23 February - Screenplay to West Side to Midwest

This week's task of reading a script brought me back to heartwarming days of falling into character as Anita in "West Side Story." How quickly cobwebbed memories, long tucked away, quickly rise to the surface when asked. The memories of being surrounded by a new family with intense rehearsals, one-on-ones with the director and crazy exercises to help us get lost in finding our new personality -- the one we leave behind temporarily when exiting the auditorium, to awaken again right after the last period of class. I remembered the well-choreographed numbers like being lifted high into the air by the Jets, similar to a body pass. (And that lead Jet, friend Patrick Noonan, recently informed me we can catch him on "30 Rock" and an upcoming episode of "Law & Order.") This recreated the famous scene where Anita is harassed in Doc's shop, that which starts the trail of fatal misunderstandings...all in those funny black-heeled Mary Jane shoes.

This week's screenplay, however, was read in the comfort of my own Eurotop bed, far underneath the down comforter, with a nice mug of hot water and fresh lemon wedges. A dear friend who is a producer and former Miramax Films executive sent me one of his current screenplays to review. My excitement awaited as I understood this gripping Wisconsin-based tale to be quite an emotional feelgood based on a true story. I unfortunately cannot comment on the premise as it is in the process of being shopped for financing. I understand the L.A. director has already been selected. I will say, however, I needed a good cry anyway.

On another front, Wisconsin Governor Doyle recently announced eliminating film production incentives due to budgetary reasons. It will be interesting to see how the counterpoints (job creation, revenue, economic stimulus, etc.) and discussions will affect producing upcoming films such as this. (To learn more and to get involved, please see http://www.filmwisconsin.net/.)

In any case, I look forward to seeing this compelling film come to fruition.