Monday, May 18, 2015

Screenwriter revisits hometown 'Pow Wow' roots, reconnects with past

Orangevale Pow Wow Days stage area 2015

Orangevale is one of those "where" places.
Any mention of it -- to most anyone -- must quickly be followed by "where" it's near.
"Between Folsom and Roseville," is where I tell people.
In northeast Sacramento County, it's where the sidewalks end.
It's my hometown and the setting of the feature film script, I'm working to turn into a major motion picture.
The arrest and trial of the dancers at the "Pink Pussy Kat a Go-Go" became a national story and helped set the rules for exotic dance.
Few people know about this. I'm trying to change that. It would be/will be an amazing gift from my home community.
You can only really be from one place (military brats excepted).
I'm from Orangevale.
I left after high school and while I live in Sacramento now, my interaction with the community is
little beyond visiting my parents.
Being one of a handful of black kids in a community I affectionately call the Idaho of California, was at times a challenge. The late 1990s were certainly better racially than ever, but the late 1990s in Orangevale was not the same as the 1990s in more diverse communities.
I made the most of it. I was student body president (CRHS 1993) so some would say I thrived. But I wouldn't say I fit in. By the time I attended high school at Casa Roble the spittoons were gone, but vail of homogeneous isolation permeated. I often felt treated as the exception to a generally accepted rule about black people.
When faced with the sheer amount of bad country music produced in the 1990s one can either give in and say you like it or fight it.  Hating country was my buttress, protecting my few black points.
Committed to the fight against country, as soon as I had a choice in the matter, I avoided "Pow Wow Days," the longstanding community parade and carnival.
Orangevale doesn't have much. It's an unincorporated spec of Sacramento County that's hard to get to by highway thus maintaining some level of rural charm, but it doesn't have that gold rush era downtown of Folsom or the size, organization and ambition of
Roseville.
Since 1963, the community has been experiencing some level of Pow Wow. As a child, I marched in it was a Boy Scout.
As adult man, sans child, who has experienced Mardi Gras (several times), it's real easy to go curmudgeon on regular old small town parades. They don't throw beads, alcohol must be smuggled and there is little chance of boobie exposure, but there is something that is uniquely community socializing and unifying about parades.
So that extent, there is something unique and great about Orangevale's "Pow Wow Days."
I made a return visit Friday night and Saturday afternoon to tell people about "Pink" and the "Pink Pussy Kat a Go-Go."
From a visitors perspective, the event seemed healthy. It's 32 acres, snuggled between other parks and schools, is an ideal venue for an outdoor concert. There were kids galore on the carnival rides, plenty of vendors, a radio station sponsor, and a healthy beer garden. (Though they could step it up with more food variety and serving local beers.)
Loosely based an actual incident, some of the ladies from the Pink Pussy Kat cause a stir at Pow Wow Days in my script. So the visit could also be considered field research.
Another bonus: Saturday I ran into my childhood friend Billy Blackburn. That night, his band Blackburn Bullet bested seven competitors to win the "battle of the bands" hosted by radio station 101.9 the wolf. Billy's already talking about writing a song for the movie.
I was buoyed by the feedback I got from people young and old towards the Pink Pussy Kat story.
Young people were excited to hear about the historic trial. With old people, you could see the sparkle in their eye as they accessed those dusty files. I didn't find the motherload treasure trove of Pink Pussy Kat photos, but I'll keep looking.
 I see a few Rotary Club breakfasts and VFW Hall visits in my future as I continue my search.
Orangevale, here I come again.

Follow the journey by email
Keep up on film project on Facebook
Connect with the Pink Pussy Kat


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sacramento film project in the media, party Friday


 'Tower' guitar finds home 

Ed Fletcher snags one-of-a-kind guitar

Pink screenwriter went from a party spectator to celebrity after he snagged the "Tower Records" Gibson Les Paul Guitar at a post-screening auction. The one-of-a-kind guitar is signed by Tower founder Russ Solomon and "All Things Must Pass" filmmakers Colin Hanks and Sean Stuart. Proceeds benefit the Tower Records Project


Party for Pink set for Friday

Film community, supporters, public invited 

Join us for an exciting night of music, dance and comedy at Party for "Pink" May 1 atVega's Underground in Old Sacramento.
It's an opportunity to share the path we're on with the public and Sacramento International Film Festival attendees. The night will include music from '70s rock cover band Lane 5, period burlesque performances from  Sugar Cane Cheeks and Vivienne Fuego of The Golden Poppy Revue and comedy from Diane Hong. The fun starts at 9 p.m.

Pink in the media

Digital-first strategy takes process to the people 

So many great things happening lately, the media department can hardly keep up. Since our strategy is to talk "Pink" into existence, I'm more than happy to share the process with anyone who will listen. Three great media hits this week:
  • Fellow writer/reporter Rich Ehisen published an inciteful Q & A. He and I talk about how the writing process, film-making, and of course Pink.
  • I sat down with the Junior and Leo Show Podcast talk about everything from how I got into the project to our digital-first strategy. We even talked a little about the news game and new media.
  • Finally, a piece I wrote explaining why the Sacramento film community should be rooting for the web series "Rellik." 



Monday, April 20, 2015

May busy, exciting time on film front


By Ed Fletcher
Early May looks like it's going to be an incredibly busy and exciting time for me. In a matter of days, I'm throwing a party in Old Sacramento, staging a photo shoot and my film short "Goldie" is screening in Seattle.
May 1: Party for "Pink"
May 3: Pink photoshoot
May 4: "Goldie" screening

Party for "Pink" is a chance to generate excitement around my feature film project "Pink" among Sacramento International Film Festival attendees and general Sacramento public.
The free event at Vega's Underground in Old Sacramento will feature 70s rock from cover band Lane 5, burlesque performances and comedy. The fun starts at 9 p.m.

On May 3, I'm turning Sacramento's Blue Lamp back into a strip club for a photo shoot. Behind the camera will be Sacramento photographer and visual artist Melissa Uroff.

Then on Monday, May 4 I fly to Seattle to be on hand as "Goldie," the short film I wrote and produced, screens as part of the Seattle Transmedia & Independent Film Festival. It's part of a night of LGBTQ-friendly films and live drag show.

Whew!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Online support can 'like' projects into existence

Film maker asks Sacramento community to like, share and support project


"While the tools to create content is easier to obtain than ever, it’s also harder than ever for worthy smartphone applications, music, movies, or ebooks to get noticed. And yet it’s also easier than ever to give our neighbor a hand with a like, comment, share or thumbs up. Better yet a review." 

By Ed Fletcher
In the days of yore, when guy was building a house or raising a barn he’d cut the beams, buy the nails and level the ground by himself, but the time would come that he’d need his friends and neighbors help hoisting the beams and shit.

The community would come together to help out a member in need.  We don’t do that these days. We’ll help a neighbor if they’re getting a TV backyard makeover, but we hide when our neighbors
have a pile of rocks delivered.

The rise of crowdfunding runs counter to that. In the ideal, people give because they want to see good ideas succeed. Thousands of worthy projects are funded each year through the generosity of others.

Indeed, in this age of social media, email and online wallets, helping people has never been easier. “Likes,” retweets and shares are a form of digital currency that lift projects from heap of digital content produced daily. Without the transaction of money, a message goes from being seen by 50 people to 5000 (I’m making up numbers) with the ease of a mouse click.

I believe I have a project worthy of a digital barn raising. A project that could both put Sacramento on the map and make a serious statement about free expression. I’m asking for the Sacramento community to set me on the path to producing my dramatic comedy screenplay “Pink.”

Based on a real Sacramento 1969 case, Pink tells the story of a free-speech loving exotic dancer who battles a small-town sheriff and bares it all to prove her “bottomless” dance is art worthy of protection. Think “American Hustle” meets “People vs “Larry Flynt.”

I know what you’re thinking, “Cool idea, but Sacramento doesn’t know anything about making movies. Call Joe Carnahan.” I have. And I will again. I’m open to any connections my network might provide.

But the point of this post is to inspire, cajoe, woo you into helping my build my a base of support that will tell investors that this idea has resonance.

I’m asking Sacramento to prime the pump. The growing school of thought suggests social media marketing is the most effective way to sell a movie. Further, smart filmmakers will by developing a digital audience from conception, take fans along for the filmmaking process and  simultaneously prove to investors the viability of the film.

While the tools to create content is easier to obtain than ever, it’s also harder than ever for worthy smartphone applications, music, movies, or ebooks to get noticed. And yet it’s also easier than ever to give our neighbor a hand with a like, comment, share or thumbs up. Better yet a review.

Think how much better off the Sacramento tech community would be if gave worthy apps the two minutes it takes to write a review for the app store. Think how much livelier our writing community could be if we reviewed their ebooks.

I’ve watched with a mixture of pride, joy and envy at community efforts to support tech startups and downtown retail businesses. Why can’t we do that with film? I’ve wondered.

This is me opening up my arms and saying: embrace me, this idea, and let's run with it. I’m open to investors, partners, backers, cheerleaders, digital strike force members or contributing in any multitude of mutually agreeable ways.

I'm thankful for the advice and support I've received to that point, but I want more.

I’d love help with strategy, marketing, publicity, media creation, social media.

Together we can make this happen Sacramento.

Monday, March 23, 2015

13 Things I think I learned at Santa Rosa Story Expo


Committed to keeping my foot on the gas in turning my screenplay Pink into a feature film, I attended three-day weekend storytellers expo in Santa Rosa.
What the Storytellers Expo lacked in star power, communication and polish, it made up for in intimacy. There is not one reason any attendee should have left feeling like their questions were not answered by real writers, publishers, script consultants, or producers.
It's wasn't cheap, but you'd pay four times that much for the same offerings online.
The following are 13 thoughts, lessons or reflections from the two days of classes and day of pitching Pink at Storytellers Expo produced by the Santa Rosa-based "Northern California Writers" group:

  1. The Sacramento film community would be smart to shift some instruction towards writing for television and web series. 
  2. Breakdown episodes of television shows I liked, then follow the formula to write a spec episode.  
  3. I'm well ahead of the curve in term of branding, social media and the business of film.
  4. Re-read/edit scripts with different lenses: think like director, actor, producer
  5. People love the true story/premise of Pink.
  6. Write your first logline at the idea stage. 
  7. Thanks for the instruction on how to write a film query letters, but what's the point if agents don't read them? 
  8. Tension = hope v. fear.
  9. Seek rising and falling tension through each mini movie. 
  10. Author Dale Brown spent a lot of time in Sacramento and is a nice dude.
  11. Practice funny by jotting down one funny thing a day. 
  12. In packaging start with directors and talent with production companies.
  13. In seeking agents and production partners, look to those judging screenplay contests, those are the people open to finding material in unusual places. 



When Sunday's pitch session came, I was at ease and confident. Participants stood in line for five minutes of one-on-one time with the assorted (8) book and film experts.
Making the best of meetings means setting reasonable expectations of learning something, building rapport, and achieving a small "ask."
And while I wish script consultants would use their connections more liberally to help non-clients,  I totally understand the folly of their ways. All of the pitch recipients were willing active listeners who surely would have benefited those at the early stages or those with a polished project.
Now time to email Pink to a Los Angeles studio.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Producer appearance as guest to burlesque show

Call it the lifecycle of the writer/producer.
For the better part of a year, I spent nights and weekends turning down invitations so I could spend more time sequestered to my keyboard.
Now with the pendulum swung toward producer, I'm in the streets trying to network my script into existence.
Last night, plunked in the front row a burlesque show with two lovely legends of the craft on either side of me made up for several of those sunny Saturdays I gave up to write my screenplay "Pink."

To my right was Miss Cherry Malone, a world champion burlesque performer. To my left Miss Petty (O'Ferrell) Russell, who performed across America from the 1950s to 1970s.
The Golden Poppy Revue is a production of Miss Vivienne Fuego.



Performers included:
Legend Isis Starr, "The Goddess of Burlesque" (SF)
Sugar Cheeks-Burlesque
Jenna Jezebel
Violet Ruthless
Dahlia D'Vine
Casaba Meloune
Bella Blue-Eyes
PLUS!!!:
Torch Song Singer Roxy Vox
Swing dance performance by Felicia & Ramses
Sideshow performer Ryan Dile
Comedy by "Sacramento's Sweetheart", Steph Garcia,


A video posted by Ed Fletcher (@perpetualf) on