Skerries, Ireland

My grandfather was born outside of Dublin in the town of Skerries. He was last there in 1919 after the end of World War 1. He died before I was born, so all I have connecting me to him are photos, memorabilia, and notebooks written in indecipherable shorthand. A couple years ago, I finally made the journey to Ireland with his photos as my guide. Not only is Skerries very similar to how it was almost 100 years ago, but it turns out one of my cousins still lives in the same thatched roof house. I need to go back and spend more time meeting these other McGuinnesses.

3 Bullets – Production

Three days to shoot 3 Bullets. Worked with an excellent crew:  Director John  Heimbuch, DP Nick Hillyard, AD Chris Bueckers. Script Supervisor Kelly Bancroft, Sound Guru Tom Colvin and Make up Artist Miki Sautbine. Talented and hardworking cast: Andrew Sass, Clarence Wethern, Jamel Harris and Punnavith Koy. First night was cold and wet, but everyone stayed focused and we got everything in the can. now it is time for post. We are almost halfway to our IndieGoGo campaign goal at the halfway point. Hopefully we can get all the way there for post.

3 Bullets – Pre-Production

In an age of video games, action heroes and televised war zones, we have become less a people of action and more a nation of spectators. Two business men in town for a conference bypass the normal diversions and follow a young woman abducted off the street to an abandoned warehouse. When their cellphone dies, they have two choices: walk away or get involved.

3 Bullets. What are you willing to risk?

Director John Heimbuch of Walking Shadow Theatre will be holding  auditions on December 8th and 9th.

Rally to Restore Sanity

I attended the October 30th Rally to Restore Sanity (and/or Fear) hosted by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert for two simple reasons: the first was to demonstrate that all the noise being generated by Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and the Tea Party was not representative of my opinions. The second was to avoid the sentence, “I’d like to go, but…”  In the end, Stewart was right. It was nice to demonstrate and remember that by and large we are a nation of rational, non-angry people trying to figure stuff out. And our 24/7 News system is severely broken.

As a fan of Keith Olbermann, I am disappointed that he spent so much time finding fault in the Rally4Sanity to defend his little corner of the world instead of applauding Stewart for not being divisive in his rally. Just targeting Fox News or the Tea Party would have defeated the purpose. Yes, Fox and The Tea Party are the biggest culprits and we all know it, but they are not the only ones guilty of using fear and polarizing arguments. Stewart was right, and Olbermann’s response demonstrates it.

I am also a Cat Stevens’ fan. People trying to use the presence of Yusef Islam as an reason to show the Insanity of this rally also demonstrate Stewart’s point. Yusef Islam never called for or supported the death penalty for Salman Rushdie.  From Rolling Stone:

I’m very sad that this seems to be the No. 1 question people want to discuss. I had nothing to do with the issue other than what the media created. I was innocently drawn into the whole controversy. So, after many years, I’m glad at least now that I have been given the opportunity to explain to the public and fans my side of the story in my own words. At a lecture, back in 1989, I was asked a question about blasphemy according to Islamic Law, I simply repeated the legal view according to my limited knowledge of the Scriptural texts, based directly on historical commentaries of the Qur’an. The next day the newspaper headlines read, “Cat Says, Kill Rushdie.” I was abhorred [appalled?], but what could I do? I was a new Muslim. If you ask a Bible student to quote the legal punishment of a person who commits blasphemy in the Bible, he would be dishonest if he didn’t mention Leviticus 24:16.

For the most part, the coverage of the Rally to Restore Sanity demonstrated just how right Stewart was in his closing remarks.  Having attended myself, I am refreshed and renewed in the knowledge that we are still a nation of reasonable, hopeful people trying to help each other out, no matter what the television tells me.

Under The Rug

Don’t you wish there were days when you could sweep all your problems under the rug? Heather Jones has been granted that wish.

Preproduction has begun on a new Hillyard-McGuinness short film about the blessings and curse of total absolution. Combining the wry banter of a McGuinness screenplay with the visual stylings of Minneapolis Director of Photography Nick Hillyard, the film promises to be a unique ride for audiences.

With an October shoot schedule, the film is currently casting.

This is the only the second Hillyard-McGuinness joint production in 5 years.

Last Breath

If a pandemic wipes out civilization, all you really need to ride out in style is your best friend and a 1966 Lincoln Continental. Wrapped up work on the independent feature Last Breath written and directed by Ian Hansing. This post-apocalyptic  road film was a contrast in filmmaking to Souvenirs, but in the end, still fun to make and with some excellent images in the can.  Shot by Matt Kane and his 2 man camera crew, it was a reminder that you can still make a film worth watching without all the fancy gear and gadgets. Though shiny toys are still shiny.

The Lincoln Continental was also the Limo that JFK was riding in when he was assassinated.


I had the opportunity to spend the better part of four weeks working as a production assistant on the Minnesota-produced feature, Souvenirs. The experience helped solidify my belief in the importance of the storyteller. Watching actors and crew listen to the stories of the servicemen they were representing and then watching the soldiers in awe of the filmmakers brought home the sacred trust storytellers have been given. Men and women live lives of amazement and wonder, but only the storyteller can make them immortal. I am proud of the work the cast and crew of Souvenirs has done and I am glad I got to be a small part of it.

When asked, “How was it working with James Cromwell?” I can honestly respond, “Working near James Cromwell made everyone relaxed and better at their job through his kindness and professionalism.” Hopefully, some day, I can say that I worked with him.

Rocking the Bow Tie

If Justin Timberlake was able to bring sexy back (I hadn’t noticed that it had gone anyplace) I figured I could bring the bow tie back. of course, it helps to have the New Doctor Who, Matt Smith running around saying “Bowties are Cool.” and my guess is that he will get all the credit if there is a resurgence of the dickie bow. But at least I am doing my part in Minneapolis.

The Art of the Blog

I have no clue as to the art of blogging. It seems to run somewhere between reporting and the opinion page. Most people link to someone else’s reporting and then expound on the story in their own thoughtful, visceral, enraged or passive way. For a man in possession of as many opinions as I am, this cyber world of opinions should be one that I embraced years ago. Unfortunately, I hold the written word as slightly sacred. A person is taking time out of their lives to read the words that you have written down. You should take time to think about what you are writing. Casual conversations are fine for opinions. The written word is the place for thoughtful arguments, reasoned and fact-based. With the advent of the 24 hour news cycle, we have managed to get more opinions and less evidence.

At a cocktail party or brunch or over coffee I will let tear one unprocessed opinion after another, because I know my audience. Once your words are written done, you no longer have that control. You can no longer amend your statements through dialog or offer clarification if your audience lacks necessary information. The comment section of blogs demonstrates the need for continued discourse on most subjects. But like the proverbial drunken uncle at the wedding, we prefer to spout off and move on to the next thing.

I am done spouting. Time to find a good view and a good read.