Making Movies, For the Hell of It

horror

I don’t remember how long I have been interested in filmmaking. I’ve always loved movies, of every kind. You can combine every other artform together into it, if you are creative. I never had ambitions to be an actor, though. I fell into that by accident.

As a young child living in Detroit, I fantasized about becoming a stuntman. This could be because of the then-popularity of daredevil Evel Knievel, action films like Hooper (1978), and TV shows like The Fall Guy My favorite stuntman was the legendary Dar Robinson. His untimely death after shooting Lethal Weapon (1987) permanently put an end to that idea, for me. Though, I had become far more interested in playing music by then.

The size of a film’s budget or the skill of the actors involved were never really a big deal to me, if the script was still good. A bad actor in a great movie will still get by. But, a great actor in a bad movie is totally screwed (That philosophy can be applied to so many other things). Nonetheless, I still watch a lot of cheesy bad movies, seeking out their redeeming qualities.

I don’t remember how I got into underground independent films. It may have been through watching funky old horror, science fiction, and grindhouse movies on local UHF stations as a kid (before cable TV came along). The VHS revolution in the 1980’s also opened up a whole new universe of adventurous filmmakers, no longer restricted by studio gatekeepers. My mom would bring home all sorts of insane stuff she found at mom & pop video stores. Her taste in low-budget weird movies probably rubbed off on me a lot. I grew an increasing appreciation for DIY directors / producers making their visions a reality against all odds.

The Island of Misfit Noise has evolved from a 1990’s rock band into a 21st Century multimedia project, based around making videos and movies instead of performing live. I guess, in that way,  it shares some similarities to The Banana SplitsThe Archies, or Green Jellö. Not having a permanent band makes it an ideal vehicle to try new things out and bring in different collaborators. There is also less pressure figuring out how to do everything onstage, in front of an audience.

I have no idea how to do film distribution or anything technical. It is all learn-as-I-go. I have no budget or crew. I use whatever stuff I can get for free. Does it look like cheap crap? Probably. Will anybody ever see it? Maybe. Maybe not. But, it will get done and be out there for those who are curious. It may take awhile to finish without access to those things, though.

My short video “I Dream of SpaceCat” was a good learning experience, not just in producing content. But, also in presentation to an audience. I hope to do more.

Okie-Dokie Lokie

everything will be ok

Hi folks,

I thought I would give you some GOOD news, for a change.

My van has been returned and drives better than it did before. My aunt loaned me enough money for the tire. I think they tightened something up to stop the wheel from wobbling. It helps. But, I got an estimate for repairs to the damaged tie rod and related issues that still need fixing. I do not think I can do this by myself. It looks like more than I can handle. The van still has trouble starting up. Someone said that the teeth on the starter may be worn out. I have a new one to replace it with. I couldn’t get the old one off. It is too tight and I’m not strong enough. But, it doesn’t have as much of a transmission problem as it did before. That could just be because they added enough fluid to it, finally.

My bank account balance is not in the red for the first time in months! I think I’m finally catching up, at least a little bit.

I’ve gotten a bunch of new pen pal letters, lately. I’m looking forward to replying to all of this mail. I’ve also been mentioned by some very prominent YouTubers, lately (Wow!). Maybe I’ll get more traffic on my site.

I have found and fixed my webcam problem. It was a system glitch. Not sure yet if I will include a vlog with today’s blog. Maybe I will post one after I finish this new painting I’m working on.

Today’s song from my collection is a Nirvana cover by Flipper. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Bad Car Mojo

bad car mojo

Vehicle repair has been the bane of my existence, for decades. I can usually only afford cheap transportation. So, I get nickel-and-dimed to death keeping them running. On the rare occasions that I have had decent quality cars, they always got totalled within a year. My current ride, a 1994 Chevy Astro Van, has been with me for four years. That is a pretty long time compared to most of the others I have owned, which were replaced very frequently. I’ve made a few modifications, like taking out the rear seats and discarding some panels. But, that is an ongoing process. I had hoped to prepare it for full-time living, for extended periods of time, should I suddenly become homeless. I’m paranoid like that.

I bought it in 2014, from an aunt’s neighbor, for $700. It had been dormantly parked in her driveway, untouched, for several years. I knew it would cost me a lot more, over time. When I bought it, it already had a bent frame, oil leaks, radiator problems, and a thousand other things wrong with it. Most of those I STILL haven’t fixed. Then, there are more pieces falling apart all of the time.

A few days ago I had a flat tire, again. The same wheel keeps going flat. I have replaced that tire at least five times, by now. The rim was inspected and I was told that it was okay. So, I just kept replacing tires when the old ones gave out. This tire kept getting low every couple of days and I would air it up at a nearby Belle Tire before it went completely flat. But, this last time, I tried to inflate the tire and it was totally shredded! I had no way to get the van home without bending the holy fuck out of the wheel. So, I went inside and told them my problem. I also told them about the wheel wobbling all of the time, possibly due to a bad tie rod or ball joint. So, maybe they will look at that, too. It could cost a few hundred dollars. But, either way, I have no money… AT ALL, to pay for it. I applied for credit there, hoping to make payment arrangements. Haven’t heard back from them, yet, about the van or the credit. I’m not very optimistic.

I asked if they would check my transmission. But, they don’t do transmissions. I’m still hoping that it is something minor I can fix by myself.

Things like this keep me perpetually in a bad mood. As negative as I always am, I don’t need much to already be in one and this doesn’t help. I’m trying to take my mind off of it with music & art. I opened a Ko-Fi account online, specifically for such repairs, if anybody wants to chip in a few bucks. There are no obligations. It isn’t a monthly pledge service, like Patreon. I’m only using it for specific goals – in this case, fixing the van.

Guess I will get back to work and leave you alone. Later.

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Third Day Blackout

eyes-in-the-dark1

Our electricity went out three days ago. Still waiting for it to come back on. We are running on generator, with only half-power. Nothing really works, though, except the computer and dim lights. Microwave won’t work. Coffee maker won’t work. The refrigerator is barely functioning. I hope nothing gets spoiled. Even the pilot lights on the stove aren’t working. I had to use a bic lighter. It has been pretty much ramen and sandwiches with lukewarm water everyday.

The internet went out, as well. But, I got it back on a few minutes ago.

Mostly, I’ve played with my cat and watched a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic marathon. I really like the guest stars they’ve had on so far, like ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic and John de Lancie (Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation).

I did a little reading.

Sent out a few letters to friends.

Did some editing on my zine.

Worked on song ideas.

Usual stuff.

 

 

Choose Your Destiny (or It Will Be Chosen For You)

pickle rick ratfight bigger
Pickle Rick is BADASSSSSS!

Making mistakes are inevitable. You learn what you can from them and try not to make the same ones twice. But, as I’ve been told, I “never know when to quit.” I guess there are upsides and downsides to that. I’m persistent.

I’ve always hated the business side of art & music. There are some aspects that I don’t mind doing myself. But, most of it I’ve always left for someone else to handle (booking shows, collecting the door, etc.). I’m just really bad at it. But, as a club owner once told comedian / performance artist Andy Kaufman, “This is show-business. Show… Business! Show…Business! Without the business, there’s no show.” It took a very long time to beat that into my head. But, I still relied too much on others to get things done.

I’ve always known how important it is to have backup gear; strings, cords, cables, picks, etc. But, I never considered having a backup for other contingencies. A friend would set up a show for me and I’d prepare to get by at that one show. If something went wrong, though, I’d be fucked. I’ve been stood up by bandmates at booked gigs. I’ve had important pieces of equipment fail. If something CAN go wrong, it usually does.

I was, recently, reading a blog explaining the pros and cons of touring alone vs touring with a band. It got me thinking about how I can better prepare myself. I should ALWAYS have a backup plan ready for when shit goes wrong, “Always have a plan A, B, C, and D.” If an offer comes along and I don’t have a backup plan for it, then I probably shouldn’t accept it. I’m not ready. The best way to avoid this from happening is to DIY all of the work, as much as possible. If I’m bad at it, then I’ll learn how to get better. I’ve always been bad with cars, but eventually I had to learn shit or it didn’t get done…period.

If I’m setting up a show by myself, I can control the variables and take precautions. If bandmates flake out or cannot show up, I can still do it alone. If a piece of equipment fails, I can do something else instead. Whatever happens, I got this.

Part of this mindset is influenced by my “prepping hobby” or whatever you want to call it. I liked the TV show “Doomsday Preppers”, while it lasted. Sure, there were lots of nutcases on there with too much money to waste and not enough common sense. But, the general principle is a sound one, “Be prepared…for anything.” It got our grandparents through the Great Depression. The pioneers survived travelling across the wilderness because they prepared for it. Shit’s gonna happen, inevitably. What are you gonna do? Cry about it? No. If something needs to be done, get it done. No one else will do it. Think ahead, then you won’t have to worry as much.

I have repairs & replacements that need to be taken care of. But, I would like to set up a few mini-tours down the Midwest or The East Coast. Whether that is with a group or alone (or both) I’d like to somehow make that happen. If I can secure a decent-priced rental van and insurance with Roadside Assistance it would make a world of difference. Would it be a deal-breaker if I can’t? I’m not sure.

Another thing that has taken me a very long time to learn is, “If you can’t do it the way that you want to do it, find another way to do it. Then, do it anyway.” Being stubbornly perfectionist can really hold you back. I’ve had to learn that the hard way. I’ve had some great ideas which would have been fantastic to see materialize, “only if…” It’s always some details that prevented it from happening, when I could have done it in some other fashion and at least gotten SOMETHING done – instead of nothing.

This kinda goes back to my point of being more self-reliant. I’ve often needed someone around to break me out of my depression,  get me motivated, and to bounce ideas off of. If I had simply recorded & performed everything myself, all along, I could have accomplished so much more! I thought that I NEEDED other people to do things. But, I really only WANTED them. That is a big difference. It is a huge mistake to wait for anyone for anything, if you can avoid it. “Don’t wait around for help, because it isn’t coming.” Otherwise, you’ll be sitting there, forever, Waiting For Godot.

One of my favorite cartoons is “Rick & Morty.” I think that the best episode, so far, has been “Pickle Rick.” In this episode, the title character (transformed into a limbless pickle) is physically helpless, trapped down a sewer drain, but manages to save his own life through sheer ingenuity and persistence. Just like one of my other favorite TV characters, MacGyver. He could have simply despaired there at the bottom of the sewer, hopelessly crying to himself, until the rats and roaches ate his lifeless corpse. But, instead, he used his environment to escape and survive. I’m a little envious that I don’t have more positive moments like that myself. It is something to strive for, though.

pickle rick toilet
PICKLE RICK!!!

Happy Thanksgiving

I’ve been kinda busy lately, helping my aunt and ex-gf move. I was also not feeling well for a week or so. Then, my van broke down. I’m behind on my projects, including providing this month’s MP3 for Patrons. I’m doing my best to catch up.

I received a small batch of comics, recently, that I contributed to. It’s called Five O’Clock Shadow. This is issue #25. I’m including them with orders and donations on my Bandcamp page, while they last.

I am recording a bunch of exclusive music for my supporters on Patreon, as well as contributions to The Residents, David Liebe Hart (“Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”), and some new collaborators who want to put a band or something together with me. Lots of stuff going on!

Issues of “Theee Urban SpaceCat” Cassette-Zine have been held back for an absurd amount of time, mostly for financial reasons. I’m always broke. Just to get them out there in some form, any form, I will be releasing the first couple of issues digitally (PDF & MP3). They may get printed physically at a later time. But, look on the bright side. At least you can download them instantly instead of waiting by your mailbox.

Another project that I’m working on is a series of paintings, each including a compact disc of unique material. I will show them for you on future videos. Plus, there is all of the other art that I’m making every day. So, perhaps good things are happening.

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My Routine, Paintings, Records, and Halloween

 

I’d love to get any feedback from you.

When I get stuff in the mail, it also gives me fodder for making zines and things.