Thursday, August 24, 2017

Self Reflection at Thirty Six.

Self Reflection at Thirty Six. May I not be pretentious. May the subversive find me with an honest voice. May I be cunning and daring and trade my fear for bravery. Teach me to never believe my own hype. Let me find trust. May it stand on its own. May i be candid, but never blunt. Let me bleed on the page, screen, and stage for all to see. May I never lose my accent, and be the best of whence i came. Let me linger not in my glory. Cast my laurels into the void. May I never want for them. When i eat my own words may they nourish my resolve. May my work be diverse and my characters endearing. May I question my own beliefs, and understand better those I don’t. May my art grow me as i grow my art. When my self destructive moments come may i channel them as a kamikaze explosion. May I be penitent. Allow myself to be loved. Be the good father that listens. Be the good husband that cares. Be so great no one can deny you.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A poem on the occasion of my 35th birthday.

Another trip around the sun. So much still to do. No list of past accomplishment. Still something else to prove. Be bold, be brash, be better still. So great, they can't deny you. No idle hands, or slept in beds. Time can't justify it. Move swifter now,make haste young man. The days are growing short. Best not forget from whence you came. Nor what you've set your mind to do. Speak truth at volume. Bleed true for love. Take everything that's yours. Your heart beats crimson red. And if death find me suddenly? I won't politely leave. For this time is mine.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I am the National Media I am Nashville

I am the National Media I am Nashville

Greetings friends and foes,
Trying to dry out here in Nashville, but wanted to take time to say thank you to all the well wishes that have poured in from around the country. My family and homestead are doing fine, though other friends and loved ones have not been as lucky.

Friday Night i went to see the New Nightmare on Elm Street film, which was nice as I had not spent a evening out with friends in a while. The movie was a mess, but thats a subject for another day. Little did any of us realize that the theater we were sitting would be 10 feet under water 24 hours later.

I had Saturday off to spend with the girls, as jessica had to be at the school. We watched it rain all day, as it had done most of the evening before. I started hearing about the water rising and flipped on the news. As the day progressed the only thing that was pouring faster than the rain was the harrowing stories. I moved to Nashville in the summer of 2001 after spending the majority of my life in tornado country Texas. This is by far the worst devastation i have seen.

Less than a mile from my home Interstate 24 had turned into a river, washing cars and eighteen wheelers away. A mobile school house, even took to the waters and exploded a stones throw away from where we live. Jessica was trapped while trying to get some last minute supplies, as police and fire departments began shutting off roads. The grocery store where we shop was up to the top of the doorways in water. She luckily made it home unscathed and we battened down the hatches and prayed for daylight.

The rain continued through the night, and was off and on until lunch time Sunday. Our yard had taken on about a foot of water, but it never reached the house. I braved the weather to see what destruction has been wrought on my neighbors. It was devastating. I did what seemed natural and began to document it through video. While I commend the local news service for their coverage, they simply could not be everywhere due to roadblocks, and general chaos. I captured the aftermath of the storm at I-24 and Haywood near Antioch Pike and Richards Road. All of the businesses had been up to the rafters in water, and were broken. I came home and edited the footage hastily, and sent it out to the news networks, as well as posting it to youtube. I’m not sure if it aired but it did receive thousands of hits in only a few hours.

I was unable to go to my job as floodwaters had blocked off most of the points in and out. The first person who died during the storm actually drowned at the highway exit that i take every day for work. Our friend Lee Vervoort came over to charge his phone and eat a hot meal, as his power like most of the city was knocked out. Our street had been spared. He ended up staying the night on Sunday.

I spent the entire weekend, and the better part of this week, relaying photos, news stories, safety information, and video via social networks. I was stunned that i wasn’t seeing our city on outlets like CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News. I actually heard one of them aired an hour long special on a new test car, though the horrors in Music City stayed contained to local outlets and video hosting sights. All of the photos and video I had seen looked eerily similar to the photos from post hurricane Katrina New Orleans, still silence on national airwaves. Our President had not said a word, and I began to understand the fury of those hurricane victims who felt isolated and uncared for by the media and their government. It was Monday and the sun was shining before any of the major networks hit the ground in Nashville.

I don’t say any of this to chastise our leaders, or slap the wrists of the likes of Anderson Cooper, Bill O’ Reilly, or Diane Sawyer. To Anderson Coopers credit, he did apologize, but I find it hard to imagine that they weren't aware of our situation. By all means the other major news of the day was of equal importance, as oil fills the gulf, and a would be assassin botched the bombing at Times Square in new York. What I learned quickly is that in this modern day they have become somewhat obsolete. While local anchors at WSMV, WTVF, and WKRN were knee high in water, local people including bloggers, tweeters, and film makers were filling in the gaps. The people at were tweeting around the clock with info on how to get in contact with shelters, as well as bringing pictures from local photogs of our city being laid to waste. There was no agenda, or control over what we could see. It was all available live and up to the minute brought to you proudly by the men and women of the Volunteer state.

I have shed tears in the last few days, both for the lives lost and the institutions that have seen damage. Early estimates put the damage at over a billion dollars. Our tourism industry is being shaken to the ground as the Opryland hotel was taken in by the river, and will be closed for repairs for at least six months. The botanical gardens were destroyed. Inside Opry Mills, where I had seen the movie on Friday night, the Aquariums were shattered when the floodwaters floated debris into the glass. Hundreds of saltwater fish were destroyed. A tank of Piranhas was also opened and they are said to be infesting the waters within the mall. It will be interesting to see if enough of them survived to enter the eco system.

Our cultural heritage has been decimated as the Grand Ole Opry, Country Music hall Of Fame, and Schermerhorn Symphony Center. all took on water. The Honky Tonks on Broadway were all filled ( though i hear some cowboys are still playing and drinking even with water in their boots). Our NHL and NFL arenas were both filled with water. It is a nightmare to behold, and needless to say it will be months and years before we recover, but we will recover.

As the rest of the nation now watches, they will see a force mightier than a flood. They will see communities arm and arm rebuilding structures, and restoring lives. We will make good on our namesake as Volunteers from within our city will put things back in order, and the greatest songwriters in the world will pen anthems to a flood. These witnesses will see our might, and hear our songs, and we will never forgotten again.

Cameron McCasland

Monday, April 12, 2010

Shaking the veil off

Shaking the veil off

Greetings friends and foes. So Sorry for not writing more consistently. I have been burning the candle at both ends, and this is the first weekend I’ve had at home in a while.

A few weeks ago my car finally died. It had been a slow death, but the car was payed for and I rather enjoy not giving up my money. To this point, I had been climbing over the passenger seat for the better part of a year as the driver door was busted and not worth repairing. In a way I count that as a humbling experience, and on the other hand I count it as a true pain in the ass. So when I heard the engine make its death curdle while driving the girls to school I saw it as a bit of a blessing, as well as a curse. I had just spent all the money I had been saving on a Mole Richardson Light Kit, and the cupboard was about as bare as could be.

For those that don’t know, I still hold down a day job at a record store here in Nashville. Its pretty much the only thing I’m qualified for other than film making, that doesn’t make me want to kill myself. My brain has a knack to sponge up information about mundane things, and its allowed me to soak up all kinds of knowledge. It has also provided me a living wage while pursuing different avenues in film making. I really have enjoyed it, as I am able to set my own schedules, their lack of dress code, and not having to work for a group of faceless suits somewhere in Minnesota (I’m looking at you Musicland).

This is only important in the fact that I rarely talk about it, as there hasn’t been much to tell. But upon the car dying I decided the best way to not regain a car payment (and stay on my plan of getting my movie made), would be to just work all the time. I have not taken this approach as my tenure with Musicland kept me far away from my family, and nearly wrecked me as a man. I enjoy being home with my family, but I felt I needed to make a move. I got extremely sick the weekend of Easter while working. I put in 65 hours that week, as well as coming home and doing prep work on some other projects. But it was just nose to the grindstone.

Low and behold a saviour came in the form of my wife's wonderful parents who gifted us the money to buy a 1986 station wagon. Jessicas parents have a knack for helping us find a way in times of crisis. I thank God I’ve never had a cynical relationship with them. So now I have inherited the cruiser, and Jessica is cruising in a Wagon Queen Family Truckster that would make Clark Griswold jealous. We’re on our way again, though we do have a few things to catch up on due to taxes.

But what I realized in all this, is that it hasn’t killed me to put in some super long hours. I’m taking the extra money and putting it into some of the things i need to get my movie made. And while I dont plan to keep up this pace, It should give me the means to take a step forward in the things I want to do, and stories I want to tell. For the next few weeks, I’m putting in long hours, and not hanging out much on the weekend.

Other going ons include...Roxie will celebrate birthday number 2 this week. I hung out with her this weekend as Jessica and Marie were in Louisville with their Rabbits. Times been flying since she got here.

I haven’t been as steadfast with my diet. Not really putting on weight, as much as just not taking more off at this point. I’ve stuck with the Diet Soda for the most part. Pepsi Throwback with real sugar can be hard to resist, and I’ve been breathing Gatorade this past week due to my ills. Just kind of putting this out there, as I don’t want to get my weight back up again, and it helps to just say it.

I have had little time to watch anything. I saw Hot Tub Time Machine and thoroughly enjoyed it. Its very self aware, and I probably won’t see it again for years, but I got some hearty gut laughs from it. I stayed up way late last night and watch John Cassavettes Shadows. I’m a bit torn with the idea of strictly Improvised movies, and even more perplexed with this one, as I know he shot the film two years earlier and was disappointed in the response. How do you re-improvise something? How do you set things in motion as a director, and when do you pull it back? Its a landmark in Independent cinema for sure, I just wish i could see the other version.

I do hope this finds you all well. I hope to have better news next time, and some things to show. Until then...

Cameron McCasland

Monday, March 8, 2010

Movie Weekends & Walking Around

Greetings friends and foes,

Spectacular couple of weeks in the McCasland house since last I wrote. The weather is starting to warm in Nashville, and this morning i took a walk without a jacket for the first time in months. There is something about sunshine on your face that lends itself to happy feelings.

This past weekend I was home alone with my 1 year old daughter Roxie while Jessica & Marie were away showing their bunny rabbits in Georgia. I did some early spring cleaning, and we just did baby stuff like rolling around on the bed. Its funny when you tickle a child and you know it makes them happy. Roxie doesn’t speak much yet, but her laughter is nonstop most days.

I watched the Oscars last night, and It seemingly was the most predictable it had been in years. I think everybody who won was derserving, though i was pulling for Tarantino and the Basterds for Director and picture.Kathryn Bigelow has been legitimate for a long time, and I think she was very deserving. It is nice to see that ceiling torn off for the ladies. Nothing really stands out about the show to me, as none of the speeches were terribly prolific. It was nice to see genre guys like Barney Burman win for make up on Star Trek and Bob Murawski pick up and editing Oscar for The Hurt Locker. Bob has been editing for Sam Raimi for some time including the Spider-man pictures and Army of Darkness. I thought it was nice he thanked him in his speech. Bob also has done some amazing restoration work for Grindhouse Releasing on movies that would have never seen the light of day again if not of his painstaking work for little to no pay. Still the biggest thrill for me was seeing Roger Corman in the audience.

Corman of course was given an honorary Oscar for his body of work. Roger has been an inspiration to myself, and several other low budget movie makers for years now. He practically brought in the new crop of Hollywood through the nineteen-sixties and seventies. There has been a lot of naysayers against them pulling the speech of the lifetime achievement award off the telecast, but i feel the opposite. Instead of giving them a 5 minute spot, they get an entire evening dedicated towards them. Also allows the academy to bestow more than one award (the rules max out at four per year). I finished Rogers book again earlier this year, and I hope he updates it with everything that has happened since he wrote it, and last night.

The two weekends before that (which is about the last time I wrote) I spent a lot of time in the cinema catching up. I finally saw Avatar, which I enjoyed. My only complaint came with the projectionist and theater for using an obviously dim bulb which didn’t work well with the 3-D enhancement. I had to remove my glasses several times to read the subtitles.

I saw Universals remake of The Wolf Man, and was left kind of even on it. I think the monster looked great, and the father/son aspect was well crafted. Something about it just didn’t feel right to me though. A lot of the shots, and camera movements were poor in my opinion. I never really felt terrified, and I just didn’t feel fulfilled. I really wanted to love this movie, and its a way better effort than Universals recent Mummy or Van Helsing pictures. I heard rumblings of recuttings, and music cues dropped due to that. More computer animation (though I thought that aspect worked well with the practical make up). Plus the original director bailed. Needless to say if your not a die hard Monster fan I’d skip it, and check out the original.

I watched Kevin Smiths Cop Out, which seemingly has been getting bad reviews. I’m not sure what all the bad blood is about though. The movie is a no brain action comedy movie with some good laughs, albeit a very predictable plot. I’ve always found Tracey Morgan funny, and Sean William Scott has some real stand out stuff in this. I’m a bit biased as I love Bruce Willis, Kevin Smith, and Tracey Morgan.

I saw Shutter Island the following night, and wow Scorsese knows how to make a movie. Again, I’ve heard some people talking about how predictable the twist is, and I would agree. However the movie itself is well played and shot wonderfully. Its no Keyser Soze moment for sure, but I think its a great movie just the same.

Other than that I watched Lars & the Real Girl and just tonight rewatched Star Trek which Jessica had not seen. Lars & the Real Girl is a very interesting movie. Takes the approach of how Mental Illness should be treated with understanding and kindness as opposed to medicine or institution. Worth a look.

I spent an evening in the studio with Numerics shooting some footage as they record some acoustic tracks. Not sure whats going to come of this, as I don’t have the completed track. We are however finishing up a video for a track off of “Proud To Be A Numerican” .

I spent an evening out on Shackle Island as well doing some promos for Dr. Gangrene projects. A scene for a music video, as well as a video for a festival. We also shot a short promo for the Rondo Awards. Larry is up for 3 awards this year. Best Horror Host, Best Fan Event: Horror hoot, and Best Website. I’d be really happy to see him win any and all of these, as I think he truly does deserve it. He won best website a few years back, and of course we shared honors last year for the PSAs.

The Rondos are one of the better awards around in my opinion, as they go straight to the heart of fandom. Even people who don’t live in the genre year round can find things to vote for. You only have to vote in the categories you want. So please do go copy & paste the ballot from and email it in before the end of the month.

The day after we shot all of that Larry hit me up for an interview for his blog, which was unexpected and very nice. He asked a lot of questions about where I came from, and who I was growing up. It was kind of nice to think about some of that, and put it into perspective. I really like the idea of this, and may hit some people that are close to me up with some questions for publishing here. You can check out my stuff with Dr Gangrene at

Baseball spring training started not long ago, and I got a chance to see a bit of the Cubs vs White Sox game on WGN. Baseball brings me a lot of joy, and probably my favorite use of Mathematics. Of course I’m hoping the Rangers will win it all just one time in my life. I have a bad feeling that I’ll go broke driving cross country to see the games if they ever make a run at it. In celebration of our beloved national past time, I made a video about five baseball movies i love. I plan on doing another later down the road, as I’m already catching flak for some of the titles i left off. I also cheesed it up by wearing a hat and jersey. I usually only wear jerseys to games. But I hope you enjoy these just the same.

I also shot a video of me just out and about shopping at a really cool video store in town called McKays. I found some cool stuff including a copy of Mutant League Football for Sega Genesis.

I’ve been looking for this for some time, and just couldn’t justify the price tag they wanted on online auction sites. Got if for around three bucks, and I must have played 20 games since i picked it up last week. Video Games are something I fall in and out of love with about twice a year. They are damning to my productivity as a writer. I’ll go on stints where I love to play and will spend way to much of my free time in the game. Mind you I don’t think their evil, as i quiet enjoy them. However I try to dedicate myself to my work, and the boxes of old cartridges I have laying around don’t help me.

Through all this I’ve been listening to Clem Snide, New Order, Ramones, Radiohead mostly.

Also here are some videos I’ve found enjoyable in the past few weeks.

A couple of Forrest Gump trailer recut as Gangsta & horror films. This craze of recutting trailers came a few years back with recuts of the Shining as a heartwarming father son picture, and Mary Poppins cut as a horror film. You can find either of those easily on the web, but check these out if you have ever seen Forrest Gump.

Goofy Movie shot for shot remake in real life? I’ve never been a big fan of this movie, but this is a pretty great example of what can be done with next to no money and a lot of friends.

Dan Black & Kid Cudi - Symphonies My good friend Jonathan Preston passed this on, and of course it plays to my movie loving side very well with all the throws at cinema opening titles.

Thats it for this time. Working on some more video blogs, and looking into new ideas. Hope your all well.


Monday, February 15, 2010

When Last We Saw Are Hero...

Greetings Friends and Foes,
Apologies for being absentee the last few weeks. In all honesty, I blogged more in January than I did for the entirety of 2009, so I don’t feel so bad about it. With that out of the way...

When we last saw our hero, he was in the midst of glamour & intrigue in route to the Emmy awards... My family all made it into town through several inches of snow. It was a quick lovely weekend that ended with yet another year of not bringing home the big prize. No worries, it was all smiles as this was the first time my entire family had vacationed together since my childhood. I don’t have a whole lot to say about it this year, but here is a video with some of my escapades. Hopefully third times a charm on the Emmy Front.

The following Tuesday night I went to see Numerics for their inaugural show. Its been really fun hanging out with these guys over the past year while they prepped and released their record. They killed it at the show, and I recorded it via my Flip Camera for posterity. More collaboration between us is in the pipeline. So stay tuned for that. You can see clips from the show below.

I’ve spent the last two weekends shooting a short film called “Paperclip”. It was a good time, and for me a great relief as its the first project in a while where i didn’t bare the weight of Producing or directing. I also played a bit part in the movie after an actor flaked out. It was a really fun set, and I was amazed as they’re were several young actresses and no one went into diva mode the entire shoot. Everyone was kind and respectful, and it was fun. We shot at Currey Ingram Academy, and I swear it looks like a mix between Xaviers School For Gifted Youngsters, and the school in Fresh Prince Of Bel Air. Classy. My pedometer read over eight miles for the first day, I was hustling. I’m really not sure when/how this is releasing, but I’ll put it out there when it happens.

I have not had a free day now in weeks and I’m getting pretty tired of burning the candle at both ends. Jessica and I missed Valentines day this year, and our home could use some attention. I don’t say this to boast or seem ungrateful, as I am extremely happy with being able to do the things I love. All I want to do is just sit on the couch and watch movies and play Mario Brothers for a day. Hoping that day is soon.

While I didn’t post much on my own site, I was invited by Cinerobot Blog writer Joshua Blevins to talk about some of my favorite films of 2009. While I had not intended to do a year end list, i really liked the way he had put together lists from people and ran them as a series spanning several weeks. My entry was posted over the weekend, and I hope you will give it a look and comment accordingly. Joshua writes some great stuff, and was pretty much my movie watching buddy for my brief stint in Tulsa Oklahoma. He showed me all the great dives, and some movie houses back in the day. Its worth your time revisiting his blog weekly.

Some videos

Dave Conover, who was a founder of Wonderfest made this video years ago in tribute to one of my film making heroes Ray Harryhausen. In my mind this a great love letter to movie making, as it get past the technical savvy and to the heart of how movies make you feel. If you are not familiar with Harryhausen, its time to catch up.

The Superbowl came and went, and while I was pulling for Peyton I really didn’t care as the Cowboys weren’t playing. My vote for best commercial went to Google for”Parisian Love”. I loved the idea of telling a story about a relationship through an everyday tool like a search engine. We build the story in our mind, as we see a familiar screen in front of us play it out.

This is Dolph Lundgren, star of Masters Of The Universe and Rocky IV doing an incredibly ridiculous song & dance number to Elvis Presleys “A Little Less Conversation” During the course of 4 minutes he also does a drum solo and give a karate demonstration. These are the kind of videos the internet was made for.

This past weekend I went to the Belcourt theater in Nashville to see the 1977 Toho horror movie House (aka Hausu) directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi. I had skipped the screeing they had last year, as I was under the impression it was the eighties horror film of the same name. Wow I’m glad to have seen this. It was wild. While the trailer makes it out to be a horror film, I laughed more than anything with all of the campy 70’s Toho acting, and Electric Skittles colors.

I’m sure I have left things out due to my not writing more frequently. I hope to do better with that in the next few weeks. I need to video blog a bit more too. Lots in store for the immediate future. Thanks to everyone who sent well wishes over the past few weeks. Until next time....

Cameron McCasland

Friday, January 29, 2010

Lost in the Rye

Greetings Friends And Foes,
I join you from a snowstorm in Nashville. At this moment my baby sister Abbie has arrived for this weekends Emmy festivities with my parents and sisters Bethenna, and Jillian. Jill decided to come about 7 hours before they left town and is bring my niece and nephew. Beth has never visited me in Nashville, so while this will be a quick trip it’s a good first experience I hope.

Its been a whirlwind week. I went to see Black Dynamite this weekend, and it was probably the most I have laughed in a theater since I saw Shaun Of The Dead. My jaw dropped and then it fell off. I cannot recommend it enough.

I met with the Numerics on Monday about another music video, and some discussions on how to release the short documentary I directed about the making of their record last year. Some good stuff is in store in that camp. We watched a lot of footage, and set some dates to shoot. They will be playing some shows in the Nashville area over the course of this month, and you should check for details and to listen to their tunes.

Tuesday I shot a party for a Chamber Of Commerce meeting. This is not my forte by any means, but the money was good and I’m doing anything to raise funds for my feature right now. I never wanted to be a videographer, as Its pretty stifling to creativity in my opinion, not to mention incredibly worrying as you only get one shot at it. They did a handful of songs in costumes, as well some parody songs. The people in the room seemed to eat it up. It was a long day and I crashed pretty hard that night.

Wednesday my grandfather called to wish me luck for the weekend. He rarely speaks on the phone as his hearing isn’t great anymore. It was a really good feeling. I also got a little pink card from post office saying that a package would be waiting for me the next morning. It was amazing because the package had been missing and contained a great deal of work. While I had backups this contained a lot of raw footage that might have not been seen again. I picked it up Thursday morning and the world was right again. I also picked up my Tuxedo, which looks good, but they forgot suspenders, so I need to go by and pick some up.

Yesterday I had a great amount of time to myself to collect my thoughts, do some housework, and prepare for the weekend. I had lunch with my friend Preston at the Bar-B-Cutie and discussed all things under the sun. I missed The State Of The Union address, and he filled me in on the highlights. I heard on the radio that JD Salinger died. I have read Catcher In The Rye, and enjoyed it. Mostly when I think of Salinger I think of the parody of him that Shawn Connery did in Finding Forrester. I just hope he has a lost manuscript titled “You’re The Man Now Dawg!” If you aren’t familiar with his work, I’ll give you the short version. Many people feel that Catcher In The Rye is a perfect book, and that Salinger is the most important American author of the twentieth century. He wrote Catcher, and a handful of short stories before becoming a recluse and not publishing for forty years. Rumors abound that he continued writing and that those works would be released after his death. We’ll see what shows up I suppose. Could be a great revelation or the Phantom Menace of literature.

3-D film making has seem to have hit its stride this week. They announced that both of the Harry Potter films, as well as Clash Of The Titans are going to get a 3-d exhibition. And Tinto Brass the director of Caligula has announced that he is making a pornographic movie using the new 3-d technology. I have yet to see Avatar (though I want too). Yet I have never seen a 3-D film that uses the technology for the sake of storytelling. I always use the Yo-Yo sequence in Friday The 13th 3-D as a good example of people just using gimmicks to throw stuff at you. Panasonic also announced a new 3-D camera that is much more affordable. I expect to see them churning stuff out, and with the right idea, we may see a new gold rush.

Apple finally announced the I-Pad this week. I had been eagerly anticipating it, as I don’t want an Iphone due to the service contract, but don’t want an Itouch for lack of camera. I was dismayed to find that the I-Pad won’t have a camera either. I’m sure it will come next generation, but its lame. My soul purpose for needing a camera on a touch or pad is the Hitchcock storyboard application. I want to use it, but won’t sign up for the phone plan. I am surrounded by WI-FI and don’t need it.

I hope you all have your fingers crossed for me this weekend. We’re going to live it up.

From The Ice Planet Hoth