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Film freak begins “Where I Begin”

June 17, 2010
OXFORD TOWN–I’ve gotten a lot of questions from friends recently wondering where I have been as they hardly see me anymore, not even out at the movies. It’s true. I rarely leave my house when not at work for the past two months. The reason is that I have been collaborating with filmmaker Thomas L. Phillips on a new movie to be filmed this July.
As a film freak, I have always wanted to be part of a movie, but beyond supporting other’s independent films, never took the chance to jump in and try it myself. Mostly I didn’t want to make a movie just to make a movie, but waited until I found something that I really could believe in completely.
When Phillips, who screened his second feature “Rattle Basket” at Oxford Film Festival in 2008, sent me 15 pages of a script and asked me to make comments on it, I knew there was something special and sent him an e-mail full of notes of what to change and what I loved. Having been friends for three years after a chance meeting at a film festival in Memphis, Phillips, who had often bugged me by asking why I hadn’t written a script yet, offered to have me co-write the film with him.
In a quick and blurry week, we co-wrote the entire first draft of a script and based on the story, I came up with the title “Where I Begin,” which takes on several meanings in the movie. The story follows a couple of characters who cross paths as one seeks a way to come home and the other tries to find a way to escape small town life.
Right away, we knew we had something special. Sure, it needed to be tweaked, dialogue needed to be changed, heck it is still under revisions right now. But, there was something honest and Southern and yet universal about it that felt like it was dying to be made. We sent the script to some trusted friends in the industry from actors to film critics and received more positive feedback than we dared to dream.
So we bought some equipment. We made a budget for production and post-production costs. We found crew willing to work for free because they believed in the project. We started a kickstarter, or crowdfunding, campaign to raise funds for our microbudget. Crowdfunding is a great new way for independent filmmakers, making a movie with limited resources, to raise enough to make a film independent of any studio. It allows for new voices and little CGI effects.
Then we did a casting call and amazing talent has come out of the woodwork including “Treme’s” Lance E. Nichols who has signed on to the project.
Nichols, best known for his role in the “Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” has over 100 credits to his name as an amazing character actor. We will also be casting in Oxford on June 26 at the Powerhouse.
But an important element for both Phillips and me is the music. An indie film has to have some amazing music. So, in the spirit of our do-it-yourself filmmaking, we decided to reach out and find indie musicians to help us create the sound of the film. We are currently holding a music competition asking for people to submit songs that we may feature in the film. I hope, since we are filming in Kentucky, to be able to get as many local musicians to submit to further bring the voice or sound of Oxford into the film. We’ve already received some amazing submissions from some of the top acts in North Mississippi, so we are excited about finding the one that brings the film together.
So, I am taking this journey and I hope to have you all join me. To learn more about the competition or our film, visit
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  1. Blu-Ray DVD Today

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