Anyone who reads this column regularly knows that Austin's film community has been rife with workshops lately, so many that I'd be surprised if that scruffy guy sleeping one off at the 21st & Guadalupe bus stop isn't actually shooting a cinema vérité piece on life on the streets titled This Bench Is a Bitch. Ah, yes, but can he sell it? He'll find out how -- and presumably so can you -- at marketing pro Stephanie Carlson's workshop on just that subject, Sunday, Dec. 12, 10am - 6pm, at 2201 Denton Dr, Ste. 100. Carlson's press release trumpets her ability to sell herself "as a performer at sold-out shows" as well as her skill at marketing "cutlery, long-distance service, security guard service, [and] photo copiers." You think I make this stuff up, don't you? I swear I'm not, and the proof's at 249-2279 should you have any films or knives you'd like to unload... If you've seen Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, you already know that comedy is no laughing matter, but at least Bonnie Orr's class on writing comedy scripts will give you the information you need to avoid subconsciously writing in a Norm McDonald cameo. Orr's class will be held on Thursday nights for six weeks beginning Jan. 20 at GSD&M (828 W. 6th -- look for the giant slacker Santa) and will use UCLA's screenwriting method and touch on such topics as the comedic premise, pacing, the element of surprise, the rule of three, and switch and bait. Application deadlines are Jan. 10, and you can call 473-8614 for more info... Chris Smith, the director of the hilarious documentary American Movie, has announced a contest by which you can actually have a hand in choosing the artwork for that film's upcoming Columbia video and DVD release. Three different designs are available to pick from and can be found at http://www.americanmovie.com. If you haven't seen American Movie yet, get thee to the Dobie Theatre and support some (very) indie filmmaking. Can't recommend that one enough... Speaking of the Dobie, manager Holden Payne's labor of love -- the new monthly calendar of events -- is out and available at the box office, just to the left of the Jujubes... Finally, the frankly amazing Tim and Karrie League of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema have been doing a bang-up job of obliterating all our downtime of late via rare screenings and special events. Never ones to be upstaged by anyone other than themselves, this week's smorgasbord of filmic delights kicks off Friday, Dec. 10, 7:45pm, with a sold-out AFS co-presentation, Karen Dinitz's brilliant documentary Too High, Too Wide, Too Long, which profiles Texas artist Bob "Daddy-O" Wade and his many surrealistic encounters across the Lone Star State. Saturday, Dec. 11, noon sharp begins Harry Knowles' Butt-Numb-A-Thon, a 24-hour, gajillon-film, "no, you can't leave, Lamberto Bava's demons are guarding the door," birthday bash for You-Know-Who, all to help establish the insanely great idea of a free children's film series in association with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Austin. That's also sold out, by the way, but who knows? Maybe there's a skylight. Still standing? Wednesday, Dec. 15, the Alamo presents the 1924 Russian silent sci-fi classic Aelita: Queen of Mars with musical accompaniment by Austin's Futura. This is the only print available in the U.S. and, honestly, in light of NASA's recent Mars probe disaster, it may have to be reclassified as a documentary before too long. Keep watching the skies!
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