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dan

Dan Skinner's Boxes

A couple of years ago I watched an absolutely fascinating documentary on the genius AND oddity of iconic film director, Stanley Kubrick entitled: Stanley Kubrick's Boxes... a bit of this can be seen on Youtube. If you get an opportunity rent the whole thing because it is absolutely fascinating. This was a man who saved absolutely everything connected to his work like a hoarder down to every post-it note. He was a fanatical researcher and would send his assistants out to find locations and costumes and props and photograph them for him. (He wouldn't leave England because he was afraid to fly.) But everything was saved and organized and stored in boxes.He wouldn't allow any one else to design his promos for films; he did it himself. He saved those. He had other peculiarities such as: he wouldn't drive his car over 35 mph and he edited his own films and burned the discarded film so no one could re-edit them later after he was gone. There is another documentary about a film he researched for years about Napoleon that he wanted to do but never did, and there is a filing cabinet full of his notes and research - an entire filing cabinet crammed to the brim with those small index cards. He documented Napoleon's actual day to day movements. Another author compiled a coffee table book of just the research he did on this film that never got made. It's scarily impressive because it says so much about the man. He also had fetishes. He liked writing paper and would go into London almost every week to buy anything that was new. He never used it. It was stored along with everything in these Boxes which had their own warehouse on his estate. Writing paper. Even the boxes were organized by movies he'd done, or movies he'd planned to do. There is a mountain of research for a film he planned to do called: A.I. Artificial Intelligence. Notes and drawings and ideas he did for years, and then he decided it wasn't something he could do well and he called Steven Spielberg and turned it over to him. My favorite story I like to share came from the mouth of R. Lee Army who played the infamous drill sergeant in Full Metal Jacket who recounts the story of how when Stanley began talking to them about a scene.. he was so lost in the conversation he was completely unaware of his surroundings. So much so that as he was driving R. Lee and Matthew Modine to the set one day talking about their upcoming scene, he turned the car over in a ditch with a wrong turn...completely on its side. Without missing a beat, Army says, Stanley crawled out the driver's side door still talking about the scene and helped the others out and continued his speech as they walked down the road to the set....as if he'd simply parked the car in the lot. There are hundreds of stories in this documentary and others that make him exceptionally fascinating, not only because he was a brilliant director, but because he was obsessive, flawed and human. They could make a movie about him and  people would think it was over the top or unrealistic because of his eccentricities. But what underscores this all, at least for me because I am a Kubrick-ophile, is that his body of work is small but stunning. I believe Full Metal Jacket to be a war movie choreographed like a dance. A ClockWork Orange, though detested by many, is a lesson in perfect story-telling and it's shock value only made its message that more disturbing. Dr. Strangelove, to this day, amazes me in every aspect. There are others I didn't enjoy as much like 2001 or Lolita for various reasons, but this does not lessen the fact that when these films came out.. they had an impact on film culture that lasts to this day. I would have liked to seen the film he would have made on Napoleon since I adore his Barry Lyndon. But back to these boxes... everything he wrote or thought...down to notes he left for his house staff on how often the cats should be fed while he was working on The Shining was filed in these and are now in Kubrick files in London where students can study them. I would love to spend a month in there myself because I've watched every documentary on him anyway.

The point of me talking about Kubrick is this: when I moved I realized that I had done pretty much the same with my notebooks. When I plan a shoot I write down every scene I want to do, every prop to use in the shot, what lights I want to use, or if shot outside, what time of day. I plan these things out to the inth degree. I have all those notebooks and they are piled together according to dates and models used. I sat and glanced thru them after I unpacked after the first move and debated whether to keep them or throw them out. You can guess what I did, I don't have to tell you. To me they're a mini-history of how I think.

I am as compulsive when I write, maybe more so. I've talked to my wonderful and patient editor Tina Marie Adamski who probably puts up with more weirdness with me when I write than everyone altogether. The research I put into them would give some people a blinding headache, and some of it is so obscure that most would ask, why bother? But it's the way my head works. Memorizing You had been in my head for a long, long time to write but it intimidated me because of the scope of the story. My intention was to write a gay romance where we got to know and love and understand every single character in it. That there were no incidental people. Everyone was significant and vital to the emotional impact of the tale. For those who read it you will understand that if I just mention the character of Judy, who in most novels would have been reduced to a background character, I couldn't do that with her. To me Judy was as important as the MC's and when, later in life, she is lost to her friends and her ashes spread.. she is lovingly remembered in detail. This was the purpose of the title, Memorizing You. I wanted to show how important each and everyone is within the context of how we recall them. It was a daunting, daunting undertaking and I have 12 notebooks of longhand on that book. I always use three notebooks to write. First I write the plot from beginning to end in one book. Then in the second book, I create all the characters and their descriptions down to clothing changes through the years, music they listen to, how their hairstyles alter; the works. The third notebook is where I flesh the story out itself, and I always write in double spaces because I will self edit endlessly, nitpicking over every single word. As a photographer I am very visual and I plot every scene when I write like it's a frame in a movie. Then I read each sentence aloud. My rule of thumb is if you can say the sentence in one breath it's good. If you have to take a breath to finish it: too wordy. I have a thing about wordiness. I also have a thing about big words. If  a writer uses a word the reader has to look up..get rid of it. To me it's about story-telling..not impressing someone with your vocabulary. So I chop everything down to basics knowing that will happen again once Tina gets her hands on it.

I have all those notebooks as well. Like Kubrick's Boxes, they also have secrets.  Up until now only Tina is aware of this but there were ten additional chapters to Memorizing You that I personally cut. Not because I didn't think they were valuable to the story, I did..but I also wasn't trying to write Gone With The Wind. The chapters I cut followed Rosemary and Connor to college and the continuing friendship they had with Ryan as they all grew older, got married, had careers and children. I cut them because I simply didn't want to diffuse the focus from the man who went on with life still remembering his first love. I reread those chapters, and even though I still love them as much, I, like Kubrick, will never re-edit the book and add them in. I saw what happened to William Friedkin's The Exorcist when he added his edited footage back in later. To me it lessened the horror of the film. In fact it made some scenes funny when they shouldn't have been. So editing is vital and for good reason.

I almost didn't release The Bible Boys at all because I wrote it as my rage therapy against the dysfunctional family I grew up in and left, and the horrific cult church they belonged to. It was completely done right after Memorizing and I let it sit for a whole year without looking or thinking about it.  Later, as I reread it and chopped out most of my rage, I realized it still told the story I wanted to tell, but now with less hostility. I would never add that stuff back in, but I have the notebook just filled with it.

The Art Of The Heart was a fairytale I plotted out ages ago.. to not be a written novel, but a graphic novel. I wanted to shoot it like a comic book and after I finished Memorizing I read through all my extensive notes and thought... this is a lovely little tale and it would cost me far more to shoot it then to just tell it. And with the right words it could paint those lovely pictures for me. It also didn't have a title the entire time I wrote it. Even while Tina was editing it, I referred to it as Manuscript X. I even asked her for name suggestions, but the truth goes like this: as we were finishing the edits, I had the notebook laying beside me as I slept and the name came to me in a dream. I popped up and wrote it down and completely forgot it until I read it the next morning. And then I remembered how it came to me. Art was Zac's words... it was his poetry from the heart... thus: The Art of The Heart. I'm still astonished at the power of the subconscious mind when I think about this because I really was stumped for a title.

The Price Of Dick, even though many critics totally despise this book, was something that had to be done. I wanted to use a fictional medium to chronicle the absolute horrible mess I was actually experiencing in my real life at the hands of a closeted friend and 10 year partner who betrayed me because I wouldn't play along with his act of being straight when it involved him taking on a fake girlfriend for his religious zealot mother. I will be honest..many things were cut out of this account because I knew, even though they were true, they would sound over the top. Over the years "Dick" and I had numerous fights. real hand-to-hand fist fights because of the shit he did to me  The notes are all in those books and when I read them.. I live them like they were yesterday.. Not included in the book and true, I swear,  was that Dick and I used to do sex webcam shows for our friends. It was one of the strongest reasons he moved in with me because he liked showing off and being admired and the shows filled the bill for him. Now, what most people aren't aware of is.. quite a few people did captures of those shows and they ARE on the net. I have seen them. They are probably the only pictures of me out there, but thankfully, no one will recognize me because most of the shots... well, my face was rather occupied. His was not and it is clear in every shot.  Also, not included was that we went on a trip to Las Vegas and he begged me to hire male hookers for him while we were there, which I did. Even then he wanted to maintain the image of being straight and I had to convince the guys we hired that he was drunk and was doing it reluctantly. There are ten other episodes not included in the book, and as I read them I only became more angry at myself and knew the reader would be right along there with me wanting to kick my butt..so out they went. People still wanted to kick my butt anyway.

I am sharing these things because, unlike Kubrick, I want people to know the processes I've gone through to tackle each project because everyone is different and what I exclude sometimes has it's own mystique in the exclusion.

The new book I am working on, (XXXPERIMENT),  which I call a sci-fic-horror-gay-romance is a homage to classic novels like Beauty and The Beast, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr, Hyde... and believe it or not Plato's Republic. The great thing about classic horror novels is that they all were morality tales. That is what this will be. The process has been the same..write twenty pages..cut ten of them.. I am sure I will have another notebook of  untold goodies to share afterwards...

Hope you enjoyed my little story..
keep your eyes peeled!
“I called cocks like his breeders' tools; huge, cut, and thick, with a head that looked like he could beat someone to death with it.”

“There’s quite a difference between fucking what you can get, and fucking something that blows the brains out of your skull like a 44 Magnum.”

“He wasn't just coming. He was serving full course meals.”

“He stared at my dick a moment, like it had instructions written on it.”

The book:
www.amazon.com/The-Price-Dick-…
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dan

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danthedanimal
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:icondiegowolf28:
DiegoWolf28 Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
You have a wonderful eye for photography, and I love the beauty and love you capture in your couples work.  Its about time we started to see love as Love not as one way or another.
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:iconkristinaleigh68:
KristinaLeigh68 Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2015  New member
Love your Art and the way you view subjects........starting on your other art......:)
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:icondehevia:
dehevia Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2014
This is the profile I most like because it represents the grandeur and beauty that is inherent in love. I want to congratulate those who do this work and all models. By chance you're one of the ones in the photos?


Heart Wherever LOVE is, is the best hope of feelings for people Heart 
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:iconrobinharrison:
RobinHarrison Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014
Happy Birthday :tighthug:
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:iconorganblower:
organblower Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Happy Birthday Dan :cake:
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:iconaris-ivory:
Aris-Ivory Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014  Professional Traditional Artist
Happy Birthday :party: :cake:
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:iconfictonartauthor:
FictonArtAuthor Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014
Happy Birthday. :)
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:icontinaevil:
TinaEvil Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014
happy b'day danimal!
fella's Gobbler (Party) Delicious Cake (Badges) Blower fella (Party) 
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:iconaero1107:
aero1107 Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014
Happy Birthday
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:iconamasov:
Amasov Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2014
Very best birthday wishes Daniel! :party: :cake:
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