To Live and Write in LA

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 […]

Family Film Fest: Zane and Eastwood Help Producer Pull-off Hat Trick

(Originally published on Two famous Hollywood names, Zane and Eastwood, helped producer Jeffery Patterson score a hat trick (the hockey kind, not the cowboy kind), winning two awards at the International Family Film Festival this month in Hollywood, California. Patterson won the Best Feature Drama award for Hot Bath an’ a Stiff Drink, and […]

‘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 […]

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 […]

The Making of ‘Effigy’

(First published on Opening e-mail is usually pretty uneventful, but that day in August was different. I saw an ad for the “The 2nd Annual Debra Hill Fellowship presents Producers Guild Weekend Shorts Contest”. Heck of a long name for a shorts contest. I’d heard of competitions like this before and they intrigued me. The goal […]

How to Succeed in Hollywood by Really Trying

(First published on How would you like to rub shoulders with producers and directors, find out insider secrets from produced screenwriters, recruit actors and production talent, and learn how to jump start your Hollywood career? You could havedone all of this and more at the September meeting of the Alameda Writers Group in Glendale, California. The […]

‘You Got This’: Hollywood Filmmaking in the Suburbs

(Originally published on Cancer, a marathon, thievery and a touching story are a lot to pack into a thirty minute film. That, however, is what producer/screenwriter, and American Film Institute (AFI) grad student, Sara Hills is doing in her film, You Got This. This film is the thesis for Sara’s Masters in Fine Arts from the AFI Conservatory. […]

Produced By Conference: One of Those Moments

(Originally published on It was one of those moments. As a screenwriter or filmmaker you’re constantly studying structure, dialogue, what makes a good scene, distribution, financing, who’s hot, who owes you a favor, and pondering your latest rejection. Then one of those moments happens. One of those moments that reminds you why you decided […]

Produced By Conference: Big Names, Small Budget

(Originally published on The success of an independent film can often depend on getting a “name star” to sign on to the project. The “Big Names, Small Budgets” seminar, presented by SAG and SAGIndie at this past weekend’s “Produced By Conference” (PBC), focused on how to accomplish that. The PBC, presented by the Producers Guild […]

Creative Alchemy: What Does a Producer Add?

(Originally published on At this month’s Producers Guild of America “Produced By Conference”, a distinguished group of filmmakers tackled the question “Do producers bring anything to the creative process?” Maybe it doesn’t apply to every producer, but these gentlemen bring a lot. David Pickler, former CEO or United Artists and producer of Lenny, The Man with […]

Producers Guild Sits Down to Business – and Breakfast and Martinis

(Originally published on Action! Wait… nothing’s happening? Why isn’t a movie being made right now? Because a director isn’t enough. We need actors, crew members, lights, cameras, a location, props, costumes, technology services, sound systems, catering, insurance, doctors, accountants, tax breaks, furniture and, God help us, lawyers. We need the work of a producer. […]

An exploration of film and filmmaking