Monday, October 30, 2006

it always is

my head is reeling. i had a really nice, relaxed weekend complete with a few movies, a good book, a few naps, mandolas, some friends ... and then this morning, after i finished a long run in this amazing weather i felt like i was gonna lose it. all of a sudden i'm anxiety ridden, panic stricken, feeling like my heart will rip out of my chest. our new york screening is this weekend and los angeles is next weekend. hell, i pretty much forgot about my birthday in all of the crazed preparations. i'm getting to a point that i'm ready for everything to be over. i'm ready to stop emailing a million people a day, wondering, praying that some of them will show up to a screening. i'm tired of worrying about the fact that i'm going freelance soon. no more good insurance coverage, no more vacation days, sick days, holidays ... this is a total turning point for me. all of this. everything. it's almost like sink or swim. cutting the rope. i wish i drank alcohol. i wish i could calm my frayed nerves with a glass of wine or a gin and tonic.

i've been worrying a lot lately. about everything really. having kids, having money, financing the next project, paying off investors from the last one, whether i'm a good writer, good director, good human being, good wife, good friend ... it'll pass. it always does. i'm just in a strange place today. tomorrow will be different. it always is.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A party is in order

I've poked my head out from my theoretical office to see a few friends here and there. It's been nice. Even at the AFS Committee meeting yesterday it was good to see faces I haven't seen in a long while.

Many years ago I used to have big parties all the time. I was known for them. Introducing so and so to so and so. Probably once every other month or something crazy like that I had gatherings in my back yard and a mix of faces and friends. I was all about everyone in the film community knowing everyone else. I was always shocked when so and so didn't already know so and so because so and so could really help so and so with such and such.

The last gathering I had was about a year ago at the Driskill with all of my film friends and film acquaintances. I'll have another one soon. I promise. After we get back in mid-November, I'll set something up. I'll make it more regular too. It is nice to catch up, find out what everyone's been working on, trading contacts, ideas. I think it's important to our film community to grow and gain momentum. So yes, a party is in order.

November Screenings

These are all right around the corner. Here are dates, cities and theaters. For more info go here ....

11/2 - Montclair, NJ, Montclair State University
11/3 and 11/4, New York, NY, Pioneer Theater
11/4 and 11/5, Seguin, TX, Palace Theater
11/7 and 11/8, Sarasota, FL, Burn Court Cinemas
11/11, Beaumont, TX, Lamar University
11/12, Los Angeles, CA, Fine Arts Theater
11/15, Washington DC, AFI Silver
11/17 and 11/18, Atlanta, GA, The Plaza Theater

Monday, October 23, 2006

La Tazza Fresca and KMFA

I've become a frequent patron to La Tazza Fresca and a lover of KMFA. The environment here beats the socks off of Quacks. It's quiet, the KMFA tunes are soothing, the wifi is consistent and the people are always nice.

We had a great meeting with the women who head up the AISD guidance counselors. We're putting together a screening in February for Counselors Week. We'll try and duplicate the screening for San Antonio, Dallas and Houston.

I had a really wonderful chat with Anne Kelley at Motion Media Arts Center. I'm hoping to work there either as a contract teacher or as an employee. I love what they're doing and who they're reaching. When I first moved to Austin in 1997 I took Steve Mim's Austin Film Works class in that very same space. It's amazing how much it's changed. I'm anxious to figure out how it'll all work out. Got to see Jake briefly. It was good to see his sweet face.

I found out today that I'll be employed with Cycorp through November. That gives me enough time to work out future job details. It all happened for a reason. I just know it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Quacks - They're playing good music!

It's Friday. Friday's are good. Friday's mean I get to clean the house a little, put away everything I've been meaning to file for that last week, stare at Pork Chop and rub his belly, sit in a coffeeshop the entire day and work on Storie stuff. Today I get to see my friends. We have a lunch date. It's not often that I get to see them anymore. It's my fault for being so friggin' busy. And this weekend I have a hiking date with Meredith. After the big blow this week I need that time to wander through the woods with a good friend.

I found out that my part-time situation at work will end soon. In a few weeks I'll get laid off permanently. I'm still wondering if it's a good thing. I can only hope so. I've gotten a few leads for film teaching opportunities. I refuse to sit at another desk from 9am - 6pm wasting my time without even a window to stare out of. I have mad skills. I need to use those skills. And what better way to do it than working with kids. I always said if I wasn't making movies, I'd be working for some non-profit for children.

Everything else in the world is moving forward at a pace that I'm still trying to catch up to. Instead of my list of things to do shortening, it just grows and grows. I don't know why, but we've been getting several distributors requesting screeners again. It comes in phases. Please god let us sell this film soon.

Pittsburgh called yesterday. They want to rent the film.

Damn, I'm hungry.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Houston and Nashville Summation

Houston went really well. It was probably my favorite panel discussion. We had an audience comprised mostly of the Houston mental health and suicide prevention community with a few SWAMP members here and there.

We couldn't get very much press in Houston to save our life. The Chronicle and Houston Press were non-responsive after multiple emails and phone calls. I guess it's just a big town. With that said, I was happy we got the crowd we did just through emails and word of mouth.

After the screening we hung out with Rhett, Becky, Michelle and Gerald. It was great to see Rhett and catch up. That boy makes me smile.

Apparently we had about 75 folks in Nashville. Savannah was pretty pleased with how it all went. She said we got a good response. The woman from NAMI who came and answered questions wants to bring the film back for more of the mental health community.

Savannah called as she was getting into Memphis on Sunday lost and trying to get directions to the theater. We haven't heard from her since.

We have a review (apparently favorable) coming out in Counseling Today which will go out to all of the American Counseling Association members in November.

We've already sold tickets in NYC!!! YEAH!!! I want to sell out both screenings big time.

CHALK at Austin Film Festival

This is probably one of my all time favorite films to come out of Austin. It's sweet, laugh out loud funny and has a huge, huge heart. I hope you can go support these guys. They made a wonderful film.


In the comedic tradition of The Office and the films of Christopher Guest, Chalk pulls its viewer into the frenetic and awkwardly painful journey of three novice high school teachers as they navigate one memorable school year. Director Mike Akel provides a rare and realistic teacher’s perspective into the absurd, provocative and occasionally volatile world of public education, where “fifty percent of America’s teachers quit within their first three years.” Ultimately as touching as it is comedic, Chalk offers a hilarious and hopeful look at public education in America.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I'm gonna FMLA your ass.

Tracy and I are cold chillin at the Osborns in Houston. We spent most of Friday in the car chatting up a storm crusing down I-10. Once in Houston, we spent a good while in search of WIFI. Houston has no WIFI. Where's the WIFI? We had a really, really good interview with 90.1 KPFT. Our interviewer asked interestings questions and I felt somewhat well spoken. When it comes to my public speaking skills, it's hit or miss. In Tallahassee I felt like I fumbled all over the place. Maybe it's the crowds of people staring at me, I don't know.

So today we're going to the Angelika to see Jesus Camp have a few meetings and then set up for the screening. Savannah called yesterday a little nervous about her screening in Nashville today. I know that girl will be fine. She's always known the right thing to say and been extremely eloquent in interviews and in questions and answers. She's just silly, I tell you.

Stacy emailed telling us that she was running 10 miles this morning. So to keep up with her, I added 30 minutes to my normal 70 minute run.

Oh, and I heard word that we're getting a good review in the American Counselors Association publication. Yeah!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sweet Home Alabama

Apparently our screening in Tuscaloosa went really well. About 75 people showed up. A pretty decent crowd for little to no advertising. I know that the University of Alabama has a huge mental health emphasis. They have a whole research center devoted to it. Kerry mentioned that several folks stayed long after discussing the film.

Still waiting to find out the numbers at the Connecticut screenings. I talked with a professor at a community college in New Haven who sent her entire class so they could discuss the film this week. If only all the teachers would do that.

I've exhausted all publicity efforts in Nashville, Houston and Memphis. Not sure what else I can do. With that said, I've begun the LA, NY and DC spreadsheets, press releases and lists. I can see all three being really big. We don't have to do much in the way of publicity for DC. The NIH should do all of it for us. They're still working out the details for a day screening that would include all of the guidance counselors in Montgomery county. We're working out something similar in Austin that would happen in February.

I'm ready for Zen. Stacy's picking up Annalise at the airport and then we're supposed to meet up at Zen. It was the first place Annalise wanted to go after stepping off the plane. :)

Nashville, Houston and Memphis

Saturday, October 14th
Belcourt Theater (2102 Belcourt Avenue)
Tickets are $8.00 general admission, $6.00 Students
Nashville NAMI Representative and actress, Savannah Welch in Attendance
For more information:

HOUSTON, 10/14
Saturday, October 14th
Rice Media Center (Corner of University Blvd and Stockton, entrance #8 on the Rice University Campus)
Tickets are $6.00 general admission
Co-sponsored by the Houston SPC and Southwest Alternative Media Project
A panel discussion will follow with John Sargent (Baylor College of Medicine and Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry), Sharon Derrick (Harris County Medical Examiner's Office), Patricia Weger, (Houston Independent School District), and Molly Wilkins, (Harris County Hospital District).
For more information:

MEMPHIS, 10/15
Sunday, October 15th
Muvico Peabody Place 22 Theater
Tickets are $6.00
Actress, Savannah Welch in Attendance
For more information: and

Clare's a Mama

Clare's always been the mom in our circle of friends. She's the voice of reason and authority through kindness. She took care of us through hugs, words of advice and sweet kisses on the forehead when life threw us curve balls. She's been the thread that has sewn us all together. Now she's a mom for real. Last night she gave birth to a baby boy. Theo. I cried when I got Karen's voicemail at 7:30am this morning. If anyone is fit to be a mom, it's Clare. Her baby boy will be spoiled with love and adoration. Between Rich and Clare, two of the coolest parents, Theo will be a science genius, earth loving, politically minded, booty shaking, indie rocker with a great love for humanity. I can't wait to squeeze his little cheeks next month.

Monday, October 09, 2006

CSI on the radio.

I'm back in Austin from a jam packed trip to Jacksonville and Tallahassee. Of course we had the biggest crowd at the last screening. The one I couldn't stay for because I had to drive back to Jacksonville. And speaking of which, did you know they air television shows on the radio? I listened to CSI and Cold Case as I drove down the long, lonely I-10. It was pretty cool until I realized I'd already seen that episode of CSI. Luckily Leslie called and we chatted from Live Oak to Jacksonville.

Below are some photos of Dan and Jeannine. Dan and Jeannine are at the theater every weekend, popping popcorn, tearing tickets, running projection. They love movies. They really love movies. I tried to convince them and John (the other half of the Film Society) to come visit Austin the next chance they get. They're such good people.

Now Stacy, Leslie, Tracy and I are gearing up for Houston, Nashville and Memphis this coming weekend. I'm driving to Houston on Friday and probably won't be back in town until Sunday morning. Just in time to meet up with our good friend, David Lowery.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Borders and Me

I've become a great friend to the Borders in Tallahassee. We've been spending a lot of time together lately.

The screenings went really well last night. We were competing against "First Friday" which was about a block away. The music blared and the cars were honking but luckily the walls of the theater are thick brick. The projection was beautiful and the audiences loved the film. I got a wonderful response. I saw some friends I hadn't seen since high school graduation and professors who taught me poetry and short fiction.

Dan and John who run the Tallahassee Film Society use a really, really old Amtrak Station that they've conerted into a theater. It's beautiful.

We have two more screenings tonight and then I drive back to Jacksonville. I'll get to see my family in the morning before I fly back to Texas. I'm anxious to get back and see my boy. I always wish he could come with me on these trips, but sadly, we can't afford it. I told him that someday soon, when we have more money that he'll come with. Our kids too. When we have them, of course.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Back in Tally

I'm sitting in my hotel room watching Saved By the Bell - The College Years and catching up on emails.

I spent yesterday with my family, talking to about 50 or so kids at Stanton, catching up with Brian Heggood and Claire Clark and having dinner with Garrick and Liz. I drove to Tallahassee in record time dancing in my car to SexyBack.

We had a really nice review come out in the Tallahassee Democrat today. Also an article in the FSView came out yesterday.

I'm curious how things will go tonight. I can't wait to see the theater. They converted the old Amtrak station into a theater.

I have no clue how the screenings in Alabama and Connecticut went last night. I'm extremely curious.

We're talking to the Alamo South about doing a week run in early January for those who weren't able to get into the screening in Austin on Tuesday.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

LOST Tonight

Don't miss the season premiere of LOST tonight. Michael Emerson, we're so proud of you!!!

Letters from the Other Side

Austinite Heather Courtney's documentary, Letters from the Other Side is playing on PBS all over the U.S. Please check out the listings for when it's playing in your city.

The film interweaves video letters carried across the U.S.-Mexico border by the film's director with the personal stories of women left behind in post-NAFTA Mexico.

Selling Out

We sold out the Alamo again last night. I think we sold out an hour or two before the screening started. It was a nice feeling. I had to sneak some friends in who bought tickets to The Science of Sleep. And what was really great was that I recognized very few people. After doing a poll of the audience, many were counselors, guidance counselors, professors and students from UT. Excellent! That's the direction we've headed in our publicity efforts and last night was a testament that it's working. We had an incredible panel who spoke eloquently to the problems of suicide and mental health. I've talked to Dianna Groves about setting up a screening for all 200 or so counselors in the Austin School District.

I leave in a few hours for Florida. I have four screenings in Tallahassee this weekend. Tomorrow we have a screening at the University of Alabama and in New Haven. And then Saturday we have a screening in Bethel, CT. Between Stacy, Leslie, Tracy and myself we've hit up universities, high schools, government agencies, juvenile probation officers, you name it, we've emailed and called them.

I'm speaking to a class of drama and film students at my old high school tomorrow. That might be the highlight of my trip. I'm also trying to find the professor at Florida State who sort of pushed me in the direction of filmmaking.

A belated Happy Birthday to my nephew Robert Candler who is one of the cutest, sweetest, grown up little boys I've ever met.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I wish I had more time to blog

God, I wish there was more time. Ok, really quick.

The San Antonio screening went really well. We had a nice size crowd. The panel discussion afterwards was great and went long. I met some wonderful folks. One of the little alternative teenagers that came compared it to The Virgin Suicides. I wanted to go hug him.

Sunday Leslie and I attended a fundraiser for a local mental health organization, the Milestone Foundation. We sat at a table with Vincent Calderon who's putting together a festival for films dealing with mental health in the spring.

Tonight we screen in Austin. As of yesterday morning, we had 70 tickets left to sell. I'm hoping we sell out big time tonight. We're competing against the Veronica Mars season premiere and the Dionysium. Maybe I can stick my head over in the Dionysium and say hi to Meredith.

Projection has been the bane of my existence lately. It looked so crappy in San Antonio. Not quite as crappy in Kansas City, but still pretty crappy. Stacy and I tested the projection at the Alamo yesterday. Holy moly it was gorgeous. I wish I could take that projector with me to every single screening. Seriously. It breaks my heart to see the film look like shit at some of these theaters. I slide down in my seat and just cringe. It's pretty painful.

Gotta bolt. Much to do.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Connecticut Review

The Fairfield Weekly

Applauding someone I could never be

The hard part is not the publicity or the endless emails or the phone calls to universities, or the fretting about distribution or money. The hard part is after a screening or during a Q&A when someone tells us their story. Inevitably, I cry or am on the edge of tears.

I applaud the individuals who devote their life to awareness and outreach. They are strength like I've never seen. But could I do it? I don't know. Probably not. I know that this film will take us through several more months of intense screenings and Q&As and after that it will taper off and find new direction, and hopefully new hands to carry it the rest of the way. I'll move on to a different story, different characters and a whole new world. This may sound awful, but I'm looking forward to moving on. It's been a rollercoaster of emotion. I'm extremely happy with what we're doing and how it's affecting people. The more I get entrenched in it, the more emotional weight I find myself carrying. It's nice to be a part of something much larger than my little world, but I'm growing anxious to retreat back. I'm just being honest, I guess.