Tag Archive: Billy Bishop


11:00AM – CHAD
Well, we had a busy day today, what with the TV Show idea pitch to the Independent Film Channel and then another screening of Total Badass at reRun later in the night (I was allowed to attend this particular screening because my handler, Aaron, was in attendance). Before I get to any of that though, I have a little in-house business to attend to, if you’ll excuse me.

Hey Bob, I noticed you saw fit to add in that little snippet in yesterday’s journal and take a parting shot at the fact that I pray before I eat. Although I disagree with what you said, I fully understand the way you presented it. After seeing the way I argued circles around Raphael on video, I don’t blame you for not wanting to get in a direct debate with me about it… especially not a written one. First of all, I want you to know that I totally respect you and Raphael’s points of view as atheists or agnostics or whatever you fancy yourselves. In fact, back when I was about fourteen years old, I myself went through that great awakening period where I questioned religion, spirituality, god… all that shit. I even embraced hardcore atheism for awhile, but later in my teens I took the next step in thought evolution and realized that atheists are just as closed minded on such matters as they fancy bible thumping Jesus lovers to be, so I’ve always allowed myself to remain open about the subject. That all being said, nowadays I just don’t feel like the existence of god is something that can even really be debated… and not because it is something that can’t be proven or disproven, that side of things has gotten plenty of attention in theological arguments throughout time. My whole thing is that I can sit right here while I’m typing this and literally feel the presence of something beyond myself and my mind going on in the world around me. It’s not even something I can argue against. Since realizing that, whenever someone denies this “feeling” or “awareness” or whatever you’d like to call it, I have to assume one of three things is going on: Either that person really isn’t privy to this divine presence, be it through lack of cognizance (the range of their perceptions simply isn’t as wide as mine) or they’ve simply been denied this particular insight by the very forces at work beyond our observance, or they are just as aware of it as I am, but have spent their lives trying to deny it, just as I did back in my early adolescence. I certainly don’t begrudge anyone fitting in any of these three categories… I pity the fools.

I mean, I don’t even necessarily want there to be a god, ok? Things would be a lot easier for me if there wasn’t. Even when bearing in mind the fact that god being on my side is the very thing that puts me ahead of so many countless others, I sometimes think I’d be better off blissfully ignorant. The last thing I’d like to make clear is that when I pray before I eat and do the sign of the cross and all that crap, I’m not doing it so god will listen or grant me wishes or anything like that. In fact, I’m not doing it for god, at all. I’m doing it for everyone around me. I’m doing it so my kids will always remember that no matter how fucking insane and without reason I might have seemed to be, even I was humble in matters of spirituality. I’m doing it because it pleases me to know that there are people in the restaurant or house or wherever I’m eating who were under the impression that nobody prays in public anymore, and yet there is me, of all people, doing just that. I do it because I know there are people who see it and automatically assume they know something because they’re so goddamn smart. And finally, I do it because, with the possible exception of the fact that I never wear two matching socks, nothing about me drives the women wilder, whether they believe in god, or not.

11:01AM – BOB
A quick aside from the tour journal:  Dear Chad, as an agnostic, I’ve no need for debate.  By nature, I don’t really give a hoot about god’s existence or lack of.  On top of that, I took no shot at you praying by pointing out your sacrilege.  And I certainly don’t mind if folks choose to believe in fairy tales or old books or old men spouting off or wizards and witches or the words of “prophets” or even the nebulous “spirituality” (and it don’t make me no never mind that you pray before meals–but honestly, I’m not sure if I’m supposed to wait until you’re finished praying before I eat or what… and sometimes you do it twice, wtf? I’m hungry!  Damn these societal pressures!).  As long as the implementation of people’s various religious beliefs end where my rights begin, I’m all for folks believing whatever floats their animal infested boat.  But if my understanding of the drunken debate (most of which took place inside the pizza joint and isn’t captured on video) is correct, and it may not be as I was drunk, you misrepresent yourself as Christian.  This is a great tactic to instigate a religious polemic, I’ll give you that. Performing the sign of the cross lures people into a dialectic about the Bible (not about the existence of a god). Since you don’t seem to believe that the Bible is the word of god and Jesus is the savior (from what I’ve garnered in these discussions), but you do believe in a higher power, that’d make you a deist, not a Christian.  So the sign of the cross is a bit of a sacrilegious bait and switch, setting the debate up on false pretenses.  (I think that kneeling and facing Mecca would be a great way to pray before meals.  That’d get folks’ attention!)  Poor Raphael fell right into your well-placed trap when he argued against Christianity and was ill prepared when you switched it up on him.  He was stuck on the Bible, which is a different argument altogether.  I agree that both atheists and god-believers (especially of the organized religion flavor) are equally close-minded about this subject.    But, then again, I really don’t care, cuz I’m agnostic on the whole affair.  I will give you this: If there is a god (and that’s still a big IF in my opinion), I’d be inclined to agree with deists and not the fools and their books.  And you’re welcome for allowing you to bait me into a religious debate.  Sincerely, Bob.

11:22AM – BOB
We have a meeting at IFC today.  Right before the tour kicked off, Mia Cevallos, the badass film tour producer and the anchor back in Austin who is keeping this tour alive, bounced an idea off me.  She thought that the tour itself would be a good premise for a TV show.

It’d basically be Chad and me driving all over the country, exploring the cinematic landscape as filmmakers on the road and partying our asses off.  If you’ve been following the tour journal, you already know that crazy shit happens on the road.  Chad and I have spent a lot of hours in the car, stoned out of our minds, cooking up ideas for the show.  It sounds to us like a good match for the Independent Film Channel, as it has independent filmmakers at its core, has a bit of a travel-show vibe to it and will feature America in all its fun, craziness and glory. The one fault with the show that I have is that the idea of getting in front of the camera has no appeal for me.  In fact, it sounds like a pain in the ass.  But, I figured that if the show was a go, it’d help me get films made, and the sacrifice might be worth it.

Despite making films since the mid-nineties, I have very few connections in the biz.  Mostly cuz I don’t like people.  Or some shit like that.  But Chad, as it turns out, has a friend with an “in” at IFC.  And through Chad’s connections, we landed a meeting.  We’ve been trying to figure out the best way to go about pitching a show.  Neither of us have done it before.  Neither of us have cable TV and don’t know what the hell IFC plays.  But we figure that IFC stands for the Independent Film Channel and you can’t get much more independent than us.  So it should be a perfect fit, right?

We’re also not sure how “prepared” we should be. Should we have a clip to show? Should we write something down on actual paper?  I mean, a lot of our successes come from just being good on our toes.  Spontaneity and shit.  Chad and I did talk about the show for hours on end, so we figured that we are prepared enough.  We also made assumptions about what IFC is and what IFC wants and shaped our “pitch” to match these assumptions.  We figure to downplay the raunchy/nasty/illegal parts of the show and highlight the intellectual side of things.  These “independent filmmaker” types can be quite high-minded, so I’ve witnessed.  The long and the short of the plan is the old good cop, bad cop routine.  I’ll be talking about the show’s overall structure and why it’s good for IFC and Chad will highlight the crazy and fun things that happen to us on tour.  On our walks across Manhattan Island over the past few days we’ve been working up the pitch.  One key factor is that since Chad will be, more-or-less, the host of the show he’ll need to charm their pants off.  It is a woman we’re pitching to, so he’ll charm her pants-suit off, I guess. We’ll need to convince her that we’re (and mainly that Chad is) charming as fuck and people will want to watch us act a fool for weeks on end. And I’ll work the filmic angles.  Together, we’ll paint a picture of a show about touring filmmakers exploring the American cinematic landscape and partying balls along the way.  It’s good for the thinky-side of the brain and the party-side of the brain.  We can’t lose.  And we’re on a fucking roll.

We filmed some stuff up to, during and after the meeting.  Witness:

2:30 PM – CHAD
Ok, so we had our big meeting with the Independent Film Channel people. Going into the meeting, I had to do some thinking because I figured it was going to be hard for Bob and me to both do the talking without seeming like a couple of disorganized idiots who would say anything to get their own TV show, whether they deserved it or not. Since we had been in The New York Times, and were basically the toast of the town, I assumed that the brain trust at the network would be familiar with our work and would realize that although I might be very entertaining and a brilliant writer and all of that, it’s actually Bob who has the technical wherewithal and ability to film, edit, and produce a finished product. On this assumption, I decided that it would be best for Bob to handle all of the industry double-speak and jibber jabber while my presence alone assured them that my talents would be at their disposal. Plus, I had to film everything at the meeting, in an ironic twist from everything I just said. Anyway, turned out that approach wasn’t such a good idea, after all:


(Coming Soon – Additional Footage)

2:44 PM – BOB
Well, that completely backfired.  It turns out that the show they wanted was the one that we didn’t pitch.  They want the funny/party-balls show. In our ignorance, we figured to play nice in order to get the green light on our artsy-fartsy film show about touring filmmakers and then sneakily tweak it into a show about making a film show that turns into a party show that turns into a vehicle for getting famous. It was a solid plan.  Or so we thought.

As you saw, Chad videoed the meeting.  And maybe it was the trying to film the meeting that led to this, or maybe it was the wake-and-bake but Chad froze up and mostly sat silently through the entire meeting.  Left me hanging.  His contribution of the flavor, the fun and the crazy part of the show was nowhere to be seen or heard.  For days, we had formed a tandem plan of attack akin to business in the front and poker in the rear style of good times.  I was to cover business, Chad gets to poker. In the end, it was a bunch of me yapping about the film-tour aspect of the show, waiting and waiting for Chad to jump in with the crazy tales. The plan, as it turns out, was not being executed according to the plan.  It was way too far leaning toward the thinky-side of the brain. Massive failure.  No show.

So yeah, I blame Chad.  But I honestly wasn’t fond of the idea of getting in front of the camera anyway, so I’m not too bummed.  And aside from the 40 minutes of their time and the free bottles of water we scored, we did learn something, so all is not lost. What we learned was that The Independent Film Channel is no longer the Independent Film Channel.  It’s IFC.  Like the toxic “Fried” in Kentucky Fried Chicken, the F-word has forced a change over at the once-Independent Film Channel.  It is now known as IFC.  Our idea, we were told, is five years too late for IFC. They are no longer interested in being a channel about independent film or filmmaking in general.  They want comedy.  They love lowbrow.  How the fuck Chad and I pitch a show that is not lowbrow or funny enough for anyone is beyond me.  Going in, we thought that we had to trick the Independent Film Channel into giving us money by being more highbrow.  Oops.

But, what the hell, we took a shot. Something ventured, nothing gained.  And we filled up an otherwise empty Monday afternoon in NYC.

7:17 PM – BOB
We headed back down to Brooklyn for the screening tonight.

Aaron Hillis, the booker at reRun and film writer scored me a copy of MovieMaker Magazine.  I wrote an article for their current issue, the annual “Complete Guide To Making Movies” issue.  I hadn’t gotten a hard copy yet, so I was glad that Aaron hooked me up. I took the opportunity to film Aaron’s take on the “stunt.”  He caught some flak for it, but all is well now.  Here‘s his angle:

11:47 PM – CHAD
The screening tonight at reRun was great. Just when we thought nobody was going to show up, we get there and the first person we see is Austin’s own Billy Bishop. Bob and I were like, holy shit we can ‘t believe Billy came to see the movie while he was up here in New York for Thanksgiving, but it turns out he was just there to drop off some t-shirts and posters that ReRun had ordered from him for their 2007 Film Festival. No, but seriously, Billy and Suzanne Bishop were both there and they even brought Joey Edwards, for good measure. Austin expatriate, Carolyn Malerba was there with her fiancé Jason, who owns Fresh Salt, a bar on the very southern tip of Manhattan. There were also some new faces, namely a couple of young guys named Gene and Joseph, who I started thinking of as “Punk Rock Gene” and “Jet-Set Joseph”, respectively. Jet-Set Joseph basically assured me that he was partying all over the country and would be attending most if not all of our screenings in the northeast and throwing down with us in every city. Punk Rock Gene totally saved my ass later that night, because the subway I had to take home was re-routed all to hell and I just happened to run into him down in the tunnel. I was way too fucked up to have ever gotten back to where I was staying without his help. Speaking of where I was staying, it was with Eric Payson and his girlfriend Emily at a high-rise apartment across the street from the Empire State Building. Payson had been out of town the whole time, marooning Emily in the apartment with me and Bob. When I finally got back to Payson’s house early the next morning, he had made his triumphant return. I remember him trying to talk to me and shit, but I had absolutely no idea what was going on. I was a danger to myself and those around me.

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“Chad Retires – Departing, Delays, & the Damn Ice House”

3:01 PM – BOB:

Here we go again.  I spent the last three and a half months booking another tour.  This time we’re headed through the South and up the East Coast.  Tour producer Mia Cevallos and her right-hand woman Jamie Flaxmann have been busting every hump they have to help find locations and get us some press.  We post all the good stuff we come across on the two Facebook pages:

http://www.facebook.com/TotalBadassTheMoviep
http://www.facebook.com/HellOnWheelsTheMovie

Getting Started  (late)

Picking up, Chad…and a lucky charm

Check list…where’s, Billy Bishop?

Departure Pause (again)…and OBSOLETE© Billy Bishop?

3:33 PM – CHAD:

As you may recall from our West Coast tour journal, the last time I left town with the movie, I put my lone surviving guinea pig, Suckerfish, in charge of selling weed for me while I was gone. That is not the case this time around, because I have officially retired and I’m not even fucking kidding. I’d love to sit here and tell you it was due to strong ethics on my part or some sort of divine rehabilitation, but that is simply not the case. I mean, I’ve wanted to quit selling weed for about seventeen years now but could never bring myself to do so. I can look back on my life since I moved  to Austin in 1991 and it’s basically one landmark after another of times I promised myself I was going to quit selling weed, but never did: Every birthday and New Years for the better part of two decades, when I got kicked out of college, when I went back to college, when my son was born, when I left the family, when the kids moved back in with me, when I got a felony for making the fake SXSW wristbands, when I got off probation for it five years later…. Every time I swore once the date or event passed, I was done selling weed for good. Never has this been more the case than when the movie about me selling weed came out.

Once Total Badass was actually out and we showed it in town four or five times then toured the country with it, I was pretty sure it was about time to go ahead and quit. You have no idea how nerve wracking it is to sell weed when there’s a movie out about you selling weed, trust me. When I got back in town from that first tour, I even told my son, Shay, that I was going to be making some big changes in the way we do things that were long overdue and our lives were going to be much better because of it. I now refer to that as my “Pay No Attention to the Three to Five Pounds of Weed in the Closet Speech”.  I put it right up there with The Gettysburg Address and George Bush’s Mission Accomplished lecture as far as eloquent, yet misguided monologues go.

In the interest of making excuses and condoning crime in general, let me say  it’s always been financial reality that sidetracks me from walking the straight and narrow. I’ve explained before how selling drugs is like magic…. You’re just able to look back at the last year and somehow you’ve been able to pay for shit like rent and beer and sporting events when, in real life, the math never would have added up. So, even when I got back in from our tour over the summer, the realities of the bills and the car and all this shit just came right in and took over any plans I might have had about quitting. All along, I’ve also suffered from the common delusion about how if I could just get a little bit of money… just enough to pay my debts and get a little ahead on my bills… then I would walk away and never look back. Since selling pot is no different than any other shitty little job as far as getting ahead and upwards mobility are concerned, that day never comes. Except this time, it did.

Back right before the summer of 2008, on the first day that Bob and I ever worked on a scene for the movie, my grandma died. I actually had tentative plans to go by and interview her on our way back from the guinea pig show we went to, but it was too late at night by the time we were finished. The next morning, my Aunt called me and when I saw her name on my cell phone, I knew Meema had died. Well, fast forward two years later, and I’m back in town from the West Coast, spinning my fucking wheels for the thousandth time and, if I may get a bit personal, at an all time low as far as hopelessness and reality creeping into my head are concerned when my Aunt calls me again. Meema had left me some money. Not much, by any stretch of the imagination, but enough to equal about a year’s worth of weed selling salary. I’m not saying that I squandered any of it, but I did spend enough to pay off my debts and get a little ahead on my bills… and stop selling weed for the rest of my fucking life.

Now, I love Meema very much and her and Pop’s deaths are certainly right up there on the list of shittiest things that happen in life, but for the sake of humor and being honest, I have to tell you that the psychological relief that came along with that little financial windfall was so overwhelming that I couldn’t get the song, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” out of my head for like two weeks. Seriously, I’d just be driving down the road with this huge smile on my face and the words to the song on a permanent loop in my brain. Here, sing them with me: “Grandma got run over by a reindeer, walking home from our house Christmas Eve. You may say there’s no such thing as Santa, but as for me and grandpa we believe.” So, when I get back in town this time, don’t ask me to sell you any weed, because I quit. Take this job and fucking shove it. I feel like the biggest burden of my life has been lifted, because I’m never going to sell another scrap of weed ever again for as long as I fucking live… except for the three quarter pounds I have stashed away at my house because obviously, I can’t just let that sit there and go to waste.

4:17 PM – BOB:

Fucking Billy Bishop.  I love the bastard, but he’s late as usual.  Billy is a badass artist and poster printer, but odds are you won’t get your posters until the event they are promoting is half over.  And so here we go again…

MEET Billy Bishop?

Guinea Pig Tee…no Billy

Got Shirts

So yeah, fresh out of the gate and we’re already running late.

On the drive to Houston, Chad and I decided to write a few scripts on this tour.  We figured to do that last tour, but blew it off and partied non-stop instead. Our re-commitment to writing scripts on tour was, shortly after, followed by a silent re-commitment to blowing it off again.

Arriving in Houston

7:16 PM – CHAD:

Our first official stop on the tour was at The Dam Ice House which is right by the Alamo Drafthouse West Oaks where the movie played. The Dam Ice House is… well, I’ll let our friend, Dave, tell you:

The DAMN ICE HOUSE – Thanks, Dave!

Headed to and at the ALAMO Theater

A Fist full…

In review…BURP.

11:11 PM – BOB:

Houston screening was rowdy fun.  LOTS of laughs.  The ‘toons got the mood set right and the flick killed.

11:34 PM – CHAD:

We had established The Dam Ice House as the staging ground for an eventual assault on the theatre, but when we got there, only Bonnie Bilski, Holly Anders, and Chris Cortez were to be found. Luckily, after the movie, a lot more Brazoswood High School Alumni showed up, as evidenced in the following video: (Before showing the video, I would also like to add that Thao Ho, Kathy Krampota, Eileen Asswood, and countless other B’wood women were there looking better than ever as was my “cousin” Abbey, who is still not literally related to me and thus it would be perfectly fine if we made out, sweetheart.)

Roll Call

The Houston screening was fucking great, to put it lightly. We had unbelievable support from the guys at 1560 The Game, a shitload of high school friends showed up, and someone gave me so many fucking pills, you might as well quit reading this shit now because I don’t care about it anymore. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Bob and I fail to post a goddamn thing on this journal for over a week.  The Q and A after the screening was easily the best one we’ve had on the east coast trip so far, especially towards the end where Holly Anders asks the question that exposes Jesse, Charles Jesse Miller Jr, as the farce that his life has become:

(Coming Sooon): VIDEO D01-c-qanda