Thursday, August 25, 2011

Heartbreak in 209 Cuts: Press Clippings

The last time I was interviewed for an article, the reporter ended up writing that I said Mexican films were crap and spelled my name "Terry Carlson." Apparently this is typical of the press. I didn't say that by the way and it was especially cringe-inducing to read since I'm Mexican and my film was a selection at the San Diego Latino Film Festival. Yeah, GULP. That they changed my name was really what bothered me the most.

I got interviewed over the phone yesterday and after hanging up I realized I blabbed and expected to read some abomination. I was relieved when I read the article this morning. I just need to clarify one thing:

I told the reporter that the best part about making this film was learning that I was capable of so much more in terms of the technical aspects of filmmaking. I was referring to post production. In the article the reporter writes:

...but it is her first attempt at taking on every technical role in the film making process and creating a short film completely on her own.

I was talking about editing, sound design, mix, titles, etc. I had a crew and I wouldn't have had such a great experience and results without them, especially my DP Giancarlo Ruiz. But I don't blame the reporter, I blabbed too much.

You can read the article below as well as other press the MCASD alt.pictureshows event is getting.

La Jolla Patch Article

San Diego City Beat (Where Giancarlo gets a nice kudos.)

I’ve seen a few of them, and I can assure you that it’s worth stopping by the Global Wanderlust Station, where you can catch former San Diegan Teri Carson’s short, Heartbreak in 209 Cuts, a sharp little film about a girl dealing with the aftermath of a breakup. Technically speaking, it’s a comedy featuring some terrific cinematography from another local, Giancarlo Ruiz.

Here is KPBS film critic and cinema expert Beth Accomando's analysis of the works by Tijuana-based filmmakers (and friends) Cathy Alberich and Aaron Soto. I'm really looking forward to seeing them and their new work.

San Diego Reader article

La Jolla Light article

Museum-goers will be free to dip in and out of rooms at will to sample an offbeat cross-section of films linked either by a common theme, sensibility, or both in what promises to be an evening where “physical channel surfing” is encouraged.

I'm really excited to hang out but a little nervous that my dad is going. Last time I showed him one of my films he was catatonic throughout. And of course I hope my Mexican family doesn't show up with mariachis.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, August 20, 2011


I submitted the title on Monday and today it was on my page. Good thing I google myself often.


Also, if you're in San Diego on Thursday evening, try to make the alt.pictureshows event at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.  It's a lot of fun.


Monday, August 15, 2011

MCASD/alt.pictureshows Press Release

I just received this from the museum.  I am so excited to see some of my San Diego/Tijuana filmmaker friends, hang out and see some great shorts.  I can't wait.

* * *



Annual short-film festival, presented by MCASD and Muse Chasers, returns to La Jolla

August 15, 2011

On Thursday, August 25, 2011 from 7-10 PM, San Diego's premier short-film showcase alt.pictureshows returns to MCASD La Jolla (700 Prospect Street). Curated by filmmaker and MCASD Film Curator Neil Kendricks, the ninth annual alt.pictureshows features 17 smart and provocative short films that will delight, engage, and challenge moviegoers. The one-night-only event is $5 general admission and free to MCASD Members.

This year’s short-film gauntlet of indie-minded, cinematic works pushes the envelope of what can be achieved in the short-film format, ranging from the winner of Best Short Film at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Matt Piedmont’s Brick Novax’s Diary, to the hard-hitting, kitchen-sink realism of British film director Daniel Mulloy’s Baby. This year’s event also includes the playfully irreverent Logorama, the 2010 Academy Award winner for Best Animated Short Film.

Part art happening, part film installation, and always engaging and fun, alt.pictureshows also features surreal animations by Kelly Sears, Cesar Cabral, and the new experimental short, All Flowers in Time, by Jonathan Caouette of Tarnation fame. Many of the program’s short films have not been rated and contain adult content.

The event will transform MCASD’s Sherwood Auditorium and additional indoor and outdoor venues within the Museum into the ultimate micro-cinema experience. Museum-goers are free to dip in and out of rooms at will to sample an offbeat cross-section of short films linked either by a common theme, sensibility, or both in what promises to be a marvelous evening where “physical channel surfing” is encouraged.

The screening of Cathy Alberich’s documentary Ready to Wear, which follows three women from both sides of the border united by their love of vintage clothing, inspired a unique installation in the Museum’s downstairs thoughtLAB, a reading room traditionally used to give Museum patrons a deeper look into the exhibition on view. Mannequins featuring garments from Tijuana’s clothing designers and a multimedia presentation will showcase how fashion has inspired art and film in the region. On the adjacent Miles Terrace, guests will enjoy a fashion show at 8 PM, along with a cash bar and DJ-spun music.

(as of August 15, 2011; more films to be announced)


• Jupitor Elicius (6 min.) by Kelly Sears
• Storm (10 min.) by Cesar Cabral
• Logorama (16 min.) by Francois Alaux, Herve de Crecy and Ludovic Houplain
• Brick Novax’s Diary (16 min.) by Matt Piedmont
• Comics Are Everywhere Extended Trailer (3:10 min.) by Neil Kendricks

• Heartbreak in 209 Cuts (7:27 min.) by Teri Carson
• We’re Leaving (13 min.) by Zachary Treitz
• Skateistan: To Live and Skate Kabul (9 min.) by Orlando von Einsiedel
• Three Wheels (16:30 min.) by Tony Wei


• All Flowers in Time (14 min.) by Jonathan Caouette
• Danse Macabre (8 min.) by Pedro Pires
• Yearbook (10 min.) by Carter Smith
• Baby (25 min.) by Daniel Mulroy

• Ready to Wear (25 min.) by Cathy Alberich

THE WAILING WALL (Miles Terrace)
• Orlando’s Donde Vas music video (4:43 min.) by Aaron Soto
• Orlando’s Solo Dios Sabe music video (4:42 min.) by Aaron Soto
• Santelle’s Unamonos music video (6:24 min.) by Aaron Soto

*Hi-res images and press kits available for select films; please contact or 858 454 3541 x119.

MCASD's Film Program is made possible by grant support from The James Irvine Foundation and contributors to MCASD's Annual Fund. Institutional support for MCASD is provided, in part, by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.


Founded in 1941, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in San Diego County. The Museum’s collection includes more than 4,000 works of art created since 1950. In addition to presenting exhibitions by international contemporary artists, the Museum serves thousands of children and adults annually at its varied education programs, and offers a rich program of film, performance, and lectures. MCASD is a private, nonprofit organization, with 501c3 tax-exempt status; it is supported by generous contributions and grants from MCASD Members and other individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Dr. Hugh M. Davies is The David C. Copley Director and CEO at MCASD.

Institutional support for MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Production Journal, Heartbreak in 209 Cuts: First Fail and Blah Blah Blah

I finished the mix last night and decided I wasn’t going to touch the film for a while. So the edit stands until I come up with brilliant, artistic ideas to make it better. I’m coming down from creative euphoria and beginning to feel fatigue. If I let myself I’ll become exhausted, but I can’t. Not yet. I have to get the film out of my computer and into the world as soon as possible. I will try to do so by Friday night because I really want Sunday to be a day of lazy movie watching from the couch. And NOT my movie. I’m craving Bergman.

Because I wanted to test the film today on one of my work’s expensive flat screen televisions, I tried to author an HD DVD with DVD Pro last night. I’ve only used iDVD which is very easy to figure out. I had never opened DVD Pro and it was clear you really had to know what you were doing. I did not, of course I did not, but it didn’t stop me from going for it. Why not? It’s the theme of my life at this moment. I just messed around dragging and dropping until it worked. I went to bed and this morning I had a “success” message and the computer had spit out the burned DVD.

I then tried to play it and, after a few seconds, the film would just restart and stop in the same place, and so on. Oh well. I guess I’ll have to watch that handy instruction DVD that comes with FCP that tells you exactly how to do it right.

I haven’t submitted any films via Withoutabox in a while and was shocked to see how much their prices have gone up for the “power submitter” packages. It’s such bullshit. I’m not giving them and IMDB any of my money especially since my name didn’t come up when I was entering the crew’s information. Giancarlo’s and Sylvia’s did. I have several IMDB credits and I don’t understand why my name is not linking. This irks me to no end. I’m still stewing over a director friend of mine who added me to his project and somehow fucked up and gave me the “alternate name” of “Jose Perez.” That’s his name. I’ve tried many times to remove it and those fuckers won’t. Maybe I should just change my name to Jose Perez and THEN my name will pop up on WAB. I can imagine people looking at my page and wondering, “So, wait, she’s a tranny?” Fakkk.

Also, I didn’t bother to write a logline and a short synopsis before logging into WAB, so I had to write “blah blah blah” in the box in order to skip to the next category of information. I hate writing loglines and synopses. It really requires a lot of thinking that really doesn’t apply to the type of stories I tell. Or so I like to think. Being vague and misleading is annoying. Being literal is boring. Being provocative to stand out is hard. It’s difficult to strike the right balance and I hate to be put in that position. But it’s necessary. So that’s what I will be doing today. When I’m done procrastinating.

One of the things I did while procrastinating was to read the Sundance submission FAQ. Yes that’s how far I can go. I was planning on mailing my film on Monday thinking it was a postmark deadline. Wrong. It’s a “received by” deadline. I called the festival’s office to find out their office hours. Nine to five. That means I’ll have to drive all the way from Silverlake to Beverly Hills Monday morning before work. Wilshire Boulevard on a Monday morning. It’s not very indie of Sundance to have offices in Beverly Hills. They should be down the street from me. At least I live in LA and I can do that, but is my time worth it just to save $15? I have to ponder that a bit more.

OK, have to go clean the employee bathroom and then offer to get everyone’s lunch and then I will I sit down to write the goddamn logline and synopsis. But first, a muffin. Maybe a banana nut muffin…

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Production Journal, Heartbreak in 209 Cuts: 7:21:20




I sent a draft to a few trusted colleagues/friends and their impressions and suggestions enabled me to cut down the film to an acceptable (to me) running time of 7:21:20. And that’s including credits. I counted 209 cuts and that's the title I'm sticking to. All there is left to do is a few minor sound and title sequence adjustments and the film is good to go. That is, if I can figure out Toast.

I’ve always been envious that my Tijuana filmmaker buddies are able to tackle all aspects of post-production on their own. In the past I’ve had editors, sound designers and mixers and others to do the title sequences. This time, it was all me. I won’t say that I created wonders, but I’m happy with the results and I feel I’ve grown tremendously as a filmmaker. I won’t lie. More than a couple of times I was able to do something by accident. Mostly, it was by trial and error but without much struggle, which was very surprising. Very surprising. Just like when a baby is learning to walk, decides to go for it fully expecting to fall and then is shocked when he doesn’t.

Every step I’ve taken forward started out paranoid and lacking in confidence. That’s why I can’t believe that I conceived a film (that doesn’t suck) and finished it in five weeks. This proves that you have to make up your mind to do something and then have a set deadline. I’ve learned a lesson and I hope it sticks. However, I think I will stay neurotic, paranoid and expect the worst because, after all, this is no budget filmmaking.  That way, I'll always be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Production Journal, Heartbreak in ? Cuts: On my ass, having a blast.

On my drive to work today a bizarre feeling took over me. At first I couldn’t even recognize it so I started to think about it while I just went with it. I feel like a chick flick cliché. I never would have imagined that in the span of only 5 weeks I’d be my most miserable and most happy. I didn’t even go on a soul-searching trip to Tuscany or fuck a hot guy. How does that happen? I asked myself if I should take the credit. Of course at first I was reluctant, but I couldn’t really give it to anyone else this time. I made a decision to work through pain and disappointment and the result is in me now. Whatever that is. OK. Fine. We’ll call it “happiness.” I know one thing for sure: it’s all in the doing.

Yesterday I spent 14 hours editing, on my ass, and I wouldn’t have stopped if it hadn’t been for the two times I had to pee and the other two I had to play with my dog who was miserable to be stuck indoors the whole day. I didn’t eat because I didn’t get hungry. That’s the way it is when you’re doing something you love. When you’re having a total blast.

How does a 4-page script turn into an 8-minute film (without credits)? You give it to me to shoot and edit. Now the real stressful work begins. I have to figure out what’s best for the film and to recognize where I’m being self-indulgent. I know I’ll have to kill quite a few babies to get the screen time down. Five years ago this wouldn’t have been an issue. I was more than okay with being idiosyncratic and I have the 17-minute film to prove it. I don’t have an editor next to me quoting Walter Murch every five minutes, trying to convince me why a sequence must die. This time is just me against me. Lordy.

For once, I really feel like da bomb and believe it’s true. I’ve surprised myself and right now I don’t know what to do with the emotions that come with it. I guess I’ll just go with it.

I’ll revel in my personal accomplishments, including conquering several paralyzing fears, until I have to do the titles on PhotoShop and my confidence is again shut down. Fuck you PhotoShop!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Another inspiring story about perseverance.

Today I spent the whole day at the Sundance Comedy Shorts Lab. I will report on it next week, but couldn't wait to share this anecdote with you.

The only reason Julie Delpy started acting is because Godard put her in a movie. At 14, she approached him because she wanted to work on his crew and he told her that she instead was going to play mandolin in his movie. She wrote her first screenplay at 16, wrote 15 more over the years. It took 20 years to get to 2 Days in Paris. She showed Sam Shepard a script while they were making Voyager (1991) and he told her it was shit and to stay pretty and keep acting.  Everyone told her she was shit but she kept on writing. She was wasting away locked up in her house when friends literally dragged her out and convinced her to start work on Before Sunset.  Then her agent fired her and told her "you're writing a shit sequel to a shit movie." (He wanted her to play a latina in a Rush Hour movie). Even after the Oscar nomination people told her she was shit. And then one person liked the 2 Days in Paris screenplay and raised 400,000 euro for the budget. Because the film was successful, she was given the money for the sequel, 2 Days in New York.

She stressed that not giving up is the most important thing and obviously she's right.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Production Journal, Heartbreak in ? Cuts: Washing Away

This is the part where I usually have very funny anecdotes about everything that went wrong. I suppose if you’re paranoid and expect the worst then you are pleasantly surprised when nothing goes wrong. Well, nothing did and I’m beyond pleasantly surprised; I’m flabbergasted. Things seem to have worked out beautifully ever since I conceived this story while running my ass off trying to get over my painful break up five weeks ago. Had I not been treated like trash, I would have never made this film. Wait, so am I saying that I’m glad I got dumped so that I could think of this story and make THIS film? Yes, I think I am. I am. That’s how crazy filmmakers are.

I’m reminded of this scene:

This film is me through and through; it represents my point of view.  While we were shooting I told my crew that if you don’t laugh at all the shit that happens to you then you’re fucked.  Does that mean I’m an optimist?  I don’t know and don’t care. I’m just very thankful I get to do this instead of going to a shrink.  Money better spent.

My Crew of Ruiz’s was a gift from the filmmaking gods.  They did the work of 10 people, more or less, but more importantly, they got it and had fun.  They made me cook them breakfast but I let that slide because I was in a generous mood and because of them I was free to focus on the creative aspects of directing and ordering lunch. 

My DP (Giancarlo Ruiz), Ruiz 1, got what I wanted to do visually (maybe because we both have twisted senses of humor) and delivered it.  How often does that happen?  It was so easy to let go of my anal attachment to the camera because I trusted him.  And I’m loving the results.

The sound dude, Ruiz 2, was a close friend/family who had never been on a film set before.  He learned to operate the sound equipment right there and then and as far as I can tell, he got great sound.  I never doubted him.  The AC, Ruiz 3, was also new to a film set, worked her ass off and did a great job.

I was pretty nervous about working with a new actor.  Sylvia (Panacione) was a joy to work with.  She was willing to try anything and took direction very well. That’s the mark of a trained professional.  She had great instincts and came up with some very funny improv on the spot.  I told her she could try anything and if it wasn’t any good it wouldn’t be on the film.  (I learned that from Lelia Goldoni). Yes, it’s true, 90% of directing is casting. 

It’s the trust that John Cassavetes and his people talked about.  It’s about who’s around you helping you make your vision a reality.  When it works, it’s magical.

And then there was my Peeps.  Pepa. Pepita the untrained supporting canine.  She would hit her marks perfectly, but mostly when the camera wasn’t rolling.  She was happy to have a house full of people, but I think at some point she was too tired and just wanted to go to bed.  She’s a method actor and it worked out perfectly.  It was a huge risk to write her in, but it paid off.

My confidence wanes and I have to remind myself constantly I don’t want to let down those who helped and supported me in this endeavor.  So yup.  It’s really up to me to fuck it up or make it work.  

“I’m making this film to exorcise a pain in my soul that just won’t go away, like oil stains. I wash my clothes with movies.”—Alex de la Iglesia