Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Noms Are Coming! Noms Are Coming!

I begin this e-mail less than one hour before the announcement of the nominations for the 2006 Oscars. God, this is without a doubt one of my top 5 favorite days of the year, probably top 3. A posting with my reactions, opinions and other blah-dee-blah is, of course, to be expected.

I also saw Nanny McPhee over the weekend. It was wonderful. This sweet story about doing what you are told was penned by the flawless Emma Thompson, whose bulbous-nosed nanny joins fellow Love Actually alum Colin Firth and Thomas Sangster. Angela Lansbury, Imelda Staunton and Kelly McDonald round out a cast with quite long and impressive resumes. Definitely a "Recommend" for those of you with children. I think we need Nanny McPhee because our eldest, who went with us, has not yet mastered all of the lessons.

SAG Awards? Ho hum. I thought Sean Hayes was funny. I don't think Joaquin Phoenix ever smiles. I would like to know what Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger found so funny. Guess I'll find out next year during the "what-ended-up-on-the-cutting-room-floor moment". I disagree with whatever online article claimed that Brokeback was snubbed. I don't really think it is an ensemble piece and, without a doubt, Crash is.

I saw Brokeback Mountain again last night. I guess there is some sadistic part of me that enjoys the sad torture of witnessing that journey. It was definitely a different experience this time. Since I was more familiar with it, having seen it, read it and listened to it, it allowed me to focus on other aspects of the film. Seeing it on the big screen, as I anticipated, made a difference. I'm definitely anxious to get my hands on the DVD and see the special features for this one.

A bientot!

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Man's Hollywood

If you are reading this blog you are likely someone who has gone to film school, has an English degree, works in the film/entertainment industry or is just plain passionate about film. So I am going to open the Scribosphere up to a debate, if I may be so bold.

First, the backstory...

When browsing through the documentary section in Netflix I stumbled upon a series done by AFI called "The Directors." Over the past decade the American Film Institute has been adding installments to a series called "The Directors". As the name implies, the series profiles well-known directors and their contributions to film. Below is the list of directors that are featured in the series, followed by the number of movies for which they have a director's credit list on IMDb: Adrian Lyne (10) * Barbra Streisand (4) * Barry Levinson (29) * Clint Eastwood (29) * David Cronenberg (36) * Garry Marshall (24) * James Cameron (15) * Joel Schumacher (27) * John Frankenheimer (50) * John McTiernan (12) * Lawrence Kasdan (11) * Martin Scorsese (42) * Michael Mann (19) * Milos Forman (19) * Norman Jewison (37) * Rob Reiner (18) * Robert Altman (85) * Robert Zemeckis (23) * Roger Corman (55) * Ron Howard (28) * Sidney Lumet (64) * Spike Lee (38) * Steven Spielberg (48) * Sydney Pollack (27) * Terry Gilliam (15) * Wes Craven (29) * William Friedkin (30) * Wolfgang Peterson (34)

This list made an impression upon me for two reasons:

The first is the obvious omission of some very notable directors. The first that come to mind are Alfred Hitchcock (66), Stanley Kubrick (16), Mel Brooks (12), Francis Ford Coppola (29), Oliver Stone (23), Peter Jackson (13), Quentin Tarantino (13), M. Night Shyamalan (7) and Steven Soderbergh (24). And then there are the actors turned dirctor: Robert Redford (7), Mel Gibson (5) and Kevin Costner (4). (Author's Note: I know this list is not exhaustive... just bear with me).

The second reason is that of all of the directors listed above, only one of them is a woman. Also, coming up with other female directors is a bit more challenging: Nora Ephron (7), Penny Marshall (10), Kathryn Bigelow (12), Jodie Foster (5) and Sophia Coppola (4). Funny, how none of those women have resumes as lengthy as most of the men.

The question I have is: Why?

I posed this question when I took my week-long intensive course at New York Film Academy (remember, I work full-time and haven't been to film school). The response I got was: "It's a man's world."

Yes. I suppose. And, as a woman, I am very aware of this so-called man's world. I also know I have a lot of opportunities that were not afforded my female ancestors. Thank goodness for suffrage, women's rights and this progressive nation that strives for equality. To be honest, until men are able to get one or more degrees and work full-time PLUS give birth, manage a family, cook dinner, do laundry, pay bills, be a chauffeur and clean the house, will there really be equality? And why is there not an equivalent word for misogyny when expressing feeling towards men? But I digress... That's a topic for another day.

So, my question is: Why is Hollywood and filmmaking so dominated by men? Are men, in fact, the better filmmakers? If so, why? This is not meant to be a battle of the sexes but a provocation. My husband thinks that it is because men dominate the corporate world, that women choose other things over career, that men are workaholics and that women don't want it as badly.

I have my own opinions but I am going to withhold sharing them for a few days... What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Back To Work

Well, my sabbatical has ended much too quickly and the nose is back to the grindstone. It will be good to get back into the routine of things, I suppose. Overworked and underpaid is better than no work and no pay. I wasn't able to cross half as many things off the "to do" list as I had wanted and that irks me a bit. I feel like I should have added a few extra days. Oh, well. C'est la vie.

I was able to get some work done on the screenplay/film project but not half as much as I had hoped. I will probably make that my project for the Screenwriting Fortnight - to complete the rewrite. If I have the script completed by the end of February it will be a very good thing. Maybe I'll take a couple of days off around that time...

I have also made a very big step this week. I did something that could potentially alter my life as I live it now. I am abandoning all things familiar and taking a big bite out of a Macintosh Apple. Yes, it's true! The Dempster household will now be bicomputer - PC and Mac! We ordered the new iMac with the Intel Core Due processor, which apparently is a big thing. For me, as long as it's fast and I can write and edit my films on it, I will be happier than a pig in poop. Unfortunately, Final Cut Studio won't be available for it until Spring but it will take me that long to discover everything else that's included on it. I am sooooo excited!

OK - time to punch in... Stay tuned, there is more to come.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wit: My Husband's Keen Sense Of It

I have to agree with Patrick that the Golden Globes were slightly less than spectacular. There weren't any real surprises.

I've always enjoyed the Golden Globes because it moves along and the actors are given a little more time to be creative and entertaining - whether scripted or not. It also helps that most of them are knockin' back the vino with gusto. The Oscars, being the creme de la creme, should allow its recipients more time to bask. Way too much time is devoted to montages and bits. I think my favorite moment of the evening was after Hugh Laurie accepted his award, immediately following Geena Davis' win, and my husband said:

"Who ever would have thought that Stuart Little's parents would win back-to-back Best Acting awards for a dramatic series?"

Who indeed? I love that my husband loves movies.

Yesterday, I did something that I haven't done in 20 years. I had braces put on my teeth. Let me tell you something. They freakin' hurt! There's a vicious wire that needs to be covered with wax to protect my cheek and everything aches. So, when I returned from the orthodontist, the phone rang. It was my husband, who asked:

"Do you sound like Jack-Jack's babysitter from The Incredibles?"

I clenched my aching teeth and smiled. Yes, I love that my husband loves movies.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

2006 Release Radar

Taking the lead from Scott the Reader, I've decided to post the 2006 releases that are on my list to see, thus far. Of course, we still have a few festivals to get through, but overall it looks like there are quite a few offerings that will keep my cinematic hunger sated.

A few more family movies/animated features on this list... Remember, I am the mother of three (hence all the family movies that are included!).


16 BLOCKS. Action-crime movie with Bruce Willis as a cop and Mos Def as a fast-talking witness. Complications ensue when a routine trip to the courthouse gets sidetracked. Also features David Morse, an actor with whom I have always been impressed. Bruce Willis, Mos Def, David Morse, Alfre Woodard. Release Date: March.

39 POUNDS OF LOVE. Man with Spinal Muscular Atrophy outlives doctors' predicted life expectancy. Release Date: January. Link to 39 Pounds of Love Trailer.

A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS. Sting and Trudie Styler co-produce this Sundance Selection about a boy who recalls his youth spent in 1980s Astoria, NY and the "saints" he left behind. Robert Downey, Jr., Rosario Dawson, Chazz Palminteri, Dianne Wiest. Release Date: TBA.

AKEELAH AND THE BEE. Another Bee Season? Perhaps. Great cast. Angela Bassett, Keke Palmer, Laurence Fishburne. Release Date: May. Link to Akeelah and the Bee Trailer.

ALL THE KING'S MEN. A remake with a stellar cast. Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Patricia Clarkson, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins Release Date: March. Link to All The King's Men Website.

AMERICAN DREAMZ. American Idol satire? You bet! Hugh Grant spoofing Simon Cowell is perfect! Dennis Quaid, Hugh Grant, Mandy Moore. Release Date: April. Link to American Dreamz Website.

BARNYARD. Animated movie where cows strike back, with Kevin James leading the pack. The trailer looks cute - love the "boy tipping!" Kevin James, Courtney Cox, Danny Glover. Release Date: October. Link to Barnyard Website.

BOBBY. Emilio Estevez writes, directs and stars in this film about Bobby Kennedy's assassination and the guests that were staying at the Ambassador Hotel at the time. Phenomenal cast joins Estevez: Anthony Hopkins, Lindsay Lohan, Demi Moore, Sharon Stone, Elijah Wood. Release Date: August.

BREAKING AND ENTERING. Minghella and Binoche reunite. About an architect and his relationship with a young thief. Directed by Anthony Minghella. Juliette Binoche, Jude Law, Robin Wright Penn. Release Date: August.

BUG. Based on a play by Tracy Letts about a war vet who sees bugs cooped up in a motel with Ashley Judd. I liked Harry Connick in Copycat - he does psycho well. Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd. Release Date: October

THE BLACK DAHLIA. The story's been told before (as recently as 2005). But not by Brian DePalma and the strong cast that's assembled. Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Hilary Swank. Release Date: TBA

CARS. Same reason as Scott - because it's Pixar. Release Date: June. Link to Cars Website.

CHARLOTTE'S WEB. Live action/CGI version of the classic. Everyone and their brother is in it. Dakota Fanning, Steve Buscemi, Julia Roberts. Release Date: December. Link to Charlotte's Web Website.

CLICK. Adam Sandler seems to be doing all right with the dramedy genre and it has a great supporting cast. Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsdale, Christopher Walken. Release Date: June. Link to Click Website.

CURIOUS GEORGE. Will probably see it because it's Will Ferrell, a classic story and one of my daughters proclaimed, "I love George!" Release Date: February. Link to Curious George Trailer.

THE DA VINCI CODE. I haven't read the book. But my husband has. I've always loved Ron Howard, too. Tom Hanks, Audrey Tatou, Ian McKellan. Release Date: May. Link to The Da Vinci Code Website.

DELIRIOUS. Offbeat dramedy about a photographer, a homeless person and a pop star. Steve Buscemi, Elvis Costello, Minnie Driver. Release Date: TBA.

THE DEPARTED. Martin Scorcese directs remake of a Hong Kong film. Boston State Police vs. Irish mafia. Leo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson. Oh yeah, and Martin Scorcese directed it. Release Date: August.

THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. Based on the novel, Andrea chronicles life working for a demanding NYC magazine editor. Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep. Release Date: June

DREAMGIRLS. Based on the Broadway musical about a 60s musical trio, we'll get to see more of Jamie Foxx's musical talent. Beyonce Knowles, Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy and Jennifer Hudson (American Idol contestant). Release Date: December. Link to Dreamgirls Website.

FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS. Newest Clint Eastwood and Paul Haggis project about the six men that raised the flag at Iwo Jima. Ryan Phillippe, Joseph Cross, Barry Pepper. Release Date: TBA.

FLICKA. Based on My Friend Flicka, family movie about a girl and a wild horse. Tim McGraw plays father to a young girl who yearns to someday take over the family ranch. Allison Loman, Maria Bello, Tim McGraw. Release Date: July.

FLIGHT 93. A real time account of the events on United Flight 93. One of three 9/11 films so far (see WORLD TRADE CENTER, WTC VIEW) Release Date: April. Link to Flight 93 Website.

FLUSHED AWAY. The story of an uptown rat that gets flushed down the toilet from his penthouse apartment, ending in the sewers of London, where he has to learn a whole new and different way of life. Kate Winslet, Hugh Jackman, Iam McKellan, Andy Serkis, Bill Nighy. Release Date: November.

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION. Christopher Guest ensemble satire about actors' reactions when their film starts getting awards buzz. Christopher Guest, Fred Willard, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara, Parker Posey, Jennifer Coolidge, Clair Forlani. Release Date: September.

FREEDOMLAND. A woman is carjacked and he son is in the back seat. Crime-thriller with racially charged subplot. Samuel L. Jackson, Julianne Moore, Edie Falco, Ron Eldard, William Forsythe. Release Date: February. Link to Freedomland Website.

FUR. A chronicle of the life of Diane Arbus, 1960s photgrapher who, following her suicide in 1971, was American photographer to be exhibited at the Venice Biennale. Nicole Kidman, Robert Downey, Jr.. Release Date: October.

THE GOOD SHEPHERD. One man's tale of early life in the CIA. Matt Damon, Robert DeNiro, Angelina Jolie, Joe Pesci. Release Date: December.

HAPPY FEET. Animated tap dancing penguins! Release Date: November. Link to Happy Feet Website.

HARD CANDY. A 32-year-old man meets a 14-year-old on the Internet. The trailer is chilling. Patrick Wilson, Ellen Page, Sandra Oh. Release Date: TBA. Link to Hard Candy Website.

IN THE LAND OF WOMEN. Lawrence Kasdan's son, Jonathan, writes and directs a movie about caring for his ailing grandmother and forming life-changing friendships with the family across the street. Adam Brody, Olympia Dukakis, Meg Ryan. Release Date: May.

JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT. A father and son try to escape the hold of the Brazilian sex industry. Brendan Fraser, Mos Def, Scott Glenn. Release Date: April.

LADY IN THE WATER. I'm always willing to give M. Night Shamalayan another chance because I loved Sixth Sense. Paul Giamatti, Bryce Howard Release Date: July. Link to Lady In The Water Website.

LENINGRAD. Journalists fall in love during WWII battle. Gabriel Byrne, Mira Sorvino, Armin Mueller-Stahl. Release Date: November.

LITTLE FISH. A recovering addict gets embroiled in a drug deal. Cate Blanchett, Sam Neill. Release Date: TBA. Link to Little Fish Website.

LONELY HEARTS. Crime drama based on the true story of "Lonely Hearts Killers" who enticed their victims through the personal adds. John Travolta, James Gandolfini, Salma Hayek, Jared Leto, Laura Dern. Release Date: March.

MARGARET. A young woman witnesses a bus accident and its aftermath. Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo and Matthew Broderick. Release Date: TBA.

MARIE ANTOINETTE. Sofia Coppola biopic about the woman who said "let them eat cake" and then lost her head. Love the trailer set to New Order. Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn. Release Date: October. Link to Marie Antoinette Website.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE III. Because it's Mission Impossible and its Memorial Day blockbuster time. Even if Cruise is a fruitcake. Tom Cruise, Keri Russell, Philip Seymour Hoffman. Release Date: May. Link to Mission Impossible Website.

MONSTER HOUSE. Animated feature about "the scary house" in town that comes to life. Release Date: July. Link to Monster House Website.

NANNY McPHEE. A warted nanny whips a bunch ne'er do wells into shape. Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Imelda Staunton, Angela Lansbury. Release Date: January. Link to Nanny McPhee Website.

OPEN SEASON. A pet bear journeys into the wild with his deer friend during hunting season. Martin Lawrence, Ashton Kutcher, Debra Messing, Gary Sinise. Release Date: September. Link to Open Season Website.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN - DEAD MAN'S CHEST. Because the first one was awesome and the originals are back. Johnny Depp, Orland Bloom, Keira Knightly, Bill Nighy, Geoffrey Rush. Release Date: July. Link to Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest Website.

PUNCHCARD PLAYER. A 20-something guy deals with post-graduate debt and adulthood. We've all been there. Brian Napolitan. Release Date: TBA. Link to Punchcard Player Website.

PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS. Will Smith does a dramatic turn as a salesman who gets custody of his son. Will Smith, Thandie Newton. Release Date: December.

R.V. Dysfunctional family road trip. Robin Williams, Jeff Daniels. Release Date: April.
Link to RV Trailer.

RESCUE DAWN. Vietnam War flich about fighter pilots. Christian Bale, Steve Zahn. Release Date: March. Link to Rescue Dawn Trailer.

RIGHT AT YOUR DOOR. This Sundance selection about bombings in LA is generating some good buzz. Release Date: TBA.

RUNNING WITH SCISSORS. Based on the bestselling novel, an adult man looks back on his childhood with his bipolar and self-centered mother. Another all star cast, led by Annette Bening and Joseph Cross. Release Date: September. Link to Running With Scissors Website.

THE SENSATION OF SIGHT. A middle-aged English teacher sells encyclopedias door-to-door. David Straithairn, Ian Somerhalder. Release Date: October.

STAY. I'm intrigued by Bob(cat) Goldthwait as director/writer in this Sundance-selected RomCom. Release Date: TBA.

STEPHANIE DALEY. A pregnant psychologist is hired by the prosecution in a case against a girl who has killed her baby. Another Sundance selection. Tilda Swinton, Amber Tamblyn, Timothy Hutton. Release Date: TBA.

STRANGER THAN FICTION. IRS auditor is subject of a narration that only he hears. Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Latifah, Emma Thompson, Kristen Chenoweth. Release Date: November.

SUPERMAN RETURNS. Yes - I will probably be there, too. Brandon Routh looked great at the Golden Globes when he sported the Clark Kent glasses. Release Date: June. Link to Superman Returns Website.

TAKE THE LEAD. Remember Music of the Heart? Same idea - ballroom dancing instead of violins. Antonio Banderas instead of Meryl Streep. Antonio Banderas, Alfre Woodard, Rob Brown, Dante Basco. Release Date: April. Link to Take The Leade Website.

THANK YOU FOR SMOKING. Upon Scott the Reader's suggestion, I've added it to my list. Looks good if you appreciate dark humor. Release Date: March. Link to Thank You for Smoking Trailer.

THE HILLS HAVE EYES. Remake of Wes Craven movie. Trailer is creepy. Kathleen Quinlan, Ted Levin, Emilie de Ravin (Lost). Release Date: March. Link to The Hills Have Eyes Trailer.

THE LAKE HOUSE. Reminds me of Somewhere In Time. Reaves and Bullock team up again in a RomCom about pen pals separated in time by two years. Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock. Release Date: June.

WINTER PASSING. Went a looked at the trailer after reading Scott the Readers list. Totally up my alley! Robert Duvall, Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel. Release Date: February. Link to Winter Passing Website.

WORLD TRADE CENTER. Oliver Stone's 9/11 film about the last two survivors pulled from the rubble at Ground Zero. Nicolas Cage, Michael Pena, Maria Bello, Maggie Gyllenhaal. Release Date: August.

WTC VIEW. A SoHo resident places a classified ad on September 10, 2001. While he searches for a new roommate, he struggles to hold it together in the aftermath of 9/11. Release Date: TBA.

ZODIAC. Remeber seeing a casting notice for this and thinking it sounded interesting. I like true-crime thrillers. Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards. Release Date: Fall.

And there you have it... Alicia's 2006 Movie Preview. I'll probably link this on my sidebar and keep it updated. Once I've seen them, perhaps I'll add a review section, too!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

One Liner

Perhaps not my best but one I'm fond of. From Harvest Home...

Stop trying so hard to be what everyone else wants you to be. Otherwise you’ll spend the rest of your life trying to figure out who the hell you are.
OK - I've risen to the challenge of the meme and the one-liner. Now the question is: do I have what it takes to commit to the Screenwriting Fortnight? Hmmmm.....

Friday, January 13, 2006

Things You'll Learn To Love About Me

True Facts About Me

  • I am an old soul with a young heart who is trapped in a middle-aged body.
  • I stage managed Valguse Poik for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The play was written by the Cultural Minister of Estonia.
  • I performed selected scenes from a new work by Edward Albee. Afterward, I dined with Mr. Albee as he critiqued both our performance and our interpretation of the text (favorably, I might add!).
  • I love rare and raw foods -- sushi, carpaccio, steak tartare, seared tuna.
  • I climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia.
  • I informed Michael Crawford (the original Phantom in Phantom of the Opera) that I would be playing the role of Christine Daae in a couple of years. Ummm... yeah... I never performed on Broadway and only dream of being a coloratura soprano. Oh to be 18 and fearless again!
  • I lived in London for 3 months in 1979 while my father was on sabbatical from the University of Pittsburgh.
  • I've gone for a flight on the Millennium Eye.
  • I have been to Paris four times in my life: when I was 10, 24, 27 and 36.
  • I am the only student in the history of Ohio Northern University to direct a mainstage musical.
  • I applied to be on The Apprentice: Season 5.
  • I am a mathematics moron without Excel. The highest level of mathematics that I took was 1/2 a year of Algebra II. Twice.
  • I bleached my hair blonde for the role of Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors.
  • I broke my collarbone twice (climbed out of crib and rolled off changing table), my arm once (fell off bicycle) and my foot once (fell off balance beam).
  • I am petrified of rats. I, like Professor Henry Jones, would have never made if past the rats.
  • I received a telephone call from Robert DeNiro when I was 18.
  • I won the Carver Middle School Typist of the Year award when I was in 8th grade.
  • I am married to a man who survived necrotizing fasciitis, otherwise known as flesh-eating bacteria.
  • I hate feet.
  • I have never been to Los Angeles.
  • I like virtually all foods and will try anything once. As a result, I have learned that I do not like passion fruit, mangos, yams or sea urchin. And because I once ate too much plaki, I absolutely cannot stomach the taste of fresh parsley (which also ruined tabouleh for me).
  • I had teenage crushes on Donny Osmond, Shaun Cassidy, Erik Estrada, Rex Smith, Rick Springfield and Simon LeBon.
  • I am a former smoker. I started when I was 14 and quit 12 years later.
  • I interviewed Tim Daggett, Olympic gold medalist, for my high school paper.
  • I played Dr. VanHelsing in a high school production of Dracula opposite one of the writers from Seinfeld. Wonder if he remembers me...
  • I was in a sorority when I was in college. (Delta Zeta for those Greeks that are curious)
  • I am a New Year's baby.
  • I didn't lose my virginity until I was 25.
  • I soared above Hunter Valley vineyards in Australia in a hot air balloon.
  • I have been to two Women's NCAA Final Four Championship games - St. Louis and San Antonio. Go UConn!
  • I had an emergency appendectomy one week after the birth of my eldest daughter.
  • I wrote a "coming of age" novel when I was 17.
  • The first concert I attended was in 1990 at the Broward Country Fair - Rick Springfield.
  • I think the process of growing bangs out has to be one of the most irritating, frustrating and humiliating things to endure.
  • Whenever I order a sandwich, I am compelled to reconstruct it so that all of the accompaniments (e.g. lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, etc.) are evenly distributed across the sandwich.
  • My favorite drink from Starbucks is an iced Caramel Macchiato with extra caramel drizzle. On tired days it's a triple and on cold days... it's still iced.
  • I have flat feet.
  • I have known three people who have died by gunshot - two homicides, one suicide.
  • I wear glasses/contacts. I am VERY nearsighted.
  • I can do calligraphy.
  • I worked at a video store with Dennis Dunaway, original bassist for Alice Cooper.
  • I hate the telephone. Please don't call me, unless you really need to. E-mail me, IM, snail mail me... But don't make me make small talk.
  • I am thought of as a Martha Stewart of sorts... I should've applied for that version of The Apprentice - before she and Donald had their falling out.
  • I am not good at New Year's Resolutions - so I try not to make them.
  • My parents were divorced when I was 6. My sister and I were raised by our father in the 70s, during a time when dads didn't get custody.
  • I am the mother of three girls, including twins. And, no, twins don't run in our family!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Model of Decorum and Tranquility?

A quick post before I retrieve my angels of chaos from daycare...

As in all professions, I know that there are industry protocols. What I am looking for are the proper steps to take when approaching professionals for potential involvement in a film project.

I have had occasion, over the years, to meet people in the industry. I read once that it is important to leverage every connection you have in order to get your film made. However, I am concerned with overstepping my bounds. If there is a "name" that I would like to involve in my project, is it an industry faux pas to approach him directly with my script and ask him? Or do I have to go through an agent or a manager?

Please forgive my obvious naivete but I would appreciate any advice those of you in the biz might have...

Meme Addendum (Say That 10x Fast!)

I thought of a film that I would love to be involved in the remake of... The Little Prince. I read that book for the first time when I was 10 years old and it has been my favorite book ever since. Fortunately I read the book first as I later had occasion to see the film, which featured Bob Fosse, Gene Wilder and Donna McKechnie. I remember being very disappointed with the film. When I read the book, there was something tragically beautiful about it that was missing in its celluloid incarnation.

The BBC did a production based on Rachel Portman's opera and it was quite well received. I believe, though, I read that there is either a feature or a Broadway musical in the works for this one, too.

As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry would say, "C'est domage!" Or, if he were in a worse mood, "Merde!"

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Scribospheric Meme

Thanks to One Slack Martian for tagging the new kid on the block. And thanks to Fun Joel for creating the meme!

ONE (1) earliest film-related memory:
First, I had to take an inventory of all of the movies I can recall seeing when I lived in that tiny steel town of Titusville, PA. The EARLIEST of the recalled films was Escape to Witch Mountain, which I saw when I was 6. I'm sure, though, there must've been a Disney movie before that... As far as most VIVID of early memories go – it’s a tie between seeing Star Wars at the theatre multiple times and seeing this documentary about near-death experiences called Beyond and Back.

Odd recollections, I know, and while these are not necessarily my best cinematic experiences, they are definitely the earliest.

TWO (2) favorite lines from movies:
There are so many. To narrow down to two is a bit of a challenge...

“You make me want to be a better man.” Melvin Udall, As Good As It Gets

“You know when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster. Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride! I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.” Grandma, Parenthood

Schmaltzy, I know, but it’s the mood I’m in at the moment.

THREE (3) jobs you'd do if you could not work in the "biz":
Food Critic
College Professor

Those are the ones aside from working in the "biz", since I don't.

FOUR (4) jobs you actually have held outside the industry:
Hair Salon Assistant Manager
Cocktail Waitress
Video Rental Clerk
Business & Financial Analyst

THREE (3) book authors I like:
John Irving
Tennessee Williams
J.K. Rowling

TWO (2) movies you'd like to remake or properties you'd like to adapt:
I can’t think of any remakes but adaptations that come to mind are Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are or Wally Lamb’s She’s Come Undone.

ONE (1) screenwriter you think is underrated:
Richard Curtis

THREE (3) people I'm tagging to answer this meme next:
I’m not going to tag anyone, since I’m a newbie blogger and those who I would tag have already been.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Critics Choice Awards

And so it begins... Brokeback took home Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress (Michelle Williams). As I anticipated, Philip Seymour Hoffman took the Best Actor honors for Capote. Unfortunate, because Heath Ledger has quite a year. However, he is just a wee bairn of 26 with an entire career ahead of him. Reese Witherspoon nabbed the Best Actress award for Walk The Line and Paul Giamatti took home Best Supporting Actor for Cinderella Man.

Paul Haggis and Bobby Moresco were awarded the Best Writer accolade for Crash, besting authors that penned The Squid and the Whale, Good Night and Good Luck, Capote and Brokeback Mountain.

For the complete list of nominees and winners click on the link in the sidebar.

This list sparks a few random thoughts...

I just read an article in EW that Michelle Williams was on Dawson's Creek. Who knew? I missed all but 1 or 2 episodes of that show... I was still recovering from 90210. For those of you that saw Brokeback - do you feel it was deserved? She shared it with Amy Adams for her Junebug performance.

And Paul Giamatti reminds me... Has anyone seen the teaster trailer for Lady in the Water? I've read the synopsis it seems quite intriguing. I've been led down this path with Mr. Shyamalan and I've been disappointed. His redemption might be found in this one though. We shall see.

Monday, January 09, 2006


Is there anyone that has had anything posted on TriggerStreet.com? If so, what were your experiences -- good, bad or otherwise?

I've considered posting scripts to that site to obtain feedback. Is that a worthy endeavor? Or does it make better sense to send it directly to a professional for coverage?

I would appreciate any insight available.


I now know that it is going to be hit or miss as to whether or not I will be able to blog/write over the weekend. This is clearly indicated by the absence of an entry for Sunday. I did, however, get read some blogs to get an idea of what is out there. All I have to say is - the "Scribosphere" is a wonderful place. I almost feel like I did the first time I logged on to the Internet. Almost.

Writing is in my blood. Theatre is in my blood. Film is in my blood.

This is what I'm meant to do.

I know this for certain because of the feeling I got when I was reading an e-mail from my sister-in-law. It was one of those "Getting To Know You" cut, paste, revise & forward e-mails. One of the questions on this version was "What is your current job?" I recall the deep, cavernous feeling I got when I looked at her entry in B&W on the screen: "Writer/Photographer." It made me a bit sad that the golden handcuffs of my Business Analyst position keep me where I am. My financial and family commitments require me to endure corporate hell. I do know that it will be a fabulous day when I can answer that question: "Writer/Filmmaker." Simply fabulous!

Admittedly, I am a bit green with envy when I read all of those stories about people that gave up their corporate jobs to enter the world of screenwriting. I'm also amazed by the number of people who left NY for LA. I've never been to LA and wonder if I would like it. I love NY. It has been within commutable distance for me for roughly 20 years. Of course, having the theatre background makes NY all the more magical for me. Hollywood has film. So maybe Hollywood is my oyster. Maybe when it opens up for me, there will be a pearl inside.


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Little Bunny Foo Foo

How sad is it that I have never heard this song until I was in my mid-thirties? My daughters love it when my husband sings (and sometimes dances to) this song. I overheard it one night and was disturbed to hear of a rabbit bouncing through the forest pummeling innocent field mice. He said that it was a song that he grew up with.

Tonight, he was singing karaoke with the girls and, lo and behold, "Little Bunny Foo Foo" was a selection. He was happy that he got the lyrics right, happier still that it proved he didn't make up the song and, finally, disappointed that they didn't do the punchline/moral: "Hare today, goon tomorrow!"

Did I lead that deprived a childhood?

Just a random thought... Asta la pasta (off to an Italian bistro for din din with my DH)!

On Writing Again

I realized that it has been over 10 years since I have written on a daily basis. I suppose it is more because it wasn't required of me. Now, my primary requirements tend to reside in the realm of family and mortgage payments. I wrote a bit the year after I graduated but have not written consistently for over a decade. Yes, I have written the occasional family update letter, I journaled when Billy was ill and I write training manuals at work. But creatively? Not so much.

So I suppose you can understand why this screenplay is so pivotal for me. Amazing that I now have 10 more years of experiences to draw from. I definitely feel that I've grown as a writer. Now if I could just continue with the dedication. I know that when my grandfather wrote he scheduled his time, not surprisingly, in a very regimented way. My father says that he makes a point of writing every night before he goes to sleep. If I can incorporate a similar commitment and produce a finished work, that will be an excellent start to a new year.

OK - I have children begging for a snack and Billy just returned from the barber... You see how well I illustrate my point about requirements?

More later...

Friday, January 06, 2006

Is Hollywood Too Gay?

OK - it is Friday, January 6th. The amount of work I have done rewriting Harvest Home is exactly zero. So much for the 3 hours that I set aside yesterday. I am hoping that I will have some time to work on it this afternoon. This morning is already dedicated to getting my haircut. And while I'm out I may as well go to the grocery store and the bank. Net/net: No work on the script will actually get done until this afternoon.

For those of you who are familiar with the March 2005 draft of the script, I am making significant changes to the story and the characters. I will be removing the center section of the screenplay (Cady's grandfather's death) and spending more time on the 1970s section and present. Another principal change is the addition of a gay character. I've given this much thought and feel it is integral to the story and bringing out more in the other characters.

There has been much media and dinner conversation lately around the attention Hollywood is giving to gay characters. Could audiences end up oversaturated by movies with gay leading men and women (e.g. Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Transamerica, etc.)? Dad feels that virtually every script he reads has an "obligatory" gay character. It does seem that meaty roles that the Academy favors have been packaged in the form of a gay character (Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Philadelphia, Boys Don't Cry, etc.). I believe that America is just now able to accept these characters' homosexuality and understand that, while it does not define them, it contributes significantly to who they are. I think it just a matter of enlightening oppressed minds. I don't think that the minds and manners of 1950s America would have been able to comprehend now dated films like Boyz In the Hood or Norma Rae, let alone the intensity of films like Crash or North Country.

Bottom line: I'm adding a gay character. My story, my screenplay, my choice.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Peace Is Finally Settling In

OK... Day 2. I have returned. This is a good sign.

To be honest the past couple of days have been largely spent recovering from the holidays. I have come to realize that if I don't get my alone time that I am a very grumpy person. While I loved spending time with the kids and the dogs and the company, I was grateful for Tuesday morning's silence. I was actually humming "Enjoy The Silence" in my head and thinking that might be a good addition to the film's soundtrack. I promptly went to iTunes and downloaded a couple of versions.

I did watch the first half of Quagmire, a documentary about The Milk Can, one of the features that was being shown at the Bethel Film Festival. It was very interesting and entertaining to listen to the cast and crew reflect on the project. Don't know if The Milk Can completely burned out the film's writer/producer/director, Matt Kresling, or not. He has a few editing credits on IMDb but The Milk Can is the last credit listed. So who knows?

Ashley dropped off the books from dad and I began to peruse them. Billy and I started to watch Coach Carter and, neither one of us being fully intrigued, decided to send it back to Netflix. We also sent back Eternal Sunshine on the Spotless Mind. I'm glad that I saw it but it was a little too quirky for my taste. Glad that we were able to clean the disk so that we could watch the last 15 minutes because it did give us closure.

Clearly the very first major step for me is to revise the screenplay. I am going to try to keep to my schedule and spend at least 3 hours writing today. I downloaded a text version of the first draft so that I can work on it on either PC. It's a PITA not to have Final Draft on all the PCs. Yet ANOTHER thing to add to the list! But we'll get there...

Other news... The Bethel Cinema was sold to two investors, one of whom is a married mother of three with a Masters in Marketing. According to the News-Times, she is just learning the ropes and is currently not planning to make any changes. The article also mentioned the Bethel Film Festival and that Tom Carruthers is hoping to work with the cinema to continue to offer the festival to area filmmakers and indie fans. I am glad to see that future festivals are being planned, despite the recent and tragic passing of one of its co-founders, Peter Howland.

I don't think I am able to post documents to this blog, so if you are interested in reading a copy of the first draft of the screenplay, send me an e-mail and I'll forward a copy along.

A bientôt.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Year Goes By...

OK - so the journey has begun much, much later than anticipated. Almost a year to the day! Now there's dedicated blogging for you!

One of my 2006 resolutions is to write something every day. Another of my resolutions is to give daily focus to getting my film made. And since I am committed to having a comprehensive record of the process of bringing Harvest Home to fruition... Voila! Here we are: birds everywhere, one stone.

Depending on the day - this blog could relate to the story, the characters, the pre-production process, etc. Honestly, I think it will just take on a life of its own. So, hop on and enjoy the ride.


Catching Up

Last March I completed the first draft of Harvest Home. I finished the screenplay in approximately a week and a half of dedicated writing time. The draft was read on March 13, 2005 at TheatreWorks in New Milford, as part of their Page to Stage series. The reading was well received and several of the attendees asked provoking questions and offered helpful advice.

Following the reading, Patrick provided feedback around the story and some thoughts for making the screenplay more visual. His next advice was to step away from the screenplay for a while because I was too close to it. So I did... Of course, it has now been 9 months and I am just now about to start rewrites. I think those 9 months have been well spent. I continue to live with these characters and they keep nagging at me to tell their story. And this time, per my father's advice, I won't hold back.

From the business side, I have quite a few tasks to attend to over the course of the next couple of weeks. I am currently on sabbatical from my day job and will be spending a lot of time focusing on pre-production. Once I've done my rewrites, I am going to assemble the prospectus and arrange meetings with potential investors. Once that is in place, I've got to get in touch with Aleks regarding the distribution. There is definitely a lot of work to be done but I am confident that I will get it done.

Generally speaking, I have been doing my best to purse activities related to film. I took the 1 Week course at NY Film Academy last winter and volunteered at the Bethel Film Festival this fall. I was finally able to see Scott's film, NOVEM, which ended up getting the Best Feature award. I'm also planning on attending a screenwriting seminar to learn more about pitching screenplays.

Of course, this is my favorite time of year: Oscar Season. And I plan on seeing a few movies while on break. I've already seen many more than usual. I think I will save my reviews, however, for another blog -- when I have less to say. :)

The stretching of the atrophied writing muscles has begun...