Friday, September 27, 2013

Making of a Video Trailer - FUN!

Imagine writing a story and having all your characters come alive . . . real flesh and blood people, yet all slaves to your story vision.  I am living that reality right now.

Maker of Angels tells a fast-paced tale of forbidden love in the Old West.  It's 1855 when Colton Minar, a young journalist from Boston, travels to Sacramento gold country to discover hidden stories of the Gold Rush for his newspaper.  Along the way, he meets Tess Winslow - owner of a dust-town brothel, Kaga Ishta - a tormented half-breed Indian woman, and Clyde Hamlin - a former gunfighter masquerading as a mercantile owner.

These characters came to life over the last week as a video production company filmed excerpts from my book for an upcoming video trailer.  I admit, I had preconceived notions about the looks, voices and mannerisms of my persona creations.

Kaga hostage to Tess & thug

Holy cow!  These talented thespians shocked me with fantastic interpretations of my book-people. Main characters were played by Actor Jenna Cook as Tess, Matt Thompson as Cole, Jori Gonzales as Kaga Ishta and Rob Hayes as the irascible Clyde.

Jenna perfectly captured the violent temper and cold self-assurance of Tess, while Matt skillfully grew Cole from an innocent greenhorn to a confident gunfighter who becomes labeled as Maker of Angels for his gun-fighting speed. Rob brought frightening realism to Clyde, Cole's mentor in quick draw.  Jori shocked me with her portrayal of the emotionally troubled, outcast Indian, Kaga Ishta, as her character slowly falls in love with Colton and saves his life more than once.

You can't imagine the emotional rush of "meeting" your characters in real life.  Tess actually became the psychopath killer right before my eyes.  Kaga melted my heart when she kissed Cole passionately after telling him there was no place for an Indian woman and a white man to make a home.

Colton and Kaga in wilderness scene
The most exciting thing about this experience is that each actor "added" substance to the characters.  I knew Kaga would peer into Cole's eyes, searching for understanding of her concern, but the actress made it real.  It was AWESOME!

The same goes for almost every scene I watched being filmed.  Even the smallest roles, played by extras, added to the video experience.

Katie & Caroline filled
in as "soiled doves"
Two local women became so excited about the video shoot that they rented "tainted lady" costumes so they could be extras in the brothel scenes.

From the actors to the camera crew to the wonderful business owners of the Ore Cart Steakhouse and Saloon in the rustic Sierra Nevada town of Foresthill, this video trailer experience is a highlight in my life.

If you ever get a chance to watch one of your creations come to life, by all means DO IT!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Carlan Steward
CARLAN STEWARD - May 1945 to September 2013

I must apologize for being AWOL recently.  I try to post four times a month, but I have been incapable of writing for a while.  My business partner, and wonderful friend, Carlan, died a few weeks ago, unexpectedly.  This man was part of my life, eight hours a day, five days a week for thirty-two years.  We laughed.  We overcame obstacles, and shared both good and bad fortune.  During that time, we developed a kind of man-love usually found between fellow soldiers who have faced death together in combat.  There was nothing I would not do for Carlan, and I know he felt the same way.  A void now exists in my heart, one that can never be filled, a place where his memories wait patiently for moments when I need encouragement or, perhaps, just to a safe place to hang out.  Goodbye my friend.  I miss you.