Austin Film Festival Pre-Party Screening 2012

Austin Film Festival Pre-Party Screening 2012


Shannon Lucio as Catherine 

Shannon Lucio as Catherine 


Interview with Film Writer Don Simpson. Click on the photo to see full interview. 

Interview with Film Writer Don Simpson. Click on the photo to see full interview. 


Carmel Film Festival 2012

Carmel Film Festival 2012


Nathan Phillips, Shannon Lucio, Zachary Knighton, and Janina Gavankar 

Nathan Phillips, Shannon Lucio, Zachary Knighton, and Janina Gavankar 


Executive Producer, John Michael Measells, talks more about how he became a part of the Satellite of Love team, filming in Austin, and some of his favorite memories from working on the film. 
How did you become a part of this particular project, and what drew you to Satellite of Love?
I was drawn to SATELLITE OF LOVE because I can relate to the story. I was on a plane to the Dominican Republic and I’d printed out what Will Moore (writer/director) had sent me. I’d met Will a week or two earlier at South by Southwest in Austin… by pure happenstance. My intent to read the script was 50/50, but the flight was long. By the time I landed in the Dominican, I was hooked. (As a side note, two days later I herniated a disc in my lower back while climbing coconut trees on a beach in Punta Cana. Nothing to do with the movie, but it was a real son-of-a-bitch by the time we started pre-production.)
Austin is considered somewhat of a mecca for independent filmmaking in Texas, what’s it like being a part of that, and why do you think supporting independent film is important?
I don’t know if I’d call Austin a “mecca.” It’s very dog friendly – which might be a better label – but if you’re talking film nonetheless Austin is a great place. The best thing about Austin is that you have so many places to shoot. Will (writer/director) and Steve (DP) made our film look like it was set in California, or Spain, or some combination of the two… when in fact it was 99% Austin. It’s tough to find locations in such a close vicinity that allow you to take a small budget – almost any budget – and capture your settings and your story.
What was the best part about working on Satellite of Love for you?
I don’t know if I can be honest about this one, but if I have to answer I’d say it’s either that red carpet pic of Will in Las Vegas, or the handheld footage of Austin Renfroe (Satellite of Love Co-Producer) with the pillow.
But I can’t tell you about it. You’ll have to ask them.

Executive Producer, John Michael Measells, talks more about how he became a part of the Satellite of Love team, filming in Austin, and some of his favorite memories from working on the film. 

How did you become a part of this particular project, and what drew you to Satellite of Love?

I was drawn to SATELLITE OF LOVE because I can relate to the story. I was on a plane to the Dominican Republic and I’d printed out what Will Moore (writer/director) had sent me. I’d met Will a week or two earlier at South by Southwest in Austin… by pure happenstance. My intent to read the script was 50/50, but the flight was long. By the time I landed in the Dominican, I was hooked. (As a side note, two days later I herniated a disc in my lower back while climbing coconut trees on a beach in Punta Cana. Nothing to do with the movie, but it was a real son-of-a-bitch by the time we started pre-production.)

Austin is considered somewhat of a mecca for independent filmmaking in Texas, what’s it like being a part of that, and why do you think supporting independent film is important?

I don’t know if I’d call Austin a “mecca.” It’s very dog friendly – which might be a better label – but if you’re talking film nonetheless Austin is a great place. The best thing about Austin is that you have so many places to shoot. Will (writer/director) and Steve (DP) made our film look like it was set in California, or Spain, or some combination of the two… when in fact it was 99% Austin. It’s tough to find locations in such a close vicinity that allow you to take a small budget – almost any budget – and capture your settings and your story.

What was the best part about working on Satellite of Love for you?

I don’t know if I can be honest about this one, but if I have to answer I’d say it’s either that red carpet pic of Will in Las Vegas, or the handheld footage of Austin Renfroe (Satellite of Love Co-Producer) with the pillow.

But I can’t tell you about it. You’ll have to ask them.


We hope you’re enjoying these posts from our Satellite of Love team…this week, we’ll hear from Executive Producer John Michael Measells on how he got his start in independent filmmaking and what the role of “producer” often entails…
The role of Executive Producer is hard to define because it can encompass so many different areas of the filmmaking process. How would you define the role of Executive Producer and the sequence of the production process? 
It depends. In my case it was, at times, completely chaotic. It varied: all the way from reading sides and raising money to custom-drafting cat releases and corralling “stolen limos”… It was comparable to SAMUEL’s trip to The Amazon (in the film), but less euphoric.
Often, an Executive Producer will act exclusively as a fundamental financial backer of a film. When you’re an independent film, however, and you’re continually fighting for your budget, it’s not uncommon to be called upon for much, much more.
What other film projects have you worked and how did you first become involved in independent filmmaking?
I adapted (re-wrote and translated) two fairy tales into short Spanish films while I was in high school, and my friends and I acted them out. The first one, CAPERUSITA ROJA, was such a success that we produced a second, GOLDILOCKS Y LOS TRES OSOS.
I directed both, and I don’t remember who the DP was, but I wish we’d had Steve. I took 15 years off and then did THE RE-GIFT (Debbie Delisi, Paula Pell), but I guess I’ve known all along that independent films are for me.
This is your first time to act as Executive Producer on a film, how did you adjust to the role? Were there things in your work background that enabled you to naturally transition into the position?
I think that I’m still adjusting to the role. I tried the sobriety thing. That worked for a week, then I went back to drinking heavily. Ever since, it’s all pretty much been a blur. Honestly, if they ever bottle this whole Executive Producer thing up, I hope they put alcohol in it.

We hope you’re enjoying these posts from our Satellite of Love team…this week, we’ll hear from Executive Producer John Michael Measells on how he got his start in independent filmmaking and what the role of “producer” often entails…

The role of Executive Producer is hard to define because it can encompass so many different areas of the filmmaking process. How would you define the role of Executive Producer and the sequence of the production process? 

It depends. In my case it was, at times, completely chaotic. It varied: all the way from reading sides and raising money to custom-drafting cat releases and corralling “stolen limos”… It was comparable to SAMUEL’s trip to The Amazon (in the film), but less euphoric.

Often, an Executive Producer will act exclusively as a fundamental financial backer of a film. When you’re an independent film, however, and you’re continually fighting for your budget, it’s not uncommon to be called upon for much, much more.

What other film projects have you worked and how did you first become involved in independent filmmaking?

I adapted (re-wrote and translated) two fairy tales into short Spanish films while I was in high school, and my friends and I acted them out. The first one, CAPERUSITA ROJA, was such a success that we produced a second, GOLDILOCKS Y LOS TRES OSOS.

I directed both, and I don’t remember who the DP was, but I wish we’d had Steve. I took 15 years off and then did THE RE-GIFT (Debbie Delisi, Paula Pell), but I guess I’ve known all along that independent films are for me.

This is your first time to act as Executive Producer on a film, how did you adjust to the role? Were there things in your work background that enabled you to naturally transition into the position?

I think that I’m still adjusting to the role. I tried the sobriety thing. That worked for a week, then I went back to drinking heavily. Ever since, it’s all pretty much been a blur. Honestly, if they ever bottle this whole Executive Producer thing up, I hope they put alcohol in it.


Co-Writer and Music Supervisor, Jonathan Case, talks more about his experience as Script Supervisor and working with working with Director Will Moore. 
You experience moments in post-production where you have to let go of certain scenes/pieces of dialogue. Talk about that experience.
After I got promoted to “Script Supervisor” filmmaking started to be fun. I’ll probably count riding to set with Will in the grip truck as some of the funnest moments of my life. There was an avalanche of problems, every morning starting at 7am, but we rode headlong into them in our Lamborghini grip truck with Venti Starbuckses and smiles on our faces. 
I remember it happening one day after I had been pulling patches of my hair out in the editing room. I just sat back and took a deep breath and heard myself say, “This stuff isn’t mine, or mine and Will’s any more. Probably never was. This belongs to Shannon and Nathan and Janina and what’s his name…? Zach, and Patrick (it probably does belong to Patrick and his agent per his contract), and it belongs to Jason and Karlo and Anthony and Stefani and Ron Lutz and Northcutt, and to Turk and the Reuter House and William & Chris Vineyards, and eventually it’ll belong to an audience.” From that day forward I really had fun with it. 
Letting it go and letting it be what it was going to be from the footage that we had was the best thing I ever did, and I likeSatellite of Love. I think it’s a good movie and I’m extremely blessed to have made it with people that I love. That said, having this experience under my belt I want to be more exacting the next time around, and I feel like I’ve learned how to communicate better around every aspect of the moviemaking process.
What was it like writing Satellite of Love with a partner; how does it differ from writing a script by yourself? 
Will is smart and capable as a writer and director. He has solid ideas about what will work and what won’t. He’s good with pacing and, of course, he can see a page through the director’s lens which, in this mode of ultra-indie filmmaking, goes a long way in terms of efficiency. We wrote Satellite when I was in LA and he was in Austin, and we did a lot of pow-wowing via Skype. He was good at holding my feet to the fire and keeping me accountable for pages. I needed that at the time. I can make music all day, but writing, at least back then, was a task. 
We worked together really smoothly on Satellite, for the most part, and I felt like we had both grown up a little and were ready to recognize each others’ strengths and weaknesses for what they were, and to really collaborate toward the common goal of making a film we could both be proud of. It started with that script, and I think a lot of the fortuitous things that happened to make this movie what it is came from the raw honesty, but also the craftsmanship of the screenplay. We worked hard on it and held tight to our mutual desire to write a good screenplay first and foremost. This extraordinary cast, these really wonderful and crazy talented people who we couldn’t even remotely afford, got on board because of the screenplay. That alone is testimony to the success of our collaborative effort. I hope that the finished product honors these artists’ collective decision to take the ride with us. It’s different from the screenplay. It is what it is, but I think it’s still got the raw honesty and sensitivity that people were originally attracted to on the page.
Now Will and I are going to take boxing lessons and write a movie where somebody gets punched in the neck.

Co-Writer and Music Supervisor, Jonathan Case, talks more about his experience as Script Supervisor and working with working with Director Will Moore. 

You experience moments in post-production where you have to let go of certain scenes/pieces of dialogue. Talk about that experience.

After I got promoted to “Script Supervisor” filmmaking started to be fun. I’ll probably count riding to set with Will in the grip truck as some of the funnest moments of my life. There was an avalanche of problems, every morning starting at 7am, but we rode headlong into them in our Lamborghini grip truck with Venti Starbuckses and smiles on our faces

I remember it happening one day after I had been pulling patches of my hair out in the editing room. I just sat back and took a deep breath and heard myself say, “This stuff isn’t mine, or mine and Will’s any more. Probably never was. This belongs to Shannon and Nathan and Janina and what’s his name…? Zach, and Patrick (it probably does belong to Patrick and his agent per his contract), and it belongs to Jason and Karlo and Anthony and Stefani and Ron Lutz and Northcutt, and to Turk and the Reuter House and William & Chris Vineyards, and eventually it’ll belong to an audience.” From that day forward I really had fun with it. 

Letting it go and letting it be what it was going to be from the footage that we had was the best thing I ever did, and I likeSatellite of Love. I think it’s a good movie and I’m extremely blessed to have made it with people that I love. That said, having this experience under my belt I want to be more exacting the next time around, and I feel like I’ve learned how to communicate better around every aspect of the moviemaking process.

What was it like writing Satellite of Love with a partner; how does it differ from writing a script by yourself? 

Will is smart and capable as a writer and director. He has solid ideas about what will work and what won’t. He’s good with pacing and, of course, he can see a page through the director’s lens which, in this mode of ultra-indie filmmaking, goes a long way in terms of efficiency. We wrote Satellite when I was in LA and he was in Austin, and we did a lot of pow-wowing via Skype. He was good at holding my feet to the fire and keeping me accountable for pages. I needed that at the time. I can make music all day, but writing, at least back then, was a task. 

We worked together really smoothly on Satellite, for the most part, and I felt like we had both grown up a little and were ready to recognize each others’ strengths and weaknesses for what they were, and to really collaborate toward the common goal of making a film we could both be proud of. It started with that script, and I think a lot of the fortuitous things that happened to make this movie what it is came from the raw honesty, but also the craftsmanship of the screenplay. We worked hard on it and held tight to our mutual desire to write a good screenplay first and foremost. This extraordinary cast, these really wonderful and crazy talented people who we couldn’t even remotely afford, got on board because of the screenplay. That alone is testimony to the success of our collaborative effort. I hope that the finished product honors these artists’ collective decision to take the ride with us. It’s different from the screenplay. It is what it is, but I think it’s still got the raw honesty and sensitivity that people were originally attracted to on the page.

Now Will and I are going to take boxing lessons and write a movie where somebody gets punched in the neck.


Last week, we heard from Director of Photography, Steve Acevedo on the many aspects of his job, and what it was like working on the film. This week, we’ll talk to Co-Writer and Music Supervisor, Jonathan Case, about the writing process from conception to post-production. 
How do you approach the writing process and how did this work when writing Satellite of Love?
There’s a quote from the artist Julian Schnabel that says, “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” I love that quote, but I can’t help but hear it as an indictment of my lack of discipline and further proof, beyond the fact that I’m not a paid screenwriter, that I’m an amateur; not a professional in the strict sense. I know I’m a good writer, but only recently have I hit any kind of stride with it from a discipline standpoint, and found pleasure in the implementation of something resembling a regiment.
It’s still a pretty loose regiment but more than what I had before. I’m trying, in all aspects of my life, to cultivate more discipline and just get to work. On the other hand, inspiration has never really seemed to be in short supply. I’m inspired by everything, all the time. I’m inspired right now. I mean, the word “inspire” is derived from the Latin word that means “to breathe.” I’m breathing, I’m inspired.
As a writer, what was it like being on the set watching your film come to life?
Horrifying. The first three days were horrifying and I wanted to be anywhere else. My role on set was undefined, there had been no rehearsals, not even a table read. I had no idea if the actors were seeing this script the same way I was. Come to find out, not even Will and I were seeing everything in the same light. It kind of dawned on us that we hadn’t even really had a big picture conversation since dealing with all the minutiae of dialog, etc., and rolling straight into pre-production. Will would yell “cut” and all the actors would turn to me to see if they were playing it right, and I could feel Will wanting very badly to punch me in the neck, but there was nothing I could do about it. I went into the woods with a headset and just kind of eavesdropped. 
When Patrick Bauchau, the actor from my favorite piece of cinema ever, 1967’s La Collectionneuse, arrived on set to play Alex, I couldn’t be there. I went AWOL. I wanted to go live in the mountains and never have anything to do with filmmaking again. I was trying to be deferential to Will and allow him to direct the ship. There was never any question about who the director was, but I found myself in a very uncomfortable position feeling ways I hope I never have to feel again. 
Rather than punching me in the neck, Will gave me the job of “Script Supervisor,” and then I got to be behind the monitor with him holding a copy of the script and making note of where the dialog was off in the take. Then when Will would yell “cut” and Zach, for instance, would turn around and look at me, I would look at the script and then yell back to Zach, “It’s ‘I’m so happy to see you.” Then on the next take Zach would say whatever he felt like saying and go have a sandwich. Thanks to Northcutt and Frank for the food, by the way. Delicious. 
Later in the shoot, when Janina was back in LA for True Blood, I sat in and fed her lines to Mr. Bauchau in a scene that was later cut. Reading lines that I wrote to a guy that was in my favorite movie almost 50 years ago across a campfire was pretty magical.

Last week, we heard from Director of Photography, Steve Acevedo on the many aspects of his job, and what it was like working on the film. This week, we’ll talk to Co-Writer and Music Supervisor, Jonathan Case, about the writing process from conception to post-production. 

How do you approach the writing process and how did this work when writing Satellite of Love?

There’s a quote from the artist Julian Schnabel that says, “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” I love that quote, but I can’t help but hear it as an indictment of my lack of discipline and further proof, beyond the fact that I’m not a paid screenwriter, that I’m an amateur; not a professional in the strict sense. I know I’m a good writer, but only recently have I hit any kind of stride with it from a discipline standpoint, and found pleasure in the implementation of something resembling a regiment.

It’s still a pretty loose regiment but more than what I had before. I’m trying, in all aspects of my life, to cultivate more discipline and just get to work. On the other hand, inspiration has never really seemed to be in short supply. I’m inspired by everything, all the time. I’m inspired right now. I mean, the word “inspire” is derived from the Latin word that means “to breathe.” I’m breathing, I’m inspired.

As a writer, what was it like being on the set watching your film come to life?

Horrifying. The first three days were horrifying and I wanted to be anywhere else. My role on set was undefined, there had been no rehearsals, not even a table read. I had no idea if the actors were seeing this script the same way I was. Come to find out, not even Will and I were seeing everything in the same light. It kind of dawned on us that we hadn’t even really had a big picture conversation since dealing with all the minutiae of dialog, etc., and rolling straight into pre-production. Will would yell “cut” and all the actors would turn to me to see if they were playing it right, and I could feel Will wanting very badly to punch me in the neck, but there was nothing I could do about it. I went into the woods with a headset and just kind of eavesdropped. 

When Patrick Bauchau, the actor from my favorite piece of cinema ever, 1967’s La Collectionneuse, arrived on set to play Alex, I couldn’t be there. I went AWOL. I wanted to go live in the mountains and never have anything to do with filmmaking again. I was trying to be deferential to Will and allow him to direct the ship. There was never any question about who the director was, but I found myself in a very uncomfortable position feeling ways I hope I never have to feel again. 

Rather than punching me in the neck, Will gave me the job of “Script Supervisor,” and then I got to be behind the monitor with him holding a copy of the script and making note of where the dialog was off in the take. Then when Will would yell “cut” and Zach, for instance, would turn around and look at me, I would look at the script and then yell back to Zach, “It’s ‘I’m so happy to see you.” Then on the next take Zach would say whatever he felt like saying and go have a sandwich. Thanks to Northcutt and Frank for the food, by the way. Delicious. 

Later in the shoot, when Janina was back in LA for True Blood, I sat in and fed her lines to Mr. Bauchau in a scene that was later cut. Reading lines that I wrote to a guy that was in my favorite movie almost 50 years ago across a campfire was pretty magical.