Thursday, January 28, 2010

Maybe Selecting Team #13 Wasn't Such a Good Idea

Ask any mathematician, and he'll tell you there is no true randomness in the Universe. You can also ask a chaotician, but you might get a different response, as is the nature of chaos. A statistician will probably tell you that all probabilities are 50%. Either something will happen, or it won't. In any case, I actually chose to be Team #13 in this year's edition of The 168 Project.

Why would I do such a thing? And how'd I get to choose? Usually, numbers are assigned in the order entries are confirmed. However, as you know, I came into this process a touch late this year, as originally, I was going to take a year off, and maybe simply act. As in, "I'm not an actor, I just play one on TV..." Of course, no one has seen those performances, as they predate YouTube. They aren't even in the IMDb.

Therefore, there were already 12 teams signed up when I did, thinking I'd get #13 anyway. Moments later, I receive an email back stating that I was team #14. Thinking quickly, I called the 168 Office, and asked why I didn't get #13, and Karen was very accommodating, and switched the two numbers, as she hadn't sent out the other confirmation yet. Thinking back, this may have been when all the trouble started.

I've never been triskaidekaphobic, however, I've had bad luck ever since. I can't seem to get any traction on the fundraising (button in upper right), the actress that got me involved in the first place is no longer available, and I've been evicted from my apartment, just to name a few of the highlights, or lowlights in this case, of the last few months. I'm pretty sure that part of the whole "Hearing God" thing is to listen. I've been faithful, and before you go there, this isn't a "Why Me?" thing. I firmly believe He wants me to make a 168 film this year, simply because all the elements are coming together, although, much slower than in years previous, and I'll probably update my crew needs later in another post.

I also believe that it may be time to move out of this growing ever smaller apartment, and God may be telling me to do that, too. So, what brought on this latest rant? After all, I thought the planets, and even the full moon, were aligning this year so that I may have the complete and perfect 168 experience that I've always wanted. My kids get the production week off from school, therefore, the car, and even my family is available to perform in my film, if necessary. And that's the problem. The kids don't want to, and will probably get together with their friends during that week, and furthermore, there are movies coming out that normally we'd see together, however, I'll be making a film. Oh, sure, my wife will star, however, she may also be otherwise occupied with taking my alleged kids to the previous aforementioned films.

So, what should we conclude? If you, my almost 4000 followers on Twitter can afford to donate a dollar each, that would be cool. If you think I'm crazy, which is quite likely, let me know. What I can tell you is this: My StarMeter is up 335% this week. But remember, or maybe I should. It's not about me.

Adjust your expectations accordingly.

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.

Please, Retweet.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Advice for #168Project Producers...

"Praying Hands" (study for an Apostl...Image via Wikipedia

Now, I don't know if that hashtag will even work, as I'm not necessarily fluent in all things Twitterfeed, however, some of you may have seen my latest status update, "I survived The 168 Project Amoeba Mixer!!!", and might need a short or rather a long, explanation.

Roughly 60 to 70 of us fill the main sanctuary of Media City Church, in two circles. We spend roughly two minutes exchanging wants and needs and prayer requests, (one person even prayed with me, thanks Wendy!) and then the outer circle moves one person to the left, or clockwise for the right-handed people, then wash, rinse, repeat. This year, there was even time for the outer circle and the inner circle to form their own outer and inner circles. Again, wash, rinse, repeat.

The goal of these things is to network, as opposed to working your net, specifically to fill any holes in your team. Of course, The Law!!! kicked in, and mostly other producers were there that I met and spoke with, looking for the same people I was. The deal I made with them, is I'll pray for them, and asked they pray for me. Now, I'm holding up my end, but this isn't about me, as previously discussed.

Some of the 1st time producers asked me for advice, as this is the 3rd year in a row that I've taken the plunge, and I co-produced th 2005 Best Picture winner, A Temp for All Seasons. I really need a break from this thing :) However, I don't consider myself an expert by any means on what it takes to make a successful 168 Project film.

I did however, come up with an answer.

Don't have a preconceived notion of what your film is going to be. Verse selection is next week, Feb. 2nd, for the local teams. We already know the theme, "Hearing God." But beyond that, you can't absolutely know what your film is going to be about, until you get your verse. The verse will come from the theme, and I even had our assistant pastor pick out some verses for me based on this theme.

He quit the next day.

Now, I'm not suggesting that A implies B, far from it. I'm simply stating that even the conversation I had with my writer this year may have broken the rules of the competition. We could get into what is actually considered writing, however, that's probably another post for another time. On quite possibly a different site.

So, to review, prayer, pray, wait for your verse, and pray some more.

Hopefully, I'll be able to take my own advice.

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.

Until it starts raining again.
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Friday, January 22, 2010

The 3 Keys to Comedy

In an effort to get Guy Kawasaki to read this post, I'll put the list above the fold as it were, and in no particular order they are:

  1. Timing.
  2. You have to be funny. And finally
  3. Delivery.
As I just found out I have only 800 words total to qualify this as a blog post, I'll get right to the point, er, points.


Not necessarily the time of day, and maybe even not explainable in print form, however, if you've ever heard someone pause too long before they got to the punchline of the joke they were telling, they probably had bad timing. Or alternatively, maybe they were rushing through the story to get the punchline, laughing along the way. Usually when this happens, no one laughs, and the joke teller in this case says something like, "Maybe you had to be there."

No, we didn't need to be there, you simply needed to tell the story better, and that goes to point 3, which I'll talk about again in a few paragraphs.

Being Funny

There are whole books dedicated to this, my favorite is by Steve AllenHow to Be Funny: Discovering the Comic You style=. This is especially relevant, as most of the routines you're laughing at now on the various late night talk shows were created by him in the first place. At least, for a television audience, as I don't know who did them on radio. At it's base, the joke comes from something you don't expect, like from my old standup routine: "The problem when you work for Christian radio is, you don't work for a boss or a company, you work for God. He doesn't pay that much. And you can't call in sick either, because, God knows where you are...." Now, I could simply type out my entire routine, however, I may cross my 800 word limit, therefore, I'll move on.


I touched on it above, as it is indeed related to timing. However, how you deliver a joke is just as important. Are you composed? Have you told the story before? What was your result? Did people laugh? If not, and you're relaying a joke you heard, maybe you're telling it wrong. Delivering the mail is easy, comedy is hard.

I could leave you with several cliches here, and I've touched on them above. Comedy is a serious business. As Mr. Spock would say, "A joke; A story with a humorous climax?" Most find different things funny, i.e. I don't necessarily like slapstick, however tons of YouTube and videos are dedicated to it, so, someone must be laughing, otherwise, they wouldn't post them. And of course, no one knows who 'they' are. Well, I do.

Why is all this relevant to the 168 Project? Well, I'd like to believe the films I've made in the past were funny or comedic in nature, as I was able to get the laughs I thought I would. And I'll be doing it again, although this time, I'm having someone else write it. If I'm able to translate the above three things he writes onto the big screen, I'll have accomplished my goal.

Still raining in Redondo Beach.

Please, Retweet. And donate, if you haven't already. Thanks!!!
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ok, So I Really Wasn't Asking for a Million Dollars...

Simply because with that amount of money, I could make about 2,000 ten minute short films. Based on a Bible verse, in a week. I might even be able to do it for less, however, I usually budget these things at $5000, and pray. It's worked in the past, and I have no doubt that it will work again. You just have to believe. In my never ending quest to proselytize and pontificate on the bigger picture, I sometimes forget that.

So, to review, money needed, stressed out, please donate. Or, pray. Or tweet. Thanks!!!

Still raining in Redondo Beach.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Coming Downto the Wire

The cross of the "Morro do Pai InĂ¡cio&quo...Image via Wikipedia

And yes, before we start, I know that downto is not one word, it's a leftover computer programming thing, which I was doing three or for lifetimes ago.

I hate that I need money to create my 168 Project film. I could expound on this, however, it's how I feel right now. There should be three benefits to making a donation to me:
  1. Special Thanks credit both on screen and in the IMDb.
  2. Help create a Christian short film. And finally
  3. Get the word out about God.
I once heard that if you're not following The Great Commission, you're doing it wrong, or put simply, do something. This is what I choose to do. This frustration comes from the feeling that I have less money than when I started fundraising this year. At least, it seems like it. Having participated in this ministry for the past three years in a row, as well as in 2005, I know that God will provide the needs of my particular film that will glorify Him. And I know that I picked a bad time to solicit donations, as most have already donated to the various Haiti relief funds.

Later today, or possibly over the next two days, I'll post the actual films that I've made here. For now, you can check them out at the link I just provided. The donation button is still located in the upper left hand column. No amount is too small. Thanks!!!

It's raining in Redondo Beach right now, so, I don't know what the temperature is....
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Friday, January 15, 2010

The Key(s) to The Kingdom

Partial map of the Internet based on the Janua...Image via Wikipedia

Disclaimer: I may have no idea what I'm talking about. You have been warned.

My acting coach had a theory, well several, actually, but this one is extremely relevant; When watching an improv, pretend you're Chinese, and you don't understand the dialogue. And then ask yourself why your spellcheck doesn't think dialogue is spelled correctly. But I digress. If you don't understand what they're saying, will you still know what's going on in the scene?

Why is this relevant? What does it matter to you? Is this a post about moviemaking, social media, or something else entirely? Should I be ranting or explaining an idea that I've mastered? That's for you to decide. My focus here and elsewhere for the next few weeks has to be The 168 Project. I have other irons in the fire, but this is the most relevant, and currently, related.

I have been both gifted and cursed with a loaner PC while I wait or can afford to get my Mac fixed. Some of you may have already donated money that goes toward this, but again, I digress. I do that a lot, don't I? In any case, the PC in question has no sound. I'll give you a moment while you figure out what that means.

For me, it means I click on less video links that you provide, as I can't hear them. However, when I do inadvertently come across a video to see, and in this case, only see, I better understand the intent of your video. If you're sitting at your desk, and recording something that would be better suited for a radio broadcast, I'm probably moving on pretty quickly. If you've got visuals that you think may be important, you should probably leave them up long enough for me to take in. In the case of text, can I read them completely through, twice? Why twice? Your reading speed may be faster than others. Or, it may be slower. I don't know, however, why take that chance? If I can't understand what's going on, maybe others can't either.

I may continue to conduct this test in other places, as I'll be without my Mac for another two weeks or so. Something about the turnaround time on replacing a drive that's under warranty. If I have anything intelligent to add to this current thread, I shall do so. Either here, or elsewhere. Again, you have been warned.

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.

Please, retweet. Speaking of which, thanks to my good friend and follower @tommytrc for inspiring this post that I've been thinking about for awhile now.

And another thing, with all due respect to my mentor Ivan, most in China do in fact speak English.....
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Maybe I'm Not Asking for Enough Money....

It occurred to me recently, ok, just now, that asking everyone I know for a dollar to help me make what is currently being referred to as 168 Project Team #13 2010 Edition may be thinking too small. Between all the various social networks I belong to, and including actual family, and friends, I probably know about 5000 people, so, I figured $5000 would be enough to make a ten minute short film, based on a Bible verse in a week, as I've done it with that or less in the past.

There was a couple about twenty years ago, that stood on the corner of IIRC, Wilshire and La Cienega, which is just down the street from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, with a cardboard sign, "We need $1 Million for Film" imitating the beggars you may see at various street corners. Or, maybe you don't, as I don't know what street corners you hang out at.

It's my understanding that this got them several meetings, and even an agent, as they picked a prime location for this stunt. I don't absolutely know however, if this got their movie produced and released.

And again, to review, this was over 20 years ago. Before the 'netplosion. So now, I'm thinking I need to put up the same exact cardboard sign, and this time, I'll put it up here. It reads, I need $1 Million for my 168 Project Film.

The Paypal Button is currently in the upper left hand corner of the site. The math states, one person can donate a million dollars, or a million of you can donate one dollar each. My good friend Ben Mack has already donated $23, so, he gets his name and quite possibly company first in the list of 'Special Thanks' credits. Also, his name in the IMDb. That might catch on, I think. Your name or names can go below his.

By all means, I'm accepting in kind donations as well, therefore, if you think you can afford anything, by all means, leave a comment. Or retweet. Or both.

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.
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Friday, January 8, 2010

My Number of Naysayers Has Doubled....

Twitter HQ is on the 4th floor of this not ver...Image via Wikipedia

Most of you may recall my last post here. If not, click the appropriate link, and read, and then come back. I'll wait.

Ok, now that you're up to speed, I innocently tweeted about this post in a conversation on Twitter recently, and received the following response. Well, I could consider the source, or alternatively, let you, my three readers comment about it. I choose to do both....

So, to review, there are now two people out there that say I can't make a ten minute short film based on a Bible verse in a week, despite the fact that I've done it two or three times in the past. There's a famous quote out there that starts, "Ignore the critics..." so I plan to do exactly that.

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.

Please, retweet.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Short Film

The Academy probably has a precise definition of what a short film is, probably less than x amount of minutes significantly less than 90 is quite possibly the breakpoint. I could look it up, but I leave that to you. What brings this on is, I was told by one of my oldest "friends", we'll call him Mark, because his name is, well, Mark, just told me I can't make a movie for $4400.

Of course, those of you that have been with me for any length of time know this to be false. In fact, I've done it twice:
  1. Party in the House!!! (2008)
  2. Three of Clubs (2009)
Appropriate IMDb links have been provided for you, and this doesn't even count A Temp For All Seasons, on which I was aboard as an Associate Producer in 2005. That one won Best Picture at The 168 Film Festival that year, along with four other awards. We were nominated for 12, but the bigger issue here is, clearly, I've made films for that amount or less, or worked on them in the past. I could probably itemize my budget here, but I don't want to get into the dry and boring details, suffice it to say, it can be done, my alleged friend notwithstanding.

But not without your help. There's a donation button on this page, and no amount is too small. Well, I don't think it allows anything less than one dollar, but that's an aside. If you're just seeing this site/blog/letter, whatever you want to call this, for the first time, by all means, have a look around. If someone sent you here, then tell them I said thank you, and again, I invite you to look around. In the next few days, I may move all the 168 related material to a new site I'm currently setting up, and then the fun will begin.

So, for now, pray, donate if you feel so led, and then pray some more. As I can't do this all by myself, as some would accuse me of doing....

72 and sunny in Redondo Beach.

As always, please retweet.
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