I write dark fiction for teens and screenplays for adults. Horror is my passion, but I’m also a bit of a history geek, so my books tend to mix the two. I’ve written two historical horror novels, a contemporary horror novel with my friend Sally Bosco, a dystopian SAT vocabulary novel, as well as three dark time travel historicals for SparkNotes. I served for two years as the Young Adult Jury Chairman for the Bram Stoker Awards. I also design book covers.
Hope you enjoy your visit. I love to hear from folks, so don’t hesitate to sign my guestbook or leave a comment or two.
The film festival premiere of “He’s Not Looking So Great” at the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival this past weekend went, well, great! Met tons of great folks, saw some super movies, and had a blast. Here I am with the producer/director Gregory G. Kurczynski when we first arrived.
And here we are, officially on the schedule!
I can’t even begin to share all the great films I saw, but here are some of the highlights.
Our first film of the festival was “Broken Wings,” an action-packed short about the origins of The Sparrow, a vigilante-style superhero. Q&A highlight was hearing how the lead actor Robert Gott injured his hand atop a skyscraper but didn’t tell anyone until after they’d finished shooting a three-hour action sequence. The next day they discovered he’d actually broken it. Now that’s dedication to your craft! Website Trailer
My favorite short of the festival was “Tasha and Friends,” a horror comedy about a disgruntled children’s show host whose puppets exact their violent and bloody revenge after being put up for sale. Tense and hilarious with a distinctive look, this short had me in stitches. I laughed so hard that afterwards, my face hurt. Producer/director of photography Darren Hutchings became one of my favorite folks to hang out with at the festival. Here we are at the Return to Nuke ‘Em High after-party.
Also check out Darren’s previous short “Post-Lifers” which you can watch in its entirety here. (I saw it at the Halloween Horror Picture Show in Tampa and it was great!) Watch the trailer for “Tasha and Friends” here.
The Friday evening slot went to Bloodmarsh Krakoon, about green glowing mutant raccoons that take on the Bronx. These insane critters are so freakin’ creepy and cute that I will be one of the first folks in line when they get a merchandising deal. Jerry Landi, Sal Amore and the rest of the Krackoon boys chewed up the scenery during the Q&A–and I mean that in the best possible way. Hope “He’s Not Looking So Great” crosses paths with these guy again on the festival circuit. Too much fun! Website Trailer
Here Jerri Landi and I are at the filmmaker’s hotel Monday morning.
The day started off with “Five Points,” a funny horror short about roadkill revenge, complete with a zombie bunny puppet. It was directed and written by Anne Coburn, one of the few female filmmakers at the festival. I didn’t get a chance to talk to her because she had to boogie back to NYC, but what a talented lady! Best music of the festival, too. (After The Dollyrots in “He’s Not Looking So Great” of course!) A cruisin’ rockabilly band called Lost State of Franklin. You can watch “Five Points” in its entirety here.
After “Five Points,” the festival had arranged for a special workshop for the filmmakers, “DVD & VOD Distribution for Independent Films,” with Paige K. Davis, Director of Business Development for Alternative Cinema/POP Cinema Studios. Practical, straight-forward advice on getting your film distributed, with lots of time for Q&A. Best advice: have as many CONCISE selling points as possible in your marketing materials (festival laurels, press clips, etc.) Paige’s talk was one of my favorite parts of the festival.
“Merinthophobia: Fear of Being Bound or Tied Up” led Saturday afternoon. It’s an intense short film that made me squirm in my seat. It’s part of an ongoing web series by Scott Perry called “In Fear Of…” where every episode is based around a phobia and shot in a different style. Neat concept. Facebook
The most “out-there” film of the festival was Motivational Growth, a black comedy about an agoraphobic man who develops an intense relationship with a mound of mold in the corner of his bathroom. (It’s much cooler than I’m making it sound.) The mold was voiced by Jeffrey Combs of Re-Animator fame, and designed by Steve Tolin, the first guy voted off on the most recent season of Face Off. Dark, whimsical and creepy, the mold would have seriously stolen the show if Adrian DiGiovanni hadn’t been so amazing in the lead as Ian. Definitely go see it when it lands in your neighborhood. Facebook Trailer
I was really looking forward to the next short “Maid of Horror” because I’d seen it at the Freak Show Horror Film Festival in Orlando and loved it–but I had missed the first three minutes. Unfortunately, the Q&A after Motivational Growth ran into the break, so lots of folks skipped out to hit the restroom before the next feature. Shame on all of them! This dark comedy by another female filmmaker, Caitlin Koller, came to the festival all the way from Australia. It was funny throughout, and I enjoyed seeing a woman’s perspective come through on the screen. Facebook Trailer
The tense thriller Animosity started at 3:30, which was about the time I realized that “He’s Not Looking So Great” was going to screen in front of a gazillion Troma fans in less than six hours. My nerves kicked in and I spent most of the film either in the restroom or taking brisk walks outside. Here I am, in one of my many nervous pacing fits.
I eventually calmed myself down enough to watch My Fair Zombie, which was the film I’d been most looking forward to seeing. Pygmalion is perfect zombie mash-up fare. The lead actress really went over the top in her performance, and amped up the comedy at every turn. Thoroughly enjoyable! Q&A with writer/director Brett Kelly and actor Peter Whittaker was great fun, too. Website Trailer
Next up was “He’s Not Looking So Great” and the world sneak preview of Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 1. Troma fans swarmed the theatre, eager to take pics with Toxie and the good zombies of Terror Technologies, me included.
The entire event was a benefit for the Niagara Arts & Cultural Center where Return to Nuke ‘Em High was filmed, so the auditorium was packed.
Greg and I watched from the back. I think we both audibly exhaled after the first laugh. To see the film on the big screen was so freakin’ cool. The movie has quite a few visual jokes, and lots of zombie fan-girl references, and to actually hear people laugh when they noticed them was fantastic.
Afterwards, festival director Gregory Lamberson called us up for our first-ever festival Q&A. Amazingly enough, I didn’t puke or hyperventilate or anything.
Applauding the director.
Greg saying something interesting.
Me cracking Greg up. (I was so nervous that I don’t even remember what I was saying here!)
As nervous as I was, I absolutely loved doing the Q&A. Both Greg Lamberson and Greg Kurczynski made it painless and fun, and I can’t wait until our next one.
After “He’s Not Looking So Great,” Lloyd Kaufman himself introduced Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 1, which I think is the best-looking Troma film to date. Loved the two lead actresses, and I laughed my butt off through it all. Website Trailer
After the film we headed to the Troma after-party, where some great folks came up to Greg and I to tell us how much they’d liked our film and ask more questions. One of the top ones was “Who was that band at the end? They rock!” (It’s The Dollyrots, people. Awesome female-fronted punk band out of Los Angeles, and not-so-coincidentally my favorite indie band.)
Lloyd Kaufman stayed at the theatre until he’d met every fan and signed every bit of merch for free. Then he and his delightful wife Pat (who is also a passionate supporter of indie film making and served for many years as the New York State film commissioner) made the rounds at the after-party. Lloyd Kaufman is a man who knows the value of his fans, and who appreciates every single one. He enthusiastically posed for pictures with every person who asked, including me and Greg.
Sunday was the visiting filmmakers’ lunch where I got to meet Melissa Mira and Geoff Klein who co-produced and co-directed the slasher Pinup Girls on Ice. Hooray for more female filmmakers! (Facebook Trailer) I also got to hang out a bit more with the crew from Bloodmarsh Krackoon (I just love that title!) who continued to keep me in stitches.
That afternoon I caught the local film showcase block, and by far my favorite was Rhythm, which starred Tim O’Hearn who was fantastic in it. (Tim also plays a Bigfoot-esque monster in The Legend of Six Fingers. Unfortunately it screened after I had to leave Buffalo, but it’ll be a definite purchase when it hits DVD. Facebook)
Before the Dreamer Awards, I ducked out to a 1940s-era ice cream parlor called Parkside Candy for some quality time with Tamar Lamberson, Kaelin Lamberson, my hubby Jeff Strand (who was pretty much the most supportive spouse a screenwriter could have throughout a weekend like this) and Gregory Kurczynski (who took the pic.)
Here’s my favorite seven-year-old posing like a pro for the camera.
Here’s what the inside of the shop looked like. (I loved the molding!)
Doesn’t Kaelin look like she would have fit in nicely at the soda fountain back in the 40s?
Late Sunday afternoon, the Dreamer Awards were short, sweet and to the point, the way an awards ceremony should be run. Made me regret getting so nervous Saturday afternoon because I realized I really shouldn’t have missed Animosity, which took home both Best Horror Feature, and Best Actress. Here’s the charming Tracy Willet accepting her award.
“He’s Not Looking So Great” was nominated for Best Comedy Short, but I wasn’t at all nervous about the awards ceremony. I adored the film that won, “Tasha and Friends,” and its filmmaker Darren Hutchings. Here he is gleefully displaying his award, his hands still shaking.
Gregory Lamberson presented Lloyd Kaufman with the festival’s Dedication to Excellence in Independent Filmmaking Award. Greg said his first experience with guerilla marketing was seeing a flyer for Lloyd Kaufman’s Waitress plastered on the Plexiglas divider of a NY taxi back in the early eighties. Lloyd responded by giving Greg a Waitress button and totally cracking him up.
My last film of the festival was also my favorite, Judas Ghost. I had no idea I would love this film as much as I did. Based on the Ghost Finder novels by Simon R. Green, the festival description was “A large room in an old hall becomes an inter-dimensional portal for four ghost hunters.”
It is so freakin’ much more than that, and yet exactly that. The characters felt fully formed from the first moment I saw them, and I cared about them immediately. The edge-of-your-seat tension was broken up with just the right amount of smart humor. It was shot beautifully, and the paranormal phenomena freaked me out. I don’t usually find ghosts scary. In this movie they are. Very. Very, very. Scary. <shudder>
The twenty-six-year-old director Simon Pearce, who I am sure is probably already tired of being known as “twenty-six-year-old director Simon Pearce” lol, flew in from the UK for the festival and his was my favorite Q&A of the festival. Charming and gracious, he responded to each question with enthusiasm and passion. Afterwards he was swarmed with fans and I didn’t get a chance to talk to him, but as luck would have it, he was eating breakfast at the hotel at the same time I was and I got to chat with him for almost an hour.
I had absolutely the best time, and I know I was terribly spoiled by my first film festival experience. The Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival really knows how to treat filmmakers. From the superstar director to the background actor in a crowd scene, they make each person feel like they belong. They encouraged people to network. They gave each filmmaker an opportunity to bond with the audience during their Q&As and talk to (hopefully) their legions of new fans afterwards. The staff at the Amherst Theatre was helpful and attentive and enjoyed having the festival there. Things were well-organized and any challenges that popped up were handled quickly and with grace and confidence. And putting on my indie film fan hat here for a moment, there were so many great films on the schedule. Usually you come away from a festival with one real “standout” film. At Buffalo Dreams, there were many.
Of course, what’s really amazing is that the festival has only been around for four years. I can’t wait to see what great things festival directors Gregory Lamberson and Chris Scioli have planned for the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival next year!
Gregory Lamberson, Gregory G. Kurczynski, Jeff Strand and me Sunday after the Dreamer Awards.
“He’s Not Looking So Great” Facebook (Come on, “like” us. You know you want to.)
Over the last four months, “He’s Not Looking So Great,” the horror comedy short I wrote, has gone from a script to an honest-to-goodness 8-minute short film produced and directed by Gregory G. Kurczynski, complete with a closing song from my all-time favorite band The Dollyrots!
I survived the chaotic joy of it all, but alas, my blog did not. I promise to do better, especially if you come out to see the film festival premiere of “He’s Not Looking So Great” at the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival on Saturday, November 9th at 9:20. We’re screening right before Lloyd Kaufman’s Return to Nuke ‘Em High. (Seriously, how cool is that?) The director and I will even be on hand afterwards to do our first joint Q&A.
Oh, and we got nominated for a Dreamer award for Best Comedy Short! So much to catch everyone up on. Soon, soon–I promise!
“He’s Not Looking So Great” is a humorous horror short film about a guy who dumps his girlfriend in the middle of the zombie apocalypse because she’s put on a couple of extra pounds and had a bit too much trouble squeezing through a window. The film is being directed by Gregory G. Kurczynski, with special effects by Sevin Creations. It’s shooting in New Orleans in July.
You can see cast and location photos, some of the cool zombie effects in progress, and even some shots from the table read before the World Horror Convention in New Orleans. Click here to take a look!
So many great things happened at the 2013 Bram Stoker Awards Weekend Incorporating the World Horror Convention in New Orleans that I will never have enough time time, nor brain cells, to share everything, so here are some of the highlights:
Uneventful flight, but we made our first WHC connection in the airport taxi queue where we found Kelly Laymon. POOF! Instant ride-share. It boded well for the rest of the con.
For lunch, Jeff, Sally Bosco and I dashed out for my favorite New Orleans food, a muffuletta from Central Grocery.
Here we are reenacting our ten-hour vigil for $20 day-of-show tickets next to the world’s stinkiest garbage cans. (We were 7th and 8th in line, back in 2008.)
That afternoon, we had a table read for the horror short film I wrote called “He’s Not Looking So Great” that is shooting in New Orleans in July. It went crazily well, thanks to the talents of actors Kat Lindsay, Mallory Logan, Max Jay-Dixon, Matt Story, and of course, the amazing director Gregory G. Kurczynski. Afterwards, we all went to dinner at Stanley. I had the most decadent bananas foster french toast topped with homemade ice cream. Yum! I’m going to do an entire post about the table read with tons more pics soon, but for now, here’s a pic from the table read.
And here we are in Jackson Square after dinner, sans Max, who was performing at a Shakespeare festival that evening.
(And of course all of this wouldn’t have even been possible without the help of the fantastic Greg Herren who hooked us up with the lush digs at the Hotel Monteleone before the con even started!)
Later that evening, Jeff and I imbibed at the horror barbershop themed bar Spirits on Bourbon with Cara and Charles Colyott, Sephera Giron, and a host of other con-goers as we listened to dueling piano dudes.
Slept late, enjoyed a po-boy at Cafe Maspero on Decatur with Laura J. Hickman, Derek Clendening, Rhonda Wilson, Wandaful Wendy, Cara and Charles Colyott, Jeff, and others. (Yes, I’m lame when it comes to remembering names.) Food was “eh” but the company rocked.
Spent most of the day talking to folks in the lobby as they rolled in from across the globe. I love my friends!
My first panel of the con was “Co-Authoring: The Dos and Don’ts” which was expertly moderated by Mark C. Scioneaux. He wasn’t just good for a first-time moderator; he was just freakin’ good. I wore my author hat for this one, so panelists included my co-author for Death Divided Sally Bosco, my hubby Jeff Strand, my prez Rocky Wood, my friend Dana Fredsti, and my fellow Floridian Stan Swanson. I loved hearing how other folks collaborated.
Directly afterward was “The Only Constant Is Change” which was moderated by J. L. Benet, who also graced me with a copy of Wolf Hunter. My fellow panelists included Liz Gorinsky of Tor Books, Querus Abuttu, John Prescott, and Chris Morey of Dark Regions Press. I wore my graphic designer hat for this one. Many differences of opinion on how the industry was evolving, particularly when you consider we had an editor from a major traditional house, an owner of a small press, authors who had self-published, and me. (I specialize in helping traditionally published authors resurrect their backlists as ebooks.)
My favorite moment from either panel occurred during the co-authoring panel. An audience member asked if Jeff and I ever wrote anything together. Simultaneously we responded “Hell’s no!” (me) and “No, we’d like to stay married.” (Jeff) lol
Dinner was at Remoulade, which was supposed to be the casual side of Arnaud’s, but was our second meal of the day that was saved by great company: Aaron Bennett (J.L. Benet) and his fiancee Becky Jimerson, our new Florida friend Usman Malik, James Chambers, and Cara and Charles Colyott (of course!)
The best educational programming of the entire event was the two-hour “Marketing Yourself As A Writer” workshop conducted by Matt Schwartz, VP for digital marketing strategy and product development at Random House Publishing Group. The man is freakin’ brilliant when it comes to this stuff. I took 12 pages of notes. Enough said.
Friday afternoon Jeff read “Gave up the Ghost” from an upcoming anthology, and “Press the Button” from his collection Dead Clown Barbecue.
Friday night was the mass signing, where I was tickled to meet Peter Adam Salomon, author of the YA horror novel Henry Franks, a kind of modern Frankenstein story. Not only is he a sweet and talented man, but I found out he is moving to my neck of the woods shortly. Too cool. (His was the only book I carted with me to NOLA to get autographed.)
After the signing, Alan Clark caught a fan reading his novel A Parliament of Crows. He asked her how far she was along and offered to take over reading duties for a while. When she agreed, he plopped down next to her, and began reading aloud where she left off!
At the after party sponsored by Let the Dead Sleep by Heather Graham, I got to twist ‘n shout with my buddy and former Necon roomie Nanci Kalanta, and then it was off to Yo Mamma’s for dinner. Heard this amazing street band on the way. The crowd watching them was so big that it stopped street traffic.
Sally Bosco and I split a veggie burger (the only night I was good on Weight Watchers) but Jeff, J.G. Faherty, and Brad Carpenter indulged in peanut butter bacon hamburgers beneath a sickly red light that made Greg’s Frankenstein tie glow. (No photoshop or weird camera effects in this pic, either. This was really how it looked in there!)
And yet Friday still wasn’t over! Jeff turned in early so he could be well-rested for his Saturday Stoker Awards hosting gig, and somehow I found myself at The Dungeon with Tod Clark, Kelly Laymon, Michael Huyck, Adam Cesare, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Shane McKenzie and his brother David, Brad Hodson, Rio Youers, Stephanie, and a host of other con-goers. Weird mix of music–AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, even ZZ Top! I was in heaven, though, when they played Concrete Blonde’s “Bloodletting,” followed shortly thereafter by Rob Zombie’s “Dragula.” Gave me a flashback to Saturday nights in the nineties spent at the industrial/goth club Empire in Ybor City in Tampa. Great night!
Lunch was at The Green Goddess in the courtyard around the corner from the hotel–enjoyed with Adam Cesare, Ed Kurtz, and Jeff. Amazing pressed crawfish melt sandwich, and everything was super fresh. Tons of vegan and vegetarian options, too. This was one of my favorite meals of the con, and this place will definitely be on the “repeat” list the next time we’re in NOLA.
That afternoon I was tickled to attend the Amber Benson kaffeeklatsch, because although we’d corresponded when I created a book cover for her collaboration with Christopher Golden, The Seven Whistlers, I’d never met Amber in person. She asked each person about their current project and tailored the conversation to their interests, which I thought was pretty cool. Friends who attended with me include Angel Leigh McCoy, Eunice Magill, Laura J. Hickman, Tracy DeVore, and her filmmaker daughter Piper Jonez. We talked anthologies, novels, short fiction, movies, editing, and maybe most importantly, the value of the DIY ethic. Just get out there and create art!
At four, I was on the “Young Adult: The Biggest Market in Horror” panel hosted by JG Faherty. Panelists were Jonathan Maberry, Dave Simms, Charles Day, Peter Adam Salomon, and Leah Hultenschmidt, YA editorial manager at Sourcebooks. I never need an excuse to talk about YA, but I could have spent the rest of the day talking with these folks about the genre I love so much.
After the YA panel, it was time to scurry off to get ready for the Stoker banquet. Sally and I clean up nice, don’t we? (Technically, this pic was taken after the Stokers, but we were wearing the same dresses before.)
Gregory G. Kurczynski, the director of my short film “He’s Not Looking So Great” also joined us for the banquet. (Snazzy tie, Greg!)
I also got to sit with Jeff’s family and my friends Norman Prentiss and Jim. If Jeff hadn’t kept me in stitches during the Stokers, Norm, Jim, and Greg certainly would have!
Not to worry, though, because Jeff performed awesomely, as he always does. (Yes, I understand that I’m partial because he’s my husband, but he’s great!)
Patrick Frievald and I got to present the Stoker for Best YA Novel to Jonathan Maberry. (Congrats, Jonathan!)
Jeff was a finalist for Best YA Novel, but he didn’t win. Did I mention what a great emcee he is?
I mean, look at how amused Leah Hultenschmidt, Jeff’s editor at Sourcebooks, is by him.
(Okay, so I told them to pretend they were amused while I took a “candid.” This is what they really look like together.)
At the after party sponsored by Samhain Publishing, I was tickled to finally get to chat a little bit with Ed Erdelac and his lovely wife Sandra and congratulate them on having an amazingly talented daughter. (Magnolia wrote her first horror story last year when she was seven, and it got published this year in Mistresses of the Macabre when she was eight!)
The last day at any convention is always the saddest. We spent most of it saying goodbye to old friends and new. Went to the Horror Writers Association meeting Sunday morning after packing, and held out to the (near) end for the closing ceremonies. We enjoyed our last meal in the French Quarter at Deanie’s. I devoured tons of fried shrimp, oysters, and catfish. Best meal of the con.
Throughout the five days, I may have eaten my weight in pralines, too, but I walked lots and had just the best time ever. At my first post-NOLA Weight Watchers meeting, I discovered I’d actually lost .6 of a pound while I was gone.
Now that’s what I call a successful convention!
Finally, one last shout-out to some folks that either didn’t make it into this recap, or I simply wish I’d gotten to spend more time with, knowing that I’m missing a TON of people: Michael Knost, Rocky Wood, Lisa Morton, Rena Mason, Bracken MacLeod, Matt Czarnowski (Go, Morton!), Hal Bodner and Gene, Rhodi Hawk, Hank Schwaeble, John Urbancik (you’re melting away, dude!), John Little, John Everson, David Fitzgerald, Bev Vincent, Gina Greenway, Lori Michelle (I miss the turquoise hair!), Vince Liaguno and Brian, R.J. Cavender, Yvonne Navarro, Weston Ochse (he was here in spirit, dammit!), Lucien Soulban (WTF! I didn’t see you at all!), Heather Graham, Bruce Boston, Marge Simon, Bailey Hunter (you looked like River Song when Jeff regenerated!), Linda Addison, Guy Anthony De Marco, Kelli B. Jones (why didn’t we just sit around and talk graphic design?), Lincoln Crisler, Loren Rhoads, L.L. Soares (congrats on your Stoker, guy!), Laura Cooney, Alexandra Sokoloff, John Cozzoli, Alan Spencer/Spencer Alan and his wife, Chris Marrs (you channeled Gene O’Neil when you accepted for him), Debbie Kuhn, and lastly, Alice Henderson, who wasn’t there but who really should have been.
THURSDAY 8PM – CO-AUTHORING—THE DOS AND THE DON’TS
What does it take to bring two minds together and create something really worth reading? Find out as this panel explores the true art of creating an idea from start to finish, utilizing not one mind, but two. Topics discussed will cover how to choose the right partner, how to flesh out an idea, how to effectively divide tasks to write a book, how to communicate properly during the process, and what common pitfalls to avoid. We will also discuss the future of collaborative writing, and just how it might be the hottest way to pen a bestseller.
Moderator: Mark C. Scioneaux. Panelists: Sally Bosco, Rocky Wood, Lynne Hansen, Dana Fredsti, Jeff Strand, Stan Swanson
THURSDAY 9PM – THE ONLY CONSTANT IS CHANGE
In a world where self-publishing is an ever more attractive option for some writers and e-books are growing in popularity by the week, what’s an author to do? How do you find readers when bookstores are disappearing? Is social media the answer or a dead-end?
Moderator: J. L. Benet. Panelist: Querus Abuttu, John Prescott, Lynne Hansen, Chris Morey, Liz Gorinsky
FRIDAY 7-9pm – MASS SIGNING
All authors attending the Convention will be available to sign their books. The PUBLIC is also cordially invited to attend, free of charge so, if you have friends in the local area, invite them! (I’ll be signing from 7 to 8.)
SATURDAY 4pm – YOUNG ADULT – THE BIGGEST MARKET IN HORROR
Young adult horror has never been more popular and it shows no signs of slowing down. Join us in discussing the ins and outs of writing for the horror genre’s most rabid fan base.
Moderator: JG Faherty. Panelists: Jonathan Maberry, David Simms, Lynne Hansen, Charles Day, Peter Adam Salomon
SATURDAY 9:00 PM – THE BRAM STOKER AWARDS
Patrick Frievald and I will be presenting the Stoker for Best Young Adult Novel.
Full details on the World Horror Convention can be found at http://www.stokers2013.org/.
I’ve never been afraid of trying something new. Scratch that. I’m OFTEN afraid of trying something new, but I do it anyway. Sometimes I stumble. Sometimes I soar. I simultaneously love and hate that uneasy feeling I get when I’m reaching outside my comfort zone.
Last spring, I spent a lot of time feeling that way. I woke up with an idea for a humorous horror story–a zom-com. And as I lay in bed, reluctant to unsnuggle from the covers, I realized that this idea wasn’t going to be a short story or a novel; it was going to be a movie.
The whole story unfolded in my brain shot by shot, all the way to the end credit sequence. I got up, and still in my pajamas, I wrote the entire script in two hours. It’s called “He’s Not Looking So Great” and it’s about a guy who breaks up with his girlfriend in the middle of the Zombie Apocalypse because she’s put on a couple of pounds and had a little too much trouble squeezing through a window during their most recent escape from the shambling hoards.
I don’t write comedy (that’s my husband Jeff Strand’s job) and I’d never written a script. This was both. I posted on Facebook about my little writing detour, and a director friend of mine, the fantastic Gregory K. Kurczynski, asked me to send it to him. I told him I would–after I revised it. (I actually had to look up proper script formatting, and of course fix everything that seemed brilliant at six in the morning.)
Life ensnared me, and I finally finished those revisions in January and sent them to Greg. To my shock, he said he’d been searching for his next short film project, and he wanted to do my script!
“He’s Not Looking So Great” is scheduled to shoot in July, but the FX have been in process since March, courtesy of the amazing RJ Sevin. How cool is this zombie?
Greg has been fantastic. He’s worked with me on script revisions, shared casting pics and videos, and even sent me photos of the locations he’s chosen. Here are a couple of shots from the location scouting expedition:
And now, as the World Horror Convention looms near, Greg has done something even more wonderful. He has scheduled a table read of the script while I’m in New Orleans for the convention. He’s bringing the four main actors together Wednesday afternoon and I’m going to get to hear words that I wrote come out of complete strangers’ mouths. I’m beyond excited.
Score one for stretching outside your comfort zone!