Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Good news and bad news

Experience tells me if you give someone a choice, they always want the bad news first. So …

There’s no way “Out Here In Kansas” is going to ready in time for the Tallgrass Film Festival this fall.

I’m disappointed in that, because I’ve been a Tallgrass fan since its inception, and I once met its late founder, and it’s local and … well, being in Tallgrass was just one of our goals.

So what’s the holdup?

Well, that’s the good news. There have been a couple of developments, as far as people wanting to be involved in the movie. You’ll recognize the names. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Our narrator is in town

We reached another milestone today, as our narrator finished his part of "Out Here In Kansas." If you're not a regular reader of this blog, the narrator is my Uncle Brad, who has done countless commercials, television shows and movies over the years.
This was a big relief. The words looked good in the screenplay I'd written, but I couldn't be completely confident until I heard them spoken by him. Fortunately, they were just as I'd pictured them in my head. Most of them, anyway. I did a little re-writing on the fly. Like the professionals they are, Uncle Brad and editor Kenny were patient with the process, and none of us left until we were all happy. (Except for these photos, but I blame our iPhones.)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

It was just as exciting as it looks

Here's a picture of Kenny at U.S. Highway 77 and 142nd by Winfield, waiting for a semi to cross in front of his shot.
When one finally did, I gave the trucker the age-old fist-pumping symbol, trying to get him to honk his air horn.
And he did. Good times.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Love to be Jinxed

Kenny and I had a full afternoon Thursday, spending most of it at Southwestern College in Winfield. That's where the main character of our documentary, Burt Humburg, played football for four seasons and came out of the closet his senior year.
I always loved covering games at Southwestern as a sportswriter. The place has so much character. The Moundbuilders have some cool traditions, the best of which is their unofficial mascot, a black cat who lives in the gymnasium. (Here's a picture of Jinx himself, greeting us upon our arrival.)
The whole purpose of yesterday was to collect more B roll for the film. We got plenty. Most of it was outside, and it was in the mid-90s. Thank goodness for Moundbuilders basketball coach Matt O'Brien, who gave us a couple of cold bottled waters from his office.
So thanks to him, and the fine folks at Southwestern, and my mom. On the way home, Kenny and I made a little detour out to my parents' house for a fantastic lasagna dinner. She's always good like that.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Kenny's back

Kenny Linn, our film editor extraordinaire, has spent the last few days in Greensboro, N.C., participating in The 48 Hour Film Project. You can see his team's submission here.
There were 30 teams in North Carolina, and it won't be known until next month where "Hell On Hells" placed. You may recall Kenny was part of the team that won the Tallgrass Film Festival's 24-hour "Down To The Wire" competition last month.
Speaking of North Carolina, our narrator flies in to do his speaking part for us this weekend.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Our new business manager

A couple days ago I mentioned our new business manager. Her name is Leah Ford, and she's actually been a friend of our team since the beginning. Here she is pictured with Jon Pic on one of our trips to Topeka earlier this year.
When discussing the film, Leah often mentions a quote from Margaret J. Wheatley: "You can't hate somebody whose story you know." That's a great quote. And Leah, who met through Leadership Butler and got to know through my brother-in-law's church, is a great addition.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Writing away

Well, I'm at a quiet-but-busy point in the film making process.
Our editor Kenny is is Greensboro, N.C., participating in The 48 Hour Film Project.
Our narrator is flying in to do his thing at the end of the month. Jon Pic, who does so many things it's hard to give him a title, is working on illustrations.
Our final shoot in Iowa is on hold until I can get things worked out with the hospital in which Burt works.
In the meantime, our new business manager has charged me with several tasks - not the least of which is visiting with a representative from the Tallgrass Film Festival, which I did earlier today.
But the No. 1 thing on that list is to complete the screenplay by the time Kenny gets back July 19. There's a lot of moving parts here, but I think that's doable. To write screenplays, by the way, I use software called Final Draft, which I highly recommend, if you're into that sort of thing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Burt and me

Last week a reporter asked me how my relationship with Burt had evolved over the years. And it made me think.
When Burt and I met, we were both in our 20s. He’s accomplished great things since then – not the least of which is becoming a physician. But his personality has pretty much stayed the same and I guess mine has, too. I have a great deal of fondness and admiration for Burt. As any one of his parents, friends, coaches, teachers or colleagues will tell you, Burt won’t hesitate to question you if he feels something can be done better.
But I don’t take that personally. I can’t. I’m just so thankful Burt signed up to do this. I’m fortunate he’s been generous with his time and resources, especially when it comes to arranging his travel schedule just to meet us for a shoot or whatever. He’s not asked for a single ounce of editorial input. In fact, he hasn’t asked for anything. He’s invested a lot simply because of his faith in me to tell his story, and that’s an honor. Truly.

Monday, July 6, 2015

'Know ye not that you are peculiar people'

That's a passage Burt threw out during one of our interviews and I have to admit, I wasn't quite sure what it meant. He was describing his childhood, and in particular the way he was brought up.
"You're supposed to be not of this world," he went on to explain. "You're supposed to be reading the Bible when all your other friends are watching movies or checking out comic books or trading baseball cards ..."
I don't think I've mentioned it on this blog, but Burt's knowledge of the Bible is impressive. While kids his age were in children's church, he and his brother were sitting in the regular service with adults. That's where he was taught at an early age that being gay was a sin. And that's why he suppressed his gay feelings until he was well into his 20s.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Guess I told him

As we were looking through more footage yesterday, Kenny said it would be a good idea for us to capture some B roll of a farmer harvesting wheat. There's an image that's unique to hard-working, Christian-value Kansas, right?
"When do they harvest wheat?" Kenny said.
I just shrugged my shoulders and thought back to my high school days of attending the Harvest Home Festival. "August?" I guessed.
Kenny made a couple of calls, and I decided to put a call out on Facebook, which led to this exchange. Last I saw it, my response had 10 likes and counting. High five!