Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Isn’t it Romantic?



Recently two essays   on the dearth and death of romantic comedies produced since 2000 appeared, "Why are Romantic Comedies So Bad?" and "Are Romantic Comedies Dead?".  A romantic comedy doesn’t explore the hardcore reality of grief, prostitution, mental illness, cultural pressure, familial relationships, class warfare, and racial and economic inequality. Methinks the essays missed the point that the genre is all about heighten reality where true love sweeps aside obstacles  for the hero and heroine to live happily ever after. The 2012 Best Picture Oscar nominee “Silver Linings Playbook” was mentioned as a successful example of the genre in both pieces.  Personally I love the movie but Bradley Cooper and Best Actress Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence   must be the two hottest people in Philly. If Bradley and Chris Tucker are typical mental patients, ladies go over to the nearest psychiatric hospital and sign out a guy today. That’s why the film is so engaging and you root for the couple to come together despite their mental health challenges and relationship history. Why more romantic comedies aren’t green light by studios is a good question. All the films mentioned below performed at the box office and some picked up major film awards.  Contemporary films have been produced that can stand the test of time based on the same classic romantic comedy plot formulas (“How to Marry a Millionaire”, “The Lady Eve”, “Roman Holiday”, “It Happened One Night”, “That Touch of Mink”, “Some Like it Hot”, “The Duchess and The Dirtwater Fox”, ”Heaven Can Wait”, ”Marriage Italian Style”  “For Pete’s Sake”).  The best ROMCOM plots are the most ludicrous just like in life. As time goes by, it’s the same old (great) story of hooker/gold-digger transformed by true love (“Priceless”, "Pretty Woman"), career girl falls for unlikely guy  (“No Reservations”, “The Proposal”, “The Artist”, “Leap Year”), Con artist falls for mark  (“Intolerable Cruelty”), in love with a commoner (“Maid in Manhattan”, “The Princess Diaries”, “Notting Hill”), true love triumphs over family drama (“Caramel”, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, “Saving Face”), commitment phobic player meets match (“Something’s Got to Give”, “A Good Year”, “Think Like a Man”), bad girl gone good  (“I can do Bad all By Myself”, “Raising Helen”), never too late for love (“The Exotic Marigold Hotel”) and time travel for soul mates (“Family Man”, “Kate & Leopold”)   Could the essays have focused on films and actors on the right track instead of calling out creative lovely talented actors and actresses  that coulda, woulda , shoulda?   Heavy is the Cary Grant mantle for George Clooney. Actor and director, producer of 2012 Best Picture Oscar “Argo”, humanitarian (“A Journey to Darfur”, “Not on our Watch”, “Hope for Haiti Now”) George is profoundly busy. Sigh. Darling we will wait for you. Let’s not give the genre a post mortem yet.  As long as there is date night, chick flicks that cares what it’s called, audiences will go to the Cineplex to see romantic comedies. I’ll be there with my big gulp soda, popcorn and Snowcaps. See ya at the movies.

Monday, March 11, 2013

SHOWBIZ GOES HIGH TECH



My bestie called to ask me about getting back into show business. She has national commercial credits and was an Elite fashion model. But a   lot has changed from the days when we went on foot to agent’s offices, checked our answering machines on a pay phone and picked up sides in person.  (Wow I am old) Show business, the last of the handshake businesses has gone high tech. Everybody has a smartphone or you can’t compete.  An agent or casting director should be able to communicate with you ASAP. Your phone should also have your headshot, résumé in PDF, composite and reel on point.   Producers and directors look at reels and resumes for talent round the clock thereby a website and/or web page is essential. For “Full Metal Jacket” director Stanley Kubrick placed ads for actors to submit audition tapes.  This has now become a standard industry practice.  Having a good   HD   handheld camera for audition submissions when requested or to create your own content is an advantage.

 Brette Taylor’s website is the perfect presentation of her work and contact info. Actress, singer and activist Carole Davis is a good example of utilizing the IMDB resume page for her credits and reel. Actress and songbird, Erica Gimpel uses her website to highlight her singing and songwriting with a link to her album on iTunes. Seasoned actor Tony LoBianco promotes and sells tickets to his one-man show, “Little Flower” about Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. Actress and photo journalist   Lia Chang features her   iActor resume the SAG/AFTRA online casting directory on her website. Luca Della Valle networks at Stage32 with upcoming directors , writers and producers.  


YouTube offers opportunities to showcase a professional reel and creative independent   productions. Multi hyphenate actress, director, coach and producer Rosalyn Coleman of Red Wall productions screens her classes, interviews and films. Actor and Director Jose Yenque post on Vimeo. Thespian Craig Bierko likes to mix it up on his YouTube channel @MrCraigBierkoVision.


From the comfort of your computer   submissions to agents and casting companies can be made at Actors Access and Backstage.com. Get over to Reality Wanted for the latest casting on a reality talent competition show. The SAG Foundation features   a variety of networking opportunities, casting workshops, on camera technique classes   and film screenings.  The legendary Actors Fund provides financial assistance, scholarships, health clinics, survival job information, employment skills workshops and affordable housing to professional actors.  The Conrad Cantzen Shoe Fund is still reimbursing performers in need for a pair of shoes.  Planning to produce your own theatre piece ART/NY has workshops for members on every aspect of theater production. Material for the Arts can provide props, costumes, and furniture for your production. If you’re writing a script, Writers Guild of America has registration online. For webinars, posts and examples on treatments, formats, and screenwriting from the master see John August.  Check out The Foundation Center for free access to an extensive online grants database for  artist during  Arts Funding Month. There are so many empowering opportunities for performers online to promote and enrich their careers. Break a Leg!


Blushington

I had a gift card for a makeup application in my International Emmy's Gala swag bag. So off I went to the Le Parker Méridien Hotel to ...