Thursday, November 30, 2006

Stepping Out

Yes, I'm stepping out on Everybody I Shot Is Dead.

Every time I post something on here about the movie biz or my screenwriting, I feel guilty. This blog is about the book and that's how it's going to stay. No more tangents. Only the book and anything rock'n'roll.

So, I've gone and started another blog. On the other blog I am chronicling the making of a movie that I wrote and am producing. As well as anything else movie biz oriented.

I'd be very happy if those of you who are specifically interested in the book want to stop by and read about the movie. I'm sure some of it will interest you, since the movie is very music-oriented.

And those of you who have been reading this blog because you are interested in the movie stuff, I hope you'll still read this blog and follow my progress on the book.

The new blog is if you want to check it out.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Back To The Book

I've been a little lax lately on all things that are my book and rock'n'roll. Which doesn't mean it hasn't been on my mind.

I've been mulling layout ideas in my head and am now ready to take a crack at actually putting these ideas to paper. Get them out of my head. Of course, this requires a modicum of effort...something I've been adverse to of late. But that is all going to change. Now. Right this minute. No more thinking...just doing. As some long lost relative used to say, "It's time to shit, or get off the pot."

Up to now, I've been using a traditional book proposal to show around. It consists of a Synopsis, About the Author, Market and Promotion, Competition, Sample Writing and four or five Sample Photographs. It's thirteen typed pages plus the photos, and fits neatly into a three-hole report folder. Ugh! Not exactly what I want for this book. It's a bunch of words on white bond paper and a few glossy pictures. It doesn't speak to what's special about the book.

And that just reminds me to go back to my roots. When I came up with the concept of Starart (my coffee table book of artwork by six rock stars), I put together mock-ups. Fortunately, I met George "Commander Cody" Frayne who agreed to be my guinea pig. I took photographs of all his work, did an audio interview and took photos of him. Then I put his whole chapter together - typing the text and pasting up prints from the photos - so he could see my vision.

This is a spread from the interview portion of the mock-up.

This is a spread from the art portion of the mock-up.

This is from the actual book.

And this is how that above art spread looks in the book.

I also used Commander Cody's chapter mock-up to attract other artists. First, John Mayall and then Klaus Voormann. I used those three to get Cat Stevens. Then, Ron Wood.

This was an interview spread in Ron Wood's chapter mock-up.

This is an art spread from Ronnie's chapter mock-up.
And that's his hand-written comment that he added
for his John Baldry album cover.

And here's how the mock-up spreads look in the finished book.

Finally, after Ron Wood, I met Joni Mitchell. She immediately agreed to be in the book. I did the same with her -- took photos of her art, did interviews and then put together her mock-up. But for Joni I did something completely different. I didn't use the photographs of her art. I did color-pencil drawings of her work. Either I was nuts or out of money to get all the prints made. Maybe a little bit of both. Here's what I did:

Yup. These are my drawings of Joni Mitchell's drawings.

As are these.

Here are the finished spreads of the above mock-ups.
Joni's drawings, not mine.

I remember when I showed her the mock-up. I was nervous. Considering the gall I had to reproduce her work with my own hand. At first, with the pen & inks, she didn't realize they were frauds. When she finished looking at it, she complimented my work and said I should reprint my drawings in the book...they were better.

Anyway, the point is, I need to do the same thing with Everybody I Shot Is Dead. I need to excite people with my vision. So, it's time to put together mock-ups of a couple of my dead rock stars. I'm thinking Michael Bloomfield and John Bonham.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I Love This Time Of Year

It's Fall. In Los Angeles that means all the big potential-to-get-nominated-for-awards movies come out. For me, that means lots of free screenings. I am getting several emails a week inviting me to this or that movie. I can't make all of them, but with the price of movies at the theaters, I'm seeing as many as possible. Most of the screenings are for people who work in the film industry (through Below-the-Line or Women In Film, etc.) or for writers (Creative Screenwriting has lots of screenings this time of year). And generally the screenings have pretty interesting Q&As after the show.

Recently, I received this email:


Q&A follows with Director Alfonso Cuaron and star, Actor Clive Owen.
Thursday, November 16th
7:30 PM (you must be at theatre at 7pm)
The Village Theatre
961 Broxton Ave.
Los Angeles, CA

RSVP: ONLY 50 SEATS AVAILABLE. You MUST call the WIF RSVP line, 310.362.xxxx, and state that you're reserving for the Children of Men Screening. Please be sure to leave your name and phone number.
At the screening, if asked, let them know you are with Women In Film.
Children of Men envisages a world one generation from now that has fallen into anarchy on the heels of an infertility defect in the population. The world's youngest citizen has just died at 18, and humankind is facing the likelihood of its own extinction. Set against a backdrop of London torn apart by violence and warring nationalistic sects, Children of Men follows disillusioned bureaucrat Theo (Clive Owen) as he becomes an unlikely champion of Earth's survival. When the planet's last remaining hope - a lone pregnant woman named Kee - is threatened, this reluctant activist is forced to face his own demons and protect her from certain peril.
Directed and co-written by acclaimed filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron, Children of Men also stars Julianne Moore as Julian, the leader of an underground opposition group, and Michael Caine as Jasper.

PLEASE ARRIVE EARLY. Limited seats available. THIS TICKET DOES NOT GUARANTEE YOU A SEAT. THEATRE IS OVERBOOKED TO ENSURE A FULL HOUSE. THEATRE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERBOOKING. NO ADMITTANCE ONCE SCREENING HAS BEGUN. We reserve the right to admit or refuse access to the theatre at the discretion of an authorized representative.
NO RECORDING This screening will be monitored for unauthorized recording. By attending, you agree not to bring any recording device into the theatre and you consent to physical search of your belongings and person for recording devices. If you attempt to enter with a recording device, you will be denied admission. If you attempt to use a recording device, you consent to your immediate removal from the theatre and forfeiture of the device and its contents. Unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability.

Clive Owen? Who could say no to that?

I called the RSVP number and later received an email confirming I had two seats for the screening. Cool. So, after a hard day's work, I hop in the car with a screenwriter friend and make the drive over the hill to deal with the potential parking nightmare known as Westwood. No time to change. I'm wearing a pair of faded (because they're old) black jeans with ragged fraying cuffs and a white pull-over hoody sweatshirt. My friend is dressed similarly. We arrive at the closet parking lot and the usual $5 parking fee has been jacked up to $10. Crap. Oh well, the movie's free.

We trek down the street toward the theater and the sidewalk is blocked. Huh? It's just a friggin' screening. What's the big deal?

Then I see it. Aack! The Red Carpet. And the Lights. A premiere? Can't be for Children of Men. Could it? Thanks for the heads up, WIF. (See above for what I was wearing.)

I walked up to Mr. Security and said, "I'm on the list for the screening." He told us we had to cross the street to get around to the other side of the theater and half-way down was the will-call. Okay. I'm not good with being told what to do. I tried to save six steps by walking down the middle of the street. I was quickly yelled at by another security and warned that there were police present.

We get to the will-call table set up on the sidewalk half a block down and I am presented with this (+ one for my friend):

I look back toward the theater and see the Bright Lights and the Red Carpet flanked with tons of photographers. Then noticed a line of regular-type people wrapping around the the corner. Okay, that's where we're going...into the regular people line and we'll be let in after all the Red Carpet stuff is done. Phew.

We walk across the street and show our tickets to another security guy. Expecting him to direct us to the back of the line. He doesn't. He waves us onto the Red Carpet. To be honest, at this point, I was cracking up. I knew I looked like crap. But I figured that was better than looking mediocre. At least if you look like total crap, and you're on the Red Carpet, it looks like you dressed down intentionally. As if to say, "Fuck you, Hollywood. I'm too cool for you."

So, my friend and I walked the carpet like we owned it. Sadly, we didn't pull one over on the paparrazzi. Maybe one flash went off. Maybe.

We hit the lobby and were immediately offered free popcorn and sodas. Perks. And then found our front and center (heavy on the 'front') seats. After a really long wait, the film was introduced by director, Alfonso Cuaron. The movie was great. And so was Clive.

There was no Q&A with Clive Owen. Duh. It was a studio premiere. My friend saw Clive in the lobby. I only saw him in the movie. But we breathed the same air. Aaaahh.

Tonight, I'm going to see Notes on a Scandal, starring Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett. It's on the Paramount lot. I'm not dressing up.

Tomorrow night, it's Stranger Than Fiction on the Sony lot. I'm not dressing up for that one either.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Awestin - The Final Chapter

Yes, it was a film festival...with a screenwriter's conference, but it felt a little bit like rock'n'roll to me. Like a tour, where you get very close to people very fast. A family is formed, memories are shared, and parting is such sweet sorrow.

And somewhere in there is THE PARTY. Not the party after the show that takes place at a club - although Austin had plenty of those...two per night, all open bars hosted by Bombay Sapphire and Dos Equis. Not the party in the hotel bar - although that was rocking every night 'til, including one night when a pack of clowns passed through. Clowns? Is she kidding? No, there were clowns...and not just the ones I was already hanging out with. Here's the proof:

What is THE PARTY? It's not the party after the show, not the club party and not the hotel bar party. THE PARTY doesn't start until around 2:30AM. After the last call drinks are consumed. Think about it...anybody can go to a show - you just have to buy a's a little more difficult to get backstage but not much - you just have to look good or know how to sneak's more difficult to get into the club party - you have to be on the list or know somebody on the's even more difficult to go to the hotel bar party - there's security at the hotels so you have to know somebody with the band or already a guest at the hotel.

But even more difficult to get into is THE PARTY. If you don't know somebody in the band you better be ready to sleep (no sleeping involved) with somebody in the band because THE PARTY is the one that takes place in the hotel room, with a bathtub full of ice and beer. It's by invitation only. Just because you know about THE PARTY and know what room THE PARTY is in, doesn't guarantee entry. You gotta be somebody to be at THE PARTY.

And, yes, I've been to more than my share of THE PARTY parties. Probably more than I remember...aah, oops, not going there...okay, where was I?

THE PARTY in took place at the Stephen F. Austin Hotel and these were the hosts:

Brett and Murray aka Drunk and Drunker

And since a picture's worth a thousand words, I'll shut up:

Julie, Jamie, Reece (only time without a hat) and Me in the middle.

Caroline came all the way from England to put her foot behind her head.

Ann and Jill (winner of the Teleplay Drama Award).

Jamie and Shawna...Reece and Julie
Can someone explain where Julie's left hand is and why Reece has that 'look' on his face?

THE PARTY always has a room service call.

Mr. Room Service breaks out in song & dance.

"Why the fuck do you keep taking pictures of me eating?"

After dinner...dessert.

Jill and the very married Murray.

I was looking for a Barry Pepper pose from Reece.

Shawna sings Etta James. Reece's foot as her microphone.

Much time was spent discussing Jamie's claim of an extra bone in his foot.

Julie's version of 'bust'a cap'.

Jamie and Reece partake in a little man-love.

"It was good for me. Was it good for you?"

The real Brett we know and love.

Jamie gives tongue. Ann licks it.

Shawna has a point.

"It's 6:30 in the Goddamn morning. Get out of our room!"

There was one other major rock'n'roll incident that happened at THE PARTY. And I have pictures. But I promised not to post them. And I promised not to tell. There's always a secret that comes out of THE PARTY. A secret only those on the inside know. And so it shall remain.

See y'all next year.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Austin, Texas - Part 1

The Fight

Friday night, check that...Saturday morning, after the Driskill Bar closes. The Gang heads a couple of blocks down 6th Street. In search of pizza.

Shawna and Murray posing. Reece on the left and Jamie in the back.

Reece and Jamie and a close-up of Shawna's slice.

Had to step away from the stand to get this shot of Ann and Brett.

Can't leave Murray by himself for even a minute. I hear a noise, turn around to see this:

That's Murray on the right. The other three are not part of the Gang. At least ours.

It was the guy in the white shirt and the black guy behind him that got into a disagreement and the white shirt guy (correct me if I'm wrong, Murray) threw a punch at the black guy over Murray's shoulder. The guy in the grey shirt and Murray were trying to pull them apart. Murray, the self-professed peacemaker, did not think he touched the guy...until he saw the photo.

Murray tries to calm white shirt guy down...
...white shirt guy responds by beating himself in the head.

Then yellow sleeves shows up out of nowhere and tackles
black guy to the pavement and pummels him.
That's when white shirt guy turns around and decides
he can now kick the shit out of black guy.

Then, the cops - who were already in the streets in droves on foot, bike, horseback and automobile - finally show up. Suddenly, white shirt guy is in the fetal position against the building screaming like a baby and my eyes are burning and I can't breathe. I turn and take off toward Ann and Brett, then realized it was mace.

By the time I get back to the scene of the crime...

...yellow sleeves is being cuffed.

After every good street fight, you have to find some peeps that weren't there and give them the play-by-play:

Jamie gets a shoulder rub from Shawna as he orates his version to Julie O
and screenwriter/panelist Joe Conway. Murray reconsiders his involvement.

Reece tells his version. Murray must have liked it.

More hi-jinx from Awestin to Part 3.