Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sex in the City versus Rest Stop II

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.

QTN - Director's Statement

I've been submitting Quarter to Noon to a bunch of festivals. Had to put together a director's statement. So here it is.

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.

--Kat Candler

Trouble the Water Opens Austin Friday

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

Why Don't You Live in LA?

When talking to industry folks in Los Angeles today ... the same question I've been asked time and time again came up. Why don't you live in Los Angeles? Not once, but three times during the conversation. No really, why don't you live in Los Angeles? No really, I want to live here. If I lived in Los Angeles, I'd be earning a living stapling papers, filing crapola, feeling like crapola ... here I get to inspire minds, teach people how to make movies, be friends with cool, sweet people and make movies on my own without asking for permission.

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

Season 3 - The Wire

Amazing. Just amazing. That's all I got. I have to grab Season 4 from Bryan ASAP. I'm prepping myself for a season of The Wire that apparently will change my life. Bring it on. I'm ready.

Tattooed Under Fire by Nancy Schiesari on KLRU, Oct 30

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

Ballast - Trailer

I am very, very, very excited about this film.

Ninja James - Test Shoots and Rehearsals

Several of the cast and crew sweated bullets today in the blazing sun. We did test shoots and choreographed all of the action sequences. It's big, but it's feeling less big. I'm anxious for the rest of the elements to fall into place. A few more cars, a few more costumes, a few more logistics. Overall, it's going really well. I'll be curious to watch today's footage.

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

The Order of Myths Opens Austin

If there's one film to documentary to see this year, it's The Order of Myths. Margaret Brown's latest film was my favorite at SXSW this last Spring. I promise a great story and a inside look into a world you'd otherwise never get a glimpse at.

To get tickets go HERE.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

TV Friends

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).

Film Editing 101

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

Nightmare on Elm Street 2 Freddy's Revenge

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.


One of the coolest ladies I know.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Wire - Season 2

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.

Losing My Memory

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.

Ninja James - Table Read Through

It was nice to gather the troops in a cramped conference room for the table read of Ninja James. It becomes more and more real and less daunting as we go along. We have a fantastic cast and an amazing crew that will make the actors shine on screen. I can't wait. From here, the calendar is packed solid with more test shoots, rehearsals, camera meetings, production designing, more costumes .... little time to breathe. Only time to make movies.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Film Industry Bloggers

A new blogging forum to peruse. Getting the inside scoop from development executives to boom operators.


I'm not a party person. I never have been. I stayed at home and watched SNL in college when my friends would hit the keggers. At 33, I'm still a home body. But Friday night, I stepped out into the town. Jason, Laura, Roger and I met up at the Austin Film Festival BBQ at the French Legation. So many folks I haven't seen in ages. It was nice seeing everyone from Bob Hudgins to Chris Ohlson. John Bryant to Mike Scannel, Chris Eska to Drew Mayer Oaks and everyone in between. The highlight was Barbara Morgan introducing me to Jeff Nichols (Shotgun Stories). I was a total fangirl. I'm so in love with your film!!! I was totally stupid. But I do. I love his film so much. And he was nothing but humble and nice.

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

Talking to Animals

Mark was really mad when I didn't share this with him. So if you haven't seen it, I hope you laugh your butt off. It's hilarious.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Boy Scout Motto - Be Prepared

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

Seeking Windowless Car

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

Today's Anthem - The Gaslight Anthem

This is the song I start my morning run off to lately. Thanks to Mr. Volk and his special work out mix.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ninja James - Test Shoot #2

I love test shoots! Especially when they involve, me, Keefe and Scott pretending to be badasses punching each other out. The more tests, the less daunting and complicated it all becomes.

Girls Now Conference, Austin, TX

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 to register.

Kat's First Virtual Mix Tape

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dekalb Illinois - Recovering

I'm recovering from an almost sleepless 24 hour trip to Illinois. Bryan and I had a fantastic time and it was so worth it. But oh how it puts a toll on your body.

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

Dekalb Illinois - The Screening

Ok, so I kind of bombed on the Key Note Speech. I held it together for about 5 or 10 minutes and then it went south. I'm not the best with speeches. Yeah, not so much. So I can't say it was a success. But afterwards Bryan and I went to a small town meeting with some folks from the Dekalb school system and I redeemed myself. We participated in an intelligent conversation about suicide prevention and how to bring conversation, curriculum and awareness into middle and high schools. I think Bryan and I brought a younger perspective to the issues. They seemed to like our ideas and afterwards, driving back to the hotel, I felt like we really contributed. I felt like we were a part of something bigger than just a screening. And hopefully they'll take some of the things we said to heart and incorporate them into their strategies.

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.

Dekalb, Illinois - Key Note Speech

The morning started off rocky when I realized I left my phone in the car and got crazy scared when Bryan showed up just in time to get on the plane. But we made it safely and smoothly to Illinois after that. I didn't get to watch much out the window on the hour long drive from Chicago to Dekalb, because I was working on a Keynote Speech that I'm about to give in a 1/2 hour. All eyes on me as I'm sure I'll stumble and falter through my words and stories. I'm sure it'll be fine though. Just breathe, right?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Off to Illinois

I'm heading to Illinois in the morning for a screening of jumping off bridges. It's a 24 hour trip, back by Saturday afternoon. I have a lot of reading to do on the plane. Lots of scripts to catch up on. I hope I don't fall asleep.

Writ Writer Screening, 10/16, Austin

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Austin Film Festival Recommendations

If you're heading to the Austin Film Festival next week, here are some recommendations.

THE AVIATRIX by Toddy Burton
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

Ninja James - Movin' Right Along

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.

August Evening Opens Austin, 10/10 at the Arbor

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

Scott Bate - Film Reviews

My good friend Scott Bate has always had such a wonderful take on films. Long ago when the Austin Film Society was doing a series on Blake Edwards Scott took me to see SOB. I had no idea what I was getting into. He introduced me to his favorite filmmaker. Here's more on why he wants you to love this film. Look out for more of Scott's film reviews.

Monday, October 06, 2008

You Ever Have Those Days ... ?

Where no matter how much you feel like you're about to catch up, you fall really far behind again. Like an episode of The Twilight Zone. Or like the recurring dream I had in high school. In my dream, I would try putting a paperclip on a stack of papers, but the stack was too thick and the paperclip kept popping off. Over an over and over again. But I would still try to put that paperclip on. Or the other dream I'd have where I'm putting a rubber band around rolled up posters and it kept breaking. Again and again and again. What does that say about me?

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

Ninja James - Cast (Almost Locked)

What a day. Whew. Call backs this morning, test shoots/location scouting this afternoon and a brief little work date with Intern (Ex-Intern, actually) Adam. It's late, I'm home, sitting in bed, charging my iPod for a run in the morning and feeling a little better about the status of all things Ninja James.

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.

Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist (2008)

I haven't loved a movie through and through maybe since I saw The Fall. This is the movie I've been searching for since John Hughes tossed in his hat with teen films. This will definitely go up there with some of the greats. No doubt about it. It made sense coming from Peter Sollett (Raising Victor Vargas, Five Feet High and Rising). There's a realism and a respect for his characters and a deep love for that youthful sensibility. I can't wait to see what he's lined up to do next.

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.

Saturday Student Screening

A total success. Only 6 student films from the summer semester, but I was so proud to see them on the screen. They all did really well. I always get so "mama bear" when I see my kids' films up on screen. I usually get pretty teary eyed. I can't wait to see what they do next and how they grow. That's the best part.

Friday, October 03, 2008

August Evening - Trial and Error

There's a great article in this week's Austin Chronicle with Chris and Jason talking about August Evening.

Glen Powell Jr. - Without A Trace

Glen Powell Jr. (Eric in jumping off bridges) will have a guest appearance on Without a Trace Tuesday, October 21st. So mark your calendars and tune in!

Freaking Out

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.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Short Pacts

Somehow when I hang out with my friend Duane Graves I stay up way past my bed time. But I come home at midnight after a three hour conversation about filmmaking and cinema full of life, excitement and a long list of recommended movies. And a pact to make a short together early next year. Sweet.