know yet. But I want to make one.”

“Oh….Alright then. Sure.” And Dylan was in. Way easier than I expected.

That week I took my fledgling novel and turned it into the first draft of the screenplay. When it was done I sent it to Abigail. She was the second piece of this puzzle that was absolutely essential to making a movie. She’s my box. And by that I mean, I come up with over the top crap and she brings me back down into a place that can actually happen. Everyone needs that kind of person in their life, and she’s mine. I sent her an email with the screenplay attached that started with, “Hey. Remember when you told me months ago that this novel would be better as a movie? Well…you we’re right.” She was both excited that I told her she was right and taken aback by how much work I had done in such a short amount of time. So, Abigail was in. We’re moving right along.

Then, very quickly, it all became super real. We were scheduling the audition date to fill out the cast. I was filling out paperwork/asking my favorite local restaurant locations very politely to secure locations. I was writing a shot list (basically, making the movie in your head before a camera even turns on) which I had never done before. We were editing the script. A lot. The final version of the script is very different from how it began. Dylan, Abigail, myself, and two script editors (Allie Rivera and Robert Pinney) helped me out a great deal in that department. The entire ending is different from how I first wrote it because all of them knew it had to be.

I asked my roommate Elliot Smith if he could be the Prop Manager because he knew how to get things. I asked my other roommate Ryan Gentner and friend Adam Carner to be additional cameras on the project – which by the way, some of my favorite shots came from both of them plus Dylan taking my ideas and making them better, which is exactly what a talented crew is for. I asked my friend Mike Storiale, the most well organized and level headed human being I know, to run the production from a logistics stand point. He made a calendar, which should not be overlooked. The hardest part about making a movie, hands down, is the schedule. Getting everyone in the same place at the same time. It is a true nightmare and Mike and I threw it at the wall and then hoped it stuck. Thankfully it did. I then asked my friend Marc Gibson to be a production assistant – the jack of all trades on a movie set – and he also obliged. He also ended up playing my older brother Tom in the film and in my opinion steals every shot he is in.

A few weeks before the casting call I realized movies require a hair and makeup artist. It is in this area where I was lacking in the friend department. When I came to this realization I scoured Facebook for people posting pictures of hair or makeup jobs they had done. I came across a friend I hadn’t talked too at length for a while – but her work was stunningly brilliant and I knew she would be perfect. I called Dylan and asked him if he thought Stephanie Gagne would help. He replied with something like, “I don’t know, probably, maybe just ask her?”

That’s something else I learned while making this film. Sometimes, if you just ask someone to do something, they will do it. It’s crazy. So I asked her, and she said yes. And through the movie I started talking to her and her fiancé/current husband JR who became a production assistant on IatB and would later become a Producer on the new film we made this year. But more importantly, he is the most passionate and enthusiastic person I’ve ever met. Through just asking I added two crazily talented individuals who made the movie that much better as well as two amazing friends. I asked her to be a part of the movie in early 2013. Last weekend Elliot, Marc and I were in their wedding party. The crew/my best friends screamed Africa by Toto on the dance floor at Steph and JRs wedding at the top of our lungs. Twice. I fucking love making movies.

The crew was set. But I still needed to cast 6 characters. 4 women and 2 men. Tavis and Marc filled the two male roles, bringing more talent to them that I could have ever imagined, but we still needed the women. Abigail ran casting like a well-oiled machine, and all I had to do was show up with a script and watch strangers say words that were once only in my head. They each read for two parts – the girl breaking up with Ian in the first scene and the female lead whose name was Emma. I was nervous to say the very least. Without an Emma, we had nothing. Just some pieces of paper that resembled a story.

As the auditions were happening we were finding very good actresses. They were beautiful and talented but they weren’t Emma. I knew Emma. She had been in my head for a year at that point. I knew her favorite book was The Fault in Our Stars and that her dream was to be a dancer. I knew she loved her father but missed her mother every day. I knew she wanted to go on adventures but she believed an adventure alone wasn’t an adventure at all. She wanted someone to make her better than she already was. And that person was Ian.

Casey McDougal was my Emma. She nailed it. From the moment she walked into the audition room until the moment we wrapped, she embodied that character. She made decisions that I didn’t write that made Emma real. When she left the audition I resisted the urge to chase after her and beg her on my knees to take the role. Thankfully she took it anyway, minus the begging. When I watch this film now all I can think is, “That is my Emma. And within every wonderful flaw, every matter of fact smile, and every time she hits Ian out of pure frustration, she was absolute perfection.” I thank the stars every day Casey came into our lives and I think Ian does too.

With that I need to take a moment to thank JD, Grace, Sehee, Samantha, Marc, and Tavis. I am incredibly thankful you all took the time and helped me create something so important to me. The movie is better because all of you were in it.

One more technical note before I go. Movies are made up of pictures and sounds. Sounds are half of the experience. We used most of the money from the Kickstarter campaign to buy microphone equipment that has served us well. Problem was, we never made time to really learn how to use it prior to shooting, so the entire shoot was a long uphill lesson in sound design. Some of the movie was only recorded in mono; some of the movie had the mic pointed the wrong way, etc etc. Sometimes it’s just bad. And I had to come to terms with that. A large reason this film took a year and a half to release is because I hated how it sounded. But with some elbow grease and a few hours of Dylan’s magical editing a year later we made it the best it could be. When you all watch our next film (Zer0s, coming to YouTube October 3rd) you will notice the sound is better. That is because my friends (specifically JohnRob, Marc, and Elliot) took it upon themselves to be better the second time around and they succeeded.

Making this film was an incredible learning experience and by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I never went to film school. I just wanted to make a movie. It was my dream. The thing I thought about late at night while staring at ceilings. And then I somehow tricked my friends into helping me do so. AND THEN I asked for donations to get us off the ground which exceeded my expectations and we were funded within the first two days. It was and still is pure insanity.

This film is not perfect. Not even close. But it’s done. And my friends/crew, family, and Kickstarter backers should be incredibly proud of themselves. You guys helped create something from nothing and to me that’s beautiful. Thank you so very much.

New Book plus Movie and Music Updates

Oh hey.

I want to do a fun article but I’ve been a bit busy. Someone asked me the question “when do you have time to sleep?” last week and I was so happy. I love that question because it means I’m doing something right.

WMiT

So here is a quick update on all the stuff. Last week I kinda secret published a short book called What More is There about going to see my Grandparents in the summer when I was a child. Other than the movie I’m making (I’ll get to that later) it’s the most personally invested I’ve ever been in a project. The description is: A telling of my childhood summer trips to visit my Grandparents from my first person perspective written by my Grandmother and elaborated upon by me 20 years later so we can always have these stories.

I made it as cheap as I could and it’s a literal one or two hour read so that’s a thing.

As for the movie (Ian and the Bishop), I’d say we just passed the half-way point of editing it. We have two more scenes that need rough cuts, then we have to go back through for audio levels and color corrects, music additions etc. My current estimate for that to be completed is the end of October, but I’ve been wrong before. Don’t worry though; when it comes out I’ll be shoving it down your throats constantly.

On the music front, Adam and I are in the middle of creating a full length Jolly Good record that has a name that we’re not telling people yet. I think it’s going to have 11 tracks if it all works out, and that should be done first quarter 2014.

Other writing stuff: I’m in the beginning stages of a new book – the working title of said book is “The Nightshade Express.” Also I’m working on the first draft of the next short film, which has a working title of “The Worst of Us.”

Plus I might try to fit in a web series called Apartment B2 and a web musical based on the new Jolly Good record, but who knows man. I change my mind on a pretty constant basis.

Chapter 1

The usual cycle of my writing projects is that I’ll be smack dab in the middle of one when I need to start another. The “Ian and the Bishop” short film movie cast and crew are three weeks from rehearsals and then quickly after that we start shooting. There is a bunch more to do and not a whole lot of time to do it…so what do I do with some of my free time? Write something else completely different.

It drives me insane while being the only thing that genuinely keeps me sane simultaneously. I wrote the first scene of Ian and the Bishop a month before Odessa Red was finished. I wrote Odessa Red’s first chapter half way through putting together TLDNR. It’s a vicious cycle  – which by the way would be a sweet band name. So in my usual fashion I started writing something else. So far I’ve gotten good feedback besides my editor telling me I suck at the English language, which I totally do, but I like the premise so I might stick with it after the film wraps. Who knows. It doesn’t even have a working title yet – if you think of one, let me know.  I’ve written 2 chapters and you’re about to read the first. It has errors galore and according to Abigail “misplaced modifiers everywhere” whatever that witchcraft means, but the core of the first chapter is there. So, let me know what you think.

CLICK THIS FIRST PAGE TO OPEN THE PDF DUDES

HB2

Odessa Red: Chapter 1 PREVIEW

10/23/12 UPDATE – Full Book Now Available on Kindle and Paperback

Hello friends! This month I will be publishing my first novel titled Odessa Red. Kinda psyched about it. The final edits are not yet finished but we (My Editor Abigail and I) are in the final stages of what has been almost a two year process of making this book a reality. Below as a special thingy are the Book Summary and the First Chapter. Hope you beautiful bear riding shark punching champions of the underworld enjoy it.

Book Summary: Loner high school student Grant Nichols finds himself in the middle of an Odessa, Texas street with a knife in his hand, a pile of unidentifiable bodies behind him, and enough policemen with cowboy hats pointing guns in his direction to cause at least a little bit of concern. As Grant chooses to run, he brings the reader up to date through flash backs as to why he might not be as bad as the people with guns think he is, how his dream girl might not be so dreamy, and why he is not nearly the biggest problem the town of Odessa will be facing in the near future.

Chapter 1 – September 3 – 9pm

Time Flies When You’re a Felon

A lot can happen when once upon a time is nothing but the present. You feel like the world has turned you upside down and shaken your pockets clean only to find out your pockets being full was a cruel joke in the first place. You were never meant to feel joy – at least that’s how it feels at this point – because I’ll tell you one thing for sure, as normal as you once hoped to be, you can’t be normal after something like this.

Normalcy or death. Your choice.

Oh and quick quiz: when you are standing in the middle of the quietest street in America holding a bloodied knife with police spot lights shining down on you, what would you do? Tell them the truth? That might work, minus the fact that the truth sounds like the misconstrued lies of a psychopath. Other than that, it’s a good plan.

Normal is no longer an option. You know how people say that right before they have a near death experience they see their lives flash before their eyes? Well, that’s not true. It can’t be. You don’t have that kind of time. It’s a millisecond, if that, and in that moment however many years your stupid fleshy being has been rotting on this earth will not supersede the fact that you are about to die. Your life’s events will not play out again for you like an endless movie.

It is one moment. One moment of your life flashes for that short period of time and stays with you forever. It might not even be a good moment, or one that seemed important to you when you didn’t have to worry about being deceased soon. It’s whatever your brain chooses, and who is to say that your brain has ever made a good decision?

Mine was her. Most cliché thought I’ve ever had, and it saddened me. Not because the last thing I could think of was a girl, but because my stupid brain picked a girl over roller coasters and whiskey.

My new white Chuck Taylor shoes were stained, and it was red no less. That will never come out. I couldn’t remember just then whether I could bleach shoes. My focus is terrible.

“Put it down! Now!” screamed the man with a cowboy hat and gun. If I didn’t know any better I would say Dirty Harry was yelling at me. Although if that were the case I’m almost certain I would have been dead already. Clint Eastwood wouldn’t have taken this kind of guff from nobody.

The lights were so bright. There were two of them. Overkill much, Odessa? I knew for sure there were pretty horrific problems in my general vicinity that were much more important than some stupid kid with a blood soaked knife and a plain white tee which by the way, was also ruined.

The things you think while looking down a gun barrel can consume you as they seemed to do in this very situation. For example: helicopters are too loud for their own good.

“So what now?” I asked myself audibly, thinking the dozen bloody pulps behind me would answer. They didn’t. So lame.

I thought about shouting back and telling the nice people with pistols what was really happening, but for some reason I was betting against them saying, “Oh yeah, that makes perfect sense! Also, those horribly maimed beings behind you? Yeah, we’re fine with those! On your way sir!”

I dropped the knife to the ground. It splashed; worsening the soak my shoes has already grown accustomed to. My hair was in my face, scratching my nose. I wanted to move it so badly but I thought against it. That would suck if the last thing I ever did was stop my nose from itching. “Here lies Grant, he sure was an itchy guy!” No thanks.

I felt like I had two options, which was untrue, but simplification is sometimes best in the face of unholy turmoil.

I could put my hands on my head, drop to my knees, get carted away by the cowboy police, and wait for the interrogation to end. At the end of said interrogation they would tell me I’m too crazy for trial, lock me in a blue padded room, and that girl would only be able to talk to me through a phone behind a pane of glass. That is, if she or any of us really are still alive by then.

Or I could run.

Hands down, easiest decision I’ve ever had to make.