Thursday, January 28, 2010

MJ, Garry, Jon & Dreaming.

Quote of the day: Seen on the license plate frame of a car on the 10 freeway: "My other car is your mama." Nice.

It's nearly midnight and I'm watching "This Is It" in my apartment. I saw it three times in the theater -- I wrote a play about MJ called "Billie Jean at the Graveyard" for our Little Bird Theater Company. And I took both of my actors out to see the movie. I treated myself once too.

But the reason I'm opening with MJ is because I attended his memorial. And this was the beginning of feeling like anything in the world was possible. Like I was no longer this little girl with outsized dreams from my small town in New Jersey. Because when I was growing up, I saw MJ as untouchable and the idea of attending one of his concerts or even being near him felt utterly impossible. But I was SO passionately talking about him with everyone after he died this summer (much to a lot of their chagrin!) and so, when my friend Kristin 's sister-in-law Michelle's friend Justin from Michigan texted her that he'd won two lottery tickets to attend the memorial, Kristin texted me within five minutes to let me know that I would be going.

I'm still wearing the wrist band. It reminds me to be extraordinary. To not let one day pass through my fingers without stretching myself and taking a risk. Because had I not been so unabashedly talking about how much I adored Michael Jackson, I never would've ended up in those VIP seats at Staples Center watching Stevie Wonder and John Mayer and Queen Latifah pour their hearts out celebrating my childhood hero.

1. The thing is, this singular experience, attending his memorial, is a lesson I am applying to all aspects of my life. Have the courage to speak about what you believe in and magic will happen. People will call you because you wrote a letter, a GREAT DIRECTOR, will call you. MOVIE STARS will attend your play because you so excitedly asked them to come, a NATIONAL ICON TV STAR will make HUGE phone calls on your behalf because you found a play and produced it and found a director and cast the male lead opposite you, and created a benefit show and well, you know... "If you build it, they will come."

Sigh. Happy sigh.

And they did come. In fact, they keep coming... Because I vow to never stop.

2. So, in line with my letter writing -- the 50 letters I wrote over the summer -- I have re-written Garry Marshall. He directed Pretty Woman and I watched it so much this past month that Blockbuster charged me for it! GM also discovered Anne Hathaway and cast her in The Princess Diaries. I would LOVE to work with him. He finds stars and directs them so naturally. I watched his commentary for Pretty Woman and he said that he always has a banana in his movies for good luck. So, I am buying a sticker of a banana and putting it in the cover of the envelope and I am writing "For Good Luck."

We shall see... :):):)

3. I showed the first 25 pages of our script to Jon Sheinberg -- the kind man who appears in the upper left hand corner of the page. He and his wife came to my shows and he has been a big support of me. He loved the one act and has offered to read the script and give notes for which I am so grateful. He was an agent at William Morris and loves reading scripts. he has fabulous taste. His father, Sid Sheinberg, was the president of Universal under Lew Wasserman and is credited with discovering Steven Speilberg, Not a bad credit.

John gave me fabulous notes. He said -- write down 25 things about your character in this movie. What does she like? What scares her? What does she want more than anything? Make her specific. What is she up against? What in ten minutes of the movie will we learn about her -- we need to know her "true essence" at the top of the movie. He said she needs to be dynamic -- and that we are moving in this direction -- and asking myself these questions will help specify and deepen her/the character/me. He also said New York needs to be a character in the movie as well. We need to know that this story can only happen in NYC. And finally, he said it needs to move -- with a sense of action.

I LOVE the homework he gave me, to go deeper into ELIZA, to make her more specific and real and dynamic. My own Holly Golightly/Pretty Woman/Sally mixed together in a big bowl and the result? An utterly original young woman in a movie that hasn't been made. What does it feel like to grow up? Truly grow up. Not played by a fifteen year-old "coming of age" or an exhausted middle-aged woman looking back at her youth, but by a young woman who has treasured her independence fiercely and now -- just now -- is beginning to embrace growing up. With a little help from a dashing prince... whom she invariably ends up saving.

Yayayayayayayayayayayayayayay. Just writing it makes it feel real. Like it's already happening. Which it is.

p.s. Tentatively meeting with a big theater producer for lunch on Monday. He has offered to introduce me to one of Will Smith's big producers... We shall see! Crossed fingers... There's another woman I met a few months ago who expressed interest in financing one of my projects -- I'm calling her tomorrow to see about setting up an appt. for next week. And -- I will be calling THE DIRECTOR AGAIN. ON HIS CELL!!!
Good night all of you lovely readers, nestled in your beds, dreaming, dreaming, dreaming...

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