January rest

Happy Birthday I have kept an online journal for 10 years. I got a little behind a couple years ago so over the last week I’ve been playing catch up. A trip to LA on Friday and chocolate eggs over the weekend slowed me down but now and without further ado, Janurary of 2010.

Okay perhaps a bit more ado…

The trailer shows you TONS of stuff but tells you NOTHING. In fact no one can be told what the Matrix is, they can only be SHOWN. I went to see the MATRIX for the same reason so many watched LOST. I wanted to know the mystery. That and the digital FX were mind-blowing. If the Matrix were to be released today though, I bet the trailer would tell you what the Matrix is. Or it would be revealed online.

Recently I saw a blogger tweet about how annoyed he was that he went to see a movie but had already seen everything in trailers and online. An hour later he tweeted: EXCLUSIVE pics from the set of…

On the 3rd of January I got an email from Nathan Amondson who was our Production Designer on Drive Angry and has become one of, what I like to refer to as, team Beatles. Some backstory. Nathan created a character called the “Ugly Crow” that he wanted to animate and tells stories about. I had told Nathan that Mel and I had a story called “Izzie and Icky” which we wanted to do as a book with illustrations. This conversation took place during Drive Angry’s production.

Then nearly a year later, out of the blue, Nathan sent a piece of artwork to say Happy New Year. Shortly after we decided to join forces.

Patrick was sent a script to consider directing. We read it. Meetings were set to discuss what changes they’d like to make and what we would do were the project given to us.

As the Drive Angry release drew nearer and nearer we got more and more BUZZ spam from Summit. If the movie was mentioned on the net or TV or radio or by a couple guys standing outside the Starbucks on Ventura, then a mass email was sent out. Most of the time it was as simple as “Drive Angry in theaters in February.”

January of 2011 would be the month and year of Mel’s first tattoo. Izzie Rain in the color of the spectrum beneath a heart. She said it didn’t hurt. Mine hurt.

Toward the end of January I asked Mel to figure out how to get Riesner’s old caddy to Pacific Grove. Easier said than done.

Patrick and I had developed a movie outline based on a James Patterson novel. We did this ages ago. After Valentine. Before Drive Angry. We were even told there was money to write the thing. So we created a three picture storyline. Massive 40 page outlines. Development meetings and rewrites. Then we were informed that there were some rights issues so it all went away.

Toward the end of 2010 the producer came back to us and said the rights had been dealt with and wanted to know if we were interested in pursuing. Of course at that time Patrick was Leslie Nielson at the end the Creepshow known as Drive Angry (that means he was up to his neck in it). So we were perhaps slow to reply. This prompted said producer to send another email detailing how they had gone to a considerable amount of trouble to deal with the rights issue and that it would be disappointing had we lost interest and enthusiasm. I responded with my southern charm…

I’m not sure “guilting” us is the right approach as we too went to a great deal of expense and time to work on multiple 40 page treatments to create a trilogy only to be told the rights were never clear to begin with. If I’ve misinterpreted then my deepest apologies but we never lost interest nor enthusiasm.

Producer backpedaled so we suggested we reconnect after Drive Angry was in the can. January perhaps.

So January brought the return of said producer. Great. Let’s do this then. But it turned out there really wasn’t money to write at that time. Producer was hoping we’d be willing to spec it.

Here’s the thing. I love specs. But I will never spec someone else’s dream. I’ll spec Drive Angry. I’ll spec my ideas. Or Patrick’s ideas. But I’m not going to take the risk of writing for free when the results benefit others far more than me. We informed the producers of this although in a slightly less grumpy fashion. And the project went away.

I’m still amazed that it is okay to say, “We have money” in order to get writers to work for free only to later and without punishment say, “Right, we don’t have money.”

Izzie changed schools in January. She had been going to private pre-school but Mel had noticed little oddities. For instance, at a Thanksgiving event where all the kids in Izzie’s class got up and sang, Izzie stood off stage and held the teacher’s hand. Izzie sang by herself. When Mel asked why, the teacher explained that they were worried that Izzie might disrupt the performance.

Wow. She’s autistic. She’s not a bomb.

Mel stayed cool headed but we were both annoyed.

Then at the end of the year the private school told us that in order for Izzie to stay they wanted us to provide an outside aid for an hour every day to just work with Izzie. By the way, they were obligated to provide the aid if they saw fit due to the fact that even though they were a private school, they received State funding based on Izzie being Autistic. While they gladly took the funding they were not willing to provide the aid. They also wanted us to pick her up 45 minutes early. They wanted to cut one hour, forty five minutes from their obligation but, of course, still expected us to pay full tuition. Not that it would have mattered. Turns out they’re idea of teaching Izzie was to apparently keep her away from the other children. She wasn’t challenged. She wasn’t learning. In fact, she was getting worse. She was growing more and more frustrated.

We said no thanks.

So in January Izzie started a new school. Which concerned us because it meant a 20 minute bus ride. However, I’m not sure a child could have been more excited about riding a bus. She LOVED it. And LOVED the school. Teachers, classmates… everything was better. And not only that, WE started seeing a huge difference in her. Almost overnight. Her frustration vanished. Suddenly you could carry on a conversation with her. She’d wake up and talk about her dreams. Eh… I know you don’t care but was a big deal to us.

Let’s put it this way, the less I’m worried about her the better I can concentrate on severed heads and blowing stuff up. And currently I’m not worried about her. :)

In Australian related news, toward the end of January Kerri joined forces with two other producers to acquire one of my scripts with plans to cast and crew it in Australia.

On the 26th we saw the Drive Angry motion poster. It was an amazing little creation which featured Fichtner so I adored it.

Patrick and I were working on a spec outline. An original horror idea. Risky yes but if the original Drive Angry did well then we’d have a good shot at doing another original. In the meantime we were busy mapping out Hellraiser. We had recently done a rewrite which was making the rounds. We were brainstorming a remake although our guts had us leaning toward modern day sequel. As well as outside the partnership we both had previous obligations to fulfill. I had Devil’s Commandos with Tom and Tim. As well as a spec with Niles. Then there was the children’s book mentioned above with Mel and Nathan. It was looking like 2011 would be busy.

And that was January 2011. Tomorrow let’s rip the bandaid off and deal with my love/hate relationship with February. Then Wednesday I’m in LA so will likely go dark. March and April when I return and my journey to catch up will be complete. Yay me. And thank you for your support.

3 replies on “January rest”

Really interesting read. I applaud you for standing up to the bullshit that school put you through.

I’m hoping future entries aren’t full of doom and gloom about Drive Angry not meeting expectations because I want you guys to keep getting a shot and churning out kick-ass stuff.

Oh man, I totally want to buy and read Izzie and Icky just from that illustration, even if I didn’t know ya!! That looks amazing and sounds awesome.

WANT WANT WANT *grabby hands* :D\

Also – So glad the other school is working out for her. Being happy and able to play with other kids is so important. Such a sweetie!

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