Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Life is So Simple

When I took my puppy Sophia out for a walk today I was struck by the fresh cool air and the majesty of a sunbeam striking a solitary tree while all else was in shadow.

Shadow Dance

Experiment, Dear 7 Yrs in Hollywood Reader for your added enjoyment! Play the cool videos and you'll hear the song I listened to MAGIC SHADOW SHOW as I created this poem for you. Apologies in advance I'm not a poet:)


By Ken Sheetz

When we are born

Our shadow's born too.

We live, we dance

Our shadows dance along.

When the spark of life goes out

Our shadows go still on

Shadows fade as we turn to dust

To be born and dance anew

Your shadow and you.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Not having car in LA continues to lead to new and amazing people and places. Sunday I stumbled across some movie sets in a parking lot. Channeling Rod Serling in this vid:)

Yeah. I Agree with this Video

From MyDamnChannel on YouTube. Not as much fun as their Photoshop series but still better than 99% of what you see on the web.


Friday, September 25, 2009


Dear "7 Years in Hollywood" Reader:

A small experimental suggestion for your added pleasure. Cut and paste this link in a new window to my radio station and listen to music I was listening to as I wrote today's post.

My favorite things about Hollywood is meeting actors who the world's not yet discovered. I share a kinship with many of them because, like me, there's usually some dark episode or tragedy in their past that had transformed them. Performing on the stage or screen is somehow self-medicating.

Actor Naomi Mercer
We wanted a look for the show to be simple to allow the actors to shine. So I went to Ikea and bought our only prop for the show, a simple black chair you see here for the undiscovered actors to sit in while we interviewed each for an hour.

We had limited funds and I went bargain hunting for a location in Burbank for the 4 days of filming. We eventually settled on the Sherry theater after bad start at another location that was too noisy for filming.

Actor Bibiana Navas - Columbian Soap Star and lead in COCINA DE MARSELLA

Using ads in Craig's list and BackStage and an amazing casting service called Breakdown Express we put out the casting call for undiscovered struggling actors. We wanted the struggle because that's where the drama is.

I pre-screened head shots from hundreds of actors and then narrowed the final list of actors. I learned so much working on this project about the importance of great lighting. How lighting and good sound, good sound I had learned the hard way was vital from making "Desert Silhouettes", are really more important than what camera you use.

Here are some clips from the one hour pilot off our DISCOVER ME YouTube Channel.

And not to play favorites but Antonio Charity who stars and narrates DISCOVER ME and who gives an amazing performance as a junkie who dies of fear in ORANGE ALERT - DUCT TAPE & PLASTIC has as a play BLACK ANGELS OVER TUSKEGEE in running in North Hollywood for one night only that's a must see. The 2009 winner from the NAACP for best ensemble cast it's a wealth of acting talent. Click here to get tickets.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Way to Stand Tall, Tim!

When someone joins Abe's Inner Circle we give them a free picture of themselves "Stadin' tall with Abe." They send is a jpeg leaving room for Abe like this great one from Tim.

We then merge Abe into the shot like this. Takes a little art skill.

At some point I will have a software guru automate the process for us allowing the site user to do all the heavy lifting.

Monday, September 21, 2009 is Born

Too busy getting Youtube starter page for up to enjoy my birthday cake. is going to be a HUGE MUTIL-MILLION DOLLAR BIZ! I will be using $1 for every $5 to fund my feature films. Subscribe to see the promo I'm going to film of me greenscreened aboard a yatch with two hotties in BuzzBroz tank tops, ala GoDaddy's founder Bob Parsons' style, in each arm. Who said corporate work had to be boring? (site under construction)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Shawn & Shauna's Wedding - Sex Advice

The gorgeous bride and groom, Shawn and Shauna, my fantastic neighbors, allowed me to gather research for my new feature film project JELLYBEANS. It's my comedy about the elephant in the room, how important a healthy sex life is to a happy marriage.

Shawn& Shauna playfully permitted me to interview wedding couples for sex advice. Here's the only couple that stepped up to the plate but it's a homer. Look at the smiles. These guys are living proof of my comedy's premise. Great sex = Great Marriage.

In fairness to my ex I was not so hot in bed. Maybe that why she only wanted sex once a month as I talk about in the video. It was the biggest factor in our divorce because I wanted sex about every 5 minutes.

Now in my defense, there's a chicken and egg issue here. I really did become better in the sack after the divorce. How much better? I don't wanna brag but they don't call be Ken "Between the" Sheetz now for nothing;)

Here's more clips from Shawn and Shauna's beautiful wedding. I hope they follow their brother and sister-in law's advice and have lots and lots of bonding sex. The hero of JELLYBEANS is not a welder for nothing. Sex is that which welds us together as a couple is the serious moral to my hilarious Wedding Crashers style comedy.

I gave the bride and groom a big jar of JELLYBEANS for a wedding gift, which I forgot at home in all the confusion of losing my date at the last minute.

The legend JELLYBEANS, the inspiration for my feature film, is this:

If newlyweds put a JELLYBEANS in a jar for each time they have sex the first year of their marriage and then take one JELLYBEAN out each time they have sex after that first year they never empty the jar.

In my screenplay our hero, Nathan, 22, a welder from Milwaukee, is given a jar by his father and told the legend of the JELLYBEANS. So Nathan sets off to get his honeymoon off to flying start with the jar and his virgin hottie bride Darcy, but he has one small problem, the mother-in-law comes along for the honeymoon.

And now for shameless plug for some of the Hollywood people who were my fellow guests at the amazing wedding of Shawn & Shauna (who works in the biz as an entertainment lawyer). Here's a taste of some storyboards I animated and VO'd with the talented Sheila Cavelette who I met from my Discover Me show with Emmy nom John Amodeo (Samantha Who? & Arrested Development). Enjoy The Mirabellis.

It's the story of Victorio, a pizza delivery boy, who is secretly and assassin, his fat drunk brother Dominic and mama Rhea who is secretly (spoiler alert) thousands years old and mother of Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome. Set in today's Chicago Little Italy, Taylor Street. It's a blast. My favorite mix of comedy and action.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Woman Screams as She's Evicted

These are such hard times. I was heading for a free coffee I get as resident where I live when I came across this horrible scene. Filmed with my new flip camera which is great but my old computer can't quite digest so the picture jumps a bit but it's the audio that will grab you. Sad audio of a woman losing perhaps not just her home but her mind.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Is Obama a Lemon?

Is Obama like that perfect car you thought you bought only to find it was a lemon?

Too soon to tell. But it did get me thinking. And I think with film.

Those who know me from Kids Talk Politics, my acclaimed documentary about the 2008 elections, know I'm middle of the road as it gets. And near the end after Palin came into the picture we got fully behind Obama as the saner choice.

But Obama really does worry me with all his vacations, his wife on all the magazine fashion covers, his helping Wall Street before the common man and his bumbling health care plan, the reason I voted for him. The Reps are now simply obstructionists with no good ideas of their own.

Lincoln is Back is borne of Obama's stumbling start and the lack of leadership from the Right. Obama started strong but he's lost his way on the trail of leadership. So I thought, after meeting the great Lincoln actor Tom Katsis, and becoming inspired, how about we bring Obama's hero back to give the rookie president some tips?

I've been working round the clock for three weeks now. I'm dying to see if this idea catches the wave of the web.

Visit Abe on YouTube at

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Play Satan on YouTube

Ever wonder why YouTube does so much site maintenance?

I'm proud to play Satan because being raised by an Irish grandmother Satan was used to scare me into behaving. I am no longer afraid of the guy and that makes me happier than you could know.

There was this Twighlight Zone episode where a man sells his soul. It ran when I was a kid and it scared the living shit out of me. I used to make scary bets with myself: "Walk this curb without falling off or you lose your soul." I trembled in bed at night, fearing the devil would kill me in my sleep.

Superman was my childhood hero. He protected me from Satan. You see some of this is a painting I did about the flames of childhood.

My nightmares were so horrible that my gramma came up with this gift of with a magical rosary. She said if I prayed the rosary each night the nightmares would stop and I'd be safe from the devil.

And it worked! I'd fall asleep each night saying the rosary.But it was OCD city for me.

I was terrified of the EXORCIST.
Couldn't sleep without the lights on for week and I was 19.

I would not be freed of my fear of the devil until I studied, or should I say devoured, the works of Joseph Campbell. He explained religion was all a beautiful form of story telling and myth. THE HERO WITH A THOUSANDS FACES set me free of religion.

My divorce docs demanded that I take my kids to mass whenever I had custody of them for my weekends. We'd sit there in this temp church in an empty store in the old North Pier Terminal, my kids, Jon and Janelle, and me, bored silly. But we'd always sneak out early and play video games! Some of first virtual reality simulators on the planet. My name was ROCK TOWER. Me and my kids got so much more out of this fantasy world than the Catholic one next door.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I Shot Abe Lincoln

On film of course. The shoot lasted a solid 12 hours with 2 weeks of solid screenwriting.

All in all we filmed 14 episodes for Join!

Here's Tom Katsis getting into makeup. A little corruption at the start. Guess Flipshare still has a few bugs.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ghosts of Neverland - Michael Jackson RIP

The whole Michael Jackson affair has been odd to say the least. This is an abstract video that is scored to express the weirdness surrounding poor MJ, supposedly now murdered, who finally got laid to rest last week. Laid to rest after months of LAPD and media probes and endless autopsies.

Footage is taken from Orpah's 1998 exclusive interview at the Neverland Ranch.

If You Want a Friend in Hollywood Get a Dog

My puppy Sophia, star of A Puppy's Tale of 9/11 with Ed Anser, an official selection in 8 festivals, loves to beat the heat in the shade. Her fur is black so she gets hot fast in the sun. Watch her unique way of keeping cool.

Sigh... movie stars. I never should have given Sophia Sheetz her own IMDB page where she is more popular than me.

In a lonely town like Hollywood, a dog is a great pal to have.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Making it Rain in the Desert

4 years ago, while Tom Sizemore danced on my head, I saw a video about an explosion of flowers in the Anza Borego desert. I became inspired to write a tragic love story about a newlywed couple, Jack and Maya spending their last weekend together before Jack ships out for Iraq. After Jack is killed in action Maya decides to return to the desert to kill herself. I won't spoil the ending for you. Watch the brand new HD upload here. And watch it now because you may only be able to view it on DVD in a month or so.

OK, did you watch? You may be asking how the heck did I get it to rain in the desert? And with almost no budget?

Answer: I designed a rain rig and the actors helped me build it! Gotta love indie film.

Even though DESERT SILHOUETTES has not traveled the festivals circuit like A PUPPY'S TALE OF 9/11 - With Ed Anser, because I only could afford to submit to a handful of festivals at the time, I consider this my best short film to date.

Here I am with the lead cast. The very talented Jill Stapley Ryan Huffman. It will be offered as a DVD extra on my new project LINCOLN IS BACK.

And watch our blog here for progress on Lincoln is Back.

Valnetino Tatara took the photo. He plays the Tourist who saves Maya the first suicide attempt. Fine young man who doubled as my PA. He has a bright future in film.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Meet the real Batman

My buddy and backer Rick Cavenaugh is buying this building that was infested with rats. The clean up is going to be huge.

Flip Video Bike Test

Flip rules. HD no tapes, small. What's not to love?

Thanks, Lee: You're a Hero

Where would I be if not for great backers like Lee Golub? I'll be thanking all my amazing backers, big and small here. We've already talked about super backer Rick Cavenaugh.

Next heavy hitter up... Lee Golub.

Lee's company owns a little building in Chicago called The Hancock Building.

Back in 2003 when a producer who was going to fund a film of mine died of a heart attack, at only 56, Lee rescued my budding Hollywood venture. Lee's been there many times over these last 7 years since on other equally tough spots. Hollywood is no cake walk.

Lee runs a softball team for the awesome Golub & Co., founded by Lee's father, Chicago real estate legend Eugene Golub. Lee's a real home run hitter who plays in rock band that works for free at charities.

Enjoy my video tribute to Lee who is right up there with the Ghandi, the Pope and Rosa Parks for my dream here in Hollywood.

Hey, Lee: Whenever I need a hero to keep me out of "jail" you're always who I turn to;)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Making a Movie about Therapy Sends me Into Therapy

Just this morning - God help me, story ideas come to me as dreams many times. Usually my worst - I tossed and turned as this dream for a wasteland story rolled though my head, score and all - likely caused by playing too much FALLOUT 3. The night's dream/film was about an Apocalypse survivor who finds shelter with a family, the loving family he's longed for his whole life, only to discover Mom, Dad, and the kiddies are not a real family but androids.

Artificial love is better than no love at all is the premise.

Hollwyood's a damn lonely town. Vegas and strip clubs - you know what I'm saying - have been my artificial antidote. I wrestled in bed for hours before realizing that Ridley Scott nailed this idea a long time ago with BLADE RUNNER. Speilberg's A.I. covers this ground too.But I like the notion enough to maybe come back to it some time. Nothing's new under the sun since Aristotle.

But while I am asleep and dreaming I can't tell what's a good story or not. - Hell, it's taken me almost the entire 7 years develop the skills to tell if my stories are any damn good while I'm wide awake and have a coffee in me. And even then I'm wrong half the time.

I used to have terrible nightmares before some amazing EMDR therapy that unleashed my creative mind. In fact, EMDR is at the core of film I wrote called STEPS.

STEPS - a Top Ten hit out of 1000s of short films when Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti's new website Triggerstreet launched back in 2002 - is the movie project that inspired me to move to Hollywood. But for which I got totally eaten alive by Hollywood sharks who I paid a small fortune to bastardize STEPS' script and make me totally miserable.

All back in 2003 while Tom Sizemore danced on my head. Here's all that have to show for spending $70,000 of my money and my investors' money learning what I already knew: Hollywood's a tough fucking town:

YouTube/Triggerstreet/Amazon Multiplexes

But getting out of that shell, doing the unthinkable, living without a car in LA has, in short 6 months, been the time I've met some of the most amazing people and the adventures have been awesome. Not to mention I've lost about 20 pounds riding my bike and walking and I've been saving over $500 a month on car costs. That's enough to eat for a month.

Back to, that project, less than a week old is rapidly taking shape. Gone are the days when ideas took years and millions of bucks to reach the screen. Think of it, film it and post it the day on dozens of websites. Yep. It's gonna break my heart to see a lot of these Hollywood dinosaurs go belly in 4 or 5 years.

People love the social aspects of theaters. Movie houses will never be a thing of the past. But thinking positive about the future of entertainment, I imagine Amazon / Triggerstreet/YouTube multiplexes. How much more fun to theater hop a 30 screen theater with your best social networking pals, watching a mini film festival of the best of viral indie films of the month, than 30 screens all playing RAMBO XXI playing in 15 minute intervals?

Don't get me wrong, we'll always love big Hollywood movies, it's just all going to come to theaters digitally and we'll have thousands of options to choose from. Not 5 or 6 when we go to the theater. It will be a new premier every 15 minutes to borrow from Andy Warhol.

Well, unless viruses like the Swine Flu make social interaction too dangerous. See this New York Times story about 2000 college student becoming sick in a week. - Crazy Story idea there . "Bill Martinson, poor townie, was getting nowhere with the college chicks. That is until the Swine flu hit the girl's dorm and he went on mop patrol. Bill meets Ashley, the girl of his dreams, when she barfs all over him..."

I get tons crazy ideas like the above. I have file cabinet full of several hundred shitty ideas like the above which will never see the light of day.

Getting Out My Shell

For big projects, which are worlds unto themselves, I'll post sub blogs. I am working on a new project that just came out of the blue called LINCOLN IS BACK with Tom Katsis, one of the top Lincoln actors in America.

I met Tom last week simply because times are so tough that I gave up my beloved Beetle early this year to conserve dwindling investor capital. I do work from home after all. And meeting with studios happens no more than once a week, or, let's be honest, that's my bag here, once every other month if I pester the shit out of execs like a $50 whore until they meet with me out of pity.

So most of the time my Beetle sat gathering dust for weeks between uses. This is part due to the odd fact, odd for Hollywood, that I've kept up my old Chicago habits of walking whenever I can to the stores for exercise. In fact for a dozen years after my unbelievably expensive divorce from Gloria I had never even owned a car. So I decided, like back in Chicago when I was getting slaughtered by alimony and child support, to rent a car here in LA on a as needed basis, sucked it up and called VW. I told the truth, that in this economy I could no longer could afford the payments.

VW's repo man was appreciative I had voluntarily given up my ride. He told me he usually has to hunt down repos after months and months of missed payments. Here I was giving up my car being less than 30 days in the hole. But I'm old fashioned this way. I pay as I go. Comes from having two parents born in the last Great Depression.
As the repo man left, stereotypical stoggie in his teeth, said, "Don't sign anything VW sends you. You've done enough for those jamokes." Then he added, "Have a better day."

As I felt like crap and watched the tow truck take my beloved Beetle that perfect March day, I called my mom on the cell and told her about my cost saving decision. Now, my mom thinks I went a little insane 7 years ago when I quit real estate to become a starving artist in Hollywood. So she said, "You'll be vulnerable to the weather and killed by Mexicans without a car in LA. You're like a turtle out of your shell now!"

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Trading Tom Sizemore for Ed Asner

I had escaped Tom Sizemore. After seven blissful nights' sleep, I was rested and began to attack Hollywood with renewed vigor.

I worked a solid six months getting scripts off to studios. I now had one of the top entertainment lawyers in Hollywood in my corner thanks to a Chicago pal, Heath Fear. My new lawyers Greenberg & Glusker made it relatively easy to get in the door with the studios. But without attachments of name stars my efforts were stymied.

I didn't let it phase me. I kept writing new and better screenplays. I was improving steadily as both a director and writer. So treated myself to a new puppy.

Sophia is a delight and so adorable she literally stops traffic. I was enjoying the new YouTube and decided to follow my success with WAVE and the more sophisticated DESERT SILHOUETTES with a screenplay I had written just after 9/11 about a dog trapped in it's apartment after the master goes missing in the WTC disaster.

I even shot it 4:3 ratio as I thought all it would be was a great exercise for me. But as I filmed my puppy Sophia, using my apartment as the set, I began to realize I had something very special. One of my dear friends Alexandra More saw the work in progress, agreed to play Mother and introduced me to the great Ed Asner. Ed happily agreed to play Father in the film.

8 film festivals later I had my first film project with a name star as Ed loved the short film so much he agree to be attached for my feature film SUMMER RULES. A script he has calls one of the best he's ever read. It's an expansion of the short film that has been so successful on the festival circuit. Ed was the lead in this summer's biggest animated hit from Pixar, UP. Ed has been kind enough to send the script onto one of pals in the biz to star as the billionaire cowboy Derek Calloway. Fingers crossed. I hope to tell you all about that star attachment here one day.

Fire Timelaspe

Fire is one of the things that has become tough to live with in LA. This is cool time lapse footage filmed in the last 24 hours. I added the score from the Phantom of the Opera 1925.