Thursday, October 30, 2008
After 45 minutes I had to turn it off. It's 145 minutes long. 145 friggin' minutes long!!! I didn't want to sit through another 100 minutes of torture. No, I'm not talking about Rest Stop II, I'm talking about Sex and the City. Please tell me I'm not the first to say that the Sex and the City script is really bad. Sadly, Rest Stop II was a much more interesting piece of cinema. And that's not saying much. I was never a fan of the Sex in the City show. I tried to watch it once with Karen and couldn't handle it. Maybe because I'm not a girly girl who's into fashion or make-up or anything like that. Not so much. Give me The Wire or My So Called Life or even Growing Pains over that silly, stupid poo any day.
So I'll explain to you, just as I explained to the woman at Hollywood Video ... I had to rent Rest Stop II because our friend Brionne Davis is in it. Brionne was in Ryan's film, Black Eyed years and years ago. And I have to say, he plays a pretty awesome psycho in Rest Stop II if I do say so myself.
For years I sat in a windowless office at a day job I hated. Accounts payable, accounts receivable, travel arrangements, payroll, filing, stapling, spreadsheets, excel, copying, scanning, organizing, typing, choking. I felt claustrophobic and sad. I’d imagine myself as Sam Lowry from Brazil. At any second the walls would close in on me. I’d be shoved to the center of the room, crushed and suffocated by my filing cabinets. But then about a year ago I quit. Put in my notice and said sayonara to the string of mindless day jobs that were ringing out every ounce of creativity I could muster. So instead, I’d start over as a freelance filmmaker and film teacher. Do what I loved to do. Yes sir.
The month I left my last day job (artificial intelligence software administration) was the month I started pre-production on Quarter to Noon. Cathartic, to say the least.
I got the idea to make the film two years ago while I sat in my stupid, generic office. It started out about a girl (me) who crawled out her window and ran really fast to a playground across the street. Escape, be free. But when I finally decided to make the film, it took on a quirky, more fantastical feel. I was lucky enough to work with two super cool actors and a team of great filmmaker friends to bring the story to life. For me, the film was an exercise in no dialogue, using visual effects and oddball comedy. But more importantly, it was a chance to channel all the years of frustration into something fun and inspiring.
The film is about doing what you love. My momma always told me “follow your dreams girly girl and you’ll be happy”. And so I do.
And I am.
This is the season for Austin filmmakers in theaters. Check out Trouble the Water shot by local cinematographer PJ Raval.
WHEN: Fri Oct 31
WHERE: Regal Arbor Cinemas @ Great Hill (9828 Great Hills Trail)
COST: $8.75, $7.50 Student, $6.50 Matinee/Senior/Child
TROUBLE THE WATER tells a gripping story about one family's survival of the flooding of New Orleans after Katrina, and their journey through the aftermath, and into a new life.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
What's funny is after being riled by the repeated question this morning, I met up with a bunch of other filmmakers at City Hall to talk to officials about how to keep Austin filmmakers in Austin.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Nancy Schiesari’s latest documentary Tattooed Under Fire will air on KLRU on Oct 30. @ 9pm on KLRU/PBS (see KLRU’s website for broadcast details).
The film is a grippingly intimate, character-driven portrait of war-bound and returning soldiers as they go under the tattoo needle - openly professing their patriotism, sharing their secrets and confessing their fears. Each soldier’s story is an evocative, poignant and highly personal look at the human and cultural cost of war.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Just FYI, the next short I do, simple, simple, simple. What's totally ridiculous is that I have two new ideas for early spring. Kat, slow down. Just slow down, lady.
Friday, October 24, 2008
To get tickets go HERE.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
It's so fun seeing friends on TV. Two this week between Jeremy Denzlinger (Eleventh Hour) and Glen Powell Jr (Without a Trace).
You can catch Jeremy on True Blood as Wayne along with another friend, Carrie Preston who plays Arlene. And then, of course, there's Carrie's husband, Michael (LOST).
I haven't edited anything myself in a long, long time. I think to be a director, you need to edit a few of your own films. You learn everything about directing in the editing room. Performance (or lack thereof), coverage, pacing, how to use movement, why you have to listen to the sound person ... pretty much everything. So as I prepare for lectures on editing ... I get misty eyed, wishing I was editing something myself.
I edited the first four films I did. The one I learned the most from was the feature. It was like a graduate school of editing. It took about 3-4 months to cut the whole thing together. And I was working on it at least 6 - 8 hours a day.
I've used an editor on pretty much everything I've done since 2001. And I think that's ideal. Fresh eyes that aren't biased to the fact that you used a crane in this shot and it cost $1500 and it's beautiful and cool, blah, blah, blah ... if it doesn't further the story, it doesn't matter how cool the shot is. So fresh, unbiased eyes are a good thing. But even still, I do miss it. It's like being in elementary school again with scissors and glue.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Not so scary. Super lame, actually. The lead actor is, uh ... well let's just say he doesn't do a whole lot of acting after this film. And it took me a little while to figure out that Carrie Brady from Days of Our Lives was the little sister. It's pretty boring overall. I ended up on IMDB through most of it doing a "Where are they now?" game.
Monday, October 20, 2008
I recently wrapped up Season 2 of The Wire. I was telling Bryan that I liked the first season better than the 2nd. But now that I'm a few days out, I take it back. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. It's pretty friggin' awesome. My favorite character is Frank Sobotka, no question. Not only is his character a bundle of turmoil and choices that will forever change the course of his life but also the lives of his family, but the actor is outstanding. There's an amazing scene in the jail with his son Ziggy. I was riveted. Tears trickling down my cheeks. I'm a big fan of Chris Bauer and now want to find everything he's ever done. I could watch him stir his coffee for hours without saying a word.
If for some reason I see you somewhere and we've met and I can't remember how we know each other, it's because I'm losing my mind. I have that feeling a lot of, I know this person. I know I know this person. How do I know this person? I had it today at Zen. His face was so familiar, but I thought it was so familiar because I used to see him at Quacks. But wait, I know him from somewhere else. Like we've actually met. Through a friend, maybe? I'll run through the rolodex in my head. Sometimes it works, mostly, it doesn't. I really am losing my memory though. No, seriously. Mostly my short term memory. I'll forget scenes from a movie I JUST watched. Or moments that happened last week. Mark tells me that I'm losing it. I'm only 33. Is this like my 1/3 life crisis? Is this what happens? Starts with the memory. Then my back? Then my arthritis? Then my hips. Oh lord. So if we see each other and it takes me a second, I'm really sorry. It's because my mind is going.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Afterwards was a fun evening at Bess on 6th street with old friends who are in town for the festival and some new folks. It was the only night I'd be able to do anything involving the film festival, or being able to see the out of town friends. So I made the most of it. I didn't come crawling home until almost 1am. A record for me, maybe. I might be partied out for a while though.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
This is what I love to hear from my film students. We shoot on Saturday and everything is so organized and ready it's making me nervous. I feel too prepared. Trust me, you can never be too prepared. When I sift through their project notebooks and test shoot footage and see that they really are that prepared, oh man, happy days.
The bulk of my UT kids shoot this weekend. I'll be visiting lots of sets in between a Grandpa's birthday, a last minute script to screen class and a read through for Ninja James.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
So we've been in major car searching mode for Ninja James. Not only are we looking for a beat up car from the 70s ... El Camino, Charger, Chrystler Sedan ... we need to take out a front windshield of it. So we keep coming up empty handed or with a car that's going to take a pretty penny to get running, get a tag and title and get insurance on it. Argh. Prop Cars = Hard.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
GIRLS! NOW CONFERENCE
OCTOBER 25, 2008
Ann Richards School (2206 Prather Lane)
Do you have a daughter, niece, granddaughter or friend who is dealing with bullying or body image issues? Sign her up for the Girls NOW! Conference, on Sat., October 25th 8am to 4pm at the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders.(2206 Prather Lane) This all day event is full of empowering and educating workshops for girls in grades 6-9 and includes national speakers Courtney Martin (author of Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters) and Dove's Real Beauty campaign spokeswoman Jess Weiner.
Hands on, interactive breakout sessions on a variety of related topics are being offered by the premiere "girl" non-profits of Central Texas such as GENaustin, Latinitas, Girlstart, Girl Scouts, Girl Clubs.
Go to www.girlsnowconference.org to register.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I got back in time to visit one of my student sets, Throwing Things at Little Kids. Adam and his team were working their butts off. They had about 40 or so little kids organized and riled for a revenge scene on a pair of bullies. It was hilarious. I was super proud of the boys.
Tomorrow, I get back in work mode. Ninja James test shoots.
Friday, October 10, 2008
I'm sitting in a community college lobby all alone working on script notes for my students while a crowd of maybe about a 100 or so watch jumping off bridges. We'll see how they like it. I'll be happy to head home in the morning. As soon as I get back I get to visit my UT student's sets and watch them be brilliant.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
If you're heading to the Austin Film Festival next week, here are some recommendations.
THE AVIATRIX by Toddy Burton
THE FUNERAL SINGER by Jenn Garrison
I'LL COME RUNNING by Spencer Parsons
SIX MAN, TEXAS edited by Mike Scannell
COWBOY SMOKE composed by Brian Satterwhite
MERRILY MERRILY by James Johnston
WHEN THE LIGHT'S RED by Keith Wilson
Big sigh of relief. The locations are locked. The cast is "mostly" locked. We're on shaky ground with a few of 'em. We now have a costumer and a data wrangler. The pieces are falling into place. Hopefully they'll continue to do just that. I'll be out of touch for a few days while I head to Illinois for a screening of jumping off bridges. Hopefully I'll have some quality work time on the plane to and from.
I'm getting my head on straight with my morning runs and walks. The weather has turned and it's almost chilly when I head out. So much more enjoyable than the blazing summer heat. Downtime. It's a good thing.
Just as a side note ... Luke Perry sure has been making a lot of guest appearances on TV shows lately. Jeff Fahey too. Huh.
Please, please, please go see August Evening this weekend. It's a fantastic film that needs a good, strong opening weekend. I've seen the film once and will be heading back to see it again. I can't recommend it enough. Support these talented filmmakers if you're in the Austin area.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
Every time I delete emails from my inbox a whole slew of new ones crop up. Every time I knock off items from my "to dos" ... double the original amount get added. Every time I figure out one major issue with the new film, another comes up. Argh. I haven't even started on my class stuff for this week. Dear God, or whoever or whatever is up there ... can you add a few more hours to the day? Please oh please? And tell my husband I miss him and I'll be home soon. I hope.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
We've almost locked the cast, but for a few minor, minor roles that I'm waiting for friends to respond on. We have some cool actors lined up and I couldn't be more thrilled about the chance to work with them. Some I've worked with before, others I've known for a while but never worked with and some who are brand spankin' new. I trust that they'll breathe life and humor into these characters. I will say, our band of merry gang boys couldn't be more hilarious. My cheeks hurt from laughing so hard this morning at all of their improv tomfoolery.
This afternoon, a little camera/editing/fx crew wandered around 15th and San Jacinto scouting out shots, alleyways, testing out set ups and getting honked at by random friends that kept driving by. It was weird. We saw a student from my Summer Film Camp for Girls, my gaffer from JOB, the DP I met at the Austin School of Film and some grip friends. Very strange. We have a firmer grasp on a stoplight scene that we're doing. This whole cars driving, multiple characters stuff is way more complicated than I thought it would be. I'm glad I have a little more than a month to prep and get my head wrapped around all of it. And it helps to have super talented, smart and creative folks on your team. That's the key.
What I love most about Sollett, are the performances he gets out of his actors. Every single one of them. Michael Cera being my favorite. He gives a wonderful, natural and sweet, sweet performance. I haven't seen him be so real. When Nick looks at Nora, he means it. It reminds me of when Lloyd Dobler looks at Diane Court, but for this generation. It's a movie that reminds me of what I loved about movies like Sixteen Candles, Adventures in Babysitting and yes, Say Anything. It's a bold statement, but y'know what? I don't care. I loved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it.
Friday, October 03, 2008
I'm getting the jitters. The nerves are unraveling. We're a little over a month away from shooting and I feel like there's still a MILLION GAJILLION things to do. I can't sleep. I just toss and turn and run through my "to dos". So I get up work, work, work on my computer and feel a little more accomplished. I'm putting together my calendars / timelines / equipment lists / schedules / shot lists ... My students keep telling me "there's not enough time", but don't I feel their pain. It's true. Never enough time. So you push ahead, keep truckin', stay organized and focused and get it done. I'll be happy and sigh a little bit of relief when the following things are taken care of ...
1) Cast is locked.
2) Locations are locked.
3) Prop Cars are locked.
4) I can sit back and not worry about anything but my DP and my actors.