Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Auld Lang Syne

"Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits." - Anonymous


There's two days left in 2010… two days left in what has been quite a strange decade, the first of the millennium. A few days prior, before the city was cast in a giant veil of white snow there was an end of a very long journey for myself on Christmas this year. Four years, probably longer in some ways.

I got to sit and watch my first feature "…Around", a valentine to NYC--and more and more to those involved in making it, play on PBS… to all New York City. It was also perhaps the first time I felt closure and could look back, as if closing the last page of a giant scrapbook, and truly enjoy the experience. During the last four years the "fight" always overtook the triumphs and even the heartbreaks of making the film and trying to "get it out". You see, every accomplishment became muddled in achieving the next goal, every screening and review became footstools to get the next pull quote. I never got to taste it or enjoy it, no matter how great or how hard, quite like I did that night. The random messages and emails I got, some from strangers and others from those who've been strangers too long, filled me with a greater sense of understanding of the whole experience and what it's meant to me, what's it meant to others. "…Around" took on a life of it's own long before I shot one piece of footage, and like the roots of a giant oak tree, a foothold in my very soul, it sprang up in new and wondrous ways over the last few years. I got to see the beautiful and unique family it built for me, the relationships formed and those I sacrificed to continue on the path. I never gave up on it, even times I said I did or the entire universe was giving me many a message to do so.

And now it's given me a greater gift in the opportunity to do it one more time, to tell a new story and begin a new journey.

After it's own unique journey and fight, financing has been secured for "Things I Don't Understand" to shoot in a few months. It won't be without it's own set of circumstance and sacrifices but the first steps to the next few years of my life have begun. Some of these sacrifices I know and know well, others have yet to reveal themselves, but I have a clean slate and a new fight... The demons of the past have been shaken or tucked away to where they need to be, the dragon has not been slayed but subdued.

I'm excited. I'm ready. I'm thankful. I'm forever grateful to those I've gotten to meet and work with on "…Around", for those I get to bring back again for "Things" and the new faces this time. I'm committed to do the thing that I love, that comes so utterly natural…

I'm ready to move on and tell a new story.

"…Around" and those that shared the experience, however big and small, will always have a place inside me. I'll re-open the scrapbook from time to time because, lets face it, there's none like your "first time". But I'm also ready for now to put the scrapbook away, to clear the air… to let go of the fight… and start again.

Merry Christmas to all… an the start of a great and prosperous New Year!


"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning" - TS Elliot

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Traditions and Giving Thanks.


November 24th, 2004

It was around 8 o’clock and there was still a swarm of holiday travelers in Penn Station heading towards a destination of home or what used to be. It was a hyper version of the usual scene’s I’d get a particularly intimate and regular view of in my train station days. Families and lovers saying goodbye or reuniting after some time, bedraggled and bleary eyed commuters dragging along the ball’n’chain of briefcases and laptops, There was a kind of majestic choreography about it and during the holiday rush it was only heightened. I’d lean my back against a wall, slide down and disappear from view and it would all slow down. Hours, days, weeks and months would all pass as I’d take in all the details, hearing all the hushed whispers and loud guffaws.


"You really seem to know you’re way around this place”, she said as I grabbed the two heaviest of her bags. It was only for three days at family in Philadelphia over Thanksgiving but Allyson had seemingly managed to compartmentalize all of her belongings into three pieces of luggage. Muffy and Buffy, the larger ones I took over, and a simple day bag.


“Keen sense of direction.” I smiled and we settled in on one of those overpriced bar grills to kill the hour before her train left. I nursed a bottled Amstel and she devoured a bag of trail mix plucked out of her day bag which I now imagine was completely filled with snacks. Maybe she had low blood sugar? I watched her gnaw at the seal of the bag to open it and pry with her nails. Adorably she always seemed to make even the simplest missions into a painstaking quest doused in the kind of tension usually reserved for the final act of a spy movie.


It was in between her mission she told me all about the tradition in her family coming from all over the country and meeting at an Aunt’s in Philadelphia. It had started when she was a child and the Aunt was immobilized to a health issue. Everyone came to the ailing Aunt, bringing a veritable pot lock of treats and home cooked goodies, eventually becoming it’s own tradition even as the children grew older and spread out further. In some way she described it the good intention yearly reunion became less about family and good food and more of just a tradition of burden, an empty ritual you did because… well, it’s what you did. Where else were you gonna go?


Of course my brain immediately went into processing her stories through a detatched and cynical filter—because I’m nothing if not detatched and cynical, especially when it came to holidays and family gatherings. It was less an assortment of bitter and painful memories then a complete and vacant lot of no memories. My family was not big on holidays, rituals and traditions so I was at a loss of comparative experiences on which I could fully appreciate her experience. I understood the idea of rituals for comfort; I had a few of my own. I even completely grasped the cheer, security and warmth of what family, home and the celebration of had to offer from the simple looks and gestures on the faces of the travelers I spied on a daily basis. It just didn’t register on a personal level. It was more like being one of those sociologists on an expedition in an uncharted jungle, watching and even living amongst a foreign tribe and eavesdropping their varied cultural habits. For someone who’s own holiday ritual had become a day volunteering at local missions and then heading to a warm and worn traditional Irish pub and cozying up to aged single malt, trying to relate to Allyson on this or many other experiences would be no different than being an astronaut marooned on a distant planet and trying to maintain amongst the aliens and their sort. I’d just never “get it”.



The closest I’d come to any Norman Rockwell version of this holiday was a year prior, a few weeks after settling into my first real flat in the city. It was a rent controlled, run-down and honest-to-Craig’s List one bedroom in the East Village in an old building that I managed to scrimp and save for. I had nothing more than a TV and mattress I’d culled form the streets in those pre-bed bug days and a garbage bag of clothes. It was walls and a roof and eventually the only real home I’ve ever known in this city. I’d been conjuring visions of annihilating my kitchen, breaking it in and cooking up all the fixings of a Thanksgiving dinner. The lack of any friends in town or dollars in my bank account immediately put a head shot into any of those fantasies and I decided the best way to say thanks for the blessings that had just come my way was to give back.


I spent the day volunteering at the local mission dolling out glammed up versions of turkey TV dinners to those also lacking in their holiday traditions and cast aside from the norms of the day. I brought three men I’d had particularly lively chitter chatter with back to my empty flat where we indulged in boxes of fried chicken and a case of PBR, cursing at the bad football plays on the television and staining the screen with chicken grease. It was memorable and alive and great.


Back in the station Allyson stood in line waiting to hand over her ticket and proceed to her train. I returned possession of Muffy and Buffy and began the awkward-unsure and rushed goodbye dance—you know, that dance?


This time was different, though. She paused and looked at me, looked up and down and almost through me to where, for a split second, I’d wondered if I’d caught fire or had grown some kind of horn. A homeless unicorn, perhaps?


“I’m really lucky to have you in my life.”


It was said with such sincerity and heart capped off with that ring of welled up tear on the lower left eye, that I instantly knew this was the kind of person you kept close in your life forever. This of course ended up being not at all the case, but looking back—well, you had to be there, I guess. She blushed a bit from her burst of honesty, withdrawing with a smile, curling her lips and not baring any teeth. Chalk it up to hormones, adolescent infatuation or some kind of intricate train station fluorescent lighting scheme that hit her face, anchored by dark hair and jeweled with large, almond eyes; but I don’t think she ever looked more beautiful or further away.



Instantly I wanted to say everything. EVERYTHING. I wanted to be completely honest and jump up and down, shouting everything and—


Nothing. More then a couple beats I couldn’t move or speak, I think I blinked but otherwise completely paralyzed, not by fear but perhaps conscience. The eve of a time of thanks and reflection, of happiness shared amongst families is not when you drop an emotional nuclear bomb on someone you care about, someone who has become so close to you yet, for all they truly know, you are a complete stranger.


“You just made my decade.” Robotically go to witty but meaningless saying 6,324 and watch her smile, melt and board with a kick. I wander back past the bar and grill, hoping to dig myself into an extra Amstel or two with a whiskey chaser but they are closing up. I decide to find libations outside before rising the next morning into my own Thanksgiving tradition of volunteering at the missions, but find myself stopping and slouching against the familiar cold wall and watching again. I stopped watching and closed my eyes, exhaled. I took a minute that became an hour, finally plucking myself up and re-arranging my black coat before heading out into the chilly night and a peacefully calm city.


November 24th, 2010


I open my eyes and find myself six years later slouched in the same spot and wonder if I have just woken up from a coma that started when I closed my eyes that previous holiday night. I laugh at the thought, quickly going through a highlight (or lowlight to some) reel of the last six years; graduating and eviction, (mis)adventures on different continents, love and loss, making and losing a film, the transitional “homes” and souls that came in and out like travelers at the station… what a beautiful and twisted dream it was… I’m thankful for it all, the good and the bad. The people I met and are in my life as well as those who are footnotes and ghosts of memories passed.


I toast as I usually do: to friends, family and those along the way that become them. To home.

To the everlong quest for finding home…

Monday, November 1, 2010

...(th)Crossroads.....


"(th)'at I got the croosroad blues this mornin Lord
babe, I'm sinkin down"



I remember this feeling before.

Five years ago. October 31st, 2005. Halloween night in Seville, Spain.



I wandered out of the Flamenco bar around 1 a.m. clicking my worn and taped Converse along the cobblestone streets through the maze-like alleyways of a Moorish quarter. Silence and shadows ever so slightly permeated by occasional flashes of light and burst of Catalan. Out on the open promenade I stumbled along River Guadalquivir where swarms of young students, American and Andalusian alike sang and danced. Chants and laughter were echoed along small bonfires and parked cars, a radio of one of them blaring out R.E.M.'s Losing My Religion. My eyes gazed at the surreal visions around me, Michael Stipe soundtrack'ing a near perfect ending to months of living out of a bag all across the continent, growing up a relative ten years from when I left NYC and ending right where it had started in Spain. I'd be catching a flight back to the the U.S., to Newark Int'l Aiport  if I could just find my way through the crowd and to the airport in time...

In Heathrow for a changeover flight the exhaustion of the experience was finally kicking in. I sat amongst the already out Christmas trees that November 1st and to keep my eyes awake I hungrily ate a Cadbury bar and scribbled in my journal. I was on the last page of it and was uncertain how to end it, how to summarize such an outer and inner journey. I'd like to believe that whatever rambling phrases or dirty limericks I put down were just right, sitting along with smudges of chocolate and dirt. I realize it wasn't just pressure to summarize that had me anxious and filled with writer's block... It was that I was at the crossroads. I knew that once I touched down the next morning I'd have no money, no certain home, job or future. It would also be winter in NYC and while none of this was unfamiliar territory even at 22, I was also now completely different person from the kid who had gotten on the plane months before. I saw things different and wanted a new plan...

The Europe journal is one of the few I've kept since I started writing, also housing a few cards, mementos and nicknacks that have also survived the last very long five years. I've been going through it recently, deciphering handwriting, paragraphs and drugged out notes I'd long forgotten. I've also been going through whatever old photos I still have, and checking my reflection more and more. I'm not looking at the physical changes, scars and lines, build, thinning hair or triple decker luggage under the eyes... I'm looking at the soul behind the eyes. I don't see "me" there anymore...

It's funny how much the story of Things, as well as producing and trying to get it off the ground, has become a metaphor for the current state of my life. The same guttural voices that pulled me out of a dark, dark time and compelled me to pound away at a keyboard now find themselves reemerging. Trying to find answers and meaning in my life and the roads I've traveled, the relationships I've made and lost, trying to just feel something by stretching myself across the abyss to see if I can bring myself back. That's the story of the main character Violet, the story of me. I've spent the last few months putting together an amazing team of actors and crew, no and old, that anyone would be lucky to have a chance to work with. I've been hitting the pavement through emails and meetings and phone calls and Skyping(yes, and I hate it) and begging and fundraising and schmoozing... 

Time is ticking away and all the eggs are not in the basket. I've got at least a month more and a few more tricks, hail Mary passes and doors I haven't approached. All is far from lost and over.. but here's the honest truth...

 As hard as I'm fighting and as much as I believe in what I'm doing there' the constant nagging fear that I don't have it in my heart anymore. Call it a lack of innocence, being a bit burned out or just not having the same devil may care juice that being eighteen brings, I'm just not sure I know how to win or even fight this particular challenge. I don't think I've ever felt, regardless of scope of a previous obstacles in my life here or abroad, that things were so completely out of my hands. I'm at a place in my life and "career" that as hard as I work and much as I do or creatively push... I can't go any further unless someone vouches for me or helps me through the door. I need an invitation to the Prom and I haven't quite found that mentor or encouraging hand. To have talent is so important. To have ball is what helps get the talent recognize or put to good use. To have money, connections and clout... well you don't need balls or talent if you have that sometimes. To have all three or a combination.... that's the key now to do things the way I want to do them. I don't want to short sell the amazing people or the story by just getting it done. I want to do it right. I want to do it great.

So, I push along, leading the way as I always have because it's part of who I am. Fighting or putting myself in situations to see how far I'll go achieve what I'm not supposed to even dare to do is embedded in every strand of my DNA. I don't know exactly where it comes from, what distant Viking relative or town drunk, but it's there. And as always I'll figure out what I don't know as I go along, leverage the risks on hard work and unbearable personal sacrifices, take whatever leads or opportunities that present or open to themselves to me and do above and beyond with them, but I worry it's not enough this time... 

I find myself debating what it means for me and the future and how I go about it and other things. At a certain point you put down the worn coat, pull of the shredded travelin' shoes and you retire the bloodied boxing gloves. You long to pull out the sword and slay the dragon and be a martyr for principles that quickly lose sight of their original intentions. I guess you kinda grow up.... and that's the biggest crossroad of them all as I find myself quickly growing up this year and as I cross the threshold with this project, with the next chapter. "Giving Up" is also not something I've ever been good at and I don't equate "giving up" with "growing up". I do know that reconciling my new changes with whatever happens next is going to be something I am going to have to be honest about and negotiate. This film and how it plays out, the experience, much like those Cadbury stained journal pages, is the perfect summation of this journey to the next crossroads of my life. 

And what exactly did those pages say? 

I sat down at the airport bar and ordered a Scotch and began chatting up Ida, a 26 year old Danish girl on holiday. Our conversation quickly turned to my current dilemma. She decided to play a free word association game with me she learned from a friend. I write down a word. She writes down a word. I write down a word and so on until we put them together in some order. This is what the last pages say:

"Wandering. Soul.If.You.Knew.So.Cool.To.Be.Love."

I don't know what's going to happen with everything as I push on... But I can only hope for half as good a summation as that....

Sweet dreams, All. More later. Don't forget to vote.
D.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Wandering/Cut Films 2.0

A call to arms...


I've never been big on asking for help. I don't beg and I never look for hand outs. 


 I've often, even when lost or most in need, found myself in the leader position which not only baffles me it scares the shit of me. I don't always know what I'm doing and have figured out most things I know or skills I have on the fly, baptism through fire or making mistakes. I'll get in it to win it, a scrappy-fighter and scruffier kat from Jersey who doesn't know when the last round's bell rings.  I'm also very much a risk-taker but either there's always been some method to my madness or the charming madness of the method, and I've managed to pull through and make deadlines and overcome strange obstacles.  I always managed to run in circles though, put in the fight and lick my wounds but end up in the same place I started if not five yards behind... stubbornness, pride and a lack of trust have always been my detractors in these situations. I want to put an end to that tradition this time.


So, I've put out an Indie-A-Go-Go donation site to aid with some pre-production costs during the financing period of "Things I Don't Understand". There are people that have and will run far better campaigns, breaking out the full bell and whistles of videos, artwork, graphics, sleep and hunger strikes, and everything under the sun.


I'm not that guy. Outgoing and creative as I can be, any charm or sway I have is best saved for dark bars, written words or random midnight conversations. I can only do what I find myself always doing, putting it out there open and honestly. No one can do anything alone.



You know, we're living in crazy times of transitions in the world, in technology, in the way we communicate across continents, economically and in all forms of entertainment industry... but if you look back isn't it always a time of transition, of craziness, of old guards falling and new traditions being formed. And yes, it's easy to be cynical and afraid of the looks of others during these tough times.


How dare you try and do these silly things?! There are bigger problems in the world right now! It's hard enough to get a real job these day! Do SOMETHING! STOP DREAMING!


I say I believe people need stories and storytellers now more than ever. 


People need a reason to disappear for two hours from the stress and problems of their own lives, to get lost in new worlds and characters they can also relate to. They need to see actors, their avatars, pouring out their guts to evoke their greatest loves, fears, and anxieties. They need to laugh, to cry, to be afraid and get some kind of catharsis. They want to see a hero win or at least fight the battles they might not be able to in their own worlds. They need a reprieve from the elongated commercials, product placements and cross-promotional media in 3D Imax that makes up the majority of what they're forced to shell out 13.50 for...


So many of my contemporary artists are still out there right now, fighting and trying, achieving great things and building a community while doing it. Others have all the right ideas and energy, but lack the cohesion and are drowning in seas of misinformation and apathy, of lists and fads, of techno-babble and social-media dystopia...


That's why I'm reaching out now... being ridiculously honest with what I'm about to attempt, no glitter or deadpan masking the need and the desire of what I'm planning to do next...


A friend recently mentioned, after observing the work I've been doing and progress I've been making,  he was glad to see I was "a doer and not just a talker".  I'm a "tryer"... I've managed to "do" a lot of things I've tried, some of those being ridiculous feats of many mini-miracles and random dumbfuckluck(my weird, Copyright 2010)... but I've lost as many fights as I've won, if not more. But I'll always try... and this project, far more than something like "...Around" which always had the plan B of being tossed on a Viking funeral pyre of credit fraud, is completely out of my hands in the end. I will not stop, I will not leave a stone unturned, and I will work until my bones are ash without giving in to produce this film... but it will still be about other people saying "yes"... of someone unknown figures giving a chance to make it happen. What is in my control is taking the opportunities that come, doing the research and building the strategies, tirelessly moving forward and trying everything... even asking for some donation help from you out there who may believe and be a part of this project to see that it comes to fruition in the best possible way... I look at it now and truly see it's a unity and a creative collaboration on a different scale.


And that's the singular greatest reason I love film other than the ability to use sounds and moving images to tell a story and communicate feelings. Collaboration. Film is possibly the most collaborative of the arts. So many departments, so many contributing skills and talents all being lead by the conducting of a director who's shaped by the team of producers and creative individuals. It's a family and a home that transcends any kind of blood relation. It's a connection amongst those who DO. Those who CREATE. Those who dream and then spend every second of waking-life trying to translate and realize those dreams..... But it's more than just a new film I'm going to do or project as I carve out a career and filmography. Its not about me or any one person and vision... It's for all of us.


"Things I Don't Understand" is the beginning of a phase of my life I've given a lot of thought to, the next chapter and decade, the new fight. An open invitation to others to collaborate. To an old idea with a new spin... a collective:





Over the next five years I plan to create a company that will develop and collaborate with a number of local artists to help produce content (films, web, pilots, commercials) connection young story-tellers with actors and crew, marrying the artistic and creative realm with the business and commercials realms in a way that complements and pushes both sides to new heights. I will be using all of my own experiences and lessons learned, as well as those of others with far more skills and years behind them to cut a new path during these uncertain times, to take advantage of the unknown roads that lay ahead. There's an insane amount of talent here and it's a bout time there was a real conduit for it to meet and unite and create together, to nurture and support and grow. The only aesthetic and limitations will be of our own united and creative minds and skills.


The name of the company has some meaning to me. I've spent the better part of my twenty-seven years wandering, both metaphorically in a personal sense and quite literally all over the face of the earth and this great Gotham. I lost my way for a while in uncertainty, but I’ve come back because now more than ever I know I've found my place. I've found my home and I see my purpose. I know the fight and the journey, the rocks strewn about a dusty road littered with footprints of those who came before me and a pathway to those who will come after.  I'm ready to begin walking it and lead those who want to come along, whatever lies ahead, and I'm asking not for help... but for support, for company and creative inspiration. Let's live and create big, fearlessly; work harder and realize the dreams that make us stare out the window, toss in our beds and searching and yearning for something more... To do what I've always loved in it's simplest form. To tell stories with my friends and family.


For the longest time, especially the last few years, I've been marked by the throwaway line and name of the INC. that owned the copyright to "...Around". Embrace the Fall...  but some have misconstrued the original intent of the name. What that always meant to me wasn't to expect to fail or aim to fail... It was to take a chance and the responsibility of that chance, and if it doesn't work out to not fear the impact, to embrace it and learn from every scratch and dent you made, to feel alive with every drop of blood you gave and to get up and do it again...


"Wandering" has always suited me more. Maybe because I believe you can't really be found or find your way until you allow yourself to be completely lost.


So, "Things I Don't Understand" and a soon-to-be-mentioned TV/Web Series I'm developing will be the first of several projects of mine and others I'm actively popping off the ground for this collective and there's a fuck-ton of practicalities, paper work, paper clips, sleep deprivation and various other factors to plow through... but I will... I am... and I'm starting it... help us spread the word!


More later including some casting coups, financing realities(brief statements on the indie film world out there or what's left of it), what I've learned after reading some 500 pages this memorial day weekend on business plans, SI investments and owww my head hurts... And some behind the scene production info... same bat-time, same bat-channel.

D.






Saturday, August 28, 2010

some more cast additions...


Katie Johnston as Rose Kubelick

Katie wow'd me in her contrasting monologue submission videos for "Things" effortlessly doing comedic and dramatic, sometimes combing a dab of each, and at callbacks I was equally floored by her passion, strong character intuition, ability to take direction and delightful personality. I'm eager to work with her on this and my other developing project, her portrayal of "Rose" will be about giving depth to an event and character that pretty much shapes Violet's entire life journey and questioning persona. 

Vanessa Altshuler as Brigitte the trainee

"Oldschool" (the English translation of her Deutsch last name) is a diamond in the rough for any director, a uniquely funny and energetic talent with a lot of emotional range, vocally trained with a killer set of pipes and theatre experience, Vanessa can blend in to several supporting and character parts, infusing them with a life that would immediately call for a spotlight.. forget scene-stealer, this girl has the potential to be a movie stealer. Her improvisational abilities and comedic timing are sharp and with giant "boo-hoo'ish" eyes she will draw you in and level you down. Cast her. And mention my name... I get like twenty bucks. Every penny counts, folks.

Hannah Reimann as Baby, "the devil"

Hannah is one of those great artists from past times, especially in the vein of those who came about during the frenetic & kinetic late-70's and early 80's downtown scene, who truly exemplify the term artists. She has her hands in several forms of artistic expression from filmmaking to music to acting to performance and fine arts, effortlessly and confidently jumping genres and styles to gain the highest experience and best production of work. A soul who uses her work as part of her continuing quest and journey to understand and push the boundaries of questions and ideas. Her dedication and work ethic is second to none and anyone lucky enough to collaborate with her in whatever piece she is involved in will be better off for it.


Tracy Toth
Tracy is a delightful and versatile actress I was introduced to last Summer who's credits are growing on stage and screen (you can see in several comedic Onion TV shorts and this season "It's Always Sunny In Philadealphia"). She's a strong addition to a great talented group of individuals and I'm thrilled to have a chance to collaborate on this project with her.

Amy Hoerler
I'm very excited to once again be including the always great Amy Hoerler. I met Amy in the back of a van in March 2004... No, no. Get your minds out of the gutter. I was helping out on a student short film where Amy played a 12 year old fairly convincingly (yeah, she's that solid) who was abused by her raging, aggresisve and alcoholic mother. We got to bond fast as sitting the trunk of the van I had to apply on a daily basis some pretty brutal bruises and bumps and of course that would turn into laughs and stories. I always promised I'd include her in a feature if I ever did one and was able to when I made "...Around", though sadly some of her best stuff hit the cutting room floor. I'm happy to include her in this project and keep the family tradition alive for other future project as well... cast her, you won't regret it. Just look below...




Who's shooting this movie and some more casting...


This has been a bit of a crazy week, and I'm working on a post to delve a bit more on the production, some technical stuff and also about the recent writing/additions to the story and that whole process... For right now, let me introduce you to who's going to be shooting our little baby this Winter...

::drum roll::




I met Gus Sacks after viewing his reel in June for coffee. He pleaded his case and his thoughts on the script, we talked about going to SVA and other film people we knew in common--he shot a short film "Charlie On Parole" that starred our lead actress Molly Ryman and actor TJ Miller("Cloverfield", "She's Out Of My League") and had similar professors. Gus is a young one but has a natural and raw talent and ambition, an eagerness and ability to learn and try and hungrily sharpen his skills, a knowledge of tech and trouble shooting, aesthetic goals and the ability to serve a director as well as push them towards new ideas, a straight-forward, easy going and no-bullshit attitude... Oh, yeah! And he also loves the shit out of hockey which is probably the clincher. Gus has a great eye and for his younger age already has 20 professional cinematography credits under his built amassed in the last couple of years. I'm looking forward to opening up my visual palette with him to bring "Things" to life and build a new collaborative relationship that I can hopefully spread out amongst future projects. But hey, don't take my word for it... check out his site/reel at http://www.gussacks.com.

Also here's a few more additions to the "family" and cast for TIDU that I'm extremely excited to be working with. Two familiar faces from "...Around" and one who, while I've never had the pleasure of working with, is a long-time friend and mentor... 


               Nabil Vinas as Joe

I've known Nabil for a few years now through some mutual actor friends and I've had the pleasure of watching his work both on-screen and on-stage. Nabil;s acting abilities are sharp as a razor, blending and committing to whatever role or line of dialogue he's asked to recite. He's also got an encyclopedic of hip-hop music, new and old, that can eat up an entire day of conversation and poor attempts (on my behalf) of rapping and beat-boxing. I had the pleasure of working with him for two days in a small role on "...Around" which was anything but small in how he played it, bringing depth and 3D to what could have been a throwaway, antagonist-thug character. I wrote the role of "Joe", the orderly at the hospice, with him mind always and am excited about letting him build a full character who's learned through pain and past experiences and finds peace and fulfillment in a place most see loss and misery.



         David Boyd as Stefan 

Where can I even begin with Mr. Boyd? I met David in the Fall of 2002 when I cast him for a short film I was doing my sophomore year about a business man who's caught cheating on his wife because of the 9/11 tragedy. It was a quick-paced, darkly-comic, true-life inspired piece that was like nothing I'd ever tried before and the majority of it's success depended on David's ability to carry the role. He did it in spades, putting in real charm and heart that masked the cold, caculated and despicably abrasive traits of the character. I instantly became friends and cast him again in my Spring project, playing a less cruel but equally abrasive and outlandish character, upping the manic energy and allowing him to improvise. David moved out to Los Angeles and we kept in touch via email correspondence and after four years I was able to reunite with him for "...Around" when he played another asshole, the abusive boyfriend of Allyson (Molly Ryman) in a key scene. Once again he crushed it, but I felt bad that I was never able to show more range that Mr. Boyd is clearly capable of and for his role as "Stefan", Remy's much maligned and good intentioned professional lover, in "Things" I'm going to break out a side of him he's never had to the chance to show, light years away from anything I've done with him before. Dying to see him, regardless, crush it yet again...


                Lisa Eichhorn

Lisa and her vast, acclaimed body of work needs no introduction... but I'll do damndest at a proper one.  Lisa Eichhorn is a trained actor of the highest degree, an alumni of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) and one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1979" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 31. Lisa's early career was marked with acclaim and productions on stage, television and films such as "Yanks", opposite Richard Gere for director John Schlessinger which she was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and Merchant-Ivory's production of "The Europeans" that garnered her a BAFTA nomination. Her blistering portrayal of a wistful alcoholic opposite Jeff Bridges is a highlight of the cult classic "Cutter's Way". Lisa has worked with directors Roland Emmerich (Moon 44), Anthony Minghella (Talented Mr. Ripley) and has appeared on-stage in England (which I once had the pleasure to see personally) and in the US. In recent years Lisa has split her time by also teaching and mentoring actors and directors(I met her during my time as her pupil at SVA) and writing/producing ventures in Europe and the states. To have the opportunity to work with such a dear friend and teacher,who's class informed and inspired a lot of my philosophy towards working with actors and directing; and to collaborate with such a talented individual is not only an incredible endeavor, its slightly intimidating.  I look forward to including her in this film and the "family" and showing again what a skilled and passionate artist she is in front of the camera


Monday, August 23, 2010

"Things I Don't Understand" new family...



So, I've been away again... but not in slumber. 


Been busy toiling, writing and rewriting, casting, producing.... and this is how I will make up for it... with some cool news, pictures(!) and a gauntlet thrown down...



THINGS I DON'T UNDERSTAND




It will be shooting by January 24, 2011.... the date has some interesting meaning to me. It's my date of birth and the start of my 28th year traversing all over this earth... Call it tradition, but the first time I set a goal was on my 23rd birthday about shooting my first film a year later. I've usually kept to these crazy proclamations (maybe that's why I do it) so this will be no different... the film will be shooting by or just after that date... call it a present to myself.

I'll go into more on how the story has evolved over rewriting and casting this Summer in a different posting, but, in summary, meeting all the talented individuals who've given so much inspiration and creativity to a project that's been long gestating... I 've come to realize what the film is about. I mentioned once earlier that "...Around" was about finding home as only someone fresh out their teenage years and new to a city/adulthood can search, and now "Things" is about what happens when you find that home and it's threatened, what you do to maintain normalcy or a new phase of settling/growing up This movie is going to shoot if all goes according to plan in symmetry with the start of my 11th year in the city... I see it as new beginnings both personal and creatively, of putting rest old demons and issues (whilst finding new ones) and starting new chapters, new stories, new family, new home, and new goals...
But right now I mentioned something about a cast....

So, without further bullshitting, I'd like to introduce you to some of the new family...


Molly Ryman as "Violet Kubelick"
I met Molly Ryman for the first time at auditions for "...Around" back in January of 2007 (which she almost didn't go to; strange fate) and it wasn't until I reviewed the tape later that week that I first took notice of just what she had to offer as performer. Sometimes auditions can be weird, when you see actors back to back to back, your brain can play tricks on you and something about Molly was soft and subtle, it didn't register as loudly until I had a clear mind and watched her on the camera. Her passion for independent film, her love for New York City, and the gravitas she gave the character her line readings all made her the perfect It was a joy to work with her on my first film, her passion for being part of the project was contagious and helped boost everyone else on set up a notch, cast and crew. I knew instantly she was someone I'd love to work with again on anything. I was blessed to get to know her over the course of making the film and the last few years on a personal level and amazed to see level of genuineness and character she possesses both on and off screen. There is a passion  and meaning for everything she does and commits herself to 110%. As a performer Molly is blessed by a rare combo of strong presence and vulnerability, a depth and range that is only highlighted by her unique painfully beautiful features, reminiscent of old time movie stars. She has that same "it" quality that lights up a room, and while naturally sweet, giving and dedicated I knew even back then there was more to her than just "the girl next door" which she's been frequently cast as. Shit! Even I cast her as that in a way... but she also brought a slight tired and worn edge to the character of Allyson in "...Around". Some of her scenes were cut for timing and "Doyle" has the entire movie as a showcase for every lines and emotion under the sun, but the seeds of what she'd be capable of were in some of the reviews from those who paid attention and picked up on just how much subtle and supporting work Molly did in her scenes with Rob, at times "stealing" them. In the early winter of 2009 I started writing the first draft of "Things" from earlier story notes of a short involving a jaded grad student interviewing a girl dying in a hospice that would have been my original SVA Thesis film. As I wrote I saw more and more an opportunity to not only work with Molly again but to give her a chance to do something completely different if she was interested and as the script developed still right for the role/able to because of scheduling issues. The character of Violet Kubelick at her heart is someone is who is tired, broken, searching to the point of exhaustion, looking for reasons and holding on to excuses. There has to be heart, there has to be hope, there has to be soul and there is one artist I know who can infuse all of that into this character.  I'm happy to have the opportunity to work with her on this project in this way and be a part of that chance, and glad that timing and fates worked out to make it happen. I know Molly is going to surprise even those supporters who know how talented she is an actress and performer with this role, showing many layers and sides she's never gotten the chance to and carry this story and film.


Grace Folsom as "Sara Lowe"
Grace is one of those rare finds that magically happens during a casting when someone so young and talented steps up and magically takes you away. Her striking and original lovely features are a mask of a slow, simmering burn of emotion that she can call at will. Her simple audition video shot on a webcam and uploaded was a monologue that quickly detailed her talent for what I like to call "building" in a scene. Grace can take you on a ride from 0-1000 and you never see it coming, but by the time it hits you, you'll be doubled over, gasping for breath, eyes watered and full entranced. There's an old soul quality for someone so young which is he perfect balance for the terminally ill but full of spirit character of Sara, who's reflective mirror to Violet and her journey entails ever walking a line between the pure joy of living life and relentless agony of death and loss. She's gonna wow you... and she may get you addicted to certain flavors of Ben & Jerry's. I'm just saying....

Meissa Hampton as "Gabby Hunt"
I first became aware of Meissa's abilities through some amazing clips on her website including a particular one that stood out for me where lyrics of The Clash's "Should I Stay Or Should I Go?" were used as lines for a short/moody and artistic piece. Her ability to recite the classic lines in an almost perverse iambic pantameter and retain volumes of emotion that told an entire history of a relationship and it's dissolution showed true ability. I learned during a coffee meeting with her a history of studying literature and her respect for the written word on the page while still finding room to create and build  in-between the lines: any writer's dream performer. I also became privy to just how intelligent and funny an actress she is, equal bits sass and self-deprication, she possesses and ease and cool that manifests itself in even the most dramatic and painful of performances. Her creative and collaborative work in her co-starring performance in the feature film "Uptown" recently released further details her ability and willingness to delve deep into a character and story. I believe this mixture of depth, quirks, deadpan and sass will help craft a perfect and breathing Gabby who's self-doubt and anguish is thinly veiled by her outwardly hostile bluster, hyperbole and moxie.
Hugo Dillon as "Remy Cattison"
I received a Facebook message from Hugo early on during the casting process, having heard about my film and feeling he was perfect for the character. I hadn't even begun to look for a Remy as the role had originally been written for an actor I worked with on "...Around" and several other earlier shorts, Marcel Torres. Marcel is a gifted actor who's natural raw abilities were on display on most work he did, but wrote the role of Remy as something he could completely lose himself in without a trace of his actual self. Over the two years developing the project Marcel took the recent plunge to work on other projects and move to Los Angeles and so I was forced to find an actor... an actor to play a Keith Richards/Sid Vicious hybrid of a  spoiled, drug addled, bi-sexual, childlike, French punk rocker and son to diplomats.... great. Thus fate stepped in and brought me Hugo who's look was astoundingly like what I had envisioned for Remy. Currently residing in Paris, he sent me an audition tape of him playing guitar and a clip from a great short film he worked on that was all in French. An enthusiastic, spirited conversation over coffee and a couple of beers and I was ready to hire this talented actor who has years of experience on the stage and screen in France. The odd journey of the character of "Remy" into a sort of manhood or thinking of others before himself without being false of cliche'd is just one of the many burdens this talented actor has on his plate... I'm confident in his abilities to transforms himself into the role and also to get up on stage, own it and play some loud rawk music.
Eleanor Wilson as "Darla"
Eleanor is a gorgeous Australian actress with a flawless American accent and has the skill to channel oceans of emotion in the slightest movements of eyes and face, a hair flip or the simple dropping of a tone of her voice. She was one of the first actresses to send in an audition tape and I was quite surprised to see was interested in reading for Gabby and Darla.  I read her for both in person and then asked her to read for Sara. She pretty much was able to nail them all in a way had me thinking she had two twin sisters who also could act. She'd be the glue of any rep' that would have in her their company because I don't believe there is a role or part she could not play and make completely her own, infusing it with life and unique breath.  It was then I realized the potential for her to bring Darla to life as something more than comic relief, but as a genuinely happy, excited young girl in a giant city pursuing what she loves and living her life. She would in her genuine sweetness and purity embody the perfect foil to the burned out and darkly, cynical Violet. Eleanor is also quite painfully funny and dead-on, a true professional and amazing  all-around performer... if you don't believe go watch her reel at www.eleanor-wilson.com  ....... yeah, you done? You owe me 20 bucks? I don't take checks...

Lynn Justinger as "Zooey Winter"
Meeting Lynn I was instantly aware of a certain presence she has that has a bit of a classic movie star feel. She's the actress who back in the day was a Girl Friday or in a screwball comedy, tempering the line between strong and sensitive, force and resolve, heroine and damsel in distress. She has a sharp comedic timing and "instant like-ability factor"that would sell on any poster or serve any product that she was paid to hold it up and smile about, but also has potential and range that can be tapped and distorted into all forms of characters all the while retaining a sense of ease and familiarity. You, the audience, would be just as happy to follow her down a yellow bricked road into a sunset with a sweet, protective lover as she into the dark foreboding woods, being stalked with a iller. That's how comfortable her presence would make you. She's definitely an actress who's natural skills and charisma, sharpening over time and experiences, is someone you're going to see popping up a lot and I'm thrilled to have her join "Things" as Zooey who is a bit of a confused, fish out of water in the world of a dysfunctional yet loving family.Laura Malone as "Rebecca McNeil"
Laura is an actress I first corresponded with after she worked on a pilot with Molly during the promotion/festival phase of "...Around". Molly had mentioned what a talented and pleasure Laura was to work with and that I should look into her stuff. I received an email through our "...Around" website later that weekend with a lovely introduction and kept up correspondence. I was moved by her eagerness to be part of productions that had deeper meaning and stories that were rarely told, her hunger for collaborative independent projects that were pushing limits of storytelling. Having met her for tea early this Summer and chatted her up a bit in person, I then viewed clips of her work I'm amazed at how she transforms herself for characters. Laura's fearless talent for channeling voice and mannerisms, digging deep into the soul of the characters she embodies provides the perfect backdrop for the character of "Rebecca McNeil" who is a catalyst for more in the story and journey of the main characters then anyone can begin to realize. The character of Rebecca represents, much like the character of Sara, the all consuming beauty of life and the tragedy, open wounds of real loss. Her smile becomes both a light in the dark and a haunting image... take one look at Ms. Malone's and you can see another reason why she's perfect to be part of this project. 


Brian Ish as "Davis"
I've never worked with Brian before, but the man's reel and website is a testament to his range and ability to play different characters and invest an honesty and passion in them. His strong, dark features, Cheshire smile, willingness to dive into a character like "Davis" who in many ways is completely unlikable and aloof, relish every moment and beat, are all the Hallmarks of a talented and dedicated professional actor and a  boon to any project. Having worked on a short film  "Some Jobs Are Simple" with Molly a year ago, the two already have previous experience and chemistry they can turn on it's head for this project.

Jenna Laurenzo as Danielle "Daisy" Sloane    
I've always been something of a connoisseur of laughs and was completely taken in by Jenna's which, as one of more genuine and completely infectious I've encountered in a long time, is simply the cherry on top of a great combination of positive energy that can light up a room and acting abilities. After auditioning for the project she came to mind as I was doing revisions and fleshing out an additional character who'd musically narrate the story. Just before approaching her I received one of her many classic story emails detailing how much she craved to be/play a folk-singing musician and thus strange played a role. I'm extremely happy to have her talents and positive energy be a part of this and many other projects I'm developing and working on. Anyone would be lucky to have her and any of these unique actors involved in their project...

Coming up next time....  who's shooting the Goddamn flick, some thoughts on the story, and a blow by blow of the trials and tribulations of the hunt to attach name talent, more casting decisions, raising funds, business plans, breakdowns (budget, script and mental) and the long, arduous  but creatively fulfilling roller-coaster of a process of making an independent film in New York City... uh, again.


D.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It all starts now...


Everything is about to change starting today.


I'm not rehashing some positive thinking jargon nor have I finally discovered "the secret". 


Starting today everything begins like tumbling dominoes on production for "Things I Don't Understand"...


You may wonder what I've been up to since I last left you with an ode to my love and respect of actors. Or you may just wonder why hot dogs come in packages of ten but hot dog buns come in packages of eight, this being the Fourth of July weekend and BBQ season and all.


I've been running all over God's creation, casting, meeting with DP's, setting up some fundraising ideas and investor meetings, doing some freelance and construction work in the beautiful, humid summer. In an odd bit of de ja vu I'm reliving my summer of my eighteenth year right before I moved to NYC in a lot of ways. I've been working a job whilst rediscovering the ridiculous classic rock of the the 60's and 70's I used to indulge in. I've also got a bit of a kick and confidence, a cocksuredness I've been lacking the last few years in my step... or maybe it's just all the AC/DC. It juices you up, mullet or no mullet, I swear!  I've also been catching up with a few old friends, making some new ones and having a bit (a shit ton) of Summer fun before it all starts now... and I go away for a while into exile and give myself up to the film Gods... it all starts.... Now.


Tonight... with the rewrites....


Now, I've been doing some rewriting here and there over the last few months, but have really been putting off attacking the script with a final pass and rewrite draft. I think a mixture of time away from it, fear of screwing something up or just waiting for certain things to fall into place for casting, production, etc;...  There's also the fear of the reality of making it concrete, locking it down and beginning all the other phases around it.


This project is important to me in a way that my first one wasn't. I didn't really feel like I had to prove anything with the last one other than simply answering the question: "Can I really make a film?" or "Can I commit myself so completely to something; body, mind and soul?"  And those were just to me.


The last film was such a mission, such a war and a personal story. This one has all those meanings to me and what it can do for my future and those involved in it... but this time I have something to prove. 


I aim to push myself and stretch my abilities, move out of any and all comfort zones, trust instincts and try to make something that really holds up in every sense of the word. I don't have the goodwill cloak of a first time effort, something self-financed in a ridiculous way that shouldn't have been finished at all. No "aw, gee shucks it was about the guys life... pat him on the back at least".


We had saviors, angels and miracles---perhaps some Devil worship, goat fornication over pentagrams and human sacrifice... that one PA we shall not speak of--- on the last project... I don't want miracles and angels this time... I want full-on attack and spot-on precision. (we may still have satanic orgy. we'll call it a "wrap party")


I  twenty-four years old when we began shooting "...Around". I was inexperienced, figuring out how to be a leader and learn on the job things I maybe should have known. I've grown a lot in the last few years and put together a whole new bag of tricks during the making of my last film... I plan to use them.


I'm not chasing perfection...  I don't think such a thing really exists. If it did it probably wouldn't much fun or entertaining; more kinda clinically scary, cold, metallic and inhuman... like Bjork. I just want to go further, do more. I want to tell this story without any real compromise or sacrifices. I want my voice to be heard loud and clear, amplified by the talent and hard work of those who come along for the ride of this production. I want to take my time and get microscopic in the details and ingredients of the recipe... I don't want good. I want FUCK-ing great... 


Hence, maybe, mayhaps, the trepidation in now revisiting the script and trying to do it... the pressure... the perchance of choking....


I've always done what I do because in it's simplest form I want to entertain. I want to show a different side of things that interest me, that I've learned or that I question.  I want to make people laugh until their ribs hurt and their sides burst, tears streaming down red faced cheeks and hoarse silent gasps of guffaws. I want people to well up and cry, to feel and to care about everything that is going on. I want people to relate, to find some small increment or truth or honesty in what's going on in the story and connect the dots back to them, to bring a sense of urgency and higher stakes. I want people to think about their beliefs and their lives, not to question but to examine and think about them and the challenges the world places on them.


I want to make this great. To finish this story in it's written form once and for all because very soon Im going to the do the one thing that makes me truly happy and alive. I'm going to go off this winter and tell stories with my friends and "family"... and a few months later sit in a giant. dark room and watch the end product of those stories with them and with a new bunch of strangers who after a hundred and twenty minutes are now intimately connected to us.


The next two-three years of my life will be this project and while there's always bit of fear and realization of just what the truly entails, of being the captain of a ship and prepared to lead her to paradise of go down to the icy depths... I'm extremely excited. So full to the brim of excitement I might do a sexy, Irish jig... or mildy disturbing, almost seizure-like hippy-hippy shake (you say tomato, I say tomahto)...


And I'm ready to disappear into it too. To give myself to something mind, body and soul again... maybe the only thing I can ever truly commit or tie myself down to...


I'd be a shitty, shitty, shitty, shitty rambling, out of town-out to town gypsy of a boyfriend to just about anything other than what I'm working on. But to her... I'm monk-like in my devotion.


What's on the horizon for this month...


I'm greatly looking forward to meeting the actors who've made the cut for callbacks for the film and reading them in person, trying some stuff out and seeing where they can fit into the project and other things I do in the future. The decisions I'll have to make this time will make the last round look like an easy shooting gallery, I'm sure. I'm also touching base with previous talent I've worked with and seeing if I can reunite some family for this, both in front and behind the camera...


Speaking of behind the camera I've also chosen a DP that I'm itching to start collaborating with on this and many more things. I'll announce the name and stats later, but a truly good fit to add to the Wandering/Cut family, a great mixture of youth, eagerness, ability, ingenuity and enthusiasm. I tested that mixture out once before in a never-having-produced-line-producer and all around indie savior to ridiculous results. Lets see if the hypothesis holds up this time around...


I'll be heading out towards the end of the month, tentatively, for some time in Lalaland, catch up with some old friends and also hit up some investors with the finished script and a business plan I'm currently adapting/working on...


I'll have more as the dice begins tumbling and I start writing... lets hope the muse is shining on me tonight... 


ps. does anyone happen to have a couple hundred thousand just lying around... it's not a cup of sugar, but it'd help... more on that later. Same bat-time, same bat-channel.


D.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Thank you

It’s been a bit, but I’ve been swamped. Casting. Organizing. Working. Not sleeping. This is probably the closest thing to a production blog so far but it’s still going to get personal

I’ve always had a tremendous respect for actors and a connection with who they are as a person and artist. I’ve always been taken with the heart of some of the great talent that lives and breathes in this city and the journey they’re embarking on towards whatever comes next…

After going through hours of submission videos, emails and meetings with actors and narrowing down and organizing a list for callbacks for “Things I Don’t Understand” I have ten times more respect and love for them, and am both inspired by all the collaborative possibilities of this and other projects I’m working on and heartsick over having to make some tough decisions tonight…

I would just like to take a moment and say a ginormous “thank you” to every last one of you.  I think a lot of what brings a story together, what becomes the heart and soul that infuses the skeleton of a script and the flesh and blood of production, cinematography and editing is the force of the work you do.  We’d be nothing without you and the way you tie it all together. You’re our most subtle and yet impressive “special effect”…

There’s all these new film movements going on right now, indie to big, everyone patting themselves on the back and talking about their work and it’s a lot of times become a “me, me, me” and “my fllm, my film, my film”. There’s many hands that go into any production and each one has value, not just from the top down but from the very bottom up. The crew. The team. The family. The unit that puts it all in motion…

The cast. The people you watch for 90-120 minutes… the people you forget are people when it works so well… who give your work meaning.

And before I writer letters I wanted to take a minute and tell you exactly what I see out there right now when it pertains to ou actors and what sometimes is missed by a lot of other eyes…

For the last ten years I’ve looked around this city and I see all of you who are just starting out or have been trying to make their way for some time. I see you running from acting classes to temp jobs, providing your own wardrobes and transportation fees. I see you sitting after delivering your monologue or reading your sides, being looked over and analyzed for every bit of your image and words, sometimes to uncomfortable and almost inhuman silence and deconstruction. I see you waiting for callbacks. I see you eating bagels and pizza for many days straight (unless you buy an apple and bring it with you). I see you trying to find the perfect headshot and then affording the reproductions of it. I see you pounding out emails on keyboards on stolen internet in cafes and parks, making desperate phone calls to not even get a finished product but track down raw takes to build a reel which was your own form of “payment” for the hours you gave. I see you explaining to friends, lovers and co-workers exactly what is you do and why. I see you juggle the emotional turmoil of regular live, relationships and responsibilities in the tornado of unexpected that is life in New York City, making hard decisions and harder sacrifices on blind faith and love for what you do alone with not guarantees. I see you under the pressure of age and time, wondering if you’ve missed the boat or if you ever had a ticket to ride in the first place. I see the self-doubts, the insecurities and the pressures and all of the things that are your fuel become the thing that starts to gnaw and break your heart. I see the courage and the conviction that overcomes it…

I see you give of yourselves so completely, take after take, audition after audition, trying to pull it all together.  I see you suck it up when things don’t fall into place the way they should or wish they could. When the stars don’t align and the dream is still a few miles off. I see the bewilderment and the pain of not knowing “why” and “how”, being compared to types and plagued with adjectives that don’t begin to describe the complexity of you and all that you could be and bring. I see you when you pass by a set in the street and wonder what it might be liked to be the one having make-up applied and running lines and how they got there.  I see you huddled on the subway, reading monologue books and sides, breathing and prepping yourself on the way towards that possible big break. I see you being told the harsh realities of the business, time and after time by everyone and their so-called professionals. I see you being vampired by moneymaking casting and representation ponzi schemes and lasciviously ogled by those who go beyond a casting couch and have pullout beds. I see you trying to infuse passion and art into projects that don’t deserve it, but you give your all anyway out of respect for what you do.

I see the hustle in your step despite it all. I see the chin up as you push forward towards the dream and thing that fulfills you like it did when you were a child and had nothing but a mirror and a few toy props and won raves and awards, giving Oscar speeches. I see the joy in your spirit when you find a project that so compels and touches you in a way that goes beyond “dream role”, that becomes a form of catharsis where you can attack issues and questions that plague you in the skin of another, finding a possible resolution for both that is limitless magic on screen.  I see you not being thanked for this gift you give… Thank you.

I see all this and I have so much respect for it. I’m nowhere near the only one. I promise you this.

 And find it so hard to make casting decisions that at the very end of narrowing it down rarely have to do with talent or lack of talent, but more just simply what color works right for this particular piece. Red is no better than blue and what would green be without yellow and the hue of purple? Sometimes only a few colors are needed but it doesn’t devalue and of the others.

I appreciate the enthusiasm for this project and the work you all gave towards it already. You definitely didn’t make this easy at all… in the best possible way. All of you are so special and unique, each bringing something different and lively to the characters you submitted for. I know out there you have varied background and life stories, your own goals and agendas and meanings of success. I wish you all the best and offer my assistance along the way if I can do anything. I truly look forward to meeting and working with all of you on this and any other project. You deserve to live your dream in the best ways you can every day. I will promise to give of myself the projects I do with the same passion and integrity you bring, and try and create the best environment to work, collaborate and make some memories and art.

Keep going. And thank you again...

Next time I'll have some more info on casting, who's gonna be shooting the film etc etc etc

Till then... Stay crunchy even in milk,

D.