Monday, August 30, 2010

Life in the Fast Lane

Last week, I drove over 105 miles to go to the big Media Night event for the Temecula Valley International Film Festival -- and it was worth it.

I enjoyed amazing drinks and appetizers at the gorgeous Monte de Oro winery and met some very cool filmmakers and reporters -- all of whom were excited for Another Life. What a great party! I can't wait for the festival!

For example, check out these cool films coming to Temecula:
Then I came home to 2 more rejection letters.

The film festival circuit -- and the career of any filmmaker -- is going to be an emotional roller-coaster ride. To keep my sanity, I have developed the following philosophy:
If they don't like my movie, then we have different tastes in film, so we probably shouldn't work together. If they did like my movie, then let's do lunch.
If you second-guess yourself after every rejection or only validate yourself with every success, you will go crazy. If you poured your blood, sweat, tears, money, and time into your work, and if you know in your heart of hearts that you made a good script/film with professional polish and masterful craft -- then it is good.

And don't let any festival or producer tell you otherwise.

Yes, rewrite your script for that perfect draft. Yes, tweak your press packet to better sell your short film. But never take a rejection personally.

For example, here's an excerpt from one of my rejection letters:
The XXXXXXXXXXXXX Festival is an international program, which premieres fewer than 35 films each fall. Since more than thirteen hundred films are submitted to us every year for consideration, the selection process is necessarily highly competitive, and our decision is in no way an absolute judgment on the quality of your work. We hope we will have the opportunity to see your films in the future.
I did that math on that festival's acceptance rate: less than 3% of films submitted were selected. So from the very beginning, every filmmaker has to know that they are up against the most impossible odds to achieve any kind of success.

How do you conquer these odds? Check out Indiewire's Filmmakers Toolkit, with tips and advice on how to break into the indie film scene from the mouths of film industry veterans.

But stay tuned this week and the next -- as I'll be getting some big news soon, such as Festvial Showtimes for Another Life and published articles on the film. See you soon!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Antici......... pation!

Last week, Another Life was accepted into the Temecula Valley International Film Festival. And this week...

* tumbleweeds roll by *

Nothing. Happened.

But not for lacking of trying! I had an interview with a reporter about Another Life, but she's still writing and wants to publish when the time's right, so I'm waiting to hear back.

At work, I've been plugging away at an undisclosed project under a tight deadline, but with my boss out of town, I'm still waiting to hear back.

I've been writing a lot, preparing for another meeting with the Hollywood Hotshots. I e-mailed them about when next to meet and... you guessed it. More waiting.

As an aspiring filmmaker knocking on Hollywood's doors, so much of your life is spent in anticipation. You send your film out to festivals... and wait. You send your script out to Hollywood Hotshots... and wait.

And a lot of the time, you never hear back.

Here's what NOT to do: Stare at your monitor and refresh your Gmail every 5 minutes, thinking that this time -- this time that e-mail will appear, finally saying "Congratulations, kiddo! We're gonna make you into a star!"

The healthy thing to do: Move on. Like a professional actor at an audition, you have to put your best foot forward, show them your best work, and then get on with your life.

Don't even expect a reply. Hang out with friends. Cook a tasty meal. Enjoy life.

So when the good news finally does come, it will be a delicious surprise.

But what to do with all that nervous energy? Why not read some o' the BEST blogs on the web? Like these tasty morsels for fellow filmmakers:
And here's a real treat for all you Animaniacs fans:
For more, check out the Blog Roll on the right. For next week, stay tuned for a big press release on Another Life at Temecula! Till Then!

Monday, August 16, 2010

We got into the Temecula Valley Film Festival!

Another Life was just accepted into the Temecula Valley International Film Festival!

Thank you to everyone involved -- cast, crew, friends, family, and fans -- I am so very proud of all of your hard work, sheer talent, and support. This couldn't be possible without you!

Ranked as one of the 'Best Kept Secret Film Festivals' in the US, the TemeculaValley International Film Festival started as a small grassroots affair and then evolved into a world class film and music event, showcasing and honoring some of the very best in entertainment from emerging filmmakers to established celebrities such as Leonard Maltin, John Landis, William Shatner, and many more.

The festival will take place September 15-19, 2010 and Another Life will screen there 2-3 times -- showtimes TBA on September 6th!

I'll be attending their red carpet Opening Night event, special screenings, industry workshops, exclusive soirees, and the star-studded Closing Night Awards Gala.

More details soon... and I've got a good feeling this is just the first of many festivals.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

SPECIAL EDITION: On That Guy With The Glasses

Check out my interview with The Nostalgia Critic about my glory days on Animaniacs by clicking HERE! There's also a little piece in there about Another Life!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Rejection? Rejoice!

Another Life was rejected by six film festivals.

While some people frame their rejection letters, I'm not so cocky. When I read an e-mail that starts with, "We regret to inform you that your film was not selected..." it ruins my week.

But last week, I gave myself three reasons to move on and rejoice:

1) Another Life was featured on Hollywood University! Get the full scoop here!

2) After searching for months, I joined a new Writer's Group. Not only are all the writers talented and hard-working, but they're all so easy to get along with and great note-givers. I'm glad to know them all before they become rich and famous :)

Last week, they gave me some good notes on my horror feature and this week they'll give me notes on my action feature -- just in time for my next Hollywood Hotshots meeting!

I think this is the beginning of some beautiful friendships.

3) After seeing Shakespeare by the Sea last night with some good friends, a newly-made acquaintance told me that she just saw Another Life -- and she loved it.

And it's for moments like these that made me want to write and direct.

Last week, I let the cat (or squirrel) out of the bag and revealed my past as a child voice actor on Animaniacs. This week, I'll tell you how I went from there to here:
While I once thought about going back into voice acting, when puberty hit and my voice cracked, that pretty much killed my career as a child voice actor. I did work on my acting in high school, but as I found myself re-watching some of my Dad's shows, I was instilled with a love of good writing and great movies.

If you watch Tiny Toons, Animaniacs, or Pinky and the Brain closely, you'll see episodes that are obvious homages to classic American films like Citizen Kane, The Maltese Falcon, and The Third Man. So instead of going back into children's TV, I dug deeper into this inspiration in great American films, worked on my own writing and directing, and approached my career from there.
But that's all I can say for now! Check out my full video interview on That Guy with The Glasses later this week along with other Animaniacs' greats like Sherri Stoner, Paul Rugg, John P. McCann, and Tom Ruegger!

So stay tuned!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Truth Will Out

Bruce Wayne is Batman. Dexter is a serial killer. And Rick and Ilsa will always have Paris.

Dark secrets. Skeletons in the closet. Everyone has them.

Even me.

Last week, I was interviewed by the beloved internet personality That Guy With The Glasses, best known for his hilarious 5 Second Movies and wonderful Nostalgia Critic articles.

Little did I know he was an investigative journalist ready to blow the whistle on my past. But before he publishes my most shocking secret, I think it's best you heard it from me.

Here goes... *sigh*

I am Skippy Squirrel.

That's right. This dark, brooding, film-noir-loving writer-director was once a child actor, providing the voice of a chipper, fuzzy, animated squirrel on the children's TV series Animaniacs.

Don't believe me? IMDb rarely lies.

How did I go from Animaniacs to Another Life? Tune in next week to find out.