We will be back with today’s blog entry in a moment. I wanted to let you all know that I am going to be gone for a couple weeks, doing what I love most, writing. And, in doing this, will be doing what I love the second most, getting paid! It’s a relatively short gig, but a creative and lucrative one. I will tell you more about it when I get back. It’s for two of my favorite people and one of my favorite companies, Topknot Films.
In the meantime, watch one of the greatest documentaries of this year, “Abducted in Plain Sight.”
Now, back to your regularly scheduled blog post.
A Hooker’s Praise: The Ballad of Wiley Bowman Pt 2
Decades ago, I was at a strip club. As our party filed in, my bachelor party compatriots were immediately greeted with seductive compliments in hopes of being lured off into the back room for expensive table dances. The practical stripper who approached me, looked me over thoroughly and, after careful contemplation, could only manage to come up with, “Nice glasses.”
What can I say? I’m a sucker for complements, whenever I am lucky enough to stumble upon one.
The call came after work. I was in downtown Portland coffee shop and the voice on the other end of the line was laid back, confident, smooth as a perfectly aged scotch and extremely complimentary. His name was Wiley Bowman Jr and he promptly reported that during his reading of my script, he laughed so hard that he had to immediately talk to the writer. Needless to say, it had been an extremely long time since I had received a literary compliment and, like the nice glasses line (which happened to work by the way), I had been smitten with the promise of a revived career. We chatted for a several minutes, Wiley reporting that he was casting another project but would get back to me soon.
Things happened rather quickly from here. A deal memo was signed, and Wiley started assembling his crew. Keep in mind, all signed had at least one foot into the business we call show and knew a thing or two about getting movies made. There was a Producer, a Director of Photography and a Stunt Coordinator. While not heavyweights in the industry, these were individuals with produced work and solid resumes.
WARNING #1 No money had exchanged hands, and all of the major players in this story were waiting until funding had been secured.
In a matter of couple months, several other people signed on and a series of auditions were announced. These auditions took place in LA and were videotaped for prosperity. I still have a copy. Some of the faces of the hopefuls are even recognizable from film and television (twenty years ago). But why the hell shouldn’t they be? We were a speeding train, on the fast-track of successful independent filmmaking. How could we not succeed?
Keep in mind, all this happened without a single penny. Wiley believed he could round up his crew, his supporting cast and lure some upper grade talent from the major agencies and then proceed and get all the funding he needed. From where? Only he seemed to know. But he was confident as hell about it. So, there’s that.
In going over the research material for this blog, I am struck by how far Wiley got with his plan. Not only did he have a crew and some of the cast, he also had a budget worked out.
If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. But I wanted this so bad, I refused to look at the whole situation realistically. Independent filmmaking is guerilla anyway. How was anyone to know what the rules really were. Wasn’t that the point? You make them up as you go along. Do anything just to get the project off the ground?
When it came down to casting leads, Wiley wooed one of the top agencies in LA and managed to sign some significant names to deal memos.
Not only had he gotten through the door, he had been invited to the top floor for a meeting. Wiley told everyone involved that he was close to finalizing this whole deal. All he needed was to sign the leads and the financial backers would be lined up outside his door. The meeting was scheduled at the Beverly Hills Agency and Wiley requested that a few of the key players be there. I remember asking him, “we’re close, aren’t we?” He assured me we were very near the finish line. I, ever the optimist, announced in FB that I was going to be famous. The next day, I jumped in my car and drove the 1,100 miles to Beverly Hills.
The view from Beverly Hills
To be continued (in a few weeks)
In 1981, J.P. Linde co-wrote and appeared in a one-man comedy show titled “Casually Insane.” Shortly after, he joined the ranks of stand-up comedy and performed in clubs and colleges throughout the United States and Canada. In 1989, he made his national television debut on “Showtime’s Comedy Club Network.” He wrote the libretto for the musical comedy “Wild Space A Go Go” and co-wrote and co-produced the feature motion picture, “Axe to Grind.” “Son of Ravage” is his second novel.