Monday, November 30, 2009

Looking for Elizabeth...

I've just emerged from my great Grey Cup goings-on to make this equally exciting announcement.... Please forgive the rather formal tone to follow; I gave all my best lines to the television yesterday to get those Alouettes out of the gutter! (hats off to Saskatchewan - you Roughies were sublime! A most worthy adversary!)

So now back to the announcement: 

As promised in previous blogs, today we are officially opening up the "cyber floor" to all possible Elizabeths far and wide...!

The search for the actor who will play our 11-year old heroine is heating up. As some of you may know, we are presently in the midst of spending quality time with our seven short-listed candidates across the country, but still want to throw open the process to anyone who would like to be part of our on-line search for Elizabeth.

Anyone who is female, Canadian and between the ages of 9 and 15 (but LOOKS 11) is eligible!  Whether you've already auditioned for us through the formal casting process or not, we will be thrilled to see you this time around.

To find out exactly what we're looking for and how to submit your self-tape for consideration :  simply click here to link to our Facebook Fan Page.

Once you've made your self-taped audition, you'll be able to post it to the Fan Page and readers will be able to vote for their favourite "Elizabeth".  Submissions will be accepted until 5 pm EST on Monday, December 21, 2009.  

We're looking forward to seeing you all! Good luck!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Playing "Ketchup"... in: Bringing you up-to-date, condiment-style.  

In other words, the news will be more sauce than substance as I'm sprinting towards my latest Final Draft finish line...and have a chronic brain cramp to match the one in my typing fingers (which, since I was classically trained, means all 10 - not a single digit spared).

Tomorrow at 1 pm EST is the delivery deadline, so will do a little wrap-up for you before getting back to the all-demanding, unyielding cursor on the script-y page...

Item 1 - Although we thought we might have some vital $ news from the all-important  Shaw Rocket Fund by this time, we got a general communiqué last week saying that they were needing more time to render the decisions. We were told that the news would come now on December 4. What did my true love give to me on the fourth day of Christmas...? Does the fourth day of Christmas even actually refer to the 4th of December - probably not but now that I've rambled on is it too late to go back or have I already exposed my sorry lack in knowledge of Christmas adventia? Gagaga.... Sorry - writer's fever...

Item 2 - The much-awaited 2nd phone call with the actor we're hoping will play Marion has NOT yet come to pass - we've been told there was a death in the family and that notwithstanding her serious interest in the project, we'll (understandably) be placed on stand-by while she attends to more important personal matters. 

Item 3 - Theresapedia is waiting on me to supply her with a few key pieces to complete the parameters for our open casting of Elizabeth to be posted here and on our Facebook Fan Page by this time next week.

I'm getting there... Feeding Scriptress Valérie my latest version tomorrow at 1:00.  

At 1:01, start doing everything else!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Priority Post

I thought this was just too important to keep restricted to the "comments" section. This is definitely worth a post of its own...!

For some time now, Barbara and I have been toying with the idea; a while ago our unofficial blog deputy, Sue from Vancouver, was talking to us about it; and now "Melissa" is openly wondering... Is the casting for Elizabeth over? Will we open up the search for Elizabeth to the world (wide web, that is)?

Well, the answers are no, and yes, respectively!

While we have already seen a large quantity of self-tapes through our casting director, Andrea Kenyon, and while we were greatly impressed by the quality of the young performers submitted from across Canada, we necessarily narrowed our choice down to several girls in each city to see in person. And then we narrowed it down further to a handful of girls we feel strongly about and are just now starting to explore more in-depth.

But despite the fact that we may very well find that we already have the perfect Elizabeth in our midst, this important a search cannot just end with maybes...

So while we continue our more in-depth exploration with selected girls, there is still room, time and possibility to see anyone out there who is convinced she could be our Elizabeth! This includes GIRLS WHO HAVE NEVER DONE A DROP OF ACTING IN THEIR LIVES, as much as it includes GIRLS WHO MAY ALREADY HAVE SUBMITTED SELF-TAPES BUT WANT TO TAKE ANOTHER SHOT.

In other words: everyone who is female, Canadian and looks 11 years old.

And in this round, we want to let our fans and our readers have a say as to who will be added to our Elizabeth short list.

We still have some technical tinkering to do (thank god for Theresapedia) on the Facebook Fan Page before we can put out the official call and details, but I absolutely wanted to address the queries on this subject as soon as I knew for sure that we were going for it!

So, please stay tuned. We'll make the official announcement both here and on the Fan Page within the next two weeks! 

Can't wait to see you all! Must get back to the script now - Scriptress Valérie's waiting for the next draft a week tomorrow and I'm behind schedule...!

Monday, November 9, 2009

All Fall Down

Twenty years ago today, the Berlin Wall came tumbling down. Just listening to some of the personal accounts of people who were there, who were directly affected - the people of East Germany in particular - and it strikes me how there are some interesting parallels to be drawn between the fall of this wall in the Eastern bloc and the rise of women's rights in the West.

Oddly enough, the fall of the Iron Curtain, this physical symbol of socio-political oppression, didn't necessarily have the immediate and unanimously euphoric effect on the repressed population locked behind it that we might imagine... 

Anecdotal evidence suggests that not everyone readily embraced the resulting shift away  from a highly ordered world where social roles were strictly prescribed and personal ambitions admittedly curtailed but where the writing was very much on "the wall" and everyone was at least reading the same thing. If nothing else, it was a place where everyone knew what was expected of them and what to expect from each other. 

Once the wall fell though, East Germans suddenly found themselves with comparatively boundless possibilities, endless choices, infinite freedoms. Without the navigational tools some of us take for granted, many of them floundered in the vast sea of possibility, while still others remained paralyzed in the sudden absence of social dictates that served as moorings, benchmarks. Many others embraced their newfound rights and liberties of course, but even today Germans from the East will tell you there is still a submerged stigma attached to their origins - that the perception of them as second class citizens by their West German counterparts is still something to be overcome... 

So, the physical, visible barrier separating East and West has long since come down, but the psychological barrier will doubtless take generations to dismantle. 

Sound familiar? I know this phenomenon can, of course, apply to any number of historically oppressed groups who finally achieve "equality" in their given society. I just find it very interesting - especially in light of my film's being set during the rise of feminism and my characters' struggles within that context - that politically endowed "freedom" can feel as limiting to some as "subjugation" to others. And that even when social equality has been politically declared and publicly embraced, it will probably take a long time before it truly resonates in the hearts and minds of the dominant culture.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Notes from the Underground

Just finished my slam session with Valérie, the screenplay "doctor". We got very deep and very direct on the first act.  It's almost there. Lots of detail, lots of discussion about dialogue and character throughout. The "second act cul-de-sac" as it's typically known in screenwriting parlance is exactly that in my case. The bulk of the work needs to be done there.  The ending, well the ending is still in play much as it has been written - all events and characters just need to lead to it, that's all. 

Despite the really deep tissue massage that still must be done, what we have is a film in the making that is more and more focussed on the mother-daughter dynamic - that cinematic black hole in the coming-of-age genre. 

My next deadline for a new version is three weeks tomorrow. 

Much will be happening between now and then though - we should be hearing back sometime this month from the Shaw Rocket Fund, I will be meeting with the first of our 6 short-listed "Elizabeth's" to begin a deeper exploration of the candidates, and lastly, I should be having a second conversation with the tremendously exciting actor I spoke with on Friday. We had a very long, very in-depth chat. She had much positive stuff to say about the script, many intelligent questions about how I see the film, the character, how I work... Anyway, it was great! Just having my script compared to that of "Lars and the Real Girl" was worth the price of missing the first in a James Bond double-header. Anyway, nothing's decided, we left it that she will read the script a second time with particular attention to what kind of commitment will be required from her for the role and look at my creative documents for my visual approach and we're set to talk again after that.

Stay tuned...