Shootout + Early Bird = Dead Bird?--This summer, Albuquerque will play host to the 8th Annual Duke City Shootout. The idea of this script-to-screen film festival is to cast, shoot, edit and premiere a short film in just seven days. Organizers of this year’s festival are currently beating the bushes looking for quality scripts of 12 minutes or less. If Duke City chooses your script, you’ll get transportation to Albuquerque (not such a big deal for you locals) and help making your short film. The festival provides cast, crew, digital cameras, equipment, mentors and everything else needed to make your movie a reality. The early bird deadline for scripts is Monday, April 16. You can save five whole bucks on your entry fee if you submit your script by then. If you can’t get it done in time, the final deadline is May 11. This year, prizes for the best completed films will include screenwriting courses valued up to $1,300 from Writer’s Boot Camp and software from Movie Magic. The festival itself will take place July 20-28. For more information about submitting your hot little script for the Shootout, log on to www.dukecityshootout.com.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Writers rarely make good subjects for film. They’re too insulated, too self-centered and can rarely be considered men of action (Hemingway aside). Liars, on the other hand, are fine cinematic protagonists. Liars are interesting and complex and frequently quite outgoing. And when you think about it, there’s a rather fine line between writing and lying. It’s the job of writers--those penning fiction, anyway--to make things up. Consequently, people shouldn’t be too shocked to find out that even journalists occasionally fabricate their stories. Tales of disgraced journalists like Janet Cooke, Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass should come as no surprise to readers who demand more and more sensational stories on their front pages.
It’s not surprising to find that documentary filmmaking--covering concepts from penguins to politics--is in the midst of a major renaissance. Considering that 70 percent (charitably) of Hollywood features are poorly made, profit-minded pabulum (from conception to completion), documentaries represent America’s last best chance of finding intelligent discourse, skillful cinematography and a near total absence of fart jokes. ... OK, so The Aristocrats might have slipped in one or two of those.
Clear the decks, people, it’s upfront season! In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s that nerve-wracking time of year when the broadcast television networks start greenlighting pilots for the fall season, hammer out their schedules and decide what will and will not be returning in 2007-08.
“Happy Birthday, Elton” (KASY-50 7 p.m.) MyNetworkTV tries to add a little star power, hosting a celebrity-interview-and-concert-footage-filled birthday salute to Elton John.
“30 Rock” (KOB-4 7:30 p.m.) NBC’s increasingly funny sitcom returns with a guest appearance by Will Arnett, the former “Arrested Development” star who’s currently adding laughs to Blades of Glory.