Fools by Martin Walker

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My favorite post on this blog - please check it out

This is one of the best examples of life as an indie filmmaker - can you handle it?

We Lived by Laura Somers


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Give It Away

"There's a river born to be a giver
Keep you warm wont let you shiver
His heart is never gonna wither
Come on everybody time to deliver"

My friend Mari Marks (she plays Sonny Vivian, Dirty Virgin's band manager) is one of my dearest friends. Through her, I've met some of my biggest supporters, Bonnie & Barbara (and ofcourse Mari herself). They are all therapists and believe me, the advice of three therapists has come in handy more often than not during this production. These ladies have become my LA surrogate mothers. I LOVE THEM.

During the last round of production they were super supportive, they listened to my worries and gave me great perspective. A dinner with these three ladies lifts my spirits for months on end.

During the last round of production, I had a hard time coming up with all the money to shoot my film. Mari said to me, "Lucy, sometimes you have to let things go and wait for them to come back to you". I didn't tell her this, but at the time, I thought that advice was full of sh*t. I was in a pretty crummy mood and that type of philosophy was the last thing I needed to hear.

After we wrapped in November, I hibernated for about a month. The filming took a toll on all of us. This was my time to let it go. For the month of December I really put the upcoming shoot out of my mind. I had no money and no way of getting money. At this point I had no choice than to "let go" of my film. I have to admit it, it felt good. For the month of December I did not give any thought to Love Song or anything that had to to with my "career" as a filmmaker.

With my "free" time, I hiked, worked out, spent time with friends and I managed to read; I read scripts and even got to read a book. I bought Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis when it first came out in 2004, it took me three years to find time to read it! I loved the book, it gave me an inside into the life of a band that I love. In one of the chapters Anthony talks about what the song "Give It Away" means. The song was based on advice that a friend of theirs gave him when he reached a certain amount of success, (the song Venice Queen is about this friend). Since then, that song has become my mantra. When ever I want something from the universe, I have to give something to the universe.

I'm about to set dates to shoot my film. I gave something to the universe and the universe gave back to me. Today, I am HAPPY.

So the support of my three friends plus the wisdom of Give It Away has gotten me through some rough times. Pursuing your dreams is painful and hard, I'll let you keep you posted on the pay off. I'm sure it'll be worth it.


Monday, April 21, 2008

Good Karma Films

Christine's been hard at work designing the website for our production company, Good Karma Films.

Please stop by, book mark it & check it out.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Merging Your Passions

I love to read, I love music, I love film, I love to write, I love to hike, I love my friends and I love my family.

With Love 10 to 1 I was able to merge my passions for film, music and writing. I get to work with my close friends, and I’ve made some new friends along the way. I also get to work with my family and a good chunk of pre-pro took place on the scenic hiking trails of our lovely city. It was on a hike (Fryman) that Christine and I invited Laura to join our crazy journey. On the same hike Laura pitched us ideas for her story, Christine and I fell in love with what would become Diving Lessons.

Not that it’s been easy, following my dreams has been one of the most challenging endeavors of my adult life. I’ve learned a lot about myself, about the industry and the world around me.
We are getting ready to shoot Love Song, but as usual, it’s not without personal challenges. My mom started a new round of chemo today. I’ve had some health issues of my own, that at the moment seem to be under control. I’m also dealing with additional issues that I can’t discuss here (I need to leave something for the book), yes, when we are done, we are going to publish a book detailing all the efforts it’s taken us to get here.

Regardless of all these “issues” this story has been with me for so long that I could direct it if I was in a coma! I’m confident with my abilities as a director, I have talented actors and a kick ass team behind me.

Recently, I decided to merge my passion for reading with my passion for filmmaking. I approached an author (whose work I LOVE) to let me adapt one of her short stories and enter a competition sponsored by HBO and the NY International Latino Film Festival. I did a really good job with the adaptation, I am very proud of it. I credit the writer of the book with this because the way she writes lends itself really well to an adaptation. I am my own worse critic but this was the first time that I wrote something that I felt the first draft was close to perfect. I think I have a shot at winning this thing! The author has been extremely generous and supportive. If I don’t win, I will still shoot this after I am done with Love Song.

I also applied for a fellowship with the Producer’s Guild of America – I applied with my friend Gus Avila’s script “Closer To Fine”, and I think I have a good shot at that too. I love the way Gus writes and I enjoy reading his work, he’s right up there with Christine and Laura (they are all gifted writers). I am grateful to have so many talented people that I can call friends and collaborators.

So whenever possible, merge your passions, work with people you enjoy spending time with and above all, follow your bliss.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Website for Production Company

Help me! My eyes are beginning to go blurry from trying to put together the website for our production company: We have a website developer putting together the website for the film, with cool flash stuff and all, but I figured the production company website can be a lot simpler. Hence my attempt to add website developer to my resume.

My friend helped me upload the template and the rest of it is just a matter of making sure links work and creating the content. It's a work in progress but I'm one of those OCD people who feels compelled to finish something once I start. And if I click on a link and it doesn't work, I have to figure out why. So I've spent a large part of today trying to figure out how to upload a picture onto one of the web pages. Still haven't figured it out.

Anyway, please check out the website when you get a chance. You can click on the title of this blog post or just go to

The film website should be up shortly, at It's gonna be cool!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Persistence; Networking II

There are two organizations that I give a lot of my time to, Film Independent and Movies by Women. I started volunteering at Film Independent because I wanted to network with other filmmakers. I’ve had the privilege of meeting top professionals in varying disciplines of filmmaking and learning a great deal from them.

In 2006 I was accepted into the 2007 cycle of Project:Involve - Film Independent's signature diversity program. The program pairs you with a mentor – I was lucky to get my top choice – I chose Flower Films and have been mentored by two executives there, they have been more than kind in sharing their time and advice. Their assistant has been great at setting up my meetings and following up with me. You should always be respectful of the assistants because they are the up and coming executives and if you are nice to them they may remember you but if you are nasty they will definitely remember you.

Some of our P:I advisors included directors Billy Ray (Shattered Glass, Breach) and Doug Atchison (Akeelah and the Bee), Producer Albert Berger (Little Miss Sunshine, Little Children) among others. This is not my attempt to name drop but to let you all know how important it is to network not only amongst your peers but also with people who are established in their careers.

It was also through Film Independent that I got involved with Movies By Women. Christine and I attended our first event some four years ago. The Digital Filmmaking Series is a five week workshop that gives a thorough overview of current and emerging technologies in the film industry. Our instructor was Tara Veneruso, founder of Movies by Women. At the time, it felt like this was going to be one of the most challenging film related courses I had taken. To my surprise, I got what Tara was teaching. She is so knowledgeable and her enthusiasm is contagious. I knew I had to work with her. Today, I consider Tara a mentor and a close friend. Through my work with Movies by Women I’ve met directors Allison Anders, Grace Lee, Penelope Spheeris and most recently Kimberly Peirce and Joe Dante among others. I am one of the co-host of the audio podcasts and I am grateful to Tara for bringing me along on this ride.

I have a wide network of filmmaker friends that include some of my dearest friends; Christine, Laura, Danny, Gus, Tara, Stephanie, Matthew, Jenna, Jane, Lynn and Nanobah. They are so talented and I am proud to call them friends and/or collaborators and I’ve met all of them by networking.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Persistence; Networking

Just came back from a symposium where a group of Vietnamese American filmmakers (among other artists) spoke on the "Biz".   The most important lesson, said Tim Bui (director of Green Dragon), is to be persistent.  Persistence is perhaps more important than talent.  Also speaking at the symposium was Ham Tran (Journey From the Fall) and Stephane Gauger (The Owl and the Sparrow, nominee at Independent Spirit Awards) (among others).  

While I was waiting for the symposium to start, I decided to be anti-social, so I just found a seat and started reading the schedule for the Visual Communications L.A. Asian Pacific Film Festival ( in May.  A woman sat next to me and I decided to strike up a conversation (I decided not to be anti-social anymore).  I found out that she's a producer who is producing films in Vietnam.  How cool is that?!  She knows all these guys who are making films in Vietnam.  I asked her how she came to know these filmmakers, and she said she just met them at events such as this symposium.  So of course I got her contact info.  

One of my New Year's resolutions for this year is to network network network.  I would say that other than persistence, the other important key to success is learning how to establish and maintain relationships (i.e., business relationships, but I think personal relationships too, because I'm a big believer of the importance of having a support network of friends and family).  In fact, the very first piece of business advice ever given to me when I was starting out professionally is the importance of relationships.  Throughout the years, I've met so many successful people who have repeated this advice.

As part of my New Year's resolution to network, I renewed my memberships/started new memberships, with various film organizations and I'm trying to get out there to meet new people.   So far, I've met a number of truly amazing and passionate filmmakers, producers, artists, etc.  I feel incredibly fortunate to be among this community of creative people.   My sister told me about this saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."  (Sorry, I don't know the source of this quote, just that it isn't my sister's.)  I think it is also true that when you are committed to your dreams, you will meet those along the way who will help you (I'm going to give that one to Coelho, as that was a theme in The Alchemist).     

Friday, April 11, 2008

Fulfilling Childhood Dreams--It Can Happen

I fulfilled one of my childhood dreams today: I met Lindsay Wagner.  For those born in the '80's and may not know, Lindsay Wagner is THE Bionic Woman (the original series, not the probably-off-the-air-by-now recent remake of it).  Of all the super-women fighting crime in the 70's and 80's, my favorite super-woman of all time was The Bionic Woman.  I mean, Wonder Woman was cool and all with her magic lasso and invisible plane, but come on, with boobs that big, I couldn't relate.  Charlie's Angels were cool too, but it took three of them to get the job done, while the Bionic Woman kicked ass on her own.  I found the story compelling: a skydiving accident left her paralyzed, but she "rose from the ashes" (so to speak) to become the bionic woman and save the world.  It was her second chance at life, and she used it to do good.  Plus, I loved Max, the bionic dog.

I know this is probably the geekiest blog you've ever read, but let me take you back to my childhood for a moment so you understand where I'm coming from.  As I mentioned in a prior blog, my family came to the U.S. with not much more than the clothes on our backs.  Both my parents worked around the clock in order to feed their five kids.  So I did what most latchkey kids do, which is watch television.   Say what you will about the evils of television, in my case TV was my English teacher, my babysitter, my escape from poverty.  

So I loved the Bionic Woman because she was a survivor.  And I'm sure that deep down in my subconscious then--young as I was--was this hope that you do get second chances in life and use your powers for good.  I needed to believe that because as refugees, we were lucky to get that second chance in the U.S.

Anyway, the event that I attended today was the Women In Film's Malibu breakfast.  Lindsay Wagner was the guest speaker.  After her talk, I chatted with her briefly and even took a blurry picture from my cell phone.  My childhood idol was the Bionic Woman, but Lindsay Wagner is even more amazing in person.  Wow.


Vagina Music Strikes Back....and ruins trailer in the process

I just saw the Sex and the City trailer (click the title to take you there). The first song - not sure who's singing it but it's Irving Berlin's Blue Skies (I love it) and then, EEEEK! a remake of the Heart of the Matter (very annoying interpretation) and then thank God, the Sex and the City theme, revamped and ready for chorus line of gay boys. Why oh why did they have to use the middle song to kill the trailer.

I stand by my dislike of the new version of Heart of the Matter, I hope that the movie is not full of pathetic versions of good songs. There's no accounting for good taste, I'm sure the song will be nominated for all sorts of awards and I'll probably get hate mail in the process but that's ok.

I guess it's written in some manual that when Hollywood needs to sell or market to women and girls it must be done with so much sugar that it gives you a toothache.

I've heard a horrible spoiler/rumor about the film, if it's in fact true, then I guess they need to enhance the plot with as much crappy music as possible and give people something else to complain about.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Commitment to Our Personal Calling

I've wanted to write this post for a while now, but every time I sit down and face this blog, the words elude me.  So perhaps the easier (and more eloquent) way to talk about following one's dreams is to borrow from Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist", one of my favorite books.  In the introduction, Coelho talks about the four obstacles that keep us from pursuing our dreams.  (I won't discuss all four obstacles here, because you should go out and discover it for yourself if you haven't read it already.) 

Coelho asks, "Why is it so important to live our personal calling if we are only going to suffer more than other people?"  This question/conversation comes up often with my friends who are pursuing, or want to pursue, their personal calling.  Mainly, the question is not whether to pursue our personal calling, but how to financially support ourselves during the pursuit.  How long would you be willing to work at [insert day job here] in order to support your filmmaking dreams, while your friends are buying homes and vacationing around the world?  At what point do you go after the fallback career, or if you have one, to fall back into that fallback career?  

Coehlo answers this question of "why": "Because, once we have overcome the defeats--and we always do--we are filled by a greater sense of euphoria and confidence.  In the silence of our hearts, we know that we are proving ourselves worthy of the miracle of life."  And my favorite quote: "Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bearable; the latter goes on for years and, without our noticing, eats away at our soul, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness and it stays with us for the rest of our lives."

For my friends who have asked, "Why this pursuit?", and "For how long?", I think the answer can only be answered by the individual asking the question.  But IMHO, I think that the commitment to the pursuit makes us more fulfilled.  And isn't that what we're striving for?   


Monday, April 07, 2008

Great advice from one of my myspace friends (click here to link)

Hiring Your Crew

Hiring your Film Crew

When hiring your CREW, first and foremost what you're looking for is other leaders. People who will take their position and own it - make themselves the LEADER of that job. This is a collaborative medium. Everyone can pour themselves into the film, no matter which position they have, and just plain make the film better.

If everyone on your set works that much harder, and believes in the project with their inner soul, then you have the makings of a great film. In previous films I've learned what not when hiring a crew.

As the Producer and/or Director, you are the LEADER of the film. You have to make tough decisions. Hiring Your Crew is the first, and sometimes the toughest, decision you have to make.

I've learned two major hiring mistakes in the past:

1) DO NOT hire someone who thinks they are doing you a favor.

If you're a first-time filmmaker or you are just beginning, you may tend to want to hire a DP, for example, with loads of experience. That is a smart decision, no question, but the danger is that they might think they are just helping you out by coming on board. What happens when they are not emotionally linked to the project? They are there to help out, not to become a part of the overall team.

If you hire someone with a great resume of prior experience, no matter if they are an actor, editor, sound designer, etc., make sure there is an equal partnership in your relationship, and that you are both working with each other because of this great project you have, and for no other reason.

Hiring someone who's doing you a favor WILL ALWAYS end badly. Every relationship you start has to begin on equal footing.

Same goes for the other way around. DO NOT hire someone that YOU want to do a favor for. It sounds like a nice thing to do, hiring a family member, friend of the girlfriend, etc...BUT nine times out of
10 it never ends well. And these are the people you have a hard time firing, too.

2) DO NOT hire your friend because they are your friend.

The film is the ego of the project. Everything must be done for the sake of making the best film possible. And that includes hire the best person for each job.

We all tend to want to hire people that make us the most comfortable, right away. The people we already know, and don't have to go through the "getting to know you" stage of the relationship. But are they the best person for the job? Is there someone better you can find with the means you have?

This is your film. Your mission is to make the best film, and sometimes making the hard decisions about whom you bring on will give you the best film.

When HIRING YOUR CREW, they have to pass the TEST. A good measure is if they can answer these THREE QUESTIONS with a PERFECT SCORE:

1) Do they have INTEGRITY?

-Do they tell the truth, keep their word, take responsibility for past actions, admit mistakes, and fix them?
-You can rely on their reputation in the field and their reference checks (always ask for references, even for freebie films). Reference checks of course aren't infallible. So ask yourself what YOUR INNER GUT says. When you're shooting a film, you're going to have to rely on your instincts a lot, so when hiring your crew you'll get some good practice.
-Even if their resumes, reputation and reference checks are great, if your instinct feels something is off, then trust your instinct.


-They understand the practical means of their position, while also being creatively unique. And they understand how to be a leader, too, and bring other smart people to the project for you.

-Take a look at their reels and see if there's something there that will make you KNOW that they can do your project.
-They understand that intelligence for their craft also means showing up on time, showing up prepared and ready for a long-but-insightful-and-meaningful day. And they treat everyone else on the crew with respect for their jobs, and offer kindness and support.

3) Are they MATURE?

-You can be mature or immature at any age.
-You can see that a person has grown up when they can withstand the heat, handle stress and setbacks, and enjoy success with humility. Bottom line: They respect the emotions of others.


Overall, to build an effective team, as a leader you know that, in order to meet and exceed your goals, you need help from the best. What I try to do is always hire people that are smarter than me.

And this is never about MONEY. Sometimes you have no money, sometimes you have some, sometimes you have a lot. Of course you can't hire Tom Cruise to act in your film if you don't have any money, but there is always someone out there, no matter what your budget is, who can do a great job.

The less money you have, the more you have to search, but there is always a great hire out there. NEVER SETTLE!!

Take a look at the GOOD, CHEAP and FAST section for the rules of working within a limited budget.

Now that you've hired the best crew, it's your job to lead them to victory.

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Friday, April 04, 2008

Why I Love Vagina Music

Once you get Lucy and me started on music, we are sure to digress from talking about filmmaking.  But music is such an integral part of a film, especially our film, that I can't help but continue this discussion on music.  Actually, the more appropriate title for this blog should be, why I love music.  I think music is the best way to emotionally touch someone.  It's visceral, immediate.  As a writer, I am so envious of musicians.  Because a great book or film requires so much more to emotionally engage the audience, but a great song, well, it only takes a few minutes to be completely moved.  

But anyway, back to vagina music.  My very first recollection of being completely moved by it was probably when I was five or six years old.  There we were--the seven of us in my family--crammed inside a small one-bedroom home.  We had arrived in the U.S. months prior; came to the U.S. with not much more than clothes on our backs (a cliche by now, but true).  I remember waking up one morning and Karen Carpenter was singing "Yesterday Once More" on the radio.  God, I loved that song!  I barely spoke English at this point, but that song really touched me.  Even now, I remember that one morning: the old mattress that we slept on, the sunlight through the window, my mom's murmurs in the background--as Karen Carpenter, her amazing, beautiful voice, made me a lover of vagina music even before Lucy coined the term "vagina music".  

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Vagina Music

I've been very busy and have had little time to blog. Between pre-production on Love Song, working on Movies by Women, life and the curves it throws your way, blogging has not been a top priority.

Christine sure found a way to get me here. It's what I call Lilith Fair crap or Vagina music. She told me of the songs that she has playing here and that I should listen to them. I had a cringe fest - that girly stuff really makes me go into convulsions. I LOVE female singers and female rockers, I like them when they are melancholic and when they rock out, I also like good pop female singers. I don't like them when they whine, bitch and complain. I like my women musicians/singers/songwriters the way I like my friends; talented, cool & low maintenance.

I love Fiona Apple, Hole (Live Through This), Stevie Nicks & Fleetwood Mac, Madonna, Dusty Springfield, Dione Worwick, The Supremes, Joan Jett, Heart, Bananarama, Patsy Cline, Mazzy Star, Peaches, Shocking Blue, Ladytron, Janis Joplin,K.D. Lang, The Poppy Family etc. - so you see, it's not that I don't like women singers, I like my vagina music to have some balls (sorry to be crass but that's the best way to describe it).

Some local acts that I LOVE - LA based The Fabulous Miss Wendy and Seattle's Mono in VCF.

Coming up with music for the film has been one of the most fun and creative parts of the project for me. The music in my portion of the film is not just part of the soundtrack, the music itself is one of my characters. Before I started writing, I came up with a kick ass soundtrack that included a lot of the music from the aformentioned artists. I wrote a blog about how music inspires me a few years ago. It's one of the earlier blogs and it's titled Thank You For The Music if you're so inclined to go back and read it.

I will blog more often, and I'll definitely write about my upcoming location scout w/my kick ass dp - we're going on a bike ride in Venice. The creative juices never stop flowing.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

It's Not You, It's the Movies You Watch

First off, I'd like to apologize for the inconsistent font uses in my blog postings.  I mean really, I can work around the tax code and deductions, but I still can't figure out how to make my blogs look good. Ugh.

So one popular article recently posted on is entitled "It's Not You, It's Your Books" (you can link to the article by clicking on the title of this blog).  In this article, the author writes about how social networking sites such as facebook and myspace allow us to "brand" ourselves by identifying our tastes in music, books and films.  On dates, or even before we get to that stage, do we make snap judgments based on our potential mates' bookshelves?  

As filmmakers, do we make similar judgments based on the films that our potential dates, or perhaps a potential work partner, claim as favorites?  Should we review a potential partner's Netflix queue prior to accepting a date?  Are different tastes in films a reflection of incompatible personalities??  
When Lucy, Laura and I got together to discuss the "look" of our individual stories, it was pretty clear that we each have very different tastes and film influences.  Yet we have managed to work together for years now despite our differences.  I think that is because at the root of it all, we share a passion for films.  (Not to mention our low maintenance personalities.)

IMHO, I have to say that compatibility is more about sharing a passion for a thing, rather than the specifics of that thing.  


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.