Wednesday, March 29, 2006

A Productive Couple of Weeks

Good day to you all (or evening, if that be the case)!

I wanted to start today's post with this very important picture. On Sunday, we were watching Star Wars. My oldest daughter, Sabine, saw it once a year or so back. During this particular viewing, the first thing she said when she saw Princess Leia was, "that's (Luke's) sister." Her retention, if just astounding. The picture to your left is what she drew while she was watching the duel between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi. She, as would I, would like to draw your attention to the color of the light sabres. Of course, this piece of art makes me proud for so many reasons: her letters, her attention to detail, her artistic ability and it's Star Wars! Need I say more?

From time to time you will have to allow me to indulge in a little bragging about my girls. Having passed these three children through my loins earns me the right to an occasional indulgence. Trust me!

So, what's been going on lately?

The weeks are busy, the weekends busier, and the "to do" list grows ever longer. However, I do manage to cross a couple of things off from time to time. And these past couple of weeks are no exception:

I met with my friend Brad early in the week. He is the President of Musicals at Richter, an outdoor summer theatre just down the road from me. He is a very accomplished theatre professional in the area who has literally done it all: directed, choreographed, performed, composed, arranged, designed... you name it. I am very excited to be working with him this summer as his stage manager for Damn Yankees, which is a favorite show of mine. During our meeting, we discussed Harvest Home and I asked him if he would do an original composition/score for the film. After telling him the story (the rewrite), he said that he was interested. Of course, there are logistics to work out but I'm thrilled that he is willing to be part of the project.

I also met with Liz, the production designer for This Won't Hurt A Bit. While she took measurements of the rooms that we are using for the shoot, we discussed the logistics of the various rooms and things that we will have to do prior to the load in. Overall, I think we are in good shape for the shoot, which is happening in just under 2 months now! I will also be running the craft services for the shoot, which will give me the opportunity to hone in on one of my other talents: cooking! I'm really looking forward to meeting Rob and watching him work. As so many have said, every set provides a learning experience.

As I have mentioned before, in addition to Harvest Home, I've got several ideas cooking in my brain. As Scott Sniffen said to me once: "It's always about getting the next film made." So, I have put a couple inquiries out to publishers, authors and songwriters requesting information about the availability of film rights.

Two of the inquiries have been going on for a couple of months. However, I just received word from both of them with the appropriate contacts and believe I will have an answer for those endeavors quite soon. I am looking forward to each of these projects because I believe they are ideally suited for the screen.

The third inquiry was to a songwriter who I'm quite fond of, Richard Berman. I am hoping to shoot a short film this summer and I would like to base the script on one of his songs. Richard has responded and said that he would grant the rights to the song as a basis for the film. So, this project will be moved up the priority list. In addition, I asked Richard about writing a song for Harvest Home and he seemed open to further discussion. If you are familiar with his work, it is ideally suited for this film.

There was definitely a lot of traction on some film projects in the past couple of weeks. It really is rejuvenating to make steps toward your dream when you are finding yourself lost in the doldrums of the day-to-day routine. Nonetheless, the "to do" list is still there and I continue to tackle it.

I know that a lot of people look at me and think I'm crazy. Many think I do too much. My boss once introduced me to a colleague as someone who can fit more things into one day than any other person she knows. I suppose I do. But for as long as I am able, I will continue to plan and aspire and cross things off the list. I appreciate the precious commodity that is time and I will not waste it.

And if that makes me crazy, so be it.

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Sunday, March 26, 2006

A Quick Reaction Post

A "reaction" post... And just what is that? Basically, it's one of those posts where you see something in the media and you just want to say, "#@?!"

FIRST... Randy Quaid suing Brokeback's production companies for $10M because he was told that the movie didn't have any prospects of making money? Come on! Does the man actually live on a ranch in Wyoming? Had he never before heard of Ang Lee, Anne Hathaway, Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal and/or Larry McMurtry (be honest - you never heard of Diana Ossana before this)? Does he not have attorneys? Does he not look at the budget for a film before signing on? Give me a break!

SECOND... Shame on Morgan Spurlock for his behavior during a speech given to a high school student body in Pennsylvania. The question is - why is this the first time he has offended his audience? Speaking as the sister of a woman who overcame traumatic brain injury to teach special needs high school kids, I can safely say I'm offended. Sad thing is that it will likely boost the sales of his documentary DVDs, increase viewership for his series and bump up his notoriety (see Michael Moore's baffoony Oscar acceptance speech).

Sometimes I just wish people would engage their brains and look at the big picture!

And I thank you for the opportunity to vent. Another, less incensed post to come... Lots of project updates!

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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Serious Alicia

This will likely be a short post, as the twins are already up and the rest of the family is due to arise any moment. At which point, chaos ensues.

Until naptime.

I have several ideas for posts at the moment but they are all quite "heavy". I think it's just a mood I'm in of late. I suppose if Fun Joel is at one end of the fun spectrum, then I think my current list of blog ideas would make me look like Serious Alicia. Most people would probably say that the moniker suits. I'm okay with that. It is just how I am. It is my nature.

However, I would guess that 9 out of 10 readers will probably choose fun over serious. Life is already too serious to be serious about it. And I do have to remind myself of that from time to time.

I do have some film project updates that I will try to post at naptime. Given the fact that it was a night of restless sleep for most of the household, I'm counting on a couple hours of peace later.

By the way, have I told you how much I LOVE the singing pig that my brother-in-law sent? It sings "My Girl" over and over and over and over and over... Sigh!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Sometimes You Just Gotta Laugh

In my last post, I mentioned that I was a compulsive list maker. The paper scraps that litter our home are proof of that. These little gems are usually scripted by multi-colored pens and are literally just random thoughts that need to be jotted down, lest they be forgotten. And that is why I like a good meme (I like the "archaic" e-mail versions, too). When I face facts, it's sort of a "get out of blogging free" card. Fun to do, interesting to read but not too much creative thought required.

So I took a photo of some of my lists. Below you see a segment of my home workstation...

It's sort of a window into my life, if you think about it:

  1. The Bubble Gum tape confiscated from my oldest 3-year-old after I heard, "Mommy, Isabelle just ate some of my gum."
  2. A Barbie hairbrush. If you have 1 or more girls, you probably relate to the gazillion plastic hairbrushes that accompany EVERY Barbie, Princess, doll, etc. You can really never have too many of these.
  3. A paper, yellow gingham shirt from my eldest's new paper doll book.
  4. The Mini DV tape featuring my oldest daughter's 6th birthday party from this past weekend.
  5. The corner of my IBM laptop that I use for my day job. The job that often runs into the night.
  6. My stack of lists containing work related notes, reminders to send a few e-mails, a film idea, phones numbers, etc.
  7. Pens. Indelible ink and gel.
  8. Burt's Bees Lip Balm that has been mauled by our stupid dog, Shakespeare. His personal ad would would read something like: "Likes wet washcloths, dirty Kleenex and lip balm..."

Yep, that's my life in a nutshell. It is what it is.

Oh yes, the aforementioned multi-colored pens... There is a similar batch on my desk at the office. I like pens. What can I say?

I would like to call your attention to the mug. As you can see, the front is emblazoned with the words "yada, yada, yada". I purchased this mug at the NBC store the year that Seinfeld ended its run. My husband and I are huge Seinfeld fans. I was even quoted on the front page of the local newspaper when the last episode aired. It was the end of an era resulting in a gaping hole in our Thursday night line-up. Yes, we missed Jerry and his friends.

So, as any sitcom fan will tell you, you really hope that the spinoffs rightfully succeed and give you the opportunity to continue to see some of your favorite comedic performers. And the Seinfeld spinoffs came and went.

- The Michael Richards Show (2000) - Didn't watch it.
- Bob Patterson (2001) - Didn't watch it.
- Watching Ellie (2002) - Watched it. Didn't love it.
- Listen Up (2004) - Watched it. When there was nothing else on. It was okay.

But now we have The New Adventures of Old Christine. And it is funny. I don't often laugh out loud at the TV but this one makes me laugh. More than a "heh-heh" or a "ha". I have officially abandoned "The Donald" for Julia Louis-Dreyfus and this strong ensemble piece. Julia has the same great comic timing she had on Seinfeld but it is applied to a more mature and softer character. Clark Gregg plays her ex-husband and he has a lot of credits, including the screenplay for What Lies Beneath. He is one of those "I've seen him somewhere" actors. There's a cute kid and strong guest stars - Wanda Sykes, Andy Richter and others I can't name off the top of my head (the "I've seen him somewhere" actors).

Bottom line: sometimes you gotta laugh - and this show makes me laugh.

Furthering the Seinfeld connection, I received two e-mails from a good friend of mine from high school. The first was with the sad news of the death of a mutual friend's father. The second was with the news that Andy Robin and Gregg Kavet, former Seinfeld writers and writer/director team for Live Free or Die, won the jury prize at SXSW Film Festival (down in MaryAn's neck of the woods). Andy Robin played Jonathan Harker to my gender-bending Dr. VanHelsing in our high school's production of Dracula. See? It's that 6 degrees thing again. Click here to view the BBC's featurette on the making of the film.

And finally, in an effort to level the playing field (see Sanctum of the Scriptweaver or Could You Describe The Ruckus?), I'm providing the X-chromosome view of some of Hollywood's powerhouses...

Ahhhhh... As Anna Nalick and Drew Barrymore say, "just breathe."

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

An Overdue Meme

Reading the back-posts of some blogs I visit regularly and I spotted that I was tagged for a meme by Christina over at Development Hell. Being the compulsive list maker that I am, I have to chime in. My apologies for duplicate "tags" and to those that haven't the inclination to respond.


Four Jobs I've Had
- Burger Flipper/Fry Girl at Wendy's
- Bag Girl at Albertson's
- Retail Manager at Video Store/Hair Salon/Waldenbooks
- Secretary/Temp

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over Again
So unfair to narrow down to just four. Of course, there are movies I love that I don't watch over and over, or ever, again (e.g. Shawshank Redemption, The Hours, Boys Don't Cry, ad infinitum). But since the key phrase is OVER AND OVER, here are four I watch often - I call these "background" movies:

- When Harry Met Sally
- Love Actually
- Say Anything
- The American President

Perhaps the better question is, what screenwriters' films can/do you watch OVER AND OVER again?

- Cameron Crowe
- Richard Curtis
- Nora Ephron
- Susannah Grant

Four Places I've Lived
- Titusville, PA
- London, England
- Deerfield Beach, FL
- Stamford, CT

Four TV Shows I Love
Another unfair question to ask someone who watches as much TV as I do.

Currently Airing:
- Lost - all about the ensemble and great writing with limited bounds
- Boston Legal - aka The Practice, David Kelly is a genius IMO
- King of Queens - another great ensemble piece
- Two and a Half Men - I've loved Jon Cryer since Pretty In Pink and of Charlie Sheen since Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It's a John Hughes thang. And Angus T. Bone, err Jones, is perfect, as is the rest of the ensemble.

Gone, But Not Forgotten:
- Friends - welcome to my 20s
- Everybody Loves Raymond - welcome to my 30s
- Yes, Dear - underrated and underwatched, and cancelled. I think Anthony Clark is a genius
- Brady Bunch - it's a formative years thing

I won't even list out the reality shows, which are my guilty pleasure.

Four Places I've Vacationed
- Edinburgh, Scotland (school-related trip with some vacation days appended)
- Sydney, Australia (work-related trip with some vacation days appended)
- Paris, France
- Barbados

Four of My Favorite Dishes

Ummmm, platter, soup tureen, gravy boat and mug (heh, heh). But seriously, folks...

- A good spicy tuna roll
- Steak with Mom's marinade/spice mix
- Homemade cappellini pomodoro
- Oysters on the half shell

Four Blogs I Visit Every Day
- Adventures In Storytelling - I'm helping out with one of his film projects.
- Could You Describe The Ruckus? - tells it like it is, through his eyes, with perfectly chosen turns of phrase.
- Fun Joel - my first and, hey, he's fun!
- One Slack Martian's Screenwriting Blog - has a clever sense of humor with insightful, and often amusing, anectodes about life and screenwriting.

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now
- Sitting on the patio of a Tuscan villa, drinking wine and writing a screenplay.
- Laying on a beach in Barbados, making dinner plans with my husband.
- Getting a full body massage.
- At the movies.

Four Five Bloggers I'm Tagging
I'm tagging five, since this meme is almost a month old...


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Six Degrees

For as long as I can remember I've had a passionate love affair with words. I am, in fact, a third generation word lover. My grandfather and father were both English professors at Midwestern universities. From childhood I've adored good stories peppered with words that just take your breath away. Those words that are so great and so significant that you remember exactly who or what you attribute learning that word to. Some that come to mind are:

paroxysm: My father once used this expression to describe someone we both knew. Not sure who, specifically. We've each known a few fit-prone people in our time.
necrotizing fasciitis: The clinical term for "flesh-eating bacteria." Learned this one when my husband contracted it in Nov 2001.
ubiquitous: Learned from the same doctor that introduced necrotizing fasciitis to my vocabulary. The bacteria that causes it is ubiquitous. I had to ask him what that meant. Now I know.
misogyny: A woman who sat across from me when I was temping in a Greenwich insurance company's claims department in the late 80s. I distinctly remember a discussion about how there was no equivalent word in the English language for hatred of men.
quixotic: This one was a Reader's Digest word, recently used in a post by Josh Friedman. Good word.
comeuppance: One of the great romantic classics, Wuthering Heights
serendipity: This was a 7th grade vocabulary word that I learned in Language Arts. I was going to school in Ohio whilst my father was looking for a job in Florida.

Serendipitously enough, I was reading a post from Rob over at Adventures In Storytelling about one of his current projects. Being the alumnus of a university in Ohio, the state where Rob is from, I was intrigued by his travels East for the filming of This Won't Hurt A Bit, a family comedy short. When I discovered that he met with one of his actors in a Starbucks in Danbury, I offered to PA on the film. As coincidence would have it, Danbury is my current city of residence. Rob's subsequent search for a shooting location has let Fade to Blue Productions and the cast and crew of This Won't Hurt A Bit to my home for a weekend in May. Serendipity.

I truly believe that every decision we make and every action we take is for a reason. I also believe that we are separated from every person in this nation, nay world, by only six degrees. Not just Kevin Bacon!

It truly is a small world, this world of film, and I love it so.