Shapeless Green Felt Hat

The San Antonio 48 Hour Film Project kick off event earlier this evening was a great success. The traffic, on late Friday afternoon, was a real mess. No surprise there. But representatives of all our 26 teams were in attendance and on time for the genera drawings. Even the teams from Austin, Houston, and Corpus Christi!

The press was also in attendance. A young man from WOAI (the San Antonio NBC affiliate) was there with camera, though sadly I've forgotten his name. He got a couple of sound bites from me. We had Mike Greenberg (the senior critic of the San Antonio Express-News) — he's following Travis Thomsen's team, Dark Design. An embedded reporter. And Celina Montoya of Texas Public Radio was there covering the kick off — and she also will be following teams around this weekend. She began the evening with the kids from the San Anto Cultural Arts center, who are going by the team name of iChingao Productions. Next, she's off for a midnight rendezvous with PrimaDonna Productions, who began shooting at 10 p.m. this evening.

Only one team decided to gamble with the Wild Card genera replacement. They seemed happy enough with their new genera.

I'm looking forward to see what all these filmmakers are going to bring in Sunday evening! Things are definitely moving along.

Everyone mark your calendars for this coming Tuesday, August 14th. We will be screening all the films produced this weekend. Visit the website of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas Westlakes for times. Tickets can be purchased online.

An update to our website is the addition of another screening opportunity of the San Antonio 48 Hour Film Project. On Sunday, August 19, we will present the Best Films of the San Antonio 48HFP. Following the screening, we will have our awards ceremony where all the prize-winning teams will be announced. The screening will be at Urban-15, just south of downtown San Antonio at 2500 S. Presa. Doors open at 7 p.m. Screening begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 at the door.

If you have any questions, please call me at 210-482-0273.


The above is what I just sent out to the SA48HFP listserv. (Whatever that is. Though I believe it goes to all the folks who signed up to receive updates on the website — and damn if I use it much at all. Shame on me.)

I spent the day running around, trying to make sure I had all my bases covered. Today was the big event. I needed to not screw up.

After big-ass-capiccino #1, I was deep into printing up all my paperwork I needed for the kick off event. Fearing that my last ink cartridge in my printer might punk out at any moment, I ran all the stuff through as “gray scale.” This uses less ink and works loads faster. I had a form I needed to personalize, but it was on MS Word. My Mac doesn't let me work on those documents. So I emailed the file off to Pete, requesting the changes. By the time I'd taken a shower, I'd received the file back with the needed changes. Great! I then drove out to Fox News to pick up the 48HFP promo DVD which I had forgotten when I was on the air the other day. As I was in the parking lot I called Chadd to see if I could borrow PrimaDonna Production's PA system. It occurred to me that I'd have a good sized crowd for the kick off. At least 50 people. I might need some volume. Chadd said I could come on over.

Me, Chadd, and Nikki quickly caught up on the standard San Antonio entertainment scene news/gossip. (Remember folks, we filmmakers, producers, and etc., all talk to each other — your gaffs and poor behavior (as well as your wonderful successes) are carried along the most ancient form of broadcast medium there is. The chin wag network.)

I then visited with George and Cat over at Urban-15. We've firmed up the 48HFP awards ceremony at their space. And though I had several things left to do, I wasn't able make good my escape without being treated to lunch. On-site handyman, Hector, whipped up some vittles in the industrial kitchen, and we all set up a table in the Orange Room.

Next I drove home and ran through the check list and made sure I had everything I needed for the kick off event. I printed up the list of the genres which the teams' representatives would pull from a hat. And I cut them into Fortune Cookie slips of paper. (As for the hat, well, the national folks had mailed me a box of supplies. Inside was the hat. The official hat. It's some limp green felt shapeless semi-pouch. Hat? Well, out of curiosity, I pulled it over my head, and it stayed; however, I'd rather not be called in front of a jury and asked to proclaim this thing a “hat.”)

I made some phone calls to secure my judges for Wednesday night. And I called my volunteers to find out who could make it for the kick off event.

After all that, I realized things seemed pretty much in hand. I went for an hour long bike ride down the Mission Trail. I'd forgotten the headphones for my iPod, so I heard my phone the three times it rang. I pulled over and answered the 48HFP-related questions, and I moved back on down the bike path.

That was a precursor to my day so far. Loads of phone calls. In fact, I made a point to get on-line and pay my phone bill. (Poverty keeps me paying many of my bills only when they threaten to turn off service. I'd not got that prodding message concerning my cell phone, but I still didn't want any surprises.)

I arrived at the Drafthouse at about 5:15, and dragged all my shit in. The PA, cables, easel, posters, Alston's great painting, and all my supplies. I sat down in the larger bar area and finished the paperwork.

Around 5:30 Carlos showed up. He was gracious enough to set up the PA system and set all the levels. He also put up some signs.

Pete showed up next. I'd already learned that my three copies of the preliminary form that all teams needed to bring with them, had already been taken up by unprepared teams. Pete offered to drive to the nearby HEB to make some more copies.

Lee, my other volunteer, got caught in the monster traffic jam on loop 410. I'd received about three calls from panicky teams caught in crawling lanes just a couple of exits away. I told everyone not to panic.

Though I was trying hard not to panic myself.

I'd not set up the sign-in process very clearly, and I found myself having to do more work than I should have. But every one was patient and tolerant. Pete and Lee signed in the teams and handed out some forms they needed.

When I stepped up to the microphone and began making the announcements, I noticed Nikki, who was sitting in the back, making fluttering motions with her hands. I asked if she could hear me. She pantomimed for more volume. Before I could figure out how to fix the problem, Carlos was at the PA, kicking up the juice.

I made my announcements (meaning I read stuff out of the 48HFP production manual), and then I began calling teams up to draw their genera from the ugly hat. Some were happy with their selections. Some just shrugged (“you get DRAMA!” humf, whatever). And a few noticeably stiffened, stuck with something they obviously held in disdain.

And then, one minute till seven, I opened the envelope and read off the “elements.” Each team needed to have, as a character, “Ted or Thelma Butler, Personal Assistant.” And a prop: “A calendar.” And a line of dialogue: “Keep that thing away from me.”

And as I write this, I wonder if I lead some of the folks down the wrong path regarding the character. When I opened the envelope I saw: “Ted or Thelma,” (pause) “Butler, Personal Assistant.” But now that I look at it, I think what I was supposed to see was “Ted Butler or Thelma Butler, Personal Assistant.”

I'm gonna have to chew on the national people for giving a surname that is also a profession.

But I digress. The damage — if damage it be — had already been done.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I'm ashamed that I didn't take more pictures, but I was trying so hard to look like I knew what I was doing. Next time, I'll hand the camera off to someone else.

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