Welcome to a another edition of "8 Questions with....." my ongoing interview series with the nice people who I call friends here on MySpace.
I see MySpace has quit sending out Blog Updates,which means unless you are a diehard reader,you'll most likely miss out on the latest entries by your favorite writers. I don't why MySpace has done that but it has surely affected my reader views. I can only hope you'll take the time and have the patience to come check out my blog and as always,tell a friend or two to come say "hello".
I met the The Ablazin' Devil Head when I first created Kim Poirier's MySpace page. While she was filming SPACE and a pair of films,I started the page and maintained it and even answered some of the mail.
When James Gunn,who wrote the screenplay for the remake of "Dawn of the Dead" found out Kim had a MS page,he hyped it up to his legions of fans and Ablazin' was one of the first "Add me as a Friend" request. Between Kim's page and reading his comments on James's page...I had to ask him to be a pal.
I have admired Ablazin' from afar for his wit,loyalty,intellegence and writing skill.
Now I have asked him to come clean and allow the rest of you to get a glimpse of a real artist and one hell of a nice guy....
As always,feel free to drop a comment,kudos but more importantly...SUBSCRIBE!
and now....8 Questions with........The Ablazin' Devil Head!
1. Introduce yourself.
Philip Davetas originally from Los Angeles. Been writing spec scripts to hopefully get them sold so I could build a name and a career enough to make my own movies.
2. Who or what implanted your creativeness?
Man, that's hard to say. I can say my mom and dad were artistic in their own right. I'm not sure, but I believe they met in an art class in college, but they weren't professionals or anything. They just had a huge hankering for all things artsy fartsy. I don't remember any of them teaching me anything though. I think my mom would say, "Your dad painted that." And my mom would always doodle on the backs or margins of magazines when on the phone or something. But like so many things in my childhood, I watched a lot of TV, movies, listened to music and I taught myself how to draw. Then drawing wasn't enough. I started to write so my art wouldn't be lonely and drifting out in space with no stories to weigh them down. Then of course I moved on to animated flip-books.
What was your first "fanboy" moment? The one where you just said "holy shit,that was awesome!!!"?
I was 7 when my dad took me to see The Empire Strikes Back. That whole movie was my "holy shit moment". But to piggy-back that, I also saw a making-of special on TV a couple months later that went through the process of Empire's movies magic. That's when I realized that's what I wanna do. Make movies.
4. How did you get your nickname?
It was originally The Amazin' Blazin' Devil Head then later shortened to The A'blazin' Devil Head and then shortened it again to The Ablazin' Devil Head (without an apostrophe). The Ablazin' Devil Head is based on a character named Frank Ackerman from a script I wrote called The Horrors of Frank Ackerman. In the script, someone refers to him as The Amazin' Blazin' Devil Head because he has the devil as a sidekick in fighting the evil forces of whatever. Frank's soul is cursed and for reasons stipulated in the story, so the devil doesn't want Frank in Hell when he dies. So, the devil helps Frank save the world from evil. But Frank embraces his wickedness to fight evil and to fight it dirty. But I think when I started hanging out on James Gunn's blog, he kept calling me Ablazin' and it just stuck and now people only know me as that.
5. What is the hardest part of writing or making art for you?
I seem to do almost everything on spec or favors. Finding the time to do it is the hard part. It used to be that I had all day to watch movies, read books, write and draw pictures. I had a great job that allowed me all sorts of free time during the day. Now, things are different. I'm in a relationship and have a son, so there's a lot of waking up at 2 AM or working through the night to try and catch up. And it usually is a choice between the two. If I have to do some art for someone, I have to do that, but I can't write. If I write, I can't do the art. If I do some media editing then that's all I do from 2 AM to dawn. But I like writing because it's the most fulfilling for the moment.
5a. Do you get inspired more mentally or visually?
Probably half and half. I often don't read comics unless the stories or characters are truly gripping. But I love a lot of the art work. I like the characteristics of it how a comic looks in general and I try to capture that same tone in my writing. Mentally, I'll sit in front of the computer monitor doing research or just jam to my iPod (dig the tunes, dude) and just let my mind unleash. Then I'll try to compile those ideas and see what can make an entertaining and logical story that would entertain myself and hopefully others.
6. You just sold a screenplay for a major movie: who would you cast/direct/produce it and why these people?
Man, that's tough because I always thought I would do all that. But I can talk about this all day long. I love talking about movies. I used to hang at this video store called CineFile and man, those dudes were a bunch cool cats to talk about all things geeky from movies, tunes, comics to the very scripts we write. But depending on the script I sold the cast and creative teams would vary because I write different things with different tones and themes. But I will say, I like where Zack Snyder's going. I like his visual sense and how ballsy he is with the material at hand. He doesn't back down. I've always been a fan of Sam Raimi and his whimsical splatterhouse style from his Evil Dead days to his mayhem & chaos comic book action flicks now. Groan if you must, but I also like how Michael Bay handles action. Richard Donner is not only good with action, but just about everything he attempts. All of those directors have very unique qualities. As far as casting, I like a lot of the new people and the veterans, but in every script I write, there's always a role written for Bruce Campbell. Whether it's a strung out, wisecracking Colonel fending off zombies in Santa Monica or a no-nonsense privateer in my latest space opera, there's always a home for Bruce.
What is a typical "in real life" day for you?
A typical day is taking care of my son and wait for his mom to come home. We'll watch TV or a movie until 8 or 9 and then crash. If I have the energy I'll get up after they've fallen asleep, I go downstairs, turn on the computer and work on my scripts or art until about 5 AM and then the day melds into the next.
Why or what makes your town so cool to live in?
Well, I was born and grew up in Los Angeles and left there only recently to be with my girlfriend. Now, I live in Pittsburgh which I really can't say much for. The job market here to support a family is not the best. There's no one really interested in the same things I'm into except my girlfriend and a few online communities. There's good stuff about Pittsburgh. There's nice architecture and some really ornate-looking places to shoot movies, but it's not a media-friendly city. I guess in LA I was always going somewhere and talking to someone wanting to put together a short or just talk shop.
How did you end up on MySpace and if you could change 3 things about it, what would they be?
A couple of CineFiliacs were talking about MySpace and then I decided to see what's what. I must have been on it for a couple of years before I met some interesting people and friends. Then that's when I got truly interested.
1. MySpace needs to develop a new transportation device that allows people to upload and download themselves to other parts of the planet. The convenience of being able to download myself into Jose Bernstein's in LA and have an enchilada dinner would be awesome. There just aren't any Mexican food joints in Pittsburgh. And it'll also screw over the oil companies.
2. I want free pizza every time I hit a thousand profile views.
3. Oh, and, Tom, I want 100 top friends in my profile. There are plenty of neglected top friends out there.
10. What is your biggest pet peeve?
It's a toss up between people who talk to me and continue to talk without giving me the chance to turn off my iPod. And people who walk in front of others and stop to have a conversation with someone, and be totally oblivious, forcing them to walk around.
11. What are you most proud of in your life at this point in time?
Man, things happen so fast I barely have time to think about them. Last year I had a script make the Quarter-finals in a screenwriting contest and that was great for about five minutes. But I think recently the proudest moment was when James Gunn emailed me out of the blue and asked me for a favor regarding some art. He'd been a hero of mine long before his MySpace blog. He was into a lot of the same things I was. It's like he could've worked at CineFile. It was like he was one of us--a fucked up nobody who made something out of his life. And when he asked me for some art, that actually meant something. I guess that punctuated a proud moment.
To add Ablazin' as a pal: