Monday, January 31, 2005

packing and shipping and bears, oh my!

After a long evening of updating the website (pretty neat, ain't it?) I managed to get some festival submissions out in the morning. The downtown post office is relatively slow in the morning. However, I got four press kits and movies out in the mail today. I've often wondered if having the the postage date on the specific last day for calls is going to come back and bite me in the ass. If you've ever wondered what madness it takes to get things shipped... you should scroll down the page a little bit and read the rather detailed description of the woes of getting off to the festivals... here's a preview... it's expensive, time consuming, and relatively ass chapping. Anyway, we did some more of that this morning.
The boys from Memphis that got their films into Sundance absolutely braised some Indie Film butt cheeks. "Hustle and Flow" and "Forty Shades of Blue" took home the top awards and made festival history with purchase deals. Perhaps this will become a shining beacon of things to come. I would love to see Memphis become Hollywood South (instead of Louisiana--don't get me wrong. I love New Orleans but I don't want to drive 5 f-ing hours down there for a two minute audition ever again... not to mention the drive back).
So, does anyone want to help make a film? I would love to have the money to purchase the usage rights to some 50's music for this next film. I guess I would have to finish writing it first. I don't know, people can sell ideas before finishing the paperwork but selling a half-baked idea only works with stoners and people with so much money they can buy a Chocolate Factory. Stoners and Chocolate go well together. Come to think of it, if they made a candy bar named Stoner it might get some sales... just because of the name. Wait a second, I'm lost. What was I talking about?
Oh, check out the website and I'll let you all know if any of this hard work and shipping money pays off in the long run. I mean, we should at least get into Nashville... one would hope... just being from Tennessee and stuff.
Quitting smoking sucks too.

Friday, January 28, 2005

And the Oscar goes to... who cares?

What's the worst time of year for an independent film maker? That's right, Oscar season. You cannot help but be slammed in the face with all of the picturesque celebrity magazines about who is up for what and why you should give a crap. I didn't want to know who was up for best actor or best film. I didn't care. I didn't care about any of those movies that have been given the "Academy Nod" for high regard in artistry. The most button pressing films of the year were overlooked and shunned in more ways than one. I keep hearing all of this buzz surrounding Million Dollar Baby. The only reason I'm even interested in watching this film now, is that it's not playing in Memphis. I think it opens today (Friday). I'm still not sure if I'm going to rush right out to see it. I haven't seen The Aviator. I'm hearing mixed reviews that 'ol Scorsese just didn't pull it off. He needs to cut out this love affair with Leonardo DiCaprio and get back to making films like Ragging Bull. Marty, those are the films that made us love you. The sad part is that he'll probably get the damn award because The Lord of the Rings has been kicking everyone's ass for years.
I'm not bitter because I'm not part of the gang. I'm angry because Hollywood keeps greenlighting these awful films... then giving these schleps Academy Awards for them. What next? Do we start giving Oscars to remakes of old films? Why don't we just have Tom Hanks vote for each and every award after an all night drunk? And did these people even watch these f-ing films this year?
I say we take all of the kings of Hollywood and knock their thrones out from under them. They've gotten lazy and far too greedy. This isn't a popularity contest. This is about vision, art, and the people that fight against the establishment that Hollywood has become. I'm sorry, to admit it... but I have to side with Mel Gibson on this one. At least he had the balls to throw himself into something he believed in... See Marty... violence sells. Even with hardchore Christians. I wonder if it would have been different if Jesus were named Mad Max.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

boy, oh boy

Well, it would be foolish not to mention the great success that Craig Brewer's film "Hustle and Flow" has had at the Sundance Film Festival. With the deal purchase of $16 Million dollars, the people behind the film have guaranteed a string of films and have made quite a name for themselves as up and comers in the film community. Now, I'm not talking about Indie Films. This success will more than likely move the team above and beyond the realms of "Indie." Good for them. I'm proud that their hard work and diligence has paid off quite well. Congrats once again to Craig and John.
Now, on a more personal note I have been working on the website again. As of today (1-26-05) the grand transformation has not taken place. However, there will be a very large facelift to come. I've been working quite hard at getting it all in order. I've also spent the last few evenings typing away on my computer keyboard pushing out a new script. The heist film script will be funny and quick witted. There will most likely be a few moments that have that harsh little Tarantino kind of animal instinct/violence... but they will be few and far between. At 90 mins (if we hit that) there has to be something to grab the audience's attention. I lean a little bit toward violent oddities, rather than frogs falling from the sky... Especially when you're dealing with the subjects of thieves. I'm obviously still brainstorming.
The heist script should be finished sometime soon, as long as I still make the time to work on it. Oh, how I would love to have the time to work on films all day (be it actually acting, filming, or brainstorming a new script and idea) and have the money to pay the bills--thus, keeping the cycle going. We all want to do what we love. Some are luckier than others.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

And when you least expect it...

There are some friends of mine who have been revitalized and are full of spark at the start of the new year. It's refreshing to say the least. There are a lot of us out there that require the help and attention of other people. With what "we" here at Rusted Sun Films are trying to do absolutely demands the help of individuals. Some have great talents to offer. So, in order to make sure that I don't let the people that are counting on me down, I'm working just as hard (if not harder) than your average bear.
I've also found that when you're burning the candle at both ends, you're eventually going to burn out. On that note, my health has suffered. I've caught a nasty little cold that I've been trying to beat for the last few days. I'm desperately trying to get it all out of my system so that I can stay up later than 9 pm and get some writing done on this screenplay. I'm sure that if I were continuing to rush through and write on top of all of this cold medication that we would have quite a few interesting scenes... Most likely, no one would know what the hell was going on (which is not a bad thing and not necessarily a new thing). However, I need rest, some comforting kleenex, and a lot of juice. Zinc helps too. I'll keep working as long as the fire is fueled by everyone's desire. I don't even know if this makes any sense, I'm tired and woozy. For now, goodnight.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Return of the Sequels

I admit, I get pulled into this insane amount of tabloid crap printed by the American Press. They talk about films, celebrities... anything to get the attention and money of the people they can trick into reading a paragraph about absolutely nothing. Realize this: It's all rumour.
We know that there are a fair amount of sequels coming to the big screen this year. Some of them I've seen (and so far, most of them fail to live up to the glory of the original-- such is the way of sequels). Then we must think about who the people are that greenlight these films with the hopes of making a few more dollars off of the fools.
Okay, I will go see the latest (and last) installment of the Star Wars franchise. If they made another Die Hard, I would go see it too. Whenever they get around to making another Spiderman or X-Men movie, I'll pay to go see that. The Bourne Identity, Supremecy, Infinity... Indiana Jones... Mission Impossible... I'll most likely go see those sequels/prequels as well. Producers are banking on the idea that if people have seen the other films of a particular franchise that they will pay theater money to go see another shoddy story.
On that note, I didn't go see Terminator 3. I didn't go see Blade Trinity. I barely got talked into watching Meet the Fockers. There was no F-ing way that I was going to pay money to see Alien Vs. Predator (even though there was a cute blond girl in it). There are a slew of terrible additions to formerly great films that are being propositioned and made every single day (not to mention that they make bad sequels to movies that shouldn't have been made in the first place.-- Did you know that they made a film adaptation of Where the Red Fern Grows?-- How can you make a movie about a F#<+ing Racoon stuck in a tree and the idiot kid who stays night after night trying to chop down a tree?)
What got me all riled up this morning was hearing that Sly Stallone is in talks to make Rambo IV. That's right folks, I shit you not... Rambo IV. Shall we be introduced to John Rambo's long lost brother, Don Rambo (played by the capable Frank Stallone)? Has Colonel Trotter managed to get his ass in a sling yet again? Would we really care that Rambo is now 60 and in a Federal Prison again? Maybe he's got to hook up with Snake Pliskin to have a cage match Vs. the A-TEAM. Seriously... these are the things that people write scripts about. The sad part is... I'll probably take a Saturday matinee and watch the damn thing.
Why can't someone get Bill Murray to make Ghostbusters 3? Wes Anderson could direct...

Monday, January 17, 2005

something to watch on Sunday nights.

I've finally found a new tv show that I enjoy almost as much as Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Last night I caught an episode of the show Unscripted. Anyone who has ever wanted to act, participated in an acting class, or even gone to an audition should try to catch at least one episode. I found it completely entertaining... as well as dissecting the "how it is made" while watching it.
You see, I can't watch things without tearing them down to the bare essentials of getting them made. I compare these movies and shows with all of the techniques I know about film making, acting, editing, etc. I do this while I'm watching them. When a show can hold my attention well enough to actually sit through and watch it, instead of tearing it apart... then folks, we've got a winner.
I got a call from an old friend today about working on "the next project." apparently, people have been so impressed with A Cowboy's Silver Lining that they are making sure to voice their approval and opinions... going so far as to make certain that they're included in the up and coming projects (no matter what the level of participation). I'm certainly excited that people believe that strongly in us. There is a future here. We've just got to keep hacking away at the weeds until we get to the hill top. From there we can stake another claim a little higher than the last. Grab a beer and join us won't you?

Friday, January 14, 2005

Strike One...

So, we didn't get accepted as a selection at the San Francisco Independent Film Festival. It's disappointing to say the least. I had my hopes up that we would be chosen to participate in the festival (after waiting a long amount of time to figure out whether or not we got in or got the boot). San Fran has some tough competition. Did I shoot too high for the first festival? Perhaps. I keep going over the various points of the film, wondering what the screeners see in the film... what they like or don't like... Whether or not they think it's good or if they see it as another movie in amateur land.
A Cowboy's Silver Lining is a good film. I just wonder what the hell the competition looks like. So, we've got some other festivals out there I'm still waiting to hear from. I'm sending out to some more festivals today with the hopes that we will get accepted and possibly win some respect. That statement brings me to the present dilemma.
There is an exorbitant amount of money to be spent on sending your film to festivals.
First off, one has to buy all of the different supplies to put together the packet for the festival. This includes: DVDs, VHS tapes, disk labels, disk cases (single and double disk), case labels, ink, photo paper, folders, CDs (for Electronic Press Kit)... including the time and effort put into getting all of this wonderful stuff packet into an eye-catching press-kit with the hopes that it will make a difference. In addition you have to make sure that the DVD is readable by most DVD players.
Secondly, there is the shipping issue. Most of the shipping I do has to be done after work hours because I cannot find the time to ship things during my work day. I work as a news photographer. It's not exactly top priority to car wrecks, shootings, and politics. Therefore I have to spend a lot of time at FedEx/Kinkos. They're open 24hours a day... and their prices reflect it. One might think that with FedEx's hub being located here... FedEx being created here... that there might be some amount of kickback for using a local service. No... screw that. They also don't ship to P.O. boxes. WTF? The number one shipping company in the world won't ship to P.O. boxes. You have no idea how many festivals ask you to ship to P.O. boxes. I'll give you an idea 80%... and I might be underestimating.
Third, one has to pay an Entry Fee for submitting to a festival. This money usually covers festival costs. They range anywhere from $30 to $100 dollars. So, you've got to be very, very picky about which festivals you really want to send to and really want to get into. So, while shipping off to another 3 festivals, I'm looking at a minimum average of $80 for submisson fees... somewhere around $30 for shipping... I'm not even going to mention how much we spent on putting all of this crap together. Did I mention it gets expensive?
Fourth, all of the above expenses and efforts to not guarantee you a damn thing. You can spend all of this time and money on a festival and NOT EVEN GET IN! I'm not bitching. I'm warning all of you of the troubles ahead. I just want everyone to be accutely aware of this issue... so that when I say "We got accepted" or "We didn't get in" everyone is on the same page... and should equally be as excited or as disappointed. It's getting tougher to get into festivals that were once little nothing venues. To tell the truth... some of them just want your money and don't give a crap about your film... even if it's really good.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

something broken, nothing new

I spent a fair amount of time working on the "H-film" script. For those of you that know what the "H" stands for, then you're in the inner circle of this little film club. For all of you others out there that don't know about the "H", I'm sure you will in good time. Okay, it's a heist film. I'm working on a heist film. I've also realized that as long as the characters and dialogue is good, people really don't care what you're stealing... or necessarily why. Sure, it will make a better story if you've got something believable. People also like the unbelievable. That's what once made movies great. However, I'm not looking to blow everything up on screen. Finding creative ways to get things done is more challenging and usually better than the Hollywood special effects. Second to that, we can do a lot of stuff in post... as long as we think ahead of time and get what we will need. That's where becoming a good director comes into play-- but we're not there yet. Hell, I'm barely past page 10 of a quick dialogue, witty script. I've got a long way to go.
I think that we're supposed to have a "Rusted Sun Films Meeting" tonight. It should fair to be interesting. It's not the first of the year meeting that I think we will need... but we've still got some time.
I've also got to get back to work (the day job). The bills don't pay themselves.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

When you're broke, you can find all sorts of things that you would like to buy. This particular chase came while I was surfing around for new music and films that might be the shining jem of greatness that I've been scouring the mounds and mounds of fluff in order to find. Somehow I came back around to Akira Kurosawa. I remembered all of the great Samurai movies that I watched in my adolescence on Saturday afternoons. Where have they all gone? Now, if we wish to see these films again (and I'm speaking only of the pieces of supreme film making offered from this particular era of Japanese film making) we have to find the Criterion Collection editions to relive the former wonder of our youth. Don't get me wrong. There are fantastic films that have come out of Japan since then... even fantastic Samurai films. However, in my humble opinion, no one could touch Kurosawa. He singlehandedly made Toshiro Mifune a God.
If you watch Spaghetti Westerns (which also used to come on during the lazy mid-morning of Saturday and/or Sunday afternoons) you can see quite a few similarities between the Genre. Now, I'm not just talking about story-line (however, when you think about it--all movies are westerns)... for there were rarely original ideas that rose to the top of Samurai films or Westerns. Most of the similarities deal with the technical aspects of filmmaking. Just look at the shot compositions, the similar lighting, similar settings, etc. etc. They even took place around the same time frame.
Equally there were a lot of terrible Samurai and Western films made.... but we won't get into that.
We're talking about Kurosawa. For those of you that have not seen the films Yojimbo or Sanjuro, I beg you... take an afternoon or evening to sit down and watch them. So, your girl might not dig spending an evening watching a Samurai flick?
Solution: Order Sushi and Saki. You don't have to eat the Sashimi or Nigiri (slices of raw fish). Order some rolls... ask someone who works there what they would recommend.... just try something different. Tell your girlfriend (or boyfriend) that you're willing to experiment with food in order to find something exciting and new. Make up a good speech and make sure there is lots of Saki.
Now, you should have played through enough psychology that you can watch your film in peace. I can pretty much guarantee that once you are through with those two fine masterworks of cinema, that you will be hooked and running around the house slicing through the air with an imaginary sword-- mumbling something that might sound like Japanese. Or maybe that's just me...
The next weekend, take the time to check out some Sergio Leone/Clint Eastwood Western flicks. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly... A Fist Full of Dollars, A Few Dollars More... hell, even Pale Rider. It might take up an entire weekend worth of time... but isn't that return to the wonders of childhood amazement what we're all looking for? Isn't that why we wanted to act or make films in the first place? Didn't we want to be in or create something as mezmerizing and hypnotic as those films that caught the wonders of our childhood imagination? Call me a dreamer... but I remember the time when movies were good. I would love to beg Hollywood to stop putting out this senseless mind-numbing crap. Stop putting these millions of dollars to make a movie that should have never been made in the first place... Or could have been made better with less money. If we stop buying our way into special effects, then we'll have to find a creative way around the problematic obstacle (that might actually require acting?!)
Everyone loves money. But not everyone can control a film with $200 Million behind it. Can you imagine what The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly would have looked like if they had $200 Million to spend? Just lookwhat Lucas has done to Star Wars. Ah, see another film based on the worksof Kurosawa... I guess calling it "Space Samurai" would have been too obvious

Monday, January 03, 2005

Diary Entry 01-03-05

Here it is, a new year, a new work week, a ton of new ideas, and half-written scripts to fish through and compose for a new project (thatwill hopefully grab some more attention from those that actually give a crap about the rising Indie-film resurgeance). A good friend of mine had a rather long winded conversation over beers about how 2005 needed to be the year of the Bevan. I don't think that's in the Chinese calendar but maybe it should be... Imagine a guy with a pork pie hat, a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, and a glass of single malt scotch on your buffet place mat. It could work, right?
The aforementioned conversation was taken with a grain of salt (or perhapsan entire cardboard cylinder of Morton's). I would love for all of these hopes and dreams to come full-circle and jump-start a career in film. I would love to start working full-time on these things that I love so much. I guess we'll have to wait and see... but most of all I'm going to have to bust my ass to make this thing happen. Half of everything is luck. However, you've got to work twice as hard to get the first gram of luck flowing. Nothing is given away for free. You've got to be a charismatic mo-fo to get things going your way. Talent, on the other hand, is not always a prerequisite. I've got quite a bit of talent, know how, and a lot of fantastic people behind me. Luck is something I've got to figure out how to bottle and save for a rainy day.
So, I'm still working on scripts with people. I'm still trying to figure out which direction to go with... and we've got to figure out the points of a winning script. I've gotten some great words of advice from Craig Brewer. I'll take those notes to heart and mind. Getting a good script is one of the most important matters at hand. We can find great actors. There is a fair amount of untapped talent in the area. So, don't be disappointed if one project gets done before the other. Also, don't feel disheartened if we choose your project and change a fair amount of it. Some things have to be changed to make the film better. It's not to say that I know more than you or anyone else. It's just what will work the best. Hell, the film Chinatown had a lot of things changed within the script while shooting. The ending, for example, was not the original ending (and foranyone who has not seen the film I highly recommend going out to rent or buy the film-- It's a masterpiece!)
I've got to quit smoking. Yes, I know, It's a nasty habit that I've been sucking into my lungs for far too long. Yes, yes, it's hip and I love smoking. I'll miss it. I must also note that I absolutely hate the patch, the gum, the lozenges. All of the preventative measures are slightly more disgusting than the actual habit. Although I would like to have my teeth a little brighter without spending $400 on laser scraping (which takes off a layer of your enamel).
We're still waiting to hear from various festivals to see whether we're in the festival line-up or not. San Fran should let us know around the 12th ofJan. The other festivals will be some time in Feb. or later on in the coming months.
We should also be revamping the website. There will be some more organizing, some new looks, etc. etc. Hopefully, we will work all of the kinks out before too long (which means that Anthony and I will beseeing a lot more of each other after the work day).
I want to wish you all a Happy New Year. 2005 should bring wonderful things. Hell, 2004 was pretty F-ing good to us.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

What to expect from this point on...

This will be the spot where "we" at Rusted Sun Films, can openly and honestly share our outlooks and opinions with those who might give a crap. Well, to be honest, it will mostly consist of my (Bevan's) personal rants. Most of this stuff just gets stuck in my head during the day's frustrations... but there are times where I actually have a point. The 2005 Diary Entries for Rusted Sun Films can be found here. Seeing as how I've already written some... we'll just post them here for all of your reading pleasure. The dates most likely won't match up, but hey... I'm not perfect and I still don't know how to edit this damn thing that well. This is day one. Cut me some slack. Man, I've got to cut out the caffeine.