Local Independent Film Spotlight: Vick Krishna

Welcome back friends! This week I would like to introduce you to Vick Krishna. Once again, I am thrilled to present  another local filmmaker who is making an indelible mark on the local – and even international – film industry.

I came into contact with Vick’s stellar work on Valentine’s weekend. I had the opportunity to view his recent romantic short film “onLove: A Modern Love Story”. I was immediately impressed with the acting, the production quality, and the story telling. I was drawn into the mini-movie from the get-go. For those who haven’t seen it I don’t want to give it all away and spoil this treat for you, but there are pleasant surprises that make it all that much more enjoyable.

Furthermore, I am going to let Vick tell you more about this film, himself, and his career as a whole. So please go ahead, and read on to learn more…

Hello Vick, so I just had to talk with you after viewing your short film, “onLove: A Modern Love Story”. It was engaging, and visually appealing. Tell us how you came up with the concept.

Thank you Diane! The concept came to me noticing how we can interact with our friends and families pretty much anywhere as long we are connected. That sense of true loneliness is gone these days. We are always “in-company” despite being digital.

I thought that you did an excellent job of going from reality, to “life online”, and back — Did you have any challenges producing this short? If so, what were they?

The challenge is always time as we shot the weekend before Valentine’s and I had only 2 shoot days and about 3 days to edit in order to release before Valentine’s Day. Some of the editing techniques (transitions) used are ones I have never attempted, so it was learning and executing all at once.

For those who haven’t seen “onLove” just yet, where can they view it?

They can see the film at this link . http://youtu.be/740YHKbQ2WU .

 Let’s go on to talk about your body of work. I have seen a variety online. Please fill us in on your resume — on your work overall.

So far I’ve been avid in making short films. I’ve directed/written/produced/edited 6 short films of my own. Along with that I’ve freelanced on several projects from being a production assistant, editor, assistant director, and even acting.

Where, and when did it all begin?

I’ve always loved movies from a young age. Around high school I was part of the Morning Announcements team and that exposed me to cameras and filming. I was also active in my high-school theatre, which got me into acting. Both of these solidified my interest behind and in front of the camera and I began making videos for fun trying to learn the craft.

Do you have a favorite film that you have worked on—a “passion project” if you will?

All of the ones I’ve worked on have unforgettable experiences. It so hard to pick a favorite. Each film is an adventure for me, where I get to be part of a family with the crew and actors. They all have their special moments in my life.

What is your favorite aspect of filmmaking? Is it directing, writing — tell us more?

My favorite aspect would have to be directing. It is at that stage where you finally see everything you had in your head and envisioned, in real life. It’s a great feeling to see the words come to life and you can begin the action.

What’s the ultimate goal, that you would like to attain to in the global film industry?

My goal is to simply tell a great story. Stories can do many things. They can motivate, inspire, make you cry, make you laugh, excite, scare, teach and feel something. I want to do those things well with my stories.

That is fantastic Vick! What are your thoughts about the local independent film enterprise? – Where is there need for improvement?

I think the local independent enterprise is thriving with new talents, and it’s so great that the technology to make films is now affordable so we can participate. The need for improvement might just be to continue to learn.

Personally speaking I don’t have any film school background. I learned by watching and making films. You don’t want to rush into something you don’t know anything about so take your time to learn so you can do it right. I still have so much I want to learn about visual graphics/cgi/animation, all of which could help me tell my story better.

Well your work is a fabulous testament of what self-motivation can do. Tell us about some other local filmmakers whose work you admire.

There are several great filmmakers here and some those I would like to mention are, Mike Kravinsky (Geographically Desirable), Anthony Greene (The Henchman’s War), Venu Nakshathram (The Otherside), Cisco Davis Jr. ( Zordon of Eltar: A Power Rangers Fan Film), Manan Katohora (Public Relations).

Do you have a favorite national, and international, director and/or screenwriter?

National: Spielberg & Tarantino

International: Manirathnam & Miyazaki

Screenwriter: Tarantino

Did you have a favorite on Oscar night?

“Birdman” all the way!

Which film, and actor were you pleased won an Academy Award?

I’m very pleased with the “Birdman” and Patricia Arquette winning.

Were there any disappointments for you that night?

Perhaps for Best Sound Editing if at all anything.

I gotcha! Now back to you, and your wonderful talents…What are you working on presently?  

Presently I’m working on editing a feature-length movie currently titled “The Dignified Princess” produced by Jyoti Singh.

Oh! I can’t wait to see that, and talk to Jyoti Singh about that project. We’ll fill everyone in on that soon but, how do you usually showcase your projects. Is it mostly online?

I usually just put it online. I just want to share my story with as many people as possible.

Vick, I am so happy that I got to talk with you. Thank you very much. You are the reason, I do the “Local Independent Film Spotlight”. Any final words?

Keep making films and telling your stories. And thank you Diane and the Local Independent Film Spotlight for taking the time to appreciate the local talent. We new filmmakers thrive on your words of encouragement to keep going.

 Awe! Thank you! How can everyone keep abreast of all the imaginative, and creative work that you’re doing?

They can subscribe to my YouTube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/user/vickkrishnafilms    

This was absolutely my pleasure Vick. The local filmmaking, and acting talent is rich…very rich. I sincerely get charged up to enlighten our community about the wealth of performance and entertainment treasure it possesses.

Thank you for joining us today. Stay tuned for another remarkable feature next Wednesday, right  here!

Vick Krishna

Vick-Krishna-photo

“onLove: A Modern Love Story” Poster

onlove-poster

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

Local Independent Film Spotlight: Karen Elle

I know that you’re going to enjoy reading about this gifted young woman. The first time Karen Elle grabbed my attention was when she stood up at one of our church group meetings and read a monologue she had written about her real, relatable and down-to-earth interactions with God. This was not your usual religious exchange. Oh No! Instead, Karen personalized her communication in a manner that was comparable to blatantly chatting with a close friend. It was gritty…it was candid, and I loved it!

Anyway, my take-away was that Karen Elle was someone special…unique, and “outside-the-box” – in a really good way. I later learned that Karen was an actress, and that we had much in common as we pursued careers in entertainment arts.  Naturally, this drew us closer, and it is my honor to present Ms. Karen Elle…

…Read this descriptive interview to learn  everything about this show-stopping talent.

Hello Karen, it is GREAT to get to talk with you, and chat about your growing prowess as an actress in the DMV. Please tell us where it all began — How old were you, and how did you know you were destined to be an actress?

I don’t remember the exact moment, but it happened at a young age. My first love was writing. I’d always loved to write stories. But somewhere along the line the acting bug bit me, and I’ve been in love with it ever since.

What was, and where did your very first acting experience take place?

Picture it: Dayton, Ohio. Early nineties. I was huddled in a makeshift brick house, trembling in a pink turtleneck, pink jeans, and a pig mask. I was trembling not from fear of the Big Bad Wolf, but from the excitement of being in the moment. Nah, it wasn’t that deep. I was only in second grade and when I had my first stage role as Pig #2 in some school play adaptation of The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf. That was my first formal acting experience. But I’d had plenty of practice before then—like the times I’d break something or eat cake I wasn’t supposed to, and act like I didn’t know anything when my mom asked me about it.

You’re currently involved with a stage play at the Silver Spring Stage, and we really want to hear all the details in just a few moments, but tell us about the acting work you’ve been involved with.

Well, my most recent show was Amrika Chalo! (Destination USA) with Ajoka Theatre Company, a very reputable theatre company in Pakistan. Georgetown University’s Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics brought the company here to do two performances (another was added because it sold out like milk before a snow day). I and four other local actors had the privilege of being in this production. That experience was so enriching. I learned a lot about Pakistan, about US-Pakistani relations. I learned some Urdu, and I made some great friends.
Also, I had the opportunity to be in DC Yuppies, a web series about seven friends who live, work, and play in DC and the drama that ensues. That was a lot of fun. I’ve done mostly theatre, and the only film experience I have done a couple of short student films, so with DC Yuppies I learned more about acting on camera. including advice from my cast mates, who had more film experience. You can watch the series at www.dcyuppies.tv or on the B.E. Cre8ive channel on YouTube. New episodes drop every Wednesday.
I have been in two other productions at Silver Spring Stage: The Last Days of Judas Iscariot in 2011. I played St. Monica, Simon the Zealot, and one of the centurions. Even though St. Monica was fun, my favorite character was Simon the Zealot. I gave the character a Tinidadian accent—well, I attempted to. I met with a Trini friend who said I sounded more Antiguan, and everyone else thought I was Jamaican. But it was cool to do that. I also played Perfect Love and other characters in Arabian Nights last spring. That show was a beast. I had to dance, and I was supposed to have a solo. I ended up singing so low so the audience couldn’t hear me. Ha ha.
I was a part of the Hope Operas (2014), Capitol Fringe Festival (2010, 2012), the Delaware Fringe Festival (2011), the DC Black Theatre Festival (2011, 2012). I wrote and produced my first stage play in the 2011 DCBTF. That was awesome. I was in DC’s inaugural One Minute Play Festival that premiered at Roundhouse Theatre last summer. That was really cool. I’ve been in a couple of productions of the Vagina Monologues. The first time I did that show I felt empowered and proud to be a woman and unashamed of my lady parts. I’ve been in a few play readings.

Now please fill us in on your current project coming up at Silver Spring Stage.

The production I’m currently rehearsing for is 33 Variations. It is a very interesting show. It takes toggles between present day New York and 19th century Austria and mainly focuses on Katherine Brandt, an esteemed musicologist and Beethoven aficionado. She is struggling with a paper she is writing on him and also suffering from ALS. She has a daughter who tries to connect with her and spend time with her, but Katherine is hard to love. Then in 19th century Austria, Beethoven is experiencing the denouement of his own career and health. He grapples with his own demons and his musical genius.
I am enjoying working on this show, even though it has its challenges. The director, Natalia Gleason, has a big vision for it. A unique vision, and I think it will make the show work beautifully.
The show opens Friday, February 27th (with pay-what-you-can previews on Thursday, February 26th) and runs through March 21st. There are two Sunday matinée performances on March 8th and 15th at 2:00 p.m.

What’s your role in this on-stage drama?

I play Clara Brandt, Katherine’s daughter. She wants to love her mother, but her mother pushes her away. This role is particularly challenging because there are some moments that require me to be emotional. I haven’t really had a dramatic role before, but I appreciate the challenge, because it stretches me and helps me become a better performer.

How can we get tickets to see this enlightening performance?

Tickets are $20, and you can get them online at ssstage.org. You can also buy them at the door. Goldstar.com has discounted tickets for $10.

Moving forward, what future acting gigs are you preparing for?

I am working on a TV pilot about Capitol Hill. I’m praying for success with that. I am looking forward to Season 2 of DC Yuppies. I’d like to participate in Monologue Madness this year. I do want to go to an acting conservatory, so I’ll be preparing to apply for programs that begin next year. Other than that, I don’t have anything lined up for the moment. I’ll just keep my eyes peeled for auditions and other opportunities as they come. I want to do more film projects, so I’ll be auditioning for those. Oh, and I will prepare for the future unknown acting gigs by taking classes to help me become a better performer.

What is your dream role. What character, if it became available to you – anywhere in the country – you would just have to be there to audition for?

Well, one of my dream roles is to play Grown Nala in the Lion King on Broadway. Last year I could’ve auditioned for that, but I’m not a singer or much of a dancer, so….However, I’ll risk making someone’s ears bleed to audition for the role of Carmen Jones. I would love to have that role.
If there is a reboot of A Different World, I’d definitely be in the number for that! I’ll audition for any character—especially one like Freddie Brooks.

How do you view the local independent film industry?

I’m learning more about the industry itself, but I love independent films. I’m excited about those filmmakers who churn out masterpieces on small budgets. To me, some of the stories told seem more substantial and genuine. Also, there seems to be more opportunities to see people who doesn’t fit a particular aesthetic. I aspire to be in independent films someday.

Do you have a favorite local independent film?

Sons of the City, directed by Marcus Richardson.

You’re a very creative individual who also pens scripts for others, personal monologues, and so much more. Do you have plans to write a film, documentary, stage play or other?
There are a couple of plays I want to write, one of which I’ve been wrestling with for years. Maybe when I finally sit my hind parts down I can churn them out. I have an idea for a web series that I’m working on.
I do write some scripts and monologues for skits at my church, as you know :) . I enjoy using my gift in that way.

Yes, we work on video and stage performance scripts together at The Bridge DC. Now, please share your ultimate dreams and aspirations as an actress, and writer.

I would like to win a few Oscars, Tonys, Emmys, and Golden Globes, but overall, I desire to create awesome work. I want to be the best actress I can be, and bring such truth, talent, and power to the roles I have, that they resonate deeply with anyone who watches. Same with the plays I pen. I want to tell powerful stories that create a positive force in this world.
I would love to work with Ava DuVernay. I heart her work.

Now to a more national focus; as the 2015 Oscar Awards approach this coming Sunday, do you have a favorite film, or actor, or actress that you are rooting for?

Oh yes. I’m rooting for Selma. It was fantastic. I love Birdman, and I hope Michael Keaton and Emma Stone walk away with the little golden man.

There has been lots of controversy around “Selma” director, Ava DuVernay not receiving the best director nomination for this film, although the film was nominated “best film”. As a woman in “The Biz”, what is your opinion on the full matter?

I wish I could let my facial expression answer this question.
Selma was a great film. Ava is a fantastic director—I’ve seen some of her other films. While an Academy Award is a great honor, it is not the only honor one can receive.. I think her talent speaks for itself. Just because she’s not in the running for best director doesn’t mean she’s not a great director. It doesn’t mean she won’t stop making great films. There are other spaces where she can win an award like that.
Furthermore, there have been talented directors, actors, crew members, and great films that didn’t get nominated or win an Academy Award for whatever reason. They don’t need validation from the Academy to prove that their work is magnificent.

Well said! Karen you are a fascinating young woman with immense talent. It has been such a joy speaking with you. Any final words?

Thank you! I am humbled that you wanted to interview me. Even though I am not where I want to be in my acting career, I am grateful for the journey, and I look forward to what’s to come!

That is what Local Independent Film Spotlight is all about! How can we keep abreast of all the remarkable work you’re doing as an actress, and writer?

You can follow me on Twitter–@actrizkarenelle. I also am in the process of setting up a Facebook Page, Karen Elle and a Twitter account. I will launch a web site later this year.

Thanks again Karen! It’s been fun, and enlightening! 

There you have it everyone; another remarkable Local Independent Film Spotlight individual. You wouldn’t want to miss more stories about other phenomenal talent residing, and creating, right here in the DMV area. See you next Wednesday!

Karen Elle

image

 

image

Leave a comment

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

Local Independent Film Spotlight: Aimee Schlectman

This week  I am  excited, and  proud, to introduce you to Aimee Schlectman.  Who is  Aimee Schlectman, you asks? She is a self-driven, highly talented, quite interesting, and loads of fun to work with, kind of Gal. I worked with Aimee on the acclaimed “City of Lost Souls” crime drama. I observed as she meticulously combed over each scene in the script, cataloged each item needed to dress the film’s characters, and the indoor, and outdoor sets alike, into her huge binder.

You see Aimee was our Wardrobe and Props expert. Beyond the glamour of the lights, camera and accomplished actors, there is a person (or team) who feverishly works to pull the minute details together. Aimee led her eager team, to do just that.

Stick around to learn more about this unique movie professional…

Hello there Aimee, you have a very important role in the film industry. How do you precisely describe what you do?

I do Wardrobe/ Prop Styling for film & TV.  I interpret scripts and convey the words into the actor’s wardrobe. I assist bringing the Directors/ Writers vision to life through wardrobe.  After I break down a script, I visualize the characters wardrobe from jewelry to the handbag/brief case they carry.  From the smallest detail of name initial necklace to an Over the Top Gold Encrusted Diamond Jesus Pendant a Pimp would wear. It  becomes an extension of the characters’ persona.

Within the last 5 years, I have added Prop styling to my repertoire.  Prop styling allows me another opportunity to design scenes that are more realistic and believable.  Not only do Props assist the actors into character it is extremely creative.  From; faux ice cubes to watered down coffee (used as scotch), duffel bags filled with Cocaine and briefcases stuffed with faux Money. It is the art of making it look credible and genuine.

How long have you been fitting actors for costumes, and dressing film sets?

The film industry is my Second career.

I studied Fashion Design in college and have a Degree in it. I worked in the fashion industry after college in NY/LA. After realizing, it was not as creative as I thought it would be-I switched gears and entered corporate America. After many years of Grey business suits and smart practical shoes, I realized I was not fulfilling my creative dreams.  I began classes at FIT (In NYC). After a few classes at FIT, I landed an intern position on an indie feature film with some named talent. It was not a glamorous position. –I kept fire watch on the back of the Wardrobe truck in the middle of summer and ran errands for The Costume Designer. I saw and experienced a lot, got my first taste of movie magic – I was hooked.

Why do you love doing what you do?

This industry is not for the faint of heart. The days are long; they start early and end late. I love doing this job – I remind myself especially on days when the alarm is set for 4:00 a.m. A day on set always trumps a a day in the office.

I love being a wardrobe/prop stylist. Its SUPER artistic, I get to hang out with other misfits like myself and get opportunities to work with talented accomplished folks… No one does this job for the glamour or Money. You do it because you love making movies

Ain’t that the truth! Please describe the type of projects, you have worked on.

I have worked on Feature films, commercials, music videos, TV series, short films, training videos and a few print ads…

What has been your most memorable or favorite project thus far?

My favorite project was an 80’s period Feature Film. It was based on a female DJ starting her career out in NYC in the early 80”s. I had a crew of 3 and we did tons of extensive thrift store shopping/hunting ,borrowing from up and coming designers and creating custom made logo T-shirts.  We had a small budget and that added to the creativity. Unfortunately, shooting stopped mid-shoot because the Producer embezzled the funds, BUT the Wardrobe was amazing.

What are you working on right now? What great creations are you pulling together for the project?

Currently I am in talks with a couple different Directors about my next project… I just finished some commercial work. It was an ad for Washington Gas.  I was privileged to work on their new rebranding ad campaign. If you ride the metro, keep an eye out for the posters!

Nice! I will be sure to do that Aimee! Where does your motivation to do what you do come from?

I remind myself that I am doing exactly what I want, and love to be doing… Lawyers do not get that excited telling you about their latest case -do they?

Do you have a film whose costuming, and/or set design was particularly impressive to you?

“Casino”, “American Hustle”, the “Wrestler”, the “Sopranos”. I love the opulence and the tackiness!

Do you have a favorite film among this year’s Oscar nominated films?

“American Sniper” and “Whiplash” are my two favorites

Why are those your favorite?

I loved “American Sniper” for its superbly subtle critique, made by Mr. Eastwood. I admire our brave soldiers so much and this film salutes the honest work of all soldiers. It is also an interesting twist to see what happens to these brave men and woman when they return home.

What are your thoughts on the local independent film industry? Do you believe that it is growing…thriving?

I do not think there is enough local independent work for the DC/MD area. I know Richmond gets a fair amount, but I do not want to travel 2 hours (from Bethesda) to a film set. I wish they would shoot more local shows here. We have “VEEP” and “House of Cards” but something right here in DC would be fantastic. Perhaps “Law and Order” – DC Style. That would be awesome! Do you think Dick Wolf is reading this?

I sure hope he is! If you could adjust the independent film industry in the DMV area, so that it is a well-oiled machine, where would you make those adjustments?

My suggestions would be; to shoot more movies here and use local crew. We need the work and we are very talented.

We are indeed! What advice would you give to someone who has a desire to break into the movie business with similar gifting to your own?

It takes a long time to get a steady amount of work. You need a second job or live at home. The money ensues but not for a while. If you do not love the craft or do not love being on a film set (they are not all indoors and warm) this is not the industry for you!

Please describe yourself in three words?

Energetic, Professional and Creative. (Does not have to be in that order)

How can we keep abreast of all the fabulous work you are doing?

Most of my work is on IMDB…Just check me out HERE! 

 Aimee as usual, you have been a blast! Any final words?

 Thank you for the interview… My final last words… Stop having the Hair and Make-up crew do WARDROBE!

Loud, and clear Aimee, we – and filmmakers everywhere – hear you loud and clear.

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experiences with us. We have learned a great deal. It only gets better from here. Onward, and Upwards. Cheers!

Well there you have it. – Another engaging story from a local talent in the film industry. Thanks for checking in, and be sure to return next Wednesday for another “Local Independent Film Spotlight”! 

 

Aimee Schlectman “Dressing” a Scene of “City of Lost Souls”

AimeeSchlectman-COLS1

Aimee Schlectman Hard At Work

AimeeSchlectman-COLS2

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

Local Independent Film Spotlight: David Walsh

It is great to have you back for another installment of “Local Independent Film Spotlight” (LIFS). This week I am pleased to present David Walsh.

I was very impressed with David the first time I witnessed him in action at the table read, led by filmmaker Eulonda Kay Lea, for her impending feature film. I had read the script ahead of the event, and David matched the lead character impeccably, as he brought it to life. When I met the affable gentleman following the reading performances, I said to myself; “That David Walsh is going to be a headliner someday”.

Read on to get to know David, and you will see what I mean. I can already guess, that you wouldn’t be able to help being swept up by his self-possessed charm and talent, not to mention learn a great deal from his experiences.

David, how are you doing – having a busy acting life?

I am well, not terribly busy on the acting front, but am in the process of launching a career doing voiceovers.

Voiceovers huh? That’s a special sort of performance in itself. How long have you been acting professionally?

Well there was about a 10 year gap that I wasn’t acting at all—just had a demanding day job that didn’t allow me the luxury. But I would say I have spent 10-15 years doing stage work, both paid and unpaid, professional and ‘non-professional’.

What inspired you to get involved with this craft?

I think it was a combination of a few things: 1) an affinity for foreign languages and cultures, resulting in a curiosity about people in general; 2) a love of films; 3) I couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t want to know what it was like to “walk in someone else’s shoes”.

Where did you secure your performance training?

I took a few acting classes in college and then just started doing theater, whether it was paid or not. Work is work, experience is experience, and that’s the best training you can get. I would also say that doing as much Improv work as possible really helps free me as an artist and helps build confidence.

I agree! Nothing compares to “hands-on” training. Please fill us in a bit on your resume. 

Most of my experience has been on stage. I’ve done a lot of character parts and supporting roles, a fair amount of Shakespeare, some chorus work in musicals ( not a triple threat here, but can carry a tune, I guess ;-)) Love to do ensemble work and am a big supporter of “the supporting actor”, as I feel they have less of the script to rely on in developing character.

What is the most memorable performance of your career?

I think that’s a toss up between a comic role I had many years ago on stage as Leon in “The Wake of Jamey Foster” and a role that I performed last year in a reading of a dramedy screenplay by a local screenwriter.

Do you have a future dream role that you desire to get the part for?

That role I mentioned for the dramedy screenplay—I just feel I empathized, understood and loved the character, even though on the surface we aren’t that similar.

What is it about the local, DMV independent film industry that you absolutely love, and applaud?

I think that although that market had grown in this area, it is still fairly friendly and not cut-throat. I think more and more people are participating and this ultimately only be a good thing as far as diversity of cultures and viewpoints.

Do you have any criticism about the local film industry? Where is there room for improvement?

I think that whatever red tape can be eliminated and incentives given to production companies, while maintaining the security that many landmarks require should be encouraged.

If you had the opportunity to pack your bags today, and fulfill your acting career, for the remainder of your life without any gaps, in Hollywood, would you leave this area?

Well I’ve been in DC for half my life and have established community here. That said I am not ‘married’ to DC and would consider all options if such an opportunity arose.

Do you have a specific genre of film that you enjoy acting in the most? Comedy? Suspense? Horror? Romance? Other?

I think my favorite genre would be comedy, but good comedies are hard to come by and sometimes I feel I have the right timing, and sometimes I’m off.

What acting performance are you gearing up for these days?

I have an audition on Tuesday for a group that will be doing performances in various media—on film, voice overs, and stage.

Do you enjoy writing, and developing projects as well? If so, are you currently working on one?

I do dabble a bit, procrastinate a bit and pick up the laptop again. I have both a comedy and a dramedy love story I am working on.

What advice would you give someone just starting out as an actor in the DMV area, and has big hopes and dreams to make a name for themselves.

I would say to join The Actors Center, Women in Film and Video (not just for women!) and join any open Facebook group for actors/filmmakers that you can. To take whatever work you feel would be worth your time—paid or not. Take as many classes as you can, particularly Improv. One can never learn enough.

As we draw near to Oscar night on February 22nd, do you have a favorite film, and actors whom you are rooting for?

Of the nominated films I’ve seen, so far I really loved “The Grand Budapest Hotel”—it was my kind of quirky, and ‘everyone’ one was in it. I also loved “Birdman” and the way it was directed—Keaton and Emma Stone, and Edward Norton were great. I haven’t seen “Still Alice” yet but Julianne Moore deserves an Oscar in general. If Patricia Arquette were not in the supporting actress category, I would give the award to (Meryl) Streep for “Into the Woods”—there’s virtually nothing she can’t do.

Please describe yourself in 3 words.

Sensitive, Curious, Funny

How can readers connect with you, and keep up with your wonderful accomplishments?

As of now, Facebook, but will be relaunching my website soon.

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me David. I’ve always enjoyed working with you. Any final words?

Thank you, Diane! Keep fighting the good fight and always use your creative side!

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

Local Independent Film Spotlight: Alicia Beth Dawson

When I met this week’s Local Independent Film Spotlight (LIFS) candidate, Alicia Beth Dawson was reading lines with actors who were auditioning for Jason Baustin’s crime-drama “City of Lost Souls” – which I also assisted on. Little did I know then that Alicia’s talents did not stop at acting. While working on the film, Alicia was also professionally beautifying our actors with make-up. As we got to know each other further, I learned that she was also a qualified hair stylist, and had screenwriting projects in the works.

Clearly I was fascinated, and impressed. I later got an opportunity to work with Alicia on one of her short film projects, directed by her acting coach, and mentor, Manuel Poblete. It was ridiculously funny, and intelligent…but I won’t give it all away now. Read on to learn about this interesting lady, and her diverse range of skills in the independent film industry.

Who is Alicia Beth Dawson in a nutshell?

In a nutshell…a complete nut! a complete control freak! a definite workaholic!

Whoa! I can imagine. Hairstylist, Make-Up artist, Actor, Writer, you are a quadruple threat in the film production world. With respect to your goals what is your chief focus, of those disciplines, right now?

Right now my chief focus is being a mom, I have a 5 year old son. It is the hardest job I’ve ever had and the most rewarding. Hair is my main focus in the quadruple threat right now. I’m a veteran in the industry and I’ve loved every minute of it. My clients have been very supportive of all my other projects. I even run new movie ideas by them, they all volunteer to be in them! lol.

Alicia, that is very interesting, and cool! I enjoyed working with you on the short film, “Just Listen”, which you wrote, produced, and held the lead role. However,  you’ve also written an outrageously hilarious feature with Manuel Pobelte. Tell us about that.

“Just Listen” came about from a conversation I had with my parents. In my casting notices, an audition came through for “Orange is the New Black”, I’m a huge fan, so I wanted to submit for it. I was talking to my mom about it, telling her that I would have to be naked if I got the part. My mother begged me not to tell my father, as he walked in, and the rest turned into “Just Listen”.
Manuel and I have written a hysterical feature length movie that is centered around 5 friends who get themselves into tons of crazy situations…want to say more but I won’t, for now. ;)

Ok, can you at least tell us what your plans are for getting the feature produced?

My plans for getting the film produced… beg! lol. I’m hoping the story and script will draw tons of investors. Manuel already has people interested in the film just by telling them about it. I can’t wait!!!

Sounds good! What are the long term goals for the project? Wide theater release? Straight to DVD? Otherwise?

My goals for the project?..Wow, umm…I would say theater release.

What are your thoughts on film festivals? Do you have interest in taking your on-screen work the film festival route, toward notoriety?

I love film festivals! There are are so many talented filmmakers. It’s a treat to be able to see just a hand full at a festival.
I definitely have an interest in producing on-screen work. As far as notoriety, I love this industry and I love entertaining, so if one person likes my movie then I did my job and I’m a happy girl.

Do you have a specific genre of film that you enjoy writing, and creating the most? Comedy? Horror? Romance?

I love movies, all movies. What is my favorite?..depends on my mood. My dream movie would be the one that I get to incorporate horror, comedy, and romance all in one.

Now that, I can’t wait to see! What passion project are you working on right now?

The passion project I’m working on right now, is one that combines horror, comedy, and romance! lol.
This project is actually the first complete story I wrote. I am also in the middle of a horror story about a hairstylist, it’s taking me a long time to write..I keep scaring myself ;)

That’s hilarious Alicia! What advice would you give someone who has diverse skills like yourself, and wants to break into the entertainment industry?

What advice would I give someone?..Oh my!..I am a complete control freak. I write the scripts, draw the story boards, do hair and makeup, produce the project, act in the movie, and laugh at myself everyday. The only way I can do all this and be Mom is having a positive attitude. I was once at a hair show in Las Vegas. While there, Robert Cromeans made a profound statement; ‘There are no mistakes in hair just discoveries’. I dropped the ‘hair’ and added ‘life.’ I apply it to everything. Of course some discoveries are easier than others, and some are less expensive, but you get the idea…lol.

That truly is inspirational. If you could live out the rest of your life just focusing on one of your gifts, which one would it be, and why?

One gift I would focus on would be writing. I started writing when I was 11, I was fortunate as a child to travel with my Nana. In the airport before our first trip she gave me a journal and said, “this is to write down all your stories from our trip, you can add pictures to it when we get them developed.” That journal became a gateway into my imagination. I have so many journals. I’m not a huge fan of writing on the computer. I would love to be able to sit and write all day.

I can definitely relate. With regards to the local film industry – In your opinion, do you believe that it can prosper outside of L.A. or New York?

I love local independent films. If the stories are good, the acting is strong, and the film has great quality, how could it not prosper. My wish would be for more people to watch independent films, and give them the credit they deserve.

As we seek to know you more Alicia, any final words?

Oh! I’m just getting started!

Alrighty then! Well how can we learn more from you, and stay abreast of all your creativity, and “power moves”?

If you’re in the Elkton, MD area, please feel free to stop by “Envy Spa and Salon” located at 707 north bridge st. Elkton, MD 21921, for a remarkable, and unforgettable hairstyling experience. You can also communicate, and stay abreast with me on Twitter (@aliciabdawson), and/or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/aliciabeth.dawson?ref=ts&fref=ts)

Alicia, chatting with you has been fun! I don’t know how you do it all. We will delve further into that one day soon. In the interim, all the very best with achieving your goals. The good times, have only just begun. Go for the Gold!

Everyone, thanks again for checking in for another Local Independent Film Spotlight. Be sure to return next Wednesday to learn about another interesting and creative individual in our local film world.

Alicia Beth Dawson

IMG_5297

Leave a comment

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

Local Independent Film Spotlight: Chad Eric Smith

Welcome back for another Local Independent Film Spotlight. Today I am elated to feature Chad Eric Smith. He is a talented, and brilliant local actor, as well as thrillingly imaginative story teller. After learning about, and viewing his recent short horror comedy film, “Dark Therapy”, I just had to learn more about Chad, and bring his story to you. You would understand what I mean after you’ve seen the witty “Dark Therapy”.

Stay tuned, and read on to learn more about the film, and its upcoming screening on Saturday, January 24th. I am confident that, like myself, Chad’s experiences, and drive will further inspire, and stir up your passion for theater and film.

Chad, how did you get involved with the world of acting, and filmmaking?

When I was 12, my Grandmother took me to the Arena Stage in Washington, DC to see my first play “Oak and Ivy,” which chronicled the loving but strained marriage of two early-20th-century poets, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore. I left the theater mesmerized by the actors’ performances. I also left determined to perform at the Arena Stage one day. A little while later, my grandmother took me to New York City to see my first Broadway musical, “Annie Get Your Gun.” I was again awestruck. While in High School, I became a member of Children’s National Medical Center’s theater troupe, Teens Against the Spread of AIDS (TASA). It combined improvisational theater, poetry, and hip hop, to educate our peers, parents, and health professionals about important teen health concerns. All these experiences made me interested in acting once I got to college, and ultimately pursuing acting professionally.
After college, I performed in several short films and at many community theaters throughout the Pittsburgh Metropolitan area. I also was an extra in the big-budget Hollywood films “She’s Out of My League,” “I Am Number Four,” and “The Dark Knight Rises.” My first big role in a feature length film was as the mild-mannered and slightly socially awkward reporter Pete Henderson in the superhero comedy “Squid Man,” by writer/director Charlie Cline.

How long have you been acting?

I have been acting for a little over 10 years. I’ve been in a total of 18 stage plays, over a dozen independent films, a couple of web series, and a music video.

Wow! What bit you first; the acting bug, or writing and telling stories?

The acting bug bit me first. The first play I performed in was “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” by Steve Martin, during my freshman year at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. The experience of performing in front of a live audience was exhilarating. So, I just kept doing it and loving it more and more. Writing and telling my own stories happened much later.

You have performed a wide range of characters. Your acting wheelhouse is pretty vast. Do you have a favorite character which you have acted? Please fill us in on your acting experiences.

In 2010, I enjoyed playing Walter Lee Younger in the Kuntu Repertory Theatre production of the musical “Raisin” and was awarded an Oynx Award for ‘Best Leading Actor in a Musical’ by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the African American Council on the Arts (AACTA). That same year, I also won an Oynx Award for ‘Best Supporting Actor in a Musical’ for my role as Wilson Pickett in the New Horizon Theater production of “I Gotcha! The Story of Joe Tex and the Soul Clan.” Those two are a couple of my favorite stage roles because, on top of acting, they both challenged me to sing and dance, things that aren’t necessarily easy or comfortable for me. In film, my favorite, most gratifying role so far was as a mysterious drifter named Ahmad in the upcoming horror feature film “The Suffering,” by LA based filmmaker Rob Hamilton. It was by far my most physically demanding, complex film role. My character is a mix of charisma, madness, and danger. Check out the trailer at http://www.thesufferingfilm.com.

Fantastic! Well, let’s delve into your recent film, “Dark Therapy”, about a vampire with an irrational fear of blood, and seeks psychiatric help as a result. How was the idea for this short horror comedy conceived?

In the summer of 2013, I met local actress Devin Nikki Thomas at a table read for a script by filmmaker Harold Jackson III. Right away, she and I clicked. I thought she was funny. We had a very similar sense of humor and I was impressed by her quick-wit. So, we did what all strangers do right away: We became Facebook friends. We then decided to collaborate creatively. For me, it was an exciting and empowering opportunity to bring to life the type of quirky character I’m attracted to as an actor, and for Devin to be executive producer of her first film through her production company, Unitivity Productions, LLC.

You possess the main role of the Vampire, which was brilliantly performed. However, what was the writing process like? Did the ideas, and dialogue flow naturally, or were there instances of struggle?

Thank you! The idea and dialogue definitely came easy and a lot of it was improvised during filming. I knew right away that I wanted to create a cinematic-looking comedic skit with an improvisational flair, similar to Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele,” which I’m a big fan of. I’m also a big fan of Johnny Depp because of his knack for playing flamboyant, eccentric characters and I had recently seen him play a vampire in Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows.” So, that was my initial inspiration. When I started brainstorming ideas for the first rough draft of the script, I first thought about a skit about 2 vampires who give up blood because they become Jehovah Witnesses. Then, the idea of a vampire with an extreme, irrational fear of blood popped in my head like a lightbulb and Devin was like, “I’m game.” I began writing it in November of 2013 and then sent it to Devin and she added to it.

Those are great places to find inspiration. How did you prepare for your role as the Vampire?

I named my vampire character “Erebus” because it is the name of the primordial deity who personifies darkness in Greek mythology. I liked the idea of his name representing something opposite of his harmless, apprehensive, and constantly mortified demeanor. I liked that juxtaposition and irony. I sent the script to Carl Randolph and Robert “Bob” Yoho Jr., who were the special effects/make-up artists for “The Suffering,” and they really liked it and came on board to help bring Erebus to life. Bob designed realistic-looking, custom-fit fangs for me and Carl did my make-up, nails, and gave me white eye contacts. Devin purchased my blousy shirt and lace front wig. Transforming into Erebus took a little over an hour in the make-up chair and really helped inform my mannerisms and voice.

In the film, it appears that the “fantasy world” collides with the “urban world”. Was this intentional?

Yes. Even the fact that my vampire character is wearing jeans in the film was a conscious choice to collide fantasy with urban. I remember seeing an interview by director John Singleton in which he said that when a filmmaker is very specific culturally, it becomes universal and special. Not to be all deep, but I really like the idea of universality being found within cultural specificity. So, I thought that having urban references, especially references that were very specific to the DMV, with a black vampire as a lead character, would be funny and relatable to many.

The role of the psychiatrist is played by Devin Nikki. She was a natural. What was the approach to this character in the planning stages?

Devin is great as Dr. Anne Rice! Her name is a nod to the popular author of the series of novels The Vampire Chronicles. Devin decided for her character to have a southern accent to make her character quirkier. She was also very meticulous about her character’s appearance, as well.

There is certainly comedy throughout the short, but the horror portion certainly does peek through, including a twist. It is a fair balance. How was this accomplished?

It was certainly a collaborative experience. The original script had a simple comedic ending. When Devin made edits to the script, she added a darker ending and I loved it. It accentuated another idea I was trying to present, the idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Omar Juarez (Bad/Splice), our awesome Director of Photography, also edited the film and did some cool color correction that really hit the nail on the head regarding my vision. He was assisted by Manuel Santos. My father, Jonathan Bey, is an Emmy award-winning producer and composed the film’s original score, making it sound simultaneously quirky and ominous. I told him to think of the music of composer Danny Elfman. Audio engineer Michael Balasia further enhanced the sound of the film and added a few really funny effects. The wonderful performances of actor Niko Tarlay and actress Honey St. Dennis definitely helped emphasize the comedic/horror balance, as well. Everyone really elevated the project superbly, in my opinion, especially considering that we shot the film in a single day.

The comedy film premiered at the West End Cinema in Washington, DC, in October 2014, and later went on to receive awards for the film work, and acting performances. Please tell us a little more about that.

Yes, it premiered at the West End Cinema as part of the 2014 Reel Independent Film Extravaganza. It was a thrilling experience and the audience loved it! There was lots of hearty laughter. The following month, at the National Press Club, the Television, Internet & Video Association of DC (TIVA-DC) awarded Unitivity Productions, LLC a Bronze Peer Award in the “Independent Short” category for “Dark Therapy” and awarded me the Gold Peer Award in the “Acting on Camera – Fiction Male” category. It was a very exciting and gratifying night!

“Dark Therapy” will also be featured at this Saturday’s (January 24th) Rosebud Film & Video Festival, at the Artisphere in Arlington, VA. What is the significance of that for you?

I’m just really happy that it’s continuing to be accepted into film festivals so that people can see it on the big screen. In fact, on that same evening, it will also screen at the Indie Night Film Festival at the world famous TCL Chinese Theatre on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame! I’ll be flying to LA, for the first time, to participate.

How can fans, and avid movie-goers get tickets to attend this weekend’s screening?

Folks in the DMV area can purchase their tickets for the Rosebud Film & Video Festival at https://www.arlingtonmedia.org/rosebud. Ticket’s are $10. If they are in the L.A. area, they can RSVP for the Indie Night Film Festival at http://www.indienightfilmfestival.com/event/3-3/.

What are the extend of your plans for “Dark Therapy”, moving forward?

We have submitted “Dark Therapy” to several film festivals all over the world and expect to get responses throughout the remainder of the year.

In your opinion, what is the forecast for the Independent Film climate in the DMV area? We’re not L.A., New York or even Toronto but do you think that the independent film industry can thrive locally?

Yes, I think the independent film industry can thrive in the DMV. There certainly are lots of talented people in the area. As a DC native, I would like to see more and more filmmakers and producers capturing the images of the diversity and historic landmarks that make the city so great. I do think, though, that DC officials need to do a better job at creating economic incentives to attract more film and TV production companies. From the things I read and hear about, I feel there’s too many jurisdictional and bureaucratic hurdles in DC, which dissuade filmmakers. That in return makes it more challenging for local actors to find high quality, paid gigs to audition for. That’s also part of the reason Devin and I decided to produce our own project.

What advice would you give to budding actors, and storytellers in this area, seeking to recognize their dream of performing and filmmaking?

I would tell actors to be selective about the type of work they choose to be part of. Don’t compromise your personal integrity just so you can add a credit to your resume. Being an actor is as much about your brand as it is about the craft. And your brand is made up of both what you choose to do and what you choose not to do. I recently saw an interview with actor David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King, Jr. in “Selma,” and he said something that really resonated with me. He said, “You erode your talent by being in things that are lesser than your talent. You are only as good as what you subject yourself to by way of the material, the people you work with, and the parts you accept.”
I, also, definitely recommend doing theatre. I believe theatre is the best training an actor can receive because it truly is the actor’s medium. It’s where the actor has the most say as to how he or she portrays the character he or she has been entrusted with. Plus, the energy one receives from a live audience is an amazing feeling. If you are a film actor, arrive on set on time, know your lines, listen and react to your scene partner, and be cognizant of continuity so the editor will love you. With regards to technique, well, as the late, great comic George Burns once said, “Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

Priceless advice! So what’s next for Chad Eric Smith?

My upcoming roles include me as a restaurateur in the feature length romance “Last Night,” by writer/director Harold Jackson III, a distraught artist in the feature length drama “Secret City Bluz” by writer/director Ambessa Jir Berhe, and a werewolf suffering with alopecia in the feature length comedy “Zombie Ted,” by writer/director Anne Wells. I’m also currently writing a new original comedic screenplay.

How can we stay abreast with your actor, and filmmaking work?

The best way to keep updated on what I’m doing is by “Liking” my Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/ActorChadEricSmith. People can also follow me on Twitter @ChadEricSmith and Instagram @Chad_Eric_Smith. In addition to being an actor, I’m also a musician. Some of my music can be heard on SoundCloud at https://soundcloud.com/chad-eric-smith.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me Chad! I would like to wish you much success with “Dark Therapy”, and all your future endeavors. Again, your story is inspiring. I am convinced that the your limitless imagination, and purposeful drive will transport you to your goals, and even further.

To everyone, I highly recommend securing your tickets for this Saturday’s screening of “Dark Therapy”. It is a entertaining treat!
To reiterate: Tickets for the Rosebud Film & Video Festival at https://www.arlingtonmedia.org/rosebud. Ticket’s are $10. If they are in the L.A. area, they can RSVP for the Indie Night Film Festival at http:/www.indienightfilmfestival.com/event/3-3/. 

Chad Eric Smith

2015/01/img_5172.jpg

Dark Therapy Poster

2015/01/img_5173.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

Local Independent Film Spotlight: Lauren Cash

Welcome to the new Local Independent Film Spotlight. Each Humpday, aka Wednesday, Ladydewriter will feature the interesting personalities which make up the Local Independent Film industry in the DMV.

Today, I am tremendously pleased to introduce Lauren Cash. I first met Lauren at an acting workshop, at Bello Talent Management, in Takoma Park, Maryland which I was assisting with. Since then I’ve admired how she’s made inroads toward accomplishing her goals as an actress, and real player in the independent film world.

Follow my conversation with Lauren below:

Lauren, where are you originally from? 

Originally, I am from Maryland which is where I currently reside today.

What got you interested in acting…where did the inspiration come from? 

I got the role of Dorothy in a summer camp play and I just kind of fell in love with the craft of entertaining. It was so fun and just a great way to interact with other people, the whole experience just really inspired me.

How long have you been acting professionally? 

I have been acting for about 5 years now. This is my first time I can fully say that I have a better chance to ‘go for it’ in a long time since I graduated from Howard University last year. I have proudly put a lot of time into school and I believe education is important.

Did you receive formal acting training? If so, where from?

When I went into acting seriously, it was during college and I didn’t really have any formal training, aside from improvisation groups when I was younger. College is where I started taking classes within Howard University’s Theatre Department, such as Creative Drama. Now I have completed scriptwriting and media production classes via the Communications Department at HU. Currently, Manuel Poblete assists me in acting training within his company, Bello Talent. I am in the works of receiving training from John Pallotta as well.

What are your ultimate goals or aspirations within the world of acting? 

My ultimate goals in the world of acting would be to get recognition and use my talents for the greater good. It would be nice to be able to use my name to further promote campaigns that mean something such as anti-bullying or domestic abuse. Overall, I want to be able to help and communicate with many people.

What roles have you done in the past? 

I’ve played Dorothy from ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ a Hispanic bartender, cocktail waitress, assassin, hotel clerk, car buyer, and the girl next door. I’ve also played a drunken girl for a play titled Abandoned as well as the lead in music videos by artists Pro’ Verb and Heron Gibran.

Which one was your favorite role? 

All of these roles were so much fun to play, especially an assassin where I got to hold a prop gun and feel super bad ass! However, my favorite role would have to be Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz because of that initial feeling of being bitten by the infamous acting bug.

What are you currently working on? 

Currently I am working on my acting skills, and gathering opportunities – through classes and networking events – as well as writing my own script. We also just wrapped up shooting for that cool, assassin role, for the film Self Control which was a lot of fun! I will be headed to New York for the upcoming Manhattan Monologue Slam as well, which then turns into a networking event. Can’t wait!

Tell us more about the script you’re writing. Are you looking forward to producing your own film?

I think it’s always been in me to be a writer and I would love to produce my own film (aside from the 3 minute short that I wrote and produced for my media production class).

Growing up, I always loved to write. My friends and I used to bring a book to school and write in a story, passing it along to the next friend to read the new part and continue the story with our own style. You never knew what the person before you was going to write, but we did this for a long time throughout middle school. It was refreshing and an experience that would be too cool not too remember. As for the book… we didn’t always write during the most appropriate times in school. Definitely a great experience.

So what current personal project idea are you working on?

I have a project in mind but I can be a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my personal work so I have been grooming this script for two years. It is a drama with a suspense feel to it, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone!

What advice do you have for someone longing to, but doesn’t know how to break into acting in this area? 

I would tell that person to get great headshots because that is the first thing that these casting agencies see when you submit for a role. There are sites also, such as Dragonuk and Pat Moran & Associates which is a great start. Also, don’t be too good to take on an extra role just to see how film shoots are run on a highly, professional level. The hours can be long but it is a great start to get the feel of it all! It is also a great time to network with the fellow actors and sometimes even the production crew!

Rejection is also going to come but it is important to pick your head up and keep it moving. Sometimes we are our worst critics. It is important to work on your craft and find ways to improve because no one is perfect and there is always room for improvement. If you don’t work on your craft, then chances are rejection may know you more than you want it to.

Keep focused, Have confidence and the rest is history!

Thank you Lauren! This is fabulous advice.

I am grateful to Lauren for talking with me this week. Her story is certainly interesting, and I can’t wait to see her grow further. The sky is the limit for Lauren as she strives to use her talent to give back to the community. Cheers Lauren!

Tune in next Wednesday as Ladydewriter highlights another fabulous personality in the local independent film industry.

2015/01/img_5143.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

Life Passages X – New Places

Madeleine slowly gazes at the entire quaint book store with intense curiousity. “Um, Did we travel to another time zone, or what?” Madeleine thought to herself as she concentrated on every graphic novel, with weathered covers, and every antiquated, and used book, and dated magazines.

“Earth calling Maddy, come in Maddy!” Devon says while waving his hands in front of Madeleine’s face.

“Uh?” The startled Madeleine quickly utters.

“You’re back from outer space?” Devon asks in a jovial tone.

Madeleine smiles “Haha. Funny!” She replies. “Where did you find this place?” She asks Devon as she gave the shop another full look over.

“Well Mads…Is it cool if I call you Mads?” Devon asks with a smirk.

“Um…sure.” Madeleine replies eagerly awaiting the rest of his story.

“Cool! This is actually my grandfather’s store.” Devon begins to explain. He’s been collecting graphic novels for a very long time, illustrating and writing them too.”

Madeleine’s eyes opens widely. “You’re telling me that your grandfather is famous?”

“Ahhh, I didn’t say that.” Devon quickly interjects. “He’s always been an artist, and worked for a well known company to help publish kids books for some time, but always wanted his own shop.”

“Wow! This is…this is something.” Madeleine responds.

“Right? Hey, Come meet my Grandad.” Devon says quickly, then grabs Madeleine’s hand to lead her over to meet his Grandfather.

“Hey Grandad!” Devon greets his grandfather who is arranging comic book memorabilia behind the cash register.

“Hey, hey, hey there little Devon.” Devon’s grandfather, Solomon replies, while greeting his grandson with a huge smile and warm hug. Looking up from his embrace, Solomon notices Madeleine. “So who’s this?” He asks Devon.

“Oh! Grandad, this is Madeleine.” Devon introduces her with broad arm strokes resembling a game show assistant.

“Hello Madeleine.” Solomon says as he draws closer to her. “You’re one of Devon’s school friends?”

“Yes sir!” She begins “Well, we go to the same school, but we just met.” She continues.

Solomon chuckles. “Ok. So you’re new friends then.” He announces. “What are you kids up to, today?”

“I wanted to get Mads into some exciting novels Grandad. The ones at the school library have got nothing on these.” Devon proclaims.

Solomon lets out an enormous laugh. “Well let’s see what we can find to satisfy the lady.” He utters, as he gestures Madeleine, and Devon to follow him.

Madeleine continues to gaze around the store in amazement. “I didn’t know a place like this existed!” She thought. “I can certainly get lost in a place like this.”

“So here’s the retro Sci-Fi, Fantasy section…” Solomon interrupts Madeleine’s thoughts. Solomon pauses, smiles, and looks directly at Madeleine. “Madeleine are you with us?”

“Yes sir!” Madeleine quickly replies.

Madeleine continues the tour with Solomon, and Devon fully engaged with Solomon’s stories, including offering up questions of her own.

“Mr. Solomon, so uh, Can I come here everyday after school?” Madeleine asks shyly.

Devon jumped right in; “Everyday?…What, are you a rich kid or something?”

“Oh hush now Devon!” Solomon immediately responds to his grandson. “It’s none of your business what she does, and when!”

Devon retreats, while Solomon encourages Madeleine. “Feel free to visit me here anytime young lady!” He says to the slightly shaken young woman, who took some offense to Devon’s words.
“You can come by, and just read if you like.” Solomon continued. “You don’t have to buy something. Devon is just jealous anyway. Basketball practice takes up most of his week, but he wishes he could consume books everyday.”

Madeleine nods, and puts out her hand to shake Solomon’s. “Thank you very much Mr. Solomon, but I have on intention of being a freeloader.”
After a firm handshake, Madeleine stares at Solomon, and continues. “Thanks for everything. I will be back”. She then walks toward the door as though Devon doesn’t exist.

Devon looks at his Grandfather puzzled. “Go after her Junior. What’s wrong with you?”

Devon staggers for a second then runs out after Madeleine.

To be continued…

image

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Creative Writing

Life Passages IX – Common Interest

Like studying a book, Madeleine takes every opportunity to observe Devon all while searching for some new and exciting literature in the science fiction section of the school library.

“Hmmm…” Madeleine thought to herself. “He’s a cool jock who’s hiding out in the library, and he even seems nice…What’s he’s story?”

“Found something?” Devon interrupts Madeleine whom he notices clenching a book and gazing in his direction.

“What?…Huh?” Madeleine looks down at the book in her hand. “Um, well it’s…a consideration” She finally manages to say with slight embarrassment.

“Which one is that?” Devon asks as he jumps to his feet and saunters toward Madeleine. He puts his hand out, gesturing for her to pass the book over.

Madeleine awkwardly releases the book she had casually selected. “Oh…ok. Sure.”

“Ah, this one is okay but if you like I can recommend a really good series?” Then he paused. “But it may be a bit heavy if you’re just getting into this stuff.”

“What is it?!” Madeleine asked excitedly. “I’m up for the challenge. I’m all for getting lost in books right now.” Her voice lowers, as though having a side conversation with herself “Clearly, I have no life!”

“What’s that?” Devon looks at Madeleine with a puzzled expression.

Madeleine focuses on Devon again. Her eyes light up. “So what’s this book series?”

Devon laughs softly. “Are you sure you’re ready?” He asks.

“I was born ready!” Madeleine responds with a tone she perceives as a “tough guy” from the movies.

Devon laughs out loud. Madeleine joins in with him until they are hushed by other library patrons.

They look at each other and continue giggling softly

“Let’s get out of here!” Devon eventually says, in a whisper.

“What?…” Madeleine responds

“You didn’t think ‘the best book series’ ever would be in this excuse for a library did you?” Devon interjected immediately.

“Um…I guess not.” Madeleine replied “Ok, let’s do it!”

Devon drops his books and the pair leave the library, just as the end-of-school bell rings, almost in a jog.

To be continued…

 

IMG_4839.PNG

Leave a comment

Filed under Creative Writing

Life Passages VIII – New Friendships

“What haven’t I read yet?” Madeleine thought to herself, as she restlessly walked through the isles of the school library. “I haven’t read just for fun in a while…Hmmm…Let’s see.”

Looking up with her eyes fixed on the section titles, Madeleine stumbles, trips and falls to the Library’s carpeted floor face down. She turns to see what caused her fall and stares directly into the face of Devon.

Devon is a Junior at Madeleine’s high school who takes pleasure in sitting on the floor of the Science Fiction section of the Library. He’s also an atlethe on the school’s track, and basketball teams, but reading is his secret passion.

“Ah, you alright?” Devon asked feeling somewhat ashamed that he was partly responsible for Madeleine’s fall.

“I…I’m alright…I think.” Madeleine slowly responds as she begins to pick herself up and find her balance.

Devon awkwardly begins to stand himself, when it occurs to him that he should probably be helping Madeleine up.

In the process of Madeleine trying to stand and Devon working his way across to her, the two awkwardly clash and find themselves on the floor again.

Madeleine feeling terribly embarrassed immediately, chimes in: “I’m so sorry…Oh my gosh! Why can’t I get it together?”

Devon starts to laugh out loud. “It’s all good…Let’s try this again on 3…1-2-3.”

They both stand, and face each other. Madeleine’s face begins to turn red.
She nervously extends her hand. “I’m Madeleine.”

Devon looks down at Madeleine’s hand, chuckles quietly then extends his own. “I’m Devon…Looks like you crashed my secret hide-out.” He says jovially.

“Oh!..I did? I didn’t mean to…Wait! This is your hide out?” Madeleine continued with a confused look on her face. She did recognize Devon from a school basketball game, she had been dragged to by her former “cool friends”.

“Something like that.” Devon responded. His alethic counterparts have no idea Devon is a closet bookworm. “What got you so distracted anyway?”

“Distracted?…Oh…yeah…I wasn’t quite looking where I was going, was I?” She said with a smile. “I was just looking for something different. I need a book that’s going to transport me somewhere far away today!”

“Oh, ok…Have you seen anything to sink your teeth into?” Devon asked, intrigued.

“Duh!..No! I fell before I could!” Madeleine replied. They both broke into laughter, only to be followed by “Sssshhhhh!” from the Librarian.

The two looked at each other and laughed quietly again.

“Ok, I wouldn’t stand…or sit in your way. See if you find something you like…And, ah…um…if you need…if you need recommendations, I’ve pretty much read about half the books in this section.”

Madeleine looks at Devon as though studying him. “Um, ok…I will…ah…let you know.”

“Cool.” Devon replies. He then returns to his original position on the floor of the library while Madeleine slowly surveys the bookshelves all while intermittently gazing at Devon.

To be continued…

IMG_4746.JPG

Leave a comment

Filed under Creative Writing

Life Passages VII – Enough is Enough

“So are you coming?!” Lila eventually screams, after repeatedly asking Madeleine whether she’d join herself and a group of classmates preparing to bail from school after second period.

“You know, I was thinking…” Madeleine finally replied.

Lila rolls her eyes. “What the hell were you thinking, and why?”

“Well I was thinking, cause I was trying to picture 2 futures. One where I leave with you and “the gang”, and another where I remain true to who I am, and what I know, and stay here and go to class…” Madeleine began to reply

Lila interrupts Madeleine. “You know what Chica, I don’t have time for this, and quite frankly I’m getting really tired of your constant weirdness.” She said in a mocking tone.

Madeleine carefully thought then said flippantly; “You know what? I don’t want to waste anymore of your time…and anymore of mine.” Then looking Lila squarely in the eyes she continued; “Have a great life Lila. See you on the other side of High School. I hope it all works out for Ya!”

With her mouth gapped open, Lila stares at Madeleine as she turns and walks down the school hall way to her next class.

Feeling a sense of pride, and confidence; immediately following her class, Madeleine made an appointment with the school counselor to discuss the best track toward the best colleges, and scholarships. Still she felt as though something was missing. She missed being a part of something, and having companionship. Feeling distracted by this issue, she wondered how to fix what she considered a problem.

Madeleine marched off to the school library with no real solution in sight. For now, she’ll return to her old friendship with books…

IMG_4676-1.JPG

Leave a comment

Filed under Creative Writing

It Takes More Than Talent…Rhimes vs. Heigl

The historic Latin writer, Publilius Syrus coined the saying; “A good reputation is more valuable than money”.

This appears to be evident as we witness the reported tension between prime time television leader, Shonda Rhimes and actress Katherine Heigl – a former cast member of Rhimes’ initial hit: Grey’s Anatomy.

There’s been lots of talk about how difficult Rhimes found Heigl to work with. How could this be? Heigl appears so approachable, and all her on-screen characters so believable…even adorable, not to mention she’s the quintessential attractive actress.

Nonetheless her character, from all these reports, is being presented as just plain ugly! Luckily for Heigl, she’s joined the primetime television arena once again with State of Affairs, on NBC. Though her so-called “beef” with Rhimes may not affect the success of the new Fall show in anyway, it will be interesting to see how her reputation transpires on the new set.

All these happenings surely reminds me that success requires more than just talent, and skill.

Learn more about the Rhimes vs. Heigl fiasco HERE!

IMG_4643.PNG

Leave a comment

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

Life Passages VI – The Confrontation

“I don’t know what I was thinking?” Madeleine admits to her father; Robert while riding with him, in his car.
“I think I know.” Robert calmly replies.
“Dad, I know…I know! Can I not get a major speech this second?” Madeleine tells her father in a frustrated tone.
“A Speech?..Who said anything about a speech?” Robert responds scarcastically. “I mean this is the highlight of my life. I’ve dreamed and longed for this moment – to get the long-awaited call that my 16 year old daughter has been arrested.” Robert replies.
“Detained Dad!…Detained, not arrested!” Madeleine intensely informs her father, then rolls her eyes.
“Oh! Excuse me for my incorrect choice of words Madeleine!” Robert glances disapprovingly at Madeleine, then back at the road and shakes his head.
“Can I ask you a question Mads?” Robert eventually says after brief silence between them. “Are you afraid to be different?…Does the idea of standing out scare the crap out of you?”
Madeleine glances at her Dad and rolls her eyes yet again.
Following a lack of response from his daughter Robert looks at Madeleine briefly.
“So does it?…Does it frighten you to raise the standard?” Robert repeats.
Madeleine sighs heavily “Dad…” She breathes in deeply. “I have no idea what you’re talking about?”
Madeleine begins to mumble under her breath. “I’m just trying to enjoy my life…fake IDs – Big Deal!…Geez!”
“What’s that?” Robert chimes in loudly.
“Nothing Dad!” Madeleine quickly screams trying to match her Dad’s volume.
“So you’re happy right now – this second – about how your life is shaping up Mads?” Robert interrogates.
“Dad!…Please!…Chill out!” Madeleine buries her head in her hands.
“Ok, I will “Chill out”…Just remember fun ends some time and “cool friends” move on…You better know what you plan to do next!” Robert asserts.
The two continue the remainder of the ride home from the police precinct in silence.

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Creative Writing

Life Passages V – The Dilemma

“Did you hear what I said, Mads?” Lila exclaims.

“Huh? …What?” Distracted Madeleine replies.

“Are you coming or not?” Lila quickly responds, in a frustrated tone.

“Coming? …Where again?” Madeleine asks as she mentally resurfaces.

“To the “Hip-Ball”…You know, the hottest underground party of the season?” Lila says excitedly.

“Yeah…Um…Don’t we have to be 18 to get in?” Madeleine asks with a confused expression.

“You know I’ve got that handled Girl!” Lila asserts. “Jonas is already working on the outrageous phony IDs.” Lila roars with laughter.

Madeleine silently ponders for a brief moment. “Ahh…Yeah, I don’t know about that Lila.”

“Huh? Why the heck not Mads?” Lila asks flabbergasted.

Madeleine pauses to consider her next move. Her mother’s caring, though preachy words, begin to fill her mind, blended with the burning desire to seamlessly fit-in at her new school forced upon her by her Father’s periodic work assignments. She catches Lila’s glaring gaze.

“I…I think that’s cool!” Madeleine manages to get out. “So does Jonas do this type of thing a lot?” Madeleine inquires.

“Yeah, of course…It’s his thing!” Lila replies spiritedly.

“Ah, ok.” Madeleine responds thoughtfully “Well…I guess it’s all good then!”  She exclaims with forced merriment.

“You know it is!” Lila responds as she puts her arms around Madeleine’s shoulders and leads her out of the high-school female bathroom.

To Be Continued…

image

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Creative Writing

Destination

I am moving.
I am drawn away.
Things are moving forward.
Things are moving away.
Which way should I follow?
Which way should I take?
I sit and wonder…
I act, and still wonder.
Which way should I take?
How long will I wonder?
How long will I sit and consider?
I’m making moves.
I am moving forward.
It is time to move forward…
Forward to a place of tranquility…
Let’s move forward to a place of peace!
I’m moving forward…will you come with me?
I’m moving!

 

20140726-014157-6117007.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Creative Writing

Life Passages IV – The Stand Out

“What do you want me to do?” 16 year old Madeleine asked her mother; Ellen.
“I don’t want you to anything that your conscience is not already telling you to do.” Replied Ellen
Madeleine takes a deep breath and sighs
“Well I don’t see what the big deal is…everyone does it!” Madeleine snapped back at Ellen.
“Really?” Ellen shakes her head “That’s your justification?” She continued “Look Madeleine, reputation is everything so however you play this will solidify your reputation or break it.” Ellen explained.
Madeleine looks down at her feet. After about 5 pensive seconds she confronts her mother.
“I hear the words that are coming out of your mouth but why do I have to be the lonely “Freak” in the entire school?…It’s bad enough that you named me Madeleine!” She rolls her eyes.
Ellen smiles gently, she finds Madeline’s choice of words somewhat amusing.
“Well lonely “Freak”…” Ellen gestures air quotation marks. “You may be the “freak” now but later on you’ll be the trusted leader of industry, or even political office…or whatever you choose. Can you handle a promising and successful future Madeleine?”
Madeleine rolls her eyes
“Mom, not that future stuff again!”
Madeleine slowly takes a few steps back from her mother.
“I’m glad we had this very boring conversation but I have homework to do.”
Ellen chuckles softly as she watches Madeleine walk away.
“That’s my Scholarly Future Leader!”
“Whatever Mom!” Madeleine shouts back as she continues up the staircase.

…To Be Continued

20140719-121746-44266015.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Creative Writing

Life Passages III – The Exit

“I’m Leaving!” Kyle anxiously announced.
“What?…No!…Kyle, what do you mean you’re leaving?” Beverly responds in disbelief?
“Huh?…What do I mean?!” He scoffs. “Seriously…You really think I should stay under these circumstances Beverly?!”
“It’s not that bad…right?” She tries to placate him. “What can I do to make you stay?”
“At this point Beverly; Nothing!” He proclaims emphatically. “I’ve tried to ignore the problem, I’ve tried to come up with my own creative fix but things
keep getting worse.”
“I will deal with it right now!” Beverly endeavors to assure Kyle.
“You had too many opportunities to do something…” Kyle peers at Beverly. “Sorry, I’m leaving!”
As Kyle turns to walk out the door, Beverly jumps to her feet.
“Kyle, wait!…I’m making the call now…I will report the CEO’s shady dealings.” She said with a stern face.
“We can’t afford to loose you – such a valuable employee!’

20140711-003437-2077826.jpg

1 Comment

Filed under Creative Writing

Life Passages II – Bon Voyage

“Sandy can you believe Charlie is gone?!” Melissa said with heaviness in her voice.
“No…no I can’t believe it!…I mean who would have ever thought…” Sandy struggled to get the words out.
“I know…I know…” Melissa interrupted her. “This is just too much to take in. He’s just gone way too soon!”
“I’m sort of crushed on the inside.” Sandy confessed. “I mean he’s so young. How can he leave us now?…It’s just too soon.”
“I guess that’s what happens when you’re the smartest kid in 10th grade in the entire school district.” Melissa said soberly.
“Yep! He gets to start college way, way waayyyy too early!” Sandy bellows out solemnly.
“And in Europe!” Says Melissa.
“Way too early!!” They uttered in unison.

20140704-113918-41958280.jpg

1 Comment

Filed under Creative Writing

Life Passages I – Commitment

“Why are you here?” She asks.
“I’m here…I’m here because I have something to say.” He stumbles to communicate.
“Well, what is it then?” She requests adamantly.
“I want to say that this does not make any sense. I don’t need to leave…” He began “I know how I feel and…we can do this. We can most certainly do this. It will only take us hanging in there.”
She sighs. “That sure sounds like a “different tune”” She illustrates with by signing quotation marks. “I have been waiting for you to get it together. I have been waiting for you to show me that you care. Clearly…”
He cuts her off. “I do care. I care very much and we are going to get through this. We are going to get through this together…We just are!”
She pauses and stares right into his eyes. “I hear you…I see you but this better not just be talk. I need to see action.”
He smiles smugly with confidence. “You will see action. You will…I can promise you…”
She interrupts his speech. “Well let’s get to it now…I can’t hear one more word…not one more.”
He takes her hand and the pair walk back into the study room, in the University library and re-join their study group.
In the end he made good on his promise. He remained committed to the remainder of the study time before the start of their semester mid-term exam the following morning.

20140701-130007-46807639.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Creative Writing

The Fall of POMPEII

I had the opportunity to attend a free screening of the soon to be released movie; POMPEII last evening – and in 3D at that. As I scanned the cast list on my trusted IMDb App I was somewhat underwhelmed.

However, one name stuck out to me. Kiefer Sutherland is cast as the villain in this on-screen picture. Yes that’s right – the villiain. It was difficult for me to rationalize initially since I am a huge fan of his on “24” and the compassionate nature of his character on “Touch”. But it is what is and that is acting.

Did Sutherland perform brilliantly as a villain in this movie? Well, you be the judge. I do recommend going to see this film when it opens on February 21st. On a scale of 1 to 10, POMPEII gets an 8. The entire cast did their part to make the film enjoyable to watch overall.

For more information about POMPEII click HERE.

20140206-222427.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

‘Person of Interest’ finds traction by killing off character | Toronto SUN

taraji-p-henson2

As I watched Taraji P. Henson’s character fall to the ground – in horror of course – I cried out; “Why-Oh-Why are they killing her character off?!”

Then I read the following review via Jim Slotek at the Toronto SUN regarding the aftereffects of the CBS show’s plot twist, and began to get a small grasp as to why the show’s writers took this path. Still it hurts not to see Taraji on the screen.

Read more below…

“For a series that’s been spinning its wheels, Person of Interest sure managed to find traction last week…A series that, I’ve always felt, squandered the Earth-rattling implications of its central premise – the all-seeing Machine – turned to the old tactic of killing off a regular character to re-inject a sense of urgency into the show…”

See the full Toronto SUN review HERE.

 

TPH-Joss-Carter-person-of-interest1

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

‘Almost Human’ theory: Karl Urban a robot | Inside TV | EW.com

KarlUrban

Karl Urban is a not a human being. Not in the technical sense of the term. Oh, sure, he might look human. He might walk and talk like a human. He might even like to think he’s human. But Karl Urban would be wrong! For Karl Urban is actually an extraordinary machine that has been programmed to think he is Karl Urban. Karl Urban does not know this, though sooner or later, he will, and when he does, Karl Urban will be very sad. Poor Karl Urban!

No, we speak not of the real-world Karl Urban, star of Star Trek andDredd, but the character that this fine actor plays on the new sci-fi buddy cop drama Almost Human, which premiered Sunday night on Fox….See the full EW story here: ‘Almost Human’ theory: Karl Urban a robot | Inside TV | EW.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

Almost Human™ review: This Sci-Fi show is almost perfect – Zap2it

almost-human-poster

“Almost Human” does one of the hardest things on TV: make a futuristic, science-fiction world seem relevant and familiar to audiences. It helps that the show is, at its heart a buddy-cop story….

…Read the Full Zap2it Review here: http://bit.ly/1egyYLa

Leave a comment

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

What’s the SCORE? – A Week of TV Premieres

Hostages-CBS-Poster-

I know, I know it has been a while since I have posted.  …Life! …Oye!

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade, right?

Well I am here to report on my observations about the first week of  new television premieres for those brand new series which caught my eye, and one Sunday favorite which has returned.

I have given – those I was able to watch thoroughly –  a score between 1 and 10 with 1 being “I don’t plan on ever watching again” to 10 being “I totally LOVE this show!!!”

Take a look at these scores, and pitch in with your own opinion. Give a score of your own, your thoughts about this list or add some other programs you would like to weigh in on.

Here goes:

  • Monday, September 23rdHostages (CBS) – Score: 7
  • Tuesday, September 24thAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D (ABC) – Score: 8,5
  • Wednesday, September 25th –  Lucky 7 (ABC) Score: 6.5 
  • Thursday, September 26th –   Michael J Fox Show (NBC)  Score: 9
  • Friday, September 27th Master Chef Junior Edition (FOX) Score:
  • Sunday, September 29th Once Upon A Time (ABC) Score: 7.5
Since no program scored a “1”, I watched them each again to determine whether their initial score would stick. They all pretty much did.
So this is my #TVWatch2Cents, what’s yours?
lucky-7-cast
marvels-agents-of-shield

Leave a comment

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

Michael J Fox Returns to NBC This Fall

Michael_J_Fox_Show_trailer

Michael J. Fox returns to television this Fall!

Is anyone else as excited as I am?

Ok, so the thing is Family Ties was actual appointed family television viewing in my house as a kid.

I was a huge fan of the character, Alex P Keaton played by Fox on the sitcom. Alex was unapologetic about his unique beliefs, as a teenager, and had the most entertaining approach to all his passions…and shenanigans. Though it appeared that he throughly annoyed his siblings and was at times tolerated by his parents, who could resist falling for this one-of-a-kind, and outspoken character of that television period.

Although his Family Ties character stands out most prominently for me, Fox is also memorable for movies – Back to the Future anyone? –  and other television progams like Spin City where he also served as Executive Producer. There was also much talk about his appearances on The Good Wife recently.

Michael_J_Fox_Show_4

Despite his personal battle with Parkinson’s disease, since he was diagnosed in 1991, Fox continues to be a brave face of activism for the illness. He is unashamedly outspoken, and not afraid to laugh at himself. This is quite evident in his upcoming series; The Michael J Fox Show scheduled to premiere on NBC on September 26th.

The sitcom will be based on Fox’s own life. The premise is:

“After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Mike Henry had to give up his career as a news anchor and focus on his health and his family. Five years later, Mike decides to get back to work and struggles between family and career.”

From what I have seen thus far, it appears that the program will provide organic and an authentic belly-full-of-laughs.  Please see a video trailer, photographs and more about the upcoming series here: The Michael J Fox Show | A Family Comedy | Pics & Videos | NBC. ….And be sure to check it out next month!

Michael_J_Fox_Show_2

2 Comments

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

The Return of “Suits” | USA Network

suits-usa

I have this sneaking suspicion that USA Network does this to folks like me on purpose. I have been anxiously waiting for what seems like an entire year – pardon my dramatics – for the return of Suits on USA Network.

In terms of breathelessly sitting at the edge of my proverbial seat to see what happens next, Suits comes pretty close to ABC’s Scandal in my book. The show revolves around the relationship of a savvy lawyer and his highly intelligent associate whose fraudulent based employment may totally unravel this season….But, I maybe getting ahead of myself.

Suave, Class, Elegance …are just a few words I use describe the overall feel of the show. Unlike the somewhat more down-to-earth and people-friendly atmosphere of another one of my favorite “lawyer programs”; Drop Dead Diva on Lifetime TV, Suits is perched from a fancy high rise law firm with cutting edge deals and high-stake opportunities. Moreso, to match its name, the lead characters; Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams simply look good doing it!

With that said, I eagerly await the new season opener tonight at 10pm. Until then check out this clip from tonight’s broadcast: Suits | USA Network.

suits-usa-3

Suits-USA-2

1 Comment

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

Paula Deen Challenge: Hit Me With a Rock And Kill Me | TMZ.com

Paula Deen Speake Out!

With a very tearful declaration Paula Deen spoke to the Today show’s Matt Lauer about how the controversy over her accusations, of offensively using the “N-Word”, has affected her and defined “her truth”.

She even proclaimed that she has received the support of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, and that anyone whose said anything in their lives that they wish they could take back should simply stone her – reminiscent of the biblical lesson where Jesus urged a crowd ready to punish a woman caught in adultery; “He who has no sin, cast the first stone” (paraphase).

What are your thoughts on Paula’s response to this rather contentious issue?

You can view the very emotional television appearance via the following link:

Paula Deen Challenge: Hit Me With a Rock And Kill Me | TMZ.com.

2 Comments

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

Relentless – A Short Story

flora.gerber.5

Meet Flora Gerber….

Flora grew up in a large extended family but everyone in her family had to work very hard to maintain the very basics – shelter, food, water, clothes. “Everyone” included Flora. Flora began working at the age of 13. Back then she helped to organize the local Grocer’s stock in the storage room.

Now 23, and a mother to a 5 year old girl named Rebecca, Flora was anxious to give her daughter a different life than what she experienced. Flora barely made it through High School. There were so many distractions around her. From having to miss school to work extra hours at the Grocery store, and even as a maid, in order to bail her brother out of jail at least once every 3 months.

College, though a dream was not on the schedule for Flora following High School. There was no money to pay for it and Flora’s family automatically depended on her to keep cash flowing through the home just to keep up with the bills.

Flora found herself sinking into depression. She couldn’t afford to attend her prom. Her family did congratulate her on graduating from high school with a special meal one night but the occasion soon turned into a send-off for her brother’s – what seemed like – 50th arrest. It was actually the 4th time George had been in trouble and the family worried that he would not just get a “slap-on-the-wrist” this time.

Flora thought to herself, “Is this what my life will be about? – “Will I continue to work hard yet not really accomplishing anything?”

She was certainly discouraged at this point. She figured it was pointless to continue to walk a straight-line when all her effort was unappreciated and going to waste.

flora.gerber.2

Flora began to keep the wrong company which led to corruptible habits. She also began to receive attention from a lowly and notorious individual. Ralph incited rebellion and mischief among the young people in the neighborhood. He also owned and managed the only night spot in the small town. As a result of becoming frequent at Ralph’s “night club” and being entertained by his attention, Rebecca was conceived.

However, after 5 years Flora still struggles to see Ralph truly accept responsibility for his daughter. Legal action has also been futile in the small town where “money talks”.

Flora knew that something had to change. She knew that she could not continue to live in her neighborhood for her daughter’s sake. Something had to change, and change soon!

Flora then took a chance. She persuaded her mother to watch Rebecca at nights and took a night shift as a waitress in the city nearby. She was determined to earn the resources needed to begin evening classes, also in the city. Of course she twisted her mother’s arm to watch Rebecca for more hours each day. Whatever was required, Flora was determined to find a solution to improve her own, as well as her daughter’s life.

Naturally distractions worked their way in. Manuel constantly found ways to extend Flora’s time at the small grocery store. It didn’t seem to matter to him that she started her shift at 6am and needed to leave promptly at 2pm in order to travel to collect Rebecca before heading off to school and a late late shift at her new gig, at a new upscale bar and club in the city.

This was Flora’s schedule most days of the week. She did have break from classes 2 nights of the week since she made a Saturday morning class and arranged a later Saturday shift with Manuel. Manuel also harassed Flora. He consistently told her that she didn’t have to work so hard. He was prepared to marry her and give herself and Rebecca a home. Flora comes close to vomiting every time she hears this. She finds even the concept of Manuel’s offer reprehensible. After all he is old enough to be her Father and isn’t the best kept or best smelling man. It was utterly Gross in Flora’s opinion. Still, Manuel didn’t let-up. Flora heard his offer at least 3 times a week.

Flora persevered beyond the obstacles, beyond the criticism and beyond any set-back, which tried to wedge its way in and serve as a detour.

Flora’s unrelenting focus led her to earn a scholarship. This meant she could quit one of her jobs. To Manuel’s and her family’s dismay – who also agreed that Manuel’s marriage proposal was a good one – Flora quit the Grocery job and spent time seeking day-time work in the city. This did make her feel immensely guilty, since this meant relying on her family more to the detriment of her daughter’s mental health, in her mind’s eye. Still Flora knew it was temporary and a necessary sacrifice.

Then she did it! It was a small step but Flora scored a day-time job as a bookkeeper with a small business in the city. Flora eventually worked hard enough and studied ferociously enough to acquire an affordable place of her own in the city. Now Rebecca could be with her full-time, with the exception of the time spent at the jovial Mrs. Lowrey. Mrs. Lowrey is Flora’s neighbor who routinely watches the children in the building. Since her husband past away, the sixty-something Mrs. Lowery welcomes the company of the children of the many hard working parents at the housing unit.

Flora is on her way to becoming a certified accountant. Her time as a cashier led her to fall in love with numbers. She has successfully completed a year of night classes and is prepared for the possibilities on the road ahead.

Where that road would take her? Stay tuned for more about what lies ahead for this relentless Flora Gerber.

flora.gerber.6

1 Comment

Filed under Creative Writing

The Official, Unofficial Start to My Summer

iron-man-3-official-hd

Yes! May 3rd finally arrived and I am anxiously awaiting the moment when I surender to that comfy theater chair and take-in the much anticipated Iron Man 3.

No, I didn’t go see it on opening night (S0 please don’t spill any details). I can’t enjoy it quite as much with throngs of individuals packed into the cinema.  I will be there however…strategically at the right moment.

The film already attracted $15.6 million in North America, on it’s Thursday night opening. Collectively, with its  internationally releases, the blockbuster has already earned $361 million. The number is expected to increase by approximately another 100+ million by the end of the weekend.

Nothing new, right? Each year flashy, big budget, action packed films rake in the dough like clockwork. While many scholars of the art form don’t take too kindly to this, movies like Iron Man 3, the upcoming Star Trek Into Darkness, The Wolverine etc offer adrenalizing fun through fantasy. After all, isn’t that what the warmer months are synonymous with? – Fun, Escape, Get-Away….?

So while my body takes a break from frigid and uncomfortable temps, I look forward to launching my mind into the world of super heroes, super intelligence, super strength and Super Fun!

Don’t get me wrong, I have my sight set on the artistic and story driven films as well – we’ll discuss those in another post. The Great Gatsby, among others, is also on my list!

Now Let My Official, Un-official Summer Begin!

star_trek_into_darkness-HD

6 Comments

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

Getting Up!

Once again, the timely, instructional and revelatory Life Sucks series at The Bridge DC  is having a profound affect.

It is clearly evident, as life evolves, that there is always more to learn. One thing I have learned for sure is that the degree to which one “suffers” is the degree to which one grows.

I am aware that I am in no way alone in experiencing adversity, as there is nothing new under the sun (although recently it has launched me into a sphere I had not been previously).  Still, being broken down is necessary in order to be built up, to be restructured, to be refined. I have concluded that pain has its purpose. Therefore, in response to this revelation, via the weekly Life Sucks series and inner reflection, the following emerged:

Ladydewriter-Get Up-4-30-13

2 Comments

Filed under Creative Writing

Dreaming…Believing… “Girl Rising”

Girl-Rising-Pic-3

I can never do this film justice with any of my diagnosis – In short, to all Mothers, Fathers, Godparents, Teachers, Mentors etc, Girl Rising is a Must-See and I encourage you to expose the beloved young women in your lives to this film.

The documentary reveals the stories of 9 girls in varied parts of the world who are faced with what seems like insurmountable, even painful circumstances but acquire strength from their dreams and their belief that there must be a better life than their current reality.

I left the theater inspired by each of the young women. Each story resonated with me and renewed my “child-like” faith that the Sky-Is-The-Limit!

I can watch this film again and again. I’m elated that I was able to catch the special 1 week re-release on the big screen, but identifying a DVD copy will defintely be the next step in order to share with as many Girls as possible.

In the interim, please see the trailer of Girl Rising Here.

Still, beyond this film there is a cause. The movie is just the beginning. It is also a movement to ensure that Girls everywhere are provided with the opportunity to get an education thus leading to a changed and improved world. Learn more about the movement to Educate Girls Here

Girl-Rising-Pic-4

2 Comments

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

Feeling A Little “Defiance”?

defiance-2

I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the premiere of the Syfy series, Defiance last Monday evening.

They say that the first 10 minutes of a film is crucial and the first ten of the 2 hour series opener, of Defiance, sure did what it was supposed to do. Now it’s Monday again and I have high exceptations of the 2nd episode.

Hopefully for the show it won’t lull, and keeps up the momentum.  I will be watching and be back with more thoughts. However, if you’re watching too, don’t hesitate to chime in! I would love to learn what you think about the television program!

Defiance airs each Monday on the Syfy network at 9pm ET. The cast is led by Grant Bowler (fondly remembered from the ABC series, Ugly Betty) and Stephanie Leonidas. Their characters direct us through the experience of a new world developed as a result of a war which arose when a collective group of aliens, called Votans, came to earth several years prior. “After decades of war, a ceasefire is declared when both sides realise they must focus on survival on this new almost alien planet.” Presently we meet Grant Bowler’s character – Jeb Nolan – serving as Cheif Lawkeeper of the town of Defiance and working to protect its community from deviant humans, aliens, military scvangers and whoever else poses a threat to Defiance.

Defiance-Main-Cast-1

4 Comments

Filed under Film and Television Commentary

Life does Suck…But There Is Hope

I was inspired to pen some short verses following the first installment of the series, Life Sucks at The Bridge DC on April 7th. 

I then decided I would post it here for all to see, particularly in light of the recent unfortunate events in Boston. 

Life does Suck sometimes, and it just does not seem Fair!

However, I am of the opinion that there is Hope…there is a Light where a connection can be made and the opportunity to thrive from the inside-out. The circumstances around us may not change but there is great comfort in being able to call on a Great Friend to walk us through it. 

My sincere thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives, and all of the injured from the Boston Marathon Bombing on Monday, April 15th, 2013. 

Here is what came to mind: 

Life-Sucks-Creative-Writing-2

6 Comments

Filed under Creative Writing

A Salute To A Personal Hero

SISKEL  EBERT

I was half way through another post when I learned about the death of Film Guru, Roger Ebert. I tossed and turned about posting my original story or listening to the rumbles in my mind to honor a personal hero.

I have admired Roger Ebert for many, many years. As a child, when the movie bug bit me, I would hang on his every word on the television program, “Siskel & Ebert”. Ebert’s diagnosis of film was gospel, in my book.As we both grew older and his life drastically changed, I admired his willingness to fight on and persevere. Despite being diagnosed with Thyroid cancer in 2002 and follow-up surgeries – through 2008 – which resulted in his inability to speak and to eat, Ebert didn’t miss a movie opening. His platform changed from television to article posts online, but his trusted voice was still heard and carried just as much weight as it always had.

Oprah Winfrey is quoted as describing the passing of Roger Ebert as the “end of an era”. I am in full agreement with that sentiment. I cannot envision anyone else who can fill his shoes at the moment. Maybe because it is too soon to tell, or simply since I am overcome with prejudicial bias.

Even President Barack Obama commented on Ebert’s passing. The president said; “Roger was the movies … [he could capture] the unique power of the movies to take us somewhere magical … The movies won’t be the same without Roger”.

Oh how right POTUS is! He has described Roger Ebert and his talent perfectly! As I read his final review, completed 2 days before his death, I was once again whisked away to “somewhere magical”.

I would like to go on a limb and declare that we would be hard-pressed to find someone like Roger Ebert again. But the wounds are still fresh and I am certain that there is similar talent in the world today, equip to fill Roger Ebert’s large and eloquent shoes. I can only hope to come close.

Cheers Roger!

Roger-Ebert-4

4 Comments

Filed under Film and Television Commentary