Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday. I'm not into turkey day because I don't like birds or things with wings, feathers, beaks or talons. I'm also not into the whole pilgrims being thankful to the indians because, well, we know how that turned out.

To me, the holiday is about spending time with family and friends. I am grateful every day and I don't mean that in a patronizing way. I am aware of all the great things that have always been present in my life; strong family and close friends. Everything else is gravy, yes, I like gravy, on mashed potatoes and pernil (that's pork leg, which I prefer to turkey).

I am spending Thanksgiving in Santo Domingo with most of my immediate family. My husband got to meet a huge chunk of extended family and they all like him and vice versa. Tonight, we are having a big feast, Dominican style.

I'm looking forward to the rest of our vacation and ofcourse to going home and tying up the lose ends before production starts.

Thank You for reading the blog.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

PS - I Can't Afford Your Fee Either - Response to Michele Serros

I do believe that the excerpt I read came from Latina Magazine, the magazine was fairly new at the time so they probably had no $ to pay your fee.

Wow, I forgot that our relationship started with me wanting to option Role Model Rule #3. As the myspace letter stated, I wanted to submit to AFI's Directing Workshop for Women (DWW). One of the requirements was a 5 page script. I like that story a lot, it's one of my favorites and it seemed appropriate for the entry. However, I chickened out and did not bother to apply.

On 11/18/2007, we wrapped production on two of the stories for Love 10 to 1. Read my other blog if you want to find out more I made the decision not to apply to the DWW because I did not feel ready. I started taking directing and acting classes focusing on working with actors. I had taken enough technical classes through the Extension program at UCLA. I needed to work on finding my voice as a filmmaker. We filmed Love Song in June of 2008.

On a technical level, the Love Song shoot went smoother than the previous two. I faced personal challenges while making that film and there are many things I wish I could do over but once you say CUT, you rarely get to go back. I was going through a divorce, the company I had worked for since arriving in LA was closing and my mother was sick. Making that film is what kept me sane. I cashed out my 401K to get the film made. I know Suze Orman would not approve but when the economy went kaput in September 2008 I would have lost 85% of that money, at least I have a film to show for it. I used the rest of the money to spend my unemployed summer in NY.

Last week I downloaded the application to apply to AFI's DWW. As you were typing your response to my first blog, I was probably downloading the application. I feel ready for that challenge. Yes, I am aware of the fierce competition but I have nothing to lose, well, ok, it costs $100 to apply but that's chump change in the piggy bank of following my bliss.

I have a strong connection to The Big Deal. When I first read it, it reminded me of the experience of bringing the tattooed, long haired, half Jewish boyfriend who sang in a metal band to meet my Dominican, Catholic parents. Through the years the story has taken a different meaning, especially after my mother got sick. What I love about The Big Deal is that the subtext is so strong. I'm not sure how you felt about it as you were writing it but to me it's all about the absence of the mother and that's where I'm drawing a lot from. After my divorce, I wondered if I would get married again. I also wondered if my mother would be around to meet my future husband or if one of my Tias would be filling in for her.

I'm making your story as personal to me as possible in the hope of making a great film. I hate it when bad movies happen to great books. I want you and your fans to like it, or better yet, love it. Yes, that's a lot of pressure but I'm up to the challenge.

I can't afford your fee either

My mom and my husband Matt at our wedding. I am greatful that both my mom and my favorite tia were there. Check out Michele in the background.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Michele Sez

Really? Latina Magazine published an excerpt from Chicana Role Model? I don’t remember having an excerpt published or receiving a payment for such. I'm gonna have to hunt them down...

Also, after reviewing the records of our early courtship (i.e. myspace messaging which I included below) I see you originally wanted to option Role Model Rule #3, not The Rule for which you are currently going into production What made you change your mind? I thought our initial connection was the whole white-long-haired-rocker-hubby thing? Or, wait, did you option both Rules? I don’t remember receiving a payment for such…
PS. And, coincidently, Chicana Role Model WAS written just for you!!

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: LucyDate: Oct 22, 2007 3:21 PM
Hola Michele,
I hope your book tour is going well.
Once I'm done with my film shoot on November 18th I look forward to reading Scandalosa:-)

I wanted to ask you if it's possible for me to option a chapter from How To Be A Chicana Role Model. I'm interested in Role Model Rule # 3 - Remember, Commerce Begins At Home.

I'm entering AFI's Directing Workshop For Women and part of the entry requirements is that you enter with a short screenplay. Preference is given to work not written by the director because part of what they judge your entry is your ability as a director to identify or create material for development. I would have my friend Gus Avila adapt the story. I can send you a sample of his work if you'd like, he is super talented and I know he will do justice to your story.

This option would be on a non exclusive basis so you retain all your rights. The program is super competitive (they only select 8 women or 4% of applicants). Below is a link in case you want to check it out.

If you want to see something I've done, there's a 30 second spot that I wrote and directed for Film Independent's Project:Involve. I can also send you a copy of my film script.The early deadline for this is December 1st, so I'd appreciate it if you could let me know soon.

Talk Soon,

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Big Deal

Sometime in late 2000, I read an excerpt for the book How to be a Chicana Role Model by Michele Serros.  I don't recall which chapter Latina Magazine used for the excerpt but I was hooked. I loved Michele's voice, it was fresh, sassy and vibrant.  The first line of Publisher's Weekly's review of Chicana Role Model sums it up better than I could - "The wisecracking, bicultural/bilingual, self-deprecating, post-Valley Girl author..." that description sounds a lot like me (minus the author part) and I'm sure most of her fans feel the same way.

I've always been an avid reader but this was the first book that felt like it was written just for me. Every time I read a book, images pop in my head and in the case of Chicana Role Model, those images always lingered. I've read the book many times, given it as presents and continue to buy it (currently out of print but used copies are available at Amazon). 

Reading the book, I got to know Michele.  She  became a pen pal, sort of, one that I did not write back until late 2007. I emailed her via Myspace and asked if I could adapt a chapter from her book. She was amiable about the whole thing and here I am almost three years later about to direct it as my second film.

Michele (left) and I looking fab at my wedding. 
She was my Maid of Honor. 
July 3, 2010