Thursday, July 31, 2008

Skin and Bones - Larry Fessenden

I discovered Larry Fessenden when I first moved to Austin in 1997. Sturge and I went to see Habit, a vampire love story. For an independent horror film, I was pretty darn impressed. I don't love his films, but I'm always intrigued by them. So it's nice to see his Fear Itself episode Skin and Bones on NBC tonight. Written by Drew McWeeny of Ain't It Cool News fame, it's a pretty gross and gruesome story. And Doug Jones, (who Mark says seems super duper nice in real life) plays one of the creepiest characters I've seen in a long time. This episode had me crawling out of my skin. Ick.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Keeping Intern Adam

I get to keep Intern Adam! I'm so excited. We're sticking together in the fall. He's been awesome this summer and I'm psyched to have him around for a little bit longer. If I could keep him forever, I would. He's rad.

I MIGHT take on another intern. We shall see.

Red Sonja - The Posters


Red Sonja - Old School


Red Sonja - The Redux

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sigur Ros - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

The new Sigur Ros album is so good it hurts.

BAD ASS!

Just at the tail end of the last short film, a new one begins.

We've almost locked the script at 11 pages long. A page or two longer than I really wanted, but it should go super fast once it's all spliced together. That's the plan anyways.

And now the real madness starts.

We have our post-production crew in place. There's a possibility of doing some green screen work. A new one for me (with a big grin on my face).

We're assembling the folks who are crazy enough to work with us. For free. If only we had gobs of money to throw at this, but alas ... we don't. So it's a hodge podge of friends bringing their talents and their kick assness to the project.

I rented a stack of DVDs last night to start my camera research. Shots, movement, bad ass angles ... I want the film to scream BAD ASS (but sweetly).

Silver Jew - The Documentary


From Pitchfork ...

Filmmaker Michael Tully spent a good chunk of his 2006 following perennially brilliant country rockers Silver Jews around the world as the notoriously performance-indifferent troupe embarked on its first ever tour. The result is Silver Jew, the documentary that premiered at SXSW 2007 and has been making the festival rounds ever since.

The film will make its long-awaited arrival on DVD September 23 thanks to Drag City. Bonus features include a trailer for the film, an annotated slideshow, and videos for Tanglewood Numbers' "I'm Getting Back Into Getting Back Into You" and "Let's Not and Say We Did" from 2001's Bright Flight.

Earthquakes


It's kind of scary when you're chatting on line with a friend from California and in the middle of his email he writes ...

Whoa -- we just had an earthquake. Everything's fine.

This is the main reason Mark is terrified of California. Rightfully so.


Strong Earthquake Jolts Southern Californians

Monday, July 28, 2008

Quarter to Noon - One Last Shot

We spent the morning with about 12 kids, 6 parents, a 30-foot dolly, 4 friends and one last shot. Will it work? Please god, I hope so.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rush on The Colbert Report

So my brother was giddy to send me this clip of Rush on Colbert. You have to understand, my brother might very well be the biggest Rush fan ever. Well, him and his best friend Thomas who have worshipped the ground that Geddy Lee, Alex Lifesona nd Neil Peart have walked on since junior high. They've gone to countless concerts, have all the T-shirts, all the records, all the bootleg records. My brother idolized Neil Peart growing up. I listened to his constant drum banging through my bedroom wall for years.

I used to hate Rush. Passionately. Only because I was inundated with their music from an early age. Kind of like seafood. I grew up on seafood and now my stomach turns at the sight of it. But Rush ... well, after college and moving away from my family and my brother, they kind of grew on me. I really, truly think they're a great band, but more importantly every time I hear Geddy Lee's voice I think of my brother. And that means a lot to me.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Top Teen Angst Films

I was tagged by Tractor Facts who was tagged by Lazy Eye Theatre on the following, fun assignment. Program a weeks worth of films at a local theater in your town.

Here are the rules:
---
1) Choose 12 Films to be featured. They could be random selections or part of a greater theme. Whatever you want.
2) Explain why you chose the films.
3) Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre so I can have hundreds of links and I can take those links and spread them all out on the bed and then roll around in them.
4) The people selected then have to turn around and select 5 more people.

*************
So my theme would be "Teen Angst". And I choose this theme because ... well, because that's what I love most in the world. I live, breathe and sleep teen angst (at the age of 33). So there you go. Here's my line-up ...


Monday - Tuesday

Who writes teen angst better than John Hughes? Like, seriously.
Pretty in Pink (1986), Howard Deutch

Sixteen Candles (1984), John Hughes




Wednesday - Thursday

When it comes to girls fitting in, hitting puberty and the transformation into womanhood, what better way than through horror films.
Carrie (1976), Brian DePalma
Ginger Snaps (2000), John Fawcett


Friday - Saturday

This is a selfish night of programming. River Phoenix was my teen idol crush. Enough said. Just be lucky I didn't choose A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon.
Stand By Me (1986), Rob Reiner
My Own Private Idaho (1991) Gus Van Sant



Sunday - Monday

Hard edged teens with more than first kisses and what to wear to prom on their minds.

Over the Edge (1979) Jonothan Kaplan

Streetwise (1984), Martin Bell


Tuesday - Wednesday

Classic, classic, classic. Teens in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and today all go through the same damn thing. And it hurts just as bad now as it did back then.
The Last Picture Show (1971), Peter Bogdanovich
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) Nicholas Ray



Thursday - Friday
Dialogue we wish we were witty enough to say in high school.
Ghost World (2001) Terry Zwigoff

"It's not like I'm some modern punk, dickhead. It's an obvious, 1977 original punk rock look. I guess Johnny fuckface over there's too stupid to realize it."

Heathers (1989) Michael Lehmann
"I brought you to a Remington party and what's my thanks? It's on a hallway carpet. I got paid in puke."


Saturday - Sunday

If only in real life we danced when we felt angst ridden. The world might be a safer place.
Footloose (1984), Herbert Ross

Step Up 2 the Streets (2008), Jon Chu

Close Runner Ups:
Say Anything
Lucas
The Breakfast Club
Pump Up the Volume
Some Kind of Wonderful
Clueless
Can't Hardly Wait
Brick
She's the Man
Dead Poet's Society

So yeah, I tag Mr. Lowery, Mr. Tully, Mr. O'Connell, Mr. Hadley, and Mr. Dentler




Friday, July 25, 2008

2008 Fall Script to Screen Class - Registration Open

FALL 2008 SCRIPT TO SCREEN
Time: Tuesdays, 6:30pm-9pm
Dates: 9/16 - 12/16 (13 Weeks)
Tuition: $600
Location: Arts and Labor Productions, 6601 Burnet Road, #400, Austin, TX
To Register: Contact Kat Candler at katcandler@gmail.com, 512.771.5863 or go to http://www.candlerproductions.com/

SCRIPT TO SCREEN CLASS DESCRIPTION:
Learn from Austin indie filmmaker, Kat Candler (cicadas, Roberta Wells, jumping off bridges) how to make a short film from writing the characters to submitting it to festivals. This lecture based and hands-on course will take you through the process of making a short film from script to screen. Learn everything you need to know from screenwriting, shooting, scheduling, marketing, sound, directing, festivals. The class will be broken into small filmmaking teams. Each team will produce a short film using digital video technology. The course will feature guest speakers from the Austin Film Community on cameras, lighting and other elements of filmmaking. Students need to have access to a digital video camera. You will need to provide your own tapes and cover any expenses incurred by the short film.

To learn more about Kat Candler visit http://www.candlerproductions.com/ or www.jumpingoffbridges.com.

"I walked into Kat's 'Script to Screen' class with a story idea, knowing I wanted to make a short film, but not knowing how to get it off the ground. I walked out of Kat's class with a finished short film that I'm now submitting to film festivals and with my next project in the planning stages. Best money I ever spent!
--Valerie Asensio, TexasFilmInteractive.com

"Kat's passion to share her skill and insight as a filmmaker is obvious from Day One. And as advertised, she was able to provide a gentle, supportive hand on the voyage from Script to Screen. She took this bohemian hodge-podge of different age groups and backgrounds and turned them all into filmmakers (poof!). I left the class with a lot of new info and a completed film, which I expected. But I also got something I did not anticipate going in, perhaps even more rewarding and valuable: new allies and mentors and collaborators to take forward onto the next project."
--Ray Seggern, 101X and The Wizards of Ads Group

Yen Tan's Ciao Gets Picked Up

I heard the news a few days ago but was waiting for it to go public. I'm so excited for Yen, I can't stand it. The film will be in Austin, September 6th at 2:30pm with the Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

North American rights to "Ciao" by Yen Tan have been acquired by here! Films for a planned autumn theatrical release through sister entity, Regent Releasing, the company announced Thursday. The film, which won the jury prize for best feature at the Philadelphia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, is described as an "emotionally astute film about the incidental friendship between two strangers living in two different parts of the world. Their connection is linked by the unexpected loss of a mutual friend. One has been with him for many years and the other has never even met him, but may have gotten to know him on a more intimate level through the e-mails exchanged." here! Films' Quinn Coleman negotiated the deal with Jim McMahon from Unauthorized Films. [Brian Brooks]

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Goliath on IFC

I'm a huge fan of the Zellner Brothers. Not because they're fun loving, sweet boys who like to throw crazy ass parties on New Year's Eve, but because they're the most prolific, unique and talented voices coming out of Austin.

I'm pretty sure I've seen everything they've done. And it's a lot. I mean a whole lot. But I will say that Goliath brings the normal Zellner Brother quirks and oddball sensibilities that I've grown to know and love and layers it thick with emotion, pathos and heart. And that's what makes this film so special. It marks a graduation for these boys. It took me a while to sit with the film. And I think that's a good thing. Now looking back on it, it's probably up there with one of my favorites to come out of this town.

Not to mention it's one of, if not the best trailer of the year.



With all of that said, if you have cable, you can find the film now on your Movies on Demand Channel. Highly recommended.

Baghead Opens NYC and LA Friday

Grab your friends, grab your loved ones. Go support the very talented Duplass Boys and their amazingly talented cast and crew.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fruit Labels and Old Friends

This is why it's fun to reconnect with old friends from high school. Because they're doing crazy, cool stuff.

The Order of Myths Opens NYC

THE ORDER OF MYTHS is opening in New York this weekend at the IFC Center (323 Sixth Avenue, www.ifccenter.com). Go see and support this great film. One of the best things I saw at SXSW this year.
Margaret Brown will be around to do a Q & A on Friday night at the 8.05pm and 10pm screenings. At those two screenings she'll have three of the main characters - Stefannie Lucas, Joseph Roberson, and Brittain Youngblood - doing the Q and As. She'll also be doing Q & As at the Saturday and Sunday night screenings at 6pm and 8.05.
"The documentary that left the strongest impression [from Sundance]....as big and richly complex as the United States itself." Mahnola Dargis, The New York Times

"Now comes the latest winner, Margaret Brown's penetrating The Order of Myths. Brown explores a potentially enraging subject - rigidly upheld racial segregation in the country's oldest Mardi Gras celebration, in Mobile, Alabama-but her touch is so unforced and her gaze so open that no one is bruised." David Edelstein, New York Magazine

UT = Check

UT ID = Check
Office Key = Check
Getting completely lost on the UT campus for half an hour = Check

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

She & Him - Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?

UT Orientation

I spent most of the day at UT getting acclimated to the school, my office, my classroom, equipment, administration, other faculty ... I was a little exhausted after leaving though. I feel a bit behind even though I know I'm really not. My syllabus is halfway finished, my calendar and exercises are getting there. Sigh. I was happy to see my class roster and see that the class is pretty evenly divided between boys and girls. Yay!

So yeah. It's going to be a busy fall. With a new short, writing a new script, teaching a bunch of classes, Fantastic Fest, holidays ... whew. I'm already wiped just thinking about it. But it's all "good busy" not "bad busy". I like "good busy".

Cinetic Funds Films

I like this bit of news about finishing funds and Cinetic Media. Before we know it, Cinetic will be an agency, studio, empire ... basically taking over the world.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I Love You Zen, Cause You Love Lou Barlow!

You play Lou Barlow on the muzak. Where else does that happen?

And then what's funny is that in looking for a cool image of Lou Barlow, an image of Munaf in his rock n roll stance comes up.

That's not Lou Barlow. This is Lou Barlow. Not as cool of a rock n roll stance as Munaf, but so friggin' cool just the same.

She and Him

My new favorite record. Who knew Zooey Deschanel could sing?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Last Shot - Quarter to Noon

This week we'll shoot the last shot for Quarter to Noon. We're borrowing a 30 foot dolly, grabbing some friends' kiddos and shooting a shot that should be relatively easy. I say that now, of course. But once we have this, hopefully the ending of the film will pop the way it was meant to. This is the last shot in the film that requires a bunch of weirdo special FX. My special FX boys are telling me it's all good, so I'm crossing all of my fingers and my toes.

In other news, Mark and I will wrap the big move tomorrow. Please God. Little PC Bean (my cat) is so very, very confused why all the furniture is gone.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Retelling - The Blog

From The Retelling Blog, it sounds like the shoot is going well. The usual ups and downs of any movie shoot. I got to visit the set on Day 2 and give my "you can do it!" cheers. These kids are so awesome. It made me wish I was shooting too. Soon, Kat, soon.

cicadas Tonight on PBS in NY


cicadas
Screening on PBS in New York
Saturday, 7/19, 11:55pm
Sunday, 7/20, 4:25am
Wednesday, 7/23, 12:30am
WNET, Reel 13
Available at B-Side

Astros vs. Cubs

The Osborn family and Kat piled into the SUV and headed down to Minute Maid Park tonight. The Astros, ranked the worst team in the league right now, went up against The Cubs, ranked the best team in the league. Kind of a boring game up until the 7th inning. The fans got up, we stretched and then it got downright interesting. It was tied. One to one. Fear set in that we'd be sticking around for more than nine innings. I heard rumors of 18 innings in another recent game. Yikes. And then at the bottom of the ninth inning, the Astros took the game with a hit that brought them home. 2 - 1. Booyah! I'm not a sports fan by any stretch, but tonight I was flying out of my seat cheering and throwing my arms in the air. I think I might have been a good luck charm. ;)

Kurt Vonnegut on Writing

I found this list on a friend's blog. It's Kurt Vonnegut on writing. I love it.
  1. Find a subject you care about
  2. Do not ramble, though
  3. Keep it simple
  4. Have guts to cut
  5. Sound like yourself
  6. Say what you mean
  7. Pity the readers

Friday, July 18, 2008

Where the Hell is Matt?


Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

So in a little bit of a fragile state this morning, after watching this, I'm wiping the tears off my desk. Thanks to Matt for posting this.

Freaking Out and Wet Hot American Summer

I'm a freak. I have issues. Hopefully I'm not alone on this one. Last night I couldn't sleep because my head was swirling. It's kind of like your brain's on a scary rollercoaster. You can't get off and you really, really want the conductor to press the "stop" button, but he can't for whatever reason. And nothing helps the craziness going on in your head except just calming yourself down. It usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour for me to just chill out. It's my tick ... my quirk ... my weirdness that makes me, me, I guess.

I get like this when something big's going on. Usually it's about a film, but last night it was about a move. We're 3/4 of the way moved in to the new place. We get a U-Haul and finish up on Monday after a weekend with the parental units. I can't stop moving things. Anything. A lamp, drawers, CDs, food in the fridge ... It's my thing. I can't stop until it's finished. I can't leave things half done. It makes me batty. Mark had to get out of the house just to get away from it all. After unsuccessfully trying to sleep I had to put in Wet Hot American Summer. Intern Adam lent it to me and made me promise to watch it. Lo and behold, it worked. Fifty minutes in to the movie, I was passed out. Not because it was a bad movie. On the contrary, I was totally digging it. But it calmed me down a lot, made me laugh and forget about the chaos going on in my head.

So note to self. When you freak out, watch Wet Hot American Summer.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fantastic Fest - First Round Announced

I'm getting so excited.

Fantastic Fest 2008 Lineup Announced

The homegrown but internationally lauded Fantastic Fest – ground zero for all things horror, sci-fi, fantasy, animé, and the catch-all "cult" – announced today the first wave of its 2008 festival lineup. Some of the highlights include Let the Right One In, the Swedish vampire import that won Best Narrative Feature at this year's Tribeca Film Festival; Eagle Eye, which reunites Shia LaBeouf and director D.J. Caruso (keep your eyes open for a tie-in cell phone scavenger hunt during the fest); Brazilian pic Estômago, which will be paired with a four-course meal by Alamo Drafthouse Executive Chef John Bullington; the prequel Art of the Devil 3, described as "a tale of unrequited love set amid the exotic world of rural Thai black magic"; I Think We're Alone Now, a documentary about two superfans who have been separately stalking Eighties mall queen Tiffany for two decades now; the collected short films of Nacho Vigalondo, who won FF's grand prize last year for Timecrimes; and a special screening of William Castle's 1959 Vincent Price chiller, The Tingler, with the Alamo South Lamar specially wired to re-create the film's original buzzer-in-the-seat theatrics. If all that isn't enough to convince you to buy your badge now, then maybe the closing night party will seal the deal: That's when the Fest takes over Longhorn Caverns for a subterranean dance party a mile beneath the earth's surface.

Forwarding Dreamers

My mom (probably like most moms) forwards lots of emails to me. All kinds of stuff ... politics, quotes about loving yourself, warnings about men grabbing women in parking lots ... it's all well intentioned but I tend to delete quite a bit of it. She knows this. We've talked about the fact that I don't have time to read it all.

But every once in a while she'll send me something that I'm super thankful for. This is one of them. As wonderfully cheesy as it is, I loved getting this forwarded email from her this morning.

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

MOST SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE ARE DREAMERS

Your dreams are your visions of where you'll be after the battle, your prize at the end of your journey to success.

Your goals are the steps you take to finally attain your prize.

Unless you're willing to work hard and establish some discipline in your life, all of your dreams will be pipe dreams, little mental fantasy trips that will never materialize.

Make concrete steps toward fulfilling your ultimate dream, and start with solid objectives called goals.

Your dreams are where you want to go - your goals are how you get there.

The first indispensable step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.

Don't be afraid to think big and dare to be great.

Dreamers are not content with mediocrity.

They never dream of going half way.

People with goals succeed because they know where they're going.

indieWIRE sells to SnagFilms

If you're a filmmaker and you don't read indieWIRE, it's time you start giving it a look see. I've been reading indieWIRE for a good long while now. Finding out about the latest deals at Sundance, reading about how to get a producer's rep and following the many wonderful blogs posted every morning. If you're not a subscriber, consider signing up for the daily newsletters. It sounds like they've forged a deal to take the next big step.


FIRST PERSON | A Letter to indieWIRE Readers

As you can read today on indieWIRE, we have some big news to share. In the waning hours of our 12th anniversary on Tuesday, we signed a deal to sell iW to SnagFilms, a new company founded by Ted Leonsis and backed by Steve Case and Miles Gilburne. We first sat down with Ted and Snag CEO Rick Allen six months ago, but it was a meeting with the two of them at the Morning Ray Cafe, during this year's Sundance Film Festival, that sealed it for us. We knew then that it was just a matter of time before we'd combine our efforts.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Quarter to Noon - 91%

We're close. Very close. We spent an hour tonight going over notes, watching the film ... agreeing and disagreeing. Coming to some consensus on what we need to do to finish it up and get it out into the world.

The biggest thing we have to do is reshoot a dolly shot. The way it ends has never punched me in the gut. I need it to punch me in the gut. We had to compromise when we originally shot the ending last fall. The dolly didn't work, Greg had the stomach flu ... it was a bit of a mess. So we'll borrow a 30-foot dolly next week and grab a super duper easy shot to composite too.

And lastly we need to beef up the quirkiness in the sound design. Those were the two big chunks. So I'm off to compile my notes and get back to work with the team.

The script for the new short film is in the works. I spent my Wednesday writing time with Intern Adam writing the first draft. I'll pass it off to my cohort before bed so she can take a crack at it tomorrow.

Hostage is on TV. I really love this film. Damn you cable television!!!

St. Nick Screening at AFS

I can't recommend enough going to see this. I haven't seen the film, but I'm a big fan of David Lowery both as a filmmaker and as a human being. That combination makes for great art.



AFS Narratives-in-Progress Screening: ST. NICK

Monday, July 21, 7 PM
Austin Studios Screening Room (1901 E. 51st Street)

Presented by David Lowery

Post-screening discussion moderated by Bryan Poyser

Reserve Tickets

Attendance limited to AFS Filmmaker level members and above. Because seating is limited, you must register to attend the screening (no exceptions).

If you are experiencing problems registering for tickets, please call 512.322.0145 for assistance.

About ST. NICK:
ST. NICK is the story of a brother and sister on the run. He's eleven, she's eight. They've left their home for some unknown reason and are living in the woods, hiding in barns and sheds, doing what they can to survive. As the bitter Texas winter sets in, they strike up residence in an abandoned country house and, for a brief, happy period, manage to escape the harsh realities of their circumstances. An elegiac look at childhood, ST. NICK is by turns elliptical and pragmatic; mysterious and funny; exciting and sad. It is a kids' film for adults - specifically for adults who remember all the confusion, wonder and loneliness that are part of growing up.

About the filmmaker:
David Lowery is a filmmaker from Texas. His work includes the award-winning short A CATALOG OF ANTICIPATIONS and the acclaimed essay film SOME ANALOG LINES. His work has screened at festivals worldwide, including Slamdance and SXSW, as well as on IFC, PBS and at Wholphin. He is an alumni of the Berlinale Talent Campus and a two-time recipient of a TFPF Production Grant. ST. NICK is his first feature.

About the Narratives-in-Progress screening series:

Filmmakers screen their "rough cuts" (or "near-fine-cuts") for a filmmaker-member audience, and receive constructive comments and feedback. The meetings will be moderated by experienced Austin filmmakers. Participants will be expected to agree to confidentiality regarding the film and the comments received, as the films to be screened have not been finalized.

For more information on Narratives-in-Progress, please click here.

-- Bryan Poyser, Director of Artist Services, Austin Film Society

Support Femme Film Texas

Sadly, I'll be out of town for this one, but this is a great opportunity to support the amazing things that Femme Film Texas is doing. Most importantly the Summer Film Camp for Girls!

A Design Revolution
Saturday, July 19th, 2008
6pm - 10pm
7825 Burnet Road
454.2626
Interior Design Gallery
Art**Music**Film
Food, Drinks and Silent Auction

Silent Auction benefitting Femme Film Texas
*Teaching Filmmaking and Media Literacy to Young Women and Girls in Austin, Texas*

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

In the works ...

Me and some cohorts are plotting a new short film for a fall shoot. Leslie and I were inspired by this film to make something CRAZY. My mission with each new short film ... do something different. Totally different. Stretch your directing chops, play around, be stupid. Have fun.

We have the bare bones of a story. Next up, a script. We'll be recruiting the usual suspects. And then ... let the madness begin.

Uh, Yikes

Hmmm .... uh .... did someone proof this cover of Entertainment Weekly?

Guess What Came Out On DVD Today????


I love it and I'm not afraid to say it. I love this movie. I love this movie. I love this movie. And yep, I'll be buying the DVD. You know it.

Self Reliant Film

This was a sweet post on Self Reliant Film.

New Digs

I got the keys to our new place this morning. By some act of God, Mark's server at work was down and they sent everyone home. So we spent the afternoon moving boxes, cleaning cabinets and putting away dishes.

I'm psyched to be in new digs. So far I love it. We get so much sunshine. I love sunshine so much. And it's definitely more space than before. The bad part about moving is I'm inclined to get all new furniture and new everything. I have to press the "restrain" button a lot. But I foresee a trip to IKEA in the very near future.

Monday, July 14, 2008

cicadas on WNET in NYC, 7/19

cicadas
Screening on PBS in New York
Saturday, 7/19, 11:55pm
Sunday, 7/20, 4:25am
WNET, Reel 13
Available at B-Side


Long ago, I made this feature film called, cicadas. We shot it over the summer of 1999 in a tiny, tiny town called Bertram, TX (population 835). We shot the film on a Canon XL1 back when mini-DV was brand spankin' new. Over 6 weeks, Thursdays through Sundays a cast and crew trucked out to the middle of nowhere to make a story loosely based on a crush I had at age 16. The summer of 1999 was one of the best summers of my life. We had no expectations, no grandiose ideas of making it big ... we just wanted to make a feature film just to learn how to do it. And man oh man, what came out of that film was a family of friends, a super fun summer and a little movie that could.

If you have friends in New York who like to stay up crazy late or can record stuff to their VHS or DVD players, pass this along. It's fun to share your heart with people. Even if it's super rough around the edges.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Noah Noah Balboa

Could Noah Volk be any more beautiful? No, I don't think so.

The Last Picture Show (1971)

I've been in love with this film since years ago when I first laid eyes on it. I've seen it ... I don't know how many times. It's one of my top ten films ever.

Years ago I went to a friend's wedding in Wichita Falls. I made the two friends that I drove with from Austin take a detour to Archer City where The Last Picture Show was shot. It's pretty much the same in person as it is on screen. One street light, several empty store fronts, tumbleweed ... and the picture show. Sadly, the picture show was gutted and being used as a community theater, but they kept the front of it just the same. I don't know if it's still there but Larry McMurtry basically turned the city into a huge book store. Four huge buildings filled with books from floor to ceiling. No joke. More books then I've ever seen in my life. It was incredible.

So, Karen, Leslie and I caught the Sunday afternoon screening at The Paramount. Seeing it on the big screen with Polly Platt in attendance was super cool.

The other story goes that I'm completely enamored by Timothy Bottoms' performance. It's one of my favorite performances ever in a film. I tried to get him to be in jumping off bridges. We got him the script. He read it and was prepared to do it. But he wanted more money than we could pay.

Regardless, I still love Sonny Crawford. The final scene between him and Ruth Popper breaks my heart every time I watch it.

Are We Done Yet?

A friend recently asked me, How do you know when your script is finished? Well ... this is kind of a difficult question and it's taken me a long time to find an answer, but here's what I got.

Never. It's never finished.

People rewrite scripts up until the first day of shooting. And many times while they're shooting. To be a little more general, scripts are rewritten while editing the films even after they've been shot.

I can go through 7 - 10 drafts of something before I'm satisfied with it. I put myself through script read throughs, send it to friends, my intern ... But I also know that once I'm finished with it, other people are not.

If you're submitting to industry types, you have to understand that everyone wants to put in their two cents. Take it or leave it. People will give you "notes" until the cows come home. But you aim to get fewer and fewer notes as you go along. So understand that even when you think your script is done, done, done, when producers, agents ... whoever gets a hold of it, you'll continue to make changes.

My gauge for when a script is finished is when people tell you they LOVE it. And I don't mean your mom. Cause my mom LOVES anything I do, bless her heart. But that's what mom's say. I have one script that I've written that I feel is closer than anything to being done. And that's a script called Brain Brawl. I feel like that story and the way it's written is tight, tight, tight. Could it use more work? Maybe a little. But that's the thing. You'll give it to a few different production companies or producers and they'll want to do different things to it. So it's hard to listen to everyone unless they have a check in their hand ready to fund it.

The more I write, the more it becomes a gut feeling. Sometimes it's a gut feeling that I ignore, but I know it's there.

So I'm working on a script right now. It still doesn't have a name. I'm in my 6th draft. It probably will go through at least 3 or 4 more drafts. It's not the best thing I've ever written. In fact, it's pretty average in terms of story. But it's an average story that I think is pretty good. It's something I'd sell. But most importantly, it's something I've enjoyed writing.

I'm about to start a new script. Something fantastical. Something big and weird. I've been taking notes, jotting down ideas, bouncing story lines off Mark. It'll be a fun one. Something that'll stretch my imagination all over the place. I'm ready for that.

Did I answer the question?

Amasita

One of my favorite girls in the whole wide world.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

We're Moving

Mark and I are packing our bags and heading to new digs. No, we're not going far. Not to Los Angeles, not to New York, not to Paris. Maybe just a mile, mile and a half, if that. We're cruising on down to the other side of Central Market. Leaving my beloved Hyde Park hood for the just as friendly and just as quaint Rosedale hood.
I like new beginnings ... even if you're shoved into them by smarmy new landlords. I've been in my little apartment complex for over 5 years now. We were a true community. I made some cool friends, had long chats in the parking lot. One of my neighbors was even in one of my teen's short films. I'll miss Hyde Park like mad. Sure, I can come visit, but it won't be the same. I've run up and down, back and forth any and all paved surfaces in my hood and frequented every food and coffee joint within a mile radius. Hell, I officed out of Quacks for almost a year.
It'll be good to move our furniture into a new place though. Redecorate, start fresh. I'm doing a lot of that lately. Starting over. It's really nice. I breathe in super deep, take in lots and lots of air and then exhale. It feels good.

The boxes are piling up in our livingroom. We get our new keys on Tuesday.

Oh, I'll miss you Hyde Park. Miss me too, ok?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Congrats to the Ready? Ok! Crew

A big congrats to Carrie and Michael and friends for their LA Outfest screening of Ready? Ok!.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Boys in Class

These little guys bring me such joy. So many hearty laughs. We chose two films tonight to shoot. Both comedies. Both boy comedies. I'm excited to see their heads spinning onto a screen. We also did some acting exercises and talked about my favorite part of making movies, working with the actors. Bringing performances to life.

I have to start on my UT syllabus soon, soon, soon. Yesterday I got my office assignment with three other lecturers. This is definitely going to be an adventure. Hopefully a good one. I'm getting fun ideas of what to do in class, besides the usual rigmarole.

I have much work to do. But today ... today, I'm gonna start packing our bags from our little apartment. The apartment I've lived in for over 5 years now. We're sort of getting the boot. In a smarmy kind of way. Evil landlords, like evil step fathers who come in at the last minute and make your life a living hell. Grrrr. More details and warnings on this one once we're completely out of the place and have our deposit check safely in hand.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Crank (2006)

Jason Statham plays Chev, a hit man ready to quit the assassination business. Unfortunately his last hit, hits him with a Beijing Cocktail that'll kill him unless he keeps his heart pounding on overdrive. He's an adrenaline junky, relying on cocaine, sex, Red Bull and fast cars to stay alive. It starts off at 100 miles an hour and never slows down. It's ridiculous, over the top and I loved it. I couldn't stop shaking my head and uttering, oh my god, for real? Yep. For real. Not to mention, I could watch Jason Statham all day long.

Playground Love

I used to obsess over this album. When I worked at Book People years ago I'd sit in my little money counting room and count money all day long to Air.

I just dug it out this morning to replace my Pretenders obsession.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Kids Kick Hollywood's Butt

This has happened twice in the last two weeks. I'm hanging out with a bunch of kids (today, elementary school kids). And I'm making them write stories, characters ... They're scribbling, scribbling away. When I circle their tables and get them started talking about what's going on in their heads, I'm floored. Magical rabbit worlds? Hip hop loving flowers? The imaginary friend searching for his imaginary sister? The ideas these kids come up with blow me away. If only Hollywood would start creative writing partnerships with kids and screenwriters, you'd have some kick ass movies instead of remakes of Scooby Doo and The Dukes of Hazard. I mean seriously, these kids are exploding with original ideas that would knock your socks off.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

I Am a Fan Boy

I'm totally jealous because Mark just found out he's on "the list" to see the sneak of Hellboy 2. Guillermo Del Toro in attendance. I want to go too!!!

For some reason people find it surprising that I'm a total fan boy at heart. I love the superhero movies. I love the big budget sci-fi flicks. I love to hear who's cast as what and then get outraged because so and so could never play such and such. I'm a sucker for teen slasher flicks, especially directed by Wes Craven. I go see anything that takes place in the future. Especially if it's post-apocalyptic. Road Warrior, Mad Max ... seen 'em a million times. I've seen every single Buffy episode ... in order. The movies I was most excited about seeing this summer ... X-Files and The Happening.

I don't read Ain't It Cool News everyday. In fact, kinda never. I forget to read it. But if I need to hear about anything super duper important, I usually get the goods from Mark, Kurt or Brian. So yes, I'm well aware of the Frank Darabont Indiana Jones script that George Lucas poopooed. And almost got my hands on it ...

I think it comes from my mom. She's a huge fan of things like Conan the Barbarian (and all the spin offs and sequels), The Terminators, anything involving cyborgs and/or swords (Highlander). And if it's a cyborg swinging a sword, my mom's first in line. This is no joke. Hell, my dad even took me to see Dune when I was 10.

I might have suppressed the Fan Boy inside me for many, many years. Pretended I was of the snooty art house type. I would only go see movies at the Arbor, Dobie or Village (pre-Alamo days). I thought that if a film played at Sundance it meant it was good. After going to Sundance in 2001, I learned that wasn't the case. I realized quickly that festival films were both extraordinary and abysmal.

So yeah, I admit it. I'd rather see X-Files than the latest obscure French film. That's not to say that the latest obscure French film isn't amazing and mind blowing, I just would rather hang out with Mulder and Scully this summer.