My Freelance Work

  • The Envy Awards: The otherwise unrecognized great moments in film

    L.A. Times Envelope2/16/17

    Awards are flying off the shelves left and right these days — nods for expensive special effects and heartfelt performances, confident helming and clever producing. But even so, we here at The Envelope feel there are plenty of trophy-worthy moments in films going unrecognized. So let’s remedy that with our annual Envy Awards — spotlighting those examples of greatness that otherwise go overlooked. After all, if you can’t honor teeth, logorrhea and the end of the world, what else are awards for?

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  • From ‘Arrival’ to ‘Moonlight’ to ‘Silence,’ a look at the first frame of 9 films meant to pull you in

    L.A. Times Envelope2/14/17

    The first scene of a movie is often its defining moment: In subtle and large ways it lets the audience know where they are, where they’re going — and often, what to expect along the way. But deciding on that first major statement can be a challenge; sometimes, a main character dancing to “Thriller” in the bathroom mirror is the wrong choice.

    Here, directors and editors from nine awards-season contenders share why they began their films as they did – and what alternate openings were abandoned along the way.

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  • Some tips for getting that Oscar speech just right — first, start writing it now

    L.A. Times Envelope2/14/17

    Barring something spectacular happening at the Oscars on Feb. 26, we know who’s a shoo-in to win the imaginary best Speech of the Season statuette this year: Meryl Streep.

    The Oscar-winning actress’ use of her lifetime achievement award acceptance at the Golden Globes in January to focus on political issues rather than her own career electrified both the crowd in the Beverly Hilton’s ballroom and audiences watching around the world. And earned her a couple very special tweets from President Trump.

    “We could discuss for an hour all the things she did right in that speech,” says Hilari Weinstein, president of High Impact Communications, and a specialist in helping people prepare for speeches of all kinds. “She wore her glasses. She apologized for having lost her voice. She addressed individuals in the audience by their place of birth. Tricks come across as tricks, but it was perfection because it felt real.”

    But while Streep made it look natural and easy, giving a passionate acceptance speech – especially one that has to be delivered in a highly emotional, agitated state before millions, knowing you’ll be played off the stage in a matter of seconds – is no easy task. Those who decide to just wing it are doomed to either failure or mediocrity.

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  • Some Oscar speeches truly stand out — for better or worse

    L.A. Times Envelope - 2/14/17

    Some award acceptance speeches are models of grace and class. Others are … well, a little out there. Here’s a look at some of each.

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  • 10 leading performances and 10 key scenes that could help these nominees take home the Oscar

    L.A. Times Envelope - 2/10/17

    A facial twitch. A whispered word. A long, heartfelt monologue. A key scene for an actor can be any of those things – but when it comes, it can’t be ignored. Like an arm wrapped around a shoulder, it pulls the audience into the character’s world and holds them there. And sometimes, that’s exactly what can earn the actor an Oscar. Here are the 10 scenes that could do just that for each of the 2017 Academy Award lead actor and actress nominees.

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  • Varying a film’s structure keeps it one step ahead of sophisticated audiences

    L.A. Times Envelope - 2/02/17

    While penning an early draft of “Manchester by the Sea,” writer-director Kenneth Lonergan got bored.

    “I’d probably gotten maybe two-thirds of the way through and I was bored to death and I knew something was wrong,” the Oscar nominee  recalls. “When things are working well, the structure of a film and the content follow the same lines, and you know you’re in pretty good shape. But I was so bored I knew I had to do something different.”

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  • Films that look back at post-war America like ‘Fences’ and ‘Hidden Figures’ are digging deeper this year

    L.A. Times Envelope - 1/20/17

    Stop by the movie theater this awards season and you might wonder exactly what decade we’re living in. From “Fences” to “Hidden Figures,” “The Founder” to “Loving” — and even on some level “20th Century Women” — the mid- to late-20th century remains compelling turf to filmmakers. Consider the number of Oscar nominees set at least partially in the 1950s just last year: “Carol,” “Brooklyn,” “Trumbo” and “Bridge of Spies.”

    Yet what’s interesting about this year’s crop of films is that the stories are shifting. They seem to be digging a little deeper into that era and offering up details we haven’t seen before, particularly in the areas of women and African Americans.

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  • From ‘Sully’ to ‘Hidden Figures,’ biopics are featuring appearances from their real-life subjects

    L.A. Times Envelope - 1/20/17

    For a number of reasons, straight biopics and even films simply based on actual events have taken to playing up the real-life people behind their stories this season.

    Consider “Sully” and “Snowden,” “Hidden Figures” and “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Lion” and “Loving” — it has become de rigueur to feature, often just before the end credits, a photo, old video or filmed appearance of the people the movie has just spent the last two or so hours dramatizing.

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  • ‘Hidden Figures’ team sees its film set in the past as a sign of hope for the future

    L.A. Times Envelope - 12/29/16

    Without black women in the space program coming up with answers that had eluded the traditional white patriarchy of the 1960s, the U.S. might never have made it to the moon. That’s the fact-based story of “Hidden Figures,” but its moral easily parallels the diversity issues for which Hollywood recently has been taken to task. Director Theodore Melfi and stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe recently talked with The Envelope ahead of the White House screening of the film to discuss diversity, dreams and deciding not to panic.

    Click on the image below to read a GIF of the article.


  • Leslie Mann likes her comedies dark, as with ‘The Comedian’

    L.A. Times Envelope - 12/22/16

    Comedy is something of an accident for Leslie Mann. Over the past 25 years, she’s covered her resume largely with comedies (including several directed by her husband, Judd Apatow) and is now appearing in a movie nestled within the comedy world, “The Comedian.” But for Mann, funny business actually is more therapy than laughs — and she’s OK if she never ends up starring in her own film. While in New York recently, Mann shared tea and chatted with The Envelope.

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