All posts by yogi1964

Hello. Hello? Anybody Care?!

* Caution* Like the television commercial for tv ratings and
parental control over content – you may have to block me or this post! Before I
start (actually this is added after I just re-read my frantic, heart felt
thoughts that I wrote for this blog entry) that I must say this entry has more
colorful language then most of my previous entries! Since the word beginning
with “F” has appeared more then once I am not qualified for a PG-13 and
therefore will get the fucking “R” rating! Hehehehehe!

You know I have been talking, sometimes incessantly,
sometimes yelling and screaming about the fair and equal representation of
those with a disability, breaking the stereotypes and ending the discrimination
of those with a disability in today’s entertainment media for 12 years! 12
fucking years. But I am not one who just sits around and screams about the
injustice – I have been WORKING to change it. I sacrifice everything including,
at times, my sanity! I do not do this just for the sake of it – or for the fame
so I can become the next Steven Spielberg – or to make a lot of money and
afford the house in Newport Beach, CA or in Brentwood, Malibu or other
sometimes exclusive Hollywood or certainly for only the wealthy neighborhoods!
I do this because it is who I am! I love telling stories – and love putting
them on camera! So ever since I became paralyzed and saw there were hardly any
movies about those like myself and the movies that do are so stereotypical and
portrayed by fine actors but able bodied just makes me wanna scream – REPRESENT
– come on, man, who is representing those with a disability. For a while it was
Christopher Reeve – who was always underrated in my opinion – but just to think
of it – he was Superman and even then the representation was limited. Maybe it
was because of the opportunities provided him even though he was an
accomplished actor, or maybe his ability, but I know it was not because of his
passion or desire for his work – his lifetime of work! But now unfortunately,
or maybe fortunately depending on your perspective (knowing he is in a much
better place now then he was), he is not longer with us. Physically speaking
because sometimes I feel him smiling and encouraging me when I am working my
work! But that is not getting me anywhere past this damn computer screen, hard
drive, memory and keyboard!

I feel like I am in this big room of Hollywood
makers and players. They are on the stage in a roundtable like forum – you know
like at some of the film fests that are into actually helping the independent
filmmaking community and not just to celebrate the latest “indiewood” films?
But the floor is so crowded that I cannot get anyone’s attention! Well, that is
not completely true, I should clarify as anyone’s attention on the stage
because those on the floor with me, my fellow kindred spirits of the indie
world, do have a response but only when I run over their fucking toes with my
wheelchair! That is also not completely true as there are some that feel I am
admirable in my goals and inspirational in tenacity. But as much as I
appreciate the understanding and the occasional praise – it does nothing to
change things! I have the work, I have the answers to nearly every question
about the true and accurate representation through an authentic voice of those
with a disability in the movies and all I need is one of those on the stage to
listen – for 5 minutes and I know they will see what I see. But I raise my
hand, scream and yell words that in most circumstances would stop fucking traffic
in the business world – NICHE PRODUCT for a well underserved market segment –
yet still maintains UNIVERSAL APPEAL – NEVER BEEN DONE but COMMERCIALLY VIABLE.
And words that in the social world also demands attention like – STEREOTYPES –
DISCRIMINATION and the worst against those with a disability then most other industries
– LARGEST & FASTEST GROWING MINORITY in America with the LEAST
REPRESENTATION, and yet I still cannot get that 5 minutes from anyone on that
damn, fucking stage!

 

Well I am raising my hand but there are so many on the floor
where even if I were in the second row I would not be seen sitting from my
chair because everyone else is standing and so much taller then me that I am
invisible to those on the stage. In fact I can barely see them by looking
between hips, shoulders and raised arms! So I will work my way to the front
row! From those on the floor – competing to do the same thing – they want the
same 5 minutes with someone on that stage of Hollywood makers and players! So
unless I find someone who will allow me out of the goodness of their heart to
move aside so I can work my way in front of them and all the way to the front
row where they will then see that standing behind me sitting in my chair, in
front of them they have lost nothing and are still easily seen and therefore
preserving their potential and suddenly still reap the rewards of the feeling
that result in giving rather then receiving. I have to wave that damn
disability card, play on their sympathies, scream how they are being so unfair
to the poor disabled man! Evoke that which is the last thing I want – the thing
I work so hard to pull away from – pity, pity, pity, me! I hate that shit and
have never been one to want it even if it helps me get something I really want
like a restaurant table before everyone else and play it down so I can impress
my date that it is only because of my character and impressive accomplishments,
of who I am and NOT what I am. I know that will only fool my date if she was
blonde – but hey, that blue eyed, dark haired woman that I have a weakness for
and am more attracted to, won’t do it on the first date! And that would be okay
if I got some recently! Like this year!  

 

So finally I get to the front row and I can see them on the
stage and I know if they look they will be able to see me too! But guess what?
Those on the stage of Hollywood players and
makers are some of the most thoughtful, civil minded, equal rights for everyone
regardless of nationality, or gender, or religion, so much that they are
looking all over the floor and all the way to the back row so EVERYONE has a
fair chance and therefore look right over the first row! If I had only known
that, if I could’ve seen from the crowd of able bodied crowd members standing
and therefore blocking my view from seeing what those equal rights and equal
opportunity players and makers where doing when I was back there I would’ve
never wasted so much time and effort working my way to the front row where I
thought – as most do – that would provide an advantage. So I will go back in
the crowd and figure a way to be noticed – find a creative means to be
separated from the crowd and just get that 5 minutes to sell them on my vision
and the great opportunity that awaits them! A great idea for a great cause that
with their greenlight of resources and following the plan I have worked,
collaborating with me on the implementation if this plan that answers all
questions before they are asked and provides a road map to potentially great
success along with the changes that their experiences says is necessary, I may
be able to finally get this to the next level – and prove to the rest of the
industry that it was a great idea for a great cause and wish they had thought
of it themselves!

 

So I am coming up with some creative ideas and ways to get
attention. I have a couple of ideas that I know can get attention of the right
people – if their people will allow them to see it! In many cases that is the
biggest hurdle, the biggest obstacle is those who decide who the “right people”
will even see, let alone call on the floor just below the stage! If I can just
get the Hollywood door open and get my foot in
it won’t matter if they slam the door because my foot is paralyzed! I have no
sensation or function – so slam away baby! I am not going anywhere without a
fair and equal opportunity to show what I have – what is different from the
hundreds of other filmmakers outside the door! Maybe that is the reason they
will not pay attention or even open the door? They are afraid they if they let
me in and I fail, causing them to lose money, credibility, or anything else
that they will not be able to get rid of me! They feel if the person who can
cry foul the most has no way to point a specific finger at them that is the
best way to avoid the negative – although correct – publicity that would fall
upon them. Easier to avoid if there is never an opportunity! Even if that
opportunity has great potential to be success! Maybe that is the answer? I have
been thinking that it was because they have always ignored those with a
disability so why change now? What proof do I have that what I bring to the
table is any different from anyone or anything in the past that dealt with
those with a disability? Give me 5 fucking minutes and I will tell you and you
will see beyond a reasonable doubt that I do have an answer to that question
and many more!

 

12 years. I didn’t always have the answers to all the
questions one could raise about those with a disability in front of and behind
the camera in Hollywood
and today’s entertainment media. But I have them now, 12 years later. And I not
only can answer them I can provide examples and solutions if I can get a
greenlight!

 

But I am running out of time. I risked everything to take
this to the next level – figuring that after 12 years and because I have
prepared everything that is in my power to be positioned where I am that I
would surely get the chance if I put a full time effort into getting the
attention that would take it to the next level. And I thought I had some pretty
solid confirmation on investors at least committing to seed capital for
Abilities United Productions, LLC which would provide working capital that
includes a reasonable salary and the production budget for the short film,
“Glacial Breeze” that is a great calling card to what it is we are poised to do
and to bring to the near future and beyond (was that Buzz Lightyear I just
heard? Where is his cousin Buzz “Green-Lightyear”? lol). But that warp speeded
away almost as soon as the promising commitments were made and now here I am
sitting here holding the bag – with nothing left in my bank account – creditors
for my personal expenses including the rent – about to come down so hard on me
after pushing them off and off and off until now – that I am about to lose
everything I have.

 

Oh well, it is my fault, I am the one that felt it was a
calculated risk to take given the opportunities and promises that were made,
given the 12 years of dedication and work that would answer any and all
questions pertaining to my work, my cause, my deal that is win-win-win! I guess
I was wrong and now will have to once again as I have many times in the past –
pay the piper because of my calculated risk taking! Only this time it is with
blood because I do not have anything else left! Damn, damn, damn. The last
thing I wanted was this poor, poor, pity me and yet along with my blood seems
all that I have left!

 

Got to be positive! Got to carry on! There is always a light
at the end
of the tunnel – even if it isn’t green! At least it is light! I have
seen plenty of dark tunnels and been seemingly stuck in many of them! Cannot
think of any that was a dark as the one I entered on April 1, 1995 and was not
conscious of for a whole week and then found out I would be dragging my lower
half of my body around for the rest of my life! Big deal, that was at least
light at the end of the tunnel – and I always have looked at that – what I have
and not what I do not have! But today all that have is a great idea for a great
cause that may not ever leave the dark tunnel – even if I do. Although I cannot
see how I can leave it behind. Seriously this is the reason I get up and out of
bed
in the morning – it is and has been my motivation ever since that fateful
day 12+ years ago. I cannot think of being separated – it is who I am – a
filmmaker, a filmmaker who has created based on his own experiences in a very
dark tunnel, a great idea for a great cause with great potential to be a great
deal in both the business and social worlds.

 

Is anybody listening?

 

Does anybody care?

 

Does anybody on that stage of Hollywood
players and makers care?

 

Does anybody have any other ideas on how to get their
attention on that stage?

 

You hear of those stories all the time of when a person,
seemingly out of no where gets their attention and makes something of it –
Tarantino, Rodriguez, Smith and many others! I love their work, their examples,
but none of them had what would be such a collective
impact
to include:

  1. breaking
    stereotypes,

 

  1. ending
    discrimination on both sides of the camera,

 

  1. changing
    perspectives that have been in place the entire history of the motion
    picture industry,

 

  1. provide
    jobs to those currently not even considered as potential candidates which
    in turn

 

  1. provides
    examples and realistic reasons for future generations to dream regardless
    of their physical challenges, which does not exist today,

 

  1. that
    will during the course of the life of dedication and several projects help
    change society’s opinions very similar to the way it did back in the days
    of;
    1. Sidney
      Poitier for the black stereotypes and discrimination,
    2. and
      with such films as “Philadelphia”
      with Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington for those with alternative
      lifestyles,
    3. like
      it did for the female gender in “Thelma and Louise” and many others, all
      which provided a alternative and authentic view not seen before their
      releases and during some of the most discriminatory and stereotypical
      times in their history  

 

  1. and
    that is only speaking of the characters of their respective minority or
    sub-group. So if we include the people from both sides of the camera to
    include the filmmakers, and the actors coming from each of those
    minorities and/or subgroups to help form new, honest and true
    representations of those with a disability, which is the only way to
    provide an authentic voice along with honest representation for a
    population that has been ignored by the industry and in some cases society
    for so long and all primarily because there has been no challenge to the
    stereotypes anywhere and especially where it could have the most potential
    to affect a change and provide an honest representation.

 

All will be a “turning point” in American Cinema and
directly affect those with a disability all over society, including the
industry forever!

So I must carry on. I must do it and obviously not just for
myself but for all the reasons listed, for all of the current 54+ million
Americans with a disability, their family, friends and loved ones. For me
personally even when I see a sparkle at the end of the tunnel… this is my
light. This is my torch, my flashlight and even if it never turns green – I
guess my mark will be – if anyone finds me, if I can get any attention to what
it is I am doing. Not trying but doing, as the one who despite the darkness in
the tunnel would never give up on his great idea for a great cause that had the
great potential for a great deal of people
that goes beyond the business and
social worlds. RIP, baby! RI fuckin’ P, baby!

 

Advertisements

Who Will Join Us? Will You?

 

Well
the time has come. I am not going around and trying to sell my script to Hollywood. Mainly because
I am trying to sell an idea – a well thought out and constructed idea – but
even though the selling of one of my screenplays would solve a lot of – well
all of my financial woes currently – but there is too much more at stake when looking at whole picture and after all isn’t the picture business what we’re in? Not just for a
lasting career, but because of the mission of “Breaking the Hollywood
Stereotypes of Characters and People with a Disability”
will take more
then a simple adding a character using a wheelchair and more than just one screenplay.

And
how can I do that? Especially when there is already a million guys and girls
out there trying to sell their one screenplay to make it big! Another reason is
the common knowledge or belief if I sell it outright of course it can be and
probably will be bastardized as Hollywood
beginning with development hell and going to a director who has to come up with
his/her vision of that screenplay to bring it to life on the screen. That
brings me to the next reason and that is
I wrote these screenplays so I can direct!
I started out directing music videos in Dallas after attending the Art Institutes’
Music and Video Business and loved creating stories that I then filmed and
interlaced with shots from the band and other interruptions to the story.  I wanted to stretch it into film because I
loved being a director – being on set or location with all the crew and talent
and everyone asking questions and needing direction! It was the first time I
ever felt comfortable due to growing up with ADD! Along with the personal
satisfaction of putting it altogether in post production and then seeing a
story on screen that you created form a blank screen! So now film, movies were
where I had to take my career as I could tell stories longer then the typical 4
minute song. But after my accident which delayed my career into film – into
storytelling on film – and the direction turned to those with a disability – I
couldn’t find any stories that featured characters with a disability. There is
one exception but I didn’t find James Patterson’s “The Midnight Club” which he
wrote years before my accident until much later – so I knew I had to create the
stories so that I could be a storyteller on film and be a director. Now it was
time to learn screenwriting. Damn long way around for a guy who is usually
getting or wanting everything yesterday!

So
to be a voice that was true and honest it requires a director with a disability
to bring to the screen an authentic element to it. Of course it also requires
an actor with the same or similar disability but the nature of this project
would require that I be the one – not only because I am the writer but because
of the need of authenticity! So now I have written content-specific screenplays that have non-stereotypical roles and
plots.
And they contain all the necessary elements that I have learned from
my screenwriting books, videos and guests at the Dallas Screenwriters
Association that would be commercially successful and therefore are universally
appealing.

Of
course after writing my first one I thought I was going to sell it for $100,000
and everyone would want me to write another! Yeah, right when the actual answer
was, write! So I continued and I knew I had something – I had what was not
being produced in Hollywood
or through independent means. But that was just a benefit in my mind after all I began all of this because I wanted to see
some representation of those who were paralyzed and living a life that didn’t
revolve around their disability – just like myself!

But
I also found out that it takes more then a great idea for a great cause to get
anyone to pay attention. It comes down to business and that means it had to
also be a great deal, business deal. So I then created the marketing and
distribution strategies that would make it a great deal – I have it all
together to be able to do what Hollywood
has not will answers to all questions and all elements except for one, great
support. If it has great support, meaning a
professional production budget and distribution deal
, then it will be a
great deal. And that is where I am now. I put all of this together and formed
my Abilities United Productions company and now I just have to get the support
that can see the vision that I see. That can see the route that I have outlined
and created to make it a success. Now I have to find someone to join me. So instead of selling a script, I am
selling a concept that includes a great idea for a great cause that has the
potential to be a great deal.

 

As
much as I didn’t want to show my hand, it doesn’t seem I have a choice but to
show the whole hand to prove I have what it is that I say I have or at least
believe I have! This is so much more then just a movie with a character who
uses a wheelchair. I have defined my film projects to include the 3 elements I spoke of,
content-specific, authentic and universally appealing that are rarely if ever
combined in the same film. I have created specific
marketing and distribution strategies
that take into account both the
disabled consumer market segment and general audiences. How the films by
Abilities United Productions casting of actors
with the same or similar disabilit
y as the characters will help end the terrible discrimination against
performers/actors with a disability which I also believe that name recognized Hollywood stars will be attracted to
our projects to help end this blatant injustice constantly being done against
those within their own field of acting and give us an advantage over other
indie films they are considering.

 

Capitalizing on the new James Cameron
movie
“Avatar” that features a
character who is an ex-Marine and a paraplegic
– although it is by an able bodied actor (and not a name recognizable actor as
Hollywood justifies the use of in most of the previous movies with a character
with a disability) and Cameron is the writer and director and therefore has no
“authentic” element – but is being released in 2009 and will warm audiences to
featured characters with a disability in a non-stereotypical role. This is just
a huge benefit of not doing this all alone. And it is James Cameron the writer,
director, producer of the largest box
office grossing movie of all time
and made him “king of the world” with Academy Awards for the Best Picture
“Titanic”! Along with my self and our featured actor rolling our wheelchairs
out on the talk shows to explain the similarities and the differences of our
film that will be released short thereafter. This will play a significant part
in educating potential moviegoers to the authentic voice and representation in
our films which will attract some ticket sales and especially within the
disabled consumer market segment when they see a movie written, directed and
acted by those with a disability. And the A-List co-star telling audiences on
the talk shows that one of the factors that first attracted her to the role was
helping to end the stereotypes and discrimination against actors with a
disability.

 

Knowing
that it will take more then a one time movie with all of these elements to
change things and make a lasting impact
in American Cinema
changing the stereotypes and discrimination for all
current and future generations to be able to work on their talents, skills and
not be ignored or dismissed as those of us with a disability are today. And
because it will take more then one film to meet this Mission, I have them ready with a slate of screenplays and short
stories I will adapt into screenplays. This is a major reason for forming my
own production company, Abilities United Productions, LLC.

 

I
have every corner covered. I can answer
all questions
and by reading my business plan many of them before they are even asked! I have
dedicated 12 years which constitutes all of my second chance at life to
creating what this is today and its potential for what it will become in the
future. A future with actors with a
disability become household names
like any other celebrity without the
labels and categories!

 

And
now I am contacting all of the major studios, their independent divisions as
well as independent production companies that can partner with Abilities United
Productions’ and provide the great
support for this potentially great deal
with a necessary professional
production budget and at least a semi-wide release distribution deal to make
the impact that history will record as the “turning point” for those with a
disability in Hollywood on both sides of the camera.

 

So who will join us?  Are you in? If so then say so in a comment below! Let everyone know, “you’re in” and when those who can
provide the necessary support resources do partner with us I will make it known
here first (unless they prefer to be a silent partner) and let history list
them when the time comes!

 

So will it be:

 

Disney

Paramount

Sony Pictures

Twentieth Century Fox

United Artists

Universal

Warner Bros.

 

Or

 

Columbia

Cruise/Wagner

DreamWorks, SKG

Fortis Films

Happy Madison Productions

Icon Productions

Jersey Films

LivePlanet

Miramax

New Line

Paramount Vantage

Picturehouse

Revolution Studios

Searchlight Pictures

Sony Classics

 

Or
one of the ones who I will contact tomorrow or the day after that? I am
contacting so many for a few reasons. One is that my formula for “Breaking the Hollywood Stereotypes of Characters and
People with a Disability”
will be known throughout the industry as
originating from me! Second to create competition among them but I just wish to
get any attention and if they know I am contacting their competitors they may
want to be the “one” who will have the best of both worlds – making a significant change in American
Cinema,
changing the history of stereotypes and discrimination against
those with a disability AND making a LOT of money!

 

And
the last but certainly not the least reason for the blitz of contacting as many
as possible is because I need this to happen ASAPP – I took the risk of taking my Abilities United to the next level and
have come into a few obstacles in which now I am totally broke – which is
obviously causing some problems with things like food, medicine, rent and
utilities and unable to move back home
to SoCal
as this stepping stone from Dallas to Cali has lasted too long as
it is!

 

So
the time has come – and I completely believe that I have the whole package –
ready to provide unique films that are universally appealing, commercially
viable and to achieve our Mission
and Vision that will make Abilities United Productions the premier motion
picture production company that features those with a disability! Are you in?

 

 

 

What’s Your Name?

Well today is the second of October. I have been posting a
blog entry a lot more often as promised – although I wonder if anyone reads
these ramblings! No matter it is probably mostly therapeutic then anything else
and so here’s another one!

I have to start this post about names with  last night’s episode of “Rules of Engagement”
When the character, Jeff was asked by his wife if the usual doorman in their
apartment building was working that night Jeff said “Not tonight it’s Larry
with ADD.” I died laughing! My ADD was a lot worse when I was a child and back
then it wasn’t called that – I was a trouble child or a troubled child – or had
too much sugar of which I resent all of those damn doctors for that since it
caused me to be denied candy, cakes and all the good things(from time to time –
I still knew how to get what I wanted) and it didn’t stop the fact that I
couldn’t pay attention in school and therefore did get into a lot of trouble as
my mind had me getting into things I shouldn’t have!  Maybe drugs would’ve been better – Ridalin
that is!

Okay and now what prompted this entry about names! “Michael
Clayton” is the new movie with George Clooney and to be released in the next
week or two – and when I first heard the commercial say the name “Michael
Clayton” I was quickly trying to remember the name of my antagonist/villain in
“London Time” screenplay. I knew his last name was Clayton. And who names a
movie after the name of one of its characters? Unless it is a famous person
“Capote” or prominent figure in history like “Lincoln” but Michael Clayton? Then I
remembered my Clayton’s first name as David. Whew! I didn’t want to change his
name! Even so I do hope that it isn’t seen as if I am trying to copy or that I
have some thing out to get Clooney so I called my villain Clayton! I wrote the
“London Time” screenplay about 4 years ago!

And then two weekends ago I went to see “The Brave One” at
the midnight show. Good, no really good movie – great story and performances
and I really liked the way the director and editor used the sounds and images
as Jodie Foster’s character had flashbacks. It wasn’t over done and very
poignant and done wonderfully. Anyway, to get back on topic, the address at the
end of the story where Foster was told she could find one of the guys she was
looking to revenge upon as well as the detective (portrayed by the incredible
Terrence Howard) rushing to get to was shown on her cell phone as “90 Clayton
St.”  

All of these Clayton’s in my life at the same time. I was
thinking what’s in a name? Was this destiny? Was it good or bad destiny?
Probably neither but it is still fun to think about and to take a break from my
current frantic search for an immediate solution to my personal financial
situation that can only be solved through the funding of my company or feature
film! Well there are other ways but they will either take too long or bust me
for being illegal. So I better get back to it! Nothing gets done by itself and
I have a new plan to get the attention of those who I think will want to help!     

Is it ALL or NOTHING?

I
cannot believe this is true. I just read an email and am beside myself.
Wedgwood Circle Angel Investment Group that I have hailed as an amazing since
they have a mission statement that Abilities United fits into wonderfully – I
mean eHarmony.com could not have matched us any better! And I made the
application deadline on August 29th despite not getting the
application until the evening of August 28th I was so happy and
feeling so good that this match would be accepted and I would have the
opportunity to present my business at their biannual investor
meeting/conference in LA at the end of October! This will do it. I have applied
to several Angels and Angel investment groups to be considered but none of them
have a mission or goal to help out companies in the arts, including films that
will have an overall affect on culture and or society like Wedgwood Circle does! And does Abilities
United Productions goals of “Breaking the Hollywood Stereotypes of Characters
and People with a Disability” not fit perfectly with that?

Is there any reason that you can think of that I, that Abilities United
Productions would be denied by Wedgwood with such a common Mission – with a
niche product that is universally appealing to all audiences – that would have
such an impact on American Cinema, which is a major part of American culture and affect society as a whole as we finally strip
down the inaccurate stereotypes that have been portrayed by the entertainment
media and help end the industry wide discrimination against performers with a
disability as has been the case for the entire history of the motion picture
industry? Where an authentic voice can finally be heard, instead of being
stomped on by well meaning but misguided able bodied people and corporations?

Hell no! Well that is until today when I got the Wedgwood Circle rejection email. I guess
Wedgwood is the same as the rest of the (current) Hollywood
machine! Why I thought this was going to be different I guess is like a child’s
innocence in the toy store at Christmas time! So I guess I will continue to
present to other companies, Angel investors and groups even though I cannot see
and have not seen any that would be so compatible as that of Wedgwood and
therefore maybe should begin to expect to be rejected, laughed at, denied,
ridiculed, and sneered at behind my back as they all wear a politically correct
mask so no one appears the truth in how they obviously feel about those with a
disability – like myself – that we are not worthy individuals and in fact are
nothing more then second or third class citizens with really good parking and a
drain on societies resources, time and energy for the worthy, capable to
participate in society, able bodied individuals! Afterall they have been everytime I present or try to present my mission and vision with Abilities United Productions – I have just chose to ignore them as they have, under false pretenses, dismissed me so easily.

So from now on I guess I should not be so optimistic and begin to see reality as I know so many have wanted to tell me over the past 12 years but I suspect do not want to hurt my feelings – so I should see reality and
go into each potential opportunity with the same pastey, fake smile and pretend to have the
feel good optimism as those that are sitting on the other side of the desk! At
least then we are all on the same page! This way I will not be so adament that they at least listen to the whole presentation so they can see how this is so much more then just another so called “unique” project that aspiring filmmakers try and sell them. That this is so thought out that I can answer every question and objection before it is even raised! After all I am so tired of trying to convince them just to listen past the words “disability” and no become so themselves as their ears immediately go deaf. Then they can deny me before hearing
the whole prospective and not feel bad when they say “so sorry
but cannot help at this time – but try again and good luck you have a worthy
cause!” That way they feel as if they have been equal opportunity individuals and corporations, after all they listened – they allowed me in the fornt door! Who am I to shatter their illusions? Now I can go into it with no expectations, I will feel
no surprises at being rejected!

I have been trying again and again for the past 12 years since I became a
paraplegic. I have run into every obstacle imaginable and I always took it on
as a challenge to overcome – to get around – to conquer! But this – this takes
the cake!

Boy I have really done it this time – risking everything on putting my attention
on this launching of Abilities United Productions full time instead of spending
only the free time after my full time job! I am completely broke and have creditors chasing me right now as I expected this to have been running weeks ago with the promises I had from prosepctive investors who at the last minute pulled the old – I have no way of getting any money at this time routine! Before even looking at – as you guessed – the business plan which when you view the financial spreadsheets will see August as being when I expected to start our cash flow!

I did not expect that my ship would
just come in. In fact I built the damn ship – that is Abilities United
Productions – all I need is the sails – or the fuel for the engines to take
this ship out of the harbor – finally and show everyone how to make it despite
the challenges faced time and time again!

Do you know what motivates me to wake up every morning and get into the empty
wheelchair staring at me right next to my bed all the while knowing that I will
have major physical and emotional challenges all day long as I am dragging half
of my body around? It is taxing even though I ignore and not put too much weight on any of those in my daily routine because I do practice what a I preach in “Deal with it!” But my main motivation is and has been for years, my work. My work that I have
brought altogether and formed Abilities United Productions, created a complete
business plan with financial projections and detailed descriptions of how my
films are going to be different from all previous attempts and how they are
more then just a movie that has the starring character sitting in a wheelchair?
How I have planned every step in the marketing and distribution to increase the
chances of success! Yet everyday I get people and companies pretending to care,
acting like it is so admirable that I do what it is that I do – and that is if
I even get them to listen to the excitement, the passion and the facts that I
have gathered, built, and created into a very commercially viable product!

Is the saying that you can be whatever you want to be nothing more then a cliche? Or an old Army slogan?
A happy little saying we tell our children when they say they want to be an
astronaut, a policeman, the president, an airline pilot? One that after all these years and all
these challenges, work, blood, sweat and tears has come down to? That it is
only true in my mind? And after all isn’t that all that is necessary to make it
true – I believe so therefore I am! So in fact I am a successful writer,
director, producer of unique films that have an impact on culture and society
in a way that is similar to the impact that the filmmakers and the great actor
Sidney Poitier had on black characters and PEOPLE both black and white in the
1960’s? I must already be liberating the characters and actors with a
disability since that is what I have envisioned and worked towards and think in my mind for the past
12 years!

On one hand I soooooo want to continue and brush this off just like I did with
all the ones in the past! Proving that I am that someone that has what it takes
to make things HAPPEN! Just like I truly believe I am and have believed all of
my life – even before I knew exactly what my place was in this crazy world. Now
I do know and have a lot of people who will benefit directly and society will
indirectly. Must push forward as I always do! And on the other hand – for the
first time – it seems like this must be a futile fight and therefore a waste of time.

***************************************  *********************** ********************

I
cannot believe that I am writing all of this here and that I will publish this
here on my blog because I am the last person who wishes to show any sign of
weakness, of questioning what it is I am doing, any vulnerabilities since I
must keep a positive face on this all and at all times! Otherwise it might fail and that is not an option to me. And for everyone’s sake so
that they will believe, even if common sense has them relying on believing in my believing it will happen, my optimism,
my vision, my passion, my dedication, sacrifices and work toward this as a
serious and worthy cause that can be and will be achieved. And because in
reality, it is my everything! I have sacrificed so much and placed so much
importance on achieving this mission and vision because it is so much a part of
who I am – in what I am – it is the passion of my life – and I cannot see
anything beyond the things I have set up as Abilities United Productions in my
life! Even my closest friends know how dear this is and how faithful I am to
staying positive and never showing any fear, any thoughts of possible failure,
any vulnerabilities……but……I guess if I were to admit it it is only showing that
I am human. Maybe?


Well since as I said earlier that I have risked everything in making this happen and no longer rely on it it happening someday as I work in my free time around the full time job and are now not able to find two dimes to rub together I guess I will not go and
get drunk so I can wallow in my self pity. Or repress it by going to a strip
club and at least pretend that shapely, beautiful women think of me as Mr. Stud and want to be with me since there are no strip clubs in this area of Utah (I do need to move back
home to SoCal)! Wow what I have I gotten into!

I guess that is a good thing
since it only leaves one option. The option to get back on the phone and call
people to the cause of Abilities United Productions that is dedicated to bring
together those of all Abilities United in “Breaking the Hollywood
Stereotypes of Characters and People with a Disability.” Even if that
“bringing together” remains just me – maybe, just maybe it will not be
for very long! And if I keep singing the other cliches in my head that keep me
going, like how you have to knock on a hundred doors and expect 99 to say no –
but that it only takes one to say yes – may need to be modified to say a
thousand doors with 999 that say no or maybe ten thousand doors since I have
been at this a long time and have already had too many “no’s” – but still I have to look for that door! I do believe
it exists. So who ever said that it isn’t good to be poor – must have been born
into wealth! Now I do not have time to go along with not having the money right
now to go buy a drink and get drunk or diving into a pool of gorgeous women who
all want me…well at least in my mind do and so long as I have enough cash in my pockets!

Again this is only leaving one option – to continue on with
the cause – otherwise there will not be much point in waking up tomorrow and
looking at my wheelchair staring at me! That is the way I see it – I have
always been a one way or the other, do or die, win or lose, all or nothing! So far it is nothing but my hopes, my dreams, my
work up to this point and really isn’t that all
I need? It is if I am ever going to find that door that I know exists but seems
to be hiding o rbe among the line of so many that they all look alike! Only one thing left to do, knock, knock!

 Edited: I am adding this song to this blog entry for a good reason – I love the song and it has nothing to do with loving the television program that used it as a theme song! Speaking of which this is the shorter version that was used for the opening of the program. Listen to the words – they are perfect and I love them! I play this tune whenever I need a little reminder!

Wheelchair Life = Death?

    I just
caught a commercial on the E! channel for their show “Dr. 90210” and
the cosmetic doctor who is the focus of the reality show is in his karate
outfit talking about a upcoming fight or practice with an opponent that he is
already believing his is out matched and therefore will lose, and says, “I’m
going to get killed and wind up in a wheelchair.”

 
What? Is it me or when a person is killed don’t they end up in a
coffin not a wheelchair? Are we now transporting deceased people from
their location of death, to the morgue to the funeral home and then to the
grave in a wheelchair? Although I hear from some that a coffin can costs as
much if not more then a wheelchair this is ridiculous thinking and just goes to
prove the thoughts society in general has on life or in their opinion the lack
of life in a wheelchair.


I have gathered over the past 12+ years since my spinal cord injury that people
put public speaking and living in a wheelchair – even as a an active person in
a wheelchair like myself who despite having survived a complete severed spinal
cord at T-7 and having complete use of my upper body – they would rather die –
be dead then to live as a paraplegic or to address people in a public
speaking setting!


I always tell people who I hear say that that they would be surprised at what
they could do when put in a traumatic situation. Many don’t believe me and
maybe they are correct because they think that way and they think that way
because of the way Hollywood
and the media in general depicts those with a disability in a wheelchair – but
the majority of the people who I see that go through traumatic circumstance and
survive are positive, active people of society.


This is just another reason why I want to produce my screenplays into films to
help break the stereotypes and the thoughts that using a wheelchair for
mobility isn’t the end of life – only life as you knew it!


Interesting on the James Gandolfini HBO documentary program, which I highly
recommend about Iraq
war vets coming home after a serious near death experience that leaves them
disabled in one way or another – they call the day they survived their
experience as their “Alive Day”! I have always kind a
celebrated April 1, as a second birthday since that is the day back in 1995
when I survived my spinal cord injury and now LIVE LIFE as a para, but
never called it anything other then the day of my accident! But life does go on
for those who will believe in themselves like those returning soldiers in this
program hosted by James Gandolfini and I guess those like this Dr. Ray on the
E! show is not one of those who believes in himself – other wise life in a
wheelchair and death would not be associated in the same sentence as
equals! 


So listen up doc and the pessimistic out there, you are obviously blind or
ignorant, either way you are disabled in your thinking as I am not rolling
through life in my chair as a zombie in “Dawn of the Dead”! I am
still living life to the fullest. I am not saying it isn’t without its’
challenges and without compromising some things and doing others a little
different, learning the word adapt as a verb but just like everyone else there
are good times and bad – ups and downs and if it weren’t then it wouldn’t be
life at all! And just as I did prior to my accident I shake those down times as
quick as possible so that I can get on with the good times! If you don’t then
it doesn’t matter if you use a wheelchair for your primary mode of mobility or
not you will end up in a grey world of four walls in self pity and not living
life –  I and most whom I know that find themselves in
circumstances they didn’t think they could live through CHOOSE to LIVE LIFE
and I will promote that to the end of my days!

 

Can you see why it is
necessary to have movies where the disability isn’t the focus of the film?
Where it plays a part of the featured character, just as their gender, race or
creed does but not the whole of the person! It is past time to have
proper representation
of those with a disability in featured movies
from Hollywood!
Well as an indie producer, writer and director giving an honest and authentic
voice to those with a disability it would be great to have Hollywood’s support in funding, marketing and
distribution as I have detailed in my business plan so that the movie will have
the impact and exposure that it deserves!


Abilities United Productions will play a significant role in
“Breaking the Hollywood Stereotypes of Characters and People with a
Disability”
both in front of and behind the camera as history
will soon record as a “turning point”
for those with a
disability in Hollywood! But that time has a schedule (as my marketing and
distribution strategies need a 2009 theatrical release) as I have detailed and
we need it so that maybe in the future even cosmetic surgeons in Beverly Hills
will not automatically think and feel that life in a wheelchair is equal to
death and instead correctly know that those with a disability are active
members of today’s society!
But as far as public speaking goes…well
that will have to wait for someone else to address!

 

It’s a Twister! No! It’s an Earthquake? No! Amusement Park Ride? No!

I
remember when this new camera technique was first launched – it was crazy –
super smooth and meant you could also go into place that were small tight
corners, places a film camera has never been! I thought that “The Shinning” was
the first time a stedicam was used – at least on a major production. Maybe it
was just the first time Kubrick got to use it. And used it he did! Following
little Danny around on his Big Wheel through all the rooms and hallways of the Overlook Hotel! It was
amazing as to get that kind of shot so smooth and steady it would’ve taken several shots, several times
when the dolly track had to be moved! Or be really shaky in attempting a hand
held maneuver. It was revolutionary!

In
the early 1990’s when a couple of television programs on MTV used hand held
digital cameras and it caused a unique effect – some intended but most because
the budget and schedule didn’t allow for anything better!

I
don’t remember when I first saw Hollywood use
the shaky camera effect – except that it was around the late 80’s, early 90’s –
and that it was originally meant to capture that great 14-25 year old segment!
At least that was the commentary going around from those in and out of the industry. Filmmakers found that it was a cheaper and quicker way to shoot some scenes and
it became a predominate technique for action scenes, especially fighting scenes
because the angle of the camera – to the stuntmen swinging their arms and
kicking their legs did not have to be precise so that audiences could tell
there was never any actual contact.

I
can understand that for the most part. It is also supposed to give the audience
the feel or rather the look as if you were in the room and moving really
quickly or fighting yourself! But since then it is also used if the character
is running or jogging or walking real fast for an OTS or POV shot. Any kind of
activity nowadays seems to require the shaky camera effect. I cannot take it
any more!!!! Let me say that again – louder I CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE!

A
few months back I re-watched “48 Hrs.” as it is one of the pre-recorded VHS
tape I still have and wanted to see it. Mind you this is an action flick and
yet I never saw a shaky freakin’ camera shot throughout the movie. I cannot
tell you how overall satisfied I was in watching that movie – aside from the
great performances from Murphy and Nolte. Great storytelling, great action –
guns firing, buses hijacked and run all over the road and all smooth non-shaky scenes! Sure you had to have more WS when  you’re doing it without a ahndheld or forcing the camera to shake but I still loved it!

I
am right now watching the “The Island” on HBO2 and this is what finally got me to
writing this blog I have had on my mind for months and months. First I really
love this movie – it is a storytelling action flick that makes you think –
especially about cloning! (For the record it still does not keep me from my
STRONG support of stem cell research! But that is for another blog!) Overall it
thought it was also shot beautifully. The golden sun on that faces of Scarlett
and Ewen as opposed to the white pale faces of those in the real world they
encounter – although Steve Buscemi there isn’t much even a talented Make-up Artist and DP could do to change his pale skin type – no
offense Steve, I love ya but I’m just saying! But a good contrast is when
Lincoln and Tom – both played by Ewen, meet in Tom’s house. You can see it a
lot.  Anyway besides all of that –
getting back to the point and the one – if not only criticism of the way it was
shot was the shaky camera. Now again there are some scenes I can agree with its
use but I would prefer in small dosages. Even on the semi-truck speeding down
the freeway in the futuristic Los
Angeles. And what really got me on that scene was the
fact that when you have the camera on Scarlett Johansson – DO NOT SHAKE the
camera – even for effect, especially when it is a head shot and all the care taken to film her in the
golden touch which to me did justice to her natural beauty. You’re messing it
up seriously with a shaky camera.

Am
I saying that you must sacrifice the action or the picture on the whole, the
theme of it all just so that the frame is steady on Scarlett’s face? No. Yes, I
mean no! And by the way – Scarlett I do not intend to demean or make your
natural beauty a superficial thing – you are an incredible actor as well as
being incredibly attractive and I hope to work with you one day or at least meet and hopefully become friends!

But what I am saying is that there is too much
sh-sh-sh-sh-sh-shaky-shaky camera in movies today – and if I were to reduce the
amount – I would surely make sure it was when the camera was on Scarlett! I
have had many people agree with me on this. The shaky camera that is –
EVERYBODY would agree with my comments on Scarlett!

One
last example. I saw “The Bourne Ultimatum” opening weekend – and it was great –
I loved it and Matt – you’re the every thinking man’s action spy hero! And this
was an action flick and there was a lot of shaky camera – most of which did not
bother me as much as usual. But two scenes I remember distinctly where it was
really overboard. One was when the chase was on the roof tops and the camera
followed behind those who were chasing Bourne. When they got to the roof they
stopped – looked around for more then a few seconds and then resumed their
chase but the camera NEVER stopped shaking! Whew! TOO, TOO MUCH! The second was
inside the CIA offices – the characters were all in one room and the camera was
shaky.

Alright
lastly like I said before – there are times when there is going to be shaking.
POV from inside a car, fighting scenes – although one more note on that even
though it is off topic a bit – the two scenes that got very good reaction from
the audience was when Bourne kicked ass in the hallway over three or four dudes
and the last hit was not even on screen and people went “Oooooooo” as they know
without actually seeing what happened! And second was when Bourne used a
hardcover book off a shelf and placed it with the cover facing him to punch it,
suddenly I cannot remember why – if it was to hit someone or to break something
– but I made a mental note of the reaction from the audience that I interpreted
as a good reaction! I mention this because not every action scene needs to be
filled with blow them up, blood splattering everywhere and for economy sake using
a shaky camera effect for it to be effective!

Let
me finish by saying – I will not work with a DP that likes the shaky camera
effect. Only when it is necessary because of the shooting circumstances – in a
tight spot where a stedicam harness is out of the question – or just has to be
shaky. The movies are not Shakee’s Pizza or Shake ‘N Bake (unless you’re Ricky
Bobby!) I get a headache from being in a theatre where the camera shots are
shaky too often and unfortunately that happens in too many movies, so along
with my vow to keep the shaking down in my movies – I plea with all DP and Directors to also
keep it down! Thanks!  

  

Weekend Work!

 
Alright I have to vent a little here. I am finishing the Abilities United Productions, LLC Business Plan and of course I am at the part I dread, the financial projections! I’ve got 76 pages written and although it was hard and took a lot of time – I found great satisfaction in finding the ways to articulate, in business language, what a great path we are on in “Breaking the Hollywood Stereotypes of Characters and People with a Disability.” I am going to trademark that saying as soon as the biz is up and can afford it! But this whole process, which has come with many obstacles, even in just general information about the motion picture industry and the indie sector. I need facts and figures and all kinds of info to backup why I think that Abilities United Productions can be a success. And again that is just at being an indie production company! Of course the MPAA puts out theatrical, box office figures and stats every year about the numbers the previous year. And that does help but only goes so far! Finally after months and months of searching and gathering I finally got what I think will put it all together. Still wanting on some details about the average exhibitor’s and distributor’s cut and fees to legit the financials that – did I mention I am pulling out my hair on right now to complete? I do all of this because I love to write, direct and produce. How does that Steve Miller tune go…”You got to go through hell to get to heaven.” Most who have actually seen those a movie set would not think that production is all that much like heaven – but that is when I am in my element and I do love it!

The next challenge was in articulating my vision and how it will differ from past attempts to feature characters with a disability! I won’t go into a long explanation of what I came up with – because it would bore you and I it is important to be able to explain it to others, including all those in the industry that you want to do business with and especially in these startup days and that means to investors too! So the short of it is:

Abilities United Productions is an independent motion picture and television production company dedicated to bring together those of all Abilities, United in “Breaking the Hollywood Stereotypes of Characters and People with a Disability” on both sides of the camera.

Unique Motion Picture Products and Service
The products produced by Abilities United Productions are unique and different from all other production companies and all previous products that resembled them in theme. The Company has combined three elements that together make an entertainment product worthy of capturing audiences of all types and from all over the world. Our difference is in bringing together all three of these elements:

  1. Disability content-specific material – the featured or starring character is one with a disability and where the disability it not the focus of the film. The key is having realistic characters and engaging stories that will capture audiences and in most cases the disability is no more then the gender, race, creed, age of the character.
  2. Authentic – in using those with a disability in the key roles, primarily the  actor portraying the character will have the same or similar disability. Other roles can include the writer, director, etc. Nearly all previous movies that featured a character with a disability was portrayed by able bodied actors whom audiences knew in the back of their mind would not have a disability when they went home after the work day was done.
  3. Universally Appealing – Successful stories in the entertainment industry must attract the widest possible audience. While all of Abilities United products have the first two elements, they also contain this third one which is expected to be appealing to able bodied, those with a disability and everyone in between.

Along with the unique combination of elements, these products also provide a valuable service by hiring performers/actors with a disability. The Screen Actors Guild published a report in mid-2005 documenting the incredible discrimination toward performers with disabilities throughout the industry. One of the main excuses detailed was the incorrect notion that those with a disability can only be hired for roles that were specifically written with a disability, yet in nearly every single role that featured, in a starring or supporting role a character with a disability has been cast with an able bodied actor.

Abilities United strives for the general qualities that every producer seeks and is common in the movies that have had success. That includes a great story (screenplay), Hollywood Star Talent/Power, professional production personnel and an end product with high quality. In addition to that, Abilities United has an advantage over other independent productions with its unique elements combined, along with specific marketing and distribution gives their films the best chance for success.

Will you participate in the great turning point for characters and people with a disability in Hollywood?

**** Okay I am not sure you think that was the “short of it” but it is as concise as I can make it! That is what I copied and pasted from the Business Plan. Like I said combining what makes Abilities United unique with the opportunities for independent films is a little tricky, especially with all the closely guarded info, stats and figures about the industry, but I feel confident I now have a very good Business Plan. I liken all of this with setting up a huge domino display and I am close to that last placement of bones and will then push the first one and watch the rest of them fall in place! And if one of them bones fails to knock over the next one, it will just require reaching over and giving that one a delicate push or maybe a more forceful flick of the finger! Nonetheless it WILL HAPPEN people! I have actually been putting all of this together for years and feel I have a very well thought out and prepared plan to make a success out of the Hollywood unknown of using Performers with the same or similar disability as the character’s that are in starring roles and will be directed by myself, another person with a disability!

Well I guess my break is up! Self discipline is a key for the self-employed! And btw, who blogs on their break? I have to finish the financials this weekend so I can actively chase down more investors to get the company off the ground! I cannot stand to do these “numbers” as I am not an accountant – but I have to to make sure we are moving forward and I can feel we are near to exploding on the scene!
 
Who’s with me?

Yeah!