"Play Me" - historical fiction, TV pilot.
In 1957, an inventive young mother is determined to succeed in a billion-dollar industry filled with cutthroats, whoremongers and thieves: the toy industry.
This project was selected by Ovation TV's Creative Studio to be mentored during a RocketHub fundraiser for a staged reading . I'll be tweeting cool facts about the early days of the toy industry throughout the writing, fundraising and performing process, plus keeping you up to date on the project itself. Early research comes from "The Story of American Toys" by Richard O'Brien (aka my late dad), which was published by Abbeville Press. The story grew out of tales I heard from inventors and pioneering women in the toy industry during my days as a managing editor and head of videography at ToyDirectory.com. Think inventing a toy is fun? Stay tuned....
Treasured the opportunity to be part of the last few episodes of TakePart Live on Pivot TV, working for good friend and NYU grad film colleague, Jato C. Smith. We created four field pieces in six weeks -- including Thanksgiving break. It was a whirlwind of research, producing, shooting and editing. We were able to talk to kids about child hunger in America and meet with the Good Eggs folks, who've taken farmer's markets online. We also got to hang out with The Bulletproof Executive, Dave Asprey and cognitive neuroscientist Andrew Hill, PhD to learn all about "smart drugs" and boosting your brain power with good fats, no sugar, meditation, mindfulness, neurofeedback and nootropics. We also met and worked with a dozen or more creative and passionate souls that made up the TakePart Live production team, including hosts Baratunde Thurston, Jacob Soboroff and Meghan McCain. Sad that it's over, but eager for the next challenge!
(Pictured above: My first "actors")
So lucky to have the chance to shoot another episode of Mugg's Movers, thanks to the NYFA practicums and cinematography students Peter Gong (DP), Kevin Billingham, Matteo Poerio, Douglas Minerva and Anup Kulkarni, with co-teacher Travis Hoffman. But it wouldn't be possible without Muggs vets Emanuel Borria (Pedro), Peter Lucas (Slash) and newcomers Zack Sayenko (Dragan #4) and Tim Clifton (Boris). These are class exercises and so aren't EXACTLY what I'd be doing if we were shooting these outside of a school setting, but the opportunity has infused new energy into the Muggs. We will be reviving them and doing fundraising so we can make this a regular project. I have many, many stories to tell, after experiencing both first- and third-hand all sides of the moving industry and I am absolutely in love with these characters, especially as "fleshed out" by this talented ensemble of actors. Orson Welles played with trains as a boy and considered a movie set a great big train set. Well, I played with dolls as a girl, and making movies feels like a big, long doll game to me! Except my "dolls" have brains and creativity and make the game even more fun than I could ever do alone.
(Pictured below: My new "dolls": L-R Tim Clifton (Boris), Zack Sayenko (Dragan #4), Emanuel Borrai (Pedro), Peter Lucas (Slash)
Just got word tonight that Emuanel Borria -- the original Pedro in Mugg's Movers (now called Pedro #3) will be on board for the next two NYFA practicums! Now we can go back and fill in a couple of blanks before reviving and moving the story onward. Go to www.MuggsMovers.com to see more!
... and they're coming to YOUR house!
Yes, the Muggs are back! Mugg's Movers -- a webseries we did back in 2011 -- has been revived recently thanks to the Cinematography Practicums at NYFA. I've been lucky enough to write and direct two new episodes, which are now being edited and -- with any luck -- color corrected (volunteers, anyone?). They're shot with student crews and feature Muggs vets Becky Feldman and John Whitaker plus newcomers Holger Moncada, Zack Sayenko, Kat Katanakis and Daniel Reano-Koven. Never heard of Mugg's Movers?! Shame on you! Go right now to www.muggsmovers.com
Be prepared to take a pop quiz.