New Short Film – Limbo – Starring Jon Benjamin

Hey guys, not sure if there’s any of you still out there.  Haven’t posted in a while.  But that short film based on my Jim stories is finally available online.  Here it is in all of it’s irreverent glory: (password is 1truthroad)

 

Thanks to everyone involved for a wild ride, and especially to you if you’re reading this.  If you’re one of the 8 billion people that hasn’t checked out the illustrated novel yet, it’s free for a couple of days:

Keep the indies alive!

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Jim Novel and Short Film Status

Well, if you’ve been following these crazy stories at all, you’ll have noticed that there’s been a significant drop in the rate of posts lately.  I finally got another story uploaded – if you didn’t see it on the main page it’s right here.  It’s a two or three parter, so expect some more soon.

As for the novel, the manuscript is finished and the illustrations and cover are on the way, and all that’s left is the drudgery of formatting.  The Book of Jim will be available in paperback, kindle, and nook real soon.  For real this time.  I promise.  If it’s not, I’m either dead or insane or both, and you should probably look for something else to read.

The short film Limbo is finished.  I’ve seen the final cut, and it’s hilarious.  I love every second it.  Fangso and Haines did a brilliant job on it.  Most recently it’s been accepted to a film festival in Florida, and we’re waiting to hear from Tribeca.  If you’re one of those amazing and intellectually disturbed people who put money into the kickstarter, hopefully you’ve gotten all the updates and goodies you were promised.  If otherwise, get a message to me and we’ll make sure you get sorted.  The film itself, you’ll have to wait a little while longer while it runs through the festivals.  They can’t release it while it’s “on the circuit”.  How big of a while I’m not sure.  Probably a few months yet.  And after that, it will be available for free online.  Especially on this blog.

That’s it for now.  Expect the book and some more stories soon.

 

Indie Novel and Short Film based on Reddit Story

If you’re following these Jim stories you might have noticed there haven’t been so many new ones lately.  I’ve been exhausting most of my energy getting them into form for the short illustrated novel I hope to release before the year is out.  Or at least by January.  “From reddit comment to short film and novella in less than a year” – I like the sound of that.

The initial draft of the novella is complete, awaiting notes and a final rewrite.   So far, my favorite blunder is the inclusion of Bridgette Bardot on Lay Lady Lane.  Turns out she is very much alive and well.  Sorry Bridgette.  I heard your name in a Bob Dylan song and figured you were dead.  I promise to do some research next time.

As for the short film, Limbo (here for more info), I’ve seen some preliminary cuts and they’re fucking slick.  Congrats to Fangso and Haines and the cast and crew.  And thanks again to everyone who contributed to the kickstarter.  When the final cut is available online I’ll be posting all over this blog.

Also, when I release the novella, I plan to have the kindle version available for free for a few days.  I’m doing a test run with my first novel Jarmo, and the kindle version of that book should be free on Oct. 1 and 2.  This isn’t really a plug for it, I just want to make sure I know what I’m doing with this free promotion thing.  But if you want to grab a free book, here’s the link.  The promotion should run through Oct. 1 and 2.  If you go there and it isn’t free, it’s because I’m an idiot.

 

 

 

Behind the Truth Door and some Pics from LA

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I’m sitting with my back against the truth door. It’s a wooden green door without a handle and the Mexican that sold it to us parted with it easily. The U-Haul truck shakes at sixty and we’re doing sixty-five through eight lanes of traffic. I’m in the back on black rubber with the green door and the filing cabinets and discount drawers, holding the wire cage with one hand and wiping sweat from my eyes with the other. Through the cage – and it’s the kind a cage doomed puppies beg through – the Director is giving me a refresher on the Old Testament.

“The Bible is dirty, man. Genesis is dirty, Leviticus is dirty. Have you ever actually read through that thing? Yeah, of course you have. It isn’t Sodom and Gomorrah either, it’s the whole thing. It’s in the language and the obsessions. Circumcision and sister-fucking. Slaving. Two-dimensional characters. The stereotypes are true.”

“Are you religious?” That’s Production Design. She’s driving. The Director wanted a white truth door and she wanted a green one.

“No.” I’m loud and concise through the bouncing cage.

“You seem to know a lot about it. I mean, you’d have to.”

“It’s all interesting. I just never drank the cool-aid.”

“I’d be pretty surprised if he was religious.”

“Well you never know.”

The Director picks up where he left off, somewhere in Joshua maybe, and I close my eyes and lie down.
The Writer. It has a different meaning out here. There’s a wild and desperate energy in it, almost hopeless. Everybody is trying to get made. I think, Marketability is the god of all scripts in a city with nothing left to say – and I wonder what that means and whether it’s worth writing down.

Production Design swerves and the truth door bangs my shoulder. The cabinets rattle. She’s going to paint the cabinets black for the final scene.

“Are you okay back there?”

“I’m fine.”

The Director is on his phone. There’s a problem with a dolly.

“I really like the door,” I say.

“What?”

“I like the door. The green.”

“Jim’s color is blue.”

“What?”

“Your character, his color is blue. He’s a really blue character. That’s why the door has to be green.”

“Why blue?”

She either doesn’t hear me or it’s a trade secret. I sit back down. The dolly problem is getting worse. I drink the last of my water.

***

We’re on the side of LA where it’s 5 am and the buildings are old. I’m shaking hands with DPs and PAs, the AD and the DIT, and accidentally somebody just walking through. The gate to the lot is closed and the Director has to climb it and push it open from the inside. The building looks like a loading dock.

Somebody asks me what we do for fun in Minnesota and I tell them about the airport.

Production Design pulls up in the U-Haul and parks it by the metal stairs. She’s the exhausted kind of pretty, I think, the kind that only eats not to die and only sleeps not to go insane. Maybe I should write that one down too.

“Are you excited?” she asks.

“Yeah. I mean, here we are. 1 Truth Road.”

“Is it how you imagined it?”

I look at the building that looks like a loading dock. It’s gray bricks and covered windows and smells like asphalt and farts. A black stair leading to the roof is barred by a gate and a sign that says NO HIGH HEELS.

“It’s perfect,” I say.

I help her unload the black cabinets and the table and some chairs, a lamp, scraps of wood. And finally the truth door, dirty and cracked and green, laying in the emptiness. I grab the bottom, she takes the top, and we carry it through the lot and up some stairs and into the gray building.

***

I’m shaking another hand.

“We’re glad you made it. I really love your story.”

The Producer is taller than he looks. He sounds like he just went to the mattresses and somebody big is about to die.

“Thanks.”

“You liking what you see?”

The set is a white floor and two white walls. The crew is taping windows and plugging in cords and setting up work stations. The DIT is on a dark stage above us with headphones and a laptop. The guy on the ladder hanging lights is a Gaffer.

“I don’t really know what I’m seeing.”

“It will make sense when it’s all set up and Talent gets here.” The Producer gestures at the whiteness. “I’m not sure, but I think a few shots for the Matrix were actually filmed here.”

“Cool.”

“If you need anything, get it from me or the AD. Have you met the Assistant to the Director?”

“Yeah.”

“Great. Have some coffee, man. Settle in. We’re making your movie.”

***

There’s a problem with the door. Production Design is standing with a fist on her hip. She’s looking at the ceiling in frustration and I notice that it’s the same pale green as the door.

“Need a hand?”

“The door is too heavy,” she says.

I get a little chill up my back. The truth door is too heavy.

“Maybe – could you just hold this while I screw these in?”

We need a free standing frame and all we have is wood scraps. I hold the door flush and she drills in some hinges. When I let go the contraption leans with a strange gravity. The angles aren’t Euclidean.

“We just need something to hold it up,” she says. “Something on the bottom here. The corner. A block or something.”

I see what she means. The door is suspended and it’s falling away from the hinges. We find a suitable piece of wood and I hold the door up with my foot as she screws it in. We both take a step back. The truth door is standing.

***

The last shot of the day.  They call it martini. We’re fourteen hours deep and a haggard excitement is going around. The Director, I can’t tell if he’s surfing or directing or just passing the time, and I get the feeling he could do all three simultaneously and everything would come out alright. The Gaffer and the Grippers work like dogs under the hot lights and they’re ready for the wrap. The PA’s and the 2nd AD are half dead and sweating on a couch and the beautiful girls responsible for Make-up and Costume are whispering in a corner. The DP rides the dolly and when X marks the spot Talent lopes in with his ancient threads and moldy beard.

“Action!”

What looks like one white floor and two white walls is really an infinite white space. I’m looking at it through the Script Supervisor’s iPad. The pale green door and the tired and ragged Talent are etched stark and surreal. Talent opens the door and walks through and the camera rides the dolly out, fading out, pulling away and getting small. Smaller. It’s quiet now. Momentous.

A sad knock from the other side.

“I fucked up.” The deadpan is so funny it hurts. “I fucked up real bad. How do I get back in? Is there a side entrance?”

“Cut!  That’s a wrap!”


 

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Jon Benjamin on the first day of shooting.  Just a super cool guy.  Low key and funny as hell.


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Me and Katie Wallack in the smoky loft.  She was perfect as Angel.


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Me and Dan Mintz in the writer’s pen waiting to get fed.


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On the left is Kate, and Aella on the right.  They played Cherry and Blueberry.  I think the whole cast and crew fell in love with them.  Me too.  Some of you redditors might know them from /r/gonewild.


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A panorama of some of the crew, getting drunk after the wrap.  I’m going to get some of this wrong but from left to right is: Producer, Director of Photography, Assistant to Director, Camera, DIT, Writer, Script Supervisor, Director, Random Guy in Background, PA, Camera/DP, 2nd AD.


Thanks to everyone involved.  I can’t wait to see what Limbo looks like!


Limbo, a short film based on my reddit story, successfully kickstarted

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 The Limbo kickstarter raised just over $31,000, a huge success.  Thank you to everyone who either put in five bucks or a hundred bucks or even just helped us out with a facebook share.  Because of your interest and your votes of confidence there will soon be a short film based on my Jim stories and with a crazy awesome cast and crew.

If you’re late to the party, you can find a whole bunch of info about the film on the kickstarter page:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/76132143/limbo-0

and all of the Jim stories are right here:

https://drowningdream.wordpress.com/jim/


The Crew

Director – Fangso Liu

Producer – Haines Landry

Consulting Producer – Dan Mintz

Cinematographer – Ryan Griswold

Production Design – Francesca Marciano

Editor – Michael Schatz


The Cast

Jim – Jon Benjamin

Lucy – Natasha Leggero

Angel – Katie Wallack

Man – Leonard Kelly-Young


Here’s an interview with Jon Benjamin.  I watched this and I could just hear Jim’s lines falling out of his mouth:


And Natasha Leggero is the perfect Lucy.  Here’s the sexy queen of Paradise getting shallow in her uptown hot tub:

[NSFW]


Keep an eye out for more Jim stories.  I think we’ll be meeting some of Jim’s family in the next one . . .


Limbo Kickstarter

Remember that short film Limbo, based on One Truth Road?  Well, it’s getting made.  Big time.  H. Jon Benjamin (Sterling Archer) is playing Jim.  The kickstarter is set to roll out on Monday, 6/2, but you can sneak in and check it out here:

http://www.limbofilm.com

I’ll be posting updates here and on the main page.  That’s all for now.  If you enjoy the stories, swing by and throw us a fiver and we’ll get you a movie.

***

Update #1 —  6/2 10:30 am

Kickstarter is live, and the first five dollars is in the hole.

***

Update #2 — 6/3 1:40 pm

Up to $2,500.  I’m not familiar with kickstarter, but that seems like an okay way to begin.  The reddit post had some hitches but it was overall pretty successful.  A HUGE thank you to everybody that helped out with your upvotes and social media wizardry (and a few of you even shelled out some cash!)  27 days to go . . .

***

Update #3 — 6/8 10:26 am

Stuck at $3,800.  We’re finding that it’s hard to get people excited about a short film.  Which is understandable – I don’t watch short films all that often myself.  I think some people are also under the impression that short films are profitable, and that by giving to the kickstarter they’re lining somebody’s pockets with money.  But short films have to be real successful just to break even, there just isn’t any money in them, that isn’t why they get made.  They get made, for the most part, by passionate young film makers trying to bust into the business, or who just want to make an awesome little movie.  Fangso and Haines (director and producer) are a little bit of both.  If you’re reading this and it’s still June and you think Jim is fit for the screen, give it a share.  This thing only gets made if people know about it.

***

Update #4 — 6/14  4:38 pm

$7,300.  The number is going up, but it’s looking grim.  We have 16 days to raise 20k.

***

Update #5 — 6/23 10:24 am

$21,500.  Fangso and Haines are pounding the concrete.  With seven days to go we’re 8 thousand from our goal.  Much less grim, but not home yet.

***

FINAL UPDATE — 7/1 7:40 pm

We made it!  $31,404!  Right under the wire.  The film is a go, I’ve exchanged some congratulations with the director, Fangso Liu, and it looks like it’s off to the races.  Will post something more complete soon.  Thank you to everybody who contributed or helped to spread the word.

 

Intermission [Not a Story]

It was my intention to keep this blog strictly fiction, every inch of content nothing but stories.  But the more I look into this world of blogs the more it seems like kind of a silly and unrealistic goal.  I think it’s alright if this one is mostly stories.

First, I want to thank everybody that’s been stopping by to read the Jim series.  Getting around 40 visitors every day, which is infinitely more than zero and plenty to keep me going.  Considering the saturation of the blog-sphere and the fiction markets it’s amazing that anybody is finding this place at all.  And a few of you are actually bothering to read this.  And I think that’s kinda neat.

Second, there’s a possible short film in the making that’s based on the 1 Truth Road story.  The project is in the preliminary stages, and it’s a coin flip as to whether it gets made, but when they sent me this poster I just had to share it with you guys:

Poster-4

Obviously, the working title of the film is Limbo.  I like it because it’s direct, and people can grab it and know what they’re getting into.  (Well, aside from the transgender devil and the chicken wing orgasms.)  I don’t like it because it seems very Catholic.  What do you guys think?

Last, there will definitely be an illustrated Jim novella when all is said and done.  I started blogging Jim because I wanted to throw shit at the wall and see what stuck, and I’m pretty close to having the central story and character built.  It will be months before it happens, but it will happen.

So, with some luck this dead guy from Tennessee will get himself a movie and a book in the coming months.  Which ain’t so bad.  At any rate, The Devil’s Peace Parts 2 and 3 will get posted soon.

Thanks for reading.