Monday, June 19, 2017

Why are we so much less than them?

How did we ever get here?

Once we realized that higher education was as important as basic (K-12) education, once we realized that not all could achieve higher education, that perhaps not all even should, and that it should be paid for not by all but by only those few well off enough who could afford it (or with great sacrifice, might be able to), for those who could suffer for it to happen when others had to suffer nothing for it, then we most definitely started that long decline back to being less than we had once become, once we had realized just how important education for all really is.

You got that, right? Because if you didn't, read on. If you did, already know what I'm going to say. Right?

Those who could afford higher education, and even many of those who couldn't, started into the mindset of wanting more for their child than they had or their parents. It began their striving to find the money to get them into the best schools possible in order to eventually get into a college or university at all, or to gain entrance to the best of those possible.

That...led to a disparity and a gap opened. A gap we see daily in misunderstandings of government and politics of what is real and unreal or fake, of who the "enemy" is, and what is the best interests of each and every individual person. A situation that has mired us in nonsense and given our for profit news a platform for confusion and raking in money. All based on our ignorance and our desire to be more knowledgeable and wise than many of us are.

Once that mindset became ubiquitous or nearly so, that gap widened. As the financial disparity grew between the wealthy and the poor, between the middle class and either of those others, the belief that we had individually a need to find a way for our children to attain higher education, rather than everyone attaining it, then the situation grew ever more ominous.

Until finally we find ourselves here and now. With a situation where we wonder, just how did we get here?

People started to seek out the best of charter schools, rather than supported public schools. "Remove my child from public school so they get a "good" education at a "good" school," became the mindset of far too many.

We need to support public schools so that they are the best schools. We need to make them all free, so we can enhance the intelligence of the American citizen, be they rich or poor. This is not about who can earn and should deserve education, but about our country, bettering itself.

This is not socialism as the rich suffer upon us to keep those down, remaining down. It in fact sounds very familiar to the old Tom Crow laws to keep ex slaves down. It is something that has not gone away but become inculcated into mainstream society and government.

We have dumbed down our citizens. Which is sad as with the media and Internet situation, the easy access (for most) to knowledge and shared ideas, we should be the most intelligent country on the planet. And yet, we are not and we are continuing to slip down the ladder of education.

We should not be so much less than them, than those with money, without concerns about where the next month's rent, electricity, food or even water will come from. Where can there even be a consideration in that situation for a child's education?

There cannot. But that seems to matter nothing whatsoever to those who "have", for whatever reasons. Reasons of being born into a wealthy or well off family. Reasons of being extraordinary in mind. But we need to raise up not just the special, because of money or intellect. We need to raise up all our citizens. We are all Americans in this country, not just the select few. Selected by family wealth, or luck or destiny.

Just as was discovered when we made K-12 grades free, free and compulsory because it affected not just citizens individually but the nation as a whole, we now need to make them good again. And because of advancing technologies and a world evolving out of the industrial age, higher education beyond those basic levels needs to be made as free and available to everyone. Not because it is easy, but because, as Pres. Kennedy said, it is hard.

And it is the right thing to do.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Divorcing America from America

Okay, this should be interesting....

It's being said that America is in a divorce mentality. Americans don't like Americans who hold different beliefs anymore. We can't seem to just agree to disagree and continue to be productive. One side is loathing the other. How exactly did that happen?

Partisan and for profit news, instant media, Internet, too much information finally coming out about the "other" side, and so on. Also, power plays, big money, greed and ignorance. Ignorance in the face of so much information people can't absorb it all or tell reality from lies any longer.

Progressives react against the extremes of ridiculous religious mentalities, conservative extremism, Republican fiscal ridiculousness, and so on.

Conservatives react against that response to them because they do not see themselves as defective in beliefs or actions. They are sick of being ignored. Even though so many of their beliefs should be ignored, or better, massaged into non existence and a better more useful way of viewing the world. While they mean well, they wonder why they are they held in such disdain? And so they react equally against that.

We're all equal, or supposed to be, so why do they not feel equal? First of all, if you hold a foolish view, you have set yourself up for that in the first place. And there are some progressives who do go too far into utter ridiculousness. But not overall.

If we need to follow one group or the other, regression and fear int he conservative mentality surely isn't the path to better living. A shark, as they say regarding a relationship, always needs to move forward, or it dies. Just like a country. Conservatives want to be that shark that refuses to move.

Progressives need not to loathe their "spouses" in the other side, but see them as the ignorant, dysfunctional, damaged goods stuck in ancient ways in this marriage they are joined to in perpetuity. The need not to hate their partners, but love them and exhibit understanding. Manage the relationship somehow into functionality. They obviously are moving too fast for conservatives who in their best of times, fear reality and the future, change and new and novel things.

Those on that other conservative side need also in a way, to do the same. Only they also really need to begin that long uphill road in seeing how they are viewing things... incorrectly. How they are steeped in unfounded and unsustainable realities as we move forward into a future that will not put up with their beliefs any longer without killing and damaging the planet and multiple economies.

Yes, I clearly see where that is all a contradiction, an unequal playing field, how each side sees the other as being wrong. Where one side is wrong to a degree, but the other side is wrong to a much larger degree. We need to be moving INTO THE FUTURE, not BACK INTO THE PAST. Not back to dysfunctional antiquity.

Bring back the coal industry? What the hell is wrong with your mind? Nothing? So it's just all about politics and money, greed and clutching unto death, old ways designed for a long past lifestyle? Oh, I see....

The bottom line is this, either way we need to get along and move forward, no matter how much conservatives keep wishing to weigh humanity down into a sticky pit of smelly old ways and sad, dysfunctional beliefs.

And yes. We need to keep this marriage working. Even if one side is delusional and unbalanced.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Did I hear you correctly? Did I try?

The person trying to communicate something has to listen harder than the person they are trying to communicate to. - Alan Alda

When you listen, are you just waiting for them to stop so you can talk? Then how much are you really listening? As with two actors on stage, one does not say their lines, once the other's lines are completed. Rather, one speaks their lines in response to the content of what the other's actor's lines were.

I would actually rather say, "...the person they are trying to communicate WITH". I've said for a very long time that communication in discourse is a two way street. In considering talking with another from a foreign country where English is a second language to them, we would do well to understand that even to the person closest to us, there may be a very similar process going on.

We tend to communicate in generalizations that if examined leave much to be desired in the way of clarity and understanding. Some people, confidence types and politicians for example, abuse and make use of this known unknown.

The one imparting information in a communication has to communicate their intention (and information) as they wish it to be understood. Yet they also have to do so in such a way as to best impart that knowledge to the other (for them to assimilate it) in a way (in ways?) where that person is capable of understanding it. And understanding it as much as is possible. As long as they understand the majority of it, or enough of it, then the communication is typically considered successful. Not infrequently however, it is later found that was simply not the case.

Just as well, the one being communicated to needs to actively try to understand not just what is being imparted to them (simply listening), but they also need to try to understand what the person communicating them them is attempting to communicate. This can be done by viewing the information coming in on a variety of levels and encompassing various degrees of specificity and generalities. Some of this is done invisible without thinking. However not always and not with as good a degree of understanding as is frequently required.

The point being... in simply telling what you have to say to someone, in their simply listening what someone is saying to someone, in the one imparting what they understand in a baseline format where the information is wholly contained within the information, it disregards how another is able to decode and associate that information in such a way that they are not only getting the baselines information, but also the intent and scope of what the person is trying to share.

Sounds like an overly complicated way of expressing a very simple concept.
Yet, in observing people's communication and listening skills, and at times the result of that communication, it is in no way simple. Otherwise we wouldn't have so many misunderstandings where so much of the time even in discourse where it is "understood" that it was understood by both, it frequently is not in both reflection and examination.

So. Go communicate. :)

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Criminal President - Donald J Trump

Trump tweet: Wow, Comey is a leakier.
America: Wow, very believable former FBI director says Trump is a liar and potentially abusing his power as president into potential obstruction of justice and fired the FBI Director to stop an investigation into Trump. By the way, Comey didn't leak.

These weren't classified documents by any sense of the term. he disseminated, in part because of Trump's disparaging tweets. Another example that Trump tweeting is working against him and typically America, although in this case anyway, it worked for America in inspiring Comey to share information we needed to know. Why? Because others at Comey's level, have apparently followed Trump's request to slow down or stop this investigation as we say the day before Comey testified.

Trump: Comey vindicated me!
America: Really? THAT's what you got out of that?

Did Trump direct Comey to drop an investigation? Not exactly. He did not directly say or request that. But really?

Have you really NEVER watched a movie about how criminals, or organized crime, the mob, la cosa nostra works?

Or a disreputable president in say, House of Cards.

Only the most stupid and characterized versions of these criminal types actually says what they mean, for purposes of plausible dependability and the potential for the meeting being taped or recorded by the authorities. Which Trump said was "taped" though no one tapes anymore, they digitally record. Which I doubt because true criminals don't want their meetings recorded as it will be used against them so I'd be stunned to find there are "tapes" or recordings, which would I'm sure, vindicate not Trump, but Comey.

By the way, why ARE we seeing so many leaks from the Trump administration? I'll tell you. People are afraid for America and they dislike a criminal in the white house, Some of us truly despise the Office of President being tarnished so badly and so often.

The connections between Trump's people and Putin and Russia are a consistently bad taste in the mouth of Lady Justice. Russia is the largest organized crime nation state on the entire planet. Trump loves them.

And why is Trump the only one not concerned about Russia hacking America and American elections? Even going so far as to deflect in having said it could have been anyone else? A claim Putin even picked up on recently. All when we clearly know it's not and that Russia directed the hacks themselves, all the way up to Putin. Don't believe that man when he says he doesn't know what is going on in his administration. Russia, is not America.

Let's face it, Trump is a "criminal".

Someone my mother would have called, "a real louse". One who although he is not technically a criminal, it is only because he is used to bullying people through his position, power and money. He is one who uses lawyers and the courts (and politicians) like weapons against the innocent. He is one who abuses people he hires and then refuses payment as in one case and I'm sure many, many more, Trump claimed the contractor did bad work... then tried to rehire him.

If Trump were an average person like you or me, he'd have been jailed years ago merely because like us, he would have had a lack of funds to bribe and over burden the court system until he won or more typically until his opponents simply went bankrupt in our too heavily weighted toward the wealthy judicial system.

So. Who does one believe? A man we all know lies, or a man who has consistently been if not perfect, perfectly rational and forthright? Unlike potentially our worst president in history.

Who are we going to believe? An actual criminal in Trump? Or an ex Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation?

We are giving President Trump a multi billion dollar education on the constitution.

From this president on,how about let's only elect those who are already educated on the constitution (and decency) on their own time, because they give a damn about it, and us. And not just acquiring and abusing even more power and money,and being so focused on self aggrandizement while continually inflating an already massively inflated ego and bank accounts.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Cowardly Islamic Terrorist's Final Religion War

Yet another attack this past weekend by yet more alleged religious mental defects, murderers and criminals in London. Wishing all the best to those in London who have been killed, harmed, frightened or who have to repeatedly put up with the assholes who think their victim mentality, their need for relevancy through foolish banal religious mindsets, through the sick theistic belief system of fools, cretins and underachievers gives them any kind of license whatsoever to do harm to others.

First off, Islamic terrorists are cowards, pure and simple. Sort of, Not so much perhaps in many of their physical actions in combat or even suicidal actions, but most assuredly in their inability to be a part of human society and achieve change through means that do not harm or destroy others. Especially those innocents and members of their own religion.

However, suicide murder can also be considered a cowardly act in that once one disregard one's death in the event, there is clearly then no need, no strife, no efforts, no thoughts needed in achieving the difficult issues of evoking a movement through slower and more acceptable forms of political and social changes.

In that, they are pure cowards, lazy, stupid even and all those other things Republicans tend to label the poor and non Republican types with.

Is this going to be how the final global Religion War to end all religious wars begins? It may not start today, or next week, next year, or even ten years from now. But someone will one day have to ask, is today where it all started?

Will it end religions around the planet finally evolving us into the future? Finally? Actually one could call this the Reality Wars, except it's not a war against reality, it's a war against unreality. We have to start seeing the real world how it really is and not through a filter of unreality in religious thought and those who have taken that to their secular way of thinking. Yes, it's a hot mess.

Not these vastly silly Middle Eastern desert religions eschatological end of times crap. But the actual end to the childish religious beliefs that have infected this planet since we first pulled ourselves out of the muck and the slime, looked up at the sun in the sky and began to worship it's power and majesty out of fear. Because religion was indeed bread from fear of an ignorant and ancient people. One that I would submit, began before we could think clearly, through out ignorance and fear of things like darkness and being within the food chain, and not at the top of it for a very, very long time.

After all, how could religions not evolve in that environment?

Religious Wars that begin from what will start merely as a lash out at religiously spawned murderers? Then when all religious and religious, especially Islamic followers and leader do not stand up and take action in order to support their reasons to exist outside of realms of science, of facts, of objective reality, then finally the rest of the world in all it's rationalist and atheists, then in one religion against another, those who can finally simply no longer take it anymore, attack the fantasy cults of Islamic terrorists and other religions not their own, as we then all devolve into utter and murderous insanity?

Before that happens w all need Islam, as well as all religious believers and leaders in general to express an ever viral allergic reaction to their way of thinking in any of those cultures who might be leaning in the directions of fantasy beliefs systems and especially the death oriented religions such as the Middle Eastern Death cults of Judaism, Catholicism and Christianity and Islam.

Is this the beginning of the end of all religions worldwide? Do we really want to take these immature belief systems into the stars with us? Is this why no extraterrestrials want to visit this planet because religion in their minds is simply too childish, too dangerous a belief system to allow contact with or to allow to expand into the cosmos?

Getting back to the hard facts, do we allow religions to continue, to allow these sick cults like Islamic terrorism to continue to fester and grow like a mold on our minds around the world? Are we seeing the beginning of how religion on planet Earth, ends?

Humans have a basic sense of OCD, of Obsessive Compulsivity which when it gets out of control turns into a disorder. We see it time and against in systems and processes that break down in human culture and business. In believing things like religion, we give a nod and a smile to the potential for some very bad things to happen.

Humans will turn anything into a religion, merely by their OCD leanings of turning anything into a religion, into a ridiculous belief system that goes beyond rationality to the ethereal. Our desire to believe that if a little of something is good or great, then much much more is fantastic when in reality is is typically death, pure and simple.

Even one of our greatest forms of thought like Buddhism, which is not and should never have been a religion has, by those raised in many of those Buddhist cultures, striven to turn it too into a religion. We have done this with sex, with money and economies. With just about anything if you give us a chance.

Even calling it in the western sense, Buddhism, rather than Dharma, is in a sense trying to turn it into something it's not, merely out of our ignorance of what it was originally meant to be. And even some of that original thought on it from the first Buddha was out of some degree of ignorance which with time and knowledge we could have honed to a sharp basis of reality and betterment and yet, has been turned into a religion.

What is Buddhism?

The name Buddhism comes from the word 'budhi' which means 'to wake up' and thus Buddhism is the philosophy of awakening. This philosophy has its origins in the experience of the man Siddhata Gotama, known as the Buddha, who was himself awakened at the age of 35. Buddhism is now 2,500 years old and has about 300 million followers world-wide. Until a hundred years ago, Buddhism was mainly an Asian philosophy but increasingly it is gaining adherents in Europe and America.

So Buddhism is just a philosophy?

The word philosophy comes from two words 'philo' which means 'love' and 'sophia' which means 'wisdom'. So philosophy is the love of wisdom or love and wisdom, both meanings describing Buddhism perfectly. Buddhism teaches that we should try to develop our intellectual capacity to the fullest so that we can understand clearly. It also teaches us to develop love and kindness so that we can be like a true friend to all beings. Thus Buddhism is a philosophy but not just a philosophy. It is the supreme philosophy.
From Buddhanet

The argument about how great religions are, have been countered by how horrifying they have at times been. It's not just all about finding the disaffected, but in finding the veins of cancer in these communities, in their advocates and religions, in the religious and the criminal leaders overall, and in religions themselves.

How do you justify the criminals who run mega churches and do not do what their religions teach? How do you justify the slut shaming , gender shaming, and other types of shaming by religions and their religious against their own for merely having a human nature? One their are taught to hate, to hate the basics of being human.

Eliminating these religious terrorists is not just about eliminating these terrorists, but in eliminating the hold religions have in a growing force of unreality and in eliminating these religions themselves. We have to divest ourselves of religions before we can grow beyond this nonsense.

As we have seen the only way religions are any good is when they are diluted, when much of what their tenets teach are ignored, when humans, pick and choose what is best to believe in what their religion has taught since the beginning. The basis, the foundation, the history of which is so typically ridiculous.

When are we going to grow up and see clearly what the problem is here, and it is not just that of those who take the worst of their religion and run with it, leading to death and destruction. And as in Muslim terrorists, typically the death and destruction of there own?

Wake up and smell the religious mayhem, the theistic sadism, the fantasy idiocy.

We can do so much better. But we need a massive change and real understanding of our nature of that of our universe. But religion certainly is not IT.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Kathy Griffin's Ridiculous Trump Prop Head Shot Outrage

Comedian Kathy Griffin, always known for being outrageous, is being lambasted in the media because of a photo shoot where she holds up the several prop head of notoriously thin skinned, Pres. Donald Trump. Nonsense! Utter nonsense.

It's obviously a statement made to be over the top, to garner attention, to speak out as outrageously against a man who is as outrageous as Kathy and celebrity photographer and director Tyler Shields were in making this statement. She has apologized now, seeming to be very serious about it. But should she be? I'm not so sure.

This is art, it's a prop head, it's a statement. It's being over reacted to. Stop it! For those like Trump (THIS Trump) whining about this, how OLD ARE YOU? This is what you get when you kill education and art in schools. Ignorance. Intolerance. Fear.

What't the big deal?

Is the above true? Because face it, we have to judge Kathy's photo shoot by the actual quality of the man she was denigrating.

I really don't know about this one because although I do think it was going too far, it was ONLY going to far because of Terrorism lately and its obvious connection that is drawn with that.

Still, I've always liked Kathy. And I still do. This only strengthens my feelings for her as a professional. Again, I'm just sad she felt compelled to apologize and give Trump a chance to dwell on what, what a good guy he is and how he didn't deserve this, when he certainly did.

Free speech, right? Remember that? Comics speaking out clearly and politically incorrectly, against the monsters among us. Right?

When you consider how right wing nuts have pushed things since Trump came on the presidential stage, how they HATE being politically correct (unless you disagree with them and how is this not like that?), how it's okay to grab a woman anywhere because of Trump, in the mind of many of his neanderthal supporters, or to simply say whatever you like, whenever you like.

Seriously, get over it Melania (I feel it's abusive to call you Mrs. Trump, perhaps, First Lady Trump?). This is what it's like being married to POTUS. What do you think Michelle Obama went through? And Barack Obama never deserved what Donald has earned in all this. Good to hear now that Kathy is fighting back against what has become Trump bullying.

How some degenerates merely from Trump's lead, have become more blatantly racist, even to the point of actually stabbing people, even killing people, I'm not so sure if this isn't utterly and completely acceptable and appropriate as a statement of protest against a president who truly doesn't deserve his position and has proven already to have damaged this country, its reputation and the stability of an entire planet in forcing the readjustment of alliances away from us.

We SHOULD be outraged. But not at Kathy, surely. It is after all only a statement, not a call to actually kill the president. It's Art. If one can even understand art at even a child's level, that is.

If one drops the consideration of terrorism with this photo shoot, and then simply consider Trump and his own disagreeableness, lying, despicable personality, narcissistic ways, unending grandiose self aggrandizement, and so on and on and on during his campaign and after, in his chumming up to the Russians, to Putin, to the right wing nuts, to crazy evangelist types, and to outright racists and white supremacists.

EXACTLY how is this wrong and not simply an appropriate statement against a miserable human being who somehow pushed the concept of the Peter Principle to its breaking point in becoming President?

Kathy's a comic. This is her job. I wish she didn't feel compelled to apologize frankly. It's no less than Trump deserves because he's a man who can dish it out, but is unable to take it. So not really a "man", in the manly sense.

If I were him, well, I wouldn't have been him, but I also would have simply found a way to be positive about something like this. Instead, he does what he does best. Whine.
Get a couple of brass balls sir, you're the President of the United States of America. If it weren't for humor I seriously don't know how any of us would survive this Trump administration for the next four years.

We're ALL waiting for you to start acting like a rational and well adjusted President. But then, what with the FBI and Congressional investigations, you actually may never get a chance to mature into that role. I look forward to you off the world stage. Perhaps one day living in Moscow?

As for Kathy, all the best, you rock. Keep on keeping on!

Remember, if comics are our national canaries in a coal mine, do go gently in how you handle our canaries. And pay attention. It may be the last thing you do.

Monday, May 29, 2017

About the production of, The Rapping

We are currently deep into pre-production of Last good Nerve Production's short horror film, The Rapping. Originally intended as a three minute short horror film it is currently around ten minutes and will hopefully be completed under fifteen minutes in length.

Originally we had planned to have as our first narrative horror short film be one titled: The Bremerton Mea Culpa. It is a story I first wrote in college, published in Anthology of Evil and was further expanded in my book, Death of heaven.

I have built a tiny universe of my characters. In reading all of my fiction you at times can find characters from one story popping up elsewhere. So I have decided to build on my written fiction now in my produced films whenever possible. I love when I find characters I like in other places than where I expect to find them. Also some of my stories in books are available as short ebooks or audiobooks.

One example is from my story, Poor Lord Ritchie's Answer to a Question He Knever Knew. And yes I researched it, believe it or not back in that character's era there was indeed a Lord Ritchie. He also pops up in the World of Pirates anthology in a story titled, Breaking on Cave Island. It details a piece of Ritchie's life previous to "Poor Lord Ritchie's Answer..." during a time when he was, of all things, a pirate. I am currently also compiling a sequel, Anthology of Evil II, with some of these stories that were in anthologies. I'm hoping to have that out and available sometime this year.

When the World of Pirates anthology publisher offered to include a story of mine, I decided to use a previous character of mine and Lord Ritchie just seemed an obvious one to expand upon. Odd how these things pop up, altering things, heading you into directions you had never seen coming. Up to that point I had never even considered Ritchie might have been a pirate but it does fill out his background and perhaps explain some of his damage in life (you'd have to read the original to see what I mean). And trust me, his life is pretty damaged. But then, tampering with things one shouldn't bother can affect one in those ways.

Expanding on previous works is pretty much the same with my Mea Culpa Document of London story. That one is about a medieval witch hunter and judge. It too will be added to that overarching compendium of my characters as yet another branch of its own storyline.

So when we finally do get to that project after wrapping up The Rapping, it will already have a rich background to draw from. As the screenplay for Mea Culpa was being written, along with considerations of SFX, it grew, if not out of control, then much larger than we had intended for an initial project. A project that should be selected for its simplicity. But then, I always do tend to go full crazy...regardless.

So it was decided to first film a shorter and easier to shoot production. I've also been practicing writing "smaller" for years now. Consider my first screenplay, Ahriman, involved massive special effects and two planets. Good story though. One I may well update and put back out there to be produced. It has elements of Brainstorm, The 13th Floor and other such films.

Looking around at my writings of what to choose from, as these films were initially going to be drawn from my writings, nothing easy or simple was rising to the surface. As we had easy access to a location, a house with a sizable yard and garage where we can shoot literally any time we want, that was in part how the concept for the first film came up and the Garage Tales series was born.

However while discussing all this with fellow producers Nik and Gordon Hayes, we started to consider the attic in the home. The garage for Garage Tales lent itself to a larger concept. While the attic allowed (in my tiny mind anyway) a much smaller consideration somehow. Even though its square footage might just be greater than the garage. But an attic, well, attics have a built in fear factors. It's the unknown, the seldom gone into. The "what in the hell is that creeping around above us?"

It was right there, in the house. The attic, with its built in spookiness factor. Like basements, but different. Basements tend to be used more after all. So from there we developed a smaller conceit and delivery for our first narrative.

We just needed a story. We came up with the concept of a couple in a living room who hear a sound, seek it out and well, things happen. But what sound? Perhaps just a knocking sound, a tapping, sound a rapping. Why did rapping pop into my head?

Because it was Poe, pure and simple. I've  always been a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, since I was a kid. I was a fan as a child of the Roger Corman films and the British Hammer horror films. I immediately realized I had been thinking about Poe's poem, The Raven. Just the first stanza though:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”

And there it was. "The Rapping".

Immediately it was brought up about a conflict with modern Rap music and how it can be confused with that. But that is really just a double entendre. How is that a bad thing, at least in this case? Besides been there before. "JZ" Murdock, right? Not my fault and I'm older than Jay-Z after all.

Originally I was just thinking as executive producer and as screenwriter and editor, of using only the first stanza. But as the project developed I realized I needed to read the entire poem again and consider it in its entirety.

Which made me realize that it is really about grief and a lost love. Not a direction we were headed in. We had built this story with the love, the significant other, right there. The "love" was named Poppet, not Lenore as in the poem. I realized we needed a rewrite. The screenplay had already had some major changes made to it by then but this was much bigger.

I had to rethink that. In fact it stopped me dead in my rewrite. I also had to submit the paperwork to SAG\AFTRA (more about that later). To submit to them as an Indie signatory, I have a few documents to submit. One of which is the screenplay itself. As we now have a SAG\AFTRA actor (more about that later, too), we have to go this route if we wish to use her. The documents we have to initially submit to get the ball rolling are:

-Pre-Production Cast List
-Line-Item Budget
-Copy of the Screenplay (Treatments/Outlines are acceptable for non-scripted projects.)
-Signatory Verification
 Copy of Personal Photo ID (If signing as an Individual)
 Formation Documents (If signing as a Corporation, LLC, etc.)

So I had to have a good version of the screenplay to submit. I already have all the documents signed by the actors. But I was jammed up as there was now a reversal to my (our) original concept. As we have been realizing through this entire project and development, every stoppage like this has led us to a better project.

I took some time off and thought about it over a few days, all the while having it bouncing around in the back of my mind. I took my Harley out for a ride around Port Orchard, which was quite beautiful and a great repast after too many months of cold and rain.

Eventually I got back to it. Sitting down one day with Nik, I told him my problem and we discussed the storyline. It just all started to fall into place. Feeling rejuvenated, I began again to rewrite the screenplay. This time I got it done in one quick sitting. I now have a screenplay I can use to submit all these docs with. As I'm writing this the day before this blog is published, I just need to go over it one more time today and submit it.

Backing up... what have been the issues we've had that kept stopping us? We have brand new equipment, new software for editing the shots, and we've never done a narrative film, just documentary. So we have the experience of building a film, just not a narrative, and one with FX.

The story is of an entity that invades a home and affects the inhabitants. But what kind of an entity is it? Alien, specter (ghost, interdimensional being), demon, military invention, technological horror? What? Is the, are the invaded crazy, on drugs? This is all reflected in the opening establishing shots around Bremerton leading to the home.

Backing up again... Starting on a Friday, I was at the Port Orchard Dragonfly Cinema Film Festival. I had so much fun and got to be in another Kelly Hughes (Leprechaun Productions) horror film. Alison Arngrim (Nellie Oleson in Little House on the Prairie) was also in that film. Last year she had "murdered" me in another Hughes' production. So I knew her a little. I got to hang with Kelly and helped him with Alison over the weekend.

At some point it occurred to me to ask her if she'd like to be involved in our project. But how? She was busy and leaving on Sunday to speak to legislators in Sacramento on Monday. I couldn't let this opportunity pass us by. At the beginning of the film there is a place where the words of the first stanza of The Raven are superimposed on the screen. After a while I'd thought to have someone read those words rather that put them on the screen.

We'd found in a friend of Nik's and mine, Tom Remick, that he used to be a professional announcer. The fix for these words on the screen was obvious. But then Alison came into the scene and this was the obvious and a reasonable possibility of how to get her in the film. As a narrator of the poem I simply couldn't turn down this opportunity. And what actor wouldn't want to be involved in a Poe project?

So I asked her and she was happy to be a part of our project. She said when she was a child she had her mother read Poe to her before bed. Perfect! I spoke with Tom and he was happy to be a team player and understand the importance of having someone like Alison on the project. This led me to consider how to keep Tom on the project. Again it enhanced our project.

Thoughts were that he could do an underlying deeper voice to enhance the oddity of Alison's voice, or have him do some voice work at various places as an audio FX. Or perhaps have Tom read the stanza again at the end of the film. Perhaps having Alison's voice underly his at the end in a reversal of the opening lines. Having text read again at the end as well as the beginning of a film has been done many times before. Reading text at the beginning that when reread at the end, has an enhanced meaning by that point to the audience.

This past weekend I submitted the documents to SAG\AFTRA and have therefore begun the process of becoming a SAG\AFTRA signatory and actually being able to use Alison on this project. It's been a vastly educational project for all of us so far. Not Alison really, as she already has vastly more experience in film than all of us put together do, having started in TV\film back in the late 1960s.

We have now set the official start of the project for early July and need only to submit to SAG\AFTRA. This has already been a rich and rewarding experience.

And I only see more coming. I'll keep you apprised.