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by Tumbleweed Smith

When my sons were growing up, our dining room table was the favorite hang-out place for a group of young teen-age boys who played a game called Dungeons and Dragons. Their names were Charlie, Zane, Jantz and my son BZ. They all graduated from Big Spring High School in 1986.They were very serious about the game and it influenced them to read J.R.R. Tolkien and similar authors.

At college, BZ majored in classical guitar and sound production, Zane graduated with an engineering degree, Charlie got involved with nuclear physics and Jantz studied music. They took summer vacations together, sometimes traveling as far away as Europe.

After graduation, they moved en masse to Seattle, spent a few years there, then migrated to San Jose, California, then to Pacifica, just outside San Francisco and finally into San Francisco itself.

By now their careers were taking shape. Charlie became a rocket scientist working for GE. Jantz and Zane got involved with computer animation for movies and electronic games and BZ opened a recording studio.

Zane wrote a novel in high school and later wrote a movie script. The four guys decided to make Zane's script into a movie. They all left their jobs in California and came home to Big Spring where they could get free food and lodging while they filmed their movie. Charlie was behind the camera, Zane directed and Jantz and BZ did the music and sound.

The enthusiasm of the young filmmakers was appreciated by the movie community in Dallas. A couple of actors and a special effects man with good credentials donated their time to the project. A cast of characters was assembled and locations were chosen. My grandson Jackson called the film-makers the Hollywood Big Shots.

It was shot on 16 millimeter film, then transferred to computer for editing and mixing. It took a few months to finish it, then it stayed on a shelf for a few years. Every once in awhile, the guys would think about doing something with it, get it out and work on it some more. But mostly, they were involved with their jobs.

The movie is called HELL IS TEXAS and is now being sold in 7-11 stores on the east coast. The distributor plans to bring it west. This is an amazing bunch of guys. A few years ago, Charlie decided to hitch-hike around the world. He took off a couple of years to do it. Once Zane decided to take a year off to study some new computer programs.

Now that their careers are established, they're getting married. Zane married Ronda, who was in the movie and they have twin daughters. BZ married Margaret and they have my wonderful grandson Max. Charlie just got engaged and Jantz just works all the time and is not married. I was out in San Francisco over the holidays and BZ, Charlie, Zane and I went to see the latest Lord of the Rings Movie. It was like being back in our dining room watching the guys play Dungeons and Dragons.

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