Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We're Enticing! (apparently)

According to Cinematical, MY MOM SMOKES WEED is one of the 10 most enticing short films of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival! I guess a rose by any other name...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Trying hard not to dookie a shooter!

So, it's now part of the public record. MY MOM SMOKES WEED is an official selection of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

This news comes on the tail of several other amazing acceptance notices. Bryan Poyser's fantastic feature film, LOVERS OF HATE, is one of the 16 films in the narrative competition. As well as being a friend and fellow Texan, LOH also stars Chris Doubeck (also in EARTHLING) and was shot by David Lowery (who co-shot MY MOM SMOKES WEED).

The Zellners also have a new short in the festival. FIDDLESTIXX, which played with MMSW at Cinevegas. And my good pal Don Lewis co-produced a feature playing Park Cities at Midnite. THE VIOLENT KIND. Can't wait to check it out!

Also, the Duplass Brothers have their latest film (starring John C. Reiley) premiering. Pretty amazing. A big gaggle of UT alums tossing snow balls around in January!

Texas and friends of Texas will be well represented.

More to come!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


In Austin this week for several reasons. First off, I decided I needed just one more teeny tiny scene for EARTHLING. This one involving just one actor...Amelia Turner (who happens to reside in Austin). Shot it within hours of arrving in town. Went fantastically well, thanks to additional support from friends Kim Hall and Jason Wehling.

EARTHLING screens tonight for it's first audience (larger than one) at the Austin Film Society screening room. The event is largely utilized for gathering feedback as I close-in on my final edit. Bryan Poyser is our gracious host. Event details are here...

The remaining HUGE reason I'm in Austin is because I have a film playing at the Austin Film Festival. Yes, MY MOM SMOKES WEED makes its regional premiere this week at AFF. Can't wait to see it with an Austin crowd!

Event details are here...


I'm in Austin through Sunday, so if you're in the ATX and wanna hang, shoot me a line.

I return to Dallas Sunday, and the following day I begin shooting my next feature film as Director of Photography. The film is called MINUTEMAN, and it's a sci-fi action'er.

Should be a fun deal!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hell has officially frozen over...

So, I really never thought I'd be typing this sentence, but A FOUR COURSE MEAL (my first feature film as writer/director) is finally coming out on dvd.

The North American release date is 12-22-09. Just in time for Christmas! Nothing says "Happy Jesus Day" like the gift of an unrated horror-comedy anthology film!

The fine folks at R Squared films are doing it up right too. There's the 16x9 film, trailers, 30 minutes of deleted scenes (I know. That's a lot for a 90 minute film!) and a brand new audio commentary.

The dvd will be available through most online and several retail outlets. More details as D-Day approaches.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Yay! Internet!

So, after being without internet while shooting a film in Austin ("Chainsaw Found Jesus", the new short by Spencer Parsons) I came home to discover that due to a technical error, my home internet had be turned off. While I cleared the issue immediately with the fine people at AT&T, it still took over a damn week to get the f'er back up and running.

A bunch has happened. My Mom Smokes Weed has played another festival (Cinesol) and has another in the wings (TBA).

Earthling is cut (but still too long) and is being tweaked.

I'm just now beginning to sorta prep my next film.

I'll do more updating in a bit.

There's so much more. ST. NICK playing in foreign countries. Blood on the Highway on Video On Demand.



Monday, August 17, 2009

Watch ST. NICK on a friggin ROOF!



Headed to NY at the end of this month for the Rooftop Films screening of ST. NICK.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


EARTHLING BEHIND THE SCENES: Fun With Plastic Tubing from Clay Liford on Vimeo.

After our effects crew was killed in a freak latex accident, the remaining actors were coerced into applying and performing their own makeup effects. Here's an example!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I know I'm like the 50-bajillionth person to post this, but David Lowery was gracious enough to put the opening sequence from his amazing feature, ST. NICK, online. My ulterior motive for posting this is that I was the Director of Photography for the film, and maybe you'll want to hire me after you see this!!!

It's honestly pretty darn awesome. Visually, David is a very strong director, and I really can't claim any possessive credit for the overall look of the film. David's hand is firmly present in every shot. Um...but hire me anyway!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

English Version of Polish EARTHLING INTERVIEW

Here's the link to the interview I recently conducted with a Polish website. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Sleep Schedule is Jacked!

When in Vegas, make the drunk DB face! This photo covers all the DB bases. Stupid faces. Shot by someone actually in the photo. Alcohol. The works. I feel like I joined a fraternity!

Cinevegas was pretty amazing. I met so many cool people, and our shorts block was totally solid. I had a great running crew! So glad I was able to be there with Nate and even MY MOM!

Next up for MY MOM SMOKES WEED is a special screening at the LA Film Festival on June 26th.

Here's a LINK to the info.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Does Anybody Read Polish?

I recently did an interview with a Polish website for EARTHLING. It looks really cool, and I guess I can post the English transcript from my email. But somehow, I think I probably come off better translated to another language. 

In case you're curious to see the words of "Clayem Lifordem" (which I now prefer to be referred to as), the link is here.

Do Widzenia!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cinevegas Interview: My Mom Smokes Weed

In anticipation of our upcoming screenings at Cinevegas, here's a brief email INTERVIEW I did for the fest. Here's hoping I don't sound like a goofball.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Somehow we found the time to make this...

Just a little goofy fun from the set of EARTHLING. I'm in the throes of editing, and it's coming along quite nicely. It's pretty silly that this is the first "released" piece of "motion video" from the film, but what can you do?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Very Very Quick Notes

So, several things happening at once. 

First, MY MOM SMOKES WEED is an official selection of the 2009 Cinevegas Film Festival. This is so awesome, and I will for sure be in attendance (along with at least one cast member).

Second, we're pretty much wrapped on EARTHLING. As I write this at 1:30 in the morning, we'll be shooting our last scenes with flesh and blood actors in less than 8 hours. After that, it's all rubber and latex as far as the eye can see. I've still got a bevy of effects shots with fake creepy crawlies before me. Effects films are fun!!!

Finally, once more, a great and hearty thanks to my entire cast and crew. Wonderful people who understand the enduro trials of no-budget filmmaking. This is the best, most fantabulous posse I've ever had the pleasure of running with, and my eternal gratitude is with you on your winged ride to Valhalla.

I'm really tired (shocker!) so here I am talking nonsense for the fifty bazillionth time!

Bed time for Bonzo!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Don't Even Know What Day It Is...

This is just a quick one. We're in the middle of week two of principal photography on EARTHLING. Things are going great. I have such an amazing cast and crew. I know I've mentioned this before, but really, they're the bee's knees. 

I've learned so much in the last few weeks. I feel like I've learned how to stay calm under debilitating pressure, and furthered my ability to make changes and compromises on the fly. This particular film is particularly hard to track. We're, of course, shooting out of order, and for something this "technical" with effects continuity and plot points that consistently need to be spelled out (i.e. sci-fi exposition), it's really become a challenge just keeping up with the basics on a day-to-day basis.

Tomorrow we film the most important emotional scenes in the film. I'm nervous, but excited. My actors are giving their all. I just gotta know what to take and when I've got it. I'm not even sure if that makes any sense. It's more of just trusting your artistic partners and knowing that not everything has to be telegraphed for an audience to get what you're going for.

I'm totally rambling and I have no idea what I'm talking about anymore. I'll post again when I'm more lucid. Just wish us all luck and godspeed as we sail towards the finish line of this nutty journey.

P.S.--This post is for Kat!


Somehow watching this next video reaffirms my faith in the ability of the moving picture to stir the emotions. It gives me hope to soldier on...

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Principal photography commences on EARTHLING!

I watched Blade Runner in bed last night. Trying to remind myself that it is possible to make intelligent sci-fi. Plus I really love the Ridley Scott 'no key-lighting' look. I already made arrangements for at least 12 smoke machines to be on set with us today.

We've got a really tight schedule, and today is our only day with William Katt (in a supporting role, playing the father of an astronaut). I'm very conscious of the pressure (today is also a big effects day), but I'm trying to keep an open mind. I want to find those happy accidents and synchronistic moments that take a good story and make it great. 

Finally starting to get excited. Finally.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Here we go!

Man, we're less than a week away from beginning principal photography on EARTHLING. I'm equal parts nervous and excited. We've put such a great team together that I actually think now I'm probably the weakest link! Of course, the self depreciation is a lame attempt to get all my friends to tell me how absolutely positive they are that I'm gonna do a great job. Whee!

Alongside prepping, I've also been doing my time at several film fests. AFI Dallas is wrapping up now. ST. NICK played there to sold out screenings, coming on the heels of previous sold out screenings at South by Southwest.

These screenings, plus upcoming ones, are nicely plotted out on producer James Johnston's blog here!

I always knew the film was really good, but I honestly had no idea what audiences would make of it. As it turns out, they absolutely love it. It really is a film that rewards you if you let it in. I was worried about the amount of patience it requires (for lack of an obvious traditional narrative), but the spartan qualities of the film turn out to be its greatest asset.

I think a shared familiarity of youth is tapped in a manner without sentimentality, allowing one to honestly imprint their own childhood longings and confusions. I think I finally get why David chose to hang on certain moments much longer than one normally would find necessary. The imprinting requires introspection. That sounds much more pretentious than I intended. I'm not referring to a pseudo-intellectual search for cheap symbolism, it's something more unconscious. It's about simplicity. A deft and intentional simplicity.

I remember a particular shot. A single shot which, because of its closeness, it's sheer proximity to the actor in question (it was a close-up shot of the dad looking pensive), implied a narrative explanation for the "inciting incident" that kicks off the story. Even this oblique inference of latent meaning was too heavy a hand for the film. I remember feeling it was necessary at the time (I pushed David to shoot the darn close-up), but now understand how it actually works against the purpose of the film. 

In what might come off as a trite tangent, I think my thoughts can be best summed up via an essayist from a slightly different (but exceedingly relevant) artistic world. There's a great book by Scott McCloud called "Understanding Comics," which is the closest thing we have to a total psychological and sociological deconstruction of sequential art. In it, he spends a great deal of time on the simple cartoon face. The idea that faced (!) with a certain lack of detail and overt information, but given certain familiar symbols, the brain will construct a narrative (or a human face, in Scott's case) far more personal that that of the highly detailed and case specific story (or drawing).

I think the key to what makes ST. NICK work so well is in there, if you allow yourself to approach the notion from a slightly abstract or obtuse angle. It's a lesson more filmmakers should take to heart (myself included).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Soooooo Tired!

Why do I even have a camera? I took not one single solitary photo at SxSW this year. So, I'm left posting this cute photo of my dog (courtesy of the lovely Sharon Wright!), who shares my current sentiment. He always seems to be in the same state of mind/ body as myself at any given time. I don't know if that's a sign that he's some sort of highly advanced super-pup, or if I'm some sort of troweling* lump-headed sub-humanoid. Either way.

Anyhoo, the screenings at the festival went very well. Both ST. NICK screenings sold out and were a hit. I heard the RECEIVE BACON screenings went amazingly well too. I feel horrible that I missed them both. Sorry James!

Here's a single-portion sampling of the outstandingly positive ST. NICK reviews!

Oh, and on the EARTHLING front, we're fully cast, fully located (um, I mean we have all our locations), fully everything elsed. So we're just about ready to launch (April 4th, why do you seem so close and simultaneously horrifying?).


In the middle of preparations, I did a podcast interview with Curtis Wayne, an Austin-based film podcaster, about our big-little film. I was joined mid-podcast by Amelia Turner, one of the lead actors in the film. Check it out here!

--Addendum... After listening to myself blather on like a low-functioning sugar addict, I realized that I sorta made it sound like either myself or David Lowery was the director of Receive Bacon. This would be an awesome thing to be able to claim, however, it is sadly incorrect. The actual director is none other than Jurassic Park 3's James Johnston.

*I know the word troweling has nothing to do with the context in which it is used. I just think it has the ring of a word which should be used to describe a mental defective.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

St. Nick Premiere Info and Posters by Yen Tan!



Sunday, March 15
12:00pm - 3:00pm
Alamo Ritz

There are two more screenings after this.
Click here for the SxSW St. Nick page!

The poster was designed by Yen Tan (Happy Birthday, Yen!), who also designed many other awesome posters, including this amazing one for EARTHLING.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Casting BONANZA!

Well, not really, but it feels like a bonanza...in my pants. Kidding. Actually, just got back from Austin, where thanks to the gracious help of one Kat Candler (aka Princess da Bomb'ington of Austin Film) I was able to hold a casting session for Austin area talent.

We're still on the hunt for a few good men, women and children for the upcoming feature film, EARTHLING. Shooting commences in March, and we're mostly good to go. Just a few key roles and locations left to fill.

We've already got a stellar cast brewing, with lead roles being filled by actors such as Rebecca Spence (an incredible recommendation from Frank V. Ross) and Peter Greene (who I can finally talk about, as he just signed his contract!).

Anyhow, there's so much to juggle right now. On this film and on projects for my various friends and associates. It's all coming together by sheer force of will. I'm in that 'don't look at the entire mountain, look at the individual rocks' mode. If I stared down everything I have left to do, I'd cry.

Earthling is my second feature as director. I've been told by various Hollywood types (including several old reps) that my first feature doesn't count because it's an anthology film (aka, a collection of shorts). Well, that didn't make it any harder to pull off. And for my sophomore effort, I picked a doozy as well. Science fiction 'psuedo-thriller' (horrible denotation) on a super low budget. Thankfully I've been blessed (in a non-religious, but equally monumental sense) with an incredible production team.

I'm sure I'll be blogging about each and every one of them in the following weeks. Hopefully I can keep my head on straight.

This blog entry kinda sucks ass, but my brain can do no better at this moment. I really began typing this just to say thanks to Kat. Then the blathering began...Oh well, can't win em all.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Color Correcting FRENZY!

So, we're been officially in active pre-production for my second feature, EARTHLING (which sports an amazing cast... I'll be detailing shortly). At the same time I'm in a veritable Boom Town of color correcting. Features, music videos, short films.

Two movies I shot have been accepted into the South by Southwest Film Festival this year, so I'm dealing with "deliverables" and the like there.

On my plate: David Lowery's ST. NICK, Frank V. Ross' PRESENT COMPANY, A.C. Abbott's DISOWNING CLAIRE, James Johnston's RECEIVE BACON, and this music video by Toby Holbrooks and the aforementioned David Lowery. I think it's as good a representation of my coloring as any.

Check it out. I love to color. And I do it within the lines.

Monday, February 2, 2009

St Nick to premiere at South by Southwest!

Hey, so David Lowery's awesome new feature, ST. NICK will have its premiere at this year's South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas.

Many of our usual collaborators are responsible for the production of the film. James Johnston, Adam Donaghey, Martin Pedersen, Johnathan Rudack, Mark Sharon, Ellen Weaver, and a bunch more. Not to mention the great kid actors, Tucker and Savanna Sears.

I was the cinematographer. David pushed me in a good way, and even though we had a fraction of the budget I'm used to, I'm more proud of my work here than on the majority of the films I've shot in the past.

Here's the first trailer. Hope to see as many of you as possible in March.


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