Short Cuts

Local screenwriter Todd Morris gets in good with Miramax / Dimension, and our apologies to the Ragamuffin Film Festival … not that they needed us, anyway.

Don't Go Back to Rockdale Dept.: That is, unless, of course, you're former resident Todd Morris -- who just sold his first screenplay to Miramax/Dimension -- and you're looking for the inevitable and well-deserved hometown huzzahs. Morris, who co-wrote Range Rats -- described by him as the "Bad News Bears playing golf" -- with Los Angeles-based partner Mikael Romano, used Rockdale's small-town links and various Rockdale residents as the basis for the script, which came to the attention of Miramax after it made it to the final rounds of Disney's annual screenwriting fellowship competition. "We had originally written it with Matthew McConaughey in mind," said Morris, "but we're not sure if the script even made it to him." Instead, the spec script, repped by Mission Management in L.A., was entered into the Disney competition alongside some 3,000 others in May 2002. "We hadn't heard anything about it all year and just assumed nothing was going to happen when we got a call from Disney last November saying that we'd made it to the final 40! We eventually made it to the Top 10 before we got cut, but Disney passed the script on to some agents and managers, and about a month later I got a phone call -- while I was doing set dressing on The Alamo -- saying we had been picked up by Mission, who then sold it to Miramax." Although the film has yet to be cast, Morris says it looks like a possible go for a winter shoot, possibly in Texas, conceivably with McConaughey. In the meantime, Morris and Romano are busy pitching other scripts while being offered rewrite gigs on other films already in development. "I worked on Holes last year, and it was really miserable," said Morris. "I had to maintain 360 holes as set dresser, and so I just came off of that thinking whatever we have to do to keep me out of this sort of thing, let's do it. And it did."... A belated and apologetic congratulation to David Taylor over at the Christian-oriented Ragamuffin Film Festival, which managed to sell out nearly all of its showings this past weekend at the Alamo Drafthouse Village, this despite our dropping the ball and not giving them a mention. At the evening screening we cruised by, and the line was already stretching into the parking lot an hour or so before seating began, which just goes to show that if you've got God on your side, you likely won't need too much help from heathens like us... Finally, MovieMaker Magazine is seeking editorial content from moviemakers (directors, writers, actors, editors, etc.) for their new "On Location" column. The mag's Fall 2003 issue will focus on Austin, and filmmakers et al. are encouraged to send in comments about the Austin film community, 50 words or less, by Thursday, July 31. E-mail all entries to and use "On Location: AUSTIN" as the subject line. Check out the current issue's "On Location" column.

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David Taylor, Ragamuffin Film Festival, Todd Morris, Miramax / Dimension, Range Rats, Mikael Romano, Mission Management

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