Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Substitute teacher on trial for showing ABCs of Death to High School Students

The fact that someone is being put on trial for showing a Not Rated movie to minors and is under review for being a crime is a little absurd... but how does a teacher not realize until after five classes that the film is 1.) not in Spanish and 2.) filled with low brow sex and violence.

Personally, I don't care what kids watch. I understand parents and society do and I'm willing to cooperate within those rules. However, I don't understand how someone does not review a film they are putting on for kids when there are rules about showing things to children and then choose one called ABCS OF DEATH, which has 27 segments that all lead up to violent and absurd deaths. That is what the film is known for. Yes, there are Spanish language segments... but only two... but it's called ABCS OF DEATH! DEATH! Does that not ring bells?

So teachers are just allowed to put Netflix on and run out of the room now? The article states that she had her back to the screen and thought that the film was in Spanish, but after three segments in one class, you would hear that it's not in Spanish... I can't remember the film exactly because none of the shorts were actually any good, but wouldn't screaming and guts noises make you turn your head regardless of what language it's in?

Can we give this woman an award for Stupidity of the Year?

And fault the school board for incompetent substitute teachers? Wouldn't a substitute teacher that teaches SPANISH be awesome? What a brilliant idea!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I am raised by bats: a blog about fitting in

Most of my life was spent in the goth scene and with circuses, sideshows, and theater. I made great contacts in this circle of people and as I got to know the people in these communities (and believe me, a lot of them are difficult to get to know), I kind of felt like I belonged (more so with the performers than the audiences). Some time between touring with FreakShow Deluxe and wrecking my car in a tornado, I started feeling pressured to be "normal" and to do things the "normal" way. For example, getting a job with a corporation, working my way up the ladder, and then retiring when I'm 60.

This did not work for me, so I started working with horses again... something I hadn't done since I was a teenager. No matter how much I loved the horses and how much I wanted to reach the top level of riding, one thing grated my soul and kept crushing me regardless of how much I didn't want it to matter. I did not and do not fit in with horse people. From a polo player continuously asking me why I make myself look the way I do to uptight eventers snubbing me every time they saw me in the barn or accusing me of not taking proper care of their horse, it was plain obvious that I didn't fit in this world of polo shirts and ballerina buns.

However, for the first time in my life, I attempted to fit in. I cut off my mohawk. I dyed my hair black instead of pink. I even bought shirts with horses on them, and God forbid... A POLO SHIRT. I thought that my suicide attempt was the lowest point of my life... Apparently these moments that followed were the lowest.

I quit the barn that I was working at and shortly got a job at a doggie daycare. I didn't fit in there either. People stabbed me in the back and the management delayed my 90 day review so long that it was nearly 6 months when I finally got it... and when it was given to me, it was just a blank piece of paper with a line through the middle. I stopped trying to do a good job after that point. It didn't matter anymore.

But while I was working there, I was also doing the things that I wanted to do. I became more involved with the Seattle film community (when I was on the horse farm, I couldn't do anything except look at horses). I went to events and concerts and I started seeing glimpses of where I belonged.

After I quit the daycare, I attempted more corporate jobs. Naturally, I failed any interview I got because I am not a corporate person and I don't think I can even pretend that I am anymore. I focused on my school work, making films, and networking with some people that were kind of like my old life.

Then I went to see Voltaire. I used to go to his shows every time he came to town in Ohio (sometimes once a year), but I hadn't in a long time because of depression and all of the above garbage. Seeing Voltaire again, talking with him, being in the creative atmosphere of Voltaire, the Nasty Habits and Jeff Ferrell, reminded me of what I originally wanted from life and who I really am. It reminded me of where I belong.

I belong with artists and creative types-- and not really just ANY artists. I belong with subcultures. I belong in the underground. I belong where I can do what I want and not get crap for it... and I'm not going to pretend that I am a corporate video person or that I am anything other than myself.

So what if that means it makes me less desirable to major companies? That's not what I want to do with my life. I want to make films and enjoy myself. Life is way too fucking short to sell your soul to a corporation... even if it pays good money. I'd rather be happy and scraping by than forcing myself to fit in again. That's a fast track to another suicide attempt.

Friday, November 21, 2014

So many books to read, so little time

Actually, I have ample time now that I am technically unemployed and on Tuesday November, 25, I will have graduated my third attempt at college. I suppose it wasn't really my third attempt at college, considering I finished the first round (technically, twice as I have my associate's degree and a professional certificate). I only dropped out of one program and that was largely because I was getting absolutely nothing out of the school other than annoyed and depressed. So I suppose this is my second attempt at a bachelor's degree.

'Lo and behold! I am successful! I have finished all of my classes and am now waiting for my final grade. I am a "pending graduate" according to Full Sail's system. I am not only graduating, however. I am also the recipient of the Advanced Achievement Award on top of my two Course Director Awards.

Receiving the notification of the award was a bit uplifting as I have technically been homeless for half the time I have been in school. Full Sail's handbook describes the award by saying it is "usually indicative of a student most likely to succeed." If only everyone knew that I am actually fighting to succeed because I feel that I have no other choice. It's either succeed as being a writer/filmmaker and be able to support myself or not try at all and die in the icy cold streets while the uncaring corporate poseurs of Seattle turn up their noses.

That last statement brings me to my next topic. I am reading Bridget Jones' Diary. I am about halfway through and I have to say that this is the most uninteresting piece of drivel that I have ever read next to Pride and Prejudice. Are there women that are actually like this? How can someone be so focused on gaining the attention of men, criticize themselves for being that way, and then go right back to it? It is so shallow and epitomizes the stereotype of "chick lit." It embarrasses me as a reader, a writer, and a woman. The book itself does not bother me as much as the quotes on the cover that say, "Fielding has rummaged all too knowingly through the bedrooms, closets, hearts, and minds of women everywhere."

Who are these women? Do they actually relate to this? I don't think I know these women.

My question is this. Do I bother finishing it? Does it get better? I saw the movie when I was a teenager, but I cannot remember a single thing about it other than the fact that my brother caught me watching it and said, "Are you feeling okay?"

(On the flip side, however, Bridget Jones has a job where as I do not.)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Neato Kino rocks... again!

Neato Kino Films did it again! We participated in the 48 Hour Film Horror Project in October. For the most part, it was a pretty smooth weekend, yet again. I met with our trusted editor at LeftJet Studios for the kick off event. After the rules were presented, genres and elements were given. I pulled Found Footage out of the hat, but because we were shooting on a Red Epic, we opted to go for the Wild Card.

A found footage film would have been a waste of such a good camera. The Wild Card ended up being Cannibalism, which was not my favorite subject to work with because it's difficult to write a decent cannibalism film without comedy, but I could work with it.

The kick off was actually my wedding anniversary, so my husband and I decided that we would write the film together. We came up with a pretty solid concept and plot right away, so we left to get a few props. When we got back, we finished the script and sent it out to the cast and crew.

The next day, we were to begin shooting. Our location was a house mid-renovations, so we had to arrive early to move things out of the way and keep everything safe for the cast and crew. We didn't expect to have our camera until 10 AM, but it was there when we arrived at 8.

We moved things around and started preparing, but when it was about time to begin shooting, it was brought to my attention that no one brought sound equipment. It was a minor disaster that was quickly averted by one person driving home to get a microphone and a cable and another person pulling a Zoom recorder out of their car. Talk about super heroes... We were talking about reworking the script to make it a silent film!

After that hitch, the shoot went very smoothly. However, we were in a race against the sun as it was trying to leave us shooting in the dark. Our last scene had to be shot outside (and last), so we did the best we could. We didn't get as many shots as we needed or wanted, but it worked out. It also started to rain during the last scene. It didn't rain the rest of the day-- and we were shooting in a green house, so the rain was loud. We took what we had and then went straight into editing.

Storm, the editor, and I stayed up all night until we had a final cut of the video. We sent it off to our composer around 6 AM and then took a nap. While we waited for the music to come back, we slept briefly and worked on editing the rest of the sound. When the music arrived, we edited all of the audio even further to make it mesh.

About three hours before turn in, we felt like we were at a stopping point. After looking at it for so long with barely any fresh eyes, we had no idea what else to do. So we ate and then took the film to LeftJet. We hung out at Office Depot and then went back to LeftJet to wait until the doors opened. Naturally, we were the first to turn in.

A few weeks later after the initial screening, we received notification that we won an award. A few of us attended the awards screening, which was followed by The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and we discovered we won for Best Sound Design.

Talk about irony!

We didn't make a trailer this time around and the film is not yet public, but we will let you know when it is available. We are working on making it even better and sending it off to film festivals. Watch out world!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Neato Kino Films rocked the 48!

After about 10 years of wanting to do the 48 Hour Film Project, I finally did it.  I even got my film in on time!  My team consisted of people I had never met before and crazy enough, we all meshed well and worked great together.  There were a few hiccups during editing and we didn't end up with enough time to color correct, but I am still proud of this film.

I drew comedy, but you'd never know from the trailer.  I actually love how misleading it is.

We had NO issues during filming.  The worst thing that happened was someone knocked over a bottle of Dr Pepper.  I struggled with coming up with a story for awhile, but once I got going, I was finished in about 20 minutes.

During the final render.  Premiere hung here forever.

We made it half an hour before the deadline.

Here, I'm thinking, "Please give me horror."

The actors cooling off.

Storm edited while we shot and Emily refused to give up Frank.

The required prop.

We ordered three vegan pizzas.  Only two of us were vegan.  This was all that was left at the end of the shoot.

Render cat.

It was sunny and a brief shower complete with thunder from nowhere.

Wardrobe malfunction!

This is probably my favorite scene.

Screening this Thursday!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Newsy things!

First off, I self-published a short book of poetry.  It is called A Portrait of a Poison and can be purchased through Smashwords.  Most of the poetry is incredibly personal as I wrote a lot of it while depressed and suicidal.  The book itself has been a long time coming and I hope you enjoy it.  However, some of it may be triggering to those with mental health issues.

Secondly, I have been writing for the new horror lifestyle magazine, Living Dead Magazine.  I have been providing the content for the News of the Dead blog everyday.

Third, my 48 Hour Film Project film will be screening at SIFF Uptown in Seattle on Thursday August 7 at 9 PM.

That is all for now.  I hope you all are having a lovely summer.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Top 6 horror accounts to follow on twitter

I've been spending a lot of time on Twitter lately and I've been catching a lot of great horror accounts.  When I am going to follow someone, there are a few key things I look for:

1.) Does not solely post links or promote.
2.) Seems to have a human behind the account (someone with a personality!)
3.) Just... not annoying in any way shape or form.

The Horror Honeys

The Horror Honeys are a group of hardcore females that run a blog and podcast all about horror.  The Twitter account is lead by the "Head Honey" and she can tweet up a storm occasionally, but it is all entertainment.  Her tweets have personality, are informative, and she talks back.

The Soska Twins

The "Twisted Twins" are the directors of the film, American Mary.  While it may be debated whether or not their films are actually horror, it cannot be denied that they certainly try to prove their nickname true.  They tweet some behind the scenes stuff from their filmmaking adventures, which means that if you are looking at your Twitter feed at work, you might want to just not do that if you're following them.  Today, I was scrolling through and saw a picture of a penis and balls wrapped up in something.  You have been warned.

Steve Barton

Co-founder of DreadCentral.  He Tweets thoughts!  Yes, an actual person on Twitter!  He seems like a guy you can get into a good conversation with that isn't, "Jason Vorhees! Mneeeeer."  In other words, he seems like an intelligent being that happens to be a huge horror fan... and throws insults at people that you can't see.

Andy Deane

Lead singer of the goth rock band, Bella Morte and horror author.  He's also a huge horror fanatic.  He tweets spooky photos and he's great to talk to... and a great guy in general.  He's doing the music for my 48 Hour Film Project this year and if all goes according to plan, every film I make thereafter!

Clive Barker

This would not be a very good list if it didn't have some well known horror entity.  The truth is, most of the well-known people just end up retweeting things that show their old work or themselves with a fan.  Clive Barker's Twitter Feed actually contains stuff... but if you go right now, you will mostly see exactly what I just mentioned because he just had a contest involving such things.  Does Clive Barker himself actually run the account?  I don't think so.

Tom Savini

Because it's Tom Savini.  That's why.

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