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Preview: Do Cats Eat Bats?

Do Cats Eat Bats?

Updated: 2017-08-11T11:17:34.200-04:00


And the humidity is lower too


Ohmigod!! The VAN!!


Thank God for Google Streetview.  I was considering this apartment.

Because a van with no windows doesn't say "serial killer" enough



And the interior view:

Some cargo needs to be locked off from the driver.

13 Blackouts


I've put up another novella on various sites -- this one is a Memento-esque sci-fi thriller, 13 BLACKOUTS:

A troubled young musician has his mind taken over by a sinister alien intelligence that traveled to Earth via radio waves, then in-between blackouts he fights to reclaim control of his life and thwart the alien's plans.

When E.T. arrives, it won't be in a spaceship, but via digital download.

Available at:

Barnes & Noble

(I'll update with links as they come online.)

Lessons Learned


One advantage of writing some of these low-budget films is that you learn your lessons the hard way.

Blockbuster online has some reviews posted, and here's an example:

Awful This movie was stated to be a family kids movie. This had my 6 yr old girl crying all night. Not a movie for kids if they love animals. The quality is horrible.

Who'da thought that killing the dog 20 minutes into the movie might have some undesirable side effects?!

Some reviewers actually do like the emotionality of it -- but clearly several were not expecting the DVD with the cute, happy dog on the cover to turn into a FESTIVAL OF DEATH.

And, it really is something of a festival of death. We start in a cemetery, dog dies around 20 minutes in, then ghost dog and ghost dad *both* leave hero kid at end of movie.

My subsequent kids/family films are a tad less morbid.

Fiction self-publishing -- THE LODGE


(image) I've decided to e-publish some novellas since it's actually increasingly viable and I've got some stories I'd like to get off my hard-drive.

I put up a website here: (it has a couple labels actually, also works).

The first book is totally nerd-core and was originally provoked by me wanting to do a Scanners-style sci-fi thing but with a gritty approach like the TV series The Wire. I think it ended up being more technothriller than Wire at the end though.

Book is currently up at Amazon's Kindle store and DriveThruSci-fi (the book arm of RPGNow), and should be up at Barnes & Noble's online store before long.

The DriveThruSci-fi store might be less fancy, but if you want to strike a blow against The Man, I've uploaded both ePub and .prc versions there, which will work in a variety of readers. Though, technically, the Barnes & Noble version is supposed to be ePub too.

Career indecision


While there are many practical disadvantages to starting screenwriting at 38, one advantage is that you feel like you're in your 20s at 45.

For free advertising on the internet, cast stars with a high nerd-Q-factor


My last four movies got almost no press.  But this one isn't even on IMDb yet and we got:






I'll finally get some street cred -


- amongst all my Buffy/Angel fan friends.  Charisma Carpenter is starring in my movie!

Deadly Sibling Rivalry


Somehow the blurb ended up on-line for the next movie going into production:

After a wife and mother falls into a coma following a car accident, her troubled twin sister steals her identity to start over with a new life. Problems arise, however, when the comatose woman's daughter gets suspicious.

Evil twins!  How can that not be awesome?

This will shoot in February, but I couldn't get the timing right so I won't be out there at the beginning. I might be out there again first week of March and catch the tail-end of the shoot, though.

This is one I'm the sole writer on.  However the base concept came out of a kind of machine.  The bosses made up a list of different Lifetime-y concepts (each basically described in about as much depth as the above blurb), then ran them through a sort of internet focus group to see which ones were most appealing to their demographic.  Apparently that makes network executives far more comfortable when they say, "go with that one".

I'll likely be starting in on another one of these Lifetime-style films before too long -- but this time an actual remake of a Lifetime movie from the 90s!  I was a tad surprised too.  TV movies get remade?!

The producers are also trying to get involved with SyFy this year and make a movie for them.  They are desperate to do this because they are all males.

It is hard, however, to get into business with SyFy.  I have a theory that this is because most producers, writers, and directors are male, and if they're going to do a low-budget TV movie, they all want to do something like giant piranha tarantulas.

I know I do.

My home away from home?


Park Motel on Google

Adding the text below if you can't read the picture:

JohnPic ‎ - Sep 23, 2009
Hell hole This place is so bad and over-run by whores/day laborers, it's used in tv/movies as a go-to "Crack hotel" Filthy sheets, owners mill around the parking lot at night/early AM preventing any chance at sleep. Dog-faced lady tends weeds on back wall, and screeches like a banshee the minute it's "Chekooooo" time,. Better off sleeping in your car-safer, less chance of scabies. The proverbial "Turd in the Punchbowl" in an otherwise nice neighborhood. Days Inn 2 doors up is a much safer alternative. You've been warned.

Dmitry ‎ - Mar 18, 2008
The worst motel I've ever been... The worst motel I've ever been... If you like japaneese horror films you might like this place otherwise I would strongly recommend to find other place to stay. =)

Cop Dog Inception Trailer


Hafta say this is rather cool:

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Behind the scenes of Behind the Scenes of Zombie Hamlet


I don't even know how many levels meta we are in this one.  Here's a clip from a Baton Rouge newscast that came out to visit the set during the early days of the shoot:

On Location Photos


I'm uploading some photos from location to a Picasa album:

Click on the photo to go to the album.

They're also shooting the next two Twilight movies down here so we had a bunch of teenaged girls out at the edge of the property screaming.

Go Team Zombie!

Giving the fans what they want


Somebody on the Lifetime website pointed out one of the key failings in Next Stop Murder:I saw the premiere movie tonight of Next Stop Murder and was not pleased with it. I didn't expect it to be good anyway. There was one scene where a woman gets choked with a chain. A chain? I mean my god you people aren't even trying. I don't know why in god's name you don't air thriller movies with scenes of plastic bag suffocation and pillow smothering. This deeply disturbs me because I watch both networks. I'm never gonna be content with your new moves am I? Sorry for being so blunt, but it does upset me. Sorry. razael 1:22am Mon Sep 20And razael takes this stuff seriously!  Here are some of razael's later posts over the next couple weeks:I would like to apologize if I have offended anyone about my movies comment last night. I just get so worked up sometimes when I wait for a movie on lifetime & LMN and they don't have certain scenes in the movie that I am looking for like say a pillow smother scene for example. But I'm sorry for my angry comments. I read a post that was directed towards my comment from last night and it got me thinking & I felt guilt about it. I'm sorry and I really enjoy lifetime & lmn movies. I really do. I just hope they air more movies with scenes that I am looking for. Anyway, thank you lifetime for accepting my posts and comments. Thank you all. I'm sorry. razael 6:48pm Mon Sep 20Hi Karliann just got your message. Haven't been online in awhile. Anyway, when I meant I wanted to see more thriller type movies, I meant with pillow smother scenes of a victim being smothered with a pillow. Suffocation scenes. That's what I was referring to. When a victim is smothered with a pillow by the killer in the movie. That's wall I meant. Which probably sounds a bit disturbing. It is even for me, but they rarely show suffocation scenes on lifetime & lmn movies. Mostly it's people getting shot or stabbed or whatever. You weren't being intrusive. Some people just might not get people like me who want scenes of smothering. But we all have our likes in films. I try not to judge. Anyway, see ya.razael 6:37pm Fri Oct 1Lifetime & LMN, can you air more thriller movies with pillow suffocation scenes. Victim being smothered with a pillow and scenes like that. I notice you rarely show movies like that. I'm looking for more thriller & mystery movies to add to my collection. Thank you. razael 3:40pm Sat Oct 9LIfetime & LMN, I was wondering if you would show more movies to my liking. I watch both networks quite often and with your thrillers, mystery and crime movies, it's always the same: someone getting run down by a car, someone getting shot or stabbed. I'm looking for fictional movies not ones based on true events. I want more scenes of pillow smothering and plastic bag suffocation. Can you air more movies with scenes like that? I'm talking newer movies though. Like your world premiere movies from this year. 2010. Thank you. I apologize to anyone, if my comments are disturbing or offensive. If so, I deeply regret you seeing it. I just want to see more lifetime & lmn movies to my liking is all. The ones I've seen this year just isn't what I've been looking for. Thank you lifetime & lmn.razael 1:54am Tue Oct 12[...]

Look for the Crazy


I'm on location for the movie now and the weather is terrific.  First day of shooting is tomorrow.

Which meant that they were casting extras a couple days ago.  They had a general casting call and 350 people showed up.  Who doesn't want to be a zombie?

I'm following the director around trying to learn lessons, and here is one of the early ones:

Various assistants trimmed down the horde to a manageable few and the director starts flipping through their photos.  They're all pretty much right for the part so he focused on their eyes and said "look for the crazy".

You don't want to deal with any more whackos on a set than you're contractually obligated to.

Indie Film


It's not officially announced yet so I don't think I can say the title, but I've done another re-write, this time on something more along the lines of an indie film.  The really fun bit is that I'll be on location near Baton Rouge for the entire shoot as a creative advisor!

It's a light comedy -- not quite as arty or quirky as true indie fare, but not bound to TV structure either so a very nice change of pace.  I'm even getting a chance to make suggestions for casting.  If we do it right I think that it's the sort of thing that has a decent shot at a limited theatrical release.

And sorry, Dan.  We're nowhere near high profile enough to get Maggie Gyllenhaal.

One thing about casting at a budget like this is that I'm of the opinion that all the characters in the script can change drastically to fit whoever we find that's best for the movie.

And it's also kind of tricky casting this.  We can't afford the sort of actor that guarantees distribution.  So what I'm looking for is actors who will legitimize the film -- a cast that when judges at film festivals or distributors look at it that they won't immediately dismiss the movie out-of-hand.  Get the external features of the film such that people will give the film a shot, then hopefully the film itself comes together well enough that people are happy they gave it a chance.

Next Stop Murder airs on Lifetime Movie Network


(image) One of the movies I did a re-write on is going to start airing tomorrow (Sept 19th, 8PM EDT and additional showings later) on the Lifetime Movie Network:

Next Stop Murder

Which is not Lifetime, so we don't get the channel on our cable here and there's a fair number of other cable systems that won't carry it either.  LMN might stream it live from their website.

I saw a rough cut of the film and the performances turned out pretty nice and it has some nice noirish lighting (too noirish at times for the market -- France made them lighten it up).

P.S.  I did wind up getting a shared writing credit on this one.

How All Natural Farm Fresh Eggs Lowered My Cholesterol


Some of Jaru's friends have chicken-raising connections and gave us a dozen fresh eggs of the sort that are supposed to remind you of what it was like back in the day when food tasted like food.

And I have been on a bit of a scrambled eggs and bacon kick lately.  So I crack three open and they come out with yolks so yolky that they've gone past yellow to nearly orange.

They have stopped looking like eggs and started looking an awful lot like unborn chicken fetus reconstitute.  One even had that little spot of red in it.

Perhaps scrambling them would help -- but they don't quite mix with milk the same way as the free-range, organic-diet, Omega-3-mutated, manufactory eggs I prefer.  And they cook up with that intense yolky orange color too.

So, even though it's extremely unlikely that they taste significantly different, all I can think about when eating those eggs is how chicken-fetus-y they taste.  And now I'll be thinking about that when I eat ANY eggs.

Which means I won't be eating any more scrambled eggs and bacon.

This is writing?


Unlike writing a novel where I think it's key to keep putting down words to hit that 100k mark, writing a script requires a whole lot of sitting or walking around and rolling broken ideas over and over in your head until they finally shatter and the jagged pieces come back together in the right way.

It is guilt-inducing.  You are, in fact, doing nothing while doing this.  When I smoked I would go outside and stare at the tip of a cigarette while thinking and it would focus me.  This is what I miss most about smoking.

I wonder why screenplays are different from novels in this.  One reason might be that screenplays must be so focused, whereas novels have room to explore.  It might also be a practical matter.  Novels (and individual scenes in novels) take longer to write so you have more time during the process to do that thinking after you've finished your pages for the day.  In essence, you're spending the same amount of time thinking about the story, but there's more writing required for a novel so your writing doesn't get ahead of your thinking as often.

L.A. Times Botches Lost Finale Review


L.A. Times botches the review.  Spoilers at the link despite many mistakes.  My own discussion follows the break and will include spoilers -- hopefully if you're reading a news feed, it doesn't include stuff after the break.

Here's a quote from the review:

Instead, it turns out the passengers of Oceanic 815 are all dead, victims, if the end-credit imagery is to believed, of the same tragic plane accident that started the whole thing. Six seasons of polar bears, bachelor pad hatches, landlocked ships, personal submarines and a fleet of fallen airplanes, and it was all apparently some sort of shared afterlife experience.
The writer was corrected in the comments. Wonder how long that review will stay up un-edited.

Also wonder what the odds are that the reviewer comes back, makes some complaint about fanboys, blames her lack of comprehension on the writers, and says that even with the new knowledge her opinion is unchanged.

Anyway, reviews like that are what producers use to justify putting a giant white cross on the bottle of holy water that John Constantine has just told us is holy water -- then reinforcing that point by having the demons who are being disintegrated by that holy water say "Oh no!  Holy water!"

As far as the Lost finale, I'm ultimately pretty satisfied with it given the numerous constraints they had (gotta leave people and questions alive for movie sequels) and how difficult it is to end a series with that sort of impact.

More satisfying than the Sopranos and BSG endings -- not as sharp as the finale for The Wire.  The flash-monad was ultimately unneeded for the season's plot, but provided good emotional moments and helps soften the blow of Jack dying at the end.  Though I think even that bit is left ambiguous (for obvious, movie-making reasons).

Loved the callback to The Prisoner -- Who is Number One?!

Hafta say one criticism leveled at the series that holds no water with me is the complaint that "they're just making it up as they go along!"

That's what makes serial fiction interesting.  Can the writer keep juggling all the plots?  Can they make it come out cool?  What are they going to do when that next twist they throw in the story paints them into a corner?  Can they find a satisfying way out.

That's what makes Stephen King's the Dark Tower series fun, what made all those Dicken's novels serialized in magazines fun, what makes reading a long run of an author on a comic book fun.  When done well, you end up with a particularly entertaining and surprising epic tale.

It's a real author's challenge.  Criticize them for doing it poorly.  But if you know anything about writing or the history of writing, you sure as hell shouldn't be criticizing them for taking on the challenge.

How to get a nerd to exercise


Jaru and I got a Wii last week -- the one video game system Jaru would actually ask for ahead of me!We also got the Wii Fit+ package which includes the balance board and such.I've enjoyed it quite a bit since it allows me to exercise in the house in shorts then head straight for a shower.  Driving back from a gym in sweaty clothes always bugged me, plus then I'd need multiple sets of clothes so they'd be clean.One other benefit (I think) is that when I do the jogging in place for the jogging game I run on my toes since I'm effectively jogging barefoot.  I've read that jogging in shoes causes problems since you tend to hit hard heel-first -- I'm I'm pretty sure that applies to me.  When I tried jogging last I'd develop knee issues after a few months.What surprises me though is how few exertainment games there are.  Practically no true exercise programs that are game-focused.  I picked up Walk it Out, which allows you to walk around a little virtual island.  There's a slight game aspect in that you click on glowing stars and pellets while walking and build up the island with houses and trees and such.I'd rate it 4 out of 5 stars since it's the only goddamn exergame out there really.  But if there were any competition I'd give it 2 stars or less.  In order to click on things you need to point the remote -- doing this while walking when you should be swinging your arms to get the full effect.  One plus of the game is that you need to step fairly high when using the remote in pocket method of walking, and at a good pace, so I work up a solid sweat while playing.But it's frustrating that there are so many simply obvious ways of making a fun or interesting exergame.Jogging works remarkably well by putting a remote in pocket.  Jaru had the idea of simply laying down various virtual paths through unusual terrains.  Why not jog through the Amazon, or Paris, or Middle Earth?  That'd make jogging a little fun.Or how about some incentive -- jogging through the amazon with a leopard chasing you.  Or maybe you're a tiger and chasing hapless guys in pith helmets through the jungle.  There's no reason your icon couldn't be an animal or monster.Or you play as Pac-Man and gobble pellets while running away from ghosts.You could dash off hundreds of interesting ideas in a few hours and they'd all be remarkably easy to implement -- yet there isn't a single dedicated jogging game on the Wii.One thing though, using the Wii is making me really look forward to Natal.I've played a couple sword games using the Wii and it's amazingly fun to swing the controller and hack something up.  The big downside has been that it doesn't track the movements of the rest of your body.  So being able to full body dodge and such will be very cool if the Natal technology works.One upshot of all this is that there'll be all these pale, extremely wiry nerds in the future who spend 16 hours a day working out to World of Warcraft.[...]

Some book ratings


I've had a flurry of reading over the last couple months.  I don't trust my ability to assign quality ratings since I'm influenced by what other people say about books or the opinions I hear about a writer or even just how much the books seems like it ought to be considered good.So I'm using a more empirical scale:Q     Quit reading the book.Q+   Quit reading the book, but might read another book by the author.R      Read the book, but probably won't read another book by the author.R+    Read the book, will read more books by the author.It actually takes me a while to truly quit a book -- usually about page 100 before I get irritated enough to dump it and decide that I'm not picking it up again.  Not sure about the qualitative difference between Q+ and R, thus no real star system.The Tourist R+I'm waiting for more modern era spy novels by this guy. I liked finding a modern spy novel that wasn't mired in the wars I can get mired in by turning on the news.A Spy by Nature RUp until the ending it's rather slow, but feels like an accurate description of a spy op.  The ending felt like it went a bit Hollywood, which was jarring compared to the rest of it. Already Dead  and the rest of the series  R+Was really reticent about this since I'm not big on vampire novels, but really dug the lean and nasty writing.Closing Arguments  R+Domestic life complicates theosophy and a mystic assault from beyond.Magic to the Bone  QOur broke heroine spends her last ten bucks on a taxi.  Then her friend later gives her 100 bucks which she promptly blows on on more taxis.  Get a bus pass!  I got a hundred pages in and noticed I was starting to obsess over this taxi business instead of the story, so figured I'd move on.Daemon  QI couldn't get past the killer remote control Humvee that FBI agents apparently didn't realize you could hide behind a thick tree in order to avoid.The Breach  R+Fun and fast-moving, one of two new authors from whom I'm definitely getting their second book. Pandemonium  Q+Some interesting writing style but I need to be fed regular little plot pellets like the reading rat I am.Child of Fire  R+ Starts off fast and keeps moving.  What I particularly liked was the lead characters and their complex, evolving relationships. The second author where I'm definitely getting book two.A Corpse in the Koryo  R  (first eBook read on iPad)Really cool idea, a detective story set in North Korea where detective also has to navigate complexities of politics.  But the ending felt a little deus ex.Songs of Innocence  RThis is pretty fucking dark!  Gritty pulp noir updated to today.Horns  R+I read and loved Heart-Shaped Box, then discovered this kid's lineage...  Anyway, the first book had already scored an R+ on its own.Beautiful Lies  R+Even though not paranormal fantasy, this is what provoked the Urban Fantasy Mary Sues post.  But the story was tense and fast-moving.  Gonna give Black Out a try.American on Purpose  RI suppose he'd have to re-incarnate in order to write a second biography.[...]

Urban Fantasy Mary Sues


In Urban Fantasy novels the main characters are typically complex enough, but the love interests... 

Good God!  I've never seen more perfect examples of masculinity.  Olympic athlete physiques.  Nobel Laureate intellects.  Great in bed.  Utterly selfless and devoted to the protagonist.  Any conflict in the relationship arises from a misunderstanding or some secret that's necessary because if not kept the world'll get destroyed or something, or from some failing of the heroine.

To be fair, female love interests in stories written by men are typically idealized too, but there's usually at least some true conflict in the relationship.

iPad is Awesome for reading comics


And prices for a bunch of them actually match adjusted for inflation numbers I mentioned earlier.  A bunch of indie and older titles sell for 99 cents.

So awesome that now I want to explore how to get a short indie comic series made.  For nerdy sci-fi/horror and fantasy action stuff this is actually how you get companies to make those movies -- comic first, then screenplay.