Tag Archives: entertainment

A Sexist Theater Company?

I happen to own a theater. It’s called Mister Theater.

I was reading a review of a show produced by another company, and the reviewer was encouraging the producers of that show to get us to change the name of the company to something less sexist. Let me respond.

The name, essentially, came out of a brainstorm for theater names. Since I’m Ryan, and my business partner is Montetré, combining our initials is M.R. Since we were building a theater, MR Theater seemed appropriate – pronounced Mister Theater. Since any company needs a website, I looked to see if MrTheater was available. It was… for like $1,000. But MisterTheater was available for $7, so we went with that.

Now, I understand everyone’s all about inclusiveness, and not offending anyone ever… and I am too! But apparently Mister implies that we’re a no-women-allowed theater, and that seems rather ridiculous.

Are people complaining about Mister Theater being sexist the same ones that complain about children being allowed to play with Mister Potato Head? Does Mister Softee only employ men? Are we boycotting Mr. Show? I saw a lot of women in Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. Do we opt for a more inclusive plumber, or do we call Mr. Rooter? Would Mrs. Clean do a better job cleaning our floors than Mr. Clean? For those what like a bit of sexism served with their morning joe, do they opt for the Mr. Coffee? Why does Planters have to ram Mister Peanut down our throats? Why are people fine with burning a man, but not a woman at Burning Man?

While I’m on the subject, should I be offended as a man that one would assume Mrs. Field’s has better cookies than Mr. Fields? Is Dairy Queen only for women and men who wear ballgowns? Why not Dairy King and Burger Queen? Should that offend me as a gay person? I found this place in Denver: Mister Tuna.  Don’t female tuna matter?

I think the whole thing is just silly. Maybe it’s easier being offended by the assumed gender assigned to an inanimate object or a place that’s inclusive of any gender, sex, religion, race, color, sexual orientation than by… oh I don’t know, actual injustice in the world.

Oh, and how do people know Mister Theater isn’t a female theater that prefers to use male pronouns and honorifics? Would people be equally offended if the theater was named Mrs Theater? The kind of people that complain about the name of a place seem like the kind of people who carefully interject in conversation that their friend happens to be black, or who tell everyone about their trans friend and take great pride that they generally remember to use the correct pronoun. Yeah, I could see if it was named Whites-Only Theater or No-Fags-Allowed Theater [I’m gay, I can say that]. But it’s not. It’s named the same way as a potato-shaped toy, a plumbing service, a funny TV show, a crappy ice cream shop, a coffee machine, and what seems to be a pretty nice restaurant in Denver.

So, to wrap up, people should focus their energy on actual injustice and stop being offended at every little thing they perceive to be sexist that really isn’t sexist just so they can feel like they’re better, and more inclusive than everyone else.

 

 

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Scam-Baiting!

I recently did some scam-baiting. It’s basically when you fuck with a scammer. I’ve been looking for a new house to rent. I found one on Craigslist. It was the right price, the right size, but it seemed too good to be true. Still, I emailed the guy and got a response. I did a bit of research on the house and found out that it was actually for rent, albeit at about $1000 more than his advertised price. So… here’s how it went down…

From Me

Hi, I’m interested in this rental for myself and two colleagues. I’m also curious what the additional costs are (deposit, cleaning fee, etc).

Please contact me by email or phone/text.
Thank you,
Ryan Cloutier
From McBale
Thank you very much for your interest in renting my house. It is located at 3182 NE 72nd Ave, Portland, OR 97213, 3 bedrooms and 2 Baths home. Bathrooms with laundry includes washer and dryer, Water, Gas, internet and cable are both provided for at no cost to the tenant. 
 
The house is ready to move in home, so we are seeking for neat, decent, responsible and easygoing Individuals to occupy the house. The house belong to myself and my wife ( Mr & Mrs McBale ) and we are renting the house out by ourselves to anyone who is interested, We just relocated to Maryland to complete my late parents house and we are not planning to return anytime soon. We are very loving Family and i assure you will enjoy staying in our house with lots of comfort.
 
Rent: $1300 per Month
Security Deposit: $600 It will be returned back to you whenever you intend to move out.
Minimum Stay: As long as you wish
 
Hope to read from you soon if you are interested in renting the house, so we can move on to the next procedures.
Regards
Joseph McBale
From Me
Yes.. I am quite interested. What are the next steps??
Ryan
From McBale
Thanks for your response, you can only drive or walk by the location of the house for a view, since we can’t do a showing as a result of our absence, but the keys will be release as soon as you sign the lease agreement and pay the move in cost.
 Every issues that arises will be sort out from the monthly rent. you can come up with the security deposit as a commitment fee, depending on how soon your total move in cost will be ready, but i will advise you to pay the total move in cost, so we can send down the receipt and other necessary documents for you to pick up along with the keys,i believe this will be the best option, and also to avoid renting out the home to another person because we have a lots of applicant with same interest in renting the house. I hate being disappointed holding house for somebody without any commitment payment due to past experience with intending tenants and legal advice from my lawyer. if you are serious about renting the property you are advised to fill the RENTAL APPLICATION FORM below for effective correspondence.
 I will be looking to receive the information’s,  so i can forward it down to our lawyer to prepare your LEGAL LEASE TENANCY AGREEMENT.
 RENTAL APPLICATION FORM
 FIRST NAME: __________________
 MIDDLE NAME: __________________
 LAST NAME: __________________
 PROFESSION: ________________
 PHONE______________________
 AGE_____
 YOU HAVE A PET?__________________________ _ _
 DO YOU HAVE A CAR?__________________________ _ _
 OCCUPATION____________________ ________
 PRESENT ADDRESS: ___________________________
 WHY ARE YOU LEAVING?______________________ _____________________________
 HOW LONG DO YOU INTEND STAYING? ____________
 WHEN DO YOU INTEND MOVING IN? ______________
 HOW SOON IS YOUR MOVE IN COST READY? ___________________________
 REFERENCE ___________________________
 I will Like you to get back to me as soon as possible so that we can proceed on how you can get the house booked down for you. if you really want to rent/secure the house, we will reserve it for you until your move in date.
 Hope to read from you again soon
From Me
Here is the required information. Please hold for me. Thanks.
RENTAL APPLICATION FORM
 FIRST NAME:  Matthew
 MIDDLE NAME: Charles
 LAST NAME: Boulders
 PROFESSION: Accountant
 PHONE: 503-533-4002
 AGE 35
 YOU HAVE A PET? no
 DO YOU HAVE A CAR? yes
 OCCUPATION Accountant
 PRESENT ADDRESS: 9202 SE Foster Rd Portland
 WHY ARE YOU LEAVING? Landlady selling
 HOW LONG DO YOU INTEND STAYING?2 years min
 WHEN DO YOU INTEND MOVING IN? 2/15/15
 HOW SOON IS YOUR MOVE IN COST READY? now
 REFERENCE Brett Connoly 503-240-1019
From McBale
Thanks for the information, your approval has been granted by me and my wife as the new occupant of our home.  we have forwarded your details to our lawyer to prepare the legal lease agreement form, i will get back to you with the scan copy of the lease along with the payment details where the move in cost will be sent to. So we can send down the details to pick up the keys immediately we confirm the payment.
Have a nice day.
I have attached your lease agreement, Pls print it out and sign as the new occupant of the house, email me a copy and keep a copy to yourself. Pls text me the address were you want me to send the keys to at 410 996 4130. I want you to make payment today so that i can send the keys immdiately.
Below is my secretary details where the move in cost will be sent to via Western Union
(You are advise to walk or drive down to a nearby Western Union Store or wall-mart, Grocery store )
Receiver’s Name : Antwoine Demetrius Boyd
Address : 3601 Parkview Ave
City : Baltimore
State : MD
Zip Code : 21207
Country : United States
Get back to me immediately you are done with the Western Union, and also email me with DETAILS SUCH AS :
SENDER NAME
ADDRESS
CITY
POSTCODE
AMOUNT
MTCN
Now, at this point, he has sent a somewhat legitimate-looking lease agreement, save for the ridiculous logo and photo of his “lawyer” at the top, signed and approved by him. I decide to keep playing along… I enlist the help of my friend Montetré to play my attorney.

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 1.10.03 PM

From Me
Joseph,
I’ve forwarded this lease agreement to my attorney as well as your information. I also wrote him a check for $1900, which will be placed into an escrow account. Rest assured this money is safe and intended for you. My attorney will contact you with an address in which to send the keys, once received, he will release the funds to you from escrow. I assume you will be okay with this arrangement since it protects us both. I’m excited to move into my beautiful new home!
-Matt C Boulders.
From McBale
Thank you for your email. I can only recieve via western union or money transfer and i will be sending the keys once i confirm payment
From Me
Oh, no problem. I’ll advise my attorney to send the money via western union.
Thanks,
Matthew
From McBale
Thank you. Pls email me info asap so that i can send down the keys
From Me
Ok. My attorney should be in contact with you soon. He will provide an address to where you can send they keys, and then he’ll western union the money upon receipt. I told him this is time sensitive since I’ll need to move in by Jan 30th. It’ll take me a couple days to move, and I need to be out of my old place at the end of the month. So, he’s aware of the time constraint.
Let me know if you don’t hear from him by tomorrow.
Here’s what my attorney sent him:

Hello Mr. McBale,

I represent Matthew Boulders through my law offices located here in Downtown Portland, Oregon.  The lease agreement for the property at t “3182 NE 72nd Ave, Portland, OR 97213” looks valid.  I have received $1,900 from Mr. Boulders, to pay unto yourself, once we receive the keys to inspect the property.

Mr. Boulders has asked for the keys to be shipped to my offices at:

Jonathan Brown

              B,S &W Assoc.

              In Lieu of Matthew Boulders
1221 SW 10th Ave #713
Portland, OR 97205

Thank you for your time.  I look forward to doing business with you.

Sincerely,
Jonathan Brown, Attorney at Law
Brown, Schmidt & Weisenheimer Assoc.
1221 SW 10th Ave #713
Portland, OR 97205

From McBale
Here is the emaili got from your lawyer below.Pls instruct him to mail the payment out today via western union so thati can go and send the keys asap.Pls get back to me asap

  I represent Matthew Boulders through my law offices located here in Downtown Portland, Oregon.  The lease agreement for the property at t “3182 NE 72nd Ave, Portland, OR 97213” looks valid.  I have received $1,900 from Mr. Boulders, to pay unto yourself, once we receive the keys to inspect the property.

Mr. Boulders has asked for the keys to be shipped to my offices at:

Jonathan Brown

              B,S &W Assoc.

              In Lieu of Matthew Boulders
1221 SW 10th Ave #713
Portland, OR 97205 
From Me
Oh wow, that was fast 🙂
He’ll hold the money until the keys are received. Should I western union some cash to cover express mail for they keys? I could probably send $20 tonight, to speed up the process.
Oh, hi again.
I just got off the phone with my lawyer. I have good news, he will be sending you the western union information. He said normally he would wait for the keys before sending the money, but due to the time sensitive nature of this transaction, he’ll send the money once he receives from you confirmation that the keys have been sent (USPS tracking number or FedEx). Contact him if you have any other questions or issues with the payment.
Thanks again!
Hi again. Sorry to bother you so much about this process. I just returned from Walmart. It seems like there is a fee of $161 to send 1900 to Maryland. Wow! I had no idea it was that much! I was wondering if I could deduct this amount from the deposit? Also, what will be the method for rent payments month to month? I can send western union each time, but that might get too expensive unless we can lower the rent payments.
Thanks for answering my question. Talk to you soon.
From McBale
Yes you can remove it from the fee and send the rest of the money
I will send the keys immediately i confirm the payment. i give you my word. You won’t be disappointed. just email me the western union info once you send it and you will have details on the keys asap. You can remove the western union fee from the the money and send the rest. Pls get back to me asap with info
Pls speak to your lawyer direct. Thank you
 
At this point, he has started calling me on my cell phone. I don’t answer. 
From McBale
I have also tried to call but know response. 410 996 4130
From Me
Hello,

Oh, I did notice I had a missed call. Sorry for not being available to answer, I’ve been absolutely busy packing all of my stuff in anticipation of my big move! I also had to take my dog to the vet, and a dog of that size who’s sick like that is really hard to get into the van. I could have used an extra set of hands. Really, moving is such a headache… I can only hope that I’ll be able to be a tenant in your house for many years!
I have spoken to my attorney, and he has the money ready to send, so there is no worry about receiving the funds. I tried to get him to turn over the money to me so I could send it out through Western Union and expedite the process, but he says since it’s in escrow, his accountants have to handle the transaction. I’ll ask him again, there must be a way to get the money back from him so I can get it out to you tonight. If that doesn’t work, I can ask my dad to borrow the money up front and then pay him back with the money that my lawyer is holding in escrow.
That’s about it for now. Have you shipped the keys yet? I’m really looking forward to start moving my stuff over as soon as possible.
Many thanks,
Matthew

From McBale
Ok. Pls try and send the money by yourself tonight and email me the info ASAP. I will be going to send the keys immediately I confirm payment. Am looking forward to read from you
From Me
Cool. Let me know when they keys have been sent, and I’ll send over the money. I just got off the phone with my dad, and he’s probably able to put up the $1900, and I’ll send that minus the 161 once you let me know the keys are in the mail. I’m meeting him for dinner so I should have a check from him withina couple hours.

Thanks again!
Matthew
Oh, there’s one more thing.

My lawyer is asking if you have a copy of the deed or bill of sale to the house? He says you can scan it or just take a picture of it with your phone and send over a .jpg or .pdf ?? I hope this isn’t too much trouble.
Thanks,
Matthew
Hi Joseph.
I have good news and bad news. First, I had a nice dinner with my dad. He got the ribeye, I opted for a pasta dish. The crostini were delicious and the wine affordable. He was only able to give me $600 to cover the deposit. He doesn’t have the rest since he’s retired and on a fixed income. But I’ll be able to western union the 600 tonight and then advise my lawyer to send the rest of the money once we receive the keys. I have the money in cash so it’s ready to send once I receive the copy of the deed or bill of sale as requested by my lawyer.
Thanks!!
Matthew.
From McBale
I have sent you the lease agreement for the house which is to be given so what is needed to be done now is the exchange of keys with payment. You just send the payment. Email me the info and the keys will be sent ASAP. Thank you
From Me
Are you okay with the 600 for now? I was also planning to have a yard sale tomorrow, I should be able to raise the other 1300. I was going to have a yard sale at the new house, since I don’t have a yard at my old condo. I have the stuff to sell in a truck now, so I’ll head over and set up in the morning. Since I’m leasing the property now, I don’t see a problem, and it’ll help me get your money faster.
Thanks!
From McBale
Yes can you and send it now? Pls give me a number to call you
From Me
Yes, I’ll try to send it all tomorrow, after the yard sale so I don’t have to make 2 trips to Walmart.
You should expect payment tomorrow by 6pm if the yard sale succeeds.
From McBale
Ok, pls give a number to reach you direct.
From Me
One more question, I’m confident that our yard sale will be a success. I do have a couple of questions about the unit. The first question is does the unit have a dishwasher. The second question is what is the capacity of the hot water heater? Thanks for answering my questions I’ll talk to you soon.
Oh, my number is 5035474019 although I’m not always available to take calls, you can leave a msg.
Who do I make the western union to? Your name?
I’m at Walmart now, trying to send the western union, but I’m confused about the form. I don’t have a your account number or questions?? Take a look and tell me what I need to fill in. Thanks!
Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 1.25.41 PM
From McBale
Receiver’s Name : Antwoine Demetrius Boyd
Address : 3601 Parkview Ave
City : Baltimore
State : MD
Zip Code : 21207
Country : United States
Get back to me immediately you are done with the Western Union, and also email me with DETAILS SUCH AS :
SENDER NAME
ADDRESS
CITY
POSTCODE
AMOUNT
MTCN
I want you to pls try and make the payment this morning so that i can mail the keys out asap
From Me
Hello!
I will be going to Walmart soon to send the money to Mrs. Boyd. I’m still at the yard sale. I have a bite on this credenza, but the guy needs to go home and check with his wife first. It’ll be good though because that’ll bring in another $50, and I’m still hoping someone will want to buy my Rod Stewart vinyl record collection. They are collectors items, so I’m asking for $5 a piece.
I did have a couple unanswered questions, so if I could have answers before I send the money, that’d be great. It’s actually my girlfriend who wants to know.
1. Does the house have a dishwasher?
2. What is the capacity of the hot water heater?
3. Are we allowed to paint the interior? My girlfriend likes bright colors, we peeked through a window and all the walls appear to be light yellow, she wants to go bolder.
4. Is my dog allowed to stay inside the house, or just in the yard?
5. How soon after I send the money will you send the keys? And how many copies? I’ll need an extra set for my girlfriend and some other people, so 5 sets would be ideal.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, I’ll be heading to Walmart
once I sell this Credenza and record collection. Also, I almost forgot to sign the lease agreement and email you back. I’ll do this soon, I promise!!
Hope you’re having a blessed day!
From McBale
Yes the house has dishwasher and yes you are allowed to paint to your taste. Dogs are allowed as well inside but i hope yours dog is a trained dog. You will be having 6 pairs of the keys and i will be sending the keys immediately i confirm payment today. Hope to read from you soon with the payment info. I really cant remember the capacity of the heater.
From Me
Ok. I’ll send over the money once I finish up here at the yard sale.

I’m glad you’re sending extra keys. I have a couple friends who will be parking their camper trailers in front of the house and will need to access the bathroom, so I can give them each their own keys. I just wanted to be sure the water heater was high enough capacity to handle 5 or 6 showers each morning. Also I’ll need to run an extension cord from the house to their campers so that they can have electricity at night.
Good news! The guy came back with his wife to purchase the credenza, so that’s extra money in my pocket. The Rod Stewart records haven’t sold yet. I might have to lower the price. I imagine I’ll be finished up with the yard sale in 3 hours or so. Then I can make the trip out to Walmart. My truck broke down, and since I don’t have enough money to repair the transmission, I’ll have to take the bus.
Thanks again, and you’ll hear from me soon with the number to claim the Western Union transfer.
Matthew
From McBale
ok i will be waiting
From Me
Ok, I’ll head to Walmart momentarily. I’ll email you the info within the hour. It’s currently rush hour and the busses are running slow. I’ll wait at the stop until the bus comes, I’ll need to make one transfer to get
on the #72 bus that will take me to Walmart at Eastport Plaza. I’ll also pick up some gallons of bright green and purple paint for the living room and some extension cords for my friends to hook up their camper to the exterior outlet. I found it around the side of the house, so it’ll be most convenient.
The yard sale was a success and I managed to make $61, which will be put toward the rent for the first month.
thanks, I’m leaving now to wait for the bus to Walmart.
From McBale
Get back to me immediately you are done with the Western Union, and also email me with DETAILS SUCH AS :
SENDER NAME
ADDRESS
CITY
POSTCODE
AMOUNT
MTCN
From Me
Hello!

So, I have had a slight problem. I caught the bus successfully to Walmart in order to send off the payments for the house rental. It began to rain a bit on the way, but luckily there was a shelter at the bus stop on 82nd avenue where I had to catch a transfer. I had to wait for nearly 20 minutes. Once I got to Walmart, I was greeted by an elderly gentleman whom I asked where the money services counter was. After finding the counter, I waited in line for about 25 minutes. Unfortunately when I got to the desk, I was informed by an associate that their western union machine was down, and it probably would be back up running tomorrow.
So, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to send the money at this time. I also called my attorney, to see if he could transfer the money that I had previously given him, but he told me that his accountant doesn’t work on Saturday, and would be unable to transfer the funds until Monday.
I’ll try again tomorrow morning at Walmart, providing there is Sunday bus service.
Again, sorry about the delays. I am really looking forward to receiving the keys and moving into my new home!
Best,
Matthew
Oh, I had another question. Is there a basement in the house, and what is the condition? Is it a finished basement? I have a couple of buddies that need a place to stay for a few months. They offered to stay in tents in the back yard, but seeing as it’s cold in these winter months, it may be preferable to allow them to stay in the basement with a space heater and some travel cots.
I’m heading to Walmart at 8am tomorrow morning to complete the Western Union. I’ll send over those details as soon as possible.
Thanks, have a great night!
From McBale
Yes i included that in my previous email that the house has a finished basement. i will be waiting for the info
From Me
Ok, very good information, glad to hear. I am just waiting for the bus to take me to Walmart to complete the transaction. Once complete, please send the keys later today through US Postal Service and include a tracking number so that myself and my attorney can be assured of delivery of keys and release of funds from escrow to pay back my dad. I have several interested parties eager to receive their keys!
From McBale
Ok i will do just that, You need to get back tome asap with the info so that i can go and send the keys before its too late
At his point, I actually wire this Boyd guy money, but only $6. 
From Me
It will please you to know that the Western Union machine is back up at Walmart. Here is the requested information to supply to Mrs. Antwoine Boyd:

Senders name: Matthew Boyd

Address: 9202 SE 92nd Avenue
City: Portland
Post Code: 97266
Amount: 600
MTCN: 2079112025
 
Please send the tracking number to the packaging containing the keys as soon as possible.
 
Thanks again,
 
Matthew
From McBale
Am attending a family meeting, i will get back to you shortly pls
From Me
Okay. Be sure to send the keys out today.

Thanks,
Matthew
It turns out Western Union didn’t like me sending money with a fake name, so they cancelled the transaction. Saved me $11!

From McBale
Pls check the MTCN again and send it to me. seems you email me the wrong numbers or scan a copy of the western union slips to me pls
Pls scan a copy of the western union slips to me. The transaction is not found
From Me
Not a problem, I have enclosed a scan of the western union receipts.

I look forward to the tracking number and the receipt of the keys.
Thanks again,
Matthew
Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 1.31.58 PM
From McBale
Hello, Did you send western union? Can you pls call the western union store where you send it and tell them that the money is not available to receive by the receiver pls.
From Me
Yes, I sent through western union. I have sent you the receipt.
From McBale
Yes i got the receipt but the payment is not available for me to pick you. Here is what i get below: ( We could not find any records that match the information you provided. Please try again )  I want you to pls call them and tell them to make the payment available right now so that i can pick it up. Time is not on my side pls
From Me
I see, hm. Very strange. It might have something to do with the computer problems they were having atWalmart yesterday, when I took the bus to make the payment. I’m sure this is just a short delay, and the payment will be available shortly.

There is also something else I need to talk to you about, seeing as I’m an honest, loyal, and trustworthy tenant of yours. Last night, my friends came to the house to see where they would be staying. Since I do not yet have the keys, my girlfriend and myself have been sleeping in a large tent in the back yard, since we have already given up our last condominium. My buddies came over and set up some lawn chairs around a card table where we were intending to roast hot dogs and enjoy a celebration of moving into our new home. One of them set up a small charcoal grill in order to cook the hotdogs. As we sat sharing stories and waiting for the hot dogs to roast, my large dog Baxter, who is now fully recovered, noticed a squirrel and went after it, chasing it. In the commotion, it appears that Baxter knocked over the grill onto the bushes right behind the house. The embers from the grill sparked a small fire that spread between two bushes and ran up the side of the house. Luckily one of my buddies was able to locate a garden hose to extinguish the flames before the house became engulfed. There is, however, some damages to the exterior of the house as a result of the fire. Be assured that the fire was contained to the outside and only caused damage to the siding and the landscaping around the house. I’m just glad everyone was safe and without injury.

If you do not receive the funds within the next hour, I will call Western Union to find out how long the delay will be.

Thanks again,

Matthew
From McBale
Yes i do trust you. Can you just call the western union now. Thank you so much
From Me
Joseph, hello!

I am calling the Western Union right after this email. So, I had a repairman come to fix the damages caused by the fire in the back of the house. I’ll attach the invoice and forward a copy to my attorney. He’ll be able to use the payments intended for the first month’s rent to cover the costs of the repairs and then send you the balance. When we receive the keys, he will western union the sum of $195.02 for the first month’s rent. I’ll advise you to forward this invoice to your insurance provider for reimbursement. I assumed that it would be most convenient for you for us to take care of the repair costs, so you don’t need to bother with it. You’ll get the $195.02 plus the $600 already sent by Western Union.
Also, my girlfriend is getting impatient we haven’t received they keys. It’s quite cold outside, and she is tired of sleeping in a tent like a sleepaway camper, we look forward to moving our waterbed into the house.
Best regards,
Matthew
Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 1.34.05 PM
Hi again,

I’ve been trying to call the Western Union, their phones have been busy for the last 2 hours. They must have had a lot of problems with transactions after their computer system went down at Walmart. I’ll try to get through some more. PS> did you manage to mail out the keys today?
Thanks,
Matthew
From McBale
Yes i have sent the keys and you should have it today. Did you try to call the western union
From Me
Excellent. Can you send me USPS tracking number so I can ensure safe delivery of the keys. I’m going back to Walmart today to check up on the payment to you.
Thanks
Sent by by “Lawyer”
Hello Again Mr. McBale,

Please for confirmation, before I send Mr. Boulders’ payment from escrow to your western union, please send a copy of your USPS Tracking or FedEx Number of the package containing the property’s keys.  Send keys to:

Jonathan Brown
B,S &W Assoc.
In Lieu of Matthew Boulders
1221 SW 10th Ave #713
Portland, OR 97205

I will proceed with payment once the tracking number is sent.  Thank you for dealing with our legal assurances.

Sincerely,
Jonathan Brown, Attorney at Law
Brown, Schmidt & Weisenheimer Assoc.
1221 SW 10th Ave #713
Portland, OR 97205

From McBale
Did you check the walmart with western union. Are you sure you sent the payment because the lady at the western union told me nothing was sent and i should tell you to send the correct MTCN or go back to the walmart and complain to them
From Me
I don’t want to go back to Walmart. That place is a zoo and full of trash people. Since you sent they keys, I’ll just direct my lawyer to have his accountant send you 795.02 when we receive the keys. They didn’t come today, so I’ll expect them tomorrow. Did you get a tracking number so I can be sure?

Thanks!

From McBale
i have put a hold on the keys till i confirm payment
From Me
You said you had sent them already. The sooner I get the keys, the sooner my lawyer will release the full payment.
From McBale
which means you did not send the deposit in the first place?
From Me
I did, however there is a problem with Western Union apparently. I sent the deposit, from money loaned by my father, but my attorney has the full rent and deposit I gave to him in escrow that will be sent to you once we receive the keys. So, no problems here. Once we receive the keys the money will be sent to you!
From McBale
Likewise what i said before. I will not release the keys until payment is confirm. Am sorry
From Me
I see. Well, I’ve tried to get my attorney to release the payments early, but he refuses without receipt of his keys. This is to protect both of us. He is an honest man, and will release the payments once the keys are in his possession. I’m sure you understand the situation. The money is waiting to be sent. I’ll appreciate your quick response.
From McBale
AM SORRY I CAN’T DO ANYTHING. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME
From Me
Surely you can do something. I send money through Western Union on good faith that I’ll receive the keys. The easiest way is for you to send USPS tracking number of the keys, and I’ll advise my attorney to release the deposit and rent. I’ve been camping in the back yard, and the nights are cold. My girlfriend and my buddies would like to be able to move inside where it is warm, and there are facilities to cook hot dogs and other delights. I look forward to hearing from you!

Matthew

From McBale
can you just call westernunion regarding the 600
From Me
I have called, it got lost in their system. They had to open an investigation and it may take 2-3 weeks for them to track it down. There was a computer glitch apparently. The easiest course of action at this time would be for you to send the keys, and have my attorney send over the funds that are waiting currently in escrow.

Thanks,
Matthew
Sent by my “lawyer”
Sent this to him:

Hello Mr. Mcbale,
 
    As you recall I represent Matthew Boulders through my law offices located here in Downtown Portland, Oregon.  He is still looking to rent “3182 NE 72nd Ave, Portland, OR 97213”

Mr. Boulders told me that the keys have been shipped by yourself.  Excellent!  I have the deposit and rent ready for transfer as soon as keys arrive at our offices.

Please keep in mind that Mr. Boulders is not to be trusted with his money, as he is careless with his spending.  Ever since the automobile crash 7 years ago, he hasn’t quite been the same.  There was a time when he would spend $2,000 nightly at his father’s hotel and casino.  Matthew had grown himself a hump of a penchant for self-destruction, spending wantonly on drugs, booze and ladies of the night.  Luckily, he and I met a year after his crash.  I was staying in the hotel on what we will presume to be business, when I saw this sad soul in the casino sucking up his spilled vodka from an ashtray.  We were able to convince Mr. Boulders to seek regular psychiatric visitations with a woman who, inevitably, became his current girlfriend.  What she saw in him was the potential for greatness (like his father before him), or maybe it was the money.  I can’t be sure, I know nothing of love.  The two lovers also adopted a dog some time ago and, just as the tortoise in that famed race, Matthew has become more responsible, slowly but surely paving the way to success and (unlike the tortoise, or his father, both already wise), he has found much needed retribution.  Although Mr. Boulders has made great progress in these last 6 years, the long/ghastly scar along the left side of his face still troubles him and so he evades his inner resolve, occasionally staying true to his old convictions, vices and ways; still having his problems with his money.  Even if he is moving forward in helping himself, he makes what his father and I consider to be, “Unworthy Mistakes.”  For instance, after Matthew’s Sunday AA Meetings, he usually buys everyone in his group a late-night dinner at Denny’s… and while Denny’s is low in their cost, paying for 20 people a week can add up.  This is simply an example, and it can usually be for better than for worse for Mr. Boulders.  Thankfully, we are here to assure you that you obtain your money regularly.

 
      As soon as the 6 pairs of keys arrive, we will release the funds to you.
 
      Thank you.
 
          Sincerely,

Jonathan Brown, Attorney at Law
Brown, Schmidt & Weisenheimer Assoc.
1221 SW 10th Ave #713
Portland, OR 97205

From Me
Mr.McBale, I have heard from Western Union, they are currently investigating the claim. My lawyer has told me he hasn’t received they keys yet. Yesterday my girlfriend threatened to leave me because you are forcing us to sleep out in the cold in a tent. In order to save my relationship, we have booked into a motel to stay warm. It is the Del Rancho motel on 82nd avenue. It is very seedy, and full of cheap prostitutes and wayfarers, it’s infested with bedbugs, but it’s all I can afford. I fear for our safety there. Last night, my girlfriend was poked by a needle that was hidden in the sheets. I will be deducting the price of the motel stay from the rent, so the sooner you settle the issue with the keys, the sooner we’ll be able to send the payment and move into our new home.

Hope you’re having a great week!
I’m still waiting to hear back from Mr. McBale….

Also, support my new film Zombie Cats from Mars!

Knee-Deep in Movie Making

We have shot three days so far. Here’s a recap of what’s happened since the first day:

Our Kickstarter was a horrible failure. We did achieve 57% of our goal, but since Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing type thing, we get nothing. As the Executive Producer, it’s my responsibility to find money. Montetré is also an Executive Producer, so at least we get to share this burden. As an additional fundraiser, we organized a party. We got donations of artwork, gift certificates, books, and DVDs to hand out as prizes in the raffle. We hoped that through selling drinks, raffle tickets, and the good-will of strangers and friends, we’d be able to raise enough to cover the gap in Kickstarter. Oh, how it would be nice not to worry about the money. While fun, the fundraiser didn’t meet our expectations, but we were able to show a rough-cut of the Day 1 shoot.

Wah-Wah. Just another of life's little challenges.

Wah-Wah. Just another of life’s little challenges.

The same day as the fundraiser, I determined that due to logistical and financial constraints, the location we had secured for Day 2 and 3, Oliver’s Café, was a no-go. I didn’t want to pass on this added stress to the rest of the crew during the party, so I waited until after to inform Montetré. As with any production, there are going to be challenges. Perhaps with a 5 or 6 digit production budget things would go more smoothly, but this is indie film-making… bordering on guerrilla filmmaking. At the end of the fundraiser, I was left with less cash on hand than I wanted, and no location for a shoot that was happening in less than four days.

With all challenges come opportunity. The Day 2 and 3 location is a restaurant. The shoot hours were 4pm until 2am. Oliver’s Café is a breakfast and lunch joint, so we wouldn’t have had to worry about interfering with normal business hours during our shoot. But finding the appropriate setting that’s not open during the evening is tough. I figured the best hope was to find an out-of-business restaurant that still had all the tables and chairs. I hit Craigslist and searched for restaurants for sale. I found one called Bravo Lounge. I called the owner, Stefan. I believe the place is still in business, but mainly does special events and music nights, and thankfully, was free for our two shoot days. I drove over to the location, and it looked way better than Oliver’s for our purposes. It was perfect. I headed over to Montetré’s to tell him the news and arrived just as the Kickstarter was counting down the seconds to our big failure. Seeing your major source of funding evaporate and knowing you are without a location is shitty, and Montetré was in low spirits. I saved the news about the Bravo Lounge until after the Kickstarter ended, and that instantly raised the mood. We celebrated with some drinks at Dean’s Scene, and I unveiled our new fundraising concept, High-Five.

What is $5? Not a lot really. It’s a drink, a pack of cigarettes, and less than 1/1000th of our production budget. It’s also the idea that if we can reach 1005 people (1005 being Montetré’s magic number), we can fund this project. It’s also a rejuvenation of our enthusiasm for this film. We set up a pay portal directly on the website, and offered similar prizes as the Kickstarter. $5 for a ticket to the premier, $25 for a DVD, etc. We contacted all of our backers on Kickstarter and asked them to give us a High-Five. Thus far, several have.

Day Two of shooting began at 4pm. Five principal actors, 11 extras, 9 crew. Lights, three cameras, sound, makeup.. an entire restaurant scene to dress. Montetré and I had a lot to do before the shoot. We needed to get plates, prop food, a wheelchair dolly, lights, catering, coffee, artwork, wine glasses, faux-wine… somehow we managed to get it all done and show up on set right on time. The added pre-pro work came thanks to one of the producers dropping out the night before. One of the additional charms of this style of filmmaking is the stress it puts on individuals. While we are paying the crew, we’re also asking a lot of them. Long shoots, rapid pace, not to be cliché, but it is a labor of love. Without the total dedication by everyone involved, the film won’t be the best it can be. I feel now, we have solidified the crew and they are all invested in the project and truly care about the final product. Everyone is working in complete sync, and the challenges of the ambitious shooting schedule are being met by the crew. They blow my mind, really. It’s amazing to see.

Evan Hays and the Cast and Crew

Evan Hays and the Cast and Crew

Day 3 went nearly as smoothly as day 2, although it did have its own challenges. Some of the crew had commitments that prevented them from showing up at the call-time, but Montetré used that time to rehearse shots, shoot some MOS stuff, and in the end, things were fine. I had to work, so I showed up to dress the set (which fortunately didn’t require much since we could leave the setup overnight). I went to work (which sucked), and returned for the end of the shoot. Pushing our midnight deadline, we still had to complete the pivotal scene in the film. It sucks to watch the clock without compromising the scene. As a producer, I hate to piss people off, and I was worried that Stefan would be pissed off. Shortly after midnight, Stefan showed up amongst the chaos of finishing the scene and tearing down. He disappeared again as Montetré set up for a couple of additional shots that needed to be done. I knew it would take at least an hour to break down the set and clean up, so we were already over an hour behind schedule, but not to compromise the film, I felt it would be best to finish the shoots and deal with a pissed off restaurant owner. Once everything was about cleared out, Stefan returned in a seemingly good mood. He asked for photos of the shoot and took a shot with Montetré. He really didn’t seem to mind we went over schedule, and was pretty interested in what we were doing.

Montetré with Stefan

Montetré with Stefan

The final exterior shots were filmed outside, which happens to be a lot full of concrete lawn statuettes. At 2am, with exactly 24 hours before the bar scene filming, we were done. A long two days, yes, but an amazing amount of work was accomplished. Can we get a High-Five?

Exterior scene

Exterior scene

How to Make a Movie.

When I was a junior in High School, a group of my friends and I set out to make a horror film. We sat around and brainstormed an idea: the evil Dr. Georg Schnitzelhoffer would create a creature. The creature will terrorize everyone in the neighborhood. We gathered our cast, found someone with a video camera, and filmed the scenes in our homes and backyards. We called it “The Creature of Terror”, and yes, it was terrible. But it cost us nothing, and the ideas were funny to us. We still talk about that horrible little film.

Fifteen years later, I haven’t lost that filmmaking bug. I suppose I could have gone to film school, but I chose to become a musician instead, an equally lucrative career path. Several years ago, I decided to get back into film. I made a goal to be involved with five film projects as a new-years resolution. I achieved that goal, landing supporting actor roles in an independent feature film and a couple of short films and working as a production manager on another short film. None of these films saw any success, so I went on with my life. A couple of years later, I started a theatre production company. I enjoy both film and theatre, but they are different animals. With film, your work has the potential to last forever. With theatre, you get the energy and exhilaration of performing in front of an audience, and then it’s over. During the casting for my fourth play, I met a young actor named Montetré, a recent transplant from Texas. He brought a unique energy and passion I hadn’t seen, but he wasn’t right for any of the roles. I knew, however, that working with him would lead me on an interesting path so I created a small role for him, and cast him in the play.

During one of the rehearsals, he presented me a script. It was a small, spiral-bound booklet with an orange cover. The film was called “Pickled”. I read it. It was weird – the kind of weird that makes you interested. I wanted to produce this film.

The other difference between film and theatre, from my experience, is that theatre pays off financially. I always broke even with theatre or turned a modest profit. Each weekend, I’d end up with a pile of cash. With filmmaking, there are so many hurdles to a return on investment; even more with ultra-low-budget films. Tiny budget films like “The Blair Witch Project”, “El Mariachi”, and “Clerks” have given wannabe filmmakers big aspirations of being discovered at a festival handed a distribution deal and made millionaires. I imagine for the thousands of films that get made and screened at film festivals each year, there are thousands more that don’t get picked. Thus the dream of filmmaking fades, and the wannabe producers and directors go back to their jobs at Kinko’s to dream up their next big idea. Or, give up completely.

We made Pickled. It featured a cast of people in brightly colored jumpsuits being chased through the woods by a lady in a panther costume, lots of puppets, and an old, broken down ambulance I had thrown $1000 down to acquire. The film didn’t make it to any festivals, get a distribution deal, or make any money. But $7,000 later, we had a finished film.

Montetré presented me with other scripts. Moon-Pi, a science fiction film about time travel, K’nights, Be Meaner… all these films having technical requirements that would make them difficult to produce. By this time, I had opened a coffee shop, and found that I had little time for filmmaking. The thing about Montetré though is that he has tenacity. He will get his film done no matter what. While I respect him for his creativity, I always felt his films required too much ‘stuff’ to be successful without a 7-figure budget. Poorly constructed puppets, special effects, and chintzy props and sets work for a cheeky high school film made over summer vacation, but to be taken seriously, there has to be legitimate production value. I remember telling Montetré that he needs to write films according to his resources, thus limiting his creativity. He went on to make Moon-Pi and K’nights. He filmed a trailer for Be Meaner. While none of these films saw any commercial success, they were made, proving that he has the dedication and discipline to follow through on his projects.

A couple of months ago, I met up with Montetré for drinks. I am convinced he is only capable of talking about filmmaking, but I like that about him. He’s passionate. Later that night, he showed me clips from Moon-Pi. I admit I was quite impressed by the results. He compensated for his lack of budget by making the film as noir as possible. It was dark and creepy. The film got me excited about filmmaking once again. He told me of his current project, “Holed-Up” and I agreed to become part of the film. I attended the table reading with the cast and crew, not knowing much about what the film was about. As we read through the script, I got a sense that this film was different. It had a solid plot, dynamic characters, and didn’t require bizarre, sci-fi locations. It was a narrative-driven drama. The story is Montetré through and through, but the film is marketable. During our cigarette break outside, my good friend Peter, who has acted in several of Montetré’s films, commented that this time it seems professional. After the table reading, the crew gathered to discuss their roles. He had his cinematographer, gaffer, lighting designer, make-up artist, sound engineer, and composer. I signed on to be an executive producer, art department supervisor, and music supervisor. I looked at the budget: $4350 for a production budget that included paying our SAG actor, crew stipends, locations, props, and wardrobe. I made sure we hired a solid sound guy. You can have the best film ever made, but with crappy sound, the whole movie is bad. A postproduction budget to include editing, post-production engineering, mastering, music recording, and festival submission fees could be raised after the rough-cut is made.

Table Reading

Table Reading

INT.  SHITTY MOTEL was the first location. We secured the worst room at the worst possible motel in Portland.  We shot the first day with two actors and the crew. The crew worked amazingly well together. I asked Montetré where he got his crew. To my surprise, they were gathered from disparate projects he had been involved with and ads on Craigslist. It didn’t matter that they were mostly strangers to each other; everyone worked with amazing synergy. The footage looked good, and I became more excited about the film.

INT. SHITTY MOTEL

INT. SHITTY MOTEL

Even with a small production budget, money needs to be raised. Montetré started a Kickstarter campaign. Kickstarter works on the concept of crowd-funding, that is, collecting small donations from lots of people in exchange for prizes like DVDs of the film, tickets to the premier, or a Christopher Walken voicemail message courtesy of Montetré. He even offered to wash your car for a donation. The thing about Kickstarter though is that just because you have a fundraiser on there doesn’t mean you’ll get the money. You must spread the word to your friends and families and encourage them to donate, and hope they get some of their friends to donate as well.

Four thousand three hundred and fifty dollars isn’t a lot of money in the grand scheme of things. It’s exactly .00575% of the budget of Gigli, one of the worst films ever made. One Gigli budget could fund Holed-Up over 17,000 times, and I’m convinced Holed-Up will be a better film, despite the absence of the real Christopher Walken from the cast. But fundraising is difficult, and eventually your also-broke friends ignore your pleas for a Kickstarter donation. The studios and producers who threw over $75 Million at J-Lo won’t give a small-guy producer like me the opportunity to check under the couch cushions in their office for extra change, so we’re forced to ask our friends to check under their cushions.

With two weeks to go, and $4000 short of our fundraising goal, we are hoping for a late flurry of donations and a successful fundraising party. The remainder of the balance will be covered by me, someone who is waiting for his tax return so he can pay his rent. That’s the dedication I have to this project. I’m convinced that we have the cast, crew, script, and dedication by all those involved to make this a film that will be great.

So, what happens after the film is made? Like all aspiring filmmakers, I hope it gets selected to festivals, maybe major festivals. Stranger things have happened. Recognition would be superb. Distribution would be amazing. But more than that, I hope this film becomes leverage to find funding to make subsequent films. This film will prove that amazing things can happen for very little money. Gigli proves that giant budgets don’t yield amazing results, but that passionate people who wish to scrape together the resources to create amazing art can tell stories the big guys are afraid to touch.  We don’t expect to become millionaires. We just want to make good movies and for people to see our work.

Our Kickstarter is located at http://kck.st/11viJHd for those of you who would like to make a pledge.

holedupposter

Poster