2017 has started out quite auspiciously as I was able to attend two super cool cinephile events that I had never been to, back to back – Art House Convergence & Sundance!
Since I am currently looking for a new position AND looking for help in making my next film as well, these two cinema & film centered events were perfect places to schmooze and meet folks who share the same interests. I went in with a finished DVD copy of my first film – which was fantastic to have – and an openness to new adventures in cinema wherever they may be. I love film so much, as long as I am working with in it in someway, I’ll be happy, and I knew I would meet lots of folks that felt the same way.
First was the Art House Convergence, held in Midway, Utah Jan 16-19. I had heard about the Convergence when I was with the New Bev, but never got the chance to attend. When my friend Anna Feder(who programs the Bright Lights Series at Emerson, and who brought the 35mm print of Out of Print out to Boston in 2015) told me she had an extra bed in her hotel for theConvergence, I jumped at the chance to tag along. The opening night film was the incredible Nacho Vigalondo’s newest Colossal, which was super cool AND I got to karaoke White Lines by Grandmaster Flash while Anna rocked out Maneater by Hall and Oates.
I volunteered for the Convergence, which meant I “hosted” one of their conference rooms for two days of cinema related panels. I got to hear all sorts of diverse panels, from building your social media audience and fundraising for galas to – my favorite – the After Midnitepanel hosted by Mark Anastasio from the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, MA. A man of incredible style and taste and owner of the coolest pin collection ever – see below.
Mark talked about how seeing Holy Mountain at midnight blew his mind and made him want to focus on midnight programming – as a Jodorowsky fan myself, I totally related.
It was super cool to meet dedicated cinema owners and programmers from all over North America, and everyone I met was incredibly kind. I ran into my chum Jessie Maltin, and had the pleasure of having dinner with her and her lovely husband and amazing parents for two nights in a row. Chatting casually about 16mm film with Leonard Maltin was pretty damn rad.
The closing night party of the Art House Convergence was held at a resort that had an ICE CASTLE. I didn’t know these things existed, and it was absolutely magical. They played epic music and the castle changed colors and there were three ice slides. SO COOL.
I took the shuttle from the Art House Convergence on Jan 19 to Sundance in Park City, where I stayed through Jan 25. Again, friends came to the rescue when my BFF Teri Gamble offered to share her bed with me at the amazing condo she was staying at in Sundance, and another friend helped me in getting a super sweet badge for the festival. (I have wonderful friends!)
Being that I was staying in the Media Circus condo, I also got to be involved in two super duper rad events that became the highlight of my trip. The first was to get to sit in on an interview that Indie Film Hustle conducted with Spectrevision/Company X.
I’ve loved all of Spectrevision’s releases so far, and after attending the Spectrevision/Cinefamily produced staged reading of Joe Dante’s incredible script for the Roger Corman Biopic The Man With Kaleidoscope Eyes – which was AMAZING – I was so delighted to hear that they were going to produce the full film version. Joe Dante is obviously a genius as a director, but he is also one of the nicest people I have ever met, and I am so excited for him to finally get to tell one of his amazing Corman tales on screen!
The Indie Film Hustle interview was such fun, with Daniel Noah, Elijah Wood,Josh Waller & Lisa Whalen giggling and riffing each other, and Alex and Sebastian asking the right questions to get an honest and heartfelt answer. And I unexpectedly got a shout out in the middle of the interview, which was pretty rad. (Elijah is pointing to me off screen at 35:13 when he mentions the New Beverly – which I yelled back “They fired me!” which is why Josh is doing the finger across the throat and Elijah is saying “I Know, I know…Julia’s gonna kill me!” )
If I was merely interested in working with Company X before this interview, after it, I am completely determined. Their whole lookout on their jobs, on how they support their filmmakers and aren’t afraid to take chances, sounded like heaven to me. They are the producers every filmmaker dreams of meeting. So excited to see what they produce in the future.
As if that wasn’t enough awesomeness for one day, that night those crazy Media Circus folks threw a RAGING party at the condo, for the upcoming doc On the Sly: In Search of the Family Stone. I jumped right in and ended up being a bartender for the night, and it was the most fun bartending I have ever done. (And yes, I was suckered into paying for a bartending license when I first moved to LA).
Apparently, props must be given toTim League for inventing this game (and for just general radness), but it’s called Shot Roulette. A D20 is thrown three times, and each number corresponds to a bottle of some beverage. Three beverages are added to your shot, which you then shoot, and name.
I say beverage because it wasn’t all booze – although there was moonshine, whiskey and all sorts of flavored liquors – there was also fish sauce, clam juice and cream of mushroom soup. I must have poured hundreds of shots during that party, and about 75% of them were absolutely repulsive, but no one refused to drink theirs. It would be against the spirit of the game! So to your health to everyone I served that night, and well done on your sense of adventure! The game is complete genius, and turned the party into an absolute blast – it was so much fun to be in the middle of it all.
Many thanks to all of the fellows and ladies that I met during the Art House Convergence & Sundance – you were all so kind, and it was thanks to you that I had such an amazing time. It was so great to be back with cinema focused folks again, and talking about the future and its possibilities. I am so excited to go through the stack of business cards I got & get back in touch with you all – and am hopeful that one of these cards represents someone to help guide me to my next adventure – wherever that adventure may be.
Because of you, I was able to not only make my first film, but also have it distributed.
If you feel like you’ve been hearing about Out of Print forever – you kind of have. Can you believe that I launched my Kickstarter in 2012?
And it took four years to get to this point, the film being released on Amazon& Itunesas well as playing in independent cinemas on 35mm.
That’s how long it takes to make a movie – from soup to nuts, and the thing I have enjoyed most about this entire process is I have learned how to make and sell a film.
I raised the money, hired the crew, scheduled the interviews, rented the equipment, drew up the contracts, interviewed the cast, bought the lunches, paid the crew, sent out the Kickstarter incentives*, filmed in London, edited the film and got the color & sound done**, had selected folks watch a rough cut and give notes, got screeners made and sent out to film festivals, got the film digitized and made into a 35mm print (!!), premiered at the Sidewalk Film Festival and won the Programmer’s Award, personally toured with the film to several colleges and had wonderful Q&A’s with students, personally booked the film tour around the world, was featured on dozens of cool podcasts, was interviewed by dozens of awesome websites, was fired from the very establishment I had centered my film on, learned a hard fucking lesson about Hollywood, found a sales agent who took the film to the American Film Market, found a distributor who sold the film, and had the film premiere on VOD and be playing in independent cinemas on 35mm at the same time.
A hearty thanks to all of you who rode along with me.
Thank you all for all of your support and patience during these last four years. I am over the moon about the positive reviews Out of Print has gotten recently, and am so very thankful to all of you for making it happen.
That being said, it hasn’t all been rainbows and unicorns. Losing the New Bev broke my spirit hard core, and I’m still licking my wounds. I have a film that I now look at and wish it was different – I wish I hadn’t just focused on one theater, I see the repetition in the film, the lag in the middle and a thousand other little problems with it.
But I am proud of the film I made, and love the response that it has gotten. I’m glad that my honest passion for cinema & 35mm film shines through, and that it has gotten people to be curious about that small cinema near them, and what they are watching the movie on. That was always my goal with the film, and in that I think I have succeeded.
So what comes next?
Los Angeles has lost some of its sparkle.
I’m still looking for a job.
Am I going to make another film? I hope so.
I have a project I think would blow people’s minds.
And I have been hoping Out of Print will lead to the next film..but I don’t know. I haven’t been able to predict a thing correctly about this film yet, so let the chips fall where they may.
But I am still so passionate about cinema, and always will be. I don’t quite know what direction to turn in these days, but whichever way I go, I am sure there is film waiting for me at the end of the road.
*with the help of John Quinn, Daniel Owens and Jon Schell, respectively.
** If you donated to Out of Print’s Kickstarter and are owed a DVD, fear not! They will be arriving by Christmas…
So live streaming seems to be the new up and coming internet obsession, and I’m hopping aboard that sweet gravy train!
As many of you know, I have an ENORMOUS (color coded!) VHS collection (over 1,000).
Perhaps this is too many, I hear you say.
And you’re RIGHT.
Therefore, I am starting a project to watch every VHS on my shelves that I haven’t seen (or haven’t seen in a long time.)
If I don’t think I will ever watch it again, out it goes. YOU can have your say on what stays and what gets chucked!
I will give each movie 15 minutes and if it’s painful to watch, out it goes. If i’m digging it, I’ll watch the whole thing and perhaps it will regain it’s rightful place upon the wall… but that’s that chance you take, right?
Sound like fun?
Good! Join me as I stream my VHS adventures live, and chat with me about the film I am watching as I am watching it! (The future is NOW!)
Perhaps no one will join the stream, and I will end up watching the movies by myself – which I would be doing anyway – or perhaps I can watch it with a few other movie junkies from across the globe and we can all experience the film together in a whole new way!
The first live stream will start today at 4pm. It’s my very first one, ever, so please be kind and stick with me if things go awry…
I don’t know how regularly I will be doing this, but you can subscribe to my Channel, VHS Vixen, at the link below to receive an email when I am broadcasting.
I feel like every decision I make will send me down the wrong path.
I have several scripts and a novel I am working on, and they are all stopped at about the same point – the point where I have to make a definitive decision on which way the plot will go.
I keep thinking – Can I bear to work at another movie theater? Do I want to go back to acting? Write a book? Start a band? Direct another film – and if so, a documentary or a feature? And if a feature, which one? Can I figure out a way to move back to the UK? Maybe I should just chuck it all and leave Hollywood forever?
I obsessively thought about all that had happened at the Bev in the previous months and went through every different scenario in my head a thousand times.
How I should have seen it coming.
How I could have prevented it from happening – by not making the film.
Because the same woman who fired me – Julie McLean, Quentin Tarantino’s assistant, also tried her damnedest to stop me making Out of Print, even forbidding me to shoot interviews at the theater.
I thought about it all over and over and over…
It’s an endless spiral and it bottoms out with me lying in bed, terror-stricken.
So if I can’t bring myself to do anything, I end up doing nothing.
Which is essentially what I have been doing for the past year. Nothing.
I had a nervous breakdown.
I was done.
Exhausted and absolutely heart broken.
So I just laid there. It was all I could do.
I had, very unfortunately, decided to take a break from anti-depressants for the first time in seven years right when this happened.
I was so happy about Quentin’s involvement and my new position that I felt good for the first time since Sherman’s death, really. So I stopped taking my medication.
And then I was fired.
Fired for no good reason except that one person doesn’t like me.
Fired from the job I had poured my heart and soul into for 8 years.
Fired from the job I had asked for continually for 5 years before that.
Fired from the job I loved more than anything on the goddam planet.
Fired from the job I made a documentary about.
Fired from the job that gave me hope that the passionate love of cinema could be enough.
Fired from the job that was my identity.
I knew it would be bad, but the breakdown I had was unlike anything I had every experienced, and I hope that none of you has to ever experience.
I called it the Black Pit of Despair and I am just beginning to really crawl out of it now. Nearly A year later.
I didn’t leave the house for months, would just spend my days lying in bed, numb.
Eventually I began to flip through the channels mindlessly.
Then I started re-watching Glee (Which helped incredibly for the first five seasons. Then I started the sixth season and hated Ryan Murphy for destroying everything he had worked so hard for in the previous seasons.)
Then, slowly, movies. Dinners with friends. Road trips.
Of course, now i’m back on heavy antidepressants and anti anxiety medication, and am seeing a shrink and a counselor.
And yet, through all of this, Out of Print has been doing quite well.
It did a university circuit and has played in several theaters around the world – the kind of theaters it was meant to be played in.
I must say that watching it now is it own bittersweet torture. What once was a celebration is now a funeral.
Hopefully, it will be available widely soon, and I can finally get those DVD’s made that I still owe my Kickstarter backers. (I haven’t forgotten you! I will make it happen! WITH special features…)
But I haven’t been offered the kinds of jobs I was hoping for.
And I really don’t know where to turn.
My confidence in myself – and in the universe – shattered when I lost the New Beverly.
I am trying to figure out who this new, slightly battered Julia is, and what she believes in.