Enjoy, Don’t Destroy
Welcome back to the “Artificial Ink Drops” newsletter, your one stop shop that sells nothing but updates on the creative life of Ted Kendrick. Emmy, one of the Watchtower Database’s Patreon supporters, informed me that it’s been a few months since one of these emails, so on her behalf, here we are.
Thank you, Emmy.
She surely says you’re welcome. There is much to share today.
So what’s new?
Well recently, NO MEAN FEET was accepted into several more film festivals. The short film played on April 29th in St. Petersburg, FL at the Sunscreen Film Festival. I couldn’t attend in person since I already had tickets to the Kurt Vile concert in Asheville, but I am still honored that the film was programmed.
Quick reminder: NO MEAN FEET is available on YouTube, so go watch it now if you haven’t! What are you waiting for? In fact, if you don’t watch it within the next three minutes, Bigfoot will visit you at midnight and eat your toes.
That doesn’t sound right.
Trust me, it is. You know it to be true in your heart.
The film was also accepted to the Cobb International Film Festival in Marietta, Georgia, right outside Atlanta. The event occurs over the first weekend of August, same as my ten year high school reunion, which was delayed two years, though that’s neither here nor there. I’m so excited to screen with the ATL film community at the beautiful, historic Strand Theatre.
In other festival news, NO MEAN FEET also just played at the Longleaf Film Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina on May 14th. My brother Joe and mom joined me for the trip. We screened early in the afternoon to a packed room, and attended the awards ceremony that evening where the film won an award for Best Comedy Short. We received a beautiful handcrafted tile for the effort.
Those were several mean feats!
Okay. You said it, not me.
My April was pretty busy! I spent the first week prepping for the production of a nature docu-series for 30 to 300 Productions titled STEWARDS OF SKY ISLAND. From the week of the 18th to the 24th, we were on location at Roan Mountain, not far from Boone and Banner Elk, which included parts of the Appalachian Trail at Grassy Ridge Bald and Yellow Mountain Gap. We shot what we hope will ultimately become two separate half hour episodes.
We were led across the Roan Highlands by several guides from the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy (SAHC), and captured footage of the biodiversity and regional efforts to combat climate change in order to preserve this sacred sky island. Check out the 30 second sizzle reel below.
I worked on the shoot as the Assistant Director, in charge of scheduling and keeping everyone safe and on track. Caleb Owolabi was the producer and host of the show. Our camera crew consisted of Drew Glickman as Director of Photography and Legare Hay as Assistant Camera. We also had three Production Assistants: Joy Stamp, Amberlee Barbee, and Kortni Yarborough.
The SAHC put our crew up in a roomy mountain cabin, and it was overall, a very creative and peaceful experience. This project threw me out of my comfort zone after two years of a pandemic, and honestly kinda rejuvenated my spirit. It was a pleasure to have an excuse to hike for a full week, and get paid to boot, especially after all that back pain last winter. I proved to myself that my body was well on its way to a full recovery. I am currently writing poetic voiceover narration for the episodes, assisting Caleb in contacting potential networks for distribution, and also designing the series poster.
What is a sky island? That doesn’t make sense.
I guess you’ll just have to wait for the show, and see for yourself.
Recently, I completed the first 15 pages for a screenplay written for-hire. I can’t say much about it yet, just that it’s a sci-fi concept with a built-in marketing component, but it paid me fairly, maybe the first time ever for a scriptwriting gig. I have a meeting with the client soon to discuss finishing the project, adding about 85 more pages to complete the feature film script.
So far, this year has been a handful of false starts with a few committed successes, which I suppose is how every year tends to go. For a moment, I was going to be a producer on a werewolf short film that ceased pre-production when a fire destroyed the shooting location— an Asheville music venue that has since undergone repairs; luckily, no one was hurt— though it gave the writer/director more time to tweak the script, and fill in plot holes.
COPPERHEAD was a southern gothic short film that I was very excited to create with Erik Kitchens of Hello Atomic and Absolute Grip Co. He and his crew were approved for the TN10 competition that is part of the Knoxville Film Festival, but unforeseen circumstances halted the project. I helped co-write the script with Kitchens, and was going to work on set as the script supervisor. Another one that I hope can regain its momentum at a later date.
I had actually pitched two variations of a stoner comedy for the project before Erik wanted to develop the southern gothic idea. The first was a political commentary on the nature of stoner culture in a world that has nearly normalized recreational marijuana, and the second was more of a goofy monster comedy with some SCOOBY-DOO style mystery scouts. The latter pitch was a little more fun, but neither will come to pass at the moment.
Subsequently, I almost signed on to produce a horror feature film this summer, which had a pretty interesting hook against the cliche cabin-in-the-woods backdrop, but promptly left the project after I discovered their goals and vision did not match the proposed budget. It quickly became clear that this was not the best project for dedicated film workers. Too much of the budget put “the cart before the horse,” so to speak. If you want to sell a movie, you need to make the movie first, and appropriately pay crew without resorting to deferred payments contingent on how much money the film makes back. Otherwise, that’s a lesson in how to take advantage of people.
Spill the tea.
I’ve said enough. I wish everyone the best. I know when to pick my battles.
My 4SIGHT short film is still in the editing process. Rome Widenhouse had his time swallowed up by an opportunity to edit a feature film project, and I am very excited for him. I know he will jump into 4SIGHT, as well as the promo for my HIKE IT UP comedy show, in the very near future. These things take time when you want to do them right with collaborators that you trust the most.
Trust is the building block of the universe.
I’ll have to trust you on that. I’m a little more locally minded these days.
Speaking of which, the indie film scene in Greenville, South Carolina is just as hopping, if not more, than in Asheville. Dominique Mancini is in the process of building a film studio space. As a package for actors, she will offer “speed scene” shoots that can be used as quick examples for reel building. I pitched ten concepts. She asked me to write two of them, so I did, and I liked them a lot. I suspect she’s not quite ready to launch the speed scene program, but when she does, I hope she keeps me in mind for custom scriptwriting.
The Watchtower Database output has decreased slightly with one of our editors on a break, and the primary editor James Strecker hard at work on the finale of our channel lore story videos in which I have some minor roles, and play a major part in the finale as the bad guy aka Dr. ManHatTed. The “DCAU Multiverse Revisited” just released, then it is “Poison Ivy: Plant or Person?” and finally, the thing that I shot in Astoria, Oregon last fall that remains a secret, plus some additional, even secreter stuff coming afterwards.
Not for me. I’m reading this from the future.
Well, don’t spoil it for everyone. Geez. I’ve been so busy lately, but I want to bring back my video game streams for the Watchtower Database. I still plan to binge play “Gotham City Racer” and “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker” on the original PlayStation. Be on the lookout for a return to that stuff soon!
Lettering is underway for TALES FROM THE LOST DOMINION #2 as well as the short 6-pager “Cold Blooded” which leads directly into the events of LOST DOMINION chapters 7 and 8. I’m redoing the lettering for the main 3 issues, splitting the 40 pagers into 20 page chapters each. While working on TALES #1, I learned a new work flow that is essentially the comic book industry standard, so I want to implement that with previous chapters for consistency. TALES #1 was released as a Kickstarter exclusive for backers, and will be available to the general public later in the year. TALES #2 will follow suit.
In other news, the poetry chapbook that I mentioned in the last newsletter is going through additional design changes with original artwork from my friend and collaborator Erich Reinhard, who also helped edit the poems. Here’s a rough preview of the art inspired by my poem “To the Goblin Dimension”.
Cool, but I don’t understand the context.
Well then, find the actual poem listed below:
“To the Goblin Dimension”
Pull back the small door into the red room
Where all the ghoulies, ghosts and grinches live
Forked fountains lead to pour over portals
As gateways from the Goblin Dimension
Push past the big blinds, fold into the truth
Where aliens, cryptids and Christians lie
Forked tongues preach misdirected blasphemy
Two minds made up about Heaven and Hell
Leave your world, come to ours, and enjoy your stay
You couldn’t go home now even if you tried
But if the grass was greener over yonder
Then why does grime glimmer throughout mankind?
Spooky with some spiritual undertones.
What is this, a wine tasting?
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Seen any multiverse movies lately?
You’re probably thinking of DOCTOR STRANGE AND THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, which I did see, and it’s fine, but everyone should be talking about EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, the sci-fi action film from A24, directed by the Daniels duo. The film stars Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Ke Huy Quan who you may recall as a child actor from THE GOONIES and as Short Round from INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM. It’s truly a blast to see his return to acting now as an adult.
Without spoiling any of the movie, because you should go into it as blindly as possible, I’ll say it is a visual treat that conveys the cultural zeitgeist concept of the multiverse in the most astonishing ways, completely blowing DOC STRANGE out of the water in that regard. The film grapples with themes of destiny and perception of choice versus the existential dread that nothing matters. It’s about the loss of faith, and renewal of love. One of the directors, Daniel Scheinert, grew up in a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, just like me, and I think that’s kinda cool. The film is finishing a theatrical run at the moment, and will surely soon be available on VOD and streaming.
Ahh, the ol’ 205. Do you ever miss Birmingham?
Sometimes. I enjoy a visit. Actually, a local band that I listened to back in high school came out of nowhere with a new single. Listen to “Plans” by Wild Sweet Orange, and reminisce with me back to the days of my youth, when all I had were plans. No roadblocks, no regrets, just the possibilities of the future.
You know me. Always making stuff. If you’ve read this far, I really appreciate you, and you should tell me that you read this next time you see me.
Be good. Or not. Just be. That’s all. The rest are details.