Following the Tracks-Feature Screenplay
In the wake of her mother’s death and stepfather’s abuse, a young woman follows a wandering musician along the train tracks of Southern Florida to find her missing brother.
You can find my script listing at Coverfly.
Death of Silence – Short Screenplay
A young deaf woman navigates the danger of a zombie infested reality, dreaming of a world filled with life, love, and sound.
I was hired by producer Laura Colement to edit and rewrite her existing script “Bark.” This entailed completely reworking the story to fit the message she wanted to bring about growing up as a biracial child in modern America. I worked with Ms. Coleman for several weeks on the project as well as supply her with the logline, synopsis, and character breakdowns she would need for production.
The Ghost and the Sea Monster: The Importance of Knowing Your Audience Through the Lens of Guillermo del Toro
Crimson Peak had what we love about every other Guillermo del Toro film: visually stunning, hyper-realistic creatures and complicated characters brought to life by an established cast. By all accounts, it should have seen the same success in 2015 that Shape of Water would see two years later.
However, the film bombed at the box office.
Why? Because it lacked one cardinal necessity for any modern film: the proper marketing.
We live in a society congested with multi-media marketing. From high-profile trailers released on YouTube to the perfectly manicured profiles of Instagram “influencers,” it has never been easier to gain the attention of your desired market. It has also never been easier to lose it.
Understanding who you need to attract and how to do it has never been more important in a film. To see the full influence on the effects marketing has on how a film is viewed by the general audience, we need to take a closer look at films that have seen the most success and failure from their marketing campaigns.
In this case, we will look at two del Toro films that saw different successes despite sharing the filmmaker’s gorgeously morbid vision.
You can read the rest of this article on Medium.
Article: Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel speaks to freshmen
Co-written with: Jennifer Lincoln
He walked into the room, a coat draped over his shoulders and a navy scarf around his neck. The room grew quiet as the presence of Elie Wiesel settled over the group of students and professors. They waited earnestly to ask their questions in hopes of glimpsing some of the wisdom that he had accumulated during his 86 years. Soft-spoken and humble, Wiesel took the stage to address the crowd in Fox Hall on Feb. 13.
Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize winner, has come from the cold of Boston University to visit sunny Eckerd during Winter Term, for the past 23 years, but it is the teachers and students he teaches and learns from that keep him coming back.
“I learn from the student more than the student realizes,” he said.
Every WT, he teaches a course alongside Professor of History and American Studies Carolyn Johnston. Then, each February, after freshmen have read the first of his 6o books, “Night,” as part of The Human Experience course, Wiesel takes the time to speak to the freshmen class.
“Elie Wiesel taught me to question everything,” Sophomore Jennifer Hollander said. “Now that I know to do this, I gain a much better understanding on whatever it is I’m questioning, and realize the answer is not the most important part, and sometimes doesn’t even exist. When I spoke with Elie Wiesel and he informed me that Eckerd was the only school he taught at other than BU, I realized how truly special Eckerd is. He agreed with me on this.”
This was a special opportunity for students to gain a deeper sense of the atrocities that Wiesel witnessed in 1944 and 1945 when he and his family were taken by the Nazis to Auschwitz. This was one of the largest death camps in the Third Reich. Since then, he has become a witness to crimes all over the world and has used his influence to help those who are affected by these injustices.
Students were shy about asking questions at the beginning of his talk. Slowly, hands were raised one by one, asking how Wiesel survived what he did and what drove him to fight.
“What was the alternative?” Wiesel asked. “In truth, I didn’t fight. In those years, I couldn’t fight.”
His main message was evident in his public speaking as well as in all of his books: never stop learning. He contended that we are all teachers and students in different aspects of our lives, and that there is a certain beauty in that.
“There is nothing more beautiful in life than to teach because there is nothing more fulfilling in life than to learn,” Wiesel said.
Blog Post: The First Steep in Your Tea Journey
If you were to go to your local grocery store to the tea aisle, you will see dozens of different teas from green to black to white to herbals. They can be every flavor that you can imagine and each will say that they can help with some ailment or another. Looking at all of the options, a person can’t help, but wonder which type is better than the other. What makes each tea so different?
Legends state that tea was created by the Chinese Emperor Shen Nong in 2737 BC as he meditated under a tree with a cup of boiled water. When a leaf of the tree, now known as Camellia Sinensis, feel into the cup, it began to steep and when the emperor drank from the cup he became refreshed and the cup of tea was born.
Since then, tea has been given many faces, but most teas all stem from the same type of tree. The differences in grade (white, green, yellow, oolong, and black) all have to do with the way the tea is processed which can differ even more depending on the country.
White tea is the purest form tea. Mostly grown in China, the highest form of this grade of tea is called mao feng meaning the growers have to wait for two leaves to bloom and one bud to appear before picking the tea. It is known as the purest form of tea because there is very little done to white tea after it is picked. Producers simply dry the leaves, giving white tea a light color and flavor as well as preserving most of the natural nutrients. White tea is also commonly used for skin and antioxidants and extracts for white tea can sometimes be found in popular natural beauty products.
Green tea is a little more complicated due to the fact that it’s process changes depending on its country of origin. Chinese green tea is pan-fried, giving the tea a slightly nutty, smoky flavor to it. Korean green tea can also have a smoky flavor. The Jeju Islands, an area rich in volcanic soil, is a perfect location to grow tea in Korea.
Japanese green tea is arguably one of the healthiest forms of green tea since it goes through a steaming process that helps keep it right in nutrients. One of their best is called Gyokuro Imperial and was exclusive to the Emperor of Japan up until the last few decades. It is shade grown the last month before it is harvested so it is rich in chlorophyll, which can help promote iron in the body and cleansing.
Others in Japan also prefer ceremonial matcha to their healthy lifestyle. Matcha is a Japanese powdered green tea that can be mixed with other teas, smoothies, baked goods, or enjoyed on its own. The difference between matcha and a regular green tea is the fact that you are drinking the actual tea leaf rather than the essence of the leaf. This way, you are able to receive the benefits as well as the caffeine of the tea more directly. It makes for the perfect, healthy replacement for your espresso shot in the morning.
Oolong is a tea normally found in China and is one of the lesser known tea grades on the scale. However, it is used by many for its ability to help with digestion and promote your metabolism. It’s also one of the more floral teas. It normally goes through a bruising process before going through a partial oxidation process, which helps in its ability as a detox tea as well.
Black tea, probably the most recognized flavor of tea, goes through a full oxidation process which gives the tea a high amount of caffeine. This form of tea is darker in flavor and is many times that slightly bitter tea that is famous in English breakfast, earl grey, and even Lipton tea bags. Black tea is made from countries all over the world from China to Taiwan to India, Rwanda, and Kenya. It is used in moderation by some who believe that it can help heart health and your cardiovascular system. In some cases, black tea even goes through a fermentation process, left to age just as beer or by mold like kombucha. This form of tea is considered by many to be low quality, but has a rich history of traveling trade routes around the world for long voyages.
While these four types of tea are the most well known in western culture, there are many alternative forms of tea. The rarest would be a yellow tea, which is a grade between white and green teas and goes through a unique slow roasting process in China. The most popular alternative are herbals. Herbal teas can be categorized in more ways than the more “traditional” teas, but the main point is that they do not possess a camellia sinensis base. They are a blend of different herbs and flowers in order to achieve a specific flavor or benefit.
Overall, tea has many benefits if it is incorporated into a daily lifestyle. It possesses vitamins and nutrients to help when you are sick. It is a fantastic alternative to coffee. With the right blend, it can even be a sweet treat to help one curb their appetite. It can take a while to understand the full history and art that is tea making, but the benefit of that knowledge to your health is worth the journey. It just starts with the first steep.
Posted for Westchase Chiropractic and Wellness.
Opinion Piece: Rise in female superheroes empowers women
It’s official. I want to be Ming-Na Wen when I grow up. The 51-year-old actress has been in many films and television shows throughout her career, but it is her role as female heroes that has made her notable.
It began in 1998 when Wen first voiced the title character of “Mulan,” the young Chinese warrior who goes against tradition and joins the army dressed as a man.
Years later, as the cast of ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” Wen returned as a new character for Disney as experienced field Agent Melinda May. Despite her age, Wen has shown the world how strong a woman can really be doing her own stunts, including a sequence that had Wen fighting herself in the recent episode “Face My Enemy.”
Wen stands in a long line of superheroines taking to screens in the 21st century. In Marvel’s cinematic universe, Wen is joined by fellow members Chloe Bennet, Elizabeth Henstridge and Adrianne Palicki who play Skye, Dr. Jemma Simmons and Agent Bobbi Morse respectively, some of the strongest characters in the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
On the big screen, there’s also Scarlett Johansson’s character Natasha Romanoff, Black Widow, who has been a main figure in four of the “Avengers” franchise films. According to IMDB, Black Widow is rumored to have her own solo film along with the new “Captain Marvel” film which will also star a new heroine.
This trend is occurring in all corners of the entertainment industry. Even DC Comics has finally received the message that they are in need of a Wonder Woman film, which is now being planned for a 2017 release.
The movie will star actress Gal Gadot after the famed heroine’s appearance in “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Read the rest on The Current. Originally published on January 4, 2015 as part of my Feminista column.
Students reflect on experiences with cancer
It’s the disease that keeps on taking. Cancer affects all of us, whether we are patients or those who care for family and friends who have been diagnosed with the disease. It’s difficult to meet someone whose life hasn’t been touched by cancer in one way or another. Eckerd is no exception.
According to a 2013 report from the American Cancer Society, there are approximately 13.7 million people alive that have had cancer as of January 1, 2012. In 2013, it’s expected that 1,660,290 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S., and 580,350 Americans will die from it.
When Eckerd’s Chelsea Kuhs was in the fourth grade, she hit her head while playing on the monkey bars. Her dad took her to the hospital just to make sure everything was okay. They didn’t expect to see a tumor on her right frontal lobe on the CAT-Scan. After a nine-hour, risky surgery to remove most of the tumor, a seizure that temporarily took away her ability to walk and years of check-ups, Kuhs is now 11 years in remission and a junior at Eckerd College, helping organize teams for this year’s EC Relay for Life. “I really think that it really makes you think that life is pretty short and you never know what’s going to happen,” she said.
Read the full article on Eckerd College’s The Current. Originally published on Apr 5, 2013.
Historical-Unsung Heroes: Living “Among the Discarded” with Trent Dion Soto
A man walks along the side of the road with a cardboard sign asking for help from the cars rushing by. Most of the time, no one pays him any attention and if they do, they turn their heads away. This man is one of the estimated 100 million homeless people in the world. He’s one of the 1.6 to 3.5. million homeless in the United States on any given day. However, artist Trent Dion Soto is bringing a new voice to people like that man on the street with his new short documentary “Among the Discarded.”
For his 44th birthday, the Louisiana native hit the streets of California’s Skid Row, a 0.4 square mile area in Los Angeles County where about 83,347 people work tirelessly to survive every day. With only a toothbrush, a Go Pro and the clothes on his back, Soto immersed himself in the culture of the streets and interviewed various people that had been living on the streets for decades.
Soto explained he wanted to focus on the issue of homelessness in modern America because of its prevalence in the media. “For me, as an artist that also works in the film industry…I wanted to produce a film documentary that had meaning and 2 years ago I continuously saw the homeless situation in all of the headlines,” he said in his southern drawl. “So, the topic of homelessness was just speaking to me. I want to do something to continue to generate awareness.”
Soto worked to keep the film low budget while also making sure the quality of the footage remained high. “I am a poor artist. I don’t have thousands of dollars or backers or anything like that. I had to choose the most economical route viable and what was going to get the job done,” he stated.
The solution ended up being as simple as a Go Pro camera that he used to conduct interviews and record his everyday life on the streets. He recorded everything from receiving food from volunteers to seeking safe shelter for the night. Soto not only appreciated the camera for its light weight and cheap price tag, but he also hoped it would give other aspiring filmmakers inspiration to make their own projects. “I also wanted to inspire young filmmakers. I go to film festivals and speak with filmmakers and tell them it doesn’t cost $5 million dollars to make a film, much less a documentary.”
Read more at Positive Impact Empire.Originally Published on positiveimpactmagazine.com on March 1, 2016