CURRENT PROJECTS

34th & PARK
(documentary, 85 min.)

How do people treat each other, especially those in need?

In one hour I transform myself from businessman to bum and see the way I am treated on the streets.  I impersonate an inebriated homeless man, before heading back to my 'plush' apartment to rejoin and re-examine my 'real' role in society.

In basically one shot I show how I go from being a respectable member of society to a homeless man and how easy the transformation can be.  My experiment explores how our societal status seriously affects the way we are treated in the world and how it is easier than one thinks to go from top of the heap to bottom of the pile.

Much of society's reaction to us is simply based on our outer appearance and it's consequent signifying rank within our social system.  So, let's all learn a lesson and see how we would be treated if destitution suddenly happened to us.

 

'TARDS
(comedy - screenplay, seeking production financing)

Charlie and Adam are lazy, flunking college seniors. Charlie has been living off Adam and his parents since he failed out for the second time and his own parents disowned him. When Adam is suspended for academic reasons, his fed up parents cut him off too. The spoiled cubs now face having to give up their rented Beverly Hills bungalow and must make it on their own or face the horrors of urban squalor. Not to mention Charlie is being threatened by dangerous loan sharks for outstanding gambling debts. Desperate and panicked, they drunkenly decide to kidnap someone for ransom.

They leave a bar, stagger to their car and drive a few blocks. They randomly thwart the first person they find and take him back to their house. When they get him inside, they realize they have picked up an autistic savant, Ralph. He is so severely "touched", in fact, that he does not communicate with them. They make a half-hearted attempt at tying him to their kitchen chair and pass out. In the morning, they have forgotten their antics until seeing Ralph tied to their kitchen chair. The boys decide to take him back but can't remember where they picked him up and Ralph isn't talking. After giving him a packed lunch and a few dollars, they leave him at a bus stop. A few hours later, they find Ralph sitting on their back porch.

Charlie and Adam decide the only way to find out where Ralph belongs is to kidnap another, "less retarded" person to communicate with Ralph and find out where to return him. They go to a local psychiatric institution and find Hank, a gregarious man with a less than severe Down syndrome affliction. They convince Hank they are taking him on a field trip as part of his therapy and take him back to their house. Hank figures out what is happening and instead of helping threatens to report them to the police if he and Ralph aren't allowed to stay with Charlie and Adam. In the meantime, Hank develops a dog sitting business to earn money towards his share and in preparation for his own exit strategy and other business ideas, namely a drive-thru pizza restaurant.

Casually one afternoon, the group is shooting hoops on the house's basketball set up and are amazed to discover that Ralph does not miss a shot. They decide to let the "retards" stay and prepare to join a local prize money street ball tournament with one of Adam and Charlie's other friends, Tyrell. The top prize is $25,000. However, Tyrell breaks his ankle in a scrimmage and they are back to square one until Hank suggests a fifth player. A friend of his from the institute, L.B., is 7-feet tall with a ton of basketball experience. The trouble is without his medication, L.B. becomes easily enraged and nearly impossible to contain. Hank convinces Adam and Charlie he can keep L.B. under control. The three of them return to the hospital and stage a break out, snatching L.B. form the hospital in the middle of the night.

Now with a full team, they practice and scrimmage everyone from Jr. High School kids to seasoned street ballers, trying to get team chemistry while teaching Hank and Ralph the ropes with Tyrell's tutelage. With the loan sharks, confused girl friends, angry doctors closing , nervous parents and the police closing in, they play in the tournament and somehow come in second place.

Charlie and Adam are arrested. After testimony from their "hostages", they are given probation and state sponsored responsibility to provide a foster home and care for their captives. They leave the courtroom with a newfound sense of responsibility and purpose. Together, they can pursue Hank's dream of opening a drive-thru pizza restaurant from their competition earnings since their debts were exonerated earlier by the mobsters.

 

PIRATES
(action, drama - screenplay)

In Washington, a federal agent, Joseph Jones, is offered the job of State Department liaison to Thailand.  During his briefing, we learn that Jack Shaw, a renegade American operative, has been fighting pirates who raid Vietnamese refugee boats and often rape, terrorize, rob and kill those on board.  In an extended flashback we see Jack as a young bureaucrat, experiencing firsthand the incredible devastation inflicted by the pirates on a group of unsuspecting boat people.  After gradually learning the ropes, he begins to fight fire with fire to the chagrin of the administration.  The UN sees Jack as an embarrassment and threat to diplomatic relations.  Joseph is ordered to begin legally and methodically regulating the situation and to either bring Jack under control or terminate his operation.

Joe and his wife, Catherine, attend a party the US Embassy in Bangkok.  At the reception is the shady Thai parliament member, Senator Saht, and Jack Shaw himself.  Jack and Catherine hit things off well as Jack offers advice while making it clear his beliefs that Joe is a UN puppet.  Concurrently, off the coast, the pirates, under the guidance of their sinister leader, Kak, raid a Norwegian supertanker.  Microchips are found on board. The pirates loot the ship and kidnap the Norwegian captain.

The next day, Joe and Catherine tour the Songkla Vietnamese Refugee Center where Joe is to be stationed.   The place is in obvious need of an overhaul and new organization.  Jack shows up and offers to take Joe to see "more refugees".  Joe agrees and soon finds himself touring the coastal waters with Jack and his rogue crew.  Jack informs Joe that they are going to rescue the kidnapped Norwegian captain, an event kept hidden from the Thai government.  On a small island, there is a bloody gunfight between Jack's men and the Thai pirates.  They rescue the captain, incurring some casualties along the way.  Kak, however, manages to escape. Joe is shocked by the violence and urges Jack to do things by the book.

Joe is instructed by Washington not to interfere with Jack's operation but to hold him accountable for any criminal acts.  The two men, however, are beginning to develop a grudging respect for one another.  When Joe learns of Senator Saht's nefarious dealings (in both drugs, smuggled microchips and human slavery), he pleads with Jack to deal with it through official channels.  Jack agrees, but only to "teach Joe a lesson on how things really work".  Joe then tries to expose and indict Saht.  Meanwhile, in the midst of Joe's bureaucratic dealings, Jack and Catherine become closer but prudently avoid intimacy.

Saht is arrested, and then released unconditionally due to a loophole.  Joe becomes despondent jurisdictional authority is so slow in coming and fears that Saht and the pirates, who are in cahoots, may compromise Jack or even himself.  Meanwhile, Kak, has been spying on Catherine and winds up sharing a taxi with her posing as a fisherman to learn more information on Joe's dealings.

Jack and Joe get word about a Muay Thai kickboxing fight fixing scandal and that Saht is lining up a large sale of heroin.  They set out to catch the senator in the act.  There is another shootout and Jack is injured.  Kak again escapes.  The slippery Saht is again released with no press involvement.

In retaliation, and as a message to Joe, Kak and the pirates massacre the Songkla Refugee Center.  Then, Jack's long time friend, Praet, is murdered sending Jack into seclusion at an ancient Buddhist temple.   Catherine goes to convince him to keep his integrity and stay away from the fight.  Unsure if he will, Catherine returns to Joe and announces she's leaving Thailand to return to America.  She pleads with Joe to let Jack disappear or stay out of his way.  Just before Catherine can leave, Kak abducts her.  Knowing his methods are the only option to rescue his wife, Joe goes to Jack for help.

Through his extensive grapevine, Jack is able to determine her location and a guerilla-style rescue attempt takes place.  In the final climactic action sequence, Jack and his rag tag guerilla army corner the Senator in his mansion.  A boat chase ensues between the main characters.  Kak and the senator are killed and it appears that Jack is also.  Or is he...  Joe and Catherine return to America when Washington calls the mission back as Joe reveals the true news of the senator's dealings and Jack's demise.

 

THE EYE OF GOD
(horror, thriller - screenplay)

Michael Taylor is having a bad day. The commercial he has been acting in is humiliating and now his old car has broken down in the rain. He's found himself in a church, calling his wife for a ride. As he waits, he listens to the sermon on the struggle between good and evil. His wife, Annie Taylor, and Michael are a relatively happy couple, aside from Michael's despondency over his acting career in light of his wife's success as a sit-com star and his training in classical theater. They have a young daughter, Chelsea.

In a stroke of fate, Michael lands the lead role in a feature film called, "The Eye of God", a psychological thriller about a man who becomes a serial killer. During the audition process Michael meets the director, Jack Shaw, and the writer/producer, Alexander Laurent. Jack, Michael and another actor competing for the lead role with Michael ride motorcycles to a biker hangout, they have a discussion on the power and beauty of evil. When Michael rescues a tourist couple that wander into the violent dive, Jack knows he has his leading man. The following day, Michael's celebration is dampened with the news that the other actor has died in an apparent motorcycle accident/suicide.

The filming of "The Eye of God" begins. The film begins working its spell on Michael and he begins having terrible dreams and seeing strange things while awake, like abnormal swarms of flies around his home and on the set. As filming progresses, Michael himself becomes increasingly strange: he forces his vegetarian daughter to eat a plate of meat at a brunch with friends and his lovemaking turns abusive and almost violent. Jack takes Michael to Tijuana in the interest of "character research" where he is drugged into participating in an amateur boxing match. Michael pummels the other fighter with his bare fists.

About this same time, Michael befriends a priest, Peter Magnus, through his wife. Peter also happens to be an artist obsessed with violently graphic images. Peter, however, tries to offer the slowly souring Michael an alternative to evil. Meanwhile, as the filming continues, so does Michael's decline. He sets up two DVDs in his den and begins watching violent horror films and pornography and reading literature to further immerse himself into his character, becoming more solitary and morose and further ostracizing his family and friends. Soon, his den starts looking like a cabalistic shrine with religious cult symbols filling the walls and desktop.

Aside from isolating himself in his den, Michael also begins spending more time with Jack, who becomes more of a force in Michael's brainwashing at the hands of Alexander and a mysterious executive producer. Ominous events mount: a stunt woman dies in a strange accident on set, Michael buys a gun which he brings, after another manic dream, to his wife's dinner party with the intention of inciting an argument and using it on the guests. By a narrow margin, he is somehow able to stay his hand and call Peter, whose friendship he's been neglecting.

Michael visits Peter, who upon reading and researching the script, tells him that "The Eye of God" is the name of a ancient cult which flourished a thousand of years ago. Michael sets out to confirm these suspicions. When Michael calls back Peter, he finds out the priest has been murdered and his chapel desecrated. Enraged, Michael confronts Jack with his gun at Jack's home. Jack is again able to subdue Michael with his power and the two of them attend a Satanic Sabbath and complete their bond in a savage ritual. Michael disappears, only to show up at the priest's funeral and mock his wife, daughter and the mourners, screaming that "The Eye of God" is watching them.

Michael moves to the desert for the last few days of filming, where Jack and Alexander complete his brainwashing and Michael has another series of dreams which catapult him into darkness - he meets the executive producer in a hallucination of great evil force. When he awakens, he rides home to execute his family. In the final moments before he does, he has other images of sweet memories with them. The forces of goodness inside him overpower the obsessive evil ones and his family is spared. Michael rides to Jack's home again where the director and writer await him with the news of his consecration by the final deed. Michael confronts them with forgiveness. Alexander orders Jack, whose armor has been cracking, to kill Michael. Jack and Michael have become friends and Jack, his soul torn and unable to escape the hold of the cult, takes his own life. As the police arrive to find Michael cradling Jack's body, Alexander has disappeared.

The final sequence in the movie is of a newscast previewing Michael's interview from jail about his accusations of murder and Satanism in "The Eye of God". The last shot is of Alexander sitting in a coffee shop reading the entertainment section of the newspaper showing a full page spread with several accolades for the movie. Across the street is a movie theater with a large crowd lined up to buy tickets under a marquee which reads: NOW SHOWING - Michael Taylor in "The Eye of God".

 

THE REAL BATMAN
(action, horror, thriller - screenplay)

Orville Ray, an anthropologist and professor at Columbia University, well respected by faculty and students, searches a remote jungle in Peru for the ruins of a lost, bat worshipping society. With two local guides, he locates the remains of an immense underground city. There he finds a giant stone mural that indicates the city to be the remains of the lost culture of bat worshipers. The three men make camp for the night in the labyrinth. It is a full moon they see through a hole in the earth.

Orville wakes to find one of the guides is not in his sleeping bag. As he and the other guide become separated in their search for their companion, by the beam of his flashlight, Orville locates a magical discovery: he comes into a second giant cavern where a fire burns in a distant altar. Thousands of bats line the ceiling. Pushing onward, Orville swims his way across an underground stream to the altar. It is shiny and inviting by the fire.

There he is seduced by a beautiful, hypnotic woman he finds in the ruins. During their surreal, steamy lovemaking, the dark, exotic goddess turns into a horrible bat-like monster that drinks his blood and forces him to drink hers. She nearly kills him as she climaxes.

Orville manages to escape her hidden, decaying, terrifying temple through the help of the other surviving guide and wakes up from a semi-coma in a hospital back in New York City, surrounded by his friends and colleagues.

As the next cycle of the moon moves towards fruition, Orville starts to experience strange feelings and physical pangs. He suspects the worst.

When the next full moon rises, he transforms into a humanoid sized bat-like creature with an insatiable blood lust. In his rage, he slaughters and devours a man in a New York park. By pure chance the man he has killed is a child murdering pedophile that has terrorized the city. While no ones suspects Orville is connected to the case, “The Bat-Man” is front page news. Only Orville knows the horrible truth.

He confesses to his best student, Ricky, and, eventually, to his love interest, a persistent news broadcaster, Julia Andover. Naturally, they are reluctant to believe him.

On the next full moon, however, the Bat-Man strikes again, honing in on the racing blood and accelerated heart beats of those committing a violent crime. This time, he prowls the city managing to control his blood lust enough to find and rip apart only the vilest of criminal elements. But Orville knows in his heart that it is only a matter of time until his dark side overwhelms him.

Meanwhile, as the Bat-Man news continues to grab the top headlines, the city's arch criminal, the truly heinous, Dr. Death, becomes more enraged by this “sideshow distraction” disrupting his plans to take over the city.

Orville, now on a mission known fully only to himself, goes public that he knows the Bat-Man. He organizes a revolutionary group of urban students and workers orphaned by Dr. Death's assassination of Jimmy Doyle, Ricky's uncle and the city’s prominent Children's Rights figure. Doyle was “eliminated” by Dr. Death for opposing Death's "legitimate" corporate takeover of industrial and residential properties, some of which housed disenfranchised youth.

Orville's grassroots organization springs up overnight, calling itself “Friends of the Bat-Man”, and actively supports his mission to clean up the city of organized crime and corruption led by Dr. Death and his corporation Wax Enterprises, and take the streets back from the corrupt, criminal and dark forces.

They enact a vigilante justice against Dr. Death’s criminal organization that terrorizes the city neighborhoods. Unbeknownst to them, they're also battling City Hall, as we learn the Mayor is in cahoots with Dr. Death. This culminates in an allusive appearance by Orville, who is now public enemy number one and may be suspected of either being, or at least, abetting the Bat-Man. While adulated as a hero, Orville fights the darkness growing within him, as he prepares for a final showdown with the city’s arch-criminal.

Now being hunted by both the cops, their Chief Detective Nick Francuso, and Dr. Death and his henchmen, Orville has one more thing to do before he ends his reign of dark street justice: eliminate Dr. Death and his criminal underworld's twisted plot before he corrupts and controls the city.

The battle becomes personal for Orville as Dr. Death kidnaps some of his family members and friends as bait to lure the Bat-Man into a final confrontation. In an epic showdown, the Bat-Man annihilates Dr. Death, reigniting hope against the corruption and crime plaguing the city. Finally, in the aftermath, Orville escapes to Peru on one last mission: confront and destroy the Bat-Goddess and his own cursed fate.

This story explores the comic book superhero, action, horror, thriller genres.

 

OF THE WEST
(western, adventure, action - screenplay in development)

Jefferson 'Jack' Alexander is a successful young businessman in 1885 New York City.  His family has been there for generations and though born into privilege, he is, at 32, a brilliant financier.  On the eve of his society marriage to his longtime girlfriend, Jack gives in to his deep misgivings about the lifestyle he has chosen/been chosen for and takes a train to the west to be a cowboy.

Arriving in a town with a name like Cheyenne or Loredo, Jack enlists as a deputy in a posse.  Jack witnesses his first lynching as an outlaw he pursues is caught.  He stays on as a deputy, and through the deadly results of a feud, becomes sheriff.  After he has killed the remainder of the outlaws he quits his job and, baptized in blood, becomes a bounty hunter.  In the townspeople he finds the same rules as his eastern society roots and takes to the plains with his beloved horse, practicing his shot and hunting down criminals.  As Jack becomes more disillusioned with the corruption of society he turns against the law and becomes an outlaw, robbing trains.  In this extreme freedom he is able to function at what he perceives as a higher moral level.

Having become an independent and somewhat ruthless man, Jack becomes intrigued with the Native Americans and takes to their ways.  Eventually, he finds meaning and compassion in their vision and joins them in attacks against the pale faced invading white man. There too, he becomes disillusioned.  Finally, after five years he is captured and brought back to New York where his trial is the talk of the year.  He is a celebrity and is said to have never killed anyone that didn't deserve it.  After being found guilty, and before he is executed, his old fiancée helps him escape.

 

BANGKOK HEAT
(crime thriller - screenplay in development)

A New York City detective tracks a serial killer to Bangkok.  There he teams up with a local cop to track down and bust the murderer before he strikes again.

 

SHRIMP BOAT FISHERMAN OF CHALOKLUM VILLAGE
(documentary feature - in development)

The day to day lives of a small group of Thai fishermen working and living on a shrimp boat off the island of Koh Phangan, Thailand.  An intimate and intense portrayal of the difficult lives these men lead, subsistence fishing for survival.  The dangers and beauty of fishing at night are broken up by the stifling heat of the dull days spent sleeping, talking and playing cards.  Learn the poignant story of these men, their families, and the sea they call home.  Here them talk about their dreams, hopes and tragedies; watch them battle the sea for their existence.

 

CASTRO & SINATRA
(documentary feature - in development)

Unknown to most people Frank Sinatra and Fidel Castro had a mutual admiration for each other that culminated with Castro accompanying Sinatra on his late 1962 tour of Central and South America.  Kept top secret at the time, archival footage and interviews with key witnesses reveal that Sinatra was under considerable mob pressure throughout the tour to assassinate his then good friend.  The tour ended in disaster with an attempted assassination of Castro in Buenos Aires (the famous poisoned cigar incident) and a compromised Sinatra narrowly escaping with his life back to Hoboken.  Key players in this drama also raise the issue of whether or not Sinatra and Castro were clandestine homosexual lovers during this brief touring period.  An intriguing look into the inside workings of the international intelligence community, a classic portrait of the American mob, an intimate portrayal of two giant figures in history and the "Brokeback Mountain"-like portrait of two men who's friendship and admiration for each other pushed the limits of convention sexually, politically, ethnically and artistically.  Contains the famous footage of Castro joining Sinatra on stage in Caracas for a duet of "My Way".

 

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