Fools by Martin Walker

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tax Incentives for Film Investors

I attended a seminar yesterday where someone talked about the tax deductions that a film investor can take if they invest in a film.  While I don't know the particulars of this tax law, I think it would be very useful to find out about it from a tax advisor or a tax attorney.  Here is my disclaimer that I am not a tax advisor or a tax attorney, nor have I ever wanted to be a tax advisor or tax attorney, so please do not consider any of this tax advice.  Anyway, I posted the link to the article above (just click on the title of this blog entry).  If anyone has any knowledge of this tax credit and/or has used it to get some money back from Uncle Sam, I would love to hear about it.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Oscars

So far I'm doing horribly on my Oscar picks.  Oh well, there goes that 47" flat screen HDTV prize.  But how hot is Javier Bardem?!!! I'm gonna start practicing my Spanish again.  Jon Stewart has his moments, but I'm thinking Rainn Wilson was much funnier at the Independent Spirit Awards yesterday.  I vote for Steve Carell to host next year's Oscars.

...Wow, Tilda Swinton won for Best Supporting Actress. She was fantastic in Michael Clayton. The film itself was just okay, her performance carried the film I thought. Marion Cottilard for Best Actress was another surprise winner tonight. She gave one of the most touching acceptance speeches, probably because she was speechless for half of it. It was really touching though.

So I have to admit that I never saw Enchanted and after listening to all the songs nominated tonight, I have no desire to see the film. I haven't seen Once either, but their song just won for Best Song. That film was made for $100K. Amazing. The second most touching speech tonight thus far was by the chick who won for Best Song. Jon Stewart had her come back to give her speech, since her partner did all the talking the first time around. I think that's an Oscar first.

Is it me, or did John Travolta's hair cut look like it was sprayed on?

Okay, time to get back to the show!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues, or is it the Blahs?

There are so many hurdles and hoops one has to jump to get a film made. I've jumped the hoops, I've faced the road blocks and yet, my film still needs to be shot. I could have shot the film back in November but the film would have SUCKED. I wasn't happy with the direction the script had taken, you ask people for opinions and you'll get them good and bad - unfortunately, I listened to the bad ones. I've remedied that situation and I'm happy with the script.

There are three things that are making this harder and more challenging for me:

1. My mom's cancer which was in remission for the last 14 years decided to rear it's ugly head in December of 2006. My mom was in and out of the hospital - I say in and out because she got chemo from January - March and in April the cancer was gone - then in July it was back and she had to go for more chemo, and in November it was gone. When she went for her next check up in February of 2008, the Pet Scan showed that the cancer is back and bigger than the original. When she went to get the cat scan, the insurance denied it and the hospital sent her home. My mom was upsed and she's been through so much that she didn't feel like fighting or arguing with the hospital. My sister Onahoua was the first to hear about the incident and she took it upon herself to go to war with the insurance and the hospital. Seeing how she's been dealing with all the beaurocracy and bullshit while performing 8 shows a week in a very emotionally charged play, earned her my deepest, utmost respect. I'm glad she took over because I'm so sick of hospitals, illness, insurance etc. The first time my mom had cancer I was the one who went to all the radiation treatments and the experience left me numb. We're still waiting to hear if the cat scan got approved. Regardless, my mom's appointment for the cat scan is for this Friday and if the insurance doesn't approve it, the procedure costs $15,000 and that's not including all the additional fees that go with walking into a hospital. The insurance doesn't feel that the cat scan is a necessary procedure, they have approved both procedures in the past. It's frustrating dealing with this and trying to make a movie on top of it.

I'll leave reasons 2 & 3 for another blog, I've shared too much personal stuff already. If you read the blog I Could Never Be Your Woman, you'll understand why I related to Amy Heckerling's woes.

Hearing about the problem with the frame rate and how much it's going to cost to fix it didn't help. I took the advise of Elle Woods in Legally Blonde and got a mani/pedi after work. I told Christine I'd buy a lottery ticket because the the jackpot is at 220M but my manicurist took so long to get to me and I missed buying the ticket - Darn.

Hopefully this sadness and blahness I'm going through will be over soon.

I'm going to Denver this weekend to see Onahoua perform. The people who have seen it say it's her best work yet. I can't wait to see the play but I'm looking forward to seeing her play Shane.


Universe, Please Throw Us a Lifeline

I am convinced that the the one quality that distinguishes filmmakers who get their films made from the ones who don't is the ability to withstand days when you just want to repeatedly bang your head against a wall until you don't feel the pain anymore.  I just talked with a guy at a post house who said that he can fix our frame rate problems, but it will cost more than what we budgeted for editing.  Mind you, this is not the amount to edit, it's to fix the f--- up footage that we have so that our editor can start editing.  And this is the friends and family discounted rate.  The alternative is to just drop the footage into the timeline and render it, but it will take much longer to render (thus, prolonging the amount of time our editor needs to spend on editing, thus increasing the cost of editing).  Also, there would be a question of the consistency of the image, i.e., quality.  If I didn't think that my landlord would charge me for a bloodied wall from banging my head against it, I would.       

Friday, February 15, 2008

2008: Oh What a Year!

I have an important filmmaking tip below, but before I get into that, please bear with me for a paragraph or so:

This is how 2008 has panned out so far:  while I'm out of the country the first part of Jan 2008, I find out that my apartment flooded during the LA rains.  Mold sprouted from the walls.  My landlady gave my roommate and me three days to find another place because she needed six months to replaster the place (i.e., kick us out so that she can raise the rent).  My roommate (who developed a bad respiratory problem because of the mold) scrambles to find another place--rent is of course more expensive everywhere.   Since I'm still out of the country, I ask Lisa to just move me into the new place.  She moves there (during which time her dad falls down the stairs while helping her move) and finds a dirty apartment and the frig doesn't work.   I get back into town and it starts pouring again, and again, the ceiling is leaking at the new apartment.  The phone doesn't work, which we found later was due to someone cutting the phone lines.   We tried to get DSL, but for whatever reason, AT&T can't figure out how to turn on the DSL at the apartment, even though all our neighbors have DSL (this took about a month of back and forth trouble-shooting).  Meanwhile, I'm still trying to get paid for work that I performed in December 2007, but my follow-up calls and emails for payment remain unreturned.  And, the topping on the cake: our downstairs neighbor is CRAZY (that's an all-caps CRAZY) and a total NIGHTMARE (of the Single, White Female Over Sixty variety).  There is MORE to all this insanity, but I'll spare you the details.  

But despite all this, there have been blessings.  And I'm happy to report that I (well, Laura really) found a fantastic editor who has been a pleasure to work with.  Thank you, Universe.  So Ricardo, the editor, calls me tonight and tells me that some of the footage was recorded at a rate of 59.94 fps, while the rest of the footage was shot at a 23.98 fps.  This is a problem, one of which is that sound will not sync properly with the different frame rates, plus it makes editing a b*tch.  So, we need to find a way to convert the scenes shot at 59.94 fps to 23.98.  The problem has a solution, but at what cost?  I don't know, but we'll find out soon enough.  So lesson here is, make sure that when you're shooting to keep your frame rates consistent.  Be anal and insist on getting it right during production, not in post.  

I found this nice quote tonight while surfing the internet (i.e., procrastinating) that I'd like to share with you.  It doesn't have anything to do with frame rates, or nightmare apartment stories, but it's inspiring to me:

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back--Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.  All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.  A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."  (for source of quote, see

We are committed to getting this film done.  Come hell or high water (literally)--bring it on baby!

Blogging to raise Financing

There were several reasons why we started this blog.  One reason was that we wanted to provide an account of what it takes to make an indie film, good and bad.  Our hope is that our mistakes will provide other filmmakers with valuable lessons so as not to make the same ones.  (Though perhaps the best lessons are the ones that that we make on our own.)  We also wanted to provide a website for people to become familiar with our film, as we have not put up our own film site.  (That will be coming shortly...we are talking with a website developer for the film website).  

The other main reason is that we can actually make money from blogging.  Money that we would use to finance our film.  We just added a google search bar on the right hand side of this web page, so that whenever you search for something, please use this search bar.  Also, through AdSense, we make money every time someone clicks on a google ad on this page.  Google has made billions from this.  We're hoping to make at least a few dollars.  So, if you need to conduct a search, feel free to come to our website and conduct your search from here.  Or, once in a while, if you see an ad that you find appealing, feel free to click on it.  It's pennies each time, but that adds up.  So far we've made about $4.00 from this functionality, but blogging for pennies is like recycling.  You just gotta do it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day from Dirty Virgin

Valentine's Day Wish for Love 10 to 1

I'm meeting with a potential editor today.  Laura found him via Craigslist.  He edited a film I saw at LA Film Fest last year that I LOVED.  I was so excited to see his resume.  So I'm crossing my fingers that our meeting in person will be as good as our telephone conversation.  Laura's and my search for an editor over the past couple months has felt like going on 100 bad first dates.  And now we still find ourselves without an editor, almost three months after production, on this Valentine's Day.  So I'm hoping this meeting will be fruitful.  

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Here's a cute little story courtesy of NY Magazine

HEART OF GLASS - How do you know if he thinks of you as more than a cellist?
Who suspected minimalist composer Philip Glass wrote love songs? Weeks after turning 70 last year, he premiered Songs and Poems for Solo Cello, which he wrote for his fortyish girlfriend, Wendy Sutter. A recording of Sutter playing the piece, which isn’t exactly a boy-band tune, comes out this week, in time for Valentine’s Day. They spoke to Rebecca Milzoff.

You met on tour. What were your first impressions?
Wendy Sutter: I knew his work, but I didn’t know anything about his personal life. He wasn’t on the radar as a romantic interest. Philip Glass: I knew her as an exceptional cellist, but she was somewhat mysterious.

When did you get to know each other better?
W.S.: Philip asked me to do a documentary film’s music, originally for cello and voice. By e-mail I said, “Would you mind if we turned this into a solo piece?” We’d have these old-fashioned meetings, where I’d bring the cello and he’d sit at the piano. Some of the music is so stunning, so emotional; that was kind of my first clue that maybe he liked me more than as a cellist. It was sort of an old-fashioned romantic gesture.

Was it?
P.G.: I don’t write music for people very often. With a good collaboration, there’s a strong emotional connection to the music, but that’s a professional connection. But then there’s a personal emotional connection that can happen beyond that.

Do you have Valentine’s Day plans?
W.S.: No, well … do we? P.G.: There’s the Tibet House concert the 13th…

I hope you enjoyed this. I wish I had been lucky enough to secure a ticket to the LACMA event on March 1st where Philip Glass will be performing his recent Etudes and Other Work for solo piano. Oh well.....


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Movies By Women - Audio Podcast 06: AWARDS GALORE, IFC, JUNO ET AL.

Brand Spanking New Podcast

MBW Audio Podcast 06: Awards Galore, IFC, Juno, et al
Release Date: 2008/02/08
Running Time: 35:15
Format & Size: Quicktime MP3 28.2MB

This week in the MoviesByWomen audio podcast 06: In Episode 6, The ladies are joined once again by Kim Adelman ( columnist and author of "The Ultimate Guide to Chick Flicks", among others). Kim shares her career path and the internship that led to where she is today. Discussed are docs directed by women at the Sundance Film Festival as well as the screening and selection process for short films at the festival. Women nominated for the Independent Spirit Awards are also discussed.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Nice Surprise

I just read the nicest and sweetest email from Chris Hendricks who plays Jared. He said he LOVES my blogs because I "pour my heart out". He said so many nice things and it felt good to get such a great email from someone whose work I respect. Chris was such a professional, and a joy to work with. I remember when he read for us, he nailed the part just by walking in the room. I strongly believe in fate but I also believe in free will. All our actors have been so wonderful during this process and I often think that fate brought them our way but it was our will that chose them.

So thank you Mr. Hendricks for the kind words, the enthusiasm and the encouragement. I look forward to working with you again.


If anyone else likes the blogs or the podcasts let me know, feedback is always appreciated.



I'm happy to report that last week I got my SAG contract for Love Song signed by my SAG rep and they sent me my copy in the mail.




My Busy Life - Trying to Fit it All In

Where does the time go? I’ve been so busy during the last month, between pre-production on Love Song, and all the other things I do, I haven’t had a day off in about three weeks.

I started a new blog called the Canyon Nymphs but I haven’t had any time to go hiking. I’m glad it rained as much as it did because I was able to stay home and watch some of the films that are nominated for the Independent Spirit Awards (I get to vote because I’m a Film Independent member).

Speaking of, I loved the films Starting Out In The Evening and Eastern Promises. It’s a good thing that Viggo Mortensen did not get nominated because I really want Frank Langella to win best male lead for Starting Out In The Evening. I hope Viggo wins the Oscar but it’ll probably go to Daniel Day L. I have not seen There Will Be Blood. I’m so sick of the hype certain films get. I’ve heard very mixed reviews on this one so…. Another over hyped film is Juno. It was sweet and enjoyable but it’s no Little Miss Sunshine and certainly no Oscar contender. It’s too bad that a film like Starting Out In The Evening did not get the recognition it deserved by the Academy. Here’s my take on Juno and I’m taking this from an exchange that my friend Gus and I had about this film:

Gus: - It's been a while since I've seen a film trying so desperately to be cool. From the nifty title sequence to the quirky soundtrack to the self-indulgent dialogue, Juno is a film in love with itself, as is screenwriter Diablo Cody, a.k.a. Brook Busey. I'm still convinced that people love talking about this movie because it's written by somebody named Diablo. Some rave about the greatness of the script, but I think Amy Heckerling managed to catch the vibe of a generation better in the underrated Clueless, to much less fanfare. Plus, there were two superior films this year about unexpected pregnancies: Waitress (more heartfelt) and Knocked Up (funnier).

Lucy: I agree about Juno, I enjoyed watching it but felt the dialogue was contrived. Amy Heckerling certainly got the vibe of Clueless' generation by observing the kids of that generation and portraying them in their terms. She did this brilliantly in Fast Times at Ridgemont High as well. Cody's attempt at making June a cool, quirky teen of today fails miserably because all the things that make Juno cool and quirky came from a different generation, (her hamburger phone, her taste in music etc.) that's why the film feels so dishonest to me. Jennifer Garner's character was the only one who rang true

On Saturday, we recorded podcasts for MoviesByWomen. We had a line up of amazing guests including Martha Richards, Founder & Executive Director of The Fund for Women Artists. It was really nice meeting this woman because for the last two years I’ve been getting their newsletters every other month. She’s so passionate about empowering women in the arts and she flew from San Francisco to meet with us. The next guest was Chela Johnson, VP of Marketing at Lionsgate. She was so much fun mostly because we discussed horror movies and they are my guilty pleasure, wait, not guilty, I don’t mind saying I love horror movies. Our last guest was Catherine Jelski, a filmmaker who just directed one of the episodes of Quarterlife, she gave us great insight on how the TV industry works. The last podcast was Heidi, Stephanie, Tara and me discussing the Entertainment Weekly article Would You Dump This Woman. Read it below and rent the movie I Could Never Be Your Woman.

So no hike on Saturday but I did manage to go to the gym and do a pilates class and about an hour on the tread mill and then I went to Tara’s to record the podcasts. After the recording session I was exhausted but then my good friend and super talented director Daniel Eduvijes Carrera (Danito or Danny) called to invite me to two parties. I almost said no but he convinced me to go because it would be good for networking. I’m all about networking these days. I met a lot of nice people and I’m so glad that Danny takes me to these events. I had the pleasure of meeting a documentary film maker whose work I admire. Anayansi Prado directed Maid In America, a doc that takes a look at the lives of three Latinas working as maid/nannies in Los Angeles. I’ve been meaning to email her and invite her to be a guest on the podcasts but I don’t like to bother people so I didn’t. Maybe I should have because she was so nice and warm and asked what I was working on etc. I got her card so I’ll invite her. Out podcasts deal with the struggles women face making films and I’d like to get the perspective from another Latina’s point of view. I was too tired to go to the 2nd party. I got home at almost 2am.

On Sunday I somehow managed to scrape myself out of bed and go to another pilates class before meeting Jenna (Love Song producer) at 12pm in Burbank. I was with her for a few hours. Then, I was supposed to go to a meeting at the Filmmaker’s Alliance but I was too tired and decided to get a manicure instead. I went home, caught up on the last two L Word episodes and watched another movie.

Catch and Release written and directed by Susannah Grant (screenwriter of Erin Brockovich and In Her Shoes). I liked the film a lot mostly because of Jennifer Garner, but like the tv show Friends, these people live with a lot of affluence and yet they don’t seem to have jobs to pay for such a lifestyle. All that aside, it was an enjoyable watch and I’m all for promoting other women filmmakers so if you get a chance, you should watch it.

Last weekend I worked on the set of a cool martial arts project. Matt, the DP for Love Song hooked me up with it. It was a great experience to be on a set where I’m sure the budget for one day was probably more than the Love Song budget for 7 days!!! Welcome to IndieWood. I got to see some of the guys who worked on Love 10 to 1. It was so good to see Brian Sorbo again. He’s so amazing and we owe him so much. When our website is up we’ll upload his info because he’s a great resource for independent filmmakers. If anyone reads this is interested in an amazing gaffer w/a grip truck let me know and I'll put you in touch with him.

Just writing about all this made me tired. OMG, what will I do when I have a baby?!?!?! (No, I'm not pregnant and I'm not trying YET!)

That’s it for now. Hopefully Christine and Laura will blog soon.


Thursday, February 07, 2008

In the Spirit of Good Karma

Please take some time to read the article below. I cringed as I read it (and I know Christine and Laura will too). In a much smaller, minute, miniscule, itty bitty scale (our budget was nowhere near what this was) it hit very close to home for different reasons.

This blog was supposed to be an honest account of the making of Love 10 to 1. In the last four years (it took about two to write, with writers and directors coming and going) we've endured a lot of hardships and met a lot of scummy people. In the spirit of Good Karma, we've refrained from blogging about certain experiences.

Christine, Laura and I got together last week and I urged them to blog. The subject of what should/shouldn't we blog about came up. Again, we decided that certain things should be kept private. Christine said her blogging would discourage other filmmakers, but we agreed that we should all blog about the unpleasant situations we've encountered. I'm just not there yet.

I promise that at some point, maybe when the film is completed, we will each take the time to share those experiences with our readers. We are not interested in discouraging anyone's dreams, just giving you a reality check on what it takes to put your money where your dreams are in order to make them come true.

With all of that said, we have also met AMAZING people along the way and collected an enormous amount of experience and resources.

At the end of the day I am grateful for it all.



Would You Dump This Woman?

Amy Heckerling's production conflicts -- We hear from the writer/director of ''I Could Never Be Your Woman'' about release delays and bitter studio battles

By Missy Schwartz Article from Entertainment Weekly online

Amy Heckerling sounds demoralized. She's up against a deadline on her new movie, and she just can't ''find'' the scene she's working on. She doesn't mean that in some airy, artsy way. She's not trying to locate the scene's heartbeat or distill its essence. No, when Heckerling says she can't find the scene, she means it literally: She doesn't know where it is. More than two years ago, she wrote and directed I Could Never Be Your Woman, a romantic comedy starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Paul Rudd. The movie is finally set for a Feb. 12 release, and Heckerling has spent the past few weeks hunting for a previously deleted sequence that, apparently, no longer exists. ''I had to go through all my old dailies until I found the crappy, unmixed, undigitized version,'' she says. ''I don't even know why I bother. The missing elements? Who the f--- knows where they are? The company lost them.''

The company in question is the beleaguered, three-year-old Bauer Martinez Entertainment, and the missing scene is just one of the countless setbacks in the film's torturous journey to release. It's a bizarre saga in which salaries were slashed, deals disintegrated, and millions in potential revenue were lost. The one thing all parties agree on is that it's baffling that a movie with two well-known actors, directed by the woman behind Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Clueless, wound up in the home-video refuse pile. That's right: After coming this close to a theatrical release more times than Heckerling can remember, I Could Never Be Your Woman is going straight to DVD.

We're all familiar with the story of the $200 million blockbuster that weathers misfortune on its way to the multiplex. Woman, however, is something of a subcultural curio. It's a modestly budgeted indie that, while far from perfect, never got the chance it deserved, hitting every speed bump and knocking over every traffic cone along the way. The experience has been one of the most frustrating of Heckerling's 26-year career — and, incidentally, coincided with the illness of both her parents, whom she was nursing through heart ailments and chemotherapy. The director has yet to wrap her head around it all. ''I don't know what to say because I don't have all the information. I don't know what goes on behind my back.... I always feel like, if you don't have anything good to say, then don't say anything.'' She sighs. ''Bitterness is so ugly. I don't want to go there.''
Normally, Heckerling is the last person you'd describe as glum. A 53-year-old, Bronx-born spitfire with a biting sense of humor, she's worked steadily within the studio system since making a name for herself with Fast Times in 1982. But she's always positioned herself as a rebellious outsider. She refuses to be a mere helmer-for-hire, preferring to write and direct her own material, such as 1989's $140 million hit Look Who's Talking. Heckerling dismisses patronizing Hollywood suits with just three words: ''Screw 'em all.'' As Rudd puts it, ''She swears, she's hilarious, and her no-bulls--- meter is right in line.''

The inspiration for I Could Never Be Your Woman came to Heckerling in the mid-'90s, when she was exec-producing ABC's adaptation of Clueless and raising a preteen girl alone. (Her daughter, Mollie, is now 21.) Every day, she felt increasingly ambivalent about working in an industry that promotes unrealistic standards of beauty for young girls and considers women over 40 to be prehistoric beasts. In 1999, Heckerling poured those feelings into a script about a divorced teen-soap producer (Pfeiffer) who falls for a younger man (Rudd) while trying to guide her daughter through adolescence. The producer grapples with idiot executives and pampered young stars with spray-on abs, not to mention the terror of being a fortysomething at a rock club. Then the network cans her — because she's not hip enough.

The screenplay found a home at Paramount, but in an unfortunate case of life imitating art, the studio put it on hold. ''There was some concern about doing a movie with an older female protagonist — not anybody's favorite demographic,'' says Heckerling. (Paramount had no comment.) It didn't help that the director's last effort, 2000's Jason Biggs comedy Loser, lived up to its title, grossing a tepid $15.6 million. Eventually the script made its way to Pfeiffer, who'd been MIA since 2002's White Oleander. The three-time Oscar nominee was not the power player she once was, but she managed to revive the project. Heckerling's then agent at CAA found a guy to foot the bill: a Hollywood newcomer named Philippe Martinez. Terrific news. Right?

A Frenchman who has financed and produced some two dozen movies and directed the Jean-Claude Van Damme flick Wake of Death, Martinez, 39, came to L.A. in 2005 boasting a $200 million line of credit and grand plans to make Bauer Martinez Entertainment the biggest indie studio the States had ever seen. For him, Hollywood represented a fresh start: In 1999, he spent 14 months in a California detention center unsuccessfully fighting extradition to France for a fraud conviction related to his former film company; he later served six months in a French jail. Martinez's checkered past — combined with his penchant for smoking cigars and tooling around town in a chauffeured Bentley — fascinated the press, which labeled him, as he puts it, ''a wild cat.'' ''Every time an article has been written about me,'' he says, ''they feel like they have to mention something that happened 12 years ago. 'Oh, my God, that guy was convicted for fraud!''' (Touché monsieur.)

With a $25 million budget in place, Heckerling recruited her Clueless leading man Rudd to play Pfeiffer's beau. She discovered the young Irish actress Saoirse Ronan — now an Oscar nominee for Atonement — and cast her as the precocious daughter who crank-calls Henry Winkler and insists her Ken doll has Alzheimer's. Shooting began in August 2005 — only not in L.A. To take advantage of tax breaks, Martinez set up production in the U.K. Dressing up London to look like L.A. struck Heckerling as odd, but then so did Martinez. Of one poolside lunch meeting, she offers these surreal memories: ''We were in some tents. I think he was in a bathrobe. Giant cigars all the time.'' Next to Martinez's imposing figure, Heckerling ''felt like the scruffy little Jew.''

By the time Heckerling wrapped Woman in late 2005, Martinez had learned that distributing his own movies was tougher than he'd imagined. ''Philippe didn't have a real understanding of what he was getting into,'' says a source. Fortunately, MGM agreed to distribute three Bauer Martinez movies, the first of which was supposed to be Heckerling's.

But for every fortunately in Heckerling's life, an unfortunately was close behind. To keep Woman's budget down, Martinez had persuaded Pfeiffer to reduce her salary to $1 million as an advance on 15 percent of the gross. MGM, however, balked at the prospect of waiting for the star to collect her take before it made any profits of its own, especially since the studio was also shouldering marketing costs. So despite positive test screenings, MGM shelved Woman — the same day that Pfeiffer was due to board a plane and kick off the PR campaign.

Desperate to save the MGM agreement, Martinez went to work renegotiating Pfeiffer's deal. During this time, Heckerling recalls, ''he kept telling me, 'You have to talk to Michelle. It's her fault.' I'm like, how bad do I feel putting her in a movie that she worked so hard on — and now I have to tell her to reduce [her pay]?'' By January 2007, this all became moot: The MGM deal was off. The studio declined to comment, but the split came at a dire time for Bauer Martinez. After just a year and a half, the company had racked up a $100 million debt. The would-be super-indie, whose logo depicts a soaring biplane, seemed on the verge of a crash-and-burn landing.

Plenty of studios considered taking Woman off Martinez's hands — until they learned he had already signed away DVD and non-pay-TV rights to The Weinstein Company. That decision made sense when he was distributing it himself. Now? Not so much. As Heckerling puts it, ''When you've already given away DVD, you're saying, 'Here, buy my baby. I've cut its legs off, but it's still cute.''' While her movie hung in limbo, Heckerling and Co. stood by. ''I remember asking Amy, 'What's going on?''' says Rudd. ''And she'd just go, 'I have no f---ing idea.'''

One final fortunately arrived last summer, when Martinez laid out a deal with indie distributor Freestyle Releasing. He also partnered with Blue Rider Pictures, a financing firm that helped fund Rescue Dawn and would kick in $10-12 million for marketing. Under the new plan, Woman would hit 1,200 theaters in fall of 2007. Unfortunately, Blue Rider insisted that Pfeiffer commit to a full publicity campaign. The company contends that the actress declined to do PR because she was unhappy with the small-scale release. Pfeiffer's camp, meanwhile, contends that that's ridiculous. According to her publicist, Pfeiffer was willing to promote the movie, but there wasn't enough money for advertising and Martinez had already given up on a theatrical release. Says Heckerling: ''You can't blame Michelle for saying, This is not what I signed up for.'' Martinez blames her anyway. ''Money is more important for some people,'' he says. ''Maybe movie stars should just make movies with studios.''

For all this finger-pointing, everyone wound up on the same team: the losing one. In May, Martinez will watch another high-profile project, the Richard Gere thriller The Flock, go directly to DVD. Still, Martinez claims he's reduced his debt to $10 million and will continue to distribute internationally. He even has plans to direct again.
Moving on has been harder for Heckerling. Though her mother's cancer is in remission, her father has passed away. ''It's been a crappy year,'' she says. She's ''too bummed'' to feel proud of the film and fears it suffered from the delays. The dated references — to Will & Grace, UPN, and The WB — do seem jarring in a movie from a filmmaker synonymous with pop cultural savvy. ''I was always afraid some of the jokes would end up stale,'' says Rudd. ''Amy doesn't make movies every year.... It's a real shame.''

Heckerling doesn't know when she'll direct again. ''I don't want to work for the hell of it,'' she says. ''I get offered: 'Here's a girl who's mad at another girl for having a wedding on the same day.' That'll be a big hit, but I don't want to do that.'' Will she eventually come back fighting? ''It would be fun to say, Oh, you can't keep me down, blah, blah, blah.'' She slips into her trademark deadpan. ''But I haven't had that much coffee yet today.''

(additional reporting by Vanessa Juarez and Nicole Sperling)..insert tvFranSecondaryLink2-->
Posted Feb 01, 2008 Published in issue 977 Feb 08, 2008
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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Movies By Women Audio Podcast 05: FOCUS ON FEMALE DIRECTORS

MBW Audio Podcast 05: Focus on Female Directors
Release Date: 2008/01/31
Running Time: 33:57
Format & Size: Quicktime MP3 7.2MB

This week in the MoviesByWomen audio podcast 05: In Episode 5, regular hosts Tara Veneruso, Stephanie Young, Lucy Rodriguez Watson, and Heidi Martinuzzi chat with Kim Adelman ( columnist and author of "The Ultimate Guide to Chick Flicks", among others) about the American Cinematheque's Focus on Female Directors, whether group screenings should "use" celebrities, the relative merits of film festival goodie bags and special women director programs.

This episode hosts include Tara Veneruso, Stephanie Young, Lucy Rodriguez Watson, and Heidi Martinuzzi. Special Guest was Kim Adelman, columnist, and author of such books as "The Ultimate Guide to Chick Flicks". You can read more about Kim at
Further shownotes pending, still nee to be transcribed!
And our podcast host, 1245_VINE_industries:

Monday, February 04, 2008

Why Good Karma Films?

So Laura and I promised Lucy that we would start blogging more often.  I can't speak for Laura, but for me I desperately needed time off from this production to recharge my batteries, hence the extended hiatus from blogging. My apologies.

We are still trying to find an editor for the footage that we shot in Round I.  The search for a good, non-flakey editor has been very difficult.  I'm sure it's because we don't have a lot of money to offer a professional editor, so the people who have responded have been very unreliable (or very expensive).  I find that that kind of behavior would not be acceptable in most industries save the entertainment industry.  Perhaps it is the freelance mentality of the indie filmmaking world that allows people to treat business encounters as casually as a one-night stand, consequences be damned.  

When we first got together to talk about this project and discussed setting up a production company, I played around with various names for the production company.  I'm a big believer that all of our actions, good and bad, have consequences (even when no one is watching).  Good Karma Films was born with the hope that despite the dog-eat-dog mentality of the Biz, we could maintain our integrity on this journey that we have chosen as our career path.  Perhaps it's just the naivete of the uninitiated and perhaps we would find ourselves compromising ideals in the pursuit of success somewhere along the way.  I hope not.  I feel extremely blessed to have found two other similarly-minded kindred spirits as my co-directors on this film...they too believe that integrity matters and live their lives accordingly.  So choose your partners wisely, make sure you share the same vision--not just the destination but how to get there.      


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.