Monday, August 31, 2009

Feeding the Taylor ducks

Reaching out.

An upside-down duck.

When you live in Taylor, duck-feeding is almost required by law. Nicholas did his part on Sunday.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick scout Austin for TNT show

The show is tentatively titled Zapata, Texas. Read all about it in my SHOT IN TEXAS column in the Dallas Morning News.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Watch this Austin-made film for free (or spare change)

The following is from Austin filmmaker Raymond J. Schlogel:

So it’s been quite awhile since I made my feature doc For Love & Stacie, though it’s won a handful of awards it’s yet to make me rich … or even buy me a taco. With that in mind like most “artists” it’s become more important to me for it to be seen than for it to make me money. Of course it would be nice to have both but as the latter hasn’t happened I’ll just have to push for the former. Basically I’d rather give it away and hope its seen by many rather than continue to try and sell it and have it only seen by a few. All that said, here it is, free on the internet for the world, or at least a couple people with too much time on their hands, to see in all it’s original glory. Well, not “all” it’s original glory, had to compress it quite a bit to get it online but you get what I mean. I only have two favors to ask if you watch it:

1) Post something about it! Somewhere! Anywhere! Even if you hate it and want to dog it that’s fine with me. If you love it tell the world. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, your blog, message boards, whatever. Since it seems impossible for a little indie filmmaker to make a dime doing this (at least for this little indie filmmaker) it would mean everything to me and I’d be ever grateful just to know it’s been seen by many and hopefully liked by a few. So give it a mention and share the link.

2) No SPOILERS! Again, you can crap all over it if you want to when you post but do me the one honor of not giving anything away to those who haven’t seen it.

That’s it, if ya really REALLY like it you can find it for sale on DVD or a much higher res download on but honestly at this point it would actually mean more to me for people to post about it than to buy it.

Look forward to hearing what you think. There are some tidbits about the film on it’s MySpace page but in here I’ll only say that For Love & Stacie went from concept to completion, by that meaning literally from the day I had the idea till the day it was shot and completely edited in six months. The total budget was 3k. It was filmed on Canon XL2’s (oh how I wish I had my EX1 back then!) and edited in Sony Vegas. Any questions just ask, but if your question has spoilers I won’t be able to answer! For full cast and crew visit it’s IMDB page:

Thanks a bunch and hope you like it.

- Ray

P.S. I’m also allowing you to download it on Vimeo for free, link is on the bottom right of the page. It should play just fine on your iPod or iPhone! =)

P.S.S. Okay, a friend of mine nicely pointed out that since my electricity is about to get cut off because it’s two months behind and I don’t have next months rent, mayhaps it wouldn't hurt to put up a donations page for those who enjoyed it and wouldn't mind making a little donation. I can’t imagine anyone would be willing but if you do God bless ya, a penny would make me smirk, a buck would make me smile, 5-10 and I’ll do a happy dance, and anything more I think I’ll just spontaneously wet my pants. Know that anything I manage to get back from this will go to rent and the pile of bills I’m behind on. If it ever gets more than I need (like that’ll happen) it will help me payoff some equipment.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Austin Studios brew-ha-ha continues...

Seems to be a film faction brawl waging these days regarding the lease of a hangar at Austin Studios to Soundcheck Austin. The Austin City Council is set to decide the issue tomorrow. Here's the Austin American-Statesman's take on it.

UPDATE: The city council approved the deal with Soundcheck.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Remembering Elmer Kelton

Elmer Kelton is one of the few Texas writers whose work will likely endure, particularly The Time It Never Rained. He was also a really nice man. I met him first when I was in graduate school and reading The Good Old Boys for a Southwest literature course. He was really gracious and I think he enjoyed signing my dog-eared copy of the book full of yellow underlining.

Here's a really nice remembrance of him.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

'Friday Night Lights' needs more extras

Friday Night Lights is back lensing its fourth season in Austin and they still need extras, including prisoners? My blog gets a lot of traffic seeking this info, so read on:

The NBC television series Friday Night Lights needs more football players, cheerleaders, teachers, townspeople... even prisoners.

Casting agents are looking for extras for the show's fourth season of filming in the Austin area. No experience is necessary. Filming will take place from September 2, 2009 through December 23, 2009. All extras will be paid for their work.

All applicants must be United States citizens and have valid photo ID and social security cards.

Here are some some specific types included in the casting call:

Football Players: ages 18-24, male, athletic types preferably with some football experience
Cheerleaders: ages 18-24, must have previous cheerleading experience
Football Sideline Trainers and Managers: ages 18-24, male and female
Pop Warner Football Players: ages 5-12, Pop Warner experience
Football Coaches: ages 35-65, male, athletic types
High School Students: ages 16-23
College Students: ages 18-28
Teachers, Boosters, Parents, Townspeople
Prisoners: ages 18-60, tough criminal looking types
Those interested can fill out an online application with On Location Casting.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Robert Rodriguez has got a house deal for you...

Thanks to the tipster who pointed out that at least part of the Robert Rodriguez spread on the (currently dried up) lake in Spicewood (word is he didn't live in this one, but did film there) can by yours for a measly $2.69 million. Take a gander at

Mr. R., following the breakup of his marriage, has clearly been moving more and more of his film production to the Troublemaker Studios facility in Austin--that's definitely the case with currently filming Machete. This is probably another sign of that change.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mike Judge says 'Beavis and Butt-Head' is not based on you

Tidbits from today's Mike Judge press tour for Extract (I'm writing about it for the San Antonio Express-News and, yes, that's my crappy photo of him):

+ Now that's he's on Facebook, all of his high school pals are convinced they're the inspiration for Baavis and/or Butt-Head. They're not.

+ The animated series The Goode Family is as good as dead, and he didn't have much to do with it besides providing a voice.

+ The closed Austin factory for Adam's Extract (it's now based in Gonzales) is indeed an inspiration for the plant in Extract, particularly its look. Judge was interested to hear how my crappy old pickup broke down there in the early '80s thus leading me to walk into the Adam's office seeking help! It stank in there.

Gary Kent at the grave of his late wife Tomi Barrett

We had a full day of shooting my doc about the legendary stuntman Gary Kent on Monday. That's Claire Huie behind the camera and Rene Pinnell running sound as we shot Gary at the grave of his late wife, the lovely actress Tomi Barrett. We went deep today.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Texas Filmmakers Production Fund awards cash

The Austin Film Society has doled out $102,000 in cash to help make 25 independent films in Texas. It's truly the best thing to come out of the Texas film scene because it is so much aimed at the up-and-comers (though some names this year have already garnered some success).

Big Austin names include Kyle Henry for Fourplay and P.J. Raval for an entitled documentary about retired gay folk. Here's some other films of interest:

"Berndt Mader’s narrative feature Five Time Champion received one of two $10,000 grants from the 2009 TFPF. This coming of age film recently completed shooting in Smithville, Texas, and its cast includes Texas Film Hall of Fame inductee Betty Buckley (Tender Mercies), Jon Gries (Napoleon Dynamite) and Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (Friday Night Lights).

61 Bullets, the new documentary feature from Crawford director David Modigliani, also received a $10,000 grant for production. The film follows 74-year-old Dr. Carl Weiss Jr.’s mission to exonerate his father Carl Weiss, who since 1935 has been believed responsible for the assassination of fiery Louisiana Senator Huey P. Long.

David & Nathan Zellner
received over $8,000 in Kodak film stock and Alpha Cine Labs services in support of production for their new narrative feature Pardon My Downfall, which follows fictional country
band The Jibcutters on their final tour."

Claire Huie was taking a break from behind the camera helping me on my Gary Kent documentary (I will likely apply for a grant next year) when she learned she was awarded for her doc The Yogurt Shop Murders. Congrats, Claire!

See the full list of recipients at

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Waco newspaper axes Ted Nugent

Cox recently sold the Waco Tribune-Herald and the new owners have made two interesting changes: they added "In God We Trust" to the newspaper's masthead and now they've sacked Motor City Madman Ted Nugent, who now lives in Waco, as a columnist. Apparently they want a more "conservative" editorial page. The Nuge, who is straight-out libertarian in my mind, I guess has been deemed a damn hippie. I agree with very little of what the Nuge stands for (except Cat Scratch Fever, I've got a bad case of that), but sure seems silly to muzzle a celeb who is nothing if not entertaining and who surely was paid next to nothing.

My theory? The Nuge is in favor of dancing, and we all know about those Waco Baptists.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Nicholas works the farm

Corn is harvested across the street from our house.

Nicholas holds up his toy harvester for the real one to see.

Nicholas does some harvesting of his own.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Steven Seagal and Don Johnson in 'Machete'

Robert Rodriguez is co-directing Machete--based on the fake movie trailer that appears in Grindhouse--with protege Ethan Maniquis. The project was out filming in downtown Austin today.

According to Variety, here's the cast: Danny Trejo is playing the title character and Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Steven Seagal, Lindsay Lohan, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson and Jeff Fahey play supporting roles.

Spiderwood turns into 'Sodom'

Things are beginning to stir out at Tommy Warren's Spiderwood Studios. Sodom: The Prophecy Armageddon started shooting this week, and it looks to be an ambitious independent film. Warren is c-producing with Yvette Araujo, and Raul Carrera is directing. The script is by Jana Zinser.

Here's the story description from the film's Web site:

"In the decaying city of Modos, where evil lurks and where good struggles to survive, a change is coming. According to prophecy, some people will die terrible but necessary deaths and set in motion the end of days. The only way to stop this chain of events is through a end all battles. A Holy War."

Check out more on Youtube:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Kyle Henry explores 'Fourplay'

Kyle Henry (Room) is one of the most interesting and creative people toiling in the Austin film scene. He's been working on a fascinating project, Fourplay, that continues that trend. Essentially four stories exploring the role of sex in our lives each set in a different city. One of those cities is Austin where filming is underway with P.J. Raval behind the camera. The script is by Austin playwright Carlos Trevino and New York City actress Jessica Hedrick.

Henry says his influences for this film include the works of Ken Russell and Nicolas Roeg. It's essentially a series of shorts that Henry will likely meld together into something larger.

Here's a fairly recent piece about the film in Indiewire (which doesn't mention the Austin shoot) that declares this film as "one to watch."

Monday, August 10, 2009

George Romero Returns to Fantastic Fest!

Here's the skinny from Tim League:

First of all, thanks for taking the time to read this most recent Fantastic Fest update. We've been hard at work for months crafting the feature and shorts lineup as well as the daytrips, outings, panels and special events. We have one more content announcement scheduled for Sept. 7 and already we have some truly AMAZING titles confirmed for that release, so hold tight.

Currently we have announced GENTLEMEN BRONCOS on Opening Night, ZOMBIELAND, George Romero's SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, and DAYBREAKERS. Most of these shows will be at the Paramount Theater on opening weekend. Hearing 1000 people gasp in unison during the "unclogging" scene in ZACK AND MIRI last year, for example, was priceless. We'll have more gala events coming soon as well as details on those mentioned above.

In 2007, Fantastic Fest was honored by the presence of one of the true masters of horror, George A. Romero. Now, two years later, we are thrilled to welcome back the undisputed champion of all things undead for his latest blood-drenched thrill ride, SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD.

When the idyllic retreat of Plum Island falls victim to the zombie plague, a new breed of clan war breaks out. On one side is the camp who want to exterminate all undead with a wickedly diverse array of brain-splattering headshots. On the other, devoted family members take the stance that "zombie-ism" is a disease, the undead have rights and they must be kept alive until a cure is found. Unable to simply "agree to disagree," the two clans go to war and make their island microcosm a whole hell of a lot bloodier.

Raise a glass of scotch, ladies and gentlemen, and toast the triumphant return to Texas of one of the few working legends of cinema, Mr. George A. Romero. We'll start off the show with a collection of vintage Romero trailers followed by a Q&A after the screening with the master himself.

Lohan grabs 'Machete'

The fine folks at Austinist pass along word that Lindsey Lohan has signed on for Robert Rodriguez's Machete. Given that he shoots actors separately on green screen (and very quickly) don't expect many if any Austin sightings.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Aniston on board for 'Goree Girls'

Interesting tidbits in Variety about Goree Girls, the very Texas story that is set to film in January. Some are hinting that it will be shot in the Austin area. No confirmation yet, but now that Jennifer Aniston has signed on, the project looks to be a lock to lens somewhere.

Also interesting to see that The Alamo director John Lee Hancock (one of the nicest guys in Texas film) gave the script a going over. The story is based on a 2003 Texas Monthly article by Skip Hollandsworth about the eight women who formed one of the first all-girl C&W acts in the country, became a public favorite and were eventually pardoned.

Grey Gardens director Michael Sucsy will make his feature directorial debut on Goree Girls.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Three Austin docs on 'Independent Lens'

Austin filmmakers Karen Skloss, Michel Scott and Keith Maitland will see their work on the national PBS doc series Independent Lens.

ITVS’s Beyond the Box blog ran the full line-up for the 2009-2010 season and Skloss’s SUNSHINE, Scott’s THE HORSE BOY and Maitland’s THE EYES OF ME each made the cut.

The seasons kicks off Oct. 13.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

'Paradise Recovered'

Jason Young, the sound pro fro the film Paradise Recovered tipped me off that the indie shot a week in Austin in July. The majority of the film was shot in Indiana. What's encouraging? He said the Austin shoot was largely due to the new incentives Texas is offering.

The director is a University of Texas grad with the wonderful name of Storme Woods. He says, "Paradise Recovered is a modern-day retelling of the parable of the Good Samaritan and a coming of age story about a young woman’s discovery..."

Note the Liberty Lunch poster in the photo from the set!

Here's what the casting call said about the film:

"A coming of age story of a girl who breaks free from the bonds of an oppressive religious cult and and her pending arranged marriage. The friendships she forms allow her to experience life in a new and exciting way."

Change in date/location for big film bash

The monster film party organized by producer Robin Blesch, owner of WPFG Studios and creator of the Wolfpack Film Group has been moved to Sept. 12 at 501 Studios.

She says, "The building (formerly) chosen has an expired occupancy permit, it took too long to get a new one, and the busy schedule of Omega Broadcast made a reschedule there impossible. They are still supporting with some cameras and equipment.

"The other thing that must be stressed is that this party is not open to anyone, only film professionals and other people invited. There is a guest list, and people wishing to attend must get on the guest-list by indicating their interest and filling out the application form. We are managing the guest-list on our end. People who just show up at the party will not be able to get in. All of the details of the party can be viewed here:

"We will have some live performers, show off some high quality local film work, show off some brand new technology, film, live switch, and stream live over the internet for all who cannot attend. There will be a live show of filmmakers working with on set editing creating the video that will be included on our press release. We are giving away door prizes too, including FREE day with the new RED ONE camera and full support package, a $1300 value. The package is graciously provided by Director of Photography Michael Morlan and Austin Film Tools."

Monday, August 3, 2009

Rob Thomas eyes own 'Waterloo'

OK, this is a very cool story about an Austin creative made good. You know Rob Thomas as the guy behind Veronica Mars and two versions of Cupid. But he's also a former high school journalism teacher in Austin and a former member of the Austin/San Marcos band Hey Zeus, which makes this bit from today's Variety about a new Starz show in development very sweet:

"Waterloo, an hourlong laffer from scribe Thomas ... is described as a coming-of-age story involving a rock band, and it is loosely based on Thomas' youthful adventures."

Now this is a project that should shoot in Austin. Will it? We'll have to wait and see.

Thanks to Shane Wells for the tip!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Why I like the Kindle after all

I sat across from a woman at Mighty Fine–a burger place in Austin, Texas–today who had a burger in one hand and a Kindle in the other. By the end of the meal she’d already purchased my book EVACUATION PLAN and had it next up in her Kindle queue. I think I like this technology thingy!