Wednesday, November 19, 2014

It's a life

A madcap couple of months.

  • Still in development with Anova Pictures for the "Americanization" of our thriller script.
  • Still reshaping the Midnight Swing package.
  • No word from undisclosed co on the undisclosed title they hired me to write.

What does this piece of art have to do with anything?

We have plunged into a dark, cold winter ...

It's only November ...

I need something cheery to look at.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Summer Flings:
  • Finished 1st rough draft of romantic drama for OnFire Films. Awaiting notes. 
  • Finished new opening scenes for Blood Land for Anova Pictures. More development. 
  • Welcoming lovely new people to the Midnight Swing team as we reshape the pkg. 
  • and visiting stray kitties at a local shelter. This old jaded heart is melting!

 It's a life.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014



I probably don't have a point to make and none of this will enlighten anyone or make the world a better place -- but I feel the need to ramble on a bit about movie stars.

A few short weeks ago Variety put out a piece entitled Movie Stars Have Become an Endangered Species. Over on Stage 32 there’s a huge discussion on whether the era of the movie star is over.

So what is it that makes us plop down our  $10-17 for a movie ticket in this day and age when our world is full of economic woes?  Is it the star or the story?  Or is it smart marketing?

When I was younger it was 50/50 with me. I loved certain movie stars. Most teens do.  I would gladly spend my babysitting money on a ticket to see the stars. But I also saw Jaws over and over again. No stars. Just one terrifying shark.

These days, if there's a Wes Anderson, Alexander Payne or Guy Maddin film I'll be there. I have to say that reviews will also get me in a seat. I may never have seen Asghar Farhadi's excellent "A Separation" had it not been for all the glowing reviews.

Recently, though, too many editorials and thought pieces are heralding the news that we are witnessing the death of the movie star. I reluctantly agree.

Here's why.

Arguably, the most glamorous year for Hollywood was 1939. Hollywood was in its heyday. Big pictures like Gone with the Wind and the Wizard of Oz were served up. Movie Stars were untouchable, gorgeous beings – beautifully lit, meticulously groomed. Not that the current generation isn't also gorgeous and well-lit. They are.

The thing that separates today’s movie stars from Hollywood's "glamorous" era is progress and excess. The bubble used to be impenetrable. Once upon a time you could only see a movie star on the silver screen or in a magazine. IF you lived near Hollywood you might be able to see a premiere. 

Stars were pretty untouchable
 and unreachable.

Today there's a glut of self promotion on social media from stars who can't get enough attention. We see ALL aspects of their lives. They're everywhere we look. Twitter. WhoSay. Facebook. Snapchat. Blogs. You name it. It's how we all communicate. It makes the world smaller. It makes stars accessible. It also overexposes them.

Even too much ice cream will make you sick after a while.

Today, anyone can write a script, shoot a movie on iphone, and slap it on youtube or vimeo or a plethora of other sites. There’s an oversaturation.

Hollywood had its bright and shining moment – a sparkling beacon of grand cinematic wonder. But those days are over. The rest of the world doesn't need or even want to shoot movies in Hollywood. At the last American Film Market more than one notable Hollywood producer who spoke on the finance panel admitted to shooting 8 of their 10 movies outside of LA.

Why? Because it's cheaper. And infrastructure and incentives have popped up all over the map.

Hollywood had a great run – and it's not dead yet. It may remain a hub of history and archives for movies. But it will never be what it used to be. The newness and wonder are gone. We are a world that understands the gimmicks behind the magic and can make a flash-in-the-pan "star" out of a pimpled youtube teen with a drumbeat machine.

But we still need to share stories. That's what bonds people around the world. It's how we communicate.  In this brief and fleeting life it gives us a chance to share our experience.

So what is it for you? Is it the star or the story (or a slick bombardment of marketing) that will pull you out of your comfy home to buy a movie ticket?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Hollywood Beauty: 10 Nails and a Pitch

Hollywood Beauty

From my archives

I am at the American Film Market. I'm surrounded by sun-kissed actors and models, producers and writers, movers and shakers. But you can spot me easily as I'm the one with chalk-stick legs, no Botox, and still wearing a teen-charm bra at this age.  I dabble in the glamorous and colorful industry of movies. But I am not a glamorous or colorful woman by industry standards. It's the humiliating adventures that add a little color to my life.

Years ago when I ventured into Hollywood for my first screenwriting seminar and networking party I promised my mom that I would do her proud. I would NOT dress like a tomboy. I would stuff my size 8-and-a-halfers into a pair of killer heels. I would glide on the lip gloss. I would sweep on the eye shadow.  And to top it off I would even wear fake press-on nails at my mother's request. "We don't want you looking like a corn-pone in the big city!" she said.

I decked myself out in all the glimmers, shimmers, potions and lacquers you can imagine. Suit? Smart. Hair? Not horrific. And my fingers sported 10 glossy, coral-colored press-on nails. Babs would have been proud.

After mingling with the crowd for an hour I found myself near the hors douvres table where a large butter sculpture of a swan swam on a bed of lettuce. Tiny goldfish crackers were sprinkled around the swan like confetti. (I don't get it either. I was hoping that if I shared that image someone might shed some light on what that was all about.)

Standing next to the swan was a rather unassuming looking man. Bespectacled. Nervous. Quiet. I introduced myself thinking he was just another overwhelmed screenwriter from out of town. After a few comments about the butter swan and scarfing down a couple handfuls of goldfish crackers he invited me to pitch my scripts. I had met my first producer!

And I had a mouth full of goldfish mush embedded in my gums.

A quick swig of Sprite and I was ready to go. I pitched the first five scripts I had written. He hated them. Then I pitched a swing-era script I didn't think would fly. He loved it. He asked many questions about the story, the characters, the budget. This guy was really into it!

I smoothed back my hair so it would have a little extra bounce during our conversation. That's when my hand – with all those lovely coral-colored press-on nails – got caught in my hair. I couldn't yank it free. Somehow, my hair had gotten twisted around the fake nails right in the middle of my captivating pitch. I mean – he looked captivated. (In retrospect, perhaps he was captivated with my dilemma and not my script.)

I didn't miss a beat as I yanked my hand as hard as I could. It came free. Much relief! Until I glanced down and noticed that two of the fake nails were missing from my carefully self-manicured hand. I casually touched my hair during the rest of our conversation. In fact, I touched it a lot, but I couldn't find the lost nails anywhere.

After we exchanged contact information, I dashed off to the ladies room and looked in the mirror. Hanging in two brilliant clumps were my fake coral nails. I had to cut them out when I got back to my motel. Thank you, God. Thank you very much.

This was my introduction into the world of moviemaking.

I have been in the periphery of the business as an indie screenwriter and producer for over 10 years now and you'd think it would be bit easier for me to develop class and poise when I take a meeting or give a presentation. I am always the one at the table with food in my teeth (I actually eat at these lunches). 

My producing partner, who is rather young and rather hot (if you have tweeny daughters his Tiger Beat or Popstar fold-out posters might still be taped to their walls), enjoys harping on me to try dazzle it up a bit – to at least use an eyelash curler so my eyes will POP. But given my past record I fear I would rip out my eyelashes during some crazy mishap while curling them. A sneeze perhaps. Or maybe an earthquake.

So I go about my life in a glam biz with poker-straight eye-lashes and chronic red test-rabbit eyes – which is  probably the only colorful thing about me. Lord knows I try. (We won't talk in great detail about the mishap with the bikini-line hair removal wax that I accidentally dropped onto my ... ahem … woman hairs down there. I had to give myself an impromptu haircut. It looked like a bad topiary job when I was through. Such is life and the cruelty of beauty.) 

Stay tuned for more misadventures of a Cowtowner in Hollywood.

From my archives, 2009

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

It's Easter, dammit

What a grand April. There is much excitement in the air.

I received a bag of Easter candy!!!!


In other news, Raining Cats is currently a semi-finalist in the Screen Craft competition. 

I was also hired to pen a 5-hanky, tear-jerker screenplay.  This will be an adaptation from a book. The producer hopes to tap into the Lifetime and Hallmark crowds with this one, so we'll see how that pans out. (My sugary-sweet script for Raining Cats was too brutal for Hallmark, so this one will be doused in sweetness with a cherry on top. Can I do it?? Can I be that nice?? I'm posting pics of bunny rabbit cakes so think I have it in me.)

Also in development on the thriller Blood Land w a company who has not yet made a public announcement. We're taking a perfectly solid script that placed in the 2013 Nicholl fellowship quarter-finals and adding baby animals, super-hot car chases, a Chinese-American mafia, Russian American mafia -- and the sexy American who ends up saving the day. It's typical Hollywood. And I'm selling out to get a toe in the door. If you would have asked me to do this to my scripts just 10 years ago I would have stood my ground and fought for originality and integrity. But I'm 10 years older, 10 times more jaded and need naps. You will find me slicing and dicing well into the witching hour for the next several weeks. 

If I were writing this on paper you would see my tear stains. But let me lick my wounds and enjoy being jaded. 

I need to send a special thanks to Ms. Keli Kittinger for helping to set up our fabulous Midnight Swing twitter account. It's in its infancy. But the few peeps who like it really love it. Of course one of those peeps is me. 

It's a life.

Thanks also goes out to Don, Nolan, Chadwick, Micky, Yin, Lily, Shellie, Steven, Kurt and Evy for their support last month on a creative and marketing endeavor.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A writer gets whipped

JANUARY 2014 - MARCH 2014

We are lonely. 

We are lumpy and pale from a long, hard winter.

We are stressed and broken-hearted.

Why? Because we need a nap.

And we're Ohioans.

We are also in development with Anova Pictures for our script Blood Land.


Another round at the AFM.  I got royally whipped in the room on my last pitch by a company
whose name rhymes with Shinception Shilm. 20 seconds in and I got mowed down with
“you’re losing us, you’re losing us, you’re losing us.”

Hello? If you would give writers the courtesy of finishing their first sentence
you might discover that you rather like the story.

I shook their hands, thanked them and told them I learned a lot from our meeting.

That script is an Academy Nicholl Fellowship quarterfinalist
and is now under option with Knight Marcher Studios, Sean Brosnan directing

Neal was smarter.  He stayed home. 

Would you like to see our ARCHIVES? 

Maybe your name is hidden there somewhere!