35 Conferette – the definition of “epic”.

I am a writer for a living.  Not many people can really say that.  But that’s actually what pays my bills.  I’m proud of this.  It took me a long time to get here.

Along with being a writer comes a couple of side effects, one of them being something of a Grammar Nazi.  I’ll admit, people who can’t get their “your” and “you’re” straight in their blogs, emails, and Facebook posts tend to find their way to the bottom of my respect pile.  Truthfully, I am tempted to block anybody who regularly murders the English language in such a way on Facebook.  Even more truthfully – I have.

Aside from being a Grammar Nazi comes an overall tendency to defend vocabulary and proper word usage to the teeth.  That’s why the subject line of this blog contains a couple of things that have recently riled me up.

“Epic.”  It’s being used all the time now.  I get it, it’s fun, no big deal, but when you overuse any word, it begins to lose its power.  Can Gettysburg still an “epic” battle when the barista serving your coffee just had an “epic” bike ride to work?  Saying something is epic used to mean something.  Now it’s about three steps above “fail”. (and when used together – it could signify something as devastating as someone falling down)

It’s an exaggeration.

Similarly, the 35 Conferette.  Two years ago, it started in Denton as NX35, a North Texas sister to the SXSW festival.  A respectable 124 bands played.  4,000 people showed up.  Last year, 250 bands played to over 20,000 people.  This year…  Well, let’s put it this way.  There are 71 headliners.  HEADLINERS.  Playing at 14 venues over four days, with bands from all over the world, including 5 to be featured in The Debut, this, my friends, is the definition of “epic.”

And by no means a “Conferette”.  The “…ette” implies that it is small, as a kitchenette is smaller than a kitchen.  This is not small, by any standard.  In fact, it has over two years become THE music festival of note in DFW.

So I suggest a new title, befitting of my Word Nazi rant above – The Conferepic.

The 35 Conferette runs March 10-13 in Denton.  Get your wristbands from the good men of Prekindle, and go to the 35 Conferette site for more information.

Here’s a little video to get you excited.  As you should be.

35 Conferette Lineup 2011 from 35 Conferette on Vimeo.

What is this movie about?

The basic thrust and purpose of this movie from day one has always been to promote and expose the music scene here in Dallas, so the majority of posts and screen space on this website have been dedicated to that.  All the stuff about the movie itself would come later.

But I’ve found lately that it’s begun to add a lot of confusion about what exactly this movie is.  Most people, at first glance, think it’s a documentary.

It’s not.

The next question is inevitably, is it a musical?

No, it’s not.

So it’s about the music scene, will feature a ton of local bands, but it’s not a documentary and it’s not a musical.  So what the hell is it?

Fair enough…

It’s a comedy.  If I were to compare it to a recent comedy, it would be The Hangover.  A guy goes missing and a small group of people have to find him before time runs out.  Whereas in The Hangover, the guy was a groom, the place was Vegas, and the event was his wedding, in The Debut, the guy is a musician, the place is Dallas, and the event is his big debut show.

But that’s not the whole story.

If there were two other films I would compare The Debut to, they would be these:

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.  This movie didn’t do gangbusters at the box office, but it’s had an impressive afterlife on DVD and cable.  And for good reason.  The movie is really good (and I highly recommend anybody who hasn’t seen it to check it out tut suite).  If you don’t like this movie, you’re a robot.  Because it’s a lot of fun, has some spectacular music in it, and has a lot of heart.  So will The Debut.

The other movie would be Singles.  Not so much because of the plot or the characters, but for what that movie did to focus attention on the Seattle music scene.  Seattle’s scene was simmering before that movie came out, but once it became a minor hit, the city exploded and became the music hub of the country for nearly a decade.  Now, do I think this movie will do that for Dallas?  I’d be an egomaniac if I thought it would.  But I do want it to focus a lot of attention on this area that it otherwise wouldn’t have had.  I’d never say this film could make the area successful.  The bands in Dallas can do that on their own.  I just want to play a small part in it.

Some people are going to look at the movies I’ve just referenced and grumble that it sounds too commercial.  That something more “cool” and “indie” would be a better fit for this town.  I don’t necessarily disagree with that.  And there will definitely be elements of the movie that will keep it from feeling like a watered-down studio film.  But in the end, it’s all about exposure.  And if I’m going to get support from all the bands, venues, labels, and overall supporters of the music scene, if they’re going to lend me their voices, their time, and their efforts, I need to make sure that the film reaches the biggest, widest audience it possibly can, and you don’t do that by making an (excuse the phrase) artsy-fartsy indie art film.

(Let me say for the record, I LOVE THOSE FILMS.  They just wouldn’t serve our purpose in this case.)

To do anything less than swing for the fence on this would be a disservice to everybody involved.

That’s how I see it anyway.

So that’s a basic idea of what this movie’s going to be.  A low-budget character-driven comedy featuring local venues and music (and music videos) from local bands, starring well-known film and TV actors.  (Check out the Characters page for more about that)

It’s gonna be a big deal and I can’t wait to get started.

Texans make a big showing at the Grammys

The Grammys are indeed a fickle lady. Some years their awards seem spot on, other years you have to wonder if they’re being voted on by people in nursing homes (I’ll never forget in 2003 when they did a huge tribute for The Clash by getting Bruce Springsteen, Dave Grohl, Elvis Costello, and Steven Van Zandt on stage to perform “London Calling” – which it was pointed out lost in 1981 to “Sailing” by Christopher Cross).

But sometimes they get it right, as many a hipster have pointed out with their awarding of Album of the Year to Arcade Fire.

So I think it’s a great thing to say that 14 Texans walked home with awards at the Grammys Sunday night.  Just goes to show that Texas has a musical legacy to reckon with, and it’s still going strong, if not growing.

We hope The Debut will be a part of that Texas musical legacy very soon.

A legacy that, in all fairness, includes Christopher Cross.

New Video – Snowpocalypse!

This is old and already made the rounds on Facebook, but I wanted to go ahead and post it here. Yes, things have been busy and I’ve neglected this site. I’ll try to be better.

New Video – Super Bowl Time!

In this video, Joe talks about the upcoming Super Bowl and the way Dallas seems to be presenting itself to the world. Then he talks about his vision for The Debut.

New video – Fundraising Plan

A little caveat about this video – I recorded this a while back and some of the information in it is a little outdated at this point in the game, but it does give a good idea of how the fundraising on this film will go down. I speak in the video about crowdfunding, which is what the Kickstarter campaign was all about. I will most likely start up an Indiegogo campaign again at some point, just so people can get involved if they want to but can’t afford to full-on invest in the project. I might also raise money for specific promotional pieces and whatnot. But as of January 12, 2011, there is no current Indiegogo campaign.

Information about the development piece of the pie will be explained further in future videos, and that will get underway as soon as all the LLC stuff is straightened out.

Thanks! And enjoy!

Trey Johnson at The Kessler – 1/27

Trey Johnson, of Sorta as well as his own solo work, has been a huge supporter of The Debut and has even been added as our Music Supervisor. But that’s not why I highly suggest seeing him. I do so because he’s an amazing singer/songwriter and puts on a great show. So don’t miss it.

He’s playing on the 27th at the Kessler with Bryan Wakeland.

Get your tix at Prekindle