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.