Writing

My First Film and John Cleese

Several years ago I become consumed with film writing. After many interviews of anyone semi successful around me, I basically received the same advice from everyone. Just create. Make something. Pull whatever you can together and just do it, and keep doing it. The advice also included submitting your stuff to as many film festivals as you can.

I am an idiot. I took this advice to heart, but for some reason – maybe call it my background as a poor only child from a single parent home with some need to validate myself or whatever – but I felt I needed a big name involved with my first short. It is a comedy piece, but also should make people think a bit. The whole thing is narrated. So I picked my top five favorite comedians that I thought would do a good job at narration, and I tried to reach out to them.

At the top of my list: John Cleese.

John_Cleese_2008_bigger_crop

I am an ultimate Monty Python fan. It’s a long long story, and I have the whole thing written out somewhere, but I’ll summarize for today in saying that John agreed. It was a very exciting moment. I assumed this meant I had found my destiny. Well, after many discussions with agents and lawyers, John backed out. I was not Hollywood enough. In the period of 7 months I went from an ultimate creative high, thinking I was going to work with a comedy god and someone I really admire, to an ultimate low. I then got a bit pissed off, but also realized that it was dumb to need a big name to validate anything. Though it is still nice to think that John Cleese assured me he liked the script but bureaucracy got in the way. So I wrote something else. It is not a comedy, again because I was in a bit of a low place. I have a masters degree in marriage and family therapy, and through those studies I learned about professional burn out. Basically when a therapist doesn’t have his own crap in check for whatever reason, and they start becoming more of a detriment to their clients than helping them. Ultimately a counselor may end up needing counseling themselves, which is an ironic, sad, and kind of funny outcome.

So – I wrote a piece about that. I took all the advice I had received: I pulled together some friends and acquaintances, and made my first short film Burn Out. It was truly a wonderful experience. Elwon Bakly and Mitch Hall are phenomenal actors. The energy in the room with these guys was so thick I was breathing it in. It is such an amazing feeling to be there on a set, and feel like the words you wrote are coming to life, but also that it’s a real circumstance and you are just a ghost in the room watching. So cool. I am really proud of this film for my first effort. We finished this thing years ago, but I have not released it until now. Primarily because there are some things about it that really suck. Above all, I learned what all film makers must learn, which is the importance of killer audio. I really wish that we had lined up some better audio for this video. I have thought about doing ADR (automated dialog replacement) but it has not panned out.

Since shooting this film I have gone on to be apart of many other projects, and I have many more things in the works. But for now, I figured it was time to dust this off and show it to the world. Thanks so much Clark, Elwon, Mitch, Aaron, Sid, and the hot secretary for this great experience! Check it out here: https://vimeo.com/233698458

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Music, the World, and That’s All I Got

“Music’s the only thing that makes sense anymore man.”

You ever see that Beatles extravaganza “artsy” movie that came out several years ago, Across the Universe? I’ve seen the sucker a fair few. While there was some good moments, the real reason I’ve peered through this take on the Beatles universe multiple times – is my wife has the hots for Jim Sturgess (she’ll deny this claim, shes lying). I should be the wisest of the wise wisey people having traversed the universe so many times. Alas, I am but a humble idiot. Also, half of the movie must be what feeling stoned is like.

Anyway – when the world seems to be exploding I always think about that line referenced above. Music. When the amount of flat out evil seems to be dominating our universe – what is left that makes sense? What makes sense to you during troubling times might just be the core of who you are – or perhaps what you should be spending your precious time on.

I wish I didn’t need wake up calls like horrific events in the world to help me remember how most of what I face everyday is extremely trivial. “Suck, no more oatmeal creme pies in the vending machine!” Struggles man, struggles. While there are bigger obstacles in my life than vending machine qualms, everything I face is truly just an oatmeal creme pie in comparison to whats happening in the world. I cannot fathom the straight-up evil. I feel powerless. All I feel like I can do is write. Play music. Love my loved ones. And for you religious folk – pray.  So be you, do what makes sense to you – unless it’s all this evil crap. In that case – freaking stop. Welp, off to Jimmy Johns :).

That look…

IMG_2560This is one of my favorite images of all time. You know that look. You done bad man, bad.  Our ability to communicate through expression and body language is a beast cake*. Look at that face! This happens to be my wife’s face. I captured so many little subtleties of her personality in this one image. There is a little annoyance, disapproval, a slight smirk, but still some mystery. What is she thinking exactly? So many subtleties here that all add up to this woman I desperately love. Fun stuff.

“You’re a writer Wes?” states this cute mysterious free floating wife face head thing. “Um… yep. Didn’t you know that?” Apparently she didn’t. Apparently nobody really knows that about me. So here I go. I’m going to keep up my writing chops here. To date I’ve written 3 short films, one full length comedy film, lyrics to hundreds of songs, far too many boring but usually A+ graded psychology papers, and I am finishing up a book.

The book discusses my struggle to become a successful creative person via self therapy sessions. It’s a comedy memoir narrative type thing where I tell stories about being rejected by Bill Murray, John Cleese, and a whole bunch of other fun letdowns you can laugh at. Get ready because I’ll be chanked* if I don’t get the thing published. ROCKmaninoff my friends.

*Mmm delicious.