How to Maim an Editor

Shawn Badgley eats some lead

Dear Shawn,

You do a fine job as the editor coordinating the Chronicle's SXSW Film and Interactive coverage; you really do. That's why it's tough to admit that this had to happen. It was easy enough to will that pencil into your pocket, point up. It was even easier to predict you would stick your paw in that pocket and impale yourself.

Does it hurt, Shawn? I know that chunk of graphite is a cross to bear, but can it really compare to having to see a string of angst-ridden twentysomethings on the screen obsessing about their twitchy lives? Have you noticed that the women are always cute in these films and the guys mop-headed trendsters? My prescription is a heavy dose of early John Cassavetes starting with Shadows. I'm getting a strong sense these filmmakers are studying local hero Richard Linklater's films a bit too closely: Random talkiness, meeting strangers of the opposite sex, talking some more, riding the subway. Cassavetes is their man. Maybe their films will look a little less translucently white afterward as well.

The good news? With that chunk of pencil in your hand, you had the pleasure of viewing my favorite film of SXSW to date: Skills Like This at the Paramount. The irony here? It's a story of twentysomething angst, but it does it with style, a script, and a bank robbery. Maybe I'm just a sucker for writerly angst stories, but this cast dealt with the angst head on and with humor.

Is that irony that you're out to write about films and your scribe's weapon attacked you, Shawn? Is it trying to tell you something? I'm guess it's telling you write with flair and edit with a light touch. I have the mental powers usually reserved for those born with cawls. I know things. OK, maybe I need to quit attending midnight SXSW screenings of horror flicks.

Rest that hand, pardner. The rest of us are counting on you.

Later – Joe

Editor's note: Joe, yo pal, Shawn here. You spelled John Cassavetes' surname incorrectly, which I thought was pretty telling itself. Lightly touched that one up, but could've (unethically) left it to make a point about twitchy Internet writing.

Speaking of which, yes, the graphite chunk that found its way into my finger as I was on my way to the movie was indeed troublesome, but Nurse Darcie Stevens (thanks to Danu at the Paramount, pictured, as well) fixed me up when I returned to the office. At 2pm.

You'll of course recall that the Skills Like This screening started at 1:30pm. No, I didn't leave after 20 minutes because I was in pain. Well yeah, actually, I guess I sort of did. I left because – ironically – I found the movie rather disappointing. It hurt to watch, especially because I had such high hopes for it. Won't go into it any more than that because, hey, I'm not a big film guy.

You're a big film guy. I'm glad you liked Skills Like This so much. Thanks for all of your great work. Keep it up: I'm counting on you! Especially for your amazing photography (and to maybe explain these mysterious "cawls").


Editor's note No. 2 (pencil, LMFAO): Skills Like This received the SXSW Film 07 Audience Award for Narrative Feature. Check the Screens section on Thursday for the full list of winners.


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Shawn Badgley, SXSW, Texas, film, SXSW, Shawn Badgley

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