Friday, June 28, 2013

Anonymous no more...

One thing I never really expected is that there are people out there who like to take me down, as they say. It comes and goes when they get tired or I just shut them off. I don't really need to defend myself anymore at this point in my career to someone who doesn't offer their email or name. 

So, I'm deciding to shut off anyone who doesn't use their real email address. Actually it's not that big of a deal, since I rarely get those messages anyway.  But every now and then I muss up someone's attitude and they just have to tell me I'm not as good as I think I am. But they don't tell me who they are or what they do.

This, of course, suggests that they've never seen any of my movies, some are pretty good and some are the ones you do to get paid, every writer has a few of those, at least every writer who has real credits. 

One issue is self-publishing, to which Anonymous felt was second class. Actually the book is published through Amazon and Createspace and myself. There was a time when self-publishing was about wacko guys in the woods writing a book on their paranoid rantings or some people who have receipes for bbq and so on.

But now "self-publishing" is pretty big. Stephen King self-published on Amazon and Penny Marshall among others. In fact the publishing industry is quite scared of losing famous authors and others as Amazon takes over. They even have a movie site wherein a writer can enter their screenplay at no cost for evaluation and even a complete storyboard.

So Anonymous -- go play with your iphone or even better write something that Aaron Sorkin will hire you for. Then email me back, I'll give you some notes.

btw if you don't know how to write, get my book. eh?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Photography Interview + A Travel Camera Bag

We shared a little bit about us and our photography background on the ONA blog this week. Head over there if you want to know how we got started shooting and what our dream photography project would be. 

If you travel often with camera gear like we do, you'll really like what ONA has to offer. We recently started using one of their smaller camera bags on shoots, and have received so many compliments. It's not only beautiful, but it feels really nice and I can tell it's going to last a really long time. The leather is nice and thick and the buckles are heavy duty. We bring our camera gear to shoots and on trips in a large backpack, but don't want to carry that huge, heavy thing around. This bag is the perfect size to throw in a couple lenses while we're out exploring and have the cameras around our necks. I wish we had it during our 6 month around-the-world trip! They have some beautiful backpacks I've been eyeing as well...

Here are a few photos from our trip to the Colorado National Monument last week. More Iceland photos coming your way next.

- Julia

Anonymous again

Got a comment in the previous blog from Anonymous (how come they're always anonymous) reminding me of the moaning of the good old days. Well I guess we old timers have had a lot of good old days. My dad said he had good old days and I had good old days...

... with one difference.

I also have the good new days as well, having finished my spec screenplay, entitled The President's Heart, and am working on a documentary for the ww11 pilot, as well has helping him, at 89, writing a bio of his time in the war.

And I'm starting a Kickstarter project, hopefully to fund Ghostkeeper although I fear it might not do well. In that case I have Plan B to fund it for half the budget it is now.

My book on screenwriting (and the good old days) was published last week and should get some traffic once I get some reviews, two are ready and a few more are coming. 

But Anonymous spotted some irony there that I couldn't see the A didn't spell it out so I'll have to re-read the post.

So, yes the good old days were great, but I'm also into the new days too.  And they will become old days some day too.  And as Anonymous said there aren't a lot of Soprano credits in my credit list, and they're right, I never got a gig with David Chase.

But it's subjective, for example, I got some great reviews from my Christmas movie as well as the Ghostkeeper movie. They weren't 100%, nobody gets that but all it takes is someone to write you a letter saying they liked the Christmas movie to make you feel good.

At least until you have someone who wants to put you down. I can't help wondering if that person would put their credits down so we can all see what they've done.

And I don't moan. Maybe I grumble, but not moan. I don't have much time for that.

But then there was that first time in France when....... zzzzzzz.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Mount Nevis Hotel's Haute View!

Solitude is sometimes elusive unless you journey to a place where it captures the essence of peace and serenity. On my recent trip to Nevis, West Indies, I was introduced to a place that harmonizes with the landscape and energy of the Caribbean Sea.

The Mount Nevis Hotel sits on 17 acres of the Roundhill Estate, back in the 1800s it was a lime plantation. Although, it’s not where you would typically find a Haute Travels girl, it is a place to reconnect with your soul. There’s nothing glamorous about the property, it’s simple, tropical and serene just what soul searchers dream about. The intimacy allows for a bit if introspection, while you enjoy stunning views of Nevis and nearby St. Kitts. Each day during sunrise, I sat on the balcony to meditate taking in the magic surrounding me. In my opinion, the views from The Mount Nevis Hotel are a force to be reckoned with… it just may have the most amazing views of the Nevis peak and surrounding sea than any other place on the island.

The owners of the property abandoned their life in Tarrytown, New York for the peacefulness of the Caribbean about 23 years ago. And as fate would have it, they fell in love with the view. I suppose in many ways, they are no different than a Haute Travels girl in search of solitude away from city life and the crowds. There are amazing five star resorts and then there are small, intimate properties that offer something that money can’t buy—a soul renewed.

Glam Nights in Paris!

When in Paris, glam dinners, fashionable nights out and beauty appointments make travel haute! If you're jetting off to the "City of Lights" with your friends or meeting them in Paris, spend time making the scene wearing something that blings. There are many places to go but two are hot on my list.

I've always dreamed of spending time at some of the city's most exclusive properties located in the "Golden Triangle" such as the Four Seasons Hotel, George V, Paris near the Champs-Elysees and Le Bar at Plaza Athenee on Avenue Montaigne bringing those "Sex and the City" moments to life. I'm equally as excited to make my way from one beauty appointment to the next, at the world's most exclusive spas. But first, here's a look at my photos from fun, fashionable nights in Paris with my friend, Fashion Designer Kate Mack.

Glam Dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris is something that every haute travels girl must experience. The fine dining experience at Le Cinq may put a dent in your haute couture bag, but it sure is worth it! Rare black truffles, exquisite champagne and dinner to die for makes the Four Seasons in Paris a Haute Spot.

Headed to Le Bar du Plaza Athenee… there’s a mix between fashion and classic modern style. The bar glows and the fashion crowd calls this place their home away from home during Paris Fashion Week. When in the capital of couture, you must stop by to try a chic cocktail wearing camera-ready fashions. You never know who you may see while sipping a glass of sparkling champagne.

Where is your favorite GLAM spot in Paris?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Done, move on

Well, one more spec screenplay finished and hopes that it will be sold. 

A friend of mine was talking about what he felt was the biggest problem in the movie and tv business - there are too many people in it for one thing - - but there's something else that is contributing to the mess.


More and more kids are going to film school because it's cool and they have dreams of being stars and star directors and star writers. And their parents tell them they are -- but that's another blog.

What happened with digital and computers is that it gave everything away - VHS cameras were terrible, High-8 was better but digital was great. So great that they had to make it for everyone. And everyone can make a movie-- youtube.

There's an old expression, actually not that old -- "the good news is that everyone can make a movie -- the bad news is that everyone can make a movie".

When I grew up in the film industry there weren't as many people around, and they would hire the best but that changed with youtube and their millions of short films. Now everyone was a star.

And that's okay, because why not? Can't the ordinary guy film his cat chasing a stick, you tell me? Is that a movie? Should it be showing at your theater? 

What also happened is that since the studios and networks don't quite know what works for this millennial generation who watch some movies and not others and don't seem to have a star system anymore. Most of their time takes up staring at a smart phone.

And since networks and studios don't know, they try everything. And since there are so many writers out there, bad or good, they don't really know which to choose. So they look at everything. And when they look at everything they really find a lot of junk. Good stuff is rare. The Sopranos is better written than Charlie Sheen's "Anger Management" but there's more of Charlie's shows than Tony's.

It's sort of like buying cereal at the supermarket, which one do you buy, the same one you buy all the time or a new one. Which is healthier, which tastes better. And so on.

One of the guys who started the 100-plus TV channels said they thought there would be programming for everyone on earth - niche channels - but now that it's in full swing with 500 channels or more he realized he was wrong.

Instead, they created mediocrity - something for no one. 

"mediocre" -- of only ordinary or moderate quality, barely adequate"

Turn on your TV tonight and let me know... 


Monday, June 17, 2013

Reykjavík, Iceland II

A highlight of Reykjavík was going to the top of the church bell tower to see the candy colored rooftops contrasted against a largely blue natural surrounding. The boxy buildings look like toys, neatly lined up by the hands of a child. Someone had to have planned the placement of each colored block. It's a must if you're in Reykjavík.

To see more suggestions of what to see and do in Reykjavík, check out the post we wrote for SMP Living on Iceland.

Next we will be sharing photos from our time outside the city, exploring Iceland's wilderness.

- Julia

Down to the line...

Got to finish my new screenplay today, means I have to finish before lunch... have to do about 8 pages or more... but I've got it pretty much finished in my mind. 

I'll post a blog later in the day.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bee Plantation Chic in Yellow!

The Hermitage, a Plantation Inn in Nevis, the West Indies, inspired a bee chic in yellow photo shoot. The Hermitage is a place where the past meets the present with stunning views and acres of garden spaces. Classic Nevision Colonial cottages scattered among mango trees and hibiscus witnessed trade winds gently cooling off the land and people who live there.

Photo Credit: Haute Travels-Devon Lilburd

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Four Seasons Resort Nevis is Haute!

The Four Seasons Nevis is my kind of place. This 5-star luxury resort offers the kind of exclusivity that a haute travels girl craves. Infinity edge pools, villas, amazing restaurants, dramatic ocean views and a beautiful spa… makes this the place for me. They even have private jet service, plus they have their own boat with a bar for transfers to St. Kitts where you can access the airport.

The accommodations range from ocean view suites, storey cottages and luxury villas or private residences for rental. The Four Seasons Resort Nevis is in a class all by itself. It’s the ideal destination for those who indulge and enjoy the best that life has to offer. My junior suite was beautiful with yellow accents, lots of pillows a spa bath and sitting area with a view of the Caribbean Sea.

There are some who want to play golf, tennis or explore the rainforest, but not me, I’m a beach girl and the service that the Four Seasons Resort Nevis offers extends to the beach! While relaxing by the sea, the attendants bring cool towels and cans of Evian water to spritz you while sun tanning along with ice cold drinks. They really attend to every need while you take in the view. It was hard to leave but the thoughts of my return will keep me smiling.

Here's a look inside a 7-bedroom Villa:

Welcome to the Villa 

Family Room

Master Bathroom


Master Bedroom

Guest Bedroom

Pool with a View

The Pool House