Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Third Woman's Movement - Redefining Success

The recent commencement address that Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, delivered at Smith College over the weekend is definitely worth the 15 minute read.  She boldly dared the all-female graduating class to redefine society's definition of success. "Don't buy society's definition of success," she said, "Because it's not working for women. It's not working for men, it's not working for polar bears, it's not working for the cicadas that are apparently about to emerge and swarm us. It's only truly working for those who make pharmaceuticals for stress, diabetes, heart disease, sleeplessness and high blood pressure." 
Success has largely been determined by money and power, Huffington argued, "But we need a third metric -- one based on well-being, wisdom, our ability to wonder, and to give back."  She points out, "Money and power by themselves are a two-legged stool -- you can balance on them for awhile, but eventually you're going to topple over."  There needs to be a third "leg"  or metric added to maintain a sustainable balance for success. Huffington urged the graduating students to lead a third women's revolution - to create this necessary metric by rethinking and challenging the meaning of success.  
I can't think of a better place than Hollywood or the entertainment industry to begin this movement. It's one we all could benefit from getting behind. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Music Bed - a free resource for Filmmakers

If you ever dabbled in film or video making, you know music is a must have. I personally have used composers, royalty free music and songwriters. Every project is unique and there's no one way to go about it. One thing is constant, music is always a must. 

Check out this app. It contains a variety of songs and composers to chose from. Each song includes information about what kind of license is available and how to request a specific license to your project. 

*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, July 24, 2013

Nancy's Yogurt Donating Bags for Filmmakers

I contacted Nancy's Yogurt about coupons for the filmmaker bags this year because I believe they have a great product in a great company.   They've been leaders in sustainable practices, in healthy packaging, and in quality organic probiotic yogurt.  I was inspired to introduce the Broads to the best probiotic products out there after reading a recent  Mother Jones article, Are Happy Gut Bacteria Key to Weight Loss? The title talks about weight loss, but the article is really about the surprising metabolic benefits of a healthy gut along with evidence that the inflammation that has been identified source of many chronic and acute health problems starts with poor gut health. That's where probiotics come in.

So I contacted Nancy's Yogurt and they not only offered to send us coupons so the Broads can sample their amazing yogurt, they are sending us their high quality canvas bags for our filmmaker bags this year. Sustainable, organic and "broad-friendly."

Friday, July 19, 2013

Reel Ladies

Are you looking to connect with other great female filmmakers? Take a look at the Reel Ladies website and think about joining. I have met some amazing women through this organization, including my producer Maieka Saint-Albin who helped make happen my latest short film “Unsolved.” There are lots of events, resources and great networking opportunities.  

From the website:

REEL Ladies is a rapidly growing Online Professional Networking Community & Organization for Women in the Film & Entertainment Industry. Our goal is to promote, encourage, motivate, and educate fellow women in the industry. We provide our REEL Ladies community with:
~Innovative programs

~Powerful events, meetups, telecalls, sample contracts, workshops and MORE!

~Equipment rental

~ Career and project consultations

~ Webinars (coming this summer!)

Our goal is to provide and equip women  filmmakers with the necessary tools to have an empowering entertainment career! We are creating an empowered COMMUNITY of women filmmakers who are networking with one another, hiring one another, referring one another and boldly moving forward to pursue their careers in entertainment with the  skills and connections to be a SUCCESS!

We hope you take advantage of our numerous programs and rentals and NETWORK with other women in the Filmmaking Trenches.

*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, July 18, 2013

AWD July Bash!

I'm taking a very short hiatus from QUEUE THIS! this week to let you all know about an upcoming event for women directors-- the AWD Semi-Annual Member and Prospective Member Bash!  If you are a director who happens to be L.A. this weekend, this gathering is a great way to check out the only independent film organization dedicated solely to the support and advancement of women directors.  I'll be there, and I hope you'll stop by and say hello! (click here or the photo below for all the details)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Top 10 Trailblazers for Women in the Entertainment Business

Here are the Top 10 Trailblazers for Women in the Entertainment Business:

10) Roseanne Barr

9) Tina Fey

8) Kathryn Bigelow

7) Linda Wertmüller

Friday, July 12, 2013

Free TV Pilot Kit

Hello everyone. After a short two week hiatus, I’m back with another helpful resource Friday.

Take a look at this free TV Pilot Kit download from the Writers Store.

Now, I have already started using my TV Pilot Kit as I transform one of my short films into a pilot. (A film previously screened at Broad Humor Film Festival) So far it has been really helpful to me, since it’s been a while since I have written anything for television.

(By the way, there’s lots more at the Writers Store than just this free download. If you haven’t been there or don’t know their site, take a look. I have spent many afternoons browsing their selections and buying fun items like the “writer” hat.

*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, July 11, 2013


Hey LA, Outfest opens tonight!  Don't be a dumb straight like me and think this fest doesn't have something for you.  I finally took notice of it last year and attended a few screenings.  Not only are the films great (you like good stories, right?) but there's an awesome buzz around the DGA throughout the fest-- pre-screening receptions, post-screening receptions, after parties...lots to do and they're almost all open to any attendee with a movie ticket.  In other words, it's not like most festivals where you have to buy the expensive festival pass in order to mix and mingle-- everyone is welcome!  It's really refreshing and a lot of fun.  And did I mention the great films they show?  Of yeah, I did, so here are some of the women directors, with films playing this year's Outfest, that you might want to look out for:  Stacie Passon, Martha Shane, Lana Wilson, Lisa Biagiotti, Drew Denny, Shelly Silver, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Pratibha Parmar.  And, of course, in honor of Outfest's opening night, I have chosen a variety of LGBT stories directed by women for this week's QUEUE THIS:

Mosquita y Mari (dir Aurora Guerrero, 2012 DVD) 
Netflix says: "Neighbors but by no means friends, high schoolers Yolanda and Mari discover a bond and an attraction when they're made study partners. One a star student, the other more focused on work -- both are rocked to the core by their growing connection."  I caught this at last year's Outfest and was blown away by Guerrero's beautifully subtle storytelling skill. (took a lot of mental notes in that screening!) 

Monday, July 08, 2013

Top 10 Reasons You Should Be Watching Hot in Cleveland

I have no introduction. Here are the Top 10 Reasons You Should Be Watching Hot in Cleveland:

10) Do you really need more than nine reasons?

9) The nostalgia- You can't help but compare these ladies to The Golden Girls, another fabulous foursome "of a certain age." There are just enough similarities to make it a fun homage.

8) The freshness- Even with that nostalgic feel, it's still fresh and funny.

7) The guest stars- Mary Tyler Moore, Don Rickles, Carol Burnett, Georgia Engel, Tim Conway, Carl Reiner, Regis Philbin, Shirley Knight, Susan Lucci... the list goes on.

6) Jane Leeves- She's the perfect mix of pretty and pitiful.

5) Wendie Malick- She basically plays the same character that she played on Just Shoot Me. And she's still fantastic at it.

4) Valerie Bertinelli- She's not just a Jenny Craig spokesperson. She's still a funny actress.

3) Betty White- She's an icon. She was the first female television producer. She's 91 and still hilarious (on purpose).

2) Suzanne Martin- She created the show!

1) It's funny.

Thursday, July 04, 2013


Happy 4th of July!  Like me, I'm sure most of you reading this in the States are busy at the family bbq taking wagers on who will be maimed before day's end, so I'll keep this short.  In honor of our nation's birth, I've rounded up a nice bunch of movies that tell very American stories in a variety of American settings, directed by some of our best American female directors.  If you take a break from the sun, or need to take cover from the barrage of illegal fireworks in you neighborhood (speaking from experience here), I hope you'll queue up some of these great American movies:

Shut Up & Sing (dir Barbara Kopple & Cecilia Peck, 2006 DVD)  Netflix says: "The documentary centers on country music's The Dixie Chicks and their nationwide vilification over critical statements they made about President Bush in 2003. Over a three-year period, the singers went from darlings of the industry to political targets, receiving constant death threats and being demonized by the national media and denounced by their fans."

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

From Pitch to Blockbuster -- 6 Hollwood Pros Give Advice On What It Takes To Make A Hit

Nowadays, when a studio makes a movie, they lay down heaps o cash to the tune of 100 million bucks and up with the hopes of  unleashing a blockbuster that draws an enormous global audience. Rather than diversifying their investment -- making a lot of smaller niche movies -- they shoot to win the lottery every time. It's the "Go Big or Go Home" strategy. And in an effort to alleviate the high risk involved in this inherently high-risk strategy, they manufacture films by committee. They spread the responsibility around...and later the blame should the movie turns out to be sucky. So who is on this so called Blockbuster-Making Committee? An article in last Sunday's New York Times shed light on that question in the article "Red, White & Blood." As an interesting exercise, the Times presented a totally fake, but kinda plausible concept for an action, adventure, romance movie entitled, "Red, White & Blood" to 6 Hollywood pros who then gave their advice on what the pitch needed to advance it over the hurdles to become a winning blockbuster film. The committee of pros included: The Producer (Lynda Obst), The Marketer (Mike Vollman), The Studio Executive (Erik Feig), The Researcher (Kevin Goetz), The Global Marketer (Camela Galano) and The Writer (Etan Cohen). 

The Pitch: (basically) It's Fast & Furious meets Die Hard. 
A gang of gorgeous thieves -- one named SPIKE, think Angelina Jolie -- are forced to work with a bunch of terrorists after the terrorists kidnap the thieves' significant others and hold them hostage. The terrorists force the thieves to kidnap the President. In the throes of the mission, Spike finds herself alone with the President and it's revealed that Spike is a past lover of the president -- his first love from back in Ohio -- and, although the President is married now, the heat between these two old lovers is palpable. Although, tempted to rekindle this love, the two realize that the country needs saving more than they need each other. So Spike decides to turn on her thief mates to save the President. In the climactic final battle, Spike takes a bullet for the President's wife (Gwyneth?) and single-handedly brings down the terrorists.  Spike dies in the President's arms. 

Okay. Not bad. I like the female protagonist. The only bump I have is...so what happens to all the innocent significant others who were kidnapped by the terrorists? But who cares what I think. What do the pros think? Here are some highlights.  Tell me what you think!

The Producer: 
-- Girls go to see a guy movie, but guys will not go to a movie if it appears to cater to girls.  
-- Pull back on the mushy stuff.   
-- Stakes need to be higher.  Gun battles? How cute. The weapons need to be hotter. Huge big battle weapons -- maybe an end-of-the-world device.

The Marketer:
-- Show that it's appropriate for families.  
-- Twice as many Hispanics go to see movies than any other ethnic group...Make the leading lady a Latina.  
-- Throw in some Spanish.  
-- There needs to be a wisecracking set of man candy.  
-- A little bit of comedy lets you wink at the audience -- this movie is going to be fun and not just a bunch of explosions and car chases.   

The Studio Executive:
-- Word of mouth is entirely dependent on the last five minutes of your movie.  Make them count.
-- Address the plot/character questions of the biggest cynic in the audience.  (I'm paraphrasing here.)

The Researcher:
-- Make one or two more of the car thieves lead characters to give your audience more characters to hold onto.  

The Global Marketer:
-- Just be smarter than making a nationality or culture the bad guys.  
--  Play down the romantic twist.  
-- While weepy films can succeed in some markets, the international audience tends to be a little more jaded and cynical. 

The Writer:
-- With tentpole movies, there is a tendency to try to shoehorn in everything that has worked before as an insurance policy, even if it doesn't make sense.   
-- When in doubt, string together enough explosions so that people won't notice the holes in the plot.  (He jokes.)

The article holds even more juicy comments. If you have time, check it out

Monday, July 01, 2013

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

A few weeks ago, I listed the top 10 reasons a 9 to 5 is better than waiting tables. Let's do the opposite! Here are the Top 10 Reasons Waiting Tables is Better Than a 9 to 5:

10) Either way, you'll probably get yelled at every so often by some jerk. At least at a restaurant, you probably won't have to see them again.

9) Very few restaurants make you wear high heels. Okay, offices don't either, but it's kind of expected... a little bit.

8) You won't have to sit in a cubicle.

7) The hours are flexible. Can I go to a picnic at 2pm next week? Sure, I'll just ask off.

6) The money is also flexible. There's nothing quite like realizing you made waaaaayyyy more money in one night than you expected.

5) Drunk guys will hit on you. (Probably.)

4) You can drink on the clock. Should you? No. But you can probably sneak a shot every now and then without any real consequences.

3) You can get someone to cover your section while you go out back to smoke a joint.

2) No stress of what to wear. Wear your uniform. Simple. Done.

1) You get to walk around. Variety is the spice of life.