Here’s the link to a fun interview I did with Media, Entertainment, Arts Worldwide. Enjoy.
Here’s the link to a fun interview I did with Media, Entertainment, Arts Worldwide. Enjoy.
18. That’s the magic number.
It’s 2018. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 18 years now. And I’ve been slowly working at being a successful writer for almost all of those 18 years. Wow. 18. That’s crazy to me. I guess it makes sense that some success is now starting to fall into place because my slowly blossoming writing career has now technically reached the legal age of consent. It’s time.
Now, it’s not like I haven’t worked consistently in Hollywood and had success as a writer, because I have. I’ve had more hills and valleys in this business than Northern Idaho. If you’re my friend, or follow me at all, many of these hills and valleys you know about. The Hills are so much more fun to talk about. They were the “hooray” moments.
But what you don’t always see are all the Valleys that soon followed each hill…
Trust me, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Every person I know in this business has a million of these stories. That is why it is next to IMPOSSIBLE to get your name on a project, AND have it released to the world. Ahh yes, I’m speaking of the elusive… credit. That credit means everything. Without it, you’re branded “unsuccessful.” It doesn’t matter if you’ve worked in this business for ages, the almighty credit is the true currency in this town. The credit… means success.
Why am I telling you all of this? Why am I being a little too… honest about the actual life of a successful “unsuccessful” screenwriter? It’s because I want the friends and family members of these screenwriters to understand that sometimes success goes beyond simply seeing a credit. Credits are the white whale. Many screenwriters have acheived success in some shape or another. Whether that success is actually working and getting paid to be a writer (but without the credit to prove it), or crafting incredible stories that many people in town love but can’t get made into films for one crazy reason or another, there are countless screenwriters (I’d say the vast majority) that fall under the successful “unsuccessful” category.
We are screenwriters that are hard-working and dedicated to our craft. Some obviously have more talent than others, but the drive seems universal. We’re all creative animals that have an unknown urge to be a storyteller. We have tales inside us that we just HAVE to get out. I know a hundred writers that could be as successful as any of the top paid Hollywood screenwriters, but things just haven’t fallen their way. Hell, you can be the single greatest poker player in the world, with all the knowledge and skill to make you the best, and yet depending on the cards you’re dealt, you can be broke and pawning your wedding ring within the hour.
I wanted to give a voice to all successful “unsuccessful” screenwriters out there because I’ve been one for 18 years. Now that I’ve finally gotten my elusive credit, and lately the flood gates are opening on a whole slew of projects, I’m finally being deemed “successful.” I’m an 18-year overnight success. Ha. I’ve been fighting with every bit of my soul for every single one of those years. As do countless of my fellow successful “unsuccessful” screenwriting brothers and sisters. It’s not easy to fight for everything you desire in this way constantly. It really isn’t. So please… family, friends, acquaintances, people you meet at parties, be a little more understanding to that successful “unsuccessful” screenwriter (or any artist, really) in your life. They’re busting their ass. This was a career choice that chose them, not the other way around. We love this business so much it physically hurts.
All it takes is time, perseverance, and luck. I’m living proof.
That’s all I can say right now. Deja. Freakin’. Vu.
As I sat here to type this article, a huge flood of deja vu came over me. I’ve been in this exact position before… I’ve seen myself writing this exact article, posting these exact pictures… Did I dream about it and now it’s coming true? I have no clue what’s happening, but this is weird. Insert your own “believe in your dreams and it’ll all come true” cliche here. Seriously, whoa…
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah…
I wanted to write a quick article about my evening last night. Last night at the Real D Theater in Beverly Hills, I was invited to finally see the movie I worked on, The Hurricane Heist. It’s been almost two years since I worked on it, and outside of a few clips here and there, and some behind the scenes stuff, I’ve been as much in the dark on how it turned out as everyone else. Even better, I got to experience it with my entire family in tow. My wife and my two girls got to share in this experience. They finally got to see, tangibly, on the big screen, what I do. I thought I was prepared, but I wasn’t.
It started with Director Rob Cohen introducing the movie and giving a few shout outs to people in the crowd that worked on it. He gave me a poster that he signed for me and it just felt good to be included in that mix, part of a gigantic team of people all working toward the same goal of making some fun entertainment.
Then the lights lowered and off we went. As I bit my lip waiting for my name to appear, I quickly realized this is a movie with no opening credits. Fine by me. Those are my favorite kind of movies anyway. Get RIGHT to the action. Credits be damned. I’ll see it at the end. Right now I just want to have a good time.
I’m glad to say that the movie is a riot. It’s so much fun. Rob did a great job. It knows exactly what it is and it delivers. It’s not high art. It’s called The Hurricane Heist for crying out loud, what do you expect? Pompous critics will probably hate it, I guarantee. Eff them. If they (or you) want cerebral high drama, go see Phantom Thread. If you want some insane, leave-your-brain-at-the-door-and-just-escape type of entertainment, you won’t be disappointed. The lead actors are incredible. Their chemistry is fantastic. And there is nonstop hurricane action in this baby from beginning to end. You don’t have time to breathe. Especially considering what they were able to pull off on a $30 million dollar budget, when most disaster movies run in the $150 million+ department, my mind is seriously blown (pun not intended.)
When all was said and done, the movie ends and it cuts to black. The first credit fills the screen, “Directed by Rob Cohen.” Then came the second credit, “Written by Scott Windhauser and Jeff Dixon.” My little girl sitting next to me squeezed me so hard when she saw it. She was so excited. My teenage girl did what teenage girls do and took out her phone to film it. She was so excited too. My wife was just grinning from ear to ear, proud. There it was. It was real. There’s my name on a big Hollywood movie. A thing I watched ever since I had cognitive ability. It was so weird. I’ve worked on so many damn things in my career, but this was the very first time I’d been able to see my name on the big screen like this. It was amazing and confusing at the same time. Conflicting emotions filled me. I want to say I was 100% elated, but it’s weird. When you’ve felt defined by the struggle for so long, it feels odd to have success. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it to be honest.
But whatever conflicting feelings I was experiencing came to a screeching halt when my 11 year old looked at me with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen and said, “Holy crap. Dad. That. Was. SO. AWESOME!!!! I loved that so much!!!”
Okay, now I know what to feel. That felt SOOOOO much better than seeing my name on the screen. As we all talked about it on the drive home and shared stories about what made it in the movie and what was cut. What lines were mine, what weren’t. All of it was pure magic. My family was proud, and that’s what it’s about. That’s all it’s ever been about for me.
Now everyone else, go see The Hurricane Heist when it comes out March 9. I guarantee that the 11 year olds in all of you will love it.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going lie back and contemplate this insane deja vu.
Recently I had the awesome opportunity to do an interview with my alma mater, University of Utah about my experience being a working artist. You can read my attempt at being somewhat intelligent here.
“It pretty much looks like Ocean’s 11 meets Twister meets od’ing on cocaine.”
That was a quote in the MAXIM article about the trailer for The Hurricane Heist, and yeah, that pretty much sums up how people are reacting to it.
A few days ago I posted the trailer and wrote a brief word about how surreal it all was.
As if it weren’t surreal enough to simply see a trailer for The Hurricane Heist, now I’m watching how in only the first few days the entire Internet has somehow collectively lost their minds over it. Good or bad, happy or angry, positive or negative (oh trust me, there’s a lot of negative, haha), people DEFINITELY have an opinion on this first look of our insane opus.
It all started as an exclusive on Collider:
Exclusive “The Hurricane Heist” Trailer Teases a Bonkers, Action-Packed Thriller
But man oh man OH MAN did it spread… Soon after almost every other geek/movie website picked it up. It suddenly appeared on the front page of IMDB. It got splashed all over YouTube. And my personal favorites are the slew of REACTION VIDEOS that people put up on YouTube giving their first impressions of the TRAILER. Haha, these are so incredible. The general concensus seems to be something like this:
“This is utterly ridiculous! What the hell am I watching?”
“…I’m so there.”
“This movie looks completely absurd! Who comes up with this garbage?”
“…I have to see it.”
“This looks so asinine! Who in their right mind would go see this?”
“…I’ll be there opening weekend.”
“What is this shit? Hard Rain meets Sharknado? I’m losing brain cells watching this.”
“…Must see it in a crowded theater.”
Honestly, I don’t care if you like it or hate it. While there seems to be a lot of like, there’s also a LOT of hate. Hey, fine by me. As long as you’re not indifferent. If you’re going to see it in order to enjoy yourself, I guarantee you will have a blast. If you’re going to hate-watch it in order to make fun of every single frame, I also guarantee you’ll have a blast.
Either way, just go see it.
Thank you Internet. All this initial fervent reaction from our very first trailer is putting whipped cream on top of the already-mind-boggling sundae building in my brain.
Here is a partial rundown of a few of the websites, followed by some YouTube reaction videos. Trust me when I say I’m not only posting the positive reactions. I’m posting the “I’m skipping this garbage” links as well. They’re almost more fun! Enjoy a sampling of my world.
Here’s a few of the reaction videos to the trailer. These are pretty damn funny.
Trust me when I say this is WEIRD AS SHIT for me. Yet, I admit I’m enjoying the hell out of the bonkers reaction the trailer is getting. Let’s hope everyone is this passionate about it when it comes out on March 9!
We’ll just have to wait and see…
And hey, if you want, feel free to let me know your thoughts on the trailer. I’m curious to hear from all opinions.
I’ll cut to the chase… After a long and insane career in this whackadoodle business they call Hollywood, my first credited big budget film is finally coming out on March 9. It was originally called Category 5, and has now been renamed The Hurricane Heist. A name, I’ll admit, I did not like at first. But it’s since grown on me. It’s simple and to the point. You know what you’re going to get. A heist… during a hurricane. Bingo.
The original poster.
Seeing my name in the credits and on the new posters is a weird feeling, I’ll admit. Although, I did not do this alone. No freakin’ way. Nothing in this business is ever done alone. Hell, none of this would have even happened if it weren’t for two incredible producers and two of my favorite people, Howard and Karen Baldwin. They believed in me. They believed that this crazy horror writer could come along and dive into this big budget disaster flick, and give it its just due. I’ll be forever grateful for that. I came along after other amazing people had already put their spin on the material. Yet, I was the last screenwriter on the project so hopefully you’ll see my own stamp on the final product. In the end you’ll see screenplay credit by the writer before me, Scott Windhauser, and myself. And trust me when I say you definitely Rob Cohen’s signature on every single aspect of this film. This is his baby.
The French Version of the poster, simply called Hurricane.
Now, I mentioned that this is my first credited big budget film. While this may be the case, this is far and away not my first rodeo. Those who know me are very aware of my history. I’ve sold movies. I’ve sold TV shows. I’ve written published comic books and graphic novels. I’ve written and co-directed video games. I’ve written episodes. I’ve written radio plays. I’ve had a career so eclectic and bizarre, I went from paying my dues working as an assistant to Michael Shamberg at Jersey Films back in the day… to a place where Jamie Lee Curtis was quoted in TV Guide saying that I was personally partially responsible for her return to TV. Hell, I feel like I’ve done pretty much everything you can do in this business EXCEPT have a final credit on a big budget film. So if there are people out there that still think these things just happen overnight, they are heartily mistaken. There are years of history that lead up to almost all pivotal moments.
The Korean version of the poster.
In the near future, I’m going to write a longthy blog post that explains what it’s like to be a successful “unsuccessful” writer in Hollywood. This is someone that may be successful in his craft, in his business, and amongst his peers, and yet the outside world thinks you’re “unsuccessful” solely because they don’t see your credits. Trust me, this business is FAR beyond just credits. Stay tuned for that upcoing post because I feel that my speaking about that topic is a long time coming.
For now, I just wanted to give those around me a little “coming out party” for my first, big budget, credited movie. Technically, the “coming out party” was a few nights ago on EXTRA when they unveiled the world premiere of the US trailer, but this is my own little self version.
Enjoy all the posters, and now please enjoy the first official trailer for our little opus. If you DIDN’T think they were going to use Scorpions – Rock You Like A Hurricane, you’d be wrong… dead wrong. Now all you all have to do it go see it IN THEATERS everywhere on March 9, 2018.
Happy Halloween! As usual, I always save a few special movies in the vault so I can use them as my Halloween selection each year. This year I bring you a true horror masterpiece, The Omen. Along with The Exorcist, The Omen helped bring so much satanic imagery to the forefront of the masses that it’s weird to think how commonplace it is now. Even though “666” and its numerical connection to the Devil had been around, this is the movie that really made it known to the entire world. The Omen threw audiences into a frenzy back in the 70’s, and it still packs just as much of a punch now as it did then. The Omen is about an American Ambassador living in England who, after a growing series of bizarre deaths, begins to suspect that his (secretly) adopted son is the Antichrist. Before long everyone gets into the mix – priests, satan worshippers, evil devil dogs, you name it. For an Academy Award winning film (for Jerry Goldsmith’s absolutely iconic music) starring the legendary Gregory Peck, you’d think this would be some kind of softball studio picture that wouldn’t push boundaries. If you thought that, you’d be wrong. This movie has plenty of shocking violence from violent impalings to freaky beheadings, plus the visuals and subject matter is not of the everyday variety. Not to ruin anything, but let’s just say the discovery of the boy’s “mother” is, well, truly messed up, to say the least. And every scene is hammered that much more into your brain because of Goldsmith’s pounding music that accentuates everything. There’s a reason The Omen is iconic. It’s just so damn well done. And in today’s day and age, it really helps that a key aspect of the Antichrist is that he must grow up wealthy in the world of politics. Yep, the Antichrist is in politics. That pretty much says it all. What’s more horrifying than that. I’ll leave it there for now.
Well my lovelies, that does it for 2017’s October Horror Picks. I’ve had a great season as always, and I plan on having an entire November filled with watching nothing but romantic comedies… HA! Just kidding, horror never goes away. It’s a constant. Have a great November and beyond, and see you in 2018!