An Indie Rock Project…

When I published my first book, people asked me if I am writing another book. I quickly rejected the idea of doing another book. I had zero interests in doing another book.

Then I wrote about Fall Out Boy a couple weeks ago. After writing that, I began thinking about a long lost project of mine. A book series chronicling the rise and fall of a fictional indie rock band. Over the years, I would find new pieces for this epic story spanning over ten years. You may think you have the story figure out, but that is not the story I’m interested in. The story I’m interested in is the bandmemebers and their lives off the stage, their friends, their family, and their fans. How their songs reflect their private lives. How the media react to the band and vice versa. This fictional band will NOT follow the same trajectory as Fall Out Boy!

My only concern is my lack of knowledge with making music. I never played any instruments … even though I always wanted to try and learn to play the guitar. I wish I knew someone personally who’s in a band so I can pick their brain, but I don’t expect my lack of knowledge in making music, to hurt the story that much. It is just something I’ll have to work around. 

As for why I’m writing this story… I can’t screenwrite it. The scale of this story is too big for a screenplay. Even though I still don’t see myself as an author, I feel the need to write a better book. Life’s Waiting to Begin is a good book. It’s a non-fiction so I was limited in what I could do creative-wise because I didn’t want to rewrite history. I did the best I could with Life Waiting to Begin, but I had always known I had a better book somewhere in me and I’m ready to get this damn monkey off my back!

The story start off with two high school best friends; one’s a master musician and the other is a writer with a voice. They’re in a band with two brothers. The plan was to commit to the band full time after graduation. Something happen right after graduation that causes to put the band on hold. The two best friends went their separate ways for a while. That’s barely the beginning of the first act. The band is from the greatest city in the world… Cleveland. I will reveal a little more when I have an outline written. For now…scroll down and enjoy a live video of who I considered to be the godfather of the indie rock scene, Andrew McMahon!

Andrew McMahon of Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin performing Hurricane live! Can’t wait to see him next month… concert of the year! 

Films in 2012

Top Ten Favorite Films of 2012

Cabin in the Woods – The most original, batshit-crazy film of 2012! 

Cloud Atlas – Cloud Atlas is probably the most complicated film of 2012. Based on a book that was said to be unfilmable and impossible to be turned into a feature film. I didn’t read the book. I saw the film and thought… I can’t believe how well I followed this film. This film may not be for most people, but I enjoyed watching this epic story.

Django Unchained – I was disappointed with Tarantino’s last film… Brad Pitt had no business being a part of a Tarantino film. Jamie Foxx on the other hand… is welcome. This is probably Tarantino’s best film since Pulp Fiction… and Sam Jackson is brilliantly funny.

The Grey – I love The Grey. I love Liam Neeson in The Grey. The Grey is more than a survival tale… it’s more than a plane crash and a pack of wolves picking off survivors one by one. The Grey is about a broken man who had given up on life, only to find his will to live again, when forced to stare death in the eyes.

Liberal Arts – Josh Radnor (Ted from CBS’s How I Met Your Mother) wrote, directed, and starred in this great indie dramedy.

Lincoln – Spielberg’s first great film since 1997 (Saving Private Ryan).

Life of Pi – I really wish I saw this film in 3D! I don’t understand why people didn’t like the ending. If you understood the story, then you would’ve liked the ending. The most important line of the film came after revealing the twist at the end…

“So which story do you prefer?”

The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Films like The Perks of Being a Wallflower are the reasons why I have more respects for indie films than all those big budget studio films. It’s pretty much common knowledge by now that studios doesn’t put much stocks into making good movies these days. Most good films are characters-driven stories that for whatever reasons, studios are allergic to producing. Wallflower is a great 90s coming of age story.

Ruby Sparks – I pretty much watch anything with Paul Dano in the lead. Dano is one of the most underrated young actors working in Hollywood today. This is one of those stories that could’ve easily gotten out of hand quickly, but the writer kept the story grounded and interesting.

Silver Linings Playbook – SLP is in some ways the adult version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Writer/Director Russell is probably the biggest reason why this film is on most people Top Ten list. Most of the times, the best person to bring a story to the screen is someone with experiences and have a deep connection with the story.

Favorite Cast 

Cabin in the Woods

Silver Linings Playbook

To Rome With Love

Django Unchained

The Dark Knight Rises

All five films have a great group of actors working together.

Favorite Director

Rian Johnson – Looper

Ang Lee – Life of Pi

Joe Carnahan – The Grey

Sam Mendes – Skyfall

David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook

Rian is the filmmaker to watch in the coming years. Life of Pi is easily Lee’s best film. Lee’s Oscar win was probably my favorite moment of the 2013 Oscars. Without Carnahan and Neeson, The Grey wouldn’t be in my Top Ten. When Mendes was first announced as the director of the new James Bond film… I called it back then. Skyfall is going to be the best Bonds film ever!

Favorite Actor 

Liam Neeson – The Grey

Paul Dano – Ruby Sparks

Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln

Daniel Craig – Skyfall

Bradley Cooper – Silver Linings Playbook

The biggest crime of the year is Liam Neeson not getting nominated for The Grey! Easily my favorite performance of 2012! I can’t imagine any other actors doing a better job as Lincoln than Day-Lewis. Craig proved once again why he’s the best James Bonds! I never thought Cooper would on my favorite actor list.

Favorite Actress

Jennifer Lawrence– The Hunger Games/Silver Linings Playbook

Elizabeth Olsen – Liberal Arts

Zoe Kazan – Ruby Sparks

Emily Blunt – Salmon Fishing in the Yemen/Looper

Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty 

Jennifer Lawrence is my favorite actress of 2012!  The other four actresses will win an Oscar one day!

Favorite Supporting Actor

Frank Grillo – The Grey/End of Watch

Richard Jerkins – Cabin in the Woods/Liberal Arts

Bradley Whitford – Cabin in the Woods

John  Krasinski – Promised Land

Michael Caine – The Dark Knight Rises

Grillo is probably the only actor in The Grey that managed to hold his own whenever sharing scenes with Neeson. If you had seen  Cabin in the Wood, you will understand when I said that the Jerkins and Whitford scenes are the best parts of the film. Don’t be fool by Krasinski’s good guy persona… would love to see him play a complete asshole in the future. Caine is probably best part in this forgotten Batman film.

Favorite Supporting Actress

Kelly Reilly - Flight

Frances McDormand – Promised Land

Ellen Page – To Rome With Love

Judi Dench – Skyfall

Like Neeson, Reily was also robbed of an Oscar nomination! Supporting actress is the one group I struggled to complete.

Favorite Screenplay/Writing in a Film

Josh Radnor – Liberal Arts – Looking forward to Radnor’s career taking off after we find out who’s the hell the mother is!

Rian Johnson – Looper – I love Rian’s first film, Brick. He should do horror next.

Quentin Tarantino – Django Unchained – Favorite acceptance speech at the Oscars!

Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard – Cabin in the Woods – At least I don’t have to worry about anyone making an unnecessary sequel to this amazing film!

Seth MacFarlane – Ted – Comedy is so fucking hard to write! I love Ted. Probably my favorite comedy of 2012!

Zoe Kazan – Ruby Sparks – I hope Kazan isn’t a one trick pony. Look forward to her next writing project.

John Krasinski and Matt Damon – Promised Land – Who give a frack about fracking? Still a solid film due to the writings and Matt and John’s characters.

David Ayer – End of Watch – I don’t like cop films these days because they are too many crappy ones out in the last decade. Ayer (writer of Training Day) wrote and directed my favorite cop film in recent years!

Woody Allen – To Rome With Love – Not as great as Midnight in Paris, but good enough for a Woody Allen film.

David O. Russell – Silver Linings Playbook – Sometime the best writers write what they know and that’s what Russell did!

A. R. Longo’s favorite film of 2012.

I usually enjoy the process of picking out a favorite film every year. For some reason, I don’t really have a clear favorite for 2012. It came down to three films. The Grey, Life of Pi, and Silver Linings Playbook. Silver Linings Playbook is the most completed and mainstream friendly, out of the three films. Life of Pi is a spiritual film. The Grey is a downright brutal gritty tale about life and death, man vs. nature, man vs. man, and man vs. God. The easiest way would be to call a three-way tie, but I hate ties so I’m not doing that…

The Grey did something unexpectedly. It became more than a man vs. nature survival tale. From the opening scene til the ending credit, The Grey is a story of Ottway and his battles with his inner demons. The Grey is a character study with a man vs. nature survival plot serving as the film’s backdrop.

Here is a poem that came from The Grey.

Once more into the fray

Into the last good fight I’ll ever know

Live and die on this day

Live and die on this day

The Grey is my favorite film of 2012.

Before fun. there was The Format…

Horrendous - SHEPHERD

The Horrendous series is intended for mature audience.

            A boy in his late teen was pacing back and forth at a public park playground. The sun was just rising. He finally stopped pacing when he sees a girl in her late teen walking toward him.  He put his arm around her and holds her for a minute. They moved over to the swing set and sit on the swings.

            “Are you okay?” She asked.

            “I should be asking you that!” He answered quickly as she shakes her head.

            “You’re wearing the same clothes from last night.”

            “Never made it home.”

            “Why?” He chuckled.

            “Did you sleep?” He asked.

            “I tried.”

            “I’m sorry for dragging you out here early.”

            “I should’ve just let you sleep and drag you out early and then drop the bomb!” She said as she chuckle.

            “How can you even be joking about this!” He stared at her.

            “Do you remember coming here when we were kids? You would be playing in the sandbox…” She looked around the playground. “Which isn’t here anymore and I would be watching you from the swing.”

            “You never like playing with sands.” He cut in.

            “Its just sands!”

            “You had no imagination!”

            “I have imagination!”

            “Now you do. I said… you HAD no imagination.”

            “And this is why you are going to be a great writer one day.”

            “Because I play with words?”

            “Yes. Don’t you have class this morning?”

            “Probably, but I’m not going anywhere until we deal with the BOMB.”

            “I don’t want to talk about the bomb. I just to know that you are going to be with me.” He got off the swing and comforts her.

            “I will never leave you!” He said as he hugs her.

            “You are my shepherd.” She said softly.

            Coleman, late 60s, Africa-American, entered a public restroom. He walked over to the sink and tries to turn on the water. Only drips of water were coming out when he thought he heard something nearby. He untied an ax from his belt and pulls it out. He walked over to the toilet stalls. He looked at the row of stall and notice that only one was closed. He moved slowly to the closed stall. He suddenly kicked the door open and hold up his ax. An overweight man slowly walked out of the stall as Coleman smile and swing his ax.

            Coleman walked out of the public restroom, wiping the blood off the ax. He was at a public park.

            “Any water in there?” Coleman turned his attention to a guy in his early 20s.

            “No. But there are penalty of blood.” Coleman responded.

            “Too bad we’re not vampires.”

            “Yeah, but you would think the blood are infected too.”

            “Not if we boil them first.” He said as Coleman chuckle.

            “That’s pretty funny, Shepherd.” Shepherd groaned.

            “Stop calling me that!” Shepherd walked away from Coleman.

            Coleman and Shepherd were sitting down at a fire pit. Coleman looked up into the sky and stare at the stars.

            “Will you ever tell me what you did in the military?” Shepherd asked.

            “No. Whoever we were in the past doesn’t matter now.” Coleman answered.

            “Come on… you were probably a button pusher anyways.” Coleman chuckled softly for a moment before looking directly at Shepherd.

            “I kill people.’ Coleman stared at Shepherd.

            “Okay… could’ve fool me”

            “We need to find you a weapon.”

            “I’m happy with my gun.”

            “Guns make noises and bullets are getting harder to find.”

            “Well… finding new weapons are even more harder to find.” Shepherd said. Coleman pick up a big gym bag that was behind him. He took out a huge bow and show it to Shepherd.

            “I found this the other day. I could teach you how to use it.” Shepherd looked at the bow and softy laugh.

            “Bow and arrow? Really? What if there were five of them after me… I’m dead before I even set up my third arrow.”

            “You’ll learn to do it fast.”

            “No… I am not a killer like you!”

            “Then you will not survive in this world.”

            “Then maybe you shouldn’t have save me at the creek! I was ready to die!”

            “If you still want to kill yourself, be my guest… I don’t care.”

            “Go fuck yourself!” Shepherd said. He got up and walks away from Coleman.

            Early next morning, Shepherd and Coleman were leaving the park.

            “So tell me about Erin.” Coleman said as Shepherd stop moving and turn his attention to Coleman.”

            “Do not ever bring up her name again!” He told him.

            “Okay. Sometime it helps to talk about it.”

            “I don’t want to talk about it.”

            Shepherd and Erin were in a hospital room. Erin was lying in bed, hooked up to machines, while Shepherd was sitting at her bedside.

            “For some reasons, I can’t stop getting these déjà vu feelings whenever you are beside me in this room.” Erin said.

            “Well… I hope you continue to have those feelings until we kick the cancer’s ass for the second and final time.”

            “It’s in God’s hands now.” Erin told him. Shepherd scoffed and shakes his head.

            “It’s fucking bullshit!” Shepherd whispered. “God doesn’t decided who live or die. Do you think God put guns into hand of crazy people and then allow them to kill innocence people? Or how about letting some dumb drunk get behind a wheel?” Erin slowly put her hand on his face. “I’m sorry.”

            “I love you.” Shepherd smiled at her.

            “You are going to be okay.”

            “When I get better, I want to see Niagara Falls.”

            “Do you think we can jump off it?” Shepherd joked as Erin chuckle and then cough. “Do you need water?” Erin nodded her head. Shepherd grabbed a cup with a straw nearby and holds it for Erin to drink.

            “Water isn’t cold.”

            “Sorry. I’ll get cold water.” Shepherd got up and walks into the bathroom. He dumped the water in the sink and fills it up with cold water. He walked out of the bathroom and hand the cup to Erin. Erin took out the straw and drinks it from the cup.

            “Thanks.”

            “I almost forgot.” Shepherd took out something from his bag and hand it to Erin. “Fully charged.”

            “My iPod! You are a lifesaver!”

            “I’m leaving the charger here too.”

            “You got class at two?” Erin asked as Shepherd sighed.

            “Yeah. I’ll come back with Ryan at four.”

            “I’ll miss you!”

            “Don’t burn your ears out listening to too much Lifehouse!”

            “Oh shut up!” Erin told him with a smile.

            Shepherd and Coleman arrived at a downtown area of a small town. They were on foots, walking along the middle of the street.

            “Word of the day… it’s your turn.” Coleman said.

            “My turn? What was it yesterday?”

            “Hooey” He told him as Shepherd chuckle.

            “That’s a good one. Alright… let me think.” Suddenly Coleman grabbed Shepherd’s arm and drag him off the street and behind a parked car.

            “I hear someone crying.” Coleman whispered. In the far distance, a female in her 30s, was wandering slowly in the middle of the quiet street. “Someone need to shut her up before one of them hear her!” Shepherd walked out to get a better view but it was too late. One of them came out of a shop near her. “What the hell is she doing!” Coleman said.

            “She isn’t running away from them! We need to help her!” Shepherd said.

            “We are too far away to help.: Shepherd pulled out a gun. “Do not use it. We don’t know how many are around!”

            “It’s just one of them! I can make the shot from here.”        

            “Shoot her if you’re going to shoot.” Shepherd looked at Coleman for a second. “Trust me… if you want to fire the gun, shoot her instead.”

            “You are fucking crazy!” Shepherd said to him softly as he aim his gun carefully. He fired the gun and the female is still standing. Coleman shook his head as Shepherd smiles. Coleman approached Shepherd.

            “Good headshot.”

            “Thanks. Should we check on her?”

            “Let her come to us.” Coleman responded as Shepherd waves at the female from the distance.

            Shepherd and Coleman were inside an abandon house. It was after sunset. Shepherd was sitting down on a chair, looking at a gun he was holding.

            “It’s my fault.” Shepherd said softly as he take the gun apart and throws the pieces on the floor. Coleman entered the living room where Shepherd was. Coleman looked at Shepherd and sighs.

            “What’s going on Art?”

            “She’s dead because of me! There was so many of them and we just ran like cowards!”

            “She’s dead because she wanted to die! We are lucky to make it out alive!” Shepherd stared at Coleman for a few seconds.

            “I want the bow and arrow.” Shepherd told him.

            “Alright. It’s yours.”

            “And do me a favor? Don’t ever call me Art again!”

            Ryan was standing outside on a porch of a house. Art walked out, carrying a backpack. He handed Ryan a drink box. Ryan threw the drink box off the porch as Art sighs.

            “I hate you!” Ryan said. “She’s dead because of you!”

            “I know.” Art said softly. “What do you want to do now?”

            “I want to see Erin.”

            “You can’t. Remember what she told you?”

            “I don’t care!”

            “Listen… she wrote you a letter. I’ll give it to you later today when we find a new place to stay.”

            “A letter? When did she write it?”

            “Last night.”

            “Give it to me.”

            “I’ll give it to you later today. We need to leave this place now. Go pick up your drink box.” Ryan followed Art off the porch. Ryan picked up the drink box.

            “If we go by a church, can we go in and light a fire for Erin?” Art stared at him for a moment before answering.

            “Sure.”

A great live video of FOB!

The Forgotten Fan

Fall Out Boy… the very first indie band I ever got into many years ago. I mentioned them briefly in my book. The only reason why I only mentioned them briefly is because frankly… I didn’t have much to say about them. They were one of the best indie bands I’d heard then they went mainstream and sell out.

This is the one concept I’ll never understand with bands. Selling out after going mainstream. I would understand if a band sells out to go mainstream. Why would any bands sell out AFTER going mainstream? If it was their indie music that help them go mainstream then why change it and sell out? They already made it. They can keep doing their own things. I seen FOB four times and it was amazing how much they had change from the first time I saw them at Warped Tour and the last time, after they’d sold out. At Warped Tour, they were full of life and energy and really brought this gritty indie rock n’ roll attitude on the stage.  Five or six years later, after going mainstream and selling out, I saw them at a headline tour. They lost the grit, the energy, and more importantly, they lost themselves. They weren’t the Fall Out Boy I once knew and it’s a tragedy. A great band became brainwashed by the mainstream and in the process lost what made them special in the first place. It’s a process I hate to see any bands go through, but is a part of music industry.

When I first heard rumors of FOB coming back together, I honestly wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I will always be a Fall Out Boy fan. I love their first two albums. Then the rumors turned out to be true and I found out their upcoming new album is call, “Save Rock and Roll.” I laughed at the irony of the album title since all they ever did after going mainstream is piss on Rock n’ Roll and their indie roots. To make matter worse, their first single is mainstream garbage with zero resembles of the indie FOB I once knew.

Then I found out they’re doing a tour with a show here in Charlotte. Even though I don’t like the mainstream Fall Out Boy, I still wanted to attend the show and see if they got their mojo back because Fall Out Boy can put on one hell of a live show! If I just hear at least five songs from the old days, I’ll be happy.

This morning at 10am, tickets were set to go on sale to the public on LiveNation. At 10:00am, my brother and I attempt to buy tickets from two different computer and neither of us were able to score tickets. They sold out 2,000 tickets in less than a minute. I guarantee you that at least ¼ of those tickets went to scalpers. I am a little disappointed I didn’t get tickets. Most of the fans are mad at The Fillmore and LiveNation for not getting a fair chance at getting a ticket. The truth is The Fillmore and LN doesn’t care. They already made their money. Fans should be piss at Fall Out Boy themselves for not getting a better chance at scoring a ticket. I know and Fall Out Boy know that they could’ve handle this whole ticket situation better and minimize the chance of a scalper making money and robbing the fans. Pissing on Rock n’ Roll is one thing… pissing on the fans… you could have a problem. Granted a bunch of the fans are forgiving people, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t do something about it. I would like to see bands be more hand on when selling tickets and make sure the FANS come first and reduce the chances of a scalper taking advantage of a fan’s wallet.

The bottom line is… scalpers will continue to rip people off until bands start caring more about their fans and stop doing whatever the fuck managements tell them to do!

I’m writing this for everyone that love music and enjoy the concert experience. If you agree with me, help me spread the words and maybe get Fall Out Boy’s attention and let them know that we’re tired of this bullshit and hopefully they’ll do something differently for their future tours.

Thanks.

-A. R. Longo

Are they coming back together? I remember the days when they were damn good… before MTV screw them up!

Heard this song on Pandora earlier today… forgotten how great this song was!

Screenwriting a Dream

If you had read my autobiography, Life’s Waiting to Begin, then you probably saw this one coming since it was foreshadowed in the final chapter…

It was April of 2006, a month until I graduated from High School. It was April of 2006 that I first started writing a feature-length screenplay about High School baseball. After writing three screenplays and a book, I decided to give screenwriting another shot. It had already been four years since I last completed a screenplay. I had already known what story I wanted to tell. It was a coming-of-age story about relationships and dreams and everything in between. A MOMENT AT A TIME… a screenplay adaptation of my autobiography, LIFE’S WAITING TO BEGIN. I started screenwriting ten months ago. The first draft was completed in a month and the next nine months were spent on a million rewrites. Scenes were rewritten, added, and deleted. At one point, I wrote a new opening scene that was inspired from the film, Cabin in the Woods… dumbest idea ever so I deleted it and went back to the original opener. A MOMENT AT A TIME is 160 pages long, spanning over ten years. I decided to expand what I’d always believe to be the most intriguing aspect of LIFE’S WAITING TO BEGIN in the screenplay. There are scenes written using only ASL (American Sign Language). This is probably the least “Hollywood” screenplay I’d written. However, this screenplay have INDIE written all over and that’s better for me and for the story.

Forrest Gump is one of my favorite films of all time. However, I viewed my screenplay as the anti-Forrest Gump. That may sound like a bad thing since Forrest Gump is considered one of the best films ever made. Gump made us believe that no matter who you are… a legless “freak” or a “special” person like Forrest, you can still lead extraordinary lives. That’s the magic of film-making. Getting the audience to believe that someone like Forrest Gump to lead a unbelievable, but believable life. There is Hollywood magic all over the story of Forrest Gump… something A MOMENT AT A TIME doesn’t need. 

Gritty -

Harsh, coarse, rough and unrefined, as in film depictions that portray life as it truly is, without false distortions, stylizations, or idealizations.

Instead of Hollywood magic, A MOMENT AT A TIME is covered with grittiness like ROCKY BALBOA, dark humor like SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK and SIDEWAYS, and great dialogues like all those Tarantino films!

A MOMENT AT A TIME will be my first screenplay that I will be shopping around and hopefully find a producer interested in turning it into a feature film.

When I’m done wrapping the short film, Borrowed Time, I’ll start writing my fifth feature length screenplay. I do have an interesting story in mind, but I’m not sure if I want to write another intense character-driven story yet. I can only hope my next screenplay is a little more “Hollywood” friendly. I would like to write a SciFi or horror story if I could come up with a good idea. Maybe I’ll do a Hitchcock-like suspense story. Whatever that next screenplay mat be… I can only hope it’s as good as A Moment at a Time.

Screenwriting is what I do best… It took me seven years of screenwriting to really understand the film’s story structure. Granted… A MOMENT AT A TIME may be nearly 40 pages too long (Hollywood’s standard is 120 pages), but every scene is important. I know in most cases… the books are better than the films. In this case, I believe the screenplay is better than the book. Hopefully one day, I’ll be able to see this story on the big screen!