AT LACMA Tue 12.10.2013

“Feeling Puke-y”: Will Slocombe Chronicles His Theatrical Debut (Part 1)


My name’s Will (that’s me up there on the right).

I work with Ralph and Catherine and Elvis at Film Independent.

I also just made a movie.

My movie’s called Cold Turkey. It stars Peter Bogdanovich (that’s him up there on the left) and Cheryl Hines. It’s about a black sheep sister, played by Alicia Witt, who finally comes home for Thanksgiving.

A few weeks ago (just in time for Thanksgiving), Cold Turkey came out in places like LA and New York and my Aunt Malabar’s iPad (hi, Aunt Malabar!) It also played its last batch of film festivals in places like Naples, FL and Denver, CO.

To commemorate this momentous occasion, Our Website’s Fearless Leader asked me to write a dear diary-style blog about the release. Something like this. Except there’s no way mine’s gonna be that good ’cause that chick’s way smarter and funnier and more charming than me.

But. Having been voted in the high school yearbook Most Likely to Self-Publish His Own Stream-of-Consciousness (Eff you, Best Eyes!), having long been dangerously obsessed with this, and having generally nothing better to do, I said oh sure, why not Pamela – nobody cares what I think anyway.


Without further ado.

Here’s what it feels like to tell everyone all about your little movie, all at once.


3:03 am  Where am I?

3:04 am Why am I running? In the middle of the night? With all my clothes on?

3:05 am  And why is it so hot?

3:06 am  Ohhhhhhh right. I’m in Florida. At the Naples Film Festival. My movie’s playing here. And this is the side of a road. Highway 47 (That sign says.) It smells like Wild Things (guessing). And as we were leaving the Saturday Night Party at Bay House Restaurant where Upscale Casual Attire was suggested, I confidently told my friend Kevin that, Nah, I didn’t need a ride in the communal filmmaker van, that I would just “walk” back to the Hilton Naples, but then about two minutes into my “walk,” I looked at my iPhone and realized it was like seven miles back, but had too much pride to call Kevin so now it’s 3:06 in the morning and I’m listening to back episodes of The Tony Kornheiser Show on podcast and running, fully decked out in a sweater and khakis and not-running shoes. And it’s muggy as Hell. And I have like five more miles to go.

5:12 am Well, that took longer than expected.

5:13 am Hello, Suite 213.

5:14 am So happy my old friends Gift Bag Chocolate Bar #1 and Gift Bag Chocolate Bar #2 will be joining me in bed while I re-watch the Wu-Tang episode of Cribs on YouTube for the third time this weekend.

11:00 am Beeeeep.

11:57 am Wait.

11:58 am Why?

11:59 am Oh right.

1:25 pm Post-screening question from the audience: “What was it like working with Peter Bogdanovich?”  Answer from me: “It was wonderful.  He wore an ascot and spoke lots of Yiddish.”


7:05 am Cold Turkey “drops” on VOD today. I email everyone I know. Which is mildly invigorating, but mostly embarrassing.

1:27 pm Listening to lots of Haim. They’re so kewt.

4:07 pm Spending way too much time updating/refreshing Facebook.  Hate myself.


6:17 am Want to write. Can’t. Too much weird/fun/great stuff to keep up with.  I get a Facebook comment from my elementary school teacher Ms. Sager.  She says “as your fourth grade teacher I was often overwhelmed by your prolific writing and young talent.”  Which is a nice way of saying that I was a huge pain in the ass.

9:25 am Cold Turkey Press Day, in a conference room at the terrifying SLS Hotel.

9:27 am The SLS has Eyes Wide Shut masks instead of coffee tables.

9:29 am Sylvia, Tiffany, and Jasmine, our LA publicists at Big Time have made nice little press kits about the movie, and are very nice themselves. There are also nice little scones for the press bros. I steal like seven of these.

9:30 am Cheryl Hines arrives. Dashing and hilarious and kind as ever.

9:31 am They set me and Cheryl up in these little chairs facing all these lights, with the Cold Turkey poster (designed by Ramon Hurtado and Jason Oberg) behind us. The reporters are scheduled to come in one-by-one, each for five minutes.

9:32 am Me to Cheryl, before we start: “Any tips?”  Cheryl to me: “Don’t be an asshole.”

9:36 am Cheryl is unreal at this.

9:37 am I am a putz at this.

9:52 am Everyone keeps asking what our favorite Thanksgiving moments in real life are. I stammer something about football and then say if I had good stories I wouldn’t have written the screenplay. Which, honestly, come on, Will, step it up.

10:04 am After about six of these little five-minute interviews, I try to get up to go to the bathroom. My lav mic wire catches in the back of my chair, threatening to topple over our entire little set. Cheryl gently unplugs the mic for me, with a “there, there” look. I love this woman.

10:05 am Why are there so many mirrors in the SLS bathroom?

10:07 am When I come back, Cheryl is doing a very funny interview with a young, smart reporter from Elle. Something about tips for Thanksgiving.

10:56 am After a bunch of TV/blog interviews, we do print, which is way less stressful, because you don’t have to smile the whole time.

11:25 am Cheryl says she’ll come to the LA Opening this Friday. Huge relief. Hines puts butts in seats, u guys. She says she’s going to bring her boyfriend Bobby and like 15 Kennedys.

11:47 am Kiss kiss, bye bye.


4:32 pm Reviews. The nice ones (“Wicked dialogue and fluid photography inject spice into the traditional dysfunctional family get-together film…[Slocombe] adds unexpected ingredients to Cold Turkey for a fresh take on a familiar recipe.” – Los Angeles Times) make me feel what David Foster Wallace once called a “greasy thrill” that lasts for about five minutes. The troll-y ones make me feel like a combination of Bobby Bonilla and Jack Black after he discovered inward singing. Make your move, big man! YOU create something like inward singing!


6:26 pm Driving over to the Downtown Independent in my crappy Honda with the woman to whom I’m related by marriage. Trying to tie a tie while driving.  The woman to whom I’m related by marriage is not impressed.

6:31 pm Feeling puke-y. Why so serious?

6:41 pm LA Theatrical Opening starts in 19 minutes. Nobody is here. This could be a problem.

6:50 pm Wait! Holy shit! All our friends are here! Love you, friends! This is just like our wedding! Only WAY less expensive!

6:53 pm Cheryl arrives, along with her boyfriend Bobby and lots of Kennedys.

6:54 pm Pictures. Flashes. Frozen smiling. The pictures are honestly a little awkward because there are like a few dozen people standing around the lobby, staring. This NEVER would have happened if I were producing this screening. Oh, wait.

7:16 pm We start the movie a little late to fill up the theater as much as possible.  We’re at like 150 people in a 222-seat house, which is not embarrassing.  That’s basically all we’re going for here, Will: “not embarrassing.”

7:49 pm My fun friendly mortician buddy Caitlin moderates the Q&A with my producer Graham, me, and Cheryl. Caitlin is wearing a bright green dress and is very smart.

7:50 pm Ha ha, Cheryl, so funny. Why is she so much better at this than me!!!???

7:54 pm Question: “How’d you find the location, that house?” Me: “Someone had just sold it, and they were between owners, so, and…” Graham (cutting me off): “Someone died, Will.” (huge laugh) Me: “Oh. Right.”

7:59 pm Talk for a while to Cheryl’s boyfriend. He looks like a Kennedy.


1:17 am Driving home with the woman to whom I’m related by marriage. (She’s driving). We talk about how it’s way scarier to screen your movie in front of people you know than people you don’t.

2:56 am I can squeeze in another episode of Pardon The Interruption before bed, right?

6:30 am Beeeep.

6:31 am Why?

6:32 am Ohhh right. Denver Film Festival. Yay!

7:58 am Not sure what’s happening right now. All I know is I’m at LAX, I’m plowing through half a leftover Wolfgang Puck egg sandwich that the woman to whom I’m related by marriage was nice enough to gift me, I tried to buy an iPhone case at Kitson, but my phone is too old to fit in the new cases, so I just stared at a Taxi Driver coffee table book for like 25 minutes, trying to make Travis Bickle faces.


12:27 pm Landed in Denver.

12:31 pm Oh look, that’s John Elway’s restaurant!  Oh look, one of the waiters is photo-bombing the woman to whom I’m related by marriage!

12:42 pm My beautiful, brilliant big sister Merrin picks us up. Her 4-Runner is well-stocked.

1:27 pm Mmmmmm. Enchiladas. Denver is already making strong culinary statements. More on this later.

2:42 pm We check into the Sheraton Downtown, hit the filmmaker lounge (get a bear hug from festival programmer Matt Campbell), then head over to the theater SFC Tom Fries Theater.

3:48 pm There’s beer here. Good beer, too.

3:59 pm The woman to whom I’m related and I have lots of friends and family in Denver. My sister, her Uncle, her friend Justin, her brother Ben’s friend Harry. Almost makes for a friends-and-family screening. Very fun.

4:45 pm Holy shit! Denver LOVES Cold Turkey! The theater’s packed and they’re laughing at everything. Thanks, Denver!

5:20 pm Merrin (on whom one of the characters in the movie is loosely based) does the Q&A with me.  She’s funny and intense.

5:24 pm Question: “What was it like to work with Peter Bogdanovich?” Me: “It was fantastic. He would sing lots of show tunes and call me ‘Will, darling.’”

8:57 pm After dinner, we head off to our friend Justin and Elizabeth’s house. Justin makes pickles. They’re excellent. He also makes cocktails. They’re also excellent. He also has more Washington Redskins snap-back caps than I’ve ever seen. Sustained amounts of excellence from Justin Park, everybody.


11:27 am The woman to whom I’m related by marriage just left. Depressed.

11:52 am Oh wait! Saw her for a little while as she was waiting for her shuttle! Happy again! Fun fact (via a random collection of chalk drawings at the Delectable Egg, where we ate lots of breakfast): the woman to whom I’m related by marriage is related to one of the Three Stooges. (Larry, I think.)

11:52 pm Ok, now she’s really gone.  Sad.

11:57 pm The nice thing about hotel hallways is that they’re not depressing at all.

12:19 pm Second screening starts at 6:45 pm. Day to kill.

1:42pm This Joseph Kennedy bio rules.

3:14 pm Denver Skate Park. Kid in Terrell Davis jersey poppin’ ollies.

6:08 pm Long walk through a rough part of town to the theater.

6:41 pm Two sold-out shows! We love you Denver!

7:36 pm I’ve worked out a system where I get a beer RIGHT before the movie, then get another one and hit the head RIGHT at the hour mark, then get another, hit the head again right before the movie ends (at 83 minutes). Perfect Q&A calibration.

8:15 pm Question: “What was it like working with Peter Bogdanovich?” Answer: “It was great. He would blow me lots of kisses and do Alfred Hitchcock impressions.”


1:41 pm Beautiful morning with my sister Merrin. We eat humongous breakfast burritos. We talk about Wes Anderson’s American Express commercial. We laugh. We cry.

2:39 pm We take a Nature Walk with Merrin’s dog, a vijla named Flavia. Merrin teaches me about the co-evolution of dogs and humans. Drives me to the Denver Airport. Tells me about the time I was 5 and we drove to the Denver Airport and I asked if we were going to get there in time and she said she wasn’t sure and I said the only thing that was sure in life was death.

2:47 pm Merrin: “Knock knock.” Me: “Who’s there?” Merrin: “Smell mop.”

2:48 pm Merrin: “How many radical feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb? Me: “How…” Merrin: (interrupting) “THAT’S NOT FUNNY!!!”

3:19 pm I answer roughly 43,982,123,049,712 emails while waiting in the TSA line.

4:07 pm Requisite airplane over the Rockies shot.

4:09 pm Back to Hollyweird!

Click here for PART 2.

By Will Slocombe / Events Coordinator, Film Independent at LACMA / Writer/Director, Cold Turkey

Cold Turkey, which opened theatrically in LA, New York, and other cities around the country, is now available on platforms like iTunes, Amazon, Hulu, Google Play, and — Will’s personal favorite — Xbox 360.