Saturday, October 7, 2017

Why We Chose To Crowdfund Our Spy Parody/ Rom Com Web Series, Spy v Spia, and How we Made It Happen!



“It’s sooooo funny, dude! Why don’t you just sell it outright to Comedy Central?”

“OMG hilarious! I can totally see this as a sitcom. Thursday night must-see TV!”

“You had me laughing out loud on the plane. I never laugh at scripts! Good job. Get this to Netflix.”

These are comments from TV writers, directors and producers about “Spy v Spia,” a series I co-wrote with my beloved partner, Carlo Carere. The script is a spy parody with a rom-com twist, based on who we, Carlo and I, are as people. I’m sharing these comments not to toot my own horn but to validate the quality of what we’ve created. When we read these comments, we are over the moon! We want this series to be made! But…

We are not famous.

And even though both Carlo and I are professional actors and writers who have been cast by Francis Ford Coppola, appeared on TV, studied at some of the best institutions, and won awards… and  even though I’d like to believe that no one else on the planet could play the role of Erin, the opera singing spy from MN with a mean right hook, and even though I’d like to believe that no one else could play Carlo, a former Italian spy turned pizzaiolo with an Inspector Clouseau vibe, the problem remains:

We’re still not famous. AND… we don’t have the high incomes that fame can sometimes bring.

But we didn’t write this so that Anna Kendrick or Emmy Rossum or Antonio Banderas or Ricardo Scarmaccio could play the roles Carlo and I spent our lives living. They’re all amazing performers, yes, but that’s not the point…

Since I was little, I wanted to be Bette Midler, I Love Lucy and Miss Piggy. I dreamed of having my own song and dance show. And I’ve pursued my dreams and dedicated myself to my craft ever since.

And I’ve come close, SO close, SO many times. I haven’t made it yet! But you know what? I don’t let “not making” it deter me, because I know that this is about me and my soul.

Quite simply, I love what I do.

And by honoring my love of what I do, I honor my soul, and if other people get to laugh in the process, then I have been of service to something that’s about more than just me.

Carlo and I held out for a team that shares our vision and we are lucky enough to have found that.  Our director, Christopher N Rowely, and our producer, Gretchen Landau, have helped us discover things about the script, and therefore about ourselves, that we never even knew were possible.

With every passing day, it seems we might be able to be of service to you through the zany world of “Spy v Spia” after all!

We are crowdfunding “Spy v Spia” on Kickstarter because we believe in it. We believe that laughter heals, and that sometimes we humans can learn more easily in that laughter than we can in conflict.

Here’s what we’ve learned about crowdfunding:

-Be yourself.
I’m just me, and the people who want to watch our show contribute to our Kickstarter precisely for that reason. All my foibles, all my vulnerability, all my personality flaws… er, uh… quirks… It’s all helpful one way or another. I embrace it all.

-Offer something.
We offer jokes, clips and experiences, but it’s about more than the perks! It’s about sharing in the process of making a TV show, from start to finish! People who donate to our Kickstarter are actually an important part of the creative process.

-If you build it, they will come.
We started by putting our time into the idea and the script. Then we put our time and money into a clip. Is it the final product? No. But was it an important part of the process? Absolutely. It was so helpful, like an architect building a miniature scale model of a mansion. Now, we are fundraising to film the pilot, or, if we can raise more, the whole series.

-Laugh a lot.
Carlo and I laugh at ourselves a lot. It’s much better than wanting to kill each other when things get a little stressful. And they do! But if we’re laughing, chances are, you are, too.

-Keep going!
There’s plenty of time, and you have enough creativity and resourcefulness to try different methods. Have faith! There is magic and power in that!

-Honor your dreams.
I’ll quote W.B. Yeats here:

“Had I the heaven's embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths 
Of night and light and the half-light;
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

I honor you, and your dreams.

If you feel so moved to honor my dreams, then, please, check out our series, “Spy v Spia,” and our Kickstarter, here:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/944205133/spy-v-spia-a-madcap-spy-parody-romantic-comedy?ref=dk2h1a


Spy V Spia, a MADCAP Spy Parody...
                        …served up with an unexpectedly romantic twist!

LOGLINE: Two rival international spies join forces only to discover secrets about their past, their future, and their hearts...

Erin Carere: singer, actress, writer, comedienne, crowdfunder, dreamer.
Los Angeles, CA
Spy v Spia Kickstarter: http://kck.st/2k63owB



https://www.facebook.com/SpyVSpia/                      nearing 10,000 likes
https://www.instagram.com/irinavolka/                      Character Instagram


Monday, September 25, 2017

SPY V SPIA KICKSTARTER! and other news!

SPY V SPIA

As many of you know, Carlo, my partner in life AND writing AND acting, and I have written a very fun WEB SERIES for us to star in. We have had some amazing movement on this series! Check out some of the info:
Spy V Spia, a MADCAP Spy Parody...
…served up with an unexpectedly romantic twist!
LOGLINE: Two rival international spies join forces only to discover secrets about their past, their future, and their hearts...
Written by and starring YOURS TRULY and CARLO CARERE...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oan2CdZU1U&feature=youtu.be

 
With a TOP SECRET THEME SONG composed and produced by MARK MALLMAN, sung by YOURS TRULY...
With DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER N. ROWLEY, whose previous films include "Molly Moon" (starring Emily Watson, Dominic Monaghan, Joan Collins) and "Bonneville" (starring Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Joan Allen, Tom Skeritt!)
Produced by GRETCHEN LANDAU (whom we met on the set of FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA'S "Distant Vision" last summer!)
Director of Photography: KARSTEN HOSE (If you've seen a BMW or Suzuki commercial in the last few years, he likely shot it!)
It's a series that promises to have a lot of fun! Zany characters, a lot of heart, action, super cool spy stuff, evil organizations, an aria of death, Cheesheads vs Vikings fans, traditional pizza vs ham and pineapple pizza, and tons of Ninja, Femme Fatales, spyboys and spygirls and maybe a little romance...
Or as Carlo would say, no Romans. He's Neapolitan. ;-p
We are going to be launching a Kickstarter in a few days from the CATALINA FILM FESTIVAL(more about that in a moment) and I wanted to invite you all to share, donate if you can, and let me know what YOU would like to see as perks and promotions. As you know, I like to hear from you all, learn and grow... So please, don't be a stranger! We're planning on raising enough to shoot the pilot first, but along the way we are also seeking Executive Producers and or Private Investors, so, if you're interested, or no of anyone, we're open to talking with people!
We can share more about out commitment to diversity casting, quality of filming, and marketing plans if you like.... but also know.... it's going to be a TON OF FUN!!!
Our Facebook page is up to around 10,000 likes. Have you become a Secret Agent, too? If not, check out any of our Social Media:
*Currently links to Facebook Page, but will link to our Kickstarter once we launch!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SINGING PERFORMANCES AND WRITING CONTESTS

If you happen to be in Costa Mesa on October 1st, I will be performing that Sunday afternoon with my long time friend and collaborator, JEREMY WEINGLASS. We will be singing at a benefit designed to raise money for research into HUNTINGTON'S DISEASE... the theme of our show is BROADWAY! I'll be singing selections from everything from "West Side Story" to "Les Miserables" to "Chorus Line" to "Monty Python's Spamelot." We're going to have an amazing time. You can get tickets here.
In WRITING NEWS, 
Carlo and I have been busy!
We won 1st place in the ACTION/ THRILLER category in the StoryPros Awards and are featured in their Winners' Circle with our script "TIME ZERO."
Next week we will be attending the CATALINA FILM FESTIVAL as one of the top 20 finalists in their screenwriting competition with "Time Zero."
And the week after that, we'll be representing "Time Zero" in another contest at theOAXACA FILM FESTIVAL. We have been in contact with the people running the festival after the devastating earthquakes of the last few weeks. They are well and the festival is continuing- we are continuing to hold them in our thoughts and prayers.
If you're going to be in Catalina or Oaxaca, do let me know! I'd love to see you. :)
Until we launch our Kickstarter.... please email to say hi!
Burn after reading! 
Just kidding. 
**Erin 
and Carlo too! 
and Henry. :)



 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

That eclipse was something else, huh?

And the world is turning and the crazy energy "of our times" and the incorrect beliefs in the world being worse than ever but any student of history or of mystical texts can tell you that people are people are trees are frogs are the firmament of the blue sky are the living waters of life through your heart through the passion through the desire through discipline carrying you through the times when you have no passion and you have no desire and you give up on the overwhelm and just float down the river and you sense the oncoming waterfall and you stop bracing for impact and in stead when you think you are about to die you open your arms wide and smile at God and say "hello"

And suddenly

life is so beautiful once again

it's sort of fun
and sort of scary
and super sad
and a little angry
and really hopeful
and kind of exciting

how beautiful the world can be

how beautiful the world is when we
open our eyes up and surrender unto its beauty

no ideas
just breathing
tears are falling and the heart is heavy and yet in the belly of the best there is a roar of laughter

things I remember
dandelion seeds blowing through my fingers
the deep drink of roses in the garden
and lines floating around in the ethers of my hearing
"feed me, Seymour"

 
    "from the dawn it seem'd there came, but faint 
As from beyond the limit of the world, 
Like the last echo born of a great cry, 
Sounds, as if some fair city were one voice 
Around a king returning from his wars."
 
 
Wars. Wars and wars. Contour and highlight and shop and consume
and 
but you don't understand
 
I love you, I love you all, so much
I wish I could sing for your hearts and that upon listening
naught but the beaming light of your face would shine forth
a billion stars in the universe
that's you- that's us-
you are borne of stardust,
I know, I saw it in a vision
 
and a blog becomes a poem and still the heart breaks open, grows larger and fills, 
until, so full of its own self the cup runneth over, it  bursts forth and laughs once again. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Introducing your new life coach! Results guaranteed! And her name is.....

You've met her before in her roles as 

BITCH

and sometimes as 

BEACH! 

And now, she's your NEW LIFE COACH:

LIFE!

Yes, that's right. Let LIFE be your new coach. She will guide you on the 9,263,246,532 steps to completely squeeze all the juice out of the lemon that comes from being born on planet Earth- or any other planet, for that matter!

She works with every system, in every culture, in any environment, and will show YOU how to do things such as:



breathe
heal
fall in love
get over it
slow down
wonder
imagine
laugh
cry!
 
 
 

All this, and sooooo much more.

So sign up NOW to work with your own MASTER TEACHER:

YOUR LIFE!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

poem 7.12.17: for HDT on his 200th birthday "breathless, reckless"

a sense of dreams and romance-
I miss,
so predictable.
The world is so full of broken humans,
like the lonesome dove said,
but pretty to look at,
and structure is beautiful and everywhere and meaningful for
said boned and fleshed and bound and broken humans to receive and
yet
this woman's heart
longs for freedom and mystery and
a bit of a dance

summer morning, oh, you,
so full of color bubbles bursting on the dew,
do not forsake me to the dusty city
full of half crazed lost souls

let me taste your wild berries
drink your clean, cool water direct from the stream
(now, direct from the source)
lick the sap of your honey
sit at the

tired. so tired.
the trees dance
i do not think they dance for me

we've been faking happiness so long
we think maybe it's real

but nature, nature,
NATURE,
I AM THY BRIDE

I have promised you my whole heart,
my soul to your four winds,
my name to your rushing waters,
my labor to your nurturance.

I may be a mystic poet in a Hollywood woman's body and mind,
but at least for a little while,
before I am the dust of the city myself,
breathless, reckless,

I am alive.

Friday, June 16, 2017

UPDATES on everything: action thriller scripts, romantic dramedy, spy parody, and singing!

UPDATES!

Hi everyone! Just a quick update on some fun wins we have recently had....

"SPY V SPIA"
It's on its way! We are finalizing the script in conjunction with director Christopher N. Rowley and producer Gretchen Landau.... with a goal of starting filming this Autumn!
What does that mean?
Well, the next step after finalizing the script for this will they/ won't they romantic comedy with a spy parody twist web series is to put together a more exact budget, fundraise (while applying for grants and contests) and attach some star actors to fun parts. :)
I'll keep you posted on the fun developments there!



"TIME ZERO"
This is the action-thriller screenplay Carlo and I have been writing... and rewriting... and....
We just won FIRST PLACE in the Story Pros Screenwriting Contest in the action/ adventure/ thriller category!
What does that mean?
Well... it gets us one step closer to the right screenwriting manager (as separate from my wonderful acting manger and agents) and/ or producer. It gets us publicity to help sell the script so that it can be made into a movie! It's sort of like "The Bourne Identity" meets "Dead Zone," so we need a pretty big studio to make it. Cross your fingers!
"IN THREE"
This little romantic dramedy written by yours truly has placed in its second contest- the ScriptFest Comedy Contest! I haven't talked about this one as much because, quite frankly, I have a number of projects going on and I know it can kind of become confusing. I think of it like I'm a mother to twelve children, but instead of actual children I have projects. They're all important to me, and I hope for all of them to have a life of their own that becomes a part of other people's lives as well, but only certain projects take my attention at any given moment. So, this script had previously placed in the WEScreenplay Diverse Voices contest and now is a quarter-finalist in the Script-Fest Comedy Contest.
What does this mean?
Maybe the script will get attention of the right director or star. It's an indie dramedy about a middle aged woman who "has it all" until she finds out she has advanced stage 3 cancer and embarks on a very wild fling wit a much younger, newly sober man. It's a lot of fun! ;-p
BUT WAIT, ERIN, WHAT ABOUT SINGING?
I give performances every afternoon in my apartment.
In the meantime, I have a few charity events I'm performing at this autumn, and am secretly writing and recording songs that will be featured as snippets and singles connected to my web series, "Spy V Spia," (see above.)
As you all know, I really NEED to perform. And I haven't had a gig outside of a wedding in a little while... but when I asked an acquaintance of mine, who is the head of A&R at a major label, what it would take to get seen, heard, signed, sealed and delivered? He said I'd need to sell out an arena, get some kind of notice someHOW. He was honest and it got me thinking.... how can I be my Bette Midler meets Annie Lennox meets Andrea Bocelli meets Barbra Streisand meets Adele self (haha) and get my music out there? That's part of my series. While it's not a musical or an opera at all, my character is a singer. So, in episodes now and then, she will have snippets of songs that I hope to record and release alongside the series, or perhaps, after the fact. I have a few secrets that I've been saving for the right time, and I can't wait to share them with you all.... watch this space!


Kind regards, 
Erin
love love love love love

Monday, May 29, 2017

Meaning, memories, and "A Splendid Torch."

Meaning, memories, and "A Splendid Torch."
==========
Happy Memorial Day to those of you living in the States! And to all, everywhere on this little blue dot we call Earth/ home...

Memorial Day, of course, is not just a day to kick off summer by consuming a lot of burgers, be they veggie, turkey, or beef. (Although Carlo and I _did_ go to FatBurger on Saturday night.)

It's "a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered..."



Growing up in Minnesota, my Grandmother grew gorgeous gladiolas. (As pictured above.) She was an amazing gardener with all kinds of flowers but what I most remember her talking about were her African Violets and her "Glads." Every year on Memorial Day, she would delicately cut at the base of the Gladiola stalks and create stunning bouquets. Then, we would drive from her farm in rural Jackson to the town cemetery. We spent the most time at the grave of my Grandfather, as well as other distant-to-me-but-probably-not-to-her relations. I still cannot quite put it into words, but a certain feeling would come over me then, and still does now, just thinking about it... a deep sense of connection to the past, and a profound honoring of the lineage from whence I came.

In some places, gladiolas are called "Sword lilies." In Rome, gladioli were associated with gladiators. Some say that gladiators wore gladiolus corms around their necks during battles to help them win and protect them from death. Because of their association with gladiators, the gladiolus flower meaning is strength and integrity. They also symbolize infatuation. By giving a gladiolus to someone, the giver sends the message “you pierce my heart” to the receiver, because of the flower’s pointed shape. Another gladiolus meaning is remembrance.

Sometimes, it's good to remember. Not to dwell, not to dramatize, but to feel that connection to that which came before us, to the circles and cycles of possibility and love and honor and creation that has delivered us onto the world today.

So, this Memorial Day... It no longer feels exactly right to say "Happy Memorial Day" after all this.... so I will instead share my favorite quote:

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no "brief candle" for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."

George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

In Three, a semi-finalist in the WeScreenplay Diverse Voices Contest

So, a while back, I had an idea for a movie about a grown up woman going through a crisis who meets a young man going through a crisis... I wrote a scene for an acting class, and then, in a fit of inspiration, wrote the whole d*** script. I put it away for a little while, and then, after learning more about structure with my stalwart #screenwriting and #life partner Carlo Carere, I reworked this script about two beautiful, hurt, funny souls going through some sh**. This is a script that I feel is true to my poetic (and weird... uh, let's say "unique") (and sexy, it's definitely a movie for grownups!) sensibilities. But I worked on structuring it in a way to take all that artsy fartsy stuff and make it commercial.

I'm kinda proud. My script is a finalist in the WeScreenplay Diverse Voices contest. :)

"In Three" written by Erin Carere

LOGLINE
When a middle-aged business woman who seemingly "has it all" discovers she has stage three ovarian cancer, she throws caution to the wind and embarks on a sexy, life-changing weekend with a newly sober, much younger man.

Also, Diverse Voices and WeScreenplay raised $2,712 for the Books for Kids Foundation!

https://www.wescreenplay.com/blog/post/diverse-voices-spring-2017-semi-finalists

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Anne With An E, and what Anne, Emily, and Maud mean to me

It's a beautiful Tuesday morning here in the City of Angels, and I'm feeling oh so very Emily-Anne, i.e., the hybrid that many of us die-hard writer type fans of Lucy Maud Montgomery and her indomitable heroines identify with. (For myself, I'd add a dash of Sara Stanley to my list as well. After all, I'm most like Anne in action and experience, most like Emily in my soul and writing, but I always feel The Story Girl is left out a little in the canon and that I am at once the creator AND performer of stories much like Miss Sara.) I spent the morning walking my dog, Henry, along an avenue full of jacaranda trees, the purple blossoms falling to our feet... in fact, I also had to navigate my dog AWAY from the leftover chicken wings and broken beer bottles that people dropped on the street likely in a drunken state... I live in a very urban area. Safe, but full of popular nightclubs, restaurants and bars. And the entire morning, while musing on the new Netflix take on the Anne series, Anne With An E, I practiced Anne Shirley's ability to focus on beauty and magic, even if sometimes she, and I, and indeed all of us, have to create it for ourselves.

Here's the thing. I tried really hard to like Anne With An E. I did. I ADORE that lead actress, AmyBeth McNulty. She is a treasure. She is an EXCELLENT Anne, even if Megan Follows was my first Anne, even before I read the books. I gave the series 5 episodes. 5! Of 7! And then I just had to stop. I just couldn't take it anymore. Perhaps if I hadn't already been an uber fan for, oh, almost my entire life... if I hadn't watched and rewatched the Sullivan/ Megan Follows series and devoured every book Lucy Maud Montgomery ever wrote, even her journals, and then wept when I had read the very last little bit that was possible to read... perhaps if I hadn't joined Anne Societies and made 100s of pen friends across the globe, some of whom I STILL write to.... perhaps if I didn't return to Anne of Green Gables every time I need comfort in my life, in every time of trauma and stress... perhaps if I hadn't talked my mother into taking me and my sister on one of the best trips of our entires lives, STILL, to Prince Edward Island when we were teenagers... 

This picture of the coastline at Prince Edward Island gives a lot of "scope for the imagination!"

I can go on and on about my incredible lifelong relationship to this 100+ year old heroine, Anne... to her creator, and to the other books and heroines of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author who helped shape my life and whose work saved me from very dark times. Rehabs for eating disorders, depression and suicide in high school and college.... escape from bad relationships... renewal of spirit and dreams.... overcoming grief and the tragedy of premature death of my beloveds... ANNE is who I turned to. ANNE.

And why?

The beauty of Anne is that, while her troubles in life in Avonlea seem almost trivial when read on the surface (red hair and freckles seem like something that, today, a lot of us would kill to have! Thank god for Clairol!) they are actually the RELIEF from what certainly hid beneath all the surface of the actual horrors of life, to which Anne was not immune, much of which she most certainly would have gone through and which were hinted at delicately in the books. It's like this: when you're in 8th grade, going through a death at home, but tomorrow morning you have to take a math test in school. The test isn't fun or easy, most likely, but at least it's not Grandma's funeral. And you can transfer so many of those feelings that are so immense and difficult into the lesser stakes problems. Things like the test. Things like the crush you have on someone. And indeed, those problems can then have the opportunity to flow into the imagination and the magic of the world. That's what a lot of us do. It's not a bad way to cope, at least for a while. And while humanity has its darknesses, and the author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, certainly had more than her fair share of such (depression, a depressed and perhaps mentally ill husband who believed he was predestined to go to hell even though he was a minister, suicides and family shame, unrequited love with a social lesser), she found ways to choose happiness, to choose dreams, to never give up. It was so unlikely she would even WRITE Anne of Green Gables, let alone never give up and go on to create a character who is as popular today as she ever was. 

THAT inspires me. That inspires a lot of us Anne/ Emily/ Sara/ Maud fans.

So... 

Back to the new Netflix Series. I really wanted to like it. I loved the actors- moreso their hearts and intentions- and SOME of the realism I did enjoy. I don't mind new takes on old favorites. I loved watching Marilla be unable to express her feeilngs until pushed to the absolute limit. That's pretty real. That's a lot of people I know. But...

Too much, Netflix. Too dark. Too dark with not enough light. People going through incredible traumas don't need to see more trauma, and most of us turn to Anne because we need something that lightens our load without being too shallow. We need inspiration and hope, and Anne has enough of that for FIVE villages of Avonlea. Maybe for the whole world. 

You know, we don't love the film La Vita E Bella, known in English as Life Is Beautiful, because of the atrocities of humanity. We love it precisely because it gives us hope that as humans, we aren't all going to succumb to some evil, that while war can make murderers of us all, it is possible to choose something greater than the base and low instincts of survival... that sometimes, beauty and whimsy and magic are PRECISELY the road to survival.

I really look forward to seeing all of these actors again, especially AmyBeth McNulty. And the writing is excellent. Of course it is. The showrunner is beyond brilliant... but... well.... It's just not Anne.

This morning, before writing this blog, I went and google image searched the 1985 Anne, Megan Follows. When I landed upon the "blog" on the Sullivan Productions website (the people who produced the 1980s series), I began to weep. I just cried and cried and I'm crying still. I cried looking at images of Megan Follows (now on Reign,) and Jonathan Crombie (RIP.) (He was one of my first crushes, as Gilbert, and in fact, Gilbert remains the ideal for me. Thank God I have the Italian Gilbert. ;-p) But I wept almost uncontrollably for, really, not many reasons... what am I so emotional just looking at these pictures? 

Am I crying for all our innocence?
Perhaps.

Am I crying for lost dreams? Lost opportunities, mistakes and regrets of my own, marked in time by a return to Anne and her kin?
A little.

I'm definitely crying for all the hurt and lost and orphaned children near and abroad who might never find a home of decent folks to move into, for those whose lives will be cut short by violence, or grow long into pain and suffering because life wants only to continue to live.

And I'm crying for a distant memory of hope, and for a future full of it.Or, so, I pray. I truly do pray.

You see, Anne isn't about just Anne. That's why so many fans are so disturbed by the new series. It's not about antiheroes and breaking bad and ONLY the meanness of small town folks or complex class systems with unspoken rules. It's about kindness, community, flowers, magic, fairy tales that do come true, even if different than what the mind of the child invented.

And we are all children.



Me, with my Kindred Spirits button, which you can't see because my camera is... not so good. But you get the gist. ;-p