Saturday, January 23, 2016

In Case of Blizzard, Do Nothing (Or Catch Up On your Blog)

"A snowstorm rewards indolence and punishes go-getters, which is why it's the best natural disaster there is."
-David Dudley, Op-Ed NY Times, 1/23/16

First, a mea culpa.

A few months ago, after a fascinating co-production with an Indonesian company, I started writing about that effort. Then, I got caught up in so much that I found it hard to keep up this blog. I'm going to use this post to get my devoted readers up to date.

Most of my long-time readers know that I try to avoid short, journal-like posts and trend toward more well thought-out articles. Those take some rewriting and reflection, and while I hate to have left these pages empty this last month and a half or so, I'd rather try to offer somewhat interesting and hopefully enlightening and entertaining posts.

Catching up. Here goes.

I will continue the series on Letters For Raisa, the Indonesian film that I understand may be released in Indonesia in February. A trailer is linked below. (A good opportunity to bone up on your Indonesian)

That production, and the insanely good people I was blessed to work with here and from Indonesia, reignited a love for production that had grown dim from what is often the drudgery of low budget filmmaking.

It was then I decided to expand my production services company, Fire Lotus Entertainment, and open up an office in Midtown Manhattan. Working with other production partners, in addition to the production office and my services line producing, I can now put people together with just about any gear, as well as production insurance. If they have the script and the money, we can make it happen.

With help from a talented producing partner, my website,, was launched in late November. It would not have happened without help from Leigh at Human Storyteller, NYC (follow that link to look at her amazing work!).

As with any effort, it has had it's fits and starts. A very good project, Karma, that is in development and was slated to start production in February is on hold. As usual, funding issues.

I also have been talking with a talented actress, Maria Soccor who made her directorial debut in a big way with a documentary called Lords of BSV. It is about a form of dance born in Brooklyn that many may not know about, and so much more. I'd like to list all of the awards it has won (you can see them on the site) but that would be an article in itself. I have seen it twice. It's truly inspirational to see how, from the roughest conditions, the jewel of creativity emerges. Reminds me of the Fire Lotus, after which my company is named, which grows in the bottom of ponds.

As the zen saying goes: "The Lotus flowers roots are sunk in soot and debris, in fact, the very stuff of our lives." Much like the gorgeous flowers produced there, Lords of BSV is a real treasure. Follow the link to it above to learn more.

Finally, a fascinating project came my way. On Letters for Raisa, a prolific producer and line producer I have known for years and had the pleasure of working for, Aliki, offered to come on as Production Supervisor. I wondered how two line producers would work together, or whether she would be comfortable working for another producer. My fears left on day one, and her graciousness and generosity made it a fantastic experience.

In December, another talented producer and line producer, Nicky, was looking for a location manager. As we were discussing people that I knew, she mentioned that she was also looking for a PM. I offered my services, and she was good enough to bring me on.

I am on what should be Shoot Day 7 of Tokyo NY, a film written and directed by Naghmeh Shirkhan, whose first feature, The Neighbor, was so well-done. Alas, we are in the middle of one of the biggest blizzards in NY history. Today was to be our first major day of exteriors, and the weather is so bad we cannot even shoot interiors. Alas, on film, Murphy's Law truly does rule.

I have tried to be as much an aide to Nicky as Aliki was to me. The thing about putting two talented line producers together is it is like bringing two master chefs together: they can create some new, amazing dishes, but running the kitchen can be awkward at first. We've both made adjustments to how we work, and I am thoroughly enjoying it and thankful for the opportunity to work on what I know will be a unique and fascinating project. Again, more detail on that as we move forward.

Much of the film is in Japanese (with some amazing Japanese performers). After the Indonesian film, and now this, my office manager and receptionist at my office suite asked if I did mostly Asian movies. No, Martina, it just seems that way.

Right now, I am talking to one playwright about adapting a work of his I love for the screen, another playwright about introducing him to some Broadway producers I know, Maria about her next documentary, and, just this morning, with a novelist about adapting her work, all while trying to keep the wheels rolling smoothly on our production's train and listening for Winter Weather Advisories to see how we will (or won't) be able to film tomorrow.

Here I offer my promise to try to catch up on Raisa's story and move forward about the rest in a more timely manner. Thanks for your patience.

In the meantime, some advice from the brilliant David Dudley article quoted in the headline:

"The Snow Gods reserve special contempt for those who don't respect their ability to bring human activity to a standstill. The snow cares not for your deadlines, your happy hour plans, your scheduled C-section (or your Call Time - mine). It wants only to fall on the ground and lie there. And it wants you to, too."