A New Day

A new day approaches.

We are in preparations to launch Episode 4 of “They Live Among Us.”

Episode 4 picks up where Episode 3 left off – Ted, a lonely park ranger, encounters a frail young woman atop the Hollywood sign, on the verge of suicide. Being the romantic that he is, he falls in love… only to discover that she is a ghost.

He seeks advice from Buer, who is having troubles of his own, for Lucian and Beliala have risen. Buer’s plan is to return to Elysium through acts of grace; Lucian yearns to take it by force. Beliala longs for Elysium, too… and Buer’s touch.

Caim has returned to his warehouse home, only to discover that Serfina has fled, once again, to the streets. He searches for her, flying above the streets of Los Angeles, and lands nearby. He finds where she lives… and discovers Rocco there.

Soon, we’ll all once again be in this world of fallen angels, suicidal spirits and the humans that they love, all struggling to find grace in the place known as the City of Angels. I look forward to seeing you there. Reach out in the dark; I’ll take your hand, and together we’ll walk through this Paradise Lost.

To see stills of Episodes 1-6, please visit our Pinterest page. And so we may continue to keep bringing you this rich tapestry of gothic supernatural romance, please subscribe to our YouTube channel, where you can also view episodes 1-3.

“The mind’s its own place, and in itself, Can make a heav’n of hell; a hell of heav’n” ~ John Milton, Paradise Lost

Once More Unto the Breach

In case you attended last January’s event – or even if you didn’t – this is not-to-be missed. Live interaction with the Creator and the Characters for a 24 hour period. I’ll be Tweeting naked. Jamba will appear. So please, on that date, search and follow the hashtag #ohchat, and prepare yourself for a rip-roaring time.

Below, is our tentative schedule.* Something not listed that you want to see? Leave it in the comments section. We’ll do our best to oblige.

* ~ subject to change

TIME (PST) ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION
3 am Greetings! Hello and Welcome to Tweetathon video.What the Tweetathon is all about!
3:30 am View! Viewing of Episodes 1-3 with live Tweets of  behind-the-scenes commentary!
4:30 am Interact! Take Live questions from viewers re: Episodes 1,2,3
5 am Playtime! Movie Mashup! One winner selected!
6 am Interact How it Began: Detailed, in-depth information about the characters that live in the world of TLAU.
7 am Naked Time Q & A with TLAU Characters.
8 am View! Viewing of Episodes 1-3 with live Tweets of behind-the-scenes commentary!
9 am Interact! Q & A with TLAU Characters.
10 am Panel Panel discussion with Webseries Producers.
11 am Interact Celebrity Roast
Noon Interact! Music and Booze!
1 pm Inform Fun with Flesh-eaters! Our favorite resident bad boys and girls will Tweet out their favorite recipes!
2 pm Inform How it All Began: Detailed, in-depth information about the characters who live in the world of TLAU.
3 pm View Viewing of Episodes 1-3 with live Tweets of behind-the-scenes commentary!
4 pm Interact Live Q & A for Episodes 1-3
5 pm Playtime! Mad Libs Mania!
6 pm Naked Time! Adventures in Filmmaking: Live, unabashed from-the-trenches stories from the resident royal Guerilla Filmmaker.
7 pm Interact Jammin’ With Jamba: Certified Life Coach Jamba answers live questions about life, love, and the pursuit of Noxema.
8 pm View Viewing of Episodes 1-3 with live Tweets of behind-the-scenes commentary!
9 pm Interact Live Q & A for Episodes 1-3.
10 pm Playtime! TLAU Trivia!
11 pm Playtime! Movie Title Mashup! One winner announced!
12 am Naked Time! HRH will manhandle… er, list her top ten Hollywood Hot Hunks – and other favorite things.
1 am Interact Open forum!
2 am Danke Schoen! Wrap-up, thanks and goodbye!

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury…

It’s been quiet on the They Live Among Us site… quiet, because I’ve been a busy little Creator.

Episodes 4-6 are wrapped and in the post process. The dailies are lush and gorgeous; the work brimming with love, anguish and rage… I can’t wait for you all to join us as the story continues.

In the meantime, a fundraiser of a new kind is being launched. Inspired by a chance encounter during the shooting of 4 – 6, a t-shirt design has been commissioned and graciously provided to us by David Taylor aka @SciFiCommons.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, here it is *drumroll please*:

I am hooked on this design; however, I’d love to hear your thoughts in regard to the copy. Below is a little poll I’ve created, to help me make my decision. Please, gentle readers, consider taking a few seconds and completing this poll:

The Stakes are Raised

This weekend, once again, I will walk through the streets that pave the dark, fantastical world of “They Live Among Us.”

Lovers will come together; others will be torn apart. There is a heightened sense of danger, of peril. Serafina has left the safety of Caim’s home to return to the only night she knows. Caim is faced with a decision – to let her go, to let her lead this life… or to take the risk of trying to save her – a gamble that could end her life. Buer encounters old acquaintances. Jimmy searches for Beth. A John is in need of comfort for the night. Lives intertwine.

I begin my journey Friday, in a little place known as the Paradise…

The mind is its own place, and in itself,
Can make a heav’n of hell; a hell of heav’n – John Milton, Paradise Lost

The Eye of the Beholder

Film is a fascinating medium to work in. First, you create a world, and those who walk within it, and then you work with cast and crew to achieve an articulation of your vision. Eventually, you make your way to the moment of truth – the rough cut.

I have spent the past few months wandering through the world of “They Live Among Us.” Night after night I have sat in a corner of the Paradise, or followed Caim on his sojourn through the mean streets. I have watched Lucian and Beliala rise, and I have shed tears for Peg – as well as for Ted’s heart-breaking dilemma.

This morning, once again, I watched Lillith. Through the lens.

A curious thing happens when you look at the world through a lens. Life is compressed. Distilled to its very essence. It is stripped of everything superfluous. It sees only the truth. It is omniscient. It is the eye of the beholder.

Looking at the footage, I was able to behold Lillith for all that she is. Beautiful. Fractured. Tormented by the demons within. She did not toy with Craig, as a cat does with its prey; instead, she genuinely wanted to be near him. Loneliness was the hunger that drove her to him – her need for love was great. Unfairly punished by the machinations of a patriarchal society. Expelled, cast forth, turned into a victim of her own desires.

And thus, Craig responded as any young man would; he pursued her. The hunt had commenced. His attraction to her was not false – how could it be ? He paid for her drinks, and he took her to a rooftop. The promise of the pleasures of her flesh danced in his head. He wooed her out of her shyness, and he reclined in anticipation of what was to come…

… and another moment of truth. Lillith’s dark nature took over. Her abandonment into carnality was not titillating; instead, it was tragic. I watched, mute, as Lillith lost herself in Craig. I watched as she fed on his pleasure, on his desire, on his life-force. Her eyes fluttered; she was sated… and then awareness came upon her. She moaned as she saw what she had done. Shame, disgust, guilt flew across her face; cumulus clouds of anguish. She scrambled away from him, hating herself a little bit more, as she has done every time that she has fed on a human.

Later, I saw her at Paradise again. Another night, another man. This one was named Terry – a social worker on Skid Row. At first I assumed that she would feed again, but now that I have witnessed all she experienced that night with Craig, I realize that to do so might destroy her. Each killing brings with it new trauma; another one could push her over the edge of reason. Terry is a kind man with a gentle way about him. She is desperate for contact. She whispers her mantra: “This time, everything will be alright.”

I wonder how long this budding romance will last, for I know that soon Lillith will meet another like her. One who feeds on the pleasure and pain of others. A predator who feeds on lust; he is unapologetic for his state. His appetite is huge. What will come of her, if she couples with him? Will she, like Lucian and Beliala, pass into darkness?

Worlds Collide

Saturday night marked the final day of shooting Episodes 1 – 3 of They Live Among Us.

I sat in a corner and watched Lucian and Beliala as they stripped Beth of everything. They were voracious in their need to rob her of her humanity; their lust for her flesh was wanton. They fed on her fear – and then, they fed on her. I wondered how long their hunger would be sated by this act… who would be next?

Caim and Buer bid one another adieu in front of the Paradise, and went their separate ways. I followed Caim with the stealth of a spy as he made his way through the mean streets of Hollywood. He passed a street… and stopped in his tracks. I turned to see what had garnered his attention, and there she was. A prostitute, clad in a sheer midriff blouse and the plaid skirt of a Catholic school girl. Serafina. She strode with determination, as if she worked her territory by sheer will-power alone.

A man appeared in front of her – Rocco. Deep in the throes of a cocaine high, he was jumpy, paranoid. An argument began, an age-old squabble over money… only this time something darker had entered the equation. Rocco erupted; violence spewed forth from him like ash from Vesuvius. He beat Serafina; he kicked her on the ground. His rage had turned him into a feral animal; he was like a man possessed…

…and all the while Caim stood by, watching, as he had countless of lifetimes before… only this time, something within him snapped. He bested Rocco; with one swift blow he knocked him into unconsciousness. How he resisted killing him, I do not know. He gathered Serafina into his arms and soared into the night sky, towards refuge.

I peered around a corner in Caim’s warehouse loft. It was not the trendy downtown loft of the self-aware hipsters, instead, Caim’s lair was a decrepit, aged building of glass and steel and stone. Caim carried Serafina gently towards his bed. He ministered to her wounds; he permitted himself the luxury of touching her face – a secret, stolen act that he could only execute while she was not conscious, for with such contact comes great danger. He waited for her to wake – and she did, filled with hurt, distrust and shame. He showed her mercy; he pledged to take care of her – and wanted nothing in return. I sensed his hidden anguish; how carefully he concealed his humiliation when he realized that she did not remember him – but how could she? I longed to comfort him, to whisper that everything would be alright – but I did not, for I could not tell if that was the truth or a lie. I still do not known which it is.

Caim left. When Serafina woke, there was food, and a desperate communication to her soul: an azalea blossom. She held the flower, and I saw her hand tremble. The whispers deep inside her had begun. She left – ran, actually, like a thief, into the night, towards all she knew. She ran home to Rocco.

I trailed behind Father Buer as he ministered to a homeless man – another fallen angel driven mad. As he and Caim argued about Caim’s contact with Serafina, a movement on the periphery of my vision caught my attention. I turned focus and found myself gazing upon a homeless man. He was not an actor. He slept in filth in an alley near St. Joseph’s Place; the stench of urine was unmistakable. It was cold outside, and wet – a thick marine layer had enveloped us in its water-logged grasp. The man had blanketed himself with newspapers in an effort to banish the chill. I wanted to go to him… who was he? Certainly, at one time, he had a name. He had once been somebody’s son, somebody’s lover, somebody’s friend. How far he had fallen from grace…

…but I did not approach him. I waited by my car after the last shot, making small talk, smiling, seemingly nonchalant, while inside I was weeping, for I was thinking of all that I had seen that night… and I fervently wished that I was a different person, one that was more beautiful. More brave. One that had the courage to sit with the fallen.

Guardian Angel

In the world of They Live Among Us, the Creator bears more resemblance to the God of Abraham, of Zeus, and other omnipotent rulers of ancient cultures, than the modern Judeo-Christian deity. The Creator is a demanding and temperamental one; the rules of Elysium are literally set in stone.

Forgiveness for and acceptance of transgressions do not exist in this paradise; to break the mores of Elysium is to be cast forth – forever.

Like the God of Abraham, the Creator, too, demands absolute obedience and submission, and in exchange for this devotion, He takes care of the world of Man. Like the God of Abraham, the Creator demands sacrifice.

This is where the story of the Chosen One begins. Serafina, like countless women before her, was born into the House of Circes – women who devoted themselves to the Creator. Serafina’s birth was carefully contrived, for she, like the Chosen One before her, was brought into the world to offer herself in sacrifice.

The final year in the life of the Chosen One is spent in solitude. The priestess is sent to an island, to spend her time in reflection and in prayer, so that she may prepare herself for her final duty. She is alone; offerings are brought to her by the devout. But she must not have contact with humans. It is forbidden.  She is assigned a heavenly guard – an angel, whose duty is to protect her, so that she may live – to die.

Serafina’s guardian angel was Caim.

There they are, the guardian and his charge, on the island of Aeaea. Caim is touched by Serafina’s beauty, by her calm as she prepares to perform the singular task that she was created for. She is so very brave. The world of Man is in her hands; if she does not fulfill her obligation, mankind will plunge into darkness.

Caim moves Serafina in inexplicable ways. His presence travels far beyond the mere trappings of his form; it is his soul which calls most eloquently to her, as her soul calls to him. They are blameless, the two of them. They cannot ignore the whispers they hear inside. They yearn for one another;  the opportunity to touch is fleeting. A lingering glance, the brush of a fingertip… these small moments are all they have. In their beds at night, they dream of lying together, limbs intertwined, unable to distinguish one from the other. They are star-crossed.

Every few weeks, Caim must travel to Elysium, and offer his own devotion to the Creator. Each time he leaves Aeaea, his longing for Serafina grows. Each time he enters Elysium, the seeds of discontent fester. He begins to silently question the Creator, of how He can destroy what He loves most. Caim confides in Buer, and in Lucian. The facade of obedience is cracked.

It is mere weeks before the ritual is to commence. Caim returns from Elysium. In her garden, Serafina waits…