The Houston 48-Hour Film Project

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I was out sailing one Sunday afternoon when I got a call from my friend Will LeBlanc at Casablanca Productions. He had decided to sponsor a team for the Houston 48 Hour Film Festival and wanted to know if I’d be interested in writing/directing the project.

Mary was already occupied skippering Antares in the GBCA Women’s Regatta that weekend, and it sounded like a fun challenge. I recruited our marina neighbor TJ, the captain of Folie a Deux, and we both signed on for the project.

The way the 48 Hour Film Festival works is that on a given Friday at 7 p.m. your team captain draws two film genres out of a hat. Whether it be western, musical, mystery or comedy, your film must be one of the two genres drawn. We ended up with the choices “superhero movie” or “coming of age story.”

After the genre drawing, all of the teams are then given three mandatory elements to be included in the film. Houston’s 2016 mandatory elements were a character named either Elena or Ethan Shell employed as a landscape designer, a flashlight, and the line of dialogue, “What time is it?”

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To be eligible for an award in the competition, you have to write, cast, shoot, edit and score your 4-7 minute film and have it turned in with all signed releases for actors, locations and music by 7 p.m. Sunday night — exactly 48 hours later.

As soon as we had the requirements, we set to work imagining our characters, outlining a plot, and then filling in actions and dialogue. With printed scripts in hand, we called it quits around midnight Friday.

Saturday started early as we met all of our actors and began rehearsal readings. We started filming around 10 a.m.

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There were a few stressful moments throughout the day. We couldn’t find a child actor for a scene that we absolutely couldn’t write out. Then TJ set his entire head on fire the first time he shot a fireball out of his hand. However, it all worked out. By 9 p.m. we were wrapped.

Special thanks to Jive Bar & Lounge who let us film both inside and outside the bar on extremely short notice.

Once we were wrapped, I grabbed the video files and headed back to my house to start editing. I worked from about 10 p.m. – 2 a.m., slept for a while, then continued editing from 6 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. I made it back to the Casablanca studio by 10 a.m. with a complete rough cut for Will to review. The rest of the day was spent adding music, sound effects, tweaking edits, and trying to fix our audio.

Around 6 p.m. Will took the final video and all the paperwork into town to submit our entry before the 7 p.m. deadline.

I’m very proud to present you with “Supers Anon,” co-written and directed by yours truly.

Supers Anon from Wilfred LeBlanc on Vimeo.

We made it to the August 16 “Best of Houston” showing where we were presented with an honorable mention for Best Newcomer to the festival.

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Although Will and I both make corporate videos and conduct video interviews on a regular basis, there were many lessons learned in making a “movie” with so many actors in such a constrained time. If you ever get the chance to participate in a local 48 Hour Film Festival, I highly recommend it. The weekend was exhausting, but I learned so much, met a bunch of great people, and I had a blast.

A big thank you to Will for inviting me to be a part of the project, and thank you to everyone who participated in our film.

 

 

2016 GBCA Women’s Regatta

The only requirement for the GBCA Women’s Regatta is that there must be a woman at the helm from the starting line to the finish line. Somehow this year I got volunteered for this honor, and I dared not refuse. On our race boat there is a tradition as well of the woman backing the boat out and returning it to her slip.  “Dockline to dockline”

The Friday before I was greatly discouraged by the men-to-women ratio at the pre-race skippers meeting, and I encouraged all of my sailing girlfriends to come on out and show them how serious we were.

My friend Kayla from SV Folie a Deux joined us as well for her very first race.

We had a great mix of seasoned veterans and newbies out for the ride, and everyone really came together as a team. The veterans became teachers, and the other ladies were really focusing on learning their jobs.

Meanwhile our captain, Doug, was busy teaching me how to trim to the telltales.  A big part of this that I missed was steering from a place where you can actually see them. That helps a lot.

Even harder to do while you’re constantly being distracted by ladies wanting pictures. 😛

Overall we did really well for a heavy boat in light wind, taking 4th.

I can’t wait for next year’s Women’s Regatta!  Which of these lucky ladies will get to helm next?!!!  🙂

Big thank you for all the pictures Mike Cameron!

Folie a Deux: Another boat saved!

Here’s a little story about the madness of two people. When we moved Gimme Shelter to Watergate Marina three years ago, we ended up sharing a slip beside a rundown O’day 25 in need of some serious elbow grease and TLC.

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After almost a year on the market, the owner finally donated her to Boat Angels, and we thought that would be the last we ever heard of that vessel.

Then came along these two crazies, TJ and Kayla, who decided it was a great idea to buy a sailboat on eBay for $900 — much like my brother and myself who decided it was a great idea to buy a derelict flooded sailboat for $1000. I liked them right away.

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They quickly discovered that there is no such thing as a cheap boat as they tackled a rotten floor, quirky electrical system, and an outboard that just wouldn’t run. However, they persevered.

Eight months later we were honored to be invited, along with our friends Kelly and Jennifer of MV Celtic Cross, upon the maiden voyage of the now running and aptly named SV Folie à Deux.

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The outboard purred like a kitten as we motored out of the marina.

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Various projects and high winds had kept us all at the dock Saturday morning, so there were smiles all around once we were out on the water.

Once we made it across the lake, Mary and Kayla dropped anchor, and TJ broke out some champagne to celebrate the event.

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I think we’re even starting to convince the motor boaters that it’s time to trade up to a sailboat.

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As Folie à Deux doesn’t have working running lights yet, we had to hurry back in before dark, but a great time was had by all.

Congratulations TJ and Kayla, your sailing adventures are about to begin!

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Sunday on the Strand, Galveston Island

We always enjoy going out on our own boat, but sometimes it’s nice to not just enjoy the ride but also get to a destination … that same day. So on Sunday afternoon with 55 degree temps and plenty of sun we set out on the Tina Marie Too for Galveston.

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The trip there was lovely and sunny and full of all the usual sites.  Because of my foot I’ve been off the water now for 3 months, so it was a real treat to get out there.

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The water was smooth as glass, apart from a few ship wakes.

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Once you reach Galveston there is a lot of different activity and sights to see.

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After a couple of tries we found an open spot on Tillman Fertitta’s private dock.  With a promise from the restaurant that his yacht, the Boardwalk, wouldn’t be back until Monday, we wandered into to Fisherman’s Wharf for margaritas on the deck. The place was full of the cruise ship tourists who were unable to board the Carnival Magic due to someone having had a heart attack on board.

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The Galveston Strand is a beautiful place to spend a Sunday afternoon. It reminds me a bit of New Orleans with stone sidewalks and the lenient alcohol polices. We could tell they were already gearing up for Mardi Gras next month.

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After dinner our trip home turned into a sunset cruise. The temperature upstairs got a bit chilly for me and Tina, so we decided to hang out in the cabin and watch some TV — another perk of being aboard a large motor vessel.

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Meanwhile someone had to drive the boat, and the guys did a great job getting us home just as the sun was setting.

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Sailing Log by Boatbook – App review

This weekend I came across this helpful app for tracking your sailing. It’s called “Boatbook” and is available for iphone and android.

The app uses your phone GPS to determine whether you are on land or water, and begins to track your sails as soon as you appear over the water. No need to remember to start the log when you leave the dock.

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It gives you the option to enter multiple boats, and easily switch which boat you’re currently on. That is the only thing you have to remember before you leave the dock. Otherwise it defaults to the last boat you were on.

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Once your sail begins the app will automatically track your gps speed and track your course. It also records your start and end time so that you know your total sail time.  You can see the max and average speed, as well as the average speed of each leg of the trip.

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It also gives you the option to add in notes as you see fit.  You can add notes on obstacles, wind speed, or boat malfunctions. They only show up on this day’s map, not on all future maps.  They are only for your log record.

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One feature I would love to see added to this app would be an overall log book with times listed for each sail.  The way it is set up now, you can scroll through each day and record times individually, but there is no way to see them all on one screen. However, this app is still a great way to automatically log your hours if you’re working towards certifications or licenses.

The best part of this app? It’s free!

The Journey Home

We had no sooner left the dock when the skies opened up and blessed us with a tropical downpour that only living close to the ocean can provide.  Luckily we had quite a bit of motoring ahead, but the quickness of the storm really caught us off guard.  We had our top companionway board down below, and opening the hatch to get it would have defeated the purpose, so I just threw a towel over the top.  Luckily me and Fred both had our foulies on as it was looking a bit grey, but our dogs were not so lucky.

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Poor Dixie just sat in the corner looking angry and miserable while water slowly dripped on her head. Tex mostly shivered in my lap, but we quickly found out my jacket was not waterproof anyway, so we both became soaked.

Before we even got back into the channel the rains had let up, and the sun was out again.

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As we motored into the channel I raised the main sail and we started our downwind sail home.

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We soon found ourselves surrounded by other weekenders who had spent the holiday weekend visiting Galveston and were now headed back for the week.  We were immediately overtaken by several Jeaneaus, we guessed either from the dealership or from the charter.

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Two of them in particular kept swerving back an forth in front of me while I drove.  They seemed to think that I could avoid them by driving into spoil areas, and that being on autopilot gives you the right away.

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They did look pretty sailing side by side though.

While I was down below prepping lunch, Fred was trying to get our sails to hold wind.  We were going downwind, but our useless main was blocking all the wind for our jib.  Eventually we ended up taking down the main and gained a little speed, but had to motor to get home at a reasonable time.

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A few times I looked up and Fred was not driving, and was instead looking everywhere but forward taking pictures.  This was terrifying for me, but at least he did get a good dolphin picture.

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Hippokampos buzzed by us no problem with their cruising chute up in the light winds.

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A beautiful end to a beautiful weekend.

Pelican Rest Marina

PelicanRest02This marina is located just off mile marker 26 in Offat’s Bayou, just across from Moody Gardens on the south side of Galveston Island.  The marina has a total of 10 transient slips, at $2.50 a foot.  Reservations can be made by emailing dockmaster@pelicanrestmarina.com, but be prepared for a hefty amount of paperwork.

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Pelican Rest Marina is a white-glove marina, and they offer all the services to go with it.  This includes a vessel-concierge service that will bring you anything you need from the bait and tackle store, the restaurant, or one of the many ice coolers they have on site. Marina guests can also take advantage of the pool bar, restaurant, and outdoor tiki bar.  There are also water sports rentals available such as sailboats, jet skis, kayaks, and small fishing boats.  While there is not a lot of walking grass, there is a small dog run perfect for small dogs.

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One of the distinguishing characteristics of Pelican Rest is the ability slip owners have to customize their piers.  Fishing boats are able to put fish cleaning stations on the docks outside their boat.  Small motor boats can add lifts to their piers.  They also have small palapas which you can rent monthly, and then have attached to the slip next to your dock.  These palapas are private, and have signs with the owners boat name, blocking off the doorway.  They are very nice, and often include wet bars, rocking chairs, tables and whatever else you can imagine.

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The complaint we had about Pelican Rest was their lack of a breakwater. Despite “no-wake” signs on the surrounding channel the rocking can be a bit extreme.

Amenities: Restaurant, Pool, Fuel Dock, Band and Tackle, Storage, Transportation, Electric, Weigh Station

Cost: $2.50/ft

Contact Number: (409) 744-7428

Website: http://www.pelicanrestmarina.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pelicanrest?fref=ts

Fireworks Fridays at Kemah Boardwalk

People definitely have mixed opinions regarding Tilman Fertitta and his restaurant empire, which includes both the Kemah Boardwalk and the Pleasure Pier in Galveston. However, I can say this, he sure know how to put on a fireworks show.

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Every Friday night in June and July at 9:30 p.m. a barge anchors on the south side of the Kemah channel and sets off a 15-20 minute fireworks display while the boardwalk plays music.

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Of course, you don’t have to be at the boardwalk to enjoy the fireworks. The most spectacular way to view them is to anchor just on the north side of the channel across from the barge. There’s nothing like floating there, sitting on the bow, with huge fireworks exploding in the sky over you while also reflecting up from the water.

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The only problem with watching fireworks from a boat is that you can’t get good photos. Luckily, we still have a great view of the fireworks from our marina. This week we took it easy, cracked open a cold one and watched with friends from the dock.

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There’s three days left this year to see the fireworks, July 17, July 24 and July 31. Hopefully we’ll be watching from the water.

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