My Freelance Work

  • Fictional political TV shows face dilemmas as reality outpaces anything they could imagine

    L.A. Times Envelope5/18/17

    Series like Netflix’s “House of Cards,” CBS’ “Madam Secretary” and HBO’s “Veep” regularly take us into fictional versions of the White House, while others, like “Berlin Station” on Epix, Showtime’s “Homeland” and “Good Fight” deal with the intelligence and legal communities affected by politics and the administration. Yet none of their showrunners planned to be running a writers room in a world that had put a real estate mogul/reality show star in the highest office in the United States government.

    So how do you write about a fictional White House when the real-world version is beyond anything you might have considered putting on TV?

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    CNN’s Reliable Sources called this story the “headline of the day”

  • Dan Stevens likes the wit and the ‘special kind of weird’ in ‘Legion’

    L.A. Times Envelope5/18/17

    Dan Stevens is not the doomed hero of “Downton Abbey,” Matthew Crowley — and hasn’t been for more than four years. His departure from the wildly popular “Masterpiece” series left him room to build an impressive résumé of feature projects (“Beauty and the Beast,” “The Ticket,” “Colossal”) and what might be considered the anti-“Downton” of TV series, FX’s odd and outrageous “Legion,” from “Fargo” creator Noah Hawley. Yet while Stevens won’t shun the series that broke him internationally, he’d like everyone to know that right now, he’s indulging his weird side — which made the wax-bust-filled House of Wax bar adjacent to Brooklyn’s Alamo Drafthouse movie theater the perfect place to meet up with The Envelope.

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  • Tired of weak two-dimensional roles, women are creating their own TV series

    L.A. Times Envelope5/17/17

    Katy Colloton, one of the six executive producer/writer/stars of TV Land’s “Teachers,” has an ongoing problem: She’s so good at separating her writing duties from her acting duties that more than one script she’s penned has left her dismayed on filming day.

    “A lot of times I’ll get to set to do a scene and go, ‘Wait, I have to do this on camera?’” she says. “I forget I’m the one who’s going to have to have something squirted in her face, and I’m like, ‘I know I wrote that — but do I really have to do it?’”

    First-World problems for a writer-star of any TV series, to be sure. But Colloton (along with her fellow “Teachers” multi-hyphenates Caitlin Barlow, Cate Freedman, Kate Lambert, Katie O’Brien and Kathryn Renée Thomas) is part of an intriguing “auteur” trend in television — a trend that is being led mostly by women (not necessarily all named some form of Kate).

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  • Female Artisans Find Mentors in Other Women in Showbiz Crafts Fields Dominated by Men

    Variety - 4/21/17

    At 23, costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis (above, with legendary costume designer Walter Plunkett in 1979) was fresh out of UCLA graduate school, unemployed, and a self-described “twerp.”

    When she landed in the office of Ange Jones, chief of the NBC costume department in Burbank, for an interview, a job offer of $350 per week “blindsided” her. But what came after that is something that’s becoming rarer in the business: Jones took the greenhorn under wing and made sure she had “a real Hollywood apprenticeship,” says Landis, who has accumulated multiple credits as a costume designer, including an Oscar nomination for 1989’s “Coming to America,” and served twice as president of the Costume Designers Guild.

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  • Naturally Nola

    Emmy Magazine - 4/07/17

    Here’s what made DeWanda Wise decide to watch Spike Lee’s classic 1986 film, She’s Gotta Have It: A few years ago, a boyfriend gave her a DVD and said, “You remind me of Nola Darling.”

    Turns out that her boyfriend was either a casting director in the making or prescient, because Wise is playing Nola, the free-spirited young Brooklynite in the Netflix 10-part series of the same name, adapted, executive-produced and directed by Lee himself.

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

    L.A. Times Envelope - 2/16/17

    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 Envelope - 2/14/17

    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 Envelope - 2/14/17

    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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