Wednesday, November 25, 2009

In Wonderland

Alice is one of my favorite childhood characters. My friend Delfina thinks that it's weird; maybe that's why I like it. That's where we are right now, in a magical place.... we have a unique and creative key crew; an energetic and inspirational group of actors; a beautiful, hypnotizing location -- and all we're waiting on is the infusion of dollars to make the film process move forward and escalate into "go" mode.

There is this strange nervous feeling about being in a lovely place but yet feeling at the same time that it's not quite right.

We're going to have to do another casting session for those last little pieces that are missing. We're now seeking support crew members. And the investment... oh, the investors. When the DP says we need a dolly, an extra lens, and a generator, my heart sinks. How can we make this happen? We need our angels now to join us at the table.

So on this wonderful Thanksgiving day, I give thanks for the talented people, the amazing location, and the people who are jumping in on this fabulous film.

And I will light a candle that the believers pitch in not only with their excitement and their support and their love, but also with an investment that will help make this dream -- this dream for all of us involved in the film -- come true.

Blessings to all.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Moving at Light Speed

With the change in dates, we have lost one key person to our cast, the lovely Mawiyah Johnson. She has other work and we're very sad. She is just beautiful to look at on screen and very very talented.

On Monday I'm bringing in two new actresses to fill in the missing pieces.

Angela Nicole (Hostess)

I'm also doing FT fundraising and making lots of calls. It is a brutal process and although I have done my fair share over the years, it gets no easier. But the story is powerful, funny and well-crafted. The team is great and experienced, and the cast is nearly pitch-perfect. The machine looks good.

Victoria Dorazi (Joan)
This should theoretically encourage more Yes's then No's but it is a tough time in the world and I have heard my share of tough stories. Ultimately it's all relative... here I am cooking grilled cheese sandwiches for my daughter and telling her to wait to get new clothes that actually fit. We have a goal this year and that's what it's all about.

There are a lot of things to finish up -- most of which cannot be completed without a fat check in hand. These include:
- Insurance
- Worker's Comp
- Light and camera rentals
- Food deposits
- Transportation rentals

The last few days have been a whirlwind. Is it already Thursday? I'm not so far from light speed. Technically, the speed of light = 299 792 458 m / s, approximately 300,000 kilometres per second or 186,000 miles per second. In the last 3 days I have driven 300 miles and flown to Dallas and Wichita and back. Tomorrow I'm flying to So Cal until Sunday, and hopefully will confirm another small funder during the process. These days, I am the light.

All is going well and we are on top of it. Once the funds come in, we will be settling into 5th gear and cruising. Donations are gratefully welcomed.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mick Erausquin - our co-writer and spirit in the sky

After college I shared an apartment on the beach with a gal named April. She was a gorgeous, funny girl with talent oozing out of her ears. I always told her, "A, if I could sing like that, I wouldn't do anything else." I've always had this thing for talent, only because I really wasn't born with any -- just a lot of stamina.

So when I started writing this script, the first person I called was Mick. Mick is my talented production/shooting/writing guru. Neither of us was enamored with the idea of a "bridal shop film," but it's what I had and we used it as an exercise in discipline, crafting and writing. It took us a year to do it, but we created believable characters with sharp dialogue and a no-frills backstory.

I first met Mick maybe 20 years ago. For almost a decade our siblings were married to each other, so he was, and always will be, family. He is a talented writer, creator, artist, and all that cool stuff. Plus, I'm not really that funny but he is. His ideas are all over this film and I miss him every day as I plow through the work to make it all happen.

We were truly sad when he left this film project. Despite his personal ownership of it, he left early on. It's not his bag, baby, and that's okay. When we talked last week, he admitted to me that he just didn't have the bandwidth. He's working on a documentary and he's got a demanding home life with two adorable little girls. He said "I'll ride your coattails" but it's really me riding his.

Last fall, I wrote another feature film treatment that I'm currently shopping around, and for this I called in Mick yet again, as well as the awe-inspiring "idea man" AD Wyatt Norton. As a firm believer in the old adage, "You are only as fabulous as the people around you," I bow in humble gratitude and awe at my production team, and most importantly my co-writer. His spirit is here as we make it happen.

MICK ERAUSQUIN is an experienced filmmaker in both the nonfiction and narrative genres. His credits are many and varied, ranging from Canvas, a documentary he directed about the lives of professional skateboarders, to Down and Out with the Dolls, an independent feature film edited by Erausquin which chronicles the rise and fall of an all-girl punk rock band. Beginning in 2005, Mick joined the Emmy-winning and Academy Award-nominated team at the Promises Film Company in Berkeley, California where he has been working as a producer on the international documentary My Summer in Tehran.

An impassioned traveler and adventure-seeker, Erausquin journeyed to Porto Alegre, Brazil in 2002 to document the annual World Social Forum, a gathering of progressive-minded social-justice organizations, educators and individuals from across the globe. While there, he shot and edited a video, funded through the French-American Charitable Trust in San Francisco, which has helped educate nonprofit groups around the country. In 1997, while still in film school, he edited Caught in the Crossfire, a project focusing on the struggles of children with gay and lesbian parents that was nominated for an IDA Student Achievement Award.

Mick Erausquin holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of California, San Diego and received his M.F.A. in film production from the University of Southern California School of Cinema in Los Angeles.

In 2001, after moving back to his Bay Area roots, Erausquin founded Oceanhive Productions, an Oakland-based independent digital video service, to fully pursue emerging creative opportunities.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Meet CHRISTABEL SAVALAS... playing Concepcion Salinas

I believe that life is full of angels. Angels appear at magical moments in our life, to inspire us, save us and encourage us. Then they disappear. They're someone we don't know, or maybe perhaps someone that isn't really even there. When my friend Harvey was dying, his wife told me about a nurse who she ran into during a visit to the restroom. She didn't remember their conversation, but it comforted her and made her feel validated and freed some of her burden. The strange thing was that she had never seen this nurse before and never saw her again.
Three actresses auditioned for the part of Concepcion. They were satisfactory, but none of them really understood... the part is small but she's critical. SHE is the angel. Our Casting Assistant (Concepcion Calderon-Jensen, affectionately known as Connie) had been scheduling the actresses and told me that Christabel was the one. She hadn't seen her, only spoken with her, but she knew.

So Christabel walked in on the last day of auditions and delivered the lines so wisely, so poignantly, that we were all mesmerized. Here was our angel.

Christabel Savalas has been acting since childhood. Born in New York City and educated in Europe, she speaks five foreign languages. She studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena and the Jean Shelton School of Acting. Ms. Savalas’ stage credits include “ The Critic”, “The Conduct of Life”, “ Hey Momma”, “ Well of Loneliness”, “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Suicide”.

Films produced in San Francisco, she acted in “Chivalrous Deeds of a Nincompoop” and “Deadlock”. TV and film appearances include, “Midnight Caller”, “Nash Bridges”, “Class Action”, “Ancient Mail”, “ Pacific Heights”, “I killed a Meter maid”, “Twisted” and more.

As stand-up comedienne she performed at the Boarding House, Old Waldorf, and Chez Jacques. She has also acted, directed, written and produced in two short films, “The Roommates” and “Endless Creativity” which were awarded in Houston, Berkeley, Honolulu and Palm Springs. She has been a resident of San Francisco for over thirty years and is active in the local entertainment scene.

For more information go to:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

MONDAY 11/16 is the day...

We have found two beautiful locations, both of which will work for us. Starlet Bridal is our local favorite. The spot is easy to find and it has a beautiful setting. Allison has done an amazing job with the shop. However, with complications on dates and contract and bridal dresses, we also have Bella Bridesmaid on the radar. Bridget Brown (the Bella Bridesmaid entrepreneur and Queen!) has been in on the discussions since the film was in its early stages. Plus, they have this amazing back deck that will work fabulously into our script.

Due to deadlines with the Screen Actors Guild we have to have a signed commitment next week, so it's do or die for our location. Much thanks go to both shops for their support of this film. We'll keep you posted. Dates are still early January, which seems to work best for Bridget as well.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Production Timeline Moves Up Three Weeks

Stopped by the Bridal Shop the other day. Now that casting's nearly complete, I wanted to touch base with the shop owner and finally sit down to plan her 30-second spot and sign the contract.

Although it's only been two months (yes, we've been busy!) she informed me that the only days we could shoot in January would be Jan 11-12-13 (Mon-Wed), a full THREE WEEKS before we had scheduled the shoot. While I had selected the dates with the cooperation of the shop manager Jill, put it in their booking schedule, and also left a contract with late January dates, these didn't matter. We were moved. No negotiation.

Not great news, but we'll make it work. But I quickly had to inform the actors. Were they all still available? Also, this date is the Monday following our fundraiser fiesta, and that is not the way I had planned to spend the weekend before shooting. My cushion time to get production pieces together just got scrunched. That night I went to yoga class, but it didn't seem to help. So I went home and laid on the heating pad and worked on the laptop until midnight. I Am A Worker. I think that's the title of my next film.

Fortunately, the cast is still on board and they're very excited about the schedule of events.

Sun Dec 13 -- Rehearsal: Cast table reads
Sun Dec 20 -- Rehearsal: Cast blocking with DP

Sat Jan 9 -- Meet the Cast Fundraiser
5 pm to 11 pm
1300 Ordway, Berkeley

Mon-Wed, Jan 11-13 -- Production
* plus 2 shoot dates for Gil & Joan characters, TBD

We're currently still trying to find a rehearsal location, but all things considered we're okay on our status. There's just no fat left in the timeline. Lean. Lean. Lean.

On a happy note, progress on our 27-minute casting piece is moving along well. We were able to interview the lovely Emmanuelle as Casting Director and she was smart, articulate and just plain good. The whole thing should be done before Thanksgiving and will be broadcast on Santa Rosa Community Access Channel. We'll keep you all posted on when this will be broadcast. Hopefully we'll be able to show it at our little fiesta.

Check out the Fiesta invitation here: