Thursday, December 17, 2009

I still motivated, here the rest of the story: Final Chapter 4

After lots struggling, In July 2009 I reach again the financially rock bottom for who knows how many times I did, I broke my promise to myself and comeback to the only job was open for me. Those friends at the nightclub they welcome me again with open arms, they become almost like my family. I was concern after long time about my reaction with the patron’s behavior; I start having my dark flash back.

Funny, my good friend Giorgos the head of security told me “Zak, not worry we have different clientele now, they are not the same people you use to deal with” well I toke a deep breath, I don’t know why, but I want to believed him. The first few nights I worked without my usual gears; the bulletproof vest, my two daggers and an old suit jacket, I got it to several fights again and one time I need it to deal with about twelve people at the same time, lucky me, I don’t know how did survive that night, but I did.
The next week I came back with all my gear and sad “seams like the old me is back” but this time I did try hard to keep my old anger in control. Every night I kept telling myself to forgive and forget anyone I was going to encounter at the club to not ruin my spirit, and stay focus on thinking how to sale my film.

Now I have a completed film in my hands and I’m one step closer to make something happen for my career, but for some other reason something was going to pull me back in to an old habit. I start accepting my situation and manage way better all my personal issues, I was going to work in good spirit on a place I was usually call it “hell” which by the way I don’t believe in hell, but that’s I thought how bad was for me working there. I never thought to use in my life the word “hate” as I realize I was using it on the adult human kind, when ironically I’m human as well, I thought I need to get my mind together. One thing I know very well, always from my young age I was the robin hood of the 19th century, I saved, rescued who ever needed the help. I have an enormous love and respect for animals, till at point to crying for them then the anger might kicks in if someone did something wrong to them. Many times, I can’t even kill an ant in my house actually, I try diverting their path and making them goes away.

I realize I was pushing way to hard to make my dream come true, develop an excessive attachment when sometime we really need to step back a little, seat down and watch the scene behind the camera to see what we supposed to do next, means stop and take a deep breath and things will happen. I was thinking to do something like that and go far away from my dream, find a desolate place to regenerate and come back the way I use to be; creative, energetic, positive full of dream than comeback and using my experiences to regain and leave my life peaceful with my self. I kept working at the club, I need it the money and trying to do some meditation and some other little work on the site and eventually quit again, but I didn’t find that strength to make that decision.

On October 18 in a very stupid way not even for a fight, I rupture my Achilles’ tendon, having a surgery and not able to go back to work. My very first thought was “great now what? I don’t have insurance and I’m broke, how can I fix and recover from this?” After the shock from the pain about a minute later I had a weird breakthrough, I toke a deep breath, as I excel I felt I release all my heavy baggage’s I was carry on my shoulder for so many years, I felt free again the same feeling of freedom when I was a child. I told to my friend was take me home because I wasn’t able to drive my car “You know buddy, this is happening for a good reason, and can be only for good” he sad “are you sure?”

When I was at the ER I was so grateful and relieved this accident happen to me, but I did not why. Finally I was happy to seat down and take that break I suppose to have, well I wasn’t able to make that decision on my own, and I believed mother nature did it for my own good before was going to get any worst. How about the health insurance I didn’t have? I was very grateful to be eligible to get a workman’s comp from the company, co-workers and friends really helped a lot and always I will be grateful of how they take care of me. Believe in luck? I don’t know, but for the first time in my life, I saw friends really care about me, I appreciate and I’ll never forget. Now, not even I can’t comeback to work on a job I really don’t like to do or is not beneficial to my spirit, but I’m home recovering making just 1k a month barely I pay rent and not attending any audition, or possible films gigs. Therefore, I’m stock home at list for the next five month before I will be able to jump and kick again and trying reinventing myself.

I really believe mother nature had a limit with me and trying help me through this accident, so I start working on my personal issue try improving my life in happiness, health and wealth or what ever I was doing wrong. Till this time December 2009 I didn’t fond yet any distribution for my film Rules able to give me some advance money, I’m trying working to sale my film from home, lots of talking and waiting for people they never give any courtesy response. To day is two month after the accident, I’m still broke and recovering from the surgery, I walk a little with the boot, I feel my foot get better everyday and I know I can rely on my physical condition. Now I need to deal with a blood clot my doctor just find out a few days ago, I don’t like taking any medicine they might help the cause but they must probably will kill the immune system, we see what happen.

In the past of twenty five years I never got seek, had medicine or visit any doctors, my health is my temple and is more valuable that success or money. We can buy success or become rich, but we can’t buy a pure health, still I don’t have health insurance because I can’t afford, instead I consider my health insurance is the prevention with healthy genuine nutrition like Mother Nature give to us, and with a serious exercise. Anyway, I hope all the work I’m doing from home will help to sale my film Rules online, because ones I will be back on my feet I do not want to come back work for the nightclub anymore. Instead I’m looking for at list to reconnect with the stunt community and those old stunts friends I had in the past and get some work, I hope they can hear me I want to work in a industry I love and always I will.

I love the people I was working at the club, but as I know well the security job is not good for me. As today, I still believe the best and maybe the only solution for me is to sale Rules on the internet, sale it on my own and hope some one out there will support this very independent action, thriller film inspired by my true story. In conclusion, I’m training myself to listen more than ever my intuition and find the way out from this tornado I lived for so many years. I hope some one-will enjoying watching my film and understand the message I’m trying to send out there. Thanks for spending the time who ever is reading this long story; please all of you wish me the best.

I will be post more interesting details on some episode and obstacle I’m going and have being trough, I promise they will be short than this, so be in touch and if you have any comment we can discuss please do so.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

After hard work, I hope to sale my film online: Chapter 3

Anyway I rewrote the screenplay, actually wasn’t even finish when I start shooting, my screenplay was only 60 pages, because I wanted to shoot the film quickly as possible before anyone was going to quit on me, but must of all to have the film done and start sale it on my website or on
I had a better plan then last time and than again still not perfect. I build up some rumor online way before I was going in to preproduction, I slightly change the title ‘Rules” eliminate the “the” build up a website with a teaser without the real footage, actually I was able to use some of the footage I shoot it in 2006. Putting the site up and do a little PR marketing online I was able to gain some exposure before the production, spread the rumor and get the IMDB credit, and keep my promise to all cast and crew to be on the list.
Now my movie was looking pretty good, got the website with poster, photos, story, and trailer, now is time to shoot. One think I didn’t do so well, I didn’t realize I need to stay connected with the audience was interest in my movie and I didn’t know how either. I was unaware about the existence of or seriously consider as access to stay connected with the audience, I did put the teaser on youtube but no interaction or give more video update about the progress of my film; I might still thinking as the old fashion filmmaker.
Like always this was an adventure, we kept changing the schedule because some people still was flaking on me, but this time I had a good solid few team members, I was able to rely from my friend Megan, Keith, some other friends and the head director operation of the club company. No matter what difficulty we run in to we managed, from those flaky people, shaking locations, technical issues, and lots time flying buy and as well dealing with some individual trying to break a part my dream. Sometime I thought I was baby seating, tried hard not to lose control, and comeback in the same state of mind when I was working at the nightclub. I thought that wouldn’t be pretty on a film set. Even thou my character Pietro Reed Giordano was the reenact of my old character and my old job, dealing with nightclub patrons and the old mambo jumbo frustration I was going trough, as well I was telling my life experience in the entertainment industry from bad, good and odds.
I need to say this time I shot this film with unexpected help from peoples, and I was able to get my old friend Jay to invest in the film, because I didn’t have any money. I told him I was able to produce a movie and put it in the market for only four thousand dollars. He didn’t want to believe it. I show him a business plan, showing the expenses and the marketing strategy, I did and I shot the film in only three weeks.
We shoot not even every day, because was difficult to keep cast and crew on the schedule for free, so we kept changing things around and constantly rewrite the story on set as we where filming. Through the year I did put another thousand dollars more or less out of my pockets to finish edit the film; I did all the graphics, editing, websites, animation, and so many other things you can even imagine. I attend twice at the AFM (America Film Market) promoting and ultimately try to find a distributor hopping to get some money upfront. I enter one film festival (AOF International Film Festival) and get nominated as best fight choreographer, but I run-out of money and I wasn’t able to submit the film on any other film festival available.
Film festival are expensive and you don’t even know if they will accept your film, and if they don’t then you lose your entry fee, It’s a competition and even ones they accept your film you don’t even know if you pick-up a distribution, sale the movie or someone will hire you for another movie. By the way, I did put RULES on facebook as well, soon I find out this was another opportunity to spread the news, with not much result.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Chapter 2; continue my long story, might be worth to reed it.

Lets comeback talking about how I thought to develop my film, unfortunately I had hard time to find people committed as I was. After spending only three weeks on writing my very first feature film screenplay with my best English, I start putting together in only few days a small crew. I was able to get the nightclub location for free; I bought some equipment with my own money and start auditioning for the main cast. I schedule my shooting days but on the first couple days, only few people show up on the set. I was missing lots element and a true help; also never have a mentor in this field.
I was thinking to quit right there, which usually I never think to quit in anything, my good friend Keith the DP told me “Lets stay and shoot what ever we can” and I sad “I will never have this movie done if people keep flake on me” I had no elements, no money and time either.
After that day I chose to stop and rethinking what I should do, this was the first time I almost quit, got discourage for not having the skills to put together a good team. I toke a break about this project and kept going working at the nightclub, but after one year, I really lost my mind for keep working as security. I start hate those people coming at the club with an attitude, getting drunk and taking drugs, thinking they are the big shot in the city and thinking they can treat people with disrespect. I don’t drink at all, smoke or eating junk food, and dealing with those kind of people I lost my human sensitivity, I become hard to them and to myself, for me was easy to pick a fight punish some of those people and pretend like nothing happen.
I really was looking for a fight almost every night and build up more anger than ever I had in my life. A year later I had the strength to quit the job, realize I was getting close to kill someone, end up in prison or someone was going to kill me and end up in some green field, either way for me wasn’t going to be a happy ending and getting faraway from my real America dream.

I chose to rely only on few clients I trained at the gym, but not even after a year I left the nightclub, I lost everyone and start leaving out of my little few thousands dollars saving, I kept promises to myself not to ever comeback working as security for any nightclub. I tried hard to find some other job, I sent probably hundreds resume or application, and I’m not kidding, I was looking everywhere to work, but without compromise my acting career, and then nothing.
A year later I decide to pick-up my film “the Rules” I left in 2006 and sad “I‘m going to make my film no matter what and sale it online for a few bucks” doing the same thing I did in 2007 for my second exercise video. I spent only few bucks I had for online adverting on goggle and yahoo, and I sold couple hundreds copy of my exercise DVD, I realize the system was working, but not much for the exercise video. I sad “well the exercise video is very hard to sale because need lots more exposure than a movie, and the audience is less from the audience love to watch movies.” With this in mind in 2008 I start rewriting the script, change the concept, reestablish crew and cast, stay more focus who to pick for cast and crew, which still it’s hard to make the perfect choice anyway, specially when is about asking people work for free.

To be Continue...

Monday, December 14, 2009

PS: I’m not so good as writer, especially because English is my second language, but I will do my best to tell you my life journey and the ultimate challenge of my acting and filmmaking career. I’m writing this because sometime we need to show our weakness so can other people understand our needs. Do not get confused from my websites as you might think, “this man is doing just fine” don’t be so sure, also usually people don’t like hear other people problems because everyone at list as one on is own. Every body need some help, I’m writing this to share and maybe someone else will learn something out of it without going through this issues the way I did, or ultimately understand what I try to accomplish.

Here how all start: Chapter 1.

In 2006 seriously tired about my financially situation (and still) very frustrated at age 40 I was working as nightclub security, dealing every night with stupid people and getting in to a fight, or for saving theirs life or mine. From 2003, this was the only job I was able to earn a paycheck on the regular basis, but was really catching-up with me and ruins my real dream and the reason why I come to America.

As I am an Italian not so fresh off the boat, I keep asking to myself “What is the American dream means today?” The only great thing about this job was the company loved me and they still do, I gain good friendship from the owners to co-workers, and I never thought I was going to do a job like this in my life. As a bouncer you might think I should be huge, but I’m not big at all, I’m 5:8 1/2 in Hollywood I sale my self for 5:9 and 165 pound, but full of energy. In 2006, after more than a decade develop several short films and exercise videos, I had a vision to develop a feature film on my own. I was tired waiting and continue believe on lies from those producers, filmmakers and casting directors, or illusionary investors promise me to develop one of my films, realized I was wasting lots of my time.

My personal training business did OK for a while but wasn’t going anywhere; in one year I lost all my clientele and all my cardio-kickboxing classes I was teaching in several sports clubs, I never found out why that happened to me. For some reason always I had a hard time to make the fitness business successful, I guess because deep in my hart my true passion is being in entertainment industry and specifically work as actor and filmmaker. Even if I dedicate my all-entire life in martial arts and fitness and become an international champion, my real dream is to be an establish actor and filmmaker. Although to produce films cost money, so how can I make this happen? Just remember in 2006 we had only few Blogs, available as viral social networking, and were just at the beginning with text messaging.
Must of the people was using the site just for dating or just for chatting, we didn’t have yet or twitter. So unaware about Myspace but full of passion and enthusiasm as usual I have, I start the engine and try putting together everything I need it to produce to shoot a film. I start calling friends, co-worker at the club, club managers, owner and putting ads on LA casting for cast and extras. Good, now I had some small crew and few cast elements to start this production, but I wasn’t able to think and spread the news online and maybe using Myspace as today we all use facebook to say “Hey I’m going to shoot a movie with only few bucks and few people, any support out there?” All are thinking they doing something unique. Yes everyone today can shoot a movie because we have a very affordable technology, but how can we sale it? In addition, how hard it is?

Always I’m thinking outside of the box and I’m pretty much bold for all my life. Like several month ago I organize a fitness event for my friend Jay’s charity organization, I ran and walk about 60 miles in 23 hours to try raise some money for the 28,000 children in foster care and I did without specific prior training, I just rely on my health and skills, that is not bold enough? Unfortunately, we didn’t raise any thing. I even put myself on facebook and streaming live camera on, as well some PR from the organization was trying help the event, but not one really care about it, and my timing wasn’t good at all because of the death of Michael Jackson news. Story of my life, timing seams is everything, pretty much a similar story how bold I was to produce my first exercise video in 1998, but this story is way too long and I will tell you some other day or you can read my bio at just to get the hint.

Chapter 2
Coming soon.

Rules Media