Nut Bucket Films

Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

My short filmmaking BIO…part 3 (final part)

In Uncategorized on March 31, 2011 at 8:59 am

on tour with ALPHONSO BOW at DCFF, photo credit M Sarki

Hey readers.  All righty, this will basically get you to where I started writing my BLOG in August of 2010.  From there on out you know what I have been up to, inside and outside of my professional and personal life.  I am going to attach links to parts #1 and #2 in case you missed them.  It has been a few short weeks since entry #1 and #2 of this three-part series.  All I wanted to do was share how the hell I ended up doing what I am doing.  It wasn’t planned.  It just happened.  This is where I want to be.

My short filmmaking BIO…part 1 (click it)

My short filmmaking BIO…part 2 (click it)

Chad and Betsy came to my little screening.  Chad I knew from casting and bringing me in for commercials and Betsy was also from casting but was brought by Chad.  Betsy has been in the business for years.  She knows a ton of people in town and Chad had her come to help in the future of Get She Water (GSW).

Right about the time I screened GSW my dad decided to tell me he finished another screenplay called Alphonso Bow (AB).  This project had nothing to do with me.  Except for the fact that he may have wanted to write this one because of his last success.  He sent it off to me and I wasted no time in reading it.  I remember exactly where I was, on the beach in front of my house in Venice.  I read it front to back in about an hour.  It was a very quick read.  I laughed my ass off and though it was brilliant and instantly thought I could pull this one off, now.  Like I was ready to make this f#$%er NOW.  It had two main characters, all in one location, taking place in a restaurant in the South.  But I wanted big “names” for it.  I thought this could really help establish my career as a producer and help get GSW made.  I gave the AB script to Betsy and Chad and they read it.  They liked it.  We started to talk about making it.  So it was Chad, Betsy, and I working on this thing and I would relay what ideas we had with Dad.  Still nothing concrete had really happened, just ideas.

Chad and I decided to head to Sundance Film Festival that January of 2008.  He had just cast a movie that Fall that was in the festival and I just wanted to go for fun.  I had gone the year before, partied my ass off, and had one of the best times of my life.

Melanie Diaz, star of American Son

I already had a condo reserved and just told Chad he could stay with me.  I had some others coming out also.  My old roommate Chris and my brother and his chick came in from NYC.  And a couple other lesbians that used to not be lesbians but that is another story.

Me and Method Man at Sundance!

Sundance ruled!  This time I took full advantage and did a little bit more than party.  I saw a bunch of films, went with Chad to all the parties for his film, and did some snowboarding.

Reggie Bush and I

I even ran into an old pal of mine from college, Tom Welling, who was now super “big-time” because of his Smallville career.  I hadn’t talked to him in years.  I met a bunch of the cats from Chad’s movie, American Son, and even hung out with some filmmakers I knew from L.A. from a movie that I had worked on the year before.  They invited me to all their parties.  Oh and best yet, this chick I was “hanging” out with at the time went to all the gifting sweets and got me a bunch of free shit to take back to L.A.  I was inspired!  By everything and probably the idea of what “could be”…

Chad and I at Sundance 2008

Chad and I got back home and were like “Let’s make this f#$%ing movie!”

cold!

What had started as a little idea to make a movie for me and my friends had turned into me trying to produce a separate feature film that my father wrote.  Chad was on board.  So was Betsy.  Chad had the “hook-up” for a casting spot at 1641 Ivar.  I used to audition there all the time in my early commercial audition days.  Danielle Eskinazi was over there.  I have remained close with Danielle over the last few years.

So I was going to produce a feature.  We started with posting up a breakdown for the two characters for Alphonso Bow.  Figured we would start to test the waters and see who we could get to come into audition.  I mean really  I wanted Jeff Bridges and Ben Foster to be the leads back then but this was my first film and how was I going to get them?  It didn’t stop me from trying.  I knew a guy who grew up with Ben and tried my hardest to get the script to him.  People don’t know how hard it is for a ”nobody” to get stuff like this done.  I was nobody in town.

We started to call people in to audition.  At the beginning I  would sit through each and every one of the auditions.  I was intrigued.  You know I spent the last few years auditioning on the actor side so I loved being on the other side for a change and actually seeing what people did and brought to the table.  The first week of auditions were very poor.  It was terrifying because I was expecting all of these great actors to come walking in the door and we were getting shite!  What I learned is that it truly depends on who is casting a project and who is behind it.  Agents are very particular about what auditions they will send their “good” and “working” actors out on.  Our auditions did start to get better though.

We were using different spaces to cast from.  We kept switching it up.  We had to.  Some were free and favors and some would cost us fifty bucks here and there.  We actually found our “Frank” character on the first day.  He was probably the only great performance for the first month but we thought that was worth noting.  Micheal Dempsey came into the room at Lesly Kahn’s studio and won our hearts that day.  Betsy knew him.  Every other “Frank” was compared to him from there on out.

But the “Alphonso” character was another story.  This script was VERY heavy in dialogue.  And the character was all types of crazy.  I started to think no one would ever pull it off.  We searched and searched and kept bringing in people to audition.  Actors were getting better though.  Word was getting around town that the script was pretty good so better actors were getting submitted with better resumes and in turn we got some much better auditions.  We were getting close.  I think at this point we had given up on the fact that I was going to get my “Ben Foster” to do this movie so we started to really consider some of the greats who had come through the door.  I was actually proud of the ones we were going to choose from.  That was the part inside that said, “The hell with Hollywood, we don’t need a ‘name’ to make a great movie.”  Turns out you need a name to sell a movie.  Ha!

All along I was still producing.  We decided to bring Betsy’s friend and producer from another project in and ask him to be a part of the team.  I needed Scott Mellini to do everything that I didn’t know how to do.  Which was a lot.  I needed all aspects of a shoot.  I needed a teacher.  Scott was there by my side for the entire project until the end.  I learned a lot from him and I always felt safe having him there.  It is so important having someone to trust on a project.  I second guess everyone because I never think anyone is going to do as good a job as me.  It is a flaw I have.  I am trying to be better but I am somewhat of a perfectionist and I don’t make the same mistake twice, most of the time.

Now that we had Scott, we needed a director.  I actually remember meeting with Jeremy London one day to direct the movie.  He gave me his vision and we talked for an hour about what he thought about it and what he wanted to do with it and yada yada yada.  After that meeting, I was like WTF?  Why am I interviewing people to direct?  I knew the movie the best second to my father.  I pretty much thought that I shared a similar vision as Dad.  I knew I understood the film.  I was directing actors in the auditions at that point and I felt pretty gosh darn comfortable doing it too.

I asked Dad if I could direct it.  He said yes.  Holy F#$k!  Now what do I do?  After the initial freak-out I calmed my self and decided I needed to know the basics.  Plus, I had Scott producing so what could really go wrong?  My main concern was to be professional and confident and look like I knew what I was doing when it came time to work.  I read a book called, Shot By Shot.  I think every new director should read that book.  I learned a lot.  I quickly hired Dan Coplan again.  I knew I could trust him to shoot the film since I used him in GSW.  I got the best sound guy on the planet from a referral, Zsolt Maygar.  I found an abandoned restaurant in Van Nuys to turn into a Mexican Restaurant.  We were ready to rock this shit!

It came time to make a decision on the actors.  My dad and I and been communicating the whole way though this.  Every day.  I had been putting the auditions up online so he could see them too.  At that point we had narrowed it to down to three “Alphonso’s” and two “Frank’s”.  We had chemistry reads and after a long and very hard decision we picked Michael Dempsey and Jeffrey Pierce.

Now there are a bunch of other things that went along with the casting that I will leave out for the purpose of respect to actors, agents, and managers at the time.  But it was a f#$%ing nightmare.  Holy shit!  It made my father never want to make another film this way.  I just say it is a lesson learned and now I know what NOT to do.  If you really want to know the gory details, just ask me, and I might be able to share some.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you all that we only had about one-quarter of the budget of a potential $100,000 movie.  I thought we could do it for a lot less but really we couldn’t.  When you think about everything we had to deal with, location, actors, crew, time, equipment, scheduling, and a zillion more things, we had about five days to shoot a feature film that was entirely made up of dialogue.  Insane.  I was insane to think we could pull it off.  But I knew we could.  We found the rest of the money about three days before the shoot.  It still haunts me.

I was prepared.  I studied.  I storyboarded.  I had phenomenal actors.  We rehearsed.  I calculated.  My sister, Elizabeth, even flew down from San Francisco to help with whatever I needed help with using her film degree from Yale.  My buddy Gabe Wilson did production design for free!

Me and Chad on set of ALPHONSO BOW

His sister Tyrus Wilson did wardrobe.  Chad brought in Sarah Hernandez who did make-up for his Sundance movie.  She rocked.  It all fell into place.  I had an amazing crew.  There I go using the word “amazing”.  I only use that shit when it is for real.

I would take you though each day but it isn’t necessary.  The shoot went about as smoothly as it could.  It was tiring for sure and we had some editing issue on set but overall it went smoothly.

Jeffrey, Michael, and the beautiful Kate on set of ALPHONSO BOW

We finished our last shot on day five just like we were supposed to.  I could have used more time.  You can always use more time.  I would have loved to have a week more.  I wanted to do a lot of shots that I didn’t get to do but I knew I wasn’t going to get to do them going into the damn thing.  Time and money is always a factor.  It is like the triangle.  Pick two of three.  You can’t have all three.  Fast, Cheap, and good.

my armpits and my face tell a story

I picked good and fast.

Most of the crew of ALPHONSO BOW...so lucky

I am going to spare details of the shoot because the point of this story is to tell you how I got to where I am now.

After the shoot I flew to Kentucky to get some exterior shots with Dan.  We spent one day doing about twenty-five set-ups all over Louisville.  My dad was there and he had all the locations laid out so that was cool.  He finally got to be a part of the real thing.  He was supposed to get to see footage throughout the whole shoot but the editing problem I mentioned earlier was part of that problem.  But we talked everyday.  We worked together on the whole thing.  This was his baby.  I was just bringing it to life.  It was fun working with Dad, running all over Louisville.  It got me excited to maybe get to do it again on GSW in the future, ya know, after AB is successful and we all make millions.

I settled back in L.A and went through the whole editing process.  It was a f#$%ing nighmare.  I fired the first editor.  I have shitty luck with editors.  Terrible luck.  Luckily, my friend Carmen hopped on board to save the day and pay for her friend X. Dean Lim to edit the fucker.  He understood the film.  And honestly, if it wasn’t for Dean, the film would not be what it is today.  Take that for what it is worth.

The next year consisted of a few film festivals but most importantly was our World Premiere in L.A. at Dances With Films.  It was awesome.  Seriously was the time of my life.  I was so proud and happy to get to share it with friends and other filmmakers.  I went to that friggin’ festival every single day passing out fliers and seeing other filmmakers’ films.  Supporting when I could.  Taking in every second of it.  I also traveled to Detroit and Louisville later that year for a couple more festivals doing the same thing.  Soaking up every second of it.

It was a ride, man.  I was proud.  I will tell you what I remember most about making that movie.  I drove home down the 405 in L.A. the last day of shooting and I remember thinking, “This is what I want to do.  This is what I am supposed to do.  I finally figured it out.”  I was thirty then.  I am thirty-three now.

For two years after that film was shot, I worked on it.  I traveled with it.  I changed the edit.  I promoted it.  I social media’d the shit out of it.  I never quit on it.  I actually released it June 1st, 2010 on Indieflix.com just to have them f#$k it up and not even release it correctly.  We have since un-released it.

I was grateful to sign with a sale agent, Mathius Gertz, a few months ago who has just secured a deal with Vanguard Cinema who will release the film in June of 2011.  A real release.  Nationwide on DVD, VOD, and all media outlets.  We are hoping to follow with an International deal.

Since the sales agent, I have started a blog which basically tells you everything I have done since then.  www.nutbucketfilms.com (follow me)

The past couple of summers I have produced two different feature films in Texas, both of which I have acted in as well.  The first will never get completed because of a stupid f#$%ing director/producer conflict.  I thought I had learned my lesson from that.  The second film, For Whom He Tolls, is now with my sales agent and we hope for a release soon.  There are two more stories within those films but I will have to save for a rainy day.  All have molded me as a producer though.  I have worked with some incredibly talented people and done it with zero f#$%ing money.  It is time for a change.  I have proved myself.  I have credibility.

Right now am writing two other films (collaborating with a friend from high school and my boys in Texas), producing a Pilot called Underbelly, and doing the festival circuit for a short film, Closing Doors, I just directed.  Life is grand.  I am still an actor.  I book jobs.  I do a fairly good amount of commercials and might get a TV show once in a great while.  I study my craft.  I stay healthy.  I love my life.  If you ever want to know anything more about the story I just told you, please ask.

I will always help in any way I can.  I have asked for a TON of help over the last four years and I owe the favors.  Tons of them.  I am grateful.

Lije

I wrestled an alligator…Florida recap

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2011 at 9:11 am

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I am back in LA. Yup. Got here late Sunday night and have been a bit swamped with catching up. I didn’t want to sell the Florida trip short so I am gonna recap Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday we hit our final spring training game. Verlander was pitching for the Tigers and we matched up against the Phillies. It was a good day. 85 degrees and sunny and we were back in Lakeland.

Right when we got to the ballpark we notice a crowd gathered around what looked to be a dang alligator. It was! Crazy. It was a bunch of kids and me all trying to hold it. I got a pretty good pic with a little kid in the back ground who looked like he was about to shit himself. Only in Florida.

We won the game. The pitching was great and we won in the eighth with a two-run homer. I got some sweet pics of the players too. I just want to say a couple things about spring training baseball. You HAVE to go sometime if you are a baseball fan. The people are so cool. Older and laid back and knowledge for days. It is so intimate and the worst seats are better than some of the best at a real ballpark. Oh, and all the handicapped stalls in the bathrooms have their own sink. That holds true in all of Florida. And traffic lights take FOREVER.

So we finished the game and drove back to Tampa. Tonight was the big night. Florida premiere of CLOSING DOORS. We were playing at Cinebistro, a super classy theatre where you can eat and drink during the film and a great bar in the lobby where people dressed very nicely pre-party.

Another sold-out showing. So far with three screenings this month the response has been amazing. We were hands down the best film that night and I am not just saying that. It really feels good to show the project and have it enjoyed by an audience. The only effed up part of the whole thing was them announcing Justin’s name instead of mine for the film. WTF! How do you screw something like that up? Last year someone mispronounces my name at a festival. This year it’s the total wrong name. Get your shit together people. Two things you really should not screw up.

I wonder why we keep getting denied from the big festivals like SXSW and Sundance and Cleveland and Atlanta. I need to go and really see what they are showing. Lame-o. Cuz so far there has not been a ton of competition.

We hit the New World Brewery for the after party. It was a sweet local spot with live music and a cool little scene. Hung out with Shana a little more and said our thanks and were on our way.

We were starving so we found a hot dog stand in the middle of a parking lot by the hotel. Best dang dog I ever ate. There are many reasons for that. Turns out in the morning it might have been the worst.

We had one more thing to do for the festival on Sunday morning. A champagne brunch back at Cinebistro. I was looking forward to that! Eggs, bacon, brunch ya know?

They gave us frigging pasta! WTF! Not the food I was hoping for. And it was a panel on Florida filmmaking which probably would have been interesting except for this one guy talked for so long I wanted to stab myself in the eye. I really wanted the cheesecake for dessert so we toughed it out. Torture I tell you.

I keep dogging certain aspects of the Fest but over all it was sweet. I hung with Tom Berenger for a minute and a mob of teenage girls wanted photos with me after our screening. There’re two positives.

This is funny. Before we left for brunch I called the front desk. We wanted/needed a late check out. I said we were with the festival and had to run to a breakfast thing but would be back at 1pm and could we get a late checkout? She replied “yes we can give you til 1pm”. Great news. We were so tired and lazy we didn’t want to have to pack it up before brunch. A second later the phone rang. “Mr. Sarki, I didn’t realize you were friends of Don, you can have until 2pm”. Who the hell is Don? Justin said, “Shula”. Don Shula? The coach of the Dolphins? The guy that has a steakhouse in the hotel? That’s the only Don it could be. Sweet! Now please pay for our room Don. So freaking weird but we will take it.

I ran into the same person I sat next to on the flight on the way there on the way home. She asked me how the weekend was and I did the same. Both had a friggin’ blast. Thanks Florida, Shana, Justin, GIFF, Tigers, and most of all Don.

Upward and onward,
Lije

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undercover cops take Disneyland.

In Uncategorized on March 26, 2011 at 7:19 am

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Walter’s Press Box might look like a shithole from the outside. And the inside. But we could not have picked a better place to watch the games last night.

After the Tigers got a spanking at Disneyworld we cruised back to Tampa in our all black Crown Vic. This car we rented is dope. Everyone thinks we are undercover cops. At least I feel like they do. That’s all that matters is that I think they think that and it becomes my reality. Our drive back to Tampa was half that of our drive to Disney. Traffic was gone and I was going 80. People drive fast here.

We researched places to watch the game on Yelp on the way back and Walter’s won us over. The service was awesome. There were about 50 people working and about 50 people watching sports. Sit where you want. That’s what the sign says. About a billion TV’s and the volume was on the Kentucky game, NOT Florida State. We are in friggin’ Florida. WTF? I was happy though. I spent some time growing up in Kentucky so my heart was with them. So was most of the bar.

We ate their legendary wings and slurped some watered down cocktails and beers from the bottle with blue mountains. I am used to watching games on the west coast so having the last basketball game go until 1am was crazy. Way too late! Great day and night again though.

The last thing we did before bed was fill out our breakfast order to hang on the door. As I write this I am full. We ate at 9am and now I will get ready for yet another Tigers game. Today we are back in Lakeland, home of the Detroit Tigers, and we take on the Phillies. Let’s hope to see a great pitching matchup. The season starts in less than a week so pitchers are pitching more innings. Phillies have about the best squad in the league.

Tonight CLOSING DOORS premieres in Florida at the Gasparilla Film Fest. The GIFF! We are excited and we have a big night of hangin’ with the festival peeps. check the CLOSING DOORS page

So I leave you now today for another day in Florida. Actually I never leave you. I am always posting on Facebook and droppin’ Twitter bombs. Follow @nutbucketfilms or nut bucket’s Facebook

I just want to let you all know that Florida has helped me make some life decisions and business moves that all will be proud of. Keep you posted. I am getting smarter. And always learning.

Much love,
Lije

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Tiger blood, what Charlie?

In Uncategorized on March 25, 2011 at 9:59 am

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There is something very unique about a spring training baseball game. It’s sort of like a mix between a high school baseball game and an MLB game. It’s like not very serious at all. There are kids playing pick-up games in the grass and real players jogging in the outfield during the game.

It’s pretty effing sweet. No pressure. Just hangin out. It doesn’t matter if you miss an inning chit chatting it up with some other Michiganders or just wandering around the tiny ballpark called Joker Marchant Stadium. The place is full of characters and crazies and lots older REAL baseball fans. It’s cool. Bottom line.

We capped off the day yesterday at Fly Bar. We had to go pick up our festival passes from Shana and meet a couple folks from the festival. We made the visit short and sweet, had some fish tacos that were unreal, and chatted it up with a crazy dude living Mardi Gras without it actually being Mardi Gras. I guess Gasparilla is Tampa’s version of it.

The festival sure seems like it is throwing a giant party. We are happy as hell to be here. Freaking sweet time in Flo’Rida.

Off to the white sands of Clearwater and a 30-mile bridge. Then Tigers/Braves at Disney. Then who knows. We do whatever the f$&k we want.

NBF

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Joker!

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2011 at 2:50 pm

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Marchant Stadium is where we are! Justin picked me up in a Crown Vic. Then drove across the nothing of Florida and now in Lakeland.

We pulled up to the stadium and I asked Justin if he had ever done anything like this before. He replied, “Dude, you are the only one I would do this with” I said maybe when he was little or something. He said “I couldn’t even find anything to eat when I was little!”.

Glad we get to do this.

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I am going to DISNEYLAND!!!

In Uncategorized on March 24, 2011 at 9:07 am

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No I am not. It feels like it though. Flight is full of 45 kids and a bunch of babies. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids and babies, but I thought Virgin America was hip and cool???

Whatever. It’s early and I got my headphones on watching Sportscenter and blogging from the air. That pretty hip and cool!

I am off Tampa, FL to show my short film, Closing Doors, at the Gasparilla Film Fest. The GIFF Is said to be a party an packed with great films. I am pretty excited for the champagne brunch on Sunday. The film screens on Saturday so leading up to that I have a couple nice plans…

Tiger baseball baby!!! Right off the plane I am off to Lakeland, FL, home of Detroit’s spring training baseball field. The host the Nat’s. And even better, I know Ryan Zimmerman! Hopefully Rick let’s him know we are coming today and we get to say hey after the game.

After the game we head to check in to our hotel and hit the Thursday night party at Fly Bar. Shana Marie is hooking up our passes so we can hustle to the party.

Well, that’s the plan today. I am mobile blogging all weekend with daily updates. Let’s see how it goes.

Love you all and it has been a hell of a 2011 so far.

Check out this article from the Detroit Fest. They love their films there and support the shit out of it. http://birmingham.patch.com/articles/film-festival-an-inspiring-display-of-michigan-made-industry

Oh and Mel, thanks for letting J meet me in Florida.

I hope that earthquake doesn’t hit Cali while I am gone. Someone said we were expecting one.

Nut Bucket Films and me

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L.A. shows up! not true what they say…rain or shine

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2011 at 10:26 am

the crowd...watching CLOSING DOORS...look at the lemons!

This city actually shows up!  I swear it’s hard to get a crowd out to see anything around here and sometimes it feels like support is lacking, but I want to say those thoughts I have at times are so f#$%ing wrong!  I am more than grateful and so dang impressed by the loyalty of my friends and their friends and just regular friggin’ people.

the crowd at Baby Blues BBQ

I showed my short film, Closing Doors, last night at Baby Blues BBQ in West Hollywood.  I threw a little cast and crew party and invited some others to privately view the short.  I was treating it as the last little fundraiser to get us through the festival circuit too.  A 100 people must have shown up!!!  Insane.  Grateful.  Impressed.

the screen!

I actually bartended through the party.  It’s not like I could find someone else to work and donate their time to give the money made to the film.  Actually I am wrong.  Celso stepped up and helped me sling some drinks!  Shout out to you, my friend.

waiting to begin...

I am going to make this short and sweet.  Come see the film if it comes close to you.  I will leave you all with pleads for donations for now and strictly give you the successes of the project.  Success #2 came last night to a huge crowd..  I am going to try to remember everyone who came and tag them in this post.  If I miss you I am sorry and please tell me!  The fundraiser portion raised over $1000.  Woooohooooo!!  Thanks everyone!

chad, hot liz, and her friend

We are off to Tampa in two days to show the film at a really great film festival called The Gasparilla Film Fest (GIFF).  I will also be hitting some Detroit Tiger spring training baseball games.  Don’t worry, the film fund is not paying for the trip.  Hehe.

the bar...pre-movie

As for the film itself, this little story written by William Wanek has gotten such an awesome response.  People have cried.  Lots have laughed.  Everyone has been full of compliments.  I could not have done this without a great little story.  I owe that to you, Bill.  Love you brother.  So many people relate to this story and the actors did a hell of a job bringing it to life.  And to my cast and crew, you all deserve a HUGE thanks for making this little film that we shot in ten hours one day really come to life!

more screen...

It is pretty F#$%ING good!  I love you all.  Peep the photos from last night and be very jealous that you didn’t attend.  And once again, “thank you all who came to the screening last night and to everyone who made the night so memorable!”  I will not forget it.  I woke up so damn happy this morning.  So relived that I did a good job.  Thanks.  We did a good job.

LOVE YOU ALL,

Lije and the NUT BUCKET TEAM

DETROIT ROCKS! for CLOSING DOORS

In Uncategorized on March 18, 2011 at 11:05 am

Premiere at the Uptown 8

For those of you who read this Blog, sorry I have been short on recent posts!  It has been a hell of a week and a half.

Last week was full of shooting the Pilot, Underbelly.  I was doing a little acting and a lot of producing and very little sleeping.  It was worth it though!  We got to shoot so many great people and we have a hell of a cast.  You can go to our Facebook page and read more about it and become a fan!  Here are a couple stills…

Phil, Reid, Lauren, and Sonia

Reid Scott and Andy Dick

After shooting all week I hopped on a red-eye to Detroit to premiere my short film, Closing Doors, at the Detroit Independent Film Fest (DIFF).  It was my second year attending it and let me be the one to tell you that they kick ass!  In one year they have grown a huge audience and several new venues.  I was lucky to have a great screening time at the Birmingham Uptown 8, the nice rich part of Detroit.  Thanks to Robert Butler for that!  He is the director of the festival and a solid dude and excellent filmmaker.  Props to Aaron Karns too.

In thirty-six hours in the “D” I managed to do a ton of shit.  My best pal Justing picked me up from the airport at 9am and we headed back to his house to play with his daughter Olivia.  She is going on two years old and is much more fun than she was last time I visited.  She is so cute and so friggin’ happy.  She has a liking to me too.  She kept following me around the house and I’m not even very nice.

J and ILater we headed into town and did some shopping.  I bought a bunch of “Made in Detroit” gear.  Kid Rock’s company.  I realized while I was trying on the clothes that some of them were Alternative Apparel.  My pal Greg Alterman owns that company so I supported heavily with some purchases.  I actually went to Greg’s fashion event Tuesday to celebrate the new line coming out but that’s another story.  Ran into a ton of old friends.  Just like at his birthday.  Whatever.  Getting sidetracked.

My pals Stone and Canoy at the film screening

We packed up the car with people and hit the screening of the film.  Movie started at 5pm.  The theatre was packed.  I had never seen anything like it at all the festivals I have attended.  It was awesome!  I had some college buddies come to the screening too.  We had the entire back row of the theatre.  The show was sold-out!  The experience could not have been better except for the fact I wanted to gouge my eyes out while watching the first of the four films.  We screened third.  Lot’s of laughs and a chick next to me was actually balling her eyes out at the end of the film.  It made me proud to get such a great reaction to the film.  There were a lot of great comments after the screening.  Good times all around.

We hit Dick O Dow’s after for some grub and pints.  The closing night party for DIFF was there too.  It started at 10PM so by the time we finished eating and drinking the festival peeps showed up and I got to do some more mingling with the “movie” types.  Kudos To Rob and Aaron for putting on such a great show.  And to everyone who helped them!

I was exhausted by Sunday and didn’t fly out until the evening so Justin and I headed up to Mario’s to watch the last of the college hoops games.  We always go to Mario’s.  It is like our little watering hole.  Shitty music, bad food, and boring people.  But nobody bothers us.  That’s how we like it.  Just us.  Sitting there.  Not talking really.  Didn’t need to.  Just hangin’.  Like buds do.  I needed it oh so bad.  Check out this review of Mario’s on yelp.  Hilarious!

“Dear Kat:

If you’re reading this, I’m sorry, but after this weekend, your dining out recommendation credentials have been revoked.  On Friday, we hit Station 885 and then on Saturday, we hit this place: East Side Mario’s. C’mon!  Are you trying to kill me?

Now, I am ready to accept responsibility and acknowledge the truth:  I brought this on myself.  I forgot to make reservations at Izakaya Sanpei and they couldn’t take our table of eight.  There, I said it.  IT’S MY FAULT I HAD TO EAT AT EAST SIDE MARIO’S EVERYONE.  Are you happy?

But the fact remains…you said this place was good…and well, I feel like you lied to me.  This place sucks and deep down inside, I think you know it sucks.   This place is everything I hate in a restaurant.  Let’s start with the “ambiance.”  This place is decorated like a ShowBiz Pizza minus the creepy singing animitrons.  It’s obscenely loud and full of children, some of whom were singing.   I wanted to jam a fork in my eye.

Now let’s move on to the menu.  Once again, I will take responsibility and say I have some weird ass dietary restrictions, but all I wanted was a vegetarian salad.  That’s all I need.  They have three salads at this place and all of them have meat and/or fish.  While they have lots of stuff on the menu, none of it even approaches healthy.  In the end, I got a Caesar  and called it a day.  In all honesty, I shouldn’t complain about the food because I didn’t really eat it and it doesn’t matter…because I wouldn’t come back to eat here if the food tasted like it was beamed down from heaven and was simultaneously calorie free.  Why?

THE SERVICE!  My salad (Caesar) had four ingredients.  The seven other people we were dining with all got their lavish dishes and had eaten half of it by the time I got my salad.

This place is cheap so it gets a star for that and I’ll give them another one for being able to immediately seat a table of eight and as an acknowledgment that I was cranky on the night in question.

Hugs,

Heather”

Me at Dick's

I realized taking that trip that I need to bust over there more often.  It’s an easy flight and a quick hang.  I am gonna start doing it every other month.  Tiger games and hangin with J.  Nothing better.

This week has not slowed down at all.  A little more shooting and some auditions.  I am prepping the secret screening of Closing Doors at Baby Blues BBQ on Monday the 21st!.  Come down if you are in the neighborhood.  Here is a link to the party invite.  CLICK HERE

I am off to Tampa next week to take the film to the Gasparilla Film Fest (GIFF).  This I have been told it is going to be insanity.  I guess they host a hell of a party.  Justing is meeting me down there and we are going to a bunch of Detroit Tiger spring training games at the same time.  Hells yes!  Get excited people.  Life is good.  Enjoy it.  And say something for the peeps across the ocean.  That is so sad and even a positive thought might help.  Much love,

Lije

Uptown 8

the packed lobby!

Canada

storm chasing…saving the planet in Catalina

In Uncategorized on March 6, 2011 at 11:09 am

the Elephant keeps me safe through the storm...

A week ago today I got a text from my buddy Mike at 5:55am saying that we couldn’t make the trip.  The winds were going to be too nasty and there was a small-craft-advisory in effect.  I was pissed.  I was let down.  I had been waiting for this trip to Catalina for two months.  I was ready.  I had a new scuba mask, tried on Mike’s extra wetsuit, packed some apples and almonds, and got all my work done so I could actually enjoy the two days instead of freaking out for not being in L.A. getting my hustle on.

But instead I go back to sleep because Mike says it’s not good to go.  I woke up at 9am and looked outside to see blue skies with clouds and NO WIND.  I was like WTF!  I called Mike and said, “Let’s do this man!  We can make it.”  After a little back and forth we mutually decided to risk it.  Why not?  Avalon harbor needed us.  We signed up to clean up the bottom of the ocean.  Can’t let the earth down.  Turns out, Mike was just looking out for me and didn’t want us to get stuck there and not be able to come home until Tuesday.  That wouldn’t fly.  I had a Red Wings/Kings game Monday night that was extremely necessary to attend.

So we were off.  About five hours behind schedule.  The weather wasn’t looking good but we charged it anyway.  After gassing up the boat it started raining and it was like friggin’ storm chasers except the storm was chasing us.  It looked nasty but we were heading into nicer weather, we hoped.

the weather wasn't great, but we made it

It took us about two hours to get to the island and Avalon Harbor.  The mooring was a nightmare.  The current in the Harbor is ridiculous.  Mike said it was the worst he had ever experienced.  I was responsible for getting us hooked on the mooring so Mike would position the boat while I had to pull this stick with the rope on it onto the boat and tie it on to the front and then quickly shimmy down to the end of the boat with the rope to hook the next part on all while the rope was trying to rip me from the boat.  Freaking nightmare.  I swear the rope almost ripped my hands off the first time.  And then the rope almost wrapped my legs up and took me down with it.  I had the weight of a 15 ton boat pulling against me and for some reason I thought I was strong enough to  carry the load.  A mini-hercules.  Dumbass.  On our fourth try we got it.  That was it.  We were there.  Time to chill.

The weather was getting worse so after a quick break we headed into town for some food Mexican food from Mi Casita.  A quick re-fule of food energy and we were headed to the local pub to watch some hoops and get out of the rain.  J L’s Locker Room was the choice.  Mike has a history there and knew the guys working so it was a nice start.  The place was definitely weird though.  Super grunge and this is where the local drunkards hang but its the only spot to watch sports.  You win some you lose some.  We stayed there and hung for a while before we headed back to the boat to get the gear ready for the early morning clean-up on Saturday.

The ride back to the boat was nuts.  The rain is pouring now and we are in a dingy.  Hilarious actually.  Soaked.  Two minutes back at the boat and we decide to weather the storm back to town for pizza.  I guess when you’re on vacation all you do is eat and drink.  Antonio’s was the spot.  We dined.  We grubbed.  And then we passed the f#$k out on Mike’s boat.  Clothes were soaked and bellies were full.

this is the entry for Saturday's dive

My alarm was going off from 6:30am until 8am on Saturday morning.  Every ten minutes.  I was waiting for Mike to get up.  He was supposed to be the responsible diver.  Turns out he thought I was having a loving text conversation the whole time.  I was pressing snooze ya dumbass waiting for you to get up!  We get up at 8:15.  We were supposed to check in at 8.  We hop on the dingy and in about 45 minutes we managed to make two trips back and forth from the beach, rent gear for me, haul all his shit from the boat, check in, miss the safety speech, and get in the water with scuba gear on five minutes past 9:30.  Right on f#$%in’ time!  No food or water though.  Not good.  BUT, the weather was amazing.  Bluebird skies.  I guess it was raining all day in L.A.

We dove around with about 200 other divers and cleaned up the Harbor.  I found a fishing pole and used it as an underwater sword for my dive.  You never know what you will run into out there.  We found a battery but it was too heavy.  Probably the most important thing to clean up and we left it there.  I am ashamed.  But there was no way to carry it.  Seriously.  At the end of the dive or should I say when my air was almost gone, I was cruising into this school of fish and the light was hitting it just perfect and then all of the sudden I felt like I was in a dream and tripping on acid and suddenly I have no sense of direction or reality and BAM!  Mike is gone.  Rule is, you look around for a minute and if you can’t find your “buddy” you head to surface.  I felt pretty safe in the Harbor so I looked for about three minutes and couldn’t find him and I was out of air.  I surfaced.  Mike had surfaced after a minute and I could see him when I got up about 200 yards away.  He wasn’t the happiest.  And some kayaker kept asking me if I was Bill…I said no…hope Bill was ok.

after the dive. complete sense of accomplishment

The dive was over.  There was so much trash that everyone cleaned up.  It was pretty amazing.  And we felt like we accomplished something.  We gave back a little to the planet.  Validates the next twelve hours of celebrating.  WOOHOO!

I will spare you the details but I will tell you where to get some good food and see a site or two..

Locals best burger choice:  CONEY ISLAND

-I thought is was good.  We were starving though.  I would have eaten the ass out of a donkey.  Onion rings were superb.  We actually got it take-out and ate it in J L’s.  You can bring food into J L’s

Tom's bar

Tom’s pick:  THE SANDTRAP

-cool bar and good peoples

Mike’s pick:  J L’s LOCKER ROOM

-he just loves getting wasted here.  I love the sports.  And the bartenders know your name after one day on the island.  Tom pours pints for cocktails.  And they are $4.  Like a sore peter.  Can’t beat it.

Lije’s best burger:  THE LOBSTER TRAP

-the thing was unreal.  piled with blue cheese!  Freaking awesome.  Cool bartenders and a good crowd too.  Happening spot.  5 stars.

Nice scenery:  WRIGLEY MUSEUM CONSERVATORY.

the walk to Wrigley

-I guess the Cubs used to have spring training here.  Pretty green walk up the hill and I guess there is nice hiking back here.  Next time.  The museum was closed but the walk was nice.  Good after sitting in J L’s for hours.  And enough time to get a new bartender when you get back to J L’s.

That’s basically the trip.  Some things I will keep private of course as you probably don’t want to know that I listened to that song “Falling Slowly” from the movie Once on repeat while I fell asleep Saturday night.  And there are a couple more things I will spare you from.

I was lost...now I am found...again inspired...and a new pal

There are some more pics below.  Enjoy…

Lije and NBF.  We did it again.  Good times Mike.  We are returning the end of April, I guess.

Oh I almost forgot.  I had to man the boat on the way home.  Here is a taste…a video below…

see the snow on the mountains from the storm?

more beauty from the island...view from boat

the raffle after the "clean-up"

everything is tiny on the island

the ocean ride home!