Sunday, September 30, 2007

Elizabeth Avellan in the NY Times

I love this woman. I can't say enough wonderful things about her. She truly is an inspiration.


I have a list that I make my students write down at the beginning of every semester. There are about 10 items on that list. 3) Be nice to everyone 4) Love and appreciate your cast and crew 5) Thank your people.

This is a THANK YOU beyond all thanks yous to every single person who made jumping off bridges. You all know who you are. Our gratitude and thankfulness goes beyond words.

Adelante FIlm Forum

We had a nice screening of jumping off bridges tonight in San Antonio. Mark and I are up late watching Raising Arizona. Tomorrow I've got a workshop on low budget filmmaking to do and then back to Austin for a full week of preproduction, classes and work, work, work.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Fuck Off Fridays

I'm sitting at Quack's plotting out my shots for The Worker. Type type typing away. Smiling through my moments of genius and frowning with frustration of figuring out a certain angle or movement. But I'm having a blast. My list is long and ambitious but I'm loving seeing it all in the old noggin. I'm using Sam Lowry as inspiration.

Ray emailed this morning and said "This is a fuck off Friday". I thought about it for a second. I'm taking it to the next level. I'm not necessarily fucking off this Friday, I'm making something about fucking off on Fridays ... and Mondays and Tuesdays and work days in general. And day jobs in general. And things that you don't enjoy. So yeah. I guess this is my fuck off Friday.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Striking Gold

Mark and I hit it big tonight. We ducked in to a fairly large, fairly well stocked video store to see if they had the new season of The Hills on DVD. I won't even bother to defend that. So anyways, we walk in to a massive going out of business sale. Everything has to go. And it just happens to be the first day of the big blow out. We walked up and down the aisles, gathered huge stacks in our arms. Criterion Collections, Double Discs, Out of Prints ... I started with a stack of 12 and then put back things like Ginger Snaps and instead took away George Washington, Our Song, Last Days, Gerry, Academy Shorts and Nobody Knows. I defended my purchases "for use in the classroom". Wasn't sure how to defend Ginger Snaps besides the fact that it's such a friggin' awesome movie.

Now as I sit here and write this, Mark is pulling the video store stickers off of his DVDs and wiping the boxes down with Goo Gone. He's VERY proud of his new copies of Happy Together, Strangers on a Train and Nostalghia.

Our dilemma coming home was, "Do we tell our friends?" Or do we wait a few days to see if we can go back and get that hefty foreign section that no one seems to have touched yet? But Mr. Hadley, Mr. Hrasky and Mr. Volk will flip if we don't. So yes, the email has been sent. The secret information has been forwarded. Over and out.

Actors Needed for Our Advance Film Class Projects

Seeking Actors for 3 Independent Shorts

Where: Austin School of Film, 906 East 5th Street, Suite 106
When: October 4, 6 to 10 p.m.

Auditions will consist of cold reads from the scripts.
All films are scheduled to shoot late October through mid-November.

Far-fetched Promises by Christy Moore
Story: A romantic comedy. On their wedding night, Sally and Leo are distracted from their own romantic goals by a mystery.
Seeking: Women and Men 40s

Bag Boys by Mitch Collier
Story: Jake has had it with the bossy old guy who bags groceries with him at the market, but on his way to the manager's office to quit, Jake has a change of heart.
Seeking: Men (teens - 60), Women (teens - 40s)

Small Bites by Eric Sparks
Story: Small windows into the lives of patrons and staff at a trendy
restaurant on a busy night.
Seeking: Women and Men 20s - 40s

Oxnard Independent Film Festival

If you find yourself in Oxnard, CA tomorrow night, check out our screening of jumping off bridges at the Oxnard Independent Film Festival.

Friday, September 28, 9:15 PM @ Plaza Cinemas 14, 255 West 5th Street, Downtown Oxnard

JOB DVD Release Party

You won't want to miss it! Free beer! Cool film people! DVDs at a discounted rate!
Sunday, October 7th, 6pm - 9pm, Club Deville

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

NYC, Please

I have a week long birthday trip planned to NYC. I want to be there now. Right now. I thought, I'd set up business meetings, get some work done. Nope. Probably not. I don't want to. I don't want to do business anymore. I want a week to hang out with my girls. Sit in dark movie theaters. Run through Central Park. Hang out by myself wandering the streets. I need that time. I am a ball of stress as Meredith put it. I need to escape. I wish my boy could come with me. I miss him a lot.

P.S. I said "no" today to another after school program. When it comes to the kids, those are the hardest and most painful "no"s.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Weaving Worlds at the Mexican American Cultural Arts Center

Check out Bennie Klain's Weaving Worlds next week, Saturday the 28th at 1pm at the Mexican American Cultural Arts Center. I caught a screening this afternoon and loved it. It's an intimate, delicate glimpse into the lives and struggles of Navajo Rug Weavers.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Best of the Best

So Stacy and I held auditions yesterday and today for our new short The Worker. It's about a woman content and happy in her day job. But when she discovers there's more to life just outside her window, she decides to crawl out of it. Our dilemma. We were sent the best of the best actresses in town by friends and colleagues. I'm sitting here watching the tapes, thinking "Oh yeah, she totally nailed that. But wait a second, that one really gets it too. Oh but hold on a minute that one took it somewhere I wasn't expecting at that moment". I'm stuck with the job of picking my worker. They all bring something wonderful and special to the role and I can't decide. Grrrr. It would've been a hell of a lot easier if some of them were bad, but oh no. They all had to be pretty damn wonderful. Grrrrrr.

The About a Son Soundtrack Challenge

I was tagged by David.

from David ....
"AJ Schnack's Kurt Cobain About A Son is gearing up for its October 3rd release, and the official soundtrack - a bit of musical impressionism, as every bit as indicative of Cobain himself as the visuals that make up the film - has just been released on Barsuk Records. AJ was recently prompted to come up with his own sonic autobiography, and then proceeded to invite me and a handful of other film bloggers to take up the challenge, the rules of which are as follows."

1.) It must reflect music from each part of your life, including childhood, awkward pre-teen years, all the way up to your current existence.
2.) It should be music that is not just your favorite songs, but also things that make sense thematically.
3.) It cannot be your own music.
4.) Challenge at least 2 other bloggers to do the same.

Elementary School - LPs
Flash Dance Soundtrack
Fame Soundtrack
Hairbrush in hand, these are the albums that I would lipsync to for hours in my mom’s bedroom in front of her full-length mirror. I had to be especially careful not to dance around too much because I’d make the record skip.

Junior High - Tapes/Cassettes
Les Miserables - Soundtrack
Led Zeppelin – II
The Police – Synchronicity
Sting – Dream of the Blue Turtles
REM – Green
Madonna - Like a Virgin
I was a theater diva. I had a ton of musicals. Les Mis was the one that sat in my tape deck for days at a time.

I was also heavily influenced by what my older brother was listening to. I remember when he came home from an REM concert on the Green tour. I stole his concert T-shirt and wore it proudly.

High School - CDs
Pearl Jam – 10
Janes Addiction - Nothing Shocking
Madonna - Like a Prayer
10,000 Maniacs - In My Tribe
Chris Tilley would send me the lyrics to Black in a copy of Moby Dick that we passed in the hallways. He’d write lyrics and poetry in the edges of the book.

College - CDs
I should preface this with the fact that I was a deejay at the local radio station. This is where I became an indie rock nerd. So here's a long list of bands I discovered and fell in love with.

Stereolab, Versus, Helium, The Breeders, The Blake Babies, The Magnetic Fields and every Stephen Merritt side project, Every 10,000 Maniacs Album, The Throwing Muses, Guided By Voices, The Grifters, Cat Power

I still danced and lip-synced in our little livingroom at 1649 Mayhew Street. Ama, Karen and I even pretended to have a dance club in our kitchen. We took turns flicking the lightswitch on and off, on and off. We even chased each other around the house blaring the Beastie Boy’s Sabotage.

Post College - CDs / iTunes
Ride, The Smiths, Nick Drake, Explosions in the Sky, Eric’s Trip (Love Tara), Bruce Springsteen (Nebraska), Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The New Pornographers, Destroyer, The Arcade Fire, PJ Harvey (saved me after a bad break up)
My group of friends became obsessed with The Perks of Being a Wallflower, hence the Ride, Smiths ... Luckily, my husband is a total music nerd. If it weren't for him, I'd be listening to a whole lot of nothing.

My tags go out to Ama and Karen.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kat the Hermit

There's never enough time. Ever. I'm anxiety ridden, repeated panic attacks. I get like this every few months. I know I take on too much. I know this. I know that I have a hard time saying no. But it's gotten to the point that I'm trying to find time to do stupid small stuff. I'm getting asked to do a lot lately. Maybe more than I ever have. Small stuff ... "Can you give me advice on publicity? Can you help my students with a short film? Can we have coffee and talk about production companies? Can you read a script? Can you watch a short film?" Small things. Sometimes big things. So I apologize to anyone I'll have to start saying no to. It sucks. I wish there was more time in the world. I wish I could function on 4 hours of sleep a night. But for my own sanity and to decrease the number of times my heart beats a minute, I might have to go into hiding for a bit. Stop returning the emails, phone calls. Be a hermit.

jumping off bridges DVD Release Party

We're releasing jumping off bridges on DVD!!! You have no idea how excited, relieved, worn out and beside ourselves we are about this.

All the fun details:

Sunday, October 6th
6pm - 9pm
Club Deville
Austin, TX

Free Lone Star Beer
Free Food
Lots of DVDs for sale.
Cast and crew in attendance.
Come hang out and celebrate with us. We need a lot of hugs and "You did it!"s.

Monday, September 17, 2007

My Strengths

Adrienne, just tagged a few of us.

"Make a list of five strengths that you possess as a writer/artist. It’s not really bragging, it’s an honest assessment (forced upon you by this darn meme). Please resist the urge to enumerate your weaknesses, or even mention them in contrast to each strong point you list. Tag four other writers or artists whom you’d like to see share their strengths."

1. I have a strength in everything teen. I was just telling Mark the other day that I would love to be the next John Hughes. It was mentioned in a review. I forget which one. And it was super flattering, but not true. Yet. If I could create a body of work that rivaled Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Some Kind of Wonderful and Ferris Bueller's Day Off , I'd die a happy girl.

2. I love dialogue. I love the way people talk. I think I do a decent job capturing conversation.

3. I love my characters. I love them so much I want to hang out with them. They make me laugh. They break my heart. They're ridiculous. They're human. But I think they all have a huge heart.

4. I listen. I'm good at listening to feedback, ideas, criticism. I haven't always been this way. I used to be terrified of anyone else's opinions. It's hard to realize that you're not always right. And that sometimes you make stupid choices. But I think I do a good job now of knowing when I need help and asking for it.

5. I'm a workaholic. I'm a freak about writing, making, planning, doing. When I moved to town long ago I met a lot of talkers. You know, the people who are always thinking about this or wanting to do that, but never do? I will never ever be a talker. Ever. I say I'm going to do something, I do it. I might fail. I might make something I'm not proud of. But I learn from it, I get up and I move on. I keep making. I keep writing. I keep doing.

People I tag: David L., Meredith, Sean, Ama, Kelly R.

The Wheels on Stephen Merritt's Bus Go Round and Round

Did I just hear Stephen Merritt singing "The Wheel's on the Bus" for a Volvo commercial? Just checking.

Friends and Films

The best kind of films are the ones you make with friends. We had our first art department meeting tonight for our short film The Worker. It's a story probably 99% of us can relate to. The day job. I recruited a bunch of friends (some who've never worked on a film before) to make a movie with me. I don't care about getting into Sundance or being brilliant, I just want to play around, have fun, try new things and did I mention have fun? Yeah.

A Lion in the House

Congratulations to New Day Films co-founder Julia Reichert for her Emmy win for A Lion in the House!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Perfect Day

Last night after a long day, I came home, put on my PJs and crawled into bed. I laid there while Mark did the dishes in the kitchen. He was listening to the radio and "Summertime Rolls" came on. At first I smiled, remembering. But then I pulled the covers over my face and quietly cried. I couldn't help it. I spent some time today remembering that high school morning that will forever be attached to that song. What was once a memory that I would replay over and over in my head and smile has become one that sends me into a fit of depression.

In Afterlife, you get to choose one memory to take with you into the afterlife. They film it and give you the video reenactment. That was my perfect day. To quote The Perks of Being a Wallflower it was a day of "feeling infinite". What's strange is that I want to film that day. I want to have it so I can watch it and relive it outside of my head. I want to hold it. Maybe it's more than just that day. I don't know.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mid-September Updates

This week is kicking my butt. First week back at school. JOB DVD inches away from getting out the door. Overcommitted myself to speak to several high schools. Trying to get in gear for the short we'll shoot next month. And hang out with the boy. Whew.

The one thing that's kept me solid and focused over the last few years has been slipping. I went from running 5 days a week to running about 3 to 4. And busy weeks like this, sometimes only 2. But I'm happy that the weather has turned slightly and we're heading into fall. Yesterday I went to work super early and the cool air sent that "I gotta put my running shoes on" feeling up my spine. I'm anxious to not have to wake up at 5am to pour through subtitles so I can get back to feet pounding the pavement. I need it. Badly.

In other news ...

JOB DVD - Very close. Subtitles almost done. I know Stacy's learned a ton cause she's the one doing them, but I've learned so much by just proofing them. What gets italicized, what gets in parentheticals, what gets put on two lines, one ... Also building the chapters, the few extras, pages, fonts, sizes ...

CLASSES - The new Script to Screen class is packed to the gills with an eager, hungry group of first timers and a few who've been around the block a little. They're all wide eyed and full of questions. Our first class went over almost 45 minutes. The Advanced class is a hodgepodge of former Script to Screeners and Teens. What will be most interesting, I think, is the collaboration between the older and the younger. So far the interactions and comments have brought side splinting laughter as we read through and workshop the scripts. We're gonna have to keep them in line for sure if we're gonna get anything done. But with that said, it's gonna be a hell of a fun time. I head to my first day of the Ann Richards Film Club today. I have 20 girls. I was supposed to have 12. Yikes.

FOA - Finished a decent version of the first act. Heading into the beginnings of the second act. We have some guest speakers coming in this week to talk about their experiences teaching at American Youthworks.

THE WORKER - This is the short film we'll shoot in October. We hold auditions next week. I've crewed up for the most part and need to dive in to storyboarding and figuring out my shots. I need to set aside a good several hours to pour through it all. I just haven't had a chance to block off that kind of time just yet. This weekend. Hopefully.

MISC - The Heroes in the Fight Awards Ceremony was pretty wonderful. Like Stacy mentioned in her blog, it's beyond words to say what an honor it's been to work with and be embraced by this community.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Beth Sepko Wins an Emmy!

A massive congratulations to Austin's own Beth Sepko for winning an Emmy for her casting on Friday Night Lights!

Now we're hoping that Michael Emerson takes home a statuette too!

Their accomplishments ...

My past students' accomplishments are adding up as my new classes begin.

Moon Dance Film Festival
Kid's Short Film Finalist, Trick or Treat (Mitch Collier)

Angelus Student Film Festival
Live Action Semi-Finalist, Piggyback (Greg Omelchuck)

Rome International Film Festival
Official Selection, Piggyback (Greg Omelchuck)

Chicago Film Festival
Official Selection, Untitled, (Lorelei Linklater)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ben Foster

This guy will win an Oscar soon. You can quote me on that. I give him a few years but it's coming.

I remember long ago seeing him in Liberty Heights. Just an awkward lanky kid. Nothing too exciting. Flashforward. Alphadog. I wasn't too crazy about the film, but my god Ben Foster kicked ass. He was all over the place. Over the weekend I went to see 3:10 to Yuma. Again, wasn't too keen on the film, but Mr. Foster, you're a stand out. I'm keepin' my eye on you.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The New Crop of Teens

My new teen class is awesome. From the stop motion claymation kid to my Tarantino obsessed Theater student. It's gonna be a fun semester

Blindness - The Movie

I love this book. Of course they made it into a movie. Please don't let it suck. Please don't let it suck.

In Toronto tonight, Miramax Films may be celebrating this evening's TIFF debut of The Coen Brothers' "No Country For Old Men," but company president Daniel Battsek can also toast his pre-buy of U.S. rights to filmmaker Fernando Meirelles' "Blindess." The film has been shooting locally ahead of the production moving to Meirelles' native Brazil and was adapted from Jose Saramago's acclaimed novel. The in-production project was described by Miramax tonight as follows: "When a sudden plague of blindness devastates a city, a small group of the afflicted band together to triumphantly overcome the horrific conditions of their imposed quarantine." Written by celebrated Canadian writer, actor and director Don McKellar (a recent Tony Award winner for "The Drowsy Chaperone), "Blindness" stars Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Alice Braga, Danny Glover and Gael Garcia Bernal. The movie is produced by Niv Fichman, Andrea Barata Ribeiro, and Sonoko Sakai and executive produced by Gail Egan and Simon Channing-Williams. Miramax's EVP Michael Luisi negotiated the deal with Fichman and Sakai, as well as Steve Saltzman of Loeb and Loeb representing the film.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Dancing Queens

I've been sifting through JOB photos for our DVD release. I stumbled upon a series of photos from an early morning after an all night shoot. We were drunk on no sleep. Stacy, Tracy and I made up a series of dances to entertain the crew. It reminds me of my days in high school when Clare, Karen, Cheri and I made up an entire dance to Lucky Star. Or was it Borderline? Sadly, I think we were Seniors.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

And then I write ...

I'm working with my FOA teens on our script. We put together the character sketches, a few scenes, conflicts, flaws ... And then I go home and write. I've spit out about 25 pages. Tonight we meet up and flesh out more of the story and create more character layers. Our deadline is to have a first draft by October 1st. We can totally do it. They're super smart, committed and passionate. Working with them has been really smooth. I can't brag about them enough.


I just got word that my brother, Robert and his wife are expecting their fourth child.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Living at Flight Path

Spent most of the day, minus a 2-hour meeting at Arts and Labor working at Flight Path. Living off of trail mix and Diet Cokes. I tend to run into a lot of friendly faces here ... Kate Stryker, Mike Dolan, Ryan, Lee, Bryan Hadly ... and I see a lot of the "usuals". I've been busy getting ready for classes which start up this Saturday. Wow.

Jillian and I spent some time yesterday at the Ann Richards School for their After School Program Recruitment Day. I got to see Sophia, Candice and Persis from the Summer Film Camp for Girls. They got all excited because I was screening their films at my booth. It was pretty cute. I'm hoping a few of them sign up for the Film Club.

Gotta go home and sleep now.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Distribution Myths

There's a big myth that once you get distribution, you get money. Not necessarily true. Sometimes you have to pay more money to get distributed. Like in our case and the case of some other friends that I know who have even gone on to theatrical releases.

People think that you get an advance. Some filmmakers do. But it's rare. Very rare. Very, very rare. So just because we got a distribution deal doesn't mean we're raking in the dough. It means we're shelling out more money to put our film out there. And once we do start making money, we have A LOT of bills to pay. Investors to pay back.

Can we profit? I hope so. But there's a long road ahead of us in order to do so.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Heroes in the Fight Award

jumping off bridges will be the recipient of a Heroes in the Fight Award at a luncheon on the 12th.

Mental Health America of Texas along with Partner Organizations Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Texas; NAMI Texas; National Association of Social Workers, Texas Chapter; Texas Council of Community MHMR Centers, Inc.; Texas Counseling Association; Texas Mental Health Consumers and Texas Psychological Association recognizes individuals who provide exemplary care and dedication to those affected by severe and persistent mental illness.

South Padre Island

Every Labor Day weekend I head to South Padre Island with Mark and his family. The highlights include, swimming, eating Bugels with squirt cheese, watching wonderfully cheesy television, playing board games, eating fried seafood, fireworks, and long walks on the beach. So far it's been a nice balance to the last two weeks of stress fest.

TFPF Winners Announced

Congrats to all of our friends who got TFPF grants this year!