Saturday, April 5, 2014

From Writing To Directing To Producing

It's been over a year since my last post.  Shame on me. I've been literally swamped.

Without going into every project I've worked on, let me just say tomorrow, a children's television show that has been the desire of my heart to create is FINALLY being filmed!  I am executive producing and head writer of the show. I'm so excited. Tala Hobballah, Michael Haney, co-producers.

On top of that, I have cast some of the best kids in the region to be hosts. One of them, is sweet Noelia, a little one with Down's Syndrome.  I love being able to use the show as proof that kids with special needs can be viable to a production.  She is so excited and we are too!  What a cutie pie. I mean, look at her!

Isn't she precious???

I'll share more about the show once we have it filmed. :)  Let's just say it's pretty awesome!!!! 

I've also written another short film called The Alabaster Phoenix and stars my BFF and biz partner, Buffi Holland has the lead.  So very excited about that too!!!  Logline: A fragile widowed woman grapples with despair and loneliness by discovering her purpose in life.  Lots of locations, and I'm thrilled to possibly be using one of my favorite composers in the universe on this film. Films May 2014. Michael Haney, Dudley Jacobs, producing. 


I'm also producing a short film called PHASE 6. Phase 6 is about governmental population control via the use of flu shots.  It's a sci-fi thriller complete with CGI special effects, so I'm eager to see how this turns out and to work with Jeff Dolan, the director. :)  Starring Keagan Haney, Caleb Shore, Kim Kinsley, and Richard Chilton.  Films June 2014. 

Recently I completed filming a television pilot with the amazing Joe Carroll, writer and director. I earned a producer credit on this one. Can't share the name of the project... YET.  It's a superb concept and I hear it is gaining interest by various sources. As well it should. It's impeccably made and Joe has a keen eye for detail. Shot on the RED camera, the images are crisp, concise, and stunning to watch. 

AMAZING cast.  Photo by Michael Walters

I'm also producing a television show for The Children's Kindness Network called Moozie The Cow.   We have got a great music director, Sara Beck, and Executive Producer, Elandriel Lewis totally has a heart for kiddos.  Research consultants and casting the kiddos  are Colleen Russo, Emily Drossner and Christina Longo. I call them The Vandy Posse since they are all Vanderbilt minds. Ryan Rehnborg is animator. Starring Nina Borum and Caleb Shore.  Moozie the Cow is currently in production. 


So that's my irons in the fire at the moment. I have a few productions lined up to produce... Christopher Siaens "RAIN" is one of those projects. Tala Hobballah has a series she wants me to help her with, and of COURSE I will. Tala is amazing and I cannot say enough things about her and her awesomeness! 

Hopefully I will have a chance to be on here more! I hate such gaps in my entries. I will attempt to do better for you, my ever faithful fans!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Make Your Character Earn it

Hello Fans!

One of the things that is the most boring in a film is when something just happens. The hero mysteriously finds the clue he's looking for.  He stumbles across a gun that is in the plain open. He hasn't had to WORK for anything.

Part of a great script is watching the hero's journey, and your hero's journey NEEDS to be fierce and treacherous.  We NEED to feel the highs and lows with him/her. We HAVE to BELIEVE that everything that promotes him/her comes at a price. He/she needs to earn every bit of info, every weapon, every THING that he needs to fulfill his quest. We are traveling with him/her.  We need to go with the hero to every gun runner, every crime spot, etc.

If you want to go on a great journey  I suggest watching CHINATOWN with Jack Nicholson. Robert Towne did a masterful job of writing, and Roman Polanski, who directed, only added brilliance by removing all voice overs by the character, Jake Gittes, stating he (Polanski) wanted the audience to discover the clues as Jake found them. It worked. I mean, an Academy Award won't lie, right?



Monday, January 14, 2013

Don't Call The Shots... Seriously.

Hello all!

Happy 2013!  Wow have I been busy! Whew!

First of all, let me give you an update. MADAME KOROVA was sucessfully filmed and is in the post production phase.  We all cannot WAIT to see this hit the festival circuit. It turned out to be so much fun to direct.

The talent agency that I own with my completely best friend in the whole wild world, Buffi Holland, has taken off at lightning speed and is flourishing.  You can check out S.T.A.R.S. Talent at HERE if you would like more information. Recently we have booked talent on CATCHING FIRE of yes, THE HUNGER GAMES fame and LAST VEGAS starring Robert Deniro, Kevin Kline, Michael Douglas, and Morgan Freeman.  I'm a proud mama, too... my daughter just got cast in a feature film herself! She starts filming in the fall in Indiana.

Because I've been so busy, I haven't had much chance to write (as you can see from the state of this humble blog!) HOWEVER, I thought I would swing by and offer you a useful screenwriting tip.

When you are writing a screenplay, never, NEVER, NEVER EVER EVER EVER write in or call the shots. I don't mean calling the shots as in deciding what's going on with your character, I mean, writing:

INT. MEDIUM SHOT - VICKI POURS FOOD INTO DOG BOWL

Don't do that.

"Why, ScreenwriterChic? Why should I not do that? How else are folks going to know what I want in this scene?"

Well, to put it bluntly, it ain't your baby anymore. And it's not your job to tell the director what to do.

Once your script has been handed over to a director, it's the director who adds vision to the story and makes it complete.  You have given the framework.  Don't be sad! Your idea may be cool and all, but it's really awesome to see a director come on board with a fresh set of eyes and incorporate their vision with yours. And think about this too... if you put in camera angles and look like a complete noob and an inexperienced dreamer, you will annoy your reader, which is the person you want on your side, believe me! The reader passes on your work of art to the studios.

Now, if you absolutely HAVE to get a certain shot across, there is a way to do it and look professional and NOT step all over the director's toesies.  OR annoy your power wielding reader.

That is in scene description.


EXT. MT. FUJI - DAY

A small speck in the snow, Jessica rummages through her pack.

No food. Disgusted, she throws the pack and SCREAMS.


Okay, did you see what happened here?  A small speck in the snow?  Did you see an aerial shot with that?  And when Jessica couldn't find any food and tosses the bag, you were closer up in your mind's eye, weren't you?

Your scene description frames the picture in the mind of your reader. It's the same as calling your camera angles, but it's a much more appropriate way to do it so you don't have an offended director. Or reader.

And that's what you want, isn't it?






Thursday, July 5, 2012

Update on Madame Korova!





Madame Korova  preparation is on way!

We have just opened our kick starter campaign to help offset the budget of this film. Would you please consider helping fund our project?  It's a great film!

Click here: Madame Korova

Thanks in advance for all your support!

Best,

Marti

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Welcome Back to ME!

Hello all!

It has been EIGHT MONTHS since I have posted.  Craziness has ensued!  I've deleted my previous post due to the fact that for the past eight months I have been doing damage control to my previous film partner's unethical nature. Not all things bad came out of our working together, though!  Through this person, I met my now best friend and business partner, Buffi Holland.

Together, we have created S.T.A.R.S. Talent.  We represent talent all over the United States and even Hawaii! God has blessed us.  Check out our website here:  www.starstalent.org We are very proud, and even better:  BUSY!!!

I have formed a production company called STEAMPUNK LILY FILMS and my first production is being filmed next month in July!  This is so special to me, because the film was written by daughter, Keagan Haney!  She is fifteen years old and she is excited as well, needless to say. I am also excited to be working with one of my friends from Vanderbilt, Christopher Nold. He will be our Director of Photography.  The whole project will be golden!  I'll post a link once it's completed.   I LOVE FILMING!

Here's a picture of my beautiful daughter!
Keagan Haney

Can you tell I'm a proud mom???


Oh!

And on another note, Derek Haas, a great guy I'm so glad I can say is my friend, has written a series called Chicago Hope which was picked up by a major television network!  Kudos to you, Derek!!




Friday, August 26, 2011

The Screenwriter Think Tank Session of Brilliance


Some of the best advice I was ever given was by Will Akers.

He told me, "You're a good writer. Now start making short films. Learn every aspect. That way, you'll always have work."

I am passing that on to you today, dearest reader.   He was absolutely right!


Now, on to screenwriting stuff.

Last week I held my first ever SCREENWRITER THINK TANK OF BRILLIANCE.

It was truly one of the most outstanding times I have had as a writer. Here's the back story:

I am working on a supernatural thriller script.  I had a vague outline of who and what would go on with the story, but I was stuck. I didn't know how to raise the stakes for our hero. I didn't know what occupation my villian should have.  I have a decent concept for a script, but this was driving me nuts. 

So I called the meeting.

I invited a group of friends.  All were from different backgrounds.  Since my story is about a hero paramedic, I had a paramedic there. I read them the outline from my script, and then for two hours picked their brains.  What a great time!

Folks had AMAZING insight. When all was said and done, I had a full fledged outline, and will get this written probably in a couple of weeks before I start the rewriting process.

The point is, DON'T keep your story to yourself. Pitch it to folks.  See if they'd be interested. I pitched the CONCEPT of this script for about two years to folks.  I would say, "Hey, would you see this movie if this happened?" 

With a group of folks who are from different backgrounds, you will be amazed at some of the ideas that will pop up.  Brilliance!  Even my 14 year old daughter contributed, and I am using her idea.

Now, don't get folks who won't speak the truth. If something doesn't make sense, you want to know BEFORE  you start fleshing it out.  Sometimes people will be 'nice' and not 'honest'.  Honesty is what you want. 'Nice' just wastes your time.

So, if you're ever stuck on writing, hold a meeting and pick brains!  We had a great time and got TONS accomplished!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Communication is KEY!

At the time I am writing this, it is 1:45am. Literally.

Why am I writing in the wee hours of the morning? I thought you would never ask, my faithful fan! I'll tell you.

The reason that I'm not resting is because I am supposed to work for a high profile client tomorrow.  They hired me for two days and told me they would send me a call sheet.  I have since emailed them three times requesting this call sheet. I was told that one would be sent to me tonight, hence I am still up waiting.

And this give me a perfect teaching moment for you.

COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CREW!!!!

By the production coordinator not having his ducks in a row, I can already predict how tomorrow will be. And THAT'S if I ever find out what time I'm to arrive!

For those of you who don't know what a call sheet is, it's a document that tells you the address of where you are supposed to be, the TIME you're supposed to be there, numbers to call if you can't make it, and other pertinent information like, where to park.  I'm headed to a municipal auditorium.  Do I park in the audiorium's parking or do I need to park across the street?  There will be thousands of people at this.  What is the dress code? Some companies don't care and merely state: dress comfortably, jeans okay, no open toed shoes.  Some require all black. Which is it for these guys? Who knows!!!

When you run a production, you are the leader.  Everyone looks to you. You may not realize that at the time, but it's true.   You need to have things handled, like, call sheets.  If you are too busy to do it, you know what? There are assistants that are great at it.  Don't mistreat your crew by keeping them in the dark.  And for goodness sake, DON'T lie to your crew!  I got an email stating that I would have my call sheet "tonight".  Well, it's tomorrow, and I'm losing sleep waiting on a call sheet that may or may not come.  And if they call me and my call time is 3am I will seriously be ticked off!

If you are feeling overwhelmed, the best thing you can do, is ask for help. Don't drag people through the mud because you feel it's your baby.  Maybe it is! But do you want a happy crew, or a confused, grumbling crew because now folks don't think you know what you're doing? 

Communication.   It's the key to happiness and a smooth running production.