Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Shameless Plug for my Amazing Family

My sister and brother in-law teach at the Culinary Academy in Austin. Whenever they ask if they can cook us dinner, it's a no brainer. Say yes, and say yes immediately. They're as passionate about food as Robert Altman was about film. Here's a link to their website.
  • If you need help feeding your family every week, they can help.
  • If you need help with special dietary menus, they'll make it delicious and nutritious.
  • If you're interested in private cooking lessons, they're incredible teachers, no matter how old or how young.
  • If you're in need of some kick ass catering, dude, they're food will render you speechless.
I dream about Amy's chocolate hazelnut cake and Egil's fall roasted vegetables. Trust me, they could win an Oscar for food.

Tallahassee Democrat Article

Apparently this article came out on the front page of the Tallahassee Democrat this morning. Sweet emails from Florida State friends flooded my inbox about it.

I caught up yesterday with several folks who are in preparations for their own screenings in the Houston area, Denver, Pennsylvania, Shelby County ...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

JOB in Tallahassee

jumping off bridges comes back to the Tallahassee Film Society for One Night Only
Saturday, February 3rd, 5:30pm and 7:30pm
All Saints Cinema
918 1/2 Railroad Avenue.

Sponsored by 211 Big Bend and the FSU School of Social Work

For more information:

In my blood

I come from a long line of teachers. My Oma (my grandmother), taught English for years and years. My mom taught music for several years when I was a kid. My dad was a Boy Scout leader for the entire time my brother went from Webelo to Eagle Scout. I think it mostly comes from my mom's side though. So many of her cousins and aunts taught or continue to teach. So maybe it's in my blood.

I was crazed with nervousness before I started all of these classes. But now that I'm in the thick of it all, I'm having the time of my life. My kids, both at the Austin School of Film and the Odyssey school are really stepping up. Their ideas are shooting out in every direction. And they're solid, creative ideas. I love it. I have a pretty mixed bunch in the adult class, from slapstick comedies to southern dramas, to piggyback mockumentaries. I'm so excited to see everyone's scripts come to life on the screen.

Other things of note ...
  • I'm close to finalizing the read through for The Spider in the Bathtub.

  • Talking to distributors about JOB. It sucks. I hate it. It makes you realize that DIY distribution has so much more to offer.

  • Brain Brawl is still in play.

  • Been pouring through the Roadside Texas footage. It looks beautiful thanks to Ms. Holly Brunkow.

  • With many thanks to Spencer Zuzolo, Brittany De Vos and Michelle Voss, we're making major headway on a digital media after school program for the Ann Richards School for Young Women

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Filmmaking Gospel

Last night's Script to Screen class was awesome! A totally packed room with a lot of pens furiously taking notes.

I was telling Mark last night that I forget that so many of them are coming to this with a clean slate. When I asked who knows what the Texas Film Commission is and what they have to offer filmmakers and only one or two people raised their hands, I'm like, "WHAT?". I take a lot of what I know for granted, I guess. That's why I'm here. To spread the filmmaking gospel.

This teaching thing isn't so bad. I think I'm going to really dig it.

Adrienne Shelly Foundation

A friend just sent a link to Adrienne Shelly's Foundation. If you have some extra cash after the holidays ...

From the website:
Our first priorities are the creation of the Adrienne Shelly Scholarship Fund, which will help young women attend film school; to award grants which will help women finance independent film projects; and to produce readings of deserving scripts.

If you've never seen Adrienne Shelly in a film, go pick up Hal Hartley's Trust at your local video store.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Collier Talent Rules!

Heather Collier is taking actors to the next level in this town. With the great roles that Katherine Willis and Brent Smiga have had on Friday Night Lights so far, Leslie Langee and Bryan Chafin can now be added to that list. They'll be seen in upcoming episodes.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Odyssey School

I just left my first day teaching an after school program at the Odyssey School. It's a school for kids with learning disabilities, namely Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). I had three boys, a seventh, eighth and tenth grader. Oh man, were they a handful. One couldn't stop talking, one could barely get anything out and the other just made wild and huge hand gestures the whole time. I can't stop smiling. I was utterly charmed by these little guys. I couldn't get frustrated or mad because they were just so sweet and earnest. I can see that it's going to be tough, but I have a feeling I'm really going to enjoy my time with these kids.

Their favorite movies ... Ice Age, Friday the 13th, Airplane! and some 1930s french film I'd never heard of.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Do they like me?

I had the "first day of school" jitters. I tossed and turned all night. Finally at 5:30am after my cat insisted I get out of bed by scratching the wall for 2 minutes straight, I threw off the covers and got up.

So, I had seven pairs of wide eyes staring at me for two hours. I have seven cool, sweet, excited kids to get to know and help bring their ideas to a screen over the next couple of months. I talked about story, characters, dialog, screenplay format, conflict, character arcs ... I'm not sure how much they took in or how much they'd heard before but they weren't hesitant to ask questions and offer their opinions.

Their favorite movies include: Moulin Rouge, Pan's Labyrinth, anything by Tim Burton and Adam Sandler comedies. Right up my alley.

My poor husband got an earful as we drove to San Antonio after the class "Do you think they like me?" "Do you think they think I'm retarded?" "Do you think I'll be a good teacher?" His answer to all of the above questions ... "yes", "yes" and "yes".

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Filmmaker Article

Here's a link to Stacy's Filmmaker Article which just came out.

The Ice Storm - Day 3

Outside ice drips from trees and the grass thaws. You can hear huge chunks of icicles falling from rooftops and crashing on pavement. Store owners turn their "Closed" signs over to "Open". We survived.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Ice Storm - Day 2

Cabin fever has set in. The walls seem to be closing in on me. Mark's asleep in the other room. Surprisingly he's not snoring. I've been up since 7am preparing for the workshops and finishing up small details on JOB screenings. Oh wait, Mark is snoring. Nevermind.

Upcoming articles to look out for ...

Counseling Today - They'll have a film review of JOB in the March issue, I believe.
Filmmaker Magazine - Stacy wrote an article on our self distribution efforts that should come out in the next issue.
Seventeen Magazine - Ms. Savannah Welch will have a photo spread and interview about how cool she is.
VenusZine - I did a short interview for their film issue.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Ice Storm

Please make the freezing rain, dangerous driving conditions and wind chill stop. I'm growing less and less fond of staring at my apartment walls.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

This film brings the magic back into movies. I'm simply awestruck.

And as an aside, it was my first experience getting scolded by a theater worker. I was minding my own business, quietly snacking on my granola when an employee leaned down and said, "You're not allowed to bring food into the theater. I have to take that away from you". Whoa. Note to self, go to the theaters where they don't take away my granola.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Script to Screen

My Script to Screen Workshop is almost full. Still plenty of space in the Teen Filmmaking Workshop. It's hard to get the word out to the kids, but apparently one of the news stations has been advertising for us. Only one more week to go.

The Spider in the Bathtub, the new script, has been a nice escape. It makes me smile. It's funny how I have to create characters to make me laugh, cheer me up. I'm happy to hang out with them. The second draft is coming to a close. I'm getting Vicky to help me put together a reading at the beginning of February. It's in a place where I need to hear it out loud and get a diverse group's feedback.

So, what's next? What am I going to write about now?

Roadside San Antonio

Stacy, Barbara, Holly, Buckner and I spent Wednesday in San Antonio shooting the promo for Roadside Texas. Stacy has a good entry about it here.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

a few planks across a nearly dry gully

i finished Bridge to Terabithia today. it seemed appropriate for a day like today.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Lily Liver

This might be a record for me. Seven plus hours at Quacks starting at 6:30am. Broken up by 2 1/2 hours at Cycorp. Most of those seven hours devoted to 35 pages of my next script. The script is only about 71 pages and will probably hover around that page count. Stacy gave me notes last night and called it a "hoot". I must say it's certainly cracking me up. It's similar in vein to my last family comedy. Silly, fun, quirky characters.

Alrighty then. I'm done for the day.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My New BFF

Bridge to Terabithia

When I heard they were making a film from one of my most beloved books, I was, well, a little upset. I went and found the poster on the internet to see what sort of direction they'd taken. Grant it, I hadn't read the book in a good long while, but the poster seemed all wrong. Disneyfied. It didn't come close to anything I'd imagined as a kid. And then I saw the trailer. "What?" "Huh?" This is SO not what I remember. Maybe I just forgot how it all went. So I picked the book back up the other day and am about 2/3 of the way through it again. I'm savoring every chapter. With that said, the trailer makes me really upset. It seems really misleading. I thought maybe the author had a hand in "updating" the book, but she's not credited with the screenplay. Needless to say, I'll probably be the first in line on opening night, but I can almost guarantee, I'll leave the theater in a tirade. What next? Franny and Zooey? The Catcher in the Rye? The Secret History? I've always known that Hollywood (with exceptions) lacked imagination. That they couldn't find new material to bring to the screen. That they had to rely on preexisting material to screw up. I'll shut up now and wait to be disappointed.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

20th Century Fox Theme Song

New Years at Kurt and Meredith's was sweet. Mandy and Victor flew in last minute. All of our friends sat around the Volk house chatting, catching up and eating frito pies. I nearly lost myself when I stumbled onto a conversation between Mandy, Mark and Stacy about the use of semicolons and commas. But after giggling a bit, I found myself completely intrigued. I learned a thing or two that night. Of course, the sleep gods were upon me and I was out cold around 11:15pm. No crazy Zellner bash for me this year. Although I'm sure it would've been a night to remember. Those crazy Zellner boys.

I mentioned to Mark yesterday before some previews at the Gateway theater how going to the movies lately has flooded me with memories of childhood. Every time I hear the 20th Century Fox theme song, I start to cry. Yesterday was no different.

Thank god for January 2nd and people coming back to work. So much of what I've needed to do has been dependent on people checking their emails and being in their offices. I've never been more excited for a vacation to end.