Friday, December 12, 2008

TJ Slaughter

You may know T.J. as the NFL player, but that just scratches the surface. He's an entrepreneur (he started a marketing company), a model, and an actor. Open for Discussion caught up with him on the short film set of "Interrogation."
On the set of "Interrogation."
O.D. What motivates you?
T.J. God and Family. I come from a poor family. I'm the first to graduate college. I'm always striving to succeed.

O.D. What do you know now that you wished you knew when you first started playing football?
T.J. The business aspect of it. In college, the best man plays. Lots of talented guys fall by the way side due to a team's investments.

O.D. What are you most proud of?
T.J. My relationship with God and the man I have become. It has been a long road.

O.D. Any regrets?

T.J. I don't live my life by regretting things. The events in my past are what shapes the man I am today.

Lisa Benton, T.J. Slaughter, & Nataly Pena

O.D. Where do you see yourself in five years?
T.J. I never put limits on myself. I want to continue to grow. I'd like to do some work to help children. I'm pursuing and acting and modeling career as well as football.

O.D. What are you working on now?
T.J. My marketing company, modeling, and acting. I want to perfect my craft. I'm always learning.

T.J. was a lot of fun to work with on set. He was very open to taking direction and was a tireless worker. He was in good spirits throughout the entire shoot, even at four a.m. He was always cracking me up, but when the cameras started rolling... he was back into character. It was fun watching him take it all in, as he's new to the whole thing. I think he has a promising future ahead of him. I'd work with him any day!

-Brandon Santiago, director of "Interrogation"

O.D. What hints can you give someone who wants to play football?
T.J. Believe in yourself and work hard. Never give up. Put your heart into it. I'm a firm believer in attitude. If you don't believe in yourself, no one else will. When you believe in yourself others will see the light in you.
TJ Slaughter is a perfect example of a winner in all areas of his life. He is not afraid of discipline, hard work, and a positive attitude drives him in everything he under takes.
Success for him is not a question. Watch and learn......

-Diana Sneckner, President of Avant Agency

For more things T.J., check out his website or contact his agent Diana at Avant Agency.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Trevor Friedrich

Imperative Reaction came to San Antonio on November 1st. Their show was at Club Atomix on McCullough. If you are into Industrial / Alternative music, the show is a must see. Imperative Reaction put on a highly energized and talented performance that keeps you wanting more. Open for Discussion got a chance to catch up with their drummer, Trevor Friedrich.

Imperative Reaction

Open for Discussion asked Trevor a few questions.

O.D. What got you into music?
T.F. It's a funny story. My family was adding on to our house and needed the next door neighbors to sign off on the expansion. They didn't, so my dad went to the guitar center and purchased instruments. He said we were going to start a rock band. The neighbors moved shortly there after!

O.D. What was your first album purchase?
T.F. My first purchase was Beavis and Butthead. I was given Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Metallica, and Ozzy Osbourne.
Trevor with Nikki Sixx on the Accidents Can Happen Shoot

O.D. What do you know now that you wished you knew when you started out?
T.F. Not to trust a major record label.

O.D. What are you most proud of?
T.F. To be able to play in bands that I love and that I have fun on stage even though I feel that I'm not at the level of other drummers.
O.D. Any funny stories you want to share?
T.F. The tour bus is like a German Techno club. It's a lot of fun.

O.D. Any regrets?
T.F. None!
O.D. Where do you see yourself in five years?
T.F. Doing the same stuff but with a bigger house and more motorcycles.

O.D. What are you working on and what's up next for you?
T.F. Tour ends in a week and I plan on doing tattoos and hanging out.

Trevor and his Grandpa

O.D. So you are a fan of motorcyles?
T.F. I have a Harley. I went to Sturgis this year with my Dad and Grandpa. I gave my Grandpa a tat and he wore short sleeve shirts the whole time to show off his tattoo that I gave him!

O.D. I like Exile bikes!
T.F. I'd like to have one but they are out of my price range at the moment. I can't believe you've heard of them.
O.D. Family into music?
T.F. My dad just bought the instuments to drive away the neighbors. My family isn't musically inclined. I chose the drums because even if I sucked I'd have fun playing.

O.D. What were the names of the other bands you've been in?
T.F. Currently I'm in Imperative Reaction and Never Enough. I've been in Tire Iron, Loftus, and Eighteen Visions. When I played for Eighteen Visions we got a chance to throw out the first pitch at a Rangers game. They played our song "Victim." It was so surreal!

O.D. What hints can you give someone who's thinking of becoming a musician?
T.F. Learn to be entertaining on stage over talent.
Imperative Reaction's Minus All Tour finishes up in California and Arizona. [:SITD:] and Aesthetic Perfection is touring with them.

November 5th @ Club Xile @ The Can Nightclub in Garden Grove, CA
November 6th @ Sky Room @ The Country Club in Sacramento, CA
November 7th @ Brick by Brick in San Diego, CA
November 8th @ Sadisco's @ Chaser's in Scottsdale, AZ
November 21st @ The Viper Room in West Hollywood, CA

Trevor is currently on a European tour with Combichrist.

Click on picture to make larger

If you get a chance, check them out! For more things
Imperative Reaction , Combichrist, and Never 3Nough, check out their websites and myspace accounts!

Monday, November 3, 2008

2008 AFF Comes to an End

The Austin Film Festival came to a close on October 23rd. The Screenplay Competition Winners were:
Drama- Mine by Anita Skibski
Comedy-eLove by Betsy Morris
Sci-fi- The Man Who Would be Sherlock Holmes by Walter Campbell
Latitude- Shimmer Lake by Oren Vziel
Drama Teleplay- Pushing Daises: Rumpology by Steve Daniels
Sitcom Teleplay- The Office: The Crossword Contest by Beau Henry

The Film Competition Winners were:
Narrative Feature: Lost and Found- Writer/Director Nobuyuki Miyake
Documentary Feature: Les Ninjas du Japon, Director Giommi Giovanni
Narrative Short: Sikumi, Writer/ Director: Andrew Okpeaha
Narrative Student Short: Danzak, Writer/Director: Gabriela Yepes
Animated Short: Chainsaw, Director Dennis Tupicoff
Documentary Short: Zietek, Director: Bartosz Blaschke
Congratulations to this years winners!!

From all the panels I attended most writers gave the same advice. I think Terry Rosio sums it up best. Below are some quotes from the writers panels.

The Langlais Brothers
, Me, Terry Rossio, & Vickie Hanan

Write from the point of view of the screenwriter facing the blank page. You have to find your own voice. Read the guru books to fix your structure after writing your first draft. Write something you think is cool but unattainable. Does your concept throw off ideas?
-Terry Rossio

Herschel Weingrod & Jimmy Miller

Read scripts, write, and keep writing! Catch films and pay attention to what you find interesting. Is your story coherent and compelling? It should be an act of seduction. Don't do other people's jobs for them (i.e. camera angels, etc.).
-Herschel Weingrod

Dom Hughes, Heather Hughes, Shauna Cross, & Grady Hughes

Try to get scripts before you see the films. Read scripts from every genre. You should always be learning!
-Shauna Cross

Eric Red, Mya, & Casey

Write what scares you! Write something out of place that shouldn't be there. Something beyond your control that shakes you to the core. Play with the audiences expectations. Handle everything realistically. Make your killers logical to be convincing and fresh. Fear can bring clarity to a situation. Flawed characters makes them more identifiable and you'll want to root for them.
-Eric Red on writing horror flicks

Me, Shane Black, & Vickie Hanan

Writing action has a lot to do with reversals. My favorite script was Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, it was fun! Never lose your naivety.
-Shane Black

For more you'll just have to save the dates for next year (October 22-29th, 2009), and attend yourself!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

2008 Austin Film Festival

I had a chance to read for this years screenplay competition. It has given me great insight to the inner workings of the festival as well as meeting the people behind the scenes. Alex McPhail the Screenplay / Teleplay Competition Director, was gracious enough to answer a few questions for me.
Austin Film Festival Staff

O.D. -What sets the AFF apart from the other festivals?
A.M. -The festival is focused more toward the screenwriter. Other festivals focus on the filmmaker.

O.D. - How many entries did you get for the script competition this year?
A.M. - Over 4,100 entries. Only the top ten percent made it to the second round.

O.D. - For someone coming to the festival for the first time, what tips would you give them?
A.M. - Drink a lot of coffee, because you won't get much sleep! Take advantage of all the networking opportunities. You can't come to the festival and be a wall flower.

Dan French and Scott Rice at the Conference Wrap Party.

O.D. - What is the biggest success story that has come from the AFF?
A.M. - A lot of television and ghost writing have come out of the festival. The first years winner Max Adams, went on to have her script produced (Excess Baggage, starring Alicia Silverstone and Benicio del Toro). Most recently Jimmy Miller (last years drama category winner) went on to have his script optioned and now has an agent.

Gerald Di Pego and Jimmy Miller at the screening of "The Cake Eaters."

"I think every aspiring writer who is serious about breaking into the industry should come to the Austin Film Festival. It is a unique opportunity to learn from and interact with professional working writers who have been through every phase of the art and business of screenwriting.

It is a rare opportunity to ask questions directly to them and get unfiltered answers about the realities of trying to make a living as a screenwriter. They are very open about the highs and lows and the work and determination required to compete against the best writers in the world.

You also get to hear from production company and studio executives, show runners, producers, directors, actors, agents and managers who are there not only to share their experience and wisdom, but to make connections with the next generation of writers.

I was lucky enough to win the Adult/Family category last year. That exposure helped land me a wonderful agent and manager. It lead to my script being optioned by a dedicated and talented director (Mary Stuart Masterson), and has opened many other doors during the past year that makes me very excited for the future. I couldn't be happier to come back to Austin this year and enjoy it even more."

-Jimmy Miller, 2007 Adult/ Family Winner

O.D. - How many finalist are there this year?
A.M.- There are twenty-two finalist.

Patrick Gough (2007 Runner-up Pitch competition)& Paul Clingan (2007 Pitch Competition Winner)

Austin with it's laid back vibe and "Keep Austin Weird" motto makes this the most accessible, comfortable environment for the beginner and seasoned professional alike. The conference portion starts on Thursday October 16th and runs until Sunday October 19th. During the day panels are held where you can learn from the professionals.
"Great festival with a true community feel. Always worth the time."
-Db Sweeney
Db Sweeney, Joe Metcalfe, Ray McKinnon

The films normally run in the evenings before the late night festival parties. There are quite a few stars from the films that are in attendance. The opening night film is Oliver Stone's "W". The centerpiece film is David Wain's "Role Models". The closing night film is James Gray's "Two Lovers".

There is so much to take advantage of at this film festival. To get the most out of it, I suggest getting a producers badge. That gives you and all access pass to everything the festival has to offer. For more visit

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Will Be Back Soon

I will be back soon with more posts. I'm going to be reading for a film festival and it will take up the majority of my time . Check back in periodically.
Until then,

Monday, March 17, 2008


I attended a Triggerstreet get together in Hollywood this weekend. For those of you that are interested in film making at any level, this website is for you. Not only does it have a screenplay section, but it has a book, short films, short stories, and a play section.
Dana Brunetti & I

Dana Brunetti and Kevin Spacey are the founders of Triggerstreet. I took this quote off his bio on the site.

"Using the internet for which it was created: a mode of communication - No longer do you need to "know somebody" to get a foot in Hollywood's door. We offer the chance of exposure and access for filmmakers and writers alike, to showcase their talent from anywhere, while at the same time giving everyone the ability to view and judge the work submitted. It's an opportunity for talent and great ideas to be discovered by all."

Part of the Triggerstreet community on Hollywood Blvd.

Not only have I made some great connections on the site, but I've made some great friends. It is a place to get feedback, exposure, and plenty of opportunities. The message board is a great meeting place for all filmmakers. Triggerstreet also puts out a podcast on Itunes to keep you updated on all things Hollywood. I asked Dana a couple of questions at the get together.

What do you know now that you wished you had known when you first started?

To not be too ambitious.

What kind of advice could you pass along to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?


Not only is Dana the founder of but he's a producer of such movies as 21, Columbus Day, Fanboys, and Bernard and Doris to name a few. 21 opens nationwide on March 28th.

To find out more about Triggerstreet, go to

Saturday, March 8, 2008

21 @ SXSW

21 was the opening film for South by Southwest Film Festival. The Paramount was filled to capacity. It was a great kickoff to the festival.

The film definitely delivered. Solid cast and script. With the producing team of Dana Brunetti and Mike Deluca, what else would you expect. It made me laugh and sit at the edge of my seat to see what was going to happen next. Judging by the audibles in the audience, I wasn't the only one.

Ben Mezrich, author of "Bringing Down the House."

Ben Mezrich was asked if he was a writer on the script. Ben said, "Books and scripts are two different genres. I consulted on the script." Dana Brunetti found an article in "Wired Magazine", and contacted him about his book. Ben thought it was MIT students playing a joke on him when he received the phone call from Kevin Spacey.

Robert Luketic introduced the film. The director said, "I wanted to show that I could do more than just movies that had dresses in it. It was kind of like starting all over again."
Dana Brunetti, producer of 21.

No spoilers here. If you have a chance to go see it, it's worth it! 21 opens in theaters on March 28th.

Monday, February 4, 2008

"Chasing the Dream"

I had a chance to catch up with Angelo Mei, the director / producer of "Chasing the Dream." He grew up and currently lives in Los Angeles. He studied all aspects of film making at the Art Institute of Los Angeles. His passion lies with the directing side of film making.

Angelo became interested in film making and surfing in his early twenties when he bought his first camcorder and started filming surfers. He is someone who is very comfortable in his station in life. Angelo is doing what he loves and he loves who he's with. When asked about his personal life he said, "I'm in a very happy, healthy relationship and it feels good!"

Angelo and John Milius at the Austin Film Festival

"Chasing the Dream" has definitely left it's mark on the festival circuit. It has been and official selection in Santa Barbara, San Luis Abispo, Jackson Hole, Newport Beach, and Austin Film Festivals. At the Newport Beach Film Festival it won the Outstanding Achievement in Film Making and the Perrier "Bubbling Under" Award. The Sidney Film Festival heard of this documentary and asked for a copy for consideration.

Angelo is no stranger to awards. His short film called "Howie" won and Audience Award, Best Editing, and Best comedy at the LA Digi Fest. Not resting on his laurels, he is aggressively networking and taking meetings for his upcoming documentaries and possible music video. I asked him a few questions.

Who would you like to meet and why?
I'd like to meet Larry Clark so I could give him a copy of "Chasing the Dream" and give him John Philbin's (co-producer of "Chasing the Dream") script called, " Grom." I would love for him to be the Executive Producer.

What are you most proud of?
Being an honest person.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Having a happy healthy lifestyle with a few more films under my belt.

What are your hobbies and interests outside of film making?
Surfing, reading, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

What is your favorite film?
He couldn't decide on one, so he gave me a few.
"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf"
"The King of Comedy"
"The Passenger"
"Murder Ball"
"Mad Hot Ballroom"
"The Devil and Daniel Johnston"

What is your favorite song?
"Hotter Than Hell," by Kiss.

Any regrets?
I have no regrets, even the negative experiences give you and education.

Do you have any pointers that you could share with someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Listen to everyone, even if they are younger. You can always learn something from them.

Photo by John Sartin

"Chasing the Dream," is now on dvd. Gary Busey was the narrator on this documentary and was very excited when Angelo dropped him off a copy. If you would like to find out more about Angelo or "Chasing the Dream," check out:

I'm sure there will be more to come from Angelo. I for one am looking forward to it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Flash Boys

I had a chance to catch a great show at Sam's Burger Joint in San Antonio on Saturday. The Flash Boys are an up and coming band from Austin. They are named after a line from The Dead Boys song "Warzone." Even though this band has only been together for two years, they have such great chemistry.

Frankie Nowhere-Vocals, Jamey Simms-Guitar
Mark Douglas-Bass , & Mike Dempsey-Drums

These boys really know how to put on a show. One of their loyal fans said, "This is tame compared to what they normally do." Well if that's the case, I need to catch another show. If you haven't seen a Flash Boys show these guys are definitely worth the cover charge! I had a chance to talk to them before the show and ask a few questions.

Who are your influences and what was your first album purchase?
Frankie- I would have to say The Stooges, and my first album was "I Love Rock and Roll."

Jamey- Keith Richards and Johnny Thunders, and my first album I ever bought was the 45 single "Satisfaction" by The Stones.

What's your favorite venue that you have played?
Room 710 and Beerland in Austin.
What would be your all time venue to play?
Frankie - The Whisky.
Jamey - Marquee Club in London.

Who would you like to meet and why?
Frankie - Alice Cooper and Iggy. I think they'd be cool to hang with and maybe some of it will rub off on me.

Jamey- Iggy is a big influence on me, his style and savage rock and roll, and I am inspired by Alice Coooper's intelligence and personal recovery from alcoholism. I love the original Alice Cooper band.

What is your favorite song from your album?
Frankie - All Night Long.
Jamey - Losing My Mind.

Any funny stories you'd like to share?
Frankie - I tore down some lights at a venue we were playing at and we were banned from playing there. I had to go back and repair what I had torn up. When I was fixing the light I almost shocked myself and I blew out all the lights.

They allowed us to come back after I fixed the place, but on our first gig back I tore more shit up and got banned for good!

What got you into music?
Frankie - I want to leave my mark.
Jamey - My parents record collection.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
Frankie - In a stable place. I've been in trouble in the past and I've hit rock bottom. The only way to go is up.
Jamey - Clean, musically productive, and satisfied that I haven't wasted any more time being strung out.

What's up next for you?
Writing new material and a European tour in the summer.
January 26 at Room 710 in Austin.
February 2 House of Rock in Corpus Christi.
February 9 Room 710 in Austin.
March 11 Room 710 Pre SXSW kick-off in Austin.

Check out their myspace page Flash Boys for all concert listings and to purchase their debut album.

All their songs are written from first hand experience. So if your into punk, this band is definitely worth a listen!