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.

My Emmy Picks

If I was in charge of giving out the awards of the 66th Emmy’s – this is what it would look like. Bold and black is who I think will win. Bold and Red is who I want to win. If there is just a black name, then it’s both. Ok cool, good conversation.

Outstanding Drama Series
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
House of Cards
Mad Men
True Detective

Breaking Bad had an amazing last season – House of Cards is a tour de force – and True Detectives is highly overrated in my opinion. Downton is something my mom talks about sometimes and Mad Men is there for kicks. Here’s the scoop guys, Game of Thrones is the best piece of entertainment, tv show or otherwise, that is currently available for our eyes and ears to take in. Breaking Bad might get the nod just because it was the last season, but GoT deserves this. Sons of Anarchy and The Americans should have replaced True Detective and Mad Men on this list as well. 

Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Louie
Modern Family
Orange Is the New Black
Silicon Valley
Veep

Orange is the New Black is an amazing Dramedy that I’d say leans more towards Drama than comedy, but okay fine sure. I’m glad Veep and Silicon Valley are on this list as well. They are quality television shows that deserve some recognition, especially Silicon Valley that is the new kid on the block with young comedic talent that will shine in the coming years. The Big Bang Theory needs to stop being on this list next to shows like Louie and Modern Family, though. It just isn’t the same caliber, and honestly, it’s not even close. The Mindy Project should be on this list instead of The Big Bang Theory if anyone was wondering. I think Modern Family comes away with another win due to some of the best writing in television history, but Louie or Orange is the New Black could swiper no swipe it away from them with ease. Also on a related note, Rick and Morty is the best comedy on television currently and will most likely never be taken seriously, but I needed to mention it here so that I could, ya know, sleep at night. 

Outstanding Miniseries 
American Horror Story: Coven
Bonnie & Clyde
Fargo
Luther
Treme
The White Queen

Fargo was super weird and super entertaining and more importantly, it stood up to the monster of a movie it was based on. (That’s a good thing.) The one downside to Fargo was its finale, that seemed lackluster in retrospect. Because of that I won’t be surprised if American Horror Story nabs the win on Emmy night.

Outstanding Television Movie 
Killing Kennedy
Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight
The Normal Heart
Sherlock: His Last Vow
The Trip to Bountiful

To me this is a two horse race. Sherlock vs. The Normal Heart. Sherlock for its wildly entertaining writing and acting (although the 3rd season of the BBC hit did not live up to the masterpieces season 1 and 2 were), and The Normal Heart for both of those things plus a little extra. It’s heartwrenching and it’s about AIDs. So, in line with most award shows (COUGH that travesty called “12 years a Slave” that should never have beaten “Her”) it has heavy material that attracts award show wins like no other.

Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

I think Brian Cranston will get a last season of a monster hit show bump with this one. Jeff got his last year, Jon Hamm is on this list as a placeholder (he’s great, but not Spacey great) speaking of – Spacey could absolutely steal this one and if he did I wouldn’t be mad about it. He is wonderful in House of Cards. Woody wouldn’t beat out Mr. Alright Alright Alright from the same show he is on and on that same note Mr. McConaughey’s performance was grasping at Emmy strings from the moment he came on screen. He should not win, but he just might.  Oh, and if James Spader is around he might just Kanye West this shit and take the award for himself for the work he is doing on The Blacklist this year, one of the only bright spots for NBC this last season. 

Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Lizzie Caplan, Masters of Sex
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House of Cards

In my world the best performance gets the prize, but this isn’t my world. Lead Actress in a Drama is always a huge toss-up. It’s like they put their faces on a dart board, blindfold themselves and hope for The Good Wife to win. My pick is Kerry Washington in the sickeningly entertaining show Scandal, but who the hell knows in this category. Robin Wright might get the nod because Spacey’s category is so stacked. Julianna Margulies might get the nod because the Emmy’s need to remind people The Good Wife exists. Claire Danes is still on one of the best shows of our entire generation and Lizzie Caplan is finally getting some recognition for something other than her chest. Hopefully they are solid dart players over there at the Emmy’s.

Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge
Idris Elba, Luthor
Martin Freeman, Fargo
Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart
Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo

If we’re talking performance alone, Mr. Billy Bob wins this category. But we’re not. I think The Normal Heart is about to have one hell of a night and this award will come right along with it.  

Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Helena Bonham Carter, Burton and Taylor
Minnie Driver, Return to Zero
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven
Sarah Paulson, American Horror Story: Coven
Cicely Tyson, The Trip to Bountiful
Kristen Wiig, The Spoils of Babylon

I gotta go see about a girl who should win this category but probably won’t.

Lead Actor in a Comedy Series
Louis CK, Louie
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Ricky Gervais, Derek
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
William H. Macy, Shameless
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

The Emmy’s have a raging hard on for Louie. They use giving him awards as if to say, “Hey look Alt Comedy crowds! We totally get you!” Louie is a writer first and actor second. He shouldn’t be winning these acting awards on acting grounds alone, although he already has. House of Lies needs the bump much more than Louie does and Don Cheadle rocks it in that show as one of the worst characters on television, in a completely loving way.

Lead Actress in a Comedy Series
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly
Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black 

Orange is the New Black and Taylor Schilling delivered a 2nd season that was better than the first and the main reason was because Taylor was just hands down better this time around. Either way I think they will still pick the safe HBO choice with Lena Dunham, though. This list is also missing Mindy Kaling for the Mindy Project btdubbs. 

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Josh Charles, The Good Wife

I don’t care. I’m not picking Aaron Paul as amazing as he is. He already got one of these. The Dink, for that one scene in the court room, deserves an Emmy for the next 10 years of his life. Give this man a stupid trophy and a box to stand on for his well-deserved acceptance speech. Oh, and one more thing, Charles Dance as Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones is left off this list? How in the holy hell is that possible? 

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife

Skylar is SO ANNOYING. But anyway…Lena Headey plays a character you love to hate sometimes and hate to hate most of the time and at the end of the day is the real winner because she keeps us watching one of the most reprehensible characters ever created for books or television. Still though, last seasons of shows like Breaking Bad carry a heavy weight that usually comes along with awards to spare. 

Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Colin Hanks, Fargo
Jim Parsons, The Normal Heart
Alfred Molina, The Normal Heart
Martin Freeman, Sherlock
Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart
Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart

Sherlock, at its core, is a 2 lead show with two gigantic movie stars in the roles that made them this famous. Martin Freeman is fantastic. The Normal Heart doesn’t care though, and will be pillaging this award as well.

Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Frances Conroy, American Horror Story: Coven
Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Coven
Ellen Burstyn, Flowers in the Attic
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven
Allison Tolman, Fargo
Julia Roberts, The Normal Heart

They want so badly to give Julia Roberts an Emmy. They want nothing more. But Kathy Bates will straight up hobble them if they don’t give it to the right lady, which, for the record, is her.

Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Fred Armisen, Portlandia
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Tony Hale, Veep

With Brooklyn 99 snubbed from outstanding comedy series, they gotta give them something while Fred Armisen is one of the most under-appreciated talents of this generation . Also, Ben Schwartz (you might know him as Jean Ralphio) should be on this list for his brilliant work in “House of Lies.”

Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Should and I think, will win. Plus she was Captain Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager before she was a Russian lady in Orange is the New Black. Mad props. 

Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

You know how many times I’ve had this exact conversation with people: “Ya know, I don’t like Jimmy Fallon but god damn he is killing it.” The answer is, lots of times.

Outstanding Reality Competition Program
The Amazing Race
Dancing With the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef
The Voice

I don’t care but also if Top Chef doesn’t win nothing else matters.

My Spec Scripts!

Spec Scripts?! What does that mean?! Well, let me tell you friend.

Spec scripts are things that you write to show that you have the ability to…write. Over the years I’ve written lots of stuff but only a small amount of it I am proud enough to let the world see with their vision holes. I created a new part of my website literally called Specs (Click here to see it) that now has 3 examples of original scripts I have written. If you like what I’ve written here on this blog thing, I’m certain you’ll at least sort of like those spec scripts.

Oh, also, if you by any chance want to hire me to write things and/or just throw money at my face because of one of those scripts you read, I highly recommend doing so and contact me HERE.