My Descending Duodenum

A new year of Short Ends Project is off and running.  This is bringing the group into it's 4th year. (And I'm entering into my 4th year living in San Antonio — I'm not sure how I feel about that.)  I was not involved with Short Ends since the beginning.  I attended the very second screening.  And by the third round of the first year I began directing and writing.  I have, to date, directed eight shorts for Short Ends; never missing a round until summer of 2006.  I believe I have written two scripts that were directed by others.  I edited two projects by other filmmakers.  I operated camera on four films I didn't direct.  And even “acted” (sort of) in one.  I think I might have more credits in the organization than anyone.  Wait, I take that back.  Because of his prolific writing and acting, Matthew probably gets the number one place.  Pete and Carlos are snapping at our heels.

I had pretty much walked away from Shorts Ends (though I did let them show my Dia de los Locos doc at the last screening for filler).  I felt that my work was not improving.  But it seems I have been sucked back in for, at least, one more round.  This time the writers were allowed to choose who would direct their scripts.  Carlos decided on me.  Matthew (who is producing this round (year?) of Short Ends) seconded Carlos, and, unbeknownst to me, I was conscripted.  As is often the case in my life, I followed the path of least resistance, and acquiesced.

Through the luck of the draw, Carlos found himself saddled with writing a romance.  For the fans and foes of Carlos' films, this is actually quite funny.  In his dark world of Mafia del Monte, filled with small time coke dealers, shadowy demonic beings, doomed hitchhikers, punk rock anti-heros, and heads stuffed in gym-bags, there seems little room for the stuff of Andy Hardy winking at Judy Garland or Nora Ephron's insipid banter.  Well, dammit!, we'll pull warm and fuzzy from a sullen rock & roll chick, just you wait and see.

The directors meeting yesterday at Ruta Maya was productive … for me.  I met a couple of new guys to work with.  But I wonder how useful the meeting was as a whole.  Matthew seemed positive.  But, here's what bugged me.  There are six projects.  And there should have been at least 12 people in attendance.  Six writers, with six directors.  I counted one director (me), and three writers.  Four out of twelve. Hmmm?  Me and Carlos were the only complete team.  Sure, everyone has excuses, but, shit!  There were several people who showed up hoping to get on these projects as crew.  Half of the projects didn't have anyone there representing them.  Those wanna-be crew folks were screwed.

Roland showed up.  He's been in a production class I team-taught with Pete.  I also expect he had been in one or more of Pete's screenwriting classes.  He's on-board as crew for me.  He mentioned something about having quit his job to follow the Robert Rodriguez path of signing up with both of the two major medical testing laboratories in this town to finance his own projects.  (I blogged some time back about my bleak mortification of being turned down by one of them — the abyss of rejection: I can't even get paid to have Sterno injected into my ass, or have a baboon gallbladder grafted to my descending duodenum (to, um, test anti-rejection drugs, the attending nurse would have explained unconvincingly.) )  Roland said, brightly, that the two week inpatient session would give him plenty of time to work on his screenplay.  Best of luck, Roland!  Let's just finish this film first.

A guy new to Short Ends found himself seated at my table.  Chris seemed torn between working as crew, or coming back next week for the acting meeting to see if he can get casted.  I hope he comes on board as crew.  He's not afraid to say what's on his mind — and he has good ideas.  I mean, man, save me from “yes men,” or those people who smilingly go with the flow and then fall anonymously back into the shadows.

Matthew brought Daniel over to our table.  He's worked with Pablo Veliz on Clemente.  But more important, he was working with Brian Gonzalez, Pablo's DP.  I have enormous respect for Brian.  I don't know what experience Daniel has, but he can hold his own talking about films and film aesthetics.  More than I can say about the general membership of Short Ends.

This should be fun.


Tonight I Googled myself, as is my wont (and, again, people, why aren't you writing about me?).  I discovered that my name is on the 48 Hour Film Project site (that's 48HFP, not to be confused with Drew's SA48HR Film Experience).

I guess if it's accessible by Google, it's official.  They just need to post a photo of me.  I'll probably find one that Emily took that doesn't make me look too old, too fat, or too bald.  (Hmm, there's a few she took of my hands riffling pages of a book ….)  Or I could send that photo of me and my sister as toddlers at Turtle Creek [you know the one Paula — I poached a copy off your blog, but could you send me a larger file version?].

When I first looked into this 48 Hour film thing, it looked like a pretty sweet deal.  But for the whole thing to be done the way it should be, it's an enormous amount of work for only a medium amount of pay.  However, this will be a damn cool event, a sweet happening — hmm, I wonder if I can get Babycakes to do something … unusual?

Keep watching this space for 48HFP info.  I'm slated to confab with the HQ this week on some sort of conference call.  Time to recharge that cell phone. 


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