It has been two and a half years since I directed my last short film. “Blunt Offerings” wrapped on May 26, 2013, and premiered on the Rio Grande Theatre’s big screen for Film Las Cruces on Wednesday, October 9 of the same year. Over two years ago. That’s a long time and I’m not really sure how the time got away from us. We had every intention to shoot more High Life shorts in pretty quick succession. I had three scripts ready to go, including a feature length offering. Unfortunately, once again, life got in the way.
Now, here it is closing in on the end of 2015 and we are in pre-production on another short – not in the High Life series – that will be shot in less than two weeks. Tentatively titled “Perfect,” it will feature my partner Donny, in a role VERY different from the one he played in “The Baking Dead” and “Blunt Offerings.” It will also feature local actors Marissa Bond and Rafael Medina, who I have wanted to work with ever since I saw them perform in LCCT’s production of “The Mousetrap” in early 2013.
This project will also bring some changes, in that I will be working with the crew from PRC Productions, instead of my regular group at LC 52. This doesn’t mean I have given up on Kent, Dustin and the rest of the original happy crew, it’s just a broadening of horizons and a way of staying true to my mission of generating work for local filmmakers. I am, however, very happy to report that my costume diva from “Blunt Offerings” – the inimitable Autumn Gieb, who has become a regular collaborator on all things film and theater-related – will return to work her magic for this new venture.
It may sound like I’ve been working on this project for a while, but in actuality, “Perfect” came together rather quickly, as these things go. The weekend before I attended the New Mexico Film & Media Industry Conference in late October, I came up with an idea for a sweet little serial killer romcom. As is my wont, I sat my ass down and within a few hours composed the first draft of a completed screenplay. That would have been about five weeks ago. The weekend before Halloween.
It was during the first night of the conference that the subject came up, while at dinner with PRC Productions’ Troy Scoughton Sr. and Troy Scoughton Jr. As has become something of a ritual for us, we were affably tossing out concepts and spec ideas for future film projects, when I mentioned the screenplay I had just written. The Troys, wanting to know more, asked for the elevator pitch. That led to a more detailed break down. By the end of the meal, Troy Jr. had decided he wanted this screenplay to be his next project at PRC.
As this is one of 9 short film scripts I have composed in the past year – mainly as oblations for my filmmaker friends, so they have something to shoot – I was delighted that he was interested. I hadn’t really intended to direct, but that was an unspoken factor in his proposal and, before I knew it, the die was cast. I accepted and, upon returning to Las Cruces from Albuquerque, began pulling together a plan to make it happen.
As a result, the last four weeks have been something of a blur. Somehow, between marketing assignments, concert promotions, distribution meetings and continued preparations for the launch of Borderlands Media in the coming year, I found time to rewrite “Perfect” two or three times, assemble a cast and key members of my crew, scout a location and finalize a shooting date before the end of the year. Quite a feat, but I admit I couldn’t have accomplished it without the help of young Troy.
So, here we are. I’m about to shoot another short film after two and a half years. Even better, this short has been earmarked for inclusion in the first of what we hope will be several anthology feature films, penned by yours truly and planned for 2016. More on that is coming, but I don’t like to talk about projects until they are de facto ventures. That one I believe will definitely happen, but I have to be careful. Don’t wanna jinx it, y’know…
Thing is, so taken is BLM’s CEO, the elder Scoughton, with the concept of the anthology and the progress we have made on it (oh, yeah, I’ve been working on THAT, too…), he brainstormed a contest for local filmmakers in order to help generate more films for inclusion in the model. The Borderlands Media “Sins Of Man” Short Film Contest launched officially on Black Friday and has created a lot of very positive buzz, which makes me VERY happy. I should add the caveat here that, because we are part of PRC and Borderlands Media, Troy and I will not take part in the contest and, thus, are not eligible for the cash prize.
We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us, especially in the next two weeks: Prop shopping, costume fittings, make-up tests, rehearsals and all the other things that go along with pre-production. We shoot on Saturday, December 19th. Which means, by the time the holidays kick into high gear, we should have it in the can. With luck, by the start of the new year, we will have it edited and in post production.
I should also mention that I’ve got a big role in a student film that will be shooting this week and I am helping produce another student film that will be shot in the coming year. Which should keep me very busy and, as luck would have it, very nicely wraps up my one true resolution for 2015: Focus on Film. I have to admit, it’s a peachy way to close out what has been a very turbulent, yet ultimately rewarding, year. I’ll leave the details of that to a post-year wrap up at a later date. Right now, I’ve got work to do…