So the LA trip was...well a "trip." For starters it was my first time back since I left. So it was kinda weird. A little sad, I guess. I always liked living in LA for the most part. I wasn't one of those people who walked around like "get me the fuck outta here." I just got Lost out there. I was going down the wrong track. If I hadn't left and gotten my shit back together, right now, I'd be sitting in a room making copies like that old sketch on Saturday Night Live. Only it wouldn't have been as funny - and that sketch wasn't, so you catch my drift. Anyway, back in LA. Gotta check in with my freaks in Venice Beach. They're all good. Except I didn't run into Stumpie Travolta which makes me worry. I hope he's all right. The week was rough because I had hoped to be done with meetings early so that I could spend some time relaxing. But that didn't happen. I was leaving Saturday and basically finished with business on Thursday. I was using the last of my vacation time up for this trip and like Utah, this was essentially a business trip. I really wanted this summer to take some time off, go somewhere tropical and chill out. Oh well, there's always next year. I dragged along Kurt who I've been writing with for some 10 years now. We rehearsed our "pitch" and got it down to something that was, I guess, Good Enough. But I wasn't nutty about it. I was spooked that I'd spent all this effort getting us into some of these meetings and we just weren't prepared. But it turned out I didn't need to worry. All our meetings went great. I mean, they honestly couldn't have gone better. It was a cool way to sort of enter the world of pitching...and we didn't even really have to pitch to anyone. So now it was out of our hands and hopefully someone would dig one of our scripts. But at least we "broke our cherry." For us to make a deal first time out would be asking for too much.
After L.A. I started to slack off a bit. I think I was just drained. But after a little recouping it was time to bombard some more producers with the film. That's really all I can do. I'm not getting into any MAJOR festivals and haven't been able to secure an L.A. screening that I can invite people to. So the only thing to do is to hit them directly. But I'm still submitting to festivals as well as monthly screenings like American Cinematheque in L.A., IFP Buzz Cuts in NYC, Flicker Fests which screen in various cities. It's all bout getting the film out there. I'm also talking with Troma about maybe doing an H.R. feature. I never planned on it. Never in a million years did I ever think I'd have an idea for a feature with this character. I thought he'd wear out his welcome too quick for a feature. But one night I had an idea and it seemed like it could work. Very similar to "Pee Wee's Big Adventure." That movie really was about nothing more than Pee Wee chasing his bike. No real character development or anything. Very simple, very smart, and very funny. I thought we could possibly get away with this type of movie with H.R. I called up Kurt in L.A. and we worked on a treatment. I spoke with Doug Sakmann at Troma. I knew they really dug the character, so i figured why not ask them if they'd be interested. Couldn't hurt. Doug seemed to like the idea. I'm not sure if Troma will do it, but I'm gonna give them a treatment and see what happens. Maybe we can work on some kind of deal. One of the guys we met in L.A., Jason McHugh who co-produced "Orgazmo" and "Cannibal! The Musical" with Trey Parker & Matt Stone, also expressed some interest. Jason was cool when we met with him. He seemed to have a good business sense about him. Plus, he's dealt with Troma before for "Cannibal" so it certainly couldn't hurt having him on our side. So we'll see. Maybe we'll do it. But if Troma isn't willing to throw up some $$ I'm not sure we'll go thru with it. Kurt and I came up with some very funny characters for H.R. to run into, and some funny scenes. And I definitely think it has huge potential to cross over and not just be a "Troma film." But without some outside financing, we couldn't seriously pull it off the right way. But it sure be fuckin' fun as hell running around with that little pile of puke again making a feature.
As of right now I have feeling the feature version of HR ain't gonna happen. If we made the film on our own I'm sure Troma would definitely pick it up to distribute, but as far as putting up their own $ I don't think they're too anxious to do that. These days they seem to be more interested in acquiring than creating. And there's nothing wrong with that, but it just isn't gonna help us get an HR feature made. I'm gonna toss it aside, we'll maybe use some of the "set pieces" for other scripts and leave it at that. I was never that sure HR would work in a feature format anyway, so it's not that big a let down. We still keep getting screenings which is good. Some people have said why bother with any festivals that aren't in LA or NYC where someone can see the film that could possibly help in the career department. To a degree I agree. But at the same time it's a movie. And the whole point of making a movie is for people to see it. Everywhere. It's actually kinda cool for me to be out on some Saturday night and to look at a clock and think "Hey right now in Washington DC a bunch of people are watching my movie." That's why I do it. Although these days I'll only enter festivals that require an entry fee if they are in LA or NYC. Entry fees in the world of film festivals are really kinda out of hand. I have a 10-minute film and some festivals want me to fork over $40 to enter it. That's ridiculous. I can understand charging $10 or maybe $15. I can live with that. But $40? Fucking Malibu wanted $50. Come on, who do they think are making these shorts? A Rockefeller? Anyway one fest in England had the right idea. They had no entry fee, unless you got in then it was $10. That is the way to do it. Let the people who are gonna be in the fest help fund the fest. Not the others who get turned down. So this fest in England the Highgate Film Festival accepted HR. Joe McClean (the Dude) was invited to be in an acting seminar in London at the same time. Which was cool, cause he could give me a first hand account of how it went. Well, it went great. The British audience really seems to "get" the movie. All the screenings there have done terrific. The guys at Highgate passed out response cards to their audience and when all were returned and counted it seemed HR was hands down the favorite of the fest. They created a special audience award for it because of this. That was cool. I also was invited to speak at my old film school in NY in a comedy writing class. I'll do that next month. Should be fun. Harry Knowles' website finally reviewed the film too. I'd been trying to get them to write something since January. This dude there by the name of Massawyrm (don't ask me) wrote a pretty favorable column about HR. He seemed to get it. That's what it all comes down to. Some people just get this thing and some just don't. There's really no middle ground with a talking pile of puke.
From day one the goal with this film was always to get a screening in LA. I mean let's face it, that's where the industry is. So you can imagine my excitement to get word HR was accepted into the Silver Lake Film Festival. I honestly didn't expect to get this one at all. I thought it'd be too "arty" for my film. But I guess they got some wacky senses of humor on their staff. Thank God. So now it's the full court press to try and get some Hollywood folks out to the screening and hopefully make some more contacts in the biz. On top of that August really shped up to be a banner month in the short history of HR. Things had felt like they were dwindling down. Then all of a sudden it seemed like I'd hear of another screening every week. Georgetown Indy and the Psychotronic fest both in DC, Flicker Fest in North Carolina, Seattle Underground, Melbourne in Florida, and in my "neck of the woods" Red Bank. For the Red Bank fest Sony Classics were involved and they screened "American Movie," a film anyone interested in filmmaking should see. They also had the star Mark Borchardt to show up for a Q&A session. Holy shit was this a fuck up. This dude was so fucking drunk. I got word he'd been drinking since 1pm and it was now 8pm. He was a mess. He kept saying he didn't wanna talk about films (which is what he was hired for) but he wanted to talk about life & love (fuck if I know). But even when someone asked him a question about this, he couldn't answer. Now some might find a stumbling drunk funny. I'm sure I have in my day. But see I'm sitting there, knowing how much they spent to get him here, and knowing that they could've used that $ to get a better projection system for us but instead they spent it on a wasted drunk who wouldn't even talk about the one thing he was brought there to talk about. Whatever. We did get a photo of him with HR that should be funny. I did a bit of a Q&A thing myself for a former teacher of mine at SVA in New York. It was cool. I was afraid I'd have to lecture but the class was firing questions at me from the Git-Go. I had a good time. The other big news of August was the one-two punch of Maxim Magazine mentioning HR on their Website which brought a lot of hits to my site (even though I really was hoping for coverage in their mag) and IFILM picking up distribution for the film on the Internet. IFILM does everything non-exclusive which is the key for me, right now. It's done pretty well on their site and the guys over there really seem to dig it. Now if one of those Hollywoodian would just give us the break, I could get to work making some more silly little films for you.