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.
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.
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.
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.
With the one year anniversary of First Signal’s theatrical release coming up, I also realize we are soon going to hit a milestone on VOD. I hope to announce what that milestone is soon. But the one thing that never stops is the continued pitching for development along with new ideas for future projects.
Just this past week, I was pleased to receive a request from an established producer to review SOS United States. Will this review turn into a deal? Who knows, but the important thing is that there is activity with this project. When developing a project for production, it’s all about activity.
Since I completed First Report, I’ve had a variety of meetings and conversations around some new projects, from a conspiracy thriller to a documentary involving the sport of figure skating. While I’ll always cherish my time in the sport, I honestly just don’t see myself returning in any capacity. Although I didn’t watch the Winter Olympics (I haven’t watched an Olympics since I was in Salt Lake City in 2002), it was reading about another scandal that just cemented my decision.
But a new conspiracy thriller is certainly exciting to me. When the idea was brought up this weekend the creative wheels just started to turn. Before I knew it, we almost had a completed outline. This idea is particularly interesting as it’s linked to a major historical event.
While I’m working on this new idea, I’ve started to reread First Report to break it down for possible production. As I wrote Justice Is Mind and First Signal, First Report could be done as an independent production within the scale of those films. Although at 194 pages, First Report is either two feature films or a limited series. The key is to secure the right locations and scheduling. From there it’s budgeting and pre-production planning.
Having just reorganized some of my production files, I was reminded about the months First Signal spent in pre-production. I believe that phase is the most critical when making a film. Yes, the actual production (principal photography) of the film is important along with post-production. But, in my view, if everything is properly organized, along with contingency plans, it just makes for literal smooth sailing.
Of course there’s no smooth sailing in film distribution, just constant navigational challenges. In the world of VOD it’s about pivoting. For so many years, it was Amazon’s TVOD/SVOD (transactional/subscription video on demand) that filmmakers clamored for. But now the tables have turned as it’s Tubi and YouTube’s AVOD (advertising video on demand) where the money is. Thankfully, First Signal has a distributor in Indie Rights that does a masterful job at pivoting!