Sunday, October 31, 2010

VFF10 Shorts Program ~ "Girls on Film" Short Films

The Valley Film Festival presents its tenth annual "Girls on Film" program of short films. Amour, wit, identity loss and a roaming bull prove there's more behind these shorts then the "double X" factor--there's talent and passion.

makes a political statement with BEREFT LEFT: A VERY BRIEF, VERY AMERICAN TALE. A college student tries to cure himself of his left-handed orientation and attempts to live a right-handed lifestyle.

BEYOND WORDS follows a former ballerina as she struggles with identity loss. Through an inner dance, and new career, she finds peace with herself. Written and directed by Jane Clark.

Sex & The City meets Sesame Street in BY THE NUMBERS. Written by VFF alumnus, George Willis ('07 Hollywood UFO; '08 Hollywood Operation) and directed by , this clever short will be on your mind long after the festival is over. 

DEAF PERCEPTION was written, directed by, and stars deaf twin teens, Alyssa and Ashley Dole, as patrons of a coffee shop who encounter ignorance and prejudice. But a compassionate soul surprises them, proving that signing is believing, and opening them up to the possibilities of good in others. DEAF PERCEPTION is in American Sign Language (ASL) with English subtitles.  Watch the trailer here.

Jenn Page has a few tricks up her sleeve in LOVE UNCONDITIONAL. While you witness an interracial couple argue after dinner, pay close attention and you'll be pleasantly surprised with the ending.

As Felix struggles with the tragic loss of his girlfriend, director Hannah Cowley probes the depths of his psychological pain to discover an alternate reality in MERE IMAGE.

From the minds of filmmakers Angie Hill and Summer Sinclair comes NOW OR NEVER: A group of friends gather to celebrate an engagement, but the night takes a surprising turn when a mysterious couple's game is introduced. The game takes everyone on a journey of self discovery and redemption, leaving them with a clearer perspective about their own relationship.

 QUE DIVERTIDO (This is Fun) follows a father and son on a walk through the country, where they encounter a bull. Directed by , this films come to the (818) via the (+34) and is in Spanish with English subtitles. 

VFF alumnae, Lorraine Porter, was last screened in 2005 with the comedy feature film, Saving Sophie. This year, Lorraine returns with the dramatic short WAYWARD ANGEL, which centers around a young girl who is ripped from her path.

The "Girls on Film" shorts program screens on Sunday, November 14, 12:30pm, at CAP Theatre in Sherman Oaks. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

VFF10 Shorts Program ~ Comedy

The 10th Annual Valley Film Festival is pleased to present a diverse program of comedic short films. From a group of children who finally get revenge on a mean, old lady to a wannabe French rapper who stumbles onto something big, from imaginary friends to confessions from best friends, these films are short in length but big on laughs. 

Alex Berger directs three long-time friends who confess their hidden lives around a BBQ.

Wannabe rapper, Henri, meets record producer Bobby Rock, and is finally on the road to success. Or is he? In the style of Guy Ritchie, French director Sebastien Rossi keeps us entertained with a metal band, small time thugs, and a killer soundtrack in BIG H STORY. Featuring Francis Lalanne as Bobby Rock.  
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A PINT is a three-minute journey on, well, a day in the life of a pint of beer. Directed by Robbie Walsh of Ireland.

An underworld poker games gets an unexpected visitor (and player) when JESUS COMES TO TOWN. Kamal Iskendar directs an all-star cast: Claudia Christian, Buddy Daniels, Steve Eastin, and Alex Veadov.

Filmmaker Norman Lesperance wanted to know what if everything from Quentin Tarantino's movies was inspired by his own life? KILLING TARANTINO is Reservoir Dogs meets Pulp Fiction.

In the dark comedy, LYING NEXT TO LARRY, quadriplegic Larry tries to adjust the attitude of his hospital mate by detailing the daily events taking place outside. Justin Franklin directs.

When Captain Kilotan feels he's losing his job as an imaginary friend to twenty-something Fernando, he takes it upon himself to establish a guide to win him back in MANUAL PRACTICO DEL AMIGO IMAGINARIO (A Practical Guide for Imaginary Friends). Directed by Ciro Altabás from Spain.

VFF alumnus Ron Roggé ('07, The Haunting of Seaside & '09, Bricks & Ashes) directs The Closet Singer (Tom Kiesche) in MONSTER'S LAMENT and proves that not only can Frankenstein sing, but he has a heart and a sense of humor too. See more of Tom at

PORQUE HAY COSA QUE NUNCA SE OLVIDAN (Because There are Things You Never Forget) just received the Guinness Book of World Records award for most screened short film. Set in 1950's Italy and directed by Lucas Figueroa, this dark comedy follows the adventures of four school children playing with a soccer ball and their interaction with one very evil old lady!

After discovering his entire class deserted, an enraged professor finally musters up enough confidence to speak his mind in ROLE PLAY, directed by Rob Shearer.

The Comedy shorts program screens on Saturday, November 13, 9:00pm, at CAP Theatre in Sherman Oaks. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

VFF10 Shorts Program ~ Dramatic Films

The 10th Annual Valley Film Festival presents a program of dramatic short films on a variety of subjects. All of the films make powerful statements, exploring love, forgiveness, friendship, music and politics--providing a stirring experience. 

Director Mateo Hobbs delves into the AFTER LIFE with his short film. Michael Paton is dead, with no recollection as to why. Separated by death, Michael's body and soul have to work together to salvage what redemption they have left.

FRAGILE comes to us all the way from Italy! VFF09 filmmaker, Andrea Lodovichetti (Sotto il mio Giardino/Under my Garden) returns to the (818) with a short film that reconciles a father and daughter.

Made entirely using public domain super 8mm footage, and composited with public domain images using Photoshop, After Effects & Final Cut Pro, the British short film, GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN, is about memory, families and capturing the stories of people from times now gone. Directed by Sam McCarthy.

Director Chris Cashman was last screened at VFF07 with his comedy feature, Carts, and returns to The Valley Film Festival with a more serious piece. GOOFYFOOT is a buddy picture during which a young man must cope with the loss of his best friend, and brother, to a surfing accident.

Another European short film in this collection is LITTLE WORLD from Austria. Directed by Marco Zimprich, and featuring the music of The Filmakers. This beautiful story unfolds the budding romance between Sebastien and Alexandra, a record store clerk. View the trailer here.

Directed by Jerald Fine, THE PREDATOR'S RETURN stars screen legend Warren Stevens as a former Nazi officer now living in a retirement nursing facility with one of his victims. Coincidentally, Warren Stevens was also in Carts, directed by Chris Cashman, in VFF07.

The Dramatic shorts program screens on Saturday, November 13, 5:00pm, at CAP Theatre in Sherman Oaks. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here.

VFF10 Shorts Program ~ Documentary Short Subjects

Nonfiction film is an art in itself. Trying to find a common thread to program a documentary showcase around is also an art. The Valley Film Festival took an unorthodox artistic approach and programmed four very different films that have absolutely nothing in common, other than being kick ass and entertaining.

Renee Sotile and Mary Jo Godges, co-directors of ASTRONAUT PAM: COUNTDOWN TO COMMANDER love space! This talented directing duo was last seen at VFF06 with CHRISTA McAULIFFE, REACH FOR THE STARS and we're glad they're back! This was one of the first films we screened, possibly back in May or June, and everyone sat fixed like school children as Commander Pam took us on a journey to the International Space Station. Not only is the footage from outer space amazing, but the crew had a lot of fun on their journey, making us wish we were on the Space Shuttle Discovery too!

FOUND: NOTHING MISSING is an experimental documentary that uses missing pet posters to explore the larger meaning of loss. This short film by Patricia McInroy is only three minutes long, but we guarantee that you will never look at a missing pet poster the same way ever again. 

We had to have some rock 'n roll in the festival and found it in the form of THE MAKING OF: THE NUKES an all-teenage local band and fan favorite at The Roxy, Viper Room, and Troubadour. Journey with Hunter, Dimitri, Gracie, Kody, and Emilio from their auditions to their latest release! These talented teens will be at The Valley Film Festival and are surely going places. 

Our final short subject documentary comes to us from Poland and is true cinéma vérité, PYTANIE (The Question). Jan Wilkiewicz & Jacek Kiejko, co-directors, stopped people on the street to ask them a single question. This fleeting moment captured by their camera shed a faint light on each individual's intimate relationship with their world, highlighting priorities and the matters closest to their hearts.

The Documentary shorts program screens on Saturday, November 13, 12:30pm, at CAP Theatre in Sherman Oaks. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

VFF10 Shorts Program ~ Made in the (818)

Made in the (818) is The Valley Film Festival's signature showcase of films shot in or showcasing, and/or made by filmmakers currently living in The Valley.  VFF believes that the San Fernando Valley has a diverse landscape for every film shoot, whether you're using the backlot of Universal Studios or shooting guerrilla style at Hansen Dam. VFF encourages local production by creating a showcase just for these films, and we hope you'll consider the fabulous San Fernando Valley for your next film shoot. 

We asked our Made in the (818) filmmakers to share a little bit more about their film, themselves, and their favorite place in The Valley:

Born in Chicago and raised in Woodland Hills, Beth Einhorn is proud to be a Valley Girl and is the writer/director behind 500 DAYS OF ZANKOU. In this comedy short, SNL's Abby Elliott falls in love with Zankou Chicken. Shot entirely on location in the (818), Beth and her crew used Zankou Chicken in Toluca Lake and a private residence in Studio City.

When Beth isn't working on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, or preparing for her next film shoot, she can be found at Fryman Canyon, Brent's Deli, Corbin Bowl, Candy Cane Lane, and Zankou Chicken (of course) on Sepulveda.

Some things are better left alone and Burbank based director, Michael Barton, delivers a creepy comedy in BY A HAIR. During our submissions process, this was the first film we screened that made us go "a-ha" and it was also one of the few that made us squirm in our seats. 
From the mind of multi-hyphenate (writer-director-dp-editor-colorist) and Valley-born Mike Halper comes DECEIVERS. Shot in under two days in Mike's Sherman Oaks apartment, this thriller is about betrayal with so many twists, turns, and more twists, that you'll never see the ending coming. 

A purist through and through, Mike can be found on the sets of short films, web series, or feature films being shot in The Valley. Next time you drive past a set, shout out to him!

THE DISAPPEARING GIRL TRICK, from director David Jackson Willis, is one of the older films screening at The Valley Film Festival, having been completed in 2001. While most festivals allow a two-year window to screen a project, VFF doesn't put restrictions on our submissions. In this gem, Broadway sensation, Susan Egan, stars as a TV producer who goes undercover as a magician's assistant to expose the "Disappearing Girl" trick. Even though this film was shot entirely at The Magic Castle in Hollywood, the producer gets props for being Valley-based!

Made for the 48 Hour Film Project, DRAIN DESERT TANNER follows the (mis)adventures of a
Forensics investigator who makes an outlandish attempt to get himself out of a bad situation. Another multi-hyphenate (actor-director-editor-writer), Shant Hamassian comes to us from Calabasas where the old Paramount Ranch is.

Directed by Jimmy Lu, THE HURRICANE FIST is an action-packed Kung Fu film shot in the Angeles National Forest, starring Toy Lei of Sherman Oaks. When she's not mastering stances, punches, or kicks at the Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks Park, you can find her snowboarding.

LEAGUE OF S.T.EA.M: FOOL'S GOLD is a steampunk short film produced by VFF09 alumni and Burbank based Trip Hope. Don't know what steampunk is? Neither did we before this year, but we've come to learn that it is a fusion of 19th Century (Victorian era) and fantasy. Not to mention awesome costumes and cool gadgets! Sneak a peek here.

From NoHo based filmmakers Surge L'Rodriguez (director) and Preston Northrop (producer) comes the gritty drama MOTEL SAN FERNANDO.
Shot and set in the SFV, an out-of-luck woman risks everything to provide for her younger sister during the current economic crisis.
Hailing from our state capital, writer/producer Denise Dougherty has been a Valley resident for 36 years and shot WILL TRAIN RIGHT PERSON in Van Nuys. Making its world premier at VFF10, this family-friendly tale proves that in this economy, everyone is looking for work.  Rita Wood generously donated the use of her office building, providing Denise and her crew with a functioning set that allowed them to play around with geography and reality, a theme to their film. 

Denise recommends Emle's on Reseda Blvd. in Northridge for their great food, atmosphere, and people!

These titles aren't the only films in the festival with an (818) connection, but we felt they complemented one another and showcased the diversity of what is possible in The Valley.

Made in the (818) screens on Friday, November 12, at 5pm, at CAP Theatre in Sherman Oaks. Purchase tickets here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Countdown to VFF10...T-Minus 17 Days

A Totally Stressed Out Tracey!
We're a little over two weeks out to opening night and our carefully thought out, well laid plans seem to be falling apart. OK, maybe we're exaggerating. 

And, maybe we're not. 

Fortunately this isn't brain surgery and not a matter of life or death. But, making sure all of our "t's" are crossed and "i's" dotted is our job and we do take it very seriously. We not only want to make sure that our audience has a great time, and that our filmmakers can enjoy themselves, but we also try to make sure that all of our material is flawless for our engineers. And wouldn't you know it,  a monkey wrench was thrown into one aspect we worked so hard to control and manage and get done right and on time. We did allow some elbow room for the unknown, so if this hiccup pushes us back a day or two, we'll come out of it swimmingly. However, as it affects 2/3's of our titles, we're hoping it doesn't balloon into a larger issue leaving us to race against the clock. 

At this time, we'd like to send a special shout out to our 2010 filmmakers for being so gracious and patient with us. We're playing around with technology this year and trying out new things, so their understanding and help has been appreciated.  

In the coming days we'll be profiling some of these fabulous filmmakers, so please share our blog and come support them at The 10th Annual Valley Film Festival

P.S. Send good vibes our way!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Countdown to VFF10...T-Minus 21 Days (aka Godard vs. Godard)

Can you  believe we're only 3 weeks away from The Valley Film Festival's opening night? Neither can we! That being said, we did a lot this last week...from pimping out VFF10 at the Sherman Oaks Street Fair, to hanging with Dances With Films, and running all over town collecting screening copies, to securing sponsors and working on the VFF10 artwork.

In a previous post, we mentioned that we were going with a French New Wave theme this year -- it just felt right! And look, we have a Jean-Luc Godard-esque concept. Compare it to the iconic photograph and tell us what you think. We're still working out the kinks but we kind of like it.

VFF's Godard
Jean-Luc Godard
We also found a t-shirt online with the same image! We may need to buy these for the VFF10 crew. Or, better yet, a New York Herald Tribune tee.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Focus On: Networking...Monthly Mixer, Sherman Oaks Street Fair, and AFM

It's T-Minus 28 days to VFF10 and we have a lot on our plate in the next few days:

First, The Valley Film Festival will be at the Sherman Oaks Street Fair this Sunday, 10/17, from 10am-6pm. This is the largest community event in The Valley, and takes place on Ventura Blvd., between Van Nuys & Kester. Come find us in booth #322, which is closer to Kester. Or so we're told. 

Next, we're hanging with our friends at Dances With Films on Tuesday, October 19, from 7:30-9:30pm in Santa Monica. We know. We know. It's not The Valley, but we need to mingle with the West Sider's too. There is no charge to attend the event but food/beverages are at your own expense. RSVP on our Facebook page or just show up! Look for either the DWF or VFF logo!

Tuesday, October 19 (7:30-9:30pm)
2460 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA

Certainly not least, the American Film Market (AFM) is coming to town, November 3-10, in Santa Monica. If you're an indie filmmaker and can't travel to Cannes, AFM is worth investing in. Sadly, VFF won't be attending the exhibits this year as it's only days before VFF10, but we do want to organize an event so that we can meet our foreign indie filmmaker friends visiting L.A. Let us know if you want to join.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

An Interview with John Putch

After beginning as an actor, John Putch now works as a director in television and independent film. His TV work includes Cougar Town, My Name is Earl, Outsourced, and Ugly Betty. Three of his films have won Best Feature at The Valley Film Festival, including Bachelorman (2003), Mojave Phone Booth (2006) and Route 30 (2008); John is currently set to begin filming the sequel to the latter film in December.

JL: Shooting begins on Route 30,Too! in a few months. What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve overcome so far in developing this project?

JP: Getting the money together and trying to schedule it during a time where no one will miss too much ‘real’ paying work. Since I finance these small films myself, it takes me a couple of years to save up the money to make them. Plus these films are ensemble and collectively minded. Which translates to: ‘it’s not a paycheck’.

JL: Can you talk a little about the ensemble aspect of your films? How does this help your work?

JP: When you say goodbye to the notion that one person is more important than another on the film, you become an ensemble. In my system, everyone is an even shareholder in profits, no matter how big or small their contribution. And since I don’t pander to celebrity driven content, this evens the playing field and focuses everyone on the story and telling it.

JL: You’re planning to distribute the film yourself. What are the main reasons you’re making this shift—problems with traditional distribution and expected benefits of self-distribution?

JP: I’ll put it simply. Twelve years of experience with sales agents and multiple films has yielded almost zero return. Once the sales agent recoups the marketing fee, there is nothing left for the filmmaker. This practice, although not as commonplace as say five years ago, has been ‘the great rip off tactic’ that sales agents have used over the years to cover their operating expenses.

JL: What’s your strategy for working the film festival circuit?

JP: My strategy is also simple there. The more festivals you show your film in, the more presence you create for your title. Remember, the internet is our biggest ‘free’ marketing tool. If my film is in 50 festivals, that means the title will appear on 50 different websites. It will get written up and mentioned in all fest press releases, which may go out to a hundred more websites. The web-crawling search bots will find and index the title over and over and then rank it. I also recommend that film makers not be snobs when it comes to festivals. The days of ranking fests and trying to screen at only the top five are OVER! Note to film makers: Have you noticed that every film at Sundance, Toronto and the like all have distro before being shown? Those fests are studio puppeted at this point. By taking a prejudicial attitude toward lesser known fests, you are basically undermining your own chances for the film to develop a ‘buzz’ and a wider audience.

JL: How did your past screenings at the VFF work for you?

JP: Terrifically! Tracey Adlai’s VFF is a great place to exhibit your movie. Great theater, great equipment, a film savvy fest director all in one. Plus VFF keeps a very fraternal family tree of filmmakers in touch. There are constant updates on the blog and website of alumni activities. Plus a great e-newsletter.

JL: Your “day job” is directing for TV, while your passion projects are independent films. Besides paying the bills, how has your TV work influenced your films, or vice versa?

JP: Funny, I find that if I do not sneak off and do my films, that I become lazy and incredibly stale. TV directing is a different animal. You are really not asked to be the voice of the piece. You are merely putting it together and shooting it for another’s vision. Sure, you collaborate, but your sensibilities and choices are always secondary to your boss’—whether the boss is right or wrong.

JL: Working with low budgets imposes obvious limitations, but what have some of the advantages been?

JP: The less you have, the more creative you become. More limits in any capacity, make you solve issues both technically and intellectually. I find the greatest notions come from the basis of limitations.

JL: What other lessons learned or advice would you give young aspiring filmmakers, especially those who may see indie filmmaking as a path toward Hollywood fame and fortune?

JP: If you are seeking fame and fortune, then I have nothing but pity for you. And you will not get any advice from me. I used to be that person decades ago. Once I figured out the system, I realized that I would never get artistic satisfaction from it. Only money. Best advice: decide what kind of filmmaker you are. Commercial or artistic. Then, shut up and make your movie.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blogger Prom 2010

VFF got to play with the cool kids. And by VFF, I mean me. There are several of us who maintain the VFF blog, Tweet, update the Facebook page, etc, but, let's be honest, I do it most often. (Right, James? :-) ) That, coupled with knowing a member of the Blogger Prom Committee, Happy Go Marni, got me an invite to Blogger Prom 2010! YES!

I'm a few weeks late in giving Blogger Prom 2010 a shout-out, but I wanted to be sure I did so that the committee, sponsors, and attendees knew how much fun I had, and how much I appreciated being included in this community.

The theme was Hollywood Confidential (just my 1940's style), was generously hosted by
Yamashiro in the Hollywood Hills, and benefited Operation Frontline, a national organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger. 

Photo: Heather Kincaid
The accoutrements made this fete different from others...a giant Tweetdeck display (powered by Verizon) served as the official Blogger Prom stream. From there, you could read all the @ mentions and find out if you won one of several amazing prizes. Sex Cheese (or was it Cheese Sex?) from The Cheese Impresario was all the rage -- an orgasmic blend of cheddar cheese and peanut brittle. Who knew?! The Dalmore (scotch) tastings, CoolHaus ice cream (love you guys!) and Chef Brock's wasabi guacamole, were just a few of the many exquisite eats I enjoyed while conversing with fellow bloggers. WOW!

My parting gift was a vintage-inspired, Micky Mouse swag bag overflowing with love: coupons for free or discounted treats from 7-Eleven, Border Grill, Hugo's, Lovin' Scoopful ice-cream, Manila Machine, Oroweat Sandwich Thins, and Pinkberry. American Cinematheque and The Grammy Museum provided free admission tickets. Also included were product samples from Degree (body mist & deodorant), dermalogica (including a gift certificate for a skin treatment), MetroMint, O.N.E. Cocount Water, Pinky Vodka, proactiv oil blotter sheets, UNITE shampoo & conditioner, and World Market Chili & Lime chocolate. The enchantment of the evening will linger as I redeem each coupon and gift certificate.

One of the very best features of the evening was the presence of
Y Drive LA, a designated driver service that drives you home in your very own car. Y Drive LA drivers pack their no leak scooter in your trunk, so they can return to base camp, after getting you home safe & sound. I'm usually the designated driver in my crowd, but I can tell you a lot of people leave home without a DD or plan in place. Now I can share Y Drive LA with them! Unfortunately, I didn't test out their service, because I thought ahead and took a cab to Blogger Prom 2010!

The Valley Film Festival blog got its first post back in August 2007, and then I forgot about it. Literally, I forgot VFF had a blog for two long years. There that post sat, all alone, until I rediscovered & resurrected it in 2009. While I'm far from being The Liquid Muse, Confessions of a Fat Girl, Caroline On Crack, or Happy Go Marni, I am obsessed with checking Google Analytics at the stroke of midnight (no joke), inspired by reading other blogs, and am constantly looking for tools and connections to learn more. Thanks to Blogger Prom 2010, I've got a few more tricks (& friends) tucked in my vintage glove.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Video Symphony's Career Preview Day & Open House ~ Saturday, October 23

From our fabulous friends who bring you Pizza & Post every month comes a very special day to explore potential career paths in entertainment and talk with experts about your goals.

Here are the details straight from Video Symphony:

If you are interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry but aren't sure where to start, or you've worked in Hollywood and now you want to take your career to the next level, join Video Symphony on October 23rd to learn about careers in Film & TV Editing, New Media, Animation, and Motion Graphics.

The day is dedicated to helping you learn more about careers in the entertainment industry. Our award-winning instructors will present on the different aspects of digital film making and our career planners and jobs placement agents will be available to discuss your career goals.

Please note that this is not a career fair, you do not need to bring a resume and there will be no employers on-site. 

Space is limited so please RSVP today to reserve your spot.

Saturday, October 23, 2010
10am & 12/Noon start times
Video Symphony
266 E. Magnolia Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91502

Follow VS on Twitter @vsopenhouse

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Haunting of VFF Filmmaker Ron Rogge

Ron Rogge first came to VFF in 2007 with the short film, The Haunting of Seaside, returned in 2009 with Bricks & Ashes, and will be screening Monster's Lament at VFF10. Over the years, Ron has introduced other filmmakers and supporters to The Valley Film Festival, and today we wanted to share the love.

In addition to being a filmmaker, Ron is a working actor with an impressive 91 titles to his credit, but we're not here to blog about his cinema skills. We're here to pimp Ron out as the proprietor of Old Town Haunt, a haunted attraction in Pasadena that consistently gets rave reviews and kudos for reinventing itself with ghouls, effects, mazes, and other bad-ass scary things.

Spooky Little Girl just referred to Old Town Haunt as " of the very best haunts in southern California..." and we think she's right! So, before you head out to The Valley to see Monster's Lament at VFF10, head on out to Pasadena to let Ron Rogge haunt you! 

Hauntings take place now through the end of October in Pasadena, but continue all year on Twitter and Facebook.

Old Town Haunt
20 North Raymond (@ Colorado Blvd.)
Pasadena, CA 91103

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Beth Einhorn on Working in Comedy

Beth Einhorn & friend
We contacted Beth Einhorn recently to ask about her experiences working as a writer, producer, and director in TV comedy. She’s worked on The Chris Rock Show, HBO’s George Carlin specials, and Saturday Night Live, to name a few. Beth is currently a writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. She’s also written and directed independent films that screened at the VFF (Simple Roasted Chicken in 2009 and A 3 1/2 Foot Perspective in 2007). This year we’re screening 500 Days of Zankou. Here’s some of what she told us:

“I’ve always loved comedy. When I was young, I saw a lot of Woody Allen and Mel Brooks films, and would stay up late watching Johnny Carson. I never thought that someday I’d actually be a writer on The Tonight Show. That definitely wasn’t something I thought I would do when I first got out of college (Boston University) and moved back to the San Fernando Valley. I’m an 818 girl – I know it’s not cool to say that, but I don’t care.

“Shortly after graduating college, life was great, but I decided to move to New York where I didn’t know anyone. In those days before Facebook, I developed connections the old fashioned way, which led to a job at the Apollo Theater with a woman who, it turned out, worked on Saturday Night Live. Through her, I then got a job on SNL. And that’s kinda how my career has gone ever since. No rhyme or reason, just what sounded interesting and a lot of long hours and hard work.

“Some people do very well in life by getting a job and staying there until they retire or the show ends. I sort of had a different path. I was mostly a free lance person – going from show to show. I’ve been fortunate to meet and work with so many amazingly talented people. If I had stayed with one show, I probably wouldn’t have done so much, like directing 10 cameras in Japan, working with George Burns in Paris, or traveling the country on a tour bus with Genesis.

“I have been really lucky to work with the likes of George Carlin, Betty White, Paul McCartney, and Chris Rock. Actually, Chris Rock taught me most everything I know about directing, producing, and writing remotes. He also taught me that nothing becomes funnier after midnight. That is, you don’t have to work on a TV show twenty hours a day for it to be good; more hours don’t make a better show.

“People bring up, ‘What’s it like to be a woman in comedy production.’ Right now, I’m the only woman writer on The Tonight Show. It is odd sometimes, when I look around the room and there are nineteen men and me. But I got used to that a long time ago. I was the only woman director my season on The Man Show and I guess it was good that I was the only girl in my Hebrew school class for two years—it prepared me for show business.

“My first remote I directed on The Man Show was called ‘Jimmy and Adam Go to the Sperm Bank.’ I had just started and didn’t know Jimmy Kimmel or Adam Carolla at all. The piece was them at a fertility clinic to check their sperm count and mobility of the sperm. Of course, with them there was a twist – they wanted first to see who could masturbate the fastest to get the specimen to analyze. Ok, so I set it up like a race: they had to run down the hall and they each go into different rooms – it would have been gross if they were in the same room -- and do their thing. Trying to be professional, I told them, “Okay – Adam you’re going to go into that room and Jimmy you are going into that room and do your thing.” Adam kept teasing me—“Beth, exactly what are we doing?”—and I was like, “you know very well what you’re doing.” And he kept asking me. Well, they did do their thing and, for the record, Adam was faster, but Jimmy had the better sperm count. I went on to work on Jimmy Kimmel Live and Too Late with Adam Carolla.

“I’ve had a lot of amazing experiences working in television, but one of my favorite professional experiences was in film. That’s when I got to see my short film, A 3 ½ Foot Perspective, shown at the Valley Film Festival. It was a passion project of mine, something I feel proud of. Going out and shooting something that you love, seeing it up on the big screen, and then having people come up to talk about it was all wonderful. I love working in the industry, but sometimes it’s also great to go out and do your own thing.

Edited by
James Latham

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Countdown to VFF10...T-Minus 39 Days

In the last 48 hours, The Valley Film Festival has:
  • Added film profiles to the VFF website.
  • Realized that we don't have RED as an option under formats in the film profile, or DISTRIBUTOR as an option in the filmmaker profile. But somehow managed to get our programmer to add a Twitter handle option before being instructed to email one big list of updates for the website vs. the individual, annoying emails we sent this weekend.
  • Remembered that we bought an expo pass to BlogWorld Expo in Vegas for OCT 15 & 16 & quickly started planning our weekend escape.
  • Met with one of our two publicists, who is really excited with the programming this year.
  • Tried to log into our account to set up ticket sales & couldn't.
  • Worked on updating the VFF YouTube channel & then reached out to Ester Brym, director of VFF10's Butterflies, for help seeing as she's the resident YouTube expert.
  • Had an exhausting email exchange with all of the techs working VFF10 & everything is going to look fabulous!
  • Remembered that we bought a booth at the Sherman Oaks Street Fair for OCT 17 just before booking our Vegas hotel rooms. Weekend escape foiled, but we're all looking forward to going post-festival to relax.
  • After remembering said street fair commitment, contacted our friends at Dances With Films to borrow street fair stuff (canopy, table, chairs...y'know, the basics).
  • Said adieu to our Facebook "Group" and started a "Page".
  • Informed the VFF10 filmmakers of our schedule, addressed tech issues, and hopefully answered some FAQ's. 
What did you do in the last 48 hours? We want to know!