Thursday, January 31, 2008

It's What I Need, It's What I Want

Okay, Universe. We just need a few of these babies, and we're good to go! How difficult can that be? Seriously. I've got Chris Wyatt who produced NAPOLEAN DYNAMITE (which is considered to be one of the most successful indies of all time!) on my team, and Matt Irving as my D.P., who's shot 15 features to date, most of which received homes with mini-majors including: Lions Gate, Mirimax, Fox Searchlight, etc... Four of his films have been at Sundance, ant two of his films made the top 10 on the box office chart. We've got AMAZING talent attached, including Rachel Dratch from Saturday Night Live in a break-out role, and it's a really funny, feel-good storyline with a subject that most people can relate to. We just need the money, and we're good to go!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Writing On The Wall

I posted the story beats on the door. I have only one thing to say: I love this movie! I just can't wait to take it from out of our heads and on to the screen. Here's the breakdown:
120 scenes
110 pages
56 Locations
47 Speaking roles:
*11 main cast
*36 featured cast
and many non-speaking roles

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I just got off the phone with Chris Wyatt, producer of NAPOLEON DYNAMITE. We met on the festival circuit when PURGATORY HOUSE was making the rounds with his film. Well, Chris loved PURGATORY HOUSE and now he's working with me on ODD BRODSKY! After our talk, I feel much better about HAMLET 2. Chris reminded me that WAITRESS, JUNO and KNOCKED UP all came out this year, and all dealt with similar storylines, and it wasn't held against any of them. They were all successful. I feel much better now.

What A Difference A Day Makes

I'm raring to go! I woke up completely energized. I jumped out of bed, and took a 7am Kick-boxing class. Now I'm ready to hop in the shower, eat breakfast and get to work! Goals for today: Send out 5 pitches to my top production company and financing leads, follow up leads-in-progress, meet with intern candidate, and eat healthy.

Monday, January 28, 2008

When Good News Feels Bad

I just got word that a film called HAMLET 2 was sold for $10M at Sundance. I believe it's the second largest Sundance purchase price of all time, following LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE, which sold for $10.5M. Great News! The general story lines for HAMLET 2 and ODD BRODSKY seem similar. This validates the fact that there's a market for this right kind of movie right now, which is also good. And of course I'm sure our films are actually quite different.

So if this is all such good news, why do I feel bad? Because I pride myself on innovative ideas. I hate that this other film will have come out first, even though I know these things happen all the time. In fact, it happened with my first feature PURGATORY HOUSE. And that was a much worse situation because we shot our movie a year before the film THIRTEEN was shot, but because THIRTEEN was released before us, critics and audiences thought THIRTEEN gave us the idea for our movie. It was frustrating for many reasons. But at the end of the day, it helped our movie reach a wider audience. And I have a feeling that HAMLET 2's success can be a great thing for us too. Now I need to be a good business woman, and use this fully to our advantage.

The coincidences between ODD BRODSKY and HAMLET 2 do seem a bit uncanny though: Both films star aspiring actors who have no talent. (There's is a guy, ours is a gal). In their film the high school puts on a re-invented production of "Hamlet". (I believe this is the climax of the whole film). In ours, the third grade class puts on a production of Hamlet. (Thankfully it's just a VERY tiny part of our film, but how crazy is that?!) In their film Hamlet 2 is a musical, which incorporates time travel and Jesus. We also have a musical in our film (but ours is a very minor sub-plot) that's called "Hell is Here: The Musical", which stars God. (So they have Jesus, and we have God). Our film stars Rachel Dratch from SNL, and theirs features Amy Poehlar from SNL. AND I had Amy Poehlar in mind to play one of our roles (Zoey, the angry angel). It sounds like the tone of their film is more broadly over-the-top and sarcastic, where ours is a more quirky with earnest, likable characters. I know these movies will be entirely different, but the similarities are just too crazy not to mention.

I'm sure this is all REALLY good news, and this happens all the time. But right now I'm feeling as blue as that darn Sundance Logo.

Monday and Rainy

Mondays are always hard for me. But they are especially difficult after I've taken week-end time away from ODD BRODSKY. Now with the rain, how will I ever get motivated and accomplish everything I want for today? And I certainly do NOT feel like going to the gym in this weather. It's so hard working from the house. A friend of mine has an office in Hollywood that she's not using, and offered it to me. But a 1/2 hour drive each way would take a full hour out of my day that I can be working! Today I have 2 meetings: one for lunch and one for dinner, and so I feel like I'm not going to get anything done! Maybe I should use at least my friend's office for my meetings, instead of restaurants, which take so long. Oh I don't know. I guess I've got a case of "the Mondays" times two! Maybe I'll go back to bed.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Movies and TV That Make a Difference

Boy, what a busy industry-filled weekend. Today I was on the judging committee for the 2008 Prism Awards, which honor movies and TV shows that make a positive difference in the world, by accurately portraying addiction in the media. My categories were TV comedy and non-scripted, non-fiction. This years televised ceremony airs September 4th on FX. Tune in to see all the nominees and winners!

The above photo is from last April's Prism Award Ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where Maurice Benard received an award for his acting work on General Hospital portraying someone with Bipolar Disorder. (I'm a actually a big fan of General Hospital and have been watching since I was 8 years old!) Matt thinks I look like an awards statue myself in my gold dress... he he. Last year in addition to my 2 listed categories, I also judged "movies of the week" and PSA's. Good fun.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

2008 ASC Awards

That's my favorite D.P. (hubby Matthew Irving) with our pal Diane Upson from Technicolor. We had a blast at this year's ASC (American Society of Cinematographers) Awards, and almost beat the rain, too! We made it there fine, but then I got caught in a down-pour returning from the ladies room. I ironed my hair straight for the event and feared the rain would add the curl back. I'm sure you'll be relieved to know, it remained straight. Life is good. (Reading my own writing I sound like such a girlie-girl. But I actually don't get made-up on a daily basis. So these sort of events are especially fun.)

Dinner was a surf and turf combo: strip steak and salmon with mashed potatoes and veggies, preceded by a lovely salad of roasted tomato, green beans and cream cheese. I'd give the salad an A and the main course a B. Desert was a chocolate brownie-cake with cream on top, and vanilla ice cream in a crunchy brown sugar shell.
And in case you can't wait until tomorrow, here's a sneak peak at this year's award winners.

The Recipients are...
International Award: Walter Lassally (TOM JONES)
ASC Career Achievement in Television: George Spiro Dibie ("Growing Pains", "Night Court", "Barney Miller")
ASC Presidents Award: Richard Edlund (vfx for STAR WARS, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK)
Motion Picture, Mini Series or TV Pilot: Ben Nott ("The Company")
Board of Governors: Annette Benning (actress)
Lifetime Achievement: Stephen H. Burum (THE OUTSIDERS, THE UNTOUCHABLES).
Theatrical Release: Robert Elswit (THERE WILL BE BLOOD)
The Laszlo Kovacs Heritage Award: Andrew Mark Davis (Chapman University) and Sean Michael Stiegemeier, (AFI)

And now, I bid you good night. I'm off to lay my sleepy head down and drift away to the soothing sound of rain.

Note: Photo #2 of Matt with Andrew Lesnie (LORD OF THE RINGS), and Photo #3 of us with Patti and Russell Carpenter (TITANIC) were taken at the 2006 ASC Awards.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Okay, now don't get me wrong. I LOVE the rain. I long for rain. To me rain is like a sign from the Universe to relax, breathe, take it easy, tune in to my senses, be present! I mean, there's almost nothing better than opening the windows and listening to the lulling sound of the rhythmic pitter-patter on the roof. So I'm not complaining, really. All I'm saying is that the timing could have been better. It took us 2 hours to pick Robin up at the airport. And see photo #1: This is what happened to her on our hike at Runyon Canyon Park Thursday. Thankfully, the rain cleared up just enough for a very nice mailman to snap a photo of us in front of the Hollywood sign. See photo #2.

Friday was her big day on "Wheel of Fortune". We actually made incredible time driving in the rain to Sony Studios in Culver city, thanks to Matt's clever route through Hollywood --avoiding the freeways. Robin did GREAT! She won a one-week trip to Venice, Italy and over $6,000 in cash! I take her to the airport in an hour. Tonight Matt and I have the ASC Awards. Luckily that's at Hollywood & Highland, so there'll be a cover overhead to protect our formal attire. Nothing like looking like a drowned rat at a fancy awards dinner. Ug. Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Did They Just Say Tornado Warning??

The national weather service has just issued a tornado warning for Los Angeles County! If you live in Malibu, Topanga, Pacific Palisades, Long Beach, Hawthorne, Torrance, San Pedro and Lakewood... this means you! How crazy is that?!

Robin Brodsky on "Wheel of Fortune"

Last summer my childhood friend Robin Curtin (AKA Robin Brodsky --who's last name I borrowed for my movie title) auditioned to be a contestent on "Wheel of Fortune" when they came to Boston, where she lives. A few weeks later I told Robin about Dances With Films' short film contest, and suggested she enter by writing a 2-minute script. She wrote a script called "Wheel of Misfortune" about what could happen if she went on the show. Well, her script was chosen to be produced, and I was chosen to direct. We shot and edited the short in 4 hours! (That's the premise of the contest). And it screened at the Leammle on Sunset Blvd. last July.

Now, 6 months later, "Wheel of Fortune" finally called Robin to be on the show! They flew her to Los Angeles and we tape it tomorrow! Katrina Gourley (the actress who played Robin in the short film) will be at the taping, along with Matt and me. We visioned it and now it's happening! Now lets vision her winning the top amount of money: $200,000!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Theme for the Year

2 Words: Innovative (see photo) and Delegate

Last year's theme was 2 sentences: "Tuning into the magic of my life" and "My life falls easily into place".

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Illusion of Busy

Today was one of those days where I worked the entire day, but felt like nothing was accomplished. As I spent ALL DAY on the computer (with the exception of going to the gym and food shopping --in preparation of Robin's visit) I wanted to be doing other things that I deemed more important. But truly, what I was doing was important. I just wish it was less time consuming. I mean, it needed to get done. I just don't have time! As it is, I don't respond to 1/2 my emails, because there would not be time for anything else. The problem is that every time I write an email, I get another email reply. And even the awesome emails which contain referrals that I am LUCKY to get, depress me, because it means more work. Sigh...

Things I accomplished today:
1. Pitched another product placement company about placing a car . 2. Got a personal referral from Dave to a fantastic production company (now need to pitch it!) 3. Got a referral from my genius friend Ren to a producer. 4. Got caught up on ALL MY EMAILS! (huge!) This includes responding to the pile of "Purgatory House" fan emails. 5. Proofed Matt's bio for the Santa Barbara Film Festival. 6. Followed up/Checked in with several producers, filmmakerss and friends who may think I've dropped off the planet. 7. Sent an announcement about Robin getting on "Wheel of Fortune". 8. Updated MySpace Pages for all films. 8. Scheduled a meeting with my potential new Mentee/intern. 9. Went through a weeks worth of mail. 10. Planned Robin's visit.


A film Matt shot called STILL WATERS starring Lake Bell and Clifton Collins Jr, will be screening at the Santa Barbara Film Festival next week. It's a classy film noir inspired film that feels like a throwback to the 70's with a lyrical pace and stunningly gorgeous photography. The festival calls it "A dramatic thriller with very strong performances and beautiful cinematography, STILL WATERS will keep you guessing and rethinking what you know until the very end." Check it out January 24- February 3.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Updating the Budget and Schedule

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Today I'm inputting a few new little scenes into the schedule. They're not really new scenes; they're part of a sequence, but each one needs to be accounted for in the planning. For instance: I added scene 49A, which is just a shot of Audrey walking down the street. Also added Scenes 86A,B,C,D,E and F which are some shots at various locations of Audrey's day-to-day life. Also added back in a little scene that had been cut. I missed it. Then I have to integrate these notes into the appropriate department breakdowns and budget. I hope to finish my work on OB by 2:30pm today and take the rest of the day off.

Today I'll honor MLK day by paying extra appreciation to all of the opportunities and freedoms I have as a woman living in the United States in this day and age, which was made possible by the courageous freedom fighters of yesteryear.


CLOVERFIELD What can I say? I dug it.
It was what it claimed to be: A studio's version of BLAIR WITCH. It was an "Independent Film" conceit made with the budget of a studio behind it. I loved the premise of a disaster movie shot/told entirely through the lens of a little hand-held video camera of a person who happens to be at the event as it unfolds. Certainly Innovative; which happens to be one of my theme words for this year. Also loved that they used unknown actors. (This movie certainly would not have worked using recognizable faces). My one note: I would have liked it better if it ended one story beat earlier (at the spot where it seemed like it would end). --I don't want to give away any spoilers. But overall. Loved it!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ten Years Ago...

January 19, 1998. This is the very first photo of Matt and I together, which was taken about an hour after we first met! Matt had already arrived at the Sundance condo when I "came bursting through the doors" as he likes to put it. I immediately enlisted Matt's help (along with my friend Kristy and Matt's friend Jeff) to clean up the condo, which had been trashed by party-ers the night before. We laughed and laughed as we whipped the place into shape. We had so much fun with it, in fact, that I gathered us all for a group photo afterward and snapped this picture. Who knew that it would mean so much to us, ten years later?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Our Sundance Anniversay

It's 10 years ago tomorrow that Matt and I first met at the Sundance Film Festival. He was there with his very first feature as DP (Tony Barbieri's "One"), and I was there with people I'd worked with as an actress. We ended up in the same condo with about 20 other people, and the rest is history. Ironically, just in time for this 10-year anniversary, a reporter from the Salt Lake City Tribune contacted us and told us he was doing a story about married filmmaker couples that first met at the Sundance Film Festival. His newspaper story came out today, and we're the first couple mentioned! So although we could not be there in person this year, we are certainly represented! And of course we're there in spirit. Maybe someone can bring us back a hard copy??

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Department Notes

As Matt and I shot listed the script, it made me think about the visual style in much greater detail. The story definitely has the comedic tone and earnestness of a Wes Anderson Film (wonder why?), and it's interesting to decide what visual aesthetics to use in which place. For me, I feel almost like an architect. I like to make sure everything is balanced in terms of structure and timing, and the way all the little jokes pay off.

In going through the script with a fine-tooth comb, I found all sorts of things that need to be clarified for the shoot. For example, when the montage of "Little Audrey" begins, because the shot starts on an adult with a child, I needed to add in a line of dialogue for the adult to say, such as "Now it's your turn Audrey!" (Calling Audrey by her name) so it's clear that the child is Audrey. The joke won't play if we think the adult is Audrey! It's a fun process for someone who's crazy organized and enjoys detail work the way I do.

So this week I've been making all kinds of notes for prop people, make-up, fx, myself and other departments to remember on the set. For example: There's a scene where Little Audrey is in the school's Shakespeare play, and there are 2 kids that would need to be on stage dressed as Horatio and the grave diggers. Since they have no lines of dialogue, I must make a note for the costumer! Fun stuff like that.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Good Life

Last night my husband dreamed we were 97 years old and still as much in love as we are today. We were sitting together at the counter of a little cafe' that we owned (not sure why we own a cafe' in this dream). He turned to me and said sweetly "I've had such a good life with you" and I smiled and said "Yes, it's been really fun." Sometimes I wonder how I ever got so lucky...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


What an amazing documentary. If you haven't seen it, I hope you will. What's so great is that it presents the problem, and then shows many people who's succeeded in battling the problem. I love that! I can't believe that one of the richest companies in America pays it's employees so little that the majority of them live at the poverty level, can't even afford health insurance and have to have assistance from the state. And did you know that when a Wal-Mart comes to a small town, most of the mom n' pop shops are forced out of business within months, because they can't compete with the low prices (which are low due to importing from other countries where people are paid as little as 50 cents/week!?) It's so sad.

Well, I'm doing my part. I called up the manager of my IRA account and asked if I had any stocks in Wal-Mart. When I found I did, I changed funds! I don't want to support them, or make money from their success at such a cost. I feel really good.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Goin' Hollywood

Alright, so I guess we've already gone Hollywood, but it sounded good. Tomorrow Matt has a meeting with ex-brat-packer Emilio Estevez for his next directorial gig, called THE PUBLIC. (Emilio directed the critical acclaimed film BOBBY last year.) Matt says this script is really good; Emilio wrote it himself, and in fact it's the most well-written screenplay Matt's read in a long time. --I have not seen my hubby this excited about a project in awhile!

The Perfect Packet

I wish I had the kind of personality that came up with my ideas all at once. Instead I think of things in pieces. It's frustrating sometimes.

When I arrived in Vegas, I brought the tailored promo packet for the pitch containing: the project overview, synopsis, key crew bios, casting info, budget, schedule, comps, revenue scenarios, marketing plan, demographics, the one-sheet for PURGATORY HOUSE and a few relevant articles from high profile publications to support my pitch.

After a few hours in Vegas, I realized what I really needed to include was a bullet-point list in four categories: why them, why me, why this project, and why now. So I quickly put those 2 pages together, found a printer, and added it to my packet. A lot of last minute work, but completely worth it. It brought the packet to the next level.

Now I'm back in L.A, wishing I had brought my flip-book for PURGATORY HOUSE! That would have been so impressive! It's page after page after page of the publicity we received. Very fun to thumb through. I completely forgot I even had it. And I should have included a PH DVD, so they could see the extras that plugged the company...

So now I guess I'll make a pdf of the packet, and email it over? Not the same "feel" as flipping through it...but better than nothing.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Pitch

It's nice to be home! Tonight I'll be back in my own bed after 8 days on the road. Yesterday was the big day! I pitched ODD BRODSKY to Canon USA, asking them to finance the entire budget of the film! I feel so grateful to have this opportunity to present my project to the top dogs there.

I've gotta say... it went well! It may sound strange to ask a video company for money for a movie that's going to be shot on film, but it's actually a GREAT opportunity for all of us. In ODD BRODSKY there is a character called "Camera One" who carries around a video camcorder for about 1/2 the movie! Talk about great product placement for the Canon XH-A1! (which by the way is an amazing camera!) And a few of his segments would be shot on video. Plus we can shoot all of the "behind the scenes" and DVD extras with their great cameras too!

You see, many large companies (companies that are not even in the entertainment business to begin with) have started financing films! Companies like PepsiCo, Burger King, Chrysler, Dove and Gatorade. They're seeing this as not only a great change for long-term advertising, (writing off the money as a marketing expense in a traditional way), but as an additional chance to earn a revenue if the film makes a profit! So it's like spending money you'd spend anyway... and yet having an opportunity to get that money recouped and earn money in an innovative new way!

Although Canon has never done something as big as this in the past, I still have a really good feeling. And I am the PERFECT candidate! My first feature gave them a lot of mileage for very little cost, and was one of their greatest success stories! Every time someone watches the "Behind the Scenes" of the DVD they rent, Canon is showcased. Keep your fingers crossed...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Canon-4-Kids Fundraiser

Last night was the "Canon 4 Kids" Celebrity Gala to raise money for Missing Children at the Mandelay Bay in Las Vegas. We had a blast. The dinner was spectacular with prime rib, sushi, shrimp, and yummy pasta bar. The Beatles Tribute Band "The Fab Four" rocked the house. Matt and I saw them in 1999 on Catalina Island, when we were falling in love. Matt and I met Robert Hayes from AIRPLANE. What a funny guy! (See photo).

Also met Joel Gretsch from "The 4400" and the mini series "Taken".

I love both of those shows. Here's a snapshot of us at the party. I keep trying to think if there's any role he'd be right for in my next film, but nothing comes to mind... Let's see, who else was there tonight... "The Beev" -Jerry Mathers, Blair Underwood and his beautiful wife Desiree (who are going to rent "Purgatory House), and Colonel Cunningham who flew the first Apollo Mission!

And look who's hugging me! It's DAVY JONES from The Monkeys!
Ahhhhhh!!! Davy Jones is hugging me!

Later that night, he got on stage and sang "Daydream Beleiver" with "The Fab Four" and brought the house down! And as you can see if the life of the party.

I hear the benefit raised over $300,000. Way to go Canon USA! We love you!

Life is good.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Best Sandwich EVER!

If you are in Las Vegas, YOU MUST stop by Capriotti's Sandwich Shop and get their "Bobbie" Sandwich. It's a turkey dinner in a sub! Real turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Three words "OH MY GOD!" This is incredible! On their website we noticed they now have locations in several new states, but none in California. My husband and I are thinking maybe we should be the first to open a franchise. We'd make a fortune!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Ringing in the New Year

Welcome 2008. It will be pretty hard to top 2007, but I'm ready to try!

Matt and I rung in the new year with a delicious lobster dinner at Delmonico's Lobster House, and then cuddled up by the fire to watch "It's a Wonderful Life". And you know what? I do have a wonderful life. I have the best husband in the whole world. Sometimes I just don't know how I got so lucky!

New Year's day was pretty fun too. We started out the first day of the new year by being interviewed for a story in the Salt Lake Tribune. A reporter is doing a feature article on married filmmaker couples who met at Sundance. I guess there are more of us out there! I can't wait to see who else shares a similar story.

Afterwards, we traveled out to LA Arboretum, and took photos of the beautiful scenery, waterfalls, flowers, exotic trees, and peacocks. ("Say Cheese").
For dinner I made Matt's favorite meal.

Later we continued our "30 Rock" marathon. We're watching Season 1 on DVD. Twas a good day! Of course I had to write my New Year resolutions before bed. I really have only 1 this year: ODD BRODSKY!