Saturday, December 27, 2014

Goals & Ambitions

Most people define success in terms of financial status. They want to be rich if they are poor, millionaires if they are rich and billionaires if they are millionaires. My day job gives me stability and therefore, I don’t have to compromise my creativity.

I want to make films, write and stay authentic.  My artistic goals and ambitions, more often than not, make me sick with anxiety.  My life would be so much easier if I could get rid of them but who am I kidding? I wouldn't be fulfilled.   My aspirations are either mediocre or unachievable depending on who is giving me their unsolicited opinion. I don't listen to the naysayers and I'm grateful that I have something to strive for.

I have a need to share experiences and moments, ideally through film but that’s proving more challenging than I anticipated.  I don’t give up easily. The last two years I’ve been taking non-fiction writing classes at Santa Monica College, Writers Workshop Los Angeles and UCLA.  I’m ready to take this to the next level in the shape of a book, I hope to have the first draft done by this time next year.  As cliché as this may sound, for me, it’s about the journey and not the finished product. Don’t get me wrong, it is extremely satisfying seeing a film through all its stages but once it’s done, you move on to the next project.  I learn the most when I’m in the process of creating.  I have a feeling it will be the same with a book.

I want to show the abstract and express emotion in my work. I don't know if I can achieve this but I will keep trying. This is harder to do than making money. For now, I will be happy trying to get there.

My next film will be a character study based on my "Eat, Pray, Love" journey. I couldn’t afford to quit my job and travel to exotic places. My pots and pans divorce cost me a lot of money but I managed to eat my way through every restaurant in Culver City and taco truck in Eastern Los Angeles before it was trendy to do so. I prayed my way through hiking trails in Topanga, pampered myself in spas from Santa Monica to Korean Town, splurged on a membership to Equinox and had a fantastic love affair with The City of Angels. I’d like to tell this story visually and do it with a micro-budget; one actor, one camera and inexpensive sound equipment. I need to convince Teri Carson at Dizzydent Films to be my cinematographer and my good friend Karla Legaspy to play the lead since she was one of the few people I kept in touch with at this time in my life. 

I saved the quote below from one of Teri's facebook posts and revisit it when I need a dose of inspiration. 

“For Cassavetes, a film was a tool, a means to an end, not a self-contained statement. It was a practical way of recording moments and expressions, which were the real medium for him. He shied away from using the word “idea” and preferred the word “emotion” to express the content of his work. He thought ideas were the intellectualizing, the formulation of experience, whereas emotions were an immediate, instinctive and direct experience. Ideas as explanations are a step removed from actual experience, and somewhere in-between a truth is lost”.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Write Girl

In September I became involved with Write Girl, a creative writing and mentoring organization. I wanted to give back to the community, maybe make a difference in a girl's life.

I was paired with a bright and talented young lady and every week we meet at the Lakewood Mall for a writing session.  She is smart, focused and her parents are loving and supportive. I am proud to play a small part of her creative life. This greeted me in the mailbox and it made my day.

Writing & Reading

I've spent the last seven weeks in a non fiction workshop taught by Seth Fischer at Writing Workshops Los Angeles. I love the intimate setting of these workshops. The class is taught in a person's home (either the instructor or one of the students) and its limited to 8 students. Wine, cheese and other snacks are provided. The environment is warm and friendly and everyone brings their A game. There's a lot of reading to enhance the week's lesson. Each person's story gets workshopped every other week. I've done some of my best writing in this class. It's a combination of the small setting, the prompts and I've been doing this for a while so I have to get better.

I learned so much from my memoir class at Santa Monica College. I took the same class with Monona Wali six times. The promps were different each semester and she is a great teacher but the class size was getting too big, most of the writers were new and I needed to advance to the next level.

In January I plan to take Writing the First Novel taught by writer Reyna Grande via UCLA Exention. It's a four day workshop and I want to come out of there with the a draft of the first chapter of the memoir and an outline for the rest of it. I've written a lot of pieces over  the past two years so now it's time to get serious and figure out which ones I'm going to include.

My goal is to have the first draft of the memoir by this time next year.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Fun at Broad Humor Film Fest

This weekend Day of the Girl had a FUNtastic screening at the Broad Humor Film Festival. We were programmed with a great batch of shorts. Met a lot of great broads and enjoyed delicious food on Abbot Kinney. 

A bunch of broads + Matt dining at Hal's Bar & Grill after our screening.

Teri Carson of Dizzydent Films, me & Morgan

Friday, August 29, 2014

Broad Humor

Day of the Girl will screen on September 6th at the Broad Humor Film Festival held at the Electric Lodge in Venice Beach, CA.

Day of the Girl is playing in the Dark and Darker shorts program because it's you know, dark and gory and bloody aaaaaand funny. We get to screen in the same program as our friends over at Dizzydent Films (Teri and Pepa) who costar in DotG. They have two films screening, Leave the Light On & Crusty (Sunday at 2pm), yes, they are over achievers! Looking forward to watching all the films in our program and the rest of the festival.

This will most likely be the films last public screening before I premiere it online.

4pm - Dark and Darker shorts program•(Spiders) Want My Body 2
•Unfortunately 4
•Dead End 7
•Meet the Ladybugs 4
•Moustache 20
•Leave the Light On 5
•The Roast Cook 8
•Day of the Girl 3
•Anchovies 15
Hope to see you there,


Saturday, August 2, 2014


I am applying to Emerging Voices, a literary fellowship for new writers who lack access. It has been a time consuming endeavor mostly because of the anxiety and stress that kicks in whenever I do something creative.  I attended the final reading of the 2014 fellows on Wednesday and decided to kick self-doubt and anxiety to the curb. I want this so badly I can see myself standing on that stage next year but I also know the odds. It’s an extremely competitive program with applicants who have been at this a lot longer than me.  I have poured my soul answering the questions and hope my desire to be one of the chosen six comes through in my application. I'm working on Take the A Train, a collection of coming of age stories set in Washington Heights, as of now, the pieces are a combination of memoir and creative non-fiction. 

I’ve been in writing mode for a while, haven’t given much thought to filmmaking until yesterday. Matt and I went to First Friday in our neighborhood and one of the businesses, a law office, had a pop up art show. We snapped this picture, being silly and enjoying ourselves when an idea for another microbudget ($300) horror picture gifted itself to me. Creativity fuels creativity, Thank You writing and filmmaking Goddesses.
I'd like to take another class with Judith Weston, probably the director intensive workshop, sneak a short film in, enroll in two writing classes and of course working on my book. I'm really hoping to get into Emerging Voices and if I do, I will dedicate all my creative time to the fellowship so I need to squeeze in as much as possible before the end of the year.

Monday, July 21, 2014

VONA Workshop

In June 2014 I attended VONA Voices, a writing workshop for people of color. I participated in the memoir track taught by Andrew X. Pham.  For the first time in my life, I had the luxury of a week spent reading, writing and workshopping my writing.

We devoted at least two hours to each story; exploring, critiquing, sharing our thoughts and giving suggestions on the work. I got invaluable feedback from Andrew and the team but most of what I learned came from paying attention to the comments given to other people’s writing.  I got a better grasp of constructing a story, creating compelling characters and making scenes pop by studying the work of my colleagues.  

We took turns reading excerpts from our memoirs, pouring our hearts and souls into the room, trusting each other with our deepest fears and darkest moments.  I was humbled by the care and commitment everyone brought with them.

Every day I came prepared to give, engage, listen and write.  I’ve never felt this sense of community with any of my creative endeavors, the experience has been life changing.

Andrew was a marvelous teacher; kind, patient and generous with his time. My classmates were a gifted bunch of storytellers, I am grateful and humbled by the wonderful people I had the pleasure of meeting.  

After the workshop, I felt an urgent need to surrender to the calling I’ve never had the courage to pursue.  This time I would not squash my desire to write. 
Since the workshop, I’ve kept myself busy writing and reading. Tomorrow, I start the rewrite of what I worked on at VONA. I wanted to distance myself from the piece so I can work on it with as new a perspective as possible.

I strongly urge anyone who writes to attend a VONA workshop.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

VONA - The Arrival

I arrived in Berkeley via OAK on Sunday afternoon. The day before Matt and I went for a bike ride, met up with friends in Belmont Shores and got home after midnight. I had not packed. I was exhausted, went to bed and set the alarm for 6am. Sunday morning, I freaked, I packed everything and then some.

My suitcase weighed 42 pounds! What happened to the person that could live out of a back pack on a two week trip? Part of this journey was to unload baggage and here I am bringing more with me.

Getting the suitcase off the carousel was so sad, I felt like Lucy and Ethel in the candy factory.  The conveyor belt moved so fast that the suitcase went by me three times before I could safely get it off without hurting my back. Dragging it out of the terminal and walking across to catch my shuttle made me wish I did CrossFit.

When I got to campus, I had two choices, lug the suitcase up the wheelchair ramps or haul it up the stairs. The ramps were longer than the stairs, it felt like I was on a hike with a giant kettle ball.

I checked into my dorm, rested for a bit, freshened up and went to the orientation. I was early, I sat by myself, away from the group, observing.

I was approached by one of the staff members, she was concerned; put her arm around me and asked if I was OK. I appreciated the gesture and told her I was fine, I was taking in the moment. I guess that's the filmmaker in me.

Once inside, I introduced myself to one of the women in my group and then another. I met other women (there are a lot of women at VONA) who were sitting near me.

I'm looking forward to the me after this is over, I feel a transformation is coming.

My swanky dorm room.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

VONA Workshop

A few months ago, I posted about all the writing projects I'm working on. You can find the post here.

I applied to VONA with one of the short stories for my coming of age memoir. I'm still thinking of fictionalizing it but for now, it's a memoir/creative non fiction piece.

I was accepted into the memoir writing section taught by Andrew X. Pham.  I'll be spending the last week of June at UC Berkeley in Northern California.

I'm kind of petrified by the whole thing, I will be surrounded by people in MFA programs, people who do this for a living, ambitious writers, published writers.... Ay Dios Mio, what did I get myself into! I'm up to the challenge and I'm looking forward to conquering my fears and slaying the demons of self doubt.

Day of the Girl updates

Latin Horror did a recap of Hollywood Horror Fest 2014 - Morgan and I were interviewed by Tyger.

Another cool article mentions Day of the Girl.

I am so grateful that my $300 film was so well liked.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Day of the Girl Screening in Los Angeles

Day of the Girl will screen on Saturday, March 29 at 1:10pm - New Beverly Cinema as part of
Hollywood HorrorFest.

It's a free festival and they have an excellent lineup of shorts, features and a great panel - come out and support

4.40pm – 7.00pm – PANEL – “How to Finance, Produce, Sell & Distribute Your Indie Horror” – a panel of industry lawyers, producers, sales agents, directors and distributors TICKETS FREE

Hollywood HorrorFest


International Women's Day

Las Contemporaneas of the Museum of Ventura County held their First Annual Latina Short Film Festival on March 8th 2014. They were generous enough to screen both The Big Deal and Day of the Girl.

I was moved by the audience’s love and appreciation of both films. I am always humbled when I get such a great reaction to my work, it makes me proud of what I have achieved and motivates me to keep going.

The Chicana Role Model gave a fabulous
 I was honored with a spiffy award

Accepting my award

People want a feature film based on How to Be a Chicana Role Model - fingers crossed we make this happen.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Day of the Girl

We are almost certain the film will premier on International Woman's Day (3/8/14).

The film is now titled Day of the Girl.

Details coming soon:-)

2014 My Writing Year

Whenever I notice I'm neglecting the blog, I always say I need to blog more. This time,  I have a good reason for the long absence, I am WRITING.

I took four memoir writing classes at Santa Monica College last year.  It was challenging writing such personal stories and sharing them with a room full of strangers. There were days when I didn't want to write or go to class. I didn't want to visit the past, I had already spent a hell of a time living it, getting help in the form of therapy, shedding the old skin, purging bad habits and healing. I am here in the present, where life is the best it's ever been BUT the stories want to claw their way out of me and I have this driving desire to rip them out and put them out to world.  Writing what will eventually be a memoir started draining me physically and emotionally by the end of 2013.  I didn't want to stop writing so I put the memoir to the side and started writing about another time in my life.

I wrote about a crazy experience from my teenage years. This is the piece that's occupying most of my time. I want to get it as polished as possible and use it as a writing sample to apply to a writer's program. It will be part of a book of short stories about coming of age in Washington Heights.

I do miss working on the memoir.  I will take it up again in about two weeks when I'm done with the fiction piece.   I plan to divide my writing time between the memoir, the short stories and my screenplays.

I'm looking forward to all the great things 2014 has in store for me.