Saturday, February 27, 2010

Shit - Pre-Production

My UT students are gearing up for March shoots-- some have it a little more difficult than others. But they're all in the midst of test shoots, tech scouts, casting, crewing up, production design ... you name it, they're doing it. Or at least they're supposed to.

I'm right there with them. Our shoot for Shit is one month away. It seems like a good chunk of time, but I tell ya what, it's gonna be here sooner than we know it. I'm kind of a freak about details and organization. I can't just "wing it". I can't pretend like everything's gonna fall in to place. I'd freak the "f" out. I want to know every little details been checked, double checked and triple checked. I want things to be tested, practiced ... That's just the way I roll. Or produce my best work, I guess.

Some of my filmmaking friends can just go out and shoot and come back with something amazing. Yeah, that's not me. I have to plot, plan and work hard to make something decent.

So pretty much everything's in place so far. Minus two things. Two big things. And if you're reading this and you have access to or have a connection to, let me know.

We really need a PeeWee Dolly with tracks and a jib with a monitor. We're shooting on a slightly bump/curvy road and sidewalk. I want smooth, smooth, smooth. SMOOTH.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Child Thief - Round Two

Self imposed deadlines rule! Especially when you stick to them. February 26th, two days away and I'm almost ready to hand off a new draft of The Child Thief. I printed out a copy and have been pouring through it with tons of revisions and corrections. Trying to add, finesse and make it kinda awesome ... for a second draft. And I've been watching lots of super lame horror/ghost films and learning how to not be super lame.

Oh and by the way, I totally suck at pitching this script right now. On the phone with a manager yesterday and I pretty much made it sound like the lamest ghost story ever. Note to self make it sound crazy ass cool.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Love Bug Wins Traverse City Film Festival?

From the Traverse City Comedy Arts Festival Blog ...

Post-interview, we headed back into the theater to catch the Comedy Shorts Competition. There were a number of hilarious shorts shown, including a few from Michael's "Awful Truth" days (not in competition), Joe Avella's "Wheelchair Werewolf" and Greg & Lou's "Wolverine's Claws Suck." In an odd display of audience manic-depressive disorder, the two winners (which were determined by a real audience applause meter) were the violently funny "Wolverine's Claws Suck" and an a-dorable short about young puppy love called "Love Bug." Michael presented the Greg & Lou crew with their trophy, complete with a golden snowmobile attached on top, which the guys deemed "surprisingly heavy." Afterward, the group brought the trophy over with them so we could shoot an interview at the Up North studio, and I'm fairly certain it is blocking one or all of our faces at any given point during the conversation. We'll post the results later this week when the interviews are online to see how it all turned out.

I just wish I'd been there to get a golden snowmobile award from Michael Moore too. Sigh.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chainsaws, Slackers and Spy Kids - Book Release

Come out and support Alison Macor's Chainsaws, Slackers and Spy Kids Book Release on March 7th at 3pm at Book People. And buy her book!
I can't wait to read it!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Shit - Location Scout

John and I made our first location scout this morning for the upcoming short film Shit. I took a bunch of photos (with my new fancy iPhone!) and assessed at our light situation. What equipment will we need? What kind of lights? What are the best spots to shoot? What issues are we going to run into?

Because I've got very little to no money for this one, we'll be begging, borrowing and stealing whatever we can to get it made. I hate not having money. But it makes you scrappy and resourceful. Reinforces that silly "can do" attitude.

Michael Moore Loves Love Bug

Love Bug will screen this weekend at the Traverse City Comedy Arts Festival hosted by Michael Moore and Jeff Garlin.

So if you live in Traverse City, Michigan go support little Turtle Thompson in his Traverse City screen debut.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Texas Monthly - Best Emerging Texas Filmmakers 2010

Texas Monthly Article ... For the past two decades, virtually all the cinematic energy in Texas has been centered in Austin. Indie darlings such as Robert Rodriguez and Richard Linklater continue to call the city home. The South by Southwest Film Festival, which kicks off its seventeenth edition on March 12, gets more crowded each year. Most recently, the town has given birth to “mumblecore,” an entire mini-genre that involves chatty tales of hipster angst (see the works of Mark and Jay Duplass, Andrew Bujalski, and Joe Swanberg, all of which have been aggressively promoted at SXSW). Read the rest here.

I don't know Chad, but I can attest to Ryan, Bryan and Clay being wicked awesome!

Dance with the One - Trailer

Dance with the One trailer from UT RTF on Vimeo.

This is the University of Texas Film Institute feature film directed by Mike Dolan. It's playing at SXSW this year.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Marathonin' It

No sir, I'm not running the marathon this year. Nor will I run the marathon ever, ever, ever again. I did it once in 2006 with these two gals and I checked it off of my "Life's List of To Dos". In fact after I crossed the finish line that freezing cold February morning, I turned to Stacy and said with tears running down my face, "I don't ever want to do this again." And I meant it. I went on to run the half the following year, but since then, my mileage taps out at about 5 miles. My little knees, my arm and my IT band said, "No more, thank you."

But I will say, I'm excited for everyone who is running the marathon or half marathon tomorrow. Team TexFX, Owen and Yuta. I'm not sure who else. If you see the mob of runners tomorrow morning, sweating and panting through the streets of Austin ... cheer them on. Tell them they can do it. Tell them they're awesome. Tell them they're rockin' it hard core. Because every single one of them are rock stars in my book.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The Child Thief - Round One

At a page count of 101, it's not bad for a first draft. Mind you, it's rough and ragged and frayed around the edges. But I think the structure is there (for the most part). I've got a bazillion notes on random pieces of paper for myself to head into the next draft with. But I'll print out my 101 pages and pour through it scene by scene, line by line. I'll have my red pen ready to mark it all up. Rounding out the characters, threading bits and pieces, defining more relationships ... But so far I'm pretty happy. Don't get me wrong, it needs work. A lot of work still, but I'm happy to have 101 pages to fiddle with.

My next deadline, February 26th. I'll hand it over for a new set of eyes to rip it to shreds. I love you, deadlines!

P.S. I got an iPhone. I love you, little iPhone. I don't quite understand you yet. But I love you.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bronson - Trailer

Tom Hardy should've been nominated for an Oscar. It's a shame people didn't see this film. It's a breathtaking performance.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Earthling - 2nd Teaser Trailer

If you're at SXSW this year, check it out!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I Don't Want to Write

I went through a two week writing lull. I'd stare at my computer. Procrastinate with and Oh No They Didn't celebrity gossip sites. I'd psych myself out (in a really whiny voice) "I don't feel like writing. I'm so uninspired. I just want to watch endless episodes of Law and Order SVU and eat turkey sandwiches. Boohoo for me." Maybe it's because I haven't had any looming deadlines. Or self imposed deadlines. Or making my library writing dates.

So this is what I have to say to you, Kathleen Susanne Candler. "Buck up little lady. Stop watching Law and Order episodes (except at the gym). Start writing you lazy booty head!!!"

Sometimes I just need to watch a movie for inspiration. Sometimes I just need to read a book. My mental state right now, I just need to kick my own ass and open Final Draft and get to work.

I was just telling Toddy today. My new goal each year is to wrap up at least two of my own scripts and at least one with Toddy. Three scripts a year is totally totally doable.

Last year I wrapped up Love Me, Captain Dynamo and the Boy Rangers and Never Date a Teen Idol. This is not a hobby. This is a job. This is how I pay bills. Simple as that.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Overbrook Brothers - Trailer

Watch The Overbrook Brothers on IFC On Demand February 17th. And to get a taste of another John Bryant laugh fest, watch Oh My God.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Bad Horror Films vs. Good Horror Films

In my humble opinion ...

Bad Horror Films Do This:
1) Really fast MTV style cuts
2) David Fincher, Seven rip off cinematography (dirty, grimy, greenish yellow)
3) Opening montage title sequences with newspapers, shocking images flashing by.
4) Torture scenes that do or say nothing about the story but are simply gross and not scary.
5) Lame characters that you have NO emotional connection to.
6) Plot points or supernatural events that make no sense. You can totally do crazy stuff but you have to establish rules for your world and obey the rules you set up. Once everything at the end of the film is revealed you have to be able to start the film over with that information and it should all make sense. Especially with ghosts.
7) Inconsistent tone.
8) That thing they do where a head twists and turns in fast motion. Not scary.
9) Are Executive Produced by Michael Bay

Good Horror Films Have:
1) A good story!!!!!
2) Interesting characters that you can emotionally connect to and care about.
3) Subtlety
4) Class
5) Restraint
6) Being true to the story and not having crazy camera work or edits just to have crazy camerawork and edits.
7) A good story.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

1-Minute Short Films - The Huffington Post

In my Advanced Narrative Digital Production class at UT my students have to turn in a 7-page script, a 1-page pitch and a 1-minute short film in the first two weeks of class. This semester I got the most solid 1-minute short films I've ever had. So solid that they end up in an article in The Huffington Post.

Congrats Max for a national release of your 1-minute class assignment! Check it out here. Rated R for mature audiences.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Earthling - Teaser Trailer

Earthling Teaser from Barak Epstein on Vimeo.

SXSW Announces Films

I'm kicking myself for planning a trip to LA for one of the most exciting years of SXSW in a while. Lots of friends' films playing this year-- Earthling, Lovers of Hate, The Happy Poet, Cyrus, Dance with the One, Mars ... not to mention the hot tickets from Sundance, Winter's Bone, Enter the Void, The Runaways ... and the new Jean-Pierre Jeunet movie! Go Janet and Jarod, go!

Shit, the Short

I'm ready to shoot another short film.
Script = check.
Schedules, budget, lists, excel spreadsheets = check.
Now I just need to assemble my cast, crew, equipment and locations.
This one's an easy one. Only two pages. Short and sweet, baby!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Michael Emerson - Lost

If you like LOST, you should check out Michael Emerson in jumping off bridges. I'm just sayin' ...

The Haunting Trailer (1963)

PJ Harvey - Rid of Me

Mark likes to leave CDs in my car so I'll listen to something besides the one CD that's been in my CD player for weeks and weeks on end. I'm not sure if I'm lazy or I just really get stuck on an album. But nonetheless, it drives him batty to listen to the same album more than twice. That album could be a mixed CD from a friend, the latest Metric record or more recently Ola Podrida. When did I write that last post about that?

So he slipped in PJ Harvey's Rid of Me the other day. And now it's on repeat. He's got me reminiscing something fierce.