I originally said that today -- Wednesday, May 27 -- would be the last day Slackerwood would publish new content. But we're going to finish tomorrow instead. As I've said often, well, it is called Slackerwood after all. So please come back on Thursday for a farewell and one final Lone Star Cinema that I always said I would write and never did (until now).
I'm very pleased that we'll still get to enjoy writing from Slackerwood contributors at other websites. Of course, this list is subject to change, but here's what I know right now:
If you're a freelancer like me (particularly in the film industry), you know the ups and downs that come with the job. Some weeks the work is plentiful, while others seem like you'll have to start selling your furniture just to pay your rent. But although it can be a scary road, it certainly can be a most fulfilling one for Austinites.
I moved to Austin a few years ago, unsure of where to turn to look for work. After a few years of exploring and meeting other fellow industry friends, I finally feel comfortable and confident when it comes to searching for that next great film gig to jump on.
For those of you new to the Austin film scene (or if you are simply looking for that next great gig), here are a list of a few great film websites that frequently post casting and crew calls. Although I believe these to be tried and true, let me know if there are any sites I might have left out.
- Texas Film Commission -- Aside from being a great resource for anyone trying to get a film made in the Lone Star State, the TFC website is also helpful for anyone wanting to submit a resume for larger productions shot anywhere in Texas, not just Austin. The website offers great tools to help you craft a noticeable film resume or learn how to be a good production assistant. TFC also posts information about its workshops on location scouting, working on a camera team, production accounting, and more. The website posts both crew and casting calls.
When Slackerwood listed all the Texas-connected features that would screen at the Cannes International Film Festival this year, we forgot one aspect of the festival. We didn't mention the local journalists who would travel to the French Riviera to cover the festival's films and celebrity attendees.
But several intrepid Austinites are currently in Cannes, or have been there in the past week:
- Charles Ealy, Austin American-Statesman -- Ealy is a Cannes veteran, and is posting dispatches regularly (sometimes several times in a day) to Austin Movie Blog. He's recently written about the premiere of The Paperboy, in which Austin actor Matthew McConaughey co-stars with Nicole Kidman and Zac Efron; Garland native Caleb Landry Jones starring in Brandon Cronenberg's movie Antiviral, which Ealy thinks would be a good Fantastic Fest selection; and Houston-raised Wes Anderson's latest film Moonrise Kingdom, which opened Cannes.
- Vincent Van Horn, Austin Chronicle -- Van Horn is a local actor who appeared in and provided music for the short Clowns Never Lie, which is screening in the Cannes Short Film Corner this year. He's been writing a column called "Cannes You Dig It?" for the Chronicle's Picture in Picture blog. Unlike Ealy, this is Van Horn's first time attending the festival. So far, he's had to procure last-minute accreditation, had a rough first day of moviegoing (but may or may not have met Ewan McGregor), and partied with (or somewhat near) Adrien Brody and Chris O'Dowd.
- Victor Diaz, YNN -- Diaz spent a few days in Cannes this year, primarily covering Moonrise Kingdom and UT grad/filmmaker Wes Anderson. He attended the opening-night premiere, and interviewed Anderson, Jason Schwartzman and Edward Norton (in which Norton reveals ties between Bottle Rocket and Fight Club).
It is a pleasant city, clean and quiet, with wide rambling walks and elaborate public gardens and elegant old homes faintly ruined in the shadow of arching poplars. Occasionally through the trees, and always from a point of higher ground, one can see the college tower and the Capitol building. On brilliant mornings the white sandstone of the tower and the Capitol's granite dome are joined for an instant, all pink and cream, catching the first light. -- Billy Lee Brammer, The Gay Place
In The Gay Place, Brammer painted an astonishingly accurate -- if somewhat idealized -- portrait of the idyllic burg that was 1950s Austin, a city of "sweet curving streets and graceful sweeping lawns and the unequivocally happy sound of children always at play."
Many Austinites of the era no doubt shared Brammer's reverence for the River City, just as many of us do today. And few were more smitten than the producers of Our Town Austin, a relentlessly optimistic promotional film touting everything from Barton Springs to Austex Chili. While Our Town Austin's portrait of Austin is far less poetic than Brammer's masterpiece, the film presents the city in a similar light and is no less reverential.
Slackerwood has a special deal that will give you the chance to see the upcoming movie My Week with Marilyn this week at a free sneak preview. There's nothing quite like seeing a movie before it opens in theaters ... and without having to pay for the tickets too. The preview screening will take place tomorrow night, Tuesday 11/15, at 7:30 pm at AMC Barton Creek (the one in the mall).
My Week with Marilyn is based on the memoirs of the same name by Colin Clark, who worked as an assistant on the Marilyn Monroe film The Prince and the Showgirl. It's about Clark's interactions with Monroe in England during the shooting of that movie. Michelle Williams stars as Monroe and Kenneth Branagh as Prince and the Showgirl co-star Sir Laurence Olivier. The cast also includes Judi Dench, Dominic Cooper and Emma Watson. We at Slackerwood haven't seen it yet -- it opens in theaters on Nov. 23 -- but some of us will be there Tuesday night to check it out.
After the jump, you'll find a promotional code and a link to the Gofobo website where you can enter that code to get an admit-two pass for the screening. Bear in mind this is a first-come, first-served pass and seating is not guaranteed. If you've been to preview screenings, you know that often more tickets are given out than there are seats in the theater, so you'll want to arrive early to stake out a good spot in line.
This installment of the TAMI Flashback series ventures north to Dallas and back to the 1970s. It's a place and time I know all too well, having moved to Big D in 1971. (Dallas wouldn't have been my first -- or even tenth -- choice of places to live. But as a 7-year-old, I had no say in the matter.)
Ah yes, Dallas -- a city that is the anti-Austin in almost every conceivable way. But even über-Austinites like me feel a certain grudging nostalgia for our soullessly suburban Dallas childhoods. So I was intrigued to find two superb documentary shorts about Dallas in the TAMI video library, East Dallas, Summer, 1974 and Sometimes I Run. Both films are by Blaine Dunlap, a relatively obscure Dallas indie filmmaker of the era.
I've probably filled out dozens of ballots in various Austin Chronicle polls over the years -- only one ballot per poll, of course, even though I am from Louisiana. Looking at this year's Best Of Austin ballot, I noticed a couple of interesting categories in the Media section that I would like to point out to all of you:
- Film Critic
- Local Entertainment Website
- Local Blog
I actually see Slackerwood more as an entertainment website than a blog, myself -- we have eight regular contributors, we are a Google News and IMDb News Desk site, we report on events and review movies in the same way as many other online and print media sites. But I suppose it depends on your definition of "blog."
I have no illusions about Slackerwood actually winning any Best of Austin categories -- I suspect the above-mentioned awards will go to larger publications -- but I think it would be extremely cool to at least show up on the radar. So if you have a minute and haven't filled out one of those Best of Austin ballots yet, please consider Slackerwood in the categories I mentioned above. We have a number of fine film critics here and I'm sure you probably have one you especially like reading. (I will probably have to put all the names in a hat and pick.)
Anyone who lived in Austin in the late 1960s and 1970s likely remembers Carolyn Jackson. As the host of a popular local daytime television show for more than a decade, Jackson (shown above with Jane Pauley) was a familiar Austin face who played an important role in shaping local television during the era.
Jackson's career began in 1968, when she replaced Jean Boone as the host of Women's World (later renamed The Carolyn Jackson Show), a half-hour program that aired weekdays at noon on KTBC-TV. The show featured news, public service announcements, interviews and other standard daytime TV fare, such as segments on diet and exercise. The interviewees were an eclectic mix of writers, local politicians, musicians and other notable Central Texans, along with an impressive roster of A-list national celebrities.
Jackson was a true pioneer for women in the male-dominated world of television at the time. With no staff and a miniscule budget, she ran the show largely as one-person operation, serving as the show's producer, doing all her own research, writing and editing her news reports and landing interviews with everyone from Woody Allen to Texas First Lady Rita Clements.
An estimated 800-900 people gathered last night to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Ain't It Cool News (AICN) with a special secret screening at the crown jewel of Austin theater, the Paramount.
In the 15 years since Harry Knowles started the site from his hospital bed after hurting his back, AICN has shaken the very foundations of Hollywood. It has brought to their knees studios that have produced unworthy pictures as well as lauding countless works that might otherwise have gone unsung. AICN has cultivated and sculpted the face of Austin movie culture, benefitting from and cross-promoting with Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas as both have grown to become household names. In 2005, AICN announced the founding of the greatest genre film festival in existence, Fantastic Fest which brings together fans, filmmakers, and big names from around the world for the seventh year this September. If the Alamo Drafthouse is the heart of the Austin film community, AICN is its soul.
Lots of people (including me) are rushing to make donations to worthy causes before the end of the year. I'm not sure why we do this. I mean, yes, tax deductions, but I can take a tax deduction next year just as easily as this one. Yet somehow at the end of December we always remember those charities and nonprofits that we forgot to support earlier in the year, and next thing you know, the Visa card gets quite a workout.
If you want to support Austin film with your donations, you have several great options. Here are the ones I know about. If I'm missing anything, please let me know (email or comments) and I'll add them to the list. Now, let's hear those credit cards scream!
AFF not only runs a great film fest but also the Young Filmmakers Program, which encourages children to learn about filmmaking. Programs include a summer film camp, arts education in schools, and the fest's Young Filmmakers Competition.
To support the Young Filmmakers Program as well as AFF generally, you can donate money as a Friend of the Festival. The membership perks are pretty good, too. You can donate as little as $50 to become an AFF member.