Tuesday, August 30, 2011

We Screen Sept. 16th at Big Bear!

Mark your calendars!

Another Life opens the Big Bear International Film Festival in a few weeks! So catch the exclusive screening on Friday, September 16th @12 noon at the Village Theaters North in Big Bear Lake, California. Just a morning's drive out of L.A.!

Not only will you get to see the film, but you'll get to hang out with the director (me!), enjoy a Q&A session, and get access to loads of fun events like parties, panels, showcases, and more!

So check out the festival's website, get some cheap tickets, and see you there!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Official Selection at Big Bear! Semi-Finalist at Page!

What a great week!

Another Life made Official Selection at our 11th Film Festival, the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival and my feature screenplay Furious Angels made Semi-Finalist at the PAGE International Screenwriting Competition!

Named one of MovieMaker Magazine's Top 25 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee, the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival celebrates 12 years of showcasing emerging filmmakers and screenwriters in the idyllic setting of Big Bear Lake. Just 2 hours out of L.A., the Big Bear Lake International Film Festival will host an exciting weekend jam-packed with gala screenings, workshops, panels, and parties, all with talented filmmakers and talent-seeking agents, managers, and producers in attendance.

But why take my word for it when you can watch a cool video about it?

Another Life will screen at the Big Bear Lake International Festival on Friday, September 16 or Saturday, September 17 TBD... so keep your calendars open!

I will certainly be in attendance at the festival in Big Bear, seeing films from fellow USC filmmakers such as Fawaz Al-Matrouk with his film To Rest in Peace and Cat Youell with her film The Mischievous Case of Cordelia Botkin.

Just as well, Another Life will also be screening at the Traverse City Shorts Festival the same weekend on Sunday, September 18th @5:00PM at the Park Place Hotel (300 East State Street, Traverse City, Michigan, 49684).

Also -- don't forget that Another Life will be screening at the Rome International Film Festival in just a few weeks on Friday, September 8th @11:00PM at the Historic DeSoto Theatre (530 Broad Street, Rome, Georgia, 30161). Get tickets and passes here!

But let's certainly not forget The PAGE International Screenwriting Awards!

Celebrating its 8th year, the PAGE Awards was established by an alliance of Hollywood producers, agents, and development execs to discover the most exciting new scripts by up-and-coming writers from across the country and around the world. And with all the Success Stories from the winning writers, the PAGE Awards have become one of the most important sources for new screenwriting talent within the Hollywood community and worldwide.

In short, this is kind of a big deal!

With Another Life gearing up for three festivals on top of making Semi-Finalist at PAGE , I am in awe of all the love and support from my fellow filmmakers, friends, family, and fans. This would not be near possible without all of you. Period.

Oh, yes, and I have more good news on the Agent front... stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Big C

Last few weeks, I made Semi-Finalist at the Page Int'l Screenwriting Competition, met with an agent, made Official Selection at our Tenth Film Festival, my wife got cancer --

* Life SCREECHES to a Halt *

Yes, my wife Alexis has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Mucinous Colloid Carcinoma, to be exact. As cancers go, this one is very slow-growing, treatable, and rare... so rare, in fact, that Alexis refers to it sometimes as Hipster Breast Cancer since you've probably never heard of it.

The surgery is scheduled for September 6th. For more details, visit Alexis' blog.

Every day, I continue to be amazed by Alexis. She goes to work just like everyone else, only she refuses to mope about her situation and always looks on the funny side of life.

For example, she sometimes sees cancer as a sort of superpower or ultimate trump card:
Alexis: "Nate, can you wash the dishes?"

Me: "Can it wait? I'm kind of in the middle of --"

Alexis: "Oh, oo, my cancer's acting up... I'd feel a lot better if someone else did the dishes... oh, it hurts... "

Me: * sigh * "Yes, I'll do the dishes."
When faced with cancer, I have no choice but to put a hold on my emerging-filmmaker-frenzy, sit back, and reflect on what really matters in life.

The answer: Family. Friends. Loved ones.

After all, why make movies if you have no one to share them with?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Reps: How To Keep In Touch

Last month, a rep agreed to read my screenplay. A major milestone for any emerging screenwriter -- but then what do you do next?

Well, dear readers, let me fill you in on the few Follow-Up rules I know:

1) Patience -- If a rep agrees to read your script, email that script over immediately... and then wait three weekends before saying anything.

Reps are tremendously busy, wrangling phone calls and emails from dawn till well after dusk, reading piles of scripts, juggling dozens of projects... and in the midst of this jam-packed schedule finding paid work for dozens of clients, this rep is taking the time out of his/her personal life to do you a favor and read your script.

The industry standard is that it takes three weekends to have a new script even enter the queue of Material To Read. So after those three weekends, the next thing to do is...

2) Write a brief, warm check-in email -- After three full weekends, send a very short, to-the-point, but friendly email that shows you care about this rep and his/her agency with a gentle, if not hesitant reminder about your script.

Let me share with you the rough structure of the email I sent:
Dear [Rep's First Name],

How are you? How goes everything at [Insert Agency Name]? I came across this article in the trades about your [big script sale/signing a new client/box office smash/other Hollywood success story]: [insert link here] Congrats on all your success!

I bet you're pretty busy but I wanted to check in on [
Name of Your Script] and if you've had the chance to give it a look. Anyway, I hope all is well with you and once again thanks for meeting with me.

[Your Name]
[Your Phone Number]
One little note: Your email's subject line should be clear and simple like "Follow up on [Name of Your Script]"

3) Pleasant Persistence
-- If the rep doesn't respond, do NOT take it personally. They don't hate your script, they're just swamped and haven't read it yet. So make a note to yourself to write the rep another email every three weeks, and in the same warm, professional, and brief format from before. Oh, and keep all these emails in the same conversation/email chain so the rep has all your correspondence info in one place.

Sometimes the rep doesn't get back to you... and sometimes they do.

As for me, lightning struck:

The rep emailed me back on the same day. He did read my script. He wanted to talk about it. Then the following day, he called me back.

Which leads to the next week's edition, How To Take a Notes from a Rep. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

We Got into the Traverse City Shorts Festival!

After weeks drifting through the Hollywood doldrums, yesterday was TERRIFIC:
  • I applied for a job in the morning and got an interview that afternoon.
  • I turned my phone back on after the interview and got a call scheduled with an agent!
  • I came home, opened up my email, and found out that Another Life was just selected for its ninth film festival: the 2011 Traverse City Shorts Festival!
And once again, the best part is how we got in. Read closely, friends and fans:

As you may remember, Another Life was invited to the Big Easy Int'l Film Festival, we had a wonderful screening in December... and then I moved on to other festivals...

Five months later, I suddenly get this email:
We are launching a new shorts festival in Traverse City, Michigan, and are looking for some great short film submissions.

For you to submit the film that you screened in the 2010 Big Easy International Film Festival, all you need to do is go to the website (listed above) and fill out the online submission form in the "Submit" section. We are waiving the fee for you.

Since I already have your films on DVD, there is no need for you to send your film in... just fill out the online form.
I look forward to passing your films on to our programmers.
Free Film Festival Submission? Nothing to mail? Seriously? I mean, hell, why not submit? So I applied online... and months passed by... and I gave up hope. Then I get this email:

We wanted to let you know that we accepted "Another Life" into this year's Traverse
City Shorts Festival.

I will be sending a series of emails this week to inform you about all of
the details, what we need from you, etc.

Glad to have you on board for what we hope will be a fun event.
Moral of the story: Follow up, folks. Follow. Up.

For more on this fabulous new film festival check out TraverseCityShortsFestival.com . So Michigan fans, mark your calendars for Friday through Sunday, September 16th to 18th for the new Slamdance of Traverse City, screening shorts at the cozy Park Place Hotel.

I continue to be amazed by our Little Short Film That Could. My lifelong gratitude goes to the best cast and crew on the planet and of course my ever-supportive family, friends, and fans! My hat goes off to you. No, seriously, have my hat.

So stay tuned for more details on Traverse City, the job interview, and the agent call!