I’m back! And do I have some movie and music surprises for you today. Including someone who used to work in the movie industry.
Plus, I am visiting Thoughts in Progress and talking about how the IWSG anthology all began. Be sure to stop by!
Behind the Scenes of a Movie
“Do not go into the movie industry,” cautioned my mom. Family lore had it; my aunt Helen worked in the studios and suffered a mental breakdown caused by harassment. Decades before the #MeToo movement
My grandfather, Granville Redmond had a different experience. He was deaf and taught Charlie Chaplin many pantomime routines. Chaplin used Granville in his silent films and they developed a life-long friendship.
(right) Chaplin Talking on His Hand to Redmond (left) 1918
I took Mom’s advice, well sort of, I interned at an independent television station. In 1990 I founded Tammarine Production Company. While enrolled in advanced editing and recording courses at State University, I met Gerry Williams, a cinema photographer.
Gerry landed movie gigs in Los Angeles, California, and Tijuana, Mexico. He hired me to be the location sound mixer. I earned IMDb movie credits–"L. Sharon Tammarine."
Sound Mixer on Location
Between takes, I’d chat with cast and crew. Starlets whispered they’d agreed to appear nude because if they didn’t, their resumes were shredded. I can only imagine what my aunt endured. The casting couch started long before serial predator Harvey Weinstein.
In Mexico, Gerry and I worked with an all Spanish speaking crew. My boom operator and I communicated through sign language and gestures. No English required. I wanted to empower my assistant with a marketable skill, so I taught him my trade.
One night, around eleven, we were on the Mexican side of the border waiting to clear customs before returning to San Diego, California. I glanced through the passenger window. Between traffic lanes, a street urchin of about eight years old sat, with a battered tip bowl, his fatigued body slumped over his guitar. Limp fingers slid aimlessly over tight strings; all the while this vulnerable child inhaled exhaust fumes. I sat in the truck, powerless to make a difference. His image burns in my memory.
With hopes of being a writer, I signed up with temp agencies. I worked steadily, but not as a wordsmith. Without a college degree, or formal training, the door was nailed shut.
When my husband and I retired, we bought a sailboat, sold our house, and sailed to Mexico, where we live today on our vessel, La Vita. My brand-new world is filled with real-life adventures. Today, I thrive as an unstoppable writer.
Lynn S. Bradshaw
Traveler, Photographer, Writer, La Patrona de La Cruz Writing Group
A Quiet Place
It lives up to its billing – it’s very quiet. (And pray you see it with a quiet audience. Good luck with that.)
It was as much a family drama dealing with a catastrophic event as it was a horror/science fiction film. The success of the film relies on how much you grow to care about this family.
In the beginning, the pace was slow and deliberate but not boring. When it picks up a little over halfway, it doesn’t let up. Plus there are some squirm inducing scenes. Nothing gross, but many will cover their eyes. (Nail. That’s all I’m going to say.)
The cast is great, especially the parents, played by Emily Blunt and John Krasinski. Many of you know Krasinski from The Office and he was also the director of this film. (And note that the young lady who plays their deaf daughter really is deaf.)
The creature effects are also great. Creepy and effective.
If you want all the answers, this is not the movie for you. How the creatures came to earth, why they are so hard to kill, etc. – it’s never explained. But that’s not the purpose of the film anyway.
This is a small film about a family struggling to survive in a world turned upside down. And on that level, it works exceptionally well. You will be thinking about it for days afterwards.
The RiftA team of agents are dispatched to Serbia to retrieve a fallen satellite, but that’s not what they find.
The storyline is original and has potential. A mix of time travel, wormholes, and the event horizon and what horrors it might entail. Starts off as a spy thriller before drifting into the unknown.
The cast is decent and does their best.
Here’s where it all breaks down though.
The music is horrible. Think of a cheesy B flick from the 80’s and then turn the volume to eleven. The music ruined all chances of this movie at least being decent.
And while some characters were noted in the beginning to be unstable, they degenerated into a little bit too unstable.
In the hands of a better director – and for God’s sake, a better music director – this might have been a really cool and interesting small film.
Interesting but I can’t recommend it.
Wolf Warrior II
This film came out last year and made almost a billion dollars. So I was curious.
It reminded me a lot of Chuck Norris and Arnold Schwarzenegger films from the 80’s. The lone mercenary who fights against impossible odds to save people.
For a Chinese produced action flick, it’s good. They go all out, although sometimes the weak budget shows. Plus it’s got a bit of Chinese propaganda to it.
Frank Grillo plays the bad guy. Like he does.
It’s also a bit on the long side. Good thing the hero can’t be killed.
However, if you dig the 80’s style action films, you will enjoy this Chinese version of the genre.
Recommended to those who dig the genre.
Music/DVD Review – Ayreon Universe
First, let me say the production values are incredible. If not for the crowd cheering at the end and beginning of each song, you might not know it was live. The quality is that good – the musicians, the singers, and the production team. Both the DVD and the live CDs will amaze you.
Next, to give you an idea of what went into producing the show and the results – Arjen began planning the event two years ago. He needed to pick the songs and notify singers and musicians well in advance. Six months out, the musicians began practicing together. Then the backup singers were added. (All of whom are front singers of course.) Some singers weren’t sure they’d make it, so there were tryouts two weeks before the show, just in case. Arjen is so humble and gracious, he even thanked those who didn’t make the cut.
He also features and talks about every performer in the DVD booklet. Including himself – “Yeah, what can I say about this hippie? Besides the fact the he’s extremely tall and could use a visit to the hairdresser. Go and eat some more peanut butter, dude, any thinner and you wouldn’t exist anymore!”
The music is incredible. Some songs sound exactly like the original recording, which is impressive. Where other singers filled in (most are European, as I doubt someone like James Labrie would be able to fly over for three weeks) they did a great job. Everyone got into character and gave it their all.
The music selection is unique. I imagine Arjen had a list of songs he wanted to do and that was whittled down to conform to whom could perform the vocals. There is something from every album, including from his Star One projects, and they perform at least one big hit from each. The Eye of Ra from Star One seemed like an odd choice, but it was fitting as the last song, as every singer came out to perform. Which was really amazing – to see that level of talent on one stage just blows the mind. Singers and musicians. Including Jeroen Goossens who plays everything from the flute to the didgeridoo. (Which only Ayreon could pull off in style.)
This was a once in a lifetime event. If you are a fan of Ayreon or just a fan of prog - so much talent from so many bands in one place – you have to pick up the CD and DVD.
Ronel the Mythmaker asked me to contribute to her A to Z Challenge posts. I was honored to be her J post - Joining Writing Groups.
The Ashes of Home by Ian S. Bott
Visit the full list of retailers HERE
WEP – (Write...Edit...Publish) team, that quirky online writing community, led by those much-loved bloggers, Denise Covey, Yolanda Renée, Nilanjana Bose and Olga Godim, is open for submissions for their April challenge – Road Less Traveled.
The challenge is open to all writers. We welcome flash fiction, poetry, non-fiction, essays, art or photography. Word limit is around 1,000 words.
Your choice on how you approach the challenge: a career choice? A journey to an out-of-the-way places? A fork in the road? For more brain joggers, visit the WEP site.
The Top Three entries receive prizes!
Let your imagination run riot! We'd love you to join us!
Think you’d want to be a sound mixer? Did you see A Quiet Place? (If not, tip-toe to your nearest theater now!) Seen The Rift or Wolf Warrior? Have you picked up Ayreon Universe? (You have to see it!) Posting for WEP? Or are you just wondering what happened to April…?
See you May 2 for the posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group
Don’t forget - Tick Tock: A Stitch in Crime, the next IWSG anthology, comes out May 1!