I'm old enough to remember when computers didn't have a mouse. When the computer section of The Harvard Coop
had a few IBM machines strewn about, complete mysteries to anyone but serious math geeks and IBM employees. The small department was typically empty. Until one day in 1984, at one table, the rest of us
got our first look at... a Macintosh.
Thanks to the Android Generation it is fashionable to bash Steve Jobs. Heck, he didn't even invent this machine as much as copy a prototype Xerox created but what clueless how to market, they say. True. But also: hogwash.
Steve Jobs changed your life, like it or not.
Unless you don't listen to digital music, carry a smartphone, use a tablet, or enjoy an elegant operating system, Steve Jobs is with you. Right now. I don't care if he wasn't the greatest guy in the world. Who really is?
What I care about is that he gave me the exact tools I needed when I needed them. Here are some of my faves --
As production proceeds on my first super short film iSpy this song entitled 're: generation' found me. This STS9 ditty speaks to my four teenage characters hanging around a pool... immersed not in the chlorinated water... but their iDevices.
The bad news is that I have Katy Perry's single ROAR in my head. The good news is that I like how it got there. You see cotton candy pop icon Katy Perry recently appeared on GOOD MORNING AMERICA and invited high schools across the country to show their school spirit by creating a video featuring her ROAR single. Young America responded.
Luckily my good American morning does not include waking up to watch GOOD MORNING AMERICA -- and so I was utterly clueless about this marketing ploy to enlist a nation's high schools to strut their stuff to Katy's latest pop confection.
Marketing aside, young America dove at this opportunity to show school spirit and maybe win a visit from Katy Perry. I don't remember the late great Donna Summer offering to do this when I was in high school. (Yes, I'm that old.)
My biggest surprise is when I learned my promising filmmaker nephew slipped this stunning video into the mix --
"It is hard. She’s a tough nut to crack," Whedon told EW. "I know she's famous as a television show, but I don’t think she lends herself to television. I think she only works on an epic scale."
It's alarming how many layers of stupid are in this comment. The more asinine qualities of this statement may elude those as not versed in TV and comic history of Wonder Woman, so let me drop some basic history down before we proceed.
In order to have a coherent discussion about Wonder Woman -- we must face facts. The character is not a hard nut to crack. There's no mystery here. Wonder Woman is a piece of ass. Pardon my crudeness, but if we don't call a Barbie Doll a Playboy Bunny or a Super Model a Hottie -- how can we have a serious discussion on this subject?
I've read more comics than most people. Yet I haven't read one Wonder Woman comic. The likely reason is this --
This is not the woman that stops an alien invasion. She doesn't protect the big city from the likes of Lex Luthor or The Joker. This is the woman the Bellagio sends up to the penthouse suite to offer a guest a 'relaxing massage'.
A piece of ass. Nothing more, nothing less. (That's not how I see women, mind you, but Hollywood and our culture do.)
Don't get me wrong. Actress Lynda Carter couldn't have been more beautiful to my blinking teenaged eyes back in the day. Anyone watching this show during this period wasn't in it for the story. Don't kid yourself. She was eye cotton candy.
So before the likes of Joss Whedon wax poetic about cracking the great mystery of reviving Wonder Woman -- one must first admit that Wonder Woman never was. No one has read her comics. No one seriously values that 70
sshow. She's never been a part of our cultural zeitgeist the way Superman and Batman have been for decades.
Why? Need I be crude again? Wonder Woman was created by men, for men, period. She's not alone in this honor, unfortunately. As most male comic heroes ripple with muscle, their female counterparts are built like pornstars.
What got my goat about the above article is that they asked Joss Whedon his opinion on this subject. Sure, it says he was attached to bring Wonder Woman to the big screen, and so on the surface he sounds like just the man to ask this question.
Not to mention his AVENGERS credentials. Right? Right...?
For a project as small as iSpy
the idea of going to town on costumes is a bit much -- since I can easily 'shop' out of the closets of my talented teens and find clothes that fit perfect, right? Sure, we did go to town with Olivia -- literally Downtown Los Angeles to be exact
-- but certainly my female lead Tatsumi has the type of 'costume' I'm looking for?Well, not exactly. You see both of my female actresses are playing against type. Olivia is smart and focused but playing confused and distracted. And Tatsumi? She's doing the sassy/edgy thing where in reality she's simply
a delightful professional actress person. Even her NYC roots have not turned her dark and cynical like her Breakfast Club cousin
So the question became how to bring Tatsumi over to Ally Sheedy -- or beyond -- while keeping her character fresh and retaining some hint of her real personality? That is -- how to keep some of the sweet while adding dashes of scary?
One a scale from 1 to 10 -- 1 being sweet and 10 being scary -- I felt 'sassy' came in around a 4. By the red arrow.
Normally this elaborate a plan isn't necessary -- but it provided me a way to exchange ideas with the actress who happens to live 2800 miles from the production company. A palette of puzzle pieces to move around and discover the best look.
I must admit this character was turning out to be a bit of a challenge. An on-the-nose visit to Hot Topic just wouldn't do.Last weekend my wife and I had a bit of luck. Visiting Santa Monica we discovered a store called Desigual. Not a store aimed at either of us but a store so full of color and life we had to dip in and take a peek. Within moments I suspected a central costume piece was awaiting Tatsumi. Something dark with a touch of color (sassy) yet feminine and fun (Tatsumi).This is what my wife and I found --
Black? Blood red accents? Scribbled text? Edgy. But then there's a daisy, isn't there? A heart of sequins. Words like 'love' scribbled here and there. No skulls and daggers that have plagued trendy young clothing for too long.
Luckily three locations of this store exist in NYC, and so off Tatsumi goes for a fitting. If her size needs adjusting, my garment industry patternmaking wife will adjust the duplicate we have -- and we'll have the foundation of our sassy outfit.
This shirt gave birth to this costume design mockup --
By mockup -- the only part of this image that is actually Tatsumi is her head and hair. I superimposed darker lipstick, added a hat, and red capri pants. And a gold bug. (Don't ask.) Since the story will be set in late California summer, some form of shorts are needed. Neon red picks up the red on the shirt and delivers the one-two punch of black and red.
The thing is... Tatsumi doesn't own red shorts. A month ago it would have been a breeze to purchase a pair of red shorts anywhere in any mall, but we're in late September. Panic sets in. Where to find any red shorts in her size? But then ---- remember when I said my wife is a garment industry patternmaker? Ahem.
There are simply red pants
everywhere right now. My wife can turn any of them into shorts in the blink of an eye.These are the silly fun things that happen behind the scenes of a tiny little film. So that's another sneak peek into the pre-production world of my first short film.
Oh ---- and please say HELLO to Tatsumi Romano of NYC and IMDB, lead
actress of the forthcoming iSpy.
If you don't gamble but need a reason to visit Vegas -- I'll tell anyone who'll listen to see the Cirque Du Soleil Beatles LOVE production at the Mirage Resort and Casino
. It is simply the most spectacular production of anything I've ever seen.Anyone who's seen a Cirque show has to ask where do they find these talented people. It turns out in places like BACKSTAGE online. Next to an ad I've recently placed for my little production I discovered this ad --
I added the picture of The Walrus character from the show. Still -- you just place an ad? That's it? Really...?
Remember these crazy kids from the 80's?
This is the cast from the John Hughe's 1985 classic THE BREAKFAST CLUB
. The Rebel, The Jock, The Emo, The Princess, and the Geek. Five archetypes stuck in detention on a Saturday that should otherwise belong to them.Back in the day I wasn't the biggest fan of this movie. I think I missed it, to tell you the truth. Not until FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF did I become aware of the late great genius John Hughes. Once seen, how could I help but become a fan.Three years before this film's release I was in high school too. In my senior year I wrote, directed, produced, and starred in a one act entitled EFIL'S LIFE. (Unless you're gifted at anagrams, EFIL is LIFE spelled backwards.) Along with four very talented peers, we took our little play out of our town and far beyond expectations. It actually competed successfully against classic plays by famous playwrights that were produced by
paid drama teachers with way larger budgets.
As Tony Shalhoub once quipped as a fictional engineer -- that was a helluva thing.
I played a dude who became aware of the fact that when dreaming... four other people lived inside my head. It took nine more years before FOX TV came up with a similar concept, although -- like Hughes -- I prefer two ladies in the mix --
I'm rambling. So where was I? Ah, yes, groups of teen archetypes.
Ever watch a TV show and during the credits they say 'Fashions for (celebrity) provided by (designer)? There's something about that which is... well... you know --
-- kinda cool.
My first production will feature four talented teenagers. For some of them this will be one of their first film industry breaks. (Mine too, come to think of it.)
One actress is Olivia Brown of South Pasadena, CA. She will play CONFUSED BABE, a girl who is bored silly by everything but her iPad, Vegas, and mirrors.
In real life, Olivia Brown isn't bored, vain, or the least bit confused. She's actually the winner of my project's Miss Congeniality Award and has been extremely content with her pitifully small helping of lines.
(The script is only four pages, but still, this writer/producer feels bad.)
Anyway, I hope I can help her go far.
She deserves it.
One way I've decided to help her is by having her fashions provided by a celebrity designer. My amazing wife has worked with many designers in Los Angeles. My first choice designer said 'sure' and so Olivia took a trip with her mom to the famous Fashion District of Downtown Los Angeles
. There the designer invited Olivia to hunt through several racks --
-- until eventually she emerged with that little purple number. When the designer learned that was the only item Olivia needed -- she encouraged Olivia to pick out a few extra things. Just for fun
So fans and followers of SCREENPLAYHOUSE LLC, once this first baby-step production is complete I'll reveal which
downtown Los Angeles celebrity designer provided those slammin' samples. Where? In the closing credits, of course.
Until then, behold our next New Media starlet: Miss Olivia Brown. She's as lovely and kind and generous and talented as the celebrity who designed those pretty pieces. To me, they are birds of a feather.
(The first draft of this piece included a giant factual error. It also lacked a bit of mind-blowing trivia it turns out I should have included. Writer is editing, folks.)
When I was a young little dude, my older brothers and I took part in a surprisingly solid local production of GODSPELL.
We were not religious, but we were really big fans of the music and madness that exploded out of this 'new' hit musical aimed at the young of heart. Folk harmonies, vaudeville, topical humor, awesome guitar solos, and clown makeup. Rather amazing considering it was merely the thesis project of a Harvard Graduate student -- a work cleverly designed to slip the Gospel According To St. Matthew your way when you weren't looking.
His dad must have sold used cars.Like the classic song by Simon and Garfunkel, the year of this production was a time of innocence for me. I played no role in the production outside of one of several mascots, but I performed the role well and cherished every minute of it.
I could parrot any line, sing any song. I simply couldn't get enough of it. And again -- I wasn't the least bit religious.Many fans of the musical GODSPELL weren't the biggest fans of the feature film. You see, the show was all about having a minimal set and maximum audience interaction.
When the movie put that fourth wall between the audience and players -- and furthermore stuck the players roaming around an empty Manhattan -- the spell of GODSPELL was tainted.Still, there were some interesting moments. If you've never seen the film, or haven't in ages, this sequence will both amaze you (no CGI or trick photography) as well as spook you a little on this or any anniversary of September 11th --
Just reading a 'list' article at the Huff regarding 10 Performances to watch this fall with Academy eyes
.The list started with a nod to Matthew McCoaughey in MUD. I stopped reading and skimmed down the list for Tye Sheridan. As I feared, he didn't make the list.Tye Sheridan is the reason to see MUD. Oh, I know, the movie poster fools you into thinking you're watching a McCoaughny film. That marketing choice will cost this
film the awards it deserves. Just because Tye is relatively unknown doesn't mean the star of film doesn't deserve top visual billing on the poster. It's Tye's story. It's such a poetic story that calling it MUD only further... urm... muddies the waters.
Tye's performance is particularly realistic. Tempered. The boy he plays has absolutely no idea he's in a movie. I loved River Phoenix in STAND BY ME, but you could watch him posing in that one. Tye comes off exactly as the boy he portrays.
Matthew did a solid job with his role, but there are countless actors who could have done the same or even a little better. Tye Sheridan? He's currently my favorite for Best Actor. He knocks it out of the park like Tatum O'Neal in PAPER MOON.