Darth Vera

I went up to Fallbrook a while back for a Fallbrook Film Factory event called the Comic and Animation Filmfest. I had met Dean LeCrone at a previous party, and he had made a documentary called Dean LeCrone vs. the Mutants of Comic-Con, which satirized the people who attend Comic-Con.

I brought my friend Bonnie. We were both dressed up, and as we approached the Mission Theater, we saw a couple dressed as Batman and Robin. She said, “They’re going to look at us and be able to tell we’re city folk.”

We then saw a couple of Stormtroopers acting as security guards.

There was red carpet leading into the entrance of the theater. I overheard a lady say, “They didn’t splurge on this thing. It looks like it’s just a red cloth.”

A few nice sports cars drove up. I asked Bonnie if one was a Viper. “All I know is it’s red and sporty.” A limo rolled up and a kid got out of it wearing sunglasses and looking cool as he waved to the crowd. The boy was Dean’s son.

Listening to people around the theater was interesting. The guy in the Robin costume told a Stormtrooper, “You have to try and look menacing.” I’m not sure how you do that when your entire head is covered by a mask. Holding the gun helped, though.

I heard a tall woman say to her friend, “...but we’re still best friends.” Her friend responded, “I’ve never been friends with a guy after a relationship ended. I don’t care about some jerk wanting to maintain a friendship.” The tall woman didn’t reply.

I overheard one couple talk about how they got engaged in Julian. I said to Bonnie, “Everyone proposes in Julian or some beach in Del Mar. I wonder if anyone has ever proposed in Fallbrook.” She replied, “Yeah, probably Fallbrook residents.” I laughed and said, “There should be a designated place people go for divorces the way they go to nice places to get engaged.” She replied, “They do. They’re called courthouses.”

As we walked in, I ran into a Marvel Comics artist named Matt Lawrence. He also does illustrations for No Fear. We had met at a previous party and chatted a bit. A Stormtrooper walked by us and I mentioned his voice sounding like someone working the Burger King drive-thru. Matt said, “I think it sounds more like Charlie Brown’s teacher.”

There was a 14-year-old kid I talked to named Daniel. He had won two awards at the Temecula Film Festival. We talked about scholarships that director Steven Spielberg offers young filmmakers.

The first short film shown was titled Turn Off Your Cell Phone. It was cute. Then there was one called When Bananas Go Bad 2: Yellow Fever, which was very funny. The closing credits said, “No bananas were harmed in the filming. Okay, maybe a few.”

When Tahnee Gehm’s movies started, a guy behind me had his cell phone go off. I wanted to turn around and say, “Didn’t you pay attention to the first film we saw?”

Tahnee’s films were funny. She draws cartoon creatures. In one of the animated films called The DVD and Sock Stealing Gremlins, she has them stealing DVDs, CDs, and socks that you lose and can never find.

The sound effects she made with her mouth were hysterical and added to the animation. Tahnee is in her first year of college and already her film was better than the ones I see at the annual Festival of Animation in La Jolla.

The main feature was Dean’s film about Comic-Con. In the film, he walked around interviewing costumed geeks who attend the convention. A lot of it was funny. There were the usual jokes about guys in their 40s living in their parents’ basements.

One older guy went into his entire life story and how he worked on airplanes. There were clever edits in that segment that showed Dean falling asleep as he held the mic. Then it cut to Dean at home going to bed and the guy was still talking.

An older lady who was interviewed in Dean’s film was wearing a nametag that read “Darth Vera.” She said she was Darth Vader’s grandmother. Her voice was raspy, and I leaned into Bonnie and said, “I wonder if she talks through a hole in her throat from too many Pall Malls. It certainly gives her more of a Darth Vader sound.”

As we shuffled out of the theater and into a library nearby for a reception, Bonnie looked at a few guys in costumes. She said in a robotic voice, “Are we nerds? Yes, that is affirmative.”

I grabbed some punch and cookies and talked to Donna, one of the people who run the Fallbrook Film Factory. I didn’t realize how many small films they make and how elaborate the process was.

I was introduced to the blonde that Dean was with. I found out she sang the songs in his movie, which included “Fever,” “My Heart Will Go On,” and my personal favorite, “Mutant Love.”

Dean told me about his car catching fire and how everything he had in it burned. He said, “That’s why I don’t have a cell phone now.” I told him, “The last two times someone told me their cell phone was broken it was because it dropped in a toilet.”

There were a few pieces of art on the walls. A drinking fountain had a $500 price tag on it. I wondered if it was a piece of art and then someone told me that’s how much money they needed to raise to put a fountain there.

Cartoonists were drawing caricatures of people. Tahnee was showing her portfolio and we talked about her characters. I told her I liked their eyes and then wondered if that sounded like a line.

Bonnie and I got tired of the cookies and decided to go to the pub down the street for some food. A guy in the parking lot came up to me and introduced himself. He told me that he was a songwriter and asked me to come to his car. He took a guitar out of the trunk and started playing a few tunes. He said it wasn’t tuned and then stuck his CD into the stereo.

He went through each track of the CD and talked about screenplays he’d written. He said he often doesn’t get a writer’s credit. I didn’t realize that you could have a career writing movies and TV shows without your name appearing anywhere. I wondered if that enabled screenwriters to stretch the truth in their résumés.

After 30 minutes, I could tell Bonnie wanted to leave, and this guy was going on and on. I said, “Well, we have to get to that pub before it closes.” And he threw more stories at me about the various celebrities he’d worked with. He mentioned Dolly Parton, Robert Duvall...then Bonnie stuck her hand out and said, “It was really a pleasure to meet you. We enjoyed talking with you.” We started to walk away when he said, “I can give you this CD if you want it.” I said, “No, that’s cool.”

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Should have taken the CD. I know a guy who knows a guy - and his cd wound up in the first class cabin of a trans-atlantic flight. 2 months later, his band is starting their first ever world tour!

I usually take CDs. And, often times, I'm pleasantly surprised. I was at a party (I haven't written about it yet, but it was a long time ago). And, I was telling this guy how much I like Anna Troy. He let me borrow two of her CDs, and I love them.

I was talking to Rusty Anderson, he's Paul McCartney's guitarist. And, he says there are times when he'll be with Paul in a limo, and that little window goes down. And the limo driver is handing a tape to Paul, saying "This is my nephews band. You should listen to it."

There's nothing worse though, then having the musician continuing to bug you afterwards, because they want to know what you thought of their band. Especially if you hated them.

The last few times I got CDs from friends...it was a local band called West of Memphis. And wow, they were really good. And, I remember years ago, playing racquetball with a guy that's good friends with Greg Laswell. I borrowed that CD, and it was great. That year, he got nominated for a bunch of SD music awards.

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