Sunday, May 29, 2011


We had our first day of shooting for the Starpoint mountain videos on Saturday, May 28th. I took Friday off of work to make sure I had everything ready to go and storyboard a few scenes. I had one part of the costume to finish and found out to late that I didn't have anymore fasteners. I thought about going to Wal-Mart that night to get some more but decided against it. I was up by 6:30am Saturday and left the house about 7:30. It was gray and rainy and didn't look to good but I was still in high spirits. Some famous projects got rained on their first day so I wasn't going to let it stop us.
Did some location spotting in Iowa City. I've been trying to find some tunnels to shoot in but no luck. I did find a really good spot by the Iowa River to go to when we need it. Wal-Mart didn't have the fasteners, lucky I didn't go over Friday night, so I had to wait until Hobby Lobby opened at 9:00. I got them and was at PATV about 15 minutes late.
Per and I did some planning while I put the fasteners on the armor. Suzy called and was on her way, she'd been putting some curls in her hair, when Al showed up. We made our plan for the day and did a final costume fitting on Suzy then headed out to a farm a few miles north of Iowa City.
The farm we went to was great and we were joined by Josh, our camera man, and Al's friend who owned the farm. It was sprinkling lightly but the camera was really top notch so were were still able to film. We shot a few tracking shots of Suzy first. One of them was her walking along a path of dead trees directly to the camera and then attacking it with her sword. I walked along with her out of frame giving her some direction as we went. I had written this short promo with Gallif talking about all that she has lost and wondering why she survived through everything. It looked nto the woods to shoot a combat scene. It involved Gallif going through the woods and knowing she's being followed. The bandit attacks and stabs her in the shoulder, she spins and drops him than kills him. I had it story boarded and we shot it as is plus a few extra shots. I was open to lots of different ideas and Josh, the camera man, came up with a few suggestions and we tried a few handheld shots.
I had Al playing the bandit cause he is very tall and I thought he would look menacing attacking Suzy. Originally, after she downed him, I had her moving the hood off his face with the sword. We were shooting that and Al suddenly moved so the sword tipped nicked his chin. OUCH. Suzy felt bad but Al took it pretty good. It didn't bleed, just a bruise as if he'd been shaving, so there wasn't anything to worry about.
We shot one scene, after she kills bandit, where she is looking around and holding the blood drenched sword in front of her. It looked fantastic. Suzy really made that character come alive at that moment. It gave her a lot of depth and was clear that she didn't like having to kill. We improvised a scene then of her cleaning the sword and walking away. It was a very solemn shot and as she went all you could hear was the branches snapping as she went past. We weren't planning on doing any sound recording and didn't take a boom mic with us but I hope the camera's mic was picking it up.
We finished up for the day, soaking wet but feeling great after that. I was ready to keep going but Al was against that so I took his advice. We did find a spot for the next shooting, a combat scene with skeletons. It would be heavy FX scene and it would be best to do it on a day with lots of sunlight.
Drove back to PATV with Suzy and she was really excited about the day. I was glad she felt good and was ready to keep going and shoot again.
I gave her some of the script that I've written and asked her to see of her sister would play one of the three parts. There was a woman working on Al's video and he is going to see if she would take on the third. I really think the three of them together would work great.
Per and I did about an hour of planning after that and I made a rough schedule of the rest of the shoot aiming for one, maybe two days a month. I want to make it as easy as possible on everybody. I'm keeping in mind that they are all volunteering on this project. The target date for finishing it is August.

Finalize Costume
Combat Scene 1 (EXT)
Finalize Script
Finalize Cast
Combat Scene 2 (skeletons) (EXT)
Tunnel Scene (night?) (EXT)
Set Design
Scenes (EXT & INT)
Shooting (2 days?) (INT)
Pick ups (EXT & INT)


I finished all of the subplots and character arcs and just have two more scenes to write. My goal was to be finished by June 1st and I'll definitely make that.

I have to admit I'm kind of glad it'll be finished. Don't get me wrong, I'm very proud of it and there is some really good stuff in there. I like the characters, I think they are all unique with their own personalities. I think the horror element of it is creepy and something I've never seen before.
The thing is I'm finding it really difficult to work on two drastically different books at the same time. It was okay when I was doing the first draft of book 4 in Starpoint and the second draft of book 3 at the same time. It was just when I started Welcome to Nowhere that I ran in to trouble. They were two different everything. I approached them differently, the tone was different, the canvas was different and it was hard to focus on one. The result is, when I finish this week, I will have the first drafts of three different novels and twenty three short stories all written by hand. One of them is about halfway through a second draft. It's not really productive so I'm going to stop writing new stuff for a while and just concentrate on the rewrites.
It's not like I don't have any ideas coming. Lots of things are really wanting to be written. I've been toying with the idea of "OK, So Maybe Heaven Can't Wait" for a long time. "November Girl" just came together and I desperately want to write it. I'm just going to have to keep them on the back burner a while.


This was a good week writing. It's winding up for the finale and lots of the threads are coming together a lot better then I expected. My goal is to be finished by the end of May so I've got 9 days left.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


For almost a year now I've been trying to put together some video promotions for the Starpoint books. It was a lot harder than I expected to find an actress, some just weren't the part and some got a bit flaky on me. per and I were both at Icon and thought Susanna Myers, who was the lead in the opening sketch, was fantastic and had the talent to handle the part. We approached her and spent some time talking to her and convinced her to join us. I made a costume especially for her and I'm really proud of it.
I've been doing some work helping my friend Al do a science fiction video at PATV in Iowa City. I've done enough there that they said I could do my own so I've been working to organize some shooting. My friend Per has always been a part of it and I'm really excited about that. Al also jumped on the bandwagon and has a lot more experience and connect ions so it's really picked up speed. We met last Saturday to do some test shots and planning.
The idea we have is to shoot it in two phases. We'll take a day and shoot exterior footage and of various shots in locations around Iowa City. There is a spot I found along the river we can use and there is a stone wall near campus. Al is going to check out some locations at a park this week.
The second phase will be in studio scenes with a few characters in a script I'm working on. The script is a real trick. I t has to be able to stand alone so a viewer who knows absolutely nothing about the books could understand it and has to be intriguing enough that they'll want to read them. That'll be the hard part but I think I have a really good idea for a story that would take place before the books.
I'm including the picture below even t hough it's blurry but it gives a good idea of Susanna's hair. It is naturally reddish but she highlighted it a bit for the vid s. She is GREAT!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


Had another week with lots of distractions from real life. Got three pages done. Actually started to think about what I'll write next but not really sure. Part of me says I should stop for a while and concentrate on getting the ones that are done typed up and published.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I hit a techno-babble stage this week. I've made it this long without really needing to explain how this universe works but now it's become important and has to come out. I made a note to add more of that early on during the rewrite. It's funny how it kind of takes off. It started with: "The energy collected by the solar sails was transferred through gold and silver filters into a series of magnetic bottles." It went from there to "copper covered hexagonal plates" and finally "Lower tanibad band radiation and high scale trucer radiation on the secondary scale."

It's not just bologna, it's Super Balogna!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


A lot better week this week. Got a lot more done and things are flowing nicely. I'm thinking it'll be done by the end of May.