Director Paul Bright Chats With INFLUX Magazine

Reprinted from INFLUX Magazine

by Randy Krinsky

This Memorial Day weekend, I’ll be attending Comicpalooza – The Texas International Comic Con, probably the largest four-day pop-culture event in Texas.  This year’s convention includes more than 2,000 hours of programming comprising science fiction, fantasy, sports, video games, technology, role-playing games, music, film, television, and comic books.  Guests include artists, actors, athletes, authors, gamers, and musicians from a whole range of genres.  Some of the headliners include Academy Award-nominee Jeremy Renner (Avengers: Age of Ultron, American Hustle, The Hurt Locker), Colbie Smulders (Avengers: Age of Ultron, How I Met Your Mother), Hayley Atwell (Agent CarterCaptain America: The First Avenger), Chloe Bennet (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and Summer Glau (FireflySerenity).

Other notable guests will include comic book legend Stan Lee, George Takei (Star Trek), and many of the cast members from the hit television show, Gotham.  Additionally, Comicpalooza has brought in a slew of independent filmmakers such as Paul Bright, Amir Valinia, Michelle Mower, Mel House, Joe Grisaffi, Larry Wade Carrell, and Jackie Earle Haley. The day before the show started, I had the opportunity to sit down with film director Paul Bright.  Besides screening many of his previous films over the weekend, Paul has chosen to premiere his new film, Long Term Parking, at this year’s Comicpalooza.  He will also be participating in some panels over the course of the weekend highlighting the basics of independent filmmaking.  As the writer, director, producer, and editor of all his films, he is distinctively qualified to help a new generation of aspiring filmmakers. After a pleasant conversation about the uniqueness of southern sweet tea, Sonic Drive-In ice, living on all coasts, as well as the benefits of growing your own farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, we got down to a interesting discussion about his career and films

Randy Krinsky: There’s a lot of buzz around here today over the premiere of your new film, Long Term Parking.

Paul Bright: Well, great!  Cool, yeah, I’m delighted that it’s coming here to Comicpalooza.

RK: I read that you got your start  in the business when you ran a theater company.  How did you make the transition to features?

PB: I was growing up in Los Angeles. I was discovered as an actor at sixteen, and it was really a discovery.  I wasn’t looking for it and an agent actually found me and started sending me to auditions. I got hired right away, and at that time I was primarily shooting commercials.  So, I stayed in Los Angeles until I was twenty-three, and all I’d ever done in my life was acting; being in front of the camera.  I didn’t have any other real world experiences.  But I decided I didn’t want to stay within the Hollywood culture because I didn’t really like the way the Hollywood culture treats people.

RK: I’ve heard that quite a bit.

PB: So, then I moved all over the country trying to discover what else I could do with myself that would be fulfilling. In my mid-30s, I was living in Lockhart, Texas.  There was a community theater in Lockhart, and they were doing things like “Little Women” and Neil Simon comedies.  I volunteered for that, and, you know, bless their hearts, they’re sweet people, but at that time, the artistic director had never actually seen a play. So after a year of volunteering for them, some of the other people in that theater came with me and we started another theater two blocks up the street, in a town of 10000 people.  So now there are two theater companies!  What we wanted to do with our theater company, which I ran for three years, was to bring in plays that had just closed on Broadway, that had just been published.  I was bringing in stuff that I thought was higher intellectually; challenging stuff.  So we were doing avant-garde theater, we were doing controversial plays; hard-hitting gritty stuff, not family theater. Our audiences weren’t coming from Lockhart, they were coming from Austin, San Marcos, and Bastrop, and from all around.  So we were drawing in people from a big area.  After three years, I realized that there was no way, because there were no corporations in Lockhart, there was no real way to get corporate funding. I also realized that we were putting out ten to eleven productions a year; I figured in one year’s time, I could make a feature film that ultimately more people would see than in a full season of shows.  So I resigned from the theater and they, a couple of years later, merged back in with the old community theater so they could do “Little Women” again.  But unfortunately they took my theater name and merged it with the community theater, and I was like, “why did you do that!”

Anyway, So I made a feature film. I had no idea if anyone would ever see it.  It turns out it sold extremely well for that niche, for that market, which was a big surprise.  So the distributor then made this deal with me, saying “I’ll distribute anything you make,” and what a dream!  What filmmaker has a distributor say that to them?  So I started making a movie a year, and now Long Term Parking is my 8th feature film in ten years time.

RK: The independent film world has come a long way.

PB: Of course, the whole distribution world has changed a lot too.  DVD’s don’t sell like they used to, so a lot of the distribution is coming through online streaming. As an independent filmmaker, I now  have to do hybrid distribution deals which means I sell specific rights to a specific distributor for something unique: like, you do DVD’s for Germany, you do streaming for England, as opposed to just a blanket contract.

RK: I suppose you have to do that nowadays with the way the business has evolved.

PB: Well, you actually do because distributors can’t cover it all anyway and you’re going to get a lousy deal unless you are very specific about what you’re giving away rights to.

RK: Let’s talk about Long Term Parking.  How did this project come about?

PBLong Term Parking is adapted from a novel by Mark Kearby.  Mike had actually contacted me, asking me to turn it into a screenplay for him. I wrote the screenplay while I was living in New York.  Mike Kearby is known as a writer of  cowboy-western novels.  So this a completely different genre.  His fan base is not the fan base for this irreverent mafia-mobster-kind-of-movie, with you know, sex and people getting killed.  He shopped it around Hollywood and in the first two minutes of the film, a dog gets killed.  Well, in Hollywood, that is just like death; you don’t kill a dog in the first two minutes of a movie, that’s how you alienate your entire audience. So after shopping it around for a couple of years, I basically said to him, you know why don’t I just make this film for you.  We shot it in Smithville, Texas. I brought in actors from New York, that I’d known in New York. We had an actor from Los Angeles, a couple down from Dallas, one came down from Oklahoma; I was bringing in people from  all over.  I didn’t hold auditions for this because I knew in my mind exactly who would be the right fit.  There were a couple that I auditioned just by getting to know them and talking with them.  They were the people that I hadn’t met before but otherwise, I knew most of them and I said, please come make this film. This was a Screen Actors Guild film, so this is a union contract movie.  You have a bigger budget because you’re complying with all the union rules.  It was an interesting shoot.  The original story that we adapted from takes place in Fort Worth.  I didn’t have contacts in Fort Worth, but I did have contacts in Smithville, in the Austin area, because I’d been living in the area previously.  There were locations in Smithville that passed perfectly for Fort Worth.  On the very last day that I was here in Texas filming, I drove up to Fort Worth and took exterior shots that I then intercut into the film, to make it seem more like we were actually in Fort Worth.  The first couple of days that we were filming, this is in early December, it was a hot 85 degrees, sunny skies, I mean, it’s perfect summer-time weather.  Then a northern comes in and it is so cold, I mean so cold.  Of course, we’re trying to film a scene where our leading male and leading female actors are screwing in the back of a car with the doors open, right!  She’s hardly wearing any clothes at all for this entire scene.  We would do takes and then someone would cover her up with a jacket so that she wouldn’t be shivering between takes. I’m cutting all this footage together and I’m going, does it look like its cold, no, it looks okay, nobody will know!  Nobody will know that it was 35 degrees!

RK: That’s the peril of shooing in Texas!  Had you have been in Fort Worth, it would have been freezing.

PB: Yeah, they had ice storms! But you know, Texas weather changes daily.

RK: Or, multiple times a day!

PB: But it was a great shoot, a lot of fun. The cast was totally awesome.

RK: That’s good.  As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been hearing a lot of positive things.  Especially since your previous film have received so many positive reviews, especially Angora Ranch.  Being your first film and it’s got such good reviews, that has to feel good.

PBAngora Ranch was interesting because when it first came out, the initial reviews, what viewers were saying, was that they hated it; it was terrible!

RK: Really?

PB: They hated it!  Man, I got so depressed. I was like, oh my God, I just made this disastrous movie.  Well, what happened with Angora Ranch was that it hadn’t quite found the right audience yet. So what I’ve learned as a filmmaker is that nobody is going to love every movie they see.  There are going to be people who are going to see this movie tomorrow night and they are going to hate it, and I know that, it’s okay. I didn’t make this movie for them. I made this movie for people who get the joke!  Who find it absolutely hysterical. It’s alright when that happens.  The deal with Angora Ranch was that, and this was last year, someone that I didn’t know was watching the movie and he contacts me through Facebook; he finds me through Facebook.  He tells me that he loves this movie; it’s his comfort film.  He then starts sending me a check every month, automatically drawn from his bank account to support my filmmaking.

RK: Wow!

PB: Right?! So, a couple of months after he started doing this, I get a phone call on a Sunday morning and it was his daughter.  He had just died two hours before. And she’s calling me and says that I’m the first person she’s calling because I meant so much to her dad,  and I’d never met this man at all. It was my film that had touched him.  That was the message; films really can have a powerful impact on the way people perceive their lives, or how they get through the day, or all those things.  That was a really, really valuable tool to learn that power is actually there within filmmaking. The irony is, I don’t think Long Term Parking is going to change anybody’s life, but man if it gives them a good hour and half of entertainment, I’m thrilled!

Paul-Bright

RK: True, they aren’t all going to be “AFI Top 100.”

PB: Yeah, right, but Angora Ranch had emotional moments between the dad and the son; there’s a lot of family-related issues.

RK: It’s a great film.  Well now you’ve made, in your eight films, you worked in science fiction, action, comedy, documentary…

PB: I’m actually in pre-production on a feature-length documentary, but I’ve done a short film documentary.

RK: You’ve done a little bit of everything. You’re pretty well-rounded.  Do you have a favorite?

PB: No. I know filmmakers who make the same movie over and over again.  I have no interest in making the same movie over. If I’ve already told the story then there is no reason to change the names and location and shoot it again.  I’m much more interested in telling stories that show a different perspective on life that other people might not have seen or experienced.  There’s actually an underlying theme in all my films which is about hypocrisy and that hypocrisy is the root of all evil.  There’s a sense that some people say certain things but they don’t actually behave in the way that they speak. If anything, it doesn’t matter what kind of genre I use to get there, to tell that story, I much rather prefer to try to get people to think about the world differently than they’ve believed or perceived it to be.

RK: Hypocrisy is indeed rampant in today’s society.

PB: The hypocrisy is stunning.  What I have found is that when I have made films that have been harder-hitting, such as Goliad Uprising, people walked out of the screening and I’m just listening to them walkng out and they’re like, wow, what a depressing movie. You don’t want people to walk out terribly depressed, but at the same time, what I was doing was addressing  the issue of big brother government being controlled by corporate interests and that big brother government knows more and more about what you are doing at all times, and that they are doing everything they can to influence your attitudes and opinions on social and political issues.  A lot people just accept what they are fed by the media or by politicians and they believe what they are told to be the absolute truth; they don’t question it. So, yeah, the subject is depressing.

RK: It’s what you take from it rather than just saying it brought me down.  If the viewer took a message from it then you’ve accomplished your goal as a filmmaker, I would say.  If you took something from it other than the fact that it was depressing.

PB: Yeah, and I had made a film before that called Altitude Falling, which a lot of people had made the comment that it was a foreshadowing of what is going on more and more with government surveillance.  They saw it as what our government could evolve into and become; what our society could evolve into and become.  So they would message me and say that they saw it as a wakeup call.  So, what you do with that, I don’t know, but those are the kind of responses that  I love to hear as a filmmaker because it means people are thinking about the content and that it is having some kind of impact.  Bear in mind too that some people have watched Altitude Falling and said, wow, what a terrible movie!  And that’s just going to happen with every film.

RK: Earlier you were telling me where you were living, but I had read that you also had a little farm.  Where does that fit into a filmmaker’s life?

PB: I live in Oregon now. We’re on very small acreage and we’re in the woodlands, surrounded by timberland and by a meadow on the other side.  It’s very quiet, we see the stars at night, when it is not cloudy.  It is very, very remote.

RK: How does that fit into your filmmaking?  Do you draw inspiration from that, or do you get inspiration elsewhere and then maybe you go there to contemplate on it.  How does it fit in?  Is that where you get away from film, or does that help you make film?

PB: Hmm, I would say neither.  I’ve lived in a lot of places, as you’ve heard me say, and the work that I’m doing I’ve done in all of them. So, even living in this cabin in the woods, I’m still making films, and I’m making videos for the internet, multimedia content.  So, I’m still doing just as much work as I would be if I was in Los Angeles, New York, or Austin.  It’s just a different setting.  It’s funny because that specific place in Oregon reminds me a great deal of southern Colorado, which always felt like home to me.  It’s hard to explain but it feels comfortably right; it’s gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous.  There plenty of water; we don’t have to be concerned with over population because we’re in a place where people won’t be moving into.  It’s an ideal place to be.

RK: It has to be way healthier than living here.  Now, I know you’re participating in some panels this year at Comicpalooza.  What are you going to be involved in?

PB: Mine are all filmmaking panels, so I’ll be talking about how to VLOG; how to do a web-series; how to crowd fund, if you want to fund it by social media; how to find an audience for your movie.  I believe that is all the content for my panels.

RK: I know we’re running out of time, but I wanted to ask you about what you thought about the pros and cons of independent filmmaking?

PB: It’s two different worlds.  If you’re making a Hollywood studio film, the advantage is that they have a marketing budget behind it so it’s going to get a lot of publicity. The film is going to be distributed to movie theaters around the country; it’ll get DVD sales and it’ll make foreign sales as well.  So, ultimately, probably a lot more people will see your film if it’s a Hollywood film than if it’s an indie film.  The disadvantage is that you’re really an employee and there are tons and tons of people who are making decisions on how that film is made.  They are making decisions about who’s going to be in the cast, deciding whether or not lines of dialogue will be kept. They are overseeing the final edit of the film, usually, and telling you whether or not you can keep scenes in or take scenes out.  So what you’re doing is creating a product that a manufacturer makes, and by IRS standards, we are manufacturers, that’s how we’re classified by the IRS.  We’re manufacturing a product so that the studio can sell it to the lowest common denominator to get as many people as possible to buy that product.  If I’m an independent filmmaker, there is absolutely nobody telling me what I can or cannot put into a film. Even the people who will donate to fund the movie, they have no say as to what goes into it, they already have the gist of what’s going into it, the theme.

RK: They knew what they were buying into before they offered funds.

PB: Correct. They don’t have a voice in the editing, the script or who I cast, or how I choose to film it or any of that at all. So as an independent filmmaker you can really and truly tell the story that you want to tell as best that you can with the funds that you have available.

RK: So true. Very insightful. I really appreciate you sitting down with me.

PB: It’s been my pleasure.

RK: I look forward to your film and hopefully you’ll come back to Houston.

PB: I hope to, thank you!

 

What It Takes to Pony Up for a Comedy Film

ComicPalooza Louis Moncivias

Reprinted from Hollywood Movie Times

Eugene Stryker, Hollywood Movie Times

“This film reminded me how hard some folks work on chasing their dreams,” Louis Moncivias told me after playing the role ‘Pony’ in the sci-fi gangster comedy Long Term Parking.

“It reminded me how many behind the scene hurdles have to be jumped, gone around, gone under or busted through to make them come true. It gave me an insight of what passion can accomplish when you set your mind to it.”

Moncivias was talking about bringing Mike Kearby’s novel Long Term Parking to life as a feature film. The film premieres at Houston’s ComicPalooza May 23rd at 8:00pm. He talked with me by phone from his home in San José, Costa Rica.

LM: This was a risky script! It pushes the levels of making some people feel uncomfortable with its content. But when I truly thought about it, I figured, hell, that’s what makes it an interesting script.

ES: In the novel your character hangs out in the parking lot of an abandoned strip mall. The film places you on a horse ranch.

LM: Kristull Ranch in Austin, Texas was the perfect location for our scenes plus it fit my character perfectly. We had tons of different location on the ranch to choose from along with a tractor that was needed for one scene and plenty of pretty horses for background players.

ES: Tell me about your character in Long Term Parking.

LM: ‘Pony’ was a bad guy of sorts and skimming peyote profits from under the nose of ‘The Man’ Joey Sacs (Joel Lane Hudgins). If I tell you anything else, I’ll give away the surprises.

ES: No hints?

LM: I gladly buried my Bowie knife in Boston Nightly’s (Tony Bottorff) dog-gone heart.

ES: Was this the first film you’ve made with director Paul Bright?

LM: No. The first was at my place, Poquito Ranch in Austin. I got wind that he was looking for a location to shoot a couple scenes for Goliad Uprising. I am always trying to help the independent film community and gave him run of the place. He asked me what I wanted in return and I said a couple bails of hay for the horses will work. That man showed up in a 4 door sedan with bails of hay in the back seat! Do you know how long hay stays in the carpet and interior of a car? Poor guy! That’s when I knew I liked him and we’d become fast friends.

ES: It’s too bad you can’t make it up for the film’s premiere at ComicPalooza.

LM: Yeah, I can’t get away from my current project right now. But Paul tells me he’s planning a screening in Costa Rica at the end of July.

ES: That should be a blast.

LM: My hat is off to everyone who sets their mind to making a movie. Indie filmmakers exemplify courage at its best.

Review of Long Term Parking in WebVee Guide

Reprinted from WebVee Guide

-Susan Siniawsky

Bounty hunter Boston Nightly  (Tony Bottorff) is looking forward to his retirement on a beach somewhere with a cold beer in one hand and a lovely señorita in the other.  But, as Boston well knows, one of the absolutes in life is that as soon as a guy is flush with a bit of cash, the washing machine will flood the laundry room or the air conditioner will break in the heat of summer.  Another absolute – and contrary to popular belief- is that dying hurts like hell.  Boston should know. In this film he gets killed more times than I could count. 

The Kid (David Young) with his Buddy Holly specs and cheesy corn chip breath, is Boston’s first killer. God has come to him in a dream and ordered the hit. Along with Boston, The Kid dispatches a street mutt and places them both in the trunk of a Buick, which he parks in a long term parking lot, owned by mob boss Carlucci (Dean Reading).
Boston wakes to find heaven isn’t at all what he’d expected. For one thing, he’s now sporting a dog’s tale and has a powerful sense of smell. Somehow his dna got mixed with the mutt’s in the trunk of the Buick. Maybe even more surprising, God is a lawyer named Tommy (Gary Lee Mahmoud). Tommy sends Boston on a mission to find and dispatch The Kid, Carlucci, and other members of the mob. The way Boston travels between heaven and earth? He must get killed each time, which leads to some frenetic, but totally un-bloody murders.
Boston has plenty of women trouble, too, both on earth and in heaven. The Kid’s sister Chel (Lisa Sosa) and Tommy’s assistant Marlene (Natasha Straley), are both very creative when it comes to romance and to murder.
Set to a honky tonk soundtrack of tunes from the early 1900’s, Long Term Parking is a dark comedy that combines elements of Heaven Can Wait with The Sopranos and a touch of Oh Heavenly Dog. Based on a novel of the same name by Mike Kearby, with a screenplay by Kearby and director Paul Bright, the genre bending Long Term Parking is a fun watch from beginning to end.
Long Term Parking premieres at Houston’s ComicPalooza on May 23, 2015.

BRANDON GALLAGHER GETS STONED IN LONG TERM PARKING

ComicPalooza Brandon Gallagher
Reprinted from Hollywood Movie Times

Robyn Washington, Hollywood Movie Times

Before the world premiere of Paul Bright’s comedy Long Term Parking on May 23rd we wanted to catch Brandon Gallagher, who plays Mickey, the hapless stoner in the film. We expect he’ll be surrounded by teenage girls anxious to meet him at the ComicPalooza Theater in Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center. We thought it best to get to know him before his fan club rips his shirt off.

RW: Tell me about your character in Long Term Parking.

BG: Mickey is kind of a bum working a dead end job at a storage unit.  Don’t get me wrong: I believe there’s much more to Mickey and his life beyond the walls of the storage facility. Judging  from his wardrobe, I believe he wants to ultimately graduate to beach bum once he finds his way to the coast.

RW: What was your first thought when you read the script?

BG: Oh my god! It’s like a messed up adult version of All Dogs Go To Heaven.

RW: That’s part of the appeal of Mike Kearby’s novel which generated the movie adaptation. Fortunately you don’t see any of the film’s twists coming.

BG: It’s an awesome script. I heard there’s talk of a sequel, and Mickey is supposed to be playing a pretty big role in it. At least that’s what I heard.

RW: We’ll keep our fingers crossed. What was filming like?

BG: Cold and wet. In the film it’s summer in Fort Worth and I’m wearing a Hawaiian shirt and cargo shorts. We filmed outside during a winter thunderstorm. My scenes were actually shot the last day of production. The director (Paul Bright) postponed the shoot multiple days because of bad weather. Finally we just had to do it.

RW: I heard the production weather started out sweltering hot and then turned into an ice storm.

BG: Welcome to Texas. We love it here.

RW: A lot of movies are shot in central Texas.

BG: Because of the weather. And also because of the talent. I’ll do whatever it takes to get the movie made.

RW: You played a stoner.

BG: Well, I don’t want to label myself a method actor, but the night before I pulled an all-nighter, squinted my eyes and went for it.

RW: This movie had to be fun to make.

BG: I could tell Paul was going to be be a really fun and creative guy to work with. We joked around a lot between takes. I almost forgot how cold it was. Almost.

DAVID YOUNG DOES THE DINGUS IN LONG TERM PARKING

ComicPalooza David Young

George Wozniak, Hollywood Movie Times

Fresh-faced David Young looks like the nicest guy in the world. You’d never guess he’s a killer. Or at least his character “The Kid” is in the comedy film Long Term Parking releasing May 23rd.

David and I sat down to talk about turning Mike Kearby’s novel into a motion picture.

DY: I play the part of “The Kid”. He is the main boss’s nephew and kind of a simpleton. He loves Buddy Holly and loves eating chips, which he does as often as possible, even when he is killing people. He is definitely the kind of guy who would sing a Buddy Holly song before he puts someone in the grave.

GW: Sounds like a real character. Have you played a part like this before?

DY: This role is a bit similar to other roles I have played in that I tend to get a lot of comedic parts at times. But in terms of the odds and ends of this character, he was very unique. If I had to compare this role to anything, it would probably be an amalgamation of a good old boy meets a cartoon character, with a sadistic sprinkle of Mr. Blonde from Reservoir Dogs. The Kid is definitely a funny guy, but anyone who can smile like he does when he puts someone under is definitely, well, sociopathically challenged. It was a very fun role to play!

GW: What was it like to work with the other actors during the shoot?

DY: The other actors were phenomenal. I especially loved working with Tony, Lisa and Joel. Everyone was very professional and just fun to be around on set. Honestly, not a big ego in the bunch. Seriously, genuinely pleasant people, as well as incredibly talented.

GW: Kearby’s novel (of the same name) is very descriptive. It must have been a challenge recreating it for film.

DY: I was honestly confused when I read the script. I was not sure how it was going to play out. But seeing the parts come to life on set and just the script manifest through filming, there is sort of an “aha!” moment. The quirky and off-kilter humor really came through. Sometimes you don’t really know how something is going to turn out until you just do it or see it. The humor in this is spot on!

GW: I would love to have been a fly on the wall during filming.

DY: The film shoot was really low key in terms of the setting. An old garage, abandoned building and junkyard were some of the places we would frequent. And of course for me the trunk of a car. I am usually somewhat intimidated on film sets. And there is also usually a lot of waiting around. But there was none of that with this. This is probably the most efficiently shot film I have ever done. The director Paul Bright knew exactly what he wanted and when to place you. The actors in each scene were extremely professional and well-prepared. Everybody knew what they were doing and was on the same page. And again, the actors and crew were just really pleasant to be around before, after and between scenes. I can honestly say my heart would sink a little bit when it was time to go home.

The Long Term Parking World Premiere is Saturday, May 23rd at 8:00pm at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas as part of the weekend ComicPalooza event. Admission to the theater is limited to ComicPalooza pass holders. More information at http://www.comicpalooza.com/register.

STEPHEN J. VOSS PRODUCES THE LAUGHTER

ComicPalooza Stephen J Voss

Reprinted from Hollywood Movie Times

Robyn Washington, Hollywood Movie Times

It’s hard to forget Dustin Hoffman’s rant in Wag The Dog about movie producers never getting the credit for nurturing a film to life. Fans love the actors and the director gets the applause at film premieres but nothing happens in movie-land without the money people.

Enter Stephen J. Voss, the Executive Producer of Long Term Parking who along with fellow Executive Producers Philip Arthur Anderson, Charles Barnett and Betty Zuspann will be premiering the movie at ComicPalooza on May 23rd in Houston, Texas.

I caught up with Voss for dinner at the original Ninfa’s when he drove up in his racing green Porsche. It’s the kind of car you’d expect a film producer to drive.

RW: You’ve been working on Long Term Parking for several years. When you first read the novel what did you think?

SJV: I enjoyed the plot twists and the low comedy. So many of the scenes immediately brought visuals to mind. I could see some of my friends being victims in it.

RW: Did you want the script to follow the novel exactly or did you expect there would be adaptations?

SJV: I fully anticipated there would have to be changes, to remain true to the feel of the story but still be achievable as an independent film.

RW: Mike Kearby’s novel uses very colorful language. Some of it was toned down in the film. Do you think audiences will get into the spirit of the story or do you think some people won’t get the joke?

SJV: What, there’s only one joke? (We both laughed.) I’m not embarrassed by colorful language, as long as it’s not meant to hurt. The amount of “colorful” language wasn’t over-the-top and didn’t serve as a prop in place of real dialogue.

RW: Many of the cast members and the director will be at the Houston premiere. This is also your hometown. Had you been planning to premiere the movie here all along?

SJV: Being at Comicpalooza is absolutely huge! We’re right where the fans are.

RW: You’ve been the Executive Producer on several of Bright’s films. What brought your partnership together originally?

SJV: I first saw Paul’s film Angora Ranch. I liked what I saw and started following his work. When I heard he needed some help with Abrupt Decision I was in a place to come aboard. We’ve been friends ever since.

RW: Angora Ranch released ten years ago. This is a long friendship.

SJV: I can top that. We were born in the same military hospital in Albuquerque, N.M. I won’t tell you who’s older.

RW: Long Term Parking is premiering as part of a double feature with Rocky Horror Picture Show on Saturday night. Do you think Long Term Parking will become a cult film like Rocky Horror?

SJV: Oh, I’d really like that! But I suspect the world has become a much more jaded place. I was incredibly shocked the first time I saw Rocky Horror, because I had grown up in a very sheltered, conservative Catholic household. I doubt anyone these days would have the same reaction. Long Term Parking may be too mainstream for a cult following.

RW: We’ve heard rumor that Mike Kearby is working on a sequel to the novel. Any chance you’ll do a movie sequel?

SJV: Definitely depends on the reception for the first one. I won’t rule anything out.

RW: As you know everyone comes in costume to ComicPalooza. Are you looking forward to seeing people dressed up as Boston Nightly or Marlene or Chel at next year’s convention?

SJV: Maybe I can get someone to make me a Boston costume? Or maybe Gallo? And I know some seriously buxom fierce women who would love this. Of course the original cast will be at the premiere this year and nothing’s better than the original.

Voss gestured to the walls of the colorful Original Ninfa’s as we dived into a sizzling plate of fajitas.

Mike Kearby’s Sci-Fi Gangster Novel Explodes on Screen

ComicPalooza Mike KearbyReprinted from Hollywood Movie Times

Eugene Stryker, Hollywood Movie Times

Mike Kearby’s beloved sci-fi/noir/gangster comedic novel that defies and parodies half a dozen genres is now breaking down the box office barriers with the release of the Long Term Parking feature film May 23rd at the comic-con convention in Houston, Texas.

In today’s cinema, a world premiere in Hollywood is passé especially when the true fans are the 35,000 cosplayers vying for seats in the ComicPalooza Theater at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

We reached Kearby at his Texas ranch by phone to ask about the film’s premiere and how the quirky novel came about in the first place.

ES: You’ve written many novels, but none in this genre. What inspired the story of Long Term Parking?

MK: The story has its background in listening to my Granddad cursing at the neighbor’s dog for digging in his garden. He was too gentle of a man to physically hurt the dog, but always had more than a few “Goddamn Dog” to mumble as he re-staked his tomatoes. Later as an adult, I always chuckled while remembering these comedic encounters between man and beast. Thus was born the preface to Long Term Parking.

ES: How much is Boston Nightly like you? How do you get into the head of your characters when you’re writing?

MK: Boston definitely contains a mixture of my real and my imagined personality. I find this to be a common trait among those who tell stories. The heroic imagined part of one’s personality when fused with the real and flawed part of one’s personality makes the fictionalized character easy to cheer for.

ES: Long Term Parking has quite a following. Do you think the movie version will inspire more people to read your original novel?

MK: The ingredients are all there. The cast brings the characters to life just as I imagined. I hope the movie fans want to extend their viewing pleasure by reading the book.

ES: Most films adapted from books usually don’t do the original work justice. How does this movie compare?

MK: The film and the novel match up perfectly in showing Boston as that flawed character caught in the eternal struggle in doing what is right and doing what feels right.

ES: The story takes a lot of very unexpected turns. When you started writing did you know where the story was going or did the characters take you in directions you didn’t expect?

MK: My novels always seem to write themselves after the first few pages. It was no different with Boston who seemed to evolve into favorites from my childhood; a combination of Groucho Marx and The Three Stooges.

ES: Any truth to the rumor a sequel for Boston Nightly is in the works?

MK: Boston’s latest – Beware of Dog – is well underway. Our hero is pitted against a career criminal who only speaks in third person, a defrocked priest, and a female warden whose most prominent feature is the appearance of being struck in the back by two heat seeking missile’s. And of course, Marlene.

ES: The screenplay adaptation for Long Term Parking was written by you and the director. Is this your first time working with another writer? How was the experience of co-writing?

MK: This was my first foray into screenwriting, and Paul Bright was kind and patient enough to help guide me down the trail. I enjoyed working with Paul and can’t imagine a better first writing partner.

ES: What should audiences expect when they see the movie Saturday night at ComicPalooza?

MK: It can only truly be enjoyed when accompanied by raucous, belly laughter, which 4 out of 5 doctors agree is very healthy for you.

ES: People are already saying the film will become a cult classic. Can you imagine people dressing up as Boston Nightly at next year’s ComicPalooza?

MK: I think that would be the greatest accolade a writer could receive.

Dean Reading Saddles Up to Another Comedy

Reprinted from Hollywood Movie Times
by George WozniakComicPalooza Dean Reading

Stunt man, director, actor and cowboy Dean Reading rode into town – literally on a white horse – to talk with us about making the movie Long Term Parking which premieres May 23rd at the ComicPalooza Theater in the George R. Brown Convention Center. I caught up with Reading at Chisholm Trail, the local BBQ joint in Lockhart, Texas that actually has a railing for tying up his horse.

GW: You frequently play cowboy roles. In the original Long Term Parking novel your character Carlucci isn’t a cowboy.

DR: No, he’s not. And I wasn’t planning to play him as a cowboy, but that’s what the director (Paul Bright) wanted, complete with the hat and bandana.

GW: The movie takes place in Fort Worth. But your name sounds like an Italian mobster.

DR: Well I guess now he’s an Italian Cowboy mobster. Carlucci is a totally disreputable character. He’s a business man, but wow, what a business.

GW: As the guy who runs the Long Term Parking Lot he probably sees a lot of parked cars.

DR: And dead bodies.

GW: It’s quite a racket.

DR: The script was irreverent you bet – but also very different from most things I’ve worked on, and that makes it all the more enjoyable as an an actor.

GW: How did you get involved in the film?

DR: I’ve known Paul for many years – I first met him shortly after I moved to the Lockhart area after living in Grapevine, Texas for 15 years. I went to an audition for a play at the Baker Theater. We’d run into each other at the grocery store every so often. He asked me to do a video read for the film.

GW: A lot of auditions are done by video now.

DR: I was able to do it at the saloon on my ranch. I literally dismounted my horse, tied him up at the hitching post in front of the saloon and walked in to do the audition shot by my neighbor Donnie Barkmeyer (a cinematographer and rodeo photographer.)

GW: You filmed in Smithville, about an hour from your ranch. How was the shoot?

DR: I wish all the shoots I worked on were as much fun. The other actors were fantastic – I worked with Tony (Bottorff), David (Young), Gary (Mahmoud), and Natasha (Straley). It was a really enjoyable experience. I’ve worked with many actors in the past, both as an actor, and also as a crew member. I must say working with these individuals was a highlight.

GW: We’ll be seeing you on the silver screen at the premiere in downtown Houston May 23rd. Are you planning to ride to the convention center on horseback?

DR: In Houston traffic? Are you kidding? I have more respect for my horse than subjecting her to that.

LISA RENE SOSA OPENS UP ABOUT LONG TERM PARKING COMEDY MOVIE

Reprinted from Movie Times

by Eugene Stryker, Movies Today

We sat down with Lisa Rene Sosa at her favorite lunchspot in San Marcos, Texas overlooking the swimmers and tubers on the river to talk about her upcoming comedy film Long Term Parking.ComicPalooza Lisa Sosa

MT: In your newest movie you took a big departure from the dramatic roles of the past to play an outrageously funny character, Chel Caminetti. Tell us about her.

LRS: Chel’s a real ball buster. A big personality, blunt, irreverent and I use Boston (the film’s hero) for my own gains. Although I have a thing for him I’m not afraid to shoot him a couple of times to figure out what his game is. I like to think that Chel is the heart of Long Term Parking.

MT: You do shoot him, more than a couple times. But somehow he keeps coming back for more. What was it like to work with Tony Bottorff, who plays Boston Nightly in the film?

LRS: I LOVED working with Tony! From the very first day when I met him I knew we were going to get along great. Tony was easy going, open and funny — great things for an actress who also needs to kiss her leading man after just meeting him. I also loved working with everyone else, Joel Lane Hudgins, David Young, the entire cast. It was wonderful to see how everyone’s character evolved from what I read in the script to the actual actor performances.

MT: We got a sneak peak of the film at Movies Today, and it’s terrific! The director, Paul Bright, was right on target with the casting.

LRS: I don’t often audition or portray characters like Chel, and it was a real privilege to be cast as someone who’s her own woman AND a sexpot too. The script was funny, and some of my lines are my favorite from the films I’ve been in so far. I couldn’t wait to see how it would all come together. The more irreverent the better!

MT: Mike Kearby’s novel that was adapted for film has got a devoted following, I think probably because it’s so irreverent.

LRS: I am so looking forward to meeting the fans of Mike’s book. It’s great when there’s such a cult following with people who know the characters just as well as the actors do.

MT: What was it like to shoot the movie?

LRS: So we filmed over two weeks in December. Being in Texas our falls are pretty mild. Well, the first week was so hot. I mean it felt like summer really. But I thought at least we’re not freezing. Well, I spoke way too soon. That second week of filming felt like we were up north. I’ll never forget my last day of filming when we were at the storage facility. I was wearing this beautiful mink coat that Mary (Farrar) let me borrow and when Paul yelled “action” I’d take it off real quick, throw it to Mary, and film the scene.

MT: You’re kidding? You filmed those scenes wearing a skimpy blouse during a Blue Norther?

LRS: Paul would yell “cut” and I’d put the coat back on, and we’d all jump into the car to warm up before we had to get out and film again. We all took our turns getting sick. Within those two weeks I got sick, Tony got sick, so did Paul and Patrick (Henderson – sound recordist). Not the easiest thing to work when you’re sick AND have to do it when the weather wasn’t great. But we all soldiered on and finished our movie.

MT: Watching the film I guessed you were all joking around a lot. You had to be for you to play the part so naturally.

LRS: I needed to be comfortable being a loud personality, and showing off my body more than I’m used to. I let “Chel” lead me throughout filming, but I definitely took advantage of wearing fitted clothes. The longer I was on set the more I felt comfortable with both aspects of my character.

MT: Are you familiar with the song “June is Bustin’ Out All Over?” Your costume fit, ahem, very well. It sounds like a great shoot.

LRS:
Being on set for this film was amazing. Paul and Tony were so inviting which makes any working situation a pleasure to be a part of. I hated leaving set at the end of each day, and couldn’t wait to get to work the next day. That’s when you know you love what you’re doing.

MT: And we love what you’re doing, too.

Long Term Parking premieres at Houston’s ComicPalooza on Saturday, May 23rd at 8:00pm.

World Premiere at ComicPalooza!

You are invited to the World Premiere of LONG TERM PARKING May 23, 2015 at 8:00pm at ComicPalooza in Houston, Texas!

Be the first to see the feature film before anyone else! Get autographs from the stars of the film! General seating is limited and restricted to ComicPalooza passholders.

ComicPalooza Passes available now.

LONG TERM PARKING is the racy, sexy, riotous comedy based on Mike Kearby’s crime novel about a dogged bounty hunter who’s chased by two women who love him to death.  Literally.ComicPalooza LTP Poster

PLUS director Paul Bright will be screening three additional feature films and leading numerous workshops at ComicPalooza. Here’s your chance to meet him in person!