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


html tracking