Monday, June 29, 2015

Beguiled Allegory

There are more opportunities for publication than you might think. As a writer, I know this. As an editor, I know this. I know that even a very small and humble publication like Umbrella Factory Magazine is adding to this opportunity for publication. I say this because UFM generally published about 16 writers a year. This isn't much, but when you consider that there are thousands of publications like UFM the amount of space for writers is astonishing.

It's been my experience that to be published is very important to many writers. It was and in many ways still is important to me. I also think with most writers, the pursuit of publication is not a priority. I have met many writers who want publication but they are waiting for an editor or an agent or a magazine to come to them. This never happens. And so, these writers never get published.

Friday, June 12, 2015

“To Better Days” a director's statement

The short film “To Better Days” is comprised of 5 separate scenes. As I wrote the scenes, I knew the brevity of scene, the vagueness of set direction and the simple, if not tacit dialogue would appeal to the filmmakers at Rocket House Pictures. Here, they would have a manageable script to work and endless possibilities in the shoot. What I didn't realize at the time of writing, February 2013, Portland, OR is that I would be directing this film, I would be a filmmaker. These five scenes for me were an experiment in writing of short screenplays and it was a sort of catharsis for a younger time. I thought about all the missed opportunities, lost loves, scary close calls and an uncertainty of self that I knew at a much younger age.

Marion, as a character came to me relatively quickly. I was walking to work, in the rain, one night when I thought about her. I love to write women. Women are the onion skins of possibility. One layer then the next then the next then the next. Women can be heroic, subtle, tragic and nearly godlike. Women can pull triggers of the guns of war and women can birth the generations to come. I feel like the act of writing women is just as dimensional as the women we all know. With Marion, I really wrote three separate 'women' or in Marion's case, three different times of her life. Initially, I saw a playful Marion who can carry more weight than Atlas. If Atlas can hold the weight of the world on his shoulders, I saw Marion able to hold Earth and Mars and Venus. As I began to sketch the first scene, I saw a young woman who balanced perfectly strength and vulnerability. I saw a woman who was at once too wise beyond her years and as playful as a child. I saw a character who was capable of love and kindness but also capable of terrible, spiteful things.

Film is a tedious process. The medium itself warrants this sort of tedium. It can be no other way. To tell a story on film you want the biggest impact from the script, from the actors, from the scene. It has to be done again and again and again. The real magic, in all reality, happens in the editing room. If you want to compare this process to a piece of 'film' without this process, compare the best movie you've seen this year with any fucking trite piece of shit reality TV that goes on morning noon and night on nearly every channel on your TV. Believe me, the tedium of setting up a shot, the shooting of a shot and the editing of a shot is well worth the end product. I would think the shooting of reality TV is probably pretty exciting and the lack of art in it creates a tedium for the viewer. Anything you see on reality TV you've seen over and over again since MTV's Real World.

Rocket House Pictures is a small film and media company located in Denver. There are four members on staff at Rocket House Pictures. There is no payroll department. The crew for “To Better Days” was the above mention four member staff and four additional crew members. The cast of the film is a startling five members.

We spent four days shooting this five scene short film. Our locations: a taxi, a outside bench, Kilgore Books, a patio and a hotel room. We paid nothing for sets.

I feel a certain level of commitment to the film itself. We've made this movie from page to screen. Any film that gets made deserves an audience if only to witness the miracle that a film can be completed. I believe in Gio Toninelo as cinematographer, and I believe that he has created a visually stunning movie. He and I have worked together for years and, all willing, we will continue to work together for many more.

I feel a very resounding responsibility to the cast of this film. I have every intention to further the careers of each and every one of the actors of “To Better Days.” I think Andrew Katers is one of the most talented and professional actors a director can find. He worked tireless on character development, he choreographed the fight scene, he helped rewrite bad parts of the script. Anyone who needs a leading man, a handsome devil, dedicated worker, an insightful actor and a martial arts fighter, give Andrew Katers a job. And Aeon Cruz. Aeon Cruz is enigma. Aeon is a musician, actor, model, and artist. Aeon is a quick study. She gains a quick master of character and scene. She's the kind of person to simply “own it.” Aside from all professional attributes I can give about Aeon, let me just say, she's a joy to be around. She's funny, she's considerate and she's quick to laughter. Of the other three actors: Alicia Barreti, Alfred Ferraris and Mathias Leppistch, I hope to work with them again, and in the meantime, I hope they find more work too.

Anthony ILacqua, writer/director of “To Better Days”

Monday, June 8, 2015

Michael Lightbody, my friend Foot

I went to Denver today, something I'm just so loathed to do. I don't know what happened to Denver, but I don't care for the place anymore. I did, once, love the place. There was a time when I thought there was no other place on Earth better than Denver. It's really funny because I never really wanted to be in Denver, it was just a place I kept landing in. The first time, in 1992, was awesome. I've belabored Denver 1992 too much. I've probably belabored 1992 Anthony too much too. Denver 2001 after Portland via New Orleans was awesome too. Denver in the early 2000s was fun, and as I was in my early 30s, I was pretty awesome too. I returned to Denver in 2005 after a year of travel, and again in 2013 after a few more years in Portland. But it was that 2001 return that was so wonderful.

Monday, June 1, 2015

A.A. Milne, Benjamin Hoff and Lao Tzu

Late last December, I read A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh books. I did this because, well, I thought that I should. I figured since I have a son of my own I should have these books in the family library and at the very least I should read them. Up until I read these books, I had only a vague idea of what they were and only through the same Walt Disney lens that most of us have at the mention of Winnie-the-Pooh. Of the four books, two of them are Pooh stories and two are straight poetry. I found all of it to be somewhat quaint and very charming in a mid-1920s rural English sort of way. I also found that I could read these books to my then 2 ½ year old son and he stayed interested, thanks in part to Ernest H. Shepard's illustrations.