Okay, let’s just address the pink rhinoceros in the room right off the bat. No sugar coating, here. The biopsy was brutal and the pathology results were alarming to everybody, including the doctors at the Mayo Clinic. Apparently this particular gut goblin is very aggressive. It hasn’t yet metastasized, but it has tipped me right over into the high-risk range with a vengeance. Which means immediate action is called for. I’m still processing most of this information.
Despite still being somewhat gobsmacked, plans have changed dramatically and treatments have already begun. I’ll be on hormones for 18 months, which is going to drastically alter both my mood and my general well-being. Consider yourself warned. I’ll also be undergoing accelerated radiation treatments and a host of other invasive and unpleasant therapies in the coming months. So, lots to look forward to, huh kids?
As much as all that sucks, I don’t think there is anything more heinous than getting a prostate biopsy. Or at least I thought there wasn’t, until my mother-in-law asked, “Have you ever pushed a nine pound baby out through your twat?” Only she didn’t say twat. She wouldn’t. I’m not at all sure what she did say, but that’s what I remember. It doesn’t really matter because the point is, once again, it’s all about perspective.
Even so, I stand firm to my belief that having a harpoon dildo shoved up one’s fundament, so it can take core samples that, when they’re laid out, look like tiny coiled strips of bacon, is exceedingly unpleasant. And undignified. And gross. But not nearly as gross as what happens afterwards. I’ve been asked not to go into those details again, so I won’t. Some of you people are real wimps. Or, as Kim Basinger says it in Cool World, “weeyumps”.
So, maybe instead of talking about the painful injections, the icepack tucked up under my do-dahs, the rosy blush of my urine, or the other stuff that makes me gag, I’ll just talk about something else. Like my movie, which is coming along swimmingly, thank you for asking. These days it’s going by the working title Lady Belladonna’s Tales From The Inferno.
Still playing with whether or not we should drop the Lady Belladonna from the title. I’d rather not, but – judging by the crap I see regularly on Amazon Prime, some with hundreds of glowing reviews – making the title more generic and easy to digest is probably the way to go. Got to appeal to the late night stoners, after all.
Yes, I realize that sounds like pandering. Probably because it IS pandering. Or, as I like to call it, target marketing. I want late night stoners to watch my movies. Or people who can’t sleep. Or John Waters fans. And if dumbing down the title so they’ll come out of their respective hazes long enough to absorb the words “tales” and “inferno,” I’m all in.
But then there’s the branding dilemma. Like Elvira or Rod Serling, Lady Belladonna is the one presenting the stories. Their names always preceded the title. It was part of their branding. If it had one of those names before the title, it meant they had, at least, given the stamp of approval to whatever it is you were going to watch. I don’t think that form of psychological manipulation has really gone out of style. Right Disney and Marvel?
Hm. It’s a conundrum, to be sure. Nothing life shattering, but at least it keeps me from thinking about the fact my ghoulies feel as though they have been accosted by a hoof, or two. And the hormone treatments, which are going to seriously impact my life and my lifestyle. I’ll take the added distraction, thanks. If anybody out there has an opinion one way or the other about the name change, I would love to hear what that might be. It’s not like I’m expecting to be inundated with comments. What are there, three of you out there? But I digress.
Where were we? Oh! The film update, that’s right…
We’ve made the first pass through visual effects – which consists mostly of backgrounds and a few major effects – and notes have been taken. There’s more coming and I can’t wait to see the next pass. My VFX wizard Carlos and I have been huddling together every chance we get to discuss various possibilities. He’s a good kid and very talented. In actuality, he’s raising the bar considerably with some of the stuff he’s creating. I mean, seriously, wait until you see the toads. Brilliant!
Then it will go back to Jorge for sound design. We’re pulling out all the stops for that stage, as well. We’ll be creating our own foley effects and making our version of Hell an aural experience, as well as eye-poppingly visual. Finally, we’ll be employing another CMI graduate, Alfonso Loya, to create an original soundtrack. Yes, I know all this effort is going into what is, essentially, a wrap-around for the five short films in the collection, but we’re taking a great amount of pride in this project and want everything to look and sound great.
As for the films themselves, they’re all pretty special. The contest we held this year yielded a selection that I believe will both entertain and enthrall. That selection includes Family Tradition, a vampire tale by Albuquerque filmmaker Robert Posey; 7 Doors, a metaphysical mindtrip by Los Angeles filmmaker Alex Gianopoulos; Hexit Strategy, a short and sweet cautionary tale for would-be hexers, by El Paso filmmaker Arturo Portillo; Light Signs, the alien invasion short Kent Harkey and I put together a couple years ago and The Inferno, a groovy modern retelling of Dante’s Inferno, by Albuquerque filmmaker Leah Leyva (who auditioned for the role of Lady Belladonna!). A worthy collection for the Dark Lady.
Even better than that, we are currently working on a marketing strategy that will include a micro-cinema tour of select cities along the West Coast sometime this Fall, before the film makes its way to Amazon Prime. We’re hoping for October, but that remains to be seen. We’ll be putting together street teams in Phoenix, San Francisco and Portland, as well as other cities along the way with micro-cinemas willing to host us. This plan is very exciting and though it sounds like it will be a lot of work and probably leave me completely exhausted, it is just what I want, right now. I need to be focused on something substantial, or there’s no way I’m going to make it through this phase of my treatments.
So, you see, though it still feels like I have been sodomized by the flaming sword of Asaruludu (or Beric Dondarrion, for you GOT fanatics out there), and the news from the Citadel is less than stellar, I’m still hanging in there. We’re working hard to make this new movie – whatever it winds up being called – a one-of-a-kind cinematic offering unlike any other. If nothing else, it’ll be better than a sharp stick in the eye. Or a prostate biopsy. Or 18 months of manopause. It’s all about perspective, right?