Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Unbelievable" Thanksgiving

Wedding Scene from THE GODFATHER

Mom and Dad got divorced when I was but the tender age of 30. I had thought the way these two tried to kill each other so many times that I'd feel happy about their divorce. Instead I was stunned how deeply their official break-up bothered me, how strangely orphaned I felt.

Both of them quickly remarried and soon I ended up with two sets of parents.

1. Dad and a sweet stepmother named Jackie, from Oshkosh by gosh.

2. Mom and a tough but lovable Sicilian from Milwaukee named Nick.

This proved to be a nightmare for the holidays as both Mom and Dad and the new steps were spread hours apart. Plus there were my ex Gloria's father and his bride, the mother-in-law from hell, to visit.

The divorce, when I hit 40, simplified things a bit and I was down to two families for the holidays again. Nice and simple.

Simple that is until two Thanksgivings ago, 2007. That fateful year I, along with my brother Fred, visited Mom and Nick in Vegas where they retired to some 20 years ago. In fact Thanksgiving in Vegas had become a regular tradition for my 7 years in Hollywood, where Fred would visit with me a few days in LA and then we'd drive over to Vegas for a few days.

Mom's a great cook and her Thanksgiving feasts have been my favorites my whole life. So imagine how pissed I am that my stepfather has thrown a wet blanket on that day.

Back to Thanksgiving 2007 for how this holiday got whacked up. On his visit with me in LA Fred and I went to watch a football game at the Sportsman's Lounge bar in Studio City. The waitress suggested their spicy buffalo wings. Man, that waitress was not kidding; these wings were spicy as hell. Fred wouldn't touch 'em but that left more for me and I gobbled 'em down during the game.

By the time we hit the Sportsman's parking lot I was already feeling sick. And by the time we hit the apartment I was hitting the toilet, barfing my guts out. I'd say I was barfing my brains out but I lost those a long time ago beating my head against the Hollywood wall.

The drive to Vegas the next day was a nightmare of short hops between gas stations, since I now had a case of the "Sportsman's Lodge spicy buffalo wing shits" that makes my butt hurt just thinking about it. Oh my aching writer's hemorrhoids.

So when we arrived in Vegas I was not in the best of spirits. In fact, the entire first 3 days are a blur. Thanksgiving dinner is in there somewhere and I may have gotten down some mashed potatoes. I spent all my time alone in the condo while the family went out and partied. Nothing gets in the way of gambling for my family.

Thanksgiving 2007 was the truly worst vacation of my life and it was about to get worse.

After we saw Fred off to the airport and I started to pack, CNN reported a major fire was happening in Agoura Hills, Caly. Right where I lived. "Fuck me," I said as Nick had taught me in true Sicilian fashion.

Now, I'm allergic to the fire retardants that get in the air when there's a big fire. So I decided to stay over an extra night in Vegas at my folk's home. I was feeling a whole lot better and was ready to finally party.

But, as Mom and Nick gambled all their fun money away while I was busy shitting out the last Sportsman's buffalo wing in their toilet, all we did was sit in their little one bedroom condo and watch cable TV for hours on end.

Whoo hoo.

Nick and I battled for the remote. I wanted to watch the news to see if my home was going up in fucking smoke but he wanted to watch old Turner Classics. Nick and my mom were approaching 80 at the time and so they liked to keep the temp about their age, about the low end of a sweat lodge.
And after being stuck in that sweltering condo, a toilet my sole companion for 3 days, I needed to cool the sweat lodge down a tad. So I snuck over to the thermostat and lowered it by one degree, hoping the natives might not notice.

A few minutes later my mom shouts from the back hall, "It's freezing in here! Who lowered the thermostat?"

Nick groused, "Not me," and glared over at me.

I grinned and said, "I confess. I lowered the temp one degree."

"Unbelievable!" bellowed Nick, "You want to give your mother pneumonia?!"

Here's the part where I should have calmly said, "Of course not, Nick. I didn't think it was that big a deal." But instead I said,

"One degree? You're busting my balls about one fucking degree?!"

"We're old! You want to kill us?" Nick hollered as Mom ran into the room, realizing she had somehow set off World War 3.

"Fuck you, you crazy old bastard! " exploded from my mouth.

So much for all my anger management therapy. I angrily tossed all my stuff into the car and shouted up the stairs at Nick and my horrified mother,

"Next time your husband ends up in a hospital for a heart attack don't call me to help. Happy fucking Thanksgiving!"

A few days later I apologized to Mom and Nick for my making things worse than they already were with my outburst. I explained that being sick all those days and the pressures of Hollywood had gotten the best of me.

Momma Mia quickly forgave me but Nick, who had been as close as a second father to me up until I spewed, "Fuck you, you crazy old bastard! " all over his living room, was not moved to forgive and forget.

For the next two years every time I'd call on the phone Nick would act like the black plague was on the line and hand the phone to Mom.

A few months later my brother, without my knowing or consent, would intervene. Nick said an "I'm Sorry" card, which I'd sent a week after my mouth explosion, and phone call apology were not enough. Nick told Fred that he needed me to apologize to him face to face.

I always listen to my amazing brother Fred, and so Thanksgiving 2008 I made the trip again to Vegas. I stayed at the nearby New Orleans Hotel and Casino, hoping as Nick promised to Fred that my eating humble pie would end the "One Degree Feud."

At Mom's turkey dinner I gathered my nerve, swallowed my pride, what was left of it after Hollywood, and went up to Nick just before the bird came. I profusely apologized once again to Nick in front of Fred and Mom.

Nick's response? A grunt of disgust and silence all through the meal. I shot Fred an "I tired." look of despair. The meal tasted like Sportsman's buffalo wings.

So this year I was not in Vegas for Thanksgiving at all. Not that I could afford to be with the mess my life is in right now. Two full years have passed in "The One Degree Feud" and, when Fred and Mom broached the topic of my forgiveness this 2009 Thanksgiving in my absence, Fred told me today in disgust, that Nick claims he never remembers that I apologized at all.

Now that's "Unbelievable!"

On the bright side I had a pleasant family free Thanksgiving dinner this year at Marie Callender's with my unbelievable roommates Gilley and Kim pictured above. But I still missed seeing Fred and Mom.

Moral of the story: Never get on the bad side of a Sicilian... even if he is your stepfather.

Any who, some fans who've read my Italian stories ask me how the dialogue is so authentic. Now you know. Here's a taste of the sauce.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Pal and Client on CLTV!

My pal Dave Curry is a genius inventor. Back in the day when we worked leasing Chicago real estate who would've known he was this creative? I mean seriously, the most creative thing we did as real estate guys was match up the right space to the right client.

Dave has invented a whole new kind of shoe that changes. Watch the video to get the picture on why I'm not exaggerating about how cool Dave and his new shoes are.

This coming week I am making Dave a BuzzBroz viral YouTube spot to help him get the word out. If you drop by his website to buy some shoes tell him Ken Sheetz sent you and look for the special sale code bottom of the page for an unbelievable bargain.

Podi is running a huge sale for a limited time. $99 buys you the shoes 4 covers, a backpack, a T-shirt and free Shipping! That's $30 off the spring price you see in the video!

Visit and enter the code PACKPLUS1 on the order form to get the $99 super bargain price.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

From fellow JELLYBEANS producer Gilley Grey's Q2 Studios blog

It has been an incredible week. We are moving forward with our next feature - JELLYBEANS. We had a great meeting with our Casting Director, Sheryl Roberts who has done casting on Beverly Hills 90210, Face Off, and Rocky III and is as excited about this story as we are. Its a comedy about the importance of a good sexlife in a marriage. You can follow the production updates on Twitter or Facebook HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Zombies to Stuff

My dissertation on stuff continues.

Today I sold more of my last post eviction stuff at a pal of Gilley's garage sale. The mission: Generate some walking around money.

Shit. I'm still kicking myself because this cash shortage is something I caused myself.

How? By accidentally screwing up the address for my new PO BOX, you see correctly in the video below HOLLYWOOD CUTBACKS.

But instead I goofed up the address and the check went instead to the Shoalin Temple of LA, as I bitch about in my last blog "You are a Total Duchebag Grasshopper."

Today I walked into the dimly lit storefront temple during meditation to gongs and the smell of incense.

In hushed whispers I learned that the Shoalins monks had received my check letter but that they returned it to the sender.

How Zen.

This return was instead of holding onto it for me as one monk agreed Thursday. Guess monks don't talk to each other just like the rest of us schmos.

Therefore, sadly for me, it could be another damn week until I get my next paycheck.

Total sales for stuff sales today: 1 HD TV, 1 DVD player, 1 Desk Lamp, 1 Herman Miller Aeron chair, 1 Masia Warrior Stick from my ex girlfriend = $110.

This scavenger cash allowed me to pay Gilley back for his loan from yesterday. That felt good. But until I get my blown payment from my new client I'm almost back in the hole after groceries and a little relaxing today.

It's stunning how much stuff costs versus how much stuff is worth in today's messed up world. I feel like I am living my favorite video game FALLOUT 3, battling for survival in the Capital Wasteland.

So I'm feeling tired from the sale, for which we got up at 6 AM to set up. The buyers were primarily Hispanic, or should I say the shoppers. Buyers were about 50% white and 50% Hispanic.

I'm left feeling overwhelmed by the task ahead of me of rebuilding my life from the ash heap that is Hollywood.

You are a Total Duschebag, Grasshopper,...

... said the Shoalin priest as I searched for my missing check in the mecca of Hollywood on Ventura Blvd.

I f'd up royally this week. I was expecting a check from Podi Shoes for BuzzBroz, my commercial division of my vast production empire. But since I'm mildly dyslexic, something which almost killed me through school life, I had transposed two numbers and instead of the check going to my new mailbox it ended up going to an, and I shit you not, amazing place called the Shaolin Temple of Los Angeles.

So instead of being able to pay rent, phones and hold my own, I'm broke as hell and leeching off Gilley. Shit, I devoured his pantry this week like a swarm of descending locusts.

My client is going to return the check to the right address when they get it again so I will repay Gilley soon. But at the moment this grasshopper feels like a total duchebag.

The only thing helping me keep my last shred self respect is that I did write an entire script for a sitcom pilot that Gilley and I dreamed up with Kim, inspired by her real life work at a stripper fitness shop.

Will write for food.

Last night a beautiful Brit producer took Gilley and me to see a BAFTA screening of NINE, starring the great Daniel Day Lewis. The Q & A was awesome as Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench and Kate Hudson kept us all laughing. Judi is a natural comedian.

I had the pleasure of almost meeting Penelope Cruz 6 years ago. It was just before word that she and Tom Cruise were over as a couple.

I had just made it to the top of Griffith Park's trail to the peak across from the Hollywood sign and she was crying. I showed some class for once and left her to her tears.

A week later I was able to piece together why she was crying. Penelope is far more beautiful in real life, if you can imagine that. Penelope steals the show in NINE. She's worth the ticket alone in this film I give 6 out of 7 Years in Hollywood.

Tonight I tagged along with Gilley and Kim and was treated to an amazing performance of Dennis Quaid. The man has great talent as a musician. It was a genuine blast.

After 4 beers I was calling Dennis Randy to anyone who would listen to me. I met a nice writer who I at first thought was a dentist but she was only correcting me for calling Dennis Randy.

Not my brightest week.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Universe is Flat! - Brain and the Blonde

Gilley Grey. Stuntman, producer... astronomer?! Yep, Gilley is an actual rocket scientist who worked at Sandia National Laboratories that led to his flying AWACs in Desert Storm.

Watch out when you give Gilley his green iced Starbucks tea. Yesterday we ended up making a Twilight Zone style video HOLLYWOOD CUTBACKS (see it on yesterday's blog post). Today it was THE UNIVERSE IS FLAT, the first of what we are aptly calling our THE BRAIN AND THE BLONDE series, featuring a new beautiful blonde whenever we can manage it! Noel's gonna be hard to top, she's a great talker.

But coolest of all was that we played Sagan's video before on my new Blackberry and that inspired all this. The kicker? The Gilley Grey/Noel video I filmed is linked on this page on YouTube. So Gilley Grey, Hawkings and Carl Sagan are together somewhere now on Google on the theory of a flat universe.

I'm blessed to have met the brilliant and talented producer Gilley Grey and now be a renter of a studio with a day bed in his and Kim's home. It feels like my 7 years in Hollywood has just begun. And, yes, I have found an actual rocket scientist to figure out this crazy mazey tinsel town.

Sill don't believe the universe is flat and that ancient man was actually ahead of his time thinking the Earth was flat?! Check out this Wikipedia story Gilley showed me.

I'll close with a video that cracked Gilley and Kim up tonight. Agent Smith's voice is replaced by Carl Sagan's theoretical lecture. Morpheus' expression is how Kim reacts to Gilley's lengthy flights of scientific fancy.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hollywood Cutbacks

Wow. Starbucks on Ventura rules. Gilley's girl Kim had off today so the three of us had a leisurely coffee. We started talking about how a lot of us in the biz work from home and use PO boxes for our business addresses.

As we talked about tough times in Hollywood over coffee the idea hit me to make a comedy short! And we did, right after coffee.

My address for Overactive Imagination Pictures is a cozy little mailbox at 13457 Ventura Boulevard, #240, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423. Drop me a postcard, a donation $, or better yet, drop by and visit me...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Meet My New Girlfriend Riese

OK, I still don't get YouTube. How does junk food like FRED get a million views in a week and hot quality new web series like RIESE only pull in 72,000 viewers?

Who cares? RIESE is great entertainment and the kind of show that gives me hope as a struggling filmmaker.

Distribution? We don't need no stinking distribution! The web is going to change Hollywood forever, if we don't let the fat cat millionaires in congress, owned by the corporations, screw it up for us.

Here's the first episode for RIESE. Solid production values and fine acting make this a web series worth watching.

And did I mention, it has a hot young female lead, Christine Chatelin, my new girlfriend? Well, on Facebook anyways.
Rating: 6 out of 7 Years in Hollywood.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

End of the World?

Got up early today after a dream about losing my wonderful dog Sophia in the eviction. So to forget my cares I did what I always do and went to the movies.

I guess the eviction blues caught up to me today. Or maybe it was the typical feeling I get after watching a great movie and realizing how far away I am from the goal I set for myself 7 years ago of producing a theatrical release.

As the 2012 credits rolled that little dickhead voice in my head chuckled, "You're a loser, Sheetz. Pitiful. You've only been able to produce about 500,000 Youtube views, 2 DVDs on Amazon and a pilot optioned to TV network that went bankrupt for all your stinking 7 years in Hollywood. You've sacrificed way too much of your life, missed seeing your kids, friends and family. Go the fuck home to Wisconsin and check into a nut house to cure you of your Hollywood addiction."

As usual I told the voice, "Shut the fuck up, I ain't quitting."

Before I came out here one of my real estate pals warned me, "Ken, Hollywood is not an investment, it's a sickness." Yep. I got it bad.

My pal Gilley went to a lecture by Mark Fergus this week, who with his partner wrote the awesome screenplay for IRON MAN. Mark described writers as people with big egos and low self esteem. Accurate. Guess I'm a writer after all.

Any who. I miss my dog and 2012's got my "This movie's so good it makes me want to fucking quit or jump off a cliff!" seal of approval, folks.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Titus & The Curse of Too Much Stuff

Coffee Break with Titus

Gilley Grey, founder of Q2 Studios, and I made a run to Starbucks today, and thanks to Gilley being his usual likable self, I met Christopher Titus. Chris worked with John Amodeo (my partner for the DISCOVER ME show) on TITUS, one my favorite sitcoms of all time.

I am a huge Christopher Titus fan. The guy always makes me laugh. By the way, you never want to sit in front of me in a theater when I really get laughing.  My laughter is loud and explosive enough to knock off a toupee.  

And I frequently explode with laughter watching Christopher Titus perform.  His honesty about his family life is what does the trick. 

And to get to meet him and share our respect for John Amodeo who's produced such great shows as ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT and SAMANTHA WHO? and ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE was a genuine hoot.

I told Chris I shared a similar father figure and he said, "I feel for you, man."

Slaves to Stuff

And then on the way home we came across a Yard Sale that reminded me of my eviction all those many days ago. I'm on quest to find out why we care so much about stuff, so I asked the beautiful yard sale ladies about their thoughts on the topic of stuff.

Rachel Welch "1,000,000 BC"
My pal Gilley Grey has a cool theory about stuff. He believes humans became attached to stuff from the caveman times when the man with the biggest and best club got to breed with the hottest cave ladies.

I think he's onto something. This still exists to this day, you must always have the best weapons to survive. I thought about my new Blackberry Storm 2. My portable stuff. My high-tech weapon in the Hollywood wars.

This cool pic is the gigundo stuff Gilley Grey flew in Desert Storm when he became a war hero flying the AWACS into Iraq. It was one big assed plane for what purpose...?

Locate Saddam's stuff; the scuds, jets and tanks to blow that stuff up!

Photo courtesy of Gilley Grey

The pyramids were built for the Pharaohs' tombs to hold all the ridiculous amount of stuff they had so they could lug it along with them on huge barge across the river of death.

Imagine what the poor slaves must have been thinking as they were walled into the pyramids alive...

"What's with all this sand pouring in?! They said there was gonna be virgins! Why the fuck am I being buried with all this fucking stuff?"

Gilley and me just brainstormed something we should put on T-shirts, wet T-shirts worn by large breasted women...

"Doing stuff is more important than having stuff."

Are boobs stuff? Hell yes. In Hollywood -where most are bought and paid for with an Amex - they are silicone stuff!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Goodfella's Play While Kim's Away

I'm from Chicago, birthplace of improv, so it blew me away what a great improv guy Gilley Grey is. How dare this guy from New Mexico be better than me!

And what led to all this improv fun? Gilley and me are carless as Kim's car is in the shop and she borrowed Gilley's. So I took Gilley out to enjoy the joys of walking in LA. A city no one walks in because of the drive-by shootings.

As you see Gilley bought a gigantic mirror to surprise Kim with. All the enhance the sripper/fitness lessons that will soon be coming to our apartment. Sigh...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gilley Grey & His Magic Bag to the Resuce

Wow. Did you ever have one of those days? Well, if you ever do it'll be OK if Gilley Grey and his magic bag are around to save the day. Why? Because Gilley Grey, top Hollywood stutman/coordinator, producer and founder of Q2 Studios, has a gift, the gift to always have whatever you need in his magic bag.

I met Gilley this past summer when he sought me out for advice on his new Q2 Studios in New Mexico. Why me? Because I built Oprah Harpo Studios, so I know my way around a construction site.
John Lamb, Oprah, Jeff Jacobs, Ken Sheetz

I liked Gilley instantly and happily introduced Gilley to my pal Jim McShane, of McShane Construction, another can do spirit, and the two hit it off.

When I hit rock bottom in the bad economy two weeks ago and, yes, ended up evicted from my luxury apartments, Gilley pulled a guest bedroom with it's own private bath out of his magic bag for me to crash in. A recovery that's coming along nicely with my new BuzzBroz company doing video content creation and Social Networking to build buzz.

This morning I woke up only to find my Apple G5, usually super dependable, was frozen up and needed to go into the Apple shop. So I thought I was out of business for few days. But Gilley dug into his magic bag and pulled out a spare laptop computer.

As I sat in amazement while Gilley set up the laptop, grateful as hell, he started to tell me the story of his magic bag that always seems to have what people need, from checks that saved another pal's home to the button for a girl in an airport in this video GILLEY GREY'S MAGIC BAG.

I have to thank Oprah one day for the thread that brought Gilley into my life. We are going to make a lot of magical movies together.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ok, Was I Evicted or Did I Die and Go to Heaven?

Tonight we celebrated over sushi because Gilley's fiancee Kim has new job at a workout place that uses stripper poles for exercise!

The other morning I was doing my nerdy writing thing in my office/bedroom when I heard something heavy hit the floor. I rushed out into the living room only to see Kim and Gilley, ahem, erecting a stripper pole for Kim to practice on.

Sigh... women will be coming here to the apartment for stripper pole lessons. Stay tuned 7 Years in Hollywood Fans!

And I thought evictions were a bad thing. Well, at least not in Hollywood. I've had more fun in the last week since I got ejected from Agoura Hills than I had in the last 6 months.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Seeing the Light

Gilley Grey as Blue Face in BUFFALO GIRLS

My spirits were good today for my second week post Agoura Hills.

I am enjoying being back in the city. My room at Gilley and Kim's is spacious and I have a bath all to myself.

I did my first laundry yesterday and I don't miss having the washer and dryer in the apartment. Reminds me of my place back in Chicago.

Kim cooked tacos New Mexico style for dinner. Mt first home cooked meal since Thanksgiving 2008 in Vegas at my mom's.

What really made the day, aside from a new BuzzBroz account with Podi Wear, coolest shoes on the planet, was this pic I got from Mandy showing Sophia's new bed. My baby dog looks happy with her new masters.

I was in a good enough mood to clean up the utilities mess I left behind in Agoura. Gas, electric and ATT all a wrap. As I walked back from the UPS store where I had returned my Internet server I stopped off in one of my favorite stores in LA, Illumination Lighting & Design on Ventura Blvd here in my new home with Gilley and Kim in Sherman Oaks.

I earned a scholarship back at Layton School of Art & Design with a lighting project and I have a real love for lamp stores. Illumination is a beauty. Hundreds of high end light fixtures glow in the handsome store from all over the world.

Layton School of Art is a sad story. In 1972, my Sophomore year, the administration fired the teachers when they joined a union. They then went onto hire a new staff of non-union teachers. But the fired teachers took Layton to court and by my senior year the school was stuck with contracts for the old and new teachers. The school teteered on closing for that year and finally bankrupted and I became part of the last graduating class for the 70 year old school.

I'll close with a pic of a new Twitter follower's pic. Likely this is not really what this spam bot looks like:)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Having Good Times in Bad Times

Having fun in bad times is like spitting in the eye of fate. Great Halloween Party at Gilley friend Joy Ellison's last night.

Joy is an A list dialect coach who has worked with the biggest stars in Hollywood. She and Gilley are best friends. I helped Gilley help Joy with the party.

Joy has a wonderful a serene energy and a wonderful circle of friends. It was an honor an a pleasure to be at her party. Her adopted son is a cool kid.

Kim had the best costume at the party. She was dead prom queen haunting her killer, Gilley. The makeup was first rate.

The other beautiful woman in the photo session is Tara. She makes a hot Elvira.

I got some nice compliments on my Satan. And then it was off to Santa Monica Blvd where we partied with 500,000 people in costume. I'll never forget the experience. It made me feel like zombies could be real.

Earlier this week Gilley and I dug out our golf clubs and hit the links at Whittset. Good cheap fun, only $9 for 9 holes! But the amazing thing was how fast Gilley learned from a little coaching I gave him. Makes perfect sense though. As a stuntman physical memory is a basic survival skill. Gilley calmly told me at lunch the other day he has set himself on fire over 250 times without an injury, in movies and just for fun.

Right. Setting yourself on fire is fun.

Enjoy some Cranberries with your Zombies.