It’s a Wrap

We've wrapped REMAINDERED. I'll blog more about it later tonight or tomorrow.  But in the mean time, there are a ton of "behind-the-scenes" photos up on the Remaindered Facebook Group page. The image above, of a killer reading  "Forensics for Dummies" after killing a woman, was my inspiration for the short story REMAINDERED….and that has now become a short film, too.  This is not a screen grab…it's a posed photo that Neil Kellen took "recreating" the scene that we'd just shot.  But I love it. 

The First Two Days

46772_432167224884_557254884_4805758_4349233_n Sorry I haven't had a chance to blog yet…I've been busy directing.  The filming has been going great. I couldn't be more pleased with how things have turned  out.  Everybody has been giving it their best and although it has been hard work, it's been a lot of fun.  We've  even managed to dodge all the thunderstorms…despite the dark clouds that keep rolling in.

Our first day began  at 6 p.m. at Roxi Witt's home, which we essentially invaded (I bet  this is the first, and last, time Roxi ever lets a film crew in her house). The first night jam-packed in all of our most difficult scenes. In fact, when we were planning our shooting schedule, I assumed we wouldn't finish our work and would have to push a good chunk  of it to Saturday, and then  come back to the location at the end of our shoot on Sunday to pick up whatever bits and pieces were left.

But I am pleased to say things didn't turn out that way. We only went an hour over…but we still managed to get all of our scenes. The only thing that had to be pushed were some "Drive Bys" of our protagonist in his car, which would ordinarily be handled by a second unit anyway, but we snagged those last night.

On our second day, we started at  Danhauer Drugs in Owensboro, where the friendly staff was extraordinarily patient and hospitable to us as we re-arranged their store and occupied  most of the available  space. We also got a big assist from Russ Day of the Sheriff's Department, who added considerable "production value" to our little film with his participation.

We were slow starting out Saturday morning. but made up for it as the day went on. We were an  hour ahead going into a company move back to Roxi's house and didn't have to drop a single shot or trim a single scene. Things bogged down a bit at Roxi's, but it was an ambitious day and yet we still managed to complete all of our work. We are going into our final day Sunday with nothing that we need to pick-up.

I am so impressed by the inventiveness  and creativity of the crew, particularly our camera and lighting team (PJ Starks, Adam Tyler and Lewis Chaney). Their can-do attitude and their obvious enthusiasm for film-making is refreshing and pumps everyone up. And there's no way we could have done so much in so little time if not for my assistant director Rachael Nunn… who has been doing an exemplary job despite breaking her arm a few days before shooting. 

And I really, really, REALLY lucked out with the cast. Our three leads — Eric Altheide, Sebrina Siegel, and Todd Reynolds — are just terrific. They have nailed every scene they've been in, making my job so easy and a real pleasure.

We'll have some behind-the-scenes photos to share with you soon…


One Day and Counting…


Today I trimmed hedges at the house where we will be shooting tomorrow night …not exactly what I expected to be doing in  prep, but we’re a small film, with limited resources, and I knew how I wanted those hedges to look. So it  seemed like the easiest  way to get it done. I’m sure Tarantino and Spielberg trim hedges during prep, too. I rewarded myself with lunch  at the Moonlite BBQ, where I enjoying listening to all those Kentucky accents.

Afterwards, I changed shirts and spoke at Kentucky Wesleyan College about  pre-production film-making. I had a great time and I think the audience enjoyed it too. Afterwards, I did a quick interview with the campus radio station and then headed to the Riverpark Performing Arts Center to take a last look at all the props and run the production meeting, which went quickly and smoothly.

I marked the end of our months of pre-production by taking Roxi Witt,  Todd Reynolds (one of our actors), PJ Starks and Rodney Newton out to dinner to thank them for all their help making this  movie  happen.

Now all that’s left is to start shooting tomorrow… unfortunately, I brought my Goldberg luck  with me, so Owensboro’s long, dry, sunny streak  is about to be broken with thunderstorms all weekend. This is  likely to complicate things, particularly our exterior work, but  it wouldn’t be movie-making if their weren’t a few complications….

Unfanboy Enjoys his WALK

The blogger  Unfanboy’s very positive review of THE WALK is the most detailed, and thorough, one the book has received yet. Here’s a taste.

The plot seems simple enough: it is the story of a man’s attempt to get home and find his wife after the long-anticipated “Big One” earthquake more or less levels Los Angeles. As the book’s peripatetic title might suggest, it is more of a philosophical meditation than a thriller – except that makes the book sound much less funny than it actually is. It might be more appropriate to describe The Walk as a kind of anti-apocalypse novel, or perhaps a satire on every disaster movie you’ve ever seen – but like the best satires, it offers some redemption in the end.

The center of this non-thriller is its rather unheroic protagonist, Martin Slack. Marty is a television network executive who is doing pretty well for himself but also realizes the emptiness of his work. He had once hoped to be a writer and even made decent headway on a novel, but most of his time is now spent giving “notes” on rehashed scripts in snooty restaurants. He is also married to a woman he loves, but their relationship has come to be dominated by their inability to have a child. As he comes to reflect near the end of the book, the symbols of his life have become “the blank page and the semen cup.”

Thanks so much, Unfanboy!

Two Days and Counting


I arrived in Evansville, Indiana on Tuesday afternoon, grabbed a rental car and headed for the local Barnes & Noble, which kindly loaned us the remaindered books we need to dress our sets. We owe them a great, big, THANK YOU.  Without them, we'd be sunk. I loaded the books in my car  and went straight to one of our four locations — Sureway Grocery in  Henderson, where I met our gaffer Lewis Chaney and  the store manager,  who is incredibly enthusiastic and helpful. It's the perfect location for the opening scenes of our film and I saw exactly how I wanted to shoot it… and how I could steal a lot of coverage with my second camera as I went along. I used my little Flip HD camcorder to take some rough approximations of my shots (for myself, not for anyone else to see) 

I drove through a sudden, powerful thunderstorm between Henderson and Owensboro… the worst downpour  I've ever experienced….and had to pull off the road to wait  it out. Thankfully, it passed in about fifteen minutes and I drove on.

My first stop in Owensboro was at Danhauer Drugs,  where the end of our movie will take place. It's going to be cramped, and cluttered, but I am going use that to my advantage from a story-telling standpoint. I'll play up how cramped it is, working with it rather than  against it. I figured out how I wanted to re-arrange displays, what I'd have to cheat, and how I could accomplish what I  wanted with as few set-ups in there as possible. It's going to work just fine.

My final stop was at the home of Roxi Witt, where we will be shooting the "middle" of  our movie. I walked through the house, figured out what furniture and decor needed to be moved out, what we'd have to bring in, and where we'd have to put it.  I figured out my shots, used my little Flip HD camcorder to try get'em down for myself, and then called it a night.

This morning, after sleeping for 12 straight hours, I found a booth at the Waffle House, had breakfast, and spent the next two hours going over the script, marking the key dramatic points, the key tonal shifts, and the moments when  I felt a close-up was essential, which cameras would take a character's move, etc.  Then I went the Riverpark Performing Arts Center,  met Roxi and a team of PAs, and went back to her house to "direct" re-arranging and set decorating.

I went from there to Don Moore Chevrolet, which is kindly providing the "picture cars" for our film, then returned to Riverpark to do an interview with the Messenger-Inquirer, then  went to Brescia College to  give a two-hour talk on TV writing. Afterwards, I met with PJ Starks (DP), Rodney Newton (producer), Lewis Chaney (Gaffer, Location Scout), Adam Tyler (Camera), Pablo Gallastegui (Script Supervisor) and Rachael Nunn (First Assistant Director) to  go on our tech scout of the locations…so they could hear what I had in mind, offer their advice, share their  concerns, etc.  

They asked good questions and  had some great ideas. I changed  my thinking about how to stage one of  the scenes and I liked what we came up with much better than what I initially had in mind. That process also gave me the first chance I've had to convey, face-to-face, exactly how I  see  the movie —  the characters, the tone,  and the look. They got it right away. It came through in their ideas and questions, which were all, as we  would say in the TV biz, "on-franchise." They clearly got my thinking on how I want the movie to look and feel.  

The one location I haven't seen yet — since it depends on Fire Department approval — is the desolate spot where our protagonist burns the evidence of the murder he just committed. That location/decision won't be set until tomorrow… so I'll drive out to see it  before or after our production meeting.

I left the tech scout around  11 pm feeling really good about the movie… and confident in the team that Rodney and PJ have brought together for me to work with.  I'm sure we are going to have a a lot of fun and believe we'll get the movie done on time and on-budget.  

Tomorrow I'm going back out to Roxi's place to trim two bushes myself that are in one of  my shots. That's what  a hands-on director I am! After that, I have a seminar to lead at Kentucky Wesleyan and it's back to Riverpark Performing Arts Center for our production meeting. 

(Pictured above — Lewis Chaney,  Lee Goldberg, PJ Starks in Danhauer Drugs in Owensboro, talking about a shot. Photo by Rodney Newton)

DEAD SPACE for under a buck

DEAD_SPACE_FINAL I've slashed the price on the Kindle edition of DEAD SPACE to only 99 cents for the rest of this month. The book is the sequel to my first novel, MY GUN HAS BULLETS, and was originally published in 1995 under the title BEYOND THE BEYOND. 

Ex-cop Charlie Willis handles "special security" at Pinnacle Pictures. His job: to protect the studio and its stars, to stop scandals before they explode, to keep the peace in the land of make-believe. When Pinnacle revives the cult, 1960s TV series "Beyond the Beyond" as the cornerstone of a fourth network, two powerful forces fight for control of the show—a talent agency that uses blackmail, torture, and murder to keep its clients on the A-list, and a homicidal legion of rabid fans led by an insane actor who thinks he's in outer space.


“Goldberg uses just about everything he can think of to send up the studio system, fandom, Star Trek, Trekkies, agents, actors… you name it, he’ll make you laugh about it.” Analog

"An outrageously entertaining take on the loathsome folkways of contemporary showbiz," Kirkus Reviews

“Mr. Goldberg has an observant eye and a wicked pen!” Washington Times

“[It] reads like a modern-day Alice in Wonderland set against the venal world of the TV industry. It’s wonderfully revealing and uncannily accurate,” Vancouver Sun (Canada)

"Some of the easily recognizable actors, agents and producers who are mercilessly ribbed may find it hard to crack a smile at the author's gag-strewn prose, likewise those seekers after politically correct entertainment. But the rest of us should have no trouble….the novel's satiric slant is strong enough to have an effigy of Goldberg beamed into outer space at the next Star Trek convention," Los Angeles Times

"Pinnacle Pictures has decided to revive a 25-year-old cult sci-fi TV show called Beyond the Beyond, but somebody keeps killing off the new cast. Is it the Hollywood agent who eats human flesh? The aging actor who still thinks he's a starship captain? The fans who live only to attend conventions? This sharp roman a clef goes where no Hollywood satire has gone before—altering just enough facts to avoid the libel courts but still smacking of a certain je ne sais Trek. It probably won't make Goldberg, a television writer and producer (Baywatch, Spenser: For Hire, seaQuest), the most popular boy on the Paramount lot, but it's a stingingly funny novel just the same." 
Entertainment Weekly 

"The hilarious follow-up to Goldberg's witty debut, My Gun Has Bullets…[this book] skewers the entertainment business, which Goldberg knows well," Oline Codgill, Knight-Ridder Newspapers.

"As in his riotous novel My Gun Has Bullets, TV writer/producer Goldberg once again bites the hand that feeds him, laughing all the while. Inspired silliness," Publishers Weekly

Ed takes THE WALK

The_Walk_FINAL (2)

THE WALK probably wouldn't have been published by Five Star back in 2004 if it wasn't for Ed Gorman's enthusiastic recommendation to the editors. I've always known that he liked the book, but until his blog post today, I didn't realize how much. He says, in part:

it's a book far richer than most suspense novels[…]Marty Slack is the protagonist, a TV executive whose largest burden is being himself. As much as he resents and hates the grasping, greedy, treacherous people at the top of the TV ladder, he has to reluctantly admit to himself, in the course of his journey to reach home after being stranded miles away, that he is an awful lot like them. Slack is a character we get to know as well as we know people in the best of mainstream novels. Goldberg gives us a real live person here. And he doesn't cheat. We come to like Slack but there are moments when we see him as shallow, selfish and even pompous. But he's fascinating because he's so well detailed.

[…]And then there's Marty Slack's marriage. This storyline is another example of what I mean about Goldberg pushing against genre boundries. This isn't just a cliche portrait of a marriage in trouble. This, and at some length, is the dissection of two people who've realized that their marriage may be beyond repair. The scenes of recrimination, rage, despair hurt to witness. Beth Slack is just as painfully real as Marty Slack.

[…]This is a magnificent novel–by turns hilarious, scary, sad, witty and ultimately wise on its judgments about the way so many of us live these days.

Thank you so much, Ed!