Sunday, October 21, 2012

Video Shares Camp GYST Burning Man experience

Burning Man is a videographer's dream. One could literally spend all day and night behind the camera and never feel like they got enough. That person would also be missing out on experiencing the magic of Burning Man.  I try to strike a balance between documenting the beauty and joy around me and participating in that experience.

This video is my attempt to scrape together a taste of the experience, without letting the effort get in the way of my experience.

Much love to Camp GYST and the beautiful, friendly, curious, doers of Black Rock City.

Photography and video by Ed Fletcher. Additional photography by Angela Gentry. Animation by Epicpranks01. Music Soundcloud creative commons "Welcome to the Video Game" by Vextor Kyoto, "Rigomortis" by Kaiyne, "stabb270" by beatfux, "(#270) The Process by yo.Areou, "Dubstep Dishwasher" by The Living Tombstone, Additional vocals by Capt. Sexy Pants.

Please help identify the band with the green wigged singer. I'd love to credit.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Do it now, do it hard

A few weeks ago a cohort at The Sacramento Press Club sent me a message suggesting we do a silly video to promote a survey the club is doing to consider how it might broaden our appeal to journalists who don't cover the Capitol.
After an evening stirring the idea, this is what we came up with. Sure we were late on the Gangnam Style phenomenon compared to the web-savvy, but we hit it early enough to consider ourselves marginally with it.
Big props to my fellow performers Allen Young and Judy Lin, who committed to the idea in all its silliness. Also thanks to Angela Gentry our camera person and director.
I also have to say that I'm very pleased that we didn't put of doing it with the cast we hard rather than delaying waiting for the perfect date. With everyone's busy lives sometimes you just have to roll with the crew you have and do it the best you can. Keep Burning. Ever Forward.

Here is the survey if you're so inclined:

Friday, September 7, 2012

We Are Burning!

Burning Man isn’t about gifts, but sometimes a gift can make the experience.
Mine came from Yertburbia.
My new toy for my fourth Burn was a megaphone.
Knowing myself, I asked a friend even before it arrived to not let me be the asshole with a megaphone.
As early as Monday, the pronouncements began.
“Good morning Burning Man. How is the state of your burn?” might have been an early offering.
Somewhere along the line, I began to heckle the camp behind us officially named “Flirt,” but I called Yertville, Yertburbia, or Yert’s town.
The camp of fine people had five or so Yerts -- a polagram sherter quickly becoming the IT way to live in the desert -- and a tent or two.
Soon the pronouncements and the heckling became a thing. Eached ended with the words: “We Are Burning,” with an occasional “Continue Burning” or “Resume Burning.”  Encouraged by campmates Lo Cobra and Lovemonkey we sang songs to Yertville. “Yert so Good” may have been the best.
Through it all, I tried to say good-natured, uplifting and inspiring. I didn’t do it late at night or early in the morning.
We even took the show on the road, with my booze and Burning Man-high-on-life persona offering running commentary and live narration to the places we’d never been. Sometimes the neighbor dudes would join as we rode our bikes to do and see what the city had to offer.
It felt great when an occasional person would notice and say “that’s the voice.”
But I still felt a little bad about my heckling of Yertburbia and their alien technology.
It was made all good though when H.B. dropped by to offer a paper and hand-drawn megaphone constructed from a Pabst Blue Ribbon box.
“We Are Burning.”

Sunday, July 8, 2012

T-shirt purchase supports local art

The action comedy "Dance Step of Death" is in production, but we could sure use your help. The film follows the self-described "Adventure Patrol" as they find themselves in a dangerous pinch after investigating a suspected police and media cover up. The film short will debut at the Sacramento Film and Music Festival, Aug. 18 at the Crest Theater and with you're help will be seen around the world.

You're contributions will also be used to pay submission fees for film festivals around the world. But we also have immediate needs, among other things, I've promised the cast and crew steak sandwiches. It's the least we can do since they're working for free.
Buy a "Dance Step of Death" T-shirt for $20 and support a Sacramento-based film production. If you're not interested in the shirt, a cash donation is appreciated.

The ribbed t-shirts features
art by Sam Laughlin. 
Here is the very attractive ladies cut. 


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Night before the premiere

Months of hard work and the fruit of my artistic vision are unveiled tonight as my short film "Dance Step of Death" is premiered on the big screen as part of the Sacramento Film and Music Festival.
I struggle to articulate the emotion I'm feeling right now.
It's not the butterflies I felt as I stepped on stage to do improv for the first time.
I wouldn't call it fear either.
It's an anxiousness to get it on.
For many months now, this was a dream that guided the majority of my free time. Consequently, been the subject of 30 percent of the words coming out of my month. Consequently, my friends must be eager to see if Ed Fletcher made something good, or whether he's been wasting your time with his crappy movie.  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Dance Step of Death Buzz

Our little zombie project is getting some buzz., an online only publication, just posted a story about "Dance Step of Death." I'm always afraid I'm going to give too much away or come off looking like an ass, but the writer did a nice job with this story.

 She even mentions the indiegogo campaign, so its a double bonus.

Why the hell not, leads to music promotion

Director AK Long and writer/producer/promoter Ed Fletcher
 on stage at the June 30 "Superheroes vs. Zombies" Party. 

In an impressive string of firsts this year, I notched another biggie Saturday night. I became a live music promoter.
The venue: Marilyn's on K.
The hook a "Superheroes vs. Zombies" costume party with three rock bands.
I'm going to call the night an all around success. The bands delivered. We made some money and most importantly people had fun.
The theme for the year has been "Why the hell not?"
Write a script -- Why the hell not
Take an improv class -- Why the hell not
Angela Gentry as She-Ra
Do standup comedy -- Why the hell not
Produce your movie -- Why the hell not
All the why the hell nots led to, "How the heck do we fund this movie." And with the help of superstar Angela Gentry we hatched this idea of the Superheroes vs. Zombies party. (I have to concede that we brainstorm so well that I forget whether many of my good ideas were hers or mine. That includes major portions of "Dance Step of Death")
Best of all she agreed to take on the title of executive producer for the movie and spear head the party. We found the venue, had a friend make a super rocking poster and we were off. It was her drive to make this party a success that forced me to leave my central air conditioned homes on one of the hottest days of the summer to visit every starbucks and coffee joint in the grid to hang posters.

Afro super chick asks for applause during the costume
contest at the "Superheroes vs. Zombies" party.
Photos by BlackpackerRTW usage creative commons 
It felt great to create again. It's nerve racking to wonder how many people will show up. It's a challenge to deal with talent. And its a hassle making a superhero/zombie clips disk only to forget to bring a DVD player. But oh what a feeling standing on stage and at the end of the night as people thank you for a great event.

With the event behind us, our indiegogo fundraising campaign wraps up in a matter of hours and we start shooting July 3.

For people who say there is nothing to do in their town stop waiting, and start saying "Why he hell not?"

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cast set for first-time producer

"I've cast my movie."

It's an incredible statement to make. Six months ago, I wouldn't have dreamed those words. I hate to break that to the actors I've just cast in my short action comedy "Dance Step of Death," but facts be facts, this is the first movie I've produced.
I've never been the writer of a movie -- long or short -- going into production but who is tracking firsts.

"I worked on my movie last night. What did you do?"

I'm still geeking out over being able to legitimately write those words.

It's an incredible place to be in, but I'm lying if I don't admit its a grind. The movie -- consumes the majority of the free thoughts left after a day at the gig.

But I love it.

It's been a long time since I've been consumed. I was consumed in high school by student government. I did my class work, but campus government affairs consumed my free brain waves. How do we make more money from the high school dance? How do I get the votes needed to overrule the Senior class? What sort of skit can I do at the pep rally?
Running the student paper consumed me in college.
Not to brag but my super-talented managing editor and I uprooted out newsroom to run a  special edition from New Orleans for the Bayou Classic.
I've been a reporter for a major daily newspaper for a decade and I'm sad to report I've never been consumed for a story like I am for this movie. There have been plenty of stories where I don't mind not putting in overtime in for, but there have been no "the Pulizer is close I'll work all night" nights like at the all nighters we pulled at the Digest (my college paper).
I'm grinding harder than is sustainable full time, but it feels good, like I found a few extra cylinders I used to waste watching the Mentalist. (I don't even watch that show all the time, why did I write that.)
We are basically one month away from rolling video on the movie. This is crazy. That song "Call me maybe" just ran through my head and I just threw up a little bit. Breath. It is crazy. But my director AK Long and I are attacking each day, while trying to manage personal lives. (He is. I don't have one.)
Oh I'm going away to Arkansas for a family reunion right in the middle of this. I hope it's  one of those, I said I'm going, so I'm going, but you get there and everything it right kind of experiences. I'm supposed to shoot and edit a video for that.
Did I mention that fact that I'm an event promoter too? With the help of Executive Producer Angela Gentry, as a movie fundraiser we're promoting a "Superheroes vs. Zombies Party June 30 at Marilyn's on K.
The biggest hang up right now the lack of clarity in the budget. We're have our indiegogo campaign going. It has 23 days left to reach our goal of $2,156.
While I'm speaking out loud I might as well mention the things we're looking for: a sound guy/equipment, dancers, costume designers, makeup artists, visual effects people.
Other than that everything is peachy. Did I mention I cast my first movie?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The improv stage is terror, magic

Ed Fletcher at Camp Winton with Ray Ray,
the Allen brothers and Eric Chew.

On Sunday, I stepped on stage for my first improv performance.

It was like standing on the edge of a cliff, not knowing whether you'd made a smart move or stepped foolishly. Making it down from the cliff successfully means seeing something you've never experienced, with the full knowledge that next time -- no matter how thrilling it may be -- it will never offer the fear and associated reward.

It was, in my opinion, an unmitigated success. Sure, our elderly hippy cast member had a brain fart or drug-induced neural dump, but we covered it like pros and made people laugh.

There was no clear path to my decision to take a long-form improv class, which concluded with the performance. In addition to playing with words more often lately, I've been trying to say 'yes' in the real world more often. (As opposed to at Burning Man where yes is always the right answer).

It began lightly with Thursday nights at the "Playground" at Blacktop Comedy in Roseville. I had never done improv before. I'd been in a couple school plays, was a rally commissioner in high school and did some class videos, but the majority of my comedic performances came at Camp Winton, where twice a week we entertained kids at our "award-winning" camp fires. It was something between sketch and improv. We set high marks for the production and we're known as one of the best in the state.

The Playground, run by the owner Paul Burke, provided a safe fun environment for people of all levels. Finding success for this short-form games, a long-form class was the next logical step. I chose the Sacramento Comedy Spot primarily because it was closer to home. I was pleased with my chose owner/teacher Brian Crall pushed and pulled us into performers.

 It's hard to put to words the pace at which the mind has to work as the session starts. You searching for a scene to snag from a monologue as the crowd laughs blissfully unaware of the terror in your head. Sticking the landing is something magical though.

Not everyone will have financial success from living their ideal life. No matter how many kids dream of being an actor, not everyone gets to get make millions in Hollywood. But that doesn't mean you can't step onto a smaller stage, produce your own show on access television or write a film short.

 As I news writer, I'm not the star and definitely not a performer. The idea is to ask the right questions, but otherwise stay out of the way of the news. I guess that is way I liked doing Edventures so much. It was a small taste of Ed the performer. I'm happy to say I'm back on stage and I don't anticipate another decade plus performance break. There are more cliffs to stand on.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Scouring the Web for Dubstep

In a matter of months, I've gone from not knowing what a Dubstep was to scouring the web for a hot track for my up coming film "Dance Step of Death." For the film, I'll need three non-electronica songs that have a nice danceable groove, and one killer Dubstep track. They all need to come from unsigned artists. If you have suggestions hit me up. In the meantime, enjoy my collection of dubstep music and dubstep dance videos.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Director AK Long excited about zombie invasion

Makeup by Alchemy FX 

"The only thing more exciting than the zombie attack in Miami is that Mystery Zone is going to be shooting a zombie film this summer" chuckled AK Long when asked about Mystery Zone Productions' upcoming short film "Dance Step of Death."
Click to read the full release about "Dance Step of Death," which was written by Ed Fletcher and being directed by Long. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Awe shucks I'm producing a movie

I must confess there is more than a little bit of "awe shucks" in my voice when I tell you that I'm producing a short film in a matter of weeks.

It's my first.

In some respects, producing "Dance Step of Death" is a major stretch. I've never worked in movies. But on the other hand, it's a role I've been unknowingly preparing myself for my entire life.

The movie "Dance Step of Death" is about three everyday white collar workers who, bored with their jobs, moonlight as the superhero team the "Adventure Patrol."  The team find their way into a fix after investigating an unexplained series of dog maulings.

Being a professional writer, it might strike you as odd when I confess I never was a creative writer as a kid. Not one poem, short-story, or play.

But that isn't to say I wasn't a creative thinker. As an adolescent, I was the game master (or story teller) when we played our (nerd alert) role-playing games i.e. Dungeon & Dragons. In high school, I pushed to do video project at every opportunity. And working at a summer camp allowed my to express my inner ham.

Having a better grasp of what I didn't want to do with my life, than what I do want to do; my college aspirations drifted from film, to television broadcasting to print journalism. I'm proud to say I've had a successful dozen year career as a print journalist at a major metropolitan newspaper. But I'm also proud to say I've go other itches to scratch.

I've been edging toward this point for a couple years now: Daring to think I might have something interesting to say or write outside of the newspaper framework. Two years, ago I took an abbreviated screen writing class at Access Sacramento. This spring, I took a class is short film production.

This summer, I produce my film.

It is humbling to have people willing to put their time and/or money into this project based on words I've put to paper. Producing is like pushing a boulder up hill in a rain storm. I'm glad others are joining in.

From what I can tell, so far, producing is about solving the fiscal, logistical and human resource problems to allow the director, actors and technical crew to make the story come alive.

Problem solving is something I've done. I find myself leaning on skills I honed as a young man first in student government in high school, later as editor of my college paper, and also through my years helping to run a Boy Scout camp.

With AK Long, a recent graduate from UC Davis, on board to produce, we've been collecting an impressive roster of crew members willing to work far harder than anyone can expect steak sandwiches.

The exercise, however, was largely theoretical until I saw the first draft of drawings of the Adventure Patrol "Righteous Hoodie," "Friar Chuck" and "Lady Lynx" costume. Oh "that's what they look like," I thought examining the artists work.

That, I expect, will be the first of many "gee wiz" moments I'll have along this magical ride. Next up casting: finding our three heroes that will turn the words on paper to three living breathing people with hopes, dreams and occasional constipation.

Please join us for the ride. Post comments on this blog. Like "Dance Step of Death" on facebook. Check out of fundraising video, which we'll launch in a matter of days and join us for our Superheroes vs. Zombies party June 30 at Marilyn's. And above all see the movie.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My night with the biker gang

Oddly, this is exactly what the modern Boozefighters 
look like. Gotta love their motto, "A drinking club with a 
motorcycle problem."  
I've always had a somewhat cavalier attitude when it comes to protecting my life, which sometimes results in accepting invitations to places that those concerned with their safety would never go.
Two experiences come to mind. My visit to a biker clubhouse and my more recent visit to a Cinco de Mayo Party in Pollack Pines.
I know what you're thinking, "They celebrate Mexican drunk fest in hill country?" I'll get to that but first, yes I voluntarily went to a biker clubhouse.
It all started with a visit to my local pub the Tallac Lounge. I was there with a platonic female friend and we had made two lady friends. The four of us had also been chatting with three or four biker dudes wearing leather "Boozefighters" jackets. They seemed cool enough. No one seemed to be on meth and no meth was offered for sale. So at 1 a.m. when the bar closed (they have to close early because of the shooting) the Boozefighters invite the girls to come back to their clubhouse. After some considerable contemplation I agree to drive.
I've done stupid things before and how often do you get invited back to a biker clubhouse. We follow the directions to a warehouse off a Power Inn and approach gate with a large tattooed man with a black leather jacket standing at the entrance. This must be that place.
I lower the window and tell him who invited us.
"The Boozefighters are the next gate," says the man in the Hells Angles jacket. Apparently this is the biker gang/club district. You probably could have found it by using the Bee's crime mapper and searched for reported rapes in industrial zones. 
Inside the clubhouse is a long bar with a stripper pole mounted on it, a small office and bathroom and a large open area where they apparently work on bikes or other project like holiday displays. The stereo played much more hip hop and rap than I expected. It operates just like a fraternity, I suppose. New guys ran the bar and did the bitch work. I was on edge the entire night. I didn't want to get with any of these women, but I felt responsible for their safety.
The night ended harmlessly, but there was an "oh shit" moment when one of the men pulled a bully club from behind the bar and walked swiftly to the front door. There was no blood on it when he returned, apparently the neighbors wanted to barrow some sugar.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sulking over, new script submitted

While other areas of my life either languish (dating) or are a mess (house), my creative side is doing quite well, thank you for asking.
On Friday, I bought the URL for the blog/website I plan to launch in a matter of months and on Monday I turned in my short film script for Access Sacramento's Place Called Sacramento Film Festival.
The film festival, PCS for the short, invites Sacramento County residents to write a 10 minute film script, 10 of those submitted are produced over the summer and then air at Sacramento's Crest Theater.
Dedicated readers, all two of you, remember that I turned in a script last year. It was rejected and I sulked for several months.
While adept at dealing with rejection in my dating life, 98 percent or more of news stories I write for the newspaper are published -- most with only minor revisions. The rejection of my script was much more of a personal blow. With news, I gather the facts and try to stay out of the way of the story. The script, in many ways was a closer reflection of my style, personality and me. It didn't help that some of the scripts selected were err less-than-perfect. I assuaged my ego by deciding that script "Pink" about the real-life events that shaped California decency laws was too sexy for the family-friendly constraints of PCS.
I haven't given up on making that movie -- a ode to strip clubs and the First Amendment, just not for PCS. I've made refinements, lengthened it, and subtracted some of the compromises I made to fit the 10 minute format.
This year, I wrote a new script that will be a hit with audiences. This script is more refined and fits more easily into the parameters of PCS.
 "Dance Step with Death" is about the office workers that moonlight as crime-fighting Superheroes that find themselves dancing with death as the investigate a series of gory dog attacks.
I have a number of people already looking to get involved. Including a young film maker Aaron Long of Mystery Zone Productions, but I'll need more. I need actors, makeup artists, dancers, a choreographer, production assistants, grips, production managers, and help feeding the crew.
If you'd like to help or just want to give it a read here is the script as submitted. I'll write more about the website at some future date.
 I'm excited about making this film happen, whether or not its selected by PCS.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Here is a look inside how sausage is made in California's Capitol. It may never be the most watched of the "Shit people say" videos, but for people who have worked in or around the capitol, many of these statements will sound familiar. I'm just happy to help out on a good way to get the Sacramento Press Club a little light-hearten exposure, while having fun with a very serious world.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wine forward

When my brother returned from a trip to Europe a couple years ago, he gave me a wooden wine box with a wine from the region he visited. Given my affinity for vino -- and in this age when gift cards are the mindless gift of last resort -- I thought it was a thoughtful gift.

The wine and stately box was a double gift. A double gift that could should be shared again.

I purchased a nice California wine and placed it, along with a small notebook with a note outlining the box's history, in the case and passed it on to a worthy new caretaker. I hope it was passed along.

The thought of the box moving from home to home makes me smile. I wonder if it's been hiking, seen great sights, witnessed an engagement. But I'm left wondering where its been, what happy moments its enjoyed and where it is now.

How would you react if someone gifted you a handsome wooden wine box, but asked you to blog about the awesome wine experience and pass it along?

I need your feedback and advice. Is this a worthy project? Would anyone read such a blog? Is it a project for fun or profit?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Life coach by committee

In recent months, I've had two people I count as friends offer me their services as a life coach.
I've politely declined.
While the cost is the dominate issue, I must admit that part of me also feels I should be smart enough to life coach my own damn self.
It's a beautiful thought. But seldom practical for many of us. For whatever reason -- time, self-doubt, lack of tools -- we slip back into our bad habits or left life get in the way.
Life coaches are supposed to be for people who are falling apart.
Seldom sufficient, but most of us lean on one good friend or go life coach by committee.

Hands down, my college buddy Rufus has been my best unknowing life coach.
Rufus's brilliance is obscured by factors not entirely within his control, but he never stopped dreaming. The question with him is whether those factors would allow the great art within him to shine. I've tried to help him past those factors.

Meanwhile, he's pushed me to push past the factors that hold me back (apathy, complacency, self doubt). He knew me when I was the big fish and taking names.
During college I was the fearless editor of the student paper destined to be running shit. Feared and respected, if a tad pompous.
While he was never a scout, at my suggestion he also spent a summer working for me at a Boy Scout summer camp. As the program director, I was the No. 2 in command and chief entertainer for the camp which weekly hosted 200 middle school-aged kids.

Rufus pressed me to remember when we ruled shit. I'm active in the community and at work, but I'm not ashamed to say my star is not shining as bright. Professionally, I'm a small cog in the sick machine that is the newspaper business.

Personally, it's a long way back.
I'm taking baby steps.
For me success is capable, determined and focused enough to take the good ideas and turn them into action. It's often a long way from the good idea to execution. On my journey back to running shit sometime you have to celebrate the small victories like creating and handing out awards to random people, but worthy winners at the New Year I attended as a plus one. Or participating in the office holiday "canstruction" contest.

Thinking about when I was at my best, I realized I was always surrounded by capable, winning officers that made our collective vision come true.
In student government at Casa Roble, things got done because there was a team of people working together to plan a dance, build a float or throw a rally. At The Southern Digest the newspaper came together because Mike Wilson, Shamika Britt and Andre Jackson had my back.
I wish I had a firmer plan as I write this. But none-the-less I'm putting it out there: I'm looking for a team. Maybe two teams.
One I envision as a group of people who meet around a meal to discuss what they'd live to improve about their lives and then holding each other accountable.
Thousands of people -- mostly women gather to discuss other people's literary works. Why don't people gather to discuss your ideas, dreams, aspirations?
The idea is simple. On a regular basis, a group of people get together to bypass the bull shit and talk the dream they've held in the closet and the plot a path toward making it reality.