Wednesday, July 26, 2006

PITCHING LUCAS - Making History & Wins Big

Wow.. Where to begin! Sorry for the delay in updating and posting guys, it has been a few hectic and crazy days. This will be a long entry to make up for it, so I hope that is ok, and you enjoy.

WATCH THE AWARD ACCEPTANCE SPEECH HERE
If you don't want to read my super long entry this week

Let me see. As some of you might know our film "Pitching Lucas" was a finalist in the 2006 Atom Film Star Wars film contest, sanctioned by Lucas Film, and so I traveled to Comic Con in San Diego to attend the award ceremony.

First off my adventure begins at the airport. I get there 2 hours early before my flight, like I always like to do, and low and behold my flight is delayed 30mins. No sweat, my original flight was scheduled to arrive at 5pm pacific time and the award ceremony doesn't begin till 8:30pm. pacific so I got plenty of time and it's no worry. I arranged my travel to have some wiggle room to drop my bags off at the hotel, have dinner and then go to the award show.

Then I find my flight is now delayed an hour, now 2 hours, and now 4!! Oh crap, I start to panic. I speak to the United counter rep explaining my situation and to move me to another flight. There ARE no other flights and I explain I am going to a film award ceremony in which I am a finalist and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. They smile and say sorry. nothing we can do, go piss up a rope. Well, nothing I can do but hope for the best.

While sitting and reading a book I over hear one lady talking to another and their conversation is something like this.

“Well everyone is upset the flight is delay and a lot of people are trying to get other flight. Good luck! I even hear one guy give a sob story of how he is a film maker and he is going to an award show and it all dire that he gets there. Give me a break! We all want to get where we want to be on time.. I want to get home. Some people!"

Yeah, I nod to myself and that was the beginning of my trip. It confirms for me that most people do not care, unless it involves them, or affects them in someway, otherwise who cares.
Yep get use to it gang. So finally the plane is at the gate, I go to board, and the guy stops me when he processes my ticket

"Hold on sir" he says, "It seems your seat has been changed"

I had selected a seat close to the front so I could get off fast and get to the award show, now my seat for some reason has been moved all the way to the very BACK BACK SEAT.

"What gives?!" I say "Why would my seat change?"
"Don't know" he says "You would have to go back and ask the people at he counter"

of course people are behind me waiting to board an already late plane so I just shake my head and board to sit in the very back. I speak to the flight attendant about the seat issue and she also says "nothing I can do"

so I go to the back of the plane. During mid flight another flight attendant spoke with me and he managed moved me up to the middle of the plane.. Nice guy, and he gave me a comp drink. I had that and two more just for good measure.. What a flight!

So I arrive in San Diego at 9:00pm, the ceremony has already started and I dash running from the plane to find a cab. I find one and jump in saying

"the convention center, as fast as you can!"

with a Russian accent he says "what's the rush, what's your deal already?"

I explain my situation as he slowly gets in his car and he says "who cares, big deal"
Yep.. That confirmed it for me, no one cares, and he is right.

So we get to the convention center and luckily my co-writer Peter was already at the event and even picked up on badge for me. He met me at the curb when the cab dropped me off and grabbed my suitcase

“The award ceremony is just inside, up the escalator and to the left! Go, Go, I will take your bag.. Here’s your badge! GO!"

What a great guy! So I dash up to the event huffing and puffing and find a seat up front reserved for the finalists, thank you Mary Franklin! I am sweating, winded, a bit jet lagged, but I made it!

The room the award ceremony is being held in seems to have the AC out and it is hot, and I am already sweating. I get to enjoy watching the "Pink Five films" and then they announce the 'Audience Choice Award" We won!

Wow, we won audience choice award! I hand Peter my video camera as he has joined me to sit next to me, and I go on stage to shake Steve Sansweet hand. Cloud nine is all I can say! I made it to the event and we won!

What a feeling, and to a room of 4000 I give my thanks. I am honored, humbled and very appreciative. An audience is the one who buys your tickets, who come back to watch your films. An audience means more then critics and judges and all that noise, it's the audience we hope to please, and "Pitching Lucas" did just that from the reception I got.
A wonderful feeling and I suggest you try it sometime.. You will like it :)

So, I go and sit back down, Peter congratulates me and hands me back my video camera which I begin to put in my bag. Sansweet in up on stage saying we will now watch "Pitching Lucas" but nothing happened. He starts saying that they are having technical difficulties. I nod and say to myself "yeah that's about right".

Things always happen at big events like this, it's not a big issue, but is right in line with my day" So while we wait for them to fix the problem Sansweet says he will go ahead and announce the 'Lucas Select Award' (grand prize) He starts speaking

"This years first place film has stunning special FX, a remarkable production value, excellent editing and on a very small budget ..."

I glance at Peter as I slowly pull my camera back out of my bag. I whisper to Peter "I think they might be talking about us.. Maybe. Here take the camera just in case"

- Sansweet
"And here to announce the winner.. George Lucas" Lucas comes up on screen in a pre-recorded message and does in fact announce "this years winner of the Lucas Select award is "Pitching Lucas" by Shane Felux, congratulation Shane"

I am stunned! I mean really stunned. In in my deepest hopes I thought they were talking about us, but I knew in the end it would be something else.. Nope, not this time. The creator and the man himself, the man that inspired me to pursue a career in film, to get a college degree, to make film, Georeg Lucas said "Pitching Lucas" and time stopped for a moment.

I stood up and made my way to the podium on stage as the audience cheered, or I think they did it was hard to tell for me as everything was in slow mo, some even called my name at I approached the stage once again (thanks John, Trey and crew) This time when I started to speak it took me a moment to collect myself. I am up there in front of 4000 people as it dawns on me, George Lucas watch my film, liked it, and selected my work out personally! He actually saw my work this time and even liked it enough to honor me with this award!

This award is like the Oscar in the fan film community, and is a big deal for us, or at least for me (even yes, I know it doesn't mean a whole lot and it's no big deal, it's a fan film .. but get off my cloud for a moment) The highest and greatest honor I have received to date. Now I can move my second place pee wee baseball trophy off my mantle.. I have something to take its place.. Two actually!!! Audience Choice and Lucas Select Award!

This is making history a bit in our small fan community world. It marks the first time one film has even won two awards at the same time in the 5 year history of this event. No one has even done that, and I am most humbled, gracious, and thankful for this remarkable achievement and honor. Thank you all so much for such an astonishing reward for our film.

Back on the real world ... Even I know that these awards do not mean much of anything to most people as well as the media and high industry, but it gives us validation of what we can do, and recognition from our audience, and even from Lucas. Any accolades are always wonderful for a film maker and no award or honor is to small. What more could you ask for?
It means a great deal to us who worked so hard to produce this small project and nothing feels better to have people appreciate it. It also doesn't hurt if one of those people is George Lucas.

So after the award ceremony I go out for a few drinks and really have a kind of low key celebration as one contact that came out and joined me wanted to talk business and purposed a future project. So in talking business I limit my drink count and before I know it, it's 3 am and all the bars are closed. I slump back to hotel, still feeling high from our awards, and eventually so to sleep.

The rest of my Comic Con experience was pretty much filled with meetings, hand shaking, interviews and networking. It was a very productive few days and I met some very interesting nice people.

At Steve Sansweet's panel "Spectacular" I got to sit in reserved seating to watch, and all around me in reserved were Lucas employees. I met the art director at Lucas Film, as well as others. Some really nice people. They would ask what I did or what division I was with and I would have to explain that I did "Revelations" and "Pitching Lucas" and some had actually heard & seen my work, or they were just being polite. I gave out a few DVD copies and enjoyed the day.

Later more meet and greets and contacts from a major studio took me to a nice dinner to discuss plans for a future project we have been negotiating with since I began film "Pitching Lucas".
In fact it seems we have made some good headway and we could come to an agreement.
Right now it's between their business affairs and legal as well as my agent and attorney. Things are looking possible and it could be my next film project. If it goes through it is going to be a big challenge and one that will really push us, but hey have we ever done anything any other way? Could be fun.. Stay tuned on that one.

I also got to attend the Star Wars Breakfast (thank you again Mary Franklin) and I was honored to sit in reserved seating again. There I met some interesting and great people like reps from Mattel, writer for Star Wars Insider Magazine, and the Content manager for Star Wars.com Once again everyone at the table introduced themselves to me and asked the same question "so what do you do?" or more or less.. "Why are you sitting here?"
Again I explained, and they all pretty much nodded and smile polite and seem to say "ah, good for you" probably thinking, "this guy is just a fan nothing more" and they are right in some regard, I mean I am a fan and I am no big wig or anything like that, just a film maker.. But some day.. ahh watch out ;)

All in all I got to see some great contacts and friends and the Comic Con event was quite remarkable. I have never seen so many people at one event. Wow talk about a lot of people! Something like 130K people crammed into downtown San Diego. You couldn't even find a lpace to eat without a long wait. Remarkable!

That's more or less it gang but I want to thank again my cast and crew, Jack Foley my DP, Mark Edmondson my composer and sound engineer, Zafer Mustafa my technical director, Sean Simmons my Camera Operator, my great CG Team, my cast, George Starkey, Mat Mickelson , Caleb Graham, Jim Lefter, Tye Nelson, and so so many more.
Thanks to Atom Films, Lucas Film for this great honor.. I am so very honored
And to you the fans, the audience and the dreamers out there. Go make your films and let's see em'. Thanks for everything.. The adventure continues!

- Shane

Want to see what I said and so forth at the award ceremony? Well here is the video. Sorry for the bad camera and quality. It was shot from the hip and I was luck to get it at all. Hoep you enjoy it.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Feelin' Good - it happens sometimes

As I have been trying to get the new site up for X-ILE PICTURES, which is xilepictures.com btw, I have been going through a lot of the content and material we have had posted on the Panic Struck site and I stopped for nostalgic reasons and a bit of reflection, as I started to look over the various news and media coverage we have had over the past year or so.
I was a bit amazed when I really stopped and looked at it, and I even started watching some of our interviews and reading some past articles. When you look at it really is quite remarkable what happened and how fortunate we were to get such coverage.

I mean here is a first film, made by a bunch of nobodies, and I am watching interviews with us on CNN, CBS, MSNBC, CBC, and news articles like Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, Knight Ridder, The Baltimore Sun, and The Washington Post. I had to stop and think "this is pretty damn neat and remarkable!"

Maybe it is just me reliving a moment in time where we got our 5mins of fame.. Perhaps 20mins. But I think the main thing that strikes me is how much we accomplished and did with so little and just with coordinating so many people. It made me think of all the hard times and good times of making "Revelations" and all the wonderful friends and contacts I made doing the film. It made me miss them, but I had to smile when I started to think about them and how I was hoping they are all doing well and living the dream. Some are.

As I watched and looked at all we did, like the huge premiere of "Revelations", I will never forget that moment, I really stated to get that itch and energy again where I am about ready to take another huge gulp of air and jump again into a new project.
You see once I decided to do something, I simple go into 'Do' mode and everyone better get out of the way or come along for the ride. If my mind is made up and I commit then I lean forward to go to the end. It's only then at that point to I see what I accomplished.
The funny thing is that I just finished a film, "Pitching Lucas" a little over a month ago, and I guess I have had enough down time from that.

I was also burning some DVDs of the BTS of "Revelations" to send to a contact, and so when I burn a new disk I put it in the player to test it and make sure it works. The next thing I know I am sitting at my desk with my feet propped up, sucked in and watching the whole disk. I saw all the old cast and crew again. My CG team, sound team, the costumers, the writers, everyone and it was like opening an old scrap book, but with moving pictures. Again I had to smile and I so want to work with those people again, and more new people. It's fine to revisit what you have done, but I don't want to be some old man who is always showing his grandkids “see back in the day I made this one film and boy look at what I did" and that is all I ever did. I don’t want to be that guy, so it might be time to get going again.. I just hope I have the energy, and let's not even think about the money. Eh, money. That's the one card I do not have yet to completely separate myself from the bullshit distributors, fast talking studio producers, sleek salesmen, and hangers on looking to make money from your hard work while you get nothing.
That's the way it is guys. Whoever has the gold makes the rules. I also like the quote "wherever the gold is, so will the jackals lie"

Anyway.. If you want, you guys can go take a look at some of the past year events and press and see what you think. I found it kind of cool to visit. PAST MEDIA/ PRESS COVERAGE

Monday, July 03, 2006

STAR WARS FILMS "PITCHING LUCAS" VOTE NOW. ONLY 2 DAYS LEFT!

If you haven't yet gone to vote or checked out the 2006 Atom Film Star Wars film conest, be sure to head over and vote! Your chance to vote and support ends this July 5th.


Be sure to check out or new film "Pitching Lucas" which is in the contest and vote if you like it. We appreciate the support. Once voting has ended we will wait to see who wins July 20th at ComicCon in San Diego.

VOTE NOW