Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gia Milani Script a Winner at Slamdance

Congrats to Gia Milani for her script, All the Wrong Reasons, winning the Script Accessible Award as part of the 2009 Slamdance Feature Screenplay competition. The awards are in January at Slamdance, so if you're in Park City, get in touch and say hello.

Gia's short film, Bathroom Stalled, was in the very first Broad Humor festival and her short, She Lost Her Marbles, was in the very first alumnae invitational the next year. For more info on her films go to her company website, Shore Road Pictures.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Julia Camara Invitational Reviewed

Julia Camara's Invitational Short has been reviewed here. I started the no-fee invitationals as a way to encourage all our Broads to keep producing new work and develop their craft with a guarantee that the finished film would get at least one festival screening. That many of the films have gone on to have a life after Broad Humor is a testament to the idea that women can do comedy. All we need is a little encouragement.

For info on this year's invitational, check out our home page: broadhumor.com. Remember, any festival participant from any past year can submit a film for no fee and be guaranteed a screening in next year's fest.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

It's Not Called HisTube...

I went to a YouTube round table yesterday and got a bit of a jolt in my broad-minded attitude. The guys around the table were all there because they have channels that are popular enough to qualify them as YouTube Partners. Many of them make their living on YouTube.

If you caught my use of the word "guys," good for you. The shock for me was there at the table. Without any studio executive choosing who gets the green light because on YouTube you greenlight yourself; without any prejudice in hiring since nobody there worked for somebody else; without any philosophizing about gender bias in the media, the fact remains that the proportion of guys to broads at the table was as bad as it is in the mainstream movie and TV biz.

And that pissed me off.

The last time I got pissed off like this at the Writers Guild, I started this festival. I gotta do something. And I can't do it alone, gals. If we want a place at the table, we need to start putting it out there, as regularly and as boobs-to-the-tubes as the guys do.

So let's hear all the objections and excuses. Maybe some are valid. And yes, I know some women have very big audiences on YouTube. Nevertheless, we have some explaining to do to ourselves and each other.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Going on Thirteen on KQED

Going on Thirteen, this year's Broad Humor best feature documentary, will be screening at 11 pm November 2 on KQED in the SF Bay area. Check out this great film about four girls coming of age in urban America.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Apparently, Dick Cheney sent Mika Brzezinski cupcakes after she weighed in against him for his "dithering" comments. His response to her criticism was that she seemed cranky. Awww, isn't it cute when your females get all in a snit, maybe at their time of the month. Give her cupcakes like a good little girl, pat her on the head, and let everybody get a good laugh.

Me, I love a good joke, but I'm not laughing. Mika's response was telling: part of her was businesslike in her resistance to the idea and her preference for a real interview. Part of her was girlish in her response, saying she wanted the pink one. And part of her was worried about the calories, as almost all public women do because they must stay slim to be taken seriously. I don't have time or interest to go on a tirade here about the substance and implications of these things. I'd prefer for us all to go out and make a movie called "Cupcake" and explored them via film.

I don't know if the Cheney's meant to demean Mika with the gift. My dad was an executive from the days when it was perfectly appropriate for him to call secretaries and waitresses "cupcake" - as he often did, along with "doll" and "baby." I'll never forget the day in the mid-70's when a waitress shot back angrily that she was not his doll. His feelings were hurt, for he had meant to be nice. He couldn't see that his effort to be nice insulted her.

At that time, I though that the waitress could have said the same thing only been more pleasant about it, precisely because my dad had meant no harm. But that burden on women, that they take an insult, consider the other person's intentions, and then convey their feelings in a non-offensive way, is just too high a standard to be a requirement. If we accept the insult, we feel bad. If push back, we feel bad.

I learned to take my bad feelings and instead of turning them inward and getting depressed, or turning them outward and getting angry, I turn them into comedy and have a laugh with my friends. This is my wish for women through this festival.

Make a 'cupcake' movie. I'd like to see it. I'd like to show it in the festival next year.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Demading Women - Where Are They?

Joanne Lipman, a former deputy managing editor at The Wall Street Journal and the founding editor in chief of Condé Nast Portfolio magazine has an op-ed in the NYTimes today that struck me hard because it accounts for some of why women are not getting ahead. Yes, I know all the ways the deck is stacked against women's comedies, women directors and women writers, and I don't mean to minimize how hard it can be. Yet when she says this about the simple act of asking for a raise, it makes me pause:
In my time as an editor, many, many men have come through my door asking for a raise or demanding a promotion. Guess how many women have ever asked me for a promotion?

I’ll tell you. Exactly ... zero.

This echoes something that Julie Gray of the Rouge Wave (now justeffing.com) and The Script Department said at our screenwriting panel last year. She talked about the proportion of men to women who pay for screenwriting critiques and help. Few women seek criticism, even when by a savvy, safe and obviously constructive source. This worries me, in part because I, too, have trouble in this area.

So what are we gonna do about it?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Creating Karma at the Laemmle

Some of the Broads showed up for the premiere of Jill Wisoff's Creating Karma at the downtown Laemmle. Donna Wheeler and I took a snap in front of the screening room marquis. We all want our films to be there.

We all shared some news about what we're doing next. Donna's making a short-short for the Green Screen Film Festival no-fee category which I am helping put together. You can too if you do it soon. Check out the info at greenscreenfilmfestival.com and click on the Community Shorts tab. Michelle Clay is working as an editor and trying to put together funds for her next feature, Tony and Leo.

As for Jill, she was tired from all the prep leading up to the release but she's got no time to rest. On to AFM in November to see if she can sell the film. Kudos to a Broad making farce, the hardest kind of comedy to tackle.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

And then there's Ralph Lauren...

My last post was about the German magazine, Brigitte, and the response of the male designers to it. The logical result of their mindset has its poster-cartoon in the new Ralph Lauren ad. (I say cartoon because it looks like a comic book drawing to me.)

Boing-boing raised a stink, mocking the ad with a pithy, "Dude, her head's bigger than her pelvis." At first, Ralph Lauren threatened to sue. Now Ralph Lauren has apologized for the ad and replaced it with a de-touched image here.
But there is no sense from RL that they have had a realization about their own attitudes toward women and beauty. Only that they did a bit too much photoshopping. I don't want apologies. I want self-reflection and a change of behavior that comes from the realization that they have been wrong.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Is it just me...

A German fashion mag has decided to use real women instead of super-skinny models. So far so good. But then the video interviews some fashion industry guys and smoke started coming out of my ears. Money quote:
The problem with using "real women" is that women don't want to look like real women; they want to look like beautiful women.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Laugh Out Loud Moments

Comedy is not just about timing. Too many people overplay funny Here's a video making the rounds because of a recent oil spill in Australia. Folks are claiming it's a real interview, but a quick check at snopes.com reveals that it is in fact from the 90's. No worries, as the Aussies say. It's still a fine model of comic delivery.

2008 Best Feature Opening in LA October 16

Broad Humor's 2008 Best Feature, Creating Karma, is having its theatrical release here in LA on October 16. Come on out and support one of the broads. I'm going to be running the Q&A. It should be interesting for all of you to talk with Jill about how she's worked the system and her film to get distribution. Details below the fold.

89 min Theatrical Release Version 2009

October 16-22
Q and A with filmmaker and cast following the Fri Oct 16 and Saturday Oct 17 evening screenings

345 S. Figueroa Street
Showtime information at www.laemmle.com

“This Bollywood style romp from the 60's era of free love to contemporary pseudo-intellectual is big screen farce full of fun!"
...Broad Humor Film Festival

NR: Some naughty words and insuations
this film is karmically safe for tweens & up


Karma, uptight fashion editor, becomes a poet after moving in with
her new-age therapist sister. Join Karma on her cosmic journey from the
swinging sixties to a colorful NYC landscape of shallow friends, rapping nuns,
men in housedresses and inappropriate romance! Stars dancing diva Karen Lynn
Gorney of Saturday Night Fever fame, the great American character actor Joe Grifasi
and introduces talented newcomers. Original songs byJill Wisoff (Welcome to the
Dollhouse songs/score) and music by Joel Diamond (The Believer, Milarepa).

FIND YOUR INNER HIPPIE! Be prepared to sing along!

(Verse 1) Let me take you on a journey to a real hip place
Where the mandrake grows
And a daisie bends in the wind
Rest beside the nurturing water and reincarnate
You are Karma creating karma
(chorus) And whatever you may choose, Girl (Creating Karma)
And whatever you may lose, Dude
Don’t worry about it
You are Karma!!!!

(chorus) Pass the puppet, pass the puppet
Pass the puppet to the left, to the right
Pass the puppet, pass the puppet
Pass the puppet with a hey, with a ho!
It’s pass the puppet night!

CREATING KARMA, PASS THE PUPPET © Fantasy Creature Productions 2009

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I'm Happy and Female - What's Wrong with Me?

A recent study showing women are much less happy today than they were in the 70s before Women's Lib and Equal Opportunity while men are still about has happy if not happier has triggered a lot of chatter on the news and on the web. Here's just one article on the Huffingon Post by Marcus Buckingham with 43 pages of comments. (My comment is way back on p. 41 as I saw the article right away.)

My take on the situation is different from many of the others that to my mind rehashed much of the same arguments that have been going on about men, women and our culture for the past 30 years.

What I see is that my anecdotal experience is way off from the norm. I not only would score my happiness at a 3, I would say there is not one time in my past when I was happier. My sisters and female friends are very happy. Even the sister who lost her house in a foreclosure recently has bounced back and is loving her new life. I don't doubt the trends; I just wonder what's different.

One difference is that my friends and family all lead artist lives. We are not rebels nor crusaders, because all that involves too much negative energy that interferes with creative pursuits. We are more like off-road vehicles exploring the world, looking for our own path to our dreams.

As a young woman, the culture did not see me as one of the 'winners' and that led me to stop expecting happiness to come from that culture; I would have to build it whole cloth, by myself or with friends.

The disparity in happiness shows something wrong at the core of our culture. Women's 'liberation' has exposed a deeper imbalance than work and pay. The roles that held the imbalances in check are gone and the imbalance is running loose wreaking havoc. Women have no new models for a fulfilling life, only flickering images of the old roles overlayed over current realities. The experiences of myself, my family and friends have no expression in mainstream arts to help women model a new kind of life that can be happy today.

Film and television are the main mirrors of cultural norms and ideals. But women to get funded and produced have to craft stories that fit the model that the bankers and their studio partners understand. Hence the slew of romantic comedies with smart, beautiful, successful women who are essentially broken getting 'fixed' by a relationship with a sloppy, lazy, unappealing schlub of a guy.

Is it any coincidence that an Edinburgh university study shows that watching romantic comedies hurts your love life? While everyone knows it's just a movie, as Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Heriot Watt University said: "... some of us are still more influenced by media portrayals than we realise."

And don't get me started on all the skinny women. I make movies with women of all sizes, and audiences of people who do not work in the movie business don't even notice. I should say the men don't notice, and find the women of normal size plenty appealing. The women often comment how nice it is to see people who look like their friends peopling the world of the movie.

So it's up to us broads to keep making movies despite the indifference of the mainstream entertainment biz. Women need our vision. The world is better for us. No wonder we're happier.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bully for Her - Making an Invitational Short

Julia Camara (website) has shot her entry for the alumnae invitational, Bully for Her. I hope the rest of you are thinking about making something for this year. Remember, there's no entry fee and you're guaranteed a slot. What better workshop for your craft?
The Making of a Short Film
I’m the process of editing my invitational short for the 2009 Broad Humor film festival. This was my third experience directing a short and I couldn’t be happier with what we’ve accomplished so far. Our two-day shoot went very smooth. We had no personality clashes, no brokenequipment, no damaged property or bruised egos. We were a well-oiled filmmaking machine.

The only set back I had was losing my location a week before the shoot. I actually didn't lose the location, my contact just stopped returning my calls and emails. But as my husband and filmmaking partner, Tim, said, it turned out to be for the best. The location we ended up using was beyond perfect.

I also had my first experience directing children. It surprised me to see what great instincts they have. Toward the end they were telling each other to match their actions from take to take and where their "marks" were. They also fully got how sometimes you cheat they way you look at the camera and where your eye-line should be.

They are natural born actors and I really hope they get signed to an agency very soon. As much fun as it was, the scene called for the kids to get pretty loud and crazy, so at the end of the day we were all exhausted. As, I'm sure, was their mom, who doesn't really allow them to get that rowdy very often. These are the best behaved kids I've ever seen, and I'm not just saying that. Stay tuned for their screen debut this summer in my short film entitled “Never Odd or Even.” (Notice how the title is a palindrome.)

Directing adults was much easier. I ended up with a pretty talented bunch, I must say. I asked two of my friends who are actresses and one of them found my third actor.

Everything has fallen into place for this project. Before I had a shoot date and a location, I was goofing around on Craigslist and found an ad from a DP looking to partner up with a writer. Later, I posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a location, and got several answers. The owner of the office I ended up using, a production company in Hollywood, told me she also runs a Mexican restaurant and was on Craigslist looking for a Margarita machine for her restaurant when she saw my ad. Our lunch on the day of the shoot came from the exact same Mexican restaurant...

Now, I’m talking to a musician, recommended by one of my actresses, and almost ready to lock in the picture. I have a feeling my female bully will be a crowd pleaser this summer.

This process has really reminded me of how much of a collaborative medium film is. To get something in the can, you have to get out there and meet people. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to help you just for the fun of making a movie with you. Bottom line is, no bad economy can stop you from being creative. Creativity is one of the few things that are still free, and for everything else there’s Mastercard.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Moviemaker Writing and Promo Opportunities

Moviemaker Magazine has three ways you can contribute to the magazine or website, sharing your experiences and promoting yourself through their magazine and blog at the same time. The Moviemaker blog, with entries written by indie filmmakers and entrepreneurs who share their stories and lessons, looks to be a good read.

And you can be a part of it in a number of ways. (Notice that for the festival writing, we are not one of the festivals they will be featuring, but many of you have been to some of the other ones. And you can always point out to them that we are unique and fun and should be written about!!)

So here's the info on contributing to the Festival Beat, the Tales from the Trenches, and Coming Attractions.
Working the Festival Beat
MovieMaker Magazine is looking for a few moviemakers to help us revamp our always-extensive festival coverage by letting us know, firsthand, what the festivals were all about. If chosen by our editorial staff, you will be asked to write a short piece about the festival, detailing the festival winners, noteworthy screenings, most memorable events and general atmosphere. We want those who couldn't make it to the fest to feel like they did.

If you—and your movie—have attended any of the following festivals, drop us a line at festbeat@moviemaker.com and let us know which festival(s) you'd be interested in reviewing for us. Be sure to include a short writing sample—no matter how informal.

Upcoming festivals to be profiled in MovieMaker include:

AFI Dallas
Ann Arbor Film Festival
Appalachian Film Festival
Black Maria Film & Video Festival
California Independent Film Festival
Crossroads Film Festival
Cucalorus Film Festival
Florida Film Festival
Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival
Haydenfilms 4.0 Film Festival
Indie Short Film Competition
International Family Film Festival
LA Comedy Shorts
Magnolia Film Festival
Poppy Jasper Film Festival
Red Rock Film Festival
Sedona International Film Festival & Workshop
Starz Denver Film Festival
Trail Dance Film Festival
Whistler Film Festival

If you have/are planning to attend any of these fests with your film, we want to hear from you. And we're adding new fests all the time!

If selected and published, your contribution will be noted in our Festival Correspondents section, where we will include a short bio of you and mention of your movie as well as your e-mail and URL information.

Submit your request today to festbeat@moviemaker.com. Be sure to include the title of your film, the festivals you've attended and a brief explanation as to why we should pick you as one of our Festival Correspondents. We look forward to hearing from you!

Don't Forget!
We're still accepting submissions for our new Tales From the Trenches and Coming Attractions features at MovieMaker.com.

Tales From the Trenches
MovieMaker wants to hear your production nightmares—your struggles with cast and crew, your technical pitfalls and (most importantly) the steps you've taken to reign the project back in—for an all-new weekly feature called Tales from the Trenches. Submit your story today (no more than 1,000 words) to tales@moviemaker.com. Who knows, you just may be the next featured writer at MovieMaker.com, reaching out to our more than one million readers!

Coming Attractions
Speaking of publicizing your movie, we're also looking for your help with our new Coming Attractions section. We want to keep our readers up to date on all the hottest upcoming movies—including yours! Send us a few choice photos from the movie you're working on right now along with all the pertinent info (director, actors, synopsis, completion/release dates, etc.) and you may just see it posted on MovieMaker.com for all the world to see. Send all photos and information to photos@moviemaker.com (and be sure to include any photographer credits).

Monday, February 16, 2009

Welcome to the Footage Firm

Well, we've got a great new sponsor for our filmmaker prize packages. They are giving us their royalty-free stock footage DVDs to pass along to our winning filmmakers. In addition to the DVDs they sell, they have launched a new website: StockFootageForFREE.com where video editors can download stock footage clips from around the world absolutely free. Here's the info Joel at Footage Firm sent me on the site.
StockFootageForFREE.com provides completely free stock footage from around the world that can be downloaded instantly and incorporated into any type of video editing project (commercial use is okay!). There are absolutely no fees-just register for free and start downloading an unlimited amount of footage! http://www.stockfootageforfree.com
This is a great deal, folks. Check it out.

Friday, February 06, 2009

J.J. Abrams' Mystery Box

Browsing the TED archives, I came across this video of J.J. Abrams talking about his love of mystery. Along the way, there are some fantastic lessons about story and narrative, as well as a powerful challenge to filmmakers near the end. Watch it here.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Susan Emshwiller - A Winning Broad!

Susan Emshwiller, an alumna of Broad Humor Film Festival whose film, "In the Land of Milk and Money" opened the very first festival, has just won an award from the Environmental Defense Action Fund for her film, "Cap It." We all give her a huge cheer for her work.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2009 Festival Call for Submissions


Comedies by women? You must be joking!


Los Angeles, California, Jan. 24, 2009 - The Broad Humor Film Festival (BHFF) gears up for its fourth annual weekend of fun with a call to all women with a sense of humor and a camera. Film submissions are now open for the festival taking place June 12-14, 2009 at the Electric Lodge Performing Arts Center in Venice, California. Comedy screenplays written by women are also being accepted for the writing competition.

Brainchild of Susan diRende, the Broad Humor Film Festival began in response to the lack of attention given to women-generated comedy and is today he only festival in the world to put the spotlight on women's onscreen humor.

"As our broads in the trenches of the indie world have been demonstrating for years, women are suddenly being recognized for being, yes, funny." Today, high-profile funny women are getting attention and accolades, but it is still an uphill battle for most.

BHFF accepts entries of films and screenplays in three length categories: under 20 minutes/pages; 20-60 minutes/pages; over 60 minutes/pages. Documentary, narrative and web films are all welcome so long as all writers and directors are female and humor is an important part of the story. But it doesn’t need to be the whole story.

“We love the ways that women create humor,” says diRende. “We’ve found that women prefer to create ‘blended genres.’ If a serious movie has lots of laughs or plenty of smile moments important to the story, we want to see it.”

Competition categories exist for both experienced filmmakers and for no-budget novices working on a shoestring.

The June festival will have screenings of selected films and scene readings for screenplay finalists. Participants become a permanent part of the BHFF community with a free invitational screening for alumnae every year thereafter.

go to festival website

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Social Networking Works for You - Yes, YOU

Broad Julia Camara wrote to share some thoughts on how the internet and social networking are changing how we do business. A lot of our participants are internet shy, can list all the reasons why the connections made there are not 'real' and why they do not believe it will help them. Julia, clearly, is not one of those.

I just had a fun dinner with a friend who’s an actress and as we talked about the amount of progress we were making with our careers, she mentioned how she’s constantly meeting producers and agents at her day job, and how they started saying they’re going to look her up online and see what kind of clips of projects they could find.

It occurred to me how even casting is changing these days. When I went to film school casting our projects was done by placing an ad in backstage west, getting a million head shots, sorting through them, and then calling the people you thought had the right look.

Nowadays you can put an ad on craigslist, or myspace, or facebook and not spend a dime in ad costs. Actors can submit electronically, which takes a whole five seconds; you don’t have to wait for the submissions to be delivered via snail mail. (Sometimes I’m surprised the US Post Office is still in business.)

When I first started submitting screenplays to whoever would accept them, competitions, production companies, agents and managers, you had to mail them. There was no other option. Email was around, I’m not that old, but it just wasn’t heard of to email a script. I know writers who refuse to send anything but a hard copy, but I’m not one of them. Having read hundreds of scripts on my computer screen, I’m glad to save space in my tiny overpriced condo, and some trees.

So, this little trip down nostalgia lane made me think about how important for all of us artists it is to have an online profile that is accurate and portrays us in the best possible light. Myspace and facebook aren’t just for kids or people looking to hook up, we should never post drunk photos of ourselves or anything we wouldn’t want our work community to see. I can’t tell you how many potential collaborators I’ve met through social networking.

I realize some of this might be common knowledge since these days employers are looking at job applicants myspace profiles so you should always have your best side out there. You never know who’s looking.

Check out Julia's website here.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gia Milani's New Film

Gia Milani ('06) has a trailer for her new short film up on YouTube. Not a comedy, but we still like to give a shout out to alumnae. Watch it - Dark Radius.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Netflix Film Grant Competition

Netflix has a competition for a film grant of $350,000. You have to have a script, a vision, and a budget. Deadline is Feb. 9 or when the applications reach 2,000. If you've got a project ready, the process is easy and free.

Netflix FIND Your Voice Film Competition
(310) 432-1275 (voice)
Web: www.netflixfindyourvoice.com
Email: filmmakerlabs@filmindependent.org

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

News from a Broad - Julia Camara

One of our Broads, Julia Camara, has written to us about her latest project:

Hi Friends,

Reduce to Dust, the short film I completed in 2001, is finally available for sale on DVD.

I'd like to invite all of you to check out the page and write a review if you've seen it. If you haven't, use this as an opportunity to support a starving filmmaker and buy a copy.

Thanks for your support.

Also, if you're receiving this and you worked on the film and would like a copy, I'll gladly order one for you. Make sure to send me your address.

Julia Camara

A synopsis: Reduced to Dust

A black and white eerie short about a man dealing with divorce in a very unusual way; befriending a skeleton. Starring Miller Scott and Joanna Tisell. Written and Directed by Julia Camara.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Meeting Global Peace

Today I had a great meeting with Nina Streich, the Executive Director of the Global Peace Film Festival. It was great to talk to another festival founder/organizer who has been at it a bit longer. Nina is also a former NY Film Commission Director, so she has a lot to share. It is clear that we are doing the right thing to be growing slowly and in a very organic way. Nina's festival, which takes place in September, is a great event for any of you broads to consider if you have films that fit into its mission of promoting community, humanity, dialogue and discovery of value in the world we share, check them out at peacefilmfest.org.