Get to Know a Character – Mace

All right, let’s just be honest, people.  If you live in Dallas, you’ve seen them.  The $30,000 Millionaires.  The Dallas Douchebags.  Slightly akin to the LA Douchebags or the Jersey Guidos, it’s the fake-tan, muscled, over-primped, Ed Hardy-wearing, mouth-breathing segment of the population that you either love, hate, or secretly envy.

Mace is a Dallas Douchebag.  He’s bona-fide.  He was even on hotchickswithdouchebags.com.

Just before Charlie and Heather reconnected and began their whirlwind romance (way too many years in the making), Mace was Heather’s diversion.  They had a casual fling, just a fun thing, neither of them wanting anything serious, and when Charlie showed up, Heather broke it off immediately.  No hard feelings, no ill will, just friends.

At least, that’s what Heather thought.

Turns out, Mace really did have a thing for her, but knowing she didn’t want to get serious, he didn’t pursue things further when she broke it off.  But he did keep hanging around, partly because he just liked being around her, and partly because, hey, you never know.

See, Mace wasn’t always a douchebag.  He used to be a regular guy with all the regular guy relationship troubles, until one day he realized that if he put on this character of a douchebag, the women just seemed to respond to him.  So he kept doing it.  He did it so long that he eventually didn’t know when he was in character and when he wasn’t.  And nobody ever saw through it.  Until Heather.  She was the only girl he felt comfortable being himself around.  And now he’s lost her.

So when the evening starts off with Charlie and Heather having a huge fight – over him – he has a choice to make.  Take advantage of the situation to try to wedge them further apart, or step aside, accepting that all he ever was to Heather was a fling, and that she loves Charlie and would be happy with him.

What he decides will make him realize exactly what kind of guy he really is.

Online Opportunities

I read an article recently in The Hollywood Reporter about the rise of online streaming competitors to Netflix, and it sparked several thoughts.

First, just how much the “video rental” business has changed in the last 5 years. Think about it, 5 years ago, the standard way of renting a movie was to get in your car and drive to the video store and wander around until you found what you wanted. Then Netflix came along and started delivering right to your door – in the unbelievably fast time frame of a few days. Then they started streaming, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a Netflix account and have almost gotten to where I’m not even interested in seeing a movie unless I can stream it, right then, in a matter of seconds.

It’s really kind-of amazing.

The second thought I had was how because of this technological shift, it’s opened up so many more opportunities to get your film seen. The number of online streaming options has exploded, from Hulu‘s Plus platform to Amazon.com to CinemaNow – run by Best Buy. Fandor is a great resource for indie and hard-to-find films, Zune is Microsoft’s platform, Vudu, Mubi, and of course, iTunes. Even Facebook has started getting into the action.

Now there are even filmmakers releasing their films as an app for the iPhone, iPad, and other mobile devices. Download the app for $5 or $7, and stream the movie anytime you want, with access to special features, as well.

The downside from a filmmaking perspective at this point is it’s all brand new – there’s no track record to speak of to show investors, which means there’s absolutely no way to project what a film could make on these new platforms. But there’s a gigantic upside – dozens of new ways of reaching an audience in the simplest, cheapest, and most popular format we’ve seen in decades. Also, while we can’t predict how successful the new venues will be, we can point to some major businesses who are betting millions of dollars on its success. Microsoft, Amazon, Best Buy, and Apple don’t go into things like this on a whim. They smell something in the air and are banking on it.

And we will, too.

No news is good news

Been quiet around here, I know, but that’s only because things have been busy. Which is good!

A lot of work is being done behind the scenes, as always laying the groundwork for the next step in the process. I was telling someone the other day, films take a long time to happen even if you have a team of people working full time on it – and right now there’s only one person doing it in his spare time.

This will eventually change.

The biggest news right now is we’re hard at work on a teaser trailer for the movie, one that will introduce the characters, tell you a little about the story, and give a feel for what to expect. And to maybe give a little sizzle to this steak.

A little more updating on the business plan and then we’re ready to take in some investors. That’s when the real work begins (which is followed by when the really real work begins, and then by when the hard work begins, which precedes the really hard work).

So sorry it’s so quiet around here, we haven’t gone anywhere, just moving things forward off in the background somewhere.

Just hang tight, all. Minds will be blown in good time.

Best Birthday Ever

So, one of the things I wanted to do on this blog from time to time was tell stories from my past filmmaking adventures, and this is one of my favorites.

It was on my 30th birthday, and I was doing the festival run with my feature film, Ocean Front Property.  We were playing in the Tiburon FIlm Festival across the Bay from San Francisco and…

Ah, hell, I told this story a long time ago.  I’ll just point you to the video:

Deep Ellum Radio

“There aren’t any radio stations that play local music!”

It’s a familiar cry, though not 100% true.  We have to give credit where it’s due for The Local Edge with Mark and the great coverage and exposure for local music that he provides.  Sure, it’s only one hour a week and sure, it’s at 11:00 on Sunday, but the show itself is spectacular and worth finding.

We should also be fair to KXT and the local muic they play.  The response to their coverage has been, to put it charitably, mixed.  But I think still everybody appreciates what they do.

But still, local music isn’t their only gig.  Wouldn’t it be great to have a local radio station that played only local music, featuring shows by noted people in the local music scene?

Those dreams may be coming true – in a sense.  Enter Deep Ellum Radio.  it’s not actually on the radio, it’s on the internet, but let’s face it, how much time do you spend on the internet compared to the time you’re on the radio?  It’s pretty awesome.

I was doubly happy to hear that a couple friends of The Debut and HUGE local music supporters Chelsea Callahan and Chris from the Ghost of Blind Lemon have been given their own weekly shows.  This is extraordinarily cool.  If there were two people in this town that I would want most to have a local radio show, it would be these two.

So check ‘em out!  the Ghost of Blind Lemon show airs Wednesday at 6:00 for two hours followed by Chelsea Callahan (who  may be going by DJ Dirty Cha Cha?) at 8:00.  And spread the word.  Supporting these kinds of programs is what’s going to make the difference.

Complaining is easy.  Supporting is just as easy – but more effective.

Get to Know a Character – Charlie

In my ongoing quest to fill this site with more information about the actual movie, I introduce you to the main character, Charlie.

Charlie is a clean-cut, semi-corporate guy who once upon a time was very into music and even played in a band or two in college.  But ultimately, music wasn’t his passion and he grew out of it – a little earlier than the rest of his friends.

Charlie’s real passion is his girlfriend, Heather.  He met Heather back in college, but for one reason after another, they never managed to be together.  If she was single, he was dating someone.  If he was single, she was dating someone.   And she tended to date guys that were nothing at all like him.

Finally, he gave up on her, and took a job out of state.   A huge promotion.  But once away, all he could think of was her.  Until, after a chance encounter, he throws all caution to the wind and quit his job, gave up everything to move back to Dallas and be with her.  And it worked.  They’ve been together ever since.

The night of our movie, he plans to seal the deal, in a dramatic proposal on stage at his best friend Tom’s debut show.  He works it out with him and has Tom hold on to the ring as part of the plot.  That’s when things begin to go inexorably wrong.

That’s when the Ex shows up.  Mace.  Mace is Heather’s ex who she was dating just before Charlie.  He’s smug, douchy, and just like all the other men Heather had picked over him in the past, is nothing at all like Charlie.  He’s an ever-present reminder of the years he spent pining for Heather, and it just feeds his fear that maybe she’s still looking for something else in a man.  Even worse, she has insisted on staying friends with him.

Then Tom goes missing, and he’s still got the engagement ring.  So Charlie sets off to find Tom with his manager, Jackie, but before he does, he sees Mace talking to Heather a little too closely.

She’s laughing just a little too loudly.

So he asks Mace to join him, separating him from Heather, and sets off on a night of hunting through the bars and clubs to find his best friend, save his long-planned proposal, all the while with his greatest nemesis right by his side.

It’s going to be quite a night.

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For a look at some of the actors we have in mind to play Charlie, check out the Characters page.

Post-Oscars wrap-up

I’d love to say that I don’t care about awards shows and that I’m above watching the Oscars – but truth be told, I’m not.  I watch them semi-religiously.  Sometimes in a big group, sometimes by myself.

My first thought: James Franco was half asleep through the whole thing.  Anne Hathaway (and her 7 costume changes) did the best she could.  Of course, it wouldn’t be the Oscars without everybody the next day railing on how bad the hosts were – even Billy Crystal was tarred and feathered every year and now people are begging for him to come back – and maybe this year they deserved a little of it, but whatever.

I, for one, was glad to see The King’s Speech win.  It was pretty expected, though.  The film was Oscar bait.  Period piece, World War II, a famous main character, one with a handicap no less… Combine it with remarkable performances from the two leading men, and it was made to win Oscars.

I was also glad to see the screenwriter accept his award, his first one, at such an advanced age.  He joked that he was always a “late bloomer”.  The message:  Don’t anybody dare give up.  Ever.

Awesome.

On the flipside, you have Aaron Sorkin, a veteran TV writer/producer on the edge of legendary status, winning his first Oscar, which is also pretty cool.

Would like to have seen Christopher Nolan win for Inception – truly one of the most original and brilliantly structured plots I’ve ever seen.  But clearly the guy has plenty of Oscar-worthy work ahead of him.

My favorite Oscar moments ever?  When Once won for Best Original Song.  it’s the only award that’s ever brought a tear to my eye – I’ve never wanted to see anybody win so bad.  And the year that a sound designer won that had seen my first film and offered to rework the soundtrack for me.  I watched someone make an Oscar speech that had seen – and was impressed by – my movie.

That was really cool.