See the trailer to a film I wrote between 2010 - 2012
(AKA "Angel Demon STAB, STAB, STAB" AKA "Touched by Angels")
A demon with an existential crisis and an angel with PTSD team up to save the career of a washed up rocker.
Demon Kyle is a stabber on the third level of hell. He knows his business. But when he starts wondering about the nature of life and death, his superiors shut him up and send him to the “Angel in Training Program.”
Angel Mezudio has been around a very long time—so long that he developed PTSD and goes catatonic at the sight of blood. Relegated to feeding parking meeters and cleaning up dog poop, Mezudio is affraid to trying anything new, but his boss has other ideas.
Mezudio is charged with training the stabber Kyle to be a good angel and earn his wings...or at least stop stabbing everyone.
This feature length film is currently in post production and was funded in part through Kickstarter. One Hell of An Angel is Gorilla with a Mustache Film’s first feature film.
Good question. Back in 2010, my fledgling 48 Hour Film Competition team was drunk on their unexpected wins from the previous year for our thrown together, yet funny, mocumentary, "The Silver Slugger: The lefty Lober Story" we were ready for more crazy fun filmmaking. But this time we wanted 3 additions:
- A better HD video camera
- Someone who knew how to use it.
- Proper sound equipment for voice recording (You really notice any movie without this one)
Somehow our Producer, Lela, found Katie Damien. She had all of the above and then some. Katie ended up directing and editing our film titled, "Touched by Angels" based on a one and a half page of ramblings from my journal about a degenerate demon and his very PC angel sponsor as they watch tv and discuss the meaning of life. The demon had questions and he was going to get some answers. David Dietrich co-wrote and would play the angel Mezudio (a nod to an angel from a short play I had a hand in back in 2000 or so).
Luckily we had some great comedic talent and a killer song, "Heart of an Eagle" recently recorded by Kipper Shauer himself.
From Short to Feature
Yes, it was all meant to be. We won several local awards including Best Picture, Best sound Design, Best line of dialog, and Best Actor (Jenny Wrobel). After an even headier bout of drunk-on-one's-own-powerfulness, I decided that the story of the angel and demon had only been scratched. Over the next month, I wrote a couple page treatment, outlining the whole story that I saw in my head. I presented this to our group and enough people wanted to go ahead with it, that I began writing the screenplay.
But…I was already knee-deep in writing Totem, so I worried that I'd get completely sidetracked if I didn't share the load. Initially, David Dietrich, Katie Damien, and I met several times and discussed splitting off a few scenes from the outline for them to write.
Hilarity ensued. Once a week or so, we'd each bring our pages and read aloud and laugh a lot.
Eventually we added Matt Shepard (who played demon Kyle) and my wife, Coranna Adams, who I wanted to bring on to help with the writing and editing process.
Eventually I spliced the various scenes the others worked on into my master script and we had…a giant 160 page mess! Not only was it 50-60 pages too many, but also the style, character names, and formatting didn't match. So began the long edit / rewriting phase where we had to rethink, rewrite, and hack away whole scenes.
Great scenes were lost (or turned into webisodes, as was the case of Dave's Cloud Watching scene) but new and wondrous inventions were also created during the process.
Once we were generally happy with the 103 page script, our new production company formed, calling ourselves "Gorilla With a Mustache Films" after a witty and ad-libbed line from Dave (as Mezudio from the original short film).
The rest of the story has been discussed elsewhere, but I don't think I ever explained the evolution of the story itself. Even during the production, a few script changes occurred. Some planned, some less so. The most significant was when we received feedback from Evan Bussanich on the one scene he was set to play a spiritual master. His suggestions reshaped the scene, adding levity and simplicity to help explain the secrets of the universe.
Sometimes I say I wrote this film because I feel a sense of ownership of the story and characters--and I spent hundreds of hours actually writing and rewriting, but in film, like few other mediums, it's a collaboration. The story would not be what it finally became without all the above mentioned adding their own slant and style to the project.
Pressure Relief Valve
I don't write to stop the voices so much as to see what else the voices might say.
Kyle Tyler starts out as a foul-mouthed demon who's first reaction to any situation is to stab his problems away. He considers himself a realist and doesn't see the problem with swearing all the time.
There is a part of me that probably thinks this way. The self-editor thankfully keeps me from acting like Kyle, but…I understand his frustration with life and those human f^%#faces.
Mezudio is not, as has been suggested, gay. Angels don't procreate so there's no worries about sexuality for them (though demons often go through the motions for the more, ahem, specific levels of hell). Yet, Mezudio does exude a certain pervy cheer and wonder. I think he represents the sort of out-of-a-Walmart-magazine positivity that I see around me and do not really feel. Mezudio actually does look for the best in people, no matter their failings. Perhaps I strive for that. He never pretends to care. If anything he had to look away from the horrors of creation, which I think we can all relate to, but is his greatest weakness. That and his off-key voice.