Category: Inspiration

FILM: Doing A Little Bit More… with Signage

I went to a local dog off leash park, and found probably the best location filming announcement ever:

Yup, one for the humans (“park users” / at human eye-level) and one for the dogs (at dog eye-level). Doubt you can read the dog announcement in the wide shot, but it goes like this: “Woof woof woof…”:

The signage is inspired! I mean, why just do you job when you can do you job with a little flare, making the job enjoyable and spreading a smile around to others at the same time? How can one not be more receptive to the disruption of a film set coming to town than by seeing such signage as this!

Way to go, guys. You inspire us in making movies, you inspire us in how we can approach work and school in our lives and make them more enjoyable.

Cheers & a great shoot to you,

– – – – – – – – – –

Deb Patz is the author of “Write! Shoot! Edit! A Complete Guide to Filmmaking for Teens” (new in 2017) and “Film Production Management 101” both published by MWP Books. She’s shot on some interesting locations when in production.

WHERE IS DEB? (upcoming events and appearances)
Feb.17 – Digital Media Youth Expo in North Vancouver, BC
(more events and appearances are being assembled)

“Write! Shoot! Edit!” was reviewed in:
(1) Montreal Gazette, and many other newspapers across Canada 
(2) SF Crowsnest (in the UK);
(3) Midwest Book Review Library Watch list (on the Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf)
(4) Donovan’s Bookshelf Recommended Reading / Prime Pick for August (need to search for “Write”)

The Hollywood / Doowylloh Sign

Since I was a teen, I dreamed of walking behind the Hollywood sign. I wanted to see Hollywood with the word spelled backwards in front of me.

My first trip to LA (when I was a teen), I saw the sign from Mulholland Drive, which as you may know, is on the hill next to – but not really near – the sign. Still, there was the word, spelled out on the terrain – shining, white letters. What did they see every day while us millions look up at them, dreaming our fantasy of a life in the movies?

Many years later, I found the right set of hills and managed a hike toward it, but at the posted warning “no trespassing beyond this point” I turned back.

By now I’d be working in the movies for a considerable time. With permission I’d wandered the backlot of Universal “off tram,” attended a party in a Hollywood mansion, and had many other movie-life memories, but not of the view behind the Hollywood sign. I tried a hike from Griffith Observatory, but without a good map and enough water, it was another attempt aborted.

This summer it happened.

Map in hand, sufficient water, hat and supplies, solid footwear and family to support me, we did the hike – crazy that we are – at the heat of the day. The air was thick with heat, the sun burned down on us, unforgiving. The odd lattice-like shadows and a few cool zephyrs provided enough relief to keep us going. Well, that and my dream.

The dirt path led to a paved road that winds up, around and right behind the Hollywood sign. Sure, there’s a chain-link fence between you and the sign, but that’s no barrier for the eyes. A rocky outlook perches above the path and fence so you can have an unobstructed view. Up there is the best thing of all: a B&B… a b-ench and a b-reeze.

So here’s what the Hollywood sign sees of us every day:

I’m at a loss to describe the feeling, but will try. In that moment, I was a teenager again standing on that other hill gazing over here at the sign (and me), dreaming of the future. At the same time I was here, so many years later with established career in film and my family beside me – an incredible family I never imagined in that teenage dream.

I didn’t sit on the letters themselves (as I did in my dream), but I also didn’t need to. From up here, it looked like it would be ridiculously uncomfortable anyway. I know that now… because I’ve been there.

Funny thing about dreams: they often come in a slightly different form than when you first imagine them. You have to be flexible enough to accept them as they are and to celebrate them as they come true. You also can’t stop living life to try to achieve them – they happen along the way.

So, I’ve now made another life dream of mine come true! Here’s to making more dreams, and then making them come true… all life long!

Cheers to you and your dreams,

– – – – – – – – – –

Deb Patz is the author of “Write! Shoot! Edit! A Complete Guide to Filmmaking for Teens” (new in 2017) and “Film Poduction Management 101” both published by MWP Books. She does not recommend hiking hills and mountains at the heat of a summer day… unless you’re truly prepared for the weather.

Her new book, “Write! Shoot! Edit!” was reviewed in:
(1) the Vancouver Sun and other papers across Canada, including the Montreal Gazette,  The Province, the Ottawa Citizen, the Saskatoon Star Phoenix, the Windsor Star, Canada.com, and News Locker;
(2) SF Crowsnest (in the UK);
(3) the Midwest Book Review Library August 2017 Watch list (on the Theatre/Cinema/TV Shelf)

Guardians of the… Water?

Who drinks enough water every day? I know I don’t. I find it a serious challenge. So… what about a movie, like “Guardians of the Galaxy” to inspire hydration?

Watch the movie and every time Groot says “I am Groot” have a glurp of water! By the end of the movie, that’s excellent hydration. How many water slurps is it?! I lost count.

So, give it a try. Let the movie inspire you to good health.

What other movies and phrases you think might work as well?

Cheers & good hydration to you,

– – – – – – – – – –

Deb Patz is the author of “Film Production Management 101” and the upcoming “Write! Shoot! Edit! A Complete Guide to Filmmaking for Teens” both published by MWP Books. She’s loves a good cuppa tea, but that’s not exactly the same as glass of water, isn’t it?

WHERE IS DEB? (upcoming events and appearances)
Jun.3-7 – Guest instructor – PEI Screenwriter’s Bootcamp, Charlottetown, PEI
Jun.14 – Guest speaker – Charles Best High School, Coquitlam, BC
Jun.16 – Guest speaker – Heritage Woods High School, Port Moody, BC
Jun.24 – Book launch party for “Write! Shoot! Edit!” at Chapters Pinetree, Coquitlam, BC
Jul.30-Aug.3 – Panelist – UFVA Conference, Los Angeles, CA

Inspiration at the Movies: Moana

“Is there something you want to hear?”
– Gramma Tala (Moana, 2016)

I love Gramma’s question. It reminds me of the essential role that the student plays in the learning process. The teacher may share information, but if the learner is not ready to receive, tha tinfo won’t be received and learned. Not only do we need the right teachers, we need them at the right time… and when that teacher comes into our life (whether in the school classroom or somewhere else in our lives), we need to open ourselves up to the teaching.

Such wise words. Thanks, Gramma.

Cheers & a fabulous learning journey to you,

– – – – – – – – – –

Deb Patz is the author of “Film Production Management 101” and the upcoming “Write! Shoot! Edit! A Complete Guide to Filmmaking for Teens” both published by MWP Books. She’s still learning everyday, and love it!

WHERE IS DEB? (upcoming events and appearances)
Jun.3-7 – Guest instructor – PEI Screenwriter’s Bootcamp, Charlottetown, PEI
Jun. TBA – Book launch for “Write! Shoot! Edit!”
Jul.30-Aug.3 – UFVA Conference, Los Angeles, CA

Memorable Lines from Movies – Intended and Not

rocktRemember these lines?

“Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!”


“I can’t believe you had THAT in your purse!”

If you’ve seen either movie, chances are you remember not only the lines, but the performer’s delivery even as you read the text now.

But I don’t want to talk about these types of intended memorable lines today. I want to talk about:

“Push it, buddy!”

Remember it? You probably don’t. I remember it because I was there at the recording session at the time, but honestly, I probably would have forgotten the line myself over time. It’s just not that memorable. Now there’s nothing wrong with the line. It was used in LucasFilm’s animated series “Droids” and it was perfectly suitable for the action of the scene: one character was encouraging the driver of the spaceship to floor it so they could escape danger. Here’s how it became memorable in my life:

A friend of the family and her young son moved to Canada from Hungary and stayed with my family for a spell. The boy didn’t speak much English when they arrived. Soon enough he discovered “Droids” (naturally, I have the whole set) and he totally got into it. All that action with C3P0 and R2 at the centre… who wouldn’t? Silently, he’d sit and watch the episodes over and over again. And what was the first and only line he quoted from the entire series? You got it:

“Push it, buddy!” (in a lovely, Hungarian accent)

Now, I don’t know if he knew what the phrase meant, but he took joy in the sound of the words and repeated the phrase over and over and over again – more frequently than I’d heard it during the making of the series (which is quite a lot when you consider auditions, recording sessions, rough cuts, etc.).

So, it goes to show that you can write a script, thinking certain lines are destined to linger in people’s thoughts… but those memorable lines may just end up being different ones that you intend!

So, what do you think? It all comes back to “just write a good script with good characters” (instead of stressing over creating memorable lines), doesn’t it?

Cheers & and great script to you,

P.S. Can you identify the movies associated with the memorable lines up top?

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Deb Patz is the author of “Film Production Management 101” and the upcoming “Write! Shoot! Edit! A Complete Guide to Filmmaking for Teens” both published by MWP Books. She uses a Canadian accent to say “Push it, buddy!”

WHERE IS DEB? (upcoming events and appearances)
Jun.3-7 – Guest instructor – PEI Screenwriter’s Bootcamp, Charlottetown, PEI
Jul.30-Aug.3 – UFVA Conference, Los Angeles, CA

Magic Movie Moment: Ocean’s Eleven

chpsvPicture it:

Basher sits in the hotel room watching the demolition of a building on TV… while the actual event is happening behind him out the hotel room window!

What a lovely, insightful moment!

It mirrors back to us how often we choose to experience life on screen – be in TV or tablet or cellphone – instead of in person. Even concerts use giant screens so the audience toward the back can see what’s happening live on the stage right beside them.

Then again, this is the Age of Screens, isn’t it?

How many screens are around you right now?

A couple of days ago, I saw four teens hanging out together. Three of them were eyes-glued to their cellphones as they walked along together, while the fourth one was engaged by the surrounding scenery. Which one would you rather be? I don’t know about you, but it kinda makes me want to unplug…

Cheers & magical movie moments to you,

– – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Speaking of “live and in person,” I’ll be at the UFVA Conference in Las Vegas (July 31 – Aug. 4), speaking on a couple of panels and also at the MWP Books booth.

You will also find me at the Future of Story Conference on August 1.

Hope to see you there!