Author Archives: . . . and Peggy

About . . . and Peggy

I'm just trying to figure it out like everybody else. Waiting for that moment when I learn that I'm the heir to a small fortune. In the meantime, I'll share some of my time and thoughts with you.

Wonder Woman Review

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I saw Wonder Woman the other day and thought about writing up a review… then I read David Edelstein’s shit show of a review and his subsequent shit show of an apology for said trash-ass review and realized that it’s my duty as a woman and a human being with (common sense) and a background in film to write something up about the movie, so here tis…

In the critically panned Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Bruce Wayne summons Diana Prince – otherwise known as Wonder Woman – out of hiding. And thank Zeus, he did. With an impressive weekend box office debut, the first female-lead super hero flick in over a decade sparks a glimmer of hope for the DC Extended Universe films which have (up to this point) stood in the shadows of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and their constant onslaught of wins.

Wonder Woman made her first appearance in DC comics in 1941 and has since been well-known among comic readers as well as everyone familiar with the hit TV show from the 1970s (or the re-runs, anyway) and has pretty much been engraved in our collective superhero memories. In other words, this movie directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot, is well overdue and has been highly anticipated.

Jenkins, well aware of this pressure, starts the movie off on an awe-inspiring note. We meet Diana Prince – Wonder Woman’s alter ego – similar to how we met her in Dawn of Justice, she’s an antiquities curator at the Louvre. The setting is dreary and grey as she looks at a mysterious photograph from her (very) distant past. Moments later, we’re whisked away to the beautiful island of Themyscira, home of the Amazons. A sea of vibrant blue, white sand, lush foliage and Amazonian warrior women. Gorgeous, fierce warrior women training, skillfully riding and doing tricks on horseback, shooting arrows and being outrageously bad-ass. The sudden burst from slow and dreary darkness to action packed brightness is a smorgasbord for the senses, reminiscent of the moment Judy Garland’s Dorothy opens her eyes to a world of technicolor. Unlike every superhero movie we’ve ever seen up to this point, in this one, there are powerful, interesting women everywhere and well . . . we are NOT in Kansas anymore.

 

In this setting, we meet Diana as a precocious child, naturally inclined to becoming an Amazonian warrior and being shielded by her overprotective mother, Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) who clearly knows something that Diana does not. Regardless, Diana is trained by her aunt, General Antiope (outstanding performance by Robin Wright) and grows up sharpening her warrior skills in the event that the evil god of war, Ares, might return and wreak havoc. After a shocking discovery about the extent of her powers, Diana does not have much time to process before she is saving a blue-eyed damsel in distress, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), from a watery death immediately after his airplane crashes off the coast of Themyscira. It’s at this moment that the outside world of men meets our heretofore peaceful Amazonian kingdom. The Amazons’ perpetual training is put to the test in our first (and my personal favorite) epic battle scene that sees our warrior women going to battle against German soldiers who pursued Trevor to the island. The warriors utilize their horseback riding skills, archery, deft hand to hand combat and bad-ass-ed-ness to kill these dudes but they’re no match for the mens’ weapon of choice and the only weapon that doesn’t rely on physical strength or effort – guns. This battle is hard won by the Amazons and sets our protagonist on a mission to end the Great War (World War I), a phenomenon Diana believes has been brought on by Ares in an effort to destroy mankind. Shortly before they leave the beautiful, peaceful island of bad-ass women being awesome, viewers get one last treat in seeing Chris Pine naked.

From here, we are brought to the grey and dreary world of London and everything is in direct contrast to what we’ve seen in Themyscira. The movie makes no qualms in showcasing that although our main character, Diana, is a fish out of water that believes she’s been shaped from clay and brought to life by Zeus – she did not just fall off the turnip truck. She can write in and speak over one hundred languages, is well-versed in the sciences, politics, philosophy and, of course, combat. She knows what a penis is and what it does but just doesn’t understand why having this body part dictates so many confusing rules for society. Trevor acts as Diana’s guide, but he learns quickly – as does the audience – that at no point can he or any man protect Diana. She has this part covered and frankly it’s just not that kind of party. Trevor instead attempts to explain and translate the muddled, unspoken languages and rules of mankind, which is even more futile as Diana only sees the world in black and white and right and wrong. “Just take me to the war so I can stop Ares,” she demands and despite his confusion and trepidation, Trevor has no other choice.

In a nod to the first superman, there is a scene after Wonder Woman is given her alter ego, Diana Prince, where she protects Trevor from some bad guys in an alley. Diana deflects the bullet (wink, wink) with her arm cuffs and makes light work of them before heading to the Imperial War Cabinet with Trevor as he hands off a notebook to his superiors. In this scene, the men are flustered at the idea of a woman being in their midst while Diana, however, is outraged at the cowardly and morally backward decisions that are being made by these so-called leaders. This common theme runs throughout the film as Gal Gadot’s piercing eyes, inquisitiveness and confidence lends to the character not so much a doe-eyed innocence but, an unabashed idealism that questions and challenges pointless traditions. In a sense, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman lightly touches on the endless frustrations of woman-hood in an excruciatingly backward male-ran society.

Despite all of the fighting scenes up to this point, Wonder Woman does not quite wonder woman until the scene where she is literally in the trenches. Not understanding why she can’t just cross enemy lines, Diana bypasses Steve Trevor’s admonitions and climbs onto the battlefield with shield and sword in hand, completely taking on every bullet. In this scene, beautifully shot and extremely intense, the superhero takes form. If you didn’t believe Gadot before, you do now and similar to the motley crew that follows her – the viewer does as well.

Jenkins attempts and succeeds in giving Wonder Woman an optimistic and hopeful take on an otherwise dreary world. And she does it in a way that does not strip the character of her wisdom or fierceness. Steve Trevor is also a fully realized character who recognizes and trusts the hero’s abilities early on and – when he’s not following her lead – he utilizes her as a kind of highly intelligent weapon. The romantic portion of the film is mutual and light staying in line with the film’s PG-13 rating but there doesn’t feel like too much is missing in this department as the sexiest scenes take place on the battlefield.

Despite all of the salacious action sequences that utilize quick cuts, slow motion superhero jogs/leaps/walks, and tremendous explosions, the movie manages to avoid the recent DC Extended Universe mistakes of taking itself too serious and being too brooding. Steve Trevor’s secretary Etta Candy, for one, is delightful and while Trevor’s weird group of buddies should have been fleshed out more, they were introduced on a fun note and managed to add some light moments. The “bad guy” characters, however, could have used a bit of work as Lundendorff and particularly Doctor Maru had a campy thing going on that I’m still trying to figure out whether I liked or not.

There’s one glaringly bad casting choice that’s made and it comes as a reveal near the end of the movie. It’s a spoiler, so I’m not going to give anything away but I will say that a VFX moment only helps to magnify and confirm this unfortunate decision. Although this sets the climax back a bit it doesn’t manage to break up the film’s momentum and the movie is delicately brought to an end leaving us in the exhilarating afterglow of having actually watched a DCEU movie that wasn’t straight trash.

Ultimately, Patty Jenkins managed to climb out of the proverbial trenches and do what no man could. How deliciously appropriate!

10 Things I Hate About Moving Right Now

We thought we’d be out of our old apartment by now but here we are still checking Zillow and Westside Rentals every day or driving to different properties to take a tour. And because I like bulleted lists, I’m going to just get to the point with this post and write out my list of why moving is the bane of my existence these days. But in the spirit of looking to the bright side, I will add a bonus “positive note” after each bullet point.

  1. My dog is not with our family. My dog passed away a few months ago and this will be my first home (since moving out of my mother’s house) without him. Every day I’m reminded of his absence and nothing hits home more than looking for a new place and telling the landlord “no, we won’t be bringing any pets.” It feels like I’m betraying him. (Positive Note: not having a pet definitely broadens our choices and brings costs down.)
  2. Our current apartment is amazing and I don’t want to leave. Get this… we have a dishwasher, built-in microwave, personal washer and dryer, a balcony, two bedrooms, hardwood floors, plenty of counter space, storage space and relatively new kitchen cabinets, appliances and an updated bathroom. In other words, we’re looking for another unicorn right now and it ain’t happ’nin. (Positive Note: This apartment is expensive as all hell. Leaving will lighten the financial load in a major way.)
  3. Los Angeles charges too got-damn much for too got-damn little. It’s insane what some of these crappy-ass apartments are going for out here. I’ve gone to places and walked in just to turn right back around, tossing an “okay, thanks!” out to the landlord who’s just finished unlocking the door. It’s almost to the point that when me and my hubby see a nice place, we immediately know it’s out of our price range. And if it’s not out of our price range, it freaks us out. I’ve had nightmares thinking about what could possibly be wrong with a place that is moderately priced yet live-able. And after returning at night or a quick briefing from the neighbors in that area, my suspicions are usually verified. (Positive Note: Los Angeles pays more and has better jobs, so in a sense there’s a kind of trade-off.)
  4. Landlords ask for a lot of personal information. This isn’t so much a complaint as an observation. Los Angeles is the only city I’ve experienced where you meet someone for the first time and they’re asking for your social security number, bank account numbers, driver’s license info, pap smear results and whatever else information is needed for an all-in-one do-it-yourself identity theft starter kit. Some of the greasiest, shadiest looking people have sat before me asking a bunch of personal-ass questions before they even hand me the apartment application in the first place. And they’re so used to people just giving up this information without so much as a thought, that when you’re a bit hesitant, they treat you like you’re the one that’s crazy. I’ve asked landlords how they file records of my private information and for how long to be met with a look that implies “who cares?” It’s really insane how much they ask for. (Positive Note: There are ways around this. For one, you’re only required to give up information that would directly help a landlord to know if you can pay your rent or not. Anything else, like say a bank account number, is unnecessary. If you provide a bank statement, you can cross out the number or just give them the last four digits so they can match it up with your credit report. Everything they need would be provided on your credit report anyway.)
  5. My husband is terrible at leaving voice messages and it’s driving me crazy. “Um… hi, my name is um HUSBAND and um . . . (long pause) . . . (whispers) to see *ahem* (screams) I’D LIKE to um see if uh . . . you have an apartment for rent. I mean – uh – I see that you have an apartment for – uh – rent, I just would like to rent an apartment because I’m ummmm . . . (very quietly) moving. (Long pause) I’m moving in a few weeks and . . . it’s . . . it’s – um – we don’t have any pets. And um – we wanted to know if your apartment is um . . . the apartment located at 123 Blankety Lane is uhhhh . . . ummmm . . . uhhhh . . . still available. Okay . . . um . . . Um ok um. Thank you so very much. We um . . . really appreciate you and everything that you do for society. Okay, take care. Um bye!” (Positive Note: I gave him a script and although he was offended and tossed it aside, I secretly heard him using it the other day. Thank ummmm God!)
  6. We have to get rid of a ton of stuff. We’ve built up quite a collection of things and those things have got to go. And while it’s going to be hard to battle my inner voice that tries to tell me to hold onto every single thing, I know it’s going to be even harder battling my husband who will be trying to hold onto every single thing. This man is a beginner hoarder. (Positive note: We’re long overdue for a deep spring cleaning and this will be a good way to start anew.)
  7. Finding a good place is scary. We found a really great apartment the other day and then came back at night. It was creepy and there were some shady characters hanging around but this didn’t immediately stop us in our tracks. What stopped us was a third visit where we talked to some neighbors and one of them gave us the ultimate “buyer beware” speech about why we shouldn’t move in. So that place was off the table for us. The next place we liked was a gated community with hardwood floors, two full bathrooms and large bedrooms. We filled out the application right away and called back in a few days to ask about our status. “The apartment’s not filled yet,” said a man with a thick Spanish accent. “Well, umm when do you hope to ummm (long pause) fill it?” my husband asked. “We don’t know,” the guy replied. And that was the end of that. Today we checked out a townhouse style apartment and we absolutely fell in love with it. After the tour, I bee-lined toward the property manager and smiled, “I love it! Are these the applications?” and I reached out to grab one from the counter-top when she said, “Hold on . . . I’d like to ask you some questions first.” She eyes me up for a bit and looks back and forth to me and my husband suspiciously. “What do you do for a living?” From there we answered a bunch of questions, but then it eventually turned into a one-sided conversation where the woman unloaded all of her personal thoughts. At times, when we managed to bring the conversation back to the business at hand, she stated a few times that it’s not about filling the apartment as soon as possible, it’s about filling it with the right people. We deducted that she was the personal gatekeeper to this property so me and my hubby put on the charm and laughed at her jokes, listened to all seven thousand of her stories and nodded or shook our heads in sympathy for a good forty-five minutes. We were literally being held hostage in this moment by a woman who stood between us and our potential new home. We’ve dropped off the application and can only hope that this place will be the end of our journey. Regardless, it’s really an interesting thing to have such a large part of your life hinge on so many strange people and on so many scenarios that you can’t control. (Positive Note: This last place is IT. I’m claiming it.)
  8. We’re getting rid of the second bedroom. I talked about this in my other post. I’m getting rid of the second bed and replacing it with a desk. But as I write this blog post at 3:30am in the morning because I can’t sleep because my husband is snoring at top volume, I wonder if this is the right decision. (Positive note: It’s the right decision. Also, we’re considering getting a pull out couch or cot for the spare room.)
  9. There’s the part where we actually move. It’s a lot of muscle and hard work that will be needed and I don’t wanna. (Positive note: That’s the least of our problems, really. If anything, I’m glad to be at a point in my life where I can afford a moving truck. The next step will be when I’m able to afford movers. But at the very least I’m going to get a work out.)
  10. I was hoping my next move would be into a house. Yeah, wishful thinking. (Positive note: This move is really prompting a lot of goal setting behavior for me. I’ve been thinking about timelines and hard goals that I’d like to hit within the next two years. I’ve never been good at planning but lately, I’ve been motivated and I attribute that to this move which has put a lot of things into perspective for me.)

That’s all I got! Phew! I feel better. Now let me get my butt back to sleep while I still have this spare bedroom.

My Dream Office

Me and my husband are moving. And if you’ve ever lived in Los Angeles and had to move, you know how much life is sucking for us right now. The stress of finding a new place has taken its toll but there is one beacon of hope guiding me ever so gently to the peaceful shores of… peace. And that beacon – dear reader- is the promise of my new office.

Right now we live in a two-bedroom with a king sized bed in the master and a full sized bed in the spare. The spare room has a tad bit more room (because the bed is smaller) and in that teensy-weensy corner of space, we managed to connect a shelf to the wall and put a big-ass computer on top of it. We scooch a chair up to this shelf and work on the computer, pretending that it’s a desk. Pretending we have an office. And pretending that we can get work done in this cramped up bit of space.

One day (a few months ago) while prepping the spare room for a video shoot, we had to take down the bed. And while the bed was out of the room, seeing how much space we’d deprived ourselves of, we decided immediately that an office would be in our future. It felt like that scene in Step Brothers where Will Ferrell enthusiastically exclaims “We can get so many activities done!” A new world had opened up for us. And from that point on, the clock was ticking until the moment we could be rid of that bed and replace it with a desk.

And now that day is quickly upon us and here’s how I’m thinking it’s going to change my life.

**Drum roll please**

It will give me the feeling of going to work again. As many of you know, I’ve quit my job. And there’s something about not having to wake up in the morning and be somewhere at a specific time or else you’re going to be fired or yelled at that takes the wind right out of your sails. I mean, at first it was cool and the gang. I’d wake up and stare at the ceiling in bliss. Stretch and roll over, taking my sorry ass right back to the magical world of sleepy-time dream-world land. And while these kinds of mornings will never get old for me, they’re not productive AT ALL. They usually lead to a day of playing catchup. I try to get into work mode, but find myself lounging on the couch with the keyboard on my lap, wearing a t-shirt and panties and fighting every instinct to just turn on the TV and catch up on Empire. And guess what? Lucious’s shady ass always wins.

So with this office space, I’m hoping I can jumpstart myself into “office mode.” Sure, I don’t have a commute anymore but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a nine to five. Yeah, I don’t have supervisors to answer to but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a responsibility to do my job in a thorough and efficient manner. And when I really think about it, I do have a supervisor. Myself. And if I can trick myself into following an unnecessarily stingy grocery budget (which I have for the past few weeks), I can surely create an arbitrary corporate schedule for myself to follow. And so with every waking moment, I plan out my days as if getting ready to start a new job. I anticipate waking up early and doing yoga. Taking my shower and doing my hair and makeup. Putting on my work outfit (nothing too formal) and getting to the “office” at nine A-M on the dot to start my workday. I’ll have my coffee on my desk and sift through emails, before reaching out to people and working on new projects, reading scripts, writing scripts, writing other things (blogs, articles, proposals, etc.), reaching out to new contacts and maintaining old ones.

It’s going to be glorious and I can’t wait to bully myself into submission.

Anne with an E

So I just finished the Netflix series Anne With An E and I’m angry – not with the show itself – but with how the season ended.

To be sure, I thoroughly enjoyed the series. Casting was impeccable. The lead character of Anne was played by Amybeth McNulty who was practically made for this role. Loud, overly-dramatic, wiry and gangly and believable as hell. I’m probably a bit bias because the character is very much like my niece. Anywho, I was drawn into the show by Amybeth’s performance. Also, I love slice of life period dramas. In other words, I knew I was hooked when I saw Anne heating up toast on an ancient looking stove or scenes where the Cuthberts sit around eating turnips and various turn of the century meals that don’t look appealing at all.

From what I’ve heard there are a bunch of Anne of Green Gable purists who feel that the TV show is terrible because it strays too far from the books and takes a dark turn. I can dig it (as the show definitely has some dark elements) but I don’t agree that the show is bad at all. I think Anne with an E is great if you – like me – have no idea what to expect. I turned it on because Netflix featured it on their homepage (very effective marketing) and I liked the little girl’s face. The character’s talkativeness and positive outlook on life despite her horrible experiences as an orphan were at times heartbreaking and other times pleasantly entertaining.

Anne with an E brought to mind the kind of books that I enjoyed as a child and makes me regret not reading this series back in the days when I had time to breeze through books. So many of the things Anne said were “deliciously” quotable and super inspiring to me. I particularly like this quote…

“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”

Insert heart-face emoji here.

There’s a side of me that curses like a sailor, holes up in my room for hours, hates the world and just wants to punch people in the face all day. And then there is the side of me that wants to run through a field collecting cherry blossoms and petting puppies and this show totally appeals to the ladder. I would absolutely recommend this show to those of you who just want a good ole fashioned, story about a town full of white people in turn of the century Canada and the cute (and kind of obnoxious) red-haired orphan with a big imagination and an even bigger heart.

SPOILER

So time for me to talk about what annoyed the shit out of me. And don’t worry, it’s not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. The show ends on a cliffhanger as Anne invites a man into her house. This man is one of a pair of criminals who intend to rob (and likely hurt) the Cuthberts. She doesn’t know this, of course, but we (the audience) do. So as soon as Anne lets this guy in, the camera lingers on her unsure face and her emotions go through a range of nervousness and optimism that is totally unnecessary and confusing considering she’s not supposed to know what’s happening.

The show ends with us worrying about the safety of Anne and the humble family that so kindly saved her from her tragic orphan life. But this final scene was the only time I questioned the acting in the series. It was almost as if the character was saying, “Gee whiz! It seems me and the Cuthberts have gotten ourselves into quite the pickle. Stay tuned for more adventures of Anne with an E next season!”

Other than that, it was all good and I enjoyed it with abandon. I’m currently looking for the next series to get into. I’m thinking it might be Hap and Leonard.

A Good Script is Hard To Find

I recently wrote, directed and produced a comedic web series. And now that that Herculean task is nearing completion, I’m back at square one… looking for my next project to produce. Here’s the thing – I don’t really want to write my next project and I’m not too fond of directing it either. I just want to produce. The problem is, I haven’t been able to find a worthy script.

One thing that people don’t really know about producers is that we are the people who do the grunt work. We gather all of the resources and people needed to make films possible. The investors, the crew, the salespeople, the marketing team, the special effects, you name it we have our hand in it. It’s not an easy task, so having a good script is the first requirement.

The first thing a producer has to do is fall in love with the script. Why? Because we will have to be the film’s biggest cheer leader. We have to be. How else are we going to keep things going? How else would we get money for the project? How else are we going to get people excited enough to see the film and to tell their friends to see the film? How are we going to keep ourselves motivated enough to see the project through to completion. So all of these things add up to this one fact: it’s gotta be a good script.

Because nobody’s going to be putting their blood sweat and tears into something they don’t believe in. Especially the person responsible for getting the thing to happen in the first place. So with this in mind, I’ve been looking for something that’s going to knock my socks off. Something that’s going to be my foray into the big leagues of feature length films. Unfortunately, I gots nothing. And the pitches I’ve been getting have so much more promise than the actual execution of these ideas. Also, I get a lot of great pitches from people who aren’t motivated enough to sit down and write the damned script. That frustrates me more than anything.

I have plenty of directing buddies. Plenty of crew people I can call on in a jam. I know a ton of producers, like myself. But my writing buddies fall into one of three categories…

  1. People I wouldn’t work with because they don’t know how to take notes.
  2. People who can’t finish a script and/or can’t tell a good story.
  3. People with no scripts.

In no way am I complaining, though. I feel like I’m being lead toward something else. And that ‘something else’ is writing my own script. Begrudgingly, I’m leafing through old notebooks and spreadsheets of abandoned projects and deciding to hunker down and get them done. Sometimes when you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself. My only problem is, I don’t know if I can do it right.

No time like the present to find out.

Everybody’s a Writer These Days

As (the two of you) who follow my blog know, I quit my job nearly a year ago. **Updates on that later** Since then, I’ve been working like a horse and doing as much research as possible about living the freelance life. I’ve subscribed to a bunch of blogs and websites that give tips about being a freelancing entrepreneur but here’s the thing… Nearly all of these resources give tips about writing careers. And while I’m okay with writer’s resources – I mean, the tips are pretty universal to business owners – that’s not my plan. But it seems like people who are telling others to quit their jobs and freelance are mainly suggesting writing gigs.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t consider switching tracks to a writing career – just to make a little cash until my producing takes off. And writing does happen to be my first love. But as much as I enjoy it – I don’t know that I have enough fire in my bones to make a go of it. Especially since the older I get, the more my opinions on things feel inconsequential. And this is not a tragic realization. If anything, it’s opened the door for my listening skills to glow up. Which, in turn, has stopped me from jumping to conclusions too quickly. Also, I really just don’t give a shit about things like I used to. And I’m totally okay with that. If anything, it feels refreshing. I have a better handle on what I should and shouldn’t waste my energy on. And in the rare instances where I feel strongly about something, I know that that’s REALLY how I feel and it’s not likely to change later.

I guess the big question is, would my state of “not-giving-a-shit-ness” affect how interesting my opinions are? What in the world could I be motivated to write about that would make people want to pay me to write stuff? If I start down this writing path, will it take up so much of my time that I won’t be able to pursue the things I really want career-wise? So many writing questions. And alas, I’m asking all of these questions on my blog, of all places. At this point, I think my solution will be to just write what’s on my mind in this here space and see where that takes me.

 

 

A List of Boundaries

I’ve been going to a therapist for well over a year now and – at the risk of sounding like a cliche – I think I had a breakthrough. By rambling on and on a few days ago, I came to a conclusion that is also very-much a cliche.

I have boundary issues.

I move the goal post when it comes to how I allow people to treat me. And here’s the thing, I came to this jarring conclusion about myself in the weirdest, most roundabout way. Through budgeting for groceries.

So here’s the thing. Me and my hubby have been handling our money situation all kinds of wrong. We buy food and then let it go to waste because we end up eating out or just not using up our ingredients. After a while, we’d find that we’ve thrown away hundreds of dollars worth of food at the end of the month. This ate me up inside more than it did my hubby who tends to run to the grocery store two, maybe three times a day. If he has a taste for something, he’s off to the store to get it. He will buy things just because we ran out of it, as opposed to because we plan to eat it. So when we saw that we were running into some rough financial patches, the first thing I wanted to change was our terrible grocery habit.

I created a tight budget and I mean, super tight. We plan our meals for the entire week according to this budget and buy all of the food we will need in one trip to the grocery store. There’s no “I have a taste for this or that” going on. We only do fully planned meals. If there’s a luxury food item it needs to fall within the budget or be made from scratch using ingredients we already have. And surprisingly, this budget has been working really well for us. Why? Because the hubby and I are competitive. So this has turned into a kind of game. How much lower than the budget can we get? How many different recipes can we derive from the ingredients on the list? What foods can we make based on what’s on sale? All of the excuses and strong cravings for eating out have even taken a backseat because the limits we put on ourselves are practically iron-clad. I never knew exhibiting this kind of discipline and self control could be so exhilarating. Also, real-talk, me and the hubster have never eaten so good.

Alright, so back to my boundary issues. I recently jumped off of a feature film project not too long ago. The project was great, but the person I would have been working with was exhibiting some red-flag behaviors and I decided to jump out while we were still in the early stages to avoid bigger issues in the future. This experience was unfortunate but not a big deal for me because… well… shit happens. Life goes on. What stood out for me, though, was everything about this project was something that I promised myself I would never produce in the first place. It pretty much checked every box on my “nope, not gonna happen” lists. But I was willing to forego all of the boundaries that I’d made because the script was really good, and it was a friend that pitched it to me, and it seemed doable, and why not? I’m not doing anything else these days and I can find a way to make it work and and and… It wasn’t that I was afraid to say “no.” It’s just that I wasn’t as firm in my convictions as I thought I was. I had no discipline. No self-control.

And so while relaying this experience to my therapist the other day, I mentioned how happy I was to have ‘dodged a bullet’ but then I had to ask myself how I’d gotten to that point in the first place. Why was I always going back on my word? Why did it seem that I was always biting off more than I could chew when it came to various aspects of my life? Thinking about this question lead me to grasping for areas of my life that were under control. And the first thing that sprang to mind was my super exclusive grocery list. This was the one area of my life where I was as firm as a bouncer at the hottest club in L.A. If it’s not on the list, it’s not happening. Oreo cookies? Nope, not on the list. No ifs, ands or buts. After this breakthrough, I realized that the list had become a healthy obsession. Writing down our restrictive budget made it so real to us that going outside of it was unthinkable.

With all of this in mind, I decided that I would make a list, a budget (if you will) that lays out my personal boundaries. Since having unspoken professional and social boundaries doesn’t seem to be working (similar to how my unspoken grocery boundaries were practically nonexistent) perhaps, writing them down and committing to them obsessively will lead me toward a reasonable social and professional life where I don’t have to waste energy questioning if I did the right or wrong thing. There is no right or wrong thing… only “the list.” Also, I’d like to refer to this list so that I can commit it to memory and possibly even send it out to those who need to know what I’m about.

Here’s what I have so far. It’s broken down into categories…

PROFESSIONAL

I don’t produce other people’s short films or TV pilots for free. I will only work on a short film or pilot that has financing in place and a budget set aside for my fee.

I don’t do crowdfunding.

I will produce a feature ONLY under these conditions…

  • The project must be under $1mil. to produce
  • I produce it alone or with additional producers of my choosing.
  • All above-the-line crew members must be proven professionals. No first-timers in terms of never having had experience doing this job in any capacity.
  • Film must include women of color as leads or in substantial roles.

I don’t read scripts that are not referred from a friend.

If I don’t like your script, I will not meet up with you to talk about it.

If I don’t like your script or concept, I will not produce your movie.

If I don’t like you, I will not produce your movie.

If you don’t take constructive notes or feedback, I will not produce your movie.

If I am directing or producing a film and you refuse to take orders from me, you’re fired.

 

SOCIAL

If you are not as attentive to what I have to say as I am to what you have to say, then we are not friends. I am your therapist and my fee is $33/hour. You only get one time for this to happen before I charge.

I will tell you when you’re being rude and/or inappropriate. If you don’t address it immediately, then our interaction is over regardless of the situation.

I won’t pretend I didn’t notice something you said or did. I will give words to what I feel.

I don’t get into loud arguments or fights in public places. But if I you ever force me into a situation where I must do this, our relationship is over.

MENTAL

I will focus my energy toward being positive and productive. Any changes in mood will be a choice.

 

That’s all I got for now. I’m going to start reading this list and reciting it every day like Arya Stark. Also, I’m sure I’m missing some things so I look forward to adding to this list as much as possible in the future.