Posts Tagged ‘Sundance’


Mine That IP – 13. August, 2015

Everything old is new again, especially if it has fallen into the public domain. Apparently the hot trend in screenwriting is to find a new take on an old story, or as the kids are calling it: IP Mining.

Like Robin Hood told from the Sheriff of Nottingham’s point of view.

Or what if Snow White were the hero of her own story?

Or how about Santa Claus’ sexy early years.


Actually, that image is from a different “Santa Claus: The Early Years” story. If you’re in the movie industry, you’re aware of this article / Twitter rant and how this guy got his foot in the door with Winter’s Knight.

If you want to break into the movie business — I’m talking about big movies, not indie films elbowing to get into Sundance — then you need to mine IP.

So, can I interest you in Adam & Eve, Monster Hunters?



Posted in Writing

3 Thoughts for Sundance Filmmakers – 27. January, 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post but with good reason. First, I’ve been working day and night putting the finishing touches on my comic book script for the Top Cow Talent Hunt. I’m terribly proud but we all know that doesn’t mean much unless I get one of the writing spots. I can’t say a lot at the moment… aw, f**k it. Here’s one hint. My comic is about this artifact:


The other reason it took an age to write a blog post is because I went to Sundance this year. In 4.5 days I managed to to catch 17 movies (those in bold were my favorites).

  • The Green Prince
  • Dinosaur 13
  • Camp X-Ray
  • God’s Pocket
  • Animation Spotlight
  • Frank
  • The Guest
  • Ping Pong Summer
  • Whitey: The United States v. James J. Bulger
  • Marmato
  • To Be Takei
  • Land Ho!
  • Life After Beth
  • Life Itself
  • Kumiko the Treasure Hunter
  • The Sleepwalker
  • No No: A Dockumentary

*Note: that’s also the order in which I watched them.

Now, instead of getting into a “this film is better than that film” post, let me offer some thoughts about all the films I saw.

One, no matter what the subject, or when it’s set, your film must speak to today’s audience. If you’re making a film for Sundance 1994, you won’t find a receptive audience unless you jump in a TARDIS and zip back twenty years. I’m not saying that your film has to be “ripped from the headlines” but you should be addressing some faction of today’s audience directly. It doesn’t matter if it’s a movie for old people or LARPers or revolutionaries, address an audience that’s here in a theater, now.

Two, hook us with your characters. If you can’t hook us with your characters, you’d better have an amazing, mind bending idea and at least three other things that’ll draw us in. I’m talking about amazing cinematography and nudity and “big” name stars, plus your movie had truly better be “something we’ve never seen before” and not just “something I (the filmmaker) have never seen before” — that just tells me that you haven’t done your homework. Note: even if you have all of the above, you’ll still have an uphill battle. Do yourself a favor and make those characters great.

Three, cut 10-20 minutes out of your film. Every film I saw could stand to lose at least 10 minutes. Those that could lose more were usually overstuffed by the filmmaker. At some point in the edit, consider your theme, find a way to balance disparate element or throw them out. Remember, this won’t be the only film you make. This won’t be your only creative endeavor. Resist the urge to stuff it with everything you have to say.

And with that, I’m going to say “adios“. I’m not gonna get into the many discussions about indie film that permeated Sundance. Let others argue if there are too many indies being made or if indies have become too inaccessible and self-indulgent.

Me, I gotta move on to my spec TV script becuase I’ve got a lot of episodes of this show to reverse engineer:


Until the next update.

Posted in Festivals, Industry

SXSW 2012 Day 1 – 14. March, 2012

Howdy y’all, I’m in Texas!

(Am I now a more popular Republican candidate that I’ve used a regional colloquialism?)

I landed in Austin and I immediately raced from the airport to the hotel to the convention center to the most famous BBQ joint in the greater Austin area (technically it’s outside of Austin but grant me this one since I’m just back to blogging). Yes, I finally ate at The Original Salt Lick.

Why no photos? Because I was all about the business of eating BBQ!

(I think my poll numbers just went up in Alabama and Mississippi.)

Afterwards I hung out with my best friend Rosie.

SXSW 2012 Day 1 - 1

(she was there for the film festival portion of SXSW).

I did manage to catch one band, Saint Motel, and they were a pretty great “welcome to SXSW 2012”.

SXSW 2012 Day 1 - 2

Obviously they’re my pick of the day. Take a listen.

[audio:Saint Motel – Puzzle Pieces.mp3]

Lastly, I also met a few new people and am posting this for my school-boy-crush-of-the-day. I’m bummed I missed this guy (he was scheduled for one show only. Boo!)

From now on, no regrets. SXSW, Ho!

(BTW, where are all the hos at?)

Posted in Off-Topic

Sundance Rejects – 20. January, 2011

Today, the 2011 Sundance Film Festival starts. I am in Los Angeles. Draw your own conclusion.

The other day my buddy sent me an article noting 10 famous Sundance rejects, including SWINGERS, THE KING OF KONG: A FISTFUL OF QUARTERS, THE DAYTRIPPERS, GEORGE WASHINGTON, MAD HOT BALLROOM, FOLLOWING and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY.

All I know right now is that I’m gonna go home and play some BLACK OPS, maybe have a Jameson.

Posted in Festivals

October 2010 Goal Check – 11. October, 2010

Sorry for the delay in updating but I have good reason.

I locked picture on my film. I submitted it to Sundance. It took a ton of work (look for a future post detailing all the grizzly details) but for right now I’m basking in the glory of being done.

No, not really. I’m looking for sound designer/sound editor and a colorist for my film. I’m looking for the next film festival submission. I’m looking to build a proper website for the film. In short, I’m looking to wrap this sucker up… and then move on to the next project, which should a new feature script, a web series, a pitch, all that stuff I wrote about before.

Rat race?

Hamster wheel?


Posted in Last Night

Seeking Awesome Festivals for LAST NIGHT – 15. September, 2010

As I’m slamming through post so I have something decent to hand in for the Sundance submission deadline, I realize it’s been ages since I’ve submitted a film to festivals. I’m out of the loop. I don’t know what are the new make-or-break festivals out there. Right now I’m planning on submitting to…

  • Sundance – I really liked the addition of the NEXT category.
  • Slamdance – I feel like they really champion smaller films, plus my friend won their big award last year.
  • SXSW – The community seems to get behind smaller, more intimate indies.
  • The Berlinale – Everyone that’s gone RAVES about this fest.
  • Cannes – THE European festival to sell your film.
  • LAFF – A great hometown platform for interesting films.
  • Toronto – Films are still selling at this festival.

What other fests should I apply to? Please let me know in the comments section of my blog. Also, leave a reason why.

Locked Picture on LAST NIGHT – 7. September, 2010

For all intensive purposes, I think I just locked picture on my film. I might just make the Sundance deadline after all.

Anyway, after coming to that realization I took a moment to celebrate by having a cold iced tea and listening to Joe Jackson. That’s when I heard one of his songs and… well, I think it’s important for you to know that I first heard it as this cover.

Suddenly I heard a ticking in my head and the BMP was set to speed metal.


Time to get back to work on this sucker.

September 2010 Goal Check – 1. September, 2010

What the hell happened?

I went off the rails… way off.

Goals went out the door.

Everything just crumbled.

I’ll try my damnedest to get back on top of things. This blog is one of the few daily activities that holds me accountable to myself. Actually, I think it’s the only life preserver I may have in this ocean of nothingness.


First priority: my film. My editor dropped out. He was just too busy so it’s back in my hands. I have just under 20 days until the Sundance deadline. I wish I could quit my jobs for a month, hole up in a room far away from the world and just edit but that ain’t gonna happen. It’s gonna be hours of editing after 10-14 hour days on jobs that grind away at my soul. Anyone got any good tips for staying awake and focused for 20 days straight? Or how about a quick and easy method for burning the world around me to the ground?

Jesus! That! That’s the kind of s**t that’s been swimming through my head. I blame Europe. Europe was awesome. Too awesome. I came back and saw my life for what it is.

Ack, there it is again!

Okay, enough. I’m gonna stop writing because I’m sounding like my 17 year-old self (he thought THE STRANGER was the first work that really spoke to him). Anyway, I gotta run to the post office while resisting the urge to go postal and then it’s off to work where I get to sit in a dark room resisting actual darkness.

Who am I?

(For Ted: at least I didn’t say that while staring at myself in the bathroom mirror.)

(For Everyone Else: If you’re ever watching a movie and someone says “who am I?” while staring at themselves in the bathroom mirror you know you’re watching a real piece of s**t. Also, apparently I still have a sense of humor. That’s something, right?)

Posted in Last Night

John August Hawking OTMM – 24. March, 2010

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know I have a feature film I hope to finish this year. In our day and age, making a film has never been easier (The Believer tells you how to make a $15k feature).

No, the trick these days is getting it seen. If your film doesn’t have bankable stars, a high concept or fall into one of the genre barrios (basically horror or sex thriller) then forget about getting picked up by one of the mini-majors. No, these days you’ll have to distribute it yourself.

Which brings me to John August and the film ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS. This flicked premiered at the Sundance NEXT section for micro-budget films (a few of which had stars) and then the filmmakers did something unique–they released the film via download and DVD the day after their Sundance premiere. Soon John August was blogging about the flick and he even hosted a screening and moderated the Q&A at The Egyptian last week.

So why write about this now? One, I’m curious about the fate of this film. If this works for them I have greater confidence in adopting this model for my film. Two, thanks to John August, the HD download of this film is available for $2 until this Friday. I bought this film because John seems so jazzed about it and you should too. Christ, that’s less than a latte at Starbucks.

And now I sound like I’m preaching so I’m out of here.

What’s NEXT at Sundance 2010 – 21. January, 2010

Okay, I’m not anti-film but continuing from an earlier riff Sundance 2010 doesn’t excite. Maybe I’m grumbling because I have my own film and I’m frustrated with the speed of the post process (so f**king SLOW!) but I did see one film that’s playing at Sundance and it’s just more of the same… with one exception.

I’m very curious about the Sundance NEXT category. As far as I can tell, this is for no/low budget films (although how you have one starring Dax Shepard is beyond me) and I hear that a couple of these flicks have decided to use the festival to launch their DIY distribution. In other words, they’re not looking for a distribution deal, they’re doing it themselves.

If that works, I think that’s where truly independent films are headed.

Can’t wait to see how this turns out.