Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Friday, February 05, 2010

TWT Foreign distribution is underway!

Spotlight Pictures represents our film THE WHOLE TRUTH starring Elisabeth Röhm, Sean Patrick Flanery and Eric Roberts for distribution in all nations excluding the US and Canada!

We're proud to be associated with them - they're top professionals.

You can see their trailer and artwork for TWT here.

Domestic (US and Canada) distribution begins soon!

News as it happens!

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Sean, Elisabeth and Eric are booming!

THE WHOLE TRUTH stars Sean Patrick Flanery, Elisabeth Röhm and Eric Roberts are appearing on big and little screens now!

Sean Patrick stars in BOONDOCK SAINTS II - the story of two Irish American brothers whose destiny is to eradicate evil doers from their community that law enforcement seems incapable of stopping.

He Tweets (@seanflanery if you want to sign up)that theaters in Pennsylvania, New York, Hartford, Rhode Island, Boston and L.A. have just opened the blockbuster.

THIS JUST IN: Opening weekend (Oct 30-Nov 1 2009) found BSII:ASD with boffo box office - nearly $7,000 per screen on the 78 venues it's showing! The #1 film, THIS IS IT, got $6,119/screen on 3,481 venues. Even with those few screens opening, Boondock slid into the #16 box office spot!

Congratulations, SPF and BS'ers!

In case you don't know, all the references he makes to "Donut?" Sean Patrick's a very healthy eater, but he named an abused pitbull he rescued several years ago... Donut. Or as I like to call her, "The D to the nut.."

While he's moving toward an international hit with BSII: All Saints Day, Elisabeth debuts on the ... um ... television screen (can't say "small screen" any longer - most are pretty large) in HEROES tomorrow - Monday, Nov. 2, on NBC TV - for several appearances as a recurring character.

More, Elisabeth just released her novel, Nerissa, on amazon.com; it's a Kindle book.

Eric Roberts not only stars in the STARZ series CRASH, he's in the upcoming feature THE EXPENDABLES along with Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and a dozen other big action names.

I can hardly wait to announce that you'll be seeing their work in THE WHOLE TRUTH on all those big and HD screens as well!

It's been a very steep learning curve, this business of distributing an independent commercial film, but it's very exciting now that we've found some distributors who love the film and are working hard to get it out for you to see!

Great, hard working talent always finds new and exciting projects to please their fans.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Counting down to Nov 2 HEROES!

Elisabeth Röhm joins the cast for several episodes Monday, Nov. 2!

Here's her story line: she plays a kicking serious butt CIA agent, Lauren Gilmore, who at one time was very close with HRG (major Hero for the uninitiated).

They worked together and at one point had the opportunity to get even closer - but both chose to be ethical, since he was married at the time.

Deal is, to prevent any further stress for her (read: sexual tension, unrequited love, which as you know can create a distraction from major booty kicking), he erases her memory of their (Platonic but wanting more) relationship.

UPDATE: As it turns out, the story flips to HER erasing her own memory about their unrequited love - she "goes Haitian" on her own.

Flash forward to Nov 2, 2009.

Lauren shows up again - but even with her "memory" erased, she senses that she knows HRG on a very deep level. As Elisabeth put it, "like a soulmate."

So he's tormented. Only recently single, he knows what they've meant to one another, what they've felt - what he has continued to feel, but should he tell her? Should he allow himself to become close again?

She's confused, but knows there must be an unexplainable connection. A connection that feels strong, undeniable and "right."

As she told TV Guide (the picture is from its online interview with her), Elisabeth believes the idea of a soulmate resonates with her. That there are people with whom we are simply "meant to be." They may not be our spouses, or even in a sexual relationship at all - but there is a palpable, very real yet unexplainable heart, or soul, connection.

So we're left to wonder: will she figure it out? Will he tell her? Will she want to get closer? Will he allow their relationship to re-ignite now that they are both single? Will he tell her she erased her memory of their budding romance?

OK, because I happen to have directed her in THE WHOLE TRUTH I got some backstage ... well, I can't exactly call it "dirt," so I'll call it ... insight.

First and foremost, she has been incredibly "Impressed with the quality of work that everyone here strives to achieve." She says every one in every position at Heroes cares deeply about this program. Producers, directors, writers, actors, crew, no one takes their work on Heroes casually.

I pointed out that Heroes program runners don't have any say over changing program nights or times or delays in airing episodes, all of which have really upset fans. That's the network's doing. Folks associated with the show can only lodge their displeasure, but they are at the mercy of the same folks who have put Jay Leno on every week night at 10pm.

As for the work itself, Elisabeth says that the Heroes actors are the *best!* She says that to a person, every cast member has been professional, great to hang out with and are not afraid to do whatever it takes to make a scene work best.

Also that Heroes staff, cast and crew care very deeply about their fans.

Of course they're disappointed in the failing ratings - but they don't blame fans. They know their fans have had to endure some problems with the show and are doing everything they can to turn that around.

They hope bringing Elisabeth Röhm in for their first ever exploration of a romantic relationship in the mix of all those superpowers will strengthen their center, their core. I know I will be tuned in to my NBC channel Monday, Nov. 2, 8pm Eastern/Pacific 7pm Central.

And I can't help but think the greatest super power of all is love.

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Image vs Reality

Every time I see the picture of a writer, any writer - book author, screenwriter, playwright, yadda yadda - he or she always looks very cool. Calm. Collected. Smart. Sharp dresser. With a "knowing" sort of look.

Like their life is easy. At least compared to the rest of us.

They all have this "life is a piece of cake" expression. Like Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Russo's photo here.

You know what I mean.

As much as we're aware those are professional shots, carefully choreographed and styled, we still tend to believe the image.

I think that's half the reason just about everyone I meet tells me they want to be a writer. Because they look like they have the best ever understanding of how to be successful. Or at least look successful. And completely stress-free.

Did you know an author's photograph is directly tied to the marketing success of a book?

I write about this because regardless of whether the photograph is the picture of the actual writer, to a snapshot, they're all lies.

Lies, do you hear me?

Because writers wouldn't be writers in the first place if we had life by the tail. Something happened to us somewhere along the way that makes us want to tell you our story - in a way we trust someone will pay attention to. Someone will listen to us - read us, watch us, whatever.

It struck me that while people can help me look assembled, relaxed and casually on top of the world - like this old picture of me that's on my book Mind Over Media, it is in no way even close to how I look when I'm writing.

When we write we all suffer at some point(s), stressing out about whether we have found just the right word, if our stories (non-fiction or fiction) are strong, impacting and well constructed enough; characters clear and sharp enough; arguing and laughing with our muses and spiritual sources in the universe if we have them.

And we tend to personally and physically dis-assemble while we undergo the process of purging words into the world.

Creating something out of nothing.

You know where I got the idea for the meltdown scene look for Elisabeth Röhm's character in THE WHOLE TRUTH? The photo currently featured on our poster for the film? Looking in the mirror as I wrote the script.

Despite looking fashionably poised in this 1938 photo, I bet Martha Mitchell went just a little crazy when she wrote Gone With the Wind.

Some writers are so sensitive they can't stand the sweet misery that is writing. It gets too painful for them, and my heart goes out to them.

Some resort to chemical and other pain-killers to cope, but I stopped doing any of that decades ago because it takes off my edge and I love my edge.

So why do it?

It's just something we can't NOT do.

We simply have to do it because ... well, because it's something we're evidently created to do.

Created to create, that's why we're here.

Frequently I ask myself, "How did I get myself into this situation?" What am I doing here in this scene with all these characters? Why can't I be happy with a more secure, easier way to make a living?

There are those writers who simply put in their four hours, going to their offices, putting out the verbiage they are capable of producing that day.

I'm too passionate and physical to just sit there calmly; I need to grapple with all that I expect from myself. I talk to my characters; I listen to them, my muses and other voices in my head that hopefully result in something that makes it worth your while to watch, read or hear.

I maintain, however, no matter how cool those post-publication/production pictures look, we - most of us, anyway - go through a hair-pulling, crazy-making, breathe-in-a-paper bag experience procedure sculpting words on the page, and do not in any way resemble the photographs of us published on our books.

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

While I have a full day of celebrating planned on The Big Day - Sunday: a 90-minute massage, attending the play 39 Steps matinee(British-hilarious), topped off with a sumptuous dinner.

Until then I'll just bask in the quotes about THE WHOLE TRUTH written by Paul Ginsberg, who attended the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival screening.

He's a long-time FBI consultant/professional expert witness. After 1,700 trials, this is what he has to say about our film:

"This is hysterical, and the funniest part is ..... a lot of it is true ! ! !"

"The Whole Truth is definitely a scream. Over the years I've seen lots of it in real courtrooms."

"I think 'Send in the Clowns' was written after watching some of my 1,700 trials. The Whole Truth is a tribute to the judges, clerks and court reporters. They will love it.'

"After 35 years of trials, I have seen much of this movie in real life. This is great, and should be required viewing for all lawyers. Funny."

"Order in the court ? No way. This is much more fun."

"The verdict is in - her hands." That is, Angela's hands - portrayed by Elisabeth Röhm in the film.

After reviews like Paul's, we may well be back in the Big Apple for more screenings soon!

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

There's magic in the air

What a rewarding experience the screening of THE WHOLE TRUTH was at the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival.

While the crowd could have been larger, the audience genuinely loved this film. Many laughs were had - including mine and I've seen it a bazillion times.

Q and A afterward was fantastic - one person is an "expert witness" in hundreds of trials and says there's more truth than fiction in the film and he thought it was a great, funny film; he wants to show it to all his colleagues.

Charlie Prince, who heads up the fest, was profuse in his praise of our film and how proud they were to screen it; he was surprised that it was my first feature because of its quality and the great performances of the actors.

One woman commented that she was "shocked" by Elisabeth Röhm's outstanding and hilarious performance. That Elisabeth was so "out there," when she had been only used to seeing Elisabeth in heavy dramatic roles.

Charlie said members of the fest's advisory board, including Nathan Lane, viewed the film and gave it highest marks, which is how it was selected.

I said of all the festivals, this is one I was perhaps most proud because it represents more than 100 years of advocating for comedy - meaning our First Amendment rights. To Friars, comedy is no laughing matter!

At the reception for feature filmmakers, we filmmakers noted that the Friars' festival is perhaps the most pure and pristine on the planet; perhaps since its their first. There are no politics involved, all films were judged for their quality, period, and all submitted were screened.

My partner Gary Allen Tucci was told outright that we were not accepted at one festival because of the way our materials were submitted. The festival runner said film festivals are "political," that if you know how to play the game you're in, If not? To quote Heidi Klum: you're out.

He added that in many cases, if the materials do not include something special and separate that makes them stand out, they may not even screen the film because so many are submitted.

Lesson learned! We'll have pop-ups and stars and who knows what else to include with a super film in THE LONELY GOATHERD (Heart Break Productionz next feature!). For other festivals, that is. We won't need 'em for the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival - just a good film, well made, which we know will be screened by pro's.

Edited to add: I've failed to mention the international nature of the festival! Films from any and every country could submit their shorts and features - and all the films I've seen from other nations (English and non-English speaking) are funny in any language, even those heavy on the subtitles.

Knowing how many nations submitted their is so incredibly humbling, since only a few features were selected for the festival.

I told Charlie he might consider calling it the Friars Club International Comedy Film Festival, but he said he thought the title might be a little long. Not for me, but I'm not a film festival marketer, either.

BTW, Charlie said they learned their lesson re: the luncheons. Next time, there will be networking luncheons for filmmakers! They were trying to offset some of the costs of the festival by having luncheons for big spenders, and realize now they will find other ways to do that.

My experience at this festival has been (still another day of it left, but the pressure is off now!) memorable. Our film has been treated with such respect and admiration; their appreciation of the work and us filmmakers has been palpable. I've also made some new BFF's whose work I admire as well.

Thanks to a producer I met recently, I was able to hook up with an influential attorney here who reps films in distribution and other deals, meet folks whose opinion of the film is influential and hand off copies of the film's screeners to distributors interested in getting our film to a theater near you.

Which, hopefully, will happen sooner than later.

For The Goat, we should have a pre-production distribution deal in place so we don't ever have to go through this again. Pre-production distribution deals (a distributor signs up to take your film, still having the right to refuse to distribute it if it doesn't meet its quality and financial obligations) are common, and with budgets less than $10 million distributors don't interfere with the filmmakers' process. They are free to comment at any point, but the final decisions still rest with the filmmakers.

At the high end deals with studios, the studio has a say from the getgo about everything. Which is why I remain "Indie."

And oh, so happy to have had the opportunity to participate in the maiden voyage of the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival!

Congratulations Charlie Prince and Susannah Gora on presenting such a successful event.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009



Landed at LaGuardia airport last night about 10pm and wow - the place was empty.

Shockingly so. The taxi driver said it's been this way for a while and it's a concern since September is usually a bustling time in the Big Apple.

ONLY take cars marked TAXI, btw, from the airport. The other, unmarked cars, who call themselves taxis (the hotel clerk called them notorious "black car taxis") charge exceedingly inflated rates. The polite drivers approach you inside the airport, ask if you need a taxi, when you say yes, they grab your bag and lead you to their cars - taking advantage of newbies who don't know about these things. When they arrive at your destination, they hit you with an enormous charge.

I found you can refuse to pay that amount, btw, because there is no meter. The driver may not be happy, but there's nothing they can do about it.

Or ... so I heard...

My hotel room at the Wellington is just right - perfect location near all the venues, not to little and not too large, full of history - and not cheap but not inflated rates, either.

It's warm and humid - my hair doesn't fare well in high humidity. I've walked everywhere, so Little Orphan Annie and I have something in common, now, and it's not the red dress.

I checked in for all my credentials and badges at the Friars Club and my goodness. Talk about history. More than a century of show business and comedy history; almost all men of course. But the photos and the name-dropping rooms (Billy Crystal Bar) leave me in wonder of all the souls and talent who have wandered the halls and rooms.

The Friars were pleased to discover, after our film was selected, that our own Elisabeth Röhm is a member!

Other filmmakers showed up to register, and we all have that, "Been there, done that" look of anyone who's done a comedy (it's such a subjective thing-we've all taken our hits along with the praise!).

I'm also dropping screeners of THE WHOLE TRUTH off to distributors who have requested them, with the placard we're handing out to New Yorkers and tourists. I find myself talking about the film with individuals more than passing out the placards. The folks who stop are genuinely interested in a screwball comedy that isn't the "vapid" (their words, not mine!) version we get from Hollywood these days, but a modernized throwback to the days of Carole Lombard, Lucille Ball and Rosiland Russell.

Being New Yorkers, they all remember Elisabeth from the five years she was on Law and Order.

Interestingly, everyone I've met is quite familiar with the Friars Club, but no one has heard of its maiden Friars Club Comedy Film Festival that starts tonight, so this should help get the word out - at least a little.


Speaking of tonight, I'm looking forward to seeing the Coen Brothers' new film and meeting them in person - there's a private reception for them starting at 6pm, followed by the screening of A SERIOUS MAN, then another more open reception for them and the film afterward.

Tomorrow there's a special luncheon for comedy filmmakers; Saturday afternoon a luncheon for screenwriters and Saturday night a party for feature film makers (as opposed to the shorts folks who have their own party tomorrow night). Ah, the perks of being a writer-director-producer. I get to go to all the lunches, dinners and receptions. I love networking!

Sunday night there's a closing party and awards ceremony, which should be interesting since they've not let us know of the type of awards that will be presented. So we don't know if we're up for any of them, or if they're pre-judged, or if we just get a gold star for being selected in this historic maiden festival.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

New turns in life

This past week I seemed to have turned a couple corners that are going to influence the next several chapters in my life's book, and they are more exciting than I could have hoped.

An international distributor called; his company enthusiastically loves THE WHOLE TRUTH. He was effusive in his praise of Elisabeth Röhm's performance ("She was hy-sterical!").

He's now checking with his company's owners to put an offer together. We may or may not accept the proposal his company presents us, but I tell you, his unbridled excitement about our film was incredibly touching and inspiring.

He said his company just closed a deal picking up another comedy - one with a who's who of American comedy cast - about which he was very pleased.

He loves the contrast between that totally commercial comedy and ours, which is a whole lotta fun, but admittedly different from anything out there.

L-R Elisabeth Röhm, Pisay Pao, Sean Patrick Flanery

Here's what Uwe Lützen, a former marketer of English language films in Europe, had to say after seeing the film:

"It's an uncommon comedy. I had a lot of fun. I was thrilled to see a U.S comedy so extreme (well you’re the country that invented political correctness, right ;-), really edgy… and I can see why people can love or hate it. it’s just not what you can expect nowadays from a common comedy – or a festival film… it’s bolder and riskier."

I'm off to New York City and the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival next Wednesday, where there will be numerous special activities (dinners, entertainment programs, parties) in the Big Apple throughout the four days for those of us who have films in the fest, all of which I'm looking forward to, and will be making reports about each right here. If it won't be too awkward, I'm taking my camera (it's big) to record these snippets of history.

L-R: Elisabeth Röhm, Danielle Barnum.

Thankfully, I have help making it all happen the way it "should," that is, in a way for which I've done all my homework and am properly prepared. I'm familiarizing myself with the other filmmakers and films as well as getting help (big time!) for my wardrobe and make-up. That's the cool part of being an indie writer/director. We don't have to be haute couture and everyone expects us to be poor.

Meanwhile, I've met someone whose filmmaking insights, work ethic, professionalism, knowledge, thoughtfulness and artistic acumen are a perfect match for mine. Wow. Taking it one step at a time, this could be the beginning of a superb, ground-breaking, exciting, phenomenal and perhaps even more importantly, totally fun creative relationship.

Before I leave, in addition to taking care of my writing and producing tasks, I'm attending the Wynonna (Judd) concert, visiting the Western Washington State Fair, taking care of rescued horses, working with vocal coach Nedra Gaskill (rehearsing for the Christmas recital) and taking care of any other surprises that come my way.

It's all about balance, isn't it?

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

TWT Friars Club Comedy Film Festival schedule

L-R: Kristina Lilley, Pisay Pao, Sean Patrick Flanery, Elisabeth Röhm.

We just received notice that THE WHOLE TRUTH will play Saturday, September 26, 3 p.m. at the Paley Center for Media (25 W 52nd St.) for the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival.
It's a short festival, only four days (Thursday, Sept. 24-Sunday Sept. 27), with films playing in just three venues, so we appear to be in carefully selected company.

The full schedule of films playing have not yet been posted, but the opening night film is the premiere of A SERIOUS MAN, the Coen Brothers' new comedy.

I'll be there all four days, attending as many screenings as possible, networking and hanging out with John Fugelsang ("Prosecutor Jordan Smith" in TWT; he's also a TV and radio personality, actor, stand up comic and writer), other filmmakers, actors, performers, distributors, celebrities who show up and comedy writers. The Friars Club Comedy Film Festival advisory board is a who's who of comedy and TV personalities - they should be dropping by!

This is a photo of John and one of his New York City fans.

The Friars Club has been America's comedy central for more than 100 years - most people know it from their famous "roast" dinners of celebrities.

They are establishing this film festival because they believe too many great comedies are overlooked when it comes to major awards selection. Very kewl for us.

Most importantly, the Friars prevent mirth control, protecting our right of laughter.

The freedom to laugh at ourselves, the privileged and those in power is the canary in the coal mine of democracy - a freedom Friars Club members take very seriously.

They want us to feel free to sing those canary songs and create works that make us fall over giggling, guffawing, howling, roaring, chuckling, cracking up, chortling, rolling in the aisles, snickering and snorting liquid through our nose!

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Monday, August 03, 2009

In LA for distributors' screenings

It's now Monday night and several more distributors rsvp'd "yes" today to the 2pm theater screening of THE WHOLE TRUTH in Burbank tomorrow, which is nearly full now; still more rsvp'd "yes" to the 7:30pm theater screening in Beverly Hills - where studio reps, other distributors, Elisabeth Röhm and special guest stars will be on hand.

Producer Larry Estes put out the invitations, so they're responding to him.

Some distributors who are not coming to either screening have requested "screeners," the dvd-very low resolution format of the film - which won't be ready until at least a few days after the theater screenings. We may not send them because we're hoping to sign a deal within two days after the screenings.

We've also prepared THE WHOLE TRUTH posters for display outside the theaters so the distributors will see them before they see the film, which should give them a taste of the film's tone in case they've not seen the teaser or the trailer.

The most exciting part for me is not just spending time with our special guest stars - superb and well known talents all - and good distributors who know their stuff, but as soon as we have a solid distribution deal, we can get started with our next feature film, THE LONELY GOATHERD!

Thanks to all the folks who have sent their best wishes, high fives and good luck; at this point we are hoping the film sells itself!

In case there is no distribution deal signed among the folks attending? We have other resources and contacts to help us; hopefully we won't have to turn to them!

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Shot sheeting - Part Deux

Following up on my initial missive on breaking down every single shot I see in my head and writing each down in a list format that I call "shot sheeting" is also called "shot listing."

I just finished the completed finessed version of my script for my next planned feature, THE LONELY GOATHERD and the shot sheets for it almost simultaneously.

For the first pass, I just want to get the "bread and butter" shots on the list, so now's the time to polish and compress what I've written so the filming process can be streamlined and my ideas clearly conveyed to the cinematographer (also called the "DP" - Director of Photography), editor, production designer and everyone else who will read them in the creative collaboration.

Chances are any or all of these professionals will come up with ideas that enhance my vision so profoundly - that I replace pages over which I languished and labored with the new notes provided by these brilliant collaborators.

The DP and I may decide to re-do the shot sheets together based on the vision and all the other work we've done - watching other films for references, discussing emotions, tones, style and effects.

These same conversations take place with other collaborators, individually and together. We need to speak each others' language, understand one another and the way we like to work.

There's more - after I work with the actors, I take into consideration the notes they've made, worked out the blocking (where actors move in the scene) and if they have notes that will enhance their performance, the portrayal of their character, the scene and the film itself - I will listen and if they work to elevate the visual, verbal performance, I'll incorporate them.

It's important to be open to everyone's thoughts, but remain clear about what does and does not work to maintain the film's vision. I say yes to everything that enhances, improves and elevates; I say no to anything that doesn't build on what's already there.

I stay true to the vision of the film, without ever feeling like I have to say yes to soothe someone's ego; I'm not afraid to say no - but I don't want to lose a chance to punctuate a performance with a smart word, movement, shot, prop, whatever has been thoughtfully proposed.

I explain my decision - why I think the idea works - or not. People usually light up and listen closely when I give specifics of how a new thought is "brilliant" and fits right in; their eyes glaze over after I say, "Good thought. But in this case it won't work-- (because the antagonist needs to see it coming and- yadda yadda)"

After "won't work," they tend to have better things to do; few discussions ensue.

But they always come back and back with ideas because when someone gives me an idea that works? It really is brilliant and they can justly feel their thumb print is in the production.

I love working with people who know more than me - so I can learn new and different whatever it takes to make a better film. I'm pleased to say that others in a position to know more have told me they've learned from me as well because I tend not to work the way they've encountered previously.

I always tell the people with whom I work - I'm more interested in making a good film than being "right." The vision is the only thing to work for -- not ego or doing things the way they've always been done.

I know there are directors who are very dictatorial and rude, but the reason I'm so completely, totally and critically anal about pre-production and preparation is so I can relax, and remain open to seeing and inviting all the creative opportunities to enhance the vision during the actual production of the film - whether they come from me or someone else on the production.

The idea is that while I'm making this film a dozen times in my head before I meet with my collaborators, after I meet with them and share my vision/ideas, I expect them to come in with ideas of their own and begin the process I genuinely love - collaborating.

One thing about collaborating - the buck always stops here. For example, if the set designer comes up with an idea of putting egg shells on the floor so they crunch with every step and I don't carefully consider whether that genuinely enhances the vision/production, and come up with a very reasoned answer - and the egg shell idea BLOWS? I can't come back and "blame" the set designer.

It's still my decision.

Thus, the more transparent and grounded the vision, the better the decisions AND, honestly, the better the ideas that are passed my way from all the collaborators working on the film.

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Monday, July 20, 2009


Just in case you wondered if it's a comedy ... Yes that is the in-real-life drop dead gorgeous, normally glamorous, gifted, serious actress Elisabeth Röhm as Angela Masters in THE WHOLE TRUTH.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009


Friday, July 10, 2009

The Key Trailer for THE WHOLE TRUTH!

The screwball story of a gifted acting coach who pays dearly for using her skills to help criminals become so symptathetic to juries they're aquitted!

Starring Elisabeth Röhm, Sean Patrick Flanery, Rick Overton, John Fugelsang, Kristina Lilley, Pisay Pao and Eric Roberts.

It's on its way to a screening for distributors soon - so far everyone invited is coming!

To be perfectly honest - distributorship representatives almost always attend screenings of a new film so they won't miss out or have a competitor pick up a film that might do well.

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Elisabeth Röhm, Rick Overton and John Fugelsang

talk about their experience on THE WHOLE TRUTH - our screwball comedy that will enjoy a screening for film distributors in LA soon. I'm really looking forward to showing our movie to folks responsible for theatrical and other releases.

I'm thrilled to report that there has already been interest shown in our film by some; it's been a work in progress with editor Stephen Meyers until Monday, when I locked it. I could not be happier with it now.

Rick and John talk about their experience on set:

Elisabeth shares how she got involved with her first comedy:


Monday, July 06, 2009

More EPK interviews from THE WHOLE TRUTH!

Executive producer Gary Allen Tucci talks about his passion for films - and unlike just about anyone in the industry, he goes to see films in theaters, sitting with audiences at least three times a week!

Jim Holmes talks about playing successful lawyer Brad Sanders:

Producer Larry Estes learned not to gamble on set!

I chat about working with Eric Roberts, Sean Patrick Flanery, Elisabeth Röhm and Kristina Lilley!

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why Elisabeth Röhm identifies with her wacky character in THE WHOLE TRUTH

In THE WHOLE TRUTH, Elisabeth plays Angela Masters, a super acting coach who, instead of including Hollywood stars as clients, helps criminals with "character transformations" (personality transplants) so they'll appeal to juries just enough to be acquitted.

Life is good - she thinks she has all the answers - until karma steps up to collect for helping all those crooks avoid being accountable for their illegal indiscretions.

And Angela's karmic debt is large.


And worst of all, publicly humiliating.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Elisabeth Rohm: why she wanted THE WHOLE TRUTH

As I've mentioned, Elisabeth had done no comedy - and she's incredible as Angela in THE WHOLE TRUTH. After studying the classics (Twentieth Century, His Girl Friday, Ball of Fire, so many more) and the comedic performances of the greats: Carole Lombard, Rosiland Russell, Barbara Stanwyck, Lucille Ball and more, she developed her own classic character for which those women would give her (very) high fives!

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

My turn - working with Elisabeth Röhm

I told the never-done-comedy before actress:

1. comedy is sincerity on steroids

2. comedy requires the actor be fearless

She took it from there.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

First TWT EPK interview posted with Elisabeth Rohm!


The first series of backstage interviews (EPK=electronic press kit) for our screwball comedy feature, THE WHOLE TRUTH (TWT), are edited and the first one, featuring leading lady Elisabeth Röhm, is now posted on YouTube. Here it is:

Four more are going up tomorrow - with TWT actors Sean Patrick Flanery, Eric Roberts, Kristina Lilley and the dynamic duo of Rick Overton and John Fugelsang (who interview one another!).

Following that will be more interviews with them well as EPK chats with me, executive producer Gary Allen Tucci and producer Larry Estes.

We're talking about - demystifying - the process, the hard work and the fun that will be engaging and informative for audience members as well as those who are budding filmmakers. I hope you check them out!

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Elisabeth Röhm's upcoming films!

Tomorrow and Saturday her drama The Spy and the Sparrow enjoys its world premiere and screening at the Seattle International Film Festival!

Next Wednesday, June 17, her drama The Kreutzer Sonata co-starring Danny Huston premieres on IFC (Independent Film Channel) On Demand.

The Kreutzer Sonata enjoyed its world premiere at last year's Edinburgh Inernational Film Festival.

Watch the trailer.

IFC On Demand is a separate channel from IFC, available through your cable TV service; there is a fee to watch the film. Go to your On Demand screen, then find it from there.

The film will be available for a number of weeks through IFC On Demand.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Second TWT screening - even more successful!

For one thing it started at 4:30 pm, which made a big difference. Tuesday night's world premiere didn't start until about 10 pm. That's late for working folks and students heading for school the next day and folks who flew in from the east - where it's up to 3 hours later in their bodies.

Aaron (Heinzen - my assistant) and I were NOT expecting another sold out screening - the last we heard, several tickets were still available.

But when we arrived? There was an extremely long line of ticket holders and several people who could not get tickets but were hoping for some no-shows to fill empty seats.

I was a little confused. Was there another film showing, too?

"Is that for US?" I asked Aaron.

"Looks like it is," he said.

Sure enough, the place was completely packed.

And the laughs were a-plenty during the film; the applause plenty and often through the credits to the very end. When there was more applause.

Sadly, Elisabeth Röhm had a family medical emergency (NOT life-threatening!) about half an hour before the screening, so she was still in town but could not be there. She was extremely disappointed, as was the audience, but like all of us at Heart Break Productionz, family comes first with Ms. Röhm so they understood.

I conveyed her regrets because she does love this film, our HBPz filmmaking family and Seattle!

My partner at HBPz, Gary Allen Tucci and I started off the q&a, and had the pleasure of introducing our composer, Ragnar Rosinkranz - whose music is such a standout in the film. Again, part of the reason is that not only is he a gifted artist, but we started collaborating at the script level, so he had so much more time to create his phenomenal sounds!

The audience also got to meet Bob Marts, our sound guy. Quite truthfully, I said I hated to show him off because it's like telling everyone about the beautiful woman you're dating; once they know her they'll want to date her, too! But, other filmmakers and TV show guys - hands off! He's OURS!

There was NO ADR (automatic dialogue replacement) or looping required from the actors because of his fantastic work. I am such a sound freak that I've never had to ADR or loop any of the short films I've made - but ADR and looping are *standard* in feature films. None of our stars has ever done a film or TV show that didn't require it. Until THE WHOLE TRUTH!

Character actor Jim Holmes ("Brad Sanders" in the movie) chatted a bit about working on the flm and how much fun he had - he wants to do it all over again on another HBPz film!

Editor Stephen Myers talked about working with me, too ... we had more than our fair share of fun putting it together ("OK .. is this funnier than this? Or is this funnier .. ")

Overall audience reaction: they want to see it again (and again), and can imagine it filling theaters with filmgoers from around the world! From their lips and imaginations to God's project managers ...

This blog is short because I've got a lot of catching up to do around here (especially on sleep); we're getting hot on the distribution leg of our journey. As I explained in an earlier blog, I have a marketing plan that is unique in the industry, but so far seems to be catching on and effective - at least in its early stages.

This coming weekend, I'm posting photos from the reception!

Thanks to everyone who paid your hard earned money to see the film - as I told Mireille and Caitlin, who flew in to see the film - everything we do may be our passion and life's work, but we do it for you, our audience. We *never* take you and your support for granted!

A special thanks to everyone who has sent me emails, notes, cards, flowers, gorgeous plants(!), candy (esp dark chocolate with nuts!) and left comments on my blogs saying how much you loved the film.

If you saw the film and enjoyed yourself (even unexpectedly .. one person told me, "Wow. The film was really great! I never expected it to be nearly this funny..")?

Um .. thank you, too ... ;-)

Consider yourself part of the HBPz family!

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

THE WHOLE TRUTH World Premiere!

First, the private reception was a *blast!* Family, friends, crew and cast gathered at the 7 Salon with great food, conviviality and conversation.

Andy, our host at the magnificent, huge salon, created a perfect atmosphere - complete with a dj and music that he didn't play so loudly we could actually talk at a reasonable decibel, two bartenders, three film posters strategically placed, tables, glassware, the works.

The food was fantastic - it flew off the plates so we quickly ordered more!

Seattle's film industry folks are known for serving weak, meager, tasteless finger foods; we dished out substantial sustenance for our guests to show them the way to feed guests properly.

Don Woods from the Icicle Ridge Winery in Leavenworth brought his magnificent, award-winning wines for all to taste and drink. A beautiful backdrop graced his table as well.

I got many compliments on the make up job Danyale Cook did for me. Gosh, I hardly recognized myself .. ;-). Lots of photos will be coming soon - I ended up not taking pictures because I was running around so much, but our set photographer took lots of piccies, so I'll share them as soon as Frank sends them to me!

It was a genuine pleasure meeting you blog readers at the reception - Amanda, you looked FAB-ulous! As well as seeing so many of the crew members who made a qualitative and personal difference in making the film. Without them, not only would it not have the quality it does - it wouldn't have the heart. My partner Gary Allen Tucci put it well: we felt like a production family.

And we're all ready to do it over again on our next film THE LONELY GOATHERD as soon as we get the distribution situation taken care of with THE WHOLE TRUTH.

Several folks showed up expecting to buy a ticket when they arrived, only to find there were no more tickets on sale. See how it pays to read my blog? I said tickets were selling out, then sold out right here and they didn't read it.

Many people hoping for "rush" tickets did get seated, however. These are tickets that are sold if there are any seats empty left minutes before the screening.

Because of that, previews and other SIFF business - not to mention me introducing most of our guests - the film started late, and it was already a late screening. Which means it started a little TOO late for most working folks.

But, the comments after the film were wonderful - what a fine film it was; how much they enjoyed it from start to finish, how amazing the music was, how well written, how terrific the performances were, how great the casting, etc. It was all I could have hoped for. The cast, my partner executive producer Gary Allen Tucci, producer Larry Estes and composer Ragnar Rosinkranz all joined me at the front of the room to answer questions and whatever the folks left wanted to say.

Mireille and Caitlin - readers of my blog (you read their comments all the time) and HUGE SPF fans, who flew in from Montreal and the Midwest respectively for the film's WP and will see it again later today(!) at the Wednesday screening - loved the film, got *my* autograph for Louise, a friend of theirs in England and of course spent time with SPF who had a great time entertaining them.

Local folks were impressed with how down to earth Sean is - how fantastic and real all our actors are. But I tend to work with folks who are good people as well - I find them better performers for the very most part.

As for me - to be frank, I was so nervous about how the crowd would react, I was a little distracted - listening for every little chuckle, guffaw, belly laugh, giggle, snort. The thing I was most aware of: there was no fidgeting. This is a good thing.

In a crucial scene that required the audience be silent, a complete hush filled the room. I could not even hear anyone breathing.

I sat between Sean Patrick Flanery and Elisabeth Röhm. Since it was the first time he saw the film, Sean was of course a bit contemplative of his (fantastic) performance and has a soft laugh. Elisabeth was totally relaxed and laughed out loud many times, as did other cast members.

At the end, Sean told me he "Loved it;" that he was "Excited as hell" about the film and its future. Whew. He's a tough critic of his own work and (rightfully) others, so that means a lot to all of us working on and with the film and its distribution.

The audience applauded several times at the end of the film, and because of the late hour, many had to leave at its completion - but several troopers stayed for the q&a with the cast, Gary, Larry, Ragnar and me, which was a lot of fun. I shared a sample of the singing that went on during the shoot. Some of the stuff captured by our sound crew during the shoot will be featured on my blogs as time goes by as well as on the dvd's.

When we left, Elisabeth had to return to relieve her babysitter - she brought her 14-month old. The babysitter noted that Elisabeth's daughter Easton was "amazing." She had never met such a contented toddler - especially after flying! Elisabeth is a phenomenal mom! Easton's dad Ron Wooster was on hand, too for all the festivities - and he's another reason Easton is so well adjusted!

Editor Stephen Myers, Jim Holmes, Rick Overton and I had a sarsaparilla in the bar at their hotel to chat about the film. Everyone considered the film and its premiere a complete success. I think *that* is when I started to breathe again.

Coming home to so many laudatory emails was also rewarding!

OK, well it's going on 3am and I have to get up in just a few hours to rush around running errands with Elisabeth and my assistant Aaron - whose mom came all the way from Yakima to see the film - before the next screening!

To everyone in the audience who shared the world premiere and special evening with us - thank you from the bottom of my heard. You are, after all, the reason we do what we do!

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The TWT World Premiere is tonight!

After many months of pre-production, the shoot itself, and the laborious details of post production and marketing, the premiere of THE WHOLE TRUTH takes place at the Seattle International Film Festival tonight.

Tickets to the event are completely sold out.

I'll be on hand with my business partner Gary Allen Tucci, accompanied by stars Elisabeth Röhm, Sean Patrick Flanery, Jim Holmes, Rick Overton and Pisay Pao. Eric Roberts is shooting a film with Sly Stallone ("The Expendibles") in New Orleans, John Fugelsang is performing his one-man show in London, England, and Kristina Lilley is working in Colombia.

Producers Larry Estes and Jennifer Roth, editor Stephen Myers and composer Ragnar Rosinkranz will also be there to answer any questions from audience members after the screening.

The day goes like this: Birthday brunch for a very dear longtime friend, joined by her partner and my brother, who flew in from the Midwest to see the world premiere. Back to work with Aaron making last minute arrangements for the night and the rest of the week.

Late this afternoon I get dressed (up, for me), then my make-up will be done by the wonderful Danyale Cook (hair and make up artist - she did a phenomenal job on our actors' hair styles in THE WHOLE TRUTH).

Gary and I are having a private reception for friends, family, cast and crew before the screening, then watching the movie with nearly 300 other folks, after which we're joining the usual suspects as we respond to the audience in a q&a session.

It will be a memorable evening; I'll tell you about it tomorrow - reporting some of the pithy comments from those who were there. I'll also post photos I'm taking.

Meanwhile, there are still a few tickets available for the 4:30 screening tomorrow (Wednesday) at Pacific Place. Again, tickets for tonight's show are completely sold out.

Wish us luck!

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Thak you for a near record-breaking May!

I'll find out tomorrow just how many hits my website received over 200,000 in May, the second highest number we've ever received.

UPDATED: May stat: 205,946 hits.

Last October cp.com received 220,511 - that was while we were shooting THE WHOLE TRUTH. I posted updates as often as I could, given that I didn't have time to sleep, anyway while we were making the film...

Of course, I'm sure it was what I had to say about the shoot as its director-writer-producer that drew you here rather than all the photos and gossip and fun we had with the gorgeous Elisabeth Röhm, Sean Patrick Flanery, Eric Roberts, Jim Holmes, Rick Overton, Pisay Pao, Kristina Lilley...


OK, it's the stars - and they definitely deserve your attention in this film! They're terrific.

Meanwhile, you're tuning in from 104 countries! 104! Thank you so much for reading my website - I hope you have a translator for your language if you don't read English.

The vast majority of you go directly to my blog when you check in; be sure to drop by the home page for new and exciting stuff, too, so you don't miss anything!

Thank you again for dropping by - I feel a special responsibility to you, so I'll be opining here lots more in the coming year.

For day to day stuff, I'm also on Twitter!

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Film distribution

In this still frame from THE WHOLE TRUTH, acting coach Angela Masters (Elisabeth Röhm) coaches a criminal client as lawyer sidekick Brad Sanders (Jim Holmes) approves.

Something special is happening with our movie, thanks to our appearance in the Seattle International Film Festival, my website and blog, the growing numbers of folks watching the trailer on YouTube, the poster for the film, THE WHOLE TRUTH official website, other entertainment websites and blogs, fan sites, word of mouth and "buzz."

We've been contacted by several legitimate film distributors - worldwide (domestic and international), international (outside US) and domestic (US and, usually, Canada).

At this point we're keeping a list of all interested distributors who have contacted us - and will continue to add to that list through our SIFF screenings, as well as including distribution contacts we already have.

We're checking reputations (some promise but don't pay filmmakers their share of the profits, others are spot on fair and honest) and records for supporting and marketing films they have chosen.

Marketing is a big deal. It's a costly endeavor and we can name the films that died because of inappropriate, poor or totally misguided marketing on a roll of toilet paper, there are so many.

I started marketing THE WHOLE TRUTH in a unique way; one that is intended to raise curiosity and promise about the film without giving away the hundreds of surprises contained within. It's also a thriller/screwball comedy whose genres I've turned on their ears, which means that it's, um, different.

I think it's different in a way audiences will love -- but we'll find out if that's true next week, won't we?

We're also looking for a distribution partner, not someone simply wanting to make the most money from just one film, or a "one-off."

We're going to be making films for many years to come, so we want to hook up with a solid distributor who will be with us for the duration. We're only making quality, entertaining films, and we're looking for someone who feels the same way about marketing and distributing quality, entertaining films.

Meanwhile, here is what the SIFF program viewer wrote up about THE WHOLE TRUTH for their catalogue - I think it reveals the tone and texture of the film very well - it's what most distributors unfamiliar with our film are reading:

Angela Masters is an acting coach with an unusual client list.

Instead of catering to Hollywood celebrities, she gives what could be described as personality transplants—“character transformations,” if you will—to accused criminals.

By making her clients appear slightly more sympathetic to juries, Angela has become a specialist in securing acquittals for some decidedly shady characters.

This lucrative enterprise is interrupted when Angela overhears a client she helped set free plan a heinous crime—then she becomes a target for murder.

Portrayed by Elisabeth Röhm, of Law & Order fame, Angela discovers that escaping death and finding who she really is becomes the most expensive—and rewarding—experience of her life.

The plot points resemble those of a pure courtroom thriller, but Seattle director Colleen Patrick, in her feature debut, has turned the genre on its ear to create a fast-paced and hilarious satire about the current state of the legal system.

Billing itself as 'a screwball comedy—with a twist,' the film contains sharp dialogue and strong comic performances.

Filmed at various locations around Seattle and Tacoma, The Whole Truth packs in rapid-fire laughs, but also neatly skewers the sorry state of the American 'justice' system.

Come this weekend, THE WHOLE TRUTH trailer will also be available through the SIFF online catalogue for them to peruse; the official website is already posted.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009


We'll have these plastered all 'round for the world premiere and second screening at the Seattle International Film Festival.

We're also using them to decorate the private reception we're having for cast, crew, friends and family!

Isn't that a terrific shot of Elisabeth Röhm?

It's a still frame from the film, so everyone who sees it will recognize which scene it's from!

At the Official website for THE WHOLE TRUTH, you can click on the poster and it gets quite large!

If you need incredible photoshop artist, we were referred to Josh Garretson by photographer Adam Weintraub!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

THE WHOLE TRUTH World Premiere.... SOLD OUT!

The Tuesday, June 2, 9:30 pm screening of THE WHOLE TRUTH is completely sold out.

Every seat taken. Every ticket available - purchased.

If you hold one of these tickets?

I'm thrilled you'll be joining me, Elisabeth Röhm, Sean Patrick Flanery, Rick Overton, Jim Holmes and Pisay Pao to welcome the film into the world - along with my business partner Gary Allen Tucci, producers Larry Estes and Jennifer Roth, editor Stephen Myers, composer Ragnar Rosinkranz and some of the cast and crew who made it happen.

We're checking on Wednesday's seating (4:30 pm, screen #11 at Pacific Place in downtown Seattle), which is also expected to sell out.

I'll post those numbers here as soon as I .. um, OK, my assistant Aaron Heinzen .. can get them!

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Gift

Reflecting on what I said about Susan Boyle - that is, being stymied by why she touches me so deeply: truth is I do know what there is about her that connects with so many of us so intensely.

Being someone who has worked with and cast just about every degree of talent over the years, it's not really a je ne sais quoi element. It's a personal energy. It's located within what I consider the soul of the individual, somewhere between the solar plexus and the gut.

I can actually feel it when I'm in the presence of someone who exudes it.

After seeing Amadeus many years ago, I couldn't understand why Salieri wasted his life envying Mozart and others, when he himself had been given such a unique gift: the ability to discern genuine talent. Mozart didn't really excel at his art until he was older - few realized he would create work that would live ... well, forever.

Think of how happy Salieri's life would have been had he adopted Mozart, nurturing his work, protecting him from his father and others who would exploit the man without ever understanding his true genius.

Instead, his jealousy drove him insane - it always does. Jealousy is the fear of losing something we've never had in the first place.

The distinction of a talented person shows up when those who have it work like hell to hone it. To express it, no matter how it comes out, no matter how long it takes.

And it never has to look, sound or feel "perfect."

The Beatles, IMO, are one of the greatest bands in the history of modern music - yet none of its members has a pristine, fantastic or gifted voice. Yet they connected with the hearts of so many regardless of the form their music took along their melodious journey. Their harmony, rhythm, message, joie de vivre; the love of their art and craft was infectious. And they never stopped practicing - growing as artists and human beings.

Which brings me to another subject: what I perceive as cultural differences between (hopefully without being too simplistic or encompassing regarding either group) between UK and US attitudes toward the arts.

We can find a Susan Boyle in the UK because the attitude there is much more respectful of the arts; people pursue their love of an art or craft because it is their passion - without ever considering the possibility of a career as an artist or craftsperson. Sharing it with family, friends and community is reward enough.

I know people in the UK and Europe who love to sing, write, perform, make films, play instruments and more just because their lives would feel incomplete without it. They also have day jobs, have families (functional, even!) and lead "ordinary" lives.

I have sung myself this way for many years, continuing to practice and study just because I love to do it. I sang professionally at one point and didn't like the lifestyle. Too much traveling for this home body. Today I sing for friends, family and special occasions.

In the US, unless there is a direct road or specific career plan - or some path clearly seen as a way to make a living, chances are family and friends frown on the pursuit of an art or craft just for the pure passion of that pursuit.

Been there, done that. When I first stared my film career after leaving journalism, I felt like the lone flea on a very large dog. I have no idea what made me think of that image, but you know, one seldom thinks of an isolated flea. Yes, that's it. On a very large, furry island of that huge canine.

People I knew well - and hardly at all - thought I was crazy. And too old. Support was difficult - if not impossible to come by.

But I couldn't NOT write, direct and produce. It's just a part of me. In the beginning, I thought perhaps I could try to make "something happen" career-wise through ordinary means - like LA. But I soon realized that was something I did not want.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, people were saying that "it" simply couldn't happen here. Go to LA.

I don't mind working in LA; but I have to live in Seattle. It's as much a part of me as my writing, directing, producing, pets, friends, home-

So I decided I would probably have to spend the rest of my life just being happy. Doing what I love on a day to day basis - making mostly short films while writing some 21 feature scripts - surrounding myself with people who understood what I was doing, with no expectation of 'more.'

I don't think it's a fluke that my closest friend is British, living in Manchester.

Beating breast cancer put a crimp in my style for nearly three years, but it didn't stop me from working on my own films as well as coaching actors, writers and directors until I was finally told to stop or my positive prognosis would change.

Next Tuesday, June 2, my business partner Gary Allen Tucci and I will be attending the world premiere of our feature, THE WHOLE TRUTH, a screwball comedy starring Elisabeth Röhm, Sean Patrick Flanery and Eric Roberts at the Seattle International Film Festival.

Along with Elisabeth and Sean Patrick, several outstanding supporting actors like Rick Overton and Jim Holmes will be on hand to watch it for the first time along with the rest of the audience. Eric is shooting a film with Sylvester Stallone in New Orleans and can't join us - John Fugelsang will be performing in London.

I hope we see you there!

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Friday, May 08, 2009

Ticket sales are going gangbusters!

Thanks to everyone who's contacted me saying that you've bought your tickets to see THE WHOLE TRUTH's world premiere June 2 - and subsequent screening the next day!

There are still tickets available to buy here. I'll let you know when they're gone - both are expected to be completely sold out soon.

Meanwhile, thanks to our editor Stephen Meyers, here's the online trailer for the film:

Rick Overton narrates. He has a major role (we originally said he "has a large part" but thought better of it ...) in THE WHOLE TRUTH, and does lots of voice work in Hollywood.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

THE WHOLE TRUTH tickets are on sale-NOW!

Here. For everyone!

Elisabeth Röhm, Sean Patrick Flanery and other stars in the film - and me! - will be on hand to answer your questions, sign autographs, accept your appreciation for their performances and in turn appreciate your presence at our world premiere when the film ends - it's going to be a party!

My assistant Aaron and I dropped by the room in which THE WHOLE TRUTH will be screened Tuesday, June 2 at 9:30pm and Wednesday June 3 at 4:30pm in the Pacific Place AMC Theatres venue.

It will be on screen #11 which holds 285 viewers. It's a fine, state-of-the-art motion picture theater - there's not a bad seat in the house and the screen is the perfect large movie size. Parking is in the basement of the building and hotels for out-of towners/staters/country are a walk away.

SIFF press screenings are currently shown in that theater; not all the films shown will be screened and therefore reviewed. I hope ours is!

Again .. tickets will go quickly, be sure to pounce when the box office opens; I'm not sure how many SIFF members are aware of our film since it's barely been mentioned in SIFF press releases (they don't know what they're missing!) - so chances of getting general public tickets on Friday are great as long as you get them early!

I hope to see you there!

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Your first peek at THE WHOLE TRUTH

Here's a still frame directly from the film.

Elisabeth Röhm stars as acting coach Angela Masters. Here she helps her client and pal Gary Langston, played by Sean Patrick Flanery.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

THE WHOLE TRUTH world premiere info!

Tickets go on sale Thursday morning, May 7 .... at the Seattle International Film Festival website.

I suggest you POUNCE on them.

Happily, folks are flying in from all over to see it, and there are lots of local crew members and artists who worked on the film whose friends and family are coming as well.. Some have told me they're buying tickets for June 2 *and* 3 to watch both screenings!

All the stars will be there at both screenings - Elisabeth Rohm, Eric Roberts, Sean Patrick Flanery, Jim Holmes, Rick Overton, John Fugelsang, Pisay Pao and more!

It stays light here until 10pm those days ... so premiere night won't feel late.


Tuesday, June 2, the world premiere of THE WHOLE TRUTH starts at 9:30 pm at Pacific Place Cinemas in Seattle -- specific location info is here. Arrive early to get a good seat; it's a great threater.

Pacific Place Cinema is located at 600 Pine St # 228, Seattle, WA 98101 (206) 405-2655 Get directions

It's in a several-tiered downtown mall featuring upscale stores like Barney's and fine restaurants.

If you can't make it June 2, it will be playing again the next day, Wednesday, June 3 at 4:30 pm, same theater.

Some of my blog readers have told me they're attending both screenings! I wasn't expecting that - it's pretty flattering! I do not believe anyone will leave disappointed, however.

If you're flying in, there are several hotels offering 10% discounts on rooms for guests attending SIFF. The list of participating hotels is located at the SIFF website - be sure to mention SIFF when you make your reservations, and they can also arrange for your SIFF tickets if you request.

If you are coming to the screening from out of town, please email me so we can get together!

Prepare to laugh yourself silly - I hope to see you there!

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Monday, April 06, 2009


Will take place at the Seattle International Film Festival.

We were *just* notified, so we'll know more later - date, time, etc.

Hopefully, our stars Elisabeth Röhm,

Sean Patrick Flanery,

Eric Roberts,
Jim Holmes,

Kristina Lilley

John Fugelsang
Rick Overton and Pisay Pao will be on hand to see the movie for the first time themselves!

Here's the 4-1-1 on SIFF from its invitation to include THE WHOLE TRUTH:

"Now in its 35th year, the Seattle International Film Festival is the largest and most highly-attended film festival in the United States, showcasing more than 400 films from over 60 countries to an audience of 150,000 attendees annually.

"While new festivals have seemingly emerged in every small and large city worldwide, SIFF was listed by Variety as one of the world’s “50 unmissable film festivals,” and continues to be recognized as one of the top festivals in North America.

"In terms of Seattle, the profile we offer for film is recognized as extremely important in the US. The Festival combines the best aspects of a casual film marketplace with our well-established reputation as a great audience festival that filmmakers love to attend.

(Here's the best part)

"We would be honored to present this film to our audiences and we look forward to receiving your confirmation of its availability."


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Friday, March 20, 2009

One person's reality is another person's ...

...you fill in the blank.

Most "serious" film critics consider "reality" a gritty, tough, downer drama.

As if, in the real world there are no laughs, no high points, no fun, no hope, no promise, not a glimmer of a brighter side, no light at the end of the tunnel - only gloom, doom and disaster.

Only worlds in which characters we are lured to care about suffer loss, loneliness, abuse, self-destruction, grief, beatings, arguments, drug addiction, misery and title credits-to-fin strife.

Mind you, even in the most dire of circumstances, in *real* life, we find something to laugh about. Journalists, doctors, nurses, soldiers and others who deal with life and death every day always find something about which to laugh - although in many cases it may not be politically correct because it's usually a "dark humored" way to release the tension of the moment.

I'm not saying every dramatic film needs a laugh or two - although that would actually be more "real."

But there should be at least the minimal understanding in the industry that "serious" films can also be comedies.

Artistically, screwball comedies are the toughest work for an actor. The range is great, the circumstances unusual, the interpretive beats are counted in the hundreds - whereas a serious drama's interpretive (subtextual, emotional) beats can be relatively few by comparison for the average drama.

This is not to dismiss a great dramatic performance in any way - good acting is hard work for any dedicated performer.

But imagine your favorite dramatic actor being in a comedy. How would he or she make the transition? Could he or she make the transition? It takes guts. Comedy is hard - writing, performing and directing - to make it work.

Mercifully, Kate Winslet - someone with whom I hope to work one day - says she's near desperate to be in a good comedy after playing two seriously tortured, self-destructive roles that won her many well-deserved kudos and awards, including the coveted Oscar.

She will bring the same extraordinary, award-winning brilliant talent and massive skills to a comedic character. But she'll have more fun and have to work even harder because great comedic performances demand it. I believe she is a superbly gifted comedic actor. She was hilarious in TV's Extras, and needs a great comedic script to devour!

There are so many different types of comedy - the best, the most intelligent, has anger at its core, but diminishes the power of whatever makes us angry by putting the subject on its ear so we can all laugh about it.

In THE WHOLE TRUTH, it's the injustice of the American "justice" system. I think that pisses off nearly everyone. It certainly does me - enough to produce, write and direct a screwball comedy about the subject embodied in the lead character of Angela Masters, brilliantly played by Elisabeth Röhm. Originally, I started writing it as a drama, ala Michael Clayton.

But I love to entertain audiences, and who would want to sit through that morose bit more than once? Also, we feature filmmakers must devote at least a year of our lives living with these characters and plot twists and turns. Myself? I'd much rather have fun and laugh through the excruciatingly detailed process.

Actually I start all my comedies by writing the "serious" and "real" dramatic logical story, with psychological profiles and backgrounds of the lead characters. Then I flip everything into comedy.

Of course, there are those who believe film should reflect the reality of the difficulties faced by millions of our sisters and brothers around the world. That is absolutely fine with me.


There's a 1941 Preston Sturges film called "Sullivan's Travels." It's about a film director, famous for doing comedies, who decides to do a nitty, gritty, pity drama about how shitty it is out there. To understand just how bad it is, he takes off - without a cent - to find and live with the despondent, miserable and heartbroken "common man."

Long story short - and worth watching - he ends up living with a group of these depressed, disillusioned and destitute folks.

And guess what he discovers they want more than anything?

To. Laugh.

They don't want to see more of the grief they are living.

As he watches a film with them, he sees these former sad sacks lost in laughter, enjoying the socks off a silly cartoon.

He finally realises: he is doing something that actually helps them. That they genuinely want. Something needed in any culture. To laugh, no matter how dire a circumstance.

But I digress.


When I coached actors, we'd role play the all-important casting interview. This is an interview conducted by casting directors or directors intended to gain insight into the actor. It's thought the more open they are, the more intimacy they give their performance. Likewise, the more insightful their answers, the more insight it is believed they'll give their characters.

One of the questions I like to ask: "Tell me about something you'd like to do over again if you could."

Literally 100% of the answers revolved around a mistake they made they'd love to rectify, that they hurt someone and want to take it back for a do-over, take school more seriously instead of blowing it off, tell someone they loved them when they had the chance .. you get the idea.

Finally, a little dismayed by years of never seeing a totally different way to answer the question, I started giving them another type of answer idea, which made them light up, show a ton of subtext and far more personality than their "serious" answers ever did.

We (directors, producers, casting agents) like to be surprised. To see something we weren't expecting.

Here's what I told them: "Instead of going the way of regret, why don't you take the enjoyable route?"

As in:

"Wow. What I'd love to do over... You know, I'd really love to re-live my weekend skiing with my girlfriend at Whistler Mountain. It was amazing. We played all week-end. Skiing, snowboarding, throwing snowballs, building a snow 'person' -- boobs and what have you. The meals were fantastic and we even had a fireplace in our room. Where we built a fire of our own, if you know what I mean. It was the best. I'd love to re-live that weekend; do it all over again."

If you want to make it super real, add that you broke up when you got home fighting over who the better skier is - or whatever really happened. If you broke up.

Or maybe that you got married - and never went skiing again.

Or maybe you got married and actually lived happily ever after.

Whatever really happened.

At the end of shooting THE WHOLE TRUTH, one of our lead actors had to rush off to do another film - which was not going to be fun. It was going to be rushed and working with a not-so-well written script, but for good money.

Like other actors on the production, s/he said it was the most enjoyable production and most difficult work they'd ever done, and was very sad to leave.

His/her parting words: "Well. Back to reality."

I said, "Working on THE WHOLE TRUTH was also reality."

There are different types of reality.

Happiness is just as much a reality as sadness as pushing through the crap out there every day.

As for me, when I realized this? I became much happier.

Seriously, I decided my reality was going to be positive, happy, fun and make the most of whatever the world handed me. A sense of humor is a valid value and personality trait, too, ya know.

That was many years ago.

So far, so good.

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