The last time that I wrote a screenplay on spec it was THE SHELTER and to be honest, the trial and tribulations that I have had with that film in 2015 nipped my creative streak in the bud for the bulk of the year. In short, handling the producing duties after the shoot killed the screenwriter in me. Now although I’m still carrying/pushing/hustling THE SHELTER (and with some help, FINALLY overcoming the obstacles that have plagued us); I’ve rediscovered my creative streak and am now in the midst of writing my next spec script EVA (working title, or maybe not).
After DEADEN and AMERICAN MUSCLE, I’ve always wanted to round up my “revenge” trilogy (as a writer anyways) with a female protagonist. I have been thinking about Eva and her story for a long time and I am now having a blast finally giving it life on the page. I’m relishing writing a strong, intelligent and damaged female lead character, the story that I have is unique within the subgenre and yes, there will be blood – lots of it. In between taking THE SHELTER home, setting up my next film as a director THE PRIZE, fulfilling my duties on a writing job for hire, a new project with Dead Shadows director David Cholewa and now EVA, my 2016 is off to a solid start. Off to the Pub! Got some writing to do.
It was on this day last year in 2015 (on January 17) that ex Army Ranger, Fitness Model, Body Builder, Motivational speaker, Actor on the rise and thrill seeker GREG PLITT passed on. Now I’ve never met Greg in real life but his death hit me like a ton of bricks none the less. Much like many of his followers out there, Greg’s videos spoke to me, moved me, educated me and inspired me. They did years ago when I found some of them on YouTube and they helped me climb out of the gutter I had dug for myself and they did even more in 2015.
You see, prompted by his passing I went to his site and I got so much out of it in terms of learning (fitness, nutrition, supplements), inspiration and motivation. You’ve been gone a year Greg, but you still live on through all of us. I can only speak for myself and say a heartfelt THANK YOU for all that you’ve given me and still give me. And thank you to the Plitt family for keeping his legacy alive via updating his website and Facebook Page. In honor of Greg, I share with you this MOTIVATIONAL MP3(download it here), trust me when I say this: if you need a good morale boost, this will do it (I listen to this on the subway all the time). I am also sharing my fav fan made Plitt video below and finally I urge you to JOIN HIS SITE if you want to know more about training, nutrition, achieving goals, his philosophy etc. I’m actually going to ski a mountain today in his honor. God bless you brother! Your legacy lives on!
At Greg Plitt’s place of death. Had to do it. Pay my respects…
Looking back at 2015, all I remember off hand are two things: 1- Greg Plitt died out of no where on January 17 of 2015 (a man who helped me get back on track via his site/videos years ago. His passing prompted me to go back to his site and once again he helped a lot this year) and my film THE SHELTER, which took over the bulk of my thoughts and efforts. The film resulted in some positive things like cool festival runs, positive reviews, meeting new people, making new contacts and new opportunities arising.
Work hard – play hard. Always.
It also came with its fair share of hardships (that I will go into when all is said and done some day – I may write a book ) and some trial by fire i.e. gaining further knowledge as to the current state of the film market through my mistakes. Shelter aside, I actually had to look back at my 2015 pictures to remind me of what else I did that year and yeah, I had yet another groovy year of doing what makes me happy: training, nature, my friends, traveling and challenging myself.
Top of my head here are some of my favorite personal moments of 2015!
Tackled one of the biggest mountains I have ever scaled. What a rush. I want more!
My dad got hit with larynx cancer early this year. I was sure he was a goner, but the man fought (respect) and with the help of our support, he prevailed. Happy to still have him around.
In Paris, France with the Dead Shadows cast/crew for an autograph session. It was so cool to see everybody again, to be in Paris, a city that I love, and to spend time with the Cholewa clan aka awesome people.
The Shelter had its world premiere at Frightfest in the UK and we got lots of solid reviews out of it. It was a great moment to share with exec producer/buddy Berge Garabedian, Seeing old friends (Richard Cosgrove!) and drinking Trooper Ale were also big pluses :)
Spent even more time at the lake house. Can’t go wrong when your time is all about nature, training, reading, exploring, writing and the water.
Although the Sitges Film Festival The Shelter screening didn’t go as well as I wanted it to for varied reasons (image problems on our DCP being one of them), I got to hang with my brother Mike Hostench, hit some fly parties, appreciated the setting once again, had fun with Rurik Salle and met new great peeps like Julien Seri and Pascal Sid. VIVA SITGES!
Eric Red and I worked on the same set together for the first time time since 100 Feet. This time I did second unit directing/camera work and took on set pics. Without going into details; the war that was this set solidified my brotherhood with Eric. And for that and the experience – I was grateful…
Streamlining The Shelter, which is a film that addresses spirituality or lack of, has been responsible for an evolution in my own spiritual path. Hence after Sitges, I spend a week in Barcelona with my bro Gonzalo. We wound up having a pilgrimage of sorts and I found it very rewarding.
I was very happy to see The Shelter screen at the prestigious A Night of Horror Film Festival in Australia. The crowd dug it and star Michael Pare won a career achievement award for his work in the film. Twas a good ending for The Shelter in 2015
At Greg Plitt’s place of death. It was very important for me to pay respect. He inspired/motivated me so much all year, it was the least I could do. It took hours to find the exact spot of his passing. Was worth it. RIP Legend.
In terms of negatives, I’m not one to dwell on those cause, well, what will that achieve? Nothing. I’ll just say that the odd energy around The Shelter gave me a run for my patience, maximum effort often led to maximum frustrations as opposed to results and knives stabbed in my back here and a severe “misjudgement of character on my part” there should be noted… nothing new at this point, people are people. Lastly, my 14 year old dog is on her way out (going deaf, blind and very old) it’s coming and I am bracing myself… such is life.
My dog Toby can’t swim alone anymore…she’s too old. I still have her work-out though. Use it or lose it.
I feel very positive in terms of 2016 though (just got back from a stay in the wilderness – that always sets me right)! The Shelter will screen at a handful of Festivals and will lock distribution, am pumped to get my next film The Prize off the ground, I’m starting boxing again (after dealing with a stubborn tennis elbow in 2015 that got in my way, I finally healed it), I’ll be part of handful of exciting projects (as a writer and actor), already have some traveling on the horizon, mother nature is always in my plans and I will focus on awakening by creative side again, specially when it comes to writing for myself. Producing The Shelter in 2015 kind of numbed by creative juices, I won’t let that happen this year. That’s it in a nutshell! Welcome to 2016 people! I leave you with my 2016 National Anthem: