I had run out of small talk, I said to Vito, “I can make a police
action thriller for [undisclosed, loss-leader, unbelievably bargain
basement sum here].” “How can you do that?” he wanted to know. “I do it a
lot,” I told him looking more sad than proud of the fact. “What would
the film look like?” he asked which told me that he was either
incredibly forbearing or had bitten off on a small piece of my implied
proposition. Time to offer him a larger bite, I thought to myself.
you’ll come down the hallway with me, I’ll show you.” This was a nice
trick to pull out of my hat, because it just so happened that my
producer’s rep had a suite down the hall and there, one of the films
they were pushing, was my latest movie Bleeder & Bates to be
seen. I escorted Vito into the suite, exchanged brief hellos with my
rep, appropriated a video player that wasn’t being used at the time and
racked up my movie. As I did so, I noticed Vito studying the poster for
Bleeder with its shiny, silver police badge, the Porsche Turbo (with
Martini racing colors), two guys with guns and intent to kill and two
women wearing what looked like Victoria’s Secret lingerie. This
arrangement of images piqued his interest even further. We watched the
opening of Bleeder.
After about ten minutes, Vito asked me to
scan ahead to the middle of the film, which I did. There we watched
another ten minute segment of the movie; possibly the sequence with the
Porsche Turbo racing along Mulholland Drive was in this section. Then,
he asked me to scan forward to the last portion of the film which we
watched taking in the enigmatic ending where a police commander is
shotgunned to death at the front door of his home by an assailant that
is implied rather than identified. “Let’s talk,” was all he said.
didn’t go back to his company's suite but, instead, found a sofa at the
intersection of two hallways and began our discussion. “When could you
start?” Vito asked. “In about three days.” I told him this knowing how
crazy that would sound to him. It reminded me of a scene from the film
Patton where Patton tells the command that he can pull out of battle and
move his troops in a winter storm a hundred kilometers to another
region and take up the fight again. Vito was just as incredulous as were
those Generals listening to Patton’s declaration. Vito needed an
explanation. “Vito, I founded a repertory company for film and
television,” I began. “We have about a hundred actors at any given time
whom we have trained and prepared for the roles we create for them in
the movies we make. Think of us as a studio from the old Hollywood
studio system with our own actors but without the overhead and real
estate and operating as guerrilla filmmakers.” I added that it was my
habit to write the script as we shoot the movie and went on to say that
if we required three days to start, it was only because I needed a day
to get back to Los Angeles. He began to see that I wasn’t quite as crazy
as he at first thought. “What kind of film would it be?” he wanted to
know. It will be very much like the one you just looked at; a thinking
man’s cop drama looking at the relationship between crime, law
enforcement and politics. If you liked what you just saw, you’ll like
what I do for you.
If you didn’t, we should stop now. Do you have a story in mind, he asked. No, but I have a title—Dead Right.
and I shook hands on the deal and he gave me his card asking me to call
his office in Los Angeles so we could set up a meeting to formalize our
agreement to make this movie together. Coming away from the
encounter, a friend pointed out that I had just made a deal whereby a
distributor, whom I had never met, would fund a film for which there
was no script and which, in the real world, isn’t supposed to happen.
It occurred to me that if I only did things that were supposed to
happen, I would be selling life insurance in the San Fernando Valley. “I
think he liked the title,” I told my friend
I can't say that I am either a race fan or a car buff, but when I read
the description of this documentary stating that the Carrera
Panamericana was the world's most dangerous road race, I thought it
would be a good idea to investigate. I wasn't disappointed. Incredible
race footage plus in-depth interviews brought me right to the edge of
the road. The only things missing as I watched were the dust and the
smell of exhaust! This film absolutely satisfied my appreciation of
history, particularly in light of the fact that I had never heard of
this event. So, I am better for that. And towards the end of the
movie, I wondered if they were able to keep this race alive to the
current day, that it would be on par with the FIFA World Cup for
anticipation and fan following. And never forget, "A driver is always
an optimist, a passenger is always a pessimist"!
I want to thank Lea Lashaway for recovering and digitizing footage from an episode of Clip Joint in which she is featured. Lea was a member of my film and television repertory company for the two decades of its existence in Los Angeles and is a very talented actress. Shooting these episodes was labor-intensive for me very often involving ten-minute takes that would roam the studio moving from one conversation or event to another--the camera became heavier as the evening wore on.
In Clip Joint, Lea played a militant lesbian who protested the show-within-the-show, 'Duke Maltin's Clip Joint', but--like many protestors before her--wanted to be on the payroll. I wish I could remember the names of the actors playing the network executives in the first part of the scene but I can't other than to say that the actress' first name is Debbie. She was a CableACE Awards judge like others in the rep company. In the second half of the scene, Lea converses with Kevin Courtright who was also a long-time member of the rep company and a CableACE judge.
In this scene from my comedy series Clip Joint (inspired by The Larry Sanders Show), actor JT Grimm confronts Lea Lashaway (as Delia) for inciting a lesbian protest against the show staff for creating a hostile work environment by wearing Erectile Dysfunction Awareness ribbons. Duke Maltin and Wesley Harris are also featured. Clip Joint theme by Michael Chanslor.
A scene from Exigence "In the woods"--Shane Lewis and Pry'ce Jaymes with special thanks to Jaymes Young...
In describing Exigence, I somewhat flippantly say it is Butch Cassidy
and the Sundance Kid meets Three Days of the Condor, which is accurate
insofar as the tone and action of the movie are concerned. There are
also some subliminal references as well.
If you recall, Condor was
set back East during the cold autumn-to-winter period. There is a scene
in Condor where Redford analyzes Dunaway's photos as conveying that
feeling of time. In Butch Cassidy, there is the buddy relationship that
has a growing sense of impending doom in spite of the optimistic, if
naive, attitude of the two friends. These references are made, subtlely,
I hope in Exigence.
This sequence is a rough cut with no attention made yet to sound.
A series of ONE: The Spoiler starring KBabyNate coming soon to Amazon Prime. A series of ONE is my collection of one-man and one-woman shows that can be viewed on Amazon streaming video and DVD. KBabyNate also did excellent work in Exigence, the movie I am currently shooting.
Exigence Skype rehearsal with Pry'ce Jaymes, Shane Lewis and me for tomorrow's shoot in which the two characters realize the absurdity of a 'covert contractor' admitting emotional distress to an employer or seeking help for it...
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
Click to buy on Amazon
Click to view on Amazon
Action/ReAction at Stella Adler
Point of Departure
A Series of ONE...
Stephen and Dragonuk
Stephen Mitchell webinar for Stage 32
Ferrari GTO 3987 at speed by Yan denes
Ray D. Shosay's Journal
Dispatches from a (junior) suite in Paris
Ray D. Shosay's Journal (excerpt)
"Saturday, January 27, 2007
They say you can fool some of the people all of the time. Accordingly, I think we should concentrate on this group initially. We can move on to the people you can only fool some of the time at a later date if we deem it necessary. I hope to hear back from my agent about this as soon as he's out of rehab, as I don't think my messages have been getting through."
Ignorance is Bliss by Stephen Mitchell
Kindle or Paperback versions
Exerpt from Ignorance is Bliss
"Out of the corner of his eye, Martin saw Martha shift in her seat. She leaned forward, as though something was about to be decided. This caused her breasts to push up against the neckline of her dress in a way that couldn't be fully appreciated out of the corner of one’s eye. So, Martin turned his head to look directly into the abyss of her cleavage. He was vaguely aware that Murray was talking again."
Carrera Panamericana (1950-54)
Click on poster to buy the poster and DVD
Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
“You ought to meet Steve. The two of you have the same kind of Ferrari.”
Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso
One evening, I was enjoying a John le Carré novel and a glass of Bordeaux...
L'art de l'automobile
My first Lusso prior to restoration
It was only after Sinatra was gone...
Once upon a time...
Meeting Enzo Ferrari
I came across this on a late night stroll in Paris near the Louvre.
I bought Bentleys in England and Ferraris & Maseratis in Italy to re-sell in Los Angeles as a teenager. I met Enzo Ferrari, Juan Fangio and Steve McQueen. I 'grew up' on the set of Mission: Impossible and other episodic TV series of the era. For a few years, I owned a Ferrari GTO that is owned by Ralph Lauren today and valued at approximately $52M. I began my film career by writing, producing and directing Montmartre in Paris in French. I founded and ran a repertory company for film & TV for 20 years in Los Angeles. I created a TV series which had fans that included Marlon Brando. I authored the first new acting technique--Action/ReAction--that was not based on Stanislavski's Method. I am currently writing my third novel and shooting my spy thriller Exigence. If you can't make movies, live your life as though you were in one...