Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day 3 of Austin 2012 - Breaking In from Way Outside and Pixar's Story Rules...

There's always at least one panel in Austin on the thorny issue of Breaking Into Hollywood when you live in Boise, Idaho. Or Dublin, Ireland. Or Canada. And if it's not that, it's a panel on How to Get an Agent.

And I always wonder whether to go to these panels, because more often than not the subtext running through them is: Folks, you're screwed. They can be depressing. And as a writer, I don't need another depressing fact, I need hope, damn it!

But nevertheless, I figured I should drink the medicine at least once this year, so I went to the Breaking Into Hollywood from Outside one.

The panellists were TV (including Bones) and film writer/novelist Noah Hawley and TV writer Kell Cahoon, who lives in Austin. Here were their nuggets of wisdom on how to succeed in Hollywood from very far away:

  • When you get a chance to submit something to someone in Hollywood, make sure to bring your A-game. You might only get one chance to get it right. So prepare by getting good at pitching, honing your craft and managing your industry relationships.

  • Bu nice to assistants! Right now, they're powerful gatekeepers. Next year, they could be an producer, agent or executive in their own right. (I would add to this: be nice to people in general. Seriously. Imagine if everyone just stopped behaving like dicks? It would be a wonderful world and there would be no more road rage or reality TV.... ).

  • Remember, you're looking for open assignments too. So even if they don't like your script enough to buy it, they might like your writing style. And you. So be charming and polite.

  • A fact I did not know - apparently the WGA assign experienced writers to guide newbie writers when they join. It's a sort of mentoring scheme. I hope to have one of these mentors v. soon!

  • Catch 22 - writers often find it hard to access work as assistants, but staffed writers find it hard to find good assistants, especially at short notice. It's all about who you know, so use your social network! Exploit every contact you have, no matter how remote a chance it may seem. And check out this site - the Anonymous Production Assistant blog. Lots of job listings on there. Although if you're me, or Canadian, you may be fresh out of luck. Keep reading!

  • Older writers - your good script sample is your best weapon. Plus, life experience does count for a lot. If you have a writers room staffed with only twentysomething writers, you're going to have a very narrow viewpoint.

  • Indie films provide a route in that studio films and TV do not. Shoot your own movies. Make your own short films. You can do this from anywhere.

  • An important point - once you have your foot through the door, you have to follow through. So if your agent gets you a meeting in L.A., no matter where you live, you have to go there and attend the meeting! Hollywood types don't want to hear about "problems" with travel/kids/elderly parents/bosses. They have to contend with smog, traffic, angry people, the imminent prospect of being fired and the San Andreas fault.

  • This was a big one - don't take anything personally. This includes someone saying no to your script, your show getting cancelled, your movie going into turnaround, all of it. It's a business, so take the pitfalls in your stride and move on. Be tenacious. Just keep going.


I quite liked this panel. Unlike most of its kind, it did not make me want to commit hari-kiri with my Final Draft disk.

And last, but not least, there was a panel led by former Pixar story artist Emma Coats on her internet-famous Story Rules. These are basically 22 "rules" or pieces of advice based on working at Pixar, most recently on the film Brave. Emma's now shooting her own live-action shorts, including the outlaw story Sweetpea (which sounds amazing!).

The 22 rules are listed in this rather excellent Huffington Post interview with Emma, so I won't list them again here.

However, here was what emerged as Emma and her writing partner Shion Takeuchi went through the list:

  • These are not "rules" as such, but a distillation of what they have found to be true so far.

  • Know your ending (this relates to rule 7) because otherwise things will need to be retro-fitted to suit it. If you have a scene in the second act that you really love but doesn't suit your ending, it's going to be hard to get rid of it.

  • Even if you feel a scene is working great, ask yourself if an audience would want to watch it? It needs to be something that a LOT of people are going to be entertained by.

  • Writing "from you" - with Brave, the challenge was that no one can relate to being a princess. But people CAN relate to the idea of having to live an over-structured life with too many restrictions. Find what's relatable in your character.

  • The first set of sequences in your script will be the most rewritten. You should use this section to set up anticipation in the audience for what's going to happen later.

  • Act 2 problems (and is there anyone who doesn't have these?) usually happen because there is no clear midpoint. You have to use trial and error to find your "turn". Where does the story peak? Emma used a good analogy, which is poker. With the inciting incident in your script, you're "in" for a small amount, say 2 dollars. By the first half of Act 1, you get further and further in, throwing in dollar after dollar. By the midpoint, you're "all in" and there's no going back. So when in your story does your hero reach the point of no return? That's your midpoint.

  • When rewriting, be careful of remnants left over from old drafts, stuff that's no longer relevant. Ask yourself when faced with older material if it should still be there or if it should be cut altogether.

  • When writing a script about a fantastical world, the hero is usually the person who is the most naive, has the most to lose in the context of the theme, or who has the most to learn. They are the eyes of the audience.

  • Pixar storyboarding for characters - a lot of it does not get used, but it helps to form the story and makes the characters come to life (this is similar to writing bios for your characters, which I highly recommend). Ask yourself how your character deals with conflict? How do they get out of doing stuff they don't want to do?

  • The "honeymoon phase" when you've just finished a script isn't real. Just like with relationships. You have to get past it! Push past it if necessary.

  • One of Emma's rules deals with "getting the obvious out of the way". Look past the first, second and third things that come to mind and see if you can come up with something more "out there". Something you haven't seen before. This is similar to writing sketches, where you're asked to come up with 25 things that could happen in your scene. This will range from the mundane to the absurd. (Go with the absurd, at least for sketch writing!)

  • With script ideas, get someone who is not attached to your idea and run it past them. Run it past plenty of people and see how enthusiastic they are - this will give you a hint of whether it's a good concept or not.

  • If a bunch of people are saying the same thing about your script and something that needs to be changed, maybe it needs to be changed. Look at deleted scenes on DVDs - in some cases they may be good scenes, but you probably didn't miss them in the movie.

  • Test new ideas out - you owe it to your story to try things. Usually, the changes will be better.


I found this session really helpful, especially avoiding the obvious and the idea of finding your midpoint by looking for the point of no return. Thanks to Emma and Shion, and looking forward to seeing Sweetpea!

And then it was done. Except it wasn't, because I didn't go home until Wednesday 24th. So there was another two days of talking and partying and meeting up with people. There was an excellent martini lunch (thank Yolanda!) and a visit to the majestic Alamo Ritz movie theatre, where you can order food and beer at your seat and NO ONE TALKS. You get shot if you talk, it's Texas.

There was a last party on Tuesday before I went home and unusually, there was still an impressive number of conference attendees still around. I'm ashamed to say that I only got to catch one bunch of short films (all amazing). I did not manage to see one feature at AFF this year, and there were some good ones. Oh well, next time!

My plane was delayed coming back because some guy called Barack Obama was landing his little plane at LAX so he could go on some talk show. Tsk.

I'll update over the next few days on what's been happening since I got back to L.A., but in the meantime, a big, concerned hallo to everyone I know on the East Coast. Stay safe, people!

 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Austin 2 - The Return (to the Panels)

Saturday at this year's AFF kicked off with the hangover from hell for pretty much everyone and - thankfully - a panel on improv comedy. I've been doing courses in L.A. on both improv and comedy sketch writing, so this session was right up my street.

The panel members were (Paul Feig, director of Bridesmaids and creator of Freaks and Geeks), TV and film comedy writer Jeff Lowell, writer/comedian Dan French and producer Kent Alterman.

Paul Feig admitted that he likes to cast actors from an improv background, maintaining that the difference between those who can improvise and those who can't can be like night and day. Most of the cast in Bridesmaids were improv vets, leading to a lot of cross-shooting so that all the off-the-cuff stuff could be captured. You have to have the confidence (as director) to roll with the material that comes up in the rehearsal room.

However - the panel agreed that the movie has to work even if none of the cast are comfortable improvising. It's just the icing on the cake.

As to "what is improv really about?", they agreed that it was not about being the funniest person in the room, but about finding the truth in the comedy. And this means trusting your fellow improvisers.

Jeff Powell made an important point, which is that there must be some structure. You can't just arrive on a set and plan to improvise something in a vague way. For example, there's no script on Curb Your Enthusiasm. But they have a detailed outline to base the comedy on. Without a plan, your cast and your story will descend into chaos.

If you're writing for people who are not actors (or who aren't GOOD actors), find out where their natural strengths are and concentrate on those. Temper the script to them.

In terms of improv techniques for writers, ask yourself, "If this is true for my character, what else is true?". Heighten their situation as much as you can. See if you can find what the most insane thing is that could happen next.

Another tip - and I've already found this to be true in sketch writing - is be specific in improv. Don't say hot sauce, make it Chipotle hot sauce (or some other particular brand). And don't be afraid of using words that "sound" funny to enhance your comedy. People really react to these.

Paul Feig admitted that using improv had really freed him up. He said he used to be a writer who went crazy when someone wanted to change his scripts, but now he was much more relaxed about it. Also a piece of gossip - he's cast internet star Spoken Reasons in his new movie The Heat (which looks BRILLIANT btw)...

The other panel I found really useful on Saturday was "Heroes and Villains", with Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses), Jenny Lumet (Rachel Getting Married) and Paul Feig again. That guy got around!

Here was some of their chat on what makes good heroes and villains. I should say that this was a really great session, partly because Jenny Lumet in particular is whip-smart and super well-informed. She knows her Shakespeare, Milton etc. so she was able to talk about even unlikely characters like Tony Montana in relation to them!

Heroes:

Underdogs are great. Paul Feig said he loved The Avengers but couldn't relate to the characters because they're all uber-heroes. Jenny Lumet said she likes people who have convinced themselves that they are telling the truth, who may be at their least heroic. Aline McKenna's opinion was that Bridesmaids made it okay for female characters to be flawed. Kristen Wiig's character is a loser who continues to make bad choices throughout the story, yet she's the heroine!

On the other hand, what if the story had been told from Melissa McCarthy's point of view? It's often worth taking your secondary characters and trying to imagine how they would see the story.

Anti-Heroes

Lumet - The Godfather is full of anti-heroes. And Hercules - the original Greek myth is much better, because he's doing all his trials to atone for horrible crimes he's committed.

Feig - As George Bernard Shaw said, "All men mean well". Even someone like Tony Montana in Scarface has an initially laudable goal, to live the American dream.

Lumet - What if Juliet did not kill herself after she finds Romeo dead? Would this change how we view her? And are we closer to Iago than Othello, because we understand his impulses, what drives him? Tony Montana wants what he sees on TV. And so do we, so we know why he makes the choices he does. It's great to watch this character grow from a small boy and embark on this journey that's ultimately going to lead to his downfall.

McKenna - In the Seventies, it was de-rigeur to have an anti-hero main character, even in pretty pedestrian movies. Whereas in later movies like Pretty Woman, they try to sugarcoat as much as possible that she's a hooker! Now, it's starting to come back around, especially on TV where you have great anti-hero leads on shows like Breaking Bad and Mad Men.

Villains

McKenna - Miranda Priestly (Streep's character in Devil Wears Prada) is genuinely perplexed about why other people are "so incompetent". She feels besieged. Like, she's excellent at what she does, so why can't everyone else be, too? The fact that she doesn't see herself as a bad guy means that she never becomes a cartoony villain.

Feig - Similarly, in Bridesmaids Rose Byrne's character is operating from the best place. She's trying to save her friend's wedding from this crazy head bridesmaid!

Lumet - Your bad guy should see himself as a hero. That's what makes a great villain. With a movie like Scarface, Tony Montana IS his own antagonist. Sure, he has outside forces attacking him, but it's mainly him. By the end of the movie, he's achieved what he wanted, but at what cost?

So basically - have a flawed hero and make sure your villain sees themselves as the one in the right! (The latter point in particular makes huge sense to me, and I'll be using it in each and every script from now on...)

That was Saturday in terms of panels. There were more parties to go to, more people to talk to and more beer with my name on it.

Every time I go to AFF, I'm struck by how many clever, witty and creative people are beavering away all over the world, all the time, working on scripts that may never get made, specs that might never get sold. As someone said, it's like training to be a doctor, with no expectation that you'll ever be able to practice.

But once a year, the writer is king - and that's what makes Austin THE go-to festival. I was talking to another writer at one point and asked him what sort of stuff he writes. He listed off a bunch of movies - at which stage I realised that I was talking not to another rookie writer, but to the guy behind Red, Battleship and Whiteout. You have to be careful at this festival!

Back tomorrow with a round-up of Sunday....

Austin 2012 - Part One. Pitching challenges, parties and Terry Rossio on Revisions...

I've been putting off blogging for a few days, partly because there is so much to write (arrggghh!!) and also because it's been crazy since I got back from Austin. But now I'm determined to get this blogging shit back on track!

First of all, a big thumbs up and best of luck to Chas Fisher, an Australian writer/director who I met up with over the last few weeks. He has an excellent blog here, which covers his projects and his recent trip to the States. Basically, Chas attempted to do in 3 weeks what I've been trying to do in 3 months, and he managed to do a scary (but impressive) amount of stuff while he was here. Have a look - his schedule was pretty busy, but it's an inspiration!

So, Austin. Going to AFF this year was kind of weird because a. I've always gone there from Ireland before and b. it's usually been the ONLY time I have to meet people in the U.S. industry. So it was strange going there from L.A., having spent a few months meeting industry types.

This did make me a bit more chilled-out about the whole thing, but it has to be said too, there weren't AS many reps or producers there this time round. At least, that was how it felt. I must get my old AFF festivals programs when I get home and see if my suspicions are correct. There was a different, less career-desperate vibe. People actually relaxed and went out to chat and get hammered.

There were a lot of other writers there, though, both famous and not-at-all famous. And to be honest, the reps tend to show up and split early anyway, in case some writer should actually ask them to represent them ;)

I arrived in Austin on the Wednesday and spent the first night saying hallo to a few familiar faces and availing of the 2 for 1 hamburger deal at Huts. I highly recommend Huts, even if you have just the one burger - they're excellent.

Thursday, my friend Frank kindly took me to The Salt Lick, an Austin barbecue institution that's about 30 minutes outside town. I'd never been there before cos I'm too chicken to drive in Texas, but that hadn't stopped me featuring Th' Lick in a screenplay I wrote set in Austin. It was a big relief to get there and see that it really was just like I'd pictured it. They have the best barbecue meat I've ever tasted, and their sauce is to die for (not literally).

I should have had an early night and practiced my pitch, for I was pitching the next morning. But I'm not that sensible a girl. So instead I went to the Driskill Bar and talked for hours, then went to two parties. I'm ashamed to say that I only went back to the hotel when a (very sensible) friend heard I was pitching the next day and grabbed the wine glass out of my hand. Thanks Cathy!

I was pitching Last Girl Standing, a script that reached the top 10% in this year's AFF screenwriting competition. The pitch on Friday morning actually went well in that I managed to finish it in 90 seconds and did not have any blips in delivery. The problem was - and it's amazing how hard it is to see this yourself - that it was all set-up and no meat! All Act 1 and not enough Act 2. And especially in a comedy, where all the funny bits are in Act 2, this is a disaster.

The two judges - Amy Talkington and Pamela Ribon - gave me some great tips on how to improve it and were generally lovely. The other pitch contenders were also the friendliest I've ever come across at AFF and some of them are people I know I'll be in contact with for a long time. A shout-out to the poor guy with the massive head cold who had to pitch despite being smothered. That was brave!

Then it was into Terry Rossio's second annual workshop on Revisions. Last year's workshop taught me a ton so I had high hopes for this one.

The big note that he stresses again and again is: Believe your script can get better. Don't settle when it's "okay" or even "good". Aim for "great"!

Here was the main gist of his advice during the session - I hope some of it helps you as much as it's helped me:

  • Your scene doesn't start until your character's "want" is revealed. Or until the situational dilemma is understood.

  • You have an opening image, a key moment and a "throw" (or transition). Figure out what these are, protect them and enhance them.

  • A scene ideally exists to make a single story point. Character points are not the same - a scene can have any number of these. But any more than one story point and things are going to get confusing.

  • With performance dialogue, the shorter the better. Silence between words provides an opportunity for the actors. Too many words restricts them.

  • Actors also hate question marks as it locks them into a rising vocal. Try to make questions into statements if you can - it's stronger anyway.

  • What he was going through with us was polishing your script - he advises doing a rough draft, leaving it for a while, then rewriting. Rinse and repeat. Then he reads the script several times and when nothing jumps out or feels awkward, when it reads perfectly, then and only then is it done.


Terry showed us his desktop on the big screen and how it's laid out. He advises giving each screenwriting project a unique icon, even a drawing or image that you've done specially for it. Somehow, it helps him "will" his projects into existence!

He writes in sequences with his partner, and showed us the 36 sequences for their latest script. They're color-coded, with the red ones being unfinished, the yellow ones totally completed, etc.

The other really fascinating thing he showed us were pitch materials he and Ted Eliott use with their script pitches in conjunction with their story board. These included drawings, other artwork, even a full animation that they commissioned to give the execs the right feel for their story. As he pointed out, your competition will be doing this stuff, so you should too!

As I said, last year's session was fascinating and this year's was just as good. Terry went through a few people's script excerpts on screen and once again, "re-wrote" them. You learn a huge amount just by watching him do his thing, and the effort he puts into making things perfect is massive.

Then it was into roundtables, with mostly TV writers. Now, I'm thinking of writing something for TV, but like (I suspect) a lot of writers back home, I don't have any TV specs. So this session was right up my street.

TV writer Christine Boylan advised us to write both an original TV pilot AND a TV spec.

Her advice:

Don't worry about it being produce-able, write what you want to see on TV. What show is just not being made, but should be? They're looking for a unique voice, so write something that will get the execs' attention.

Do 6-10 sample scripts for follow-on episodes. But mainly, have a clear idea for what's going to happen during the rest of the series.

Break down episodes of existing TV shows and try to establish what's happening. How are they structured?

Comedy writer Paul Simms advised us to look at each scene and ask ourselves: if you took out all the jokes, would it still work as a drama?

TV is more absurd than real life, so if you're basing your show on real-life experiences, you're going to have to heighten them a bit. Don't make them TOO realistic.

He said some wise words - write every day, especially when you don't feel inspired. As with jogging, skipping days is fatal! (As a runner, I can unfortunately confirm this is true).

When pitching your show, keep it short and stick to the most important details. Try and find some way to get the execs involved, get them inspired by your idea. The more questions they're asking, the better.

We also met a film writer (who will remain nameless) whose script was recently made into a hard-hitting film, but only after the script was butchered and rewritten by the director. It then bombed at the box office, which should be a lesson to that studio (but probably won't be). This is sadly a story I hear every time I go to AFF! Hollywood, firing the writer will NOT fix the script!

Friday night, there was a barbecue at the French Legation that was as good as always and  a crazy party at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse that led to a LOT of hangover the next day. The less said the better!!!

I'll update tomorrow and Wednesday with what transpired on the Saturday and Sunday and since I got back to L.A. - there's more, much more...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Film Festivals, reps and Texas barbecue...

So since I last updated, I've been to two more movie festivals (which I think makes 7 or 8 since I got to L.A.) - namely the LA Femme Film Festival, which concentrates on films made by or focussing on women, and the Bel Air Film Festival.

In both cases, I saw some really good packages of short films. But I'm gonna single out Bel Air because a. the screenings took place on the gorgeous UCLA campus and b. my friend's friend's short movie Atonal is brilliant. If it's showing at a festival near you, go see it. The performances in it are just outstanding and it looks amazing.

Apart from that, there's been a fair amount of going out on the razz and not a lot of networking. But all that's gonna change over the next 3 days cos I'm in Austin, Texas for this year's AFF. Bring on the talking, the parties, the panels and the people.

What makes this year even sweeter is that my script Last Girl Standing got to the Second Round of the festival's screenwriting competition, so I'm able to go to more events, got a discount off my ticket etc.

I've had some luck recently with representation - currently three management companies and one agent in L.A. are reading my work. But I'd like to meet more agents and managers face to face, and this festival - informal, access all areas - is perfect for that.

I'll update next week, by which time I'll have no voice left and will be so fat from eating barbecue (I'm even going to the notorious Salt Lick tomorrow) that they'll have to roll me onto the plane...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Scary Irish films, Hollywood bashes, sketch writing and fire stunts...

A lot's happened in the 10 days since I last posted. I went to a few L.A. Irish screenings over the weekend of 28-30 September, among them Citadel and a clutch of really good Irish shorts. Citadel is absolutely terrifying, centering on an agoraphobic young father who's trapped with his baby daughter in the council tower block from hell. It's enough to put fear of hoodies into you for life, let's put it that way.

Its director Ciaran Foy spoke passionately during a Q&A afterwards about his own crippling agoraphobia, which was caused by a motiveless street attack when he was in his late teens.

During his recovery, he was told by a therapist that street thugs can literally pick people out of a crowd who've been victims of violence before, which is why people who've been assaulted once are more likely to be targeted again (scary idea, right?). Foy uses this idea of being a victim and being able to "see" fear to totally chilling effect in the movie. Citadel is easily one of the best horrors I've seen in years - go and see it when it comes out, but bring something to hide behind...

There's even a happy ending - writing the script (although a traumatic experience), helped Ciaran Foy put his own attack behind him once and for all.

And there was a happy ending for me too, sort of. A guy in the next row turned around as I was telling my cinema companion about my scripts and offered to read my work. Turns out he's an assistant at a management company. That's what L.A. is all about - right place, right time...

Kudos to Lisa McLoughlin, the festival director, for putting on such a great festival and for making us Irish look good...

Also this week, I went to my first proper, all-glam Hollywood party. Empire Magazine were doing a U.S. launch of their magazine and had a party at the Sunset Towers on Sunset Boulevard. I borrowed a fancy dress and a pair of heels from my flatmate (this girl has the best designer shoe wardrobe on the planet) and went along.

This was the stereotypical bash you've seen in so many movies - a red carpet, free booze flowing, a swimming pool, a gorgeous night-time view of the Hollywood valley. And stars - Michael Bay, Jeremy Renner, David Fincher, Brett Ratner, Joe Manganiello, to name but a few. There were loads of Brits, as you'd expect, and they pounded the bar like me as the Americans showed incredible restraint and nursed a single glass.

It was a top night. I was talking to two guys from Sky Movies at one point, who were in L.A. to do some celebrity interviews. They were mega excited about being there and it reminded me why it's GREAT to be here, why I shouldn't get complacent or lazy about it for a second.

Thursday, I had a meeting with a manager referred by a friend. He's a very nice chap, very  interesting, and the meeting seemed to go well (it was in a coffee shop, so it was more of an informal chat). He's reading my scripts, can't say any more than that for now.

On Saturday, I went to my first sketch writing class at Groundling performer and writer Sean Hogan's house. There were seven other writers, mostly female, which was refreshing!

Sean is an extremely nice guy as well as being one of those people who's just funny without having to try very hard. His advice on writing sketches is just as useful for someone like me who's writing comedy features, as one scene in a comedy film could be written the same way as a sketch and a lot of the same beats apply.

Here's what we've learned so far:

  • Always carry something with you to record ideas or little fragments of ideas.

  • Do "morning pages" to get the creative juices flowing. As soon as you wake up, grab a notebook and write 3 pages of anything at all. Do it fast. Don't correct anything. And never read your morning pages - they're just to get you motoring.

  • A sketch is 4 pages (or minutes) with a 3 act structure. The first act (couple of lines) sets up the who, what and where. The second act (the meat of the sketch) is the premise where the funny character or situation emerges. And the third act is the ending - it's funny and it wraps things up.

  • A sketch writer needs to think of a normal situation and then put a bizarre or ironic twist on it. For example, a fireman who is also a pyromaniac. A cheese shop, but there's not one speck of cheese. What if there was a self defence class, and in it was a man who attacks people?

  • Once you have your idea, write a list of 25 examples of things that could happen. Some of these will be terrible - it doesn't matter. Leave it a few hours, then pick out your best 5 - they will form the basis for Act 2. Then you just need your what, who and where and your ending...


I'll write more once I've tried this - we have to write a sketch this week and submit them by Friday so they can be PERFORMED during next Saturday's class. Gulp...

Later on Saturday I went to a beer-tasting party held by a girl from my improv class. She's a stuntwoman, so I met (not surprisingly) a lot of other stunt performers at it as well as well as a bunch of other industry people. I now know more about fire and car stunts than I ever dreamed I would - let's just say the 100% burn guys sound like they earn their money. Great party and an example again of how nice people are here. I didn't know a single person there except the hostess, and was made to feel really welcome.

And then lastly for this week, I went to an album launch party last night at the W Hotel for Daniel Bedingfield (remember him?). My memory was that he went from being super-cool to being untouchable in the U.K. over night - the fickle press! Anyway, he can certainly sing, and when he performed Gotta Get Thru This the crowd went mental. I didn't see any other famous people there apart from one Backstreet Boy...

This week, I'll be going to the L.A. Femme festival (film festival with a female slant) and gearing up for Austin, which is next week. Gotta get my pitches ready...