Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hell No: The Sensible Horror Film

Finally! The short that debuted at SXSW has been loosed! Another stellar effort by Joe Nicolosi and a bunch of fantastic Austin (and recently decamped to L.A.) actors. Check out my super cool rocket launcher!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Out of Bounds!

So. Austin Comedy Hour had a great show at the Hideout Theater Wednesday night--awesome job by Bobby DiPasquale, Scott Moss and Brett Tribe. SO MUCH FUN. And not just because I got to fake make-out with Scott Moss.

Then tonight. Yes. Ok. I came out like a banshee--a harpy bitch from hell--yelling something like, "What the fuck, dude? You told me 9:30! I've been in that fucking theater since 6:00!"

All true. I went to the theater solely because I was going to see Jorak & Jorak, who I thought were performing at 9:30. Turns out they were performing at 11:30. And I owed it to both my guy and the dog to get my ass home and participate in the first weekend of college football watching. It's part of the whole richer/poorer, sickness/health thing. And as a recently laid-off writer now depending solely on my sugar daddy for food and shelter, well, if something like coming home to watch a little football makes both of us happy? All good.

So, in the 3.5 hours, I got to see some really great moments, an audience enjoying the crap out of themselves, a friend in from LA (Hi, Brent Foshee!), the friend I yelled at (Sorry, Scott Moss), my favorite photographer doing improv magic with her man (Hi, Meredith Mae Roberts), a Nicolosi alum in action (Hi Kirk Johnson), an entire 30-minute riff on one of my favorite movies (Girls Just Want to Have Fun--thanks Atlantic Pacific Bravo!) and a lot of great Austinites mixing it up with those in from the bigger cities.

And the icing? Brent Foshee slides in next to me to watch Triggerfinger, and says, "These are friends from L.A." Turns out at least one of them is my friend, too! Michael Garcia and I were in improv class together way back when in Houston, Texas. But he's been buried in my facebook feed, and I had no idea he had moved to L.A., much less flew back to ATX to perform at Out of Bounds! Life is too, too sweet. And this awesomeness isn't over yet--tomorrow morning I'll be meeting the comedienne who schooled both of us--Second City grad Kim McGaw.


And we'll be eating at the Magnolia. So all in all, this weekend can't get much better than it is already.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Seattle Calling!

So this landed in the Austin Comedy Hour's inbox today. What can we say? Zak's a smart man. Crockpots is one of my favorites too. If you haven't seen it yet, look to your right. And if you're going to be in Seattle in September, check out SketchFest Seattle!

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Hey Austin Comedy Hour,

My name is Zak Nelson and I am the Sponsorships/Education Coordinator at Seattle SketchFest. I really enjoyed a lot of your videos that I saw online. The Taboo and Crockpots sketches were especially funny. The Crockpots one was probably my favorite though. The timing and the pacing of it were just great. So with that said...

SketchFest Seattle opened our applications on April 11th and I'd be remiss if I didn't get you to apply. We decide our festival roster by a committee vote among the staff, and if you apply you'll definitely have me rooting for you. We're bringing out of town acts in for the last week of the festival, Sept 27th & 28th...I really do hope to see your application, because you're awesome! Apply here: http://www.sketchfest.org/apply/

~Zak Nelson
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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Weird Girls: Day One!

videoWhat a great day of shooting! I made a little video to tell you about it.Want to know more? Check it!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Yes. I love Weird Girls.

Weird Girls is all about staying true to yourself and the things you love.

I love my home life. Love it. My dog. My dude. Our weekend routines. The sleeping in. The making fancy breakfasts. So when I skip out on all that, it's for a good reason.

This weekend I have a good reason.

Mark Gardner, Producer/Director/Writer/Champion of Cell: The Web Series is shooting a pilot for his latest web series: Weird Girls. You might remember a while back we did a table read for the whole series. It was amazing--the writing, the premise and the Weird Girls themselves, brought to life by a group of very talented young actors.

There are so many good things about being a part of this--this is an exceptional series--so reward #1. Cast and crew collaboration is reward #2. Spending two whole days with one of my favorite people in the world, and her daughter (who I have the distinct honor of co-mom-ing on set) is reward #3. Really I could go on and on. But I won't. This is starting to sound like an Academy Award speech. So I'll just point upwards and we'll save the rest for the movie.

So yes. Weird Girls is definitely another thing I love. And in the meantime, I must find teacher clothes. And love the fact that this is one shoot I may get through with my shoes firmly on my feet and a complete lack of the sticky summertime stench of fake blood.

For a sneak peek of what's to come, check out Weird Girls.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sketchfest! SketchFight!

   I don't want to bury the lede--In May/June, Austin Comedy Hour   performed at both SketchFest 2013 and in the three-weekend SketchFight! show at the City Theatre. And we've been invited to do the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival too! YAY!

Now to the important stuff: I have a new talent. It is a latent-until-now ability to do the WORST Bill Cosby impersonation you've ever seen. It's Bill Cosby with a palsy. Bill Cosby the dolphin enchantor (yeah. high voiced Bill Cosby.). Bill Cosby as will only be seen by my sketch troupe, privately, because Scott Moss is our real-life and very talented Bill Cosby impersonator.

I discovered this talent when the aforementioned Scott Moss had to skip a line-through, and I took over. And we all (minus Scott) discovered the brilliance together.

So. Because I'm a poor blogger, you have missed the chance to see even Scott Moss's Bill Cosby. Or the return of the great Brent Foshee who came back from LA for SketchFest. Or the addition of Heath Thompson and Brett Tribe to the Austin Comedy Hour crew. And the always charming Bobby DiPasquale. We mustn't forget him.

But the good news is, you will be able to see us take the stage again in August.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Go Joe!

You guys, Joe Nicolosi rocks. He would rock even if he didn't do these awesome freaking videos, because Joe is a funny, wonderful, all-around-great-to-know guy. But, he does do these awesome videos!

And since you can't yet see his latest live action short, Hell, No! unless you're at the Stanley Film Festival RIGHT THIS MINUTE enjoying terrifying greatness in the halls of the very hotel that inspired Stephen King's The Shining, you'll have to make do with this. And you won't be disappointed.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

I AM a writer, dammit!

I am.
I am, I am, I am.

If I sound petulant, it's because I'm tired of arguing with myself. On one level, yes. I am a writer. It's what I get paid to do. It's in my job description. It's my day job's raison d'etre if you want to get all fancy and French about it.

But on one level, I'm not. On that level, I'm a a procrastinator. And a perfectionist. And a self-promotion artist. Who, to be honest, should spend more time writing and less time self-promoting. And every time I whine about not having enough time, I think about Stephen King banging out Carrie on a typewriter on his motherfucking lap, sitting between the washer and the dryer with a couple of kids and a wife outside the door waiting for him.

So. I've fallen short where it hurts the most. With my own writing. And the most success I've had to date focusing and actually getting shit done has been during Nanowrimo. Which falls during November. Until, that is, I saw that holy crap! There's a summer camp! There are TWO summer camps. And damn it, I'm doing both of them. There. It's in writing.

The poems. The short stories. The novels. The children's books. The sketch comedy. The screenplays. For the love of god, something is going to get polished and finished and submitted.

And here is my inspiration: From J. Robert Lennon's March 24, 2013 review of Jamie Quatro's I Want to Show You More--

"A truly excellent writer, though, pursues her obsessions and allows them to dictate what form her work will take. That sounds simple, but in fact it is hard for any writer to recognize what those obsessions are, to face them squarely when they are frightening or puzzling, and to shape them into persuasive works of art. That is why we so admire what George Saunders is doing now, or what Alice Munro has been doing for the last few decades: They have been living with their obsessions for a long time and have figured out how to give them form."

And for just a little more to shoot for:
"Jamie Quatro's "I Want to Show You More" is an obsessive first collection that feels like a fifth or sixth. It is a dogged, brutally thoughtful piece of work, and gives us a writer of great originality and apparent artistic maturity who seems to have come out of nowhere...it is a strange, thrilling and disarmingly honest piece of work."

Coming soon. Ready or not.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hell No: 2013 SXSW Midnight Short Write-Up

While we didn't win an audience award this year, the energy and reactions in each screening were pitch perfect. Here's an excerpt from a nice write-up by Corey Mitchell of Bloody Disgusting:

"The best of the batch included the Austin-centric Hell No, which posited the question, “What if the characters in a horror film actually made the right choices?” Director Joe Nicolosi evokes the best of horror cliches and simply says, “No more stupid choices.” The result is a bloody good riot."

To read his entire midnight shorts write up, read on

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Film, Film, Film

Today was a work day for me--screenings of Coldwater followed by Spark: A Burning Man Story and Big Joy: The Adventures of James Broughton. So, so fun. First, the SXSW volunteers are amazing--so hanging out with Rachel Zern (manager), Rest (Austin graffiti artist) and others between films can hardly be considered work.

Coldwater came with the surprise bonus of a huge number of cast and crew members in addition to Director Vincent Grashaw. For the record, he and actor P.J. Boudousque are huggers--that always goes over well in the south. Great group of people. What a pleasure.

Then on to my burners' screening--so many enthusiastic Burning Man fans--both directors attended, and plenty of questions were asked.

Last--Big Joy. I'm ashamed to say I'd never even heard of James Broughton, so it was wonderful to be introduced to his work--especially by such a kind man as Stephen Silha and his lovely partner. I felt very badly that they received a ticket for the bed they had parked outside the theater--plus I heard rumors that one of their fans was hauled off in his underwear, but it seems appropriately subversive for the subject matter, and they managed to keep their joy in the face of it. (That's Stephen in the first picture!)
This, however, was Sixth Street when I left the Alamo Ritz. It is completely insane. It is also an incredibly lovely evening in the mid-70s, so I'm thinking we're going to make some more fans of ATX tonight. Three more movies tomorrow, and then I'm almost finished for the year. Sad!

Come see me at Topfer for the day screenings tomorrow (Short Term 12, Bayou Majarajah and Brothers Hypnotic) or come see the midnight shorts (complete with me wielding weaponry!) at Vimeo tomorrow night. There's plenty of seats--come claim yours!

Monday, March 11, 2013

SXSW: Bad to Way, Way Better

My not-so-good start was not the fault of SXSW in any way, shape or form. It is the fault of a possessed clock radio that began blaring classical music by itself at 4 a.m. And I am a girl who  has seen far too many horror movies to even consider venturing out of my bedroom and down the hall to check it out. So it played for 2.5 hours. (Sorry neighbors.)

From there I saw the sneak preview of A&E's Bates Motel--great work by Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highsmith. Q&A afterwards with one of the writers of the show.

The afternoon brought two doc screenings. Both attended by people who participated in creating the films, which is always the best part of SXSW. The first, Xmas without China, explored a Chinese American's challenge to an American family to go without anything made in China for the entire month of December. It's not easy.

The second, Crash Reel, told the story of champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce, his horrific head injury and his long road to recovery. The footage available for the making of the movie was astounding, and the story is an important one. Look for a theatrical release around Thanksgiving, and on HBO as well. Seeing the screening would be experience enough, but Kevin and his brother Adam and two-time Academy Award nominee Lucy Walker also attended and did a Q&A. #loveyourbrain

Sunday, March 10, 2013

SXSW: The Last 24 Hours

 How much awesome can we pack into 24 hours? Quite a lot. Let's start with the Midnight Shorts premiere--lots of freaky, freaky stuff made its way to the screen. So freaky, that I'm still thinking about them and glad to get the chance to see them all again on Thursday night.

Nice to see other Texans' works onscreen--Owen Egerton's Follow was quite a departure from other projects I've seen from him--what a talent! And Joe Nicolosi did it again--great audience reactions for Hell No. Plus, there was a lot of talk about assholes. Literally. And because my descriptions will not do the range justice, I can only recommend that you go see for yourself.

That brings us today. For three SXSW's I have, for one reason or another, missed the chance to see Jeffrey Tambor's acting workshop. Year four was finally my time. And it was well worth the wait. I had a visceral response to what he was doing. Elevated heartbeat, leaning forward in my chair, eyes tearing up, willing the action on-on with everything I could throw at it from my seat. I slid him my card. And made a pledge to figure out how to get the opportunity to learn from that man. He is insightful and kind and generous with his gifts. Good man. Great teacher.

Rest of the day included a free box of fortune cookies, interesting conversations, and a wasted hour at the Long Center. (Sorry Jash. If you're going to take an hour of our time for a commercial, why don't you make it not suck?) Ughh. No patience for that kind of coasting when there's so much good around! My fault--should have known better.

I really want to see the Bates Motel event tomorrow morning and will start movie watching in earnest in the afternoon. Yessssssssss.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Much Ado About Day 1: SXSW

Day One is awesome. While officially it is Day Two, it is Day One to me, so on we go. Started the day with Danny Boyle, an assaulting (he'd like that) clip from his new movie Trance, and gems such as this (paraphrased)
  • First time is always wonderful--have to work not to lose that innocence and avoid approaching projects as if you already know how you're going to do them. There's a danger in well-trod paths.
  • Similarities between priesthood and his current career path--'poncing around.
  • Direction to actors for pivotal Trainspotting scene "Do it like you have to pee."
  • Logline for Slumdog Millionaire: Amelie + Trainspotting
  • What makes a strong actor? Storytelling instinct and the willingness to experience on others' behalf
  • Idea that we reflect our lives through the prism of the popular music of the time
  • The existence of Elephants--a short film I haven't seen (but now will...)
  • Logline for Trance: Memento + Eternal Sunshine
From there, mad dash out to the line that wrapped outside and around the building to see Much Ado About Nothing. LOVED this film. So appreciative for acting that brought the Bard's words to life and helped me better understand the humor and pathos involved. Great work by all with a special shout-out to Nathan Fillion, Tom Lenk, Nick Kocher and Brian McElhaney who provided fabulous comic relief as the constabulary. And I got to see Joss Whedon and almost the entire cast (minus Riki Lindhome whom I love and a couple others).

This should be required watching in high school. Just saying.

Ok. Onward. Tonight is the premiere of Hell No! Another stellar project with Joe Nicolosi and the lovely Stephanie Noone. It's showing with the Midnight Shorts as part of this year's SXSW, and I could not be more excited to be a part of it! And, I heard our bumper played before the Evil Dead premiere last night. So SXSW has already been freaking awesome. Aaaaaaaand I have a week to go!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sketch in the City: Encore!

So we're gearing up for the next Sketch in the City show, but in the meantime, we're doing an encore performance of some of our sketches at Austin's Hideout Theater. Check out The Ladies Monthly Museum: http://www.hideouttheatre.com/shows/TheLadiesMonthlyMuseum. Only $6, curtain's at 7, and we're sharing the stage with Every Girl’s Annual, There’s Waldo and stand-up comedians Roxy Castillo and Katie Pengra. Sweet!