Thursday, March 9, 2023

Unearthed Film Project Announcement!

I am ecstatic to announce that I am 1 of 3 filmmakers from across The Hoosier State awarded an Unearthed Film Project Grant. From March 2023-March 2024, I will direct the Almost Fairytales crew as we produce a documentary exploring the importance of incorporating universal design into greenspaces and bridging private/public partnerships to sustain community projects for the long term.

To read more about Indiana Humanities click here. To read more about how the Unearthed Film Project Grantees were chosen go here

For updates on this project go to

Thursday, January 12, 2023

2022 in Review


明けましておめでとう! (Happy New Year everyone!)

2023 was full of life, work, and passion projects. As I clunk along on my keys, I like to take an end of year audit to see what all I was able to accomplish, and what I need to focus on for improvements.


My hubby and I tied the knot in Savannah in October. We were blessed to be surrounded by some of our closest friends and family. 


Our little boy was the ring bearer, and it was really everything we could have ever hoped. 




(Our venue was amazing. Check out The Cohen’s Retreat if you are looking to plan an event in Savannah, GA. It’s an artist retreat/ restaurant/ event space.)

My 2022 Goals Were:

·       Complete my first upper middle grade fantasy-completed

·       Finalize the video for the comedic short film I wrote and directed a few years ago. -Completed

·       Get our short film into some festivals. -Completed

·       Finish the quirky romcom script I've been brewing on for a few years. -Still working on it.

·       Get an agent. -Still working on it. (See updates below for more info.)

·       Plan our fun fabulous getaway wedding for October with my love. -Mission Accomplished 😊

Here are my stats 2022 Stats:

·       Got my short film Method: A Voice Actor Prepares into several film festivals

·       Received an Award for Exceptional Merit at the WRPN Women’s International Film Festival

·       We were nominated thrice for a Peoples' Choice Award for Method: A Voice Actor Prepares

·     Saw my film on the IMax at the Reading Film Festival

·       I had to file taxes for money made by my writing for the first time!

·       Got IMDb to update all my credits (Over 700+ are now listed on my page)

·       Got 6 agents to like my twitter pitch for The Secret of the Ghost Ship’s Compass

·       Have 2 full requests out currently for The Secret of the Ghost Ship’s Compass

·       Joined Gotham Writer’s 10-week intensive taught by Newberry Medalist and NY Times Best Seller, Erin Entrada Kelly (This has totally been worth the investment. Erin is an excellent teacher, and my classmates also give great feedback. I have 5 weeks left and cannot wait to see how much there still is to learn.)

·       3 article pitches submitted for various children's magazines for 2022

·       Converted my urban farming chap book to a contemporary middle grade novel.

·       Completed and workshopped my second chap book.

·       Did my second Inktober (While on our honeymoon!)

·       Did my third Nanowrimo


My 2023 Goals Are:

·       Finish converting my second chap book into a middle grade contemporary.

·       Complete my adult paranormal thriller.  

·       Finalize postproduction on Take Bike the Streets (A documentary short film).

·       Enter TBTS into some festivals.

·       Finish the quirky romcom script I have been brewing on for a few years.

·       Get an agent.

·       Enjoy living life to the fullest with my guys!




Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Springing into 2022: Cover Story, NPR/PBS, and School Visits

Since coming home from New Orleans, where our Almost Fairytales Films latest short, METHOD: A Voice Actor Prepares, premiered at the Lysistrata Future is Female Film Festival, life has been a bit of a whirlwind. (If you want to read more about our fabulous experience at Lysistrata you can read my previous blog here.)

Word spread of our premiere and the NWI Times ran a cover story about our creative process and our crew’s postproduction experience during the time of Covid-19 (full story here). Then Chris Nolte from Regionally Speaking contacted me for an interview on NPR about living as a working creative in Chicagoland, Lysistrata and the other festivals/ awards our comedic short is up for this year (full interview here). 

After my Regionally Speaking interview, Eye on the Arts got a hold of me to be one of their featured artist’s interviews for NPR/PBS. John Caine and I chatted about the challenges of filmmaking during the pandemic and the tenacity it takes to complete a project (full interview here). It was a lot of fun discussing our little project with like-minded artists supporters. Love all the local support for working creatives!

The spring has also been one for school visits. I participated in a collaboration between the Family Folklore Foundation, NorthernLights Eco Adventures, The Hammond Academy of Science and Technology and ThePaul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education.

In celebration of Earth Day, these community partners assembled to hike the portion of the Indiana Dunes National Park located in Gary, Indiana. Participants wrote out their observations of Miller Woods, then interpreted them as creative nonfiction. They also performed a radio play about the history of the dunes 100+ year battle to get recognized as a National Park. My little wild thing even played a skunk in this historical reenactment. The Chicago Post Tribune ran a nice article on the celebration (full article here). 


I had a wonderful time helping the participants draft their pieces and presenting about my experience writing natural science articles for Cricket Media’s Muse Magazine.

This past week has been filled with activity as well. I started by submitting my partial requests to the literary agents that liked my #PitDark tweets. (#PitDark is a one-day-long Twitter contest for writers seeking representation. It is open to all writing age groups the stories just need to have a spooky theme.) Now I wait, but it is exciting. I hope THE SECRET OF THE GHOST SHIP’S COMPASS finds a home. Some of you may remember from my past blog, about the awesome yet challenging (due to the lockdown) year I had as an Indiana Arts Commission Individual Artist Advancement Grant Fellow

This middle grade paranormal mystery is set in the dunes and features a fun cast of nature-loving characters. It would be amazing to find the right agent to help it get to the shelves. So, if you are the good vibe-sending type, please throw a few my way. It has been an excellent learning experience and doing #PitDark also helped me connect with more members of the writing community too.

I also got asked to do a school visit at the Area Career Center. Located in Hammond, Indiana, they serve high school students seeking vocational education from across Chicagoland. It is an amazing facility. I would have loved to attend this program as a high schooler. 


I cannot believe the amount of equipment they have access to, that they graduate with 12 college credits and that they also get certified in Adobe Premiere Suite. Just wonderful all around and their teacher, Stephanie Reiser is doing a great job. These young leaders have made it to the national championships several times. We discussed my zigzagging career path, what it is like to be a working creative/small business owner and deciding what type of life they wanted to shape for themselves. 


I shared my experiences working in the Hollywood Studio System and for a boutique sound studio in Burbank, as well as when/why I went out on my own. Speaking to some of the future broadcasters and filmmakers of tomorrow was a great honor. My “production assistant” and I also enjoyed the full studio tour and view down of the students’ award-winning projects. I am hoping to help become one of their internship sponsors and have these talented young people work on the postproduction of Almost Fairytales’ latest documentary, Take Bike the Streets (film info here).

I cannot wait to see what this summer brings. I will keep hammering away at my writing and filming a few passion projects, as well as doing wedding planning with my Fiancé for our October nuptials. My guys and I are also looking to savor these soon to be summer days, as winter will be here again in a blink. Hope all of you dear readers enjoy this warm weather and the seasonal festivities.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

12 Years Tackling 12 Minutes

Some projects take longer than others. They follow us around like ghosts tucked away in a cobwebbed attic, popping up to haunt our creative cores. They creep up from time to time, usually when we have a marathon to do list to tackle. My short film, Method: A Voice Actor Prepares, was just such a project. I wrote and directed it while I was rounding out my last year of my 20s. Now in the first year of my 40s it’s wild to see what a decade away from a project can do to my perspective about it. 

The concept of Method: A voice Actor Prepares came to me while working as a production coordinator/ Japanese translator in a sound studio specializing in original animation, video games and Japanese-English dubbing. So much of film and acting is about the art of a project and can get very serious at times. Even working in animation, which tends to be seen as lighthearted, there are very high stakes and a lot of moving parts to get a project to premiere. In all the hustle and bustle of my day job I began to think of all the dedicated voice actors I worked with who were professionals with a ton of classical theater training. Many of them starred on Broadway, or in national shows that toured. They also tended to be the character actors who the general population could recognize from a guest role on “Law and Order”, but never know the name to match the face. Most voice actors that specialize in dubbing, usually get very little recognition for their work from the film/TV industry. (You wouldn’t believe all the people who have gotten their starts playing Pokémon.) So, this idea began to percolate in my mind for a comedic short that showcased some of the best voice actors working in anime, while also poking fun at how seriously the entertainment industry can take itself. On any given day, a voice actor can play a dragon, a sex pot and a little boy, sometimes all in the same show! 

So, what would it look like if one of these dedicated thespians was also a method actor? Then the brilliant Ben Diskin came into my life. He was cast in several series simultaneously and I couldn’t help but notice that he also looked like a character he played on a very popular anime. I realized that I had found my star! Luckily Ben is a great sport. He has been working in show biz his entire life. A child of the 80s, like myself, he had a very different life path than me. While I was growing up in Gary, Indiana, he was starring in some of my favorite classics such as “Kindergarten Cop” and “The Wonder Years.” Like many child actors, Ben switched to voice acting as an adult. He also happens to be a black belt in karate. So, with a little coaxing I talked him into wearing some very silly costumes and coming back to on-camera work. With my lead in place, it was easy to get the rest of the cast to join in on the fun. Our cast stars some of the most popular and prolific names in animation. Since initially shooting this film, they have gone on to win Emmys and make waves on the small screen.

We finished shooting the film in 2010, but only completed the post-production this January (2022). Everything technical and personal that could complicate getting a project to completion happened to me in the last decade; job changes, the death of my mentor, cross-country moves, computer crashes (twice), and having a late in life bundle of joy during an international pandemic. That was just my decade my production partner/ editor had quite the wild ride as well! Our Almost Fairytales crew, who were all volunteers on this project, may have taken almost twelve years to tackle this twelve-minute film, but we managed to complete it. 

So, in January with the final version in hand, I had to make the big leap to let it be judged on the festival circuit. Cue the imposter syndrome and all the other waves of worry that can come while living as a creative. Hitting submit can be the hardest step of the process sometimes, but I made myself do it. After all, what’s the point if you never let anyone see a project, or read it? 

I got the best Valentine’s Day gift when (the film festival submissions hub) sent me a notification that “Method: A voice Actor Prepares” was accepted into its first festival and the event was in New Orleans. I’ve never been to America’s only European city, but I’ve always wanted to go there and so has my fella. So, the premiere was a long-awaited experience for many reasons. With my supportive fiancé and wild haired toddler along for the adventure we headed due south in my trusty Rav4. Fourteen hours-straight on the road would have been tough for a pair of adults, but throw in an 18-month-old and we knew a pit stop was needed. I’m blessed with a big blended family. My dear cousin Emily put us up in her fabulous oasis outside of Memphis. (She actually AirBnBs it so if you’re looking for a comfy spot to stay, you should check it out.) 

It was wonderful to connect with my kinfolk before hitting The Big Easy for three days of comedy. We came into New Orleans on the second longest bridge in the world. 

The landscape shifted from southern forests into inlets and swampland. Stilted houses and boat docks, eventually gave way to the airport and then the curve of The Crescent City itself. Our AirBnB was in the 7th Ward and within a variety of walkable attractions. 

The main feature we came for was Method’s premiere, which was set for Sunday, March 20th. Lysistrata was billed as three-days of comradery and comedy. It delivered! Named for the classic comedy, this inaugural event seemed like just the right place to premiere my quirky little film baby. Friday night featured Improv Troupes at the Hi Ho Lounge, Saturday was devoted to Stand Up Comedy at The Allways Lounge and Cabaret and Sunday was the short film festival at Café Istanbul. (You can read more about the genesis of the festival in this Gambit article by Jake Clapp.) 

My nerves revved before the premiere and panel. Would the audience laugh in the right spots? Comedy is hard, I would venture in some ways more difficult than drama, because you know when you bomb.

Nothing can be worse than the sounds of crickets and a few coughs when a joke doesn’t hit the right beat. There are a lot of meta moments for the true animation fan in "Method: A voice Actor Prepares.” I began to worry that it might not have a broad enough appeal, but it is also chalked full of fun slapstick and an extra dose of silliness. For being brave enough to hit submit and show up to the premiere, I was rewarded with laughter. People got it. They got all 12 minutes of satire and it was wonderful to share this moment with my love and our little guy. 

When I shot this short as a 29-year-old single lady living in LaLa Land did I see myself watching its premiere in my 40s holding my baby boy in New Orleans? Not at all! Was it wonderful? Absolutely! 


The decade in between sent me on many an adventure and gave me the perspective to come back and corral my crew to get this project to competition. 

We are up for an award at the WRPN Women’s International Film Festival and in consideration for several other fests. So, Lysistrata was a wonderful Launchpad and I’m looking forward to seeing where this journey goes. 

For anyone wrestling whether or not to hit that old submit button, you can suffer in analysis paralysis for years. Yes, you want your work to be polished. Yes, you must turn in your best effort. At a certain point, you have to say “yes” to your project and get out of your own way. Will everyone get it? No. Has mine been rejected? Yes. Was the premiere worth the risk of failure? Indubitably. 

Being able to surround myself with funny ladies and their supporters in an amazing local was just the recharge I needed to get cracking on a few more projects. 
 "Method: A voice Actor Prepares" is a comedic short for anyone who enjoys workplace comedies with a streak of romance and a healthy dose of the ridiculous. We will host a virtual premiere at a NW Indiana venue in 2023 once we have finished our festival run. You can check out our trailer below. This film has been a labor of love and I hope that it tickles your funny bone. See our full film page here.

Unearthed Film Project Announcement!

I am ecstatic to announce that I am 1 of 3 filmmakers from across The Hoosier State awarded an Unearthed Film Project Grant. From March 2023...