Saturday, November 28, 2009

What I Love About this Thanksgiving ...

1) Family
2) Turkey / Cranberry Sandwiches
3) A movie every day. Sometimes two.
4) Chocolate Lollipops from Sees Candy
5) Playing Beauty Shop with my niece and nephew
6) Listening to Bert and Ernie go on a Tiger Hunt
7) Sleeping in until 8am and not feeling guilty about it.
8) Not being on my computer more than about 15 minutes a day.
9) Laughing like mad with my sister in law over really silly stuff.
10) Spending lots of time with my hubby.
11) Long walks with my niece collecting pine cones and playing on playgrounds.
12) Performing dance routines for the family.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Love Bug - AFF Photo

The Love Bug Crew (Leslie, Kelsey, Reese, Me and Scott)
Photo Courtesy of Chris Lin

On the Eve of a New Story

I've put the pen down, so to speak, on several stories of late. Kind of fitting that it's just in time for the holidays. Toddy and I finished up Never Date a Teen Idol and are now carefully handing it to a few folks to see where it might land. I feel really really good about this script. We created a fun little world. Not to mention a great partnership. I found an easy collaborator in Ms. Burton. I think we lucked out somehow because it was such a fun writing adventure.

I hit the "send" button on the two outlines I was working on and am happy that they're out of my hands. We'll see what comes back. I have to say, it was harder than I thought it'd be. They asked for a 3-5 page treatment and I turned in a 10 page treatment, a 14 page treatment and a mix CD (cause, dude, they need to know what kind of music's in my head when I'm writing this stuff, right?). I couldn't quite manage to squoosh a story into 5 pages. How can you develop character, relationships and voices in a few measly pages? I don't know. It was a good exercise if nothing else.

So yeah, I need to pick up a new story. Toddy and I are brainstorming over the holidays to see what we'll do next. As for my own projects, I have a few ideas. I'd love to go for a different genre. Not kid's comedy, not teen romance, not teen thriller ... maybe not about anyone under 18? I'd really really really really love to write a horror film. Oh but what to do. Not slasher, not torture porn, not gross out. Ok, little missy, must think on this one.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Moon vs. Bright Star vs. Teen Romance in General

Yes, I've read almost all four Twilight books. I got bored with the fourth and never really wanted to go back. I was excited to see New Moon just because ... I'm a fifteen year old girl living in a thirty five year old's body. No, I didn't like the first film. Even though, I'm somewhat embarrassed to say I've seen it three times. I could go on and on with what I didn't like and why, but why bother, honestly it doesn't matter. It's not like the flocks of fans will love it any less. Needless to say New Moon didn't fair too well with me either. I left the theater thinking, if only all these millions of Twilight fans could've seen Bright Star instead. They would've gotten their money's worth. Now there's a movie that drips with romance. Oozes with angst. Rips your heart out. Lingers on the lovers stare as if there was nothing else in the world that could keep them apart. I was the fifteen year old watching Campion's film clapping and secretly thinking to myself "Kiss her, kiss her!"

I've been working on these two teen romance outlines for a possible writing gig. I've been looking for inspiration anywhere I can get it. Went back through my old journals, have been reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower again, watching romance movies ... anything to get back into that sixteen year old's head.

I really like the story for the first outline I turned in last week. It feels rich and it's a world I'd like to live in for 90 minutes to an hour. I was excited any time I got to work on it or reflect on the characters. The second one, I'm pretty "eh" on. I think I just haven't had enough time to let it settle like I did with the first. To find the moments and character details to make it grow. So I'll turn in the second one tomorrow with a brief note telling them, "I like the first one better". I even made a mix CD to go along with the first one. Basically a mix of Nick Drake, Iron and Wine and Jose Gonzalez. It's all I listened to when I was working on it. I'll be happy to turn them both in and then just wait. Honestly if they don't pick the outline I really love, I'll probably move forward with it anyway, but I'll have to change one big character detail in it. But no big deal. It won't change the heart.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Plate is Full

I love all of my friends and students so much and wish I had more time in a day to offer notes, feedback, go to more test screenings, write letters of recommendations, hang out ... but I don't. Especially lately when my husband and cat are feeling completely neglected. Pork Chop's been peeing on the carpet again in protest of my absence. I hear ya buddy.

With that said, I'm taking December off from lunches, get togethers, test screenings, hang outs, going out of town and offering notes to students and friends that aren't in my current or independent study classes. I did this over the summer and it worked really really well. So if I say, "Sorry, I can't go to lunch this time" or "I won't be able to make that screening this go around" or "I won't have time to give notes on this," please don't be offended. Just know that I'm freakin' out with all the stuff going on that I need to wrap up before the end of the year and I need to hunker down and get it done. Somehow, I got really really busy.

But I will surface again, I promise.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Dear Mr. Parking Attendant

Dear Mr. Parking Attendant Man at 25th and Guadualupe,
Please take note that when you're an asshole to people at 8am in the morning who are just starting their day, it kind of ruins the rest of their morning. It puts them in a sad/bad mood that they can't shake simply because you were a mean jerkwad. I know, it's crazy to think you have that much control over someone's state of mind. What a difference a jerky comment or attitude makes opposed to a simple smile. Next time, consider being nice when talking to people. I swear, it goes a long, long way. And would probably make you a happier person.

Now don't get me wrong. It wouldn't have been such a big deal if it were the first time. I'd have thought, "Oh man, something sucky must've happened to this guy to make him such a sour puss." Cause in general, I let things roll off me." Just let it go," I try to tell myself. But when it happens over and over again-- well, it just bums me out. So instead of spending my $20/week at your little parking lot (because UT doesn't pay for my parking) I'll walk across the street to the garage where I just have to deal with cash machines which somehow never seem to give me attitude.

I hope that whatever it is in your life that's making you so incredibly unpleasant to interact with turns around for you.

UT Parking Customer

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

It was a fun day of being a bona fide Guest Speaker. This morning I chatted with a class at Texas State University about making films and then this afternoon, I visited Webb Middle School for Gen Austin's Career Week. I met about 9 or 10 middle school girls and talked to them a little about what it's like to be a filmmaker. Towards the end of the get together, they went around the room and said what they wanted to be when they grew up. "Child doctor, Veterinarian, Teacher, Doctor, Cosmetologist, Zoologist, Oceanographer ... " Wow. I love it.

I remember my mom asked me in elementary school to fill out questions in my baby book. I had the same question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" In crooked, scribbled handwriting I wrote ... "Artist".

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My Composition Books

When I was in fifth grade my Oma gave me a diary. It was my first. Green and blue with little fishermen all over it. She told me it was a safe place to write all of my thoughts and feelings. I took her advice for a long, long time about writing what was going on in my head. I have stacks of old composition books, journals, diaries that I kept off and on until about four years ago. I'm less likely to scrawl my emotions into journals now than I am to incorporate them into stories and scripts. Or even just talk them out with my husband, friends and therapists.

But as I'm working on these two teen outlines, I'm trying to get back into the head of that angst ridden teenager from long ago. It's been a while since I've flipped through the pages. But I'm finding them horribly depressing. I mostly wrote about the sad times growing up ... feeling ugly, unloved, losing friends or relatives, the day River Phoenix died, being so in love with countless boys that would never love me back. So as much as I really want to read through them, I had to close the pages and put them back in my trunk. Maybe another day. Because today, I'm enjoying my age and my wisdom. I'm enjoying my place in the world with my friends and family. I'm happy.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Video

Thank you Toddy for sending me this Birthday treat video! I'm all smiles and giggles.

Range Life Brings Roster of Films to the Dobie

Range Life Entertainment presents 5 energetic and irreverent independent comedies that have been turning heads and generating cult audiences at festivals across the country (Sundance, Slamdance, SXSW, and CineVegas to name a few). Following their strong festival runs, these filmmakers opted to take charge, and are at the forefront of an emerging trend in distribution; traversing the nation by van this fall and engaging in grassroots marketing and on-line promotion to bring their films directly to their audiences. As filmmaker and tour organizer Todd Sklar says, "It's all about getting these films out there and connecting with people. Everything else in this business is white noise." So tune it out altogether and join us for a week full of festival favorites at the Dobie Theater!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Aunt Kat

I have to give a shout out to some of my favorite kids in the whole wide universe who sent me wicked awesome birthday cards! Thank you Christian, Robert, Emma and Caroline. I love you guys so much and hope that over Christmas we can build a rocket ship that will travel super fast from Texas to Florida so we can hang out and play Star Wars and Guitar Hero all the time. Cause I miss you guys and love you guys so much.

And tomorrow, I'm having a super special birthday lunch with my niece Bella and her BFFs at her elementary school. I haven't been this excited about a birthday lunch in like ... forever.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Catching Up is Hard to Do

What's hard is juggling stories and scripts. You get super into a character or story and get fast and furious work done and then stumble onto another one and get wrapped up before you've finished working on the one you started on. I have two deadlines quickly approaching. The treatments and the teen comedy script. Both I'm happy and excited to be working on again, but I'm having trouble balancing my work between the two. It makes it so much easier when there's only one project on your desktop that needs attention. They're starting to build up. Alas. It's still cool living in their little angst ridden worlds. As long as my plots and characters don't sneak over from one to the other, I'll be good. But hey, that'd be an interesting experiment.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

So Long South Padre

It's been a most amazing weekend with my two best friends, Clare and Karen. I've known these girls since seventh grade. Clare was my first friend at Stanton College Prep and I had my first french kiss in Karen's backyard. We have lots of awkward adolescent history. I just wish at this point in our lives, we lived a little closer. New York and Austin are way too far apart. And stupid airfare ain't cheap.

Sadly, I've had minor vacation guilt since I've been here. It's time to get home and catch up on worky work. I owe notes and rewrites to Toddy for Never Date a Teen Idol, have to finish up one treatment on my teen romance and start a second one ... and have lots of packages to send out for Love Bug.

But oh, did I need this time desperately to reconnect and catch up with the girls. Hopefully we can do it more often. My sanity and heart need it.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

LOVE BUG wins Austin Film Festival's Audience Award!!!!

Love Bug picked up the Audience Award from the Austin Film Festival.
Turtle Thompson and Maddy Cooper are feeling the love.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Upcoming Screenings - Rockport, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth

Love Bug
Quarter to Noon

That Evening Sun - Opens NY and LA

If you're lucky enough to live in New York or LA, go see THAT EVENING SUN. I've heard nothing less than amazing reviews of the film. And I can't wait for it to hit Austin Theaters.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Verdict (1982)

At the crime/suspense panel at the Austin Film Festival, I left inspired not only to write, but to dive back in to classic films that I missed along the way. Sadly, there are too many.

One that I picked up this weekend was The Verdict. Watching a movie like this, written by the great David Mamet and directed by the timeless Sidney Lumet, I'm reminded what delicate care Mamet takes with his words and his characters and what grace Lumet uses with his camera.

They're both so carefully drawn and etched out that I'm a little overwhelmed. I'm curious, how quickly does someone write a script like this? How does someone (Mamet) create such intricacies with each word and phrase and movement in his story. I'm in total awe. And what Lumet does with his camera ... so many wide, long shots, letting the scene and the actors fill the space and create the tension. It's classy, elegant and bold. You don't see it so much these days.

Oh and Paul Newman. If only you could stare into those blue, blue eyes all day long. There are a million stories written all over his face. And he can tell each one with a nod, a glance or even sitting perfectly still.