Thursday, May 30, 2013


It's always so hard to decide which films to include from week to week for this post because, luckily, there are quite a few women-directed films to choose from on Netflix (yes, I'm very happy to have this problem!). This week, I chose an eclectic mix that includes films that I've been wanting to take a look at for some time, plus a tv series about which I've heard a lot of buzz.  From what I can tell, three out of the five directors on Call the Midwife are women and it was created by and written by women.  Of course, it was made outside of Hollywood, but hey, I'm just glad it exists!  
Before we start queueing, just a quick technical note.  While I was pulling the Netflix descriptions last night, I started receiving an error message whenever I tried to search and pull up a movie. This morning it was giving me the same message, so in order to give you fine readers a full post, I turned to the iPhone app. The search worked, but it seems the descriptions are shorter, so you'll see that reflected below. The nice thing about this little tech glitch is that it introduced me to the new version of the iPhone app which has more options than the old one-- including that responsive search feature.  So, if you haven't already, update your Netflix app on your idevices and then QUEUE THIS: 

Ping Pong Playa (dir Jessica Yu, 2007)  Netflix says: "When a car accident sidelines his mother and brother, tough-talking slacker C-Dub (Jimmy Tsai) shelves his pipe dream of becoming an NBA star to run the family's ping-pong supply and coaching business."

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"A League of Their Own" is a Great Film to Follow Memorial Day

A few weeks ago I made awkward eye contact with Geena Davis in Target and it reminded me of one of my favorite movies as a child,  A Leagueof Their Own.

The film was directed by Penny Marshall (the Laverne of Laverne & Shirley), and written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel based on a story by Kim Wilson and Kelly Candaele. It gives a fictionalized account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. It stars Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, and Rosie O’Donnell.

Not only is this movie funny, it is a great representation of the strength of the female spirit and the amount of ambition and perseverance women have always been capable of. This film proves that the bond between a group of women can be the central part of a plot without anyone fighting over, or getting upset over, a man. Instead these women like so many of us today, are trying to prove what they are capable of.

The "National Boys Club" Network: Where All-Male is a Losing Line-Up

Does NBC stand for National Boys Club?  The network recently announced its lineup of  new fall shows.  Not one new show was created by a woman or has a woman showrunner.  Joining them with a big fat zero is Fox.  CBS and ABC didn't do much better with one and three shows respectively.  Looking like a winner is the CW with four new shows created by women.

As Meryl Streep famously asks, "Don't the studios want the money?" We know from studies done of theater, that plays by women make on average 25% more profit than plays by men.  No study has been done yet to compare to movies, but Streep's comment at the 2012 Crystal and Lucy Awards goes on to point out that "five little movies aimed at women have brought in over $1.6 billion in worldwide box office."

Aside from the lack of new shows by women, there continues to be a dearth of women writers at all the networks.  Most returning shows with eight to twelve on their writing staffs have only one or two women staffed.  One small exception is ABC where the shows run by Shonda Rhimes, GREY'S ANATOMY and SCANDAL, have more less equal numbers of men and women who are writer/producers.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

8 Tips for Making Movies for Fun & Profit.

If you can ignore the cover, there are things worth reading inside
During the writer's strike of 2008, Thomas Lennon & Robert B Garant of RENO 911 fame got to talking about books as they walked the picket line. They realized that all the books about working and succeeding in the Industry have been written by people who had only a fraction of a credit on obscure movies that no one had ever seen. That's when the idea was born to write Making Movies for Fun (crossed out) and Profit -- a book packed with stories and sweet nuggets of wisdom that the two authors have gained from really working with the studios...for years and years.  It's not a "How To" book about writing, but rather an honest look behind the curtain that's not just eye-opening, but also hilarious. I was lucky enough to get a coveted ticket to a recent WGA event where Lennon & Garant got down and dirty, telling all -- without mentioning names. Here, I've picked some bits to share with my fellow broad writers: 

TED TUESDAY - The Danger of a Single Story

I have love TED talks for years, and many of them expand my thinking about story, creativity, and the world.  I'd like to share some with you.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Top 10 Female L&O: SVU Writers

Mariska Hargitay just announced via twitter that she will be returning to Law & Order: SVU for season 15 (yay!). I am a huge fan of the show (and others in the Law & Order franchise), so this week I comprised a list of the Top 10 Female L&O: SVU Writers. Okay, so it's not a comedy... but I like to celebrate women who work in drama, too.

10) Barbie Kligman

9) Gwendolyn M. Parker

8) Wendy West

Friday, May 24, 2013

Open Road available on DVD!

Instead of my usual Helpful Resource column, I'd like to take a moment and invite all of you to buy or rent today my second feature film 'Open Road'. I wrote the first draft of this screenplay in about a month during the now extinct Script Frenzy back in 2010. I never imagined Andy Garcia and Camilla Belle would end up playing my characters.  

It's a very personal story and loosely based on some of my experiences. This project has helped me learn and grow a lot as an artist and a person. The DVD includes a Making Of featurette with interviews and behind the scenes footage. 

Academy Award® nominees Andy Garcia and Juliette Lewis join Camilla Belle and Colin Egglesfield in this heartwarming coming-of-age story. Angie (Belle) is a free spirit living on her own terms and occasionally waitressing to make money. But when she makes connections with a drifter (Garcia), a handsome cop (Egglesfield), and his cousin (Lewis), she finds herself torn between her life of absolute freedom and being tied to people who care about her. Beautifully filmed and acted, it's an inspiring film about love in all its many forms.

*Do you have a helpful resource you’d like to promote? Do you know about a great resource to share with the Broads? Contact me to be a part of helpful resource Friday.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Arnel Pineda performs with Journey in Manila. 
Photo courtesy of Ferdie Arquero and Nomota LLC
Since I skipped last week, I put together a meaty post for you this week, fine readers. I've been noticing older films on Netflix that are directed by women who have new films debuting this year, so I thought it might be nice to do a brief round-up of some of them. Perhaps, familiarize yourselves with their early work and then go check out their new film?  I've included details about their latest film, too, so you can plan your viewing adventure more easily.  If you have information to add about upcoming screenings for any of the new films below, please chime in (the information isn't always clear or up-to-date online).  Now, let's QUEUE THIS!

Imelda (dir Ramona S. Diaz, 2004 DVD)  Netflix says: "Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines, is passionate about more than just shoes. Offering an objective examination of her life and political career, this absorbing documentary looks at one of history's most colorful female leaders. The two-time presidential hopeful and her associates provide illuminating interviews, while journalists, political opponents and U.S. diplomats deliver contrasting perspectives."  Diaz's latest film, the crowd-pleaser Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journeyabout the Filipino singer who replaced Steve Perry upon his retirement, is still playing in a few theaters, but it's also available for rental on iTunes and Amazon (just not Netflix, bummer!). You can save it to your Netflix queue, however, to let them know you want it.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

FASHION POLICE Writers On Strike. A Picket Sign is Tomorrow's Hot New Accessory.

Stretch your legs and mingle with fellow writers at tomorrow's Picket & Rally in front of E! Entertainment Television headquarters. Striking is the new black this TV season as the writers of E! network's comedy-variety show FASHION POLICE don picket signs and take to the streets to gain Writer's Guild coverage and to protest unfair labor practices. The strike is sanctioned by the WGA and all writers -- union and non -- are encouraged to show support and walk along side these brave souls. A WGA letter stated: "Although Fashion Police is one of E!’s highest-rated shows, its writers lack health and pension benefits, residuals, and industry-standard compensation. When the writers began to organize earlier this year they were met with threats and delaying tactics," the missive continued, encouraging "non-members to respect the strike and support these writers, who are taking a stand against substandard wages and conditions." 
The show is hosted by Joan Rivers and produced in partnership with her production company, Rugby Productions. As a fan of Rivers I was happy to hear reports from an E! rep saying that "Joan Rivers has gone on record repeatedly that she supports the FASHION POLICE writers and wants a fair agreement for them."  But I guess Rivers hasn't mentioned her support to the powers that be at E! network yet. - Surprising since she's usually not one to keep quiet about her views.  As of today, a WGA contract has not been signed. 
The Picket & Rally is tomorrow, THURSDAY, May 23 from 11:30 to 12:30 @ 5750 Wilshire Blvd. Parking is available across the street at 5757 Wilshire Blvd at the museum. After you park, see a WGA volunteer for parking validation. Also you can RSVP to 323-782-4567.  Come join the rally and make a loud Fashion statement!!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Top 10 Reasons Gender Shouldn't Matter in Improv

I've been studying improv for several months now. Tonight in my class I found out that another school has a strict policy against playing characters of the opposite gender (the school I attend does not). I don't know if I'm allowed to curse in this blog, so let's just say that I think that policy is no good. Here are the Top 10 Reasons Gender Shouldn't Matter in Improv:

10) Sexist much?

9) What a weird policy. Until I heard that, the idea that that policy would exist somewhere never even crossed my mind.

8) I think of improv as similar to writing, it's just collaborative writing in front of an audience. Writers write characters of both genders... so why not play them?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Thinking About Crowdfunding? – Indiegogo’s Field Guide

As of today, I have 17 days left on my crowdfunding campaign. We are about 75% funded. Through the process of fundraising I have met a lot of filmmakers with questions about my experience. Just last week Indiegogo made available this field guide on their Twitter feed. I sent it to a filmmaker who had asked me questions about the process. I figured there might be more of you out there with questions and that could benefit from this document.

Click here to download it yourself.

And if any of you have more specific questions about my process, feel free to contact me directly.

*Do you have a helpful resource you’d like to promote? Do you know about a great resource to share with the Broads? Contact me to be a part of helpful resource Friday.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Comedy Pilots by Women. What's Dead. What Moves Ahead.

Back in March, I posted the 15 pilots written by women that made the first cut in the competitive pilot process. So I thought I'd follow it up to show how women writers fared at the different networks. As of now, four of the 15 pilots are moving ahead -- ABC & CBS tied with two "broad" pilots each. There's also a rumor that NBC is planning to re-tool ASSISTANCE and try it again, meaning it still has a pulse. 

ABC ordered 13 comedies to pilot - 6 by women - 2 move forward!
BAD MANAGEMENT by Sharon Horgan & Holly Walsh
MIDDLE AGE RAGE by Cheryl Holliday
SUPER FUN NIGHT by Rebel Wilson
TROPHY WIFE by Emily Halpern & Sarah Haskins
KEEP CALM AND KAREY ON  by Andrea Abbate
SEE YOU NEXT TUESDAY  by Lizzie Molyneux and Wendy Molyneux

CBS ordered 12 comedies to pilot - 4 by women - 2 move forward!
BAD TEACHER  BY Hilary Winston
MOM By Gemma Baker & Chuck Lorre
MOTHER’S DAY  By Dana Eden, Daniela London-Dekel, Elisa Zuritsky & Julie Rottenberg

FOX ordered 9 comedies to pilot - 2 by women 
MY FUTURE ASSISTANT by Sherry Bilsing & Ellen Plummer
TWO WRONGS by Michelle Morgan

NBC ordered 16 comedies to pilot - 3 by women - 1 being re-tooled!
ASSISTANCE By Leslye Headland
GATES By Cathy Yuspa & Josh Goldsmith

CW has no funny bone.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Top 10 NEW Shows by Women for the 2013-2014 TV Season

The networks just announced their fall schedules- YAY! I'm happy to see several more shows created (or co-created) by women will be coming to our TV screens next season. I haven't actually seen them yet, so the order of this list is just based on what I've read about the premise, cast, and creator(s) of each show. Here are the Top 10 NEW Shows by Women for the 2013-2014 TV Season:

10) Camp (Peter Elkoff, Liz Heldens)

Friday, May 10, 2013

How to Film School - blog and resources for Filmmakers

In the last couple of weeks I talked about some great paid apps for Filmmakers.  You can read those entries here and here. This week I wanted to get back to basics with a great free resource I found on Twitter. (By the way, if you're not active on social media, stop reading this blog entry and go make a Twitter and Facebook account. Go ahead. I'll wait. All done? Great. Now, back to the post.) 

How to Film School is a great blog and learning center for all things filmmaking, from equipment to set etiquette, there are some great tips for the indie filmmaker. My favorite part of the blog is the free production document download page. Don't miss it!

Thursday, May 09, 2013


You know the drill... Let's QUEUE THIS!

Dear Lemon Lima (dir Suzi Yoonessi, 2009)  Netflix says: "After a selfish boyfriend dumps her, Vanessa Lemor  decides to soothe her broken heart by embracing her Yupik heritage and encouraging her misfit pals at a prestigious Alaskan prep school to compete in the World Eskimo Indian Olympics. Along the way, the awkward teen learns to find her place in the community in this touching film about identity, friendship and tradition."  Psst, this started as a short film, which you can watch on Netflix (DVD), too.  Search for the "Secret Shorts" series.

Tomboy (dir Céline Sciamma, 2011)  Netflix says: "Uncomfortable living as a girl, 10-year-old Laure decides to spend her childhood as Michael. When Michael's family moves to rural France, the child wins friends and comes to understand the complexities of gender."

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

To get your foot in the door of Hollywood, you need really cool shoes.

With network staffing season coming up, it's time for writers to prepare for an onslaught of meetings. There's a laundry list of things to do. (not necessarily in this order...) Read pilots - check! Wash car - check! Haircut - check!  Buy new shoes - huh? Shoes? Yes, shoes. And not just any shoes - really cool shoes. Apparently if you want to get your foot in the door in this business, you should start by updating your footwear. This is a tip that I received from a top development executive who said that the first thing people look at when you walk into the room are your shoes. Impressions are made. Judgements are cast. And you become whatever your shoes say you are. So look down and tell me what your footwear say about you. Right now, mine say that RiteAid sells an excellent knock-off of Tom's that I proudly call Ron's and that comfort trumps style. But, if I have a meeting, I definitely step it up. By the way, this shoe rule applies to both men and women. I have a male writer friend who just got chewed out by his partner for wearing regular sneakers to a meeting rather than "cool" sneakers -- Two straight guys fighting over proper footwear options! As silly as it sounds, it's a Hollywood "thing". And in this competitive world of show biz, every little thing counts. Don't let your footwear stand in the way of getting a job. Do a good, long sole search. Then, go to your meeting and put your best footwear forward.

What do you wear to meetings? Post a pic! I'd love to see!

Monday, May 06, 2013

Top 10 Reasons Women in the Entertainment Industry Shouldn't Try to Be "One of the Boys"

This week's top 10 is sort of a pep talk to myself, but hopefully it will also be helpful to other women pursuing a career in comedy.

In college, I was a Film & TV major, but I focused my attention on writing, and by my junior year I was dead set on writing TV sitcoms. I still haven't made it to a TV writers' room, but I've taken many, many writing classes that try to structure themselves like a writers' room. I've always loved that environment, but it wasn't until recently that I started analyzing it.

The first moment that got me thinking about this was at my writing group in January. About an hour before the meeting, I had received a call from my ex-husband, which was thoroughly unpleasant. When I got to the meeting (which was made up of me and a bunch of dudes), I was clearly stressed, so they asked what was wrong. I quickly recounted the phone call and one of the guys looked at me very strangely and said, "You're still such a girl." I asked what he meant. "You know, in here we're all just writers, I've never thought of you as a girl before. But... you're such a girl." Umm... okay?

Friday, May 03, 2013

Scripts Pro – Screenwriting App

These days my entire life is either on my phone or iPad. My laptop is old and almost obsolete, so it has kind of become a desktop. This means the freedom and spontaneity associated with writing anywhere was gone until I found the perfect screenwriting app. I tried a few different ones, but ultimately this is my favorite for the following reasons:

-You can save files as .pdf and as .fdx. You can open them on your computer and make changes.
-You can upload and download directly from Dropbox.
-Other apps I used didn’t include page numbers. This one does.
-It costs $12.99. I bought some cheaper ones that either didn’t have the features above or were not as intuitive to use. There are others that cost a lot more and do less.

Find it today at the App Store.

*Do you have a helpful resource you’d like to promote? Do you know about a great resource to share with the Broads? Contact me to be a part of helpful resource Friday.

Thursday, May 02, 2013


This week, I put a little thought into the five selections I picked for you folks and chose films that had something in common-- in other words, a theme!  But I can't decide if the theme is "Intense Movies" or "Doc & Narrative Takes on the Same Topic." I'll let you decide which one you prefer, since I'm on an early flight to San Francisco and operating on about thirty minutes of sleep.  The last one, by Susanne Bier doesn't have a related doc, but I hear it does fall under the intense umbrella.  Note that some of these are only available on Netflix as a DVD.  Let's get queueing!

Boys Don't Cry (dir Kimberly Peirce, 1999 DVD) Netflix says: "Based on actual events, director Kimberly Peirce's powerful, often harrowing drama stars Hilary Swank (in an Oscar-winning performance) as Brandon Teena, a transgender young man searching for love and acceptance in a small Midwestern town. But even as he forges a deep connection with local beauty Lana (Chloë Sevigny), the prejudices of the community threaten to doom the fledgling romance."  A film that really inspired me as a young filmmaker.  Yet, somehow I have a filmography full of comedy...??  

The Brandon Teena Story (dir Susan Muska & Gréta Olafsdóttir, 1998)  Netflix says: "Brandon Teena -- a Nebraska woman who was born Teena Brandon but identified and dressed as a man -- is the focus of this absorbing documentary that uses interviews, reenactments and news footage to tell the story. Although Brandon found happiness with a girlfriend and made a number of friends, he was brutally attacked -- and later murdered -- when his secret was discovered."