Saturday, September 05, 2015

Portland - Day 3 (Part 1)

The alarm goes off, but I just want to go back to sleep. Can’t do that because I have a class followed by a panel. Both are at the same venue, Stage 13 on 13th street... and the hotel is on 11th street... and Stage 13 is *2* blocks away. Maybe I *can* go back to sleep for a few minutes? Bad idea. I get up, clean up, head to class... passing a coffee and donut place along the way so I grab a coffee. Show up early (which is okay) and the great guy who runs Stage 13 (blanking on his name) wants to know what I need in the way of lights and sound and everything else. He’s doing this one handed because he’s sprained his wrist. They have a huge green screen area, and I consider asking him to green screen me into Hawaii for the class, but just ask for a light on my notes (when the house lights dim my notes end up in darkness. He sets this up right away. I feel bad, he’s doing this with an injured wrist.

This class is on Creating Individuals... and it began as “supporting characters” but evolved in the back and forth with Josh about what subjects people might be interested in. So my notes are still all about the supporting characters class. I planned to wing it... but I didn’t plan on being tired. There’s always one day where lack of sleep catches up with you, this was that day.

I managed to get through the class, and later some of the students told me it was great... so I guess I did okay winging it. Didn’t seem that way as I was doing the class, I felt like I was stumbling around.

When the class was over, I didn’t go anywhere... the panel was in the same room. The minor surprise was that they asked me to moderate, and I had zero time to prep for that. Always nice to IMDB the panelists first so that you know who they heck they are. The panelists were: Gordy Hoffman, who runs the Blue Cat Screenwriting Contest.
Randall Jahnson, who wrote DUDES, THE DOORS, and some TALES FROM THE CRYPT episodes.
Todd Trigsted, a documentary filmmaker who is doing a film on NFL concussions.
Lise Raven & Frank Bruckner, who just cowrote a film playing at the fest KINDERWALD. She is a director, he is an actor.

In the event you are ever magically turned into a moderator on a panel, just have the people introduce themselves. They know who they are.

I decided we’d just do Q&A with everyone on the panel giving an answer. Easy.

The interesting thing was that the panel was supposed to be on writing indie films, but ended up being more about general screenwriting. Lots of general screenwriting questions! This kind of threw me off, because in the “fantasy version” I was going to give a bunch of tips and techniques on how to stretch a budget at the screenplay stage so that you can make a much bigger looking film on whatever you manager to raise on Indie-Go-Go or Kickstarter. Never came up. Too bad.

In one of my danged classes (at this point the fest is kind of a blur) I talked about getting the submarine tour and crew Q&A for CRASH DIVE and STEEL SHARKS and how the other two production groups seemed to have done minimal research because they asked questions you could easily get the answers to just from reading a book... and I asked questions about *people* (the non tech stuff) which you could only get from the people who experienced that life. I felt the same kind of happened with the panel: people were asking general screenwriting questions which could have been answered by reading a book, instead of specific questions about indie writing where the panel assembled might have given some unusual answers. But the panel was for the audience, so the audience’s questions are what they needed to know.

After the panel was over, I realized the 4pm movie I was going to see at the Mission Theater wasn’t going to happen, because it was just past 4pm. So I made an executive decision and skipped the late afternoon movie to catch up on this blog and eat (um, for all of the food I bought to smuggle into cinemas so that I’d eat *something* other than cinema pizzas... I’ve eaten a lot of cinema pizzas) and go to the pair of films circled in my program at the Living Room Cinemas at 7 and 9 (ish).

- Bill

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