Thursday, November 20, 2008

Understanding Exclusion

If, as the UC Santa Barbara team of Professors Bielby and Bielby have asserted, "All Hits are Flukes: institutionalized decision making and the rhetoric of network prime-time program development", (American Journal of Sociology), and I have to say their study is pretty convincing on the subject. If all hits are flukes, then it becomes imperative for "institutions" (studios) to create rhetoric in support of their predictions of future success, for their own survival.

The study goes on to tell us that much of the rhetoric created, or the assumptions used to measure future success, are predicated on the concepts of 'imitation', 'repetition', and 'reputation' as the hallmarks of predictable success. Hm... so if you weren't there, haven't done it before, or don't pretend to be what went before, you are considered a 'high risk'. Though in fact, the 'new' idea has as much chance out of the gate as the old. Interesting, the subtle equation of exclusion.

Women and minorities are excluded from the cultural conversation by these assumptions, which are, in essence, speculations, trotted out as fact, when a film or television show is scrutinized for its success potential in the market place.

'Speculation' then is wielded as a tool of fact by which others are excluded.

If all hits are flukes, then there is no one sure model. And every time someone champions a past success in relation to my dreams, that 'valued' opinion' needs to be leveraged against the truth. The truth is that I have as much chance of predicting success as the thirty year old studio white guy. Maybe more, as I live among the people, not in the land of holly and wood, and my tastes are directly influenced by the people I meet at ball games and the library, etc. The problem; I have to greenlight and finance my own projects in order to change the conversation to something which interests me.

And soon, if my flukes hit, I too will be the one imitated, repeated and reputed. And as long as I remain outside of the 'institutions' I can continue to move forward, creating worlds anew without having to reflect exclusively on what went before.

So, the lesson I take away from this is that I no longer look to the paradigm to affirm or negate what I do. I give myself permission to create and dream worlds not readily available on my screens. Onward!

Friday, November 7, 2008


Now that the elections are over and the smoke is clearing, we are gearing up to replace the investors we lost in the econmoic crunch, and re-set our start times.

To the loyal supporters of our project, we move forward with confidence and optimism into this brave new future, embracing all the slaps and tickles which accompany first times.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

new photo!

I liked this photo so much I want to feature it and Linda, who will play Elinor in Slap and Tickle.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Please check out our list of links to film friendly businesses in the Hudson Valley. A great place to live and make movies!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Mike Orange is the winning bidder of the Stone Ridge Library auction. Mike will play Mr. Sneed the barman and he has purchased the female role of Lucy McMurty for his daughter Mary Auringer.

Thanks to Mike and Mary, for their generous donation to the STONE RIDGE LIBRARY BUILDING FUND. We look forward to having you on set!

The Stone Ridge Library is a 501(c)3, donations are tax deductible.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


We met with SUZANNE HILLEARY yesterday, Sophia and myself along with JULIA NORDMAN, a PA from Germany who was an exchange student locally a year ago. Suzanne has agreed to come on board as our music supervisor with STEPHEN GEORGE producing all of our studio sessions. Suzanne is the founder and president of WACBIZ a Writer's and Artist's Cooperative located here in the Hudson Valley. It's amazing to have so many stellar music and film folk as neighbors. One can make an entire film in the Hudson Valley.

Including GAIL ANN DORSEY (Bowie's bass player), who now lives in Kingston, and whom we hope will come on board both as musician and in a cameo role.

We're taking this period piece featuring a family of indigent/immigrants; forced and unforced, Black, Native American, and Irish, who compose Maggie's immediate family, and we're adding a contemporary Irish rock sound track to it. Irish because so much of the family is, and also because the penny whistle (fife) and drums are so a part of much indigenous music. It's also a seamless way to draw the lessons of the past into the present. So much has changed even as it remains the same. Ah, life!

Suzanne greeted us with enthusiastic news of phone calls from SINEAD O'CONNOR'S management requesting a hard copy of the script. GERRY LEONARD (AKA Spooky Ghost, Bowie and Rufus Waignwright's musical director/guitarist) and BLACK 47 have checked in. And LAKESHORE RECORDS has asked for a first look at our soundtrack!

Thanks, Suzanne, for boosting our profile in a whole new world.

Friday, July 4, 2008


The Stone Ridge Public Library, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary next June, is holding an auction to cast two speaking parts in SLAP AND TICKLE to benefit the building fund. MR. SNEED, the barman and LUCY MCMURTY the proprietor of the pool hall are on the block. Are you a closet thespian? So ... you wanna be in pictures? Here's your chance to benefit an excellent cause.

My soapbox: Libraries are the last bastions of democracy. Equal and open access to information levels the playing field. SUPPORT YOUR LIBRARY!

For more information contact: The Stone Ridge Library

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Dion Ogust took these stunning photos of Linda Powell and Caitlin Quinn at the home of celebrated writer and friend Laura Shaine, formerly Cunningham (Author of: Sleeping Arrangements, A Place in the Country, Dreams of Rescue).

Monday, June 23, 2008


I met with the Stone Ridge Library Foundation yesterday and the two speaking parts will be cast in an online silent auction hosted by the Stone Ridge Library foundation. More details will be found on their site later this week.

Friday, June 20, 2008


The anticpated auction of our speaking part was postponed to be incorporated into a larger, more press worthy event, which may well include a screening of RACING DAYLIGHT. Which we all hope means more money to the library. So please stay tuned for updates and know that I have crafted two charming speaking parts in a large pool hall scene, one for either gender. So ... you valiant thespians with checkbooks ...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


INDIEPIX has come on board as our Executive Producers! The amazing and intrepid cine-pioneers BOB ALEXANDER and RYAN HARRINGTON (Tribeca Gucci Fund) are flexing their muscles on our behalf and we are very grateful.

Indiepix is a company we have long admired. Firstly because they had the incredible good taste, along with Ryan and Cactus 3, to put $ behind Sophia's documentary '21 Below". They are the champions of the little guy-filmmakers. Those of us who are less interested in making a killing then pushing artistic envelopes without sacrificing food.

We also welcome MOLLY CONNERS to our production team! Molly is one of those responsible for FROZEN RIVER which took home the Sundance Jury prize last year, and which will be released by Sony Classics in the fall and which stars one of our favorite actors and friends MELISSA LEO who gives an amazing Oscar worthy performance as the trailer park mom turned to smuggling illegal immigrants to make ends meet.

We are so proud to be associated with the kind of integrity and artistic excellence inherent in Indiepix, Ryan Harrington, and in Molly Conners. Onward!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Slap and Tickle is on the auction block at the Stone Ridge Library Fair. Today we will auction off a 'speaking part' in our film to benefit the library. We are very excited at the prospect of making our film even more part of our community, but also we are hopeful we will make a bit of money for this very worthy organization.

How, you may ask, does film relate to libraries? A film starts as a written document and before that one hopes it is well researched. Libraries are the home of ideas. I visit often. In my opinion, libraries are the last bastions of democracy. Free access to a level playing field. Support your library!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It's 1929 in a small American town. 16 year old Maggie Turpin believes that there are only two jobs available to women of color; teacher and prostitute. Maggie's family has both. Now it's Maggie's turn to decide.

"SLAP AND TICKLE' stars Gloria Reuben, Linda Powell, Adam Lefevre, and introducing Caitlin Quinn as Maggie. This coming-of-age story by, for, and about women and specifically women of color, goes before the cameras in August of 2008. Sophia Raab Downs (Racing Daylight, 21 Below, Gospel Hill) will produce and Nicole Quinn (Racing Daylight), the scripts author, will direct.

Many of Racing Daylight's cast will be returning; Melissa Leo, Giancarlo Esposito, John Seidman, in this delightful story of an American family we've rarely seen on screen.

The legendary Ruby Dee has said of the script:

"It is an engaging story, and its multigenerational focus and novel perspective on race complexities intrigue. Barring any scheduling complications, I would be inclined to participate in the project."

We are grateful for the kind words and hopeful that Ms. Dee's schedule and ours willl dovetail.