Category Archives: Film

Dear Rider Celebrates Snowboarding Pioneer Jake Burton

dear rider movie poster

DEAR RIDER, a feature documentary from Red Bull Media House and Emmy-winning director Fernando Villena, is a celebration of the life and vision of Jake Burton Carpenter (1954-2019), the pioneer who propelled the sport of snowboarding into a global and cultural phenomenon. The film debuts TUESDAY, NOVEMBER  9 (9:00 – 10:30 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

The intimate and revealing documentary features interviews with Jake’s family, friends, and fellow snowboarders, including action sports icons Shaun White, Kelly Clark, and Mark McMorris, as well as a wealth of archival material and home movies. DEAR RIDER pays homage to Jake’s beloved and loyal “riders,” the audience he faithfully addressed every year for decades on the first page of his snowboard company’s catalogs. Acclaimed actor Woody Harrelson, a close friend of Jake’s, narrates catalog passages interspersed throughout the film.

Why You Need Acting Classes- Pt.1

Acting in Front of a Green Screen

Last Saturday, I started up another Acting Class with the gloriously frank, Frank Gerrish. The man is a legend in the Utah acting community for so many reasons and then one day he ups and disappears; reappearing in Los Angeles to prove that he can walk the talk.

Frank Gerrish Teaching an Acting Class

Not every teacher out there connects with every student but there’s something about taking acting classes with Frank that uplifts, encourages and fills my folder of possibility. He was a hard-working Utah actor, head of the film dept at Salt Lake Community College and he’s done in LA in a few years what takes other actors decades to accomplish.

The acting classes he taught in Utah were an ongoing scene study class peppered with mock auditions and monologues. I couldn’t wait for my twice weekly sessions with my film buddies and not just because of the after beers at MacCool’s Irish Pub next door. 

Below are some of the takeaways from my first acting classes……

Auditioning is not acting

The audition is the work you do to get the ‘job’. The job is the play or movie and there are so many steps in between to get to the final job. Often, you’ll hear coaches refer to an audition as a meeting. The casting director not only wants to see how you handle the lines but what you are like as a person. Think about the difference between a job interview and meeting your significant other’s parents. The audition should have the vibe of the later. The more you practice (ie take classes via Zoom or in person), the better you get at your meetings. 

What does it take to prepare to do your best on an audition?

  1. Script analysis- Reading and understanding the script. Break it down into “beats” or moments. What is going on in the scene and in the overall story. 
  2. Make choices. You have to be able to do this instantly.  Choices about who you are, want you want, why you want it, what is your relationship to the others in the scene, etc. Figure out the who, what, when, where and why of the scene you are auditioning.

6 things you need to do for an audition-

  1. Memorize the script (know the words; know the context, your relationships). Excitement and nerves live in the same place. But nerves come from being unprepared. If you don’t look at your sides until the night before, your ‘action verb’ for the audition becomes ‘to remember’- you are a wreck. An actor is like an athlete. You must train if you want to succeed. You can’t roll in and expect it to happen.
  2. Talent may not be quantifiable but the work is. Don’t let anyone out work you.
  3. The acting class is about getting on your feet and screwing up miserably. If you’re going to screw up, screw up in class.
  4. You don’t want to be seen by the right person at the wrong time.
  5. You should be booking at least once in every 10-12 auditions. Otherwise you wind up on the second tier of your agency and they begin to wonder about you- and you begin to wonder about you. Only training will make a difference. 
  6. Ask your agent some basic questions about the audition.
    1. Are there sides
    2. Where do I go
    3. Who’s the director
    4. Can I read the script ahead of time. If not, can you read me a description of the character(s) or send me the breakdown, and send all of their sides. BTW, sides are the scene you will be auditioning. 
    5. When is the shoot. If you can’t make the shoot date, don’t audition. The dates could change on you but you can’t change on them.
    6. Let them know of any potential conflicts. Intense language or subject matter you just can’t participate in? Conflicting brands? It’s for Comcast and you just did a Dish commercial? Don’t wait until you book the job to let the director know about these things. Casting directors get pissed with that one. Let your agent field this for you.

Other topics you learn when you take legit acting classes-

What’s a headshot and acting resume and how should they standout? 


Do you have a demo reel? How long should it be? What should you have on it? Do you make a separate commercial, comedic, dramatic reel? This is one I used when I was hunting for a talent agent outside of Utah so it’s twice as long as your average demo:

You’ll also need two+ monologues in your back pocket. This is the hardest audition you will ever do- when, without notice, they ask you if you have a monologue you can do. Side note: I’ve only had it happen once. Usually you are told ahead of time to come with a prepared monologue. But it’s always great to have it down because sometimes there is that opportunity to say – “would you like to hear my monologue”. I did this when I was auditioning for Vicki at TMG. I had read three different sides for her and we were talking about eyeline because the sides were not read directly to her and she wanted to see me look at her. Did the monologue and I was in like Flynn.

Acting Classes Help You Understand the 15 Second Rule

The casting director has made a decision about you within 15 seconds of walking in the door. The rest of the time you will be confirming or denying that first impression.

  1. Type yourself out. Ask friends the type of role they can see you playing. Know what the casting director sees in that first 15 seconds. You can even go to a website and have someone do it for you.
  2. Casting is arbitrary. All you can do is your best work but know that you can be rejected for having the wrong color eyes, or a funny nose or blond hair or look too much like the lead (seriously, this happened to me).

It’s a victory and a half if they ask you to read for a different role. Another side, another character. They don’t waste time. They wouldn’t ask if they thought you couldn’t be that part.

If they ask you to do it again but with specific directions, you will be written off if you don’t take those notes and make adjustments to your performance. If they ask to see it again but don’t offer suggestions, play it 180 degrees opposite. Why? Because they already saw you do it one way. Show them how versatile you are.

*Don’t ever name drop when you audition. Raise your hand if you’re guilty of this one?

Shake hands (or hug) only if they offer. But in this post-Covid landscape, you’re best off with a fist bump or nothing.

Don’t be chatty.  Shut up so you don’t wind up with foot in mouth disease. Use basic social common sense. Of course, say hello and good-bye.

Don’t fish for callback or filming information. The goal is just to get a callback not the part.

Do you use props? No. If you bring a prop, the prop will always be more real than you. CDs are always looking at the prop. The goal is to get the focus on your close up. The one exception is if you happen to have something on you naturally, like a cellphone, purse or a bottle of water. Use these items. And never ever use your hand like it’s a phone. Self-tape auditions are a bit different in that you have a world of props at your finger tips. Go ahead and use them if you can do so realistically and without them becoming distractions. I had an audition where I was supposed to be moving a box from right to left. Guess what? I used a real box.


You don’t get callbacks playing it safe. Do something that takes courage. Acting classes will help you expand your imagination.

  1. Pause. Don’t blow through the pauses.
  2. Show you can take direction- don’t argue with it.

Prereqs of a good actor

  1. Take acting classes- just like playing an instrument. You need to practice.
  2. Willingness to do the work required by the job.
  3. Be comfortable in your own skin- you are you. Like snowflakes. You are not another actor or type. Be proud of what you do. Don’t be threatened by mediocrity. Or what others imply in the word ‘actor’. You provide a service like everyone else. What’s the first thing a working stiff does when he comes home? Turns on the tv. People have the need to be entertained. Believe that it’s a worthwhile thing to do- telling a story on your feet.
  4. Willingness to be seen. Athletes don’t have this problem. They put on their uniforms and they play. Feel worthy to do this. You do belong and can do this.
  5. Gratitude. Be grateful to be a part of the process.

Keep a folder for the acting classes you take. Keep it like a bible. Go back to it to retrain yourself. Especially when you have an upcoming audition. Not only does it jog your memory but it gives you this sense of being grounded. All of a sudden you have a plan. You’re not floating around this amorphous thing called an audition.

Frank, Thank you. 

5Point Adventure Film Festival Goes Virtual

5point film festival

The 5Point Adventure Film Festival was born in 2007 to inspire adventure of all kinds, to connect generations through shared experience, to engage passion with a conscience, and to educate through film. Up until this year, they’ve been able to take their show on the road. Instead of bowing to COVID-19, 5Point has gone virtual.

Snowbiking in 5Point Adventure Film Festival

The non-profit centers its mission around “5 Points”: Purpose, Commitment, Respect, Humility, and Balance. By partnering with outdoors brands like Gregory, Yeti and Coalatree the show can hit the road to spread these points across the Rockies. The one held in Salt Lake City last November was a blast to attend and the selection of award-winning shorts kept audiences on the edge of their seat.  But, alas, the show couldn’t go on as usual.

5Point Adventure Film Festival Must Go On

5point programmer Julie Kennedy says, “We all can’t be together under one roof but be we can be together on our screens.” This year’s event kicked off on Earth Day, April 22, 2020, with the first of three, all new, 90-minute programs of films from their archives along with special guest vignettes showing “Life in Lockdown.” If you missed it like I did, you can watch it here: 

The three-part fest continues tonight (Friday) at 7 p.m. MST over at so grab some popcorn and beer for your Friday night “in”.  

The live event in Carbondale, Colo., has been postponed until October. Those who already purchased tickets for the April dates can either get a refund or roll over their tix to the fall.

Warren Miller Ski Flick Pays Tribute To The Legend

warren miller ski

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes…and Warren Miller Ski Movies. 

With winter around the corner, the Warren Miller Entertainment team (WME) will once again kick off the season with its 69th installment. The new ski and snowboard film, Face of Winter, however, will be different. It won’t be simply a recycling of traditional ski porn. This one- the first produced since the iconic Miller’s death earlier this year- promises to tug on our nostalgic ski heartstrings.

warren miller ski

Photo cred. Warren Miller Co.

FOW celebrates the man who became known as the father of ski bums. Miller cultivated the skier mentality, the industry, and the places and people he met along the way.  He was 93 when he passed in January 2018 and through those years he not only witnessed the impressive growth of the ski industry but documented the best athletes in the world who led the charge. He covered through film, art, books and articles, outdoor pursuits and water sports like surfing and sailing in addition to his passion for snowsports.

He produced more than 500 films that spanned six decades and inspired countless men, women and children to ditch normalcy and seek a life of extreme adventure; myself included. He set the tempo with tales like braving 100 days in Sun Valley, Idaho, living out of a teardrop trailer on $18 bucks.

Warren Miller Ski Films Leave Their Mark

“I will say that without Warren Miller I wouldn’t lead the incredible life I do!” freeskier Amie Engerbretson told the film crew at Teton Gravity Research, one of the first film production companies to follow in WME’s footsteps. “Warren inspired my grandfather, my father and myself to pursue a life of skiing, chasing mountains and making films! He will live in my heart forever!”

The Warren Miller name became synonymous with the sport of skiing but Miller himself was also a World War II veteran, a ski instructor and ski racer, an accomplished surfer, and a champion sailor. He also provided entrepreneurial training to thousands of kids nationwide, emphasizing hard work, ingenuity, and creativity.

New and veteran athletes have come together in Face of Winter to pay tribute to the man who started it all. Jonny Moseley, Marcus Caston, Seth Wescott, Forrest Jillson, Kaylin Richardson, Dash Longe, Anna Segal, Michael “Bird” Shaffer, and featured athletes of the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team, including gold medalist, Jessie Diggins visit some of Warren’s favorite places from Engleberg to Chamonix, British Columbia to Alaska, Chile, Iceland, New Zealand and more. 

“The film is for anyone whose life (whether they realize it) was impacted by Warren Miller,” says WME Managing Director Andy Hawk. “We are all the face of winter—from the athletes to the audience to the locals in far-off destinations or even at our home mountain. Warren recognized this, and this year’s film celebrates that.”
I will admit that I’m hesitant to see this year’s WM flick. It’ll be interesting to see how the other resorts fared and the footage gathered last season after the crappy snow we all had in North America. But it’s not because I think the snow will look meh. It’s because of the void that is left by the ski storyteller. I hate crying in public and I know I will. 
I grew up on Warren Miller movies. They launched me into each ski season. And it was that infamous quote – “If you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do” – that moved me to Mammoth as a junior in college, Aspen after graduation, Park City after Aspen and I finally booked that bucketlist trip to Hokkaido, Japan, this coming January 2019.

As long as WME keeps making these ski movies, the spirit of the ski bum will live on but this season’s edition can’t help but be more poignant than ever. 

Warren Miller Ski Film Screenings


Face of Winter, presented by Volkswagen, will premiered worldwide in Portland, Ore., on October 12 before heading to Utah on Oct. 17. Screenings will then sweep across the U.S., from the Pacific Northwest to the East Cost from October to December. Click here for tour dates and detes. 
BTW< If you are attending in Utah, this year’s screenings will be at the Rose Wagner Theater rather than Abravanel Hall. The $23 tickets also include a BOGO day pass to Jackson Hole and $50 off a Mountain Collective Pass. [But if you already have the Mountain Collective (comes with a Snowbird or Alta season pass) you already get half off in Jackson.]

Surviving Sundance & The Film Festival Party Guide

Park City Sundance

Sundance nearly killed my father. Literally. In the interest of full disclosure let’s start by explaining that I thought I was the one who would have a heart attack when my parents who are in their 80s announced they were coming out for the Sundance Film Festival. Are you kidding me? If anything was going to cause your stress level to shoot through the roof it would be trying to deal with Park City, Utah, during Sundance and those infamous Sundance parties. It’s the film festival that lords over all others in America and it happens in the middle of winter at an altitude of 7000 feet. That alone could break someone.

sundance parties

Park City is beyond crazy at the end of January thanks to Robert Redford and his dream of allowing the independent film voice to shine. There’s no parking, the traffic is bumper to bumper from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., if a restaurant isn’t closed for a private event, it’s booked out months in advance and last year the snow arrived like dirt at an excavation site.

I begged them to reconsider. It would be a challenge for both of us. For them to navigate around town (back and forth from the St. Regis in Deer Valley) and for me to get into town to see them; not to mention the lounges and Sundance parties for which I had appointments. There was even a fancy magician’s soiree right at the St Regis one night. The Starwood Preferred Guests/Amex Late-Night Celebration hosted by Cupcake Wars’, Justin Willman. There was a DJ, an electric violinist, Kat V, tons of food and alcohol and Michelle Monaghan “assisted”. But alas, my dad, who was an amateur magician himself, was unable to emerge from his hotel room and join us. The frenetic pace of Sundance had hobbled him.

sundance parties

sundance parties

All of the hubbub surrounding the Fest could easily overshadow the hundreds of screenings at Sundance if you let it. Food trucks serving meatless sliders in the Lyft Driver Hub and Kristen Kish’s lemon ricotta donuts (at Chase on Location at New Frontier), a Sundance TV escape room Hap and Leonard style, gifting suites, panel discussions, live music every ten steps, virtual reality installments, and Sundance parties. Some of the venues are invite only; some open to the public, space available; others somewhere in between (ie if you are hot or connected, you’re in).

sundance parties

Sundance is one of those events that you attend at your own risk. No matter how much preparation you do, you’re never prepared. To have the absolute best experience, you have to roll with whatever is happening. My parents saw two films in five days. You may miss a screening or two because you were networking at a SAG brunch or skiing fresh snow. You RSVP’d for three Sundance parties on the same night but decided to stay at one for the whole evening (which is fine, everyone does this). You may not sleep until 5 a.m. These are just some of the bumps you’ll have to roll over.


Here are some tips to help you withstand the elements of both an uber popular film fest and the Park City environment.

Decide What You’re There For

It’s impossible to do and see everything. If you want to ski come to Park City in February not January. See above.


See movies?

Map out what you want to see in advance – way in advance – because tickets sell out early. Best to get a Festival pass these days because each film is $20. You can also try the ewaitlist if you just want to see ’whatever.’ You’ll have a better chance of getting into the daytime screenings rather than the evening premiers where talent and crew attend and host Q&As afterward. There are movies from morning until midnight.

sundance parties

Snatchers Q&A

People watch

You could spend an entire day cruising Main Street. It’s a sheer carnival. So much to see and do that you forget there are movies playing.

sundance parties

(Sundance) Party much?

You can buy an “unofficial” party list, troll social media and beg to get on a list, or go to one shindig and follow your new entourage to the next one. There are so many ways to get into Sundance parties- some legal, some questionable- so get creative if you have to. Some are better than others so ask around. I loved the Fuji Film one but that ended years ago. Catdance sponsored by FreshStep kitty litter then became my all-time fave but alas they too shuttered two years ago. No telling who will outshine the rest this year.


The majority of the parties start Friday. Some will be strictly for cast and crew of presenting films. Leave those alone unless you are friends with the filmmakers. Here are ones to zero in on if you dare:



Sundance Film Festival Official Kickoff Party
SundanceTV HQ, 268 Main St., 4-6 p.m.
The third annual Sundance Film Festival official kickoff party — an invite-only affair — will be hosted by Robert Redford.


Facebook, Oculus, Instagram Happy Hour
Coal & Lumber, 201 Heber Ave., 5-8 p.m.
An invite-only cocktail event to toast the “independent storytellers, the creative community and the platforms which bring them together” while experiencing the latest in VR demos.

sundance parties

Intel Tech Lodge

558 Main street, 6-9 p.m.

Experience tech with AI, VR and Intel RealSense. Opening Reception with music, drinks and food.


The Sweetheart Deal @ Acura Stage Open to Public. Yay!
Festival Village Presented by Acura, 475 Swede Alley, 6-8 p.m.
The Walking Dead actress Emily Kinney and American Idol contestant Paul McDonald blend their solo efforts as The Sweetheart Deal, live from the Acura Stage.


Shabbat Oneg Party @ Shabbat Lounge
Wasatch Brew Pub, 250 Main St., second floor, 9 p.m.-1 a.m.

The Moth Mainstage 
SundanceTV HQ, 268 Main St., 7:30-10 p.m.
Five storytellers share their true stories in front of a live, invite-only audience. Presented by GEICO



Shabbat Lounge, Havdalah Concert
Wasatch Brew Pub, 250 Main St., second floor, 9 a.m.-11 p.m. for the lounge, 9-11 p.m. for concert. Shabbat Lounge is open all day with complimentary programs, food and drinks. All are welcome. Havdalah Concert starts at 9 p.m. RSVPs and a full scheduled at


Après-Ski @ #TwitterLodge
#TwitterLodge, 408 Main St.
Continuing through Sunday, the venue hosts guests for a warm-up and recharge courtesy of hot beverages and snacks.

sundance parties

Ecoluxe Lounge

EcoLuxe Lounge
Blue Iguana Restaurant & Bar, 255 Main St., 12-6 p.m.
The two-day lounge, helmed by the queen of gifting Debbie Durkin, will feature a media center to help escape the cold, farm-to-table comfort food, cocktails, live music and even spa services. The 10th annual event will benefit Shriners for Children Medical Center, which opens its doors this summer in Pasadena.


Skullcandy x Skate Kitchen BBQ and Skate Jam

Skullcandy HQ, 6301 N. Landmark Dr., Park City, UT 84098, 12-5PM

Food, action film screenings, live performances will be provided by Jaden Smith, DJ Kitty CashDJ Cam Tang, and Doja Cat will be putting on a live music performance.

sundance parties

Jaden Smith moves from Skullcandy to the Skate Kitchen After Party at DIRECTV Lodge presented by AT&T. Photo Credit: Dave Brewer, Photo Collective Studios


Power Women’s Cocktail
Autograph Collection’s Hotel Park City, 2001 Park Ave, 4-6 p.m.
Aisha Tyler and 20th Century Fox’s Moira Griffin co-host the 2nd annual “Power Women’s Cocktail” put on by Autograph Collection Hotels, the Black List and Sundance Institute & Diversity Initiative, at The Retreat inside Hotel Park City. The event celebrates the female voices in independent film, from screenwriters and actors to directors and producers. Invite-only.


The Foxies on the Acura Stage
Festival Village Presented by Acura, 475 Swede Alley, 6-8 p.m.
Phoenix, Arizona indie band The Foxies, led by frontwoman Julia Lauren, mixes various influences like Billy Idol and Blondie, live from the outdoor Acura Stage.


CNN Films’ Fifth Anniversary Event, Co-Hosted by THR
O.P. Rockwell, 268 Main St., 9 p.m.
The Hollywood Reporter is helping fete CNN Films’ fifth year at the Sundance Film Festival with an invitation-only party hosted by CNN worldwide president Jeff Zucker and THR editorial director Matthew Belloni. CNN Films will also have a pop-up lounge at Fletcher’s restaurant on Main Street (Jan. 19-21), which will host special events and be open by invite to filmmakers and other festgoers.


Yacht Rock Party
SundanceTV HQ, 268 Main St., 9 p.m.
The SundanceTV team and talent are expected at this invite-only affair, which promises to help guests “sail away to the smooth sounds of the ‘70s and ’80s” with live music from Yacht Rock Revue. Cocktails presented by Blue Moon.



Football Viewing Party
DIRECTV Lodge Presented by AT&T, Heber & Main (formerly Zoom), 660 Main St., 1:05 p.m. & 4:44 p.m. until 7 p.m.
An afternoon of viewing parties of all the gridiron action from the day’s NFL games. Invite-only guests will enjoy an open bar, food by Craig’s and other accoutrement.

sundance parties

Get ready to line up at Sundance. Photo of the DIRECTV Lodge presented by AT&T by Michael Mendoza-RpbStudio

Gamechanger Films Reception
The Luxury Escape at St. Regis Deer Valley, 2300 Deer Valley Dr. E, 1-4 p.m.
The 5th annual Luxury Escape sets up shop at the St. Regis Deer Valley Sunday and Monday, luring festivalgoers away from the bustle of Main Street. The Rand Luxury invite-only event.


Indie Film Showcase

710 Bodega Tapas And Wine, 710 Main Street, 1:45 – 4 p.m.

Q & A session, and a social networking mixer and cocktail reception


LynQing Heroes

Park Avenue, 2-6 p.m.

Debuting LynQ’s latest off-cellular people tracker and Hero New York’s winter backpack collection. Co-hosts include fashion/travel bloggers, movie screenings and hot toddies.


Elizabeth and the Catapult on the Acura Stage
Festival Village Presented by Acura, 475 Swede Alley, 6-8 p.m.
Brooklyn-based American singer-songwriter Elizabeth Ziman performs live from the outdoor Acura Stage.


Raise Your Glass with Canon
Canon Creative Studio, 592 Main Street, 6-9 p.m.
Raise Your Glass is Canon’s annual toast to the cinematographers of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.  American Cinematographer magazine joins in on the fun as this year’s co-host. Invite only, all guests must be 21+ and entry is subject to capacity.


Autograph Collection Hotels’ Late Night Karaoke Party with Blind Dragon
Autograph Collection’s Hotel Park City, 2001 Park Ave, 10 p.m.-1 a.m.
DJ Wade Crescent is spinning at this event, which is open to festgoers who want to sing iconic tunes from indie films.


Common and Friends Special Performances
The WanderLuxxe House, 8 p.m.-12 a.m.
Exclusive to the house will be a night of private performances led by Common, “Common and Friends Presented by Apex Social Club and Dropbox,” with incredible surprise talent guests scheduled to join in the high-energy evening celebrating the 2018 festival. Drinks by Casamigos Tequila.


Midnight at Sundance
SundanceTV HQ, 268 Main St., 9 – 11 p.m.
Celebrate the Midnight section of this year’s festival at this invite-only event presented by Shudder.



BMI Snowball
The Shop, 1167 Woodside Ave., 8 p.m.
Rita Wilson, Morgan Saint, Craig Wedren and Skyler Day headline this lineup of performers. Open to festival credential holders 21 years of age and over.



Sundance Awards Night
In total, 28 prizes will be announced during the ceremony (live-streamed at and on YouTube). Jason Mantzoukas (star of entry The Long Dumb Road) hosts the ceremony, which will also feature a team from Hearts Beat Loud: musicians Keegan DeWitt and Jeremy Bullock with lead actors Nick Offerman on bass and Kiersey Clemons on vocals.




My parents managed to make it safely back to Los Angeles but it took two months for my dad to recover to his cantankerous self. Sundance can definitely do a number on the faint of heart so beware. That said, if you have any interested in films and the film industry the Sundance Film Festival is an event not to be missed. 


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