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!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, November 23, 2009


After a whirlwind travel time: LA/Palm Springs/NYC, it's a relief to have a little quality down time to refresh, rekindle, renew, revitalize, restore and reflect.

As well as perform zen-friendly tasks like cleaning the house, dogs, clothes and a storm-swamped walkway.

Especially at Thanksgiving.

I maintain an ongoing list of things for which I am grateful; I add to it almost daily just before I go to sleep.

This year has been filled with a plethora of ups and downs for me - a stretch at both ends.

Looking back, I've typically recorded far more positive experiences, people, events, surprises and miracles for which I am thankful than the few negative impedimenta that landed in my lap here and there.

The up side is that I find ways to learn from whatever appears to be negative - in fact, some things that initially appeared to be negative either turned out to be positive or led to something that was better than the original situation. I'll explain in more detail later.

Something I'm incredibly grateful for at this moment is the appreciation so many distributors have for our film THE WHOLE TRUTH. I'd love to say more, but the word of the day is "negotiations," so I need to ix-nay on any omments-cay until the deals are done and they've put the movie out for you to see! When everything is done and settled, I'll share our story.

One thing new filmmakers should know: distributors will give money for a production they know they can distribute upon completion. Because the vast majority can't afford to spend too much money on pre-production funds, they don't - well, can't, really - have a huge say in changing the content of the project.

They do need to be assured, however, that the script in which they're investing is the script that will be shot, and that they're working with someone who can bring the film in on time, well done and within the budget allotted.

There's also the new type of product placement - wherein product representatives don't want the old "in your face" use of their products onscreen, but prefer to have them used in nuanced ways, the way we would normally use their common item. They pay money for the use of those products by characters in films.

Believe me when I say I am incredibly thrilled to know this, and we're going to make the most of finding production partners for future projects.

I include on my gratitude list things that can be ignored or taken for granted - like breathing freely, living in a clean air area, I have the healthy use of my arms, legs and fingers (important for a writer); eyesight is good, hearing excellent (I'm teased about having the super sensitive ability to hear like a dog); overall health is terrific, teeth cavity-free, rosy cheeks and I often enjoy a good hair day.

Trust me, a good hair day goes at the top of my list on days it happens - vanity, thy name is a cute coiffure.

I live in a warm home with a cozy fireplace, have three pups and a kitty to make life fun, wonderful friends, supportive family, unique skills and abilities, work ethic (I love my work and to do plenty of it), a sense of fairness, appreciation and humor that have served me well even in tough times and a good DVD player.

In short, when it comes to the important stuff, I'm incredibly fortunate.

Like love, however, gratitude is meaningless - it really does not exist - unless it's expressed in some way that brings it to life.

So I'd like to take this moment to thank you, Dear Reader, for taking the time to read my blogs. Nearly 300,000 readers from more than 100 nations tune in every month, and I am grateful for each and every person who stops by.

With my deepest appreciation,


Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, October 15, 2009

One step closer

Finished the rewrite of THE LONELY GOATHERD ("All Harry ever wanted was a wife and kids ... he got half his wish.") last night; two days of fun finessing and it goes to the producer.

With all the potential distribution/theater screening activity surrounding THE WHOLE TRUTH, it's important to be ready to roll with feature #2, and I'm also looking forward to writing our next feature script.

Exactly which project that will be should be determined next week; we're looking at the possibility among eight whose scripts I've written our outlined.

I like to be one script ahead. Have one film in the can, one script/project ready to go - complete with finished shot sheets - for pre-production, and one script written that is good enough to read by folks who work with us so they'll understand what's coming up.

The earlier crew and actors who are pre-cast can read it the better, I believe. It gets everyone thinking about the project - and the ideas we develop over a period of time can be very fruitful; it also helps us make decisions that waste less money while still providing the quality performances and production values that mark a Heart Break Production.

Labels: , ,

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.

Labels: , , ,

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!

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friars Club Comedy Film Festival ticket info!

Due to popular demand!

THE WHOLE TRUTH schedule for the festival, where you can also buy tickets.

Location of the venues; THE WHOLE TRUTH screens at the Paley Center for Media.


Saturday a.m:

I forgot to tell you that at the Coen Brothers' festival premiere Thursday night for THE SERIOUS MAN, there was a major red carpet for everyone involved with the film fest to pass through before entering the theater, lined with glaring lights and many paparazzi, all eagerly waiting to get shots of celebrities.

Well, John Fugelsang and I arrived quite early for the film, me believing it started an hour before it actually did, so we start walking toward the theater when one of the photographers recognizes John and calls out to him. John happily shook his hand and as they chatted, the other photographers were abuzz: Who is that guy? What's going on?

I smiled and handed them placards for THE WHOLE TRUTH, telling them he's one of the stars of the film - which is in the festival.

Suddenly they all started taking photos of John - who was looking mah-velous - and one TV crew even interviewed him with silly pop culture questions - at which John is the master. So whatever program interviewed him was sure to air it, he was so articulate and clever (Q: "Who has the biggest boobs in show business today?" John: "William Morris.")

Casting agent Russell Boast is meeting me before the 3pm screening today - some of our crew members (UPM Alexis Arnold, 2nd AD Jessica Hong, film changer Webb) - I'm really looking forward to seeing them again. A distributor will also be on hand as my guest; afterward I'm meeting briefly with a highly recommended distribution attorney who will have seen our film, and who knows what the evening will bring?

Tomorrow evening the awards dinner and closing ceremonies will be held; I hope to catch a couple festival films earlier. I've been so busy getting the word out about our screening I haven't had a chance to enjoy any other films but the Coen Brothers' THE SERIOUS MAN.

I've taken photos, but have to get a downloading connection for my computer before I can show them!


was spent delivering a screening DVD to a distributor's office and checking out many NYC landmarks, carrying my film's placards, which I handed out at every opportunity.

Broadway, 30 Rock, Rockefeller Center, Times Square are but a few I visited. I had to take photos where Tina Fey works and walks (admitted fan), I also bought a 30 Rock cap, which looks mighty fine resting on my noggin if I do say so.

I walked miles around the city today as well as took taxi's a couple times. They are quite affordable here.

John Fugelsang and his wife papered East and West Greenwich Village with placards today.

Turns out the luncheon we expected to attend today was only for big spenders at the festival - not filmmakers. One of the organizers apologized profusely for the misunderstanding - this is the second time it's happened.

I think it's a reflection of inexperience - this being their first festival. We filmmakers are surprised, since the key spirit of any festival is supposed to be about appreciating films and filmmakers, not just the folks who pay huge bucks to the sponsoring organization.

Another similar for-big-spenders luncheon is being held tomorrow, discussing screenwriting. Which means that at the end of the festival, filmmakers will have had no special luncheon or dinner, just separate receptions for shorts and feature makers.

It's always good to have gatherings for the filmmakers so we can network, get to know each other and learn from one another.

Meanwhile, today was the first of the full slate of films to be screened - I'll see how they fared!

I checked out the screening venue for tomorrow; it is beautiful and state-of-the-art. Very cool.

The weather was gorgeous today, cooling just enough to make walking comfortable, just humid enough not to frizz hair that frizzes involuntarily in a very humid atmosphere.


THE SERIOUS MAN, the new Coen Brothers' film, was extremely well received in its Ziegfield Theater screening. I've linked its TIME magazine review, which echoes the sentiments of the folks with whom I saw it.

It's not a rolling in the aisles laugh-a-minute film, but it is a reflection on the comedy of life - showing that we have two choices: real life or death that comes in several varieties. Do something that is true to yourself and you're alive, do nothing and stagnation will smother you slowly but surely, do something that flies in the face of who you are, no matter the motivation? It will kill you.

John Fugelsang and I passed on the reception with the Coens in favor of friendship - taking the opportunity for quality time. As we walked around the Central Park area, we ran into a number of people he knows here who are well connected in the industry - each of whom got a placard for our film! John plays two roles in it - one of which makes him totally unrecognizable.

Post-screening John had an appointment with Air America - he had to make another radio appearance. He's a guest on the Stephanie Miller Show this morning.

Meanwhile, I had a delightful late breakfast with filmmaker and actor ("ER" "Juno") Steven C. Parker, his mom and dad. Steven is the real deal - I'll see his short film BIBLE CLIFF NOTES this weekend. Watch for more of his work in the future!

Labels: , , ,

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.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Poster!

Here's the new poster for THE WHOLE TRUTH - it includes the laurels for both the Seattle International Film Festival as well as the Friars Club Comedy Film Festival - at which we'll be featured this coming Saturday at 3pm in the Paley Center for Media in NYC.

Click on it to get the full blast!

I'll be handing out placards with information to folks in New York City about the film and its screening on one side and the poster photo on the other - joined by John Fugelsang and possibly 2nd assistant director Jessica Hong!

We'll have 2,000 to pass out in several strategic places to advertise the screening and the film itself. With any luck, we'll be meeting with some key distributors as well.

I got my flight information today from the Friars - leaving tomorrow - Wednesday; returning from all the festivities and screening Monday.

It's going to be so much fun - hanging out with Fugelsang for two full days! Plus the luncheons and receptions and other appreciative activities they've planned for the filmmakers. The Friars Club is doing it right - but that's the reason they're establishing this film festival - they believe great comedies have been overlooked and dissed far too long by major awards selections.

Labels: , , , , , ,

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?

Labels: , , , , , ,

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!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Casting in LA ...

Was a supreme pleasure and a completely wonderful experience.

I had the time of my life.

Casting director Rick Pagano, who is well respected in Hollywood, and his assistant Russell Boast, could not have worked harder or more dilligently - speaking with agents and managers and actors and others involved with the actors' careers. Noted producer Toni Wells-Roth helped us out with camerawork (wow!).

One observation I must mention: there is an extremely serious problem with agents who don't really do their jobs or do them well, and I'm including folks working with "top" agencies.

Several had *no* idea how to contact their clients (wrong emails, phone numbers), or that their clients were currently working, or in some cases made no effort to send the script or even contact their clients requested by Rick for this project. In some cases they made an appointment for their client and then cancelled it because they did not contact the client.

One very well known actor who is a good friend of my producer (actually our casting director and producer know a lot of great actors) said he was never contacted by his agent. When his agent was contacted (who made an "appointment" for his client to meet with us), the agent had *no* idea his client is currently working on a mini-series at an out-of-LA location. He's coming to Seattle to meet with us soon.

In the case of most actors we auditioned or met with (at a certain level of fame/work, meetings are held in lieu of script readings or auditions - though certain very top professionals still ask to read), they are at the top of their game and crazy about our project.

Some sensational actors dropped by to meet even though they knew they weren't right for this project, but know we have several more slated so wanted to get together with us in person. And believe me, we kept careful notes on everyone we saw.

One well known actor with whom we had a meeting said the industry is now run by "second rate" agents who don't do their jobs, don't know how to do their jobs or can't do them very well - and the people suffering are actors - at all levels.

S/he added that the situation is cyclical -- that their incompetence will only be tolerated for so long before there's a big shakeup, when the system will change again.

In some cases, the agents only want big paying deals for their clients so they can make big fees, regardless of the quality of the work.

There are obviously some agents who take their work seriously and do a good job -- they were spoken of just as positively as the others regarded so negatively.

Enough about that.

The very up side is that the actors with whom we interacted were amazing, terrific and top professionals. They worked so hard on the material to bring their characters to life - screwball comedies are the most work of any genre by all concerned.

Each brought something that only they could bring to their character.

They're making my work of selecting the right person for each role incredibly difficult - which means they did a splendid job. The harder my job, the better the cast.

Some of my choices are going to surprise audiences, and quite honestly a couple people (very well known) came in to speak about doing extremely "against type" characters (unlike anything they've ever played before, unlike the persona they appear to be normally or the characters they've played in the past).

One well known actress from a very popular dramatic TV series did her very first comedic performance in her audition for the lead and absolutely WOW'ed us. She did a brilliant job, looked fantastic, and what's so exciting for me is that she loves the script and the role. Very impressive.

I can't tell you how rewarding it was to hear so many of these top pro's tell me how much they loved the script! Most importantly, I couldn't hear a wasted word in the dialogue. Whew.

A good sign is that everyone who read it felt very strongly about the script - they were either head over heels in love with it, or they absolutely hated it! I think those who didn't like it will feel very differently when they see it up on the screen.

Even our producer was pleasantly surprised when actors who understood the script and characters breathed hilarious life into their scenes.

I enjoyed most audition performances so much - extraordinarily talented, skilled artists did such magnifienent interpretations - that the experience was downright heavenly for me. And I let them know it. I'm not one of those directors who holds back her enthusiasm or appreciation.

After all, these are artists who have shared a part of themselves they'll never get back; they worked hard on their audition scenes and deserve credit and praise where it's due.

It's easy to see why these actors are employed as much as they are. They deserve it. I was proud to be in their company.

Mind you, if anyone shows up unprepared or without doing their homework? I also let them know how I feel. But that was not the case, so I was able to shower actors I met with appreciation and affection.

Our producer, Larry Estes, is a former studio executive and lengendary producer in the field of indie films. He is well known and highly regarded by many working actors who came in to say hello - he now lives in the Pacific Northwest. I was proud to be in his company - I could see the admiration and fondness these artists held for him as they hugged and spoke to him warmly about families, kids, the past, pets, work and life in general.

I was treated to some fantastic stories of show biz past and present by Larry along the way. Another highlight of the trip.

Larry and I met over dinner with our estimable editor Stephen Myers (he just found out the Pixar documentary he edited is nominated for an Emmy!), who has worked with classic comedic filmmakers like Carl Reiner. I showed him my shot sheets along with overhead drawings -- floor plans -- of camera placement, character and camera movement.

After scouring my work, Stephen sent me suggestions for insert shots and editing sounds. The very things that make the difference between work well done and excellence.

Thank you to every actor who came by to meet and perform for The Whole Truth (Gabe, I owe you a little stuffed skunk); decisions will be made soon because cameras roll the third week in September.

Interestingly, we set out to cast three lead roles in LA and came back considering actors to fill 6 roles. We'll be meeting with a few more actors here and in Vancouver, B.C. as well.

Next big step after that: local casting in Seattle for another lead role and several supporting roles with Stephen Salamunavich at Complete Casting, which I know will be just as much fun. Every role is written with a scene to steal included.

We'll also be opening a production office, then bringing production folks in the next few weeks.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Production update: The Whole Truth


The screenplay for our feature project The Whole Truth - is locked. That means it's the script everyone's going to work with to create the production. Key production crew like the Director of Photography, Production Designer, Costumers, Gaffers, etc.

Now, "finishing" a script is a very misleading term. The script isn't finished until the film is released. I'll tweak, squeak, eek, seek, freak, peek, and wreak whatever needs to be done to it until it's the very best story told in the best way by the best characters to tell it before we show it to you.

There was a character in the script who had to be taken out because of the story's structure; our producer recommended I write a script based on that character (who *everyone* loved who read the script) and I've already outlined her story in the first step to writing the screenplay.

What *that* means is that we (Heart Break Productionz) are working on THREE more feature projects after this one, one after the other.

The script is now at the LA casting director's. Cross your fingers for a couple-three household names starring in this little film. For the casting director, I submitted "back stories" of every lead character as well as my directing bio so the actors can be assured I didn't just fall off the turnip truck, or however that saying goes.

The producer loves the script, which is very exciting to me because this is someone for whom I have profound respect and genuinely enjoy working with. He is extremely experienced and knows from what he's doing on all levels of producing and selling films. In fact, he was a buyer for a major studio for several years.

I guess just as importantly, *I* love the script. And it's director-proof. That means even the worst director should not be able to wreck it. Since I'm directing it and am at least a step above "worst," it should look pretty good.

We start interviewing potential key crew this week; that could take a couple weeks because we may pull people from LA.

We've already met with the head of SAG/AFTRA here and will now meet with the head of IATSE -- to be signatories and to let them know who we are, what we're doing.

Because this is an independent film, our production won't be affected if there is a SAG strike.

I found the best composer ever for this project in LA, as I told you, and we've already started working on the sound track, thanks to Skype.

I have the artwork and color palette ready for the production designer, director of photography and costumers who come aboard ... the script supervisor and sound guy from other films I've made who are immenently qualified are already signed up.

I need to draw a couple story boards for the two stunt scenes; I have potential locations scouted and photographed as well as lined up the use of a hot Mercedes by a local dealer to use for free by the lead character.

Hair and make up may also be a little more expensive if we get a hot actress who needs special attention. Any actress over 30 needs 2 hours make up/hair. And that's if the hair is reasonably simple, and all but one of the candidates we're looking at are over 30.

I'm learning how to delegate the work - I'm so used to doing everything myself. But figure if I have a head start on what I'm looking for in tone, texture and impact, it will help incoming experts so they don't have to start from scratch - leaving them to guess what I want.

More, when they come up with ways to improve on my visual ideas (which they will), everyone gets and stays excited.

Now that the script is locked, I'm free to do my directing-producing thing so we can be hyper ready for the shoot; we have minimum 6 weeks prep, we'll have at least a week to rehearse (possibly 2) with the actors before we shoot - and we have 6 weeks to shoot.

Without any major special effects, that should be a reasonable schedule and I should be the only one exhuasted from the production (first to arrive, last to leave, then preparing for the next day).

I'm making lots of notes for shooting ideas.

My personal assistant is aboard now, part-time until May 19, when he goes 3/4 time until the shoot, when he goes full full time -- so I can focus strictly on the work - and have the chance to see some filmmaking friends in Milwaukee, Wisconsin next week when I visit my parents for a whirlwind "vacation."

I still haven't decided on the format - that will have to be determined when the Director of Photography is aboard, but I'm thinking 3 sprocket 35mm.

Yep, this joint is jumping!

I'm happy as a free cow in India.


Labels: , , , ,

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Whole Truth moves forward!

Our Heart Break Productionz comedy feature film project The Whole Truth is coming along beautifully. More splendid, topnotch professionals have come aboard, and it's so incredibly rewarding.

I can hardly wait to share the full crew list with you, as soon as all the positions are filled.

I continue to refine the script - the shooting script should be ready in two days. i'm extremely pleased with it; I hope the crew and cast are over the moon about it - and that the audience enjoys it even more.

It's going to be hard to let go of the basic writing process since I'm having so much fun with the characters and situations. But the finessing process through the shoot will also be a blast.

We're pushing ahead with prep, which means cameras may roll more than a month earlier than we planned if our cast comes together in time. Woo-hoo!

Labels: , , ,