Friday, December 30, 2005

Inside Report and TFN Honor Panic Struck

We are very honored this year from the 2005 Inside Report Fan Films Awards.


Panic Struck Productions was kindly awarded and won the following categories:

- Best Cinematography "Revelations" Jack Foley
- Best CG "Revelations" Panic FX Team
- Best Actress " Revelations" Gina Hernandez
- Best Serious Film "Revelations"
We were also honored with a special award from Inside Report directly for "Outstanding Services"

DOWNLOAD & WATCH THE AWARD SHOW HERE
catch me with me pants down - wow imagine that!

Thank you to Sky Wilson and her wonderful crew at Inside Report as well as the fans and TFN for this great honor. We are thrilled so many people enjoyed "Revelations" for what it was, and what we were able to achieve with volunteers from around the world and what we completed with so little. I want to thank my stunning cast and crew and all the many people who helped make "Revelations" possible! Thank you guys. This award is for you and your hard work!!

For those of you who have not heard or know about The Inside Report, it is a wonderful internet based show by 5heads Tall, which covers the Star Wars film genre as well as other independent films out there. They have been an excellent show to watch and as I understand this last segment was the last show of Inside Report, but they stated to look for the new year and a new show called "View It"

Be sure to check out their website for updates and to also watch achieved shows from the Inside Report. I am a huge fan of what these guys have done. The Inside Report came all the way over from the UK to cover the "Revelations" Theatrical Premiere Event in Baltimore, MD and they were wonderful to meet. You can download watch that segment from the premiere HERE.

5heads Tall also has the trailer out for their documentary film titled "George & Me" which looks to be a great piece on fans and how Star Wars influenced so many from around the world. Check out there Trailer HERE

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Panic Struck at Sundance??


A cool piece of news to share. As you might recall (those of you who read this blog) Adobe did a spotlight article on Panic Struck Productions and specifically what we did using their products making our first film "Revelations" You can read that article HERE.

So over the Christmas break I get an email from Adobe marketing asking to use the article they created as well as images and content to be used at their booth which will be present at the Sundance 2006 Film Festival! Adobe is a presenting Sponsor at Sundance this coming year.

In case you have not heard or know much about "Sundance" it is perhaps one of the largest and highly prestigious film fest events in the world. Industry professionals such as studio execs, distributors from around the world and so forth attend this event looking for new films and products to pick up. For an Independent film maker it is a big shot to getting your dream produced or brought to a large audience. It's a big event and holds a lot of clout in the film world.

So when Adobe asked if they could use our material and content for their booth of course I was "Sure, have at it!" I was thrilled. So we may not be a selected film showing at Sundance (I would never imagine to be) but Panic Struck Productions will be there in some capacity... and that's still a great honor in my mind! If any of you go to the event in January please be sure to check out the Adobe booth, take a picture, send it to me, and let me know how we looked there :)
Check out the Sundance Film Festival Event here

IN OTHER NEWS
Panic Struck Productions continues to generate further media and press coverage (which I find remarkable) and this time the Hollywood Reporter found us interesting to mention. Check out the article here titled: "Calling-card shorts", as well as the same article published at The Washington Post.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Panic Struck Downunder Press


Just a short bit of news right now. The The Weekend Australian has run another article on Panic Struck Productions and our film "Revelations" so go over and read what they have to say.
" . . . three million people have watched another episode, Star Wars: Revelations. The response has verged on the ecstatic."

In other news I am very busy working on a short (secret for now) project that I think you guys will enjoy.. details as they come and as I can release them. Till then if I do not speak with you soon have happy and save Holiday and joyous New Year!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Adobe Spotlights "Revelations"



I am very jazzed to announce Adobe has released their Spotlight Article on Panic Struck Productions this week. This is pretty cool for me as I am a huge Adobe fan. I practically grew up on the stuff, teaching myself with a book and just by doing.

The wonderful thing is that there are many many talented artists out there that have done just that. Taken an affordable solution and applied themselves to creating wonderful works. Even the younger artists are picking it up and doing incredible things. Very exciting.

When I was making "Revelations" Adobe was such an easy choice, as I know the software and it was affordable yet very powerful. The entire film of "Revelations" was edited on Adobe Premiere Pro right in my basement office on a PC I built from the ground up with a single P4 processor and 1GB of RAM. So nothing fancy.

We used just about everything Adobe makes practically. After Effects for the composite and 2D animation work, Encore for DVD authoring, Golive for the Web, Audition for some sound work, Photoshop for all promo work, posters, Digital matte painting, and other 2D. I even used LiveMotion for the flash intro I had on the website. Told You I was an Adobe fan, and who isn't!

Adobe is one of the largest leaders in graphics media and makes affordable, powerful tool that get the job done. To me it was an honor for them to spotlight our work on "Revelations"

Today you yourself can pick up off the shelf the Adobe Professional Video collection for like $1200 and you have a full production solution right there. Add in a simple PC and a digital Video Camera.. There ya go.. Now go make your movie!! It's no different then what we did the first time.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Panic Trek Outing

Whoa .. who's that guy!?

Well I will explain. This past weekend, believe it or not, I went to a Star Trek Convention called Starbase Indy.

I can hear you now "Star Trek!? What gives Shane?"
Actually for those who know me, I go to Star Trek Conventions quite often, as well as other great cons such as DragonCon. Some day I need to attend ComicCon (that is where Lucas got his break really) You forget I enjoy Scifi in general, and yes Star Wars might be my first love, and yes there are things I do not like about other scifi stories, though in general I still enjoy a variety of scifi/fantasy films, books, etc. I like it all really.

I also go to these conventions to have other fans see what we have done ("Revelations") and I also give panels and talks about film making and how people can do the same thing I did. I tell them all the tips and tricks. Share the knowledge!

The reason I went to this last convention is that I was invited by a recent good friend Tim Brazeal.
(he's a scary lookin guy, but don't let that fool you.. big ol softy.. hell of a great guy! We got along well as you can see .. and yes I am a dork
(note to self .. cut back on mixed drinks ;)

If you have not heard of Tim let me give you some background. He is the guy who started Trek United and Save Enterprise and basically founded and started a movement that raised close to $3.5 million through fans around the world to keep Trek alive for one more season. That is huge and an enormous accomplishment. Pretty impressive!

The fans were actually going to pay Paramount to keep "Enterprise" alive on the air waves. Paramount turned the fans down and basically closed it doors to Trek deeming the franchise was exhausted and fans were no longer interested, even when fans rallied together and raised a good deal of capital to support Paramount's product. Crazy. So Tim refunded everyone's money back, even taking a lose on it through his own efforts. Fans like us are crazy, but we make things happen

So here is where I come in ..
MSNBC had me on the show once to talk about "Revelations" and later invited me back to do a debate with Tim on the all holy war topic of "Which is better Star Wars or Star Trek"

This was just a case of the media trying to use stereotypes and create entertainment on TV through Tim and myself.. Well it back fired on them! As both Tim and I got on National Live TV and both said " I like both, and neither is better than the other!" It was a "Can't we all just get along" type thing. And as much as the media tried to pit Tim and myself against each other, we just were not going to have it, and what the media tried to do to form rivals of Star Wars against Star Trek, actually formed a strong friendship.

So Tim and I have been talking to each other after that interview and perhaps will be doing something together in the future. I support what he is planning on doing in which he is bringing fans and the Hollywood industry together to make a new franchise to keep scifi and the dream alive! This is pretty big and a cool concept. If anyone can pull it off it's Tim!

Now back to my convention experience at StarBase Indy. I had a hell of a good time and want to thank the kindness of Tim and his family for treating me so nice as well at the excellent staff I met with Trek United! These are some good people, and I love meeting fans like myself who all share a common bond of scifi, and love to have a great time. I always get to meet some great people and industry people.




One great treat was to meet, Herbert Jefferson Jr, the original actor to play "Boomer" on Battlestar Galatica.







I also ran into George Lucas!

Actually this is George Starkey who is known as the best George Lucas Look alike .. and man does he. He stars in the film "Saving Star Wars" go check it out!
It was so funny to see George at the wet T-shirt party hitting on a bottle of Capt'n Morgan.. it made you do a double take.

Speaking of party, I go to one and I am happy to say I won the "Best Buns" contest! Hey, there is feather in my hat! Who needs Oscars and Emmy awards.. I have the "Best Buns" award! LOL

A special thank you to all the ladies at Starbase Indy who voted for me! It was all for charity and it's good fun. I also got to pour the water for the wet t-shirt contest, which was funny as Tim's son Chuck bought me one ticket for who should get the honor of pouring the water on the girls, and who's number should be pulled out of all the tickets? But mine! LOL .. Thanks Chuck! So maybe more of you out there should go to Trek conventions and so forth, you would be surprised how these people party and really let go. Wow! I'll see you there.. first round is on you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Newest Release - Music Video


Many want to know what I have been working on since "Revelations" and one small project I have been doing is a music video for Holland Gedney. Well, I am very pleased to announce and release that the music vid is out and you can download and hopefully enjoy it.
HOLLAND GEDNEY MUSIC VIDEO

HOLLAND GEDNEY WEBSITE

This was a small project I took on and was filmed on location in a nasty Baltimore city alley and in studio for greenscreen. We used a small crew of about six and one FX artist. The whole thing between 9-5 jobs, paying bills and family took 2.5 months to complete and it was again a pro-bono job. It was a way to support what I feel is an excellent talent (Holland Gedney) and gives us a chance to do what we love to do. Film!

Overall I am proud of what we did with so little (why does that sound familiar) though I do feel I missed the mark again and not pulling out the level I was going for. I am very pleased with the look/feel, the edit, camera and talent, however some aspects still don't hit it for me and I am always looking to do better. So we will just keep growing and working if we can. I hope some of you enjoy it, as again it was done using the solutions and technology you have right at your own fingertips and you could do this as well, perhaps even better. So if you enjoy this please send and share it around to everyone to support Holland and maybe we can get her some good exposure.

A huge thank you to my crew who make all this happen for me (the people I work with are awesome and again they are volunteers. We do this because we love film, and working together to create something special) Thank you to Holland who I felt did an awesome job, she looks smokin hot and really nailed this performance, and what a voice.. wow!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Calling Mr. Lucas .. Follow-up


So, if you will recall from one of the later post I did in fact send a presskit and DVD screener to Mr. Lucas and I have a reply to share with you that I got in the mail on nice LucasFilm LTd letterhead.

(quoted from the letter)

" Dear Mr. Felux:
George Lucas is away from the office but has read your letter dated October 25.
While he appreciates the sincerity of your request, he regrets that he is not able to have a look at your film. We hope you can understand that the pressures of his schedule are tremendous.
We wish you continued success with your filmmaking career."

So there you go gang. It's an official blow off letter, but what did you expect!?

I can understand that George is very busy these days, and wish him the best. It was nice for him to even take a look at my letter. Most of the times it goes right in the trash by a receptionist or intern. I have found despite how busy and big LucasFilms Ltd. is, they will always take your call, not transfer you to voicemail hell, and they are very real and human over there. It's really a unique company and they don't seem to look down on you. I can appreciate that .. I really can. It's good business.

I look forward to seeing what those guys at the Ranch and beyond come up with and will always be a supporter. At least they were nice enough to even write back and even sent my press kit back too (saves me a few bucks)

Hey at least it's not a "Dear Mr. Felux, please stop calling and bothering us, we are very busy and you suck! .. P.S. your movie sucks too and I am sending Lawyers and Gunguns to break your knees. Love Goerge"

At least we tried guys and remember doing nothing will get you nothing, so continue to dream, work hard, hone your skills and try and be nice to eachother out there!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Director's Hallow


Happy Halloween to any and all of you out there.

This year I dressed as a Necromonger from
"The Chronicles of Riddick" .

I love this costume as it is an actual screen-used costume from the film, and it is so well made, considering it was made for film. I would say this costume is actually over made, as it's top quality workmanship and really shows.

I really enjoyed "The Chronicles of Riddick" for what it was, and loved the production value and of course Vin Diesel.

It's a fun film with some good action and stunning FX. I am not to crazy for what they did to the story and character backgrounds, as I liked "Pitch Black" more, but "Cronicles" was still an enjoyable film, and even more fun is wearing the Necro's costume!

Only bad thing with this costume is that it is very heavy and VERY HOT. After awhile your back really starts to hurt as the Captain's cape in the back is a heavy rubber and really pulls the upper shoulders and back. Suffer for the art I say as it's worth it.

The suit is made from a high cast rubber that is really stout, and even has pieces of leather incorporated in the costume construction here and there. The rigging is really well thought out and again my hat goes off to the guys who designed and made these pieces. Some of the best I have seen that was made for film!

Here is a pic of this years pumpkin carving at our house. This year Dawn actually carved this one and I think did an awesome job at it! I screwed mine up and it went in the trash (sigh) But Dawn saved Halloween and came out with the stunning Vader Pumpkin.

You can get great Star Wars Pumpkin patterns at: Starwars.com.
So perhaps you can bookmark for next year :)

Hope everyone had a Happy and Save Halloween!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Serenity


Well, the latest in the quest to continue on, is that I tracked down and was able to Fedex a press kit and screen of "Revelations" to Joss Whedon, creator of "Serenity" as well as other well knowns such as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Firefly", "Angle" and writer for such things as; "Titan A.E", "Alien: Resurrection", "Toy Story" (to name a few).

So I confirmed with Joss' assistant that they did get the press kit and as always no promises to see it but well, I got it to em'. Best I can do.




One other interesting news bit I have to share and I have to say this one, if anything, made me smile. Fortune magazine contacted me and was asking the same question many of you have been asking "What do you have going on next?" Fortune wanted to know what I have been up to as they are working on an article about Technology Innovators, and were interested in my progress after the big debut of "Revelations"

Well first off I have to say I was amazed that someone like Fortune Magazine would even know who the hell I was or heard about me. That really amazed me from the start. So kind of neat I have to say! I was flattered that they would even contact me to show an interest in what I was doing. What am I doing?

To be honest I am doing quite a bit actually in terms of looking ahead and starting to set the pieces in motion for the next film project. This next one is going to be very challenging, and something that Independent film hasn't really done before. The Script treatment is being worked on and should be due 2 weeks from now.

We are looking at an original SciFi film on a scale that is quite scary, but hey I did it for 20K last time I think I can do more and better the next go round. It's going to be tough. The hard part is to find investor and backing for the next project, but we will figure something out, as I just can not afford to fund the next film myself again. I am still paying for it :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Dressing a Galaxy


OK, so I was doing some Christmas shopping for Dawn (Dawn don't read this) and I know the one thing she wants is this book "Dressing a Galaxy: the Costumes of Star Wars" so I start looking into it. Well the first thing I find, besides the price, is that it's hard to get and very popular. So to do some proper research I contact the expert and got a hold of a good friend Tish Well with Knight Ridder (which is not pronounced Night Rider I learned early on) LOL ... love ya Tish.

anyway Tish actually went to the Press Junket for the costume exhibition at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and she had the rare honor to speak with the costume designer of Star Wars Trisha Biggar and even met the big man himself Lucas in a brief interview.

As always Tish writes a great review and if you are wondering if this book is for you or something that will make a great gift, check out what Tish has to say about it.
`Dressing a Galaxy': A lavish look at the `Star Wars' costumes

The kewl thing is I found a great price for the big grand Exclusive series book at Overstock.com, which normally costs $295.00 but overstock has it for $185.68! I love savings!
But this is for the exclusive uber sweet costumes dream book. The normal one is just $29.92, so there ya go.

Plus they have pre-orders for the Episode III DVD, oh Yeah!
Check it out here at Overstock.com

Monday, October 24, 2005

You guys actually Read this stuff?!

I didn't think you guys actually read this stuff but I got a very flattering email the other day from one of you and I wanted to share it with the rest of you guys.

One reader writes:
"I wanted to make a comment on your blog entry "Cut
From the Same Cloth?" Why were you trying to get in touch with

Robert Rodriguez? He's a no talent hack. All he does is
make films with little kids and use gimmicks like 3-D.
Dude, you're a bonafide phenomenon. You're on the
lips and minds of every movie lover in America. I've
seen your work and you're twice the filmmaker
Rodriguez is. I have a feeling that Hollywood is
going to come around and realize that. I wish you the
best in your future endeavors."

As I wrote this reader back I was very flattered and I also had to defend Robert Rodriguez wouldn't call the guy a hack for one, and to say "You're on the lips and minds of every movie lover in America" Oh if only that were true, but again I am deeply flattered! What can I say but thank you for the kindest thoughts.

The comment the reader writes just underlines my statement I was making to you guys earlier, there will be people who hate your work no matter who you are. There will be people who hate Lucas, Rodriguez, Coppola, even Spielberg films. Every audience is different and everyone has there opinion, and some feel very strongly about it.. welcome to America :)

Other news

This past weekend Dawn and a group of friends who all helped on "Revelations" went to the Maryland Renaissance festival. I love to go to this event, but I stayed home to watch the kids so Dawn could go out and have a great time with friends. It's only fair and as much as I wanted to go as I would have loved to have gotten dunk with friends like Frank and Gina Hernandez and having a great time, with kids you have to make sacrifices. It's just the way it is and sorry I could have been there guys, but as I understand it Frank got drunk enough for both of us!

THE DRUNK OF ZORRO

Here is a great clip dawn captured at the event with her camera phone. It's Frank (aka: Declan) as Zorro the drunk blade climbing a wall.. Oh, I thought this was just too damn funny! I had to share it Frank .. so I give you "Zorro the Drunk Blade"

In Theaters Soon!

Calling Mr. Lucas

Also I actually, despite your encouragement or lack of comments, did contact George Lucas and got a hold of his receptionist. I figured I would just finally work my way up the food chain, and again what do I have to lose. Here is a bit of the conversation with Lucas' receptionist Ann.

George Lucas' office how may I help you?

Is Mr. Lucas available please?

I am afraid he is not in, can I help you perhaps?

Hopefully you can, my name is Shane Felux Executive Producer / Director from Panic Struck Productions and we would like to send a press kit and screener of our film "Revelations" for Mr. Lucas to perhaps review.

Oh are you submitting for the Academy Awards to possible selection?

Now you have to understand that large directors actually do get screeners for review and to vote on for the Academy Awards so this was a valid question and I was very tempted to say "Yes that's right, "Revelations" for a Academy choice" but even I could not do that. so I said

Ah, no mama "Revelations" is an independent film we would like Mr. Lucas to perhaps take a look at and perhaps get his interest.

(the receptionist's attitude changes right away)
OH, Mr. Lucas is very busy and does not have time to review every submission. He is in only one day a week and can not accept cold submissions for him to review.

(Now this comment is very understandable and correct. I mean most large studios and production houses won;t even speak to you, and she is right. Imagine is everyone and their brother wanted Lucas to watch their dumb films like "Revelations" So someone has to screen out the fan boys and freaks and so forth. But I am not a fan boy or freak, right? :)

So I can tell she is getting ready to politely drop the conversation when I stated

So you have not heard of my film Star Wars "Revelations"?
(There is a pause on here line before..)

Wait, you made a Star Wars film?

Yes Mama.

And did you get permission to make this from us?

No mama.

ah, perhaps you need to speak with our legal department.

No, I am good.

(I then went in to unconfusing the poor nice lady and explained fan films and what "Revelations" is. A complete non-profit film and even the 200 or some volunteers were not paid to make the film.

I actually have spoken with LucasFilm Ltd. Legal and permissions before and stated to them I would legally sign and give them anything they wanted of "Revelations" such as character, story, ships, whatever, as Star Wars is not my property to begin with and belong to them, so if they wanted to own "Revelations" to market and sell or do with what they wish I would gladly sign it all over to them without any compensation. It's their product, I just made the film and was lucky enough to play in that universe. They appreciate my attitude. But what can I say it is the truth and we didn't make this film to make money, but as a love of Star Wars and film making, and as an experiment to see just what we COULD do.

So once the receptionist at LucasFilm Ltd understood what I was and what "Revelations" is, and after giving her some accomplishments of the film she stated..

Well go ahead and send the press kit and DVD to me and that is the best you can do. I seriously doubt that Mr. Lucas will get a chance to see it.

(Fair enough, and I could expect nothing further. What do I have to lose by not sending it. So it might and probably will go in the trash, but you always have to try. So it's been Fedexed in the mail to Lucas today. I am not holding my breath. The only thing I can hope is perhaps someone might enjoy watching it and that is one extra happy audience member. That's good as well. )

So thus far I have sent the film to Robert Rodriguez, Rick McCallum, Steve Sansweet, Mary Franklin (both Steve and Mary are in Fan Relations at LucasFilm) and now George Lucas.

Next week Steven Spielberg .. LOL

So readers out there, I am trying. More in vane but whatelse would you have me do. I live under no pretense that any of these people would even give us a consideration or that I am some serious thing. But one has to try. You never get anywhere without trying.

The nay sayers (rant)

I have to thank the so many people who email supporting us and who really enjoyed watching our film "Revelations" It really does make us feel good that if any audience out there might have liked what we did, then it makes the whole thing worth doing, and validates all the work we did.

Now anytime you make a film and I do not care who you are, some people will just hate it, simple as that, and you have to have a thick skin if you are going to put out something for the masses to see. No one likes to have their baby called ugly, but you better get use to it.
Does it sting sometimes? Hell yeah, and sometimes it even makes me laugh.

I read a lot of forums and really try and keep up with what people might be saying about the film. For the most part there is a ton of positive feedback, but it's the negative you always focus on, and it doesn't help the positive comments state stuff like " I liked this film, really enjoyable" and then the negative people go on and on for the length of a bible of how you suck, and this sucks, and you should die.

I will actually agree with most of the negative feedback, and in no way am I going to say "Revelations" is better than say Star Wars. No way, and I never would hint that it is.
As director any fault in the film falls on me, and believe me I see them, now some of your comments are just crack induced silliness and you really should give up the pipe! Crack kills kids.

I do think some of the writing is clunky, and the acting not the best. The camera is shaky sometimes and lighting is not just right. Sometimes the FX and composite work is rough and the audio could be better. But I used friends to make this film as that was what it was about. Doing something we love, involving friends and fans and trying to do the best we can. "Revelations" is not a profit marketable film, but a love of a story and universe we wanted to play in. So I am proud of our writers, actors and cast. They did this all for nothing other than the believe and love of the film.

"Revelations" is a fan film, made for close to nothing, and made by amateurs. But I have to defend I am very proud of what we did and completed with so little and for the production value we completed. All this not done by a studio, but a guy working out of his basement in his spare time between the 9-5 job, kids, wife, bills, and so forth. This is not a defense just a fact that in no way does "Revelations" compare to what you go to see the big studios putting out, but I have to say it comes pretty damn close! In terms of an independent it's quite impressive. Take a look at most fan film and independent films and you will see what I mean. Most are pretty damn bad. With poor acting, writing, camera, lighting (or lack there of) and just pure crap. But there are a few jems out there and independent film is getting better and better and the skill sets and tools become more and more available for independent productions.

The remarkable part about "Revelations" is not the story, characters, sets or the FX, but the idea of how digital technology can be used and applied by your average man who has a dream and vision, and can in fact make a close to Hollywood film for very little. It is the story of creating something with volunteers from around the world and coordinating all their efforts into one project via the internet age and high-speed online technology. It's about how the little guy can stand up and do something! Is it perfect or the most brilliant thing? Hell no, not yet, but we hope to get better. So get going and make your dreams!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Happy Anniversary - 6 years, but who's counting


Well today actually celebrates my 6th year wedding anniversary with the writer/producer/costume designer of "Revelations", oh yeah and wife. Dawn Cowings, yes she kept her maiden name.. don't get me started)
Six years.. three of which were spent making "Revelations" together which making a film can really put a strain on a relationship. But we weathered and saw it though as we always have, good and bad, and so we can be here today to celebrate our 6th year anniversary.

I decided to change up things this year and start a new tradition. Normally I am the one who makes the plans and arrangements for the anniversary outing, and I got to thinking, "Let's switch off. Each year the other person plans the event" it's more fun this way, and we get to try and outdo each out, plus planning a celebrated event is really fun to show someone how you love them. You get pleasure out of giving them an enjoyable evening.

So this years anniversary plans were in Dawn's hands, and she chose an exquisite 5 star restaurant/inn to celebrate at, The Inn at Little Washington, in Washington, VA.
I had always wanted to take Dawn there myself but it is about a 45min drive out towards the mountains and is VERY expensive. So I was thrilled when she reveled where it was she had made reservations. You can actually get rooms to stay there, but we were lucky to get a babysitter to watch the kids just so we could have a romantic dinner. (Thank you Kim so much!)
It's tough when you have no family around in the state you live it, besides the rooms I think are like $500 a night.. no thanks!

So, we had an excellent gourmet pampered evening with the finest wine and food I have had in quite sometime. Now I know that Dawn picked this restaurant with me in mind as I really do enjoy fine dining more so than her and my tastes are in French cuisine, such as rabbit, pheasant, duck, and lamb with superb sauces and presentation. The Inn at Little Washington is that and MORE.. wow such great food.
Don't read me wrong I am a meat and potatoes guy, but I can and do enjoy a fine wine and gourmet meal.

I actually worked as a chef to help pay my way through college back in the day, and started off as a prep cook for a fine restaurant. I eventually made my way up to Chef de Partie with main role in saute. So I really enjoyed and developed a liking to fine foods and wines. In fact I USE to have a great wine collection until my graduation night of college I decided to really celebrate, and that fine wine was meant to be drunk, and by everyone, so I almost destroyed the whole collection, but what a great night it was .. Anyway I digress.

Back to "The Inn at Little Washington" ... The food was incredible as I had:

First Course: Seared Tuba Sashimi with Daikon Radish & cucumber Sorbet

Second Course: Seared Duck Breast with baby Arugula, Pine Nuts & Parmesan.

Main Course: Medallions of Rabbit loin wrapped in house cured pancetta surrounding a Lilliputian Rabbit rib roast on a pillow of Rutabaga puree.. Say that 5 times! eitherway you say it .. it's awesome!

Dessert was 7 deadly sins" which is a sampling in small portions of almost the desserts, and the alcohol for the night was a Reisling, a Chianti, and a Muscat. I was not feeling much pain when I left the Inn other than the burning sensation in my right ass cheek when my wallet seem to combust into flames and burn to a cinder from the cost of the evenings exquisite meal and drink.
But it was all worth it. Happy Anniversary Dawn!

A few funny things, at the end of the night one of the managers comes over to see how out evening and dinner was and of course makes some small talk. One comment he made to me was " You are looking very satirical tonight, quite nice" now after so many drinks and such food I just smile and nodded my thanks, and then when he walked away I was left thinking "Did that guy just insult me, and I am to drunk and dumb to know it?"

"Satirical?? What the hell does that mean by saying I look very satirical tonight??"

"Is he implying I am some sort of satire he finds amusing, like I am some sort of clown!?"
What the hell was this guy saying?? I looked it up and I still can not figure what this guy was implying, all definitions I find are of; satire, mockery, tomfoolery and so forth.

The other thing during the night was when the Sommelier came by and poured the wine I ordered, she could tell I was not over impressed with it, so she asked what was it I didn't like. Well I am more of a fruity blend that is not too harsh or oaken. She smiled and nodded and stated " I know just what you need"

She comes back, and normally when a wine is first brought to you, you first sample it before then fill your glass, this time when she brought the wine she simply poured it in a glass and said " here is what you need" and walked away

I made a joke to Dawn in which I pissed the Sommelier off in my poor taste of wine and she simply went and got a bottle of Sutter's Home and said "here, this is your class, drink this and shut up! Not like you could tell a good wine if it bit you in the ass"
I just thought it was funny that on her second return I didn't even get to decide if I would like this recommended wine she was offering, it was just poured for me and that is what I got. Suffice to say it was ok, but not worth $25 a glass.

It was still a great evening and meal and the company wasn't to bad :)
I highly recommend "The Inn at Little Washington" if you are even in the DC/Northern VA area and want superb food, style, & service. It's pricey but excellent! The pictures I posted in this blog are from the Inn, quite a nice place. My kind of style.

Tell em' Shane sent you .....

and they won't give a damn :)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Home on the Range


This is some old news, but, well I am really trying to get things up to speed on this blog thing, and who knows some of you might enjoy it.

So, I actually had the distinct and remarkable pleasure of visiting Skywalker ranch and the beautiful rolling hills of Northern Cali. To me this was a day dream of a lifetime and something of a childhood dream as well! I was walking on holy ground as far as I was concerned and it was a great treat and honor.

To begin, I was in LA doing a guest spot for G4TV on "Attack of the Show" and had a great time in LA seeing the Chinese theater, the Hollywood walk of stars and other great sights thanks to a talented friend Peter, who is a great writer in LA, LA Land.

One thing I have to say about LA is that I really thought I would hate it. All the fake beautiful people and their bullshit promises of "let's do lunch" and "I'll have my people call your people" crap. as I am not like that at all! I am a person that puts his pants on one leg at a time and feel that other people do so as well, regardless of what you do for a living. We are all just people. But you know what, I was totally wrong about LA. The people I met were not fake and plastic like I thought. Actually they were very friendly and even courteous. The weather was gorgeous and I really though "Yeah, I could get use to this town. It's actually really nice"

While I was on the west coast another remarkable friend invited me to come up to Northern California and have lunch at the ranch. This was a great honor and I was thrilled to be even invited! So I took him up on it.

Now Skywalker Ranch is located in the rolling hills of Merin County (a beautiful place.. my kind of place) and so I was driven through the twisty windy hills and I tell you, I could find the ranch again even if I wanted to!

There is no big gate or anything that would make you blink to think anything important is back there. The entrance to Skywalker Ranch actually just looks like any other ranch entrance. But if you did find it you still wouldn't get far, as soon as you go up the road, once inside the property, there is a security station and they know exactly who you are, and if not they will find out quick.

Once past security you drive through the property towards the Main house and drive past the SkyWalker Sound building, and even through the small vineyard where the grapes come from to make Skywalker Ranch wines which is bottled and made at Coppola vineyard (a good friend of Lucas') These wines are limited and actually not bad, though I have had better.

once at the main house you actually can park in the circular dive in front of the house and you just walk right into the main front door, just like a house. This is a very welcoming feeling and it feel like you are just visiting a friend.
The decor is very Rick and vicorian (ah, my style!) and has stunning props and art work displayed throughout the home from various LucasFilms movies.

I got to go into the remarkable library there at the ranch and a funny story is that on one of the desks was a stack of magazines with pages tabbed to stories taking about Star Wars. I flipped a Entertainment Weekly magazine open that was sitting on the desk to the page where there was an article about our film "Revelations" and placed that open on the top pile of the magazines. Hah, best I could do to perhaps get some attention at the ranch. Funny thing is that Entertainment Weekly gave us a review rating of a B- (same as "Revenge of the Sith")

Anyway, I did indeed have lunch at the ranch after I had a brief tour of the house, and sorry to say nothing happened and I didn't bump into anyone, just had a very enjoyable meal with a good friend and I smiled the whole time. It was a dream. Though I did glance and notice at the table next to us there was a placecard that is used to reserve tables, and that said "GL & Rick) Hmm, wonder who that could be??

Well, though I tried to stall lunch hoping George and Rick might have come down for lunch it never happened, but what can I say. I got to have lunch at the Ranch! I then proceeded to spend a good deal at the Skywalker Ranch Gift Shop (your welcome George) as I was told DO NOT come home without hats, sweatshirts, and so forth. I loaded up and said good by to beautiful Marin County, and a dream that is always with me.. Someday I tell you.. Someday. Dare to Dream!!

SOMETHING FUN
If you have Google Earth (a very cool FREE program) click THIS FILE to see the Ranch!

Cut from the Same Cloth?


Well, as I continue to just do anything I can to make something happen, I had been following a holy grail quest of my own in which I wanted to get in contact with Robert Rodriguez, director of films like "El Mariachi" and "Sin City" to name a few.

Now the interesting thing about Robert is that he and I have a lot in common actually, not to try and put myself in the same league as him.. no way, but we are both from San Antonio, and he went to UT (Austin) whereas I went to SWT(San Marcos) just down the road from each other.

Robert was never good in school and actually couldn't get in the film department because his grades were not good enough. Eventually he got in by beating the senior class in a film festival. Myself, I was never great at the academic side as well (as you can see from my spelling and grammar) but we both went on and were in the creative side and working with people.

Rodriguez is well know for his very low budget film "El Mariachi" which actually got him his start. a remarkable film for it's time and age in which he did it all for 7K. This was not something that was really done at the time with the skill and look that Robert created. He is one hell of an editor and a great book to read is "Rebel without a Crew"

Now I created and made "Revelations" for just under 20K another thing in terms of scope and scale of "Revelations" which just isn't done. So I thought "Maybe we have somethings in common and might be able to talk a bit about it. Who knows.

So I actually was able to get a number to TroubleMaker Studios (a feat that was not easy) and I spoke with Robert's assistant.
She was very nice and I explained who I was and what I had done. Believe it or not TroubleMaker studio had heard of us. Now I had to say "Ah, come on! You have heard of us and our film "Revelations" you have actually watched it?!!

She replied " Yes, it was pretty hard to miss, and we were impressed"

Well color me flattered! It was very kind of her to say, but in this biz I have a hard time believing anything. But it was a great compliment and I had to smile!

So I sent a Fedex press kit and screener of the film and that's the best I could do. I doubt if it will get to him but again.. what do I have to lose.

Now I was actually in San Antonio just past week visiting family when I thought "hell, maybe Robert and I could get together briefly for lunch" I would love to see how they run things over there, as I am always interested in other production houses, especially when my production house is just me in my basement :)

So I call Robert's assistant again and see if Robert might be available. She stated he works from home a lot and doesn't come into the office to often. Well I just said, "well, give him a call see if he would want to get together and have him give me a call" she stated she would.
Well, again I don't hold my breath on things like that, and went on with my day.

Well,the phone never rang, and I simply enjoyed myself down at the coast with my brother and Father going fishing in the bay and doing a bit of gambling. It was still a great weekend, Rodriguez or no :)

Rick McCallum Loves you

Well this blogging business is tough, especially when you don't have a lot of free time. how do all these millions of bloggers do it? My hats off to them.. anyway, I found sometime and thought I might jot a few things that I have been up to. Let's see.

I finally got to the point of "who cares" and "what do I have to lose" in terms of taking risks and trying ot make things happen.


So I called up LucasFilms a few weeks ago and asked to speak with Rick McCallum. Now I actually have met Rick before very briefly at Celebrations III. I had the balls big enough to dodge security and hand Rick a 2 disk DVD set of our film "Revelations" He was kind enough and took the DVD, and I was left wondering "now will that just go in the trash or will he watch it?" It's not uncommon, as producer are very busy and who the hell am I? ... nobody
So back to my phone call to LucasFilms, I was going to call Rick as a follow-up and see if he did in fact watch the film. I was transfered to his receptionist.

- Rick McCallum's office may I help you?

- Is Rick in please?

- May I ask who is speaking, and what this pertains to?

- This is Shane Felux Executive producer and Director of Panic Struck Productions, and I met with Rick at CIII and wanted to follow-up on if he watched the Revelations DVD screener I gave him.

- He is in his office with someone right now, let me just show him this card and see if he will take your call.

- Thank you.

Now I know as soon she goes into his office and shows him a card that says "Shane Felux: Exec. Producer/Director, Panic Struck Productions" Rick is going to look at her and say. "Who the hell is that?! Take a message!"

So I am on hold waiting for the receptionist to come back on and say "I am sorry Rick is unavailible right now" but I am takin back when a friendly male voice comes on the line

- Hello

Now I was thrown for a second and it flashed through my brain "oh shit what do I say now!" I really didn't expect to get through to Rick, but there he was, and I just jump right in, again what do I have to lose?

- Hello Rick! This is Shane Felux Exec. Producer .. blah, blah blah

- Hey, how are you?

- I'm good thanks. Listen I know you are very busy and I will not take much of your time, but I was the guy at CIII who came up to you and gave you a copy of our film "Revelations" Now I was just wanting to know if you had a chance to watch it or did that get West Coast thrown in the trash?

- Hmm, no actually I'm afraid I didn't see it.

(I knew it!) ah, it's like I said. It was expected but in your heart of heart you always wish and dream you will give your film to say Rick or even Lucas, and then will watch it, spit out their beverage of choice at some point in watching the film and grab the phone and yell " Hire this damn kid!!" LOL .. right.. like I said deep deep in your heart of hearts, come on it's in all of us.

So Rick asked me to send a copy to him and I FedEx him a press kit and DVD screener the next day. I later checked with his receptionist and confirmed he did get it and it was sitting in a pile to go home with him.

Now my story ends there as I have no idea if it's been seen by Rick or not. I am not holding my breath. Maybe I should just go for gold and try George next?



But even I do not have balls that big, but again like I said, what do I have to lose?? what do you guys think??

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Where do you go from here?!


Well OK, I stepped into the blog scene as I was recommended by a few friends to do so (yes I have a few friends, but I call them acquaintances :)

anyway I figured I would give it a try and see if I can give you guys insight and so forth in what's going on with Panic Struck Productions, future film projects, myself and so on.

I figured if Frank Hernandez (who played Declan for me in "Revelations" can have a rant and silly rave blog .. hell I can't do any worst then that LOL.

Other than my spelling and grammar sucks so I give you fair warning now, as I do not want to get email of
"you know you misspelled this and this sentence structure is wrong"
because I am here to tell you your emails will fall on blind eyes..

I am going to introduce you to my own form of writing and language, which many feel is not really of this planet.. I agree. So, English teachers, Publishers, Reporters (like Tish) Sarah and my wife, run and hide now as I am sure the way I write will scare the hell out of you :)
The rest of us .. have a good laugh.