Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Can you stand it??!  T-minus 22 days til THE LAKE EFFECT release date!  (Which means only 22 more days of me acting like Crazy Eddy having a fire sale!!!!)

Here's a taste of what you'll get when you open your shiny plastic-wrapped TLE DVD box...
Ooh, Ahh... a little workaholic Ross Partridge from the original poster... I love that shot. 

Last night, I did the final quality check of the dvd.  It's really great and I'm so so excited for everyone to see not just the movie but the Behind the Scenes Featurette and the Outtakes and to hear me and the ladies doing our silly yet informative Audio Commentary, where you'll hear all about how Ross scared me when he first showed up on set and how Kay had 3 am dance parties on the beach while the old people were sleeping.  

Good stuff.   

Now stop reading this blog and go buy another copy of The Lake Effect!  

(*The "Y'all" is honor of my writing partner Cindy, who is kickin ass and taking names far away in the land of Texas until we sell a huge script and I drag her back to LA-LA land. Miss you Cindy!)    

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


On Sunday, I went to an amazing panel on Writer/Directors at the Writers Guild -- five inspirational hours of information on how to be a hyphenate creative career person in Hollywood from panelists Billy Ray (Shattered Glass) David S. Goyer (Batman Begins) Nancy Meyers (Something's Gotta Give).  After the panel, I was chatting with another female comedy writer in the parking lot and Nancy Meyers drove past us... She slowed, rolled down her window and called out, "Women directors?  Don't you give up!!!"

The woman wrote PRIVATE BENJAMIN, people.  FATHER OF THE BRIDE.   BABY BOOM.  And STILL it took her years on a (very) successful writing and producing career to get to directing her first film.   I've been in LA for 12 years.  Writing for 10.  Making THE LAKE EFFECT for 2 1/2.  Two and a half years!!!  That's how long it's taken us to make THE LAKE EFFECT and get it to you.    THANK YOU for your patience... thank you.  And thank you, Nancy, for those much needed words of encouragement.  

I am excited to announce that the wait is OVER!!!!  Today is the day, Lake-lovers!  You can officially SAVE your hot little copy of THE LAKE EFFECT!
This SAVE is unlike the other save (the one I encouraged you to do on Netflix...)  This save means YOUR COPY of THE LAKE EFFECT will ship to you on OCTOBER 18th.  You can be the first of your friends on your block to own a copy!  Heck, feeling generous?  Buy copies for the whole block!

You can do it on AMAZON.
You can do it at CD UNIVERSE.
(And yes, you can still save it at Netflix but we're not sure when that Save will turn to ADD TO QUEUE... PS: If you haven't heard, Netflix will now be Qwikster, the DVD branch of Netflix...  Ah, how I love the in-between stages of media delivery/technology.  For all the sordid details about that story, look here.)

Now, this doesn't mean that the movie will never be in your Pay-Per-View list or On Demand or on cable... this is just the first wave of the release.

So - I am asking you today, if you have read this far,  please do THREE THINGS that will make a world of difference to us...  
1) Buy the movie!
2) Write a glowing review on-line (Netlfix, Amazon, wherever!!)
3) Blog, tweet, facebook, digg, share, blast about the movie to your friends, family, and fans.  Only you can prevent DVD launch failures!!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More Michigan, Pre-Order Countdown, and QC Checks...

So much to talk about this week, let's break it down... 

I'm taking THE LAKE EFFECT back to Michigan!  
Anyone can make a 
map of Michigan on the fly.
THE LAKE EFFECT is playing in Bay City at the Hell's Half Mile Film Festival September 29th-October 2nd!   So, for all you Michiganders that missed it the first time around... come out and say hi!  
Where is Bay City, you ask?  It's in that little armpit of your thumb.  Near Ann Arbor!    ***I stand corrected - Near Saginaw!! - thanks Laura!****

I'm very excited to go to this festival because a good friend of mine Shaun O'Banion will be there with his movie GIRLFRIEND which I've been dying to see and also I get to hang out with ROSS PARTRIDGE all weekend!  His movie THE OFF HOURS will be screening as well (which I also can't wait to see) It will be a Ross Partridge retrospective! 

Prepare to be harassed from now until Christmas (or Hanukah or Kwanzaa or Winter Solstice)! It's T-MINUS 8 Days until you can pre-order THE LAKE EFFECT on September 21st!   And T-MINUS a bunch more days until you can have it in your hot little hands on our street date -- October 18th! 
Woot woot!!!! 
Next week, I'll post links to all the sites where you can buy the movie...
I found some closure yesterday as Jennifer and I plopped down in front of the tele for a QC (quality check) of the DVD.   It was nice that the DVD came in this envelope from our distributor... 
TLE, front and center. 

We loaded up the movie and enjoyed a couple of trailers and checked out the main menu and the Additional Features --  Behind the Scenes, Raindance Q n A, Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Bloopers - this DVD is chock full of extras, people!  Save it!  Queue it!  Pre-order it!  Buy it!  Tell your friends! Thank you! 

Super cool. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lynette Howell on “Producing Is Supporting New Talent Through More Than Just Production”

This is a re-post from Producer Ted Hope's blog HOPE FOR FILM.  My dear friend Lynette Howell, a ridiculously smart and hard-working indie producer, talks about the challenges facing indie film and about taking distribution into your own hands... 

From Ted:
If you are a regular reader of this blog, or follower of mine on Twitter, I think you know that for me a Producer only deserves that credit when they truly commit to support the project from beginning to end.  You also probably know how challenging I find the calling of producing these days, when we are required to do more and more, and are rewarded, at least financially, less and less.

It is always inspiring for me, when a Producer steps forward, embraces the full demand of the role, and does with a great attitude and recognition of the benefits that come from the commitment. Lynette Howell has not been producing that long, but she has learned a great deal, as we all can from her generosity of a guest post today
From Lynette: 
Supporting new talent through more than just production:
The kind of exploration into distribution that I find myself doing on my film ON THE ICE is new for me… uncharted territory and truthfully out of my comfort zone, but one that I find myself glad I am being somewhat forced into not only embracing, but championing.
As an independent Producer, I started my company with the mandate of supporting new talent. At first, this was a necessity. I didn’t have any relationships with established Directors when I entered the business. Therefore the only way to begin a career producing meant that I had to find projects that other more established producers didn’t want to take on - either because they were too challenging to make, or too small for a Producer to earn a living on. This necessity quickly turned into my true passion for discovering new voices and this passion then turned into an understanding of how crucial this kind of support is to the continued growth and evolution of the independent industry.
Since my first movie almost 7 years ago (Ryan Flecks HALF NELSON) I have produced many movies of all sizes and genres, ranging from Derek Cianfrance’s BLUE VALENTINE to David Ellis’s SHARK NIGHT 3D. But it is not the size, scope or scale that draws me towards putting my energy into a project, - it is about finding stories that speak to me, and they continue to often come from new filmmakers.
As an Advisor to the Sundance Creative Producing Initiative, I continue to be a huge supporter in any way that I can of up and coming filmmakers. In 2009 I met Andrew Okpeaha MacLean, the Writer and Director of the short film SIKUMI that was the winner of the Jury Prize for Short Filmmaking at Sundance the prior year. He was at the Directors Lab with a script for his feature film ON THE ICE along with his producing partner Cara Marcous who was also a Lab fellow.
On The Ice
The script for ON THE ICE had so many built in challenges to it -
1. LOCATION -  Set in Barrow, Alaska - which is the Northern-most point in the United States, deep in the Arctic Circle.  The only way in or out during the winter months is by plane.
2. WEATHER - Temperatures can drop to 40 below with wind chill. All gear has to be winterized prior to shooting. And for some scenes crew cannot have any skin exposed because of the high risk of frostbite.
3. CASTING NON ACTORS - The script featured an all Inuit cast and Andrew felt it was crucial to work with local non-actors.
4. BUDGET - Making a movie in these extreme conditions does have a cost and so raising money for this would be extremely challenging.
5. SHOOTING SCHEDULE - The ONLY month we could shoot in Barrow was April because of weather and light issues (Barrow has 24 hours of darkness in the winter, and 24 hours of sunlight in the summer). Therefore we had a very short window to put this movie together!
But it was such a fresh script, setting and structure for a movie that I simply had to get involved despite all the obstacles
Through 5 different equity investors, a post-production deal, numerous grants, a tax credit and tons of support in kind, Cara and I managed to raise the money necessary to make the movie.
Production was such a challenge because of the above-mentioned issues (and some I didn’t forsee, such as using a bucket for a toilet everyday on the frozen tundra). But we managed to make a very special film that feels unlike anything I have seen before. The movie premiered at Sundance in competition earlier this year and went on to win two awards at the Berlinale Film Festival (the Crystal Bear and Best First Feature Film). The awards validation proved that there was an audience for this film, but we all knew that it was going to take a creative way to reach them.
All the incredible effort from so many people pushing this unbelievably challenging movie from a short film all the way to a critically acclaimed feature film found itself with an uncertain distribution future.
Given the technological advances and through social media, there is an opportunity for my support, your support and the support of many others towards new filmmakers to now transition into distribution in a meaningful way. 
I have made movies that went to festivals before and weren’t able to find a distributor willing to pay a MG, or give the movie a wide, or even aggressive platform release. I have been left selling a film for a very small amount of money and then having it released in five to ten cities and ultimately no one really hearing about it or seeing it due to lack of marketing dollars or the same level of passion and commitment from the distributor that came from the filmmaking team who struggled to make the movie. Filmmakers traditionally feel more comfortable with the idea of a “real” distributor releasing a movie, even without a viable plan to release their film because there is a stigma associated with not having this branding. I believe this stigma is potentially short sighted and want to support the idea of alternative methods of distribution, especially for movies like ON THE ICE which don’t fall into the obviously commercial slam dunk scenarios for most distributors, no matter the size – but that clearly have an audience.
Through the new Sundance Initiative and Kickstarter, we are exploring a different approach to distribution for ON THE ICE. We are trying to raise $80k which will allow us to take the movie to a much broader audience than would be possible had we gone down the traditional path of a somewhat cosmetic theatrical release or a non-theatrical route. I want this movie to be SEEN by as many people as possible. The work that our team has been doing is staggering – more care and attention to detail in how to approach this audience and really use the money raised to reach a much broader number of people is incredible. It takes a lot of effort and determination. But I want to prove it can work, so that we can continue to ensure that the new voices of tomorrow’s filmmakers have a home for their movies.
If you are reading this, there’s a good chance you are involved in independent film or independent art of some kind.  So, you may not be in a position to pledge much money, but I hope that you will consider passing our Kickstarter link on to the friends and colleagues in your life who might be interested in what we’re trying to do.  The act of forwarding this on is incredibly powerful for us and it could mean we can release our film.
To support ON THE ICE go to our kickstarter page: