Roz & Craig Blog

Write What You Know? Bite Me!!

Write What You Know - Bite Me!

“Write what you know.”  Writers hear it over and over and over again. And if you’re a new writer it’s probably the most frustrating thing you’ll ever hear.

Write what you know implies that you have to be living or have lived a spectacularly exciting, tragic or privileged life.  Write what you know implies that if you aren’t a mass murderer (Silence of the Lambs) , a swash buckling billionaire (Ironman) or a hooker with a heart of gold (Pretty Woman) that you aren’t capable of writing a compelling screenplay.

Let me suggest to you to instead WRITE THE FEELINGS YOU KNOW!

Have you ever known real disappointment, love, jealously or crippling fear? These are the feeling that will unearth the story that lies with in you.  

Can you remember your teenage years where you felt misunderstood and isolated? That could be Napoleon Dynamite or Carrie or American Pie.

Looking for love in your life? That could be 40 Year Old Virgin, Bridget Jones Diary or 500 Days of Summer.

Ever felt like a stranger adjusting to new surroundings? That could be E.T. or Shawshank Redemption or Austin Powers.

Think about your favorite movies and remember what emotions were brought up when you saw them. THAT IS WHAT WE WRITE!!

What emotions do you want to explore? Share them with me and I’ll give you some examples.

Happy Writing!!

Craig

THE CALLBACK THAT BOOKED A MAJOR ROLE

THE CALLBACK THAT BOOKED A MAJOR ROLE

I received the email on Friday afternoon for the call back on Monday.  I had been on my way to the health club and scrapped that to go to The Drama Book Shop, as the recommendation for the call back was to prepare a scene that was dramatic, emotional and painstaking.  I didn't have that scene in my back pocket.  I picked up some good material there, though, nothing really landed on me.  I went back to The Drama Book Shop and bought the play of "The Normal Heart".  I read that on Friday evening and then wrote a two page scene of my own.  I was already invested in the story, being Albert's Mother, in "The Normal Heart". It didn't make sense to me to prepare a scene from another play, nor did I have time to prepare a scene before Monday...more 

The Thanksgiving Post. A Long Time Coming.

 

This post is about my work, people I work with and for, my life and how thankful I am for all of it. 

It's all mixed up together. my family, my work, and my life reflect each other. Together they equal my art my reason for living, my calling.  

A few months ago my husband told me I had to stop working on a project. Essentially he fired me.

It felt like a punch in the stomach. I didn't know what to do which way to go. Why to wake  up in the morning. You see to me a story untold, unfinished,  unborn is like a stillbirth. It's like that raisin in the sun that Lorraine Hansberry lamented. Does it explode?  No it rots inside and that's far worse. 

When I don't get to finish a project that I start (which has only happened to me once before) it feels like I've been dumped. Fired. Broken up with in the most humiliating of ways.  Publicly disregarded. Rejected.  A dangerous tailspin of deep depression is something that a responsible mother, wife, cannot afford to risk. 

After much talk I saw that perhaps the husband was right and we should leave the project unfinished.  But where did that leave me? 

  Looking very lost.     

Looking very lost. 
 

I was lost. LOST. 

So I went on a quest to find out what we should do next.  

And this is why I am thankful for my work and my clients because that is what got me through a very long period of not knowing.

I wanted to take some time off a sabbatical. A trip to nowhere. To stop and think. To meditate. Stretch, fast and renew. But that was a fantasy. And unrealistic one at that. I'm not Alice Walker, I'm Roz Coleman. I don't have a MacArthur Genius Grant.  

I didn't stop. I slowed down. 

What I did was take a class.  And then another. I had already committed to doing a play and teaching a new acting class at NYU and continuing at SUNY Purchase.  Other than that my husband supported my time to learn, listen, and not know.  New clients and acting opportunities kept creeping into my life and I saw them as my teachers as my guides through this time. 

The quote that culminated this time came last week while I was on set coaching a creative genius. Let's call him Prince (As in the artist who made Purple Rain) because I don't want to disclose his name but he is a director, actor, artist, musician on that level.  As I observed him step into his greatness, using his own body as a canvas for his work. He was playing with his food between takes on set. The actress who is acting opposite him, who although is more experienced in acting is admittedly not as free as he is, jokingly said to him "don't play with your food."  He replied in a serious tone "why everything in life is meant to be played with."

Full stop. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

Enjoy. 

Below. 

The work of the students.

More to come...

To All The Dreamers.... An Artist is Born

Meet my Niece Olivia Douglas.   

This is her speech from 8th grade graduation.  She's such an inspiration to me.

What's your story?  WHy do you do what you do?  When did you discover your passion?  Share your spark story.  

 

Here is Olivias... 

Power Of Creation. A Preview Of Ilona Siac

In my new class, this is where I want my clients to get to: figuring out what they want to do, what they are compelled to do, and actually doing it. I directed this and helped created the material.  Craig wrote it. It's just a sneak peak.  There's more.

Meet Ilona Siac.  

Friends with No Benefits

Had a very lovely shoot this past weekend. Our client was very focused and professional, he had a very clear vision of his product and it's value, he'd been working on it for 40 years and I was grateful that he asked me to help him facilitate his vision. 

I hired a very small efficient and respectful crew, we came up with a plan of action and we set it in motion. The only thing I was not in charge of was the on air talent, a friend of the client, whom he had known had taken many workshops with, was familiar with her temperament and her work ethic: they were good friends. 

We got through the shoot pretty smoothly, I was able to help him communicate his teachings to the camera and with his friend as his assistant and demonstrator, I thought he was really able to bring to life the passion for his work and this technique that has taken him a life time to develop. 

It was the first of a two-day shoot, we finished the day, no problem. We wrapped. He was gracious and thankful, as were we, and we set a call time for the following week.

The next day I'm on another shoot, I get an email from the client. It seems his friend, his on-camera assistant and demonstrator, that is in 75 percent of the shots, called and said she didn't feel comfortable and that she didn't want the footage to be used. EVER!

BAM!! DAMN!! KABLAM!!

Our client had no contract with his friend, no waiver, no agreement, nothing in writing, it was his friend, it never occurred to him that he would need it, until he did.

Now he's stuck and he's decided since this is his friend, he'll honor her wish. Does he have to?

Web Series Advice

Got emailed a question recently and I thought I'd share my response:

My name is Adam Carey and I'm a graduating Senior at NYU.  My friend and creative partner Jo-Dean Seymour assisted Squeaky & Ashley on "Father's Day?," and because of her involvement there, we've been aware of Red Wall Productions and have become fans and followers of your show "Justice The Series" since November.

Jo-Dean and I have been working on a web series. We love "Justice" and we've created a comedic web series of our own called "Dorm Therapy." The show is all about college ResLife and what it's like to live with strangers. I was hoping that I could reach out to you and ask for a bit of advice: We're hitting a brick wall with the audience we're able to reach with the show. The first episode has over 2,000 views, but the next three have fewer and fewer.

I'm also curious to know if you have any tips for someone breaking into the industry of Film and TV? That's a broad one but I'd love to hear what you might have to share on the subject as we're both trying to start our careers!

Thank you so much! You can find the first episode of "Dorm Therapy here: http://youtu.be/7w6l7SQ0rzI  and you can check out the facebook page here: facebook.com/DormTherapy

I hope all is well and I would love to hear whatever you might have to say!

Thanks again,

Adam Carey
Show-Runner, "Dorm Therapy" Web Series
NYU Class of 2013

I responded:

Hey Adam
I just watched all 4 episodes and I'm a FAN. Really really funny, very sophisticated, I really like the characters. Everyone feels very distinct and specific.  The relationships feel authentic and they're really funny.  The big picture issue for me is I'm not getting a sense of goal or importance. You definitely have the "office" kind of feel, but if you remember the office, each episode there was some sort of goal, like today we're doing inventory or today we're going on a sales call. Something that pulled us through the episode.  I love the actress that plays Alice, funny, quirky pretty girl, very well played and drawn, burning her tongue on the cookies, freezing her underwear, very funny stuff. So if you assign her some tasks for future episodes, to get the gang together that would help with cohesiveness of the episodes. She did that a little with the milk and cookies and the dorm meeting,but I wasn't clear why she needed to do it. You have such great set ups with the girls who hate to leave their room and some of the others, I think you need to find a way to push the comedy even further, it all feels a little safe right now and some of it is very subtle. Which unfortunately will go over the heads of some people. But don't worry about that just keep working this voice, you'll find your audience. 

As for increasing your audience, you should juice up your youtube channel, there are "annotations" where you can insert buttons in your videos which lead people to the next episode and the previous one and to your facebook page and your twitter page, right now it's just a title card, you need to provide links so people can press them before you lose them. I had to search for the next episode and most people don't have the brains or patience to do that.
Also I see you have a good sized cast, EVERYONE of your actors should be tweeting and face booking friends family relatives, strangers. Everyone at NYU should be watching this series and they should be tweeting and sharing. But you have to bombard them which is really obnoxious, but so what.  Come up with contests or campaigns to increase viewership. You should be posting to "Collegehumor.com and funnyordie.com and mydamnchannel.com. You're gonna have to kick up the social media presence to get people watching and talking. People posted comments on your page and you didn't respond, you HAVE to respond, you have to engage.

As for tips on how to break in the industry, you're already in it. You're creating content. Creating content is the future. Not sure what your focus is (actor, director, producer, writer??) but any and all of those have to start creating content. You've already begun developing your voice and better to start now and take advantage of the resources that school affords you.   Keep writing, keep shooting and keep cranking out these episodes. I think you guys have a really great voice, don't be deterred by the low numbers, people will find you, but you gotta start helping them.

I hope that was helpful.

Craig

Humph. Sold out. :-)

 Wonderful show. It made an old couple hold hands. I love being able to watch the audience. I have always loved watching their reactions. It never stops being facinating. That's the same thing I love about sitting amongst an audiece ad they watch a film I have made. It's all for them, to get those reactions. And when they say thank you I realize it was all for me, for the high that had me run 4 blocks for the bus tonight. Thank you universe for the opportunity to do what I love and the good sense to know it is a blessing.

Wonderful show. It made an old couple hold hands. I love being able to watch the audience. I have always loved watching their reactions. It never stops being facinating. That's the same thing I love about sitting amongst an audiece ad they watch a film I have made. It's all for them, to get those reactions. And when they say thank you I realize it was all for me, for the high that had me run 4 blocks for the bus tonight. Thank you universe for the opportunity to do what I love and the good sense to know it is a blessing.

DColeman Unchained (the D is silent)

I miss writing about "the boy." Used to do it much more, but you get so busy raising, you really don't have time to jot down moments large and or small. You just hope you remember them.  

An ever so gentle nudge from my wife inspired to write.

I saw Django, pure and simple, I loved it. I thought it was a really entertaining film. I'm aware of the whole socio political moral historical controversy going on,  I get it, no judgement here, this is my view.

There was a spirit of the film that I enjoyed, a spirit of triumph, of winning, of overcoming. Django had a singular purpose, he didn't know exactly how to go about it, he made things up as he went along, but he was determined to reach his goal. I knew what he wanted and I desperately wanted him to get it. And he did.

I know there are things wrong with the film, it's not historically correct, relationships are not accurate, events are out of place, QT is not a genius (that might be news to him), he just told an interesting story.

I liken it to being on the Megabus traveling from NY to DC and sitting next to a figgety old guy who turns to me and says "Did ya ever hear the story about Django?" Now with no where to go and knowing I'll be stuck on this bus for the next 4 hours, I turn to him and say "no, no I don't." And then the kindly stranger proceeds to weave the tail of "Django." Some parts amuse me, some parts confuse me, some parts make me cringe, some parts me me howl out loud.  But at the end when the n****er on the horse, rides off into the night with his n****er gal on her horse, I'm left with a good feeling. 

It's been a few days and already there's a lot of specifics I don't recall about the film, but I do remember how it made me feel - hopeful!!

Strange? Yes hopeful. Because I'm living a life made possible by those Django's known and unknown. Django is fictional, but Nat Turner, Harriett Tubman, John Brown, Margaret Garner, Frederick Douglas, Susie King Taylor and Robert Smalls are not. I know their stories and I can tell them to my smart, funny, obnoxious, spoiled (our fault), very sensitive, very dramatic, loves to play, but does not always play fairly, HATES to lose, 8 year old son.

It's my job, to give my boy access to a life unchained.

Photo courtesy of Vanessa Thor

Vanessa Got The Job!

Vanessa.jpg

When Vanessa called me to tell me she got the job, my face hurt from smiling so hard, I was so happy for her. As an acting coach I am always getting these phone calls, texts, and emails from my clients who have booked the job and are sharing their joy with me. I always feel high with happiness when someone's hard work pays off in the way that they want it to. But then the emails get deleted, the Texas are covered over with new mundane texts the phone calls and the feeling that I get evaporates and I go back to my everyday life. This time I wanted it to be different.

How ROZ COLEMAN helped me book Intimate Apparel- Pasadena Playhouse fall 2012
I went to Roz because she's my dear friend, an amazing director coach and awesome actress!
I was particularly interested in her insight on Esther because I had seen her do a kick butt job in the role at a theater in Philadelphia.
I came to her with all my actor angst and a litany of questions.What does this scene mean, 
what's the secret to Esther, what emotional place I should be in for the particular audition scene I had been given? I figured Roz would know all the answers she'd played the role (magnificently I might add) she knows exactly what's going on. She got to discover on her feet what was going on in the play! 
Roz took a breath calmly said "Vanessa have an authentic experience of material."
"Oh!" I said to myself "Oh ok...I know how to do that. This is beautifully written material I understand it, I know what's going on, I'm having an emotional response to the material already."
Roz continued "...have an authentic experience and don't focus on the result!" In other words trust yourself, trust your instrument Vanessa ...you can't get it wrong.
I was relieved and went on to have a fantastic audition armed with this sage advice and another gem of wisdom Roz had already given me in a prior coaching session which was "This is your job until otherwise notified!"
These words I carry all the time to every audition I have. These words completely and totally take me off the hook and allow me to relax into the present moment and the present joy of doing the work that I so love to do. And isn't that the truth of the matter anyway? Don't we as actors spend so much of our lives more than anything else we do trying to "get"the job? 
So why not go ahead and enjoy this process, fully embody it and enjoy HAVING the job for as long as we can or ....until otherwise notified! 
I spent more time going over the scenes, rehearsing, discovering, but now without all the worry. I was doing the part I was "in rehearsal."At the call back I was calm rehearsing with the director with the other actors who were also "in rehearsal."
I saw the other actresses who were also up for Esther, beautiful, fine looking actresses whose work I'm sure was fabulous, all the while I had a calm sense of whatever happens it's all good I'm already doing it, already doing the work.
I left feeling exhilarated inspired accomplished and detached from the outcome... I couldn't lose.
My agent called me three days later...I booked it! Thank you Roz!

Sent from Vanessa's iPad

humbling, intimidating, and fun. Day One of Love, Loss & What I Wore

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I am new to the show and the other ladies have done the show before. They are very good and the play is much better than I ever even realized having only seen it once. Why didn't I realize that this is a great play? It's written by the Ephron sisters. Of course it's great. What's really wonderful is for me to be acting in a play and not understudying it. this play is full of wonderful stories and monologues and great range of characters. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience the place so many different wonderful roles, great language with the legendary actresses. I am very very thankful.

I am acting with Donna McKechine of A Chorus Line fame. When I was a teenager I used to listen to her record of A Course Line for hours. I had it memorized. I used to perform the song she sang as a monologue for my friends. It's unbelievable that one point in the play we play mother and daughter.

One more cool thing they have a wonderful training program in MFA for actors down here and they have a resident theater company. Next year they are doing the play Clybourne Park.

A Whole New World, Asolo Theatre: Love Loss and What I Wore

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This seems like a great time to focus on heath and my own instrument. Of course I cant let my goals go so I am still working on Twinkle and Justice and Everything Acting Podcast and I will be avail for Skype coaching sessions. And it's a good time to get back to my own story writing. Of course the play. It should be relaxing. Lord help me.

Our president

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Rosalyn --

Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer:

Rosalyn --

Today, I was asked a direct question and gave a direct answer:

I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I hope you'll take a moment to watch the conversation, consider it, and weigh in yourself on behalf of marriage equality:

http://my.barackobama.com/Marriage

I've always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.

But over the course of several years I've talked to friends and family about this. I've thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, I've gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.

What I've come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.

Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn't dawn on them that their friends' parents should be treated differently.

So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.

If you agree, you can stand up with me here.

Thank you,

Barack

-----

More than 1.9 million people like you power this campaign. If you can, please donate today.

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I believe that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I hope you'll take a moment to watch the conversation, consider it, and weigh in yourself on behalf of marriage equality:

http://my.barackobama.com/Marriage

I've always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally. I was reluctant to use the term marriage because of the very powerful traditions it evokes. And I thought civil union laws that conferred legal rights upon gay and lesbian couples were a solution.

But over the course of several years I've talked to friends and family about this. I've thought about members of my staff in long-term, committed, same-sex relationships who are raising kids together. Through our efforts to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, I've gotten to know some of the gay and lesbian troops who are serving our country with honor and distinction.

What I've come to realize is that for loving, same-sex couples, the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.

Even at my own dinner table, when I look at Sasha and Malia, who have friends whose parents are same-sex couples, I know it wouldn't dawn on them that their friends' parents should be treated differently.

So I decided it was time to affirm my personal belief that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry.

I respect the beliefs of others, and the right of religious institutions to act in accordance with their own doctrines. But I believe that in the eyes of the law, all Americans should be treated equally. And where states enact same-sex marriage, no federal act should invalidate them.

If you agree, you can stand up with me here.

Thank you,

Barack

-----

More than 1.9 million people like you power this campaign. If you can, please donate today.

Contributions or gifts to Obama for America are not tax deductible

This email was sent to: rosalynwilliams@mac.com

Update address | Unsubscribe

Allergic To Nuts - TV Pilot

A Tasty Sexy Comedy

Created by Craig T. Williams & Rosalyn Coleman Williams 

Allergic To Nuts is a half hour comedy set in bustling New York City. Lavita Johns a pessimist with a sunny disposition is on the mends from a messy contentious divorce. Having been knocked off the social register, she’s reinventing herself with a cautious gusto and a passion for cooking.  And make no mistake about it Lavita can burn! Being in the kitchen rescued her sanity when her marriage was faltering, which was pretty much from the beginning. A natural caretaker with a husband who was allergic to anything with taste, she taught herself to make outstanding gluten free, dairy free, shellfish free, nut free recipes that brought every gathering to another level.