Thursday, July 29, 2010

And the Winner is....Out of the Box

In my last blog entry I said let the fun begin. The fun times at the 2010 Action on Film (AOF) International Film Festival, www.aoffest.com  did unfold and part of me is really sad that the screenings, seminars, and networking is finally coming to an end.

I still can't believe that my week here is almost over. Tomorrow night will be final night for the 2010 AOF, time really does fly by when you are having fun.

Yesterday evening I had the privilege of attending the 2010 AOF writer's awards dinner. My short script, Out of the box was nominated for 'Best Short' and the 'Hollywood Scriptwriter 2010 Written Word Award,' (and I wasn't aware of the latter). Being nominated for a second year was a great honor in itself. I know a lot of the writers in this fest and the competition is tough.

To my surprise I was awarded first runner-up for 'Best Short' and won the 'Hollywood Scriptwriter 2010 Written Word Award.' When my name was announced as runner-up I couldn't believe it. I walked to the podium and graciously accepted the honor. This time I didn't cry, but when I heard my name announced as the winner for the 'Hollywood Screenwriter 2010 Written Word Award' the tears began to swell and I cried tears of joy. I did recover a lot quicker than last year and managed to get a coherent thank speech out.

Even though the awards ceremony is a few hours ago, I still feel elated. Part of me is still in shock. Moments like these are few and far between. A night like last night, is a night that all screenwriters dream of. We endure so many rejections. It has taken me fives years to get here and I still don't believe I've cracked the service of my screenwriting iceberg. My journey and career are just beginning.

The script that won tonight was conceptualized five years ago with Lawrence J. King, the co-writer. We initially came up with the story for a BET screenwriting competition looking for scripts that were about HIV/AIDS. The winning short would be produced by BET. Lawrence and I submitted, but were not chosen. The script follows the lives of five African American women who are HIV positive. Their lives intersect as they cope with untimely demise of a group member, which in turn forces them to face their own personal demons. I continued to submit Out of the Box to a ton of contests and when I got coverage I would revise it to make the script better. I've been doing this for four years.

Last night, was a pay-off and testament to the many rewrites I've done throughout the years. I feel validated and believe my stories are worth telling.  I don't expect to win every contest. Rejection is part of the process, but I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The Action on Film International Film Festival has been my light. One day a producer or production company will option my script or offer me a job on spec. Until then, my job is to keep writing.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

2010 Action on Film (AOF) Festival: Let the Fun Begin

I have safely arrived in the Pasadena area. My flight arrived late last night around 11:30 p.m. I headed over to Budget to get my car rental and then off to Sierra Madre (a small suburban town outside of Pasadena). I'm actually staying in Sierra Madre, with my friend and fellow screenwriter Pauline Gray. I made all the necessary calls to the hubby and my mom as well as updated my status on Facebook and twitter.

I feel well rested and an ready for the day. This morning I power-walked for about 45 minutes while going over my lines for Incantation (my next theatrical project). In about 15 minutes I plan to finally head to Pasadena and register for the 2010 Action on Film Festival. I'm really excited and looking forward to potential networking opportunities. I've already started building relationships with some of the filmmakers in attendance via twitter.

I'm really looking forward to being out here for a week. If you read my last blog, you know why. If you haven't read my last blog, then give it a read. When some exciting and memorable things happen I will be sure to blog about it after I take a moment to process. In the meantime, check out my twitter handle at dirtywater22 and the After the Headlines Facebook page,  http://www.facebook.com/pages/After-the-Headlines/195595142834?ref=search for updates on the 2010 AOFFest.

Thanks for your support and reading this entry. Stay tuned....

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The 2010 Action on Film (AOF) International Film Festival: A Screenwriter's Retreat


I'm just one day away from flying out to Pasadena. The anticipation for this trip has been building for me and I'm ready to get away. I need to. I have a lot on my plate right now. I'm in rehearsals for a production entitled Incantation (I will have a blog about the show when I return), planning a wedding celebration (since I'm already married), and also getting ready for the 2010 Action on Film (AOF) International Festival, http://www.aoffest.com/. While part of this trip is business, I also see part of this trip as a personal retreat from the world as I know i
Preparing for AOF has required a lot of time and I don't have much of it these days. I've had to order two movie-sized posters for the film to display at my screening and relabel post cards to promote the film. I've also been constantly posting on my social networks, handling my traveling accomindations, and a bunch of other little tasks I can't remember at the moment. I'm glad that I was able to use my Delta reward points for my flight. Boy did those come in handy. Also, due to my tweets I linked up with a travel agent who got me a great deal on a car rental. I also want to shout out Pauline Gray, who is letting me crash with her once again. Thanks sista.
A lot goes into making a film and when you get accepted into a film festival, you continue to have to put in time, money, and sweat to promote the hell out of your film. If this seems like I'm complaining, I don't mean to come off like that. I just want people to realize that when you make a film, the amount of energy you put into can seem never ending.
I'm so excited to have another opportunity to promote After the Headlines. After all it is nominated for 'Best Produced Screenplay." My short script Out of the Box is also nominated for 'Best Short' in the screenwritng category. Both nominations are real blessings, but while I'm out in Pasadena I also need to take stock of where I'm at and where I want to be two or three years down the road. I've been at a stand still with my writing and I think this trip will give me the mojo I need to recharge my engine. I plan to read scripts when I'm not at screenings and also will set time aside to work on the treatment for the feature length script of After the Headlines. I am long over due. Who knows maybe I will get lucky and get some ideas for other stories. At this point I am game for anything and open to the possibilities that will flow my way.
My trip out to Pasadena is definitely business, but it is also a personal retreat for the screenwriter in me and I can really use that time for myself.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Media Advisory: Connecticut Screenwriter’s Short Film, Receives ‘Best Produced Screenplay’ Nomination at the 2010 Action on Film International Film Festival

Media Advisory                                                                For Immediate Release

Connecticut Screenwriter’s Short Film, Receives ‘Best Produced
Screenplay’ Nomination at the 2010 Action on Film International Film Festival


JULY 15, 2010, WATERBURY, CT – Aaliyah Miller, a resident of Waterbury, Connecticut, short film, After the Headlines has been chosen as an official selection for the 2010 Action on Film (AOF) International Film Festival. In addition to being an official selection, the film is also nominated for ‘Best Produced Screenplay.’

Miller’s film was selected from thousands of entries and follows Clara Dumont, a guilt-ridden mother who struggles to stop blaming herself for the death of daughter Alexis. The poignant script takes the reader on Clara’s emotional journey of as she seeks personal redemption.

“I’m ecstatic about this year’s acceptance and nomination. I consider it a real privilege to be back for a second time.” says Miller. Last year, the script was nominated and won “Best Dramatic Scene.”

After the Headlines was also screened at the 2010 Kent Film Festival, Kent, Connecticut, a premiere film festival for independent filmmakers looking to showcase their work. The film has received the Accolade “Award of Merit” and the Skyfest Film Festival "Certificate of Excellence."

The film will be screened at the Academy Theater, 1003 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, California in the four p.m. film block on July 26, 2010.

A premier showcase for the world’s independent filmmakers and screenwriters, AOF provides industry professionals and audiences with an opportunity to discover new and innovative films. The festival runs from July 23 to 30, 2010, in Pasadena, California. The complete list of films and scripts can be found at http://www.aoffest.com/.

MovieMaker Magazine names AOF one of, “The Top 25 Festivals Worth the Fees for 2010. AOF will award nominated filmmakers and screenwriters more than $75, 000 in cash and prizes.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Great News from Action on Film (AOF)

I know my last entry had a tone of frustration. Since then the level of stress I was feeling has subsiding a  bit. I feel better having got some things off my chest. It wasn't just what I wrote, I also received some really encouraging feedback from a fellow screenwriter as well as words of encouragement from others who read this blog. Thank you.

I'm please to report, actually I'm more than pleased, I'm completely ecstatic. This morning, I received the earth shattering news (earth shattering for me) that After the Headlines received a nomination from for Best Produced Screenplay at the 2010 Action on Film (AOF) International Film Festival, www.aoffest.com. I was happy when After the Headlines was accepting into the festival but getting nominated really sweetens the deal. I am really looking forward to the trip out to Pasadena in a couple of weeks.

Out of the Box, a short screenplay about five women of color living with HIV/AIDS was nominated for 'Best Short' in the screenwriter's category. I co-wrote the original script with Lawrence King, founder of Dark Embrace Films about five years ago and have been making revisions to the script over the years. It is true when writers say a story is never finished. The amount of revisions I have to my other scripts is a constant reminder.

I really needed some good news and I got it. I have a little bit more pep in my step. I actually have the energy to want to write and I need to capitalize on it. I want to shout out to the folks at AOF for opening a door for me. They gave me my first shot last year and I will never forget that. Getting accepted and winning made me believe that the impossible is possible. Screenwriting and film making are tough careers to pursue, so when you get into a festival and get nominated for an award it's a big deal.

I'm really thankful for this great news and plan to make the most of the opportunity. For me, part of making the most of this opportunity means getting back to the writing. I'm ready.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wedding Unbliss

Lately, I've been tired. Too tired to do things I should be doing and when I am working on something, I'm hustling to get it done. I'm in reactive mode instead of proactive mode. It's not a good place to be because, my creative output is low. I really don't like feeling this way, but since I control my destiny, this is my own doing, I'm not sure how I got so off track.

When I talk to folks, people are asking how I'm coming along with the wedding. I smile, and tell them things are moving along and they are. I finally have the invitations mailed out. Getting that task done was like lifting a boulder off of my back. I had my first fitting of my wedding gown, my mom and two of my bridesmaids, Catherine and Matie joined me. It went well. I felt good in my dress. I continue to check off tasks on the to-do list which is great, but the wedding celebration bliss I expected to be feeling isn't here at the moment. It's more like a Wedding Unbliss.

I don't know if it is because I'm in a creative funk and that funk is trickling into other areas of my life. Is it that I have to much on my plate and I can't enjoy the moment? I have questions, but no firmative answers. It helps to get this off my chest. Now I need to think of ways to rejuvenate the feeling of wedding bliss and enjoy the moment. Suggestions welcomed. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Black Obsidian Media Group is Back with ResurGENTs

I know I've been a little laggy lately. My apologies, between changes at work and tasks for the wedding I'm spent. I was very happy that I finally had a chance to relax and rejuvenate this holiday weekend. I have to shout out Jackie and Everett for a great weekend in Waltham, Massachusetts. The low-key time with friends is just what I needed although I did manage to squeeze in a little work here and there.

I'm glad to be back blogging. I'm long over due. This entry is for my theater lovers, especially those who frequent the Off Off Broadway circuit. This entry is for you.

Last year, I blogged about the production of Black Man Rising, the award-winning New York Production took audiences by storm. Winner of four AUDELCO Awards, for "Excellence in Theatre," inclucing Best Director, Patricia R. Floyd, Best Choreography, Juson Williams, Outstanding Ensemble Performance and Dramatic Production of the Year. The production was produced by the Black Obsidian Media Group, a group of talented writers, actors, and directors pushing the envelop for Black theater.

The team is back with ResurGENTs: The Reappearance of Hope, written by Lawrence Floyd and Damian Sanders. ResurGENTs is a part of the 2010 Midtown International Theatre Festival, http://www.midtownfestival.org/. The play is a new millennium Choreopoem that explores the rise of the Black Man in the geo-political era of President Barack Obama. Through poetry, monologues, singing, and dancing, five Black men speak about life, love, and freedom. They take us on a spiritual journey from the present to slavery, in his relationships as well as his politics. “There is nothing new about Life and Love and Freedom. We make them original.” ResurGENTs is a resurrected love song.

Helmed once again by Patricia R. Floyd and Juson Williams, ResurGENTs features a talented cast including Neil Dawson*, Leopold Lowe*, Lawrence Saint-Victor, Samuel Smith, Roderick Warner and Juson Williams.* (*Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association).

Make sure you check out ResurGENTs! Make your reservations now for as low as $18.00. Purchase your tickets with a credit card online at http://www.midtownfestival.org/ or call toll-free: 866-811-4111. Group discounts are also available. Contact Jajmi Robinson at 646.554.5528.

Performance dates are: 2010 Midtown International Theatre Festival- July 12th @ 8:30pm, July 17th @ 7:30pm, July 22nd , July 23rd and July 31st @ 6:00pm and August 1st @ 1:00pm.

I hope to see you in the audience.