Thursday, May 30, 2013

IN PRAISE OF MICHAEL DOUGLAS


Michael Douglas didn’t have to do it. His sterling career had already garnered him worldwide fame, fortune, countless awards, two Oscars, an AFI Life Achievement Award and the respect of critics and audiences alike for over 40 years. He had just battled throat cancer and licked it, and could’ve laid low for a year or two. And yet, Douglas chose to jump back into the game with both feet essaying Liberace in HBO’s TV movie BEHIND THE CANDELABRA. It was easily one the most challenging roles of his career. And at 68 years of age, Douglas aced it. He proved again that he is one amazing talent, and a courageous one too. And he blew everyone’s socks off.
Michael Douglas as Liberace in HBO's BEHIND THE CANDELABRA.
It was not only brave to take on such a difficult role immediately after his recovery from a life-threatening illness, but incredibly gutsy to take on a role that in many ways was a risky stretch. Douglas’ career has been built mostly by playing relatable ‘everyman’ roles, the kind of roles that audiences can easily empathize with. Who couldn’t understand a harried professional fighting office politics in DISCLOSURE? What regular Joe hasn’t felt betrayed by 'the man' like the character Douglas played in FALLING DOWN? And a mid-life crisis? Heck, that sort of thing has been Douglas’ stock and trade many, many times (WONDER BOYS, FATAL ATTRACTION).
Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in BEHIND THE CANDELABRA.
On the surface, the role of flamboyant homosexual Liberace would seem to have nothing in common with such ‘regular’ guys. And in many ways, that’s true. But Douglas found the relatability, even in such a larger-than-life character. For starters, Douglas didn’t play the role ‘big’. He never resorted to caricature. He didn’t do a Rich Little impression of Liberace’s whispery voice. And he didn’t overdo the feminine mannerisms. Instead, he found the everyman in the showman, the aging man fighting to stay relevant. And both he and Matt Damon as Liberace's lover Scott Thorson made the gay couple seem a lot like most arguing, old married couples we know.

Douglas also captured the pain of Liberace’s knowledge that despite having so much, he really had so little. He has often done that in the rich men roles he’s taken. He makes the 1% relatable to the rest of us in the 99%. He’s played many successful men, trying and failing to keep it together. He was the politician struggling to keep his child off drugs in TRAFFIC. He played the Broadway director who can’t balance his personal life with his professional one in A CHORUS LINE. And he even made THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT into a worry wart fretting over how he'll do in bed with Annette Bening. (Live up to Warren Beatty? Who wouldn't sweat that one?!) Douglas’s characters may be the elite, but they’re always just two stained shirts away from losing it all (THE GAME). And that’s Liberace too. He may have had the most successful show in Vegas, but he knew so much of it was hollow and unfulfilling.
Michael Douglas and Annette Bening in THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT.
Director/producer Steven Soderbergh knew Douglas would get that about Liberace. A man who’s known life in the shadows of a famous father (Kirk Douglas) would understand how Liberace lived life in the closet. And Douglas would get the whole age thing as a man who’s made the transition from leading man to character parts. And certainly Douglas recognizes that money and fame can't ensure happiness. (Who in Hollywood doesn’t understand that?)

Towards the end of the movie, as Liberace is dying of AIDS, he summons his spurned lover Scott to his bedside. He can no longer hide behind his riches. He’s ravaged, wane, and even wigless. And yet it’s perhaps the first time Scott has seen Liberace honestly, with no artifice, no wit to cover his hurt, and no fronts or walls up to keep people at bay. And Douglas breaks your heart in that scene because he is so expert at playing such raw vulnerability. And now having gotten old and lived through cancer, there is nothing but bold frankness in Douglas, in his work and in the exciting roles he's taking.
Michael Douglas in THE GAME.
Douglas is always superb at conveying how veneers crack and fall away in his privileged characters. Think of his Gordon Gekko wailing at the end of WALL STREET while his airplane stock goes in the toilet; or his Oliver Rose still wanting to be loved, reaching for his wife’s hand as they die at the end of THE WAR OF THE ROSES; or his SOLITARY MAN pining for some sort of connection in his twilight years. And now, Douglas has mined that rich vein again, this time in the anguish of the forlorn Liberace. It was stunning work. And it’s going to add more awards to Douglas’ already full room of them.

Michael Douglas could’ve rested on his laurels. He had nothing left to prove, and no one who needed to be impressed. But we all were, stunningly so, by what he did in BEHIND THE CANDELABRA. I hope Douglas remains healthy and lives another 20 years. And I can’t wait to see what other risks he’ll take. My socks are ready.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

BATES MOTEL ENDS IT FIRST SEASON WITH A BANG AND A BLADE


I don't often write about TV series here, but BATES MOTEL has been discussed as it's based on one of the most famous movies of all-time, and a Top 10 favorite of mine - PSYCHO. Thus, I'm turning my attention to writing about the season finale and the show's first season that just concluded this week. And indeed, the conclusion was quite noteworthy. The A & E freshman series went out with a bang - a bang from a gun, as well as a cut from a big knife. After all, if you’re going to tell the origins story of Norman Bates, the troubled lead in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic, you have to expect a little violence, and the freshman show certainly delivered it with two characters pushing up daisies by the final credits. It also set up a second season that now stands ripe for all kinds of further nefariousness.
Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) and his mother Norma (Vera Farmiga) in BATES MOTEL 
The popular basic cable series, whose finale drew 2.7 viewers (http://bit.ly/13FGh7n), up 8% in total viewers, continued to prove that horror could be done exceptionally well on TV. Following the template laid down by FX’s runaway success AMERICAN HORROR STORY, this show navigated similar waters, being both frightening and exceptionally moving. The story of Norman Bates and his protective mother Norma could have been played as caricature, what with PSYCHO being parodied so extensively over the past 50 years, but show creator Anthony Cipriano, his writers and cast opted to play it straight. Their efforts were sincere; turning the two leads into full-blooded creatures, even when they were bloodletting.

It helped immensely to have such assured actors as Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga in those leads. Freddie Highmore echoed the landmark performance of Anthony Perkins as Norman from the original movie (http://exm.nr/LOCHUQ), while plumbing depths that made his take on the role even more sympathetic. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes one to ruin a kid too, and boy oh boy, did the town of White Pine Bay, Oregon have it in for this kid. One of the brilliant things that BATES MOTEL did was show how the townspeople around Norman were as screwed up as he is. And it sent the impressionable lad reeling. Highmore acted with nary a word, acting mostly with his incredibly reactive face and body language. It was an amazing performance week in and week out and it made us feel the awful ache coursing through his body, mind and soul.
Norma comforts an injured Norman in a scene from the TV series BATES MOTEL


And Vera Farmiga made mama Norma into one of the most complex and fascinating female characters on television. Even when Norma was at her most selfish, Farmiga kept the audience’s sympathies close to her bosom. Her Norma was no black and white villain but rather a wounded woman fighting to stay in the game even if it meant playing dirty to do so. The performance certainly merits strong Emmy consideration as Farmiga essayed the smothering mother with sexiness, sadness and feeling worthy of our pity.

And while Norma courageously fought to make a go of her motel business, the town and its incredibly corrupt population thwarted her at almost every turn. You know the straight and narrow is working against you when the town’s main source of income is from distributing marijuana. And then Norma found out that the hotel she bought used to be a sanctuary for drug denizens and sex orgies. Top that off with a town sheriff (Nestor Carbonell) who is on the take and as despicable as any crook, and you’ve got a perfect storm for Norma and Norman to be ruined further. Even the Northern Pacific weather works against them, constantly threatening to rain on their parade.
Cast members Nestor Carbonell, Nicola Peltz, Olivia Cooke, Freddie Highmore, Vera Farmiga and Max Thieriot
The supporting cast made a strong impression throughout the season too. And defied many clichés of serial TV and the horror genre. The all-American girl Bradley (Nicola Peltz) started out as a sweetheart who stole Norman’s heart, even taking his virginity, but then she broke his heart by dumping him. Still, Bradley isn’t a villain. She’s not the typical rich bitch character you find on TV shows, but rather, a very vulnerable girl who’s just looking for some understanding and human connection in a cold, cruel town. She may have found the right person for it in Norman’s stepbrother Dylan (Max Thieriot). He’s a tough, yet sensitive sort and Thieriot made a potentially thuggish character into someone we cared about and even rooted for.

All the characters had similar layers and were full of surprises. One of the greatest inventions for the series was the delightfully quirky, cystic-fibrosis suffering Emma DeCody (terrific British ingénue Olivia Cooke, doing a flawless American accent). She became Norman’s confidant and conscience, and may be a potential love interest for him too. And despite her chronic illness, she is the ray of sunshine in the gloomy town, never letting her malady cloud her optimism. We hope that her goodness helps Norman somehow but it’s doubtful she can save his burgeoning psychosis.
Emma (Olivia Cooke) dances with Norman (Freddie Highmore) at the prom
And in the final episode, the story of Norma and Norman took some horrific turns that were riveting season-enders. (Spoiler alert – I’m going to reveal the victims of the bang and the blade!) Norma enabled the ruthless murder of the sex peddler hounding her, and Norman rewarded the come-on from his comely teacher with a fatal slash to her throat. This is what BATES MOTEL promised in its premise and why it was one of the better horror offerings this season, on the big screen or the small one (http://exm.nr/ZKbWoT). It didn’t pull punches. Yes, it was entertaining, but it always kept a sense of dread throughout and forced us to see the monsters in all people, not just the leads.

And indeed, the end brought out the worse in Norman and Norma. Man is the most dangerous animal, particularly in a town where survival is a very real issue. Norman and Norma have survived, as has the show for a second season starting in January of 2014. And as the show continues on, you can be assured that other characters will go down around them. The fascinating opportunity for horror fans is to watch and see just how far the show can take us before we stop empathizing with such anti-heroes. Get ready for a lot of tears and fears. And make sure you lock that bathroom door when you shower.

Friday, May 17, 2013

ARE SPOILERS RUINING MOVIES?


Benedict Cumberbatch in STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
I posted a comment about the new STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS movie on my Facebook status last week and it drew umbrage from some who thought I was exposing a story secret that Paramount Studios was working very hard to keep under wraps. However, the scoop that I revealed had been in the public discourse for months. It’s been covered extensively online, in magazines, and all over TV. The revelation concerned the true identity of the character that Benedict Cumberbatch plays in the new movie and any true STAR TREK fan knew the truth of it eons ago.

(NOTE: This blog entry is now going to expose all kinds of spoilers, including the role, so stop here if that sort of thing offends you.)

Practically every Trekkie and their brother knew the big ‘secret’ for months – Cumberbatch was playing Khan, or at least a new version of the titular villain from the original series’ “Space Seed” episode and the 2nd Trek movie THE WRATH OF KHAN. So what’s the big deal? Why did Paramount send out Cumberbatch on his press junket so sworn to secrecy? If everyone knows it, at least the core audience, then isn’t it more insulting to make all those involved continue to play along with the charade?
Ricardo Montalban in STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982)
And what’s the big deal anyway? Director J.J.Abrams is reinventing all sorts of characters as he redoes STAR TREK. (Guess what? He’ll probably do the same as he reboots STAR WARS!)  And the Khan role isn’t really all that close to Ricardo Montalban’s classic portrayal of the super human with an equally oversized ego. And, having just seen the movie, I can tell you that knowing Cumberbatch was playing a new version of Khan didn’t ruin a damn thing. The movie is still incredibly entertaining. And Cumberbatch makes a wonderful and wholly different Khan than his predecessor. So let’s stop pretending that it was ever a secret to begin with.

That’s the problem with spoilers. When the Internet has spoiled the ‘surprise’ for six months in every corner of the globe, there is no reason to act so precious about keeping the lid on such things. And truly, can any movie studio honestly expect such secrets to remain so in this day and age? Anywhere? Everything goes global the second it hits the Internet. Heck, maybe that’s it. Maybe Paramount knew we all knew and just kept the conversation with the fans and the blogosphere going on and on by pretending it was a secret at all. If that’s the case, bravo Paramount!
Jaye Davidson as Dil in THE CRYING GAME (1992)
There was a time, say 20 years ago, when movie spoilers and big plot twists in movies could be contained. But that’s a long time ago. Since then it’s hard to keep anything under wraps. The revelation of the character of Dil having a pickle in the thriller THE CRYING GAME (1992) would not have been able to remain secret today. The revelation that Bruce Willis’ psychiatrist character was dead throughout the whole of THE SIXTH SENSE (1999) would have been blabbed online after the first preview screening. It’s that type of atmosphere today. Just ask Harry Knowles. He’s become a wealthy man by getting the first look at test screenings and writing about them on his movie site AintItCool.com.

Surprisingly, most movie critics, at least those with a true journalistic background, maintain the ethics of not giving away too much of a movie in their reviews. It’s rare that any legitimate evaluation goes past the 60-minute mark of any given movie. And that’s great. In fact, the only time critics really give a film away is if it’s god-awful and they want to prevent people from going to see it. But that’s rare that a film is so pathetic that it pushes critics to divulge so.

You know who has really turned spoilers into an epidemic, and a ruinous one at that? It’s not bloggers or critics or fan boys. It’s the studio guys responsible for creating the movie trailers! They’re the real culprits. For decades now, movie trailers have revealed more and more of the movies they’re selling. They’re supposed to be mere appetizers, whetting our appetite for the main course. Yet how many movie trailers have you seen where all the best scenes, lines and moments are crammed into a two-minute exercise that leaves you with the feeling you’ve already seen the whole damn thing?
Ben Kingsley in IRON MAN 3 
I myself always worry when trailers start for fear that they’re going to give away as much as they too often do. And that’s by far the norm, rather than the exception. I really enjoyed IRON MAN 3 but the trailer gave away far too many of its best shots and action bits. At least the trailer kept the revelation about the truth of Ben Kingsley’s character to itself. (I may have gone too far even saying that here. My apologies.)

Trailers for movie comedies are by far the most egregious as they showcase most of the best lines and gags so that by the time you see the actual film, you know the set-up and punchline and it ruins the joke. No wonder most comedies feel stale by the time they open. I can’t help but wonder if one of the reasons that THE HANGOVER movies have been so successful is due to the fact that so many of their R-rated gags and lines cannot be showcased in a trailer for general audiences. The movie holds surprises because we aren’t exposed to some of the raunch and blue language prematurely.
Zack Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms in THE HANGOVER (2009)
Nonetheless, more and more R-rated comedies get special redband trailers too. Those are the previews that you can only see online or with an R-rated movie. They show the dirtier parts, the cruder language, and end up giving away even more of the best stuff. Trailers are supposed to lure us in, but far too often they spoil a good movie by giving away the goods before we’ve even bought a ticket.

I remember talking to a guy who cuts trailers years ago when I was doing some advertising work for a major studio. He told me that his only responsibility was to get the opening weekend audience in the theater. After that, the movie lives or dies on its own merits and/or word-of-mouth. That’s why he put all the best bits in the trailer, to ensure that audience. He felt no responsibility after that, no sense of obligation to leave some of the best for the actual movie going experience.
Bryan Cranston in the TV series BREAKING BAD
It’s funny, but one place that seems quite capable of keeping secrets is the world of television. Perhaps it’s because there’s so much of it but seldom are cliffhangers ruined or revelations given up prematurely. I mean did anyone expect the final episode of THE SOPRANOS to be what it was? Did anyone know for sure if Brody was good or bad on HOMELAND? And who out there in the blogosphere can tell us what’s going to happen within the final episodes of BREAKING BAD due this summer? I’ve looked. Believe me. I love the new series HANNIBAL and for all of NBC’s misfortunes and mistakes, they certainly have kept the week-to-week developments on that eerie show hidden. Maybe the movie marketers should talk to the TV marketers and steal a page or two from their playbook. Then we’d all be a little more surprised and delighted when the lights go down and the movie starts.
William Shatner in STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982)
So if you’re a movie fan who doesn’t want to be exposed to any of the twists and turns of a movie before you see it in the theaters I’d suggest you do the following: stop reading, stop surfing the net, stop watching TV or listening to the radio. In fact you should probably go find yourself a cave, hide out there for a while, and make sure you're blindfolded. Oh, and stick your fingers in your ears. And hum. 

The spoilers are out there, friends. And they’re easily accessed any darn day of the week. Everything is a spoiler these days. Not just my Facebook page. Why, there are so few surprises left in the entertainment world it’s enough to make Captain Kirk howl in utter anger and frustration, “Khaaaaaaaannnn!” Or, as it’s done in the new STAR TREK movie, by Mr. Spock instead.

Oops! I did it again. Sorry. I’m a spoiler.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

2013'S BEST FILM SO FAR? BAZ LUHRMANN'S VISIONARY TAKE ON THE GREAT GATSBY



“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is one of the greatest novels in the history of literature, and my all-time favorite book, so I had to review this new movie adaptation of the classic Jazz Era work that just opened. And I am happy to report that the film is a triumph, an inspired and focused adaptation of Fitzgerald’s most popular work.

While the story has been fully translated to the big screen four different times, as well as for the small screen in 2000, no one's done a better job of capturing both the story’s surface extravagance and inner loneliness. Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann (MOULIN ROUGE) has given it a big, theatrical spin and I think it’s absolutely apropos for a study of the rich “Roaring 20’s”. Some may quibble that it’s all a bit too lush and loud, but I think the memory of narrator Nick Carraway would get carried away in his remembrances. Memories of events tend to do that, seeming much more vivid than they were at the time. And while his recollection of the events in the world of Gatsby are remembered as gorgeous, Carraway's memory doesn’t shy away from remembering the ugliness just under the surface of all this illusionary glamour too. Nor does Luhrmann's film.


The story of Jay Gatsby, the self-invented man who’s chasing a lost love and the memory of a purer time that goes with it, has fascinated audiences for almost 100 years since its publication in 1925. And the book is still selling strong, currently atop the New York Times bestseller list as well as Amazon.com's list too. (http://nyti.ms/10Fs3IX). I’m sure the film's buzz helps immensely but the book remains a continual strong seller, enthralling one generation after another, and that’s because of its timeless telling of reinvention and lost innocence. Its commentary on class systems, prejudices, celebrity and our nation's corruption is perhaps even more relevant to today’s 'keeping up with the Kardashians' world.

And in the moneyed time of Jay Gatsby, he’s come into his wealth through equally dubious means as anything that Kim and her clan have done. Gatsby may act like a savvy businessman, and the key word there is act, but he’s really the pretty face of a mob making money hand over fist running illegal booze and bond schemes. Nonetheless, Gatsby thinks his ‘new money’ will impress his old girlfriend Daisy Buchanan, now snuggling comfortably in ‘old money’ up in the Hamptons. He buys a huge mansion across the bay from the home of Daisy and her boorish hubby Tom and thinks that his new means will allow him to win her back. But money cannot buy happiness, of course, and ultimately Gatsby’s naiveté will be his downfall. He believes you can buy the past and wrongly believes in a good in Daisy that doesn’t exist.


Luhrmann’s take on Fitzgerald connects these themes with today’s audience by using all the cinematic techniques at his disposal. Quick cuts, eye-popping 3-D depth of field, pulsing hip-hop songs on the soundtrack – they bring this timeless work to immediate, modern life. And his youthful cast reminds us of how green, both in money and experience, Fitzgerald’s characters truly were. Gatsby is handsome and larger-than-life in the story so how perfect is it that uber-celebrity/actor Leonardo DiCaprio plays him here?

DiCaprio works wonders with his tricky role. He’s both enigmatic and painfully human as the title character. Gatsby looks to the manor born and can truly rock a pink pinstripe suit, but  DiCaprio lets us see the uncertainty present in the former Jay Gatz's eyes. He's faking the part of the rich playboy, and DiCaprio captures the layers of the illusion beautifully. He even stretches out the vowels when he speaks Gatsby's favorite colloquialism - “old sport”. Gatsby is always trying a little too hard and DiCaprio understands that and makes his character vulnerable and tragic throughout in words as well as deeds.


Tobey Maguire makes for an ideal Carraway, nicely shy and timid in his body language, yet with eyes bursting with desire and awe. Australian Joel Edgerton perfectly suites the insensitive and brutish rich boy Tom, who no matter how refined his wardrobe is or how fussy his mustache is, they cannot hide the fact that he’s a snotty, frat boy who’s never worked a day in his life and acts like everyone is his servant. And Carey Mulligan says more with her hurt eyes than with Daisy’s few lines. She is named so because she’s beautiful, delicate and all too easily bent by the whim of the wind. In many ways Daisy is the true villain of the piece, recklessly abandoning any sense of responsibility for her actions throughout. She wrongly enables her husband’s garish behavior and tragically leads Gatsby on, letting him nurse the belief that they can repeat their past. And Mulligan resists playing the role with any sympathy.

The only actor who doesn’t quite work here is Elizabeth Dibicki as the athletic Jordan Baker. She’s expert at playfully toying with affections in her scenes with Nick, but her ‘Emo Girl’ looks don’t exactly fit a golfer who spends a lot of time out on the links. I also think that Luhrmann gave short shrift to the characters of Tom’s mistress Myrtle (An underused Isla Fisher) and her cuckolded husband (Jason Clarke). Director Jack Clayton did far better with these crucial supporting parts, played by Karen Black and Scott Wilson, in his 1974 big screen version, and that is the only place where that older film trumps this new one.


Books written in a first-person narrative often struggle onscreen. THE REMAINS OF THE DAY (1993) is a fine film, but Kazuo Ishiguro’s prose, told from the viewpoint of central character James Stevens, didn’t quite come alive with pictures primarily telling the story. The same is true with Jay McInery’s BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY (1988), as well as many others screenplay adaptations. To avoid that problem, Luhrmann lets Nick narrate throughout, with Fitzgerald’s memorable prose front and center in many scenes. But it doesn’t seem intrusive as Luhrmann has created a framing device that's not in the book. He starts with Nick drying out in a local sanitarium. His physician suggests he put his story down on paper to help alleviate his depression. It’s a bold narrative move on Luhrmann's part and it allows for a lot of Fitzgerald’s famous prose to shine in Nick's voice-over, with the words even animating atop the action at times.

The whole film is filled with bold moves like that. Luhrmann shoots his actors against green screen and that allow for the 3-D to pop more. It even gives the appearance of his film, that Andrew Duggan has beautifully shot, a similar look to period pieces from the Golden Age of Hollywood. The automobile scenes then were almost always shot against a filmed backdrop, and Luhrmann nicely pays tribute to that old school style of filmmaking here with his car work shot in studio. 
Director Baz Luhrmann


And for those who think that Luhrmann has gilded the lily with too much pomp and circumstance, that’s precisely the point. Gatsby’s world is all about the material, and it's done to impress Daisy and the high society types whom he desperately wants acceptance from. But if she’s persuaded by his rainbow collection of Arrow shirts, we in the audience shouldn’t be. It’s all a very shallow existence, and a gold cage is nothing without substance within. And such riches seem more than a bit garish so close up, don't they? Hence, Luhrmann's in-your-face style of moviemaking here.

Luhrmann brought WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S ROMEO & JULIET to startling, vibrant life for a new audience back in 1996, and he reinvented the modern movie musical with MOULIN ROUGE five years later. Now, with his audacious take on the corruption of the American dream, I believe he’s rendered Gatsby wholly accessible for new eyes. At the end of the film, Nick changes the title of his memoir from “Gatsby” to “The Great Gatsby”. It’s ironic of course, as Jay Gatsby was far from greatness. But Baz Luhrmann’s film of THE GREAT GATSBY truly achieves it.  


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

TUNE IN TO MY INTERVIEW MAY 25th WITH THE INTERNATIONAL SCREENWRITERS' ASSOCIATION

This is the poster mock-up I put together on PhotoShop for the Sundance read of my award-winning script.
As some of you may know, having read The Establishing Shot for some time now, in addition to being one of the Examiner film critics online and a fervent movie blogger, I am also a budding screenwriter. I've gotten close to selling a script or two a couple of times and am getting closer to realizing that dream. I've also been fortunate to have figured in the finals of a number of screenplay contests. I even was lucky enough to have won the Grand Prize in the Table Read My Screenplay contest for my western THE SCOUNDRELS CLUB this past January. That was a very exciting honor and Craig James Pietrowiak and his wonderful folks from the contest flew me out to Park City, Utah to be part of the Sundance Film Festival. My script was read there in a table read by a terrific group of LA actors up for the event. (You can read about my four days of adventure at Sundance as I blogged about it starting with this entry: http://bit.ly/Ts9Mv3.)

And on May 25th, the fun continues! The International Screenwriters' Association, which Craig is president of, will have me interviewed by acclaimed screenwriter Alvaro Rodriguez (MACHETE) during an hour and a half podcast. If you enjoy my blog, love the movies, or are curious about what's involved in the world of screenwriting, I know you'll get a kick out of this free event. Details are here @ the ISA website: http://bit.ly/17KHIpm

The wonderful troupe of actors who read my script at the table read at Sundance. Alvaro Rodriguez is second from the left. And ISA president Craig James Pietrowiak is to the far right. (Yours truly is in the center with his poster.)


I think you'll enjoy the podcast. And as always, thanks for following The Establishing Shot.

NOTE: This was originally scheduled to happen on Saturday, May 11th but was postponed due to Alvaro Rodriguez coming down with pneumonia. Obviously, we all wish him well. And I'll look forward to the interview with him two weeks from now, on May 25th.