Friday, February 24, 2012

The end of 23, the beginning of 24

February is always a month that I look forward to, mainly because it's my birthday, but it always holds a special place in my heart because you're shaking off the bad taste of the past year and you're just starting to get into the groove of the new year. The awkward new born phase of January begins to fade and you get your sea legs under you. This particular February has been an amazing one.

It started off with announcing that we had sold our film and going to Little Rock, AR to show MADISON COUNTY to my home state in front of hundreds Arkansans. As Ace and I prepared for our flight, I found myself feeling a massive weight lifted off of my shoulders for the first time in a long time. Living in LA I'm constantly caught up in feeling like I can be doing something to further myself and my career. Whether it be writing, watching a movie, outlining, researching.. it's a bad part of my OCD. The need to continue. Finally, I found some rest.

Ace and I literally almost missed our flights. The first being in LA due to massive amounts of ridiculous traffic and the other being gate changes at the Dallas airport. It was as if someone didn't want us to make it. Luckily, we did.

We arrived in LR, greeted by my father and our driver, Jeff-- who was a great guy and huge help through out the weekend. Upon arrival, it was obvious that this would be a fun and educational trip. We were instantly labeled "The Madison County Guys" -- which was a title we wore proudly. We were wisked away to our hotel, which was super nice, and grabbed a nice steak dinner with my Dad before heading out to the opening night party.

Not knowing what to expect at this "sponsor party" as it was referred to, I quickly found out that it was done in true Arkansas fashion at a dive bar that resembled a fishing lodge. Good times. We played a little pool, met a couple of fellow filmmakers, saw some friends and had a great time.

The next night it was time to show Madison to Arkansas. We were the opening night film and the buzz was definitely evident. People seemed to have a much more critical eye for the film down south. There wasn't as much "excitement" -- but there was a lot of anxiousness.. from what I could tell, it was to see if this film made people look bad. I also noticed people had a curiosity about the quality of the film.. it's a weird thing that I've noticed over the evolution of indie filmmaking -- when I first began making films I always felt like my films had to be prefaced with "we had no money" so people wouldn't compare it to Transformers 3 or The Dark Knight. BUT, now that every dipstick with a camera and a computer is a filmmaker -- people have come to expect a lack of quality.. thankfully, we pride ourselves on making QUALITY films, so one of the main praises we got was "it was REALLY well made".

But during the film, I noticed that the audience wasn't as "wild" as I had imagined.. and it wasn't necessarily a bad thing.. it was just different. Once again, educational. I try to watch my movies with audiences any chance I get. I'm not one of those filmmakers that doesn't want to see it anymore. I learn something new everytime. What I learned from this was that Madison plays well with older, more mature audiences and they catch the subtle details that I tried to layer in the film.. I was thankful. The Q&A provided some thoughtful insights into what the crowd thought, which was good for me because they liked it and they expressed what they liked. Always a great feeling.

The two screenings the opening night ended up being a blast and the after party was fun as well. Ace and I discovered this really great group called LORD T & ELOISE that melted our faces with a live show that I'll never forget.

The next day Ace had to head back home and I was thankful we were able to sit down and grab breakfast together and spend some much needed friend time with one another over the last couple of days. It's a fun thing to tour around with your creation and show it to people without feeling like you have to be "working". It was just good, easy fun.

The remainder of the trip was a blast. I got to see family, hang out with old friends, meet new ones and amazing filmmakers that I'm excited to know now and see more of in the future and oh yeah.. we even won an AUDIENCE AWARD!

It was especially an honor since this award really was decided by the people.. the audience that paid their hard earned money to see all of these movies.. and they declared ours as their favorite. I'm still honored.

Arriving back to LA was almost like a reality check. Arkansas had been a dream. It happened so fast, but it was so much fun.. which is probably why it went by so fast. I was preparing for my birthday and then I find out that I had a meeting.. that meeting would be getting the green light for my next feature film. Bliss.

The night before my birthday I met up with some friends for an intimate dinner and drinks. It consisted of Andrew Van Den Houten (The Woman), Sean Sillane (The Woman), Chris Sivertson (The Lost), Chris Candy and my very own K-Stegs! Oh.. Sean Young (Blade Runner) also stopped by to visit with Andrew. It was a pleasant surprise and it was good seeing both Chris' again, who are both two of the nicest guys I've ever met and meeting Sean-- whose music I LOVED in The Woman. The night was a blast to say the least!

The day of my 24th birthday I learned we would be making a major announcement.. one I had been dying to make for months, years even. Ever since I conceived Madison in my head.. the movie will be released MAY 8TH through IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT. The film is already available for pre-order and I hope we sell so many they have to order more! Go get yours NOW!

This has been sitting in my head since I was a kid..

The night of my birthday was a blast of celebration. Seeing old friends, meeting new ones.. it was just a great night of appreciating life and accomplishments.. what more could I ask for?

Today we recorded the commentary for Madison County.. it should prove to be pretty entertaining and hopefully enjoyable. If not, I'll buy you a drink and tell you what you want to hear instead. With that said, I'm beat from a whirlwind of a month and the next few weeks I'll be locking myself in the bat cave and finishing the script for my next film (announcement coming soon).

'Til Next Time!


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