Film Festivals

WCA 2010 Industry Forum – Not Your Mama’s Film Industry

Not Your Mama’s Film Industry

Every year the Women of Cinematic Arts puts on a killer conference with a line up of current power house players in the Industry.  On the whole, there are a ton of USC alumni and most encouraging – WOMEN in key creative roles.  Aside from hearing personal anecdotes on blockbuster movies and shows, it is also a great forum to catch up with up-and-coming peers in the industry.

I’ve been a volunteer for the WCA for the past four years and at every Forum as well.  I’m a bit of a junkie to these events.  But the value isn’t with the face time with these Industry elites – it’s really with the connection to the women in the audience.

The WCA is now about 700 members strong with a wide variety of people in various stages of their career.  From current students to working freelancers to young execs – We cover the spectrum.  And we also hire each other.  The Forum is always a great place to reconnect with old friends and new, and to seek out new opportunities.

I have to quote one member – an old friend of mine whom I started film school with back in ’05 – Kate Powers (MFA Screenwriting ’07 – now a writer’s assistant on Breaking Bad).  Her thoughts on the Forum:

As I write this, I am sitting at my desk, doing the *exact job* I dreamed of
landing when I started at USC — and I’m reasonably sure I couldn’t be here
without the guidance and lessons I’ve learned at these industry forums.

Kate is super talented, and I know she is going to be writing in the room on a show in the next five years, for sure.  I’ve had the privilege to direct her work which always had witty dialogue and fun comedic action twists that keep audience engaged.  If not for the WCA – I might have lost touch with Kate.

Yesterday I was able to touch bases with people I haven’t seen in over a year – and in some cases over 5 years!  All dynamic women with a lot of new exciting projects or job opportunities before them.  Many women were exchanging cards and figuring out how they can help each other in their objectives.  That was when it occurred to me…the WCA had achieved it’s goal.  Women supporting women in this industry.

I left yesterday feeling invigorated, as though I got a shot of adrenaline towards my goals.  The keynote speaker, Linda Woolverton, said you have to live your dream and every day work towards that goal no matter how discouraged or alone you may feel.  If you want to write – then write!  And as it turns out, most of the recent phenomenon “Alice in Wonderland” was written in the bathroom to avoid persistant animal distractions.  With organizations like the WCA, I feel a breath of relief, because it IS HARD and LONELY – but with them, that supposedly insurmountable mountain seems more like a challenging hike.

Thank you to all the volunteers and the School for all the hard work of putting on the Forum.  As always – top job ladies!

Published: October 10, 2010

Write Movies Finalists – 25th International Writing Competition

Moving on up…

Terra Incognita made Finalist at the competition.  They actually have made some of their past winning scripts.  Good competition to participate in.  At least we now have an idea that our script can compete with international ideas.  Global market value, baby! International Writing Competition #25

We received nearly 1000 screenplays, books, plays, short stories and articles from the following countries: USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Belgium, India, Switzerland, Austria, Russia, Italy, Greece, Nigeria, Georgia, Mexico, Japan, South Africa and The Cameroon.

The list can be seen at: CLICK HERE

Published: September 28, 2010

Terra Incognita – how the script came to be.

I should start out by saying “Terra Incognita” is a passion project.  Ironically, it’s not your typical, “I-have-a-personal-drama-story-I-have-to-tell” passion project.  It was my guilty pleasure of loving old time action-adventure high-concept fantasy films.

Anyone who knows me would classify me as a history nut.  For a time I thought I was going to make historical documentaries and even spent a good 5 years studying archaeology in pursuit of it.  But the narrative bug wouldn’t leave me alone, so I returned to the world of stories clearly influenced by my old field of study.

Terra Incognita was originally going to be my Thesis script from USC’s graduate program.  We wrote the synopsis, but something didn’t click.  We chose instead to develop something smaller scale, something new graduates could tackle in the Indie Market and raise funds for (A Touch of Magic). But high concept (and big budget) movies are in my blood, so I wrote it anyways.

LOTR aragorn's ring of barahir3

Adventurous, Awesome and God’s Gift to Women = Men like Aragorn

It is inspired by the memory of Men.  You know the type.  They burly, danger-seeking, tough as nails salty men who just don’t seem to exist any more.  It’s also inspired by the actual events of the discovery of Easter Island.  In fact, the original title was Rapa Nui: Land’s End – but man does that title suck.  I vaguely mentioned to Zack Luna, a Sales Rep from Kathy Morgan, Int’l that I was consider changing it to Terra Incognita – he said “now that, I can sell”.  I knew he was on to something.  A Good Title = a possible read.  All any aspiring writer could hope for, right?

Terra Incognita, for the uninitiated, is the mythical southern land mass the Old World believed existed in the unexplored areas of the world.  It was supposed to balance out the globe and be home to all the legendary creatures of mythology (hey, they have to live somewhere, right?).  Old nautical maps have it scribbled in the corners.  Or as wikipedia calls it:

An urban legend claims that cartographers labelled such regions with “Here be dragons“. Although cartographers did claim that fantastic beasts (including large serpents) existed in remote corners of the world and depicted such as decoration on their maps, only one known surviving map, the Lenox Globe, in the collection of the New York Public Library,[1] actually says “Here be dragons” (using the Latin form “HIC SVNT DRACONES”).[2] However, ancient Roman and Medieval cartographers did use the phrase HIC SVNT LEONES (Here are lions) when denoting unknown territories on maps.

Alternatively, ‘terra incognita’ may also refer to the hypothesized continent Terra Australis Incognita (“The unknown land of the South”), as seen in the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum map by Abraham Ortelius (1570). 


Dating from ca. 1510, is the second or third oldest known terrestrial globe. It is housed by the Rare Book Division of the New York Public Library.

The old school adventurers truly believed in its existence.  They scoured the globe looking for it.

What if they found something?

That is what inspired “Terra Incognita”.  The “what if”.  And the ability to say something about the ecological ruin of Easter Island.  It really is a lesson for our entire planet about resource conservation.


Tongariki Moai Heads – the largest carvings of the ancient world made with stone tools.


The script has done better in competitions than I could EVER have expected.  We just heard back today that we are FINALISTS in the 25th International Writing Competition</a>.  We are travelling to Austin in October to meet with panelists at the Austin FF Conference.

I’ll be blogging about that experience soon!  Thanks for reading.

Published: September 28, 2010

Austin Heart of Film Screenplay SEMIFINALISTS!


So I had received my rejection letter from AFF on my birthday, no less – telling me that we made it to the 2nd round of the Drama competition with Terra Incognita.  I was so bummed.  I really thought that script was perfect for this competition.  They even had a special section for:


Perfect, huh?  Well, I guess so…

Because a few days later I got a call from Matt Dy from Austin telling me I was one of 8 Sci-Fi scripts selected for the Semi-Finals!  Apparently my action-adventure mythology script didn’t cut it in the drama section.  Thank God for the special genre category!

The Semis list is on the web “Here

We find out about Finalists at the end of the month.  I just booked our Producer’s Passes.  Can’t wait for the parties!  Woo Hoo!

Published: September 13, 2010