LIFE IN HELL-A 1 Comment »

Time: 2:38

Life of Pi is one of my fav films this year and I’m happy to report the folks at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences likes it too.

The amazing film just got eleven Oscar noms: Best Picture, Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing, Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, and Writing (Adapted Screenplay). I’m sure Pi has loads of noms for technical Oscars too!

Ronald Judkins

Also a big HIGH FIVE to my friend, Ron Judkins, who’s been nominated for Sound Mixing this year for his work on Lincoln. He won Best Sound for Jurassic Park and was also nominated for Best Sound for Schindler’s List in 1994. He won Best Sound for Saving Private Ryan in 1999 and was nominated for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing for War of the Worlds in 2006. Amazing career, Ron! Amazing work!

Here’s a downloadable list directly from the Academy of all the creative Oscar nominations announced today.

Oscar Nominees



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Olive shot on smartphone

A feature film shot on a smartphone? Ah, maybe not you say. But wait, there’s more. How about a feature film shot on a smartphone that’s an Oscar contender starring Gena Rowlands? What? And it was made for the micro-budget of $430,000 with a crew of 12? Impossible, you say? Ah, definitely not. OLIVE is the name.

Holy wow! Co-directors and co-writers Hooman Khalili and Pat Gilles did it. Watch the movie trailer below.

Ben Lear, son of Norman Lear, wrote a haunting song “Imaginary Friends” for the film. It’s on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s short list for an Oscar nom this year for Best Original Song. Here’s the song with vid footage from the film.

Read more about the making of the movie here:

Olive: The Oscar Contender Made with a Smartphone



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Time: 4:48

Watch Panic Attack from 30-year-old Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez. This is the video that sent Hollywood into panic attacks about who was going to rep Alvarez after Kanye West featured a link to the video on his blog. The video cost $500 to produce and is about giant robots invading apocalyptic earth.

After the dust settled along Wilshire Boulevard, Alvarez took home a $1 million deal based on his astonishing short video and feature pitch. During his short visit to Hell-A, Alvarez also managed to sign with CAA (one of the largest talent/lit agencies in Hollywood), Anonymous Content (management for Hollywood stars like Sam Jackson and Joaquin Phoenix) and entertainment attorney Karl Austen. And if that wasn’t enough, Alvarez’s $1 million feature deal is with Ghost House (producers of The Grudge series, Drag Me To Hell and other freak-me-out films). Oh…yeah…Alvarez’s mentor for his first feature film will be Sam Raimi (director of Spider Man, The Gift and producer of a video store full of films).

Yeah, I know the video isn’t funny, but the panic attack Alvarez sent the Hollywood hipsters into…that’s real funny. Power to the filmmakers!



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Last Sunday night was not just Sunday night…it was Oscar Night. The worldwide frenzy over Hollywood’s Academy Awards always reminds me of the insane years I spent held captive by my own frenzied ambition to become a professional screenwriter. Yes, I did sell a few scripts and get a few little movies produced, but mostly, all that led to this: making my own webisodes, blogging and writing a book called False Confessions of a True Hollywood Screenwriter. I’ll publish the book as an e-book soon and let you know where to find it. Meanwhile, here’s an except about my initiation into Hollywood’s life-or-death awards night.

Beverly Hills.

My first Oscar Week was bizarro. Famous stars, directors and producers descended upon our little town like locusts on corn, or potatoes, or whatever it is that they devour. You couldn’t go out to dinner without being forced to dine with Emma Thompson, Quentin Tarantino or Spike Lee. Adoring fans gathered across from popular celeb haunts like The Four Seasons, Beverly Hills Hotel, the Peninsula and the Beverly Wilshire to scream and take photos when their favorite star emerged to dive into his limo.

I spent Oscar Night at Women in Film’s Academy Awards viewing party at The House of Blues. Leaving about 11:00 in a stream of industry folks headed to other parties, I had a relatively quick run from Sunset to Melrose. But then I came upon an amazing sight: bumper-to-bumper limos as far as I could see.

One of the biggest parties every Oscar Night is held at Morton’s. It’s the Vanity Fair party and all the award winners are there. Little did I know I had merged into the wrong lane and somehow was trapped in the never-ending parade of limos circling the blocks around Morton’s. So there I was in my old silver Saab in a sluggish river of shiny new black and white stretch limos, going round and round.

I did get to see Whoopi Goldberg waving to crazed fans as she went into Morton’s. The throng cordoned off across the street from Morton’s screamed out stars’ names as they popped out of their limos. It was near hysteria as I slowly cruised by in the crush of luxury autos.

After circling the event four times in the stream of limos, I finally nosed my way into the escape lane, ran a red light and fled south until I hit stalled traffic near The Four Seasons.

I finally caught on to the limo logic and realized there was nowhere for hundreds of limos to park, so the drivers had to keep on driving. That made every street in Beverly Hills a slow-moving parking lot. Instead of going ballistic as I usually did in gridlock, I decided to enjoy the Oscar Night cruising.

I let myself get caught in all the important traffic jams. I did the Vanity Fair traffic jam again, then took a detour to Chasen’s, where one of the big hoodoos was hoodooing. I may not have gone to the Oscars or gotten into any of the big parties, but I was rubbing bumpers with Tom Hanks and Carrot Top. At least that should count for something.