Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Announcing The Unwritten Rules panel with creator Kim Williams

It’s 2012, and the most popular portrait of a funny Black female is Tyler Perry’s Medea. What’s that about? Now, from the realm of New Media, authentic African American voices rise in a new comedy web series with a distinctly feminine point of view. Join the creator, cast and crew of the Unwritten Rules, a new comedy about being the only Black person in the workplace.  The panel will be moderated by OBS instructor and screenwriter Hilliard Guess (The Baby Writer's Cheat Sheet).

Based on her celebrated novel 40 Hours and an Unwritten Rule: The Diary of a Nigger, Negro, Colored, Black, African-American Woman, creator/executive producer Kim Williams explores the comical situations and misunderstanding that persistently complicate race relations in the twenty-first century workplace. Panelists for the Unwritten Rules includes: actress/producer Aasha Davis (Friday Night Lights, Pariah), director Natasha TASH Gray (Let’s Stay Together) and writer/director Angie Comer, winner of Broad Humor’s 2010 Award for Best Short with Career Virgin

“the Unwritten Rules is a comic look at the fact that we all still have a lot to learn from one another; but are we willing to do the work to get there?”

the Unwritten Rules Panel is just one of many great workshops, parties, screenings, readings, and networking opportunities happening during the four-day Broad Humor Film Festival, which promises to have something for everyone. Detailed information on each day’s offerings is available at www.broadhumor.com

This panel will take place on Saturday, September 29 at 5pm. Tickets - $10 advance purchase / $15 at the door

The 7th Annual Broad Humor Film Festival tales place September 27-30 at the Electric Lodge in Venice, CA. Broad Humor is the only film festival dedicated to women-created comic content. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Scripts Needs an Audience

Today, I'm thinking about the difference between playwrights and screenwriters, and in particular what screenwriters can learn from their theater counterparts.  It's a jumble, so this may or may not coalesce into lucid ideas.  I'll give it a go.

Playwrights exercise absolute control over material, screenwriters do not.  Part of the reason is that the playwright controls timing while in movies, the director and editor control timing. If you write comedy, timing can make or break a  laugh, but drama is also about the building and delivering of emotionally triggering moments. Screenplays just are not as complete as play scripts. Screenwriters don't know if their story works so long as it is only on the page, which makes it hard to grow and get better. 

Playwrights also can't know from the page either if their play works as theater, only if it works as literature the way Shakespeare does. Text on the page doesn't tell you if a joke will work as dialogue.  Reading Moliere, I don't laugh. Yet almost any production of Moliere delivers one belly laugh after another.  Playwrights have opportunities to get a read from real audiences on their work at every stage of their development. They get plays produced by small theaters and hear their words come out of the mouths of various performers. They cannot blame the director or actors if the same scene falls flat in two different productions. They learn how to write scenes that actors can act and that audiences will respond to.  Staged readings will draw an audience and allow playwrights to test their work in a theater with live actors.  But readings of scripts are not the same as readings of plays because the screen is not a stage.  What is a screenwriter to do?

Storytelling Our Way to Happiness

I'm still thinking about the question of women's happiness which I have blogged about before. While I was cleaning today, I accidentally ripped an old, graying newspaper clipping stuck on the side of my refrigerator. Before throwing it away, I read it over again and realized why I've kept it all these years.  I love the ideas of the philosopher, Richard Rorty, about storytelling and self-creation. We can make and remake ourselves through the stories we tell. If you have a philosophical bent, read on.

In his ideal of self-creation ... Rorty's new twist is to stress language and literature. The task, as he sees it is to replace the descriptions and labels imposed on us by others – family, professions, culture – with our own descriptions, our own language.  We create ourselves by telling our own story.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Letter to Submitters

Once submissions close and before decisions are made, I like to send a letter to everybody who made the effort to submit a film or screenplay.  The impulse came from my own experiences with rejections letters supposedly softened by comments about how many people submit,  how hard it is to choose from so many good projects, blah blah blah.  All I could read was the rejection and I hated the sugar coating.  But it is true.  Good work does not always get in. So I tell the broads that their work matters separate from the yes or no, which is subjective and based on practical as well as artistic considerations.
To all the broads and the broad-minded:

Submissions have closed for the 2012 Broad Humor Film Festival.  Within the next ten days, I personally will have watched or read every entry. Other members of the team who have been viewing or reading will meet with me and we will make our selections. You can expect to hear a thumbs up or down by the end of next weekend.  Sooner if we can, but we want to make sure all the submissions get a full review before making our decisions, so we're not going to rush.

Once again, I have been stunned by the energy that everyone has put into telling stories for the purpose of laughter. The number of people who wish to write a screenplay or make a movie are legion; the ones who actually do it are rare and in my opinion should be honored for that very fact. So I say congratulations to you all.  Please accept our appreciation for sharing your work with us.

Sadly, we cannot show all the films nor honor all the screenplays. Selection is not objective, cannot ever be completely fair, and will not do justice to the work you have done. Every year we turn down scripts or films that go on to win other festivals.  Taste is subjective yet we must choose according to ours. 

We will do our best to keep you all informed as we move forward.

Kudos to you all!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Greenhouse Studios to offer Filmmaker Awards at this year's BHFF

The Broads are happy to report that Greenhouse Studios, a post production facility dedicated to providing high quality post services to independents and high-end clients alike, has lent their support again this year offering two Filmmakers Awards. The prizes include a very generous post production package (including free Offline Editing time, HD Color Correction and Graphics) to the winners of both the Best Feature and Best Short. We can’t thank the folks at Greenhouse Studios enough for their commitment to the independent women of comedy.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Broad Humor DIY DAY: Paradigm Shift

We are starting to put together the panelists for our all-day workshop for independent filmmakers - DIY DAY: Paradigm Shift on Friday, September 28. Independent film is still struggling to find some solid ground in the new transmedia world, and we've got a whole day planned to take folks through the process of preparing, creating, and promoting your own content instead of waiting for someone else to pull a Prince Charming. For both professionals and newcomers who want to polish their production tools and get a handle on the process of building a career-sustaining audience.