Like nearly everywhere else (notable exception being the post office) things slow down here at SAGIndie during the holidays. Because of this To Catch A Predator clips have been my obsession today. Chris Hanson has the best job probably in the whole world. Oh sure my job can be pretty fun -- after all, I'm [technically] on the clock as I watch these -- but somehow it still doesn't quite compare to the job of actually being there, confronting a 41-year-old who's shown up at a pre-teen's house with a penis pump, bag of fast food and box Trojans (ribbed for her pleasure - how thoughtful). Yes, loyal readers, the pervs are showering their womenchildren with gifts of Burger King and condoms. BURGER KING! I mean, I appreciate my fast food nowadays, but only since the realization that I am no longer a teenager and therefore too old to demand, say, Olive Garden when being woo-ed.
I've been apologizing to people for the last five days straight. I'm sorry. My production company's email server went berzerk on Wednesday, allowing people who responded to a mass email to respond to my ENTIRE list. First one person did so. Then another. Then somone responded asking not to be included on the responses. And then...it all went to shit from there.
Literally hundreds of emails started flooding through my server back and forth between people asking to be removed from the list, asking people to stop responding, asking to be kept on the list, fighting with each other, joking with each other, blah blah blah blah blah. For three hours we tried to get through to our email server to shut our 3000+ name list down. When they finally did it was too late as emails already in the cue just kept on rolling out until late in the evening. And for every one email everyone out there received, I got three or four separately, plus phone calls, IM's and text messages.
It was like watching a slow motion train wreck only, after a while, it became ridiculously funny. I felt like Larry David sitting there for hours with my chin on my chest watching every contact we have in the industry get totally inundated by emails from our server, pissing off major producers, distributors, TV execs, directors, etc. My partner was so freaked out he thought we'd have to change our company name and go on the lam.
Now we're trying to spin the whole thing as Plug Ugly Films' version of a punk rock X-mas party. And we're looking for a new email server. Thankfully lots of people have contacted us and absolved us of our guilt, made us feel better about the fiasco and even encouraged us to do it again. Which of course, we won't.
All of this and all we wanted was for people to go vote for our Willowz music video on www.SLAMDANCE.com.
Plug Ugly - oi!
So Scott and I finally emerged from the pits of despair after Paul's last day, only to find DMG had a remarkably speedy recovery from said trauma and has lit off to celebrate her holiday somewhere very warm and exciting, promising "Presents when I get back!!" on her way out the door, laughing all the way to the airport, I'm sure, as she thinks of us huddled like the little match girl in our meat locker of an office. Ah, yes. Happy Holidays indeed.
Despite the abundance of alcohol this time of year (I like gin, Scott likes scotch - in case you're short on gift ideas) and the ready availability of it, we've managed to stay stomach pump free just long enough to toil away at figuring out who we can hire to hang out with us at Sundance. As a gift to you (Mom), I promise a daily update, at least until the end of the week, when we will be officially entering hibernation until 2 January.
And, finally, a message to "Jimmy" from the LA County Prison: I'm not going to tell you again, we cannot accept any more of your collect calls. It's good to know, though, that you have enough free time to call us several times a day!!
PS: Your shiv's in the mail.
If the latest Rocky sequel, Britney's "crazy monkey", and Rosie O'Donnell's Ching-Chong Meltdown aren't enough to convince you that the apocalypse is nigh, then try to wrap your mind around these two words: Rambo. 4.
Yup, he's back - tanned, rested, botoxed beyond all recognition, and armed to the teeth. Now, I don't know about you, but I've spent the two decades since the last Rambo movie not thinking about how much I missed Stallone's drooling, dropping visage leering out at me from the Coke-stained screen of my local multiplex. Because I don't. Apparently, though, there is an audience for ghastly, ancient, steroid-cases, as long as guns and explosions are involved.
The saddest thing about this whole sorry mess? The Weinstein's are actually going to the mat to assert their rights of first refusal to this steaming pile of reheated excrement. Et tu, bros?
Again: apocalypse. I better start practicing for the end times war with the latest Left Behind
religious intolerance training software video game. I'd advise you to do the same.
Maybe it's the bathtub gin going to my head (again), but first I was convinced to see Casino Royale this weekend (I know, right?), but on top of that I actually found myself reconsidering my previous dismissal of Daniel Craig as too similar that thing that chased Sonny Bono and Julia-Louis Dreyfuss around in that movie...what was it called? Oh, right. Troll. But then, somehow, I was convinced to attend an action movie (ew!). An action movie that I actually ended up liking! Starring a man, though not as masculine as my all-time favorite, I now find oddly alluring.
...and then I found this: Bond 22: Electric Boogaloo? (The Gay One)
Lord knows I don't want to upstage our fearless leader's departure but he's trained me to fear being fired if I don't blog promptly so....here goes:
(Read with a dramatic Movietones voice):
Around 250 people convened up at St. Malachy’s Church’s Actor’s Chapel in Midtown Manhattan for a lively panel discussion about how actors can create their own projects and their own breaks in the industry. Panelists Charles Busch, Michael Showalter, Cynthia Katz of The Artist’s Group East, and Amy Dotson of IFP had great advice for the packed room. Lead by Michael Sládek, SAGIndie’s man in New York
Actor/Writer/Directors Busch, Showalter, and Sládek all spoke of their personal backgrounds making the leap from struggling actors to hyphenates creating their own projects to various ends. Ms. Katz gave great advice regarding actors in the agency world while Ms. Dotson answered questions regarding IFP and the process of developing projects in the industry.
And yes, I did write this as if it weren't actually me writing it. Creepy huh?
No, I am NOT Going into Rehab
But maybe I should.
As many of you already know, Friday was my last day as Director of SAGIndie.
I have been offered a position at a small production company owed by a couple of friends I have known for more than twenty and thirty years respectively (I’m not old. I’m loyal.). For an independent production studio, The Asylum is already quite successful (they produce a feature film every month), but they are ready to move to the next level (which I think is porn) and I’d like to help take them there. It’s a great opportunity and I’m looking forward to a new challenge.
I’ve been associated with SAG for nine years and running SAGIndie for more than four-and-a-half. And although I still enjoy my work, the only challenges I face now are political, and I’ve accomplished everything that I originally set out to do in this job.
Not many people know this story, but the first event I
attended as SAGIndie Director was the IFP Market in
Finally, in 2005, when the SAG Low Budget Agreements were modified to their current versions, that promise was kept. For the first time, low budget filmmakers could make a movie using SAG actors and wouldn’t be financially crippled if they were lucky enough to get distribution. And what’s more; after a year in effect, these new contracts have resulted in a more than fifty percent increase in paying jobs for actors.
My work here is done.
I want to thank everyone who helped us reach these goals throughout the years; the producers, directors, writers, actors, festivals, media, vendors, and the especially the amazing SAGIndie staff; Darrien, Scott, Eliza, and Michael; who continue to work tirelessly on behalf of the entire industry.
Before I go I want to pass along a final bit of advice:
To Actors: Low Budget Filmmakers are not the enemy. Like you, most of them just want to create art. You need them and they need you. I believe (although I can’t back it up scientifically) that the vast majority of SAG members support the Low Budget Agreements. If I’m right, please make your voices heard. There are people at SAG who would like to eliminate these Agreements and the only actors who are talking to them are the people who have had problems. If you’ve had a good experience working these contracts, let someone know; tell your elected leaders, write to the SAG magazine, volunteer for committees or run for union office.
And to Filmmakers: Don’t screw this up. SAG has given low budget producers a real opportunity to work with the best talent at reduced rates and have provided a real chance for these films to succeed. Just as I believe that most actors support these agreements, I believe most filmmakers aren’t trying to rip anyone off. But the few who are could ruin it for everyone else. If you’ve got a million dollars, don’t sign to the Ultra Low Budget Agreement and tell SAG you’ve only got $100,000. Don’t be greedy. Do the right thing.
It’s been a great run and I’ll miss you all.
Thanks again for everything.
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