What I'm Working On Now

Three short films are in Post-Production, soon to be submitting to film festivals.
Producing/editing a pilot for a new web-series inspired by the Alice in Wonderland tales.
Producing/editing a documentary on Gene Roddenberry and the genesis of Star Trek The Original Series.
There are a number of other projects in development, just waiting their turn to be produced.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I love listening to movie commentaries. I also love Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs. Put the two together and you get one of my favorite combo's. One of the first things I noticed about the film (even before watching it with the commentary) was that during the opening credits there appeared the line:
A Film By
There was a pause, and then the line finished:
A Lot Of People
Usually that line is finished by the name of the director, producer, or production company and to see it presented in such way was surprising, to say the least. Then, during the commentary, the directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, spoke directly to that credit, saying that they could not, in good conscience, put their names there and ignore all the other people who helped make the movie. While I was in film school, the instructors forbade us from using any such title on our student films for very much the same reasons.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying people like Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Quentin Tarantino and so on shouldn't be allowed to say, in essence, “I made this film”. The producers, directors, and production companies are extremely formative in the film making process. Much like the captain of a boat steers the ship, even if there are hundreds of other crewmen on board working hard to make sure the ship sails aright. However, I found it a very profound act of generosity on the parts of Phil Lord and Chris Miller to give such credit to their team.
In the bit of film making I've done since film school, I've avoided using the credit “A film by” altogether. Someday I would like to get to the point where I feel my directorship has grown sufficiently to use such a title, but for now I'm still learning the ropes. And who knows, even when I do get to that point I don't know if I'll use it. Film making is such a team effort, to say that I made a film seems a bit silly. Maybe if I wrote, directed, produced, shot, edited, acted, etc.

Monday, February 25, 2013


Melanie's head swam with the excitement of the day. Just a few short hours ago she and Mike were married, and now they were on their way to their honeymoon. Granted, it wasn't as grand a honeymoon as she would have liked, but considering the current circumstances they were lucky to be going on any sort of trip.
I wouldn't call going to our home a honeymoon,” Mike was fond of saying whenever he felt like complaining about their plans but Melanie wouldn't be dissuaded.
I'm glad you saved this last tank of gas,” Melanie said as they turned a corner.
They were about halfway between the church and their new apartment. They could have walked but Melanie had insisted the occasion warranted that they drive.
Enjoy it while you can,” Mike said, “because no amount of money will refill this tank again.”
Weird, isn't it?” Melanie asked at the thought of it.
Yup,” Mike said without further elaboration.
The streets around them were all but empty. People rode on bicycles or walked, many of them in the middle of the street. More than once, Mike had to come to a sudden stop to avoid hitting people who had walked out in front of him. Each time, the people looked shocked at seeing a car as though they were some form of extinct animal.
I wish Joan could have been there,” Melanie sighed and Mike gave her leg a squeeze.
I'm sorry,” Mike said.
Melanie had told him about Joan's situation and was hoping to be able to go to the press with the pictures she'd taken on her phone. When she tried to review them, however, she found her memory card had been erased. Since then she hadn't been allowed back inside to visit Joan and so had no way of seeing her, let alone invite her to the wedding.
Just then another group of people ran out in front of the car and Mike had to slam on the brakes to keep from hitting them. Melanie cried out in shock and before she could recover, her window shattered, showering her with glass. Rough hands reached through and were pulling her out while at the same time she heard more glass breaking and Mike's shouts of protest were quickly joined by several others, all yelling and shouting for them to get out of the car.
Get off of me!” Melanie heard Mike shout as her attackers succeeded in pulling her torso out through the broken window.
The car lurched and Melanie suspected that Mike was either trying to drive off or else he too was being pulled out and he was no longer able to keep his foot on the brake pedal.
Don't touch my wife!” Mike shouted with renewed vigor and Melanie saw two of the men on Mike's side of the car fall back, holding their faces and stemming the flow of blood from their noses.
The car lurched again this time there was no mistake about it, Mike was trying to get away. Unfortunately, the men who had grabbed Melanie kept their hold on her and so when the car moved, Melanie was yanked the rest of the way out of the car. They held her tight and one of them kept his hand clasped over her mouth to prevent her from screaming.
Mike stopped the car at once and jumped out with fury in his eyes. He fought their assailants wildly and for a moment it looked like the attackers were about to flee. It was over as quickly as it had begun, there was a flash of metal, a groan from Mike, and before Melanie knew exactly what had happened, the men holding her let go and they all ran and jumped into the car, driving off and leaving them both behind.
MIKE!” Melanie shrieked as she noticed the red pool gathering beneath him.
She ran to his side and lifted him up into her arms. His shirt blossomed red around his gut and his face was pale.
I-I'm sorry,” Mike stammered. “I c-couldn't...
Melanie looked around for help but the street they were on was deserted. “HELP!” she screamed, her cell phone still in the car and so she had no other way of calling for help.
Shhh,” Mike said, his voice a bit steadier than before. “It'll be alright.” He was already tearing pieces of his shirt off to use as bandages. “It'll be alright,” he repeated.

Friday, February 22, 2013


We're miles apart
Night comes and I lay alone
I miss you my dear
The two year old cries
He doesn't know why he's sad
A month without mom
Snowfall came last night
Shoveling eases the mind
Eases my troubles

*     *     *

 I've been away from home for quite a while now. I think my son is taking it the hardest even though he doesn't seem to understand why he's upset. Thank goodness it's almost over.

Monday, February 18, 2013


I do not see why you are so upset,” Dr. Muto stated in his terse, blunt way. “We have proven the Heat Machine, we are building more, and—
They won't be enough!” Matt shouted over his colleague. “I keep telling you we need to share this technology with the rest of the world, get their input, maybe make a few more discoveries. At the very least we could make use of the countless geothermal sites around the world.”
Dr. Muto waved a dismissive hand. “They would abuse the power.”
How?” Matt demanded. “This isn't like nuclear power or missile technology. This is simply the knowledge of how to convert heat into electricity, nothing more.”
They would find a way.”
To do what? Make a profit without you?”
Dr. Muto turned a steely gaze onto Matt and neither of them seemed ready to yield to the other. At last Dr. Muto spoke, this time in a more calm, controlled tone.
We are already building as many Heat Machines as we can,” he said. “They will be sufficient to stabilize this country. After that we can worry about the rest of the world.”
Matt disagreed but knew it would be pointless to argue the point any further that day. Besides, he had his own plan about how to best help the world and it wouldn't do to continue provoking Dr. Muto.
Fine,” Matt said and Dr. Muto nodded appreciably and then left the control room.
Matt waited a few minutes to make sure Dr. Muto wasn't coming back and then sat down at the control panel. It asked for his login. He typed his name. It asked for his password. He typed in Joan's name. The screen flickered a couple times and then resolved into the usual desktop. Matt looked over his shoulder at the room's occupants. He wasn't sure anymore how many of them were still loyal to him and he couldn't risk any of them knowing what he was doing, but at the same time he couldn't just send them out of the room.
As quick and subtle as he could manage, Matt searched for the folder that contained the plans for the Heat Machine. They'd long since been converted into their digital format, all hard copies destroyed at Dr. Muto's request. Only now did Matt regret his decision to yield all of his notes to Dr. Muto. With hindsight it was clear to him what Dr. Muto was really doing.
The folder wasn't on the desktop. Matt frowned. He didn't remember moving it anywhere. No matter, he had a backup copy hidden in another section of the computer and he quickly clicked through the menus and windows to get to his second copy. It wasn't there. Panic began to set in and he opened the trash folder. Empty. Matt never emptied his trash folder.
He glanced around the room again and this time he noticed a couple of the new guards, the ones Dr. Muto had hired, were watching him. Sweat gathered on the back of his neck and Matt quickly turned back to the computer, closed all the windows and logged back out of the control panel.
I'm going for some lunch,” he said in what he hoped to be an offhanded tone. “Does anybody want something?”
A few of the techs made requests for fries and burgers. The guards remained silent, or just shook their heads.
Alright,” Matt said and he clapped his hands nervously, backing away towards the exit. “I'll be back in an hour or so.”
The hallway was empty except for the occasional guard, though none of them paid him any mind. Matt swiped his key card at the final checkpoint before the exit, absently smiling at the guard who didn't seem like the smiling type. A discordant buzz announced that Matt's key card didn't work. Matt swiped it again. Same response. A look of puzzled concern crossed the guard's face. Matt knew the guard should at least recognize him. Sure they'd never really spoken but this guard had been assigned to this post for as long as Matt could remember.
Must be dirty or something,” Matt said. “Could you just let me through?”
The guard looked as though he were about to, his hand reaching for the manual override switch, when the intercom crackled and a voice Matt did not recognize spoke.
Would Matt Wellis please report to Dr. Muto's office,” it was not a request, regardless of how it was worded.
A weight seemed to have formed in his stomach as Matt watched the guard remove his hand from the console. For a moment, Matt considered begging the guard to let him go.
Better be on your way, sir,” the guard said with a helpful nod back up the way Matt had come.
I was just hoping to get some lunch first,” Matt muttered in defeat as he stepped away from the guard station. “Oh well, I guess I can eat later.”
It seemed to Matt that the walk back had many more guards along the way than when he was leaving. Perhaps it was just his paranoid imagination inventing things. Still, he couldn't help but think about Judge Dervin as he made his way back up to the offices.
Two guards stood flanking Dr. Muto's office.
In you go, sir,” one of them said and opened the door for Matt, revealing Dr. Muto and a tall, dark man Matt had never seen before.
Thank you,” Matt said slowly as he stepped cautiously into the room. He stiffened when the door shut loudly behind him.
Sit down,” Dr. Muto pointed to a chair.
I'll stand,” Matt said, noticing that there were no other set out for Dr. Muto and the other man.
Earlier today you tried to access the plans to the Heat Machine,” Dr. Muto went on, regardless of Matt's refusal to sit.
Yes,” Matt said, and then, gathering his courage, added, “and last I checked I was allowed to.”
Dr. Muto nodded. “Of course you are.”
Then why has it been deleted from my account?” Matt asked.
A precaution,” the dark man said in a deep, rumbling voice.
And one, it seems, we were right to take,” Dr. Muto added.
And who is he?” Matt asked, pointing to the other man.
He is called Early Bird,” Dr. Muto said dismissively.
What exactly Dr. Muto meant by that, Matt wasn't sure but he doubted he'd get any answers if he questioned them about the strange name.
And why is he here?” Matt was hoping to stall for time while he thought of a way out that didn't involve him getting knocked unconscious and kidnapped.
I am a guard, of sorts” Early Bird said.
And what is it that you are suppose to be guarding?”
He is guarding you,” Dr. Muto said.
I didn't know I was in danger,” Matt lied.
You will be,” Early Bird said, “if you begin sharing the plans for the Heat Machine.”
Matt shivered involuntary under the stern looks from both Dr. Muto and Early Bird.
The government does not want us sharing this information,” Dr. Muto said. “And they have threatened us with severe punishments if we do not comply.”
Matt scoffed. “First of all,” he said, “they can't do that, it's illegal. Second, why would they care if we shared this information?”
When it comes to matters of national security,” Dr. Muto said, sounding like he was reading from a prepared statement, “this government has demonstrated its willingness to ignore the laws previously established.”
This is not about national security,” Matt struggled to keep his voice controlled. “This is about gaining an advantage over the rest of the world.”
And where the rest of the world is falling into war and destruction,” Early Bird said, laying a hand on Matt's shoulder, “is it not imperative that this country gains every advantage it can?”
Matt couldn't remember when Early Bird came close enough to touch him and he shied back from the large man.
If we shared this with the rest of the world, the fighting would stop,” Matt said.
Would it?” Dr. Muto asked. “Can you be sure?”
And what if the fighting continues?” Early Bird added.
Why would it?” Matt asked them, feeling more and more like he was missing something.
This world has become so unstable,” Dr. Muto said, “that even if the energy crisis were solved, many countries would fail to see any reason to stop fighting. They would want to right the wrongs that they perceive to have taken place.”
Too many people are fighting for blood and vengeance now, than for oil and electricity,” Early Bird agreed solemnly.
So what would have happened to me, had I given away the plans for the Heat Machine?” Matt asked.
You would have been arrested, tried for treason, and executed,” Early Bird stated. “I have the documents from your government here to prove it.”
Early Bird handed Matt an envelope. Inside, Matt found numerous pages baring the national seal and, in some cases, the president's signature, all of them supporting Dr. Muto's and Early Bird's words.
But why wait until now to tell me?” Matt demanded. “Wouldn't it have made more sense to tell me this sooner rather than later?”
You are a dreamer and an idealist,” Dr. Muto said, “and it was our belief that if we'd told you sooner you would have found a way to work around us. By forestalling this moment, it gave us time to destroy all physical copies and sequester the digital ones, ensuring the safety of the plans, as well as your life.”
They were right, Matt knew, and he was still determined to find a way around them. It was one thing to try to save the world and then fail. It was a completely different thing to lie down and let the world destroy itself.
So you're content to stand by and let the world tear itself apart?” Matt asked.
We have no choice,” Dr. Muto said.
Matt bit his tongue to prevent him from saying more. If he was going to get his chance at saving the world, he'd have to regain Dr. Muto's trust.
If we can't save the world,” Matt began at last, “can we at least not destroy Joan?”
Dr. Muto and Early Bird looked at Matt with questioning eyes.
She's claustrophobic,” Matt said. “Haven't you noticed how she's gone a little crazy lately?”
And how would you recommend we help her?” Dr. Muto asked.
Well, we could let her out every once in a while. Give her some fresh air, maybe install a bathroom,” Matt's anger was rising. He'd not been able to forgive himself for putting Joan into this situation. “She hasn't done anything wrong and she's not a prisoner. The least we could do is treat her with basic decency.”
We'll...see what we can do,” Dr. Muto said and Matt knew nothing would be done.
Can I go to lunch now?” Matt asked.
The two men nodded and Matt left, expecting to be stopped at every checkpoint. He wasn't. On his way back in he was expecting to have his permissions revoked, but everything worked just fine. When he got back to the control room, Dr. Muto was there, acting as though nothing had happened and Joan was strolling about in her enclosure.

Friday, February 15, 2013


Wake up in silence
A dead world in phoenix ash
Soon to be reborn
Solitary cries
The bird seeks companionship
Amid the vast white
Tracks in the new snow
Welcome, unknown traveler
I think I'll follow

*     *     *
Being in Utah and seeing the snow has made me think of the white stuff.

Monday, February 11, 2013


...crushed the last of the European Alliance earlier this week and have begun their march through Egypt,” the voice from the television said over images of the war torn parts of the world. “No doubt hoping to secure for themselves the few remaining oilfields.”
France held out the longest, Judge Dervin thought with amusement. Of course, it helped the France was furthest from the Asian Pact and so buffered itself behind the rest of the European countries. Now, images of Paris burning dominated the news cast. Still, nothing shown on the television could be worse than what he could see in his room. He tried not to think about it, and tried even harder not to look at it. As for the smell, his hopes that he'd get use to it were fading and all he could wish for now was that it wouldn't last too much longer. What passed for food in his captivity was hard enough to swallow without the it being tainted with...
Judge Dervin shut his eyes and tried not to think about it. He focused on the pain in his legs, in his back, in his wrists. He listened to the news reporter, anything to get his mind off of—
...Heat Machine is the only bright ray of hope,” said the reporter and Judge Dervin's eyes shot back open.
There, on the screen, were Matt and Dr. Muto smiling and shaking hands at a press conference and rage welled up inside of Judge Dervin at the sight of them.
We are excited for the advances we have made in the last several months,” Dr. Muto was saying, “and we should be able to produce more of these Heat Machines within the year, providing clean, efficient energy for the world.”
Dr. Muto's voice faded out, though his image continued to speak, and the reporter resumed her commentary.
Opponents of this new initiative,” her smooth voice stated, “have questioned the so-called philanthropic motives of Doctors Muto and Wellis, arguing that if they really wanted to help the world, they would make the plans to the Heat Machine available to all, as opposed to their current stance of secrecy on how exactly their Heat Machine works. Others have raised questions about how they're generating the heat needed to power the Heat Machine.”
Behind Matt and Dr. Muto stood the dome of the Heat Machine and Judge Dervin knew immediately what their heat source was. Though the dome was new, he had no difficulty in recognizing Joan's enclosure.
But what about the others you're going to build?” he asked the television. “How are you going to heat those?”
A squelching sound to his side drove all other thoughts from his mind. Nothing could have prepared him for the horrors he experienced in his captivity, and the worst by far was sitting, or more accurately, decaying right beside him. A sound like a number of wet rags sliding and squishing against one another proceeded another squelching thump and a dripping drizzle that slowed and then, mercifully, stopped.
Stench beyond description assaulted his nose and eyes and he retched freely into his lap. There was no use in fighting his gag reflex any more. He didn't have the strength to resist anymore. Judge Dervin didn't dare to look, but from the sounds and smells he could piece together what had happened. Perhaps the body would decompose faster, now that...more of it...was exposed. A small consolation to be sure, but in such dire conditions he would take what he could get.
In many ways, he envied his one-time companion in captivity. He was dead, no more suffering, no more pain. Blissful, eternal sleep. Judge Dervin would have ended his own life not long after his companion's death if he could have managed it. Even now he considered starving himself but the pains of hunger were stronger, for for the time being at least, than his desires to end it all.
Later today,” the reporter went on, “the President will be meeting in a closed session of Congress to discuss the South American threat. A declaration of war is expected, though many wonder if this is merely a ploy to gain control of the South American oil reserves, as opposed to what the administration is calling a justifiable preemptive strike.”
All his professional life he'd fought and argued for justice, always believing the good would ever triumph over evil. Certainly there were tragedies, certainly there were those who went unpunished, but overall, in the grand scheme of things, good would always win. Or so he had once thought.
Judge Dervin hung his head and he wept.

*     *     *

Sorry for the late post. Root canals and sick children seriously slow down your day. I'm looking at going back and making some edits to Chapter 51, fixing some story stuff, so keep an eye out for that. 

About this chapter, I've tried to leave most of the visuals to your imagination. What do you think? I wrote it out very descriptively the first time through and didn't like it.


The next chapter of Immolation WILL be posted today, just a bit late due to events beyond my control.

Sorry for the late notice about a late post.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Snuffly noses
Crying out and struggling
Helpless little babe
Reaching, pleading arms
Rise up from shadowed crib walls
Desiring comfort
I can't ignore long
No matter my weariness
And rock him to sleep

*     *     *

     Sick kids are never fun, my own son's been crying steady since he awoke early this morning and has only just fallen asleep. No matter all the intricate and detailed plans I may have formulated for today, I doubt I'll get much of it done. No matter. Some things are more important.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Late New Years Resolution

     I apologize to those of you coming here looking for today's short story. As some of you may know, I've been thinking about changes for this blog since the New Year and, well, I'm afraid some things are going to have to be put on hold indefinitely. I'm right in the middle of so many things, one of them being a (hopefully) final edit on my novel (not Immolation) before I begin shopping it around to agents and I just don't have the time to do justice to my book and do all of my writing. Immolation is nearly complete, and so I do not feel bad finishing that up, and Poetry has always been a breeze. But, alas, Short Stories didn't make the cut.

     I feel bad, cutting Short Stories. I really enjoyed writing them, but they were suffering from my lack of time and effort. Posting a work in progress (like Immolation) is one thing, but posting shoddy work is another, and nobody likes shoddy work.

     My plan, and we'll see how this goes, is to use Wednesday's to update you on my films. I'm working on a number of really interesting ones right now and a page or so a week detailing what I'm up to seems doable with my workload. These post will be a bit of the business, a bit of the creative, and a bit of the hair-pulling-last-minute-something-has-to-go-wrong-when-you're-making-a-movie stuff.

     And so, for today, I wish you all well and I'll see you back here on Friday.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Joan's body and mind ached. She'd given up on screaming and beating on the walls. Sleep was becoming more and more elusive and as the sleep deprivation combined with her claustrophobia, Joan knew it was only a matter of time before she lost her mind again. There wasn't much to do but wait.
And then the door began to open. A sharp sliver of light pierced the flames and Joan rushed towards it.
Stop burning!” cried a voice from without.
I can't,” Joan replied, coming to a halt as her desire for freedom was checked by her desire to not burn anyone. She looked behind her to the small pipe coming out of the wall on the far side of the dome and she gave an involuntary shiver. “But,” Joan went on, “I can keep my fire from burning you. Just hold still.”
As slowly and carefully as she could manage, Joan reached outward with her fire. Wherever it touched the walls of the dome, Joan's fire was sucked away and left her cold. After a time, though, Joan felt the warmth of skin and at once she held her fire back from burning, just as she did for her own body.
Are you alright?” Joan asked when she heard a sharp cry from without.
Yes,” came the reply, “it was just a bit unexpected.”
Knowing it was safe now, Joan hurried out the door. There, looking both frightened and excited, was Melanie. A guard was just stepping out the door of the enclosure, leaving them by themselves.
It's so good to see you,” Joan said and she wrapped Melanie in a tight hug.
Joan, I have to tell you,” Melanie spoke in a rush, “We had to break in here to see you and I don't know how much time we'll have.”
We?” Joan asked, looking passed Melanie toward the door the guard had just exited through. She scowled and her fire burned hotter at the thought of her captors.
They're on our side,” Melanie said, “or at least, some of them are. They helped me get in here.”
Are you going to get me out of here?” Joan asked hopefully.
Melanie looked down and Joan's hopes fell with them.
I'm sorry,” Melanie said.
Then why did you come here?” It didn't make any sense to Joan why Melanie would do this if not to rescue her.
It's the best we can do, Joan. There's no where we could hide you that they wouldn't find, no way to guarantee you wouldn't accidentally burn someone else.”
But look,” Joan pleaded and she cast her hand toward Melanie, throwing a surge of flame at her.
Melanie fell back as the fire spurt struck her, blowing her hair and clothes about as though they were caught in a strong wind.
I can keep from lighting other things on fire,” Joan said.
I can see that,” Melanie said shakily, “but what about when you're asleep?”
Joan knew the answer to that question but she wasn't going to give up so easily on what could possibly be her last chance at freedom.
It'll be fine,” she said. “We'd just have to be careful, that's all.”
Time passed in agonizing slowness as Melanie thought, occasionally casting a glance to the exit of the enclosure.
Please,” Joan whispered without realizing it.
But they say you never stop burning now,” Melanie explained. “How would we hide you?”
Joan looked back to the inside of the Heat Machine. Just visible in the flickering firelight was the pipe at the back of the dome.
They won't let me stop,” Joan said.
What do you mean?” Melanie asked.
I mean they found a way to keep me always burning.”
Can you see that pipe in there?” Joan pointed to the pipe and Melanie nodded. “It's a pilot light,” she explained, “If I go out, the fire from the pipe starts to burn me and I automatically reignite to protect myself.”
But you're not near the pilot light now,” Melanie said, “why can't you stop burning now?”
Joan hung her head and didn't answer. Melanie didn't press her any further and instead she changed the subject.
Mike and I are getting married,” Melanie told Joan with a bit more levity in her voice.
That's wonderful!” Joan exclaimed.
Yeah, it is,” Melanie went on. “We were going to wait a bit longer, you know, but with how things are going right now...
Melanie trailed off and Joan understood. Everyone's future was so uncertain now, who knew what tomorrow would bring. After a few more moments' pause, Melanie pulled out her cell phone.
There's no reception in here,” Joan said.
I'm not making a phone call,” Melanie said with a sly smile and she held up her phone toward Joan. A quiet click signaled her taking a picture. “I might not be able to break you out,” Melanie said, “but I can show others how you're being mistreated and try to get you out that way.”
Melanie was still busy taking pictures when the door to the enclosure opened. Joan expected to see the guard returning but was surprised when, instead, a tall black man strolled through the open door and stopped at the edge of Joan's flame.
I'm afraid this visit is ended,” the man said in a smooth, deep voice.
Who are you?” Joan asked.
I am your friend Melanie's escort out of here,” he said with a tone of finality.
Where are the guards?” Melanie asked wearily.
I've already escorted them out of this facility,” he said, and without any further elaboration he held out his hand for Melanie to join him.
And if I just decide to burn you?” Joan asked.
No,” Melanie said and she laid a hand on Joan's shoulder. “I'll go with you,” she said to the man and walked out of Joan's fire.