Thursday, September 30, 2004

Initial Skateboards

My brother is a 32-year old child. And I mean that in a good way. He's more of a kid than his three-year old or his 8-month old. He works doing something, not sure what and he buys a lot of real estate and does stuff with that. Again, not sure what, buys, sells, leases, renovates. He owns a big house with Easy Mac and Gushers in the pantry. The coolest thing about my brother (besides the Easy Mac) is that he owns a skateboarding company. He built a half pike in his garage and hangs out with all of the skater kids in Jacksonville. I love it. He's gotten hurt more as an adult skateboarding than he ever did as a teenager. Check out his website at http://www.initialskateboards.com/. They're having some sort of crazy skateboarding adventure this Saturday.

I remember the days when I tried so hard to learn how to skateboard because I was so in love with John Parker and I thought if only I could skateboard, he would fall madly in love with me.

Monday, September 27, 2004

My New York Recap

My New York Recap:

1. I ate A LOT of cake, pastries, gelato, ice cream and deep fried oreos. My favorite ... it's a tie between the Black Forest Cake from a diner on the upper west side and the ice cream from an ice cream shop that Jay Duplass took us to in the East Village. It was a double scoop of banana and chocolate ice cream. Ooh, and the gelato from Ciao Bella ... Malted Milk Ball flavored.

2. I ate A LOT of savory stuff as well. My favorite ... the Ethiopian Restaurant on Mulberry and Houston. OH MY GOD!!! Probably in the top three meals I've had in my entire life. Oh and the cold left over pizza that Nevie and Christine gave us from some famous pizza shop in Brooklyn.

3. Catching up with friends. I got to see so many friends I haven't seen in ages ... Maya (good college friend), Mark Griffey (a total weirdo from high school who I adore), Barbara (an acquaintance who works at Showtime), Frank Reynolds, Bojo and Chad (friends from college), Marie Marshall (an acquaintance from Austin), Wyatt Phillips (ex Austin filmmaker now at NYU and interning at Killer Films), Anne del Castillo (friend/ex-AFS Artistic Director, now programs POV on PBS), Christine (my old therapist/friend), Jay Duplass and Jay Deuby (ex Austin filmmakers) and probably one or two others that I'm forgetting.

4. The IFP ... I met many, many cool filmmakers, writers, editors, business owners. I made quite a few contacts at the IFP by just hanging out in the lounge. We were set up with two official meetings. One was a company who's only film I'd heard of I saw at Sundance this year and hated. They weren't interested in us, and we weren't interested in them. Just got a not so good vibe at the beginning of the meeting. The second company was comprised of an Italian guy and a German guy who have line produced over 15 indie films and are starting to produce. We met with the Italian guy. We told them that "Brain Brawl" wasn't a good match for them, but pitched "jumping off bridges". He seemed really interested so I gave him a script. We went to one party/reception at the IFP. I saw two works in progress, one narrative and one doc. Saw two panels. I found the IFP good mostly for meeting other filmmakers and lower end industry types. I think it's a good market if you have a documentary or you get into No Borders. Scripts kind of get the shaft there.

5. Meetings outside of the market ...

a. Startz Productions (Ella Enchanted, Tuck Everlasting) - We met with the VP there. She loved "Brain Brawl". She was very complimentary about my voice, the script ... I felt completely validated. Basically she's not sure if they'll be able to do something with it. She says that the studios are looking for material for 16 and 17-year old characters, but she's giving it to the head of the company to read and see what she says. She's hooking me up with a couple of agents that she's going to recommend me to. She asked if I'd considered turning BB into a children's book.

b. Karin Chien (produced Robot Stories) - Met with her to get an idea about self-distribution and how Robot Stories did for them. We got tons of info from her about all of that. She wants to see BB. She has a friend who heads up the family division at Paramount.

c. Andrew Lauren Productions (G, and some film that's being co-produced by Wes Anderson) - Wants me to take BB in an edgier, more indie direction. Says I need to decid if it's something we take to the studios (where I probably wouldn't get to direct), through indie companies or for television. Good meeting. He's possibly interested in fostering the project.

d. Gianna Chachere (former programmer of Slamdance, now runs a festival with Allison Anders) - She's a friend of a friend. Very cool girl. She has some connections in Los Angeles that she might hook us up with.

e. Allen Chou (runs Passion River, a distributor in NYC) - Gave us an overview of what to expect with distributing our various projects, docs, narratives, doc series ... very informative.

6. Basically, we came away with the following:

a. I need to slightly rewrite a draft of BB with an indie edge to it to send back to Andrew Lauren Prods.

b. Keep the one I've got to pursue larger scale companies (i.e. Paramount, Nickelodeon Films, ABC Family).

c. Write a television pilot to pitch as a series. (Christine's sister just started writing a new series on Nickelodeon that I'm going to send it to)

It was a GREAT week. We made so many connections and there are a few possibilities that are out there of things that could happen with various projects ... from "jumping off bridges", "Brain Brawl" to "Rescue Me". We even pitched a doc series "Road Side Texas" that Stacy wants to do. When I was telling one doc distributor about it, he got VERY excited. So, we'll see. I have a lot of following up to do.
There are more stories, anecdotes ... but these are the biggest ones.
Part of me is glad to be home and part of me aches to be back in NYC.

9/25/04 My New York Trip

I'm taking my last deep breath of New York City. Watching Central Park roll by on my left and all of the hotels that I could never afford in a million years go by on my right. Cyclists whizzing in front of speeding taxis and clumps of pregnant women pushing strollers and sipping on their Saturday morning Starbucks. Cathedrals, churches, brownstones, Riverside Park, the corner groceries, Duane Reade, Bistros. We're carried out of the city streets in our blue Super Shuttle van, this time with a really nice driver.

9/23/04 My New York Trip

We had an amazing meeting with Gillian from Startz Productions. It's up in the air as to whether they would take on the project. Gillian loved the script. She was extremely complementary which sent me into a euphoric, skipping down the sidewalk state. I was literally bouncing down the city streets as we left the building. She's giving the script to the head of the company to read. I'm hoping she falls in love with it. In the mean time, she'll be putting us in touch with agents. We'll see.

9/22/04 My New York Trip

Such highs and lows. After a long day I came home and called my boyfriend. Confused, he asked me, "Now what are you guys doing there again?". I'm not sure sometimes. I mean, I know, but there are moments when I ask myself the same question.

Emily Hubley, sister to Georgia Hubley of Yo La Tengo, is standing next to me. She must have just been on the animation panel. She has a kind smile and seems very sincere. People around me are talking, meeting, pitching, being desperate, being passionate and honest. I think I have a hard time showing my passion. I hate seeming desperate and I have a big fear of coming off that way.

I really think I need to get a laptop. All of the cool kids have one.

9/20/04 My New York Trip

I barely made it through a really cold shower this morning. I told myself, "Be brave" before dousing myself in icy water. It was truly painful. Lorie was still sleeping at 7:30 in the morning so I decided to run down to Whole Foods at Columbus Circle. I was in search of trail mix. Not just any trail mix, but the trail mix you get out of the bulk bins. I'd already tried a few natural food stores on the upper west side with no luck. Upon arrive at Whole Foods, I searched high and low. Surely they would have bulk bins. I thought it was like a rule or something. Finally I asked the produce guy who didn't speak any english. He pointed me to another guy who I had to explain what bulk bins were. He said they didn't have them. I could feel the crushing blow in my gut. No bulk bins. The horror. And here it took me a whole hour to get down there to find out I'd be leaving without my beloved trail mix. It was a sad morning in Mudville. The whole trail mix thing has become an addiction really. The employees at Central Market and Whole Foods have come to know me quite well. I'm a fixture.

Oh, I could really use a nap. I didn't run today. Maybe I should have. Sometimes I kick myself for not. Or rather my weight neuroses kicks me.

So, there's something both inspiring and disheartening about going to conferences like these. I feel like I'm in a herd of cattle. Like I'm lumped in with all of these desperate and aching filmmakers. I'm nameless, indistinguishable. It can really depress me. I don't like being a part of a large group like that. I don't want to be a part of "the club" as they call it. I like going solo. Being with all of these people makes me feel icky, somehow.

We keep running into Mary Lampe from SWAMP. Such a lovely lady. I like her a lot. She asked if she could put "Roberta Wells" on The Territory. It's a program that airs on PBS all across Texas. That made me very happy.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

9/19/04 My New York Trip

Twelve long, painful hours of travel. Literally. From 6am until 6pm. Three hours in the Chicago airport and a really rude Super Shuttle driver. He was mean, mean, mean.

The Riverside Inn. It's advertised as a hotel. It's more like a hostel/dorm room.

A few bad things:
No toilet paper.
No towels.
The bathroom light doesn't work.
Roaches.
Strange men smoking cigarettes in the stairwell.
Road construction in the streets below.
Starbucks, everywhere.

A few good things:
Right next to Riverside Park.
Family/quiet neighborhood.
A few blocks from the 96th metro stop.
A diner around the corner that serves a mean Black Forest cake.
A few blocks from Central Park.

I went running this morning down Riverside Park. I felt like I was meant to be there. As if running through the park, I was a part of something, like maybe I was a New Yorker too. However, runners in Austin are very friendly. They smile, they nod or say "Good morning". Not so much in New York. I tried to make connections with fellow runners. No deal. They look down or over to the side. They don't really smile. They just run.

Met my dear friend, Maya for brunch this morning in Brooklyn. I could be wrong, but I think it's been over seven years since I've seen her. She's still gorgeous, still as vibrant and full of life as I remember her to be. The only thing that's really changed is her location. Sitting next to me, I can't help but grabbing her and hugging her for as long as I can. She was always a mother figure to me. She took care of me in college and looked out for me. She was the voice of reason, the arms that held me and gave me comfort.

We ran into Marie Marshall from Austin while registering. She's volunteering at the market. It was nice to see a familiar face.

My feet haven't gotten too tired yet. We're sitting in our orientation right now, waiting for the panelists to start telling us what we should expect from the conference.

9-18-04 My New York Trip

Stuck on the tarmac in Chicago. Apparently hurricane Ivan is hovering over New York. It's my first time in Chicago. How sad I have to spend it on the O'Hare landing strip. I can see a highway from here. And some really tall buildings off in the distance. Maybe one of them is the Sears tower. I've spent the last five hours pouring through trashy magazines ... Us, People, Vogue. I've discovered I have a strange fascination with Gisele Bundchen. She's stunningly beautiful. It might have something to do with her dating Leonardo DiCaprio. I've always pined for him. Ever since Growing Pains. We have the same birthday. Right down to the exact same year. We'll both be turning 30 on November 11th.

Lorie and I should be getting into the city around 5 or so. I hope. We'll probably wander aimlessly through the upper west side. I'm looking forward to an evening of nothing. No plans. Just the city and us.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Little things that might turn big.

I had a long talk with some people last night who are interested in me directing a teen comedy that one of them has written. Just preliminary talks and get to know you kind of stuff. I should get the script when I get back from New York. But from the sound of the story and the sound of the people involved, I have a really good feeling about it. I just clicked with the two individuals. Who knows, y'know?

5:38pm

It's 5:38pm. I'm counting the minutes until I can leave work and start my adventure. I'm ready. I've made a thick travel packet with maps and information and schedules. I've called a few friends and arranged dinner and lunch plans. I've talked my coworker's ear off about everywhere I'm going to go and everything I'm going to see. My bags are packed. Toothbrush ... check. Shampoo ... check. Fancy dress ... check. Dancing shoes ... check. Nevie and I are totally going dancing one night. We have to. She doesn't know it just yet, but she will be my partner in crime. I'll will shake my booty all night long. I will sleep way past my normal waking up hour of 6am. I will let loose. I will go crazy. I will tear up the city like there's no tomorrow. Maybe. I'll probably stand in the corner of all of the parties and sip on my water with lemon and then leave early and go back to my room and wish I had a television to watch cheesy movies on USA, like the Heidi Fleiss story or the Tracy Gold Biopic. But whatever happens happens. It'll be fun.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Super Shuttle

Roberta Wells will be released on the 2004 Slamdance "Best of" DVD. Not sure the actual date. But it should be available through their website in the upcoming months. We're still piecing together the cicadas DVD. It should be ready in time for Christmas. That's the plan. It'll make for a GREAT Christmas present for your family and friends! Other important news ... hmmmm ... I reserved a Super Shuttle for when we arrive at the Newark airport Saturday morning. That's exciting stuff. For me, at least. And Lorie.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Everyday it's getting closer.

I have Buddy Holly stuck in my head. Yesterday it was Britney Spears, "Oops I did it again"

Last night I babysat Zoie, an 8-year old girl who I've been babysitting for two years now. She's a funny kid. Tall, lanky, bob haircut. We usually have pretty interesting conversations. Her favorite TV show ... Wheel of Fortune. Second Favorite ... Jeopardy. Most anticipated film of the year ... Sponge Bob Square Pants. Favorite singer ... Britney. Favorite food ... spinach. She uses phrases like, "Frankly, I'm not so sure." and "Don't be ridiculous". She has a dog named Collie that lives under her bed and is stuffed with cotton. She has a pink unicorn which I'm not allowed to talk in front of. It's sensitive, I guess. She cheats at Go Fish and sometimes her Barbie picks fights with mine. Last night I spent about an hour trying to persuade Zoie that going to bed is cool. She wasn't convinced. I can't wait to have kids. And I'm totally sincere.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Pilot and Olo and the lovely bloke.

Richard just called to mention that he screened "Pilot and Olo" at his school today. He's teaching junior high kids at The Griffin School in Hyde Park. The kids were saying how much it reminded them of their home lives. That makes me happy. He also mentioned that all of the girls were in love with Bryan Chafin. Cute! Junior High girls are funny, funny creatures.

I've been researching restaurants in New York City all week. There are a million Ethiopian/African restaurants on Amsterdam Avenue near our hotel. Nevie and I are going to eat the mess out of some Ethiopian food. I've been pouring through menus and making a list of where I want to eat. I'm retarded like that. I seriously have a list. With addresses and hours of business, types of food and if they're recommended or not.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Girl Moves

Mark (my boyfriend) and I were discussing "girl moves" last night before bed. His idea of "girl moves" are this ...

1. When a girl wants someone to do something really, really badly. And then when the person she's trying to persuade makes it very clear that they're not interested, the girl quickly becomes disinterested and ends the conversation with a "I don't care if you go" or "I decided it doesn't matter afterall". This giving the other person a guilt trip into doing what the girl wants.

2. When a girl wants to go to dinner or a movie with someone and then at the last minute says, "I'd love to go, but I don't have enough money" or "I've been dying to see that film, but I'm trying to pinch my pennies". This leaving an open end for someone to pick up the tab for the girl so she can eat or see the film.

I don't think these are "girl moves". I think they're "everybody moves". Rah! It's just stupid. We got into a heated debate over this for about half an hour as I was unsuccessfully trying to go to sleep. It was way after my bedtime of 10pm. And then the heated, silly debate became real and upsetting. I hate when that happens. I prefer to not argue. Period. It usually just ends in upset or anger. Even still, my boyfriend's a total weirdo and I love the hell out of him.

So enough of that. I spent the evening at my friend, Sean's, art show last night. He had this wonderful painting of a girl in the city. Very comicesque. I loved it. And this huge piece of collected post-its that he'd drawn different people on. I haven't been to an art show in some time. Probably the last one was when my friend Kristin came to town from New York to show a bunch of her stuff at a Rock N Roll art show at Gallery Lombardi. Tonight, my friend, Bob, is having an opening at Art House, downtown Austin. This man is fantastic. He's an amazing talent. I absolutely love it. It's crazy how rich this town is with so many wonderfully creative people. We're lucky like that.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Avoiding the sound of my voice

I'm getting so excited about New York I can barely contain myself. I find myself perusing the yahoo map of Manhattan. Just staring at it. Navigating up and down Central Park and along the East Village. I've been gathering all of the travel info I'll need. Like how a week-long Metrocard pass is $21 and how it'll cost about $60 to get from the airport to my hotel. The little things even make me giddy.

Today we found out that we have a block of 4 hours on Thursday, the 23rd where we'll be pitching the script to everyone and their mother. Four hours. Geez, that's like forever. I might hate talking after that. Or maybe someone will LOVE the script in the first hour and say, "We want it! We're going to give you ten million dollars to make it and not interfere in any way whatsoever with your creative vision! Just go make your film and come back when it's done!" Sigh.

Stacy

Stacy came out of surgery yesterday. I haven't talked to her yet. Her mom's staying with her for a few days to get her through recovery. I'll probably stop by this afternoon after work. Stacy is strength like I've never seen before. She's one of those people that volunteers at homeless shelters, takes in stray animals and helps to find homes for those she can't take in. She raises a teenage daughter and eagerly takes on way more than she really should, but always does it with a smile. I always find comfort and inspiration in her presence. Her nature reminds me of one of my best friends, Ama. There's just this goodness, this innate sincerity about her. She's just a kick ass lady.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Red and Delicious

Feeling a little blah today. It can't be the weather. It's absolutely gorgeous outside. The air is cool, the sun is shining. I don't know.

As a result of winning the Rhode Island Screenplay Competition, I've been given subscriptions to these online script services. They're terribly confusing. I've spent the past two days registering my information with them. Two days of typing in just my name and address. I haven't even started the treatment, synopsis part. I'm curious how many screenwriters there are. In the world. And how many screenplays get produced. The figures must be really depressing. I'm glad I'm not just a screenwriter or just an actor. It must be terrible having your fate in someone else's hands. I don't think I could do that. I'm horrible at waiting around. I think I've already said this, but I have a hard time sitting still. Ask my boyfriend. He'll tell you I can't just sit for more than 30 seconds. I have to be cleaning or writing or making something or pacing or organizing my receipts by months. It's sad.

I've rediscovered Red Delicious Apples. It'd been a while since I'd bought them at the store. A friend suggested trying Fuji apples about six months ago. I quickly latched on to Fujis in a big way. They're so sweet and crisp. But now, having just eaten a Red Delicious, I might have to switch back over for a little while.

Speaking of which, I love the word "delicious".

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Where it all ends with peanut butter and chocolate

I came home yesterday afternoon to an empty cat bowl, a meowing Pork Chop (my cat) and an overflowing cat litter box. Not sure if Ryan forgot to feed my little PC or if PC just got a ferocious appetite while we were away. Either way, PC was bubbling over with excitement when we walked through the door. I love that cat so much it hurts.

I knew the Slamdance screenplay competition had finally dropped "Brain Brawl" from the running when I got that thin envelope in my mailbox. The thin ones are always rejection letters. And they always start with "Thank you for submitting ... BUT, you're not the superstar we were hoping you'd be. In fact you really suck." Of course the letters put in a much more gentler manner in that form letter, stamped signature kind of way. So "Brain Brawl" made it to the quarterfinals of Slamdance and that's where it stays.

I did however get invited to have dinner with Texas Governor Rick Perry and his wife, who's name escapes me right now. I'm on a panel at the Texas Women's Conference in October. It seems there are about 30ish women panelists. It'll be an interesting evening, for sure. Hopefully good food. That's all I ask for. Yummy cuisine.

My vacation was nice. I adore Mark's family. In a big, big way. They are some of the sweetest, kindest people you'll come across. And his mom can bake like nobody's business. I was reintroduced to my sweet tooth while in South Padres. From chocolate cake with a caramel center, to brownie ice cream with chopped up reeses cups. Some day I should make a short film devoted to my love for peanut butter and chocolate. It's a deep love.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Vacations and Flesh Eating Bacteria

Headed to South Padre for the weekend with the boyfriend and his family. I'm taking my script, the budget and a few other things to work on while I'm there. I'm so busy I could just combust or something. I can't sit still. Even on vacation.

Besides, I refuse to go near the ocean water. There's some sort of flesh eating bacteria in the gulf that's already killed a bunch of people. Just reading some of the articles about people who got infected makes me ill. I'm all about chlorination.

Some fun pictures from when I acted in my friend Ryan's movie, Santa Ana a few weeks ago. Good times.

Santa Ana Shoot

Sean and Kat

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Old Journal Entries

For all of my old journal entries about my films, my life, blah, blah, blah ... go to my Absence of Wings Website. It's in the cicadas portion.

Rhode Island Screenplay Competition Link

Rhode Island International Film Festival Screenplay Competition Release


A week of all weeks

It's been a silly/giddy kind of week. I found out on Monday after coming back from my morning run that I'd gotten first place in the Rhode Island International Film Festival Screenplay Competition. I thought I was about to open another rejection letter. So many had poured in the week before. And then Tuesday morning after my morning run, my friend Duane emailed me to congratulate me on getting into the quarterfinals of the Slamdance Screenplay Competition. AND THEN today I got my first inquiry into the script from a New York based production company. I'm feeling silly stupid happy.

Two and half weeks away from the IFP Market in New York. I can't stop browsing touristy websites about NYC. I friggin' love that place! I'm looking forward to the Pastry Shop on the corner of 11th and 1st, pizza, seeing one of my best friends from college and going thrift store shopping in Williamsburg.