Proposed Project

The Purpose – to tell the story of what is is like to figure out you are gay and and a Hindu.  Modern Hinduism and Indian culture clash with gay lifestyle, yet Indian gays are very aware of the freedoms gays in the west enjoy.

The Audience – unaware westerners

The Story – Still Developing

A white kid gets a random text from an Indian on a dating app… “do you mind if I ask you a question?” …  when given the OK, the Indian asks “have you ever kissed a man?”  The white guy, intrigued and curious by the question, starts up a chat, which continues randomly over a period of several months.

Early on, the Indian invites the white guy to come over for a visit, that he is well traveled throughout his state and could show his new white friend about.  Over the course of a few months, they go from messaging to chatting on Skype (the first call, the Indian guy is in total darkness, fearful).  The relationship develops even though the two have only met online.

After a year, the White guy manages to get schedule two weeks off from work at the end of the year.  In the three months before his travel, he plans out a trip through Rajasthan with his Indian buddy.

The day before his flights, the white guy gets a message from his Indian buddy that his smart phone has broken, so he won’t have anything but incoming text messages.  The white guy assumes that his Indian friend got cold feet, but after three months of anticipation and planning, he decides to board the flight anyway, as he thinks he’s got a good plan (later to be seen that it was not).

The white guy arrives in New Delhi.  He finds the coffee shop at the airport where they had planned the rendezvous.  No Indian friend there.   White guy sends messages to his indian buddy, and gets one response “train arrive late from Jodhpur, will meet you at airport express.”

White guys heads to the airport express, then waits and waits until finally his buddy whom he recognizes from Skype arrives.  The two head off to their hotel.  The next morning, the Indian gets a test that their train has been canceled, so they book another one to start their journey.  But at the New Delhi TrainStation, they cannot find their train, only to find out is is 12 hours late.  They Uber to their first stop.

They travel the next two weeks, visiting a myriad of cities and villages, traveling the “way a rich Indian college kid” travels.  Including 3AC trains, Mercedes buses, and hiring an Uber to take them on a 50 mile journey.

Over then next two weeks together, the duo get to know each other.  The Indian has a lot to tell, the white guy is a good ear.  Some of the Indians issues are:

  1. He’s not gay.
  2. He is from a higher cast where being gay is not acceptable
  3. If he were gay, then his family would have him (their only son) killed (you NEVER kill your only son in Hinduism).
  4. Gays shame families
  5. Gays just disappear
  6. His family will be choosing a bride for him.  It will be a good choice, as 300 family members will be involved in the decision, 300 can make a better decision than just one person picking their own wife.

By the end of the two week period, the happy ending hasn’t been written, yet.

Other things

  1. The Indian guy requests at every hotel that there are two beds.
  2. Over the two week period, the white guy never sees the legs of his Indian friend, even though they frequently spend the night in just one of the beds.
  3. The white guy never gets sick because he never eats prepared fresh fruit, drinks only hot beverages and eats hot hot food.
  4. The Indian frequently asks “do you mind if I ask you a question?”

Other cultural experiences that can be put on film

  1.  Cows are sacred, not holy
  2. There are no trash cans on the street, but the white guy soon learns that you can “offer your trash” (banana peel, orange rinds) to the cows and the cows appreciate the offering.
  3. there is shit everywhere
  4. The auto-rickshaw drivers will charge 3-4x as much if there is a white guy, so the white guy had to hide until the deal was struck for the tug-tuk fare.

 

What Makes a Movie an Audience Favorite?

Some random thoughts about successful films

In my many years of sitting though Frameline screenings, to the tune of about 30-35 screenings of shorts and features per year, I’ve seen the successes and the failures.  I seen short films with $250,000 budgets flop while in the same shorts screening, a short that cost $2,200 (mostly food and beer for the team) win as an audience favorite.  We’ve seen several features shot for under $10,000 given prime-time screening slots, then later to the distributor.

Three key elements

Elements for success that the team needs to consider before embarking on the project:

One – every film should have a purpose.  Why make a film if there is no objective.  Most of the shorts submitted to the festivals seem to have “I need to do a film for my MFA degree” as the purpose.  Fortunately, there are a few talented students that can provide some creative work, but most is crap.

Two – every film needs an audience.  Just like the falling tree in the forest.  If people cannot relate to your film, it is DOA.

Three – the audience needs to hear the story.  If dialog is critical, then the audio needs to be awesome (it always hold be, but is frequently not).  But even without audio and subtitles for foreign language films, a well acted, directed

Narcissistic movies with don’t fare well.  See Kill the Monsters as an example.  Written by – directed by – staring = disaster.  The purpose was to self-centered and the audience was the mirror.

What Makes a Favorite

Then there are the traits that tend to make films favorites:

Gay audiences like happy endings, lesbians seem to like (a lot of) controversy where the heroine wins.

Gay audiences like characters to which you can either adore (want, crave) or can personally relate (the viewer thinks to themselves “I was there, too”).

Gay audiences like a “bit of magic” (for a lack of better words) i.e. surprises that contribute to the happy ending.

Some Favorites

Here is a developing list of shorts that have done well in the festival circuit:

I Don’t Want to Go Back Alone  – Written, directed and produced by Daniel Ribeiro.  Ribeiro nails it.  Has ever element of success.  A great story, perfect audio, shot well, good audio, characters with whom you can adore or relate to, and most importantly has that bit of magic and a happy ending.

There was one about a Japanese woman returning to her home after leaving her abusive husband, I’ll look for it.

Trêmulo – Written and directed by Roberto Fiesco.  Also nails it.  Did well but not as well as it should have (¿bias against mexicans, or was it the age difference?) – particularly good about this were unexpected changes in plot.  I can’t find a version with English subtitles, but even without, the visual is good enough that you can get the story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some thoughts

Welcome to HyperSpace.

While we are visiting, some thoughts about 3952 19th street, San Francisco, CA 94114.    There is a lot of history between our two homes.  They were originally built by the same family upon one 50′ wide parcel.  Hence the unique for San Francisco 6′ 4″ gap between our two buildings.

These thoughts are in random order and not by any degree of importance:

Our Shared Side Access

  • The space between our two buildings from the sidewalk to the gates has a long history of being shared for rear yard access since the parcels were divided in 1921.  While there is no formal access easement agreements between the two parcels, ninety-five years of mutual access has fairly well defined a prescriptive easement for access through the area to the gates.
  • Access to the year yard of 3952 was blocked off about 1998 “for security.”  With permission of the previous owner, I removed the former eight foot tall painted plywood gate in 2013 and placed redwood facing on the back side of the barricade.  This work was completed without benefit of permit and inspection by DBI.  The assembly is in a manner to allow for non-destructive deconstruction.
  • I would be agreeable to a formal deeded easement for mutual access through this area.
  • In my 30+ years here, there has been very little nuance in this area.  Only noted to be twice used as a toilet, one to smoke crack in a windstorm.
  • I have consistency not been if favor of moving the year yard access gate forward, restricting the view of the open space between the buildings from public view.
  • To do maintenance on the sides of these buildings,  it’s easiest to use standard scaffold which extends slightly across the mutual property line.  Both of us have done this in the past.
  • I’d fully support realignment of the gates to the rear yard areas to provide a legal width access opening for 3952.

The Fence Between our Two Rear Yards

  • When I put an offer on buying 3956/58 in 1984, there was a three foot high chain link fence dividing our two rear yards.
  • On 14 May 1984, a few days before Joan & I closed on the sale of 3956/58,  the former owner of 3952 from 1983 to 1990, David Rand, took out an over-the-counter permit to build a “six foot fence.”   I was out at sea at the time and returned to find the new fence in place, reaching a height of over ten feet in places.
  • Per my surveyor’s locations, the fence may be fully inside the property line of 3952.
  • More fences… the one on the deck outside the 3952 rear parlor that appeared (also perhaps without benefit of any permit and inspection) when I returned from yet another deployment that, per the former owner, was built “for my privacy.” This new fence along the deck severely restricted light from the rear parlor of 3956.
  • About fences…  I’m all for them as long as they do not block light and air.  The fence on the West side of my rear yard has the top half in glass and a wind foil on top.  Talk to your best aero engineer friend about fence airfoils.

The Front Sidewalks

  • I’d be fully supportive of taking out the blackwood acacia in front that has been lifting the sidewalks for the past 40 years.  It also has a cable holding the lower branch onto the tree.
  • Consider removing three of the five flats of concrete to provide street landscaping, leaving two for pedestrians.  See the North East corner of 19th/Sanchez for examples.  I want to do the same.

My Future Plans

  • I expect to do a re-roofing job this summer.  This probably will require the use of scaffold.
  • I want to remove, add seismic and fire sheathing and replace the siding on the first 30 feet of my original building and replace/raise the bay windows of the side projection this summer.  That work of course dependent on my oncologist’s  go ahead and a few other factors.  This is preliminary work before the 3956 original brick building foundation is replaced.
  • Next on my agenda is replacing the foundation of my building before I do any further interior work.  Not that there is anything wrong with a brick foundation on our soil.  Current plan is to face the foundation with granite and brick and include three new ground level translucent windows to allow for light into the garage.
  • As part of my intended foundation replacement, I would be open to making the path between the homes wheelchair accessible by lowering it to public sidewalk level.
  • Eventually, I want  to remove and replace the portions of my building that were not original.  (everything beyond the the setback midsection of my building).  The rear additions were added in six separate stages, and in some cases constructed of recycled or used materials.

Your Future Plans

  • With just one unit of housing on the parcel, the lot is “underutilized” compared to other parcels in our neighborhood.  I would be, and I expect the neighborhood associations would be, very supportive of the smart addition of housing that respects the historic nature of our neighborhood, that is in scale with the other homes, that adds additional units of green housing to the San Francisco housing stock.
  • Smart and respectful additions would respect the existing three foot+ side setbacks between the properties, retaining the unique publicly shared light and view across Eureka Valley.

Other Notes

  • The rear property line of 3952 is about 14 feet behind and below the existing fence line.  There is a considerable slope to the rear lot line.
  • There is an easement granted by 3952 to 3956/58 for the repair of the rear yard retaining wall at 3956/58.  There is a history behind this wall repair and easement.

For a little history on the cottage, see 19thstreet.org/3952