Everett Moran

IMG_8582

Engineer/Producer Everett Moran

 

The photo above is of Everett Moran, owner of Rainshadow Recording Studio in Port Townsend. Everett is helping me record my upcoming CD. A Texas native, Everett spent much of his youth in Houston, my home town. His parents live not far from where I went to high school. His interesting path to becoming an audio engineer is chronicled in an article in the Port Townsend newspaper.

Rainshadow is a terrific studio. The acoustics of the studio itself are wonderfully warm and exquisitely fashioned. One of my greatest pleasures during the recording was just singing in the center of it and listening to my voice reverberating warmly.

Outside of his studio, Everett has been a freelance engineer, working all around the country including Denver, Austin and Tulsa, a city that has become special to him.  I’ll have more to say about Everett in the next few months as we continue to work on the CD.

 

Race and Comedy: Go to 22:30 in the video

 

Very funny material. Two great comedians. Two different shows. Race really shows through. George – just as bright and funny as Richard – gives us a glimpse into his imagination. Richard gives us a glimpse into his life, and how different they are from the men beside him.

The gift of reflective comedy is the stark truth.

At 22:30 into the video, Johnny and Richard share stories about being caught stealing as kids.  Richard talks about how tough his father was with him – and gets laughs. Johnny describes how, when he got caught shoplifting, the store manager marched him down to his father’s office. Richard immediately asks, “Your father had an office?”

In that instant, you’re punched with the context of the two men’s lives.

 

“Texas Dick” a Partial Reading of the film Script

Before turning back to wring novels and songs, I wrote six film scripts which  include Texas Dick, Stealing Apollo, and Hello in There. All were represented. Two were optioned. None were produced. That’s show biz. But as Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

Below is the script and video of a cold read of a portion of my Texas Dick script. In the scenario two men in floppy hats and tights have been found unconscious in the darkness along a remote West Texas highway.  The men awake at 1:00 AM believing that they are the Shakespearean characters the villainous Richard III and the pompous clown Sir John Falstaff from Henry IV.

To read and print the script pages click this link:  Texas Dick Cold Readers Performance

To watch the video click the image below:

Sperry Hunt Music

Below are blog posts from my years of writing manuscripts for novels in Seattle. Two years ago I retired to Boise, Idaho to focus on writing and performing my music. I welcome you to look and listen to what I’ve been doing at

“Sperry Hunt Music” on Facebook. There you can see my performance schedule and current videos.

Search “Sperry Hunt” on YouTube for other videos.

And you’re welcome of course to look at my years of blog posts below.

Hans and Fritz, the screenplay

Sperry Hunt and Dr Hans Lehmann Seattle 1995 sm

Dr. Hans Lehmann and Sperry Hunt; Seattle, WA 3/5/1999

In 1995 I was commissioned to write a screenplay about Dr. Hans Lehmann’s experiences. The screenplay was never produced despite my and Hans’ efforts. I’ll write more about this later. In the meantime please click on the following to learn about what an interesting and generous couple Dr. Lehmann and his wife Thelma were.*

Lehmann, J. Hans (1911-1996), Ballard Hospital founder and arts patron

*Thanks to writer Walt Crowley and HistoryLink.org

My friend Clay Lindley, the funniest cowboy poet I ever met

clay-linley-and-other-cowboys-smaller

Leading the string of horses in this photograph is Clay Lindley: cowboy, poet, actor, comedian, husband, father and friend. I knew Clay only briefly. He passed in 2005. My friend Joanna Cowell, a leader of the Alpine drama community, recommended him as an actor for the Texas Dick trailer. (Click on image below to see trailer.) Clay was one of those rare celestial people who could instantly brightened a room with his warmth and humor. A true comedian, he produced humor from thin air, sometimes it was one’s own expense. I felt the sting of his wit, but it was always delivered with a gleam of laughter that made you like him even more.

I’ll write more about Clay and the trailer. Please click on the first link below to watch his performance.  He has the first lines 25 seconds into the trailer.  He’s talking to the sheriff of the fictional town of Little Bend, Texas about how – in the manner of a Shakespearean play – the planets are in alignment signaling a portentous event. Click on the image and the trailer will begin:

clay-lindley

Here’s more about Clay from his obituary:

Clayton M. Lindley was born on July 21, 1959 in Del Rio, Texas to Jane and Buster Lindley. He graduated from Silver City, N.M. High School, where he excelled as a swimmer. Clay graduated from Sul Ross University in Alpine, then followed his dream by cowboying in Montana. He later became a Range Specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Clay earned his nickname, Cletus, while working for NRCS in Spur, Texas.
Clay was a rare survivor of childhood leukemia and made it a point to enjoy everyday of his life. He possessed the ability to make everyone around him laugh and smile, and he loved doing it.
Cletus was called home on Thursday, September 1, 2005 following a battle with stomach cancer. Services were held at the First United Methodist Church in Mertzon, Texas on Monday, September 5, 2005. Burial was in the Sherwood Cemetery just down the road from Mertzon.
Pall bearers were Mark Donet, George Ramsey, Marty Donet, Charlie Donet, Robert Gibbons, and John Zeuberbuler.
Honorary pallbearers were Gil Prather, Donnie Franklin, Sonny Fry, Steve St. Clair and Bill Whitley.

Recording a Demo at Electric Wall Studios

Demo at Electric Wall Studios 3

Last Sunday I spent over four and a half hours recording a rough demo of twelve of my songs at Electric Wall Studios in Seattle’s Capital Hill district. I want to thank my friend and recording engineer Brendan  Mills-McCabe (shown above) for his skill and patience during the session. The shot on the right was taken from behind the microphones where I sat, facing the control room.

I haven’t heard the mix yet. But when I do, I will post one or two cuts. The purpose of the demo is to gauge how close I am to recording a CD, this winter perhaps.

Here’s a link to the commodious studios.

Electric Wall Studios

 

New Song – Bueno the Roan

Bueno the Roan2

Bueno the Roan
©2015 Sperry Hunt

1. The telephone rang deep in the night tearing me from my dream.
The earth was the sky and sky was the earth; nothing was as it seemed.
I looked at the number;
It was you again,
Calling your only friend,
When you’re near the end.
It’s what you do
When it’s them.

2. I remember as boys crossing the tracks at the reservoir.
We followed the creek through the woods to Bayou Noir.
We fished with the kids of the maids and the yardmen
Side by side.
Dreams of the riverside.
Boys of the riverside.
Boys you now decide
Are Them.

Chorus. Long ago we rode the hills of New Mexico
On Pablo, the paint, and Bueno, the roan –
Caught in the rains with only our ponchos for shelter
Deep in the trees two mountains from home.
Now you shelter behind the mighty walls of your fortress
Where everyone fears you and leaves you alone.
Let me take you back to the hills of New Mexico.
I will lead you home like Bueno the roan.

Continue reading

Twenty feet from the Kennedys

The Kennedys, Johnson and Stevenson

12/6/1962 Kennedy Foundation Dinner in the Hilton ballroom. Left to Right:U.N. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson, President Kennedy, First Lady Jackie Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon Johnson

This is the story of how my father came to be twenty feet from President and Jackie Kennedy. Like all Southern stories, this one begins a while back. I’ll be brief.

My father’s father,Wilmer Sperry Hunt, came of age in the 1890s as the son of a doctor in poor little Ripley, Mississippi, where opportunities were scarce. When he was nineteen, Sperry, as my grandfather was called, was invited to Austin to live with his sister while he studied law at the University of Texas. After receiving his degree, he moved to Houston, opened a law office and married my grandmother, a bright, well-to-do girl named Lucy Brady, who once bragged to me that she had a (corseted) nineteen inch waist on the day of her wedding. Ouch.

Born in 1903, my father Wilmer Brady Hunt was the only boy of three children. By all accounts he grew up to be a funny young dandy who was as comfortable at a black-tie party as he was hunting and playing cards. In 1928 he too received his law degree from UT. He returned to Houston where he joined his father’s firm and married a lovely, artistic woman named Eugenia. Five years later, in the midst of the Depression, my father took over the firm, following Grandpa’s unexpected death. What I skipped over were the four years from 1921 to 1925 when Dad earned his undergraduate degree at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. My father took me to DC in early December of 1962. It was the only trip my father and I ever took alone.

Continue reading

Searching for an illustrator for The Inventors’ Daughter

Searching for an Illustrator

Searching for an Illustrator2

My two novels are finished, and I’m considering hiring an illustrator to create a few images to help me market them. I’m familiar with the argument that publishers choose illustrators from those they regularly work with. But my feeling is that if I show up with very fine illustrations that really tell, or should I say, show my story, the discussion will never occur.

So, how to find an artist who portrays my stories the way I see them?  Just looking above at six of the thousands of images I’ve examined, you can imagine how daunting the process can be. None of the illustrators seem like the one I’m looking for so far. My Inventors Daughter series lives between the middle grade and young adult genres. My main character and her best friend are young teenagers (13-16). Taken as a whole the novels are a coming of age story. They’re not graphic novels, but they have a graphic, even cinematic quality. The first is a gritty urban rescue story,  set partially underground, with a fantastic invention, a kidnapping, a train chase toward an unfinished bridge and Men with Bulldog tattoos. The second is a time machine/pirate epic with a bit of steampunk sandwiched in the middle. They’re science fiction/adventure stories for the kid who wants to feel older and the older person who wants to feel younger.

And so continues the search for an illustrator able to portray an earnest, brave young woman who, as the slug line states, saves her parents from the world and the world from their inventions.

A Song of Mine – The Gulf of Mexico

Gulf of Mexico -- Sperry Hunt

This is a true story from my high school days.

The Gulf of Mexico
©2015 Sperry Hunt
1. The sun was in our eyes.
We couldn’t see the end.
You were my girl.
He was my friend.
I glanced away,
Dreamers do.
You waited for me.
He waited for you.

Chorus. Some dreams take you over.
Some dreams take you under.
Some just drag you where they go.
Some live in the heart forever.
Some change like the weather.
This dream drowned in the Gulf of Mexico

2. You called to me.
I did not come.
I didn’t even know.
What I had done.
I broke your heart,
Like dreamers do.
I didn’t even care,
I broke it in two.

Chorus

3. You turned to him.
He said let’s wait.
You were my girl.
He was my mate.
He left you there.
Said he really should go,
But he would return from
The Gulf of Mexico.

Chorus

 

 

A short story of mine

Arcola.jpg

Life from a Distance

Life from a Distance

© Sperry Hunt 2011

As with most men, Luther and I spent nearly an hour talking about half a dozen things that didn’t matter just to avoid the one thing that did.

It was a sunny morning last July. We sat in our rockers on the deck outside the Menagerie with our feet on the rails. The Menagerie was the rickety lodge he and I built on top of the White Cliffs. The grain silos, the schools and the houses of Beeville spilled out across the prairie a thousand feet below. The old drive-in movie screen listed toward the rim of the world where nearly every evening the sun sets into a pot of gold.

During the first half-hour of our conversation, we peeped around town through Luther’s telescope speculating on what we observed: Sam Black was late to work for the third day in a row. Coach Jacobs and Father Dupree drove out under the willow grove where the river bends. And, judging from the consistent vacancy in her driveway, Lucy Malloy hadn’t taken up with anyone a year after Roy ran off on her.

When Luther was too sore to put his eye to the telescope, he leaned back and spoke in short breaths for a while about the virtues of tying flies and coffee can stew. In the middle of his stew story, he turned away and said something I didn’t catch. When I asked him to repeat it, he wiped his eyes with the crook of his arm and turned toward a silver drape of rain sweeping across the highway to the east. “Back when this state was a territory, know what its motto was?” he said.

“Can’t say I do,” I said even though he’d often told me.

“I long to see what is beyond.”

“Is that so?”

“Yep, and that’s just the way I feel today.”

I squeezed his shoulder. The bones slid around like they were in one of those over-roasted chickens you sometimes get at the market.

Luther snatched up the shot glass of smoky, green juice he’d set beside himself earlier. He raised the glass once toward me and again toward the horizon before downing the contents.

A shiver of disgust roiled through him. Then he grabbed my hand, hauled himself to his feet and threw the jigger with all he had into a long arc. The glass sparkled past a wheeling hawk then tumbled down into the hay field waving like the ocean on Karl Schuster’s back forty.

Luther fell back into the rocker and winked at me.

“See you, Jake.”

I stared at him feeling that low-voltage, bilious sensation you get when your car spins on the ice.

“See you, Luther,” I said into his eyes.

He groaned once then slumped back against the slats peacefully, like he’d done a hundred times listening to a ball game.

Continue reading

My Hollywood Story – Texas Dick, Part I

Richard III Booking Mugshot 2

Take a second and imagine what led to the taking of this mugshot.

Texas Dick is one of my several unproduced film scripts. This post is the story of the story of the script and the trailer. It includes photographs of the production, and links to videos of a reading of the script and the trailer.

The seed for the tale occurred over a summer week in Alpine, a small town in western Texas, population 6000, two hundred miles from anywhere you’ve heard of. I was fourteen. Nearly every day of that week found me sitting among the dim back-row seats of the Sul Ross College theater watching a rehearsal of Shakespeare’s Henry IV.  My older brother Grainger was playing the title role quite ably for a twenty-five year old rock singer on his way to getting his PhD in zoology.

The play, or rather two plays are not so much about Henry IV as the coming of age of his rebellious twenty-something son Prince Henry who suspects his father has committed murder to gain the thrown. The story is split between comedy and drama. The comic half is a romp through the pubs and byways around Eastcheap, England. The result is a sort of Shakespearean dysfunctional buddy movie staring a handsome prince and a hugely entertaining pompous gasbag named Falstaff.  The exposition and ridicule of Falstaff’s pretensions provide some of the most side-splitting comedy to ever appeared onstage.

The second impetus for my screwball screenplay came decades later in a theater near my house in Seattle. The local high school was presenting series of scenes from plays as diverse as A Streetcar Named Desire and Richard III. Though I had seen Richard several times, this instance proved to be an inspiration. The students chose the second scene – the one after “Now is the winter of my discontent.” In it the funeral of King Henry VI passes by Richard before he becomes a king himself.  Richard orders the pallbearers to halt. Lady Anne, the widow, curses him for murdering her husband, which Richard does not deny.  In the next several minutes Richard, using his eloquent misdirection convinces Anne – standing beside freshly dead husband -that he did the deed for the love of her. Upset but profoundly flattered, she agrees to accept Richard’s ring and to rendezvous with him later.

Several nights later, the idea of Texas Dick came to me in a dream wherein two itinerant actors wake up in the middle of the night in a small town hospital room believing that they are Richard III and Falstaff. They soon find like-minded rabble-rousing dissidents among the cowboy poets at The One Knight, the local bar. The sheriff appears which leads to the above mugshot. And so the tale begins.

The dream led to plotting and writing the screenplay over a period of about a year. Effort and chance meetings led me to filming the trailer, Tommy Lee Jones, options and – as happens in many Texas tales – the inevitable intrigue swirling around a guy named Bubba. But that’s for another post, which I will add in time.

For now I offer you the video links and the photographs below of what turned out to be three difficult but joyous days of shooting, as you can see from the photographs below. I apologize for not being able to raise the $5M we needed to shoot the money, but I guess that’s just show business. Nevertheless thanks to all who helped us especially the executive producers which included Lalu Kiesling of Menlo Park, California, and Clay Lindley of Marfa, Tx. And to the directors, who chose not to be credited due to a bad business decision on my part. (More on that in a future post.)

Click here to see a video of a partial reading by the the Seattle Cold Readers of the Act I.

Click here to see trailer we shot in the Austin area..

 

Continue reading