Thursday, June 27, 2013

QUEUE THIS!

What a day! And what a week! Yesterday brought lots of exciting activity from SCOTUS, and last week I was up to my eyeballs in films at the LA Film Festival. And yes, this does relate to my regular post about Netflix movies. As far as the SCOTUS decision goes, we are lucky enough to have access to a wonderful doc on the couple behind the fall of DOMA - Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer. See Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement below (and it's even directed by women and streaming!). I'm so looking forward to learning more about these trailblazers.

As for the LA Film Festival-- Wow, what an inspiring roundup of films directed by women! As I pointed out in an earlier post, there was a lot of talent headed to the fest. And they did not disappoint. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see all the films that were directed by women, but I'd like to give you a head's up about a few that really rocked my world. I'm not exaggerating, these are fantastic films. Favorite features include Afternoon Delight (dir Jill Soloway), In A World (dir Lake Bell) and Wadjda (dir Haaifa al Mansoor). On the doc side, I was inspired by American Revolutionary- The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs (dir Grace Lee), The Crash Reel (dir Lucy Walker) and Venus VS. (dir Ava DuVernay). If they aren't already, be sure to put these on your radar.  


By the way, all of these wonderful directors were kind enough to pose for a photo for @TheDirectorList, my twitter account dedicated to promoting women directors. Please take a look and retweet-- promoting these women directors helps raise awareness about all of us! And now for a few more festival favorites directed by women and available on Netflix...Queue this!

Blame It On Fidel! (dir Julie Gavras, 2006)  Netflix says: "Nina Kervel-Bey stars as 9-year-old Anna, a privileged young Parisian girl whose orderly, structured life is thrown into turmoil when her parents are drawn into Paris's turbulent and radical 1970s political scene. Julie Gavras (daughter of famed French filmmaker Costa-Gavras) directs this 2007 Sundance Film Festival competition entry." Yet another connection to the LA Film Festival - Costa-Gavras was honored there this year. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

If You Plan To Read This, Have Your Prozac Ready.

Study shows that that woman have better luck
selling books than film spec scripts 
Did you hear the latest statistic regarding women in Hollywood? I saw it in The Wrap on Friday --  "Spexism - Sales Of Female-Penned Specs Hits New Low."  Of recent sales of spec scripts, women make up a smaller percentage of those sales than any time in the last two decades.  For the record, I want you all to know that I really do try to find positive "Women in Hollywood" news to share with you. But in the months since I started blogging for Broad Humor, I've been struck time after time with disappointing statistics regarding women in this industry. What shocks me is that the poor showing isn't just in one given discipline or genre -- it's across the board. The numbers are even more shocking when I consider the fact that I meet women, both young and old, who are every bit as talented, passionate, skilled, bright, funny, and knowledgeable as the guys, young or old, that I meet. In my opinion, the poor numbers are in no way a representation of the level of talent women in this town possess. So what gives?  Why aren't women shining in Hollywood? For writers, it's not because we women can't tell a story. You only have to look as far as the ratio of men to women writers on the New York Time Best Sellers List to prove it. As The Wrap article states, that ratio is 1:1. Equal for men and women. Since this list is based on sales, this is proof that women writers can bring eyeballs to the page just as well as male writers can. So it stands to reason that women screenwriters could bring butts to the seat as well as their male counterparts -- if given the chance. Note to the industry: women just want to help you succeed and make money.  Help us. Help you. 


Please share any positive news you have about women in Hollywood or your thoughts on why the state of employment (or underemployment) is what it is for women in this industry. Look forward to your comments!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Top 10 Sitcoms Starring Female Stand Ups

As often is the case, this week's top 10 list is inspired by what is going on in my life. I recently began doing stand up comedy at open mic nights (it's super fun, you should try it). Stand up comedy and acting are two different talents, so I want to celebrate the women who have successfully done both. The shows on this list don't all have the comedienne as the "star" of the show, but the parts are good and the ladies are great. Here's my list of the Top 10 Sitcoms Starring Female Stand Ups:

10) Suddenly Susan (Kathy Griffin) Brooke who? Kathy Griffin is fantastic and I love her.

9) The Larry Sanders Show/The Ben Stiller Show (Janeane Garofalo) She wasn't in every episode of the former, and the latter didn't last long, but she's an incredibly funny lady.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Athena Film Festival Call for Entries


Happy first day of Summer, everyone!! Today I'd like to talk about another great film festival for Women: the Athena Film Festival. What makes this festival unique is the fact that only films about women in leadership are accepted. Take a look at this video below and the blurb from their website. The deadline for submission is September 15th!






A Celebration of Women and Leadership
Heading toward its fourth year, the Athena Film Festival -- a celebration of women and leadership -- is an engaging weekend of feature films, documentaries and shorts that highlight women’s leadership in real life and the fictional world. The four-day festival, which includes conversations with directors and Hollywood stars and workshops for filmmakers, has quickly established itself as one of the most prestigious festivals of its kind. The festival will be held Feb. 6 - 9, 2014 in the heart of New York -- at Barnard, the most sought-after women’s college in the nation.







*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.
~~~

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hey Fellow Writers...Extend Your Life With A Treadmill Desk!

I'm writing this blog while walking on my treadmill desk -- the newest trend in office accessories, or should I say office necessities. At a speed of one mile per hour, I comfortably stroll and write and, according to Dr. James Levine,  extend my life.  I've had my treadmill desk for less than a week and so far I love it.  An article in the May issue of The New Yorker called "The Walking Alive", inspired me to get one after reading some alarming statistics about the health hazards of sitting at a desk. As a writer, I easily sit six hours or more a day often ignoring the aches and pains that my body sends as cries that it's had enough. "Shut up, you wimpy, whiny body! I must keep writing and finish this scene!" Does this sound familiar to any of you? I know I'm not the only one into this type of self torture.  And then after a long day of writing, what do I do? Relax in front of the TV. Who's with me on this? And even on those nights when my body protests at being forced to sit on the couch in front of the TV,  I still do it because, as an entertainment writer, I consider it "research", right? I've got to keep up with the current shows so I know what's out there. It's work! So what does all this sitting amount to?  Well, there's the obvious back aches and weight gain, but there's even more going on under the surface.  Dr. Levine has discovered some frightening facts about sitting that I want to share so that you know what's really going on when you sit at your desk innocently tippy-tapping out your scripts.

Sitting a lot, even if you're in good shape, is bad. Even if you go to the gym 3 times a week, you might feel fit, but you won't be metabolically healthy. According to Levine, "Sitting puts muscles into a sort of hibernation, cutting off their electrical activity and shutting down the production of lipoprotein lipase -- the enzyme that breaks down fat molecules in the blood. Your metabolic rate drops to about one calorie a minute -- just slightly higher than if you were dead."  Pause to let this sink in.... Okay. Moving on.

Even sitting for two hours a day is harmful. Sitting for more than two hours a day (hello, that's 2 dramas a night) causes the presence of good cholesterol to drop and, in time, insulin effectiveness plummets. This can lead to cardiovascular problems, certain kinds of cancer, depression, deep-vein thrombosis and type-2 diabetes.  (gulp)

A one-hour hard workout a day won't cut it.  Contrary to popular belief, going to the gym once a day for a hard one-hour work out may not cancel out the damage done by sitting for six hours. (Well, I wasn't even doing that much activity)

For women, sitting is especially unhealthy. While studies show that men who sit for six or more hours a day have an over-all death rate  20% higher than men who sit for three hours or less a day, women have it worse. (of course) Studies show that women who sit for more than six hours a day die at a rate that's 40% higher than that of women who move more. This is the statistic that got me to run out and get my treadmill desk. 

The answer is walking. It's been tested and shown that walking can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by 31% and the risk of dying by 32%.  

The Treadmill Desk.  No need to spend thousands on a new treadmill desk - you can make your own! I found a cheap treadmill on Craigslist last Thursday, my husband rigged up the "desk" part on Friday and by Friday evening I was emailing all my friends, bragging that I was writing them while exercising. If you decide to go for it and DYI a treadmill desk, here's what to look for in a treadmill:

- 2.0 horsepower motor minimum - most treadmills are built for one-hour workouts at higher speed as opposed to 6-hour continuous use at a low speed. So this size motor is recommended.
- 18 inch wide belt - You're going to be working so a wider belt is recommended so that you don't step off the side. 
- Speeds of 1mph and lower - Setting the treadmill at .8 mph is recommended for work.  I set mine at 1 mph and that feels comfortable. You just want to make sure that you have slow options. 

Before getting my treadmill desk, I really didn't have enough hours in the day to do my work, my daily chores, AND exercise. Now I work and exercise at the same time! Who doesn't love multitasking?! Fellow treadmill deskers -- I'll call them "treaders" -- claim that they have more energy and more focus while working. It's too early for me to make those claims, but maybe I'll check back in a few months and tell you how it's been -- hopefully 5 pounds lighter!  My next goal -- get my dogs on it with me!

Oh, BTW, while writing this blog, I just walked 2 miles and burned 204 calories!! Yay!



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

Top 10 Reasons the Lack of Women in Film isn't All Bad


I don't think the lack of women in film is necessarily a bad thing. (Oooh! Them's fightin' words!) Just hear... er, read...me out. Here are the Top 10 Reasons the Lack of Women in Film isn't All Bad:

10) Being a minority allows us to have fun "just for us" things like the Broad Humor Film Festival!

9) This blog exists. That gives me something to do every Monday.

8) If there were tons of women in the industry, there would be no reason for diversity programs to help women break in.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mumbai Women’s International Film Festival Call For Entry


One of my favorite things to do is to keep track of Women’s Film Festivals around the world. 

This one just announced their call for entries. Take a moment to check them out and send in your films.













*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.
~~~

Free 5-Day Professional Development Intensive for NYC Artists

 Do you live in NYC?  Then get your name on the list.  You might get picked by the lottery to be part of this great professional development intensive. 

I, for one, think lotteries are the best way to select artists for all sorts of programs.  Once you rise to the general level of requirements, it becomes personal taste and not artistry that makes the last cut.  In the "personal taste" realm also lives the -isms - you know - sexism, racism, cultural imperialism.  Anyway details below the fold or just go to the website:  NYC Artists Professional Development Program

Thursday, June 13, 2013

QUEUE THIS!

For those of us in Los Angeles, this week sees the start of the LA Film Festival, and I'm really excited about it.  As many of you know, I was on the fest circuit with my itty bitty short film, The Director, in 2011-12 and it was a wonderful experience.  When things slowed down, however, I really started missing all that's great about film festivals-- meeting other filmmakers, seeing new films, being inspired by the creative energy swirling about, etc.  So, I decided to get a pass for this year's LA Film Fest to kinda-sorta pretend that I'm back on the circuit (don't worry, I'm not going to lie to people and say I'm a festival filmmaker, I'm only going to lie to myself a little bit).  So, if you see me around the fest, please say hello!  My favorite part is connecting with other filmmakers.  And if you're a woman director, I just might snap a picture of you to share with @TheDirectorList twitter followers (you'll have photo approval, of course). Don't be shy!

Good lord, there are a lot of great films by women at this year's festival.  To help you get to know a few of the women behind those films, I've put together a Netflix viewing list that includes some of their other film work. By the way, I love how easy the LA Film Fest makes it to find women directed films- just go to the film guide, click the Genre drop-down menu and pick Women Directors.  I wish every fest made it so easy (as well as Netflix, for that matter)!  It's too bad they don't include the short filmmakers, but it's a great start.

I'll be honest, there are a few filmmakers here I didn't know had other films, so working on this week's post led me to some nice discoveries.  I hope there are some discoveries for you, too.  Let's QUEUE THIS!

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life (dir Tamar Halpern, 2011)  Netflix says: "Just before his 13th birthday, Jeremy Fink receives a mysterious box that needs four keys to be opened and promises to reveal the meaning of life. Aided by his feisty best friend, Lizzy, Jeremy goes on an extraordinary quest to open his treasure."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Do You Have A TV Pilot Idea? Then This Is The Contest For You!

Here's an interesting contest for anyone with a television pilot idea. It's both a class and a contest wrapped into one. To enter, you download a free "TV Pilot Kit"  -- which I love and use when I write all my pilots. So even if you don't plan to enter this contest, you can go download this kit and use it. Very helpful tool for your writing toolbox. The kit includes Show Proposal, Character Relationship Map, and examples from the show How I Met Your Mother.  To enter you complete the kit, submit it and the top 50 semi-finalists win attendance to a live TV Pilot 101 webinar given by funny woman Ellen Sandler, who was an executive producer on Everybody Loves Raymond. Those 50 folks have a month to write their pilots and judges will narrow it down to 10 finalists. Those lucky 10 writers take part in the Story Specialist Mentoring Program where they'll polish their pilot and create a Show Bible. I'm telling you, this is a full-service contest. The final projects are judged by industry pros and a winner selected who will meet with industry folk and undoubtedly go on to great success. But, this contest is one of those that you can honestly say that there are no losers, because everybody learns so much along the way.  That's the point of it. I like that. If you want to find out more, here's a link Oh, and the deadline is June 15th... so get crackin'!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

TED TUESDAY - The Politics of Fiction

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, June 10, 2013

Top 10 Reasons A 9 to 5 is Better Than Waiting Tables

The life of a starving artist is a romantic idea, but for many of us, the romance dies on the first of every month, when rent comes due. Some struggling filmmakers are able to get enough freelance jobs working on crews to support themselves, others wait tables, and others work the dreaded nine to five. But, why is it dreaded? Personally, I find a nine to five much more appealing than waiting tables (and I get far fewer homicidal urges sitting behind a desk). Here are the Top 10 Reasons A 9 to 5 is Better Than Waiting Tables:

10) Either way, you'll probably get yelled at every so often by some jerk. At least at an office, it'll be the same jerk(s) and you can learn to deal with him/her/them.

9) Very few offices make you roll silverware for $2.13 an hour before you can finally go home. I dare say none.

8) You won't have to clean up after strangers, knowing they left you a crappy tip. You probably won't have to clean up after strangers at all.

7) The hours are consistent. Will I be free for brunch three Sundays from now? Yes, I will. My schedule never changes.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Ms. In The Biz – Online Magazine for Women in Entertainment


Happy Friday, everyone! After one week off I’m back with another great resource.

Last month I had the pleasure of collaborating with Ms. In The Biz, writing a piece about my short film “Unsolved.” You can read that post here.

Ms. In The Biz is a great site not only for its information, great writing and the powerful female presence, but it’s also a place for ladies in entertainment to meet each other and support each other’s endeavors. Check it out for yourselves!
 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

QUEUE THIS!

This week I decided to focus on films made by women who are known for their acting work-- instead of "Before They Were Famous" it's more like "Before, They Were Famous."  Luckily, most of them still do their fine work in front of the camera, so that statement isn't totally true, but I like punctuation jokes, so there you go. Betty Thomas is the only one from this list who seems to have hung up her acting hat for good once she started directing. In fact, most people of a certain generation or later rarely know her from her most famous stint as a sergeant on Hill Street Blues.  Thanks to the magic of the internet, however, you can remedy that deficiency- Netflix has HSB available on DVD, and Hulu has three seasons available for streaming. Sounds like we're all going to be busy, so let's get to work and QUEUE THIS!

Only You (dir Betty Thomas, 1992)  Netflix says: "Luckless dollhouse designer Cliff Godfrey (Andrew McCarthy) gets dropped by his fiancée just before their trip to Mexico, but when the dejected ex hits it off with gorgeous party girl Amanda Hughes (Kelly Preston) at a bar, he finds himself a new travel mate. In this romantic escapade, the vacation turns disastrous as Amanda plays peekaboo with her intentions, but travel agent Clare Enfield (Helen Hunt) proves a friendly face in a foreign land." There are a lot of Thomas' films on Netflix, but only two are available for streaming. How could I resist this one with Andrew McCarthy being so classic Andrew McCarthy-like-- and he plays a freaking dollhouse designer!! Also, it looks like this is Thomas' first feature. Netflix-- you are amazing! (btw, she did a bunch of tv directing before 1992.)

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

TED TUESDAY - Tales of Passion

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, June 03, 2013

Top 10 Best Written Series Created by Women

Yesterday, the WGA revealed its list of the 101 best written TV series ever. I searched the list for shows created by women. So, here are the Top 10 Best Written Series Created by Women:

10) Fawlty Towers, ranked #58 (tie), written by* John Cleese & Connie Booth

9) Sesame Street, ranked #56, Created by Joan Ganz Cooney

8) L.A. Law, ranked #55, Created by Steven Bochco & Terry LouiseFisher

7) The Wonder Years, ranked #54, Created by Neal Marlens & CarolBlack