To Live and Write in LA

Archive for Filmmaking

Interview: ‘Creedmoria’ Director Alicia Slimmer Admits Coming-of-Age Flick is All About Her

‘Creedmoria’, a film by first-time writer/director Alicia Slimmer, made its SoCal premier at the Dances With Films Festival. It chronicles the efforts of sweet-sixteen Candy Cahill, played by Stef Dawson, to come of age in one of the most dysfunctional families in movie history. As I watched the film, I hoped, for Slimmer’s sake, that this movie wasn’t too autobiographical. It turns out that it was.

Adobe Does ‘Deadpool’ : And Remember Kids, Try This at Home

Deadpool is not your father’s superhero movie, or, because of its R-rating, your kid’s either. Director Tim Miller was true to the comic book character, who has been rude-man-out in the Marvel Universe for 25 years. Miller was obviously going for shock and edginess and he succeeded. But one thing not obvious is how this tale was put together. Traditionally, major movies have been assembled on big, dedicated editing hardware and software costing as much as a Prius. Although Deadpool couldn’t have been put together on your father’s PC, it probably could on your kid’s.

Anthem FilmFest: Top 10 Libertarian Films Rock with Jennifer Lawrence, Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman

“When I grow up, I want to be Dr. Manhattan,” was one of the responses Anthem Film Festival organizer Jo Ann Skousen received during the “Top 10 Films Every Libertarian Should Know” panel. Sometimes you get more than you ask for. After the audience joined the panel in suggesting films, well, there were a lot more than 10.

DWF: Three Shorts – Fantasy, Love and Our Fragile Grasp on Reality

Why do filmmakers create short films? Sometimes they are truly motivated to tell a story which only fits in a short format. Other times, it is to show off their skills in order to establish their credentials. Once in a while, they may make a short version of a film that they ultimately want to turn into a feature length production. At this year’s Dances With Films (DWF) festival, held in Hollywood in June, the selection of short films was impressive and contained examples which both fit into and transcended the above reasons. Three films I found impressive all dealt with our perception of what is real: ‘Funny Love,’ ‘Waste Paper,’ and ‘Waiting for You.’

Dances with Films Festival: The Powerhouse Panel – Hollywood Success Secrets

Want to be successful in Hollywood? The Dances with Films Festival featured a terrific “powerhouse” panel. Here’s what the panelists had to say.

SXSW: ‘The Diabolical’ and ‘Roar’ – Learning from Mistakes with Tipi Hedren and Ali Larter

As film fans and writers we can learn something from other people’s mistakes, for example, the SXSW screenings of ‘The Diabolical’ and ‘Roar.

Making ‘The Vineyard’ for the Los Angeles 48 Hour Film Project: Lessons Learned

(Originally published on I was always told that the promulgator of Murphy’s Law worked in an Information Services department, but, now I know better – he was a filmmaker. In August of last year, I decided to enter the 48-hour Film Project – Los Angeles. The contest organizers give you a genre and a […]

‘Cocktails and Camouflage’ Comedy Show Raises Money to Employ Veterans in Film and Television

(Originally published on Cocktails & Camouflage was an evening of laughter, memories, and hope at Flappers Comedy Club in Burbank, California, on November 6, 2014. The laughter came because on the surface it was a night of stand-up and a darn funny one at that. Emceed by KLOS radio personality Frazer Smith and headlining […]

Family Film Festival: ‘Centurion AD’ and ‘Leaving Limbo’

(Originally published on Two films at the International Family Film Festival, Centurion AD and Leaving Limbo took two radically different paths to get you in touch with things spiritual, although they both involved a character out of their normal place in time. Centurion AD is billed as a sci-fi action adventure, set in current […]

Anthem Film Fest: Mind Reboot

Two of the documentaries at the Anthem Film Festival caused my brain to do a reboot.

Anthem Film Fest: ‘Cough’ – A Must-Watch for Filmmakers

This is an amazing 11 minutes of film. In the space within which most films are still on the titles, Australian Writer/Director Jason Kempnich gives us a “save the cat” moment, a character flaw (despair), an inciting incident, a character arc, conflict and a resolution. And the special effects are good, too. I saw Cough at the Anthem […]

Film Distribution Workshop with Gravitas

Melanie Miller is responsible for distributing 500 films per year, reaching 100 million homes in North America.

Academy Award Winner Dan Lindsay Shares His Story

Undefeated takes viewers on a journey with the 2009 Manassas High School Tigers football team from North Memphis, Tennessee, as they struggle to win the first playoff game in the school’s 110 year existence.

Alameda Writers Group: Kickstarting Your Film

(Originally published on “What the suits want isn’t always the same as what the fans want,” explained screenwriter and author Marc Zicree at the October meeting of the Los Angeles based Alameda Writers Group (AWG). Zicree and his wife Elaine spoke to over 100 writers at AWG’s monthly meeting about non-traditional ways of getting […]

Let Me Out

There are two ways that films illuminate difficult truths about growing up: painfully, as in The Spectacular Now, and charmingly, as is done in Let Me Out.

Anthem Film Fest – Telling the Truth Could Get You Killed

(First published on Filmmaker Reaves Washburn quoted Oscar Wilde: “Wilde said, ‘If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise, they’ll kill you.’  For us,” he continued, “that means give them good themes, peak their interest, ease people in and make it fun in every way.” Washburn, whose film Knocked Down won the short […]

LA Film Fest: When (Creative) Worlds Collide

(First published on On June 23, 2013, at the LA Film Fest worlds collided. This was no hokey sci-fi flick, but a discussion of the impact of new media on the movie industry and the art of storytelling. Hollywood and Silicon Valley Collide: Immersion, Interactivity and Narrative Expansion brought together panelists Florian Henckel Von Donnersmark (The Lives of Others, The […]

LA Film Fest: ‘Crystal Fairy’

(First published on I don’t like hippies or recreational drug use and that’s what Sebastián Silva’s Crystal Fairy is all about. Strangely, I enjoyed the film and recommend it. Part of the Los Angeles Film Festival Summer Showcase series, Crystal Fairy chronicles the road-trip and psychedelic-trip adventures of Jamie, played by Michael Cera, (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Arrested […]

‘Harry Grows Up’ Wins at LA Comedy Shorts Festival

(First published on Studies of really young love won top honors at two LA film events last month. At the LA Comedy Shorts Festival (LACSF) the Audience Award went to Harry Grows Up by Writer /Director Mark Nickelsburg, and Writer Cindy Chupack. At the second annual Collaboration Filmmakers Challenge, both the judge’s and the audience awards went to A Simple Test, […]

Alameda Writers Group: Everything About Screenwriting

(First published on If you left the May meeting of the Alameda Writers Group (AWG) with unanswered questions about screenwriting, it was your own fault. The featured speaker at the AWG General Membership meeting was writer, director, producer, author and UCLA instructor Tom Lazarus. AWG President Marc Cushman (Star Trek, Diagnosis: Murder) introduced Lazarus whose credits include writer/story consultant for many […]

An exploration of film and filmmaking