C.M. “Carty” Talkington could be the poster child of the phrase “fake it till you make it.”
That was his mentality as a young, inexperienced filmmaker who wanted to make his script into a movie and also direct it.
With his demands granted, he had to direct a scene with two helicopters flying on his first day of filming.
“I had never been at a film set before; I lied to everyone,” Talkington said. “But I knew what I wanted to do and how I wanted it to look.”
After the release of his 1994 film “Love and a .45,” Talkington is described as one of Academy Award-winning filmmaker Quintin Tarantino’s greatest imitators.
Talkington was awarded the Epic Texan Award at the 2018 Victoria TX Independent Film Festival. The 51-year-old Dallas native’s film “Love and a .45” was screened Friday night at the Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts.
Anthony Pedone, Victoria filmmaker and creator of the film festival, said they wanted to honor Talkington with an award that was fitting for him.
“Being a Texan is about taking care of your neighbors, being hospitable, being respectful and building community,” Pedone said. “And he embodies all that.”
Although Talkington did not have filmmaking experience, he said he didn’t come “out of nowhere.” He had about 10 years of experience in theater as an actor, writer and director prior to directing the film.
“Love and a .45” is about small-time criminal Watty Watts, played by Gil Bellows, attempting to rob a convenience store with his drug- addict friend Billy Mack Black, played by Rory Cochrane. The robbery leads to murder, and Watty leaves Billy behind and goes on the run with his girlfriend, Starlene, played by Renee Zellweger.
He said he got offers from people who wanted to buy his script – the largest amount he remembers is for $500,000 – but Talkington insisted on being the director. When he got what he wanted, a lot of emotions ran through him, such as excitement and fear.
“I was scared,” the filmmaker said. “Nothing but working with Super 8mm film; that was all the experience I had.”
He said a lot of shots that stand out to people from the movie, such as the “weird projection shots,” were on purpose and part of his vision.
Although he has made music videos, Talkington said he hasn’t been close to making a feature film since “Love and a .45.” Between now and then, the filmmaker said, he has been a struggling artist.
“I went dry; it was a desert of the soul,” he said. “But I learned so much in that desert, I’m bringing it to new projects.”
Talkington is now working on three screenplays and networking with Los Angeles producers. He also performs with his band, Texan Radio, and as a solo act. The singer described his music’s genre as “western psychedelic soul.”
Talkington said he was grateful and excited to received the Epic Texan Award and looked forward to speaking with people about filmmaking at the festival.
“I look at filmmaking as more than just business; it’s a sacred art,” Talkington said. “I want to reach out to anybody who is out there who wants to create.”
Ismael Perez reports on arts/entertainment and breaking news for the Victoria Advocate. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 361-580-6558.