Monday, August 16, 2010

Joss Whedon Fan Piece Release -- FOUR DAYS AND COUNTING!!!

Monday List of Things to Do:

-Take car to mechanic

-Complete online job application

-Work on scene for acting class

-Write blog entry

-Prep for Joss Whedon fan piece release -- FOUR DAYS AND COUNTING!!!

Okay, back up. What the heck was that last thing? Why such a speedy release date? And what, in the name of everything holy, possessed me to come up with such a crazy idea to begin with???

The plan was born in its first pre-incarnation over a lunch conversation at Aroma CafĂ© with my dear friend, novelist Robert LeMoyne. We are both huge Joss Whedon fans, and consequently find ourselves geeking out about all things Whedon -- especially Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I forget where this particular conversation started; probably a combination of me trying to figure out how to get on Joss’ radar and freaking out about running out of Buffy episodes, which I was completely hooked on. However it happened, the end result was a short film script called Jonesing for Joss. The story was about a fan girl who is in massive withdrawal after having exhausted her Joss Whedon supply. She goes on a quest to hunt down the man himself, only to find that he’s turned into a straight-talking, rifle-toting tollbooth collector redneck who had been brainwashed to quit writing by jealous Hollywood filmmakers who see his talent as a threat. It was cute, campy, chock-full of references that got funnier and more complex the geekier you happened to be. Alas, the story was not destined for release. Along with having plot holes and being too thematically similar to my previous short film, Lifeline, it required casting a huge number of leading actors from Joss Whedon TV shows, which was a little overambitious to say the least. So there went that idea.

It was not my intention to create another Joss Whedon fan piece. Jonesing for Joss was simply one of many movie ideas. I was a filmmaker, not a fan girl, or so I thought. Then, I met Juliet Landau (see previous entry for details) and all of that changed. The memory of meeting her spun round and round in my head. Again, it resurfaced while watching singer-songwriter Mikey de Lara perform a set at a show produced by my friend Aidan Park. Listening to Mikey’s songs, I was struck by a glimmer of inspiration. It wasn't anything concrete or complete. It wasn't even music -- just the words "Ode to Juliet Landau. Ode to Juliet Landau." What did it mean? I hadn't the slightest.

Gradually, an idea emerged. Love songs to all of the Buffy super villains! I could write them, perform them on video, and release them to the public. No big film production involved, no hustling for budget dollars, no waiting on stars I probably couldn't get. Just me, possibly a guitar, and my point-and-shoot digital video camera. All I had to do was get them on paper.

The Spike and Drusilla songs came to me hand-in-hand. Drusilla's song was a slightly fictionalized account of my meeting with Juliet Landau, done in the style of a 1950s doo-wop melody, titled "Wherefore Art Thou Juliet?" (I was a Shakespeare geek years before I discovered Joss Whedon.) For Spike, I wrote a bluesy rock tune titled "You Renegade Vamp."

Shortly after writing the songs, I google stalked James Marsters and found out that his birthday was August 20 (2 days after mine!). Right then and there, I knew what I had to do: record his song first, upload it to the web, and put the link up on his fan site on his birthday. This might give me a few extra hits, but more importantly it would give me a deadline. I come from Japanese and Jewish blood so needless to say I have a bit of a perfectionist complex. But as Barbara Deutsch wisely put it, "It doesn't need to be perfect. It just needs to be done." Sounded simple enough at the time -- get it out there, quick and dirty, no fear, no looking back.

I tremble as I write these words. If writing music, playing guitar, singing [in the absence of a karaoke machine], and blogging about it to the entire universe isn’t scary enough, on top of that I'm supposed to NOT BE PERFECT?!!! Okay, here goes. Off I go to strum some uncomfortably imperfect guitar chords.


  1. There's a quote from a movie that I'd really taken to heart years ago. It's such simple wisdom, and yet such an integral part of being an artist of any form, written, verbal, visual or what have you. The quote is this:

    "Perfection is unattainable."

    There's no such thing as perfect in our line of work. And if it is perfect, it's probably soulless. Let it not be perfect. After all, that's what makes it art. (Someone please forward this to George Lucas, so he can stop meddling with Star Wars, thanks.)

  2. If the songs are fun and memorable, they are as perfect as they need to be.

    Perfection in art is unattainable because it is by and large, undefinable. Nothing is more amusing than meetings where suits ask us to make a sequence 15% funnier and 20% less scary...