Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween, Green Screens and Coyotes

Halloween is tomorrow night as everyone knows. We don't do a lot when it comes to Halloween, although Angie does have a giant, plastic pumpkin out front indicating we at least acknowledge its existence. We still have yet to buy candy for the gaggle of trick-or-treaters we'll undoubtedly get. I suggested to my wife a few days ago that we should get something out of the ordinary for Halloween - to give to the kids, I mean. And, no, I didn't mean anything clever or anti-candy. I meant COOLER candy AND a little something extra, a little something off the beaten path. Something they wouldn't normally get. The grocery stores are full of standard candy; bags and bags of your normal, everyday candy - Snickers, Hershey's, M & M's, what have you.

Last year I was completely caught off guard by the singleness of purpose our trick-or-treaters exhibited. I quickly became intimidated by the voraciousness of their approach, their hungry eyes and baleful, pleading voices. Instead of jumping into the psuedo-holiday spirit, I felt like I was being fleeced. My feelings were justified when, toward the end of the evening, we had a few adults dressed up in simple masks come to the door demanding candy. They looked to be in their mid-thirties. But, hey, times are tough so I let it go.

But this year I want to get something out of the ordinary for the little buggers. Yes, some candy of some sort, but something useful as well. I'm thinking reading glasses. There is a 99 cent store not far from us that has reading glasses for a buck. All different types, of course; 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, etc. We usually get around a hundred kids, if last year was any yardstick. I'm thinking maybe we go ahead and get some candy to throw in there, some little bags of tiny Butterfingers, perhaps, but we also throw in a pair of reading glasses. Angie hasn't signed off on it yet, but I think she's considering it. Anything to shut me up for a while.

Last night I wrested control of the TV clicker for a bit. While my wife made an amazing dinner of Mexican stuff, I watched Battle: Los Angeles. And I loved it. I suspected I'd turn it off after a bit, disappointed with Hollywood as usual, but I didn't. Decent script, good work from a handful of unknowns, and wisely, a director who steered clear of almost any sort of dialogue and just put a bunch of explosions on screen. It was sort of a Black Hawk Down meets Aliens. Plus I like the fact that one of the newspaper headlines in the movie said, "BURBANK UNDER ATTACK!" Which, with the exception of the headline, "GEORGE W. BUSH EMBRACES HINDUISM!" may be the most incongruous headline I've ever seen.

I also got a call to come audition for a new film yesterday. Well, not a call exactly, but an invitation. But here's the thing - it's a 'green call.' I'd never heard of this before, but Angie had. It's where I get the script and set up and shoot the scene myself and then send it to NYC or wherever and the producers watch it. It's a terrible idea and one, apparently, we're seeing more and more of. Eventually, all actors will be required to have a camera, studio, mixing board and green screen in their own homes. Hell, I can barely afford a computer. I decided not to play ball. I won't be auditioning for this film.

All three of my scripts currently on the table have entered the land that time forgot. That is to say, they are all on some producer/director laptop somewhere waiting to be read, reread, or optioned. This could take anywhere from 12 to 30 years. In the meantime, I'm making Raman Noodles and the California Lottery MegaMillions a lot of money.

When it comes to getting a film made, Hollywood works in dog years.

So, in an odd reaction, I spend a great deal of time these days being angry about the response to Occupy Wall Street movements around the globe. I gnash my teeth a lot. I subject Angie to long, passionate diatribes about the end of justice as we know it. I fantasize about being an all-powerful Deity with the ability to smash Citibank with one clenched, metaphorical, cloud-like fist. And I post as many pro-OWS stories as I can find on Facebook. Sad, I know. But I'm waiting to hear about these damn scripts and I can't help myself.

Speaking of dog years, I also find myself taking extraordinary enjoyment from our two dogs, Franny and Zooey. Angie and I live on the cusp of Griffith Park and the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. We are literally yards away from a myriad of trails and hiking jaunts leading up into the mountains. Yesterday, while taking a long walking excursion with Franny and Zooey, we happened across a rogue coyote, just sashaying around by himself in the middle of the day. Our dogs are small and perfect mid-morning snacks for a coyote. Thankfully, I saw him from a distance and called F and Z back into our protective circle before he spotted them. And then spent the rest of the day, being bored and powerless about the script development, fantasizing about an epic battle between myself and this ghoulish coyote, a hand-to-hand, or hand-to-paw, titanic struggle as I fended him off, protecting my dogs from an unstoppable, giant canine. In my fantasy I win, but come away bloodied and wounded but with a lifelong gratitude from our puppies. And every so often, during this fantasy, I check my cell phone to see if any of the three producers might have called.

My wife is not entirely comfortable with me when I'm between gigs. I think she finds me to be a little unreasonable. For one thing I don't live in the real world. She notices that I can't seem to stay interested in anything for too long, about 9 seconds or so. And I routinely promise her ridiculous things, like a brand new car or a trip to London. And then I check my cell again. She much prefers it, I think, when my mind is occupied.

Now, this reading glasses idea. I really am convinced it could work.

See you tomorrow.