Saturday, November 9, 2013

Danish film 'The Idealist' shoots in Texas

Pictured: Thomas Bo Larsen, Søren Malling, Peter Plauborg, Christina Rosendahl; photo credit: Christian Geisnæs

High-profile Danish film The Idealist films at the University of Texas this coming week and is expected to also lens a bit in Dallas. Main shooting is in Denmark and Sweden.

According to Variety, the story "revolves around a nuclear disaster that erupts during the Cold War, and its subsequent international cover-up.  Pic will follow an everyday man who fights to break the silence and unveil the truth."
It's based on true events:

"Near the American Thule Air Base, Greenland, January 21, 1968: A US Air Force B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs is abandoned by the crew after a cabin fire and crashes on to sea ice in the North Star Bay, causing the conventional explosives aboard to detonate and the nuclear payload to rupture and disperse.

A couple of days later the Danish and US governments announce that the incident is under control – no need to worry about violation of Danish sovereignty, nuclear weapon policy or radiation danger. Meanwhile hundreds of Danish workers at Thule are mobilised for a gigantic cleanup operation; after eight months all traces of the smashed aircraft and the plutonium contaminated snow have been removed.

18 years later a Danish young radio journalist, Paul Brink, is approached by one of the former Thule workers, who argues that a colleague’s mysterious skin disease was caused by the cleanup effort. Brink is skeptical, but as it turns out that other participants in the operation across the country are struggling with the same disorder, he confronts government agencies with his suspicions. The silence is deafening."

UT-Austin stands in as the National Archives. Christian Rosendahl is directing and also co-wrote the script. The cast includes noted Danish actors Soren Malling (A Hijacking), Peter Plaugborg (Borgen) and Thomas Bo Larsen (The Hunt)

Friday, October 25, 2013

'From Dusk Till Dawn' TV series fires up in Austin

Robert Rodriguez acknowledges he's the king of reworking the same premise, so why not TV, which is all about the series? His new El Rey network has started the engines for a From Dusk Till Dawn series for the network with local casting happening right now in Austin.

The network is English language, but will aim to discover new Latino talent both in front of and behind the camera. Chief among the latter is Robert Orci's untitled action series, which has been dubbed a Latin James Bond. That series will likely film in Los Angeles with a 13-episode commitment beginning in March.

Rodriguez says the network, which is paired with Univision and Comcast, is aimed at
--> "people who like irreverent, visceral action and comedy." Think Walking Dead and Breaking Bad with a lot more Latino faces.

It should be a boon to Austin, but will it mark a slowdown in Rodriguez's filmmaking? He says any future films will be somehow tied into El Rey.

El Rey will have a soft launch on television in December then go full force in 2014.

Oh, and here's the extras call from Beth Sepko Casting:

Third Coast Extras is taking general submissions for extras to work on FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, a new TV series (based on the 1996 film of the same name) and produced & directed by Robert Rodriguez, shooting in the Austin, TX area between November 2013 to March 2014.


You'll need a flexible schedule with ability to clear your schedule for the WHOLE day and/or night that we book you to work (we don't get call times or map until the night before a shoot!) & you'll need to have your own reliable transportation to get to the sets- either in Austin or outside of town on location.

Minimum pay guarantee for extras is $79.75 per shoot. If a shoot goes past 10 hours, overtime pay kicks in.

Who we need- Adults ages 18-80s of all ethnicities and ALL types and looks including great character faces.

To submit, email us at: w/ subject heading "Dusk Extras" and follow directions below exactly:

Men: include name, age, phone #, height/weight, jacket size, collar size, pants size (waist/inseam), and shoe size. Attach plenty of clear, well-lit, current photos in high resolution - including both close up photos and full length photos that show your body.

Women: include name, age, phone #, height/weight, dress size, measurements (bust-waist-hips), & shoe size. Attach plenty of clear, well-lit current photos in high resolution - including both close up photos and full length photos that show your body.

IMPORTANT: Must be Texas resident w/ valid Texas ID who lives in (or at least nearby) to Austin, TX since shoots days can change at the last minute. Please don't submit if you're not local to the area or nearby. Even if you've submitted or worked with us on a previous project, please follow directions and submit again for this project. We want your most updated info & current photos to show Director. Also, if you don't hear from us for a booking soon, we may need you later on in the project so keep submitting to our postings. Thank you!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

'Serious' Adam Sandler headed to Austin for Reitman flick

This just in: Jason Reitman will shoot his adaptation of Chad Kultgen's book Men, Women, & Children in Austin in December with Adam Sandler starring along with Jennifer Garner and Rosemarie DeWitt. And don't expect funny Sandler in this naughty tale. News of the planned film first leaked during the Toronto Film Festival last month.

The story as described on the book, "explores the sexual pressures at work on a handful of troubled, conflicted junior-high students and their equally dysfunctional parents. From porn-surfing fathers to World of Warcraft-obsessed sons, from competitive cheerleaders to their dissatisfied, misguided mothers, Kultgen clicks open the emotionally treacherous culture in which we live—in his most ambitious and surprising book yet."

Scouting has been quietly going on in Austin since June, with some local crew already hired and a production office location set.

Casting agent Vicky Boone has been scouting for seedy area motels and trailer parks, according to her Facebook page. She's also on the lookout for high school students to work on casting with her:

Austin High School Students: I am looking for casting interns who are currently attending an Austin or surrounding area high school, to work on the Paramount Pictures feature film MEN WOMEN AND CHILDREN, directed by Jason Reitman (JUNO, UP IN THE AIR, THANK YOU FOR SMOKING). Especially looking for students at: LASA, Anderson, Lake Travis, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Austin High, Crockett, Reagan, McCallum, Bowie, Griffin or other suburban schools. If you are currently a high school student and interested, please email me at Thanks!

Time Warner's news channel YNN also reports a casting call this Saturday in Austin for some pretty meaty roles:

Casting agents are looking to fill six roles with real high school students. Local agency Vicky Boone Casting lists the following roles available with an open casting call set for Saturday at Austin Studios.

•    TIM: Age 15-17; Caucasian or Hispanic. Tall and athletic. Ideally over 6'2" tall with broad shoulders. He is the star of the football team.
•    DANNY: Age 15-17; African-American. Quarterback of the JV football team.
•    BRANDY: Age 15-17; Any ethnicity. A non-traditional beauty. She is smart, witty and thoughtful.
•    BROOKE: Age 15-17; Caucasian. Cheerleading captain and perfect looking.
•    RORY: Age 15 -17; Any ethnicity. Likeable, male cheerleader, spotter.
•    BRANDON: Age 16-18; Any ethnicity. Older, unsympathetic jock.

The open casting call is Saturday, October 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Red Building at Austin Studios, 1901 E 51st Street.

Casting agents said while it's not required people can email a picture in advance to, and applicants will be seen on a first-come, first-seen basis.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Striking a nerve for (Southwest) Texas State

For several years I've been blogging college football over at The Austin Chronicle. (I'm a former Chron film columnist and have been writing for them for almost a decade.) For the most part it's been about the Texas Longhorns, but last year I decided to write weekly about Texas State University's first year in FBS football.

This year I've been lukewarm about continuing, but a Facebook back-and-forth led me to whip out this piece. Then I discovered the sports editor had changed in the interim and the new guy was already out at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. It took  a few emails to even find out who he was, then a couple more to find someone to post it online.

In it I make a couple of points: It's time for Texas State to be taken seriously by the area media (both Austin and San Antonio), the Bobcats are a good team with a solid defense and a freshman quarterback who is capable of doing magic, and--most important--they play on Austin TV today against the Ragin' Cajuns!

Oh, and I urged Longhorn fans to consider watching because, frankly, their team is going nowhere this year. (For the record, I've been a UT football fan since age 8 when my Dad started taking me to games. I'm also a two-degree grad of the school that shall always be known as Southwest Texas State University, and that's my license plate above.)

Then BANG. The post spread like wildfire through Twitter and Facebook, particularly the latter where it has racked up 4.6 4.8 4.9 thousand likes as of this moment (the number keeps climbing). I can only credit that to a potential fan base (the team's, not mine) that is untapped and ripe for the taking. 

It's an interesting reminder of the power of social media. Thanks for reading. Now go watch the game!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

'Evacuation Plan' in Award-Winning Books Week

The folks over at are highlighting the new e-edition of my novel-in-stories Evacuation Plan today on their site as part of their Award-Winning Books Week. The novel won the North Texas Book Award and garnered some good attention. (Look on the right of this page for more info!)

They've got an excerpt of the book here. Check it out and spread the word.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

On the 'Revolution' set in Bartlett

 My report for The Austin Chronicle on NBC's Texas-shot second season of Revolution:

Evan Cauduro, 11, heard about it from friends at school. Then his family was at a dinner party where a woman talked about the call for "weird people." At home, Evan rushed to the computer and began to sign himself up. His father Paul uploaded two photos – one of Evan in his baseball uniform and another from the boy's school science fair. Soon Evan was staying up all night in grungy clothes. He ran dangerously close to an oncoming horse. And you might just see him as a background extra on Sept. 25 when the NBC series Revolution debuts its second season, its first as a Central Texas-shot phenomenon.
The show is headquartered in Austin for a 22-episode sweep that will continue into May, says Gary Bond, head of the Austin Film Commission, but cameras have been popping up at Decker Lake and in Maxwell, downtown Taylor, Cedar Park, and elsewhere. The conventional wisdom is each episode results in $1 million in local spending. "That's the wonderful thing about television," Bond says. "It's the gift that keeps on giving. The potential for them to be here five years is there."

Read the rest in The Austin Chronicle here.

See photos from the Bartlett set here.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

David Gordon Green: third Austin-area film and counting

How many films has Richard Linklater shot recently in the Austin area? I suppose there's Boyhood, his 12-year indie project that shot in yearly spurts and Bernie filmed a few years ago. Robert Rodriguez quietly pumps movies out in his secluded bat cave (with occasion trips out to block downtown Austin traffic.

But compare that to newish Austin resident David Gordon Green who has two Central-Texas shot films done: Prince Avalanche shot covertly in Bastrop last summer (he's learning from his secretive mentor Terrence Malick) and Joe shot all around the area last fall.

Now add something called Mangelhorn that will shoot in Austin this fall featuring Al Pacino, Holly Hunter, Harmony Korine (director of Gummo) and Chris Messina (Greenberg).  Manglehorn is about "an eccentric man who tries to come to terms with a past crime that cost him the love of his life."

Three films in about two years? It's probably premature to crown a new king of Austin indie-ish film, but Green might want to come in for his royal fitting.

Friday, August 23, 2013

First look at JFK assassination film 'Parkland'

Austin State Hospital's turquoise brick walls look all shiny '60s-like in the trailer for the film Parkland. ASH stands in for Parkland Memorial Hospital, where President John F. Kennedy was taken after he was shot in Dallas. Check it out, conspiracy theorists.

'Reality Bites,' the TV series?

As odd as that sounds, odder still is that Ben Stiller is behind an effort to make the 1994 dudes hanging out in angsty, grungy (?!) Houston movie Reality Bites into an NBC television series. The show would be also set in Houston and in the '90s. That is if the pilot is picked up (and, we hope, shoots in Houston, not New Orleans). I'm just hoping Stiller resurrects his Peter Frampton-loving character.

According to Deadline Hollywood, the show "centers on recent college graduate Lelaina Pierce, the character played in the movie by Winona Ryder, as she struggles to make her way — romantically and professionally — in the recession-plagued, pre-Internet early 1990s."

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Favreau's 'Chef' eats Austin barbecue

        WhoSay - Photo from Jon Favreau

As we told you the other day, John Favreau is shooting a segment of his film Chef in Austin. We can now tell you where: Franklin's Barbecue. And, as you can see, Robert Rodriguez stopped by for a snack.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Favreau's food cart movie pulls up in Austin

Jon Favreau has written and is directing and starring in indie film Chef, about a Los Angeles chef who loses his job, buys a food cart and travels cross-country using it. It will stop in Austin for one day of filming on Aug. 21. Other stops include New Orleans and Miami.

The cast is impressive with Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Amy Sedaris, Dustin Hoffman, Bobby Cannavale, and Garry Shandling. Not sure who will show up in Austin.

This is not to be confused with another announced film also named Chef and expected to shoot next year with Bradley Cooper in the main role. To add to the intrigue, the two companies financing Favreau's film are suing each other.

Want to be an Austin extra in the Favreau film? Act quickly. Here's the info from Third Coast Extras:

Pay is $75/10hr and it'll be a fun shoot.

We are booking the following Extras so read carefully and apply using
directions below!

*Adults Male and Females, Ages 18-80s. all ethnicities with an
interesting Austin-type look or an everyday look. We mostly need
Hipsters, Cosmic Cowboys, Rockabilly people, Blues fans, characters etc.

*Motorcyclists (Bikers) Males, & females all ethnicities, ages 18+ with
their own Harleys (or other motorcycle makes that resemble Harleys) that
they can bring to set and ride in the scenes (bikers will be paid an
extra $50 if you ride your motorcycle in the scene). You must have
license to operate a motorcycle and clothing options that make you look
like an authentic biker.

To submit your info to be considered, email us at: . Make
subject either "Chef Extra 8/21" or "Chef Biker 8/21" depending on
which you are applying for.

Include your name, age, phone #, and height/weight. Attach clear, high
quality current photos of you- including a close photo and a full length
photo. Bikers also attach a photo of your motorcycle along with the
photo of yourself.

Important: Must live in...or at least nearby to Austin, TX and have
valid ID. Must have full day/night availability for entire day and
evening for Wednesday, 8/21 since exact call time won't be released
until the night before. Please only apply if you are fully available to
work & dependable and have transportation to get to a TBD location in
central Austin.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

More views of the 'Revolution' set

My schedule keeps taking me through Bartlett, Texas, where NBC's TV series Revolution has taken up residence. The latest episode being shot seems to have a Halloween theme. It was at the end of a rain storm when I came through, so the set was mostly deserted and I could get out of my car--most times lately the set perimeter is swarming with cops from many area police departments--and take some pix of the entrance, including it's door made of old tires. Many burned out cars were on the edges of the area.

I couldn't figure out if a guy selling art made of old cans was part of the show or just an odd neighbor. Honk and he'd come out to take your cash.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

'Revolution' courthouse sprouts in Bartlett

The TV series Revolution has taken over tiny Central Texas town Bartlett for shooting of its second season. That includes construction of the facade of a burned-out courthouse at a downtown intersection. It's held up by plywood and features the "Town Rules." In front of it sits the remains of a statue. The show shoots through April in the Austin area.

 Here are a few shots of actors/extras in costume.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sneak footage of 'Love & Other Stunts'

I spend the afternoon looking at footage we shot in Los Angeles for the Gary Kent documentary Love & Other Stunts that I'm directing/producing. Here are a few snippets that may or may not make it into the completed film. We're aiming for a rough cut by the end of the year.

Here's The Stuntman director Richard Rush talking about how his career began.

Director/stuntman John "Bud Cardos talking about doing stunts.

Director Don Jones talking about why he quite doing stunts.

and actor Marc Singer talking about Chuck Bail and The Beastmaster.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Is Albuquerque the new San Antonio?

Don't blame San Antonio tourists if they assume the Alamo is made of adobe. Two major network TV series set in the Alamo City are being filming in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Night Shift is a medical drama set at "San Antonio Memorial." Here's the plot description from NBC:
At San Antonio Memorial, those who work the 7pm – 7am shift are a special breed. Welcome to the night shift, where every day is a fight between the heroic efforts of saving lives and the hard truths of running a hospital. After a grueling tour of duty in Afghanistan, adrenaline junkie TC Callahan became accustomed to combat, but he could have never guessed that his toughest battles would be fought right here at home. TC and his irreverent team of late night docs know how to let off steam with the casual prank or two, but when lives are at stake, they are all business. Unfortunately, the night shift is now under new management, and boss Michael Ragosa is more interested in cutting costs than helping people. But TC has never met a rule he couldn't break, or a person he won't stand up to. And it's clear that not even Jordan, TC's ex-girlfriend and now Ragosa's second in charge, has a chance at keeping him in line. If Ragosa wants a war... he'll get one.

The pilot for Texas Rangers show Killer Women was shot in Austin, but the pilot (and we can assume the series) is set in San Antonio and the show is now ready to lens in Albuquerque. Here's the story:

Of all the notorious lawmen who ever patrolled the violent Texas frontier, none are more storied than the Texas Rangers. Being the only female ranger in this elite squad isn’t going to stop ballsy, badass Molly Parker (Tricia Helfer). Molly is committed to finding the truth and seeing justice served. While she’s surrounded by law enforcement colleagues who want to see her fail, including Police Lieutenant Estaban Salazar (Vic Trevino), the Rangers have her back, led by Company Commander Luis Zea (Alex Fernandez). Molly’s also got her brother Billy (Michael Trucco) and his wife Nessa (Marta Milans). On the verge of getting divorced from her smarmy husband Jake (Jeffrey Nordling), Molly begins an affair with sexy DEA agent, Dan Winston (Marc Blucas).

At least Dallas has TNT series Dallas shooting there for a third season and Austin stole Revolution from North Carolina and brought the apocalypse to Central Texas.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

'Revolution' settles in for Texas shoot

I was passing through the tiny town of Bartlett, Texas, today when I spotted the little yellow sign that productions put out to steer cast and crew to a shooting location. This one read "Nano." I wasn't sure what that could be, but the size of the production and the hinty name (the plot of Revolution has nanotechnology causing a blackout) sez it has to be the NBC series which moved its base from North Carolina to the Austin area recently. These are probably just extras in costume, but the guy on the left looks a lot like show star Billy Burke...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

'Machete' sues Texas, but Rodriguez wants not part of it

Perry OKs film incentives in 2010. 

The never-ending saga of the Texas Film Commission's denial of filming incentive funds to Robert Rodriguez's satirical slasher film Machete, well, continues.

According the the Houston Chronicle, papers have been filed in Austin seeking $8 million in incentives denied in late 2010. But now Rodriguez says he doesn't support the lawsuit and actually appears with Gov. Rick Perry in a commercial urging businesses to move to the Lone Star State. Perry signed 2009 film incentives legislation at Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios surrounded by politicians and movie props.

It's all part of a twisted saga that includes radio conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, former Texas Film Commish Bob Hudgins--who left the job with a sexual harassment claim clouding the picture but whose efforts effectively created the film incentive program--and an oddball and quite vague "content clause" approved by the Legislature that restricts funding for projects that show Texas in a bad light.

A side effect of the story is the various film commissioners who have followed Hudgins (three to be exact) are no longer allowed to speak to the media and instead refer media reps to Perry's press office, which seldom returns calls.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Austin-shot 'The Lying Game' cancelled

This just in: Austin-shot television series The Lying Game has been officially cancelled by ABC Family after a long delay in the decision. The show shot for two years in Austin. These days there's other TV brewing in Austin.

Show star Alexandra Chando broke the news on Twitter, today, then it was confirmed by show officials.

Over on Facebook, fans are upset that the show will end without wrapping up its loose ends.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

'Lying Game' waits for true renewal

 UPDATE: Nope. it's cancelled.

It's sort of fitting that ABC's Killer Women filmed its pilot in Austin but the series will be shot in New Mexico. That's the exact opposite of ABC Family's The Lying Game for which the pilot lensed in New Mexico but the series shot in Austin. Notice that past tense? No one knows at this point if the show will get a third season. The delayed official announcement is now to come on July 15, and the folks behind the show are urging viewer support and, oddly, for folks to not watch a couple of new ABC Family shows. And in Austin this news is hardly rating a blip in the media. Instead all eyes are focused on NBC's hit series Revolution's moving production to town.

Here's the scoop from a Facebook fan page Renew The Lying Game:

I noticed there have been a ton of questions from all of you lately that need to get clarified.

QUESTION 1: When will we know if TLG has been renewed or not?
Allie (Laurel) said that they will know the official word on JULY 15TH which is a little over 2 weeks away. I will post the official word as soon as I know!

QUESTION 2: Blair is on Switched at Birth this season so TLG must be canceled.
NO not at all true. Blair is ONLY guest starring this season. The word is that he's in ONLY 6 or 7 episodes maybe less. He filmed these episodes earlier in the year while TLG wasn't filming.

QUESTION 3: Is boycotting ABC Family's new shows really going to help TLG get renewed?
YES! ABSOLUTELY! The less viewers these shows get the better the chance is for TLG to get renewed. If these shows get way more viewers then TLG then ABC Family will think TLG doesn't have a big enough fan base to continue and these other shows do.

QUESTION 4: What if I just boycott Twisted & watch The Fosters? Am I still helping TLG?
Yes & no! A lot of people are assuming that only Twisted's ratings have to do with TLG's renewal or cancellation & that The Fosters only affects Bunheads. But NO official word has stated this. When the announcement came out it said ABC Family wants to see how BOTH of their new shows do. If BOTH are canceled is WAY MORE likely that TLG will get renewed. That means that TWO time slots will be opened.

QUESTION 5: How can I help get TLG renewed?
Tweet ABC Family like CRAZY letting them know that you want TLG back with hashtags ‎#RenewTheLyingGame & ‎#LyingGameBack10 Also email them & leave tons of FB comments. The more noise we make he better!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Elephant Gun takes aim at photography

I'm pleased to be part of a new photo collective Elephant Gun. Check out the photos (Mine are here) and dive into true creativity. It's gritty. It's real. It's art.

By the way, the image you see is my shot of movie director Richard Rush speaking on camera for Love & Other Stunts, the documentary film I'm making about legendary indie stuntman Gary Kent. The folks at Elephant Gun were particularly taken with the image. Thanks for including me in the Gun, guys!

A 'Revolution' of prostitutes

The folks behind the NBC television series Revolution apparently have a vision of Austin, Texas, and it involves prostitutes, musicians, people with a lot of tattoos, refugees, gamblers, soldiers and cops. At least that's what they're looking for in latest extras casting calls. On Facebook are also details of needs for stand-in for the series stars (J.D. Pardo stands all of 5'4"!).

Sign up online (no stoopid hats or sunglasses in your photo) and enjoy the latest wave of TV action heating up in Austin.

Friday, June 21, 2013

'Revolution' wants scary Austinites!

This just in from On Location Casting regarding the NBC TV series Revolution, which we told you will film in Austin this season:

We REALLY need:
-"the scariest people you can find" - heavily tattooed, heavily pierced, savage/violent looking, people missing eyebrows, people missing body parts, people with tattooed/pierced faces and heads

-musicians of all types

-military or law enforcement trained men & women who know how to handle weapons

And SO much more!!

Send your friends to: and have them fill out a Talent Application. It is FREE and they do NOT need to pay to have an 'active' account (that is optional only and not required to be booked for work!)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Transformers 4 ready to shoot in Taylor, TX

Curious about when the Michael Bay film that is not officially known as Transformers 4 will shoot in Taylor, Texas? Read the signs.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Texas ups the film incentives ante

The Texas Motion Picture Alliance members should give their lobbyists a raise. They somehow sold the Texas Legislature on a record two-year total of $95 million for the state's film incentives program. Does this mean the program now has enough bucks to attract more actual feature films and not just television shows (which aren't bad visitors either if you can get them and a drag when you don't)? Stay tuned, but it looks good. Check out The Austin Chronicle's report, which spells the numbers out.

Just two years ago it was looking like there would be no film incentives program in Texas.

And back in 2009, $60 million for the program had people smiling.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Richard Linklater hopes to lens 'Dazed' semi-sequel in the fall

Yep, that's what Richard Linklater said on Reddit when asked about the "spiritual sequel" to Dazed and Confused: "Hoping to make it this fall, actually. A college comedy. I feel like mixing it up with a big ensemble."

The fan response was, of course: "Be a lot cooler if you did."

Linklater has been trying to get the college story made for years.

Oh, and Linklater says his 12-year project Boyhood may finally see the light of day in 2014.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

'Killer Women' to shoot in New Mexico

 video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

It's a show about Texas Rangers set in San Antonio and the pilot shot in Austin, but the ABC series Killer Women will lens in Albuquerque, my sources confirm.

With the television networks, the decision usually comes down to dollars and cents, and this appears to be no exception. Simply put, filming incentives in New Mexico remain much more attractive than those offered in Texas.

But at least we can enjoy a few fleeting Austin views in the trailer.

It's the same story that has another Texas Rangers story,  Johnny Depp star vehicle The Long Ranger, featuring scenic backdrops that you'd never find in the Lone Star State.

Hey, lady: are you 'Transformers 4' tough?

First sign of extra work on the film not actually called Transformers 4 (it's untitled at this point) from the folks at Third Coast Extras. It also gives a good notion of the actual shooting dates:

Seeking submissions from FEMALE CAUCASIAN EXTRAS between the ages of 16-23 fit, tan, attractive with an "all-American" Texas type look to work as a featured Extra on the Transformers sequel directed by Michael Bay shooting in the Austin, TX area between June 3-20, 2013.


You'll need a flexible schedule w/ ability to clear schedule for both all day/night shoots if necessary & have reliable transportation to get to set either in Austin or outside of town on location. Must have good follow-through and be able to commit to dates + wardrobe dept. will need to have pre-fit clothing & you'll attend a wardrobe fitting the week before shooting during the last week of May. Scenes for this Extra shoot 6/3 and 6/11, but subject to change.

Minimum pay guarantee for this featured extra is $100/8hr. After 8 hours time + 1/2 overtime pay kicks in. Potential for upgrade.

Please email us at: w/ subject heading "Transformers: Featured Friend" and follow directions below exactly:

Women: include name, age, phone #, height/weight, dress size, bust-waist-hips measurements, & shoe size. Attach several clear, current photos in high resolution - including a close photo (no professional headshots however) & a full length photo also. Please only casual photos not professionally taken.This Director wants to see your current everyday real appearance.

Must be Texas resident w/ valid photo ID who lives in (or at least nearby) to Austin, TX. Please don't submit if you're not local to the area or nearby.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

'Blanco County' coming to USA network?

Ben Rehder                                   Rob Thomas
Austin novelist Ben Rehder's series of mysteries is in development as a TV series called Blanco County at the USA Network. And that's not the end of the Texas connection--Rob Thomas of Veronica Mars fame has been hired as the showrunner/writer and is executive producer along with Tom Welling (Smallville's Clark Kent).

Thomas, who went to high school in San Marcos and taught high school journalism in Austin, moved back to the Capital City a few years ago. Rehder says the two didn't meet in person until after Thomas had signed on to the project.  A pilot has already been penned. Now it's up to USA to give the series a thumbs up or down.

Blanco County is based on Rehder's six comic novels (he cites Carl Hiassen as his inspiration)  and "follows the story of John Marlin, a worldly pro baseball player who would rather spend his down time traveling the world than return to his small Texas hometown. After the death of his father, Marlin returns home to find a lot has changed since he left. The place is now booming with rich ranchers and tourists and there’s an uneasy alliance between the locals and the nouveau rich. Believing the local cops to be inept, Marlin runs for sheriff and surprisingly wins. A man who spent his entire life running away from his roots must now adapt to a new way of life." In the novels, Marlin is instead a game warden.

Will the show shoot in Central Texas if picked up to series?

"One big reason Rob was interested is because of the possibility of shooting here," Rehder says. "I don't know what the odds are, but I know that's what Rob would prefer."

Monday, May 13, 2013

NBC's 'Revolution' moving production to Austin

FYI: Also see this over at The Dallas Morning News.

NBC series Revolution is on the verge of moving its production from North Carolina to Austin this summer.

“We have been working with them for several weeks, and that it certainly looks good from all indications--including the news out of Wilmington,” said Gary Bond, head of the Austin Film Commission. “But still we have received no official word from the production execs.”

According to a report in the Wilmington Star-News, citing a letter from show creator Eric Kripke to the show’s crew, production could begin in Austin by July. 

Bond said the show would bring about 300 crew jobs to Austin.

This follows news that ABC has picked up to series the San Antonio-set Texas Rangers drama Killer Woman. The pilot shot in Austin and the series is likely to as well, Bond said.

Revolution is set in a future where electricity no longer works. A need for new locations has been cited as a potential reason for the move, but the state’s legislature has looked at ending its filming incentives program, which could be a factor. 

Austin television news isn’t all positive. ABC family’s series shot its first two seasons there, but the network has delayed word on a third season pickup until June at the earliest.

The Lying Game shot its first two seasons there, but the network has delayed word on a third season pickup until June at the earliest.

'Lying Game' does the limbo

We gave you the (potential) Austin TV good news from ABC  regarding Killer Women making it to series. Now here's the bad news: ABC Family is leaving Austin-shot The Lying Game in limbo about a third-season shoot. The final word won't come until into the summer. The catch is many of the cast may have vamoosed by then. It doesn't look good for the show...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

ABC picks up 'Killer Women' to series

ABC has officially picked up Killer Women, the saga of a female Texas Ranger, as a series. The show is set in San Antonio, but the pilot was shot in Austin. I'm betting it returns to Texas for the series, but no word on that yet. Stay tuned.

Read more about the show here.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fourth 'Transformers' film to shoot in Texas in June

My report appears in today's Dallas Morning News. It's behind a pay wall, so here it is in its entirety for you.

Special to The Dallas Morning News

Michael Bay’s fourth big-budget Transformers film will shoot in the Austin area in June, bringing with it requisite car chases, robots and plenty of explosions.

The Austin Film Commission confirmed 3-4 weeks of filming in the small towns of Lockhart, Taylor, Elgin and Pflugerville. 
A Taylor bridge over the railroad awaits a robot siege.

A large Austin production office opened in March, but location scouting dates back to last November. There was initial interest in the Circuit of the Americas racetrack southeast of Austin, but instead the Austin Film Commission says the focus is on small towns that reminded Bay of Robert Frank’s 1950s photos collected in the classic book The Americans.

In Taylor, 30 minutes from Austin, a police chase will close downtown and a railroad overpass, said Deby Lannen, the city’s Main Street program manager. A car will be exploded in the city’s Robinson Park. “It’s pretty exciting,” she said.

“I know there will be things exploded in Taylor for sure. Some will be physical effects, some CGI,” said Gary Bond, head of the Austin Film Commission.

Lockhart’s Caldwell County Courthouse square will be another filming location, with Taylor and Lockhart combined into one fiction town on screen. Robots will chase down the good guys throughout Central Texas including in Elgin.

The bulk of the untitled movie is expected to lens overseas in China, where a reality television show will cast some roles. According to the web site ReelChicago, shooting will begin in Chicago in July, presumably after Texas filming ends. The Detroit Free-Press in March reported approval of $20 million in filming incentives on $81.9 million in anticipated spending there.

The first three Transformers films grossed $2.6 billion worldwide with the budget for the last two both in the $200 million range. 

No plot has been released for the film, but Mark Wahlberg will star along with Jack Reynor and Nicola Peltz. Wahlberg’s good-guy character’s home will be a farmhouse in Pflugerville. Bay has previously said the film will take a different direction with many new actors.

Bay's production company Platinum Dunes has a history of filming in Central Texas, including 2003's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and its 2006 sequel, plus 2007's The Hitcher

The latest Transformers film is set for release in June 2014.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Michigan throws $20 million at 'Transformers 4'

You read it here last December that Michael Bay and company are expected to come to Austin to shoot part of Transformers 4. Now comes word that Michigan is offering $20 million in incentives if $81.9 million is spent in that film-hungry state. What's more amazing this is part of a "reduction" in film incentive spending in the state, which is still tossing around $120 million a year.

Meanwhile, don't count out my earlier claim about a shoot in Austin. As the article states, "Michigan will be one of several locations for the film." Stay tuned.

The film's crew is apparently looking at the GM plant as a location.  Oh, and the Michigan film folk revealed some Transformers Quatro plot details before Bay turned around and denied everything. Imagine that...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Scenes from San Antonio

San Antonio Elvis
We stopped in San Antonio and soaked up the culture. See the full set of photos here.

Traveling salesman

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Views from South by Southwest

Photo by Joe O'Connell

     Photo by Joe O'Connell
I cover the South by Southwest Film Festival every year. For me that began today. Here are two photos that show the essence of the SXSW fest.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Two Dallas natives in Texas Film Hall of Fame

Here' s my report for the Dallas Morning News from the Texas Film Hall of Fame. It should soon be behind a paywall, so I present it here in its entirety.

Special Contributor

AUSTIN — On the way to school in Oak Cliff, young Stephen Tobolowsky would act out plays. On Thursday, the character actor whose name you don’t know but whose face you do was inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame.

He was joined by fellow Dallas native Robin Wright, San Antonio’s Henry Thomas (E.T., All the Pretty Horses) and Houston’s Annette O’Toole (TV’s Smallville) at Austin Studios on the former site of the city’s airport.
Photo by Joe O'Connell

Tobolowsky, who has acted in more than 100 film and TV projects, including Groundhog Day and Memento, said he had a revelation about his career while playing the role of a professional bass fisherman years ago. A car arrived, he thought to take him to the set, but the driver had mistaken Tobolowsky for a pilot he’d been sent to pick up. Then, said pilot showed up, thinking Tobolowsky must be the cabbie.

“In one day, I was mistaken for both a jet pilot and a taxi driver en route to my role as a bass fisherman,” he said. “That is the life of a character actor.”
Photo by Joe O'Connell

Princess Bride director Rob Reiner introduced Wright at the ceremony and said he had seen more than 100 young actresses before Wright arrived. “She walked in the room and I said, ‘Oh, my God, she is the princess bride.’ ”

While born in Dallas, Wright was raised in California. However, she returned yearly and fondly recalls jaunts to Cedar Creek Lake, where she swam and ate watermelon.

Wright, with a recent role in Netflix’s House of Cards, said the joy of her career has been “sharing stories and receiving them on a daily basis and getting paid for it.”

It’s the 13th year the Austin Film Society has inducted new members to the Texas Film Hall of Fame, which raises funds to aid independent filmmakers and serves as a kickoff to the South by Southwest Film Festival. Also honored this year was Richard Linklater’s 1993 teen film, Dazed and Confused, which received the Star of Texas Award.

Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, an old Linklater pal, presented the award for what he called one of his favorite films of the 1990s.

Austin Film Society founder Linklater said he was still learning his craft while making Dazed and Confused and had his uneasy moments.

“I had such high ambitions for what I was doing,” he said. “If I ever felt less than certain, I could see how hard the cast was working and realize how much it meant to them.”

Actress Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (TV’s Friday Night Lights) serenaded the cast with a sultry rendition of the Led Zeppelin song “Dazed and Confused.” Linklater’s film is named for the song, but he was unable to get rights to use it in the film.

E.T.'s Henry Thomas in Texas Film Hall of Fame

                                                                                    Photo by Joe O'Connell
 My report from the Texas Film Hall of Fame for the San Antonio Express-News:

AUSTIN — If Henry Thomas hadn't become an actor, he'd likely have spent his adult life saving and rehabilitating horses. Instead he was inducted Thursday into the Texas Film Hall of Fame.
Save for a lucky break in an open audition for the 1981 film “Raggedy Man” (directed by Jack Fisk and starring Fisk's wife, Sissy Spacek), Thomas, who called himself a “pretty good horseman,” might have missed out on a career spanning more than 30 years — including memorable roles in films such as “All the Pretty Horses” and “A River Runs Through It.”

Read more here.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The female 'Walker, Texas Ranger' shoots Austin pilot

It's called Killer Women and the ABC television pilot is set to shoot in Austin from March 11-26, though the show is actually set in San Antonio.

Battlestar Galactica's Tricia Helfer plays the lead in the pilot about the only female in the Texas Rangers (the law enforcers, not the ball players). The male lead is DEA agent Marc Blucas of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Necessary Roughness fame. He also had a small part in The Alamo when it shot outside of Austin where I met the likeable ex-jock. He is a former Wake Forest basketball player, and his teammate and pal is some guy named Tim Duncan.

Blame this all on Modern Family's Sofia Vergara, A native of Colombia who is exec producing the adaptation of Argentine TVseries, Mueres Asesinas, which itself is based on the book trilogy of the same name by Marisa Grinstein.

Third Coast Extras is seeking all sorts of background folks as well as a mariachi band for the pilot shoot. Check them out on Facebook here. Would the series shoot here? Your guess is as good as mine. Often these projects vamoose for LA once they're picked up. If it stays put, maybe Chuck Norris can make a cameo.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Why I'm making a documentary about Gary Kent

This is a clip from a press conference we had Saturday in Dallas for the documentary Love & Other Stunts about indie film legend Gary Kent. Watch it, and you'll see why I'm making this movie! Check out the IndieGoGo campaign here! With nine days to go we are 79 percent funded.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

'Love & Other Stunts' nearing halfway point at IndieGoGo

Get Gary Kent and this doc out of jail!

We're trying to raise finishing funds for my documentary LOVE & OTHER STUNTS about legendary stuntman Gary Kent over on IndieGoGo, and it's going well. We're at 42 44 percent of our goal--more than $4,000--with the midway point approaching. Not bad.

Now we've decided to have a special screening at some future date (most likely in Austin, Texas) just for contributors. Sound good? Wait until you see the other  perks.