Fools by Martin Walker

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

So I'm already halfway through the first quarter of the Professional Program in Screenwriting at UCLA. Working on a new script that will remain a secret. Haha, just because it blows right now. But as they say, it's all in the rewriting right? Anyway, the good thing is that being in the program forces me to write regularly. Not that I have been. I find myself writing in spurts, when my script pages are due.

But anyway, I'm still wondering which I prefer, the writing part or the directing part? Directing is physically demanding and requires a very different skills set than a writer, I think. And so they say that just because a person is a good writer doesn't make them a great director, and vice versa.. I'm sure there are exceptions to this though. Woody Allen comes to mind. Right now I'm just working on the craft of both. But writing, well writing I suppose would be my first love. But man it's hard to get stuff out on the page when your brain is constipated and nothing good comes out.

I read an article a while ago about the scientists who try to find the mathematical proof for String Theory. One guy said that in his lifetime, they may not be able to prove whether the String Theory is correct or not. Can you imagine, spending your entire life on something that may not have an answer or that you won't be able to find an answer to? And in some ways I think being a writer is like that. You write not because you think you'll get it right, but because you believe the pursuit is worth pursuing. Of course it would be wonderful to get acknowledgement that you don't suck as a writer and, even better, to get paid for it. But I suppose there are tons of writers who toil in obscurity, but isn't the pursuit of your dreams worth it?

So Love 10 to 1 news: we found an actor for the main role of Dustin. I have yet to meet him but I hear he's dreamy. :) Sometimes it feels like we've hit a wall with the film, but I think right now it's just because everyone's so busy. But that's really no excuse because this has to be our priority. Ugh, I need to tell myself that.


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What's the hardest thing about working on a project together? Think it's just staying committed to the project and maintaining a common goal to get the project done. So we've been working on this baby for over a year now. Lost a few people along the way. To paraphrase GWB, "It's hard work. Work is hard. Hard work. We gotta work hard. Because work is hard." Anyway, new projected production date is mid to late Jan. Yup, still trying to get this thing done. Looking over SAG paperwork, can I say again how much SAG just... Okay, won't say it. Gotta get paperwork thru first.

My political digression for the day: Raise your hands if you're laughing with glee because the whole CIA/Plame outting thing has gone straight to the VP's office? Wow. Wonder if Hollywood will make a film about this? Let's cast: Plame: Sally Kirkland? Joe Wilson: Sam Sheppard? Now for the juicy roles-- Rove: Elmer Fudd.. wait, that's a fictional character.. ummmm... gotta get back to this... Cheney: maybe whoever plays Rove can also play Cheney? With a little make-up, no one will know.. Libby: Gary Oldman (he plays evil real good, see The Contender with Joan Allen). Novak: has to play himself.. Judith Miller: Frances McDormand? Fitzgerald: Peter Sarsgaard, a little young for the role, but I love him and think he's one of the most talented actors in Hollywood. Note to future writer of this film: Make sure Fitzgerald has a scene where he's butt naked.. Maybe right before he gets ready to hand out indictments, he's kissing his wife naked, and they share a tender moment, and both know that he's about to change the course of history. She's supportive, loving; he's determined, confident, brilliant!

Uh, sorry, I got a little carried away there..

Anyway, next post-- my thoughts on UCLA's Professional Program in Screenwriting.. I enrolled and started working on my next script. It's not a sex comedy. I really need to work on a sex comedy script.. Maybe after this one..


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Shooting DV on a microbudget......

Christine has been bugging us to use this blog. I am a very private person and prefer to keep my opinions to myself but for the sake of the project and to get the word out - here it is.

My name is Lucy Rodriguez-Watson and I wrote & will direct Californication. I’m quite cheerful and optimistic today so this will be more of an introduction to our project and not a bitch fest about how expensive it is to get a location permit for a no budget film in LA. Believe me, that one’s coming……

We started collaborating on Love 10 to 1 around May of 2004. The premise was simple. Get four people to each write a 20 – 25 page script and each person would direct what they wrote. We had some guidelines. The cast was to be diverse, the story had to be about dating in LA and leave room for the characters to briefly appear in each of the stories – and it had to be directed by women.

Originally there were 4 writers.

Christine’s story is about Jenny trying to loose her virginity before her 30th birthday.

My story was about Dustin (Jenny’s boss) and the love triangle between him, his roommate and an old flame.

Nick’s story was about Caitlin, a lesbian sex addict who plays bass in the band Dirty Virgin fronted by Dustin’s roommate Shane. (Because Nick wanted to act I was going to direct Addict in addition to Californication.

Amelia’s story was about Doug, an older guy dating Kim, a college freshman and groupie of Jim, Dirty Virgin’s guitar player.

We knew we had a good premise and raising the 50k needed for a budget was going to be a piece of cake. We decided to start casting ASAP, again with such diversity raising the $$ was going to be easy. We were on our way to hitting the big time. One year and five months later we are only doing three of the stories. Virgin, Californication & Addict. Amelia parted ways after we couldn’t raise the money. The three of us stuck together and are hoping to shoot in November with no $$$.

Thank God for our great actors who have stuck by us through this whole process. Our cast has been encouraging and supportive from day one. We had so many great people audition and a lot of times it was very tough because we wish we could have used almost everyone who auditioned. It’s funny because there are a few people who did not make it to the project who still call to find out how it’s going and to wish us well.

The original actresses cast in Addict parted ways. We are still looking to cast the lead in Addict and I still need to cast Dustin (the one male lead in a story with about thirty female characters).

Since there are now three stories, the premise for Californication has changed slightly. Instead of it being Dustin’s story, Californication now revolves around Shane and the ramifications her secret crush on Dustin has on her career when she thinks he’s in love with another woman.

We brought Gabriela Sosa on board to direct Addict so that each story has a distinct feel. We are planning to work with one DP to help us achieve a cohesive yet individual look for each of the stories.

We still have $0 so it will be interesting how we pull this off.

Synopsis and Log-line

LOG-LINE: Love 10 to 1 is a romantic comedy told in three vignettes. The film explores the highs and lows of relationships and love in the city of Los Angeles. The film circles around a morning radio show’s rant about the men shortage and the single women who outnumber them by ten to one. The statistic serves as a profoundly motivating factor for the characters and as a constant reminder of the harsh reality of dating in LA.


“Virgin”: The first story explores the life of a 29-year-old virgin, Jenny, who desperately wants to lose her virginity before her 30th birthday. As she encounters one loser after another on dates, Jenny pines after her boss, Dustin. While at her grandmother’s retirement home, Jenny learns a powerful lesson from her grandmother about sex and the meaning of life.

“Californication”: The second story takes an intimate look at the love life of Shane, an up and coming LA rock star. When Shane lets her secret love for Dustin get in the way of her and the band's success, she risks losing her friendship with Dustin, and jeopardizes her band's national tour.

“Addict”: The final story examines the life of Caitlin, a lesbian sex addict who has finally attained the stable, healthy, loving relationship she has always wanted. But when her addiction ultimately resurfaces, she risks losing the only woman she’s ever loved.

Love 10 to 1 is akin to "Sex and the City" meeting "Love Actually", with a diverse cast that truly reflects the face of Los Angeles.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Just came back from the SAG Indie meeting. What a headache. I'm amazed whenever someone makes a film and gets it to a festival. With all the paperwork that you have to fill out just to make a film with a SAG actor, it seems almost better to just go non-union. I'm all for paying actors, but it seems like there's almost an incentive not to cast with SAG actors because of all the paperwork and costs involved. I can understand the requirements for protecting actors if you're making a big budget movie, but what about the little indie filmmakers? I mean, if there's a SAG equivalent for actors in Shakespeare's day, maybe Romeo & Juliet would never have been made. Just some random thoughts.


Monday, September 05, 2005

This is our first blog about the making of a micro-budget film (ie, mini-DV), Love 10 to 1. We started working on the script over a year ago, and now we're still revising the script. Ugh. Part of the problem is that there are three different stories, each written by a different writer, so the challenge has been to make the stories interrelated and consistent in tone. We've had a number of other bumps along the way, such as losing our one "name" actress and raising, oh, no money from investors. Merely flesh wounds I say.

With the devastation that's occured in New Orleans and other Gulf cities, and the stupid political finger pointing that's occuring now, it's somewhat difficult to blog about our little indie film about people looking for love and sex in Los Angeles. So please allow me to digress for a moment (with the disclaimer that this is my own opinion and does not reflect the opinion of my fellow writers/directors) to ask this: what does it mean when President Bush said " "I am satisfied with the response" to the hurricane. "But I'm not satisfied with the results." Huh? As an aside, Michael Brown, the head of FEMA who has been highly criticized for his failure to stem the disaster in NOLA, was fired from his previous job for "alleged supervision failures". And we're talking about his previous job as a commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association. Can you imagine what kind of incompetent you have to be to be fired from the International Arabian Horse Association??? It's not like the position holds life and death implications (unless you happen to be a horse, I suppose), such as being the head of FEMA.

The next blog, I promise, will be about the film...


About The Three Shorts

Christine Le wrote and directed the 1st story Love 10 to 1.
The first story explores the life of a 29-year-old virgin, Jenny, who desperately wants to lose her virginity before her 30th birthday. As she encounters one loser after another on dates, Jenny pines after her boss, Dustin. While at her grandmother’s retirement home, Jenny learns a powerful lesson from her grandmother about sex and the meaning of life.

Christine Le (right) directs Shireen Nomura Mui (Jenny) & Justin Klosky (Jim).

Lucy Rodriguez wrote and directed Love Song.
The second story revolves around Shane, the lead singer of the L.A. rock band, Dirty Virgin. Shane has her pick of admirers but it’s her roommate Dustin she wants to be with. Shane confesses her feelings on Jackie and Jared’s show but when Dustin meets Cali, Shane’s shot at love starts to dwindle. With Dirty Virgin about to embark on a world tour, will Dustin realize that he’s the object of Shane’s affections? Will they risk their friendship to give this Love Song a chance?

Lucy Rodriguez & David Villar (Dustin)

Laura Somers wrote and directed Diving Lessons.
The final story picks up where Love 10 to 1 left off, but from the perspective of Jim, the guitarist of Dirty Virgin. Jim sees Jenny at a swimming pool, trying desperately to overcome her fear of diving. In fact, he finds out that she’s making a list of everything that she’s afraid of and trying to overcome them, one by one. He is instantly smitten and tries to convince her that he’s not just a rock star who ‘loves ‘em and leaves ‘em’. Can a rock star find love with a virgin?

Shireen Nomura-Mui, Laura Somers & Justin Klosky

Leah Anova is the Director of Photography for Love 10 to 1 & Diving Lessons.

Additional Cinematography on Diving Lessons by Erik Forsell

Matthew Boyd is the Director of Photography for Love Song.