Tag: persistence

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)

Spotlight Awards Inspiration

I was at the Spotlight Awards for Women in Film and TV last night. A unique award show where you pretty much know who’s going to win in each category before you show up… so really you’re attending to hear the acceptance speeches. The speeches were so genuine and from the heart. Some spontaneous, some came with notes. Naturally, everyone had various words of wisdom to share from each of their exceptional career paths, but I’d say there was one message that came through most of all… truly inspiring to us all… so here it is:


Your voice matters… perservere.

Congrats to all the winners, and cheers & a good shoot to you,

3 Things I Learned About Filmmaking from… My Grandmother

Life can teach you about filmmaking even when you’re not making films… here are 3 things I learned from my Grandmother… a unique fireball of a woman who knew nothing about the film industry:

1. If you can’t do it, keep trying
My grandmother didn’t have much education – nor access to education. She was a single mother when social norms looked down on such a situation, and though she was far from being a good cook, she spend most of her life making a living from cooking. She learned by doing, and never gave up. No education? No excuses. That’s a work ethic worth importing into a film career.

2. Make and eat dessert
Though she couldn’t really cook, my grandmother sure could bake. She collected a veritable ton of dessert recipes and her desserts were fabulous. Cooking was survival to her, but baking was colour of life. May we remember to taste the dessert of life as we slog through the survival of a film career.

3. Always wear clean underwear
She never lived to see blogs and Facebook, but her insistance of always wearing clean underwear is a good reminder for today’s e-world. Whatever we post on the web, or say to each other on the set is remembered for a long time, often searchable, and sometimes poorly interpretted. Make it clean. Don’t air any dirty laundry that could embarrass you later in your career.

Tasty desserts and a good shoot to you!


3 Things I Learned About Filmmaking from… Horseback Riding

Life can teach you about filmmaking even when you’re not making films… here are 3 things I learned from horseback riding:

1. Get back on when you fall
It’s not “if” you fall, but rather “when”. As with horseriding, a career in the film industry is full of ups and downs. Keep trying. Especially try to learn from your mistakes – though this is a harder concept than it sounds. Your persistence will pay off in the long run as you become a seasoned professional.

2. Relax; your stress is being communicated
Horses KNOW when you are stressed as you sit on their back, and they will echo back your frame of mind. Horseriding then becomes harder and harder you fight their reaction and your rising stress level. Once relaxed, the job is easier, more pleasant, magical. Film crews can feel your stress level too. Find a way to relax (but stay focussed) and see the production atmosphere around you echo back a more pleasant, more functional environment. 

3. The shovelling and the cleaning is all part of it
The image of riding off into the sunset on a perfect, warm summer evening may attract you to horseriding as the glamour may attract you to working in the film industry. You still have the clean and feed the horse, shovel and sweep the barn… small payment for the reward of a perfect day of horseriding. In film, there is payment for the glamour too… all those small, seemingly insignificant jobs that contribute the bigger picture – right down to cleaning garbage cans on set. Be prepared for these jobs, they are the payment.

Happy trails and a good shoot to you!