After having written nearly a hundred short films, and shot 24 since 2009 (with 15 awards), I’m now concentrating on writing feature scripts.
The Horror! — slapstick comedy feature
A film crew and cast have 7 days to make a horror film. The problem is, they’re not exactly competent. They’ve brought in an Instagram “star” to get funding and a built-in audience. But after several accidents with boom poles, falling lights, and cables that trip and strangle, one final Rube Goldberg accident crashes half their equipment and burns down their prop “monster.” The Instagram guy and a couple other people with bad attitudes quit. Will the remaining cast and crew, no longer hampered by big egos and bad attitudes, be able to salvage the film and meet the deadline? Can a sock puppet replace the monster?
- Slapstick is back, baby!
- Premise #1: You can make it on your own. You don’t need to get help from someone “higher up.”
- Premise #2: Good attitudes trump big egos.
- We will shoot this ourselves, without relying on outside funding.
- We are aiming for distribution, not just festival appearances—i.e., we plan to make money and we believe we can.
Status: Met with DP and discussed real stories of things that went wrong. Matching character ideas with actors we’ve worked with before. We have a producer signed on, and are planning to shoot, self-funded, in the spring of 2020.
Calico — fictional biography (animated feature)
Beginning at age 3 (“Mommy, I’m getting my spots!”), the story of a young woman learning to deal with the world’s reactions to her skin condition, ultimately realizing that her self-confidence comes from within, not from the opinions of others. This will not be the story of one person, but rather an amalgam of the experiences of people with this skin condition. Ultimately we plan to tell a story that will resonate with anyone who has ever been judged by their appearance.
Status: Working with a young woman with vitiligo who is a model, aspiring next to be an airline pilot. She is acting as story consultant, gathering stories and life events from other people with vitiligo, as well as her own, which we will blend into one fictional but realistic character.
The Ascension of Maggie Martinez — “spiritual comedy”
A young Latina is so convinced the world is going to end on December 21 of 2012 that she quits her job, gives her car to her brother, and…sleeps with her boyfriend’s best friend. None of this would matter if the world had ended as she predicted. But since the world doesn’t end, it’s a problem!
Full script upon request.
Here are the First 15 pages.
Hartsville — drama (working title)
Larry McElroy is an average Joe who works at Blue Sky Aerospace. But these days Blue Sky makes mostly guidance systems for missiles used for war. To Larry it’s just a job. Until one night after the local ballgame, the retarded busboy at the bar—pointing to scenes of bombed-out houses and grieving Middle Eastern mothers on the TV news—asks Larry, “Did your bombs do that, Larry?” After initially protesting that they’re just guidance systems and they’re not “his,” Larry starts to question the morality of his job, and the factory that employs half the people in his small town. When Larry rashly decides to become an activist for peace, the whole town turns against him. This is their livelihood he’s messing with. What price will Larry have to pay for following his new conscience? Could he turn back even if he wanted to?
Status: Treatment 50% done. LOTS of writing notes.
When They Go — romantic comedy for the baby boomers
Alice is taking care of her 93-year-old father. Unbeknown to her, two houses down, Jerry is taking care of his 92-year-old mother. When the mail carrier misdelivers a letter, Alice takes it to Jerry and discovers they have a lot in common. A romance tries to bloom, but it’s not easy because of their responsibilities to their respective parents. The romance will become much easier when one of the parents “goes.” But how can they have lives of their own in the meantime, let alone share a life together, when constrained by filial duties? It won’t be easy, but it will be funny!
Status: I have a friend who spent 15 years taking care of her sick mother, then her father got sick and she spent 10 years taking care of him. Kudos to her, and she’s willing to share her stories so that I can reinvent and create comedy out of it.
The Silent Treatment — romantic comedy, silent film (mostly)
Andy and Caroline parted two years ago on not very good terms. Now they unexpectedly run into each other at a silent meditation retreat, unable to express their bitterness in words. But the rest of the attendees catch on pretty quickly that there is bad blood, and people take sides. Bad attitudes are contagious, and the spiritual camp soon degrades to the maturity level of a middle school—all without spoken dialogue, but with plenty of humor!
Status: Writing notes.
The Grief Ranch — drama
Six people who have just experienced searing losses in their lives arrive at a special ranch for grief therapy with a top expert. The only problem is the expert goes into early labor and cannot come to the ranch. The group is left to do the best they can on their own, with only a little help from the ranch owner and his ranch hand. Grief is something we rarely speak about in our society, but this film does.
Status: 7 of 8 characters sketched. LOTS of writing notes.
Here is the First page.
Future Projects Set in Mexico
For 3 years I lived in Tijuana, Mexico, where I made many friends, found much inspiration, and even shot a few short films in Spanish (which I speak at a near fluent level).
Malitas (“Bad Little Girls”) — supernatural, girl power (in Spanish)
12-year-old Xochi runs into the popular girls, Katia and Monica, at the street market, and in an effort to fit in with them, she becomes involved in the theft of the fortune teller’s jewel. When it turns out that the jewel has magical powers, Xochi‘s life is turned upside down when Katia and Monica start using the jewel for their own malicious fun. In the meantime, the furious fortuneteller vows to take revenge on all of the girls. Throughout the series, the jewel changes hands, and loyalties shift. This was originally planned to be a web series, and we shot the first episode, in Playas de Tijuana, Mexico. I’ve now decided to finish writing it as a feature film.
Status: First 17 pages written.
Here are the First 17 pages.
Watch the original MALITAS (7 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles).
Algún Día (“Someday”) — comedy, mother/daughter road trip (in Spanish)
When I lived in Tijuana, Mexico, a friend told me this story: One day her 9-year-old daughter came to her and said, “Mommy, let’s move to Paris. All we need is a camping tent, and we can learn French on the Internet.” Inspired by this charming tale, I imagined an adventure where the pair can’t board a boat in Ensenada (on the west coast of Mexico), so they head all across the breadth of the country to catch a ship in Veracruz (on the east coast). Of course the mother initially says no to the idea, but after losing her job and a couple of other calamities, she decides it can’t be any worse than staying in Tijuana, and off they go!
Status: Currently brainstorming routes across Mexico with two Tijuana friends. Initial scenes coming in mid-2019.