March 5, 2023

  • The Lone Ranger vs. The Manson Family

    lone ranger

    Like Brad Pitt in 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood', The Lone Ranger actually visited George at Spahn Ranch.

    Yes, Clayton Moore was the real Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) from ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’. Three weeks before the infamous Manson attack, August 1969, Clayton was taking his 11-year-old daughter around to locations where he had filmed ‘The Lone Ranger’ TV show. Since he was close to the Spahn movie ranch, he decided to visit his friend George Spahn. He hadn’t seen him for eight years.

    Clayton’s daughter said: “The ranch was dusty, dirty, falling-down with half-dead horses, and mangy dogs running around. When we pulled up, a bunch of hippies came out. Dad is super-nice to everybody, and says, ‘Hi. I’m a friend of George’s and I haven’t seen him in a while. Is he here?’ One hippie says, ‘Yeah, he’s here, so what do you want?’ ‘I’d just like to say hi.’ ‘Well, he’s not available right now.’ ‘Yeah, but if he’s here, I’d really like to see him.’ Dad got some more pushback, but if dad wants to do something, he’s gonna do it.”

    Clayton said: “One of the guys pointed to a dilapidated trailer and said, ‘Over there.’ My daughter and I walked into the trailer which was totally dark. I said, ‘Hi, George. It’s Clayton.’ I quickly realized that he was blind as he said, ‘Clayton, is that you?’ and started to cry.
    “We talked for about an hour. Then a young woman brought him a plate of food and said brightly, ‘Hey, George. It’s lunchtime.’ She dropped the tray on the table, push it roughly toward George, and left without acknowledging us. It must have been ‘Squeaky’ Fromme. She was hoping that George would will his ranch to her. He never did, which was probably all that kept him alive.
    “As we left, I asked, ‘Is there anything I can do for you, George?’ He answered, “Just come back to see me.’ I said, ‘I promise that I will'."
    Three weeks later, the Manson murders happened.
    Clayton said: “When I read about the murders, I couldn’t help but think; Those murderers had once been innocent kids who may have been fans of The Lone Ranger. How did they take such a wrong turn in their lives? It made me more determined to stand for decency, honesty, and compassion. If kid’s minds are shaped by outside forces, then I was determined that my influence, however small, would be for good … always.


October 31, 2021

  • Men Win Women's Film Festival

    How did a movie written, produced, directed & financed by men, with a story about ‘sexually transmitted power’, win Best Feature Film at the Hollywood City of Angels Women’s Film Festival last Sunday?

    The science fiction thriller Forbidden Power, produced in Seattle, was released to Amazon Prime in 2018. Since then it won 38 International, first-place awards in the categories of Best Picture, Best Screenplay, Best Science Fiction, Best Thriller, and acting awards for the three leads.

    The movie was written, directed & financed by San Francisco State University Film Department graduate Paul Kyriazi. It’s his ‘lucky 7th’ feature film.

    His action movies of the 1980’s include Omega Cop, starring Adam ‘Batman’ West, Ninja Busters, Death Machines & Weapons of Death which broke house records in San Francisco and New York.

    Listed on the Film Freeway website for Film Festival submissions, Forbidden Power was discovered by City of Angels Artistic Director Lisa K. Crosato.

    A fan of science fiction movies and seeing that the story was ‘driven by women’ (eight beauties), she invited director Kyriazi to enter the festival.

    It became an Official Selection and then at the gala awards night held in Hollywood last Sunday, it won Best Feature Film. Accepting the award were actors Harry Mok, Hannah Janssen & Gina Su.

    Unlike many independent movies, Forbidden Power has a large cast and many locations including Seattle, Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Jose, Winslow, Arizona & Las Vegas.

    When writer/director Kyriazi is asked if got his money back on the movie, he quotes Moby Dick’s Captain Ahab:

    “Money’s not the measure, man. It fetches me a great premium here.” (He taps his heart).

    0 FORBIDDEN POSTER NEW (2)festival harry, gina, hannah

July 18, 2020

  • Indie Film Producers Must Read

    Three faces facebook (2)
    Yes, Must Read. Especially #1, #8 and #17.

    1 – When you announce that you will make a movie, you’ll get inundated by home musicians wanting to score your project.

    Quentin Tarantino said, “Why give the soul of your movie to someone else?” Indeed, I believe he only used a composer once: Ennio Meroconi for The Hateful Eight.

    Stanley Kubrick used mostly previously recorded music. So does Martin Scorsese.

    Go to (I’m not associated with them). They have thousands of music choices. Take time to search and listen to many. You don't have to put in your credit card to listen. Only when you’re in post-production do you have to use your credit card to purchase.

    They also have half-a-million sound effects and ambiance. Most of the music tracks there have a variety of lengths and intrument mixes. You can score and sound effect your entire movie using sounddogs.

    I tried to help a want-to-be musician by using him to score one of my movies. It was his first movie and it caused problems, wasted time, and expense.


    Me: "I'll find some music tracks that I like for examples." (Like Lucus did with John Williams on Star Wars.)

    Him: "Musicans like to work alone with no imput from the director."

    Other time & money wasting problems happened from there, including sending the final music files a few hours before the final mix. I had to do a rush job inserting his music into the track.

    I ended up using sounddogs for half of the score. It was less expensive and had the same type music that he provided. Yet, what he provided (on his 2nd try) fit the movie well and I ended up really liking it.

    We got a Best Music nomination from the Oklahoma Film Festival. And his music supported the story enough for the movie itself to get 28 Best Picture, Thriller & Sciene Fiction awards at other festivals.

    However, I'll never use a composer again on a movie that I'm financing.

    If you have a friend that wants to break into movie-music, let him search music on sounddogs with you, edit it into the movie and help with the sound mix. You can give him Music Supervisor or Music Editor or similar credit. But as the money-producer, you have the final word on the music.

    2 – Time your movie script by acting out each scene with the stopwatch on your phone. I did not time out my first movie The Tournament and it ended up at 63 minutes and I could not go back to film more.

    Fortunately, I timed the script for my movie Forbidden Power. I could have sworn it would be 90 minutes. But it was only 70 minutes. I was shocked. "Oh, no. Not again."

    So, I wrote twelve more scenes which brought it to 94 minutes in the final cut. Those additional scenes turned out to be some of the best in the movie.

    3 – Akira Kurasawa said, “New directors should learn how to write.” I learned: Once you do all your fancy camera work, designed shots, and special effects, you end up with your screenplay right there on your editing machine.

    So, concentrate on the story instead of film technology. Quentin Tarantino said, “I concentrate on what goes onto the page. Making that perfect. So when I’m finished, I’m satisfied with the story whether I make the movie or not."

    Make sure your script has at least 65 scenes. This guarantees that the average scene will be 1.5 minutes. Plus, you’ll have 65 pieces of story and entertainment.

    4 - Be ambitious. I read an article about indie-film budgets that said: "If you have $5,000 you are allowed two actors, one location, one cameraman and one sound man."

    The article continued on to 'allow' you more in each category for each increase of budget. Forget all that. Write the story that you want and budget for it. Forget that one or two locations idea.

    The more locations, actors and extras you have, the better your film will look and the more entertaining it will be.

    Forbidden Power was filmed in 17 days and had locations in: Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, Las Vegas & Winslow, Arizona. We had 7 lead actors and about 20 supporting roles.

    Introducing new characters and locations 'refreshes' your story and 'wakes up' the audience. So do twists, turns and surprises in your story.

    You don't have to follow script formulas from books that tell you there must be three acts and 'The hero must discover something at exactly 22 minutes and 30 seconds'. Look at Tarantino's movies, they never follow a formula. Tell the story the way you want.

    Every viewer of your movie is aiming his remote control switch at your movie on his TV screen. If he gets bored for one minute (with no movie stars) he's going to switch off your movie and jump to another one.

    Director Robert Wise (West Side Story) said, "Pace is not speed. Pace is keeping interest in your story. I try to grab the audience's attention at the beginning and never let it go."

    Your story should have a promise of things to come and lead the viewer into the next scene to 'see what happens next'. I think the Back to the Future movies are a good example of one scene leading the viewer to the next.

    Those movies are also a good example of clear writing. The co-writers said they spent a long time trying to make the a time-travel and alternate-timelines ideas clear to the audience.

    In Forbidden Power, I have a beautiful, mysterious woman give the hero her card and say, "Call me." So, now the viewer might stick around to see if he does and what will happen if she shows up at his hotel room.

    Thinking she's a prostitute, he goes to the lobby and gets cash from the ATM machine, then buys condoms, then in the elevator says to himself, "What am I doing?"

    After many screenings, I saw that the audience was hooked. But that's not enough. Those types of hooks and questions must happen throughout the story to keep that guy lying on his sofa from switching off your movie.

    This begs the question: Am I making the movie for the audience or myself?

    My answer is: I make if for the audience, knowing my individuality will be in every line of dialogue, scene and character. And I never forget the guy on the sofa aiming the channel-changer at my movie. How do I make him watch just one minute more?

    Psycho screenplay writer told me (name drop): "Hitchcock is the only director I worked for that talked about the audience."

    Quentin Tarantino said, "I make movies for an audience with big set-pieces that gets an audience reaction."

    Tarantino often uses the expression 'I have to deliver the goods.' Meaning, deliver entertainment to the audience in the genre that he's working in. After that, he can insert his personal, artistic ideas.

    The choice of how much for you and how much is for the audience is up to you as a writer.

    Most movies these days are a one-incident story. Die Hard comes to mind. That's great. But consider having a story that unfolds over time such as Knowing, The Dead Zone and The Joker. Signs is kind of one-incident, but unfolds over time with each scene holding the viewer till the next scene.

    John Frankenheimer's 1962 The Manchurian Candidate, starring Frank Sinatra, unfolds combining war, politics, weird flashbacks, friendships, mystery, karate fight, brainwashing, love story, and assassinations. The story constantly refreshes. Not just a one-incident story or even one subject story.

    5 - Write exactly what the erotic or kissing scenes will be in your script, especially for your female actors. Put in the exact seconds that a kiss will take place and what she will be wearing and what it will look like on the screen. This way you won't waste time on the set when it comes to staging those scenes.

    If the actress suddenly gets cold feet or lied about doing the scene to get the part? Good luck. That's the fun of the movie business.

    For Killer Joe, an actress asked director William Friedkin, "How will you film the sex scenes?" He replied, "Exactly as it says in the script."

    6 - Pay your cast and crew. Do not defer wages. This way they will take your movie seriously and show up on time. On Forbidden Power, even though we were not a SAG shoot, I paid the actors SAG scale.

    The main reason is this: When you tell someone you are working on a movie, either as cast or crew, do they ask what the movie is about? No. They always ask, "How much are they paying you?" Especially jealous boyfriends of the female actors.

    Forbidden Power has six erotic scenes, one actress had four of them. When asked, she could reply to her boyfriend, "I'm getting paid SAG scale." Even so, one boyfriend got so jealous that he refused to read lines with his girlfriend, so she broke up with him saying, "I'm going to do this part exactly as written."

    7- Coming up with your budget is not so complicated. Figure out the daily cost of cast and crew, multiply by the number of days you'll need to film it, and then add your other costs. You'll get to the final figure easily if you consider each item and salary.

    There will be a lot of unexpected expenses that come up, so add a lot of contingency money and have a lot of credit available on your cards.

    Making a movie is about money; writing checks, using your credit cards, peeling off cash from your pocket. This is endless until your post-production finishes. Then comes more money for marketing.

    8 – Novelize your script. A script is just a tool to make a movie. You can’t give a script to someone as a completed artistic project. And it might take you a while to come up with the money to make your movie.

    How about turning your script into a novel, designing a great cover and putting it on amazon Kindle and print-on-demand?

    It only takes a few bucks and time. Now you have a completed project you can hand to people. It also advertises your movie. For movie financeers you can give both the script and your novel to them. It shows how serious you are about that particular story.

    9 – Make a full-cast audio-book of your movie. With home-recording and editing easily available you can turn your novel into a recording script with narrator and actors. Then add music and sound effects (from sounddogs) and put it on your you-tube channel.

    I produced four full-cast audio-books with stars of the ‘60s such as Rod Taylor, David Hedison and George Chakiris with film-quality effects and music. You can listen to them for free on my youtube channel: Paul Kyriazi.

    That’s another way to promote your movie and it’s another completed project. In the creative business that has much competition, it’s completed projects that win over just talking about a project.

    Speaking of competition, as Wallace D. Wattles says in his book, The Science of Getting Rich, "We must change from the competitive mind to the creative mind."

    When we compete directly with someone, we stay on their level. When embracing our creative minds, we are open to express our individuality more freely. Walt Disney called his creative team 'imagineers', not 'competiteers'.

    10 – When searching for financing, people will ask you; ‘How much money do you have in the project?’ As you’ve seen on Shark Tank, business-people like to know that you’re ‘all in’.

    11 – When filming your movie, try for some designed shots instead of just the medium, over-the-shoulder, and close-up shots. This will make your movie look more theatrical than like a TV episode where the director just supplies coverage so the editor has many choices.

    Take a look at the early films of Mike Nichols to see well designed long-running shots that utilize the moving-camera.

    Woody Allen does that most of the time, though they are usually wide shots that don’t move so much.

    In Back to the Future 3, almost every shot is designed and not ‘covered for editing’ later.

    12 Angry Men (1957) takes place in one room, but the designed shots and actor staging keeps the drama fresh and real.

    You’ll most likely be using stage actors or amateur actors in your indie-movie. They do better with long running shots. It may take many takes to get a perfect one, but when you do the performances will be better than just having the camera on them in singles and over-the-shoulder shots. It will also give your movie a more personal style that shows 'there is thought behind every shot'.

    Using designed long-running takes for many of your scenes will help you get more scenes per day filmed.

    12 – Film in 6K so that if you filmed a master-designed shot and you need to cut it down in the editing room, you can jump into a closer shot with no loss in quality and it will look like a separate camera-set up.

    This also gives you the freedom to re-frame shots in post like David Fincher (Gone Girl) often does.

    13 -- If you plan to make a short movie, why not make it a feature? I got this idea from an indie producer who spent $5,000 on a short film and then said, “For that money, I could have made a feature.”

    Technically speaking, with digital filming, all you have to do is let the camera run for 90 minutes and you’ve got a feature film. But seriously, you just have to add more scenes to your story to make it a feature.

    14 - Get each scene in the can completely on the day you plan to film it. None of that, "We'll get the rest tomorrow." Tomorrow you may not get the location, actors or extras back. It could rain. Complete your scene even if you get less shots or less action than you wanted. If you've scheduled a scene for two or three days, that's fine, but complete it in that time.

    15 - Never go off schedule. Doing that causes so many problems that it's better to stay on schedule no matter what. When you go off schedule, all the actors and locations have to be called up to change.

    When you go off-schedule you'll increase the chances of not finishing your movie that has a limited budget. You'll have enough risk such as: weather, actor illness, kicked off locations, props not there, etc. So why add to that risk by going off schedule?

    16 – Now for the big one. You don’t really make a movie. You don’t gamble all your money and other people’s money on a movie. You gamble it on a story.

    So instead of having various scripts that you want to turn into movies, choose that one story that makes you so excited that you are willing to go into debt to get it made. Willing to take two jobs to pay off the loans and credit cards you've used to make it. One story that shows who you are, be it science fiction, drama or comedy. One story that your satisfied with if you never get to make another movie again. A story you will be excited about to novelize, make a full-cast audio-book off and design a poster for.

    Producer Saul Zantz (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) said: "If your movie is a success, everyone comes around and you have a party. If your movie is a failure, you're stuck alone with the bills to pay."

    That's the hard reality you have to face when you gamble your money on a story. So why not make it your ultimate story? A story that you might be 'stuck alone' with, as you 'pay the bills'.

    17 -- Last and certainly first: Any indie producer will tell you, "Never give your movie to a distributor." Listen to all the producers on film podcasts. They’ll tell you.

    My movie Weapons of Death broke house records in a NYC theater and San Francisco theater, played the USA and sold around the world. Not one dime was sent to me.

    When the distributor sold the video rights for $40,000, I called and asked, “Where’s my half?” The reply was, "Oh, our salesman was robbed in the airport."

    I’m happy to have Forbidden Power on Amazon that gives me daily reports and monthly deposits into my bank account. Since I financed the movie 100% myself, I own 100%.

    I've turned down five distributors that came trolling once they saw it on Amazon. I didn't waste time asking if there would be any up-front money because I knew there wouldn't be. So, I politley told them, "I already have a distributor." (Me)

    If I sign with just one distributor for one of the rights, they can make a case that they own all of it. And they would have the money to tie it up in court for years.

    By owning the movie, its value could go up by one of the actors becoming famous, winning film festivals or it being discovered by movie cult-groups.

    Also, it becomes an ownership that you can passed down to someone. Think of it this way; would you sign over your $200,000 house to a stranger who says they will give you 50% IF they can sell it?

    And of course, there are other avenues besides Amazon to explore for sales, as well.

    Finally - Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez were interviewed together. Tarantino said, "It's the best time to make movies. Anyone can make a movie and have a platform to show it on."

    Rodriguez said, "Yes, but there's so much more competition now."

    Tarantino shook his head. "But all those crappy movies aren't competition. Just waves coming onto the shore. Make the best kick-ass movie that you can. That beats all of those waves."

    I wish you great luck and an enjoyable experiences on all your creative endeavors.

    Paul Kyriazi

December 11, 2018

  • Woody Fight Kirk Douglas


    You remember actor Woody Strode as the gladiator who fought Kirk Douglas in the arena in Spartacus, (see above video) or as one of The Professionals along with Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin and Robert Ryan.

    Woody has left us, but did you know that he's still performing at Disneyland?

    According to Disneyland Vice President Tony Baxter:

    "In 1954, Harper Goeff, the designer of the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland, hired Woody to make a mold of his great muscularity for the African natives in that ride. Goeff also used the same mold for the bodies of Frontierland's Native Americans, too."

    A world-class decathlon athlete, Woody attended UCLA and was one of the first Afro-Americans to play in major college programs and later the National Football League.

    During World War 2, he enlisted and spent the war unloading bombs in Guam.

    Getting into acting, Woody first appeared in John Ford's Stagecoach in 1939. His 6ft. 4 in. powerful frame kept him from stereotypical roles at that time in film history. His acting career continued in 92 movies and TV episodes, ending with The Quick and the Dead in 1995.

    Notable movies Woody appeared in are: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (with John Wayne & James Steward), Sergeant Rutledge (in the title role), The Ten Commandments (playing two roles), Pork Chop Hill (starring Gregory Peck), and Once Apon a Time in the West (in the famous opening).

    My favorite Woody Strode movie is The Last Voyage. He is the heroic crewman who stays aboard the sinking luxury liner to help the passengers. He plays the entire movie with his shirt off because he comes directly from the hot engine room and the movie plays in real time. His physique is enhanced by the neckerchief he wears. (See above photo) I wonder if that was Woody's idea or the costume designer's.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Woody and his wife. He was very gracious and appreciated his success in the movies. I talked to him about filming The Last Voyage on a real ship that was partially sunk for the exciting finale.

    When I mentioned Spartacus, Woody jumped up from his chair and got into his gladiator stance and said, "Because I was much taller than Kirk, I had to use a low stance like this."

    "That stance showed off your thighs," I said seriously. "They were beautiful." (Echoing the Roman woman in the movie that said, "He's the most beautiful.") Woody and his wife gave me a big smile. Later in his auto-biography, I read that he likes guys to compliment his physic and athletic prowess.

    Woody always signed his Spartacus photos by inscribing:

    I let Spartacus live - Woody Strode

  • 2018 - Producing Forbidden Power

    Detailed account of what goes through the mind of an independent producer.

    "You should not make Forbidden Planet," my mom says.

    "My movie is Forbidden Power," I tell her.

    "Did you hear what your mother said?" My father adds.

    I wake up from the dream knowing that's it's a false dream as my parents always supported my movies. I know it's just my subconscious fears playing out while I sleep. A real fear, true . It's no small thing to risk enough money to stay at Disney World for a year on a movie story. And that's what I've learned directing my 7th feature film; Forbidden Power. Meaning, you don't risk money on just making a movie, you really risk it by gambling on a story.

    "Money is not the measure, man. It fetches me a great premium here." Captain Ahab touches his heart.

    Yes, there must be more than profit that motivates a producer enough to get him through many the challengers to see his movie on the big screen. We filmed Forbidden Power in 6K digital, but even so, I like the expression; "Lots of work is needed to end up with 95 minutes of sprocket holes."

    The six movies I made before were all action vehicles. All but one were martial arts action. The last one, Omega Cop was made 27 years ago. During those years, I had put all my energy into producing six full-cast audio-books, based on my novels and hiring 19 movie stars that I grew up watching at my small town movie theater to record them. It was a great time of my creative life. Plus I produced a 90-minute travel video in the USA for a Japanese actress that had a special appearance by Pat Morita (The Karate Kid).

    What changed to get me back into feature films?

    FIVE big things. FIRST; digital cameras now equal the quality of 35mm film. SECOND; Amazon started letting independent producers upload their movies and they send 50% of the proceeds directly to the producer's banks monthly. Amazon also give daily sales reports. So much better than giving your movie to a distributor that promises 50% of the profits and then, by contract, keeps the other 50% calling it expenses. By the way, nothing has changed. Go on you-tube to hear new producers talk and they all say: "Do not give your movie to a distributor."

    I filmed the travel video in digital, but this would be my first feature film in digital. That meant; no purchasing film stock, no developing the negative, no work print, easier to light, cheaper special effects, fast editing and no conforming the negative to the work print. (A $2,000 expense.) All these are major cost cutting things when filming in digital.

    The THIRD thing to get me back onto features was the passion I had for the story. That passion was originally to only write it as a novel and get it on amazon kindle. That was exciting as I wrote it in the first-person in the present tense. But once on Amazon, it didn't feel like it was enough. I had to see it as a movie. I always loved movies where the hero is empowered; Limitless, LUCY, Wolf, the Star Trek episode staring Gary Lockwood: Where No Man Has Gone Before, and many others.

    I've studied personal empowerment my whole life to continue as a freelance film-maker to the point of putting all I've learned in my How to Live the James Bond Lifestyle empowerment book. But those movies were extreme in their story telling. I wanted to follow a young man who gets just a small boast of mental and physical power. And I was more concerned with how he received that power.

    In Forbidden Power, the hero gets his power via a sexual encounter. (This can happen to a certain degree in real life.) And if the hero get his power that way, what I wanted to explore was: Where did the woman get her power in the first place? And why did she choose this particular young man to give it to in the first place?

    The FOURTH thing that got me to take a risk on making the movie was the fact that a long-time friend, Conrad Denke, has a movie studio in Seattle, Washington: Victory Studio. His studio had advanced to a point where I could make the entire movie, from filming to end credits, there, 'in-house'.

    The FIFTH thing was that fact that Conrad had just acquired a Red Epic 6K digital camera. The same camera that shot Jurassic World, Gone Girl and Dead Pool.

    With those five things in place, I gave myself the mental 'green light' and figured to film the movie a year later. But right away I knew: if good will come from this project, then why wait a year for it to happen? And if bad comes from it, I'll have to handle it no matter what year I spend the money. So I got on the net, found the time of year in Seattle when there was the least rain and set the date for a 15 day shoot starting August 21, 2017.

    Casting, Locations & Props -

    On my last feature film there was no Internet. Now, even though I live in Japan, I could do most of my pre-production at home on the net. Casting agencies now show their actors photos and profile on their web sites. Many have their demo-reel on them. Most of the agencies you can access directly. A few of them require you to sign in and get permission which is easy to do.

    Forbidden Power had nine main characters to cast and 24 supporting actors. We would also end up using 150 extras for various scenes. Including the12 person crew, paychecks were given to a total of 184 people. This was an unusual amount for an independent movie where they usually have four leads and a couple of supporting actors. Also, for smaller budgeted movies, locations are kept to a minimum. I was advised by a few that:

    "You should not be filming this movie with this many actors and locations. You'll never finish on a15 day schedule. You should be filming in one location with just a few actors."

    However, since all my movie had ambitious cast, locations and large action scenes, I knew that I could get it all done on schedule with the large cast, providing no one got sick or a storm did not hit Seattle.

    On the Internet, there are many articles that tell you how to film an independent movie. One producer wrote about if you have so much money you are 'allowed' this many locations and this many crew members. He wrote about how various budgets would allow you to have a certain number of locations and crew members.

    Those articles are good to make you think, but every movie has a story that requires a certain number of characters and locations. The question is: Do you make a plan to film your story as you envision it? Or do you cut down your story 'just to make a movie'.

    And then there are the 'profit talkers'. They'll say:

    "You must make a movie for under $20,000 so you can get your money back quickly and go to the next movie. There is a producer that raises $30,000, keeps $10,000 for himself, makes the movie for $20,000 and then goes on to the next one."

    That is all good and will certainly get a producer a body of work. However, there is always the idea of going for your personal 'masterpiece'. Something that you can't wait to show an audience. Something real, that is a part of you. Both ways are fine, but with the few movies that I get to do, or few audio-books, I want each one to engage the audience as much as possible.

    My Plan for Engaging the Audience -

    The novel of Forbidden Power had come first, but in doing the screenplay I had to expand it greatly. I needed to go beyond the novel's ending. I also needed to add additional characters and locations. When I was given the script for Omega Cop, the story had the cop rescuing one woman and escaping the doomed city. I immediately added two more women for the cop to rescue. He would meet them one by one during the story, thus 'refreshing' the audience's interest. Also, three women would give me more people to cut away to in any given scene to make it more interesting. And they were three different types of women, so if you didn't like one, there were two others to watch.

    In Forbidden Power, the hero has a girlfriend, but becomes involved with the mysterious woman that empowers him. At the 'deadly one-hour mark' in the movie, where many movies lose the audience's interest, I had the hero meet another beautiful woman to get involved with. She would also have a surprising shock for the hero later on in the story. I was advised to drop the sequence with this 3rd woman to 'save money' and 'it's not needed for the story', but I knew she would add to the visuals as well as let the hero go on a 'side adventure' that would pay off well.

    When we were filming with the 3rd girl, one crew member said, "Wow, it really got me when the girl revealed herself." I was glad for his reaction, but it also told me he hadn't read the script which is fine as long at a crew member does their job.

    Also, to give the movie a bigger look, not only did I keep the needed locations from the novel, I added a few more. So, even though most of the story takes place in Seattle, we had scenes in a San Francisco convention center, Las Vegas, San Jose and Arizona to do. Those were shot quickly.

    Back to Casting -

    I knew the hardest character to cast would be the Native American woman in her late 20's named Veronica. She's the one that mysteriously empowers the hero, so the whole believability of the movie would depend on her. She'd have to look like a real Native American, have a seductive voice and be willing to do nude scenes and look outstanding in those scenes. This was necessary to the story because the hero becomes addicted to her and one of the reasons is the woman's physicality.

    All Internet casting searches in the Seattle area found no one. Nor did Washington. Nor did Los Angeles. This brings us to the subject of filming the movie as a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) union project or non-union. First of all, I planned to pay the actors SAG scale for a low-budget movie which is $125 per day, whether I filmed union or not. Why?

    I know that whenever someone gets a job in a movie; whether it's me, or an actor or actress or crew member; what's the first thing their relatives, loved-ones or friends ask: 'How did you get the part? 'What part do you have?' 'What's the story?' 'Where will they film it?' No. The first thing relatives ask is: "How much are they going to pay you?"

    This is especially true for actresses with boyfriends who sooner or later, usually sooner, get jealous of their girlfriend getting a part in a movie with a 'glamorous and exciting' cast and crew working in close quarters in often emotional scenes.

    You can't blame the guys. It's only natural. But the first thing they attack is, of course; "How much are they paying you." So, I want the actress, or actor to say, "I'll be getting paid SAG scale." That sounds professional and keeps most guys from saying "You're getting gypped." But some say it anyway.

    Thus, I recommend all independent producers to consider paying SAG scale even if you're filming non-union. Actually, the most important aspect of that is so the actors will respect the project as a 'professional' event to be taken seriously. The same goes for the crew if you're hiring professional in the business as I did on this project.

    I knew our need for efficient filming would not give me the manpower to comply with all the demands and paperwork that a SAG shoot would entail, so I decided to film non-union. After making the movie, some would tell me 'You should have had a name actor in the movie.' I agree, but who would pay for that name actor and the additional days of filming that we'd end up needing?

    It was costing around $15,000 per day with cast, crew, extras, accommodations, food etc. Adding three more days to follow SAG rules, would add an extra $45,000 to the budget, plus the cost of the name actor. So, indeed, who would pay? Besides we had a Las Vegas train crash to film and money was needed for that. It all comes down to the choice of the guy who's watching his checkbook being drained daily.

    Back to the Lead Actress -

    After I exhausted actor casting sites, I went to modeling sites. I saw a few photos of a Latin-American model, living in Los Angeles, who would be good for the part. She even had a video of her walking and some bikini shots. Before contacting the agency, I searched her on Facebook. The first five photos that she had posted were her surrounded by friends at a various bars. In one photo she was making a scrunched-up face while giving the camera the finger. Was I going to risk all my 'Disney World money' on an actress that I would most likely lose to the first bar she finds in Seattle? Let me tell you about 'bars and movies'.

    On my first movie, The Tournament, I had a close college friend in a major part. The first morning of filming I went to his house to pick him up. His father answered the door and said, "Bill is in the bedroom." I walked in to see Bill lying in bed with his head completely bandaged. "I was in a bar last night," he told me in a depressed tone, "And I got into a fight with a guy and he pulled out a knife and cut my ear." I offered my sincere condolences, but had to get to the location where people were waiting.

    I had to re-cast him with another friend, Joshua Johnson, who went on from co-starring in The Tournament to also co-star in Death Machines and Weapons of Death. Would Bill have been in those movies instead of Joshua? Who knows? Because I had to go back to the Air Force after filming on leave, I didn't visit Bill again. He disappeared from our college group and was never heard from again. So, I never contacted the agency about that Latin-American model. I also figured that she might give our project the finger at some point, so I couldn't risk everything on her.

    If you're the producer, the money man, you always start a project alone. You make he decision about when, where, and most important; how much? Once that decision is made you start bringing in people to help with the production. The first one was John Wright who had helped edit the novel of Forbidden Power. I told him my problem with finding an actress to play Veronica. John is a magazine cameraman and knows about casting models, so he said, "Let me see what I can do." And that's all he said.

    The second person I got advice from was David J. Moore, who has written two giant books on action and science fiction movies that had three of my movies in. He promoted the novel version of the movie to many magazine companies and because he had seen thousands of movies, I asked him to read the screenplay. Because my novel was written with many flash-backs, I had the script in that form, too. After reading it, David gave me some good insight, the most important being: "Don't use the flash-back form. Have the narrative in a straight time-line." Thank God for that advice which I instantly knew was right. So I put the script into a straight time line and it read much clearer and more exciting.

    The next two people I informed about the project were Jan Van Tassell and Bruce Dowling. They'd been with me for most of my movies and audio-books, both on production and post-production. They are what Jerry Lewis called 'total film-makers'. They will do whatever needs to be done at the moment to get any project done. The two also distinguished themselves by investing money in my past projects.

    On a movie, some will wish you well, many will ask for jobs, but very few will invest money on a project. Jan and Bruce said they were both ready to go to Seattle in August and work in any capacity. The last job they did for me was producing and directing my audio-book Wicked Players. Because of their hard work on this movie, they ended up with the top producing credits. They greatly impressed Victory Studios with getting scenes ready to film with just two weeks of actual pre-production.

    A week after we talked, John Wright called to say that he had put an ad in a New York casting magazine searching for an actress to fit the Native American Veronica character. He was surprised to get a lot of photos from blond actresses in the mail, but there was one, Nasanin Nuri, that looked promising. John Emailed me her photo and she looked perfect.

    I figured that to get an actress that was visually right and that would have a seductive sounding voice as well would be too much to hope for. So I figured I could always have another actress dub in the voice like they did with many of the James Bond girls, especially the ones in the first two Bond movies and the Japanese girls in You Only Live Twice. However, when I talked with Nasanin via Skype, her voice was beyond perfect. We had our Veronica.

    Because the entire movie hinged on her character and some of the 'special requirements', I offered to pay her seven times what the SAG scale pay was. I couldn't lose her. She accepted, and arrangements were made for her flight and accommodations. I didn't know it at the time, but Nasanin had taken some serious acting classes, so she was a natural in front of the camera and needed no direction from me except for staging.

    With the lead actress set, I could give the green light to Conrad at Victory Studios. "Jan, Bruce and I will arrive two weeks before August 21 and film for 15 days, so get the crew ready and please interview the cast members in person that I choose by Internet photos." Conrad told me about the Red Epic camera that he had just purchased and it had functioned great on a just completed project, so I knew I didn't have to worry about the technical part of the production.

    Casting Harry Mok -

    My plan for the movie was to keep the audience engaged by the new characters introduced and the new and hopefully intriguing situations. Being often referred to as a 'martial arts movie director', and I loved staging fight scenes, I decided to add a karate teacher named Chang to the story. I wrote a fight scene with him at night in the fog to give variety to the story. After reading the script, Conrad told me, the character of Chang really fit naturally into the story.

    For the character of Chang, I enlisted the aid of actor/producer Harry Mok fresh off of his producing chores on the animated feature Animal Crackers that has the voices of Sylvester Stallone, Danny De Vito, Emily Blunt and Gilbert Gottfried.

    I met Harry when he brought his stunt team to work on Ninja Busters many years ago. Since then, he worked with Sylvester Stallone on Rambo 2 and directed many top music videos. Harry was excited to play the part and had ideas for some special casting in the movie, so he became an Executive Producer of Forbidden Power along with Conrad.

    Harry suppled familiar names in the martial arts and health world, including Gina Su a recent 'Miss Global Asia' & Jannie Avanti, who holds the speed record for water-skiing round trip to Catalina Island and back. Every time Harry recommended an actor to me, I would expand their parts and give them some special bits to do which made for their scenes better and thus the movie better.

    For Gina Su, who played Harry's wife, I added a completely new scene where she says good-bye to him. I filmed and edited it in a special way and is one of my favorite scenes in the movie. All because I wanted Harry's people to have a little more to do on their scenes.

    Harry arranged to get martial arts fight champion,Todd Dunphy, the part of the Winslow Arizona bartender. As written, he was merely to deliver some dialogue concerning the back story about Veronica. But since he was Harry's contact I came up with a gag where he throws a club at the hero who catches it because of his new powers. A great gag without our actor getting hurt during the six takes it took for him to catch it.

    Harry continued his involvement with the movie once it was finished by suggesting we compete with 600 movies at the 2018 International Action on Film MegaFest held in Las Vegas. "It's just a thought," Harry said to me. Harry's 'thought' got us six nominations, including Best Science Fiction Feature Film and two wins: Best Special Effects and Best Young Performer for 8-year-old Kaiya Gray who played young Veronica. Harry and Nasain were both nominated for Male and Female Rising Action Star, with Harry the Runner Up in his category.

    That happened ten months after filming. Before that, the risky filming awaited. Would we finish on budget and schedule? Would anyone get hurt during the production? Would Nasanin arrive from New York on time? Would the fog machines work? And on and on. When you're risking a lot of money, the mind can see all the ways you can lose it. I had confidence in the story and technical, but unexpected challenges always come up on a movie. And if those challenges were not overcome, would I ever see Disney World again?

    Producing on a Short Schedule -

    When I arrived in Seattle, Conrad had interviewed all the actors that I had chosen, and he said they'd work out fine, but we still didn't have the male lead to our story. That part was just as important as Nasanin's part, but I figured since the lead could be any nationality and there were lots of young men looking to be in the movie, it would be easier to cast him.

    Before arriving in Seattle, I had found a perfect leading man, only 23, but we could have him act older. I contacted him via email and Skype and he was excited to do the part. It was his dream. He also wanted to get into production. He had already bought movie equipment to pursue his dream. Not only would he be the star of the movie, but he'd meet producers like Conrad, Harry and more. He was excited to do it.

    I emailed him the script which I figured he'd devourer in an hour. But no word came back from him. After two days, I emailed him about it and he answered that he had only read half. HALF? What's going on? Finally, the next day he wrote; "How do you plan on handling the kissing scenes?" I replied just like it says in the script.

    Allow me to digress a minute about kissing or nude scenes. There would be no nude scenes for the hero, but kissing there very much would be. After all, this is a story about sexually transmitted power. A one time or another during the story, the hero would be kissing each girl, a couple of times each. And one time, during a delusion scene, he would kiss all three girls, one after another. The camera would be in a certain positions with each actress lined up to kiss the hero when the camera was at a certain position. So, yes there would be kissing.

    The young guy said he was newly married and his conservative wife might have trouble with him kissing other actresses. Now before you laugh or judge his throwing away an opportunity because of this, think back to age 22 and new love. I understood it completely, yet, but I was incredulous over his missed opportunity. So, I thanked him for his honestly (Thank goodness he didn't take the part and then cause problems on the set or even leave the movie.) and told him that maybe there will be another chance in the future to work together. Now that I think on it, I never called him for a small part. I think he was too striking to be in a supporting part or maybe I just got busy searching for our lead and forgot about him.

    On the subject of intimate scenes or nudity, I wrote it out very clearly in the script exactly how many seconds a kiss would be, what the person would be wearing and more. This is important so that every actor and especially actresses know what will happen in each scene so they can make a decision whether to take the part or not.

    Getting back to casting the male lead, I had a couple of actors on my list that I had seen on various casting web-stes in Seattle. One of them, Lincoln Bevers, looked great, but the acting scene he had for a video, didn't show his true image, so I just had him on the 'maybe list'. When Conrad and I Skyped him, Conrad said, "He's the best one so far." So, we met Lincoln and indeed he was leading man material, serious about his career and ready to do the job. On the karate training scenes Lincoln did with Harry Mok, and three other scenes that day, Lincoln had a fever, but never told me about it until the premiere. So now the actors were set.

    The Director of Photography, Lionel Flynn, had been in touch with me from the start via the Internet. He scouted location that I had found via the net and took photos of each place. I gave him my plans for the shots at each locations so he and his crew were well prepared. And what a great crew. I instantly become friendly with them. They were all professionals, excited to work on a feature film. At our first and only meeting, I promised them that every day of filming would have at least one, but usually two 'wild and exciting' scenes to enjoy working on such as a biker in a bar grabbing a beer tap, ripping it off with beer shooting up five feet in the air.

    An exciting part for me was working with guys I had gone to film school with, who had worked on my other movies and became professional on their own. William C. Martell, a script-writer with 19 of his scripts turned into completed movies arrived as a producer to add action and character bits to all the scenes. Mark Krigbaum, who edited my first two movies, arrived on the first day of filming to start editing the scenes as they came in daily. In total there were six of us from film school meeting up in Seattle to work on the project. A real fun miracle for me.

    The great thing about the entire crew is that they all came up with some great bits for the movie; dialogue, action, camera moves and editing tricks that were beyond my imagination. The daily filming was sometimes tough, often not fun for me because of trying to get the best out of scenes on a limited schedule, but I always went to sleep satisfied and grateful because of the crew's input on all the scenes making the movie bigger than I had hoped.

    With 63 scenes (not shots, but full scenes) to complete in 15 days, that was an average of four scenes to complete a day. I had completed Omega Cop in 21 days straight, Ninja Busters in 12 days, so I was pretty confident getting this done in 15. The trick is keeping your eye on your watch and getting your scenes in a good designed master shot and getting what close-up shots you can during the time allotted for that scene. And when it comes time to move on to the next scene, you have to have the discipline to let the last scene go and movie onto the next.

    The second day of filming I called 'hell day' because we had to complete six scenes in one day in order to get full use of Harry Mok flying up to Seattle. He would come back at the end of the shot for a few more days, but I had to have him with the shots of Nasanin finished and then do his karate fight in the fog.

    We started that day at 8pm and I planned for the fog fight to start at 10pm and finish at midnight. The alley was right next to Victory Studios, so I had the crew roll out the big 20-foot camera-boom to get some production value shots and then, once finished, it would be easy to roll back into the studio with the rest of the equipment.

    The other scenes that day took a little longer each to finish. A little longer on each of five scenes added up to where we didn't get to the fog fight till midnight. This was not good as we had to film the next day and the crew needed to get their sleep and come in later for that day's work. I had Harry and 12 stunt men for that scene, and little time to make it, so I didn't want to take a chance on the fog machine breaking, so I ordered three of them which Jan and Bruce kept cranking out fog for the full two hours of that fight.

    I had bought knee and elbow pads for the stunt men that Harry would be knocking down onto the the cement. I also bought a foam cushion for falls that would be off camera. I didn't want anyone to get hurt, but if they did I wanted to say that we had all the safety requirements.

    However, the macho stunt men didn't want the elbow pads and the foam mat was useless because the entire fight would be two continuos designed shots which would show the ground. When I was working with the cameraman to set up the shot, I saw Harry rehearsing the men who were falling to the hard pavement. I ran over and said, "Don't fall on the rehearsal. I don't want any of you hurt." But some of them still did.

    We got the needed four shots, two with the boom, two with the Ronin 'steady-cam', and we were thankfully done at 2pm. While everyone was happy watching the video playback. I walked over to Harry, shook his hand, pointed to the ground and said, "On this rock we will build our church," as a way of saying, 'let's make more movies together'. Driving Harry back to his hotel, he said, "You're really in your element out there on the set."

    'Hell Day' finished. The rest of the filming went smoothly. I planned to film all of Nasanin's scenes in the first week. Once I got that done, I knew I had a movie. Except for Harry and his five actors, the rest were from Seattle and I knew I could easily get them back if needed. On the next to last day, I had all the lead actors, including Harry together on a boat at sea. Any director will tell you that boats at sea are the most difficult to do, but I had that planned as well as a gunfight to film on the pier once we returned with the boat.

    At the pier, Conrad had actors, cars, more crew and four policemen for crowd-control waiting for our return. We were an hour late getting back, so I had to be sure to get this next scene finished before we lost the sun. When we headed for the boat ramp we were to use, the boatman said, "That's too shallow today. We can't dock here." Conrad and I looked at each other. I start looking around for another pier the actors can run on that might be deep enough for the boat, because one way or another those actors are going to get on that boat, even if they have to swim out to it.

    Conrad made a call to a boat owner he knew who had some pull with the pier manager and found one next to our original pier that was deep enough to dock the boat. So, we got back to work.

    Two cars pull up with four actors, followed by another car with four villains, gunfire, bodies down, a mad dash to the boat and more is filmed with various camera set-ups. It's over, except for four easy scenes the next day at a hotel, park, men's store and train station. Easy I had hoped. We had to work fast to get it done. And then it was done.

    Post Production -

    Once everything was filmed and the actors back home (and off salary), I could enjoy the editing process with Mark as we had done on my first feature. I had two special effects men working on the over 100 shots that needed special work. They were the two men who got the awards for special effects.

    As mentioned, all the services I needed were all at Victory Studios, just like the old days of Hollywood studios. That made it fun and convenient for me to go from room to room checking the progress and seeing the results of the special effects. For the Las Vegas train crash, I figured I'd have to 'hide' the cash with many quick cuts, but it came out so well, that the crash is mostly one shot that we could hold on for a long time. That is what won us the special effects award at MegaFest.

    We had the premiere in Seattle, San Francisco and LA. And then Forbidden Power was uploaded on Amazon for USA and UK views. A few months later, it was uploaded to the Vimeo movie site where it can be rented and viewed world-wide. And where I would get daily reports and 90% of the sales directly to my bank. No more calling a lying distributor asking, "Where is our money?" with the answer coming back, "Oh, the guy that sold the video rights was robbed in the airport, so we can't send you anything." That's an actual, exact quote from our Weapons of Death distributor.

    This new technology for movies is great. And one more thing, in the old days, my movie would play in a theater for two weeks only. Now movies play, and make money, forever. It's a great time for independent producers.

    Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, let me know.
    You can watch Forbidden Power at Amazon or Vimeo. (Vimeo also had a copy with Japanese sub-titles).

December 26, 2016

  • New Interview about Ninja Busters Blu-ray Release.

    Ninja Busters and Death Machines have recently been released with my into and director's commentary.

    Read it here:

    Here's the first part:

    Paul, it’s great to see that a couple of your films have gotten recent Blu-ray releases. For many people these are like “brand new” movies. Your movie Ninja Busters in particular was virtually lost for several decades. Talk a little bit about how Ninja Busters was finally able to see the light of day. Why did it sit on a shelf undiscovered for so long?

    It’s a 30-year story, David. When I got Ninja Busters to the final print back in 1984, I told the producer that it would be best for him to sell it country by country at the American Film Market, so he would get his money back. He, instead, gave the one print of the movie to a small distributor who sold it a few places, never paid the producer and ended up in prison for stealing money from many other movies including Ninja Busters.

    In 2012, film collector Harry Guerro, of Exhumed Films and Garage House Pictures, was informed of a possible film storage room in California, on the edge of the Mojave desert, where there might be some trashed movies. In a “hell-hole of a room” as Harry calls it, there were 200 movies in rusty film cans. Many of the prints had turned to rust and rusted right out of the metal cans they were in. However, the print of Ninja Busters was amongst them and in good shape. So Harry loaded up the 200 prints into a rental truck and drove across America to New Jersey.

    He showed Ninja Busters along with many other ‘exploitation movies’ at his Ex-Fest Marathon, a three-day film festival. People continued talking about the movie throughout the festival, so Harry figured that Ninja Busters was worth a Blu-ray release. Harry contacted me about supporting the project and doing an introduction and director’s commentary track.


January 27, 2015

  • The Ultimate Book for Freelancers

    freelancer two

    Do you wish to survive as a freelancer?

    Freelancer defined:

    A person who works as a writer, designer, performer, or the like, selling work or services by the hour, day, job, etc., rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer.

    Is that you?

    It sure has been, and continues to be, me. And the keywords in that last sentences is ‘has been’, because that’s what you don’t want to be thought of as a freelancer. That's why I developed the James Bond Lifestyle course for myself. It was never intended to be given to anyone else.

    Since my dream of being a movie director started at age eight, when I saw The Making of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, continued with getting a BA in Film and winning the Berkeley Film Festival twice, I wanted no other way of life, other than to be a freelance movie maker.

    My first feature film bombed. My second, premiered in 50 theaters in Los Angeles alone, and then went round the world. My third feature was popular, but the distributor ran off with the money.

    The next three features gave me a good salary, but that was it. Then at age 29, I was at a hard place; meaning too long between jobs. Then miraculously a stunt woman from one of my movies hired me to direct a travelogue in Phuket, Thailand where the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed.

    The producer got me on a flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok with a First Class seat. When I got on the jumbo-jet, I saw that I was the only passenger with six beautiful Thai flight attendants. Later, the pilot told me that this flight was usually just for cargo, but the law required the full flight crew.

    When the flight attendants gave the safety briefing, which was not yet on video, one attendant read the announcement into the PA system, another one walked right up to my seat and said, “For your eyes only,” which was the title of the new James Bond movie at that time.

    Wow. Was I dreaming? An attendent asked if I wanted a newspaper, I wasn't interested, but took it from her to be polite. I opened it, and saw on the front page the results of the Acadamy Awards show that I had missed the night before. These coincidencess were starting to add up nicely.

    The pilot asked me if I wanted to sit in the cockpit and I did so, even for the landing. Wow. I made a lot of money on that job as well as having great experiences. When I came back home, I knew I didn’t want that energy or lifestyle to stop. Wanted them to continue badly.

    The next day, I watched the video of The Man with the Golden Gun and right then I decided that I needed to live like James Bond. I needed the ready cash that he always has for tipping; I needed the 50 gold sovereigns that he carries in his briefcase. Just to mention a few things I needed.

    So I got to work writing down ideas about James Bond’s lifestyle; asking myself, what made him so cool and prosperous? I write up ideas that I had learned from success courses and books, plus my own ideas.

    Soon things started to get better with my movie career. And then soon after, crew members from my movies began asking me, “How do you live as a freelancer with no company to support you?”

    So I would tell them about my James Bond Lifestyle ideas, which would take an hour or more at lunch. But after doing that a few times I realized that I needed to get all the information recorded on a 90 minute cassette tape so that I could easily hand it to anyone that asked about how to live as a freelancer.

    That was 1998, about the time the internet got bigger and Amazon started up, so I put the tape on Amazon.

    Then I got asked by The Learning Annex to give three hour seminars on the Bond Lifestyle, but it turned out that three hours wasn’t enough time to give out all the information that I continued to accumulate. So I recorded an 8 hour version on CDs. But I went one step further and, since I’m a showman, I added many voices, sound effects and music to it.

    Then in 2012, I expanded the course even more with the 340 page Kindle version that much more additoinal information and Skyfall references.
    During the years of the James Bond Lifestyle being available to the public, I’ve received many emails saying things like;

    “Your book saved my 30 year old son’s life.” - “Your book saved my marriage.” - “Your book made me fight my disease.” - “Your book helped me survive my divorce.” - “Your book made me start my own business.” - “Your book made me write my own book.” - “Your book made my family have a new respect for me.”

    So if you are a freelancer, check out the sample pages and especially the Table of Contents for the 2012 Kindle version of How to Live the James Bond Lifestyle:

December 14, 2014

  • The Time Machines's George Pal and Me


    Me and George Pal as I thank him.

    When I was 12, I wrote to George Pal, asking for a photo of Rod Taylor fighting a Morlock, from the movie The Time Machine which Mr. Pal produced and directed. I didn’t have his address, so I sent it to MGM Studios. I figured it would probably never get into Mr. Pal’s hands, but that at least I tried.

    A month later, I received an 8X10 photo of Rod Taylor holding a touch as he hits a Morlock, plus a short letter from George Pal saying, “I’m glad you like the movie. Here is a photo for you.”

    15 years later, I met Mr. Pal at a movie convention with my first words being: “When I was 12, I wrote to you for a photo of Rod Taylor in The Time Machine….” As I spoke, I could see his face getting worried that I was about to complain about never getting it. I continued, “…. And you sent me the best photo of Rod fighting a Morlock. You made a 12 year old boy very happy.”

    He smiled and then, after signing a photo of War of the Worlds, he said, “I’m glad you received the photo.”

    Over the years, various filmmakers have answered my letters and requests. Animator Ray Harryhausen – The 7th Voyage of Sinbad sent me a photo and letter and years later I show it to him and thanked him for it. Director of two Elvis Presley movies, Peter Tewksbury, always answered my letters about his filming and editing techniques and working with Elvis on Stay Away, Joe and The Trouble with Girls.

    These days, because of the movies I directed have been getting re-issued and some attention, plus the fact that I wrote How to Live the James Bond Lifestyle, I get lots of requests for advice. Because I remember how much it meant to me that George Pal and the others replied to my request, so I never turn down fan requests that come to me. In fact, I enjoy doing so.

    And little did I know that Rod and Alan Young would perform in my audio-books years later. Dreams are worth pursuing.

    Coming soon to kindle / audio for $2.99:

    Rod Taylor narrating my audio-book: Rock Star Rising. Performed by Russ Tamblyn, George Chakiris, Robert Culp, James Darren and Kevin McCarthy.

December 8, 2014

  • Bill Medley regrets breaking James Bond Lifestyle rule #5

    bill Medely

    In Bill Medley’s new book: The Time of My Life – A Righteous Brother’s Memoir, he says:

    In Las Vegas, I went to my road manager's office. I was not dressed well for such a meeting; I was wearing slippers, a ratty old sweater and Levis. I also hadn't shaved for about three days. We noticed that Bobby Darin was playing at the Flamingo, so we snuck in the back because I was dressed so badly.

    Halfway through the show, Bobby announces, "Ladies and gentlemen, Bill Medley from the Righteous Brothers is here. Bill come on up." There was no way, dressed like I was, that I was going to get up there. I signaled a polite "no thanks" but Bobby persisted with the band playing What'd I Say, while I kept saying, "No, no thanks," for three minutes.

    "C'mon up Bill," Bobby said, not giving up. Finally my road manager said, "You're just gonna have to go up....and start dressing better."

    As I got up, I hit the table and a pitcher of beer spilled all over my crotch. Dressed like a homeless guy, with my pants looking like I'd just had a bladder accident, I took the stage. Since the band was playing, I couldn't stop and explain what had happened. Thank God this was before cell phone cameras.

    After the song I said, "Bobby, sorry for the way I'm dressed, I was just coming into town for a quick meeting and I spilled a pitcher of beer on my way up here." Bobby cracked up, along with the audience.

    I did learn a great lesson though. Believe me, I never go out in public looking like that anymore, and I'm extra careful about having pitchers of liquids on my table. In hindsight, it was one of my most embarrassing moments, but a funny one, too.

    James Bond Lifestyle rule #5: I dress up, even at home alone.

    How to Live the James Bond Lifestyle - Read 30 sample pages on amazon:

October 31, 2014

  • Schwarzenegger Used a Bond Lifestyle Technique on Terminator 3


    Sometimes in business there is an opportunity that requires money that your company may not approve. Perhaps it’s buying a dinner for a client, flying someplace or putting a client up in a hotel. This might not be covered by the company expense account or the budget that your project is on. In this case do what James Bond did in Quantum of Solace when M turned off Bond’s credit cards; Use your own cash.

    When Arnold Schwarzenegger was working on Terminator 3 he noticed that the scene of the terminator hanging from the crane and going through a building had been cut from the script. When he asked the producer why it had been cut he was told they didn’t have the 1.4 million dollars in the budget to do it.

    Arnold knew it was an impressive scene and that it would help the impact of his character as well as the movie, so he told the director that he would pay for it. The scene is now in the movie.

    Of course, it helps that Arnold was paid 30 million dollars for the movie and could afford it. But even when an opportunity costs a little more than you can afford, it’s important to recognize an opportunity that can change your business life and; Use your own cash.

    * Arnold told this story on the Howard Stern Show.

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