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, 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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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Sean Patrick Flanery on Hallmark Sept. 12

Thanks to entertainment blogger Mireille Miskulin, you can read all about THE WHOLE TRUTH's Sean Patrick Flanery's upcoming original MFT (made for TV) film, CITIZEN JANE, which debuts on the Hallmark Channel Saturday, Sept. 12.

The story is based on a real woman - Jane Alexander, a champion in the victim's rights movement.

Ally Sheedy portrays Jane, as she puts her life on the line to catch a killer - an ordinary citizen doing an extraordinary thing to obtain justice on behalf of a victim mercilessly murdered.

Sean has several other projects ready to pop as well - as soon as I hear, you will!

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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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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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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sean Patrick Flanery: Why I wanted THE WHOLE TRUTH!

I can't explain his make-up and state of undress - you'll have to see the movie to understand the scene from which he emerged to talk with us behind the scenes!

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sean Patrick Flanery about working on THE WHOLE TRUTH

After seeing THE WHOLE TRUTH world premiere at the Seattle International Film Festival, Sean announced, "I *love* this film! I'm excited as hell about it!"

We held our breath to see what he'd say, 'cause the film is a risky new take on the over the top, old fashioned screwball comedy - so we are thrilled with his proclamation!

BTW, as you'll hear me say in one of my EPK (Electronic Press Kit - behind the scenes) interviews, Sean has a great singing voice! You'll hear it when we release the DVD's - we're dedicating one DVD to all the interviews and backstage fun we had during the shoot. Seriously, Sean could have a new career if he wanted - I hope he agrees to sing if interviewers ask when he's out on the road!

Sean, Sean he's our man!
If he can't sing it, no one can!

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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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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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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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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Whole Truth is screened!

I'll just say this: it was incredibly successful.

The response was so positive .. and of course we can actually *hear* people laugh, which is the biggest payoff for a comedy.

How difficult it is to sit through a drama you've filmed as the audience sits there tight-lipped - so you never know if they like it until they leave (or you read about it in tomorrow's newspaper).

Stephen Meyers, our editor supreme, and I locked the film today, cutting bits and scenes here and there to make it tighter, a better paced story and staying true to the characters.

I lost two of my favorite scenes. Ow. It hurt to make those decisions. But it has to be done for the sake of a better film. They were fine scenes but the created a small lull in the otherwise fast-paced story. One was just plain downright gorgeous. The other touching.

We'll include them as extras when we create the DVD.

Some of the comments:

"Elisabeth Röhm is phenomenal. She carries the story from the first frame of the film to the last."

"Eric Roberts was unbelievable. I had no idea he could be so f**king funny!"

"I loved Sean Patrick Flanery. He gave the film a real warmth."

"The film is hilarious - and the characters are still believable."

"Loved the music. It was perfect - in the parts where there was music." (The rest of the music is on its way from composer, who will finish scoring the locked film.)

"The film was actually logical. I liked that. Lots of comedies leave logic behind."

"The actors all felt like they were having a great time - like they were having so much fun performing their roles." ('tis true! We all had a wonderful time and want to work together again!)

There were many comments on the excellent acting - straight across the board, from beginning to end - not a weak link in the group.

The most wonderful comments revolved around how entertaining the whole film is - and how it felt like they were seeing a "real movie" - the first they've seen in a long, long time. Our budget may have been limited, but our imaginations and resourcefulness were not. It has the look of a film with a much greater budget - thanks to the whole cast and crew.

Folks left feeling like they were genuinely entertained by a film that didn't take shortcuts or "write down" to its audience or stupid-up the script to get a cheap laugh, even though there are many "over the top" moments.

Producer and hyper critic Larry Estes was in the audience and was *heard* laughing! Executive producer Gary Allen Tucci laughed all the way through the feature. That was *good* news!

Other things viewers loved:

The wardrobe! Rebecca Luke is the general of our clothing batallion in our "aesthetic army!"

The look of the film! Rachel Thomson is our production designer; Ted Barnes the gaffer (lights!)Paul Mailman the DP (camera!), and Greg Smith our grip (action! Moving and coordinating all the electrical cords and stuff).

We can only hope the audience we invite to the January screening feels the same with all the cuts and improvements we've made. We'll also have an elementary sound mix, the proper opening, color correction and special effects included. After that, we have one more go at the edit, proper sound mixing and the film is ready for you to see!


Now back to work on pre-production for our next feature, The Lonely Goatherd!

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

After one month of shooting..

The production continues to move along beautifully - the film looks fantastic.

Working with Eric Roberts is nothing short of a wonderful experience. Fun, professional, personable and wow - his performance must be seen to be believed.

The crew and I have been working very long late hours every day/night this past week, and have a couple more coming up. Courtroom scenes, action scenes, night scenes.

As if she could, Elisabeth Röhm continues to be more and more hilarous, gaining more comedy chops and pulling them out of who knows where.

Sean Patrick Flanery's work is finished. His fans, honestly, will be completely and totally shocked at his work. Trust me. The guy is a million laughs.

We're 2/3 finished, only two more weeks to go. We are all going to miss each other terribly when this film is in the can - cast and crew. But we have the wrap party to celebrate everyone and everything we've done.

I continue to have the time of my life. I'm doing everything - Eric is especially appreciative of all I'm doing. The guy's been acting since he was 5 years young. Seriously.

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Half of THE WHOLE TRUTH is told!

We finished up day #15 of our 30-day shoot, and it was full of good spirits!

The weather was with us - beautiful and sunny with an autumnal crispness in the air - as we shot an exterior scene in the middle of Seattle. Lots of people saw what we were doing and recognized Elisabeth Röhm, even though she was wearing a costume that was supposed to "disguise" her character!

A couple of elderly women approached Sean Patrick Flanery, not recognizing him, asking, "What's happening?"

Typically, SPF responded, "Well, the stock market is taking a real hit now, but if you just sit tight, in another three weeks or so the Dow will-"

Whereupon they interrupted him with, "No! We mean what's happening *here!*" Of course he told them we're making a movie, that it's a comedy and it's called THE WHOLE TRUTH.

Interestingly, throughout this venture, lots of folks think I'm from Los Angeles/Hollywood. Nope, even though I've been told for years that the only way to do what I am currently doing is to move to LA, I've stayed in Seattle because I love my life here.

Now I *really* love my life here because I'm able to do what I love, make a living and create films I hope you will want to see over and over!

For the next week, we're shooting in Tacoma - 30 miles away - so I'll be living in a hotel there since I have to be at work by 5:30a.m. My personal assistant Matt Schmidt will keep the home office fires burning, take care of my pups and kitty, as well as taking care of me at the shoot.

Part II, coming up. And we're all looking forward to it.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Day #13 is in the can!

If you're new to this blog, the title does not mean it's in the toilet .. it means it's in the film can. It's been shot and is at the developer's, then a digital copy of what we shot is on its way to the editor in LA.

The days have been full of hard work, getting some very sweet stuff. Great color, acting, depth of field in the scenes, sound.

We finish the scenes we need to shoot at the current location tomorrow, then Friday we're mostly outside.

One thing that distinguishes this shoot: singing. Sean Patrick Flanery and me do most of the singing. But yesterday Elisabeth Röhm led everyone in a spirited version of "All You Need Is Love" while we were waiting for lighting to be perfected. Our sound guys recorded it. Who knows - we may use it for the DVD version of the film.

Next week we're joined by Eric Roberts, Rick Overton, Jim Holmes and John Fugelsang. Sean Patrick Flanery has just a few days left to shoot, then he flies to Toronto to star in the sequel to Boondock Saints. The rest of us will be working for another three weeks to finish the film.

Our composer, Ragnar Rosinkranz, is watching the film being built by the editor in LA .. so he can build the soundtrack as the film is being put together.

The film is looking great, and editor Stephen Myers says it looks "excellent" so far.

In two days, THE WHOLE TRUTH principal shooting will be 50% completed. It's going by so quickly.

We're trying not to get media coverage yet because we want to keep a lot of the film's information under wraps until we're ready to show it to you! But some newspaper bloggers and neighborhood folks who saw our humongous trucks and lights wrote in a Seattle daily newspaper about what they saw us doing. The write up was pretty general, but wow. Some of the folks who read the short article and commented were pretty pissy -- writing suppositions about stuff that didn't happen, assumptions about the subject of the film and dissing it without having anything but minimal information about it.

But, that's show biz, baby, and think of all the people who will say whatever they want when it finally comes out.

At least they will have seen the movie! That is a good thing!

Today's shoutout goes to gafffer Ted Barnes. The gaffer lights the set in a way recommended by the director of photography. Ted is the very best -- lighting makes or breaks the scenes and how they are conveyed, and I have to say, our scenes are conveyed with the *best* lighting!

Lights are big and small, and can be very heavy. Working around as much electricity as we do, it is most important that safety be uppermost in everyone's mind working around all the lights, sound equipment and the heavy equipment it takes to light a 35mm film. Gaffing is very hard work; it requires a lot of knowledge, passion for the work (telling the story in the most dramatic/comedic way) and physical strength. Ted is also great to work with - he's an easy guy to be around.

But I constantly find that folks who know what they're doing and have confidence in their skills and abilities are fantastic filmmaking co-workers.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Week 1 is in the can!

It's hard to believe seven days have passed since we started shooting the film; that five days of pure filming have already passed.

What a fantastic week it was. Our editor in LA says the dailies are fantastic. He's editing the first four days of shooting over the weekend and says we may need some wild sound for one scene but everything else seems in tact.

I told him I want to avoid looping (where actors say words in a studio - while watching the film - to be inserted on the sound track because their lines are, for whatever reason, lost while the scene is being shot).

I think the audience can always hear the difference between lines said in the heat of the moment in a scene and those said in a studio, where energy is usually considerably lower.

We had a small dust up Friday as we were finishing our first week ... about 12:30 a.m.

I came up with two solutions, which were supported by our producers and DP, so nothing like it will happen again.

We're all having such a good time. Lots of laughter. The crew and cast say how much they enjoy working on the shoot - the crew adding how much they wish they could work on films like it and comedies the rest of their lives!

Well, as soon as THE WHOLE TRUTH is wrapped and off to audiences, we're in pre-production for THE LONELY GOATHERD, so they'll have the opportunity to laugh again relatively soon.

I've been trying to find out what kind of shoes Steven Spielberg wears ... my knees are absolutely killing me. It's not age - it's standing for so many hours every day ... I thought I had comfortable shoes, but I need shoes that are much more comfortable and good for knees.

This weekend I've pretty much stayed in bed, slept and kept off my poor feet/knees. I've taken Advil, used stuff for sore joints, and everything else I could do to ease the pain. I have a pair of shoes coming that are supposed to be the most comfortable shoes *ever,* but that could just been an advertisement

I'm getting major knee braces tomorrow am on the way to set. I'm dressing very comfortably -- one can't be comfortable enough when one is directing because we're going from dawn to dusk on our feet.

I check in every day before we start with hair, make up and wardrobe because they always need for me to approve something, or I have a suggestion. The art dept (set design) and props are my next stops. Everyone is such a pro and on top of their game, they're thrilled the director actually spends time with them. It's resulted in some unbelievable work.

We're in this massive location house tomorrow and Tuesday, then moving on for two days of park scenes. Actually we may start on Tuesday because were a full major scene ahead in the schedule. The editor is sending me any sounds or inserts we need to pick up for all the scenes we've shot before we leave the house.

The actors have been *unbelievably* good. Great, even. Sean Patrick Flanery can do anything and everything and sensationally. Elisabeth Röhm is phenomenal. They're both extremely kind - one of the supportive actors (in her first major American film) was having trouble with lines, and they helped her before I had the chance. The actor nailed it!

Eric Roberts, while working on another film, has also been early prepping for his role on this film. He and his wife Eliza are very excited about this project - and his prep is meticulous. When he, Rick Overton and John Fugelsang arrive, we're going to have a PARTY of stupendous acting!

Back to resting .. I can't get enough rest on weekends .. all I'm doing is lying down, drinking water and juice, eating something good.

Living such a sedentary life before the production office was set up and prepro kicked in, I've worked hard to keep up with the physical labor part of this job. I've already lost noticeable weight and should be in fantastic shape when we wrap!

Then it's immediately on to editing THE WHOLE TRUTH and into prepro for our next project, THE LONELY GOATHERD.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Beginning of shoot day #5

Yesterday's shoot went *very* well. Elisabeth and Sean are at the top of their game, Kristina Lilley kicked butt and Pisay Pao came through like a champ. Little pup TinTin was FABulous.

The crew cannot be praised highly enough. Today Megan Griffiths gets a special shout-out. She's the 1st AD (Assistant Director), who keeps the whole team glued together. She's calm, cool, collected; extremely knowledgeable and professional.

We had a later call yesterday and a call today (start time) at noon, so I'm getting a couple things done today before going in and starting a long day that will go late into the night.

Stephen Myers, our editor in LA, started to receive our dailies (the film already shot and developed - we're shooting 35mm), and says they look fantastic! He should finish editing the first two days of shooting today, and we'll keep progressing daily for the editing from now on.

That means we'll have a rough cut of our film shortly after we finish shooting. I'm taking a week off after the shoot to put my brain back together, then I'll be sitting with Stephen every day as we finish the editing process.

I've already been working with Ragnar Rosinkranz, our composer - he'll be looking at the rough cut as it is built and coming back with more themes and scoring music that we'll finesse along the way and at the end.

Following that is sound perfection and "sweetening." That's where I add all the birds and other ambient sounds that we've been careful to avoid during the filming so I can put them in just the right place.

I'm not posting pictures until the film is finished so you'll want to see it and get a kick out of the "behind the scenes" snapshots that were taken.

Two seniors from the University of Arizona arrived yesterday to begin the process of doing a documentary on the making of THE WHOLE TRUTH. A total of six students will be "covering" us without getting in the way. One of our producers, Larry Estes, teaches a film producing class there - in his "spare time."

They get credit for working on THE WHOLE TRUTH.

Me, too.

writer-director and some sort of producer ... ;-)

Back to work!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 3: a memorable scene blows us away!

Elisabeth Röhm and Sean Patrick Flanery performed a scene today that I can't describe because you'll have to see it for yourself to believe just how great it is.

Believe me when I say I do not exaggerate.

I was as proud as proud could be of their performances, captured for generations to come by DP Paul Mailman and his crew.

We all (behind the scenes workers and other cast members) stood or sat there, stunned, at what we had seen and experienced, it was so moving, so incredibly touching.

I couldn't help but wonder: if this is only the third day of our shoot, with 27 more to go, and it's only going to get better?

Oh, my goodness.

Plus that, joining us soon will be the equally ridiculously talented, gifted and skilled actors Rick Overton, Eric Roberts and John Fugelsang.

Truly, we're blessed with an embarrassment of riches.

I can actually get some sleep tonight because we have a later call time tomorrow -- we're shooting into the night. And Friday night we'll be shooting even later.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Cameras roll in 2 days!

Locations found by Craig Stewart and his staff, are (mostly) locked. Sets are being dressed by Rachel Thomson and her crew with props by Christopher McFadden and his crew as I write this.
Rehearsals have been held with four of our lead actors: Elisabeth Röhm, Sean Patrick Flanery, TinTin the 3-pound dog and Jim Holmes. Other lead stars Eric Roberts, Rick Overton and John Fugelsang will be coming soon.

Costumes by Rebecca Luke have been fitted, wigs are being made by hair specialist Danyale Cook, and make-up tests by make up artist Dawn Tunnel.

Director of Photography Paul Mailman has run film tests with gaffer (lighting specialist) Ted Barnes.

Many DP's these days light the set - actors just fit in. We're lighting the actors because Paul and I believe the characters tell the story within well designed and dressed sets.

Stunt Coordinator Michael Hillow kept us safe as we worked our way through an action scene that must be carefully choreographed when we shoot in in a couple weeks.

Winding down tonight, a chilly, overcast Friday night Seattle, I can't help but be proud of the entire crew and cast. We're all working our hearts out for THE WHOLE TRUTH.

Mercifully, so far crew folks just joining us - who have not read the script - are laughing at the right places when they see rehearsals.

Hopefully, you will, too, when you see it in theaters.

I'm celebrating tonight by going to a rude political improv show - taken by my assistant and stand-up comic Matt Schmidt.

Tomorrow I'm invited to a special dinner, after which I'm going to rest all day Sunday because Monday morning, well before dawn, we start our first day of shooting. We're as prepared as we can be, which means that we won't freak out *when* we encounter any problems.

Over the next six weeks, we'll be filming long days Monday through Friday, always preparing for future shooting dates until the last frame of film is shot. What a great adventure.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cameras roll in 9 days ..


Location scounting, tech scouting (making sure all the locations we chose will work with all the technical aspects of making a film) is nearly at its end. Craig Stewart, our "Scout Master" and his team have landed us some terrific places in which to film that will be dressed by Production Designer Rachel Thomson, filled with props by our Prop Genius Christopher McFadden.

Director of Photography Paul Mailman and his crew, including gaffer (lighting) Ted Barnes - one of the best - are setting up equipment to create the most effect scene captures on film. Paul and I are a strong team .. and he has an eye for putting you (the audience) in the scene rather than just "taking pictures" of something happening, which is what I look for in a photographer, and few are capable of doing it well.

The lead actors begin to arrive tomorrow, a week early, and we're mighty excited to see them - with preproduction and preparation at its peak now. Our lead actors rehearse at no cost to us - they're paid for their work before the camera but make rehearsal at no cost part of their contract if requested. I find that fine actors prefer to rehearse and request it; actors like Paul Newman, in fact, insist on it and offer filmmakers two weeks of rehearsal "off the clock."

I am coaching some of the local actors to get their performances perfected for the shoot - we'll also have some rehearsal time before shooting each scene. I've been sending notes to all the lead actors that I believe will help them develop their characters.

Editor Stephen R. Myers, in LA, is prepared to receive our dailies to start editing them as we shoot; composer Ragnar Rosinkranz, also in LA, will be seeing them as Stephen builds the rough cut of the feature, assessing how the music we've worked on over the weeks will suit the characters and scenes.

We're all headquartered in a large former school house - giving every department plenty of room to work.

I have my keyboards in my huge office - which is shared by my assistant Matt Schmidt - so I can work on musical ideas. I even wrote a little ditty that will be sung by Elisabeth in the film.

This week end my "job" is to rest - and in fact although Paul and I will be prepping every night for the next day's shoot and on the weekends for the following week's work - all of us must rest on our weekends or we'll wear out, since we'll all be working hard for long hours during the week.

Our Leading Lady, Elisabeth Röhm, is working all 30 days of the demanding 30-day shoot. Now *that* is a lead role! We'll be rehearsing stunts this coming Friday - she's very athletic and strong so she might be doing some of her own -- if we're sure she won't risk injury! Fortunately, there are only a few.

She'll be rehearsing with Jim Holmes and Sean Patrick Flanery later in the week, which will be great fun.

Back to hanging out, tending a few TWT details, watching a couple films, baseball and football games for me! Enjoy the weekend!

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

He's baaaack!

After being told three times we couldn't have Sean Patrick Flanery for our film THE WHOLE TRUTH because of the production schedule of Boondock Saints 2, in which he stars?

We got him!

Thanks to Sean's insistance and the willingness of Boondock Saints 2 producers, he's coming up to star with Elisabeth Rohm, Eric Roberts, Rick Overton, Jim Holmes, John Fugelsang and our little Talented Animals star pup, Tin Tin.

We're also introducing Seattle actress Pisay Pao.

I was out location scouting last week with our scout "master" Craig Stewart, 1st Assistant Director Megan Griffiths, Production Designer Rachel Thompson and our Director of Photography, Paul Mailman. A Teamster driver took us to all the places we evaluated for their potential as natural "sets" for the film.

Tucker Dropout Productionz' THE WHOLE TRUTH production offices are set up in a school that's not being used. My assistant Matt Schmidt will be joining me there in our office Monday.

Lots to do before cameras roll in two weeks, but we have a great team - crew and cast - all of whom are very enthusiastic about our project.

Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Amazing actors tell THE WHOLE TRUTH

I'm thrilled to announce our leading lady - a name synonymous with "screwball comedy" -- not! is Elisabeth Röhm!

This will be her first foray in comedy and trust me - she will not disappoint! We're both excited about her turning in a surprising - if not shocking - performance for fans who know her best from her gripping work in Law and Order and her recent uber-dramatic turn as a concert pianist in Bernard Rose's The Kreutzer Sonata, based on the novella by Leo Tolstoy, celebrated only two months ago at the Edinburgh Film Festival. This woman is *fearless!*

Joining her and Eric Roberts (as you never have and never will see him again) - I told you this is a comedy, right? Once again, this thinking thespian will show you his range is not limited to dramatic roles!

Also hopping aboard our train to Fun and Frolic is the amazing Jim Holmes - who, again, will delight one and all with the splendid timing and layers of persona he conveys for the guy he's playing in THE WHOLE TRUTH. You'll recognize him from that laugh-a-minute hit show, "24."

Yes. This. Is. A. Comedy.

Rick Overton, known as one of the best comedy script writers around (even winning an Emmy for his labor), character actor (he's in three summer movies this year alone), stand up comic (HEALTH WARNING: if you see Rick in person, you may want to bandage your torso. I saw him recently at a Seattle comedy club and believe I cracked at least one rib laughing so hard. He is *merciless* as he keeps the laughs coming!) and consummate mensch is with us as well. If you don't know, a mensch is a person with great character; a true-blue, genuinely good-hearted person. He also appears regularly on the Stephanie Miller Show, writes for the Huffington Post and is Captain Nemo in the new Capital One TV commercials.

See? At least one person famous for working in comedy is with us. That gives us at least a little street cred with comedy purists. Oh! Our editor Stephen Myers has also worked with Carl Reiner and other comedy greats in the biz!

Next week we finish casting locally, location scouting is already underway-Craig Stewart is one of the top location scout/managers in the industry; our production office is going to be set up, our fantastic, enthusiastic Director of Photography Paul Mailman and other key crew are aboard - and in just a little more than a month... the camera rolls!

Once again, the lure to sign up for this little independent film is the script. It gives everyone participating - on and off screen - the opportunity to shine. And, hopefully, to have a great time while we all work our hearts out!

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