The Central Authority reminds you to watch tubi

The Central Authority reminds you to watch “The Central Authority”.

We’ve been very grateful for a successful festival run so far. We were honored by Poor Life Choices Film Festival as Best Dark Comedy Feature and by Bare Bones International Film Festival as Best Comedy Feature. We’re so thankful to all the brave film festivals that are continuing to have virtual and hybrid events as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now you can watch the flick on Tubi!

See it here!

Wishing you a zazzy 2021

In 2021, I am taking body positivity to a new level. Mid December, I launched The Zazzy Zaftig online boutique, catering to women of larger sizes. Our specialty is vintage and upcycled fashions for the discerning plus size woman. Our mission is to bring you body positive, woman affirming, planet friendly fashion offerings.

The Zazzy Zaftig did a soft launch on Etsy and Depop this December.

Too often, when one walks into a consignment shop, resale shop or thrift store, you’re convinced life stops at at a size XL dress and a size 10 shoe. That’s simply not the case. There are fabulous, stylish gently used, new-with-tags and upcycled pieces available. At The Zazzy Zaftig, my mission is to find them and bring them to you.

For a few years now, I’ve wanted to create a fashion venture. I decided on resale for a few reasons.

  1. Global supply chains of fast fashion rely on the labor of woman and children for their profit margins. Even if a global brand does check working conditions, the fact of the matter is that Third World labor is the bulk of the fashion workforce of fast fashion.
  2. Transporting and manufacturing fast fashion pieces globally taxes the environment. Offering high quality resale and upcycled pieces to the community gives us all the opportunity to lessen our carbon footprint.
  3. Great style is timeless. Fashions and fads change.

Here’s a look at some of our offerings on Pinterest!

I hope you check out some of our great pieces! For checking out this blog, get $5 off your order of $40 or more with the code : BLOGSALE

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheZazzyZaftig?coupon=BLOGSALE

Reflections On Quarantine Film Making

Today, I was reminded that art is alive and well. The Hollywood industrial process has been under tremendous pressure. The indie film world, also slowed, is still at work too, even though COVID remains with us. I say this because I’ve been judging the Quarantini Film Festival, a monthly fest founded by Dana Olita that supports and awards filmmakers making socially-distanced short films during this difficult time.

Quarantini Film Festival supports the indie film community during the pandemic with access to online screenings and awards.

I have learned and been reminded of a few things while judging the Quarantini entries:

  1. Art finds a way. I’ve seen some great films submitted to Quarantini Film Festival. Where there’s a will, there is a way, even under un-ideal circumstances.
  2. Sometimes, constraints embolden our creativity. Doing a lot with a little is part-and-parcel of low budget film making, but the constraints indie filmmakers are creating under are unprecedented. I’ve seen amazing creative risks taken on screen in the last three rounds of the Quarantini Film Festival. Some hit and some missed the mark, but when business-as-usual goes out the window, we have to ask what’s possible. I’ve witnessed tremendous creativity under the pressure of the pandemic.
  3. The pandemic has many people committed to speaking their truth, directly or indirectly. I’ve seen heart-wrenching drama shorts, contemplative docu-dramas and wicked comedies that all hit home. All of us have a story to tell that’s part of this larger pandemic narrative.

The truth is many film festivals and the whole culture of film festivals going forward is uncertain. Theatrical exhibition is still difficult and frankly, unobtainable in many areas. Your larger press outlets like Variety, Deadline, The Hollywood reporter, et al, are only really covering the larger festivals that have film markets. That gives sort of skewed picture of the filmmaking landscape in general. Indie filmmaking is alive. Indie films are being shown. It may not be on a large screen, but you can get your work out there on online fests like Quarantini. Seize the moment. You’ll never know what you’ll learn, how you’ll grow or who you’ll impact.

the cost of covid for features

Most of you know me as an in-front-of-the-camera person. However, I also produce and line produce. Recently, I was tasked with working on two movie budgets. One was a completely new budget for a action-caper comedy. The other (which I am still working on) is a cost revision to reflect price increases for COVID-19 and adapt the movie to adhere to the guidelines.

Movie budgeting is part art and part science. In the Corona-scape, it’s also a bit of prognostication.

In the case of the action-caper comedy, as written, it’s nearly impossible to do it socially-distant according to the new guidelines with a crew of 80+, not including speaking roles, extras and stand-ins. I was specifically asked to project costs based on a post-Corona world, for filming some time in 2021 (or beyond, sadly).

If you’re considering a movie that fits into this category, consider inflation and scale-wage increases. I added an additional contingency for inflation, which is at 2.5% currently. Insurance rates now also have COVID riders as well. Insurance is up and I expect it to stay up for years after the pandemic. The memory of the pandemic is going to cost the media-making community for a long time.

Photo by Vladislav Reshetnyak on Pexels.com

I am also still working on converting a pre-Corona budget I prepped to reflect the changes necessitate by COVID. PPE cost and availability are concerns. Shoots are going to be longer and will need more space.. The need for more distance means more trailers and more support space in general. More space means more cost generally. If you have budgets prepared prior to the outbreak of the virus, you will probably need to adjust it by 25% or more to accommodate the new guidelines. Until we refine best-practices for the virus, get with your directors and AD-s about how many pages can be feasibly shot with the new guidelines as well. You may also incur re-write fees if scenes need to be re-written to reduce crowd scenes, extras, et al.

For me, budgeting is not coming in at the lowest price. It’s about coming in at the budget that best protects the investors’ risk and gets the project made. We’re in a period of high risk. Budget accordingly.

POST SCRIPT: After publishing this blog, I happened upon this NY Times article about travel restrictions between states. If you are planning a production, take these travel restrictions into account as you budget as our COVID-19 response evolves in each state. Many of the top filming destinations in the US are affected. The cost here would be to quarantine an actor or crew member you bring in from an affected state, which would be a hotel cost in all likelihood and per diems-s and possibly compensation as work days for the quarantine days. Trucking equipment across state lines seems okay, but check with your film commissions and contact film commissions regarding COVID quarantining.

The Moving Image

I’m in the midst of editing “The Central Authority“, which is my first feature collaboration with co-director Armin Nasseri and co-producers, Nasseri, Dana Olita and Matt Chassin. Shooting and editing during the pandemic has been challenging, even as we use existing technologies to make a fully-socially distanced feature film.

Yesterday, Armin and I were in the midst of editing a great scene starring horror queen Genoveva Rossi. Genoveva plays an artist of some renown in “The Central Authority”, sort of a female Bob Ross. We allowed the actors a great deal of freedom in this movie and much of the movie is improvised. Genoveva came up with a profound truth about her character and art itself. She said, as her character Gwen Ross, “Art is about getting a reaction out of people, good or bad.” That was just what I needed to hear yesterday.

I have come to the epiphany that a moving image, a movie, must move. It must move us through time and space, but more importantly, it must move us–emotionally, spiritually, philosophically. That, for me, is really what a moving image, a motion picture, is–something that moves us.

Armin and I continue to work on editing the movie, taking each challenge as it comes, editing virtually now. It cannot be glossed over that as we edit this movie, we are also witnessing the massive social movements against police brutality into account. We are moving as a society and as a consciousness.

I’ll continue to update you on The Central Authority as it moves forward. Thank you for your support of our work and we look forward to releasing “The Central Authority” soon.

the central authority wraps principal photography

Using groundbreaking techniques, the first socially distanced feature film was shot entirely during the pandemic

By: Matts Marketing

main poster

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – May 26, 2020 – PRLog — The Central Authority, the horror-comedy  brainchild of Kristin West and Dana Olita, has been a brave undertaking in these hazardous times. “We knew this was a huge endeavor going in,” said West, who  co-directed with Armin Nasseri. “We were forced to use the technology  available, which meant doing some unusual things.” Those “unusual things” included dusting off some archaic film techniques and using  brand new processes. “We gave ourselves permission to fail,” says West, “but things worked out fine in the end.”

Those processes including having actors from all over the world come together on the screen. Actress Anna Elena Pepe, who plays Dr Zhivaga, a quarantine sex therapist, says it was an experience for her like no other, “I was in London, and my scene partner (Lachelle Allen) was in Los Angeles. ‘It was fantastic.'”

“The actors were the key,” according to Olita, “We basically let them pick and choose characters and wrote around their choices.” West agrees, “We gave our actors a tremendous amount of freedom, there was a lot of improvisation. Everyone gave great performances and the chemistry the actors have with one and other is magical.”

The Central Authority, takes place in a dystopian future, where entertainment is king. There is no content, so the government (“The Central Authority”) creates a streaming channel where “performers” can submit their material, in order to obtain items in short supply.  The film takes place over one day of programming.

In addition to West, Olita and Nasseri, The Central Authority uses an ensemble cast of working actors, Tick Tock stars, comics and podcast hosts: Lachelle Allen, Brandy Bryant, April Monique Burrill,  Jimmyo Burrill, Lily Burrill, Candice Callins, Charles Chudabala, Rodney Damon Collins, Michael Coulombe, Lauren Deleon, Vanessa Esparanza, Jonathan Freeman-Anderson, Sara Gaston, Katie Gordon, Nate Gordon, Joe Grisaffi, Josh Hutchinson, Betsy Johnson, Allison Michelle, Rory Ogden, Marco Antonio Parra, Anna Elena Pepe, Jake Red, Genoveva Rossi, Nailya Sharakova, Narlyia Sterling, Todd Stroik, and Cristina Vargas. Nasseri said he was “proud to work with such a strong group of diverse actors.” Inclusion has been a recurring theme in Nasseri’s films, with award winning shorts The Carting Call, and Seeking Valentina, already under his belt, Nasseri felt like this was the perfect vehicle for him as a director, editor and actor.

The Central Authority is written by Dana Olita and Kristin West, directed by Armin Nasseri and Kristin West, and produced by Matt Chassin, Armin Nasseri, Dana Olita, Narlyia Sterling, Kristin West and Quarantini Productions.

For more information go to https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12265464/

Visit us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/TheCentralAuthority/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CentralAuth

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_central_authority/

Cleaning Up My Perspective & Purses During COVID-19

art artistic bright color
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I work from home.  I’m used to it.  I’ve been busy, even as there’s a great deal of uncertainty in the entertainment industry.  Today, I took a breather and set out to the task of cleaning.  I cleaned my office and I emptied out my purses, which I hadn’t cleaned out since the lock down began .  It was like going though a mini time-capsule.

 

What was in my purses:

promotional materials for a film festival screening I attended

breath mints

coin change for parking

assorted colored pencils, highlighters and post-it notes for marking scripts on-the-go when I chose to work at cafes

an extension cord for plugging my lap top into an electrical outlet at a cafe

a movie ticket

Cleaning out my purses hit me hard.  As I cleaned, I felt like I had just been through a strange time warp.  We don’t know what the future will bring, though we’ve been told there’s a “new normal” coming.  What I want to emphasize here is that, yes, all of this made me blue today.  However, I quickly pivoted to my gratitude for those experiences and the hope that I can have them again soon when it’s safe to do so.

The film festival promo materials reminded me that I love film festivals and seeing my work on the big screen.    I am grateful to all the film festivals that have ever screened my work.

The breath mints were comic.  Though we’ll be wearing masks for awhile, the mints reminded me that we need to keep a (minty) fresh perspective.  Let’s not get stuck into to many ruts or bad thought grooves at this time.

They stopped enforcing most parking ordinances since the stay-at-home order in Los Angeles, so I haven’t needed to feed a meter.  Admittedly, parking Los Angeles has been way easier.  I am grateful for the days in Los Angeles when scoring a parking spot was the biggest of my worries.  I now know there are far bigger things to have anxiety over.  I’ve had to learn how to better manage my anxiety.

cappuccino in ceramic mug
Photo by EYAD Tariq on Pexels.com

I love my home, but sometimes I need to get out of the house to work more efficiently.  I get TOO comfortable.  I am grateful for all the times I’ve had great coffee and a great work day and even run into old friends.  I hope to enjoy this again soon.

The extension cord reminded me of how lucky I am to have basic utilities and that all of my utility services are still going, despite the pandemic.  Those working to keep our water, power and sanitation going are essential workers too and we owe them much for their service at this time.

A movie ticket…There’s much discussion right now of how to move the industry forward during the pandemic.  Fortunately, I am very diversified.  Some are not and it’s been difficult to see how many friends and colleagues are anxious and suffering right now.  The movie ticket is my reminder to rebuild.  The movie ticket is my reminder to adapt as best I can.  There will be no Dark Ages of Entertainment if I can help it.

Instead of yearning for the past, what can we do to bring our appreciation into the future?

 

Kristin West joins The Quarantini Film Festival as a Celebrity Judge

The Quarantini Film Festival is now open for submissions on Film Freeway.

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – May 4, 2020 – PRLog — The Quarantini Film Festival is now open for submissions.  Founder Dana Olita created the festival to keep people entertained while at home during the quarantine.  The new festival is very inexpensive to enter.  $15 per submission for adults and $10 for kids under 14.  The rules are simple.  You must be the creator and you must make the film in your house or backyard.  The festival is monthly and the first submissions are due by May 28th with a winner announced May 31st.

The festival is perfect for kids who want to create a film. There is no limit to what they can create except the length.  Films can be from 1 minute to 30 minutes long.  Kids have their own category so they are judged separately.

The Quarantini Film Festival is excited to announce Celebrity Judge Kristin West will be joining us to judge films.  Kristin West is an award-winning producer, actress, screenwriter, and host.  She’s been privileged to be a jury member of the Chicago Independent Film Festival, the Inland Empire Media Academy Film Festival, and the NYC Midnight Writing Competitions.  Kristin has worked with top names in the film, television, and recording industries including Emmy winners, Golden Globe winners, Grammy winners, and Oscar nominees.

Entries are accepted on Film Freeway https://filmfreeway.com/TheQuarantiniMonthlyFilmFestival

Bubbling Over with Body Positive Joy!

When Yi asked me to climb on her conference room table, I didn’t hesitate.

This past week, Yi Zhou, founder of Global Intuition, a fast-rising international fashion brand, invited me to her headquarters in Beverly Hills for a body positive photo shoot.

Yi is a Chinese multimedia artist who has lived in Rome from the age of eight and studied between London and Paris with degrees in Political Science and Economics.  Her innovative work has been shown at Shanghai Biennale, Venice Biennal, Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival.  Global in reach, she founded her creative strategy digital production company, Yi Zhou Studio, in Shanghai and Hong Kong.  In late 2017, she brought her creative vision to LA  as a strategic partner of Cinemoi Network, Royal Yacht. She is currently developing her first feature film as writer and director.

I had the privilege of meeting Yi through What Women Want Show about a year ago as she was preparing her Fred Segal show.  I was extremely impressed by Yi’s drive, ambition and poise.  Yi’s brand is called Global Intuition and I can see why.  Working with Yi, she has a global outlook and also a strong sense of what makes others look and feel good.  My shoot with Yi was fun, collaborative and inspiring.

Here’s your first look–Body Positive and Bubbles!

global intuition shoot
Body Positive and Bubbles.  Photo by Yi Zhou of Global Intuition.

Yi and I discussed what intuition is and why it’s important for women, and really everyone, to trust their intuition .  Intuition seems to power much of what she does and how she works.

Video Courtesy of Yi Zhou, Global Intuition

My biggest take away from spending time with Yi this week was that joy and intuition  make everything we do better!  If you bring a joyful heart to whatever you are doing, and trust your hunches, you can accomplish so much.  Trust your intution and let your joy bubble over!

 

Stick With It!

I helped cut a trailer for a documentary film for the first time yesterday and I didn’t flinch once!

59959436_657596708033992_4764783726875901952_n
Planning the documentary trailer.

In all seriousness, though, I didn’t appreciate the growth process of the past two years of my life until I sat down and watched that trailer.  I’ve branched out into a whole other skill set, something I never really formally trained for or planned for.

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Armin Nasseri edits a preview trailer for “George Hobbs:  Stick Figure Wisdom”

Armin Nasseri and I are working on a documentary about George Hobbs, a lifelong prop master in the movie business, who’s pursuing his passion for art.  We put a preview trailer together today for distributors.

Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect.  When you do fictional narrative, you have a script.  You know what’s coming!  With a doc, it seems, it’s a lot more like picking from beauteous fragments, because you just don’t know or can’t guarantee what will be said or not said.

I was pleasantly surprised!

I just started doing interviews two years ago and the opportunity to do in-depth interviews with George has been amazing.  We’re still shooting this amazing project.  Expect it to come out in 2020!

 

In Body, Embody

We have to embody the world we want to see.  If we want less hate, less judgment and more compassion, then we have to hug more.  We have to smile more.  We have to shake hands more.

embodySometimes, though, it’s hard to be “in” our bodies.  Our society privileges the mental and we become mental.  We experience a trauma and we numb out.  Our emotions rattle us.  We want an escape from pain, instead of just feeling the pain and moving through it.  It’s hard to embody our ideals of love and compassion when it’s just hard to be in our bodies.

Yesterday, I was in an unfamiliar part of town and due to some circumstances beyond my control, I spent some extra time in the neighborhood, so I decided to get a massage to make use of the time.  Like I’ve mentioned in some of my prior posts, I’ve been dealing with big girl life stuff and I am still carrying a great deal of tension.  It shows up in my body. Even though I have a regular meditation regimen and a decent exercise regimen, my pent up stress, like me, is stubborn.  Getting a massage gives me the opportunity to understand what stress my body is still holding onto.

A valued person in my life told me that I was the most sensitive person he knew and that I did a great job of hiding how sensitive I actually am.  I didn’t get what he meant until yesterday, when as I was getting the massage a flood of thoughts and images, some not fun and relaxing, danced in my brain.

Ultimately, we have to embody self-forgivenesss and self-acceptance and self-love.  I have to forgive myself for the mistakes I put my body through.  I have to accept who I am today–not try and revivify or reconstruct who I was ten years ago.  I have to love my injuries, both emotional and physical, enough to heal them.

One of the tasks of an actor is to embody a character.  Not all humans walk and talk the same way.  Not everyone holds tension in the same place.  Not everyone has the same center of gravity.  The ancient Greeks created a whole theory of personalities based on bodily awareness.  Chekhov, one of the greats of the acting world, thought every human being has a “leading center” of their body, from which their urges and actions come from.

I am still learning where my actions and urges come from and that’s because it’s my business, literally, as an actor to do so.  As we live and experience, our character is shaped and re-shaped hopefully for the better.  Have you checked in with your body?  What are you embodying?

 

 

 

 

Oddly Satisfying

This month, I have been delving into what I find “oddly satisfying”.  It’s been an interesting journey.  My journey started with an invitation from TikTok to make short videos. tiktok Here they are.

I had to choose a focus for these, so I focused on what I found visually satisfying, but this exploration was definitely a multi-sensory one.  Here’s what I’ve learned about myself so far:

  1.  I am very entranced by rotational movement.
  2. I am enthralled by the popping of balloons.
  3. Stabbing and puncturing stuff really does it for me too.

On a Myers-Briggs test, I usually test as an ENFJ, definitely more intuitive than sensory.  I’ve really had to cultivate sensory awareness.  This has been a great exercise for me because I’ve had to get out of my head and into engaging with everyday objects and I how I react to them–part weird science, part horror movie in some cases.

The one thing that surprised me was my reaction to the balloon popping, a mixed reaction of delight and scared-surprise.

landscape photo of green and red balloons
Photo by spemone on Pexels.com

I’m definitely going to remember this going forward in regards to acting.  There’s so much our bodies can communicate and react to that’s wordless and even a bit mysterious.  The visceral reactions I’ve had to these little experiments have all been interesting and informative.

 

 

I’ll leave you with the video, my TikTok homage to The Twilight Zone.  Not sure where else this “oddly satisfying” exploration will take me, but be sure to check out my TikTok profile and comment on my stuff.