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Saturday, September 18, 2010
Don't Quit Your Day Job- a post by Mr. Scott Nicholson!
Don't Quit Your Day Job
By Scott Nicholson
The title is what they tell actors, screenwriters, directors, and pretty much everyone else in Hollywood with a dream and a gig as a Baskin-Robbins scooper.
It's meant as discouragement, and while usually applied to movie people, writers get hit with it from time to time. All I know is I'd much rather take my chances as a writer, and here's why...
I am a lousy actor. I couldn't even get a part in the grade-school plays, and even in the church Christmas plays I always had a non-speaking role as a shepherd. They only thing they would trust me to do was wear a robe and point at an imaginary star.
About six years ago, I visited a local movie set in a mountain hollow where a crew was filming a movie called "A Tale About Bootlegging." (check out the website) Yeah, clumsy title, should have been "A Bootlegger's Tale." Not that it really matters, since the movie will almost certainly fade away in a can somewhere, though it looks plenty funny.
I knew one of the executive producers, Brad Batchelor, so he threw me in as an extra. I was a barefoot hillbilly in the 1930's-era movie, and escorted out local mayor during a funeral procession. I also had a bit part walking around in the background in a couple of places. The movie had an actual budget, and I hung out with Randy Jones, best known as the cowboy from the Village People (he's tall) and Sonny Shroyer, who was a deputy on "Dukes of Hazzard." Fun day, maybe 15 seconds of screen time.
Apparently it all fell apart during the attempt to get distribution, and I think it was actually edited and ready to be sold somewhere but that's the last I heard of it.
Brad, who is a chiropractor, bon vivant, and actor (he was in "The Patriot"), recruited me for his own project "Against The Wind," a movie which actually looks like it may get released at some point. A trailer is up at http://www.againstthewindfilm.com.
Brad has been ambitious, utilizing international locations for his 1920's-era epic. The movie opens with a lot of World War I flying scenes, which is where I come in. I even got some lines as a flyboy, wearing one of those Rocky the Flying Squirrel caps, but I doubt any lines will appear in the movie. I also got to ride in Brad's biplane and have my bloody, injured character hauled from the plane.
At one point, I also dressed up in a guard uniform and patrolled the airfield, my helmet pulled low so no one could tell I was the same guy who used to be a pilot. And, my coolest role, I shaved my mustache, put on wire-framed glasses, and donned a doorman's cap to play a French chauffeur. I got to drive a 1918 Cadillac, a quality machine, and tell an officer "Oui, ma colonel" in mumbled Frenchy-sounding stuff.
Brad even set up an IMDB page for us actors, so I am in there somewhere, if I ever wanted to pay the "professional fee" to go in and update it and pretend like I am a real actor.
Five years later and Brad says the movie is "95 percent done." I've learned you hear that a lot in the movie business.
My third try for the brass ring is in the little-known dark-crime thriller "Buried Beneath." The title might be pretty apt, as I haven't heard anything from those guys in two years even though they live in the next county. Their Stone Silent Productions (www.stonesilentproductions.com) Web site hasn't been updated in a while, with the "news" page stuck on 2006. They are really cool dudes so I hope they can pull it together, and the movie looks interesting, about a cop who cracks up.
I have a scene where I am a member of the police board, raking the guy over the coals for not playing by the rules. He freaks out and hallucinates that we are red-eyed zombie things. If I had to guess, I'd bet this one is 95 percent done as well.
So, my acting career in total is about 10 days on the set, five characters played, and zero seconds of screen time. I am not quitting my day job.
On the bright side, my novel "The Home" is under film option and has a script and might even get made for real. I am sure they will keep me far, far away from the set. If it's not the contract, I'll insist on it. I don't want that movie to be 95 percent almost about to happen.
So I will focus on telling stories and let Brad Pitt worry about the paparazzi.
Scott Nicholson is author of Speed Dating with the Dead, Drummer Boy, and 10 other novels, five story collections, four comics series, and six screenplays. A journalist and freelance editor in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, he often uses local legends in his work. This tour is sponsored by Amazon, Kindle Nation Daily, and Dellaster Design.
To be eligible for the Kindle DX, simply post a comment below with contact info. Feel free to debate and discuss the topic, but you will only be entered once per blog. Visit all the blogs on the tour and increase your odds. I’m also giving away a Kindle 3 through the tour newsletter and a Pandora’s Box of free e-books to a follower of “hauntedcomputer” on Twitter. And, hey, buy my books and put me in the Top 100 and I’ll throw in another random Kindle 3 giveaway. Thanks for playing. Complete details at http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/blogtour.htm.