Friday, August 21, 2009

Lethal Weapon

As always, when I'm not writing or editing, I am surfing the web for remnants of my childhood. I stumbled upon the Lethal Weapon 4 trailer, which of course requires me to blog about the Lethal Weapon series.

The Lethal Weapon series was one of my biggest influences. 1 and 2 were huge to me. 3 was a bonus, and in the late 90's when 4 came out, it seemed like it was the last glimpse of all that old school 80's fun. It was really the last time I saw that kind of magic on the big screen. It was such a great combination of action, comedy, and drama. The end of Lethal Weapon 2 always makes me tear up.

Lethal Weapon was chock full of greatness. It all started with Shane Black's amazing screenplay for Lethal Weapon 1. The chemistry between Gibson and Glover, the snappy dialogue, the wisecracks, Donner's great action direction. Can't think of too many movies lately that make me feel the way the Lethal Weapon series made me feel. 4 was my least favorite, but it was still very much a Lethal Weapon movie with every bit of charm and charisma that I miss so much in movies today.

This trailer really captured that feel, that magic, and that fun. Plus I love Chris Rock and Jet Li.

I have to say though, at the time I was very much into John Woo and Hong Kong cinema, which had an overall different vibe than movies like Die Hard or Lethal Weapon. Specifically I was in love with the gun cross. If you were a fan of action and gun play, you were like me and you absolutely loved the gun cross, a staple used in so many John Woo movies.

So when Lethal Weapon 4 came out and I watched the scene posted below, I totally freaked out. It was absolutely amazing to see director Richard Donner put in a Hong Kong action move in a scene with two of my favorite action characters, Riggs and Murtaugh, against Jet Li as well. Honestly the best part of the movie for me. I still watch it in awe. It's like my worlds collided and I was quite happy with the impact.

The above clip also features that final fight between Jet, Riggs, and Murtaugh. Great scene, very well done. I always complained that Riggs was downplayed quite abit in his fighting ability in this. He's Special Forces, he used some great moves in the first movie against Gary Busey, so I was a little disappointed watching him throw wide swings and not being able to keep up with Li's character, but I digress.

After the fight scene, we see a great example of the kind of empathy and drama that Lethal Weapon gives you. Riggs drowning, Murtaugh searching for him, eventually saving his life. The score by the always amazing Michael Kamen always helps (I could and probably will do an entire blog on Michael Kamen alone). But the Lethal Weapon series in general is a great example of that unique complexity I love so much. So many people can easily throw this series in the buddy cop, mindless action category. The truth is amidst the action and shootouts, there were real characters here that we root for and care for. Riggs and Murtaugh had a connection, they had heart.

In a movie that could easily have been one action set piece after another, we actually find great humor, some solid dramatic feeling, and a unique charisma. It's action with heart and soul. And that's the kind of stories I want to tell. Those are the kinds of stories and movies I lean towards. Again I have to go back to my usual examples. Back To The Future is more than just a comedy. The Iron Giant is so much more than a cartoon. The Goonies is so much more than just a kids adventure. The Abyss is more than just some underwater scifi flick. These movies pay respect to the categories they are filed under, but when you watch them, when you experience them, there are deeper layers there to experience.

If you go back and really watch the Lethal Weapon series, you may be surprised to find some real heart warming drama in what you'd think was just an action movie. It's something more than what it seems.

And that's what I'm trying to make. Something much more than what it seems.

I remember when the poster for Lethal Weapon 2 came out. Even Warner Brothers Marketing knew to acknowledge that special magic that Lethal Weapon had. They even put it on the poster.

I want that kind of magic in my movies.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Smile Pretty and Watch Your Back

Forgive the title of this blog post. I don't think it actually has anything to do with anything in this posting. It's lyrics from an Ani Difranco song, which I was just listening to. I would've used other lyrics had I actually been listening to music that had lyrics, but the majority of my shuffle is movie scores. Hey, it's what happens when I'm writing. I just happen to throw in some Ani Difranco, also some Nine Inch Nails, Tupac, and Billy Joel, but Ani seems to be the one that pops up the most.

The script for Bobby's Closet is complete. Has been for a few weeks now. The business plan is also complete. So what are the next steps? Here we go:

- Explain to everyone what Bobby's Closet is.
I've started work on the official site that will help explain the concept and plot. Feel free to check it out here The site is very preliminary, not much on it, but I hope to have more art, vlogs, and blogs up very soon.

Here's the basic plot in case you're just that lazy to click the above link.
PLOT: There is an ancient box that contains mystical powers. Powers to open doorways to other dimensions, and bring to life anything that is not within our reality. When this box is placed inside a closet containing sci-fi and horror movie memorabilia, movie monsters begin to come to life and enter the real world, threatening our reality. Using Sci-Fi Movie weapons and their movie trivia know how, it's up to 2 Movie Geeks and 1 Female Vampire Hunter to stop the monsters, and close the box inside Bobby's Closet.

- Preliminary Casting.
We've got all three principal parts cast. Chris Plouffe will be playing JERRY. Brandon White will be playing AL. I actually wrote both parts with them in mind. I've gotten to know their skills and talents working with them on Monster Cops. We've had a few readings and they've been nailing them. I think I've made some wise choices in casting so far. I also wrote the part of psycho killer LAWRENCE POTTER for Richard Gaither. Gotten to know him working on Monster Cops as well, I know he is more than up to the task. I most recently cast our female lead. April Crum will be playing the vampire huntress JADE. She did an amazing job in her audition, she really nailed the lines and some of the fight choreography. Excellent job on her part. This movie is going to be quite fight heavy, and her previous martial arts experience is a plus.

We'll be doing more preliminary casting soon. I hope to have the majority of the movie cast before we even get complete funding in place.

- Get going on the Concept Art.
Both Brandon White and April Crum are skilled artists. I'm having them work up some concept art to help display the look and feel of this movie. We need to convey how this movie combines fantasy elements with horror elements. Show off the look of the Vampire Hunter Jade, what Bobby's Closet looks like, and really show off what alot of these futuristic military weapons will look like in some of these battle scenes.

Raise The Money!
The full business plan is complete and so is the script. We are about to start really seeking out sponsors and investors as well as begin crowd sourcing. And by crowd sourcing I mean offering up presales and perks to those willing to pay. For example for 40 dollars not only will you be one of the first to get a DVD copy of the movie, you'll also get a credit in the film, access to free merchandise (shirts, posters, etc.), and you'll have a chance to win prizes and props from the movie. We'll come up with other perks as well, but crowd sourcing is a newer and great way for alot of indies to get the funding they need. The full budget that needs to be raised is $50,000.00. Let's hope this works out for us (fingers crossed).

I hope to have a full budget in the next few months. It would be great to get started in October. Nothing like shooting a horror movie in October. I'm fully prepared to wait as long as it takes to get the money together, but we'll do what we can to get it together and shoot this thing soon.

There's actually another feature film that I am currently writing. The name of that one is VICTIMS. It's a bit more in the Horror Genre, but does include quite a bit of thrills, action and humor. The budget for that one is not quite as large as Bobby's Closet. So it's a possibilty we could shoot that one first. We'll see what happens. I'll work on that script as I prep for Bobbby's Closet and raise the necessary funds.

I posted on the Monster Cops blog about the delay on those episodes since I am working on The Victims script and fundraising for Bobby's Closet. But I do hope to have a Monster Cops episode and a few webisodes up before Halloween. I've actually gotten quite a few messages about MC, and I am flattered and happy to know so many people are paying attention to Monster Cops. Thank you all so much.

I know I've been posting about these upcoming Vlogs, but I've even been too busy to do that. But I know I've got one coming up soon. Thanks to everyone for their support and all of their questions.

Wish me luck on fundraising. More on that later.

A full cast list will be posted soon for either feature, but if anyone is interested in auditioning and you're accessible to the Winston Salem area of NC, please email me your headshot, resume, and any links to videos of your work.

Holy crap, I forgot I put some Cheap Trick in this shuffle, sweet.

Sorry, here's my email: pumpkinking13 @ msn . com

Much more later.

- P