My talk at Gasparilla 2011

Now that the press conference is over and Gasparilla is getting the word out, I can flap my gums about being a speaker at the festival, where I’ll be discussing the making of my first feature film, The Bunker. This had been in the works for quite a while, but now it’s official. The talk is scheduled for Sunday, March 27th, 2-4 p.m., event hall to be announced.

When my distributor first brought up the possibility of me speaking at the festival, I thought it would be on an independent filmmaker’s panel, something like that. I figured it’d be me and a couple of other indie guys, taking questions, talking about what it took to make our movies, etc. In fact, I was going along under that assumption until Russell told me, “No, we’re not talking other filmmakers. Just you. The whole event is going to be focused on you.”

Well, that was a surprise. But a cool one. True, the film is a first. But making it an advertised feature event at Gasparilla? Being invited to come do it?

So, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been waiting to blog about it, to start spreading the word via my social networking sites, all that jazz. If you’re coming to the fest, I hope you’ll drop in. I’ve been spending what little free time I’ve had the past week or so working on the presentation, choosing which scenes from the film I’m going to use, which trailer, and which clips from the Making of… documentary I’m going to bring.

I’m used to panels, been doing them at comic cons forever, going back to 1989 when I first dipped my toes into the comic book waters. They’re fun, comfortable affairs. This is slightly different. It’s a presentation, to be followed by a Q&A session. The difference? Unlike most speakers, I can’t rely on notes to help me keep everything straight. Well, let me clarify–it’s not like somebody’s preventing me from having index cards/notes, but being blind…? They aren’t going to do me any good up there at the podium.

But I’m not sweating it. I’m good on my feet and good in front of a crowd. I got a standing O in Mexico City during one of my speaking engagements at the festival of Fantasy and Terror. I got swamped after a lecture at the college in Tlascala by people who had questions we couldn’t get to in our allotted time, about how I was laying out my own comic book stories with stick figures, the way I’d done when I had sight. I’m comfortable talking to people about what I do. And The Bunker? Heck, I’ve been living with this film longer than I should’ve had to. Knowing it inside and out is why I chose to direct it in the first place, and why I refused to let anyone along the way try to take control over any aspect of it. We’re all going to have a good time on the 27th, that much I can promise you.

They better assign somebody to pick on people for the Q&A, though. It isn’t going to help for me to point out into the audience and go, “Hey, you, the one who looks like your mom dressed you. What’s your question?” 🙂

Hope to hear you at the talk. Check back here often for more details.

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Currently listening to: Green Grass & High Tides by The Outlaws

Just shoot me

Okay, no, the photo shoot wasn’t that bad. In fact, largely thanks to
knowing what to expect, it wasn’t bad at all. Good tuneage on the sound
system at CSE, an expert photog on the lens, and fast recycling equipment
enabled us to knock out everything we needed in less than four hours.

While we (of course) didn’t need the extra shirts we bought or all the stuff
we lugged up to Tampa, we still got a helluva lot acomplished without me
walking face first into a hot umbrella, so that was a good thing. We got all
the shots we wanted for the media kits and film festival packages, which was
the goal, and I did a little biz with Russ after the shoot over dinner,
before we headed back home.

Now, the ball’s in Tracie’s court (our publicist). The folders should be
back from the printer this week, several festival packages will be going
out, and an announcement is forthcoming about a fest I’ll be attending.
Things’re movin’ right along, which is what I’ve been hoping for ever since
scheduling the final reshoot necessary to wrap The Bunker. Thursday, I have
a call set up with Metropolis Records, about another one of their bands
whose music I’d like to use in the film. When Eric returns from Cinequest
(an Oscar-qualifying fest where his latest film, The Dive, has two
screenings), we’ll have the final sound mix in place and then the whole
shebang goes over to Adam for the credits and film look. My distrib’s very
happy about how fast progress has gone. While we haven’t set a drop date for
The Bunker, by the end of March we’ll be able to jump on any opportunity
that presents itself. I’d love a Fall release, you know, right around
Halloween? but we’ll see what offers us the best options.

And now? What else. Back to work, of course.

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Currently listening to: Halo by Depeche Mode

Ready for my head shot…kinda like Lincoln

The photo shoot for The Bunker media kit is today, so yesterday was spent
running around, getting things packed up, hitting Hair Cuttery to make sure
my home trim-job was fixed enough to make me presentable, etc. Got some
shuteye earlier, now just waiting for Pam to wake up (man, has she had a
long week), so we can head on out of town.

You know, I must have been on a thousand photo shoots in my life, and I’ve
had plenty of pics taken of me for interviews, stuff like that. But never
been the subject of an entire shoot. Should be…interesting.

But at least, I don’t have to work with Ron Jeremy! 🙂

Check back soon for pics, maybe even some video clips. It’ll probably be
good, embarrassing stuff.

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Currently listening to: I Walk the Line by Alien Sex Fiend

Home stretch

First off, thanks to all who hit me up via FB or MySpace or e-mail
w/birthday wishes. Much as I hate to mark another trip around the sun, it’s
still better than the alternative.

On to what’s happening around here. Eric is working on The Bunker final
sound mix, and an alternate version which removes a bit of female naughty
bits from the edit. This coming Saturday, Pam and I are driving up to Tampa
for a photo shoot for the media & festival press kits. Yes, a photo shoot.
Why anybody wants a pic of me I don’t know, but hey, I’ve done my own PR for
years. Now, I have a pro working with me and the distributor, so as far as I’m
concerned? Whatever she says, goes.

Last night, Pam began uploading a couple hundred megs of files for the kit,
including revised DVD box cover art, the poster graphics, information about
the bands we’ve locked up for the film, production notes, high-res pics from
the shoot, stuff like that. Today, the distribution company’s designer is
getting it all together and putting the finishing touches on, then dropping
it off at the printer. Once the photo shoot is in the can, the kits will be
assembled, and away we go.

Been a long road leading here, but the finish line’s just ahead. Next week,
we’ll probably be announcing my first festival appearance, the official
Bunker web site will be launched, and we’ll be selecting other festivals to
approach with the completed film. The distributor and publicist are
targeting some pretty big ones, so hopefully we’ll be able to hit a few.

And now, it’s back to the grind. Got a new freelance gig to bang out, still
got work to do on my story for the fantasy anthology I’ve been asked to
contribute to, and I have another writing project I’ve been itching to get
on for quite a while. On both the fiction and film front, there are a whole
lot of irons in the fire. For a workaholic like me? that’s Nothing new, but
I’m digging it anyway.

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Currently listening to: Hey Boy, Hey Girl by The Chemical Brothers