"All the time I'm not writing I feel like a criminal." -Fran Lebowitz

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Play due tomorrow

I've been toying with writing something along these lines for awhile. Since I'm alone this Christmas, and Christmas is the time for reflection and derivative homages to Christmas works of the past, I'm gonna buy some Jameson, drink it in moderation, and pull an all-nighter, writing this play tonight.


(BILL, 47, sits in the living room watching football on television. The TV is muted, however; Taylor Swift plays softly on the stereo. Bill wears an L.A. Kings hoodie and cargo shorts. He eats white cheddar popcorn straight out of a bag. He drinks Jameson Irish Whiskey out of a 7-Eleven coffee cup. Three cats (gray WALTER, orange LOUIS CK, and black VICKY) mill about. Pause. Suddenly! WHOOSH! A FLASH of BRIGHT LIGHT. A loud POP! A BOY (17 years old) appears in the living room. He wears khakis, a blue Oxford, a red knit tie (poorly knotted), and an ill-fitting blue sportcoat. He looks at BILL.)
BOY: Jesus Christ.
BILL: Jesus Christ!
BOY: ...not as fat as I thought, I guess.
BOY: ...still fat, though. Jesus Christ.
BILL: Jesus Christ!
(The BOY loosens his tie and retucks his shirt in his khakis.)
BOY: Nope. Right day. Wrong story parody.
BILL: What?
BOY: Merry Christmas.
(BILL finishes his cup of whiskey.)
BILL: Jesus Christ.
BOY: Nah. Not him. (quote fingers) Not "Him."
BILL: Not him.
BOY: I'm you.
(Boy looks around.)
BOY: Sorry if I woke everybody up.
BOY: Where's your family?
BILL: Billy?
BILLY: (nods) What tipped you off, the nose? Noses can't get fat, I suppose. Unless you're an alcoholic, I guess. Wait - you better not be an alcoholic.
BILL: You're me - Billy?
BILLY: I'm serious, you better not be-
BILL: I'm not an alcoholic-
BILLY: SWEAR you're not an alcoholic.
BILL: Hey, shut up. Definitions are constantly changing.
BILLY: Asshole.
BILL: How old are you? Am I?
BILLY: Where's your wife? It's like midnight. Shouldn't you guys be putting gifts under the tree for your kids and cutting each other down, like our parents-
BILL: How old are you, me?
BILLY: 17. Hold up. Where's your tree?
BILL: This isn't my house. I'm housesitting.
BILLY: You're housesitting with your wife? With your family? That's weird.
BILL: I don't have-
(The orange cat, LOUIS CK, ambles through the room. He ignores both BILL and BILLY and moves to the kitchen. Pause.)
BILLY: (evenly) Fuck, is that.
BILL: Louis CK.
BILLY: (evenly) Fuck, is a Louis CK.
BILL: He's a comedian.
BILLY: That, is a cat.
BILL: No, he's NAMED after a comedian, named Louis CK. You're gonna really like him.
BILLY: I don't like, CATS.
BILL: You like comedians.
BILLY: But I don't like, CATS. You're not housesitting. You're CAT-sitting.
BILL: Well, you will gain an appreciation for some things you didn't use to like as you mature, Billy.
(BILLY wanders around the living room, checking pictures, looking.)
BILLY: ...gain the expense of what? A wife? A family? Dignity?
BILL: Well-
(BILLY holds up a hand, quieting BILL. He points to the ceiling)
BILLY: (re: stereo) Fuck is this?
BILL: (pauses) Taylor Swift.
BILL: You gain an app-
BILLY: I'm going to murder you.
BILL: She's good-
BILLY: I'm going to murder YOU, so I can put ME-
BILL: No, seriously, she's pretty-
BILLY: -out of MY misery. OUR misery.
BILL: You don't even know her-
(BILLY holds up a hand, quieting BILL. Pause.)
BILLY: You and I need to talk.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

OHO - GoFund Me Campaign update

Last night we held the cast/crew wrap party for ONE HOUR OUTCALL. It's tough to coordinate everyone's schedules during the holidays, and so being held on a Tuesday night, it was a somewhat sedate affair. But it was great to get most of the people who worked on the film in the same place one last time for a while - the next time perhaps will be when we screen the film. Everyone who worked on the movie was terrific, but especially the cast, who each brought amazing talent, energy, and professionalism to the project. They made ONE HOUR OUTCALL what it will be...

...and they all are getting paid. Though it may seem like a small thing, I'm very proud of that fact. I'm trying to make ONE HOUR OUTCALL as professional as I can for a guerilla, independent, ultra-low-budget film, and to me paying the cast is part of that. Actors in L.A. work so very hard on so many projects, and often they're doing it gratis - so I tried my best to make sure their work got rewarded here.

With that in mind - there are a few days left in this GoFundMe campaign, and if you're inclined to contribute, it sure would help us get ONE HOUR OUTCALL to the finish line. We're almost there. I understand that it's the holidays and, like free time, cash is hard to find for everyone. But any amount would assist us in making the film the best it can be, and as professional-grade as it can be. Thanks for considering it. -billy

Friday, December 9, 2016

OHO - Principal Photography Update

It’s over.

Well, it’s not over, of course. It’s not anywhere near being over. There are many, many steps left before ONE HOUR OUTCALL is finished. We’ve got to edit the footage, color correct, fix sound issues…not to mention when that’s over, actually go out and try to figure out a way to get people to actually see the thing. So no, it’s not over. There’s an argument to be made that it will NEVER be over, not totally…

But production is over. Principal photography for ONE HOUR OUTCALL is over. And it feels good.

During the shoot, I got a lot of ribbing for seeming uptight, for not relaxing, for rarely smiling. It prompted me to post on Facebook one night, “Yo, I smile when things get done, yo.” It’s true; part of my notion of having fun is getting things done. I can appreciate that perhaps I need to lighten up a bit (or considerably), but part of the enjoyment for me is the notion that things are moving forward, that I’m making progress, that a creative project I’m involved in is coming to fruition. That’s not to say I have ZERO enjoyment of the process; I do. But part of the pleasure for me is knowing that I’m making my way towards actually finishing something. After so many years of merely talking about stuff and not doing much, now it’s become not only about doing much but finishing much.

ONE HOUR OUTCALL was shot over twenty-three days. Twenty-three days to shoot a 138-page script, 100 of those 138 pages shot in fourteen days. Twenty-three days with a fantastic cast that gelled quickly, knew their stuff, and brought the talent and insight to the script. Twenty-three days, most of which with a crew of the great, award-winning director T. Arthur Cottam, his (and my) right-hand man Jim Eshom, and makeup artist Shayna Madison. A 140-page script shot in just over three working weeks with a crew of essentially three.

That is amazing. It would be amazing even if the product DIDN’T look great. But with T., Jim, and Shayna’s work, along with the work of on-set editor Sam Hook who was cutting and assembling as we went, we think the final product WILL look great. The trailer Sam cut certainly looks great:

If you haven’t taken a look yet, please do and consider making a contribution to our GoFundMe campaign:

Because while production is complete, of course we’re not done, and we could use your help. ONE HOUR OUTCALL is shaping up to be a unique, intriguing film. I’m extremely proud of it already. Even if it’s not done.

Before he left the night we wrapped, T. looked at me and said, “Now the hard part begins.” He’s right. It’s not over. But it feels good and feels better with each new step forward.