The Bowling Green Massacre

I’m not into politics on social media. I don’t post about politics, and I tend to block a lot of political sources, liberal and conservative, on Facebook. I am, however, an opportunist when it comes to comedy, and when I saw my politically active friend Claude D. Miles retweeting everything to do with the Bowling Green Massacre a few weeks back, I knew we had to make a movie.

The film below was put together in four weeks. It’s a collaboration between two third party supporters on opposite ends of the spectrum with a mutual disdain for corruption. It’s a reminder that we can find common ground with people who disagree with us, and – brace yourselves for this one – get along without having to agree on everything. It’s also getting lots of raves for being ridiculously funny – which was really the main point.

Please like and share so that no one will ever forget. Remember Bowling Green. Viva la France!

Special Guest Star Len Cella

I still remember the first time I saw Len Cella’s work. My Dad taped a clip from The Tonight Show back in the early 80s, when Len was just starting to draw a cult following for his own series of shorts, the Moron Movies. Len wrote, starred in, edited, produced, and directed all of these low/no budget shorts himself, long before the time when iMovie and other editing software made it so easy. The two shorts I remember from that day were Cleaning Behind the Fridge (where Len simply throws a bucket of water behind the refrigerator) and How to Make a Sandwich (in which Len puts a piece of corn on the cob and a salt shaker on white bread).

Years later I found a copy of Volume 2 of the Moron Movies for sale at Blockbuster. It was around the time I started making films on my own, and it directly inspired a series of shorts I produced about Adam and Eve. A few years later, I found Len on Facebook. I contacted him and asked him to do a guest spot in the movie The Last Temptation of Fluffy. Len shot his own footage and sent it to me to include in the movie. I am eternally grateful to him for his kindness and generosity.

Len is living proof that anyone with a camera and some imagination can be a filmmaker. He’s turning 80 years old this year, and he’s making more movies than ever. If you’ve never seen him in action, give the Moron Movies a look for yourself in the clip below. You can also view a short documentary by filmmaker Simon Mercer titled King Dong on Vimeo (Contains adult language), and you can follow Len on Facebook to see even more of his films.

Do Zombies Have Civil Rights?

Someone on Facebook the other day shared a post stating that the way the world is today, if a zombie apocalypse did happen, there would be people marching in the streets demanding civil rights for the zombies.

Facebook, I was way ahead of you, six years ago.

What’s His Name?

Whatever your politics may be…

Whatever you are passionate about…

And regardless of what you think about people who hold the opposite view…

There are still some things that we all share in common.

If we look for it, we can still find common ground. Even today.

That was the purpose behind the last Righteous Insanity short film, “What’s His Name?” It’s a message that seems to be more relevant now than ever.

Share and enjoy.

A Very Serious Talk with Daniel Thompson

Daniel Thompson is a college student who created and hosted one of my favorite podcasts ever. Sadly, The Very Serious Writing Show was a casualty of a busy fall semester, but the 64 episodes are still available to download on Soundcloud.

The Very Serious Writing Show was a fun and inspirational podcast by writers, for writers. Daniel interviewed writers at all skill levels about all things writing. His enthusiasm for writing is contagious, and his guests were encouraging and educational.

When I decided to start interviewing writers for my website, Daniel was one of the first people I contacted. As you might expect from the host of The Very Serious Writing Show, it was a very, very serious discussion.

Boom Shaka-Laka.

What led you to start the Very Serious Writing Show in the first place? 

Kay, so, once upon a time, I worked at my local radio station, making commercials and running the soundboard. Great gig, so much fun, learned a ton, but there was lot of creative freedomm, you know? I remember one time they let me impersonate the Crocodile Hunter to advertise the Annual Rattlesnake festival, but other than that, I had kinda tight restrictions. People didn’t want out-there advertisements; they felt like that was risky, so after a while, it was just too shut in. And it was a country music station. So that was . . . good? Anyway, I left there to move to a new town, and wanted to keep doing radio-type work. I had a buddy who asked me if I’d be interested in doing some sort of writing-related podcast for his website, and it was just kinda perfect timing. Kingdom Pen Radio was born. And then died, quite shortly afterwards really, and metamorphosed into The Very Serious Writing Show, a loosey goosey author interview podcast. And it was fun, oh it was fun.

What have you been doing since the show went in hiatus in the fall? 

Well John, I became the prophet of Nicolas Cage. I cut out 2 thousand images of that beautiful man, and gave them out to residents in my dorm, who proceeded to plaster Nicolas Cage’s glorious image on every floor, in every building, and in every bathroom on campus. This went on all semester long; it was the internet in real life. And it was truly beautiful.

If an aspiring writer discovered your show today, what episodes would you recommend they hear first? 

Why, YOUR EPISODE OF COURSE! *cough* Or, I mean, you know, whatever. You know, it’s crazy, I don’t actually have a favorite episode. At least not for the sake of the show itself. My favorite episodes personally are the ones where I got to interview the guys who were basically my childhood heroes. Wayne Thomas Batson, Bill Myers, Katie Weiland. Those people were such inspirations to me, especially Wayne and Bill, that you can read their work and see bits of my own personality derived from them. That’s how much I loved their writing; they’re the guys who taught me to love fiction, to love reading, and to love writing as a result. So, if I had to point to one and go, “Yarp, that’s the one,” I’d say the Wayne Thomas Batson two-parter or Bill Myer’s episode. I’d like to think though that anyone could jump in anywhere with whoever they wanted to hear from and enjoy themselves.

Have you discovered any new writers since the show ended you wished you had on? 

Well, that would require me to be reading fiction commonly and I’m afraid that has not been my pleasure. There were some people I had reached out to though that I really wish had gotten back to me. Orson Scott Card, Ava DuVernay, and Frank Peretti all had better things to be doing with their time than gracing my humble podcast, and I don’t blame them. I feel blessed to have spoken to the men and women I have, and to have shared little pieces of their persons with everyone else. But if you’re asking me who we should be reading right now, I honestly don’t know. I’ll take any suggestions I get! I’ve kinda been eyeing Terry Pratchett for a while now . . .

What are your career/creative goals for the next few years? 

I’m going to be graduating college in a little over a year, and then I’m off to grad school, and a PhD school after that. I’m going to become a COLLEGE PROFESSOR. Which, as I see it, is kinda like having a daily live interactive podcast about several different things, and that sounds really fantastic to me. And it lets me keep pursuing other fun things! I’ve got lots of commercial video work I’m playing with right now, a vintage fashion blog/instagram I’m doing photography for (@beautifuldayforvintage, if you wanna see [not to plug, it’s legit if you wanna see. Vintage fashion is terribly specific, and very different from writing, and from wrestling, come to thing of it, so, you know, emit if you like, s’all good with me, whatever]), and possibly one of the more challenging projects I’ve ever worked on: my wedding day. And as always, I’ve got lots of random project carp rolling around, but all that’s yet to be seen.

Now for the real hard question: how is your dystopian comedy coming along?

That’s a bad question, a very-not-good question, you’re a terrible interviewer, how dare you even ask that, I am very offended, GOODBYE.

Translation: Dead in the water. Which taught me a very interesting lesson about telling people about things you want to work on and dealing with their positive responses to it. Turns out, I was too satisfied telling everyone about my wonderful idea that they all wanted to read, and then when I tried to write it, it was TERRIBLE. Which, all stories are terrible when they started out. But I had expectations. So what started out as a chill, relax-yoself pet writing project turned into an absolute car crash. NOTE TO SELF: Don’t tell anyone about anything you’re working on UNLESS they don’t think you can pull it off. It’s far more motivating to try to prove people wrong than to prove them right.
Maybe I need to do a podcast episode on this subject. Hmm.

Discover the Very Serious Writing Show for yourself on Soundcloud!

Sci-fi Kindle Deals for $2.99

If you got a Kindle for Christmas, I have good news: you can stock up on science fiction for only $2.99 each.

All titles below are only $2.99 right now. Download and enjoy!

First New Book of 2017

The first new book of 2017 is actually… an old one!

Zorana has undergone many incarnations over the last decade. Originally titled Demonica, the story was first conceived as a comic book series, then as a short film series. It evolved into a short novella with twelve chapters – six written by the main character, six written by her arch-nemesis, the hapless super hero War Eagle.

I’ve expanded the story several times over the years, and I’ve also written two short pieces as off-shoots from the main story. The newest version of the book includes these two stories, several new chapters, and one more brand new story written by my copy editor Austin Nichols.

Zorana tells the story of a super-villain who, after suffering a crushing defeat at the hands of War Eagle, decides to head home for the holidays. Home, in this case, is a small town in Iowa called Smalltown, Iowa. The woman formerly known as Monica Deluna begins to reconnect with family and friends she hasn’t seen in years, but the joyous reunion is bittersweet as she also reconnects with the faith she left behind.

What’s worse, the sins of her past follow her home. War Eagle, rival villains, and other scoundrels begin to converge on Demonica, hoping to make her pay for the past. Will Zorana meet a bitter end, or is there any chance a former super-villain can find redemption?

Zorana: Confessions of a Small Town Super-Villain will be released in paperback on Amazon.com.

Final Ultimatum

f-u-posterI have some amazing friends across Kentucky. The film community in that state is second to none, with some very talented actors, producers, writers, and directors churning out one project after another. Final Ultimatum is a recent project that features three of these friends.

Jerry Williams is a cult film hero, known the world over for his demented and inventive science fiction films. He’s one of the most popular filmmakers on the INC Channel on Roku, and he’s always willing to lend a hand to anyone in need with a film.

Roni Jonah is a former professional wrestler with a number of film credits on her resume as an actress, producer, writer, and director. She’s the rare actor who, when you hand her a script, you let her take it wherever she wants to go, knowing that in her hands, it will be better and (in this case) funnier than you imagined.

Sonny Burnette is a professor of music at Georgetown University and an outstanding actor whose talent and sense of humor knows no bounds. Look for him to appear as the president at the end of this one.

Space Reaper: The Legend of Trish Angel

Space ReaperLast week I posted the story behind a trilogy of short films I produced about a cute and fuzzy killer from outer space known as Fluffy. The hero of these films was a woman named Trish Angel, a born killer who, at the end of it all, decided she had more than enough of killing, even if it was just a bunch of fuzzy pink aliens. But what happened to Trish after the battle of Cleveland?

Space Reaper: The Legend of Trish Angel is a new story about the legendary Trish Angel and her old comrade in arms, Stone Brockman. A fluke accident forces Trish to come out of retirement (again) and out of a convent (again) to join Stone Brockman on a journey into outer space (yet again!).

Trish hopes this new adventure will allow her to make a new start and once and for all purge herself of the anguish she feels for annihilating an alien race, but such catharsis was never meant to be. A new alien menace awaits Trish, Stone, and their crew on this new world, and Trish must decide if she can continue on the path of peace or once again, grab a gun and save everyone’s butts.

Space Reaper is now available as a free download! Click here to download your copy now.

THE CUTE AND FUZZY CREATURE FROM OUTER SPACE WITH THE BUTTON NOSE AND THE BIG BLUE EYES THAT’LL EAT YOUR FACE OFF AND PICK ITS TEETH WITH YOUR TOES

fluffyposterfinalSomewhere around 1999, I discovered a book called Monsters from the Id by E. Michael Jones. An amazing deconstruction of the horror genre, Jones asserted that all of horror can be summed up in the scripture James 1:15. Jones saw horror as an outgrowth of the Enlightenment and the sexual liberation it produced, and he traced the origins of modern horror back to the lives of enlightened writers like Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker.

After catching the movie Hollow Man in a hotel room (and seeing it followed Jones’ theories to the letter!), I wrote a play that I turned into a screenplay simply called Monster, a story that played off Jones’ ideas and brought some of the Christian themes of horror more to the fore. A Christian filmmaker caught sight of it, loved it, and asked to develop it into a movie. I said yes.

A few months later, I received the revised screenplay. Sadly, all of the cool ideas I had for the film’s theme were cut in favor of the more “traditional” Christian movie tropes about spiritual warfare. I was very disappointed. So not long after this, I decided to try again. This time, I would keep it simple. The movie would be shorter – something I could film on no budget. And the themes I wanted to explore would not be cut because it would be my movie!

Fluffy, starring Jamie Bratcher and Randy D. Pease, was my first successful attempt at making a short film after several false starts. The movie was a hit at film festivals with its campiness, and it worked on all levels. You could enjoy it for the “deeper” themes, or you could just laugh and enjoy a really goofy send up of alien and horror flicks.

Fluffy was not intended to be a trilogy, but then, one day, I met Erica Goldsmith. After seeing the star of independent horror films Dead Moon Rising and Overtime sparring with fellow actor Denny Grinar on set for another short, I realized I had found the perfect person to bring Fluffy’s heroine Trish Angel back to the screen. Erica was a hardcore tough girl, and Fluffy Strikes Back (which owes a lot in production to Erica’s co-star, filmmaker Herschel Zahnd III) is still the best of the three.

Like many third films, The Last Temptation of Fluffy is overly long and in parts, a mess. With Herschel unavailable to reprise his role as Stone Brockman, we invented the convoluted “Drone” subplot, and the plot as a whole goes to some truly silly places. On the other hand, the film starred Len Cella, creator of the Moron Movies and one of my personal filmmaking heroes. Len was incredibly kind and gracious, filming his own scenes and not asking a penny. It was a treat working with him.

The last film in the series is the super short Liaison Avec Flufie. This film is best experienced rather than explained, so I won’t elaborate on what was (at the time) my farewell to the Fluffy series. The lovely Laura Ellis gives a remarkable performance, one of the best dramatic moments ever in my film (one of two… see George Robert Bailey in A Conscientious Objector of Mars), and the beauty of her tormented lover sets up the film’s big payoff.