Monday, July 26, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lottery Winner Murdered and Buried Under a Plant City House: blogpost July 22nd, 2010

After Abraham Shakespeare, a day laborer and 7th grade dropout, won a $31 million lottery prize in 2006, his luck didn't hold. Hounded by hangers-on, Shakespeare told his brother "I'd have been better off broke." In early 2009 Abraham Shakespeare disappeared. Months later someone pretending to be Shakespeare (a woman named DeeDee Moore?) wrote to Shakespeare's mother saying: I've left town because the police are after me me, but I'm OK. This letter was disturbing to Shakespeare's mom because she knew her son could not read or write. In January 2010, police working from a tip, excavated beneath a slab of concrete in a Plant City backyard (behind 5732 State Road 60) and found Abraham Shakespeare's remains.

Shunda-K Gigs in Europe: blogpost July 22nd, 2010

Plant City Rapper Shunda-K is on a world tour. Tonight (July 22nd, 2010) she's in Zurich, Switzerland at the Hive Club and tomorrow she's in Grafenhainichen, Germany at the Splash Festival w/ Missy Elliot and the Wu Tang Clan.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Len Lye Experimental Film: blogpost July 15th, 2010

If you can't see the video, click on the header to this post (above) and watch an animation that the artist Len Lye made in 1958 by scratching on film stock.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Murdered Cop Worked in Plant City: blogpost July 14th, 2010

Two Tampa cops, Jeffrey Kocab and Dave Curtis, were shot to death at the corner of 50th Street and 34th Avenue last month during what was supposed to have been a routine traffic stop of a car with a missing tag. One of the dead police officers, Jeff Kocab, had a Plant City connection. Jeff Kocab was Plant City Police Department's officer of the year in 2007, his first full year as a cop. I don't know why he transferred (looking for more pay?) but Jeff Kocab joined the Tampa department about 14 months ago. Apparently Kocab liked cars and martial arts. His family went to church in Plant City. His wife Sara is nine months pregnant.

Here's how the police say the shooting went down: First, Officer Curtis on patrol around 2am on a Tuesday morning pulled over a red Camry occupied by Dontae Morris, 24, and Cortnee Nicole Brantley, 22. Curtis discovered Morris was wanted on a misdemeanor warrant and called in Kocab as backup. Shortly after Kocab arrived Morris pulled a gun and shot the two cops (the cops never even pulled their weapons). Both cops sustained fatal head wounds. But they didn't die immediately. Curtis held on until the hospital. According to witnesses, the cops lay with arms linked until help arrived. The shooter turned himself in a few days later.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Free Hugs: blogpost July 12, 2010

If you can't see the video, click on the header to see a film. Corny. Don't know why it moved me. But it did.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Afghan War Vet Agrees to be Interviewed: blogpost July 9th, 2010

I hope to be filming a veteran of the war in Afghanistan sometime next week. He's recovering at the VA Hospital in Tampa from terrible wounds suffered in Afghanistan when his vehicle was blown-up last August. An IED, estimated by the Army to include 350-500 pounds of explosive, was apparently triggered by someone watching his convoy. I believe that this Army Sergeant Major was targeted by the Taliban. Apparently the bomb went off right under his vehicle. His injuries were mind-boggling. But he lived. I've talked to him (a friend of my mom's arranged a telephone introduction) and we're working on finding a time and place to meet to record an interview. More as it develops. Wish me luck.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Why I Was Stuck In Traffic for 3 Hours: blogpost July 4th, 2010

I4 turned into a parking lot yesterday as I was trying to come home from Orlando.

Turns out it was a pissed-off boyfriend, who shot his ex in the back outside a Mexican market, then forced her into his brand new Honda ("don't get any blood on the seat OK?") and then led all the police in central Florida (at least all those who weren't home setting up their barbecues for the July 4th parties) on this madcap chase toward Plant City.

These cracker cops sure do love the opportunity to chase down a Mexican on I4. Anyway it ended for the boyfriend when he pulled over and shot himself in the head with a shotgun (I guess he didn't want to kill the ex, because he didn't use the big gun on her). But the rest of us were in one of those holiday weekend, mommy I want to go (after a day at Disney), is that a motherf'in helicopter?, I can't believe this is happening to me, traffic jams.

I don't want to seem unsympathetic, but you can get your jilted dead-ass on TV without making me (and a thousand other innocent people) sit in our over-heating (not-so-late-model) cars for hours.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Possible Website?

If these videos I've started to make come together (it's hard to find time to edit the footage, and just keep track of stuff, logging what people have said and stuff is more time comsumptive than you might think), I'll put them on a webpage.

At least that's what I'm hoping for.

Some of my friends from film school have had their films shown at festivals - and even won awards - but then nothing.

So I'm thinking the web is the place for my short films.

I know that getting people to visit the website is going to be tough. Some of the films I've worked on have been posted on vimeo and youtube, but after our friends look at them, the trsffic drops off.

So, when I build my website, I'm going to try to work on a marketing strategy (one more thing I've got to worry about).

Look out Twitter, here I come.

Anybody interested in helping me should contact me:

I've already talked to one friend about the website. He's a web-designer with clients in Orlando and Tampa. He says he can help me make a site that plays the videos I'm making. But I think the license for the video player he's going to use actually belongs to one of his clients, so I'm not going to use his name here.

Anyone else who volunteers, especially if you want to help me log the tapes, will get credit prominent on on the website.

And if you know of any free tools for tracking visitors (I know google has analtyics but I've never used them) I'd like to build an email mailing list so I can put all the films on a DVD and maybe sell them to people who have visited the site.

I know it's a longshot, but I'm making the films anyway, and I don't know how else to reach people while I'm living in itty-bitty Plant City.

Afghan War Vet

My mom knows a woman who works as a social worker. She says she can't get me into the Veteran's Hospital in Tampa, but she might be able to introduce me to a soldier who was wounded in Afghanistan last year.

To be honest, I'm glad that I don't have to go. The war over there doesn't seem like it's winnable. And I'm not sure who the enemy is. I mean, I know it's the Taliban, but I'm not sure how you can tell who they are.

But I respect the sacrifice of our soldiers. And I hope that if I was over there I would accomplish my missions and behave honorably.

If I can interview a wounded vet, maybe he (she?) could help me understand what we're doing over there.