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Serpentine

Cold Call

There are those times when you are just going about your business when suddenly the phone rings. I can’t speak for those that read this blog, but when my phone rings, and I don’t recognize the number, I just let it go to voicemail. I was pleasantly surprised, and pleased, to learn that it was a former colleague from my days as the publisher of a figure skating magazine. She was calling from the Ice Theatre of New York and advised me that they were honoring my skating coach from my days at Sky Rink at an upcoming event.

During my call with Jirina (who is the Executive Director) we reminisced about those years at Sky Rink (1980s) and the glorious decade that followed that saw the sport grow as an industry around the world. Many of us that worked in the sport saw our enterprises grow to levels we only imagined.

With Darlene Parent in Boston

But for me the origins go back to the late 1980s and Sky Rink. This was a rink that was literally in the sky. In the case of Sky Rink, it was on the top floor of an office building. It was during those years that I met my coach Darlene who not only trained me harder than any coach I had previously, but did it with pride and levity. She used to call me Louella after the famed columnist Louella Parsons for the stories I would tell. Who would have thought that years after I would launch a newsmagazine that became the world’s largest in the sport.

With Moira North in Boston

It was during the Sky Rink days, that I was introduced to Moira the founder of the Ice Theatre of New York. While I always had an appreciation of the arts from dance, ballet and classical music, this was an organization that married all these disciplines to the ice. The result has been a decades-long “ice theatre” that has continuously presented new ways for audiences to enjoy the art of figure skating. The first event I ever coordinated was their storied annual gala. Those early experiences paved the way for the career I have enjoyed.

To learn more about the Ice Theatre of New York and their 2022 Benefit Gala and Performance, please click this link. This year’s event honors Olympic Ice Dance Champions Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean with Darlene Parent and Wade Corbett as Alumni Award Recipients. Tracy Wilson and Brian Orser will co-chair the event while Betty Wasserman is the Ice Angel Award Recipient.

Directing the short film version of Serpentine

It has been an interesting week walking down memory lane as Facebook reminded me about the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships that were held in Boston. Aside from an appearance on ESPN’s 30 for 30, I hadn’t been connected to the sport for many years. Suffice to say it was a wonderful reunion of friends and colleagues from days long past.  

For it was at those championships that I conceived the idea for Serpentine – a political thriller set in the near future with the logline, “A champion figure skater finds herself in a government conspiracy involving her missing mother and a Cold War mystery that culminates at the world championships in Moscow.” They say life works in mysterious ways. With current world events, who knows, perhaps Serpentine could be the next project.

But whatever project of mine comes next, one thing is certain, it all started in New York.

The poster for the premiere of the short film version of Serpentine


First Deal

First Signal publicity still

After over a year of searching and talking to sales agents and distributors, I’m pleased to announce that Indie Rights picked up First Signal for worldwide distribution. Our official press release can be found at this link.

As I mention in the press release, I’ve known of Linda Nelson’s company for many years. I first heard of Indie Rights when Justice Is Mind was having its theatrical run in 2013.  Since then, I have come across a variety of sales agents and distributors. There are very few constants in this industry except one thing – reputation. While there was another company I was considering, Indie Rights had the best reputation among filmmakers. If you’re a filmmaker with a completed project, I highly encourage you to visit their website to learn more.

First Signal will be distributed by Indie Rights.

This truly is an industry about reputation. If you treat people well, if you’re honest, if you do the job you were contracted to do, that type of currency can be cashed in anywhere. But if you are difficult to work with, fail to deliver or impede the process, you’ll find your dance card pretty empty. I’ve talked about this before, there’s a reason why you see the same actors, crew and other partners working together from one project to another – reputation.

As we begin the process of organizing the deliverables for Indie Rights, I now turn my attention to First Signal’s marketing plan. In addition to what I’m hoping to do theatrically, the plan also includes First Signal’s VOD release (May). This will be markedly more involved than what I did for Justice several years ago. As the release will involve multiple outlets and countries, the key will be to put together a plan that can be somewhat replicated from market to market. As an independent filmmaker, the challenge is to put together a plan that is possible, sustainable and affordable. In all honesty, I do enjoy the marketing aspects of film projects. For me it’s about introducing audiences to a new film, whether they are here in the United States or some distant land. The one universal language we all have in common is the art of film (although dubbing may be involved!).

I’m also pleased to announce that my political thriller SOS United States is now an official selection of two festivals, winning one. SOS United States won Best Plot at the Gold Star Movie Awards. For 2021 the marketing for SOS is to continue the film festival submission process, while presenting the project for 2022 production.

The political thriller genre is truly my favorite. Whether I incorporate the genre in sci-fi with First Signal, psychological thrillers like In Mind We Trust (the sequel to Justice Is Mind) or my figure skating drama Serpentine, the political thriller genre weaves throughout all of them. For me, I like a plot that takes many twists and turns. One of my favorite political thrillers is The Odessa File. The central character (played by Jon Voight) is a journalist. I always like a film that has a journalist as it lends credibility to the plot when the character investigates. The surprise ending in The Odessa File is well worth the watch.

Plans.