Wednesday, February 28, 2007

How do I procrastinate? Let me count the ways.

I've been stuck on the ending of The Spider in the Bathtub for a few days now. I'll write for a bit, get caught up in a web (no pun intended) of muckity muck and stop. So here's what I've been doing today to procrastinate.

1) Caught up on all the blog links from my blog. Basically found out what my friends are up to.
2) Did today and yesterday's crossword.
3) Stared out the window at the joggers and Fresh Plus shoppers.
4) Smacked my Orbitz Sweet Mint gum.
5) Listened in on my neighbors conversations about their frog shaped iced butter cookies in the shape of a frog and the film project that their working on.
6) Debated over and over again in my head about whether to get my own frog shaped iced butter cookie.
7) Chatted with my husband over email about what we'll do on our date tonight and whether he should come to Atlanta with me for the Carter screenings.

What's sad is that I only have about 10 pages left to sift through before I can start at the beginning again. Shit, ok, I'm going back to work. Blagh.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Fry's = Brazil



Stepping into Fry's to buy a hard drive this afternoon felt like stepping into Terry Gilliam's Brazil. As I stood at the check out line waiting 10 minutes to get my check approved, all of these generic workers in white shirts and black ties shuffled around cubicles and desks swapping papers and holding clipboards. I couldn't figure out what they were doing exactly, but they seemed to have a lot of meaningless purpose, if that makes sense.

Already getting overwhelmed

I stood in line for almost two hours yesterday for SXSW wristbands for a friend of a friend. It means the beginning of a nutty two weeks.

Already I'm scheduling coffee dates, beer time (I don't even drink) and lunches with friends and acquaintances making the long trip to Austin, TX. I'm really looking forward to some face time with old friends and new ones. It's nice not to have a film this year and be treading water with press, publicity and all that insanity that goes with a big premiere.

But my ultimate priorities lie in seeing my best friend Karen and working with my teen class. Karen will be here for a week to retrieve some belongings and visit. My teen class will mostly be shooting during their Spring Break and I plan to be on set for as much as I can. My loyalties run deep with those guys. They've put in so much hard work and I'm excited to see their visions come to screen.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Carter Center Screening in May

We had a wonderful conference call today with folks from The Carter Center. They'll be showing jumping off bridges at their annual Georgia Mental Health Forum Conference in May.

The Carter Center, in partnership with Emory University, is committed to advancing human rights and alleviating unnecessary human suffering. Founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, the Atlanta-based Center has helped to improve the quality of life for people in more than 65 countries. We're super excited about the partnership. And once again, a big nod to Leslie for setting this up.

VenusZine Interview

Here's an interview I did for VenusZine. Photo credits go to Austin photographer, Holly Brunkow.

Unexpected Turns

If you sit in Quacks long enough you’ll see a long list of friends and acquaintances. From 6:30am until 10:30am I saw seven friends. As nice as it is to catch up, I wasn't able to get as much done as I really should have.

Eventually, I had to leave because my neighbor to the left was talking loud and at length about how awful her roommates are. She was describing in detail every horrible deed they'd ever done.

I just need to sit in the quiet of my own home and get back to my script. It's taking some wonderful and unexpected turns.

All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone


A well deserved four stars from Rolling Stone.

I wept watching their Conan O'Brien performance. Nothing comes close to watching your friends get every bit of success and accolades that they deserve.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

PR stands for Personal Record

PR stands for Personal Record. I beat my PR in the half marathon.

I placed 109 out of 539 in my division. I'm competing with a bunch of healthy, fit ladies in their late 20s, early 30s.

My time - 2:00:23
My pace - 9:12

I was hoping to break the 2 hour mark, but such is life. 23 seconds over isn't too shabby. I'm proud. I'm really, really proud. I get a little shy about movie stuff, but when it comes to running, I'll brag to the world. I'll tell the cashier at Zen. I'll tell my mom's second cousin. I'll tell strangers on the road.

I haven't run since Sunday. I'm allowing myself a week long vacation from the pavement. Instead, I'm spending my mornings at Quacks with a crazy, quirky family that find a rather scary spider in their tub. We're having a good time.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Rewrites Rule!!!


I'm revising The Spider in the Bathtub. I LOVE rewrites! It's the best part. After having a successful read through last week, I got a ton of great feedback to work from.

And without even asking, some animator friends are working on CG spider samples for me. What fun!!!

COCAINE ANGEL OPENS IN NYC, 2/21


Our friend, Mike Tully opens his debut feature film, Cocaine Angel at the Pioneer Theater tomorrow night in NYC for a week run. Please, please, please go see the film. Support your truly indie filmmakers. It's a great film with one of my favorite moments in cinema last year.

COCAINE ANGEL captures a grinding and tragic week in the life of a weary young drug addict who is clinging to the remnants of his once hopeful existence amidst the stink, the sweat, and unforgiving heat of Jacksonville, Florida.

"A minor masterpiece"
-- Indie Wire

"The flip side of the sunshine state. Cocaine Angel is caked with legitimate, unforgettable grime, one that makes similar Hollywood efforts seem as fake as an orange juice commercial."
-- Filmmaker Magazine

"It's a rarity to see an original entry in the drug-addicts-spiralling-downward genre."
-- Ain't It Cool News

Tune in to Conan


Explosions in the Sky will take the stage on Conan O'Brien tonight. Check out the beloved Austin rock band. Trust me, you'll fall in love. Their new album comes out in stores today. And it's incredible.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Dark Energy



This is an article in Scientific America by a high school classmate. I went to school with geniuses, which is why I always felt so stupid and never raised my hand in class. But as Mark reassures me, I could probably school them in dolly shots and crossing the line now.

But man, it sure would be cool to discover links to galaxy formations.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Hills, hills, hills and then some more hills

The Half Marathon proved to be quite difficult this year. Again, the designer of the course must have had a grudge against someone running the race. It was hill after hill after hill. You'd catch your breath for a half a mile and then see another hill down the road. With that said though, I finished in about 2 hours. And that felt really good. I hoped to finish in less than a ten minute mile and came in well under that. Of course, I felt like throwing up after the last two hills, but just ran it off. Yea!

What was the best part though, was going back after a shower with Stacy and Maggie and cheering on the marathoners. I clapped so hards my hands bled. I yelled and screamed people's names, "You can do it Joe!" "Only 3 more blocks, Alice!" "Lookin' good, Jennifer!" "Almost there, Oscar!" maybe a million times. You'd see the smiles and the thumbs up from the runners. I just remember how desperately I needed a shout or a friend's face or to just hear my name at the end. It kept me going.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Half Marathons and The Quiet



Mark and I watched The Quiet last night. I'm not sure I have words to describe it.

HALF MARATHON
Stacy and I drove the half marathon course this morning in preparation for tomorrow's race. Who are the cruel and evil planners of the race course? Did they realize what torture they'd be putting us through? The hills are steep and aplenty this year. At least it won't be sleeting. That's good.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Eating Words


I'll be the first to eat my words about Bridge to Terabithia. I caught the first screening of the day (9:50am) with an audience of about 5 middle aged men.

My overall impression, I liked it. It was a good movie. Not a great one, but a pretty good one. The filmmakers stayed fairly true to the book and were able to capture so many wonderful moments and characters for the screen. I'll be honest, my expectations were low. But then again, how many classics has Hollywood mangled?

From Janice Avery, the bully who trips Jesse on the bus to little Maybelle and her Barbie Dolls. Characters that I'd only imagined in my head for all these years came alive on screen. And I loved them.

The fantastical elements are far less than the previews imply, but they're there and they shouldn't be. For me that's one of two reasons I wouldn't consider it great. It was distracting. The other was the ending. The way Jesse internalized his grief in the book put my stomach into knots and my heart reeling. You felt so much for this kid in his confusion over his friend's death. The movie couldn't capture it.

What triumphs in this film is the friendship between Jesse and Leslie. Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb did a fine, fine job. As did all of the kids. The sincerity behind the book translated beautifully. I felt the entire cast and crews' hearts on that screen. I felt like they were all great fans of Katherine Paterson's story.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Best Best Boy

Had a lovely lunch with Mike Akel and Chris Mass yesterday. Mike and I were discussing duking it out for best emerging filmmaker or whatever the title is on Austin360.com. We decided to come up with a few new categories. So please read through and let us know who you think fits the bill. And if you have additional categories, by all means.

1. Nicest Director to a Boom Operator?
2. Best Directed Extras in a Film?
3. Best Best Boy?
4. Fastest P.A. in Central Texas?
5. Best Dressed Dolly Grip?
6. Best Continuity in a Smoking Scene?
7. Most Vegan Friendly Craft Services Spread?
8. Cutest Couple in the Art Department?
9. Script Supervisor Most Likely to Write an Oscar Winning Film in 5 years?
10. Best Pan to Tilt to Dolly to Crane move in an Austin film?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What's getting less strange ...

What's getting less strange is when I open up the latest Rolling Stone and see an article on my friends. Or when my other friend gets a phone call from Quentin Tarantino. Or when someone I know is getting nominated for an Oscar. We had a long discussion about it the other night over dinner. It's almost comforting, the whole demystification of celebrity and fame.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Lima Beans, Collard Greens, Peachy Keen



Tonight Mark and I have a date with my niece/BFF, Bella, age 2 1/2. We'll recreate Cinderella and dance around to "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt". Bella is in a princess/Cinderella phase right now. She runs in circles around the house screaming "I'm running down the stairs, I'm running down the stairs!" And then she runs up to us, "I lost my slipper?!?" Later in the night, we'll pretend to be Cinderella's evil step mother and rip Bella's dress to shreds. Bella will race into the kitchen and throw herself to the ground (very dramatically) and pretend to cry. After a few seconds, she'll sidle up with that upset look in her eye. I'll have to pretend to be her Fairy Godmother and wave an invisible wand through the air and tap her on the head. This, you see, will give her a brand new, beautiful princess dress. And then we repeat this many, many times throughout the night. I will admit though, it's better than the time she pretended to poop all over the kitchen floor and then made Mark pretend to step in every single pile.

Ooh, maybe we'll get to watch Veggie Tales! I LOVE Veggie Tales! Have you heard the theme song? It's classic! "Lima Beans, Collard Greens, Peachy Keen, Veggie Tales!"

Friday, February 09, 2007

Austin Movie Awards

I just got a note that I'm on a list for an Austin Movie Award? Very strange. Alongside Mike Akel, Steve Collins, Kyle and the Zellners. Nice. So if you feel inclined, vote for me, vote for Mike, vote for Steve or Kyle or David and Nathan ... Not to be cheesy or anything but the list is missing a few other awesome Austin filmmakers ... Heather Courtney, Margaret Brown, Bryan Poyser, Stacy Schoolfield, Laura Dunn, Chris Eska, Chris Ohlson, Nevie Owens, Korey Coleman, Spencer Parsons, Paul Gordon, Mari Marchbanks, Gary Chason, Alex Smith, Bennie Klain, Bob Sabiston, Craig Elrod, Emily Hagins, Justin Johnson, Erik Mauk, Bob Ray, PJ Raval, Justin Hennard, Karen Skloss, Mark Mederson, Alan Berg, Duane Graves, Vicky Boone, Rusty Kelley, Scott Rice, Susanne Mason ...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

American Way with Michael Emerson

Michael Emerson has a nice little interview in the latest American Way magazine and mentions jumping off bridges. So if you're flying on American any time soon, check it out. If you go to the link, scroll down a little bit.

TXMPA

Please, please, please sign up as a member of the Texas Motion Picture Alliance.

The Texas Motion Picture Alliance (TXMPA) seeks economic and creative incentives for producers of film, video, interactive and digital media production by serving as a proactive advocate of the Texas motion picture industry.

In a nutshell, these guys are the force to getting film incentives passed in Texas. We're losing so much business to New Mexico and Louisiana and other states who have these amazing incentive programs in place. And in turn we're losing jobs for hundreds and hundreds of people in the film, animation and gaming industry. It sucks when your friends who have survived on all of the great productions in town for so many years have to move because the work is drying up. And what's the worst thing ever is when you're in development on a project that you'd love to shoot in your own hometown, but you can't because financially it doesn't make sense.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Polka Dotted Monsters


What I love most about teaching so far is getting inspired by my students. They have all these crazy, wonderful ideas. Yesterday in my Odyssey School after school program, the boys were so quiet. I got a little nervous at how quiet they were. I gave them worksheets to flesh out each scene from their scripts. They scribbled furiously. They'd look into the air, search for the right word, the right description or bit of dialogue and then scribble some more. Almost an entire hour went by that they barely said a word. And when they did, it was "What do you think about this? Or how do I say such and such? Or does this count as a new scene?" They made me want to bring my own pencil and paper and scribble my own ideas (God, I should totally have done that). My husband asked what I did while they were writing. Watched them and got tickled at how great it was that they were writing about secret agent spies and polka dotted monsters in the woods.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Guatemalan Handshake Screens in the Northwest




Our good friend Todd Rohal is bringing his film The Guatemalan Handshake to a theater near you. Please support the indie filmmakers self distribution efforts by going to see it and telling all of your friends. To find out more about the film check out the Guatemalan Handshake Website.


NORTHWEST FILM FORUM
SEATTLE, WA
http://www.nwfilmforum.org
1515 12th Ave, Seattle WA 98122 - (206)329-2629

THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 9 – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15
7:00pm & 9:00pm DAILY
SPECIAL EVENTS ALL WEEK!!!
Sponsored by Easy Street Records & GEARt.e.k Corporation

**********************************

HOLLYWOOD THEATRE
PORTLAND, OR
http://www.hollywoodtheatre.org
4122 N.E. Sandy Blvd. Portland, OR 97212 - (503) 281-4215

THE GUATEMALAN HANDSHAKE
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 17 – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22
SHOWTIMES TBA (please check with the theater)
SPECIAL SHORT FILMS SCREENING ALL WEEK!!!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

EITS on Conan O'Brien


Explosions in the Sky's new record comes out on February 20th, the same day they'll appear on Conan O'Brien. Set your DVDR or Tivo or whatever those hi-tech systems are called.

Those boys are blowing up in such a wonderful way. If you catch Friday Night Lights on Wednesdays you get a good taste.

They head out for a good long while next month in support of their new record. Here's a list of their tour dates. If you get a chance I can not recommend enough seeing them live.

Tallahassee Screening Recap

Here's a recap of last night's screening from my friend Jeff Peters who organized the whole thing.

"I just got back from the two showings at All Saints Cinema. Despite the very frigid weather, subject matter and competing events at the Civic Center and elsewhere, we had a good crowd. There were really good discussions following each showing especially after the 7:30 showing - a lot of audience participations and discussion. A very close friend of mine who signed on as a co-sponsor was at the 5:30 showing. She loved the film. I sat next to her the entire time as I was a little worried about how she would feel. Her brother killed himself last year. The film really spoke to her and she was glad we brought it back. There were several people at each showing who had had similar experiences.

The rep from 211 Big Bend had not seen the film in October and was blown away by the film. She discussed with me and with the audience how realistic the film was and talked about Zack's friend Eric not knowing what to say or how to offer support. She was very enthusiastic. She stayed for both showings and had even more positive things to say after the seeing it a second time. The Pastor from my UCC church came to the 5:30 showing and she was just enthralled with the film. I think some UCC (United Church of Christ - large liberal non-denominational church) people may be interested in screening it in other cities perhaps. I'll let you know. I expect we may be hearing about it in a future sermon. There was great applause at the end of the film. People remained quiet all through the end credits - the talk was real positive and people were already asking when Brain Brawl would be finished."

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Geeet it!

So this morning I was finishing up mile 10 when I heard a scuttle in the leaves. I turned to find a squirrel attacking a styrofoam puffy cup. Wrestling it to the ground. The squirrel had the cup by the gut and used its legs to kick it while it was down. I couldn't help but giggle the last half mile. Geeet it!

Friday, February 02, 2007

roadside

I finished pouring through the Roadside Texas footage this morning in preparation for our conference call. It looks beautiful. Barney and Herb, our two subjects, are charming, genuine, interesting characters. I can't wait for Stacy to piece it all together. It's good stuff.

Thank god for Fridays. It's been a busy, busy week. Another one is right around the corner.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Kelly Rae in LA


For those of you in the Los Angeles area, a good friend of mine, Kelly Roberts is having an Art Show with some other ladies, February 10th. Kelly's one of the sweetest, kookiest, best dancers with a knack for coming up with catchy fake jingles. I have a feeling you'll really love her stuff. She's an angel of a human being and a wonderful artist.

The Girly Show.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
4:00 to 11:00pm
Deja Design Gallery
4823 West Pico Blvd.
[2 blocks east of La Brea]
http://www.christinemasonmiller.com/girlyshow.html