With recent short films winning 23 awards and appearing in 130 festivals since 2016, I’m now concentrating on writing feature films.
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!
What does a biker look like? In this case it looks like a 63-year-old former high school homecoming queen in a small town in Michigan. Lainie rode for 30 years alongside her husband Andy—on her own bike, because she “liked the power to determine my own destiny.” But Andy died of cancer two years ago, and a devastated Lainie has not recovered. When her friend Jo invites Lainie on a bike ride to California to visit her mother, she declines. But Jo, with a little trickery (okay, a bold-faced lie), takes advantage of Lainie’s compassionate nature to rouse her into getting back on her bike. Once they’re on the road, troubles and joys small and large both push the pair apart and bind them together. But will Jo’s lie unravel the whole thing? And are these two biker babes just too old for this shit?
The U.S. Army is the greatest fighting machine in the world. But that doesn’t mean they’re not also completely screwed up. It’s not their fault. It’s just the nature of war. This is one soldier’s story of the random insanity that constitutes warfare in the 21st century. If you haven’t been to war, you’ll say “WTF!” If you have, you’ll just say, “Yeah, that’s about right.”
Odd-couple half sisters Sophie and Elena join forces, with only 10 days to make a horror film. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and finally, when their monster costume burns to a crisp, they must resort to supernatural means to finish their film.
Sophie is a free-spirited actress in LA trying to be a filmmaker. Her half sister Elena is a novice but disciplined New York theatre producer coming to LA to work with Sophie on a low-budget horror film. They have only 10 days to shoot the film before Elena has to return to New York to start production on her first Off-Broadway show. After several mishaps and recoveries by their crew (who Sophie proudly found on LinkedIn), their monster suit gets burnt to a crisp. With no earthly hope left, they turn to supernatural means to finish their film. And just how, exactly, does that work?
書いて、ください = KAITE, KUDASAI = Write (it), Please — comedy feature in Japanese
Hikari says she can speak English and help make an important treaty for trade with the Americans. She actually only knows about ten words, but she figures her American counterpart will know Japanese. Guess again! He knows how to write the symbols, but not speak the words.
It’s 1854 in the small Japanese village of Inuoka, Japan. The local ruler orders a trade treaty be made with the Americans on the ship in the harbor, just as Edo (Tokyo) has just made such a treaty with Commodore Perry. 40-year-old Hikari sees this as her last chance to be somebody, and lies that she can speak English. Meanwhile, ship’s cook Albert Jenkins tells his captain he can speak Japanese. In truth, Albert loves the kanji—the 2000 characters used to write Japanese, but he only speaks about as much Japanese as Hikari speaks English. Together, they must somehow put together a treaty without being exposed as frauds .
Further on up the Road
These are some ideas I have partially developed—and in some cases written multiple scenes for—but I’m not sure I want to continue with. Some may drop off; others I’m rather fond of, and sure to finish. But for right now I’ll be focussing on the Big Five, above. Still, i think it shows the range of my creativity and interests, so I’m leaving them here.
THE SILENT TREATMENT — romantic comedy, silent film (mostly)
How the heck can you win an argument if you have to keep your big mouth shut?!
Andy and Caroline parted two years ago on not very good terms. Now they unexpectedly run into each other at a silent meditation retreat…Read More
JOURNEY INTO SHAMAN’S LAND — animation, fantasy
A young girl’s journey into another world helps her deal with her life in the real world.
Critically injured in an accident, Shayla’s body lies in the hospital in a coma. But her spirit travels to a place of a talking hawk…Read More
HARTSVILLE — drama
They say you have to stand up for what you believe…but what if the result might hurt the town you love, and that used to love you—until you made this stupid but righteous decision?
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…Read More
THE GRIEF RANCH — drama
Is it worse when there’s no one to talk to about your grief—or when you have to talk about it?
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…Read More
ALGÚN DÍA (“Someday”) — comedy, mother/daughter road trip (in Spanish)
When you realize your own best ideas have kept you stuck for years…maybe it’s time to embark on a real adventure! (Even if the idea did come from your 9-year-old daughter.)
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…Read More
END OF TEARS — drama
What if we could re-examine Native American life—past and present—in a blending of history and fiction that celebrates the fullness of life as well as remembering loss?
A teenage Native American male named R.B., is in an old abandoned pickup truck filled with steam. In a shamanic vision, He was seeing Indians on the “trail of tears” nearly 200 years ago. His friends and sister break into the truck and haul him out, fearing he will get hurt. His sister threatens her brother never to do such a stupid thing again. She orders the others to dismantle the “sweat lodge.” While they are doing so, R.B. notices that a necklace worn by his sister is the same as the one worn by the old woman in his vision. After finding a safer way to see the past, R.B.’s visions of earlier Indian history help him and his friends deal with problems of life on and off the reservation today. The format of the series allows us to explore anywhere, anytime in the history of Native American peoples, and also their present situation.
PANCHO & VICTORIA (working title) — comedy/drama, magical realism
No one can really prove whether this unassuming high school janitor is a brujo (witch). But after he appears to raise a young car accident victim from the dead, people are bound to pay closer attention.
Don Francisco [“Pancho”] is a high school janitor in a Latino neighborhood. He’s old, he’s short, and he speaks broken English. He sips his “poción” from a flask. He says he healed Pancho Villa—which would make him about 100 years old. The school bullies call him “brujito” [little witch]. When a kid is hit by a car outside the school and killed, the kids get to find out who Don Francisco really is and what powers he has. Some kids believe, and some don’t. Young Yessica does, and she becomes the apprentice of Pancho’s wife Victoria, the maker of the potions.
MALITAS (“Bad Little Girls”) — supernatural, girl power
When a “good girl” gets her hands on magic, will she use it for good, or will she use it to get revenge on the girls who used that same magic to humiliate her in front of the whole school?
(We shot a 7-minute intro of this in Spanish in Tijuana, Mexico, and I would love to bring in some Latino writers for a version in English set in a U.S. border town.)
13-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.
Here are the First 17 pages. (in English)
Watch the original MALITAS (7 minutes, Spanish with English subtitles).
MOJAVE VIPER — comedy/drama
In the Mojave Desert there are replica Afghan villages complete with pretend insurgents and villagers so soldiers can practice before they go to a real war. Sounds like fun, right? (Based on an actual U.S. military program.)
Replica Afghan and Iraqi villages in the Mojave Desert…that’s a unique and fascinating world! This series will follow young soldiers as they train to do their duty without hurting innocent civilians. These villages have actual schools, mosques, and markets. There are weddings. There are insurgents and civilian collaborators. There are bomb threats. A soldier can be captured if he wanders away from his squad. Most of the action—including occasional live explosives (once an Army dog was accidentally blown up on the real base) and “blood rooms” dealing with injuries—will take place on the base. But we think it would also be interesting to see what happens sometimes when the exercise is over, and soldiers and civilians mix in the nearby local towns. In the same way that M*A*S*H explored issues of war through humor, this series will explore the human side of being a soldier—or a civilian—in today’s “forever wars.” (This show is not a documentary. It is a fictionalized story based on real places and real events.)
GRAY DOWN THERE — musical comedy
Nancy and Roger have each gotten used to being alone for the last 20 years. But when they meet on a fun ocean cruise, there’s chemistry. Each considers the possible joy of not spending the next 20 years alone. But they wonder if they can still be sexy if it’s “gray down there.”
Nancy’s husband died 20 years ago. Roger has been divorced for just as long. She just got used to living alone. He just never found the right woman again. But an ocean cruise seems like a whole different world, and when their respective traveling companions goad them, they start to consider romance again. But can you still be sexy—and find someone else sexy—after 50?