Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Look Back at October, part 2

Traveling over the last few weeks I’ve discovered a brand new pet peeve. This is something that has always irritated me, but it’s become an obsessive hatred lately: Automatic restrooms. Toilets that flush automatically, sinks that come on if you wave your hands, paper towels that dispense if you wave your hands. No levers, no handles. And, usually, no results. When was it determined that the average restroom visitor doesn’t possess the same co-ordination as a hamster? Hamsters are frequently rewarded with food pellets if they push a lever. Yet we must rely on the toilet noticing that we’ve left before it will flush. And these toilets rarely pay attention. Once upon a time, there was a tiny black button on the wall you could push to remind the toilet of its function. These, too, have disappeared via some restroom evolution. I’m told it’s more sanitary. That visitors rarely flush or wash anyway. That it’s more economical. Whatever. All I know is I go into any public restroom and I’m waving and swaying and doing everything but what I actually came in to do. (And nothing responds, of course, causing my neuroses to make me feel like I don’t have a soul.) Why do I have to succumb to St. Vitus Dance just to get a bathroom to recognize that I’m there?

…Anyway… While Rock ‘n Shock didn’t put us into a new tax bracket, it did provide us with some brand new and valuable contacts. We came back with new assignments, prospective opportunities, and a couple of new friends. So the magic triangle of shows remains:



As long as you get two out of three, it should be considered a good show. The magic would be all three, but that’s only been Wasteland so far this year (although Fango Chicago ran a close second…)

Returning home was spent in recovery. It was a long trip and I start to feel long trips long before we even take them these days. I spent the following few days whipping up a “clean” version of Splatter Movie for our world premiere screening at the Hundred Acres Manor. I wanted to have a cut minus the sex and profanity, in case we got families in attendance. At this point, early in the week, we still weren’t sure if we were going to have an outdoor screening or not, so I wanted to have bases covered. The resulting cut was only ten minutes shorter, including an alternate cut of Debbie’s big scene in the film which has a completely different tag in the full-length feature (but this “clean” cut will be available on the DVD). This “clean” cut also has beeped-out swearing, including one scene between Jeff Waltrowski and Bill Hahner that was largely improv’d on set to lampoon the sailor’s mouths most grips have on set. With all the beeps, the dialogue sounds like we’re signaling ships at sea via morse code.

As it turned out, I needn’t have bothered. Since we couldn’t get any of the papers or radio stations to even mention this screening—despite the fact that the Manor advertises in the majority of these outlets—the bulk of our audience was made up of cast and crew and a few really cool supporters (thanks to Dave, Tara, Brittney, the McCrae family, Adam D., Mario, his mom, dad and grandma, and the gentleman we didn’t know for all the back-up!). We screened the film in the private house on the Manor’s property using our cobbled-together equipment, and it turned out to be a nice set-up, despite some technical difficulties. First we used a disk that had some compression issues. So we popped that and started over. Then the extension cord got kicked out of the wall midway through, so that caused an abrupt intermission. I had, of course, forgotten our grip kit, so no tape was on hand (nor was there an extension cord—I needed to borrow that from the Manor folks). Hey, I can’t remember everything, can I? Ah, shaddap.

And despite the uncompletedness of the film—misplaced music cues and sound effects—it seemed to go over real well with everyone. Especially with Eric Molinaris and his effects crew, who I’d suspected would be the harshest judges. But they were thrilled with the way their work had been cut, so I will deem this movie to be a success, though I have a lot of work ahead of me. Still need to re-record the off-screen interview dialogue (which will be done with a special guest voice), matte a couple of “movie-in-the-movie” scenes, finish the foley, prod Jeff into finishing the music, write up a contract for the “Special End Credits Song Donated by a Really Cool and High Profile Artist”, pop in the finished effects shots provided by Patrick Desmond and con Rich Conant into cleaning up the audio for me (including all the scenes where people are walking on gravel and it sounds like I have the microphone submerged in a bowl of cereal). Oddly enough, that’s not a lot of work, though. Just time-consuming.

(On top of that, I’m still working on finishing the final sound mix for The Resurrection Game with Scooter McCrae’s new score. I really want to finish this one and have it out by the end of the year. Trying to track down and interview as many people as possible for a new documentary as well, which will be a bear to complete as I’ll have to transfer hours of old VHS and VHS-C to digital… sigh.)

Our screening at the Manor was followed a few days later by “Amy Lynn Best” day at Scarehouse, run by our good friends Scott and Barb Simmons. Dave Cooper accompanied us to take pictures and Tara Frank provided Amy’s make-up. This was also a fun time, and we actually made more money there than in Boston! Amy was set up right at the head of the line so that people waiting to get into the haunt could look at her pics and DVDs, chat with her, etc. More than a few people got all excited to meet the “Movie Lady”.

I do have to say that Scarehouse is a fantastic haunt. We have a lot of friends acting in this maze of a place and it’s doubly unnerving to have the shadows call out your name as you’re wandering around and already creeped out. My good friends Don Bumgarner and Bill Hahner, both of whom can be seen in Splatter Movie, were chief among the willy-givers (although that does sound dirty, doesn’t it?).

Now, at this point, we hadn’t been home for more than a couple of hours to sleep in over a month. The house is starting to crumble like the ruins of Gormenghast, the dogs don’t recognize us, the cats… well, they’re cats, they don’t care one way or another. The horses are fine—they have 50 acres of grass so they don’t even need us.

It hasn’t been all fun and games, though. Or, really, almost at all. Between the traveling, the working, the movies, the magazine, life keeps banging on our door to remind us that there are other things to attend to.

Our oldest cat, Gypsy, has been having trouble walking and I was convinced we’d have to put him down last week. He got a reprieve from the vet who wanted to run more tests, just to make sure he didn’t actually have anything fatal. Spending the whole day at work waiting to get home and take your cat for a quick euthanasia, then discovering no, not now but maybe later, we’ll see… hell on the nerves.

Add to that stress is my grandmother, who has been having multiple heart attacks at her nursing home in Florida. She’s almost 93, suffers from Alzheimer’s… My mother flew down to be with her, also a nervous wreck.

But does any of that keep us down? Hell no! Because who has the time to be depressed or worried? Not when there are so many exciting and new horrors to surmount on a daily basis!

And more on that later…

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