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.