Hollywood’s Problem Starts in High School

The success of Wonder Woman and the live action Beauty and the Beast has generated a great deal of discussion about women in cinema and woman-centric narrative.  A Variety article pointed out, though, that despite record box office, women, “made up only 7 percent of all directors working on the 250 highest-grossing domestic releases in 2016. That represented a decline of two percentage points from the year before.”  Without getting too heady or too political, I need to point out that women’s narratological problems start off long before a screenplay gets optioned by the studios and directors are hired.  It starts in high school, with the ways we are taught narrative structure.

Read more on Mogul.

Think Too Much?

This broadcast was illuminating. So often, we overthink and it gets us nowhere. Dr. Colleen Mullen and Miriam Goldstein were fascinating guests with real, actionable suggestions for calming that monkey mind down.

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Well, I was thinking less before this show, but thankfully our guests gave us fantastic advice as well as simple tips to make us think LESS. Really. Listen in:

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David Lynch, The Cinematic Shaman

Very little causes my jaw to drop, but tonight, David Lynch, you have done it.  Everyone was oohing and aahing over last week’s episode of Twin Peaks, a chorus of WTF-s over the nebulous and at times, horrific images.  I expect that from Lynch.  What I didn’t expect was he to channel me or me, him.

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Harry Dean Stanton understated-ly sang “Red River Valley”, a decades-old folk ballad of love and loss.  You would almost miss it if you weren’t listening carefully.   My jaw dropped.  That was the theme song of “Seeking Valentina” an award-winning, Lynchian-esque short film directed by Armin Nasseri, which I starred in and helped him produce.  It was so odd, because it seemed like Harry Dean Stanton continued right where our theme song left off. It was beyond weird–like David Lynch.

Here’s my version of the song, which played over the end credits of “Seeking Valentina”.  Check out the trailer of the film.  It will be playing at the Hollywood Dreams Film Festival in late August.  Curious?  Read Char Hardin’s review of Seeking Valentina, comparing my character to Laura Palmer.

David Lynch, you have blown my mind.  If you channeled us, we are honored.  If we channeled you, we hope to do it again.  We love you David, and the amazing journeys you take us on, always a little cuckoo and a little dangerous, just like you.

 

Your Brand is Everything

You have a great idea.  You have a great team.  You have superb processes and resources to set your business plans into motion…. but then, it’s time to discuss branding.  This where many entrepreneurs with innovative ideas get stuck.  Branding influences our lives as consumers of goods and services and the difference between great branding and bad branding impacts the viability of businesses.  On yesterday’s What Women Want Talk Radio broadcast, we had guests Joan Pelzer and Paula Conway on to unpack how branding impacts businesses large and small.

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Joan Pelzer of Joan Pelzer Media provides dynamic social media consulting in New York City.  With years of experience in navigating the often-tumultuous social media landscape, Joan emphasizes communicating with authenticity—finding what’s truthful for you.  Joan’s enthusiasm and passion for her work is evident and this guides her branding choices for herself and those she helps.  Joan says, “I’m living my brand.”  Joan, Judy and I took on the topic of live streaming video on social media, and how to leverage it to benefit your brand.

Paula Conway, head of Astonish Media Group, a strategic media company, has years of experience helping brand her clients in hyper-competitive New York City.  She puts it very simply and directly, “Branding is quite literally everything.”  Many smaller companies don’t understand what their own brand is and may not have invested the time or the resources to clarify their brand identity.   Paula, as a branding expert, talks about how she branded her own company and how the power of the word “astonish” sets client expectations and her expectations of her employees.

I think one of the most important things that came out of this conversation is that communication happens on many levels.  Branding is more than coming up with a catchy slogan.  It’s more than a logo.  Branding extends to how we communicate and how we meet expectations, and hopefully, exceed them.

Listen to this compelling broadcast here.

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Moviemaking is a Messy Business

If you’ve been watching my Instagram lately, you will have noticed someone has a gripe against a guy named Vinnie.  😉

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I was back on the set of James Balsalmo’s The Litch this week and I was again impressed by James’s wizardry, this time with masks, snot fabricated from cottage cheese and blood from chocolate syrup and food coloring. It was a messy, fun, albeit, occasionally odorous time. It’s amazing what creativity we have when we use it and James is a truly creative fellow.

Hobby Lobby Hypocrisy

We all know Hobby Lobby has yarn, but this is a yarn that has traversed into reality.  Apparently, they’ve been fined for smuggling Iraqi artifacts out of war-torn Iraq as tile samples for their new Bible Museum.  These were very expensive tile samples–costing millions of dollars and likely hundreds of lives.

Moses had a tablet too, and I believe it said “Thou shalt not steal.”  Shame on you, Hobby Lobby.  Shame on you for taking advantage of a war-torn country.  Shame  on you for thinking you deserved Iraq’s cultural artifacts more than its own people.  Shame on you for asserting your moral authority over your employees and their bodies and then being a thief.  I wish Moses had gotten a tablet that had said, “Thou shalt not be a flagrant hypcrocrite,” because that is what you all are.

 

Reeling in Our Focus

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There are so many distractions.  Sometimes, in our hectic lives, we have competing priorities, which can make focusing even harder.  This past week on What Women Want Talk Radio, Judy Goss and I had guests Christine Hassler and Nancy Ganzekaufer, who coached us on how to make our lives more reflective of our deeply held priorities.  If you’ve been overwhelmed by your to-do list or suffering from a bad case of analysis paralysis, you’ll find the candor of Christine and Nancy refreshing.

Learn more on Mogul.