Thursday, February 28, 2008

Efficiency Rating = High.

LCLs:

Does anyone else find that your efficiency is directly proportional to your busy-ness? Let's consider the present: Danny and I are scurrying around Los Angeles in preparation for our trip to SXSW and the premiere of Humboldt County (which is barely more than a week away)!
We've got to balance our ordinary lives (not very exciting), the development of our next project (more exciting than our ordinary lives), publicity for Humboldt (pretty darn exciting), the helping of friends and family with plans and travel arrangements for Austin (which fills us with aniticipatory excitement), the creation and completion of To-Do lists full of errands (satisfying, but not exciting), and still find time to sleep and occasionally say hello to girlfriends and friends.

What is the result of this manic schedule? Extreme productivity. If I had to assign a rating, from 1 to 10, of my own efficiency at the current moment, I would give myself an 8.3, which is approaching my maximum efficiency capability (I believe I broke into the mid-nines during the production of the film, and that's as high as I go). It feels good. It makes me wonder why I can't be more like this all the time. It also makes me wonder if I'd want to be like this all the time.

Because the reality is when I don't have 57 things on my to do list, I sit around and "try to write," which really means I'm on the couch eating Cheez-Its, judging myself unfavorably against the extreme productivity of those incredibly irriating "other people."

So what's the verdict here? What's the lesson of all this rambling? Is there even a point? Should we always make ourselves busy? None, none, no and no to those 4 questions. As for always being busy, that would be awful. I'd never get to sit on the couch and eat Cheez-Its. I love Cheez-Its.

So it goes, round and round. I complain now that I have no time to relax. When I relax, I complain that I am not getting anything done. How do you spell fickle? D-A-R-R-E-N.

And yet I love every minute of my kvetch-filled existence.

I gotta go now; I'm not getting anything done.

-DG

Monday, February 25, 2008

Oscars, Babies & A New Tradition...

Dear Locals:

One of the more irritating things about "Hollywood" is when self-important actors, actresses and assorted entertainers take themselves too seriously (read: an actor taking himself even a little bit seriously is usually too seriously), and as such the Academy Awards are often full of irritatingly self-important moments. That said, it's also generally very very compelling television, especially for those of us who love movies. Although I regularly attend an Oscar "party," I generally find myself annoyed at all the banter that goes on: the jokes, the fashion commentary, the loud breathing...I am a loser who likes to watch and listen to the entire telecast. This year's show was most compelling to me in large part because the Academy actually rewarded, in most cases, what I believe to be the finest films released in 2007.

Rare is the year that I find myself in complete agreement on four of the five nominated films for Best Picture (the only one they severely whiffed on was Atonement), and even rarer still, I have no problem with the winner being No Country for Old Men, which was neck and neck for me with There Will Be Blood, both of which were just ahead of Michael Clayton.

The show itself was a bit dull, with the occasional surprise; Jon Stewart provided a few nice moments though generally played it safe. He showed good sense and class when he allowed Marketa Irglova from Once to return to the stage to deliver her speech after she had earlier been cut off. I'm a sucker for Jack Nicholson doing just about anything. Harrison Ford looked like he had been enjoying the fruits of Humboldt County a bit before he came on stage. The Coen brothers demonstrated their unflappability: I believe that they would remain calm and placid even if the room they are in suddenly catches fire. They completely avoided sentimentality, or any emotion for that matter, when they were handed the Best Director Oscar from Martin Scorsese.

In the end, it was a good night for Hollywood after a long 3 months of bad nights, but I fear the ratings that come out tomorrow may demonstrate otherwise.

-------

In other news, Humboldt County producer Captain Deadpan and his lovely wife Julie Deadpan welcomed their first child Saturday night, a healthy baby girl, Sloane Erika Weiss. No photographs are available as of yet, but here is a baby picture of CD, at just a few months old...


Finally, today I'm announcing and launching a new tradition. I believe that people respond to routine, and order. We like that which we can count on. So my aim is to give you, our loyal Lost Coast Locals, something to believe in, and something to count on. Every Monday.

Football has Monday Morning Quarterbacking, the Mamas and the Papas sang about Monday Monday, and we are going to have Darren or Danny's "Monday" Day Celebratory Blog (DODMDCB). This is the first of a regular weekly post every Monday with updates on Humboldt County but also general stuff that I think might be of interest to you. There will continue to be frequent other posts throughout the week, but know that you can begin your work week every week by taking a gander at DODMDCB. I welcome any suggestions for future DODMDCB topics, and I will try to answer questions you might have.

As for this first one, I thank you for the initial feedback regarding the Drugs in Film panel. I'll leave you with some additional fun facts I'll be bringing to the panel that you might like to chew on this morning....

- 25 million Americans smoked pot at least once in 2006 [Time Magazine]

- Marijuana is top cash crop in the U.S. ($3.5B annually, equal to than annual production of corn, wheat, and cotton combined) [Reuters]

- Marijuana production has increased an average of 9.6% annually for the past 25 years [Time Magazine]

- 12 states have legalized medical use of marijuana for medical purposes

Fondly,

--DODMDCB

Friday, February 22, 2008

Instant Buzz: Drugs in Film

Locals--
Darren here. If you've checked the SXSW panel schedule, you may have noticed that our picture will be represented on the "Drugs in Film" panel by yours truly, with the possibility of Danny joining in the fun as well.

Last night I watched the (unintentionally) hilarious American classic Reefer Madness (or as it was originally known: Tell Your Children), the 1936 exploitation film in which high school students run amuck in madness, violence and rape after using "marihuana". I realized that watching that movie was an excellent way to prepare for the SXSW panel. I've decided to add a few more "drug" films to my queue and try to watch them before the festival, including Up in Smoke, the first Cheech and Chong movie, Scarface, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Blow. Those films, it seems, trace the path of drug films in Hollywood through the 20th Century.

I'd love to hear from any of you Lost Coast Locals for some other recommendations of good films to look at in preparation for the dicussion on drugs in film. Also, seeing as this panel's aim is to discuss the evolution of the depiction of drugs in cinema, I'd like to know any thoughts you might have on this issue. Mostly because I don't want to have to do anything thinking myself, but also because I'd love to be able to express the thoughts of others (and not just myself) at SXSW.

If you're in Austin for the festival, by the way, the panel is Monday March 10, at 3:00 pm.

The comments are open. Bring it on, LCLs.

-Darren

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Casting Part VI: The Kid

Hello, LCLs. While I'm stuck in an ice-storm at the St. Louis airport, thought I'd continue our ongoing casting series. Today's edition? The Kid.

To say that Darren and I were freaked out about directing a child actor is an understatement. Many months before we started casting, we began rain dances and set up a copious amount of candles in an effort to appease the filmmaking gods. Little humans are not our forte. Darren and I get uncomfortable when we meet extremely short adults. Children are even littler than little, tiny adults. At least that’s what we’ve read.

Plus, casting a child role in Hollywood is a strange experience. There are a bunch of sad little kids out there who have been pushed into movies by their parents who, upset at their own lot in life, hope desperately to achieve the success they never had through that of their kids. It’s sad to see.

But even weirder is the prospect of telling a little kid of 8 or 9 years old that she is not good enough. No one wants to hear that, but an 8 or 9 year old especially. She can’t understand that being rejected is not a condemnation of who she is, only a recognition that she is not right for the part. It’s a distinction that children can’t really get. Come to think of it, most of the adult actors I know can’t really get that distinction either.

Our other consideration was age. The older a kid is, the longer work day they are legally allowed to have. So, for example, a six year old might only be allowed to work 4 hours a day while a nine year old might be able to work 8. That difference might not sound like much but for those of you who are filmmakers, you know it’s a lifetime. Still, our goal was to cast the best actress for the job regardless of age constraints.

And we had a doozy of a role to cast. The part of “Charity” is complex. She’s a young girl but perhaps the wisest character in the entire film. The role requires a young actress of intelligence and openness.

And so the parade of little girls came into our casting room one by one. Some were scared witless, unable to really speak at all. Our intention was to throw away the script when they came in the room and spend our audition time improvising. We figured, if a kid could be herself and improvise, that’s all we’d need. Some kids were pretty good at the dialogue but once we started improvising, they’d clam up. Others seemed so intent on impressing us that it was hard to get a sense of who they really were. One little five year old came bursting through the doors and exclaimed triumphantly, “I’m your Dakota Fanning!” It was super weird, and slightly creepy.

And then there was Madison Davenport. She came into the audition room like she owned it. She nailed the dialogue and then we started improvising. When a nine year old girl can improvise lines ten times better than what we wrote it usually means one of two things: 1. We must be terrible writers, or 2. The girl is a genius. In our case, both are correct. There was no decision to be made, Madison Davenport is Charity. And I have no problem making this declaration – she’s better than most of the adult actors I’ve ever met. This girl has got it. Whatever that is, she’s got it.

Still Darren and I were nervous. We met with her before we started shooting and, believing that we needed to keep a watch over her preparation, gave Maddy a notebook to keep as a journal for her character. She smiled knowingly and accepted our gift. Though I don’t think she ever filled it out. In hindsight, we had underestimated her, mostly out of our own fear. Maddy has her own process. I don’t know what that process is but I do know that when she gets on set, the girl is prepared. She knows her lines and she’s got suggestions for a million more. Further, she’s one of those actors who can’t help but be honest in front of the camera. Though we had Emmy winners and Oscar nominees in our cast, Madison required the least amount of direction of anyone. It was a breeze.

Apparently our prayers to the filmmaking gods paid off.

Peace,
d

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I've been stricken with (public) consumption!

So I’m visiting home in St. Louis for my grandma’s 90th birthday. I just walked by her facility’s business center where I saw an old man researching “irritable bowel syndrome” (IBS) on the Internet. Awesome.

But speaking of irritable bowels, this is a good time for me to reflect on recent developments…

So we’ve hired a publicity company, which we’re really excited about. Though it was a strange and, honestly, bewildering process. At the start of it, I was honestly pretty unaware of what a publicity company does. Also, I was confused about how interviews and press can actually help us sell the film – which, after all, is the whole point. But apparently, press matters, so like good little soldiers Darren and I are trumpeting the horns and blowing the…horns so that we can get our little movie out into the world.

One difficulty that we’re having is striking a balance between our natural inclination to be silly with the more dramatic tone of the film. Our fear has always been that if people come to the theater expecting HC to be a silly, pot comedy in the vein of Cheech and Chong or Harold and Kumar, we’re in trouble. And yet, Darren and I have a hard time taking ourselves too seriously. So you can see our dilemma. Hopefully, we’re striking the right balance. You’ll have to let us know.

By the way, did you know that avoiding uncooked cauliflower can help relieve the bloating or gas associated with IBS? Cool.

And finally, here’s a picture of a cat in an army uniform. G’night.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

2 Weeks, 3 Days & 30 Minutes...

Locals--

It bears repeating...

2 Weeks, 3 Days & 30 Minutes, well now 29 minutes...

That's it. That's the official countdown until the World Premiere screening of Humboldt County.

(It's also a reference to the 2007 Golden Globe nominated, Oscar snubbed, Golden Palm winning [at Cannes] Romanian film 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, well worth seeing if you haven't yet. It is a pretty devastating emotional experience, and an incredibly vibrant movie).

As for our picture, preparation continues...

--Thanks for your patience on the trailer -- we waited to make sure it was right. Based on all your positive feedback, we feel our waiting was justified.

We need to acknowledge the incredible hard work and passion of Ron Beyers over at Trailer Park. Ron put in a ridiculous number of hours (off hours in addition to his full time job, mind you), listened patiently to our notes, endlessly tweaked and added his own creative stamp to bring you this final product. We're all extremely proud of it. We need to also thank Ron's girlfriend, who I'm pretty sure considered ending their relationship on account of the time Ron was spending on our little movie. Ah, the life of an artist. And said artist's significant other.

It's funny, but putting together a trailer is a little more challenging than it may seem to be at first. There are all kinds of questions to ask: how much of the plot do you reveal? How many of the best little "moments" do you show? Do moments become weakened in the moviewatching experience by being revealed in the trailer? How many "title cards" (words of text on screen) do you need, and what font/animation should they have? I could go on for hours, but you get the idea. Every step of the process continues to challenge us, and there is rarely a dull moment.

--I've received word that a new post over at Aunt Laura's blog is coming in the next couple days.

--Publicity is going in full force now, as you've seen by the first articles and interviews. We'll try to keep you guys fully abreast of everything that is going on, so expect more frequent updates as we move forward, with Danny and I treating this blog as something of a diary of our experience.


Thanks to all for your continued support! We are on the home stretch here toward our first public screening, and we look forward to sharing the whole process with you day by day!

Now, it's 2 Weeks, 3 Days & 10 Minutes.

WOW.

-Darren

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Interview

Hey Locals,

Happy Presidents Day. Thought I'd post an interview Darren and I did recently for efilmcritic.com. The interview can be seen here but I've posted it below for your enjoyment.

Talk to you soon!

Peace,
d

SXSW '08 Interview: "Humboldt County" Directors Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacobs
by William Goss

The "Humboldt County" Pitch: "Peter Hadley (Jeremy Strong) -- a promising yet disillusioned medical student failed by his professor (Peter Bogdanovich) -- stumbles upon a remote community of counterculture marijuana farmers and a warmly embracing, yet eccentric family."

Describe your movie using the smallest number of words possible.
"Humboldt County" was born from a love of 70's Hollywood cinema, but it's a modern story set in the redwood forests of Northern California with a family of marijuana growers.Is this your first trip to SXSW?

Got any other film festival experience?
"Humboldt County" is our first feature and we are premiering it at SXSW on opening night, so we're breaking our festival cherries, if you will. We're incredibly excited, and we especially look forward to wearing badges around our necks, holding them up as often as possible, "Wayne's World" style, to look 'official.'

Back when you were a little kid, and you were asked that inevitable question, your answer would always be "When I grow up, I want to be a..." what?
For Darren, it was to be the first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals, for Danny, the second baseman. We have not yet fully abandoned this dream, but Darren's going to have to beat out Albert Pujols. Danny's got a more open pathway.

Not including your backyard and your dad's Handycam, how did you get your real "start" in filmmaking?
We've both been working as actors for quite some time, so our experience as filmmakers began in front of the camera and on stage. We've also been writing together for nearly a decade.

Do you feel any differently about your film now that you know it's on "the festival circuit?"
Aboslutely not. Although we certainly hope the film is well received, we made the picture we intended to make and that's incredibly gratifying. We firmly believe that's what makes films enjoyable and successful: when the filmmakers' successfully bring their visions to the screen.

Of all the Muppets, which one do you most relate to?
Well, the Muppets that we actually represent are those bickering old guys who comment on and kvetch about everything they see. But as far as whom do we relate to? That would have to be Fozzie - cause we're pretty sure he's a fellow Jew.

During production, did you ever find yourself thinking ahead to film festivals, paying customers, good & bad reviews, etc?
No. Our shoot was brisk and intense clocking in at about 20 days, and every day our brains nearly exploded. Trying to cram any more information about festivals, customers or reviews would have truly ended with splattered nastiness all over the walls.How did this film get rolling at the beginning?

Give us a brief history from writing to production to post to just last night.
The journey of "Humboldt County" commenced just over five years ago when we – having grown frustrated with trying to write in noisy and frenetic Los Angeles – decided to head north and sequester ourselves in the middle of the woods in order to focus for a month. We decided on Humboldt because Darren has family there. Once we arrived, reconnected with his family, and discovered the beauty and complexity of the place, we abandoned our other script and immediately began work on what would become this film. After completing the script, we trekked across the country for a year, fundraising with our producer in living rooms of forward-thinking (and wealthy) people looking to dabble in the world of film financing. Nine grueling months of casting and six hectic weeks of pre-production led to our vigorous and ambitious 18 days of shooting on location in Humboldt. A year of post production followed, and we finally completed our answer print on beautiful 35mm about three weeks ago.

If you could share one massive lesson that you learned while making this movie, what would it be?
Trust your instincts. Go with your gut. Disappointing though it may be, all these clich├ęs are true. Many times, you'll be faced with a decision and – although you will not understand why – you will feel a deep sense of unease about it. Listen to that little voice inside you, that low rumble. It is the voice of your artistic spirit, telling you what to do. Or perhaps, you could just be hungry

What films and filmmakers have acted as your inspirations, be they a lifelong love or a very specific scene composition?
We have long been inspired by the American films of the 1970s. Quiet, character driven, and purposefully paced films from the likes of Peter Bogdanovich (who we were lucky enough to have in our cast), Bob Rafelson and Hal Ashby, have informed our love of filmmaking as storytelling. When we first set out to make our homage to the '70s, we believed audiences would respond to this kind of realistic storytelling, and we're pleased to now see this is the case. Everywhere we look, people like George Clooney are talking about the 70s aesthetic they love and try to emulate in films like "Michael Clayton". We're pleased to know we've apparently got our fingers on the zeitgeist, but we're a little creeped out to know Clooney was snooping on our story meetings.

Did you watch any movies in pre-production and yell "This! I want something JUST like this, only different."?
Three words: "Five Easy Pieces". Though our film is very different from that film, we wanted a similar tone and a similar balance between the comedy and the drama.

What actor would you cast as a live-action Homer Simpson?
Paul Giamatti. Or a young Fatty Arbuckle.

Say you landed a big studio contract tomorrow, and they offered you a semi-huge budget to remake, adapt, or sequelize something. What projects would you tackle?
Easy. The Buzz Bissinger novel, "Three Nights in August," about Tony La Russa and the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003. If there's anything in this world we love and know more than movies, it's Cardinal baseball. Kevin Pollak owns the rights so, Kevin, if you're out there, please please please let's sit down and discuss it. Please.

Name an actor in your film that's absolutely destined for the big-time. And why, of course.
There's this kid we found named Peter Bogdanovich. We don't think anybody's ever heard of him but he's made some little films that nobody's ever seen and believe us when we tell you, they're pretty good. You know, for an amateur. Plus, he's got some stories... Well, you'll have to ask him. He's better at telling them.

Finish this sentence: If I weren't a filmmaker, I'd almost definitely be...
Danny: A foreign policy expert in the State Department.
Darren: A horse.
Danny: Wait, if you're gonna be funny about it, I also want to be funny.
Darren: Too late.
Danny: I'd be a member of the Electoral College.
Darren: See. That's not funny.Danny:
Fine. Whatever.

Who's an actor you'd kill a small dog to work with? (Don't worry; nobody would know.)
Jack Nicholson.

Have you 'made it' yet? If not, what would have to happen for you to be able to say "Yes, wow. I have totally made it!"?
When the aforementioned St. Louis Cardinals let us throw out the first pitch at a game at Busch, then we've made it.

Honestly, how important are film critics nowadays?
Extremely important! In fact, they're more important than ever. In a saturated marketplace with so many entertainment options and yet so few adequately promoted, critics help little films like ours get a chance to reach their intended audience. Without critics championing those films, so many gems would be lost.

You're told that your next movie must have one product placement on board, but you can pick the product. What would it be?
Cheese. We love cheese. Any kind of cheese. I mean, really; it can be eaten as an appetizer, a main dish, or a dessert. It's the most excitingly flexible food out there. We'd be proud to find a way to incorporate cheese into any and every movie we ever make. Granola's good, too.

You're contractually obligated to deliver an R-rated film to your producers. The MPAA says you have to delete a sex scene that's absolutely integral to the film or you're getting an NC-17. How do you handle it?
We'd trim the sex scene, but in order to remain uncompromised, we'd post the sex scene online with explicit instructions for home viewers to pause the film at the appropriate moment, go to their computers, watch the sex scene, then return to their televisions and press 'play'. There is always a solution!

What's your take on the whole "a film by DIRECTOR" issue? Do you feel it's tacky, because hundreds (or at least dozens) of people collaborate to make a film - or do you think it's cool, because ultimately the director is the final word on pretty much everything?
Filmmaking is no doubt a collaborative medium. There is no way our picture turns out without the dedication and hard work of countless others, each of whom has his or her own imprint on the finished product. That said, a good movie doesn't get made without the driving force of an artist's vision behind it, and that vision usually comes from a director. We didn't take a "film by" credit on "Humboldt County," but we certainly don't begrudge filmmakers who do. We can't speak for others, so if you're Paul Thomas Anderson, go ahead and say "a film by." You won't hear peep from us.

In closing, we ask you to convince the average movie-watcher to choose your film instead of the trillion other options they have. How do you do it?
Danny: Wait, there are a trillion other films out there?
Darren: I think they were exaggerating.
Danny: I want to say "because ours is better than all of the others," but -- jeez -- I don't know if it's better than a trillion films.
Darren: They could also be referring to the trillion options out there for how people can now spend their entertainment dollars.
Danny: I think they're referring to films. The question is about choosing our film over other film options out there.
Darren: I'm just saying, it's a crowded marketplace these days.
Danny: You're an idiot.
Darren: Regardless, we should probably get to a real answer because I don't know how much room their going to let us have for this interview.
Danny: Good call. You start.
Darren: All right. This is gonna be good. The real reason to see "Humboldt County" is because it --

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Video Fun Part Cinqo: Preparation Shmeparation

Hello LCLs,

Hope you're doin' well!!! A couple of things today...

First, we had a little mention in our hometown paper, the esteemed St. Louis Post Dispatch. You can check out the mention here. What I like about the article is that it kind of reads like an obituary. Weird.

Also, for your enjoyment, part five in our ongoing video series. Today's installment focuses on how we prepped to shoot the film. Enjoy!


Friday, February 15, 2008

Trailer is up!

Hey Locals,

Just a quick note for you today to let you know that our trailer is up! Check it out on our main site: http://www.humboldtcountymovie.com/

In addition, we now have our official permiere dates and times for the SXSW film festival. They are:

- Friday 3/7 @ 6:00pm: Alamo Drafthouse Ritz
- Tuesday 3/11 @ 9:30pm: Alamo Drafthouse Lamar
- Thursday 3/13 @ 1:30pm: Alamo Drafthouse Lamar

We've been busy busy busy preparing everything for the festival and with each day, we're getting more excited. Things are shaping up really well.

Cool! Enjoy the trailer!
Danny

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Casting Part V: The Natural


LCLs--
Large post, get ready...

Let me tell you a little story about Fairuza Balk, by way of our casting process:

Danny and I, over the course of casting Humboldt County, were fortunate enough to receive some advice on how best to audition actors. Being actors ourselves, we've always despised the traditional structure of auditions...
  1. Actor enters a plain, well-lit room, shakes hands with casting director, producer, casting assistant, director (whoever else might be there), hands over headshot and resume (mind you this all typically occurs after actor sits in a waiting area with other actors, nervously running lines and quietly doubting self).
  2. Actor performs a scene or two (the "sides") with the emotionless casting director/assistant; actor desperately tries to bring some semblance of reality to this absurd setting.
  3. Actor receives notes from said casting director or producer or director, and actor performs again, demonstrating actor's ability to take direction.
  4. Actor smiles, thanks everyone, leaves room and returns to car filled with self-doubt only to call agent and say "it went OK."
Our auditions were more fluid. We performed the scenes with the auditioning actors, and whenever possible we had the already-cast actors from the other parts available to read in the audition. We encouraged improvisation, suggesting the words on the page were merely a springboard upon which to build a character and a scene. Our auditions often lasted 20-30 minutes or more, and many actors later told us it was one of the most enjoyable (if not bizarre) auditions of their careers.

For many of the actors, it was initially a bit of a shock to the system. They came in prepared to perform the script as written; they had already made choices and were ready to demonstrate their ability to bring truth to the words on the page. For many of these extremely talented actors, it took a little time to warm up to this bizarre audition.

But then there was Fairuza Balk. Fairuza is a pro. She started acting professionally before she was 10 years old, so she has been working steadily for over two decades. When Danny and I were 11, we thought it was cool that we each had a line in the elementary school play about the American Revolution (my line was early in the show: I walked across the stage and said, "8 o'clock and all is well!" All wasn't well for long...). Fairuza, at 11, was cast as Dorothy in Walter Murch's Return to Oz. In other words, this woman has a thing or two to teach us.

After our initial meeting went swimmingly (more on that in a moment), we brought Fairuza in to read for the part. We told her about our audition method. She didn't flinch. In fact, there was a twinkle in her eye (but then again, anyone who has met Fairuza knows there's always a twinkle in her eyes). And when the scene started, she took off. It was like watching a masterful musician in concert, an apt analogy for Fairuza (who is a wonderful singer as you will all see in the film). Her audition must have lasted 45 minutes, and the scene she created was epic, beautiful and always 100% truthful. We were blown away.

Truthfully, for the part of Bogart, we probably saw more talented actresses than for any other part in the film. We had to make an agonizing decision. And we were not able to make the decision right away. Fairuza did not flinch when we asked her to come back for a second reading, this time with Jeremy Strong, our lead actor. Again, she blew us away. It was becoming quite evident who our Bogart was to be. To be honest, I look back now and remember that there were other brilliant performers in line for Bogart, but it's difficult to imagine the part in anyone else's hands. Fairuza is mesmerizing, making the most of every minute of screen time, and I have a feeling many will see her in a very different light after watching Humboldt County.

Bogart is a character who at once entices and frustrates you; she compels you to reach out and try to hold her close only to realize she has slipped away before you can reach her. We tried to write her with great complexity and realism, and where we failed Fairuza filled in the gaps to make her a human being.

I recall our first meeting with Fairuza - sitting on the patio outside of one of her favorite restaurants nestled in Topanga Canyon - where we discussed at length the kind of seemingly contradictory woman that Bogart is, and Danny and I listened in awe as Fairuza used many of the same words to describe her that we had used in conceiving of the character. When you meet an actor of Fairuza's talent who has such a complete connection with a character you've written, well, I guess you've got to count yourself among the fortunate.

And I can tell you today that casting Fairuza was one of those great fortunes that we look back upon with appreciation and humility.

See you and 'Ru in Austin,

Darren

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Locals, Meet Aunt Laura....

Locals,

Today we'd like to introduce you to someone who has been instrumental in the creation of "Humboldt County." She is Darren's Aunt Laura and, in addition to being the inspiration for one of the central characters in the film, Aunt Laura also served as our spiritual advisor throughout the filmmaking process. Further, she was an invaluable aid in helping us make certain that we were presenting the county in a fair light. Aunt Laura lives in Humboldt and, though she does not have access to the Internet, has agreed to dictate blog entries to us. We're giving her absolute freedom to write about whatever she wants so...be prepared.

And now, without further delay, meet Aunt Laura:

http://humboldtcountyauntlaura.blogspot.com/

Happy Thursday,
D&D

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Duper Tuesday Indeed...

LCLs--
We want to officially announce that Humboldt County will be making its World Premiere this March at the South by Southwest Film Festival, in Austin, Texas (as many of you may have already suspected by the presence of the SXSW laurel adorning this blog, over to the right).

We are ECSTATIC to be premiering at such a prestigious festival. The time has come to unleash this picture on the masses, and there is no better place for the film to begin its journey.

Much more to come soon. We hope to see many of you in Austin!

Today is a day for Republicans, Democrats, as well as your two intrepid writer-directors, to unite and for once speak with one voice:

Fondly,
Darren AND Danny

Friday, February 1, 2008

Video Fun Part Quatro: Casting

Hello Beautiful People,

Well, It's the dawn of February and you know what that means, don't you?!!! It's Black History Month!!!! WOOOHOOO!! And also, it's the deadline for our remarkably exciting effort to name those who read this blog. Let me tell you, the process was grueling. Darren and I holed ourselves away in a small cave for the last forty-five hours with only canned beans, a sling-shot and the entire "Calvin and Hobbes" canon, in an effort to somehow come up with the right title for the, oh, 12 raving "Humboldt County" fans surfing this thing called the World Wide Web.

And we have a winner. And that winner is....

Lost Coast Locals.

Or LCLs

Or just: Locals.

We reserve the right to use any and all permutations of this title but rest assured, we're absolutely confident in its effectiveness and fully excited about its intended use.

In other news, next week we begin meeting with a bunch of publicists who have expressed interest in representing the film. Although I'm not entirely sure what, exactly, these publicists do, or how they do it, I have been informed by CD that they play a necessary and essential role in getting our film into theaters. So, hoorah!

Also, we've taken a gander at the second incarnation of the impending Humboldt County trailer and, without tooting our own horn...toot toot! It's getting really great, LCLs, and we can't wait for you to see it.

Finally, I present to you the next installment in our ongoing videos about the film. In this one, Darren and I pontificate incomprehensibly about the wonderful cast and both use the phrase "national treasure" in regards to our actors. This phrase, though it might be accurately used in describing our cast, still makes me want to puke. Nonetheless...enjoy.