American Movie and American King–Weagle Rules!

This November began fairly well. It’s not as chilly as it was last year. In fact, I still haven’t got my water heater fixed. I guess I’d better get that dealt with next week. My luck can’t run this golden much longer.

I’ve entered the National Novel Writing Month contest again. The idea is to generate 50,000 words in the month of November. I’m currently up to speed with 9,606 words. In fact I’m 1,546 words ahead of the game. This means I almost have a free day to goof off. But I’d better be careful. I’m only five days in. The last time I did this (was it three years back?), I began to slack and drift and then I realized I would never be able to catch up.

This weekend is a NALIP-sponsored documentary workshop. A three day intensive event. My challenge will be to find time this weekend to keep my work\d count up to par while still keeping up with the workshop.


Tonight I dropped by El Tropicano hotel–there in their wonderful ’60s-era bar, all bamboo, Mai Tais, and live parrots getting all vocal and obstreperous. Janet Vasquez, with the San Antonio Film Commission, was there to herald in the first of several mixers for the Film Commission’s annual 48 Hour Film Experience. I believe there are about 12 teams already signed up. However, this first mixer was a small gathering. We had, if my count is correct, 13 people.

I’m playing this year, on a team with Pete Barnstrom.

It should be fun.


I finally finished watching “American Movie” this afternoon. It’s on Netflix’s free view for members. I remember when this came out because the subject of this documentary, Mark Borchardt, was appearing on the talk show circuit. I recall watching him on David Letterman.

It’s a painful film for filmmakers to watch. It’s about a self-important loser who wants to be a respected filmmaker. And people like myself know a lot of Mark Borchardts. Often, we fear that we are Mark Borchardt.

It’s hell of a documentary, and I think it deserved the 1999 Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at Sundance. But, again, if you are out there making movies which are funded from your back pocket, this film might break your heart, your spirit.

And here’s the big problem. No matter what a fucked-up jackass this heroic loser of a filmmaker Mark Borchardt may be, his work shows promise, and probably he’s a better filmmaker than you are.

I suspect that “American Movie,” (by Chris Smith and Sarah Price) will be a painful watch for wanna be independent filmmakers, but a rollicking laugh-fest for everyone else.

Definitely check it out.

And then, check out the real deal. Filmmaker Chris Weagel has been generating these brilliant video blogs about his fucked up friend, Garrett. Head to the Human Dog Production’s website and wallow about in this amazing salad of Americana. “American Movie” hints at this world, Weagle’s “American King” delivers.


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