Monday, September 29, 2008

Two weeks and Counting


I'm getting down to the wire. I can't believe Anton in Show Business opens next Friday. It seems like it was just yesterday when I blogged about joining the cast. I'm finally starting to find my characters and that has been a real boost to my confidence. For a while I didn't think I was cut out for it, however, I stuck with it, took in the directors comments, practiced, practiced, practiced, and now I'm starting to see the fruits of my labors.


This week I have full run-throughs on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week. It's going to be tough. My body finally decided to say check mate. Last week I came down with a sinus infection and my voice is just starting to come back. Now I have to pace myself and make sure I take my meds and get the rest I need, which means going to bed by 10 p.m., no exceptions. Otherwise I won't recover like I need to.


On Sunday rehearsals will move to the Oddfellows Playhouse in Middletown, Connecticut. I'm excited about that because I'll be on the stage. Rehearsing in the actual space will bring things together for me. It will really be full circle when I'm backstage waiting for my cue enter the stage. Yikes. I open the show, so I'm just a little nervous, but those nerves will eventually settle. I have to remind myself that acting can also be a great deal of fun if I'm having fun too. I still have some scenes that I need to tighten and that will be my focus for the next two weeks.


Things are slowly but surely coming together for After the Headlines. I had a crew meeting this weekend. I still have a hundred things to do, but I have people helping me out and boy do I need the help. All my key crew positions are filled....yeah. I even have a great editor (Jeff Um) for post. I am still looking for two or three production assistants. If you know of a college student in CT/NYC who will work for free and travel stipend, send me there resume at amiller_12@hotmail.com. I'm also looking for a make-up artist. If I don't find a make-up the film will go on.


I have a whole bunch of logistical stuff to work out. One thing at a time. I plan to do a good amount of work on it tonight then take a break to practice my T-Anne/Joby scene. After that I will submit to yet another screenwriting competition (this one I will get coverage for). In case you're wondering coverage is when a reader gives feedback on your script (it should offer specific details on what worked and what didn't i.e. structure, characters, story arc, etc.). I want to see coverage before I attempt another revision of Finding Patience.
That's all for now...almost forgot... I'm also looking forward to seeing Biden blow Ms. Sarah Palin out of the water on Thursday night for the vice presidential debates. Wouldn't it be great if McCain realizes his blunder and drops her from the ticket? LOL

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Fasting and Getting Things Together

September 1 through 30 marks the holy month of Ramadan, for the non-Muslims of the world, Ramadan, is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar. The Month of Ramadan is also when it is believed the Holy Quran "was sent down from heaven, a guidance unto men, a declaration of direction, and a means of Salvation". It is during this month that Muslims fast. It is called the Fast of Ramadan and lasts the entire month. Ramadan is a time when Muslims concentrate on their faith and spend less time on the concerns of their everyday lives. It is a time of worship and contemplation. During the Fast of Ramadan strict restraints are placed on the daily lives of Muslims. They are not allowed to eat or drink during the daylight hours. Smoking and sexual relations are also forbidden during fasting. At the end of the day the fast is broken with prayer and a meal called the iftar. In the evening following the iftar it is customary for Muslims to go out visiting family and friends. The fast is resumed the next morning.

You're probably wondering why I began with an introduction to Ramadan, one of the reasons is I'm fasting with my boyfriend Karim. I believe this is my third or fourth year participating in the fast. Although I am a non-Muslim I still do the fast to support Karim in his practice of his religion and also because I think the principles behind it are sound. It's so easy to get lost in this crazy world, especially with Sarah Palin and John McCain bamboozling voters in key battle ground states. After eight years of Republican rule, a struggling economy, and major corporations getting bailed out, I can't understand how folks still believe that Republicans have all the answers to our nations problems. While this political season has my stomach turning, this blog isn't going to be about politics, there are more than enough people on the right and left jabbing each other.

Today marks my 16th day of fasting. Besides being hungry I've been focused on the activities I've been involved in. Somehow how I managed to keep my energy up enough for rehearsals of Anton in Show Business (opens 10/10/08 at the Oddfellows Playhouse and then moving to the Little Theater in New Haven for the following two weekends), continue with preproduction on After the Headlines, and other miscellaneous projects (staged reading of Return to Darfur). It's a lot and with only two meals a day I find myself focusing on these items that much more.

Last Wednesday, I had my first read-through with the cast of After the Headlines. We met at the Weist Studios (
www.weistbarron.com) in New York City. I had an opportunity to connect with the cast and get their feedback on the script. It was so cool to hear the words come alive by actors. It really moved me as well as reminded me why I decided to write this story and go out on a limb to produce the film myself. As the deadline gets closer my anticipation builds, I still can't believe I'm producing a film and in a little over a month will be directing it. Thank God, film is a collaborative process. I'm getting a lot of help from a lot of people. The actors are working for free, and most of the key crew positions reduced their rates or are doing it pro-bono! The fact that I have people willing to go the extra mile for me reinforces that they believe in the project and my ability to see it though. Come hell or high water (no pun attended) I will get through it.It's hard trying to pull things together, but like I said I have a team of folks who are supporting me.

Today, a couple of my colleagues asked about Anton in Show Business, they wanted to make sure they get fliers so they can come and support the show. While it adds to the stage fright, its good to know people want to support me.

As disgusting as the world can seem at times, it's in my fasting, my work, my family, and in my relationship, that I realize the potential I have. It's never easy taking on a project or in my case projects. However, getting things together is my calling and I'm crossing my fingers that the ends will justify the means.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

13 to the Finish Line

This last week I've been eagerly waiting the results of the American Gem Literary Festival (http://www.filmmakers.com/contests/short/) and the results are finally in. Out of the Box, a script I co-wrote with Lawrence King came in thirteenth place. It was not the stellar finish I hoped for, I really would have liked to finish in the top ten. Oh well, it just reinforces that I've still got a ways to go as a screenwriter. There were 25 finalists in total and this was my first time making it to the finals, so I'm still proud of my effort.

Now where to go from here. Right now I'm in the midst of rehearsals for Anton in Show Business, the play will open next month October 10, 2008. The work in this play is definitely challenging me and at times I've felt discouraged, the cast is a group of seasoned thespians, which I'm not and I feel like the little fish in a little pond. But then I tell myself bad rehearsals are part of the learning process and that I can do this. I guess I just need to believe in myself a little more and practice, practice, practice.

It's hard to find focus because I'm also in pre-production for After the Headlines, which will shoot a few weeks after I finish the play. Boy, do I know how to pack it in. I took this semester off to focus on my thesis, but I won't be able to realistically do that until the end of November, beginning of December, a month from when I'm supposed to finish my last semester in Western Connecticut's State University' (http://www.wcsu.edu/writing/mfa//). I will also be in post-production for the After the Headlines. It's going to be a hectic time, with so much to still do.

Looking forward, one good thing I see is that I will end 2008 with my focus back on screenwriting. I don't want to lose the headway I've been making. I feel like I'm getting better at telling visual stories and that is at the heart of what I need to continue to do, to succeed as a screenwriter. There is so much competition out there. I didn't realize how much until I started submitting to screenwriting competitions.

With all these competitions, seminars, workshops, and readings, I also need to find time to network and promote myself. I did a little of that this past Friday. I attended a preview screening for the feature independent film London Betty (http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=1956440184). My sis Dawn (a film lover and tough critic), who was down for the holiday weekend tagged along. Neal Thomassen the director of photography (DP) for London Betty will also DP my short film. I had an opportunity to connect with some people I've worked with on previous projects as well as meet some new contacts. That is always good, but time will tell if things are topan out for other projects.

When I think of everything that's on my plate and what I need to do, I get overwhelmed. I'm probably have given myself more gray hairs in the process. Let me take a moment and breath.....hmmn, that feels better. While my nervous energy has not completely subsided, I have to accept that everything I go through is to help make me a stronger individual and hopefully a better artist. I have to keep on tryin until I'm flyin.