Thursday, May 31, 2007

My Ode to the Kids

I have a new crop of 8 teens, aged 13 - 17 in my teen film class. I love the diversity, the new ideas, the enthusiasm and excitement. It's all so infectious. So much that all I can think about is getting onto another set. Preferably my own. Making another damn movie. Getting something done. Regardless of the money, the name talent ... As I tell these guys over and over, don't wait for permission. Don't wait for someone to tap you with a wand and say "now you are ready to make a movie". Just fucking do it. Just fucking do it. Just fucking do it.

future of america

so i started this documentary years and years ago about a group of kids that dropped out of high school. i followed four of them around for a little while. despite them being teenagers and being kind of flaky sometimes, i really enjoyed that experience and those relationships. that was about 5 or 6 years ago. i haven't talked to any of them in about 3 years. but those interviews and their histories have really stuck with me. i still have all the tapes. i have the tape where david finally graduates from high school and his entire family shows up. he's the first in his family. i have the multiple interviews at graveyards, skate parks, long walks, at school, coffeeshops ... the footage isn't great. i don't claim to be a camera or sound person. but their stories are. i think about them a lot. where they are, what they're doing.

i couldn't sleep last night. my mind was racing a mile a minute. so finally i got up, turned on the laptop and started writing. i continued writing early this morning.

i told stacy i have to make something soon or i'm going to crawl into a hole. i'm having panic attacks about it. it's really strange. i've been writing a lot, but that's not everything i need. so yeah. that's it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hot Damn!

From TXMPA ...

Dear Supporters and Members of TXMPA,

It was a late night photo-finish-to-the-end in the Capitol, but the Appropriations Bill passed with the $22 million in funding for the film incentive grants. On Monday afternoon, May 28, 2007, the Speaker of the House and the Lt. Governor signed the bill. The last step is to have the Governor sign the bill. We do not anticipate a veto from the Governor. He has been very supportive of this initiative.

We have a program and the money!

Thank you all very much for all your efforts. Together we accomplished the nearly impossible task of creating legislation in Texas. Our grass roots organizing and the wise counsel from HillCo Partners, our lobbying firm, have produced an incentive program to keep Texans working in our industry. Please give yourselves a standing ovation.

I want to recognize the efforts of our two legislative heroes who carried our bills. Representative Dawnna Dukes and Senator Bob Deuell fought hard for this program. Please thank them profusely.

Special thanks go out to HillCo Partners for their tenacity and expertise. In particular, two gentlemen worked closely with us: Brandon Aghamalian and Lawrence Collins. These two understood the severity of our problem in Texas and also understood we had to change the situation right now. They fought for us around the clock. In addition, Snapper Carr, Buddy Jones, Bill Miller, Vilma Luna, Erica Christmas, and many others in the office provided direction, support, friendship, and lots of hand holding, when necessary.

Thanks also go to the Texas Film Commissioner Bob Hudgins and the Deputy Director Carol Pirie. Their input and data gathering greatly assisted the process. This office will administer the new program and we expect they will be busy.

State Comptroller Susan Combs (and her staff), Committee Chairman Harvey Hildebran (and his staff), Lt. Governor David Dewhurst (and his staff), and Governor Rick Perry (and his staff, especially Phil Wilson), all assisted in substantive ways.

There are many others behind the scenes who assisted. My thanks go out to all.

There is still lot of work to be done between now and the next legislative session in January, 2009. TXMPA will assist in marketing the new program and we need to monitor the results of these grants. We need to pursue an Economic Impact Study and examine other incentives to consider. We have become THE voice for the industry in Texas at the Capitol.

We will continue to keep you posted through our Web site (www.txmpa.org) and we will continue to fight for you, the members of the industry in Texas. And yes, we still need donations. Please consider making one today through our Web site (www.txmpa.org) or by mail (P.O. Box 40339, Austin, TX 78704).

Lastly, I hope to see all of you at the TXMPA Annual Membership Meeting. It will take place on Saturday, June 30, 2007 in Austin. The meeting will begin late morning. Specifics on location and time will be released this week. Please save the date.

Again, congratulations to all. Pop the champagne!

Hector Garcia
Texas Motion Picture Alliance, President

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Holiday Weekends


Waitress - Loved it. I was a huge Hal Hartley fan back in the day of Simple Men, Trust ... I discovered the quirkiness of Adrienne Shelley and fell in love with her oddball character. She brings something sweet and lovely to her characters in Waitress. It's nothing flashy or fancy, just simple, heartfelt storytelling. Keri Russell is fantastic in this film.

Bug - Didn't buy it. I like that Michael Shannon though.

Fracture - Nope. Wasn't too crazy about it. I think it's interesting that almost the entire cast with the exception of Ryan Gosling is British. Curious.

Been listening to Peter, Bjorn and John over and over and over again.

What I meant to see, but didn't get a chance ... Away From Her, The Wendell Baker Story

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Music of the Heart

For a good many years I've gone without a CD player in my car. The tape player in my old car had a mixed tape stuck in it. A good one, but after about the 100th time of listening to it, it got old. So I missed out on listening to new music in my car for a good while. Except, of course for the radio's top 40. I got to know all of JT's singles, Nelly Furtado and several others. I became friends with Mike and Jason on 101X in the mornings and more recently discovered Bobby Bones. All cheesy and wonderfully entertaining, but there's no substitute for putting in a good record and having it take your breath away. With the purchase of a new car came a sweet CD player. So now I'm catching up on all the cool records that I missed out on. In college, I worked as a deejay at the FSU radio station. I had my finger on the pulse of the latest and greatest indie rock. I was hip to what the kids were listening to. Luckily I have a husband who makes faithful trips to the record store every Tuesday. He has a library of great music. So he's been planting stacks of CDs in my car. This morning I had an old Smashing Pumpkins records, The Shins, Amy Winehouse, Arcade Fire and I snuck in some Explosions in the Sky. So in traffic I sat blaring Explosions and cried.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Graduating


I got Glen Powell Jr's graduation notice in the mail this week. And then today I got a sweet phone call from Bryan Chafin asking me to come to his graduation. Oh my god, time flies. I met Bryan when he was ten. Just a wee little tot. He came into an audition for cicadas all cute and sweet. He read from the script and I nearly fell over. This tiny little kid had so much going on. That was 7 years ago? Geez. I've watched that boy grow up. He's been in 3 of my films to date. Man, time flies. And then Mr. Powell Jr. graduating too? I had a hard time when Lindsay Broockman from cicadas went off to college. I'm feeling my age.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Productivity

It's been an amazingly productive day. Multitasking is a wonderful wonderful thing.

We have several projects on our plate. They're all in different stages. It's a lot to keep track of. But I think we're doing a good job of it.

jumping off bridges = Distribution
Roadside Texas Promo = Post Production
On Parenting = Pre Production
Brain Brawl = Development
The Spider in the Bathtub = Writing

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Film Contest for Women Over 40

My mom just sent this to me. It's a contest for women over 40 created by MORE magazine.

Atlanta, GA - Day 2

I spent last night up until 1:30am with my mom. Oh, how I needed those few hours with her. I needed her words of encouragement and reassurance. I needed her to wipe away a few tears and hold my hand. Those few hours might have been more helpful to me than the recent months I spent in therapy. It’s funny how moms are like that.

This second day at the Carter Center began with opening remarks from Mrs. Carter and the Keynote Speaker, Otto Wahl. We had a full house of mental health professionals from all over Georgia. I'd made friends last night with Mark from the Center for Disease Control. It's a small world. He was sent to the Coleville reservation in Washington where we screened last December. He didn’t realize that a month after he’d left, another crew from the CDC brought the film to the reservation. We talked at length about the experience with that Native American community. Some heartbreaking stuff. It was nice to see him again this morning and swap cards so we could keep in touch.

We screened the film again for the second audience and received an overwhelming response. The Q&A was more of a testimonial. Individual after individual lined up to the microphones to talk about their stories, their loved ones, their struggles. Needless to say there were more tears, but it was good. Again, I'm struck by the path this film has taken us down. Never would I have guessed I'd be sitting on a stage in front of Rosalynn Carter and a room full of people from the CDC, Ad Council, Georgia's Department of Public Health ... nervously talking about the symbolism of a father fixing the roof of a house.

It was nice to thank Mrs. Carter again for the opportunity and the experience that we shared in Atlanta. There’s so much more to go into and more to tell. The people that work at the Carter Center are truly amazing human beings. And the work that goes on there left me wondering if I was doing enough in my own life. I hope to get back soon. Mark and some of his coworkers who were present want to bring the film to the Center for Disease Control to screen for their employees. Hopefully that’ll work out. I’d like to get back there if possible. Just when I thought that we were wrapping things up with this film, I see a whole new world of opportunity and directions it can take. It’s a great thing, I just wish there were more time in a day to take advantage of those opportunities.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Atlanta, GA - Day 1

It's been a day. A very long day. From waking up at 5am to run through the streets of Hyde Park in Austin to sitting on the 36th floor of some crazy fancy hotel in downtown Atlanta after meeting Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter and everything in between. I'm pretty beat. My folks are down in the lobby having coffee with some of their friends who came to the screening and Leslie and her family are somewhere, not sure where actually.

Day 1 was good. We got to the Carter Center shortly after stepping off the plane and checking into our hotel. We had a nice tour of the facilities. Andy Warhol paintings to Carter memorabilia. And all of the buildings are round. A reception followed with yummy food and tiny shot glasses of chocolate mousses. Rosalynn Carter introduced the film in her sweet, thick southern accent. We had a nice response to the film. The Q&A panel was short but sweet. The usual strange screening mishaps, a sound issue here and weird glitch there. It's different everywhere we go. In the morning is the actual Mental Health Forum for folks from all over Georgia to come and watch the film and do another Q&A. And then a little bit of Storie Productions work back at the hotel and then maybe the Aquarium, Stone Mountain, the Zoo or the Coca Cola Museum. I am part of the Coca Cola dynasty and all. Kind of.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

CHALK opens in Austin at the Alamo!


If you haven't seen it yet, or even if you have, go see it again. Hilarious, sweet, full of heart ... loved it! I'll be there this weekend for my second dose of laughter. Go support Austin filmmaking at its finest.

Click here for tickets.

Paramount Summer Series


The Paramount Summer Series list went up and oh it's a good one. My hubby and me will be spending lots of hot afternoons sitting in those plush red seats.

Monday, May 14, 2007

jumping off bridges in Atlanta


A screening of the film, Jumping Off Bridges, will be held the night before the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health forum, on Thursday, May 17, 2007, at 7pm at The Carter Center Cecil B. Day Chapel. The film follows a group of adolescents and the impact a parental suicide has on their relationships. A panel discussion will accompany the film, which will be free of charge and open to the public. Please R.S.V.P for this event by calling (404) 420-3804. The film will also be screened during the Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum on May 18 at 10am.

Duck, Duck, Zombie

I'll preface by saying that I loved 28 Days Later. I'm not an obsessed zombie fan like some that I know. But I am a big fan of apocalyptic movies. Love 'em.

I really liked 28 Weeks Later. It had me from the beginning. Strangely enough, I think I shed a few tears about 2 or 3 times. Not out of fear but because I bonded with these characters. I felt their heart wrenching choices and how those choices would haunt them far more than the images of flesh eating zombies. I did have to cover my eyes for almost an entire scene. The sound clued me in on the gruesome face eating details that I didn't need haunting me in my sleep. But from the sweeping aerial shots, the gorgeous soundtrack, top notch acting and attention to detail from a look to a shadow, I'll be bold in saying it's one of my favorites so far this year.

Earlier in the day I was playing Duck, Duck, Goose with my niece and my in-laws. Just thought I'd throw that in.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

New Honda Civics



Mark and I bought a new car this morning. It's beautiful. Not since 1996 have I owned a brand new car. I could sit and take in that new car smell all day long. I love that smell. They should make incense with that new car smell.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

New Day Welcomes Us


We got our official welcome letter from New Day Films. We've joined their catalog of award winning documentaries, including Austin's own Heather Courtney and her films Los Trabajadores and Letters from the Other Side. We're psyched to be a part of this filmmaking family.

Now comes the journey of DVD preparations, glass masters, study guide creations, marketing materials, brochures, mailing lists ...

The past few times I've picked up mail from our P.O. box there have been checks waiting for us. I was telling Stacy today, I have full faith that we'll be paying back our investors and ourselves in the next year or two. It's a good feeling.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Summer Starts off Strong


Mr. Glen Powell Jr. landed himself a nice role in this new movie. It's just a matter of time for that boy.

Recent Flicks


In the Land of Women
= Love, love, loved it! I can't wait to see the other Kasden son's movie, The TV Set.

Spiderman = Hate, hate, hated it! Luckily I snuck in after In the Land of Women. Not like they needed my money.

Hot Fuzz = Those boys can do no wrong in my book.

The Number 23 = Egads! Did anyone read the script before they signed on? Yikes.

Year of the Dog = Hmmm ... I like Mike White as a writer. I really, really do. But this film just felt confused and sad to me.

Disturbia = I loved this film. A rock solid popcorn flick. An absolute guilty pleasure.

Music and Lyrics = Sweet, funny, but I forgot about it after a few minutes.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Hornswoggle Forever

It was one year ago today that we said, "I do". God, it goes by so fast. We got lots of well wishes and sweet notes from friends and family.

I spent the afternoon with my kids at the Odyssey School. We have good days and bad days together. This was a good one. They had me laughing so hard, I thought I might throw up. We put together a silly little comedy, written by, directed by, edited by and starring all of them. I wish I could be there the night they screen it for their parents and friends.

Mark got tricked into a night of script revisions. He read SITB last night. So after our anniversary pizza we hung out at Jo's for a few hours, working on the latest draft. Little did I know, I have a kick ass cowriter under my roof. What a perfect collaborator. He had me busting a gut with his ideas and witty dialogue. My boy's so friggin' funny.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Fancy Hotels Rule!

I love fancy schmancy hotels. Spent the day swimming laps in the pool, working out on a treadmill with it's on private TV, watching Traffic in between shopping and a facial. Cause it's a crazy, long movie. About to head out for dinner with my boy and his cute new hair cut that he got this morning. I wish we could stay longer.

Woke up this morning to Mark snoring at 5am. Got up and read my students' scripts. Lots of comedies this time around. Funny, funny stuff.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Heading out for an anniversary weekend.



And so it was about this time last year that Mark and I were in preparations for the May 7th wedding. Families were coming into town. Friends were arriving on our doorstep. Last minute edits were being made to our cinematic vows. It's nuts to think it's been a whole year. But a pretty wonderful one at that. I love my boy like mad.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

My People


After such a lovely dinner with Erica, Karl and Anne, ll I know is, I love the Austin School of Film people. I love them, love them, love them. They're my people.

New Classes

Tuesday night started my new Script to Screen class. I was hyper and probably talking a million miles a minute about all kinds of stuff. I always worry I'm cramming too much information at them. Ah well. I get excited and want to tell them everything, forgetting that many of them are starting from scratch.

I've almost filled up my teen class. I have three spots left. Ages ranging from 13 - 16 so far.

We shall see what all of these guys come up with this round. So far, I've been reading their scripts. Lots of comedies.

In the moment

A few months ago, I was back in therapy. Sifting through emotions, sadness and my own neurosis. Something that my therapist and I unfolded was maybe why I write so much about adolescence. Why do I tell people that after college, life got a little dull. It's simple and stupid and stares me straight in the face. The whole living in the moment bit. I savored every second growing up. Basically until the time I started making movies. Then I savored the past and forgot about the present. Almost everything I've written is about childhood or being a teenager. I've become a little more compelled to write about my 30s. I'm anxious to start a family now and so I write about families and being on the other side of children. Oh my. It's always a struggle. To live in the moment. To widen my eyes beyond my computer screen.