My Writing Process: Blog Tour

Update – 06/15/15 – This post was written six days prior to my accidental journey, the moment in which everything changed. I chose to re-blog it to remind myself – and others facing challenges – what once was, and what can still be. Love, Anne


Today, I’m participating in the “My Writing Process” Blog Tour. It’s a sort of chain mail amongst scribes; the tour rolled out in January, and will conclude by next week.

I was invited to play by Henry Sheppard, aka the Adelaide Screenwriter. Henry’s tour commenced last week; he wrote with great eloquence about the publication of his novel Play the Devil , as well as writing for the screen, large and small.

Long story short, the blog tour asks its participants four questions about their writing process. I’ll turn my tour over to another writer, who will conclude this adventure in story, publishing her blog on June 15.


rabbit-hole1. What are you working on? I’m working on what is certainly the most challenging piece I have come up against. It’s a dark fantasy piece, set in the world of child abduction and sex-trafficking, a bit of a down-the-rabbit-hole journey for one girl. It’s a mentally, spiritually, and emotionally taxing piece to commit to. I plan to go into production with it in early winter or spring.

2. How does your work differ from others? Hmmm. That’s a loaded question. I could be cagey and say that everyone’s voice is uniquely their own, but… I’m influenced by classic literature, and reference mythology in my stories. Shakespeare influences me, as do Joyce, Homer and Austen. So there’s a certain sensibility that my characters carry around with them, regardless of their station in life. And, as I’ve noted before, the majority of my stories share the common thread of redemption.

fogg3. How does your writing process work? Process is so interesting to me, because it combines moments of great inspiration with what is seemingly banal organizational work. Stories usually come to me in dreams – I’ll dream of a character. Tom, my hero of EDEN, appeared in a dream I had while working on a completely different story. I was standing in a barren field. It was just after dawn; a heavy fog blanketed the land around me. A movement caught my eye; it was a man. He carried a rifle against his right shoulder, and a string of pheasants dangled from his right arm… and as he moved closer to me, I realized that his left arm ended just below the shoulder. And so, it began… The same for They Live Among Us; Caim appeared in a dream.

So, I start with a spark from my muse, and then begin the hard work of beating out the story, getting the structure sound. I use my Save the Cat! training for this; it’s a great system that allows me to lay the story out. I put it up on my board, and work it there for months before I type FADE IN. I find it is much easier to discard a note card than it is to cut out five pages of work. By the time I am ready to go to script, I have anywhere from 60 to 100+ story “beats.”

thepalemanFor my new project, I’m trying something different. I’m using the same process… but I’m beating out the story in images as opposed to words. I was inspired by Guillermo del Toro’s journals for PAN’S LABYRINTH, and as this new project is a dark fairytale, I decided to play with this technique.

4. Why do you write what you do? Honestly, I have no idea. My work reflects the muse that I was dealt.

image_(2)I’ve always been a storyteller; I published my first short story when I was 11, and made my first film at 14. My father was a huge fan of the cinema; I remember being taken to see Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS when I was 9. It blew me away; I never knew that film could be “that.”

When I was 13, I was injured in a horseback riding accident, and had to spend quite a bit of time in bed. I had blown through my entire Nancy Drew collection, and was bored out of my skull. In what I believe was an act of desperation, my mother dropped The Complete Works of William Shakespeare on my bed, along with Homer’s Odyssey. I was hooked.

A couple of years later, I stumbled across Stephen King’s The Stand. I firmly believe that King is one of the greatest writers in modern literature, regardless of genre. He just happens to write about things that go bump in the night.

As stated earlier, I find that redemption tends to pop up as a theme in a lot of my work; I also play with the theme of duality. The two faces of Juno that reside within us all, and also, the perception of truth, and reality. What is real… and what isn’t… and what may be.


sandrastanton3Join the final stop on the blog tour on June 15 with playwright, screenwriter, novelist, poet, and self-described “redhead born in a blond-headed body” Sandra de Helen at her blog site Red Crested Chatter.

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The Stranger on the Platform

Urban SprawlLife in Los Angeles can drive one mad. The hustle and bustle, the noise, the confusion… add to that the insanity of the entertainment business, and you have a mix that is guaranteed to bring the most stoic of people to their knees.

One of my coping mechanisms is to get out – not out of L.A., but into it. I find hidden treasures everywhere. And so, the plan today was to explore: an architectural jaunt to Hollyhock House, then a Metro trip to the Gamble House.

As the train pulled into the 7th Street Station, it jerked and slowed, then stopped. There was a great commotion outside. People were yelling and pointing. The lights went off in the train; the airflow stopped. Moments later, L.A. County Sheriffs swarmed through, ordering people off the train. We exited, confused. A man pointed. I turned and saw one of the Sheriffs on his knees. He held a flashlight, and was peering under our car. A man was under there. He had jumped in front of our train.

Within a few minutes, the place was evacuated as emergency personnel descended to carry out what could only be described as a grisly mission. We were with the people who had tried to prevent the man from jumping; apparently, he threatened to do so in a joking manner, making several false starts before he most determinedly flung himself in front of the tons of steel barreling towards him. No one knew him; some said he was 40, others claimed he was 20. The truth will come out by the end of the day, once the local media prioritizes the importance of their newsfeed… but what is known is that he is dead.

I was in shock; not 15 minutes before, I had been talking about a story that I am working on, strangers coming in contact with one another, a tale of urban life. One character – a young man – had traveled to the train station. He had gone there to commit suicide – by jumping in front of a train.

We were led upstairs and pushed out onto the street, only to land in the middle of a Hollywood blockbuster filming a great action and adventure sequence. Helicopters were everywhere – police, media, and the ones that were filming. It was chaos. The trip to the Gamble House was off, as train service was suspended, and the desire to go there had diminished. I spent the next few hours wandering around the Theatre District and Pershing Square, as my mind returned again and again to the event. Eventually, the Metro declared the situation resolved, and the trains resumed their schedules, with a few minor delays.

photoThe return to 7th Street. It was so very quiet. There were neither police nor emergency responders; the platform was all but empty. As I waited for the train, something caught my eye. It took a few moments to register, but suddenly, I realized that I was standing in the precise spot where, just a few hours ago, that desperate soul had taken his life. That man’s entire existence – all he was, all he would ever be – was reduced to three sad objects – a coroner’s glove, a pair of tennis shoes, and a pool of dried blood.


Unknown-1I keep wondering about that man. Who was he? He was somebody’s son, that is for certain, and at one time or another, he had been somebody’s friend, somebody’s lover. What happened to him, what despair so consumed him that he felt this action was the only one he could take? And… where were his angels? Where were those voices, those soft whispers, telling him to stop, reassuring him, telling him to breathe, that everything would be alright? What had left him so bereft and alone? Why had his angels, that grace within humans that stops them from committing the unthinkable, abandoned him? And, so, I think about Caim, and Father Buer, of Lillith, Lucien, and Beliala, and of their falls from grace. I think of the guardian angels in my life, and realize how grateful I am for them… and I wish fervently that, for just one second, they had left me, to give comfort to another.

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Good Night, Sweet Prince

220px-Philip_Seymour_Hoffman_2011“I had insecurities and fears, like everybody does,and I got over it. But I was interested in the parts of me that struggled with those things.” ~ Philip Seymour Hoffman

For creatives, our mind can be our greatest asset – or our worst enemy. Philip Seymour Hoffman succumbed to his fears and insecurities today. He was perhaps the greatest actor of his generation. His ability to step into a character’s skin, and to transform into their personas was uncanny; his gift was as immense as his deeply vulnerable heart.

As creatives, we’re asked to open ourselves up to the world, to stand naked, to bare all of our secrets. This emotional accessibility is what makes a great artist, and yet, it is also what makes so many of us fall prey to one form of addiction or another. It’s painful to feel so much all of the time, and for some, this pain is so great that they desperately try to numb themselves, in order to be free from its grasp. They seek respite in the form of drugs, alcohol, and sex.

Hoffman’s death comes as a great shock to us all. We believed he had conquered his fears, and that his days of addiction were long past. He was very candid about his struggle with sobriety; and yet, the story seemed a long-closed chapter of his early life.

We were fooled… because we wanted to be. It’s a difficult truth, to discover that what you most love about a person ultimately leads to their undoing.

Good night, sweet prince,

and flights of angels guide thee to thy rest.

RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman 1967 – 2014

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Scribe, Interrupted

Dementor image“There was a demon that lived in the air. They said whoever challenged him would die. Their controls would freeze up, their planes would buffet wildly, and they would disintegrate. The demon lived at Mach 1 on the meter, seven hundred and fifty miles an hour, where the air could no longer move out of the way. He lived behind a barrier through which they said no man could ever pass….” ~ The Right Stuff

I have met this demon.

In November, I stumbled upon a story. It sprang forth from a conversation that haunted me; it invaded my dreams. I had a visceral, emotional reaction to what had been discussed. It possessed me. I knew the only way to exorcise it was to write it.

And so I began. I welcomed my muse with open arms. I methodically and precisely built my outline; I created characters, and gave them detailed backstory. I knew them inside and out, heart and soul. I created a world. Perfection. Finally, the time came to type FADE IN:

At my first pass, I knocked out half of the script (this was for a 12 – 15 page short). I contacted a few people for a bit of feedback – is this a story of interest? Worth exploring? I received a unanimous “Yes” and took the plunge. I dove into story, headfirst. I made some adjustments, and began again.

Once again, I knocked out half of the script. Then, the problem surfaced. I could go no further.

Every day, I’d open up my trusty Final Draft; every day I would stare at the screen. I’d read my pages, and try to push further, only to have my brain completely shut down.

It was terrifying. I had never experienced anything like this in my entire life. I was beginning to believe that I’d never write again.

I tried everything that I knew to do. I threw away the outline and free-formed it. Stalled at the same place. I dropped characters, and brought in others. Stalled in the same place. I gave my protagonist a new name. Stalled. A new job. Stalled. I was in a complete state of panic; I felt that I was free-falling without a parachute. Stalled. Stalled. Stalled.  I had met the demon in the sky of my mind, and my heart and soul were disintegrating, like a jet hitting the sound barrier. All was lost.

This particular script had a hard deadline, as I had the opportunity to place it in consideration for production this year. The deadline was in a day. I had about 36 hours in which I would need to write, proof, rewrite, edit, and hand off my little drama.

I went jogging. That always works. I ran and ran along the streets of Toluca Lake, until I could run no more. I turned and walked home, waiting for the muse to descend.

As I neared my house, my pace slowed, for nothing had happened. 

I took a deep breath, and walked inside. Surely, something will click, I told myself. I sat down, opened up FD… and once again, stared at the pages.

I took a shower. I scrubbed my hair, breathed in the steam, and poached myself like a lobster.


And so, I broke. I buried my head in my hands and sobbed. I keened for the death of my creative spirit. I surrendered my need for perfection. I allowed the project into my heart, I let go of all expectations, I permitted myself to be totally naked and raw. I felt… and then, it happened.

My hands reached, shaking, towards the keyboard… and once again, I typed FADE IN:

Only this time, I kept typing. I had met the demon… and the demon was me.


Apogee - apo*gee (noun) : the highest point of a vertical ascent. Multimedia production and distribution house. We #SupportIndieFilm

Apogee – apo*gee (noun) : the highest point of a vertical ascent. Multimedia production and distribution house. We #SupportIndieFilm

The script is complete, and has been submitted. I’m still making minor tweaks here and there. Pre-production is beginning under my newly formed Apogee Entertainment, and by the end of the year, by hook or by crook, I’ll be able to take you by the hand and lead you through the world of CREED. It’s the unflinching story of a returned warrior, a veteran of the Afghanistan war, who is so haunted by the past, that he is precipitously close to destroying his future. For it’s not only the fallen soldiers who are left behind. Our returning vets are being left behind – by the very country they risked their lives for.

Now, go write.

HRH, Princess Scribe


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Happy Holidays

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Natal Wishes

birthday-candles-1338372401X5qIt’s here again. The day of my birth.

Last year, I began a tradition of creating a wish list on my birthday. Without further ado, here is what I want for my birthday. For myself – and for you:


To forgive. We all know people who, for one reason or another, wish us ill. They cause great pain within us, and yet, to hold onto anger and resentment is to cut ourselves off from a more conscious state. I wish to forgive them, for I realize that they behave in this manner because they are living in a state of inner turmoil. II forgive myself. I forgive others.

For those who feel that one has done them an injustice, I wish forgiveness for you. I wish you forgiveness for self.

Joy. We spend a lot of time searching for this thing called “happiness.” I am beginning to believe that happiness is a faux emotion, for it is derived from things or people external to the self. If you think about it, happiness can be a very toxic state of consciousness. I wish for joy. Joy also accepts pain as its partner. I do not wish to live in a state of vapid happiness. I wish to experience moments of grace.

I wish joyful living for you.

Conscious living. I have said before that L.A. is a very noisy place. It is difficult to live in a state of conscious awareness when one is surrounded by so much noise. We need silence, every day. Music is not silence. Silence is silence. I wish to be aware of those around me. I wish to live in harmony with my environment, even when it changes. I wish to be conscious of the choices I make – even the most mundane.

I wish conscious living for you.

Compromise. I wish to continue to practice this choice.

For our nation, and our people in it, I wish for all to practice conscious compromise. This nation was founded by the people, for the people. Not by corporations and lobbyists for personal or financial gains. Democracy means that we are our brothers (and sisters) keepers. We must look out for one another. Choices should be made for the dreams of the many, not the schemes of the few.


I wish for They Live Among Us to acquire funding for future episodes. I wish for high production value to come to the table. I wish this for myself, and for the hard and beautiful work of the cast and crew.

For you, and your passion projects, I wish you funding through completion.

I wish forBig Boy Toys to receive its greenlight. It’s reality done right. I wish for Exit Plan to acquire festival placement.

For you who are trying to get your projects moved ahead, I wish you a viral presence and festival awards.

I wish for Impasse to come to distribution. Jeanne and Michael, you deserve this.

I wish for Eden to receive its financing in full, so we can start production. This project deserves it – and it is a story that needs to be told.

For you who are trying to film your features, I wish financing for you.

I wish for growth as a filmmaker.

For you seeking to expand your body of work, I wish for growth for you.

I wish for the Hammer Down monkeys to continue on with our amazing collaboration. It’s the greatest gift I’ve been given in my artistic life.

For those of you struggling to create, I wish for you extraordinary creative partnerships.

And finally, I wish for peace. I wish for love and compassion. I wish.

Now, go breathe. Live. Write.

HRH, Princess Scribe


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Ripple Effect

ripple_effectThe death of a person affects us all. The announcement of such an event causes a ripple effect, like the dropping of a pebble into a pond; as the news spreads throughout the community, its effect can be followed outwards infinitely.

I’m watching as a ripple effect cascades across the screenwriting community, via the  tsunami-esque internet. Early this morning, there came news across the wires that Syd Field had died.

It is during times like this, that I pause, and take inventory. I’ve led a blessed life. I was beyond fortunate to have worked with Blake Snyder and the Cats for as long as I did. That work has provided me with rich, intensive training, and countless opportunities. I still find it extraordinary that I was able to share so many experiences with Blake. The relationships that I forged then still resonate within me today. The Cats are my family; they are my band of brothers.

I was also fortunate enough to have, for a brief time, worked with Syd Field.

Certainly, my relationship with him was in no way equal to the one I shared with Blake. I met Syd when I was working at Final Draft. I had launched an Outreach program, and so I found myself spending many a day with him, discussing the various facets of the program, and how it could be expanded. At that time, I was searching for disadvantaged and young writers, who could benefit from the mentorship of Hollywood professionals. I connected writers with producers, with development people, and so, eventually, the program led me on the path to Syd.

SydField_4x5Gracious and gentle are the words that come to mind, when I think of Syd Field. He was never too busy to take a phone call. He had a smile that could light up a room, and there was a twinkle to his eyes. He was already somewhat frail by the time I met him; heart disease had taken its inevitable toll, and yet, he still had the joie de vivre, the magical thinking one would usually find in children. He was the first person to emphasize to me that “none of us knows anything,” and “the true artist is a perpetual student.” Life for Syd was a process of constant learning.

Syd knew how to make an entrance. When he would come over to visit FD, Mark would announce on the PA “Syd Field has entered the building,” and I am fairly certain that Syd got a big kick out of that.

My time with him was short, but the conversations and work accomplished left a lasting impression on this scribe.

What do I remember most about Syd? He worked with some of the greatest names in the business; people like Darabont and Goldman wrote with great eloquence, heaping praise upon Syd’s shoulders. And yet, at the end of the day, when I would talk to him, it was not about who he had just met with, or what celebrity had singled him out. It was about a project that he was working on – interactive software, based on a gaming model, to help young children improve literacy.

That’s what made him flash that million-watt smile – not celebrity, or adoration -but the dream of helping children. That was the Syd Field that I knew.

RIP, Syd Field. You are legend. You are… shall I say it? Awesomeballs.

Now, go write.

HRH, Princess Scribe


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Things That Go Bump in the Night

It’s that time of year again….

Princess Scribe's Blog

It’s that time of the year again! I suppose I could write a new Halloween blog, but why? Drumroll, please… the annual publishing of the Halloween blog:

No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed by some to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.

Thus begins one of the most masterful ghost stories of all time, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. Halloween is upon us, “Oooooh, scaaaaary, kids!” as Count Floyd would say, which prompts me to rattle on about…

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Whose Film is It Anyway?

UnknownI’m moving several projects through post, a couple of shorts and an episode of TLAU.

I love post-production; it’s where the magic really happens. Edits, sound design, composition… all those beautiful components, coming together, like notes on a page, to create this symphony that is called a film.

I have the greatest respect for artists in all aspects of production. It takes a village to create a film; this is a philosophy I embrace wholeheartedly. Each and every person contributes to the project; each and every person involved is of the utmost importance. Each and every person influences the film. Even craft service. Especially craft service.

The emergence of YouTube, combined with the advent of DSLR, has presented visual storytelling with a unique set of circumstances. New technologies and lowering costs have made the tools of filmmaking more and more accessible. Every Tom, Dick and Mary can outfit themselves with a pretty sweet setup, and these same Toms, Dicks and Marys then turn around and refer to themselves as filmmakers… and they knock a film out, cut it, buy some stock music and slap their names all over the opening credits without so much as a “by your leave.”

You know what I’m talking about. That offensive, annoying title card. The one that reads “A [insert your name here] Film.”

What’s wrong with that?! I hear this all the time. I wrote it! I directed it! It’s MINE!!!

I will tell you what is wrong with it. It is a lie.

Document1You have had the good fortune to have an entire team surrounding you in the creation of this film. There was a cast. There was pre-production support. You financed through crowdfunding. There was a crew. There was post-production support. The list goes on.

Plastering your name all over those titles is an act of grandiosity, borne of ego, for it makes the film about the Me instead of the We. It is the opposite of gratitude, and it does a great disservice to all who contributed in the creating of this story.

The next time you feel the urge to use that credit, sit back and answer the following questions:

schitzophrenia-808-lgDid you write the screenplay? Did you direct the film? Did you produce the film? Did you fund the film from your own pockets? Did you pay for locations? No donating of space from anyone allowed, because then it could not be “your” film. Did you design the production, build all of the props? Did you use your own equipment – or rent what you did not have? Did you shoot the film? Did you light it, run electrical? Are you the sole talent in the film? Wigs, makeup, wardrobe can turn you into multiple characters, so you’ll need to handle that, too. Without help. Did you hold the boom as you were filming your acting? Oh, you used lavs. Good choice. Did you mix the sound with your toes while you were filming and acting? Did you slate each take? And keep an edit log for yourself? Did you cook all of the meals for your one-person cast and crew? Did you edit the film? Did you do the sound design? VFX? Color grading? Music – you composed it, of course, right?

Now, if you can say yes to every single question, then you have my permission to plaster your name all over your masterpiece.

That being said, if you did do all of that on your own, ask yourself, and ask truthfully – is this really a film that anyone would want to see?

Now, go write.

HRH, Princess Scribe


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Facing Fear

images-1Each time I prepare to type the words FADE IN, I am faced with more than a little trepidation. Each new story, each new film presents itself with a unique set of challenges. I might be working in a new genre; I might be tackling a new narrative or visual style, or creating a piece for an actor whose work I am unfamiliar with, or a thousand other things, none of which I can control.

All well and good. I flex my fingers, take a deep breath (and a swig of green tea) and dive in, headfirst. I enter this brave new world with abandon.

I am unafraid.

Or, rather, I was.

A little over a year ago, I was wandering the streets of Toluca Lake just after dawn, when I was bitten by the spark of a story. I was immediately drawn in; snapshots of scenes flashed before my eyes. I picked up my pace, and hurried home to pound out some beats.

A bit later, I sat in front of the computer, frozen. I tried to remember the shape of what I saw on my walk. What was the tone? Style? I worked and worked, and became completely frustrated. I told myself that I simply could not wrap my head around it, turned to something else, and let the story slip away.


Michelangelo-Creation-hands-LStories are funny things to those who create them. Once you permit them into your consciousness, you run the risk that they will develop a life of their own. Once they taste that spark of creation, they hunger for more. They sit with you, fermenting in your brain. They possess you late at night. They come to you at the  most inopportune moments. They haunt you. They nag you. They demand to be told.

Thus, this story was for me. And yet, I turned away from it time and time again. I had – I have – other projects, some in post, some in pre-production, some still being developed. I don’t have the time – or the energy, I’d tell myself in the wee hours, when my muse hammered inside my brain, begging and pleading to once again be set free.

And so, I found myself awake a few days ago at 3 am. The witching hour; or as I like to think of it, the hour of the muse, for that is the time when I often find myself propelled from sleep straight into the act of creating.

I padded through my home with my thick wool socks banishing the chill of the autumnal air. We had experienced a cold front – temperatures had plummeted into the 40s at night. It was practically winter for L.A., another bonus for me, as I thrive in cool climes. I yawned as I poured myself a cup of green tea, and sat down in an oversized chair, snuggling up with a blanket and a couple of kitties. On the table in front of me were two books by Steven Pressfield – The Warrior Ethos and The War of Art. I picked up the latter, and flipped to a random page:


“A Professional Acts in the Face of Fear

The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist.

What Henry Fonda does, after puking into the toilet of his dressing room, is to clean up and march out onstage. He’s still terrified but he forces himself forward in spite of his terror. He knows that once he gets out into the action, his fear will recede and he’ll be okay.”


I tilted my head back, and closed my eyes. There it was again, that whispering, pleading voice. I waved it away, and yet, it did not silence. I began to plot out my day: I was putting an actor on tape, I was reviewing edits of a short, I was pulling stock footage for a sizzle reel.

But the voice did not silence. I channeled a sort of reverse inner Scrooge and told myself that the voice was really hunger. I walked into the kitchen to boil an egg… and that is when it hit me.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t wrap my head around the story.

It was that I was afraid of it.


And so, here I sit, a few days later, working on my newest script, which I plan to film. It is a short. It’s told mainly through visuals: moments in characters’ lives as we follow them through one day, a sort of cinema vérité look at a part of our world, and our society, that few see, or would ever want to. I can only manage to get out about a half to three-quarters of a page out per day, for it is that mentally and emotionally draining for me, to face this fear.

And, because it is so, I know I must.

Now, go write.

HRH, Princess Scribe


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1278999_10201350941588111_2095961285_oA few weeks ago, I subscribed to Notes from the Universe, a cheeky little daily reminder to keep self on a forward moving path. I did so after seeing my friend Jeanne post her daily reminders, took a look at the site, and figured “Why not?” I mean, who would not want bot-generated comments to direct your destiny?

Today’s note: Anne, here’s a hint on figuring out your life’s purpose:

It almost never lies behind the door marked, “Just be logical.” 

    The Universe


Tallyho, indeed.

My filmmaking life often feels like a life lived in retrograde. There’s a ton of struggle and heartbreak. My work is placed under the microscope and torn apart, or, worse, taken from me and passed off as the work of another. I roll with it, because… well. I’m either incredibly stubborn or persistent. It’s your call.

But retrograde passes… and recently, I found myself presented with an exciting project, a gift from the Universe. Literally.

hammerdownprodsmallOn October 9, 2013, Team Hammer Down will be in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, to film a behind-the-scenes documentary about a communications pioneer in the aerospace industry. Working cooperatively with NASA and UP Aerospace, satellite communications and aerospace company Satwest will be sending a communications payload through the stratosphere, in order to generate the world’s first texts to space.

At the same time, we’ll have a camera crew trained on a group of high school students from Albuquerque’s Bosque School, as they follow the launch from their Physics II lab. These young people will be the select few to send the first texts into outer space. (Can you text me now?)

I’m as giddy as a little girl in spring time. Why?

  • We’re filming a rocket launch. A rocket launch. How cool is that?
  • We’ll be standing on the hallowed ground that companies such as Virgin Galactic rest on. ‘Nuff said.
  • It’s a documentary, meaning while we have a firm grasp on the story, we really won’t know what it is until we assemble it in post. That’s exciting unto itself.
  • We get to watch history in the making… and young people become part of it. They’ll remember this moment for the rest of their lives – and so will we. It’s astonishing, overwhelming and more than a little humbling.

The experiment is to prove the concept that wi-fi hotspots can be created in space. Imagine, traveling past the moon and Tweeting, Facebooking, and texting your moonscape shots. Awesome.

As a little girl, I created my own job. I wanted to be the world’s first actress/filmmaker/veterinarian/astronaut. Not very logical… and yet, I have accomplished the first two parts of this imagined career. These days, I spend my evenings at the Equestrian center, tending to a riding school and the horses in it. With next week’s test, in some fashion, I will be able to tell myself that this milestone in my life is a fait accompli. Then, it’s onto my next adventure. Only, instead of sending messages to space, I’ll be the one sending them from space. Or so I like to believe.

If you want to follow the test next Tuesday, open ye Olde Twitter and follow hashtag #TextsToSpace, beginning 7 am MT.

Now, go write.

HRH, Princess Scribe


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Persistence is Everything

sisyphusMany a blog is devoted to the key elements needed to develop a career as a storyteller. Talent, of course, everyone talks about that, then that adjective is waved away, as talent is nothing without commitment… and then, that moniker is readily dismissed, and replaced by the word discipline.

To me, there is one word, and one word only, that holds the key to life/career success: Persistence.

To be a storyteller is like living the punishment of Sisyphus: sentenced to forever roll a massive boulder (your heart/soul/script/film-in-making) up a gargantuan incline only to, at the end of the day, watch it roll back down… and have to start all over again.

Rarely does a month go by without hearing from or of a friend or acquaintance who has “said when” to the machinations of this business, turned in their iMac and/or camera, and set off to new lands, where new adventures await them. I tell them that I will miss them (I will) and I wish them well (I do), and then I breathe a deep sigh of relief that somehow I have dodged the bullet of acceptance of defeat.

You see, I’m persistent.

Filmmaking is Fun!

Filmmaking is Fun!

I work very hard to maintain a positive attitude; I take deep breaths and journey to my place of zen. Do not fear – I will never live in a universe filled with rainbow sprites and unicorns, where people sparkle and coo nurturing cache-phrases while popping frosted edamame. I prefer my life in the trenches, with my team. It’s indie film. The rations are depleted. We’ve one magazine left between 20 of us… and yet, we do not fear. We will get the job done, and we will do it together.


Loud music blares from open windows, the discordant wail of a rave gone bad.

On the street, a huddled clump of cast and crew. They sit on apple boxes; a few of them are wrapped in worn towels and quilts. On top of a cooler rests a coffee maker.

The DIRECTOR, female, walks to the coffee table. She holds a cup under the spigot – nothing comes out. She tries again – nothing. Her hand trails down the electric cord… which rests on the sidewalk below. No plug. No coffee.



What would you do? Would you throw in the towel, give up, call it a wrap?

No. You would see it through. All of you would. Why? Because you have persistence.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” ~ Calvin Coolidge

If you live and breathe story and film, you must have persistence to succeed. Not only on the set, but in the heart and soul. Those days when you want to give up… what keeps you from doing so? Persistence. When you are pitching a project, what gets you in the door? Persistence. Need representation? You will hear “no” a thousand times. You must persist

Persistence must, of course, come hand in hand with growth and flexibility. Examine why you are hearing “no”. Is there a reason being given that you have heard more than once? More than twice? If so, you should listen to the criticism, apply, adjust… and persist.

Eventually you will hear “yes”.

No one ever got a green-light by giving up. In order to hear yes, you must have persistence. Good things do not come to those who merely wait. Good things come to those who persist.

Now, persist – and go write.

HRH, Princess Scribe


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How I’ve Spent my Summer Vacation

Good day, ladies and gentlemen of the court. I trust that you are well, have been churning out pages and/or projects, and generally enjoying life.

I took a wee bit of a vacation from blogging.

A vacation! How lovely! What did you do? 

Here’s how I have spent my summer vacation:

Wrote and directed 3 short films for the Center for the Cinematic Arts.

Executive produced 10 films as part of the CineLadies Summer Film Collective.

Filmmaking is Fun!

Filmmaking is Fun!

Produced one film as part of the CineLadies Summer Film Collective.

Wrote and directed one film as part of the CineLadies Summer Film Collective.

Nursed TLAU Episodes 4 & 5 through post. 6 coming soon.

Went into development to direct a music video, and am in pre-production on a short.


Honestly, I’m happiest when I am creating, so I must be one happy gal… and I am, for Episode 5 of They Live Among Us has launched! Titled Night’s Candles (TLAU swag for the first person who can identify the play from which the title sprang), we begin with Caim battling his inner demons as Buer works to persuade him to join forces against Lucian and Beliala. Ted journeys to the Hollywood sign in search of Peg, and Serafina struggles with her decision to return to Rocco. It’s a jam-packed 10 minutes of storytelling, and yes. Caim takes off his shirt.



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Bottomless Wishing Well

I’m micro-blogging while I push TLAU through post, get my i’s dotted and t’s crossed for the next step in the series… and of course, there is the CineLadies Summer Collective, and EXIT PLAN to post.

In the meantime, a promo for a beautiful woman, inside and out. Cari Eden Kindl has allowed us to use “Bottomless Wishing Well” in Episode 5 of TLAU. Here, she uses footage from Episode 2, to weave a story of a downtrodden young woman, struggling to get out of the place she calls “between heaven and hell”… on the streets of Afghanistan. It’s eerie, the collision of these two worlds – the worlds of Cari’s beautiful music, and the world of TLAU. Please click on the link and LIKE Cari’s music. The winner will be performing at a special New Year’s Eve event, opening for none other than Little River Band. We so appreciate Cari’s incredible support and her generous spirit. Ivet, Geoff, Terence, Silvio, Nina and Don all get some nice footage in this spot. Please support our TLAU Angel, Cari Eden Kindl!

You can “LIKE” her entry here.

Thank you…. and now, go write.

HRH, Princess Scribe


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The Conversations

images-1Today is August 4. Today is the fourth anniversary of the death of my mentor, employer and friend, Blake Snyder.

In the past, I’ve marked the date with a journal entry about Blake, his influence on me, and the memories surrounding his unexpected passing.

This year, however, I choose a different path.

BJ Markel, Blake’s partner in Save the Cat! and closest friend, has invited several of us who knew Blake, to contribute to a series of columns about our conversations with the Master Cat. I have a few of these in mind, as I am certain, do others.

And so, while I peruse my treasure trove of memories, and prepare to pen my own remembrances, I encourage you to visit the site, and read the first of many of these entries. Blake’s childhood friend, Tracey Jackson, shares her memories of her last conversation with Blake.

Now, go write.

HRH, Princess Scribe


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