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Confessions of a Working Director - 5/12/2009

Eric Stanze's Report From Texas Frightmare Weekend.

Part 2 Of 2.

May 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, I was honored to be on the featured guest list at Texas Frightmare Weekend - in my opinion, one of the best horror conventions we've ever attended.  And we've been to quite a few.

Sarah Swofford, one of the lead actors in our current movie RATLINE, joined us in Dallas for the convention and she spent some time at the Wicked Pixel Cinema table autographing RATLINE posters and chatting with fans.

Sarah is awesome, and since we had not seen her since her part wrapped on the RATLINE shoot, getting to hang out with her again was a highlight of the convention.  I enjoyed sitting down with her over Whataburger food and talking shop for a couple of hours Friday night.  She is going to be moving from Austin to Dallas, so she was actually in the area to hunt for an apartment.  Still, she was able to spend a few hours with us on each day of the convention.  Sarah played a supporting role in SUGAR CREEK and she was very impressive in that movie.  If you have not seen it yet, be sure to check that flick out soon.

Darla Enlow (director of THE STITCHER) and I have had a lot of email conversations over the past couple of years.  Thanks to Texas Frightmare Weekend, we were finally in the same location at the same time.  She was there to promote THE STITCHER, so at last I was able to meet her face to face.  Darla likes to joke that she has a lot of "blonde moments" but she is, in fact, a very smart person - in addition to being as nice as can be.  I had fun talking with her and I'm glad we finally got to meet in person.

The weekend was also great for us in terms of press coverage.  A local Dallas TV station interviewed my RATLINE cast, Emily Haack, Jason Christ, and Sarah Swofford.  DeadPit.com did an on-camera interview with all of us about RATLINE.  And HorrorMovieFans.com did an on-camera interview with me and Emily.  All this, in addition to connecting directly with horror fans attending the convention, amounted to some really good advance promotion of RATLINE.  We were pleased.

My Q&A on Sunday went very well.  Because we didn't know I'd be doing a Q&A until we arrived at the convention, we did not promote it.  So we thought only 2 or 3 people would show up!  By mid-day Saturday, I still didn't know what they wanted me to talk about, so I assumed I'd be pullin' a whole lot outta my ass.  But then I was informed that I was to talk about RATLINE, so the pressure was off.  I knew I could easily fill the time with RATLINE info.  And to our surprise, a decent crowd showed up.  (More importantly, none of them walked out on me!)

Another featured guest at the convention was Adrienne King, star of the original FRIDAY THE 13TH.  She was there to promote a new movie she's in called WALKING DISTANCE.  Adrienne and I met a year and a half ago at the Full Moon horror convention in Little Rock, Arkansas (the same convention where I first met Sarah Swofford).  I remember Adrienne catching us all off guard by marching right up to the Wicked Pixel Cinema table there and saying politely but bluntly "Which one of you is Eric?" - as if she weren't leaving until she found out.

Adrienne and I hit it off and soon she was attached to a feature I was developing called SEIZURE - a project that unfortunately collapsed when the funding evaporated.

Adrienne and I had talked on the phone and emailed back and forth a lot - and when things were starting to look dark for SEIZURE, she took the time to write me very encouraging, supportive notes to keep my spirits up.  But I had not actually seen her in person since that convention in Little Rock, so I didn't know if she would recognize me.  When I approached her table, she glanced up at me, exclaimed "Eric!" and gave me a big hug.  What a nice lady.

We talked about how a new executive producer is interested in SEIZURE, so it still has a slight change of getting made.  Adrienne seemed very interested in and supportive of RATLINE - which did not have a big enough budget to hire her... but I was still a little nervous about the "why didn't you ask me to be in this movie?" factor.  But Adrienne understood, I think, and she was all smiles, energy, and support.  She even insisted the whole Wicked Pixel Cinema crew sign a RATLINE poster for her. 

I'm sure Adrienne King is this nice to everyone and that I'm nothing special, being on the receiving end of her kindness.  However, it makes me feel very fortunate that a childhood horror-movie-hero of mine became associated with me professionally, and then turned out to be someone I can call a friend. 

At the close of Texas Frightmare Weekend 2009, we packed up the rental van and hit the road for the 11 hour drive home.  We were exhausted, but very satisfied with how the convention went.  (Big thanks to Loyd Cryer for putting on a great show and for making us feel so welcome there!)

Thanks for reading.

Eric Stanze

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