Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Cooler than a laser light show... 

Ah, sweet recovery from a weekend of high altitude celebration in Boulder!  What a great town and a cool venue to have our very first public screening in…  If you’ve never had your movie projected in a planetarium, I highly recommend it.

I want to give a big thank you to those of you who rallied to come to our 9:30 pm screening on a Sunday night.  Especially those of you who laughed and cried and whooped and hollered.  The highlights of the weekend included: Paul Larson’s beautiful set at our awesome pre-screening party, Luna clapping happily for all the winners at the awards dinner, and a comment during the Q and A by a mid-wife in the audience who remarked how well she thought the way the birth was represented…  Whew – if someone who has witnessed hundreds of births thinks I got it right, I’m happy.

Hello, Apollo Cinema.
So I’ve got three HOT days in LA to prep before Jennifer and I jet off to London for Raindance. Thank goodness we have a lot of local friends who are drumming up support as well as British Moms (er, Mums) who are championing TLE on their blogs/sites (check out: Babes About Town, London Mums) Now that I think about it, we should really host a party out there…

In between TLE work I am spending quality time with the wee one and prepping a TV movie pitch for ABC Family for Thursday… which is exercising totally different muscles (at least I’m exercising something.  I haven’t been to the gym since July - oye).  

Our little Superhero.
Speaking of ABC – our lovely lead actress, Kay Panabaker’s AWESOME new show NO ORDINARY FAMILY premieres TONIGHT on ABC at 8/7central!  I’ve seen the pilot and I assure you that this is a show worth watching – it’s great and Kay is great in it.  That girl’s gonna be a big star - our little TLE family couldn’t be prouder. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I should be on pins and needles, counting down the days until our premiere at Moondance (plug: Sunday the 26th at 9:30 pm – click here for details).  Maybe it hasn’t hit me yet.  Or maybe I’m just too busy!   Yesterday, I was chasing after a very mobile one-year old who was running around the house wielding our newly printed postcards cooing, “Ross! Ross!”
Luna is a big fan of
actor Ross Partridge.
I am actually scribbling all this furiously before naptime ends - the MacGruber-like pressure is on… the seconds ticking down… Luna will wake in 4-3-2… hand me the chewing gum!!!

The week before a fest is like mini-pre-production.  We’re hustling to fill a 250 seat planetarium and to get some reviewers to show up (C’mon reviewers, if you’re reading this: SHOW UP!).  We’ve launched TLE’s website and posted our trailer (hopefully if you’re reading this, you’ve seen it, liked it, and shared it!). We’ve teamed up with Real Baby, a store in Denver and Boulder to do a ticket giveaway.  We’ve emailed newspapers, radio stations, and bloggers and we’re starting to line up interviews… Yesterday, Jennifer unveiled our suh-weet posters – I’m planning on wallpapering my house with all 500 of them (yes, that’s right.  We printed 500 posters– we’re nothing if not ambitious.  PS: anyone wanna buy a poster?).

Truth be told, this is the easy part – festivals are (at their best) celebrations of cinema.  I’m excited to meet the other filmmakers and see their films (especially the controversial POPE JOAN with John Goodman).   We have lots of cast and crew flying out for the screening and the post-awards-ceremony-pre-screening par-te at the Boulder Draft House!  The film’s very talented composer Paul Larson of THE MINOR CANON, will be playing a set of songs from the film and our trailer will be screening on 8 flat screen TVs around the bar.  We’ll have Lake Effect drink specials, CDs of the score and copies of our poster for sale… like I said, festivals are celebrations!  And of course, there’s the screening and the Q & A…

I’m not always a fan of watching my work with an audience – it’s like hearing your own voice recorded – you’re never sure it quite sounds like you.   And then you have to get up and talk about your work – which is a bit redundant, like an addendum to the film.  I’d rather sit behind a two-way mirror and eavesdrop as the audience talks amongst themselves…  that’s assuming that there is, in fact, an audience and that they like it. 

Ah, there they are… the pins and needles... and uhp - there's the baby calling.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

#2 Down to the Wire

Jennifer Westin, workin' it.
I’m sitting next Producer Jennifer Westin, who is right now investigating the latest UPS drop off time and the closest drop off location to our tape house, where The Lake Effect is gettin’ laid down.   

We’re a week late on our deadline to get the movie to The Raindance Film Festival in London and we’re only two weeks out from our screening at Moondance.  The good news is that the film is FINISHED.  It is DONE DONE DONE and we will get it to the church on time. 

The Lake Effect has been gestating on 10 Mac computers, 6 hard-drives, and 5 monitors… and after a lengthy Labor Day spent attempting to solve our credit crisis, we got our ducks in a row, and it was done… which was weird.  It was done. 

A lot of filmmakers experience depression after the completion of a film.  I specifically remember a number of filmmakers crying to our academic advisor in the aftermath of the mad rush to finish our student films at UCSB...  (I may or may not have been one of them).  Honestly, it’s like postpartum depression: all that anticipation, all that sleep deprivation… minus the hormones.  There’s no more passion and potential – just the reality.  For the record, when Luna was born I was on cloud nine for months – I was all glowy and gushing constantly, I had (have) such a huge crush on her. 

Truth be told, I’m not experiencing that postpartum thing at all now.  I won’t lie.  I’m exhausted… but I’m too busy to think about this as over!   The end of the post-production process is really just the beginning of the life of this little movie… and I’m very very excited to see what it grows up to be.  

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

blog #1: OMG, I have a Mom Blog.

It’s currently 2:20 am on Labor Day and I am sitting on the floor of a home office in the San Fernando valley while a friend/colleague tries to figure out why Final Cut/Motion isn’t making our credit roll nice and clean and professional.   The credit roll is one of those things that seems so easy – it’s the earliest form of animation on a movie  - they used to roll a sheet of paper by the camera… I’m tempted to try that now.  Picture me, with a sharpie, a paper towel roll, and my iphone, making movie magic in the kitchen.  If this doesn’t work by 4 am… it’s happening.

This has been a strange pattern on this movie – the easy things have turned into behemoth and troublesome tasks while the hard things have often slipped right into place, eg.: convincing my producer that she should take this journey with me, getting an amazing cast, shooting without going into labor.  I’ll admit that at times I’ve been extraordinarily frustrated by our lack of money and resources on this shoestring budget.  It’s not easy to work so hard for so long without a pay-off but mostly I’ve been stoked that we managed to make this movie.  Totally stoked and enjoying the entire crazy process – even when our movie was a homeless little hard drive going from computer to computer, even when I spent the first four hours of my first mother’s day working on our sound mix, even when we had to re-color time the movie three times.   Thank god Jenn (the producer extraordinaire on the film) is so positive… and such a powerhouse.  She moves mountains (or gets someone to do it for her) giggling the whole time, “It wouldn’t be The Lake Effect if it was easy!!”
Poster by: Nick Tamburri
As you may or may not know (I’m still wondering if only my mom – or even my mom - will read this fine blog I’m creating) I was eight months pregnant when we shot The Lake Effect.  The entire impetus for shooting this film came because I was pregnant, I was assessing my life, I was scared that I had nothing to show for the ten years I had angled to be a director, nothing to show my daughter when she came… and I got an email from a producer looking for a project.  A lot of people thought I was crazy to take on such an immense project while pregnant but I did it for her, for my daughter – to show her what was possible, to prove that hard work pays off, to let her know what she’s made of.  

We literally planned our production in reverse from my due date, setting our wrap day just days before the last day I would be allowed to fly.   It was down to the wire -- My water broke 12 hours after we wrapped a pick-up shoot in Hollywood...



That was 13 months ago.  Nothing makes time fly like having a baby or shooting a film.  Honestly, making a movie and having a baby are a lot alike: It’s a lot of waiting, a lot of pushing, and once you get it out in the world, you just hope that people are nice to it.