Scene Study

So, I've been taking a scene study class just to help my directing process and it's been very interesting. I had this realization about the acting/writing/directing process the other day as several actors were working on entrance/exit exercises. In this class, the entrance/exit exercises are long, the teacher allots like ten minutes for each actor, which to me is an eternity! Anyway, a lot of the actors had a tendency to use up time by walking around the space aimlessly, or taking forever on something that would ordinarily be a simple action. For example, one guy was reading a letter which was supposed to deliver bad news. I think he spent five minutes looking at the letter and getting progressively more upset. There is nothing wrong with taking time on an action, but this was so long that it didn't make sense and even the teacher, Michelle Danner, told him there was too much lag time. In other words, the audience was totally zoning out! Anyway, the concepts in writing and acting are very similar for the stage and screen--there needs to be action motivated by a deeper reason. The reasons are usually tied to the story goals. This is where the director comes in. I totally see how actors can get bogged down with wayward action without the guidance of a director. It is a director's job to motivate all of the movements and make sure they are serving the purpose of the scene. I felt like a lot of the scenes that the actors performed from plays involved lots of walking aimlessly on stage. Very distracting and not really serving deeper goals. So, it'll be exciting as a director taking the class to guide some of the scenes and help with the blocking. It is great for me to see how the principles of creating drama are the same for all of the disciplines--motivated action is key!


Art Show!

A good friend of mine invited my husband and I to check out the LA opening for British artist Antony Micallef last night. I wasn't familiar with his work, but I had heard he was in the same category as Banksy, creating urban art with underlying messages that deal with corporate greed, media frenzy and more. I have to say, I was quite blown away by his art, especially a piece in which a little boy is coloring with crayons, and drawing a whole bunch of corporate logos. I love this idea of using corporate logos to represent the world in which we live. I integrated some visuals like this into my script called Kate's Rules because I wanted to play with this whole idea of "culture jamming." I think if the film ever got made, it would be a great leit motif. Anyway, Antony Micallef's pieces were on sale for anywhere between $150,000 to $250,000 per painting, and all of the works on the upper gallery were sold, and many in the lower gallery were also sold. Amazing that in one night he made over a million dollars off his art, his creativity! It's even more incredible because he's only 32 years old. Apparently, many celebrities have bought his art, and helped to increase its value. Going to the show made me ponder questions about art and creativity, and what makes something truly stand out. It's definitely not an easy question, but on some level it basically made me want to cloister myself at home and work way harder than I am now!


Our first check, Directing, Toronto Film Fest

Megha and I have been hustling all summer, meeting with various people about the movie. We've gotten commitments from a number of people, but there is nothing as exciting as actually receiving that first check. It's pretty cool to get a check made out to Raspberry Magic, LLC. It makes the movie seem that much more real, that much more tangible! Megha and I have been at this for less than a year, and we've def. made strides. There are moments when I want time to speed up, and make everything happen so much faster. But then when I actually look back on things, they already seem to have sped by!

On another note, Megha and I went to the Toronto FF this weekend and watched a shit load of films. We met some interesting people, as well, but we watched a ton of movies. I think it's helpful as we work on our movie to see what's out there. One thing we def. noticed was that so many of the films could have been thirty minutes shorter. It's painful sometimes at festivals to watch films that could really use another pass. We went to the North American premiere of Paul Schrader's new film, The Walker. Kind of sucked b/c the film reels were spliced together in the wrong order, and they had to stop the movie for 30 minutes to re-splice, what a pain. Good film, interesting premise, but again, it seemed like they weren't quite at the final cut stage, as some of the editing felt rough. We def. want to spend the time/money with Raspberry Magic to get an excellent editor to can really make the movie pop! We watched a ton of international films, which was nice. An amazing movie called M, though again, it really could have been shorter!



It is tough sometimes, being in LA, because this is the place where people move to live and breath their dreams. It can be a very tough climb, especially for people who have been pounding the pavement really hard for anywhere from five to ten years. Whether you are acting, writing, or directing, it is easy to become cynical and feel like you are not where you want to be. I meet so many people who have a broken spirit because they have been trying for so long, and yet, nothing is happening. It is certainly not easy to deal with rejection and loss of hope. But I really and truly believe that if you are here for the right reasons, and want to practice your craft because you care deeply about it, all of those other issues slowly melt away. I'm not saying that everyone can be rich and famous, but what I am saying is that if being rich and famous is your goal, then you will be disappointed. However, if your goal is to write three really great scripts and see what happens with them, then this is doable. For me, I was unhappy with where I was at for a long time, but then, I decided to focus on just being creative and making stuff rather than on the end results. In other words, I decided that I had to find a way to make my film, while also continuing to write. This is not easy, but what I've found is that I am so busy making stuff and creating, that I really don't have time to be cynical and unhappy. It is really and truly a good feeling.


We are raising the funds for Raspberry Magic mostly through private equity. This approach seems to be the most practical, in my opinion. In the past, I have applied to many different grants, etc, but the problem with grants often is that they have a very specific agenda in terms of the projects they want, especially places like ITVS. However, this summer I went ahead and applied for the Roy Dean Grant, which provides equipment and other useful resources for low-budget films. I'm a bit hesitant about these types of things, because in the past, I really put long hours in applying for all kinds of stuff, none of which seemed to pan out. I applied to the Dean grant last year, as well, and wasn't a finalist. I was pleasantly surprised, however, to be a finalist for the grant this year. We didn't win, but Carol Dean, who is in charge, gave us many kudos on the project and was very helpful in terms of suggesting resources.