Friday, November 5, 2010

Are you willing to commit to your dream?

Currently on location in Savannah, GA for my next episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
One of the highlights of this trip is that I've been able to attend some screenings at the Savannah Film Festival.

Much like other festivals I've attended I'm always excited to be surrounded with other "like" minds and creative types over the course of a few days. That anticipation of seeing a film with the possibility of  being hollywoods newest indie darling or a dud, the engaging conversations held at the local coffee shop afterward where cinephiles and viewers alike can debate & discuss their personal reviews,  the ability to network,  make new friends,  or just be a part of something "cool".

One thing that struck me this week is something the actor, Liam Neeson mentioned. Being one of the invited Honorees, they showed a pre-taped interview before one of the films where he talked about the craft of acting, etc. One of his comments which I will paraphrase was; "when someone asks me why I'm an actor, I tell them because I have to. Because it's who I am and what I love to do, in return I ask them why they want to be an actor, writer, or director and if you aren't willing to say because if I don't I will curl up and die, then you aren't willing at all".

Powerful message, but so true. We "creatives" are a rare breed. We chose that difficult task of sharing the most intimate with others.....ourselves.

Obviously we have a passion for what we do, but are you willing to have that same philosophy Liam mentioned, that if we aren't being 100% true to our calling, that if we can't do what we love to the fullest of our potential otherwise we will curl up and die???

Instead I ask you my fellow artist and myself continue to LIVE, to dream big, to never lose sight of why we chose to do what we do. So writers, WRITE. Actors, ACT. Filmmakers, CREATE.

The choice is ours......

Monday, June 21, 2010

Some times "Extremes" are needed in order to work.

It's June 21 and I'm on day 2 of shooting for the ABC show "Extreme Makeover" home edition. I will be leading one of fours teams as Loc Mgr that travel the U.S. over the next year.

While still mainting my status as an indie Producer/UPM, this show allows me the opportunity to be involved with something of quality and substance knowing that I'm part of a larger picture in helping these deserved families in need.

We all know how long it takes for actual development time to greenlight time for features, So this way I can fill up those free days with doing a show like this.

I say never pass up an opportunity that will allow you growth in your profession.

Best of luck and

see you on set.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, June 5, 2010

How do you get Cameron, Scorsese, or Tarantino to teach you at home?

One of the greatest resources we as filmmakers have today are DVD's. I can't tell you how much they come in handy. I myself have over 200 flicks that range from Noir to Horror, Foreign to Family, or Musical to Mayhem, but no matter what the material is, I find that there is a lesson I can learn from each of them and it's called COMMENTARIES!!!!

Many times I refer to certain discs' that I have in order to hear the audio commentary. You'll be surprised how entertaining and informative they can be. With the ever expanding enhancements in our business it seems approcipraite that not only directors & cast give thier voice, but now we get to hear from Editors, Writers, and other Below the Line talent. As a Producer I'm constantly worried about BUDGET and how I can bring the director's vision to the screen while at the same time managing someone else's money. So whatever project I'm on I will watch "like" movies, and hopefully gain some insight into "How did they shoot that", "why that way", "how were the effects done", "post process", etc.

I chalk it up to more "homework". We can never learn enough. Listen making movies is not rocket science, we all know how to do it, but at times we all need a good teacher or a little guidance so why not listen to the ones doing it successfully.

So pop the corn, pour the drink, grab Bigelow, Lee, or Rodriquez and push play. day we'll be listening to you.

Best of luck!!!!

Some of my Personal Fave Commentaries:
Taxi Driver
El Mariachi

Friday, April 16, 2010

NoCal Writer's Expo 2010 in Napa was nothing to Wine About!!!

Hey Gang,

Sorry for the delay, I will do my best to get these out in a more timely manner.

Fresh from the Bay Area where I was able to spend my first ever weekend in Napa, where I partook in 3 days of learning, networking, and listening to pitches at the first annual, No-Cal Writer/Filmmaker Expo 2010, founded by Anne Jordan.

Many thanks to Kriz Bell, my current director of development who in using her whimsical magic was able to make sure I would be a presenter at this prestigious event.

Fri - Consisted of early morning coffee and listening to actress, Connie Nielson discuss her success and tips from her vast career. I was then thrust into a small ballroom where I spoke for about 90 mins on the trials & tribulations of "indie filmmaking". I had about 50 people attend my lecture and I was told after that I was insightful, approachable, and honest in my speech with answering questions. Have to say I really felt I was in my element, I so enjoyed speaking to both the professionals and novices. Apparently
I did something right because they asked me back next year. This will give me enough time to really craft an insightful  "indie boot-camp" presentation.

Sat - I was able to listen to the Q&A with Oscar wining writer Bobby Moresco (Crash and Million Dollar Baby), moderated by writer, James Delasandro. Bobby was great, he packed the house, and gave fruitful advice, one of which was - TAKING CONTROL of your own career.

After that I was asked to moderate the next 90 session which featured the husband & wife team, Andrew Marlowe and Terr Edda Miller, the creators/producers of the ABC show, "Castle". How exciting it was to sit and interview such an engaging couple, people who actually deserve the success they have achieved, once again the advice of DON'T GIVE UP, believe, being truthful and polite in your work are what really come across and will ensure a place of longevity in this topsy-turvy biz we all love. (i'll be posting the video portion of that on the SHP FB page).

The next session was listening to acclaimed author, Terry McMillan (Waiting to Exhale, How Stella got her Groove). Terri spoke about the importance of developing YOUR VOICE as a writer, and for producers to have an open and respectful working relationship with writers.

Presenters and VIP guests capped off the day by having a private tour of the Kathryn Hall Vineyards. Sipping wine on the deck overlooking the valley while basking in the early evening sunset was a treat. We were then led downstairs to the wine cave where several wines are bottled, this beautiful location was hand built with actual 18th century bricks imported from Austria.

Sun - Pitch-fest. All I can say was WOW!  The place was packed with writers/actors/etc from all over who were vying for the alloted 5 mins given to present their project or themselves not only to Silver Heart, but also to HBO, Warners, Syfy, Lionsgate, just to name a few.

All in all it was a great weekend in my opinion. Out of the 75 pitches I personally received, there are a few "stand-outs" that I will pursue.

So in closing, I encourage any of you writers/actors/etc to try your hand at a pitch-fest. Who knows you just might make an impression that will lead you to sipping on that big glass of champagne we like to call SUCCESS.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010


With three months into this year of 2010 I'm writing this as a reminder for ourselves not to be idle.
It's far too easy, myself included to get into a comfortable rut and trudge along waiting by the phone for that inevitable call to hire us for a gig. Instead we have to remain steadfast in never giving up, making the awkward cold calls, submitting the resumes, networking at various functions, whatever it takes to move us forward with our goals, dreams, and success.

I've learned that if you have aspects of a career in the biz but not moving forward, MOVE because you are in the way for the rest of us.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Going for Gold.

It's that time of year where everyone in Hollywood is abuzz about "OSCAR". It's events like these that make me proud to be involved in the film industry. I love overhearing coffee-shop conversations about whose going to win and why. My own personal belief is that we will see our first female Best Director, (Kathryn Bigelow). I feel privileged that as DGA member I was able to vote for her in that category.

And while I have yet to be invited to the "big show", I am confident that with hard work, networking and using my god given talent in pursuing my dream, I will be there soon enough. Those words should echo to all of you as well. There is nothing we can't achieve.

So for those of us who will be sitting at home with our scorecards, popcorn and champagne, I raise my glass and toast, "Go Forth, Good Luck, and Don't Give Up"!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What's on your bookshelf????

People often ask me, "What books do I read about the business"? The answer is...ALL OF THEM.
I'm a firm believer that you can never acquire too much information. There are a few 'standards' that I even re-read before doing a project in order to brush up on my skills. "Production Mangement 101" by D. Patz, "Film Budgeting" by Deke Simon, and "Guerilla Guide to Filmmaking" by Genevieve Joliffe. These three books are worn and highlighted constant companions packed in my suitcase for all location shoots.

I always browse used bookstores during my travels, or hit my fave Powell's Bookstore when I am at home in Portland. I might pickup a screenwriting book to understand character development, or a behind the scenes 'the making of' book, maybe a compelling autobiography. There is nothing like gaining knowledge from a Spielberg, Spike, or Kubrick with something written in their own words. After seeing the panel of award nominees for the DGA this year, I can't wait to read more by or about Kathryn Bigelow and Lee Daniels.

Print information is invaluable, I  subscribe to Moviemaker, Filmmaker, Fade In, and various online sites that feed me daily doses about the hustle & bustle of the film/tv industry.

So the question stands...."what's on your bookshelf"?