Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
After watching the audition tapes last night I think I have all of my characters. I'd like to have a small round of call backs just to mix and match actors for chemistry and physical looks and to be absolutely positive. But we should have cast locked within a week. That will be a sigh of relief.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
If Breakdown were made today instead of the late 90s, oh would it be a different film. There'd be blood, guts, rape, disemboweling, torture, chainsaws cutting off limbs ...
But instead, it's an absolutely terrifying ride with barely a single drop of blood. Breakdown packs a wallop. A couple en route to California accidentally cuts off a trucker on a desert road. Truck driver gets mad. Couple breaks down, wife goes missing and all hell breaks loose. Kurt Russell is dynamite. I forget how great he is. Tarantino recently reminded us with Death Proof. If you've never seen it and you're looking for a fun night with a good film, check it out. I've been pouring through the action section of the neighborhood Hollywood Video, trying to discover the gems I missed the first time around. I scored with Breakdown.
A HUGE thank you to Alicia and Terry for pulling this whole thing together and being so incredible. I tell you what, those two are a force.
I saw the poster ad in the Fantastic Fest book over and over and over again. I saw the ads in magazines.
From the poster image I knew it wasn't my cup of tea, but yet, for some reason, from some crazy reason, I HAD to rent it. And, yes, of course, it was bad. Of course I threw my hands in the air at least ten times screaming "What? C'mon! Are you serious?" It was truly abysmal. But you know what? They got my $4 in rental fees. Good job marketing people for Pathology. It worked.
Friday, September 26, 2008
The week started rocky. Pot holes, uneven ground, a few minor spills. Argh. Damn you, life! But it got better. Always does.
1) The UT kids are stepping up, shining bright and making me smile.
2) My Script to Screen students ... what can I say, I got a really great group this semester.
3) I'm up for a writing assignment for ABC Family which I probably won't get just because, well, I'm sure there are way more qualified people in the running. But still, it's nice to be up for it.
4) We are casting this weekend for Ninja James and the Beast Boy. I love casting. I love casting. Did I mention I love casting? I love casting.
5) I have created a semi-more manageable shot list for Ninja. It makes it all a little less daunting.
6) We've raised about 2/3 of our budget for Ninja and have more to go, but it's so nice that people believe in us and want to support us on this one.
7) It's Friday. Friday means date night with my boy. I love spending time with my boy. So I love Fridays.
Talking to Michael this week, he mentioned going to the Emmy's and what a whirlwind it was. Uh oh. I didn't realize that the Emmy's happened. It was just that kind of week, I guess. I quickly went to the official Emmy's website. Sure enough, Michael was nominated yet again for a supporting role on LOST. So a BIG, BELATED CONGRATULATIONS to the man that defies all Hollywood stereotypes. He's kind, generous, sweet ... Not an evil bone in his body. He's just a really good actor.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Ninja James is coming along. There've been rocky patches of scheduling conflicts but overall it's moving forward. We've locked one of the big locations. A school. Whew. Only a few more state property locations to secure. Securing cars has been tricky too. We cast this weekend. I'm psyched to see the talent. I love casting so much. It's fun stuff.
I gotta sleep. Today at UT I was non-stop from 9am - 11pm. I'm about to crash, crash, crash.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I just put a link to Jessi's blog. She's working on an art project right now that involves digging a really big hole. I don't quite understand it yet, but I can't wait to hear what the hell she's doing.
Jessi and I go back to Florida State days. The early 90s. Remember those? The girl's a spit fire if I ever met one.
Jessi moved to Austin after I did over ten years ago, stayed for a bit. We played a lot of free pool at Love Joys, went to a lot of rock shows, then she found love and moved to Chicago. The girl's always been an inspiration. Namely for her individuality, her take charge attitude, she doesn't give a flip about what other people think and she loves the hell out of life and her art.
I have a lot of crazy talented friends who are following their hearts and finding success. No, not necessarily financial success, but success for the soul. I need to quiet my mind lately and just be happy and not give a flip.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
The Wild Man of the Navidad
Thank god for Duane Graves and Justin Meeks. Please give these boys the money they deserve to make a bigger film. If for a few thousand dollars they can pull of something like The Wild Man of Navidad, there's no telling what they can do with a proper budget. Seriously, people. These boys are so talented it's not even funny. The film is so unbelievable calculated down to every frame, every cut, every sound cue. It screams 70s film. I laughed my butt off, squeezed my husband's hand a little too hard in the scary parts and found myself getting really jealous at how beautiful it looked. It's a solid script, solid story and Justin Meeks is a knock out performance . This film deserves a big audience. Please go see this film. I promise you a fun, 70s monster film ride through the deep south.
Ok, so I don't walk out of films very often, but, hey, I'm not a big fan of rape scenes. Nope. Not so much. It's been a while since I've walked out of a film. But tonight, I just couldn't handle it. I was expecting at least one twisted f-ed up film at Fantastic Fest, but y'know what? I don't need to see that crap anymore. My life is just fine without it.
I totally dug this film. I don't completely get it. But I definitely had a good time. And yes, Tim League, Van Damme gives a stellar performance in this film. I never thought I'd cry from a Jean-Claude Van Damme film. His monologue was stunning. There you go.
Maybe I'm biased, maybe it's because I love the filmmakers and maybe because I love the subjects of this film, but it's one of the best films at the festival. Why? Because it's a solid, well told story. Following Emily Hagins through her first feature film at the age of 12 was a nice departure from the gore and guts from the other films. Anything that involves parents and children tugs at the heart strings. I wept. The way the filmmakers held on Megan Hagins at the end of the film watching her daughter on stage at her premiere almost made me convulsively cry. This is a film that I hope/pray goes beyond Austin walls. It speaks so much louder than anything else I've seen so far.
Let the Right One In
I wanted so badly to love this film. And I was for the first third. It hooked me with these two twelve year old characters and the sweetness and quiet of their relationship. There were so many pieces and moments about it that I truly loved. The most beautiful photography I've seen in a film at the fest so far. Performances that were subtle and sweet. But here's the thing and I'm completely and utterly guilty of this myself and don't claim that I get anything right in my own films. So don't go at me with stakes and daggers. I haven't seen a film yet that had a solid script. Again, this is just me and my humble observations. Nothing I've seen has felt complete or solid. My favorite film of the fest The Substitute almost got it right but fell short at the end. I think what killed Let the Right One In for me was the tone. It felt all over the place. It didn't feel like it wanted to be any one thing. A bizarre scene with cats really made me cringe and throw a look of confusion on my face. Did it further the story about this relationship about these two kids who want and need to be friends? Not really. It just felt like all of these elements that are "cool" but don't move or push the story along kept creeping in and shifting the tone of the film. Had it just been about these two kids and not delved into all of these different characters where it felt like we were branching off into different storylines, I would be singing a different tune. Yes, it's a film with much beauty. Yes, it's a stunning piece of cinematography. Yes, the performances by these young actors are stellar. Yes, the look of the film is careful and unsettling. But emotionally did it sucker punch me? No. Did I want it to? Desperately. The Substitute did this, but it was in the 2nd act of the film when it should've been at the end. Blah, blah, blah, these are my ramblings.
I'm taking the morning and early afternoon off to work with my students on 2nd and 3rd drafts of their scripts. I've watched their scripts grow from humble beginnings to tight, solid stories. That's what it's about right? The story?
Saturday, September 20, 2008
It's good, but it didn't blow me away. I'm still waiting for the film that's gonna punch me in the face. I'm ready. Estomago almost reminded me of a softer, less weird version of Delicatessen. I almost want to take that back, because well, Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a genius and Estomago is ... ok/good. I think Mark liked it more than me. It had some wonderful performances, namely from the star and some great storytelling, but again, it just fell flat at the end and went on a little too long. I'd recommend seeing it if you're a food person.
Fear(s) of the Dark
I think I would've enjoyed this more had I not been so sleepy. It's a series of short animated pieces. There were two that were the most striking in style and story for me. Visually, it's stunning. Gorgeous animation. I'm a sucker for the black and white. If you're a lover of all things animated, it's a must see.
It's not a perfect film, but man it's a fun film. Takes me back to the 80s kid horror, thriller films that I loved growing up. When the substitute for a middle school class is an alien, threatening to take them all back to her planet ... the adventure begins. The ending falls short, but everything leading up to it is well worth it. You'll laugh your butt off.
We started the fest off on a high note and then went down from there.
DJ Caruso knows what to do with a camera. No question about it. He gets the most out of every shot and every scene. He's brief, to the point and moves quickly. So it started off on a roller coaster ride following the ever awesome Shia LaBeouf. I love that kid. He can do no wrong in my book. But then the story went south. The believability got shot and the cringe factor went up. I was let down. But it's cool. I'll be psyched to see what DJ Caruso does next.
I'm going to refrain from reviewing this one. It's independent and the filmmakers seemed really nice.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Two little DVDs will get overnighted to Sundance this morning. They have to be in the office by tomorrow. I'll send it to the good folks at Slamdance after that. And then ... we wait. Luckily, I'm too busy to think about it. Luckily I have new films to focus on. And kids to teach. And a cat's belly to pet. And a husband to stare at and love. But in the back of my mind, I'll be thinking about it. I mean, c'mon, how can I not?
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
If only Fantastic Fest was a few more days away. I'm not ready. I'm still at the office at 11pm at night after a full day. Still to do before I can sigh and enjoy a gore fest at the Alamo South ...
1) Overnight QTN for Sundance (boy are we cutting it close).
2) Give a lecture at UT on telling stories through a camera.
3) Do a lab on the new EX1 with Jim and Alex.
4) My long list of To Dos for Ninja James (oh lord is it long).
5) Finish reading and critiquing UT scripts.
6) Prep for a new week of 3 classes.
Kat, was teaching 3 classes and making a short film all in the same semester really such a great idea? Please god, I hope so. One foot in front of the other and just a little bit of sleep.
FILM FESTIVALS are more important for most films. Because it has gotten harder to achieve theatrical distribution, filmmakers likely to get little or no exposure in theaters must make the most of festivals to start building press and public awareness. Festivals continue to play an important role in attracting distributors. But in the New World it is more likely that rights will be split among several distributors in deals signed months after the festival premiere than through an all-rights deal made at 3 AM in a condo at Sundance.
For more of the article ...
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Welcome to the New World of Distribution. Many filmmakers are emigrating from the Old World, where they have little chance of succeeding. They are attracted by unprecedented opportunities and the freedom to shape their own destiny. Life in the New World requires them to work harder, be more tenacious, and take more risks. There are daunting challenges and no guarantees of success. But this hasn't stopped more and more intrepid filmmakers from exploring uncharted territory and staking claims.More of the article ....
Monday, September 15, 2008
NIU suffered from a campus shooting in 2007 leaving six students dead, including the shooter and 22 injured.
Dragons? For real? For real, yo! One of my UT kids promised me that I'd enjoy Reign of Fire. He was right. I did. It's such a weird premise, but strangely it works. I didn't want it to end.
I'm not a huge Christian Bale fan. It's true. Don't throw things at me. I think he's alright. But I really liked him in this. And I LOVE Mr. McConaughey. It's been nice seeing him do fun characters again.
Other recent rentals ... Stop Loss (not so much), Cellular (eh).
So we're in the midst of our fund drive to raise the budget to get this film off the ground. If you want to help donate some cash, you can click on the button below. Or if you're interested in making or buying a meal for the film that would be incredible. Just send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have 6 days of shooting and a cast/crew of about 50 who are going to be working their little butts off to make a cool, fun film that we all can be proud of.
Four hours driving all over downtown, Pflugerville and even Georgetown trying to find the perfect street. When did the area by La Zona Rosa become so heavily populated? I missed that little boom. And the Austin Music Hall is now a church? Huh?
Usually I'm a big fan of location scouting. But when it comes to streets ... the perfect street to use that we don't have to block off ... painful. Absolutely painful. And so the hunt continues.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I will say, thank god SNL got good again.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
1. Encouraging someone that they can do anything.
2. I have answers to something that they want to know.
3. Watching them prove me wrong.
4. Sharing my experiences.
5. Learning from my kids.
6. Living vicariously through them.
7. Getting excited about their potential.
8. Remembering the innocence and wonder.
9. Feeling somewhat looked up to.
10. Having fun.
I need to learn to function on 4 hours of sleep instead of 6 0r 7. How do I do that?
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Moscow -- A Moscow prosecutor's office has issued a warning to cartoon-focused channel 2x2 over "South Park," citing the toon's "extremist" content.
The prosecutor's office ruled that the series "disgraces Christians and Muslims and is offensive to all believers regardless of their religion, can provoke an ethnic conflict and extremist activities and instigate violence between adherents of different religions," the Russian business newspaper Rbc Daily reported Tuesday.
Under Russian law, a second warning of this kind would lead to revoking the channel's license.
This is the fun stuff.
The not so fun stuff:
1) Finalizing the Budget
3) City Permits
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
THE CASKET OF PASSING FANCY
Created by Josh Meyer, Rebecca Beegle, Matt Hislope, and the ensemble.
Directed by Josh Meyer and Matt Hislope.
Lighting design by Jason Amato.
When: Oct. 10th-Nov. 1st, 2008. Thursdays-Sundays at 8pm.
Where: The BLUE Theater, 916 Springdale Rd. Austin, TX 78702
Tickets: Order online here, or call 1-800-838-3006.
YOU PICK YOUR PRICE: $15-$25.
Featuring Carlos Treviño, Kris Olson, Thomas Graves, Joe Hartman, Silky Shoemaker, Matt Hislope, Paul Soileau, Rebecca Beegle, Michelle Flanagan, Taylor Flanagan, Heather Barfield Cole, and Jennifer Underwood as "The Duchess."
This show is made possible through generous support from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund.
Spielberg ripped off Hitchcock classic: lawsuit
Monday September 8 4:15 PM ET
Steven Spielberg and major Hollywood studios stole the plot from Alfred Hitchcock's classic 1954 film "Rear Window" in making last year's "Disturbia," a lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court on Monday said.
Dreamworks, its parent company Viacom Inc, and Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric Co's NBC Universal, are accused of copyright infringement and breach of contract for making "Disturbia" without first obtaining permission from the copyright holders, the suit said. For more ...
Monday, September 08, 2008
I'm wiping my brow after a deep breath and sighing "whew!"
So I've spent the entire summer working on a new script, tentatively titled Love Me. It's a teen thriller about obsessive love. Starting in early June until now I've poured through eleven drafts. Let me just say again, "whew". My goal was to have it finished before summer's end. I almost made that deadline. We're only two weeks into the school year, so I'm not being too hard on myself.
At draft 4, I had a full on read through with friends and actors. Got lots of notes and went back to work. From draft 5 - 11, I've relied on my trusty intern, Adam and my good friend Lorie for consistently awesome feedback. It's a gift to be able to give good feedback. Truly a gift. I can name people I trust for good feedback on one hand.
So today I put a little kiss on the PDF file and sent it to my agent. Her response when it popped into her inbox "Wowie!". I'm not sure she quite realizes that I mean business. I don't have time to mess around. I want to make another movie. I want to sell a script. And I'll work my butt off to make that happen. So we'll she what she says after a good read and where we go from here.
What to start on next? I have the beginnings of a Kids TV Pilot. The beginnings of a new sci-fi/dystopian script and several ideas for big comedies .... I think it's the Kids TV Pilot that's calling me next. 25 pages sounds less daunting than 100 right now.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Since assembling an amazing crew (all working for free) and as we're about to assemble the cast (all working for free), we realize there's still so much to pay for. Between feeding our people, renting equipment, costumes, props, prop cars, insurance, city permits, film festival submission fees, a sound mix, color correction ... well, it's adding up.
So we're coming to you guys asking for a little help. If you want to see some ladies team up to make an action/adventure film about the lengths parents will go for their children with some stunts, fight sequences, crazy camera shots and a lot of heart, we'll take all the help we can get.
Below is a donation button and to the side is a donation button. We promise to work our little butts off to make it really, really good.
I've never been to the Toronto Film Festival but it's the festival that's number one of my list to attend as a film lover. Reports are spilling in about everything from Linklater's new film Me and Orson Welles, Kelly Reichardt's Wendy and Lucy, a new film by Claire Denis to a film I didn't even know was playing ... Still Walking. I'm a huge fan of Hirokazu Kore-eda. After Life is one of the best and most meaningful stories I've ever seen on screen. I hold that movie dear to my heart. And Nobobdy Knows follows suit with a more heartbreaking adventure of a family of children struggling to survive in the absence of their parents. He has a love and a humanity that you don't see on screen so much any more. So I'm thrilled to know that his next film is on its way.
Friday, September 05, 2008
He's peeing anywhere and everywhere except his litter box. Along the living room wall, next to the litter box a few feet from the litter box, by the window ... Maybe it's the move, I thought. The stress of a new home. A home he seems to enjoy otherwise. Maybe it's the litter box that's just a hair bigger than the last one. Maybe it's the placement (same as the last apartment). Maybe he decided he doesn't like me and Mark anymore and he's torturing us.
So we went to the vet. Is it a urinary tract infection, doctor? Well, is he straining to pee? No. Is he peeing excessively? No. Does he pee blood? Oh god, no! Sounds like a behavioral thing to me.
The docs prognosis ... he's old. His bladder ain't what it used to be. He's getting more senile. For real? Senile, this cat ain't. The boy knows where his litter box is. He goes there sometimes, I've seen him. He's left surprises for us in there.
And then tonight ... for the first time ... he pooed. Yep. Pooed on his favorite peeing spot. The wall in the living room. PORK CHOP!!!!!!
What have we done to deserve this? Why do you hate us so much? Why won't you pee and poo like all the other normal cats? We're at our wits end. For the love of god, PC Bean!
Settled in for a night of Entourage, Season 4, Thundercloud Subs and good friends and their baby.
Entourage, why do I love you? Let me count the ways ...
1) The best crazy ass dialogue that's so ridiculous it's hilarious.
2) Cameo appearances by M. Night Shyamalan.
3) Johnny Drama
4) Loving LA without having to live in LA
5) It's like US Magazine on TV and you don't have to feel guilty about buying it.
I've been a mad script reader for my students this week. My little eyeballs will take a short break this weekend. Yay! Instead my eyes will stare at my husband and my friends in town from Dallas and the color correction that Chadwick's ready to get feedback on. And then the scripts will once again flood the old inbox by the stroke of midnight on Sunday. Just as the UT scripts stop, the new batch of my other class scripts will start. I'm learning to love reading scripts. Used to hate it. Passionately.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
I was introduced to Sam Peckinpah tonight. He tipped his hat and said "How do ya do?"
Cable Hogue might be my new favorite character in cinema. That crazy down on his luck guy left in the desert to die who discovers water where water wasn't and then turns his last $2.50 into a fortune. He builds a home and a life outta nothin'. I even got a little teary eyed when his friend gave him an American flag to hang outside his home. Anything is possible. The American dream is alive and well. With a little hard work, some elbow grease and a heart for what you love, the world is yours. But what really makes it all the worth while. To share that dream with someone you love. There's no price on that.
"Mr. Peckinpah, we should go have drinks some time cause I think I'm really gonna like you."
The reason we decided to make an action short film was to figure out how to do it. Last night my little dream team assembled and the crazy ideas were flying off the hook. They involved balloons, crazy cams, rooftops ... uh ... I guess that's what happens when you brainstorm with three FX/animation guys who are really bored in their day jobs and looking to do something completely different from the corporate videos and video games that they're used to.
Leslie and I took a spin through downtown today scouting locations. The perfect parking lot for a gang fight, the best looking school, the less dangerous city streets to drive through ... me with my little digital camera, Leslie with her note pad and thinking cap on. We were all kinds of giddy.
We need it. We just need to figure out how to get it.
I have a list of things to do in between reading scripts for my UT kids. One thing at a time, Kat. One thing at a time.