You Only Get So Much

Alarm clock ticking away.True, that goes for just about anything. But I’m talking about time. Clock’s always ticking, there’s no RESET button and no REWIND function. If people can’t understand that, or worse, aren’t willing to, then they’re people I don’t need. I’m not a content guy. Having the creds I have, looking over what I’ve been able to accomplish doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. It reminds me of the things I still haven’t done, and want to check off my ever-expanding bucket list.

I have a lot of goals I still want to achieve. When things were going bad with my film? I fought through the petty BS and finished it. Then I got it into festivals. Then I got it distributed-worldwide. Check, check, check. Mission accomplished. When I had issues with my first novel, I hired an editor. Didn’t work out. So, I tracked down the best editor I’d ever had, Marge Harris, who I hadn’t spoken to in nearly 15 years. It was tough, and took over a month, but I managed. Check. Novel drafts polished like crystal? Check. Publication? Check.

If someone around you is constantly dragging their personal baggage into your project? Ditch them. Flat out, cut ’em loose. If someone can’t check their agenda at the door and focus on the work? Why bother? No one is irreplaceable. Besides, you may find the albatross’ replacement is even more talented, or has something to offer you never expected. That’s my .02 cents. If someone’s drama or politics or bitterness is an obstacle, don’t suffer it. Overcome it. Much easier to move ahead without that kind of anchor dragging you down. Trust me on this one.

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Currently listening to: “Here’s Where the Story Ends” by The Sundays

 

How I got involved with the #HowEyeSeeIt campaign

Back in June, I got a tweet from someone I didn’t know, asking if I’d be interested in participating in a digital campaign. I didn’t recognize the Twitter handle and had no clue what the campaign might be, but figured, what the heck? So long as it wasn’t promoting the new Ghostbusters

So we share e-mail addresses and Amanda Slavin, from Catalyst Creativ, sends me a note about the project. It’s a campaign being kicked off by the Foundation Fighting Blindness, designed to bring attention to various diseases causing sight loss, helping researchers looking for cures get more funding, raising awareness, that sort of thing. Needless to say, blindness is more than a pet cause, seeing as for me, the lights’ve been out since 2002. I was IN even before finishing that e-mail.

So, dates are set. Other people (including some actors, a pageant winner, two documentary directors and yours truly) would be shooting together in late June. Only, well, it’s entertainment. Things fall through. So, the original dates didn’t work. No problem, right? Just reschedule. But, by mid-July, dates were still being discussed, and a firm deadline to complete our part was set for August 7th. As you can imagine, by the end of July, that window  was closing fast. To be honest, while I was totally stoked about being involved, the folks I was scheduled to be working with are much bigger entertainment industry fish than I am. I mean, by a lot. So, I figured, given that I’m not the world’s luckiest filmmaker, the whole thing might not happen. Before I lost hope, though, August fifth started looking good for everyone. On Aug. 1st, I get word, asking if I can be in New York, not Los Angeles, in 72 hours. Flight, lodging, Uber rides, whatever, that’ll
all be covered. I called up some friends and my sis to see who could watch Mouse and the cats. I hired another friend’s pet-sitting service for the slots I couldn’t fill. Thursday morning? We were on a plane out of Ft. Myers, on our way to The Big Apple.

I won’t get into all the ins-and-outs of the trip there. Suffice to say, it wasn’t bad. The trip back? The voyage from Hell? I already posted about that – but my run-in with TSA? That wasn’t the worst of it. (Sorry, I don’t like cliffhangers or teasers, but I’ll get to that other incident in a couple of blogs).
Joe Monks and Todd Kellstein talking at a table at John Sullivan's in NYC
I will, however, do a name-drop, because I’ve got the okay from the powers-that-be behind the shoot. That pic? That’s me and director Todd Kellstein of Wayfarer Entertainment, one of the filmmakers behind Rebel With a Cause: the Sam Simon Story. For those of you who don’t remember the name, Sam was the co-creator of The Simpsons, who died of cancer in 2015.

Todd, Pam and I hooked up Thursday night for dinner at John Sullivan’s, where we became fast friends, talked not just the following day’s shoot, but movies
in general, how I made The Bunker, films Todd and his partner have worked on and released – needless to say, we wound up taking up a table for a lot longer
than the average dinner-seekers at a place right up the street from Madison Square Garden.

More on the shoot, the other people involved (yeah, yeah, I know, more teasers). But August 23rd is comin’ fast, and on or around that date is when all can be revealed. In fact, probably a lot earlier, but for now? This is how the trip began. Dates get locked Monday night. Flight arrangements made around 10pm. I start contacting people about the pets, rescheduling things planned here, that sort of stuff. Tuesday night? Hotel arrangements get locked down. Thursday morning we’re city-bound. Thursday afternoon? The New York location falls through (that’s shoots for you, rarely does anything but planning go without a hitch). Thursday late, the producer books an even better location, and I get e-mailed that address that night, with a call time of 9am. Sound frantic? Trust me. I’m a writer. Words do not do this one justice. And, there’s a lot more to come. Keep checking back to see how the shoot itself went, what’s left of Times Square, The Village, and some of my favorite old haunts, having grown up traveling into the city a ton.
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Currently listening to: “Monsters” by The Cruxshadows

Kicking off the new year…

Image of Joe on screen interview… with some cool news. Hinted at it a while back, but no need to be secretive any longer. A few months ago, an indie filmmaker from Europe contacted me about being in a documentary he was working on. He had a mishap which nearly cost him his sight and hearing, which got him thinking about what he would have done had things gone differently for him. Here’s the first clip, (Pam says it came out looking sharp). Not sure how much I’ll figure into the finished project, but felt great to be featured like this for my work. Take a look and let me know what you think. Plus, I’m not about to stop you from sharing the link on Facebook or posting it on Twitter if you so desire. Enjoy, and hope you had a great New Year with a fantastic 2016 stretching out before you!: