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


Monday, February 23, 2015

Burlesque legend Angel Walker talks taking it off

Burlesque Legend Angel Walker, better known as Satan's Angel, has lived such an incredible life that hours into a conversation she still finds new ways to shock you.
From San Francisco's North Beach to the world's stage, her story is the subject of the documentary "Satan's Angel: The Queen of Fire Tassels."
In hopes of better understanding my screenplay "Pink" and Orangevale's "Pink Pussy Kat," I reached out to Ms. Walker.
The result was a delightful conversation about burlesque, go-go, striptease and exotic dancing in the late 60s and early 70s.
She could not tell me much about the Pink Pussy Kat or the dancer at the center of the trial Susanne Haines, but that's not to say there wasn't much to learn from that unguarded spark plug of a woman. Here's a piece of our conversation:



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Film reseach trip ends exotic avoidance

I wonder sometimes what people think about a guy who would devote years of his life writing a screenplay and producing a movie about a strip club.
 "Some big perv."
Fact is, until last night, I hadn't been to a strip club for at least five years -- including the entire time writing "Pink."
For those new to the blog, "Pink" is my sexy dramatic comedy about Sacramento's 1969 "bottomless" stripper trial. The indecency trial became a national story when the judge decided in order for the jury to determine whether the dance violated community standards they'd have to see it. The girls won the trial but the government changed the law making it a health code violation to consume alcoholic beverages in establishments that allow full nudity.
So what's a guy who doesn't care for spending money on exotic dancers doing writing a screenplay about exotic dancers? The short answer is because it a local story that needed to be told. When you strip everything else away its a story about free expression dressed up in late 60s attire.
Think "American Hustle" meets "People vs. Larry Flynt."
Most of my research came from old fraying newspaper clips. I didn’t set out to write a strip club screenplay. It started as a short term project and has steadily grown.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prude (though "Blue Lagon" was too much for me went I saw it as a boy). I’ve been to strip clubs and enjoy seeing women naked as much as the next guy, probably a little more. The bulk of my strip club experience came from Bourbon Street excursions during college and the rush of bachelor parties one endures in their early 30s.
But I could never justify expending money on the experience.
More than the money, the transactional relationship bothers me.
While I firmly believe performers should have the right to dance naked in exchange for money, I much prefer nudity without compensation.
Pink can be a beautiful movie that makes audiences laugh, causes a modest arousal, says something about art, freedom and culture -- and makes money.
So for the sake of research I, joined by a female friend, went to Gold Club Centerfolds. After an absence of half a decade, the adult establishment seemed remarkably the same in all its soft skin and curvaceous glory.
I'll spare you the details (good and bad) other than to note I drank hot tea, a legacy of the "Pink Pussy Kat" decision.