Friday, December 13, 2013

Forget the holidays, I want to go to Sundance and Slamdance!

Blogs are like house plants, if you don’t water them every now and again, they’re going to whither and die. Not that this blog is going away, but it’s been a bit neglected and it needs some serious TLC.

So back to the writing…

Really I have been doing a lot of writing, but just not here. I’ve got several screenplays that I’m working on and hopefully sometime this year, I’ll have enough financing and support, to make one of them! How incredibly amazing would that be.

Right now though, I’m really excited about the upcoming Sundance and Slamdance fests in January. I know I should be focusing on the holidays, especially since I haven’t bought a single gift (gah!!), but for some reason, holidays are more of a pain in the ass, than a reason for a wonderful warm glow feeling.
I think it’s the commercialization of what should be a thoughtful, introspective time of year, - kind of turns me off!
But I got distracted, back to the upcoming Fests!!
I’m particularly thrilled that this is going to be my second time at Sundance and Slamdance. No more being a first timer for me!  I’ve got my flights, my condo, my awesome condo mates and I’m looking forward to seeing friends,  reconnecting with friends from last year, and seeing lots of movies!!
 And there is going to be a huge Texas contingent going again this year, so YeeHaw, watch out. Texas is once again, going to dominate screen and streets.

Drop me a line if you think you’ll be out there, would love to see ya!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Catching Up

It's been a long time since I posted - not sure why. Busy I guess. I went to SXSW in March and met some amazing filmmakers. Then I started working on a short film last summer, that's pretty different that anything I've done before. More like an experimental film. I really love it. I was hoping that it would be ready to submit to Sundance, but that deadline didn't happen, then I was hoping for SXSW and that deadline came and went too. So now I'm stuck in post production, waiting for favors and schedules to open up. Thankfully, I have amazing friends that can kick in some time here and there to help me pull this film together. (I love you, my friends!!!!)

I worked as a filmmaker Liaison last month for Austin Film Festival. Got a badge, hit some parties, took in some films, went to seminars, helped my filmmakers get to their screenings and basically had a pretty fun time. I'm not sure if I'll do it again, but it was definitely worth doing.
Then just last weekend I went to a seminar in LA for learning how to make a feature film on a micro budget. Really good info!
But now I'm back in A-Town, and need to focus on getting this script hammered out. I'm excited about the story, and I think it's do-able on a pretty tiny budget, so I have major motivation. But the story kind of breaks my heart and I hope I'm not going to have my head in the story and be sad all the time.
Will post again soon, but no promises.

(Note: sorry for the poorly written post. Don't have time to polish, and condense. No eloquence here - nope :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Can't await to get over this!!!

Since Sundance, I’ve been laying low and trying to breath. Really. I came down with pneumonia and of course, whenever I start to feel better, I over do it. So now I’m just weak and have a sinus infection, meaning I’m on my third round of antibiotics. Which is fine, but the inhalers, holy moly, you talk about crack for your lungs!  But I’m getting better! I just need to meter out my time. I can go out for several hours for errands (meeting with the editor, or pick up my kid from school) and then back home to sleep.
On the bright side, all this laying low has been great for getting some writing done!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

SXSW and Spring Break Filmmaker/Parent Combo

As my Sundance induced cough gets better, I’ve been busy sending out my last short film, Static, to directors, writers and editor friends for feedback. Rough cut notes are essential when editing!! You get positive, insightful, constructive notes, on your unfinished film, that lets you know you are nowhere near done.
Stupid optimist - every time Editor Nancy and I work on the film, I always think “Yay!! Maybe two more weeks until picture lock!!”   Now I realize it could be closer to a month or more. Aargh!!! Fortunately there is nothing wrong with the film. The other filmmakers really like it, but it takes time to figure out how to incorporate their comments, and fine tune the footage. Gotta make this little film shine!

I’m also going to be attending SXSW this year! Usually the family and I take off that week because it’s Spring Break, but for various reasons, it’s not going to happen. So now I’m prepping for another huge film festival. It’s going to be jam packed with all kinds of really neat film seminars, films and mentorships.  I’ll be sure to blog about who and what, while I’m there.

With the boys being home during SXSW/Spring Break week, schedules and life in general, is going to be kinda hectic.  I want to make the most out of South By, but I also really want to spend time with the kids. So I’m thinking to tackle the mom/filmmaker combo, maybe I’ll skip SXSW for a day or two, and we’ll go Motox’ing  (I will try not to break anything!!), or maybe a water park.  Or better yet take them to some of the SXSW film and parties?!   O.K. maybe not -  Hey I’m just trying for a little balance here!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Sundance 2013 Recap

Taylor Thompson's pic of me on last day of Sundance 2013

I was hoping to do a “Wise Sage Wrap Up” post on what I learned from Sundance, but truthfully, I’m not sure I’ll ever have a handle on it.

A Few Things I Learned at Sundance 2013:

~ I’m more of an introvert than previously thought, but I used to be a social butterfly, and I just had to remember how to do it. 

~I didn’t merely go beyond my comfort zone: it was obliterated. By the end of Sundance, I could talk the talk, and walk the walk (and cough the cough!).

~Texas filmmakers are incredibly funny, sweet people!

~ I loved my Condo mates!! They are with out a doubt the coolest people on the planet. Because of them, I was very sorry to see the festival end.  Thanks to: Kat Candler, Corey Mitchell, Lauren Sanders, Taylor Thompson, Jonny Mars, Robin Schwartz and the occasional Aaron Marshall.

~ I loved working on Black Metal and supporting it at Sundance.  I’m so very proud of Kat Candler, Jonny Mars, and Kelly Williams for putting out an exceptional short film.

~Never get a new phone the day before you attend any festival!! I spent more time trying to figure it out, than actually using it  >:/

~Yen Tan’s film, Pit Stop, is an incredibly beautiful film. I’m sorry I was cut out of it, but I also see why. 

~ The Edelweiss Condo was super duper itsy bitsy teeny micro TINY!! but it was a great location. (I’m not complaining, I only shared my room with one, sometimes two people. Not 3 or 4!!)

~I’d like to thank the following people for helping me while I was at Sundance. You probably didn’t know it, but each one of you did something either incredibly nice, made me laugh, went out of your way to help me, encouraged me, have a wonderfulness about you, were there to support me, and/or believed in me in some way.     Big Thanks to: Sam, Austin and Joel Campbell, Lauri Randall, Dawn Bowyer, Trish Stoker, Joanna Langee, My Condo Mates!!, Marcus DeAnda, Alfred Cervantes,  Alan Berg, Kristen Johansen-Berg, HutcH, Don Swaynos, Richard Jones, Debbie Cerda, Farah White, Yen Tan, Anika Kunik, Sheryl Guterman, Jay Spain, Tina Theresa Rodriquez, and the super fun Vimeo Party.

~I will never be star struck, because I’ll never recognize celebrities in everyday life, or even remember their names.

~Try to get lots of sleep before going to Sundance - you’ll need it.

~ Nothing worth doing, is easy.

~ I can do anything.  Something I’ve always known, but I only half -believed.  Now I feel it like there is no other way.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sundance, Day 7 – Out with a Cough

I sleep as late as possible.  We have a noon check out, with our (Kat, Lauren, Jonny, Robin, Corey and mine) flights, taking off around 8 tonight.  Fortunately we can store our luggage in the condo office.  Lauren is, as usual, editing, but we get hungry and head into town. I think Taylor is with us. At least I remember her saying she was getting a sore throat and swigging off of my cough syrup.  Anway, we end up at the AP luncheon and there is food everywhere and really fresh. Wow Veggies!! Some salad is put out on the buffet and I grab some immediately. It’s perfect with the hot tea and I love it! 

I notice I’m seeing a lot of the same people throughout the festival, and I wave or nod to them. I’m really good now at meeting new people and have no problem chatting with strangers.  Someone who’s seems to have recently masters the “Meet-and-Greet Sundance Technique,” comes and talks about his projects.  Lauren takes our picture, I have no idea why, but it is still one of the funniest pic of the festival.  I’ll have to get it for you.

Wish I had more energy.  I think I’ll head back to the condo office and hang out there until our shuttle ride comes at 5:30.

I see Debbie, as I head out of the party and stop to say hi.  I met her at the Press Junket I did back in Austin and we’ve had several occasions to hang out here in Sundance.  I’m really glad to see her, but can’t chat, because I’m just too tired!

I’m now back at the condo lobby and asleep on their couch. Taylor is going to stay a few more days before driving (!!!) back to Austin, so I load her up with some of my magic cough syrup. My talking now sounds like a mechanical voice box and I try not to say much.  For one reason, it makes me cough and another is it either incredibly funny or creepy to everyone else. I totally don’t want to laugh. I think if I laugh I’ll die. 

Delta didn’t screw up our flights back to Austin. Kat and I sleep all the way back we get in at midnight.  I’m in a codeine cough syrup, exhausted state of mind and fortunately, I don’t get mugged as I find my car in the long term parking lot.

I’m home. I climb into my own bed. It’s bliss.

Aside from pushing fluids, going to doctor appointments, getting a secondary lung infection, or being awakened by my neighbor’s dog, I sleep for almost two weeks.  I’m just now processing the whole Sundance experience.  

I'll post a overview soon :) 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sundance Day 6 – Not good!

A visit to the Park City clinic for my cough! 

I’m here at Sundance and I’m sick!! I can’t believe it. Argh!!  I don’t have a sore throat, I just can’t seem to breathe very well and everything make me cough.  I walk over to the local clinic and get anitbioitcs and some cough syrup with codeine.  Tonight is the short program awards ceremony. Kat got me a ticket and it’s one of the most important functions I want to attend. I could cry that I may not be able to go.
“Please get well enough to attend the awards ceremony tonight,” I say to my immune system. It’s a little mantra I repeat over and over until I drift into a coma from the cough syrup.  I stay in bed all day.

It time to go to the awards ceremony and I know I can’t go. I’m just too sick and I’m totally wiped out.

Jonny and Robin come in and ask if I’m not going to go to the event, could she have my ticket.  I’m happy to give it to her. I couldn’t think of a nicer person I would rather give it to.  But when they leave I just can’t hold back and have a good cry in my pillow.  I don’t know when, or if, I’ll ever be able to come back to Sundance.

Later on Corey comes in. In the last week, he’s probably seen a zillion films, and done an equal amount of interviews. He’s a best selling author of true crime books and knows horror films, heavy metal bands and all things truly kick ass. (   I also think he a really awesome guy. It’s nice to just sit and chat, and it helps take the sting out of not going to the awards ceremony.

Some more folks trickle in. Aaron is sleeping again on the floor of our room, but he’s not too worried about catching what I have. Kat decides to crash on the floor of the living room. I can’t blame her. If I heard me coughing, I wouldn’t want to be near me either.

I accidently take triple the amount of cough syrup (that was 2 teaspoons, not 3 tablespoons!) and I’m thankfully out for the rest of the evening.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sundance - Day 5

Jason Isaacs at Sundance 2013

Sundance, Day 5 – Monday I think
Today is even busier than the day before. I’m starting to feel the exhaustion. I head over to Starbucks and plop down next to someone who looks familiar, but yet again, I can’t place the celebrity. Oh well, I ask him to watch my stuff while I get my coffee and he’s cool with it., but says it in a wonderful English accent.  After a bit, someone taps his table and asks his name and he nicely tells them “Jason Isaacs.” Then the person walks off.  I tell him that’s kind of rude and joke that it happens to me all the time.  I decide to Google the name on my phone, and find that he is the actor who played Lucios Malfoy, in the Harry Potter films.  I’m a huge Harry Potter film fan and while I’m happy to meet him, I (thankfully) don’t do the star struck thing. We chat for a bit more. He tells me about other fan encounters and which film of his is premiering and I tell him about Black Metal.  I think I’m mostly pleased that I met someone who was nice and pleasant.  

I head over to the premiere of Pit Stop. This is particularly bitter sweet for me, because I had a really nice part, but was cut out. A lot of people told me that my performance was one of their favorites in the film, but that my character’s story line didn’t further the story. As a director, I totally understand the necessity to cut out anything in a film that doesn’t work. As an actress, I was devastated.   In one of the cut scenes, I sing a love song.  I used to do a lot of singing, (I thought I would be a singer when I grew up) and if you know me, I’m not one to boast but I worked like a dog on that song and totally owned it. I put so much real love into that song, it felt  like an energy around me.  Like I said, I get why, but it still hurts.  Hopefully someone will give me another chance to be in their film.

As for the film itself - Pit Stop is exceptional, Yen did an incredible job and I can see why things were done the way that they were.  I was so moved by the story and the actors.  I highly recommend it.  Afterwards, I get a chance to say hi to Marcus and  Bill, and tell them how terrific they are. It’s super to see them so happy.

I hang around too long after the screening and realize I’m going to be late to the screening of Computer Chess. Ugh. I see Farah and meet her friend Bill, - jump forward a few hours and the three of us and now hanging out on Main Street and heading to dinner.  We end up at the Korean party, where I met a really nice festival programmer, and Taylor and Lauren stop by.

After the Korean party, we try to get in to a few more parties, but because we all can’t get into the same one, we go our separate ways. I end up over at the Kickstarter party and meet several really nice festival programmers. 
It’s now really late and (as usual) super cold outside.  I hope to meet up with someone to walk home, but no one is in sight, so I set out on foot. I don’t like the idea of walking through the dark ally way, so I take a little longer route, but I have to hoof it up hill and then around to the other side of the condo complex. With a certain amount of dread and foreboding, I notice my lungs feel tight and the cold air is making me cough.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Day 4 - Exhausted

These are of Kat, Heather, Corey, Taylor, Lauren and Me, 
heading over to the a Sundance Black Metal screening!! 
(Debbie is in there too, but somehow I missed her.) 

Day 4 Sunday Jan 20th – Sundance
 Must get tickets! Tay, Lauren and I are up at 6:30am and in the ticket line at 7:20am. Forty minutes before the doors opens, and there is still one frickin guy in front of us. By 7:30am, the line is a good 40 feet behind us, and growing.  I get 4 tickets to Pit Stop (Hutch begged/promised to be my new best friend if I got a ticket for his Dad), Computer Chess, and Toy’s House.

For some reason I’m late to the Outfest Filmmakers luncheon. Once again, I’m not on the list, but I tell them I’m with Pit Stop and they happily let me in. I even get a picture on the red carpet.  I think it’s the only Sundance Red carpet picture where I’m not throwing a heavy metal sign, sticking my tongue out or shooting a bird (or all three).  I haven’t seen it though, so if you come across it, please send it over. J

More about the Outfest party -  Yen, Director of Pit Stop went up on stage and everyone was really proud of him. James Franco was there too. He was working the scruffy look. What I really loved, was seeing Marcus. We had a scene together in Pit Stop.  He’s such a wonderful/lovely person. I naturally gravitate to him.  He was terribly sorry about my scene being cut from the film. I can’t tell him how much I appreciate his sincerity, or I’ll get all chocked up. So instead I just tell him how great it is to see him.
Farah is there too. But let’s be real, Farah is everywhere. I don’t know how she does it. She always looks put together, is beautiful, chats with everyone and makes it look effortless. We go to get a bloody Mary.  I know I’m going to like this girl!

Afterwards is the Austin Film Society Party, that’s co sponsored by my office group Arts and Labor. The place is packed and so many of my friends from Texas are here; filmmakers, actors, DPs,  Producers etc., . but the timing is bad and quite a few of us need to take off for the Black Metal Screening.

At the theater, I interview Kat and Jonny for Lauren and I did it a lot like entertainment tonight.  I laugh now, thinking about it.
The screening went really well and again, I’m terribly proud of Kat and her film Black Metal.  We had a little post screening party which was fun, but then I ended up stuck outside in freezing temperatures and no way home. But I was with quite a few from my condo and Arts & Labor, so at least I as in good company!

I’m so done for the night!

Sundance Photos

Kat and Kelly (and Lauren and myself) hanging out in the Detroit Airport.  
We are not feeling the love from Delta Airlines!!

We are in a strange funky underground airport teleportation hallway in the Detroit Airport. 
Lauren wears it well. 

It hits me that we are really at Sundance. OMG!!!

One of many Sundance parties.

Another Sundance party

Best Sundance Party Evah!! Vimeo was the best!!! 
(With Robin, Adam, Jonny and myself) 

Yes, Another Sundance Party
 (I think this is the North Carolina Filmmakers party)

The lovely Farah and me at the Outfest Luncheon.

Tay Tay seems kinda concerned. I don't blame her. 

Lauren, Taylor and me at the Korean Party.