Last weekend I returned to Austin to take in the festival as my digital series script Geeky Pheebs: Gets Schooled semifinaled in the competition. Overall, it was a positive experience the bummer, was that there was a huge storm that flooded the airport on Friday October, 30th and caused many flights from LAX to be canceled and thus prevent panelists and guest speakers from showing up to their events at the fest.
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Yeah, the Austin storm was kind of like that. Ask somebody.
It was a much different vibe this year as a semifinalist because there were special panels and round tables available to us where there was more insight to what it is like to be a professional writer.

Some of my highlight were meeting screenwriter Edward Ricourt, listening to two special presentations by Oscar winner Michael Arndt, and attending the Nickelodeon Happy Hour.

It was also great to see so many people I met last year advance this year in the festival and beyond.

Being that I stayed with a friend on the east side downtown, I was able to appreciate more of the sights and sounds of the city and really gained an appreciation for the culture of Austin. I being from Saint Paul/Minneapolis, Austin felt very similar as it also has a small town vibe with
energy of a city much bigger.

If  you haven't been to the Austin Film Fest, put it on your radar.
 
 
This week, the Austin Film Festival released their list of semi-finalists and second rounders for their screenwriting competition. I am pleased to announce that the pilot for my digital series, Geeky Pheebs: Gets Schooled is among the semi-finalists. I share writing credit with my partner on the Geeky Pheebs project, Ruth Tjornhom. We'll be in Austin to promote this project and hope we can garner some interest.

Congrats to all the other Second Rounders and Semi-Finalists  which include some members of my writing group! Full list here:  http://www.austinfilmfestival.com/2015-screenplay-semifinalists-and-second-rounders/
 
 
A couple of weekends ago at the inaugural On The Line Film Fest in Saint Paul, MN, my short film "Geeky Pheebs: An Ideal Man" won its first award! It won 'Best Comedic Short' out of a field of many great competitors.

I didn't attend the screening, but star Renee Pilon was there to represent the cast and crew. I'm very proud of all the great cast and crew of this film and grateful for all their talents. I also want to thank the film fest organizers for the recognition. 

In an industry and field filled with so much rejection, I find it important to celebrate each win.

You can watch the film at GeekyPheebs.com
 
 
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Both of my short films "The Red Dress" and "Geeky Pheebs: An Ideal Man" have been selected to screen at the first annual 'On the Line' film festival in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The festival runs August 5-9 and will take place at the Landmark Center in downtown Saint Paul. It's an honor to have both films selected to play. For more information about the festival, please visit their website HERE

I'll post more details about the screening date and time when it becomes available. Thanks to all the cast and crew of these films.

For more information about these films you can visit their individual websites: The Red Dress & Geeky Pheebs: An Ideal Man
 
 
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Photo Credit: LoneStarMike
I recently returned from the Austin Film Festival and Conference in Austin, TX.  I decided to attend due to my 'Second Rounder' scripts in the Spec categories for "Arrow" and "Brooklyn Nine Nine."  I feel I had a very productive conference and made a lot of new contacts and gained a little ground on some of my various projects.  The panels were very helpful and the parties were lively (well, as lively as they can be for a bunch of writers).  I do have some gripes about the festival, but overall, it was run pretty smooth.  Seriously though, what was up with that shuttle to the BBQ party? We were waiting for like 50 minutes.

Austin proclaims itself as being 'weird' and takes a lot of pride in it.  I can attest it is 'weird' but not in the fun kitschy way that Portland is, no, it's more like Stepford weird.  I can't quite put my finger on it, but something about Austin is a little... off.  I'm gonna take some time to think about it and maybe submit myself to a montage of studying, but rest assured, I'll figure it out and post my findings here.

Anyway, the 'City of Live Music' was true to its namesake as loud, mostly shitty music echoed through the streets at all hours of the day.  So if you are in to that sort of thing, Austin is the place to be.  If you are really into that sort of thing, then consider attending SXSW or as many residents of Austin call it, "The Waiting in Line and Fucked Traffic Festival."

That's about all I
have for now.  I've got my eye on you Austin... I'll figure you out soon.

[DISCLAIMER: Many of the people from Austin were very nice.  Like the knitting woman I met in the lobby of the Driskill Hotel, who was waiting for her boyfriend's band's show to end.  She bought me and my screenwriting cohorts a bunch of beer/snacks and told us it was "The Austin Way." Thank you for that, ma'am and letting me tell you the trials of being an artist.  You're the tops in my book (which I may or may not write).]  

 
 
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Photo credit: Ómar "Osshole" Óskarsson
You see this photograph? Imagine me to the left of the woman, that's where I should have been.  I was there until the photographer; Ómar "Osshole" Óskarsson unceremoniously pushed me out of the way. 

The woman is my friend, actor/director Mary Neely.  To her right is with my other friend, director Josema Roig.  I met them during my time with the Transatlantic Talent Lab at the Reykjavik International Film Festival in Iceland earlier this month.  The picture ended up running online as part of an article about the event we were at during the festival.

This is my life.

Why couldn't I have been in the picture?  I would have loved a little press, even from a small Icelandic website (is small redundant as it's Iceland?). 

During a bus ride, hours before the now infamous "Picture Push 2014," I was talking to a Golden Egg nominee, Ian Waugh about a pending Q&A of his film "As He Lay Falling," set to screen later that night.  He was a bit nervous about talking about his film and relaying to me about his disdain for Q&As.  I told him that it was my dream to have a Q&A.  Often times I sit back and imagine being in front of an audience waxing poetic about my work.  Even though I have had many festival screenings, none have ever included a Q&A.  Many filmmakers dream about Oscars and Emmys, I fixate on doing Q&As.  I'm a simple man.  My point? I love getting press and/or attention for my career, it's important to me.  I'll move on.

Famed movie producer Robert Evans once said:

" There are three sides to every story: Your side, my side, and the truth. And no one is lying. Memories shared serve each differently."

[He also said a bunch of other crazy shit, so take that quote with a grain of salt.]


So as succinctly as I can, I will try to recap the events according to me, of how I ended up just slightly to the left of frame in the above picture.

During the event, I was walking back inside with Mary from watching a lovely sunset beyond the Atlantic Ocean.  On our way in to the greater part of the room, we spotted Josema.  At that very moment, photographer Ómar "Osshole" Óskarsson swooped in to capture the trio of 'up and coming' filmmaking talent.  Well, that was my impression as I began to pose with my peers.  To Ómar "Osshole" Óskarsson, I was just a vagabond looking to raid the event for the free food and drink, so he curtly shoved me out of the way.  More accurately, he pushed me to the left of Mary.  

When Joesma and Mary protested to Ómar "Osshole" Óskarsson that I should be in the picture, he ignored their requests and snapped a picture anyway.  He said something in Icelandic and maybe had a reason for pushing me out; other than I would have just 'ugged' up his artwork.  But since I don't speak that language, I guess I'll never know.

I remember calling him a 'jerkface' then walking away thinking I had the last laugh.  I'm pretty sure calling someone a 'jerkface' translates in any language.  How do I know?  Because after I hurled the insult, he shot me a snarled look that was most foul.  Was it over the line? Maybe.  But even more out of line was his shove of me away from my friends.  It's not like I was photobombing, bro.

Well, it seems old Ómar "Osshole" Óskarsson had the last laugh as the picture of Mary and Josema made the cut and appeared on the site; out of the some 500 he took during the event. I'm sure every one was minus me.  I discovered all this today when Mary posted the picture on Facebook.  I honestly forgot about the incident until I saw the picture and it inspired me to write about it.

I could go on and on about my speculations about why I wasn't allowed to be in the photo, but it's more fun for you to look at the pictures he chose and make the determination for yourself.  To me, the reason is pretty black and white, but I'll let you discover your own 'truth.'  Find the article with pictures HERE.

Oh, just in case your imagination isn't very good, I fixed the picture.  Photo credit: Me and Ómar "Osshole" Óskarsson.  See what I did there, Ómar? I shoved myself into the credit.  Sucks, doesn't it?
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Photo credit: Me and Ómar "Osshole" Óskarsson
Maybe someday I'll tell the tale of how I was shoved into the President of Iceland at a State event during RIFF.  It was pretty funny and I'm 90% sure there is a picture of it somewhere.  I'll see if I can track it down.

Hey Iceland, what's with all the shoving?
 
 
I returned last week from Iceland, where I attended the Trasatlantic Talent Lab at the Reykjavik International Film Festival. It was an incredible experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

I met so many talented, beautiful and unique people from all across North America and Europe. In addition, I made many new friends and had a ton of adventures.

In sharing time with fellow filmmakers, I came to realize that while
we all come from different places, we all share a desire to tell stories and express ourselves to the world.

I would like to thank our hosts from RIFF and wish the best of luck to my new filmmaking brothers and sisters. I would also like to thank my GoFundMe sponsors for their support. Below are pictures I took from my trip. Enjoy!
 
 
A few days ago, I got the news that two of my spec scripts got 'Second Rounder' status at this year's Austin Film Festival Teleplay and Screenplay competition. 'Second Rounder' status represents the top 15% of all the scripts they receive. Even though I didn't get semi-finalist status, I feel it is a big accomplishment as I 'Second Rounded' twice in two different categories. This shows a diversity in ability and a tenacity in my writing discipline. The 'Second Rounder' status was given to me for the following scripts in these categories:

Teleplay One-Hour Spec:

Arrow: Oliver's a Deadman
Teleplay Sitcom Spec:
Brooklyn Nine Nine: Chicken?

For more information on all the 'Second Rounders' and 'Semi-Finalists' Click HERE to go to the Austin Film Festivals website. I wish congratulations to all the 'Second Rounders' and good luck to all the 'Semi-Finalists.'