The Sixth Day Film Update

Time is relative as Tobit relates in Tobit and the Hoodoo Man,

“I recall the night mother returned from the master’s house and explained to me that I was born in ‘eighteen-twenty-five.’  That knowledge meant nothing to me at the time.  As an old man, I learned that ‘1825’ was a year, and that a year was a measurement of time, the time it takes for the earth to travel around the sun.  That really confused me, because I thought the sun moved around the earth.  I saw it happen every day.  However long that passage takes – regardless of which body moves about which – I know that time is relative.  A long time to one man may be a short time to another.  A year is a long time for a man in bondage, but the blink of an eye to the man who enslaves him.”

Third ManAs books and creativity go, I liken myself to the man in bondage.  Three years seems like a long time in the creative world.  Three years ago, I was one of the lucky ones: two of my books, The Olympian and The Sixth Day each carried film options.  That is an exciting prospect.  Since then, despite the intense efforts of the producer, The Olympian is no longer on the table and under consideration.  That’s too bad because I was hoping against hope to see Sean Connery or Anthony Hopkins play the role of the poet Simonides who narrates the tale.

During these three years, I’ve learned much about the film industry.  As Ringo Starr told us in 1971, “You know it don’t come easy.”  The Sixth Day was in the hands of Hoplite Entertainment, but in recent months, Hoplite shifted its emphasis from feature film to reality TV.  The Sixth Day – with a working film title of “Third Man” – was no longer a part of their vision.  I can accept that.

bumpercrop filmsOn the positive side, no sooner had Hoplite orphaned the project than a new film company expressed interest in the story.  As of early February, the film prospects of The Sixth Day are legally and securely in the hands of Bumpercrop Films under the watchful eyes of Alistair McKenzie and Jasmine Fontes who penned the “Third Man” screenplay for the original project and produced The Sixth Day audio book.

If two out of three wasn’t bad for Meatloaf, I can tell you that one out of two ain’t bad for E.S. Kraay.  Will The Sixth Day ever make it to the screen?  Don’t know.  Though tempted in a cavalier way to say, “Don’t care,” I will admit that I would like to see it happen.  In its current version, Alistair and Jasmine’s screenplay reflects the powerful message from the book:  there is strength in faith.  It is a message that needs broader exposure, and a film would help in that regard.

I am grateful that the project is still alive and hopeful that something may come of it.  I will keep you informed.

For Unto Us a Child Is Born

I include my family as my friends, and I include my friends in my family.  I have more friends than a person like me deserves to have.  Each one is special.

RosieI have written plenty on my friend and associate Alistair McKenzie, but not so much about his associate Jasmine Fontes.  If you look closely at the cover of our Rosie Christmas story, you will note that the music was produced by Jasmine Fontes.  Take a look at the Third Mancover for 2012’s audio book The Sixth Day available on Audible, and you will see that it was co-produced by Jasmine Fontes.

Who is Jasmine Fontes?  I will not destroy the mystery except by saying that I met Jasmine in Los Angeles several years ago, and that she is a

Jasmine Fontes
Jasmine Fontes

very talented young lady who – like Alistair McKenzie – is a writer, producer, and musician … the list goes on.  I could say that she is a beautiful young lady, but as beautiful as she is, her talent exceeds her beauty.

This afternoon, I received a recording from my friend and associate Alistair McKenzie, a recording of my favorite part of George Frederick Handel’s Messiah, “For Unto Us a Child Is Born.”  Jasmine sings the vocal and Alistair provides the guitar background.  If I said I’ve heard a more angelic voice, I’d be lying.

With Jasmine’s permission, I invite you to listen to her inspiring interpretation of Handel’s “For Unto Us a Child Is Born” from the Messiah.

Thank you, Jasmine.  You have made my Christmas and the Christmas of those who listen to this a bit better.

Promised Land

The Sixth Day
Alistair McKenzie – actor, composer, playwright, screenwriter, producer, director

As soon as I posted my ‘Christmas gift 2015,’ I contacted my friend and associate Alistair McKenzie.  “Alistair,” I said, “would you consider reading and recording my story Rosie?”  “Funny you should ask,” he replied, “I was thinking the same thing.”

If you remember, Alistair recorded the Christmas Story from Gaspar a year ago.  I pushed him further.  “Do you think you could write an original song to go with it?”  Alistair explained how busy he was and that it might not be possible.  Typical Alistair … two days later, he sent me his draft of “Promised Land.”  I was knocked off my feet.  He had done it again, this time, an ode to the marginalized people of the world.

RosieTwo weeks later, I am more than pleased and proud to announce that Alistair has graciously offered his reading and his song to everyone with the hope that – like Carl, the protagonist of the story – we can all make a difference.

Thanks are inadequate to my friend Alistair.  He is indeed my friend and the most talented and creative person I am privileged to know.

Follow this link or click on the picture to the ‘complementary offerings’ page and scroll down to the Rosie audio.  You will be glad you did.  Speaking for me and for Alistair, Carl and Rosie

Merry Christmas

Blessings to All

‘Tis the Season of Peace, Joy and Love

GasparOne of the highlights of my year occurred in early January when my friend Father Paul asked if I would read the nativity sequence from my novel Gaspar, Another Tale of the Christ at the Sunday Masses on Epiphany weekend.  Somewhat reluctant and embarrassed, I asked my friend and associate, actor, writer, musician Alistair McKenzie if he would come to Tucson from LA for the weekend to do it.  He graciously agreed.

Redemptorist Renewal CenterAs I relate the experience, I tell people, “I was sitting in the front row for three of Alistair’s readings.  I wrote the thing and I knew what was coming, but Alistair’s presentation forced me to choke back huge, emotional tears.”

As we embark on this season of peace, joy and love, I am reminded of what Christmas is really about.  I invite you to re-visit Alistair’s incredible reading to remind you of how and where this all began.  Click the link and scroll down to “The Christmas Story Audio.”

Peace and Blessings Always

The Olympian, A Tale of Ancient Hellas

a hero is bornAlthough it wasn’t published until 2008, I completed The Olympian, A Tale of Ancient Hellas in 2004.  I can’t believe it was over ten years ago.  Of all my books, The Olympian remains the best-seller.  It is available as a physical book, an eBook for Kindle and even an audio book thanks to the masterful telling of the tale by Alistair McKenzie.

During the early months of 2015, we posted a summary of Tobit and the Hoodoo Man in ‘eight movements.’  Years ago, Steven Pressfield told me that the great film director David Lean believed that all films could be reduced to “seven or eight movements.”  I like the idea.  Ever since Mr. Pressfield told me that, I watch films with a different perspective.

In 2009, we optioned the film rights to The Olympian, A Tale of Ancient Hellas.  The producer extended the option several times, but in 2013, he opted not to extend the option.  The business of film is as tough as it gets.

Early in the process, as he prepared his package for perspective investors, writers, actors, etc., he asked me to summarize the story for him in eight movements.  While I was never privy to his final package, I was pleased that he asked me for my ‘vision’ of the story on film.

As I did with Tobit earlier in the year, for the next several weeks, I will post the eight movements of The Olympian, A Tale of Ancient Hellas.  I hope it will bring back fond memories to those who have read it, and maybe encourage those who haven’t to read this book about human values.  Nineteenth century clergyman Henry Ward Beecher best sums up the heart of The Olympian when he wrote,

“Greatness lies not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory.  He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.”

Join me in the coming weeks as I present The Olympian, A Tale of Ancient Hellas in eight movements.

Olympian

The REAL Red Carpet

When Hoplite Entertainment pulls it all together and films Third Man based on The Sixth Day, A 17,175 Word Novella About Creation and Prizefighting, I know I will enjoy walking the ‘Red Carpet;’ the film is certain to be a critical and financial success based on the preliminary screenplays I’ve been privy to read.  As big a thrill as that will be, it will not eclipse two things that happened in January 2015 regarding my books.

I will stick to my frequent statements that the greatest satisfaction I get from writing stories is not the paychecks, rather the reviews and comments people share with me.  When a reader truly ‘gets’ what the book is about and expresses it in a review, a comment, a phone call or an email, it justifies the years of work that go into a manuscript.  That said, I will remember two ‘book events’ in January 2015 and cherish them for the rest of my life.

I have already written about the first one, Alistair McKenzie’s presentation two weeks ago of the ‘nativity sequence’ from Gaspar on Epiphany weekend at the Redemptorist Renewal Center.  The second event occurred this morning at Legacy Traditional School in Maricopa, Arizona.

My 7-year old granddaughter, Xylia is a member of Mrs. Ball’s second grade class.  Whenever she visits us in Tucson, Xylia spends time in my office asking questions about my books and about writing books.  In December last year, she asked if I would come to her class and talk about writing books with her class.  “Sure,” I told her.  She obviously said something to her teacher because a week or two later, Mrs. Ball asked if I would be willing to do it.  Today was the day.

Pray for PeaceI have spoken publicly many times in my life … to hundreds of aviators at symposiums in the United States and in Mexico City, Toluca and Acapulco …. To athletes at schools and conferences…. To book clubs … to private corporations, but I have never enjoyed my time with a group of people as much as I did with these attentive and inquisitive second-graders.  We talked about reading, we talked about writing, we talked about dogs and guardian angels, and we talked about geography and foreign language.  It was a thrill to be carried all over the map by these wide-eyed boys and girls.

When I explained that Xylia calls me ‘Dziadek,’ I asked if anyone – other than Xy – knows what it means.  One little boy in the very back row raised his hand and answered, “Grandfather.”  “How did you know?” I asked in my amazement.  “I guessed,” he admitted.  Pretty good guess!

We ended the discussion remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the children were quick to follow my lead and ‘sign out’ with Reba McEntire’s “Pray for Peace.”  It was a fitting way to end the morning with a group of children who carry the future of our planet in the innocence of their youth.  As I personally pray for peace, I also pray that these youngsters never take their commitment to that dream for granted.

Mitakuye Oyasin,

We Are All ONE Family

Pray for Peace

Alistair McKenzie’s Epiphany

Late in November 2014, I decided to offer The Christmas Story sequence from Gaspar, Another Tale of the Christ as a download on my websites.  After tipping my hand to my friend Father Paul, he encouraged me to read the sequence at the Masses at the Redemptorist Renewal Center during this Epiphany weekend.

Continue reading Alistair McKenzie’s Epiphany

Celebrate the Three Wise Men

MagiWhen Father Paul Coury, Director of the Redemptorist Renewal Center in Picture Rocks, Arizona encouraged me to witness and read the nativity sequence from Gaspar, Another Tale of the Christ in lieu of a homily on Epiphany weekend, I contacted my friend and business associate Alistair McKenzie – screenwriter, actor, director, musician – who produced audio books of two of my novels, The Sixth Day and The Olympian.

I am pleased to announce that Alistair will be making the trip from LA to Tucson this weekend to

The Sixth Day
Alistair McKenzie – actor, composer, playwright, screenwriter, producer, director

read the story as Christians around the world commemorate the visit of the Magi to the Christ child.  Epiphany concludes the celebration of the Christmas season.

Epiphany weekend Masses at the RRC are scheduled for

  • Saturday, January 3, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.
  • Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 7:30 a.m. and
  • Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.

If you happen to be in the area this weekend, I invite you to attend one of the three Masses and join the celebration.  Christian Music Minister Tom Booth is scheduled to provide worship music at all three Masses, and Father Greg Wiest will be celebrating the Eucharist.

We All Know

On this winter solstice – the longest night of the year – I think of the birth of light and how it grows to envelope the Earth and everything that is a part of creation.  I will contemplate on that light every day this week as we approach Christmas Day.  As I do, I will smile as I reflect on Alistair McKenzie’s song We All Know.

Alistair McKenzie

Early Christmas Gifts

Gaspar

 

 

Just two weeks before Christmas!  

Throughout the year, I receive inspiration from everyone who supports my writing efforts by reading my books and reading my posts on this website and also on the Vitruvian Man and Tucson Poverello House websites.  Your comments, reviews and feedback are invaluable to me.  Your words keep me energized, particularly when my batteries run low.  As a gesture of my appreciation, I am pleased to offer these two gifts 

  • The Christmas Story from Gaspar, Another Tale of the Christ as a PDF download and
  • The Christmas Story from Gaspar, Another Tale of the Christ as an audio presentation produced by my friend and business associate Alistair McKenzie.

A Special thanks to Alistair for producing this audio AND for writing an original Christmas song “We All Know” featured at the conclusion of the narrative.  His song captures the essence of the entire story of Gaspar in a very special way.

You have made my life better.  I hope these small tokens of gratitude make your Christmas a bit more meaningful.

Your Grateful Friend,

Gene “E.S.” Kraay

The Christmas Story PDF

The Christmas Story PDF