Updated: Mar 2, 2020
The lights go down, I find a seat, and – BAM! – Trisha (played by Bobbie Grace) winds her way through Chester Everett McGraw’s impressive trophy room. Months of hard work have finally made it to the big screen! Writer’s Block is an actual movie!
Over two hundred people were on hand for the June 18 private screening for cast, crew, and donors. The event took place at the Austin Film Society Cinema, a wonderful venue that exceeded our expectations. A party-like atmosphere pumped energy into the crowd from the moment the doors opened until Ray and I hauled the last of our props and equipment to our cars.
Those in attendance enjoyed handling props from the film (including a hunting bow and two spears), posing for photographs with cast and crew, and mingling with other fans of the film. Many participated in the silent auction in which various props from the film were sold, including Chester’s hunting rifle, Skip’s whiskey flask, and the deep fryer instrumental in a pivotal scene involving Skip and Digger. Robert Ash, top bidder for the fryer, remarked that he had always wanted such a device. Imagine his surprise when he walked into a movie theater to find one for sale!
Comment cards collected from the audience brought many rave reviews, especially for the storyline and plot twists. People also praised the lead actors: Mike Gassaway as the villainous Chester, Craig Nigh as the protagonist Skip Larson, Chris Warner as Chester’s henchman Digger, and Jeannie Carter Cruz, who gives a nuanced, masterful performance as Catalina, Chester’s mysterious housekeeper.
The film did have some rough edges, which is par for the course for a work in progress. Years ago I attended a pre-release screening of Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. While introducing the film, Gibson explained that much of the music was simply filler music, editing was incomplete, and certain special effects had not yet been inserted. Sure enough, at a critical moment during the protagonist’s escape from his pursuers, a title card appeared with the words “Jaguar Paw jumps from the waterfall.” I kept this experience in mind while watching our own film, knowing that by the time of its release, Writer’s Block will be a polished film.
Many thanks to all who contributed to a fun, successful evening. Next up, festival submissions!