Thursday, February 28, 2008


The Goldberg theater in the Tisch Department of Dramatic writing was packed with writers. NYU instructor Mary Gallagher, a stunning playwright/screenwriter in her own right (Ayn Rand starring Helen Mirren), a fellow Actor&Writer ( met me on the 7th floor. Sophia had left me at the Beard Papa's across the street buying cream puffs with David Smilow, another Actor&Writer, who also plays the Confederate who kills Harry in RACING DAYLIGHT, who we ran into at the Astor Place Starbucks on his way to a rehearsal, for the HB lab, of his play HIT THE BUTTONS. Whew! Sophia had gone ahead to take control of the technical aspects of the screening. She is awesome and detailed and charming and kind. A wonderful business partner to have.

So, packed with, not just writers, but screenwriters, Sophia and I huddled in the front row of the Goldberg theater surrounded by about 60-70 students. In that moment, I could feel my cheeks getting red and hot, the skew of this audience had not occurred to me until this moment. These people were potentially my worst nightmare!

There are markers in the way this film generally plays to an audience, or at least ones I have come to notice in repeat tests, markers of whether the viewers are in synch with the rhythm. In the first book shop scene Emily Ruscoe's "Whatever .." usually earns the film's first chuckle, followed by Sadie's "Well it is, you little twit ..." as the second. By the end of the film, if they laugh at the fart joke they're still llistenting, which is all you can really ask of an audience after all. Once we hit the first mark with this audience, and the chuckles came, I calmed. They reacted delightedly, as we have heard so many now, to the antics of Sadie, Edmund, and Henry, and their subtle esoteric love story, which we have offered up in whimsy, and economy.

The questions were about the making of. The first of the evening a question about the ppm, the financing, not an art question but a question for the executive producer. In our post-mortem on the drive home, Sophia noted that in a group of writers not a single question was related to the story or structure, the questions were all how did you do this thing, get these people, make it happen, the industry ... with questions as well about how long it took to write, whether I preferred writing for art or money ... they were clearly smart people, very smart, each about to launch into this world and wondering. It was so interesting to be among them.

I spoke with Madeleine, a writer who's focusing on cable at present, interning at Jon Stewart and writing spec scripts. She thanked me for the way we portrayed women in our film. I am grateful for this comment because it was a concerted effort to portray a woman's beauty as completely tied to her vision of self. Thanks for noticing and for reinforcing our notion that changing the conversation is about changing what we see.

Roxanne Bridglall along with Mary shared their classes with us last night and we are grateful. Jamie Kirkpatrick and Jason Downs came with us to field a broader spectrum of questions. Thanks guys! And thank you to to another wonderful audience who received our film with good humor and enthusiasm.

We are not an "edgy" film by industry standards. We have no pretentions to it. "Edgy", which to me means that someone has to get slammed up against the wall while getting simultaneously fucked and shot in the head in the opening scene, has its place, as do films such as ours, which assault different cognitive senses. We are a love story which crosses time, with elements of history, ghost stories, and murder mysteries all wrapped in a jigsaw puzzle of breathtaking beauty, coupled with exquisitely simple performances from some of the best actors working. Racing Daylight consistently delights and has a proportionately high repeat viewing interest. We are excited by the possibilities.

Watch and vote for us on Babelgum, the online film festival judged by Spike Lee, premiering in March,"">

Due to the time constraints imposed by this festival, our 3 act structure has served us allowing us to show RACING DAYLIGHT as 3 seperate films, (Sadie, Edmund, Henry), which make up the RACING DAYLIGHT TRILOGY.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


We were accepted at the WIFF in Miami, details are not yet available. What I found interesting and informative were the list of facts I found on their sponsorship page and which I share here:

1. Women are decision makers!

Because 43 percent of families are headed by women, women are often the ones who make the most purchasing decisions:

1 53% of investment decisions (Securities Industries Assn);
2 55% of consumer electronics (Consumer Electronics Assn);
3 80% of home improvement decisions (Lowe’s);
4 66% of computers (Intelliquest);
5 68% of new cars (J.D. Power);
6 92% of residential real estate (Tom Peters)

2. Women’s Income Growth Accelerating!

1 Over past 20 years, US women’s income has climbed 63%, while men’s has stayed steady (+0.6%) (US Bureau Labor Statistics)

2 Women bring in half - or more - of household income in most US Households (55%) (WSJ, Nov 1997).
3 1 out of 4 USHH is headed by single female (US Bureau of the Census)
4 Professionally speaking Women are obtaining:

50% of Law School degrees,
46% of Medical degrees,
38% of Business degrees.

Among women who have completed grad school,

43.5% earn more than their husbands (New York Times, 3/26/01)

3. Women Know What They Want!

1 Women spend disproportionately more on goods and services than do men.
2 Today’s women are many things: career women, homemaker, wife, mother, daughter, grandmother. She’s a decision-maker seeking the best for herself and her loved ones.
3 She’s also a savvy consumer who spends her dollars with businesses that recognize and cater to her special needs.

4. Women are Family Health Gatekeepers

1 Make 75% of all health-care decisions
2 Control 66% of $1.5 trillion annual healthcare spending

5. Women Recognize Those That Support Them!

Arts & Culture, Kids sports, Opportunities for Women.
Women care…and they vote with their wallets

1 Environment
2 Global ethics
3 Volunteerism

Sources: Men’s Health Network - Utilization of Ambulatory Medical Care by Women: United States, 1997-98, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics : Vital and Health Statistics, Series 13, # 149 : July 2001 Ipsos Public Affairs survey of insured women age 24-44 for Aetna, quoted in Marketing to Women newsletter Nov. 24, Pew Internet Report 2000

Monday, February 25, 2008


Dude!!! What the fuck?! Cool, huh? I mean .... like, yeah ... where you goin' now, cuz I was thinkin' like, I don't know, maybe doin' somethin' like, shit ... you know, like, maybe I will, you know, cuz it's possible to, like you know ... get there from here ... you know? You okay with that? ... Cuz if you're not we don't have to, you know, we could maybe get it together to hang out somewhere else with them, you know, so don't sweat it if you're not sure yet, cuz we can decide like later, man, you know?

Huh? Vicky? What the fuck, she's great, man, old ball and chain, right? But you know, like what the fuck, right? Neutered, right, males, right, married men, like ... fucking women and shit right? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha, right? Yeah, my mom was all like, you know, .... "Vicky Palmer! That whore?!", hahahahahahahahahaha, like look in the mirror, you know, right? She's a fuckin' saint, my mom, right? Not!

In highschool, man, that's when I got hip to her shit, like you know. Yeah, right? Had to work twice as hard for old Richy-Rich man Lessiter, right, lazy old farts on his crews, right, it's construction, right, I'm like sixteen and some old fat ass says like, right in my face, right, like I'm s'pose to know or somethin' right, "Slow down kid, no one's gonna fire you while old Lessiter's nailin' your mom." ... Just like that, right, I mean, what am I s'pose to do with that, huh? Like fuck you, dickhead, your daughter's blowing guys for quarters in the boy's bathroom, scumwad, like right? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Nah ...I don't believe it at first, right, but you notice shit, like, you know, secret shit, and I know it's true and shit so I shut the fuck up to save the old man, right, drunken piece a shit, and I take care of the little guys while she's out, right? Shit ... you know ... but I'm over it, man, like who fuckin' cares, right? History, right? The old man's dead, she's with Lessiter now, and Thanksgivings a bitch, right? ... But ... like .... I got vicky, right? Like what the fuck ... maybe we can, you know do some shit like later, man, okay like ... you know, right?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Ice blue flames flick the darkness, sharp edges bite at the dawn, the chill. How long now ... another few days I expect, till I face the past to see if there's a future there. I write in this small notebook, its leather binding now worn and rough in patches, spattered and splotched, liquid's history marks its cover with a heiroglyph known only to sprites and water daemons. I chronicle the events of my time in hiding, running from the grumblings of a war whose face I wear.

White men fight over economic subsidies, a president fights to align his constituents, all under the banner of the abolitionists cry, and yet ... they ALL hate us. Hate that we're the reason for this unrest, this anger, this ' nigger ...' animals, trainable, not educable. My people grow their food, wipe their asses, craft their civilizations, and we're the ones who are the beasts? They brought us here, flesh eating cattle, couldn't breed the fight out of us, the history, the memories as stories back to thatched huts and tribal fires, warriors ... and now that our presence has placed challenge to their collective morality, we are again to blame. The irony of it. What is fair after all? We the people ... ALL men are created equal ... according to someone's gods.

Who am I in this changing America? Born a free man to a Placee. Raised handsomely on funds deeded to us by a white father whom I call 'Sir' and 'Mister', a man who hears "Father" and "Papa" from white children elsewhere, in a world where I am not known, not welcomed. Where do I fit now that all distinction of class and money have gone, our way of life so irrevocably altered by this war to come. Any man may put a saddle on my back, a bit in my mouth and claim me as property. Some of our people will fight with the Confederacy, a futile effort to preserve the old ways of money and pastime. We men of color who have also owned our brethren. How must we pay for this? I run.

One aches for home. The smell of the river water at low tide when the mossy greens, the dark secrets of its depths, lay naked to the sun. Fish stews musky with bayou herbs, the lilt of Patois, sinister magic in spiced air, strains of a banjo companioned by lapping water, creaking wood, crickets bowing small fiddles ...

A free man. I will remain a free man ... by the waning flames of this small warmth carved out of night into day ...

Friday, February 8, 2008


We screened at the Arts Center in Troy, NY last night. I had never been to Troy, unless you count the journeys made with Homer's Paris, Helen, and that horse. It's a beautiful gem of a city, Troy, a small island of renovated historical buildings next to the gates of RPI (Renselear Polytechnical Institute), with neighborhoods which fan out into Brooklyn-like town houses fronted by ice-clad trees, twinkling crystals under the street lights. The Arts Center is a group of industrial buildings in the heart of the downtown.

It was buzzing with people when we arrived. We had brought a mini-dv deck, Stephen Harris's, to patch into their projector as we have sworn NEVER to screen on dvd again. Too much chance for technical error. William Gill was there to help us. He was delightful, affable, and unable, with the cables at hand, to rig up the setting we needed. Thank you, Will, for such a cool head and great trouble shooting. We appreciate your efforts.

Luckily Sophia, ever intrepid leader, brought clean dvds newly minted on Donn Gobin's state of the art machine, which she handed to Will grudgingly as an audience had already formed and it was five past the start time. We had considered sitting out the screening in a bar ... a sushi bar across the street ... but realized no one who had never seen the film would know if it skipped or not, and we might be returning to a Q&A that made even less sense then the ones which happen after a clean run.

Disclaimers were made by Laudilina Martinez who charmingly mc'd the evening keeping the whole of it fun and entertaining, and then we were off!

It was a delightful audience who stayed with it, laughing through Sadie and Henry, thoughtful and engaged during Edmund. The questions were smart and entertaining and once again everyone signed on to our dvd pre-order list, so many who want to see it again. One woman, in the second half of her life, saw her first dildo in our film and whooped with joy when her friend explained to her what it was. "I've never seen one!" she exclaimed in a giggling stage whisper.

We have been invited to return to Troy where we will screen for an Organization of professional Latina women, and also to sell our dvd at the Farmers' Market there. I love this grassroots campaign we have begun. Taking our film to its niche audience which is the widest and most diverse niche demographic I've ever seen.

Our testing has shown us that we can play this movie anywhere in the United States to people who like to think and they LOVE it. Husbands look so relieved at the end, having assumed that they were in for a 'chick-flick' and surprised to find that there's something here for them too.

So we will NEVER screen on dvd again! That said, it was a lovely evening and we are grateful to Kevin Craig West for inviting us to bring RACING DAYLIGHT to Troy.

Monday, February 4, 2008


It was pouring rain last Friday night and Prince street was full of bobbing umbrellas . Inside the Apple Store the lights were bright and the populous abundant. Our movie screened, such a gorgeous picture! From my seat in the back row center I could hear the film and the store as well, which I found distracting, but then I have a preference for a dark no talking from the audience movie, and find it difficult to train my focus on the one event, my mind darting hither and yon, a butterfly in a blooming meadow.

But I know that my kids thrive on this seeming chaos. When we screened at Ursinus in the cafeteria they stayed with it. Here too the audience seemed to be able to fall into the world of Cedarsville and not just be voyeurs to it. Most stayed for the q&a and the questions were a good mix of technical and artistic, which were answered deftly by Stephen M Harris, Jamie Kirkpatrick, and Jason Martin on the technical side. These three speak tech fluently, it's very sexy. Sophia, Melissa and myself fielded the creative queries.

Melissa Leo was in town fresh off her Sundance whirlwind with the jury prize winning "FROZEN RIVER". Her commitment to our project is so greatly appreciated. Producers of FROZEN RIVER , Chip Hourihan and Molly Conners, honored us in the audience along with many others who had braved the weather to see what caliber of film the Panasonic HVX 2000 and Final Cut Pro, in the hands of artists, can make.

Molly commented on how exciting it was to see Melissa, after a week of watching her onscreen at Sundance, to see her in such different roles than the ones she usually inhabits. The softer, beautiful side of Melissa. We too love to see this other Melissa onscreen, the breadth of her range only just scratched. A remarkable actor, I am in grateful awe of the gift she has given us with these performances.

Apple - Soho was a cool venue!!! Thank you to Frank who set us up and worked his Apple magic making our visit so effortless and comfortable.. To Dan for running the evening. And to Brian Popovic and Corey Smith for all for which they won't take credit.

We are applying to other Apple Stores around the country with a recommendation from the Soho staff. With any luck we will get to see our film projected in such a fabulous way again. Next time I'll sit in the front row.