Entries Tagged as 'Randomness'

PBS “Viewfinder” and other shenanigans…

Hey guys, just wanted to let you know that I’m featured this month on the PBS/CET show “Viewfinder”. So, if you live in the tri-state region make sure to check your local listings, and tune in to PBS/CET this Thursday, March 24th at 7:30pm EST. I’m honored to be on the show this week as well as with an actress, Meredith Meeks, who worked on “End of All Things” with me, and will join me later on in the show to chat about that (now award-winning) film. For those of you who haven’t seen my recent shorts “Freedomland” or “End of All Things” this is an excellent chance to get a taste of them and hear me blabber on about how many things had to fall into place to get those films made. So check that out.

Also, I want to give a shout-out to the kids at the Cincinnati Country Day School (High School) which I gave a keynote to a few weeks ago. It was great getting to chat with you, and having a chance to meet many of you. Hopefully I’ll be back again before too long to bug you some more. You guys are awesome, keep up the good work, and ignore everything I said about throwing things at people 🙂 .

A Little About Me…

Ok… so while I know many of you are really excited to find out what new craziness is happening next in my own little world, I thought I might take a little time and give you an idea of what it is that I do every day. Now, bear with me here as I’ll do my best to abbreviate so as not to make this a novel, but here’s just an example of what I did yesterday: I generally get up a bit later in the day, usually around 9am-10am(ish) (keeping in mind how late I work… read on), most days the first thing I do is sit-down at my computer in my home-office and spend the better part of 2 hours replying to just the most important of the e-mails I get, keeping in mind that much of the work I do is done long-distance, since I live in Ohio and work with industries based for the most part on the West Coast. Anyways… e-mails, I generally get anywhere between 40 and 70 “important” e-mails in a day (this does not include spam… these are e-mails that are from people I work with, or about projects/productions I’m actively working on… most need to be replied to immediately). So, I get through as many as I can each morning and forward the ones I’m able to on to other people who work with me (like my colleagues at my production company, my manager, producers of the various projects I’m working on, or other asst directors for the film festival) to take care of since I simply don’t have the time to respond to every one (that alone would easily take my whole day, every day, right there). After e-mails I generally focus on getting ready for the day, eat, shower and all that… so that by around 11:30am I’m set to role with whatever comes my way (I pretty much run on an LA schedule, which is 3-hours off from the eastern time-zone I’m in, in Ohio so that’s like Noon to 8pm EST) anyhow.. . what comes next varies literally by day… generally I have either conference calls or in-person meetings booked back to back every weekday (lately we’ve been double-booking meetings and events over a year in advance, simply out of need, that just to say that my life can get kind-of busy all the time), anyway, this particular day started with me driving to an event-site to help setup for a local performance gig for about an hour… right from there I went down the block for an extended lunch meeting with a producer/distributor friend of mine (former studio executive) who is now running his own US distribution house, is co-producing my feature and is also partnered with the film fest (we try to do lunch every couple weeks to catch up in person and go over lots and lots of new info). Anyhow, that meeting ran until 2:00pm. From there I went back to my home office for a conference call to LA, then a couple local follow-up calls for the film fest… replied to a few more e-mails that popped up during the day (and ignored a bunch more), then headed off to the Post Office to pickup/sign for about 80 more film festival entries that we received over the weekend, log them in, then pack them into the car to be dropped off with the festival programming director the next morning… which brings us to 3:30pm. I had a meeting with film festival Marketing staff scheduled to go over marketing strategies for 2009, which I arrived frustratingly 10minutes late too (any one of the above reasons should easily explain that). Because we were also officially bringing on a few new assistant directors, that meeting ran over until nearly 7:00pm before I got back to my office. Knowing I only had so much time left in the work day (again on an LA schedule here… so 8pm EST is 5pm PST) I ran back to my office and made a few quick follow-up calls to agents regarding cast for my feature, then grabbed a quick bite to eat from my kitchen and proceeded to sit down to actually start getting some real work done… I had seven (3-10pg) contracts to read, revise, and sign (ranging from bands/special guests we’re working with to perform at the film fest, to new staff contracts, to legal agreements, letters of intent for film crew –for the feature- to registration forms for a new film festival membership program we’re developing). Which brings us to around 10:30pm. Now is when I start to freak, since I realize how much I haven’t accomplished in the day that needed to be done LAST week. So, I sit down and re-work my already triple-booked schedule by priority deadlines and send out e-mails to about a dozen different people on various different staff’s and boards to let them know where things stand as of that day. Ok… so now my day is half-done. Between the hours of 11pm and about 4am to 5am is when I actually end up working on some of our Star Com client-based materials (which range from new-media work to consulting to script supervision, live event management inquiries, etc). I’ll often take a few minutes break at some point in there, grab a snack and maybe watch a portion of one of the Late Night shows before getting back to work. Note that most of my script-writing and re-writing is done during the wee-hours as well as looking through audition tapes, online reels and such, since that’s often the time when I can be the most focused. Before I head off to bed around 5am, I’ll often check the morning industry publications to see what tomorrow will bring…. and that was (for the most part) my Monday. Tuesdays are much, much busier. Keeping in mind that I didn’t even have time to address most Miami Film Association programs or inquiries at all (Mondays and Fridays are supposed to be my “free days” to work on the MFA and film fest… which is somewhat of a joke). Anyway… I get a couple hours of sleep and get into a whole ‘nother arena the next day. Now, I should say that no day of mine is ever like the previous one… I’ll often be dealing with completely different issues for different events and productions each day, which I absolutely love. But it goes without saying that most weekends are just spent trying to catch up for things not finished during the week (that is, the few weekends I’m actually in town, and not traveling or speaking someplace, or actually on set or on-site at a production I’m producing, managing or working). Such is just a brief insight into my day-to-day life. I try to catch movies every chance I get… you’ll often find me sneak away once or twice a week to a movie theater (whenever I can manage)… I do all my shopping at 24hr stores because generally by the time I get around to making it to a store it’s often 4am. Another fun fact, since I live alone, I also actually have to schedule time every other week to do laundry… because if I don’t, it just doesn’t get done (I found that out the hard way). So… now you know (I just know you all were simply dying to know about my laundry) but hey… that’s life… at least for me :-). Now that you’ve read all that, hopefully you’ll at least get an idea of why it often takes me a few days to get back to people (even close friends) and especially how hard it is to schedule in-person meetings with new/young filmmakers (which I absolutely love to do and get requests for on a regular basis) but often simply just don’t have the time to do most weeks unless it was scheduled several months in advance. Anywho… it should also, hopefully, explain why I’m writing/posting this blog entry at 4am, and why I don’t post more often :-P. So there you have it. –Oh, and this is also why I have to schedule my film shoots at least a year in advance…

Just as a quick response to one of YOUR questions… “How do you juggle all the things you do?” The answer to that is quite simply careful planning, and minute by minute scheduling, every day of the week, every week. I use an electronic online schedule/calendar that can be/is constantly updated both by myself and by other people who schedule things for me (like my manager). That way I always know where I need to be and when. All my schedules also include reserved time to travel from one meeting/site to the next estimating possible traffic delays etc… and yes, I do often either schedule, or reply to phone calls while in the car driving from place to place… it’s the only way I can keep up with things (you should see my cell-phone bill :-). So… to answer your question… very careful and specific planning, organization, and scheduling… setting and keeping priorities is always key.

Some Favorite Quotes…

Ok, so on a bit of a lighter note, several of you have also asked me what some of my favorite film-related quotes are and why. Alright, so first off, it’s important to note that most of my favorite quotes don’t actually come from films, rather from the filmmakers themselves (though I do have many favorite lines from movies). This is by no means a comprehensive list, as I hear so many wonderful remarks on a daily basis from people I work with, but here are a few I’ve really appreciated, and connect with:

“I dream for a living” – Steven Spielberg

…I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s both sad and amazing how true this statement is:

“In Hollywood, it ain’t real until the check clears the bank” – Laurence Andries

Simply well said:

“Sometimes there just aren’t enough rocks” – Forest Gump

One of the best directing notes I’ve ever heard:

“Do it again, but this time… better.” – Chris Chulack directing “ER”

…you just had to be there – oh, and I don’t recommend using that one on your own set unless you know your actors as well as he does ;-).

Ok, this isn’t from a filmmaker, but it’s certainly one of many excellent quotes to live by:

“There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened. To be successful, you need to be a person that makes things happen.” – James Lovell

And a popular one in my own little world that I’ve thought through way too much:

“Filmmaking is kinda like squirrels, they look all cool, cute and fun on the outside, but when you really get to know them, you find out how evil and frustrating they all really are. But hey, that doesn’t mean you stop loving ‘em, it just gives you a valid reason to throw more rocks.”
– JC’s deep thoughts.

There are so many both wonderful, and simply hilarious statements I’ve heard in this industry, some I can repeat, others I can’t (but really, really wish I could). I’ll try to post more at some point down the line.

The SAG Question…

Ok… so if you all haven’t realized it yet, I try to do my best to stray away from somewhat potentially “unpopular” issues on my blog… but there is a point where I start to wonder what’s going through people’s heads, and I was just asked recently by a several people what my views on the potential SAG strike are. So here are my thoughts on the topic, as irrelevant as they may be. As I’m sure you all know, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is on the verge of a strike this coming January, which I honestly have no problem with as an independent filmmaker, but the whole concept to me at this point seems simply ridiculous. After the lengthy WGA strike last year (and it having been resolved), and with nearly all other major industry unions, including the DGA, agreeing to similar deals earlier this year, I just don’t see how SAG can hold out for something just “slightly” better than what everyone else has already agreed to, nor do I see how the industry can possibly take another lengthy walk-out after last year’s WGA strike and now the current down-turn in the national economy. Now, I’m not a member of SAG, WGA or have any relation to the AMPTP (and I’m certainly not prevy to all the gritty details), but from my point of view, the fact that SAG’s own regional board/s (such as that of SAG’s own NY office) are not supporting them in this matter simply begs the question… what exactly are they trying to achieve with another strike? I know it may be an issue of principle as much as anything, but I’m just not terribly convinced that now is the right time to argue that. There’s simply so much talk about many productions going AFTRA if SAG chooses to strike anyway, that it makes me wonder how many (if any) other industry unions will follow suit and support SAG should they choose to strike (especially considering that many of them have already signed new deals separately) and what real affect it will have other then on SAG members themselves. Again, I’m no expert here, nor am I a guild member, but as a festival director and an independent filmmaker, I’ve been recently forced to address how their choice will affect what I do in a number of ways, so I do hope that all of SAG’s voting members think it through thoroughly before casting their ballots in January. I have a great respect for SAG and its members, and I truly hope they make the right decision, whatever that may be. Again, these are just my thoughts, I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on the matter (as I’m aware that many of you may have strong feelings on this issue), so feel free to post comments or shoot me some feedback and let’s see where it takes us…

Web & Script Fun…

For those of you who may not have noticed, my blog now has a new look (which is dark and mysterious… pretty exciting, eh?), and I also now have a MySpace page, which you can find at www.myspace.com/jcschroder, if you’re a MySpace geek (as it seems about half the world is now) feel free to add me as a friend, and don’t worry, I won’t bite.

In other news, I just attended my first Cincinnati Screenwriter’s circle, which is basically a once-a-month meeting of a bunch of area screenwriters. I got to meet a bunch of great new people, basically, we share industry news, read each-other’s new scenes and give constructive feedback on each-other’s material. It’s a great group, and it’s open to anyone regardless of your level of experience (even if you just want to learn about how to write), which creates a great dynamic and a wide array of feedback from both new and established writers. For any of those who may be interested in attending future meetings, they take place the first Sunday of each month from 4pm to 7pm at the Border’s Bookstore near the Southgate Mall in Colerain, Ohio. All are welcome, its free, and it’s not only a great resource for new writers, but it’s also a great chance to hear about new projects in early development and pick the brains of other writers, as they are the backbone & start of the entire creative process. I had a great time and plan to attend as often as I can, so if you want to hear the latest about what I’m working on in person, drop in and chat!


I find myself sitting at home, with more to do than I can fathom, yet not really wanting to do much of anything at the moment. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve got way too much on your mind. While I haven’t got much new information to mention (yet), I’m working towards the announcement of several large new projects and the launch of 3 new programs by 2009. While this is a less than simple state to be in, I am also still working through that little thing called a “Script” which seems to be taunting me every night, but do not fear! I taunt it right back! Either that, or I’m just losing my mind… but hey, there’s no prize without at least 5 years of hard work, right? That being said, I’ll be more than excited in the next few months when I am indeed able to begin announcing all of these projects, films, programs and dare I say festivals. Stay tuned, there will either be some VERY exciting news, or you’ll catch a really interesting glimpse of me going completely mad, either way it’s bound to be whole lot of fun!

Storm of the Century

Ok, now this may have just been a really stupid thing to do, but the genius that I am, I decided to drive up to Columbus and back in the middle of a blizzard (literally, there was a blizzard warning). For those of you who aren’t aware of where I live and how stupid a choice this was, I live in Oxford, Ohio which is a small town located between Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio and is about 2 hours southwest of Columbus (on a good day), about half this driving is on back-roads through the country-side, which is all well and good, except for when it snows. Basically, I was driving in the middle of a blizzard both ways, on ridiculously winding roads not fit to drive on in clear-weather (which hadn’t been cleared) with 4-foot drifts and 5-foot ditches on both sides of the tiny 2-lane roads.
Now, this was all well and good in day-light, but I was even smarter when I made the decision to drive back home in the dark (still blizzarding) at 3am.

Ok, let me back-up for just a second before I continue. There is a reason forthis trip, I was invited to concert by a cousin of mine, who is just now getting into the music business as a concert promoter, she told me she was working on a show in Ohio and wanted me to meet a few people and hang out. This is all well and good, as I rarely get to see her and I’m big into the music side of the industry, so I said “Sure!” not expecting there to be a blizzard the day of the show (then again, neither was she). So, I went to the show, which was great fun (though somewhat sparse when it comes to attendance, a blizzard will do that), but I enjoyed it and meet some great new people. With that said, the 2-hour drive quickly turned into a 4-hour drive (one way) since I was rather forced to drive a great deal slower than usual as a result of not being able to tell where the snow ended and the freeway began. At one point (around 3:30am) I just started guessing where the side of the freeways were judging by where all the abandoned cars and jack-knifed semis lay covered in 3-feet of snow. This is one of those times when you get that creepy feeling, it’s pitch-black out, snow blowing your car all over the place, you’re on a major 6-lane freeway that is completely deserted, and all you pass are dozens of abandoned vehicles, all dark, half-covered in drifting snow, and all you’re trying to do is not become one of them. Now, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it, I love snow, and I love driving in it even more. Where some people a rush from roller-coasters, I get the same thing from driving in a blizzard in the middle of the night, I just love it! With that said, I only went off the road twice on the trip and to my chagrin, didn’t hit anything, didn’t break anything, and didn’t get stuck, but I guess that should probably be attributed to the fact that I’ve been driving in snow since I first got my license (having first lived in Michigan will do that to you). Anyhow, it was all I could do to stop from laughing when I was driving the last few miles and came across some of the first snow-trucks I’d seen all day/night, and get this, they had slid off the road and were stuck in the ditch. Here I was wondering why none of these roads had been touched all day and why I hadn’t seen a single snow-plow and here I go passing 4 of them, 2 suck in a ditch (literally in the same place) and 2-more sliding around trying to pull the first two out! So I calmly passed them (though just barely, this was that same 2-lane road) and made it back safe and sound at around 4:30am. Now, it may have been a dumb decision on my part, having decided to go knowing the weather forecast, but I honestly have to say, it was one of the funnest day’s I’ve had in while. (and yes, I’m still pulling ice out of my engine-block)

Back From LA, Again …

Just got back from my two-week trip to Los Angeles a few days ago. I went out to LA to meet with a bunch of people in regards to the Oxford International Film Festival and my upcoming feature Slipping Away. Though this was primarily a connection-building trip, I have a strange feeling that I’ll be making much more frequent trips like this one in the not-so-distant future. I had the pleasure of meeting with Navid McIlhargey, VP of Development at Silver Pictures (on the Warner Brothers lot), and Susan Hirshberg, Production Supervisor at Disney Pictures, they are a couple of great people, if you ever get the chance to chat with them, don’t skip-out on it. I also had the chance to sit down with a few other producers and directors, some of whom attended the film festival last year including John Putch (Director of Scrubs, Son of the Beach), who is also an awesome guy. It’s always great to catch-up with acquaintances and meet new people, which I try to do every chance I get. Apart from my many meetings, a couple other great highlights from the trip included flying in to Los Vegas (which, by the way, for those of you paying for your own flights, it is a good deal cheaper to fly into Vegas and Drive to LA than it is to fly directly into LA and rent a car. Just an FYI) plus the added benefits of just being in Vegas for a night just nor the fun of it. We (my manager, Mike who traveled with me) actually we were in town for the opening night of the year’s largest Star Trek convention held at the Las Vegas Hilton each year. So I pulled a few strings and got us in for the day for free, which was great fun. On another note, while at Warner Bros. Studios we were also invited to hang-out on the set of ER for an afternoon. It is always a pleasure to watch crews who have worked together for so long interact (the show is in its 14th season). I just wish all our film sets could run that smoothly, hat’s off to them. You can see a few pictures from the trip below.Click on an image to see it larger

ER set photos:

Other LA & Vegas photos:

Note: These Images Are Copyrighted, any unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.