Mom

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He finished through the last row of vines and entered the tower in a blaze of panic. It had been 2 days since his last full glass of water and a meal a few berries. Lenny was in no mood to make new friends.

They smiled at him. Sharp, ear to ear grins.

“Congratulations,” the one with a black pendant necklace said. “We believed in you.”

A colony of men and boys. Heads, eyebrows, and faces all completely shaven. Wearing white, priest-like robes.

Lenny, on the other hand, had a beard, a torn Metallica shirt, and tennis shoes.

“Who are you?” said Lenny.

“I’m your keeper,” said the one with the black pendant. “My name is Sugar.”

“Sugar?” began Lenny, still panting. He grabbed the glass of water before a colony member had offered it and took a swig. “Your momma name you that?”

The colony grinned smugly, but none so much as chuckled.

“No,” said Sugar. He reached out and retrieved the empty glass. “But momma would like to meet you.”

Two of the more husky-looking colony members grabbed Lenny by each of his arms. Lenny resisted, snapping free from their grasps and turning for the door. He was stopped short by a dagger point aimed at his eye. Lenny returned to Sugar.

“I don’t know what this is,” Lenny gritted out. “I don’t remember what happened before I entered that bullshit maze. I just want to go home. I just want to return to my boring life.”

“Meet mom, and you’re free to go,” said Sugar.

Lenny eyed the rest of the room. These bald-headed clowns all displayed the same mindless expression. He’d been kidnapped by a goddamn virgin convention.

“Let’s do it,” said Lenny.

He followed along with the colony outside of the tower. So far he had seen swords and daggers, but no sign of any guns. Even if he was to fight his way free, where would he go? Lenny had fought so hard to escape that maze but he never imagined he’d find himself in a more perilous situation.

The walk from the tower was illuminated with Tiki torches lining the dirt path. The fires ran tall and provided some welcome warmth. White-robed colony members flanked Lenny on all sides as they walked in step-by-step unison toward the Gothic Cathedral. The outdoor area was surrounded by an Iron gate. Arrowed spikes decorated their peaks. Then Lenny spotted something – a gate, appearing badly damaged. It had been busted apart by some kind of army jeep. Whoever had tried to break in hadn’t made it very far – there were pikes still sticking out from the windshield.

“This way!” One of the colony members with a thick, low voice shouted at him.

“You might not be afraid of us,” Sugar said to Lenny. He stopped at the doorway, flashed a devilish smirk, then yanked the fat spiraling door handle to the large door of the cathedral and directed Lenny to enter.

The rest of the colony laughed.

“I ain’t afraid of your fucking mom,” Lenny said.

A set of hands shoved Lenny from behind, and he fell onto his hands and knees inside the building. The door shut behind him, and he was filled with cold dread.

The pews were of old wood, vacant of any church parishioners. The statues inside were nothing like the Catholic saints he had seen growing up – these were of dragons flying, wolves eating, and at the front one giant black leopard, in the pouncing position.

“Hello,” said Lenny, surveying the empty building as his voice echoed through the chambers. His foot struck something – a spotted dog, with a knife in its head. Blood pooled around it.

The sound of glass shattering brought Lenny to jump. It had come from up ahead.

Lenny knelt down, rubbed the bloody dog behind its ear, then tugged the knife out from its skull. He stuffed the blade into the waste of his jeans, then adjusted his ragged shirt to hide the handle.

“Lenny,” said the voice ahead. It was a sort of whispered moan. The type of voice you’d expect to hear from a dying creature. “Bow down to me.”

“Fuck you.”

“Bow down to me!”

The smoke from the candles inside swirled together, materialized into a sort of foggy witch, then sucked the knife out from Lenny’s waistband and plunged it straight through his foot, nailing him where he stood.

“Arrgh!” grunted Lenny. He gripped the knife but a sort of magnetic energy kept him from withdrawing it. The black smoke dispersed into a cloud of locust, swarming the inside of the church. Lenny slapped as they attacked at his face, and when he opened his mouth two crammed their way into his throat. Lenny coughed them out.

The locust dissolved into dust, floating like a dark cloud throughout the empty church.

“You’ve caused me great distress.”

Lenny shook his head, and returned his focus to the knife. He couldn’t get it to budge as his own blood puddled around his foot.

“You entered and were never invited. You destroyed my gate, and have brought with you a curse upon my sons. You will die for this, Lenny.”

  • Return for Part II tomorrow
    • Thomas M. Watt

 

 

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TrackingB Screenplay Contest

 

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I’m determined to finally get some exposure for my work. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve decided to begin looking for representation. According to one article, TrackingB holds a great contest annually that frequently results in representation for it’s winners. The panel of judges is impressive:

THE INDUSTRY PANEL

Berry Welsh – SVP, Production & Development – Tribeca Film
Megan Spanjian – VP, Scripted Television – The Weinstein Company
Peter Dealbert – Lit Manager – Pacific View Management
Melissa Darman – TV Lit Agent – Verve
Dustin Davis – Director, Current Series – ABC Network
Brad Petrigala – Lit Manager – Brillstein Entertainment Partners
Ryan Andolina – Development Executive – Amazon Studios
Amanda Krentzman – Director of Development – The Jackal Group
Jillian Apfelbaum – VP – Imperative Entertainment
Ryan Cunningham – Lit Manager – Madhouse Entertainment
Chris Mills – Lit Manager – Magnet Management
Justin Killion – Producer – Cool Guys & Nerds/1st look deal at ITV
Mike Goldberg – TV Lit Agent – APA
A.B. Fischer – Lit Manager – The Shuman Co.
Josh Goldenberg – Lit Manager – Kaplan/Perrone
Erin Betz – Coordinator, Drama Development – ABC Network                                                           Josh Adler – Lit Manager – Circle of Confusion

They will host a feature length script contest later this year, but currently are accepting entries for their television pilot competition. I’m going to enter Just Leasing and Cheaters Prosper once I feel they are ready. I encourage any of you to enter the contest as well – let me know if you do, that way we can hold one another accountable. The final date for entries is March 26th, and the winners will be announced around July of this year.

*Final Cut Pro is the industry standard for screenwriting, but I use a templateSCRIPT TEMPLATE (with instructions). If you’re new to screenwriting, feel free to download my screenwriting template here.

  • – Thomas M. Watt                 

Updates – 1/16

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What the Hell did I run over?

Not too many productive writing developments yesterday. I do have quite a story from my date, however – I got the 1st flat tire of my life, and wasn’t able to change it using only the parts that came with my truck. It was incredibly embarrassing, but I was fortunate enough to have the assistance of AAA to help me out. Much later we went to the beach and stumbled upon a group of people sitting on a bench in the dark who were dressed in black robes. I don’t know, that was wack, and I just had to get it off my chest. Death eaters?

I am interviewing for a firefighter reserve position in a couple of weeks. This is significant because I will have to cut my hair and shave my face – which means serious continuity errors for Cheaters Prosper. I initially sought to resolve this problem by laying out a schedule that would allow for the entire film to be finished within two weeks. My older brother pointed out to me that a haircut signifies an emotional change in a character, and helped me realize that I could film the final climatic scene with a different style (the major scene takes place on the last day of the film’s story, after all).

There is one other scene left for me to act in that takes place on the second day of the film, and a haircut would be problematic for that. The only alternative I can imagine would be to rewrite the scene so that I communicate with Jax over the phone, but I’d much prefer to avoid doing that.

I’m hoping to shoot a handful of scenes this Sunday. I’m planning on using my friend Dan for the majority of the remaining scenes, as my older brother is simply to busy to request more of his time. I will have my brother film the important, interior scenes we still have to shoot.

It’s time for me to get some shut-eye. I will have a better post for you tomorrow.

  • Thomas M. Watt

 

Just Leasing (And C.P.) – 1/11

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I miss that cheeseburger. That’s my brother behind me.

Today will be the first day for filming Just Leasing. This is a secondary project that I do not consider nearly as important as Cheaters Prosper. In other words, I would like to knock out the 22 pages in a relatively short time frame.

The biggest issue we’re going to face today will have to do with filming it. Two camera persons are dedicating a ton of time to Cheaters Prosper without pay, and I do not feel right about exploiting their generosity for another project.

Subsequently, I’m left with 4 actors and no camera person. I’m currently leaning toward filming the footage on my camera phone. My friend has a tripod that I believe I can strap my phone to and get wide coverage with.

For the close shots, I honestly think I may buy a selfie-stick. I saw one at the local liquor store the other day, opened my lips to begin a joke about the kind of morons who waste money on that type of thing. I shut my lips when I realized it might be essential to filming Just Leasing.

This is going to be a rough week for Cheaters Prosper. My friend, whose home we need for a location, hasn’t been getting back to me. The people who I’ve contacted on Craigslist in order to possibly purchase their poker tables haven’t responded to me, either. On top of all that, I feel I have a responsibility to myself to attend drill night this Thursday night. I missed it last week, and am certain that devoting an hour and a half of my time to the local fire station is imperative for my future as a firefighter.

I will be posting some behind the scenes footage from Just Leasing tomorrow. Until then, enjoy some goofing around from last week’s shoot for Cheaters Prosper.

  • Thomas M. Watt

 

Sunday Updates – 1/10

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If you’re curious about Cheaters Prosper: I have to contact the actors and actresses to find out who is available weeknights this week. I need to purchase a legit poker table, because the majority of the remaining scenes require one.

If you’re curious about Just Leasing: My friend from Berkeley is available this Monday and Tuesday. So is Catrina. I have to call Jordan tomorrow and find out if she is up for filming on these days. I haven’t contacted a cameraman/woman, and am currently leaning toward filming this sitcom-style episode on my smartphone. This project is not nearly as important to me as Cheaters Prosper, and therefore I do not intend the finished product to be as cinematic-ally catching. My goal is for it to be funny, and I don’t think people have the same expectations for an episode of comedy as they do for a dramatic pilot.

 

Cheaters Prosper Update – 1/7

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Rigging the dashboard cam

Wow. The last two days have been extremely… well, prosperous.

Knocked out 11 pages of the screenplay during that time. Filming more tomorrow. I’d like to give you the day-by-day report, so this post will be all about January 5th.

The reason I failed to post yesterday was because I had trouble running my computer after loading all the footage and editing with software that is geared toward home movies.

In fact, I woke up sporadically throughout the night hoping to get my computer up and running to no avail. I had already put together the behind-the-scenes video that I’ve included at the bottom of this post.

The entire day was hectic. As I mentioned in Tuesday’s post, the decision to film exterior scenes at a local community college came last minute. We’d originally planned to film at a friend’s home on Wednesday, but he made a compulsive decision to go on vacation, forcing the cancellation of our shoot.

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Setting up a fake list of grades

I spent Tuesday night memorizing my lines, and thankfully was able to practice more once Scott, who plays “Jax”, arrived at my house. We had a small list of prop items I needed to gather before we left:

  • 2 button down shirts that needed to be ironed
  • A list of fake names and grades
  • Poker chips and cards
  • A tripod
  • Umbrellas
  • Towels

Much to my apprehension, “El Nino” was supposed to hit southern California, where we live, during both days of shooting the exterior shots.

It rained all morning and was still pouring by the time we arrived at the college. Once we arrived, we were near certain we’d have to cancel the outdoor shoot for the day. It was to our amazement that we discovered several outdoor areas that were protected by overhead cement pillars (?).

My friend Aaron, who was recently featured in my Amazing Race post, came along to help with the boom mic. He also found a way to arrange the 4 umbrellas we had with us on the nearby puddles to drown out the constant dripping in the background. The towels we brought along were vital, as we needed to wipe down the table and nearby puddles (though my deck of playing cards was completely destroyed by the end of the shoot).

I can’t emphasize enough how grateful I am to have brought Dan, my acting friend, along on this project. He got so many takes from so many angles I have no doubt we will be able to make our scenes appear flawless, despite the many times we screwed up our lines.

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Dan the man

All in all, Tuesday was a great success. I can’t wait to tell you all about Wednesday’s shoot tomorrow – the rain was ten times worse.

  • Thomas M. Watt

MASTER – 10.2 – FINAL INSTALLMENT!

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Click here to start from the beginning!

Ch. 2     Ch. 3     Ch. 4     Ch. 5     Ch. 6     Ch. 7     Ch. 8     Ch. 9    Ch. 10

Click here to own MASTER today!

“No!” I jump back, then shove the handgun into my pocket. I whirl around. That gunshot

could’ve been heard for miles. I’ve got to move! I turn and run, back to the mustang. I reach the parking lot – car’s gone. I have no ride. I’m a wanted man, without any ride.

I don’t have time to think, and I sure as shit can’t afford to stand out here like a dumbass. Not after my finger pulled the trigger on the shot heard around the woods. I turn and head into the hotel, rushing back through the side entrance. I sprint up the stairs, and go to the only hiding place I can think of – big boy’s hotel room. I swing open the door, rush into the bathroom, and wash my hands.

“So you killed him.”

I turn the faucet off, and stare back at my haunted reflection in the mirror. Somebody is in the room.

***Unfortunately, I will no longer be posting excerpts from Master.  But if you’d like to complete the story, you may read the full book here!

  • Thomas M. Watt