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MAKING A MURDERER — how I would cast the film

So Mark and I obsessively binge watched the NETFLIX series MAKING A MURDERER over the weekend and cannot stop thinking/talking/googling about it.  Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi (the filmmakers) are my new heroes, along with the defense team made up of Dean Strang and Jerome Buting.  If you haven’t watched, please watch — if only these filmmakers had their own NEWS network…the world would be a better place.

I could pontificate on what moved me about the story and the forces at play, but if you’ve seen it, you know that already.  Instead, because I work in film, here are the actors that I would like to see in the film version of this story (someone else posted that the Coen Brothers should write the script and Cary Fukunaga should direct — yes yes yes).

 

Steven Avery:  Jonah Hill

Brendan Dassey:  Paul Dano

Brendan Dassey’s first lawyer:  William H. Macy

Brendan Dassey’s Mom:  Melissa Leo

Steven Avery’s Mom:  June Squibb

Steven Avery’s Dad:  Brian Dennehy

Theresa Halbach:  Olivia Thirlby

Ken Kratz:  Steve Carell

Lieutenant Lenk:  Mitch Pileggi

Sergeant Colburn:  Rob Corddry

Dean Strang:  Mark Ruffalo

Jerome Buting:  Corey Stoll

Judge:  Anthony Edwards

 

 

 

 

 

 

LISA’s BABY’s ADVICE — Winner BEST SCRIPTED FILM @100 Words Film Fest!

Wow!  It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog post.  Just about a year, in fact.  In that time, Mark and I welcomed our daughter Grace into the world.  There have been so many times I’ve thought to myself:  I need to blog about this  — my labor story,  not getting any sleep as new parents, the highs and lows of breastfeeding/pumping, going back to work, stubborn baby weight, or being blown away that my body grew a baby…but amazingly, I never seemed to have any time.

Somehow, in the midst of all this life change, Anna Christopher and I managed to make more content together.  Truth be told, it wouldn’t have happened without Scott Galloway, who runs the 100 Word Film Festival in Charlotte, NC.  Last year, Scott screened 2 episodes of our web series LISA’s ADVICE and brought us to Charlotte as panelists (he brought Grace as well; I was 6 months pregnant!).  What are you submitting this year?  Scott asked us in May.  We were flattered and inspired — he likes us, he really likes us!  

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You want more content?

Yes I had a new baby and was back to work, and yes Anna’s work schedule and writing deadlines were insane, but we needed to make something NEW.  We brainstormed tons of ideas:  additional characters to the world of LISA, a different location, etc.  But as the reality of our commitments set in, an idea started to take shape…what if two babies took the place of Lisa and her friend?  If babies could talk, what would their problems and advice be?

We enlisted the talents of Dominique Martinez, an amazingly talented Director of Photography (who also shot The Kitty Landers Show) and scheduled a day in September (around nap times) for principal photography.  My friend Jackie from babygroup brought her daughter Penelope  — along with their dog Oliver — over for the afternoon.  We filmed Penelope and Grace’s ‘play date’ and it went swimmingly!  Armed with loads of beautiful footage and 15 or so scenarios for funny episodes, Anna and I carved out a post schedule and meticulously reviewed our dailies, searching for the reactions and emotions to score our top ideas.

LISA's BABY's ADVICE: Seeing Color
LISA’s BABY’s ADVICE: Seeing Color

We submitted our top two installments to the 100 Words Film Festival and were accepted!  We couldn’t travel to Charlotte this year, but were thrilled to have our work on the big screen.

LISA's BABY's ADVICE: Getting Him Back
LISA’s BABY’s ADVICE: Getting Him Back

Imagine our surprise when Scott called to tell us that LISA’s BABY’s ADVICE had taken the top award for BEST SCRIPTED FILM (s)!  I have to say…I rather like shiny awards!

LISA's BABY's ADVICE: Winner BEST SCRIPTED SHORT 2015

LISA's BABY's ADVICE wins BEST SCRIPTED SHORT @100WordsFF
LISA’s BABY’s ADVICE wins BEST SCRIPTED SHORT @100WordsFF

It’s especially sweet because the last time I held an award, it was with Anna & Dominique.  We won “Best Family Pilot” and I won “Best Actress” at the 2008 New York Television Festival for our live action children’s program, “The Kitty Landers Show.”  At the time, I poured every ounce of passion and all of my resources into the project.  Everyone was sure we’d sell it — but when that didn’t happen, I stayed disappointed for a long time.

Now, seven years later — I realize “Kitty Landers” connected me with Anna and Dominique — two of the most talented, funny, and professional people I’ve ever known.  We didn’t sell “The Kitty Landers Show ,” but we lit a fire — and every time we work together, it’s like rekindling that old flame.  It’s warm and fuzzy and feels GIGANTIC.

Anna Regina and Dom AFI fest
L to R: Anna Christopher, Regina Taufen & Dominique Martinez

If we hadn’t gone to New York and won our awards at NYTVF — I would have never met my husband Mark Odlum!  Gigantic, indeed.

Can’t wait to release these videos to the world…mark your calendars!  The first episode will go PUBLIC  at the LISA’s ADVICE CHANNEL on YouTube Tuesday December 1st.  If you like what you see, subscribe, subscribe, subscribe!

 

 

 

 

Bump Bling.

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At 28 weeks pregnant most of my longer necklaces don’t lay in the way I like! I wanted to make a necklace that would work with my changing shape and figure this will do the trick with dresses as well as blouses and sweaters.

I used found washers and remnant chain. May do a gold one as well as I have two beautiful pendants (both of holly) that could be fun for the holidays.

Writing is hard work

I heard an excerpt from Amy Poehler’s interview about her book “Yes, Please!” on NPR the other day. Among other things she was talking about how writing is hard work, and she is right.

I have been working on my memoir SEISMIC PROPORTIONS for 3 years now. I am determined to finish this manuscript, and feel like it’s getting closer, but it’s amazing how many iterations of this story have already been squeezed out of my brain. Short stories to long form narrative. At least 7 different beginnings. Whole chapters on the cutting block. Killing. Your. Babies. It feels like placing my palm on a pad of ink and attempting to simply lay it down, smudges and all, for the world to see.

Writing does beget writing. The more I work, the easier the prose comes, and the more deft I become at making themes and my voice consistent.

Finding the honesty is probably the hardest part. I can write reams of description with alliteration and pleasing poetics — but consistently letting the reader in on the underbelly, the emotion — this is the challenge. Also finding the balance between humor and the not-so-funny — and not feeling beholden to the humor.

Back to it I go.

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A Really Satisfying Snickers Thanks on this Halloween to The Frisky!

So psyched over being featured at THE FRISKY for our web series LISA’s ADVICE! It’s a Halloween treat for sure.

“LISA’s ADVICE is like every conversation you’ve ever had with your BFF”

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Cannot wait for the chance to make more LISA’s ADVICE as we have so many ideas for these characters and their world!

LISA’s ADVICE — Official Selection at The 100 Word Film Festival

Three episodes of LISA’s ADVICE will be screening at The 100 Word Film Festival (@100wordFF) in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 22nd!!

So grateful to the fest for covering our accommodations and proud to participate as a panel speaker on women in comedy and independent filmmaking!

One of our favorite (and timely) episodes of LISA’s ADVICE– What to Be for HALLOWEEN!

LISA’s ADVICE on What to Be for Halloween

And for more LISA’s ADVICE, tune in here:

LISA’s ADVICE YouTube Channel

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My Little Old Japanese Lady

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For the past two nights I’ve been communing with/voicing this little old Japanese lady. Isn’t she so sweet? I wrote this copy a while back for an agency read at CESD. Last night I did a vocal workout at Voice Trax West with Artt Butler and warmed her up again, and tonight I stood in the booth for another agent (awesome guy who I want to sign me!) and pretended I was her again. Seeing an image of a character really helps me connect to their energy. It was a smaller audience tonight but the reaction to her was the same; they felt like there was a little old Japanese lady standing in the booth! This made me so happy.

I think back to doing mask work with Per Brahe, in a loft somewhere in Soho, where we used images he randomly distributed to a room full of actors — to create scenes. Tonight, watching Ken Burns’ THE ROOSEVELTS, I thought about how powerful photos are, especially in storytelling. I think it was some Native American tribe that believed every time you are photographed, you lose a bit of your soul.

I found this woman’s photo via a Google search. Whoever she is, she helped me create something that felt real, believable. I am grateful for her. And I love how I feel when I’m pretending to be her. She has such grace and wisdom. A smaller lung capacity than I do. Poorer eyesight. Her hands are wrinkled but they are deft, capable. She claps when something amuses her. She loves when people come to visit. She is an excellent judge of character. She is My Little Old Japanese Lady.

Working on BECKY’s NEW CAR by Steven Dietz

before classBECKY

Marilyn suggested I work on the character of “Becky” from the play BECKY’s NEW CAR and gave me the play to read.  It’s a great and funny ride that was first commissioned by ACT Theatre in Seattle in 2010.  The character of Becky is a few years my senior, but the part is perfect for me.  Becky is a pleaser, sunny and upbeat, and speaks to the audience as she tries to navigate her family and job, spaces that become increasingly difficult once she begins to lie about who she is and what she spends her days doing.  It’s a delicious ride that starts with what is definitely now one of my favorite monologue pieces (next to “Rachel” in RECKLESS, another piece Marilyn had me tackle).  

I’ve done Becky’s 5 page monologue three times in class — once on-book, once total improv (my favorite mode), and once memorized using some basic props.  This past week Victor and I rehearsed the scene in the dealership where Becky meets Walter Flood, the eccentric millionaire and recent widower who mistakes Becky for a widow.  We put the scene up on Monday and it went well — we are so comfortable on stage together having worked on REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT and it felt so good to be off-book, running it and then having Marilyn give us pieces of direction and then running it again.  She told me I could play this role in any regional theatre and compared me to Julia Louis-Dreyfus (love her!!!) and we talked about my choices…I told her how I can hear the comedy in the lines and how it’s hard not to go for a beat or a moment and she said that’s part of my gift as a comedienne, and not to worry about feeling those instincts, but to work towards holding onto my given choice tenaciously and staying with it as something to hold onto.  

It sounds abstract to put into words but I LOVE the way she directs; she really sees me and is so loving and honest that you end up feeling so free to be real.  She asks these tiny questions, these small little fluttering queries that enter my head and heart.  Questions like:  “what are you doing?”  Which seems general but when Marilyn asks them, they open doors.  She knows just where to take a scene from, when a moment is shifting and she wants you to be more fully engaged.  She often talks about not wanting actors to have to recharge or reboot during any given scene, to stay with a choice that can shift and arc but one that will keep you so focused on the other person and also keep you vital and alive on stage.  It’s been over a year in her class and I’m so grateful to have rediscovered what I knew as an adolescent acting in plays.  

There is nothing like being on stage.  The danger of it, the freedom of it.  Part of what I think I fell in love with and still love is how justified you can be up there.  No apologies.  No explanations needed for the world about who you are and what you believe.  You have someone else’s life to inhabit with what you know yourself about what life can do and how it can feel.  It’s like some kind of invisible cloak you get to put on, that imaginary ‘what if,’ that protects you from the outside world and let’s your truth shine.  It’s like a magic carpet of sorts.  If you allow yourself to stand on it, to plant your feet on it, it will transport you and others with you.