March 9, 2005

A Few Stories From The Trenches

"You listen to Beethoven or the Beatles over and over again. You don't watch Burt Reynolds over and over." And with that, the video rental age was born. Its pioneer and the source of that quote, George Atkinson died on Thursday. [via the New York Times obits]

First time director and former Agent Mulder, David Duchovney tries to do a Zach Braff. Read about all of his whimsical ruminations about his movie House of D on his very own blog! [via the cinetrix]

Film blogger and editor Jeff Turboff of FilmKicks asked the Cinecultist via e-mail if we wanted to link back to him. Hey, only if we can reprint your story of a run-in with director Rick Linklater on the mean streets of Austin.

Which reminds me of a funny story about Richard Linklater. There was a time when I was attending the University of Texas. A long time. It was about ten years of dropping in and out of school, attending classes part time, and holding part time jobs providing just enough income so I could keep being a student, or at least to keep thinking of myself as a student. I was living the slacker lifestyle in the place that gave birth to the slacker lifestyle. And I was doing it before there was ever a movie Slacker to refer to.

I used to run into Richard Linklater on the streets of Austin. He had this thing called the Austin Film Society, which back then meant he'd rent a space, usually Quackenboxes, throw some folding chairs and a 16mm projector, and he'd show art-films. Stuff like Pasolini and Fellini. And we knew each other by face back then. We'd see each other on the streets in Austin, and he knew I was in the radio-tv-film program at UT, and I knew he was a film kinda guy, and so we'd talk about film stuff.

One day he says to me, "Hey, I don't know what you're up to this weekend, but maybe you'd wanna come down to Bluebonnet Plaza and hang out. I'm shooting my movie down here this weekend and maybe you could come down and be in it or work on it."

Which struck me as odd. Everyone in Austin has either a band or a film project. And most of it goes nowhere. And this sounded especially flaky to me.

"Be in it --OR-- work on it?? Which would you want me to do?"

"I dunno. Whatever you want. Just come on down and hang out."

"But would you want me to be in it or to work on it? I mean do you have a role you have me in mind for, or which department do you need help in?"

"I dunno. Just come on down Saturday or Sunday and we'll figure it out."

So now I'm thinking [ ... this guy really has no idea what he's doing ... he wants me to be in his movie but doesn't have a role for me to play ... and he thinks he needs help on the shoot but doesn't know where he needs the help?" ]

Sounded to me like just another go-nowhere Austin kinda project. But just to make sure:

"Okay, well, if I do wanna come down this weekend, what's your call time?"

"Call time?"

"Yeah, what time are you gonna start?"

"I dunno, what time do you usually get up?"

"If you tell me what your call time is, I'll try to be here when you need me."

"Well, we'll be here all weekend, so whenever you get up just come on down, and we'll figure out something for you to do."

So now I figured, [ ...the guy doesn't have a call time, doesn't even know what a call time is...apparently he has no script, and no idea how many crew members are showing up...this is a joke...I'm not spending my weekend doing this. ]

And I didn't.

Of course, lo and behold, several months later, it was Slacker Slacker everywhere, and Linklater was gone. Out of reach. He had sealed his future and was off to work on Dazed and Confused, and I had lost my chance.

As one of my college professors once said, "Wouldn't it be nice if ---LIFE--- had editing?"

By the way, we're quite intrigued by the trailer of Linklater's newest animated-from-live-action-footage film, A Scanner Darkly.

Posted by karen at March 9, 2005 8:58 AM