Sunday, March 25, 2007

Filmmaking in Texas

In addition to my film screening twice at AFI Dallas, I was on a panel discussion called "Making it in Texas" -- all about the pros and cons of filmmaking in the Lone Star State.

The panel discussion was one of the best parts of my AFI Dallas experience. I got to meet a couple of other filmmakers, and we had some interesting discussion about the subject.

Elliot Kotek, editor of Moving Pictures Magazine, was the moderator. Elliot is an engaging host, and was great at doling out the questions and keeping things moving. He's also a screenwriter and actor.

Tony Quinn, a Dallas-based filmmaker, was also on the panel. Tony's werewolf movie, The Lycanthrope, screened to a packed theater at the festival.

Will Wallace was there, too. Will is originally from Texas, and he shot his movie, Cake, in both Texas and Malibu. Will is clearly a little more connected than Tony and I are. His movie features G.W. Bailey (of The Closer), and he himself has acted in Beverly Hills 90210, I Am Sam, and The New World (I also learned that he is Terence Malick's stepson!). So his take on filmmaking was a bit different, as I think Tony and I were functioning more as do-it-yourselfers, with a bit of investment money, but doing it without the infrastructure of a production company and with very little money.

The discussion focused on why we chose to shoot in Texas (necessity for me; I didn't have the resources to shoot elsewhere), our choices regarding using known actors, our thoughts on why more productions aren't shooting in Texas and how the state can change that, and more. I even got to talk about the stigma attached to being a Christian in the industry (asked by some students who attend a Catholic school), and I got a chance to plug Baylor several times, thanks to the contribution the department made to the film.

I was especially glad that those students asked about the role of faith and the reactions to it in the industry. It pleased me that the film gave me an opportunity to discuss my faith more, as this was partially my intention in making it -- to open more dialogue about faith. So if those students happen to find my blog and want to continue the conversation, please leave a comment.

All in all -- a cool experience, and it made me feel like I actually know a little bit about what I'm doing in this business.

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