I can’t help but get excited that my pilot, “The Resurrected,” made the Finals of The Breakk Screenplay Competition! Not only does the winner get to join this fab retreat of industry professionals in Palm Springs (expenses paid!), but The Breakk was founded by agent Karen Kirkland (formerly of Abrams Artists Agency) who recently co-founded Culture Creative Entertainment, a WGA signatory that is stepping up and proving its support of writers at this important time.
I’m very excited to announce I was accepted into the Women In Film Mentoring Program in the TV Writer Circle! Our mentors will be Monica Owusu-Breen (Showrunner) and Pat Quinn (Agent).
Since moving to LA, I've been pivoting to TV writing and I'm confident this mentorship will go a long way toward helping me cultivate new and rewarding relationships with my fellow mentees and our industry mentors.
I believe strongly in women working together in Hollywood to move our culture forward and the Women in Film mission really speaks to me:
“Women In Film advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries – to achieve parity and transform culture.” (read the full mission)
Thank you, WIF, I’m truly honored!
The time has come to finish up my Resurrection Trilogy of short films! The final film will be The End of Mara and it's slated for release in 2015.
The End of Mara is the story of a woman who helps her husband break free of a curse that’s brought him back to life and trapped him on Manhattan Island. This film, as with the last two, will be stand-alone and character-focused.
We're just getting rolling with this project and are in the script development stage now. We have our key crew for production and post-production already lined up - the same collaborators we created the first two films with - so we will truly be keeping the films all in the same world.
In order to focus on making this last film the best it can be, I'm taking a hiatus from my Script magazine column for the next few months to put everything I have into this project.
It's going to be an amazing ride!
Follow along via Twitter at my personal account or our production company's account, or on Facebook at The End of Mara page. I will also send out periodic updates through my newsletter, which is probably the best way to stay in the loop.
Thanks for continuing with me on this journey and I hope to share lots more with you soon!
I'm in the research stage for a script and want to read a few biographies and memoirs of rock stars. I'm looking for ideas, anecdotes and a glimpse into the rock star lifestyle. I reached out to my Facebook and Twitter friends and asked what they thought were the best books in this category and I got a number of great responses.
For anyone needing to do similar research, or if you're just interested in something new to read, here are the rock bios my friends gave two metal horns up. \m/
Lists number of votes received if more than one:
- Life by Keith Richards, James Fox (3)
- The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star by Nikki Sixx (2)
- Just Kids by Patti Smith (2)
- No One Here Gets Out Alive by Jerry Hopkins, Danny Sugerman (2)
- Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis, Larry Soloman (2)
- Broken Music: A Memoir by Sting
- Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana by Michael Azerrad
- Hammer of the Gods by Stephen Davis
- Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain by Charles R. Cross
- His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra by Kitty Kelley
- Lester Bangs articles - rather than linking to individual articles, here's his Wiki page and a short piece about him from The New Yorker. If he sounds like someone you want to read... Google him!
- Motley Crüe: The Dirt - Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars, Nikki Sixx, Neil Strauss
- Mustaine: A Life in Metal by Dave Mustaine with Joe Layden
- Slash by Slash, Anthony Bozza
- Touching from a Distance: Ian Curtis and Joy Division by Deborah Curtis
- Up and Down with the Rolling Stones: My Rollercoaster Ride with Keith Richards by Tony Sanchez
- When Giants Walked the Earth by Mick Wall
Right out of the gate, I want to read Just Kids, No One Here Gets Out Alive, and Motley Crüe: The Dirt - Confessions of the World's Most Notorious Rock Band (because who in their right mind could resist that title). I'm also pretty fascinated by Touching from a Distance because I'd never heard of Joy Division and the person who recommended that book is hella cool.
Thank you to everyone who contributed their ideas to this list. If you have other suggestions, please add them to the comments below. Thanks!
Please note: I provided links for each title so you could get more information. I tried to link to the least expensive version of the book wherever possible, which in most cases was the Kindle version. If you buy a book through one of these links, please be sure to double-check the version you're buying (e.g. Kindle vs Paperback) to be sure you get the one you want. Happy reading!
"Vivienne Again," my first short film, is now officially complete! The film, that is, because the work to bring it to an audience is only beginning. I'm very pleased with how it turned out and I'm nervous and excited to see it in a theater with an audience. I'm steeling myself for them to laugh at places I didn't intend to be funny or get restless in moments where I thought I was building tension. Or maybe it'll just go over great. The only way for me to find out is to get out there and screen it. So that's what I'm gearing up to do.
I learned a tremendous amount making this short, but many of the lessons are in hindsight and can only be applied to future projects. That's where the next film comes in. And the film after that. And the film after that.
Since this was my first short, there was always the chance I could get to the end and be glad I tried directing, but ultimately found it wasn't for me. I'm astounded by how completely sure I am that the opposite is true. I love adding the directing side to my writing, and how fulfilling it is to take the seed of a story and grow it all the way to a finished film.
I'm ready to turn right around and start again. I'm currently in rewrites on my next short film and hope to announce it soon (I just need to shore up a bit of casting first to be sure I can pull it off).
I'm so grateful to everyone who worked on this short with me and to all of those who gave feedback and encouragement along the way. There simply is no question that I could have done this without everyone of you. I hope the final film will make you proud to have joined in.
It's a wonderful feeling to have the end of a project be the beginning of a career and I look forward to seeing many of you at film festivals very soon!
(excerpt from on my January 2012 email newsletter) Last month, I volunteered to help run the pitching sessions at the Screenwriters World Conference 2012 in NYC. This was my first pitching event, and if these events are new to you, too, then the following is basically how this one worked.
Over 100 screenwriters came to pitch their work to film & TV execs and talent managers hoping to get a request to send in their script to be read. Since most top production and management companies will only read your work if you are referred to them by a trusted source, a pitching event is a chance to bypass the usual rules and get your ideas directly to those who can help get them produced.
The screenwriters pitched their projects to the reps one after the other, trying to connect with as many reps as they could over a period of four hours. It was without question an endurance challenge for those pitching, for those hearing pitches and even for us volunteers trying to keep it all running smoothly. In the end, I heard stories of varying amounts of success from both sides of the table, but no one I spoke to said their day hadn't been well spent. Hail Mary passes were thrown that day and I hope some of them were caught and new careers were born.
Hats off to everyone who participated in the event, and as a volunteer, I learned a ton about pitching and it was definitely a cool way to spend a Saturday.
(addendum to the newsletter excerpt)
In a nutshell, what I learned about pitching: For those who are planning to pitch someday, the key seemed to be preparation, mostly to achieve a very concise and very clear pitch. More than any other concern, those hearing pitches struggled most with pitches where they couldn't detect the genre and were confused by story and character details. Keep the pitch short and very clear, focusing on your best hook or two, and then be prepared for follow up questions. A strong hook minus any confusing details seems to be a great way to start building your pitch.
I'm in the early stages of outlining a new script and I want to start watching movies in the same genre for research. I asked friends on Facebook and Twitter for recommendations of ghost or supernatural movies that are must-sees. I received so many great responses that I decided to share them here. Thanks to everyone who chimed in!
Lists number of votes received if more than one:
- The Others (6)
- The Ring (5)
- The Sixth Sense (5)
- The Orphanage (4)
- The Fog (original) (3)
- Paranormal Activity (3)
- Poltergeist (3)
- A Tale of Two Sisters (3)
- The Changeling (2)
- Ghost (2)
- The Haunting (original) (2)
- The Legend of Hell House (2)
- The Shining (2)
- Truly Madly Deeply (2)
- The Uninvited (2)
- The Amityville Horror (original)
- Angel Heart
- The Blair Witch Project
- Carnival of Souls
- Dark Water (original)
- The Devil's Backbone
- Drag Me to Hell
- The Entity
- The Exorcist
- Ghost Ship
- House on Haunted Hill
- The Innocents
- Jacob's Ladder
- Nightmare on Elm Street (original)
- Riget (The Kingdom)
- Rosemary's Baby
- The Skeleton Key
- Stir of Echoes
- The Tattooist
- Val Lewton movies
- Voice (seems to be called Phone now?)
- What Lies Beneath
- The Wig
And if someone had asked me the same question, I would have said The Others, The Sixth Sense, Poltergeist, The Shining and, of course, Ghostbusters (who ya gonna call?).
If you have other suggestions, please add them to the comments. Thanks!
I've set some lofty professional goals for myself for 2011, a few of which I've been quite public about: Taking an improv comedy class, writing and directing a short film, and writing a feature-length comedy script. I want to achieve these goals so badly that saying them out loud to friends and family, basically, putting my butt on the line, is the way I've decided to keep myself honest and push through the inevitable scary days and insecure moments to come.
I plan to share my experience as a writer taking an improv class (yikes!), a writer directing her first short film (double yikes!) and a writer tackling a comedy feature film script (I can actually envision this one but it's still terrifying). To keep friends, family and colleagues in the loop, I've just added an email signup to this site for a monthly newsletter that will get rolling in the new year. I'll include a round-up of projects I'm working on, classes I'm taking (and feedback on those classes), new blog posts I've written and events that are worth keeping on the radar.
But I don't want to get so self-focused that I lose track of how I've gathered up the courage to set these crazy goals and pronounce them to the world. I'm taking this leap because in the last year I have developed a network of the some of the most exciting up-and-coming filmmakers and artists – people who are as supportive of others as they are talented themselves. I want to spread the word about their projects and events as well. Therefore, in each monthly newsletter, and on a new page coming to this site, I will highlight the work of one of my newsletter subscribers, giving everyone a chance to discover someone new or catch up with the latest work from someone they already admire.
I don't know yet how I'll make these selections. Perhaps a dart board or being open to bribes of chocolate and liquor but I'll work to feature a variety of artists and film professionals, people I already know and love, and people I have yet to discover myself.
If this sounds like your kind of thing, please sign up for my newsletter and join me for another year in this filmmaking adventure.
Cheers to a joyous, successful and prosperous(!) 2011!!
A couple of weeks ago, I got one of those great pings in my email inbox, that little chime that sounds a lot like opportunity knocking. It was David Branin and Karen Worden from the Film Courage LA Talk Radio show inviting me to guest blog on their site about screenwriting. By extending my reach in the film industry, into ventures beyond my Final Draft docs, I got on the radar of two of the freshest voices supporting indie film today, the ever-awesome hosts of Film Courage.
Not surprisingly, the piece I wrote for them, "Filmmaking is for Screenwriters Too," is about new opportunities screenwriters can find if they embrace the film industry at large and work collaboratively with the film community we so enthusiastically joined.
Please take a moment to read the piece and I'd love it if you'd leave a comment at their site.
Thanks so much, Dave and Karen, for this great opportunity to connect with your audience. Film courage indeed!
In this same week as the Braven Films announcement, there's now fun news about one of my side projects: The fabulous Twitter Scriptchat gets a nice mention in the September/October issue of Script magazine! Thanks to my awesome #treefort pals for taking me on this crazy ride. Today, Script mag, tomorrow the world!
Yes, that's John August mentioned on the same page. Now that's script-frakkin-tastic!
P.S. All uses of the term "frak" are credited to Jane Espenson (a former scriptchat guest) and her amazing Battlestar Gallactica-writing colleagues for reviving such a great word. Cuz really, where the fuck (oh wait, frak) would we be without BSG.