Monday, October 20, 2014

Trying My Hand at Stand-up Comedy

To celebrate my 40th birthday I stepped on stage to do something I’d spent hours and hours thinking about but struggled to find the confidence to do earlier: stand up comedy.

For a little under two years, I’ve been performing improv comedy with The Sacramento Comedy Spot's Wednesday night training team so one would think I would have worked out all my jitters. But as anyone in the comedy world can tell you, the disciplines are different. Improv (within a structure) you make up the entire show.

Telling people you do improv comedy is a lot like telling someone the Midwest you’re a Vegan not a Vegetarian.

People are much more familiar with and less forgiving with stand up. It’s simple you stand on stage and be funny. I’ve always thought of myself as a funny guy and been told as such. Over the years, I perfected my comedic timing for training sessions, classes, and such. I’m the king of witty quips, but could I be funny on demand?

For about as long as I’ve been doing improv I’m been eyeing the stand up guys. They’re nerds, just the same as the improv performers, but few people did both. I figured my brain was under enough stress learning one, why may its worse doing both. So between my film projects, work and other obligations I never got around to taking the Comedy spot's class on stand up, but I was tucking away bits I thought were funny.

So rather than wait my turn at open mics like all starting comics do, I invited everyone I know to come see me and a few other people perform during a comedy spot “Test Kitchen” slot.

Here is my second time on stage doing stand-up:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Film about exotic dance trial needs an image

Which of these three are best represent "Pink?"

Having never been a screenwriter before maybe I don’t know any better, but when I finish something I burn to see it made. That’s the point, right.

With that in mind I’m going to American Film Market in Santa Monica Nov. 5-12 to sell or develop my feature screenplay “Pink.

Logline: A free-speech-loving exotic dancer battles a small-town sheriff and bares it all to convince a jury that her "bottomless" dance is art worthy of protection in this sexy courtroom comedy based on an actual 1969 case.

Here’s where you come in. The super talented graphic artist Val Mina has offered up three great ideas for an illustration. The illustration will be used on the web, but most importantly right now will be the image on our “leave behind” materials given to distributors, agents, producers, money men, casting directors and the like.

  1. In one the judge's robes become the theater curtains, as a girl dances on stage.
  2. Instead of lady justice we have a judge peeking under the blindfold to get peek at the lady dancing on one of the scales.
  3. Classic. On possible variation would be to have sheriff between the legs rather than the judge.

Give us your thoughts.

I had previously begun laying the groundwork for a photo shoot and video tease also be used to market the film, but in the interest of time that will wait until after November. Thanks again for your support in this endeavor.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Despite fears, ticket secured to big film event

Matchbook from the Pink Pussy Kat Club
And with a click I’m going to Hollywood.

Well, going to Santa Monica for what’s billed at one of the top film conferences in the world.

If you’re new to the blog, I’m a longtime newspaper writer with the bold ambition of turning his first feature-length screenplay into a film. That’s why three days before my 40th Birthday hit “purchase” on a $500 ticket.

I’ve produced a couple shorts, but this will be, by far, my most significant film project.
Going to this thing kinda terrifies me.
My brief experience in film has taught me that Hollywood isn’t built to absorb ideas from outsiders.
It’s hard to sell a script, until you have an agent. And its hard to get an agent, until you’ve sold a script.

I’ve tried from afar. But to date, none of the 30 odd email queries I’ve sent have been met by a positive response. That’s to be expected I’m told.
Going to the conference is a chance to take matters in my own hands. Here is the wiki description of the event:

The American Film Market (AFM) is a film industry event held each year at the beginning of November in Santa Monica, California. About 8,000 people attend the eight day event to network and to sell, finance and acquire films. Participants come from more than 70 countries and include acquisition and development executives, agents, attorneys, directors, distributors, festival directors, financiers, film commissioners, producers, writers, etc. Founded in 1981, the AFM quickly became one of the premier global marketplaces for the film business, where unlike a film festival, production and distribution deals are the main focus of the participants.

Event marketing materials point out that whole films have come together at AFM, but I bet they had an agent to schedule those meetings. Not that I hadn’t been working hard already on moving the script and film forward, but knowing that in a month I’ll have a golden opportunity to make a contact that can catapult this project forward is invigorating. I worry I won’t have the money to put my best foot forward, but I’ll do the best I can.

Between now and then I’ll perfect my pitch, study the players, and develop “leave behind” materials that keeps my screenplay “Pink” on their minds.

If you’re just coming to this blog its high time I tell you what the film is about:

Logline: A free-speech-loving exotic dancer battles a small-town sheriff and bares it all to convince a jury that her "bottomless" dance is art worthy of protection in this sexy courtroom comedy based on an actual 1969 case.

Membership card from Pink Pussy Kat
It’s a story I learned about through my occupation as a newspaper reporter. The fact that the club was in Orangevale the community where I grew up only fueled my interest. Now I want to bring this story to the big screen for all of Sacramento. I’m hoping people will support me and rally to this cause.

I could use help reading my business plan, giving me feedback on my pitch, crafting my leave behind materials and finding a place to crash.
I’m so thankful for all the people who have helped me get this far. I’d never have made it this far without your encouraging words, feedback and participation in table reads. A special thanks to all of the people who have tried to connect me with your Hollywood connections.

We’ve got a long way to go, but I’m confident will be much further down that road as a result of the conference. Help me break a leg.

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