Tuesday, March 30, 2010

True Grit needs a one-armed lady

No that's a song title in the making. Here's the scoop:

Paramount Pictures is seeking a WOMAN MISSING HER LEFT ARM to be a photo double in the film, TRUE GRIT, a new film by Joel & Ethan Coen.

Character description: Photo double for adult Mattie Ross: This woman must be MISSING HER LEFT ARM. Optimally, she would be around 5'8", 138 lbs, slender to medium build. However, we are open to various looks.

To submit: Please do so asap! Send photos, measurements & contact information to texascasting2010@gmail.com. Photos should be non-glamorous, simple snapshots (incl face and body. It's best to wear a tank top & shorts). Measurements should include height, weight, bust, waist & hips. Include age, phone numbers & place of residence. Approrpriate candidates may also call our office at 512-637-6775.

Rate of pay: TBD

Note: TRUE GRIT is shooting in Austin, TX. However, we are open to nationwide submissions.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The halfway point in writing a novella?

Our graduate class at St. Edward's University is at the midpoint in writing a 40,000-word novella in a semester. The inspiration for teaching this course was hearing Mary Kay Zuravleff talking at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs about teaching just such a course. Here I am culling some of the notes she posted about that class so my class can see them. They may be interesting to other writers as well:

Halfway Point

Notes from Mary Kay Zuravleff

We are halfway through our NOVELLAS (or very close)!

Now is not the time to ask if these words will become the book we each hope to write. Right now, process is nearly all. This much writing can only be good for us, and we’re feeling old muscles and new synapses afire.

But it may be time to ask, halfway through what? Writer Scott Berg talks about the novel as a series of small explosions on their way to a bigger explosion. My own image is of story as arrow, a short story being one arrow aimed at a bull’s-eye, and the novel a quiver of arrows that ultimately cluster around the target’s center. Halfway through, how many arrows have you got off? Has anything exploded?

Turn It Upside Down

In response to our thoughts on the creative process, we can look at visual artists. One described his artistic method as archaeology; after layering on colors and encaustic, he has to discover the painting within. This welcome notion reminded me of advice to writers to go deeper rather than wider.

I posed the question “Where is the painting before it’s a painting?” to Olivia Petrides, who wrote, “It has been my despair that I make it up as I go along, because I want CONTROL! The answers seem to lie within the paint, how it moves or how I accidentally move it—the stuff is so slippery and my mind is so wracked with its own anxious workings that it's a wonder I get any work done at all.”

Seems we're always surprised anew when confusion becomes a force for creativity. As for inspiration, Olivia offered these tips: “I turned the painting upside down this morning and got an idea for a slight restructuring of the image, and I remembered an element of a famous painting that I can rip off. Now I'm started again with some excitement. Can you turn anything upside down?”

We certainly can. We can also dig for buried treasure among the plot and characters fashioned thus far. And we can take a page from famous writers, trying on literary accessories that have long intrigued us. You never know what point of view goes with what purse until you try.

Spinning webs of connection

If the conspiracy theory of novel-writing holds, there is a giant web of connections that you will eventually expose or discover or build through your characters.

Every time you glimpse a connection, you go back and shore up the web, even if you just write a few words in brackets to prompt yourself later. You know how you tell a joke when you only remember the punch line? A guy walks into a bar and—oh, I forgot, he’s a fireman—he walks into the bar—oh, the bar is on top of the Empire State Building—anyway, he orders a drink—did I mention he’s really short? he is—etc. In this way, you are moving forward but also clarifying your earlier hunches. And you’ll always be able to find that gin and tonic recipe.

Picking a fight

We’re looking for a fight. How could that character’s worst habit or secret be brought to light? Would her husband still love her? Would he lose his job? Oh, there’s a knock at another character’s office door—mind if I come in? I’ll only rob you blind. Or I’ll offer you exactly what you want, with some tangled strings attached. Just as we’re fast-forwarding process in this class, novels themselves fast-forward insight and action. Why tell the story of this particular day or life?

Your challenge this week is to make your characters squirm. Think of how boring the first few moves of a chess game are, then prepare to move your pawns one or two steps away from safety.

A novel can go in through the navel or groin, like a laparoscopic procedure, to explore the blood and guts within. So divorce or stay married, perhaps switching husband-wife roles. Start cutting up carrots and then slice everything in the kitchen. Or train for the marathon despite injuries and doubt. Car chases and trials aren’t necessary as long as you captivate us.

Building a novella

We are walking along a rickety bridge; in fact, we’re actually constructing the bridge as we take each precarious step. Recycled planks, rubbery beams the width of a straw and composed of untested materials, mirrored funky buttresses that may or may not hold weight—now is not the time to invite the inspectors over for a look-see.

And so, we continued our exhilarating, ridiculous bridge-building.

My Aim Is True

In yoga, the way to stay upright in balance poses is to focus on a spot in the distance and imagine a tether from that spot to you, holding you vertical. Of course, the challenge for those of us writing out on a limb is: can we see that spot in the distance?

With that in mind, revisit books you admire—bring the most instructive one to class next time. See how all the authorial decisions contribute toward the story. We don’t know if the authors had the footprint and span of their story when they began, or if choices they made determined the architecture of their tale. So why not indulge your first impulses. No chapter breaks? Present tense? First person who is reliable as long as she stays away from the scotch? Main character reports for Voice of America and can only use words from the approved list of Basic English? Nail that story down.

If the novel we build dictates structural changes, then we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Nesmith's Video Ranch rocks Austin Studios

Michael Nesmith personally invited me to visit the set of his Video Ranch production at Austin Studios today. How could I resist an offer like that? The guy who is credited with creating the music video is now trying to create the future--live streaming video of bands performing as viewed by avatars who can directly interact with the band and with each other. Fascinating stuff going on through Sunday at videoranch.com.

(You can see my Dallas Morning News article about this here.)

Michelle Malone's bluesy band poses with Michael Nesmith (center, partially hidden) and emcee A. Whitney Brown in front of the green screen at Austin Studios.

A. Whitney Brown, axe player Phillip Skipper and Michelle Malone.

What the band sees as they play--the avatars of viewers.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pix from the Coen brothers 'True Grit' set in Granger, Texas

I wandered down the road to tiny Granger today to check out the progress of set construction downtown. Granger is about 40 miles from Austin, tiny and perfect for the film. The street they're using is wide and made of red brick and the storefronts are largely vacant and easy to transform into the Old West. A handful of other people with cameras were lurking about. Actual filming is going on in New Mexico now, with a Granger shoot coming in April.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Code 58 is now The Good Guys

Dallas-shot TV show Code 58, which was formerly known as Jack and Dan, is now known as The Good Guys. Got that straight?

Robert Rodriguez's next film? Spy Kids 4

While at the South By Southwest Film Festival pimping Predators, which he produced, Nimrod Antal (on the left in the photo) directed and Adrien Brody starred in, Robert Rodriguez let slip his next project--Spy Kids 4. It will feature a new set of kids who are already cast, though Rodriguez said some stars of the first three movies may drop in.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Texas Film Hall of Fame

The biggest moment of the 2010 Texas Film Hall of Fame was when Bruce McGill strummed the William Tell Overture on his neck just as he’d done in 1978’s Animal House. Tim Mathison held up a microphone so we all could hear. The University of Texas alumnus McGill followed it by flashing a hook ‘em Horns sign.

Quentin Tarantino--rumor was he didn't want to talk about his Oscar losses--zoomed through and barely stopped for one photo. I didn't get it.

Tim "Otter" Matheson and Bruce "D-Day" McGill.

Bruce McGill with Richard Linklater lurking behind him.

Catherine O'Hara accepted an award for Lockhart-shot Waiting for Guffman

Michael Nesmith of The Monkees!

Robert Rodriguez later gave a replica of his signature hat to Tarantino.

Lyle Lovett.

Lukas Haas.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Crew call for 'Midland'

Crew info for TV pilot shooting in Dallas:

If you are interested in working on a pilot for a new Fox drama called “Midland,” please send your updated resumes ASAP to dallas.film@dallascityhall.com and note “Midland Crew” in the subject line and position applying for. We’ll make sure and pass them along to the production team. Casting information will be posted as soon as we receive it. Please do not forward actor head shots/resumes at this time.

They are in the process of gearing up, securing office space and beginning to hire crew now so don’t delay! The project will shoot March 16-April 1st, so please submit only if you’ll be available during that time frame.

Crew positions will be Paid. Resumes can be sent to:


Extras casting for 'Chase,' 'Code 58'

Just because everyone seems to want to know, here's the extras casting info for the two television shows shooting in Dallas:


Non-speaking talent needed for new Jerry Bruckheimer pilot that will begin filming the first part of March and will continue filming until the end of the month. The Extras Casting Department will be casting all non-speaking talent of all ages and diversified ethnicity for stand-ins, photo doubles, regular background and action extras. Please email headshot or a recent photo to cache.casting@gmail.com.

On opening page of email please have the following information:

1. Name
2. All contact info
3. Availability
4. Automobile type (ie: color/year/model)
5. Are you a Texas Resident (Texas residency required)
6. Student or home school minor
7. Wardrobe sizes Men - height - weight - waist-inseam-jacket-shirt(sleeve/neck) shoe and hat Women - height -weight-dress-blouse-slacks-jeans-bust-waist-hips-shoe-hat

Make sure the above info is on opening page of email or the attachments will not be opened and saved on file. If you or a family member emailed or mailed a headshot previously for “The Deep End” please do not resubmit. Do not submit a photo if you want a speaking part we only cast non-speaking roles. Pay will be 64/8 for extras and 120/12 for stand-ins.

Code 58 (formerly Jack And Dan)

We will soon be casting Paid EXTRAS for the FOX television series “Code 58” starring Colin Hanks to be filmed in the DALLAS, TX area starting on 1/26/10 for approximately 13 episodes.

We will be looking for ALL types, ALL ages of local Dallas/Fort Worth area talent to work on this project. NO PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE REQUIRED!!!

**If you are already registered with us (On Location Casting) - please DO NOT fill out another profile, you will automatically be considered for this project! However, please be sure that your OLC profile and contact information is up to date.

Some specific types of Extras we will need include:
-Uniform Police Officers: male and female, clean cut, athletic, prefer previous law enforcement experience
-CSI Agents: male and female, clean cut, professional types
-Detectives: male and female, professional types with suits
-Civilian Office Workers: secretarial types with business attire
-Airline Pilots
-Flight Attendants
-Extras with cars that are NOT red, white or black (please put your car year, make, model & color in your talent profile under special skills)
-PERUVIAN Men, Women and Children
-Bikers with tattooes and motorcycles
-Exotic Dancers/Strippers/Burlesque Dancers
-Drug Dealer and Criminal types
-Businessmen with suits
-Seedy Character types (extreme interesting character faces, all ages)
-"smoking hot” gorgeous MODELS
-Homeless types
-African American Men and Women
-Asian Men and Women
-EXPERIENCED Standins & Photos Doubles for several lead actors (please list Stand-in experience on online resume)
-Plus many other General Extra roles.

All Extra roles are PAID. NON-UNION Extras Rate of $64.00 for 8 hours ($8/hr) plus overtime. Stand-in rate is $120.00 for 12 hours ($10/hr) plus overtime.

In order to be considered for EXTRA work, you will need to visit our company website at http://www.onlocationcasting.net and complete a TALENT Application. Please make sure to upload 1-2 photos to your talent profile. It is FREE to be in our talent files. The optional upgrade offered to an Active Agency Pro account brings you many additional marketing benefits and website services, however please note that the optional upgrades are NOT REQUIRED in order to work on “Code 58” or any other OLC project. You are automatically ‘active’ in our talent database as soon as your account is approved.

*TEXAS Residents ONLY! We will NOT pay for your travel/accomodations to/in Dallas and you MUST have valid proof of Texas residency (Drivers License, Voter Registration Card or Full-time College ID Card)

If you have further questions - you can reach us via email at: onlocationcasting@yahoo.com

We will NOT be handling the principal (speaking role) casting for this project.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Coen brothers' 'True Grit' lands in Granger, Texas

This is the outskirts of Austin where reports show workers are actively prepping for the Coen brothers True Grit shoot. Granger is said to be attractive for its railroad. I plan to wander that way in the next few days and take some of my own photos.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Nick gets glasses and meets Thomas

Nicholas had a big last couple of days. We traveled to Grapevine to ride in one of Thomas the Tank Engine's coaches on Saturday, and today he got his first pair of glasses.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Macor releases book on Austin film scene

Alison Macor celebrates the release of her book Chainsaws, Slackers and Spy Kids on March 7 at 3 p.m. at BookPeople.

I was an early reader of the book, which chronicles 30 years of the Austin film scene with in-depth looks at The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Richard Linklater, Robert Rodriquez and more. It's a good read and any film fan will be enthralled.

sez check it out.