Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I finally found the Flower Mart in Rome

I've been meaning to check this place out for a while. It not too far from the Trionfale farmers market in Prati.

On the first floor are plants/trees and on the second floor are cut flowers.

It's open to the public on Tuesdays after 10:00 a.m. Many of the cut flowers are gone by then, but the prices are incredible cheap.

Mercato dei Fiori
On the corner of Via Trionfale and Via Paolo Sarpi

Peonies are among my favorite flowers. They are not cheap. However, this bunch cost only five euros and opened up nicely.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Snapshot Rome - Two Nuns

In L.A. I didn't see any nuns. I return to Rome, different story.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

There's a very good reason talented writers strongly suggest writing everyday.

Or at least, Monday - Friday.

The two weeks I spent in Los Angeles completely threw me off my writing groove. I said I was going to write while I was there. What was I thinking?

My schedule was so packed, I had to ask my manager's assistant to cancel two meetings. I was running all over town. One crazy day I had meetings in Santa Monica, Studio City and Beverly Hills. Anyone who has spent time in Los Angeles understands what a clusterf**k that day was.

Last week was not a good writing week. Part of it was jet lag, but a bigger part was my complete lack of motivation. I would open my laptop and just stare at a blank page. After a while, I would go online instead of writing (or unpacking) and next thing I knew, hours had gone by.

I started to get worried. What if I never get "it" back?

This week I forced myself to sit down and write. I wouldn't get online until after I had spent some time working on my novel. It was slow going at first.

After a few days of this, suddenly on Thursday I hit 1500 words without realizing it.

My goal is 2000 words a day. There will be days I exceed that, and others when I fall short. However, I finally feel like I'm back on track.

I'm also working on a new spec script. I writing with another screenwriter who is in the middle of staffing season (for American TV) so I we have to budget our time wisely.

The next time I go to L.A., I don't think my schedule will be as insane. The October trip was my first trip to the States after moving to Rome 2 1/2 years earlier and this last trip was for the JUMPING THE BROOM release. I get why my manager wanted to squeeze in as many meetings as possible.

If I had some money, I would go to a hotel somewhere nice and just write. It would have to be a place with a view and quiet like Ravello on the Amalfi Coast. Any place where there's a ton of sightseeing to do wouldn't work.

Or I would even check myself into a place in Rome. Several writer friends in L.A. do it all the time, especially for big deadlines. I completely understand why so many writers love working in hotels... no distractions.

In the meantime, I will be in my apartment trying my best to finish this novel.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Flashback Friday - The Isley Brothers - Between The Sheets

I realize people born in the '80s may only know the melody thanks to Biggie Smalls. I do remember when this slow jam dropped in 1983. Anyone remember the "Quiet Storm" on WBLS in NYC?

Older folks used to say songs like this were "baby making music." ha

The Isley Brothers' first hit was "Shout" in 1959. They go way back.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Favorite Things: Cacio & Pepe at Roma Sparita

I've been hearing about this restaurant for years.

Anthony Bourdain recently raved about their Cacio & Pepe. He didn't name the restaurant, but several expat friends here figured it out.

A few weeks ago I went with my FRIEND to see what the hype was all about.

Roma Sparita's version of the classic Roman dish is perfection. It's not heavy and the pasta had the right amount of bite to it. The basket of parmesan cheese is a nice (and delicious) touch.

The restaurant is located on the quieter side of Trastevere. Reservations are suggested, especially for outdoor seating.

Roma Sparita
Piazza Santa Cecilia, 24
+(39) 06 580 0757

UPDATE: Interesting post from Katie Parla HERE regarding Roma Sparita and service charges for tourists.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Flashback Friday - Bil Withers - Lovely Day

It's a STUNNING sunny day in Rome.

I heard this song as I was running in the park this morning.

It's a timeless classic from '77. A little before my time, but it never fails to put me in a good mood.

Finally, my jet lag has eased up a bit. It's going to be a great weekend.

Song via YouTube is HERE

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Jersey Shore Cast Has Landed In Italy

Florentines must be so excited.

Jezebel.com has a nice write up HERE with a clip from the Today Show.

I still don't understand why the show is shooting in Florence and not a beach town like Rimini.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

CBS' Early Morning Show ignores JUMPING THE BROOM

Really, how difficult is it to notice a film that was covered all over the mainstream press after its big opening weekend?

This is not about slamming SOMETHING BORROWED and I really enjoyed BRIDEMAIDS, but how can the producer of this segment ignore JTB during this segment? WTF?! I mean, is it because we didn't have any shoot out set pieces, or because it doesn't take place in the 'hood or there wasn't a black man dressed up as big, fat, sassy black woman?

Stuff like this drives me crazy. Note to CBS Early Morning Show producers, I know that make up of the cast might have thrown you for a loop, but the film is "crossing over". Even if it didn't, it's still a major studio release and should have been included.

They had so many clips/mentioned older films about weddings. You're telling me the producer never heard of THE BEST MAN, MONSOON WEDDING or Ang Lee's THE WEDDING BANQUET? Isn't that part of a research department's job?

I doubt Good Morning America would make the same mistake.

I'm glad the Los Angeles Times wrote about it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Finally, a few pics from the Jumping The Broom premiere

My sister has been on my case to post some pics. Hello, I've been busy.

I haven't been to a premiere in a while and this was my first as a screenwriter. To say it was a surreal experience would be an understatement.

The entire night was a blur. I heard the food was amazing. I may have had two bites of the plate my friend Corrina fixed for me and only one and 1/2 cocktails. I barely sat down. I did have a bite of the wedding cake. It was excellent.

My friends are very camera happy. Here are a few pics.

On the way to the premiere in front of Robin and Jay's house. Robin would not let me get into the car without taking a photo. I told her it wasn't the prom... calm down. heh

The driver, Nadine, was super sweet. She took a photo of me with my friend, but Robin wasn't dressed yet so she refused to forward it to me.

Julie Bowen, who plays Amy the wedding planner, hits the red carpet.

This photo cracked us up. I was telling Robin (not to be confused with my friend Robin) the first time I met him (he came in to meet on a project years ago) he was still rocking the J.C. haircut. Paula started laughing. He sings the song that played during the ferry ride to the Vineyard. I need to get the soundtrack.

What was I smoking standing next to Paula? I look HUGE. When she started shooting JTB her son was only a few months old. Paula and her husband are two of the nicest and most down to earth people I've ever met in Hollywood.

Two of our leading men Laz Alonzo and DeRay Davis.

I think Brian Stokes Mitchell (his niece is also in the photo) should be in more movies. I know he's more of a Broadway actor, but I wish there were more film roles available for someone so talented. The cake pop was the bomb.

With my friend Samantha.

Toward the end of the night. I was exhausted, but Corrina wanted to see Prince so we went back inside.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Flashback Friday - Two Ari Gold Classics

I've been eating a lot of sushi on this trip. Pivenian levels.

Ari Gold is one of the funniest characters on TV. Based on a real Hollywood agent, at times I couldn't watch ENTOURAGE as it hit too close to home.

This clip is NSFW. I crack up at Lloyd's hand gesture and the look on Ari's face.

When Ari got his anger back. Also NSFW.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, May 09, 2011

A big fat THANK YOU!! Jumping The Broom has a great opening weekend

Ciao bloggisti.

JTB far exceeded industry expectations opening weekend. Our movie's budget was 6.5 million and we grossed 15.3 million.

We came in number 3 ahead of SOMETHING BORROWED which was a surprise. SB was on almost 1000 more screens and had a budget of 35 million.

I don't know why some news reports have headlines saying THOR hammered the box office. Hello, counter programming?! We were not competing with a 100 + million budgeted super hero three/four quadrant movie.

We had an unprecedented jump from Saturday to Sunday. This explains why the early box office estimates were off. Usually films drop from Saturday to Sunday.

A huge grazie mille to everyone who wrote about and supported JTB. So many of my fellow expats helped spread the word Stateside.

The last few days have been bananas. I will try to post some pics from the premiere later today or early this week.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Some Aretha Franklin for Mother's Day.

I heard this song during JUMPING THE BROOM and thought of my mom.

She may not really get all my wackado life choices.

"Hi, Mom. I'm going to quit a job I like and move to Rome, Italy and write screenplays."

"Please stop asking me when I'm going to get married. It's not going to happen." It so funny how my dad never asks me about getting married.

My mom and I had two completely upbringings. I'm an American and she was raised in a tiny village on a tiny Caribbean island. My teenage years were not fun. We couldn't relate to each other at all.

I never had that "bestie" relationship with my mom. However, once I got older, spent more time in the Caribbean and especially moving overseas myself, I have a much better understanding of what it was like for her to move to America.

My mom is a f-ing bad ass. Really. I moved from one big city to another other. My mom moved from an island of less than 30,000 to New York freaking City. She made that move in the early 60s. Think about what was going on in America back then.

We may not do the whole hang out all day like girlfriends thing, but I appreciate how much my mom believes in me and supports me despite my unconventional career path.

Thanks Mom and Happy Mother's Day!!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Jumping The Broom Mondays - Sony Ups The Number Of Screens

Ciao bloggisti from a very jet lagged ragazza.

Our director Salim Akil gave a great interview to the Boston Globe. You can read it HERE.

Sony has done an incredible job marketing JTB. Originally our film was going to have a small release, to go with our small budget, around 700 screens.

However, after the positive feedback from the advance screenings, Sony more than doubled the amount of screens. That's quite a vote of confidence.

I cannot stress enough how important opening weekend is in our business. By Friday afternoon PST the studios can predict the box office, and 95% of the time they are dead on.

Hollywood's obsession with the opening weekend is one reason why the majority of movies made are targeted to teen boys. They have time to go opening weekend. Adults might read reviews, have other things to do and care more about word of mouth.

The buzz on JTB is very good. However, we must get butts in the seats.

Bootlegging is a major problem. Please tell your friends who are going to see JTB to see the film in the theater. Do not buy the bootleg DVD from Pookie and 'em at the barbershop/street corner. Also check the tickets to make sure they are for the right film.

THOR is opening this weekend and the FAST FIVE will have a strong holdover. Our little film is counter programming along with SOMETHING BORROWED which is also being released this weekend. SB is based on two very popular books, has a much larger budget and will be in more theaters.

I saw Elizabeth (producer/writer) and Glendon (producer) yesterday. It's been a long road. Over seven years ago the two of them came into my office (I was an exec at a production company) and pitched the idea for a family wedding movie called JUMPING THE BROOM.

Two years ago I started working with them on the script and now JTB is coming out in a few days. Everyone keeps asking me how I feel. I'm super anxious. If I think about this weekend too much, I freak out.

Elizabeth and Glendon said to me, it's out of our hands at this point. We've done everything we possible can. We'll have to wait and see what happens this weekend.

I might need some Valium.

Osama Bin Laden has been killed.

I'm in shock. I gave up hope that he would ever be found.

The man was chilling in a mansion in the middle of Islamabad? WTF?

It took almost ten long years and many people lost their lives.

Osama Bin Laden's death will not bring back my friend, Nigel, but I'm relieved he was captured.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Pope John Paul II Beatification

Today is the beatification for Pope John Paul II.

As I ran errands last week in the Center, I definitely noticed there were a lot more tourists than usual.

Erica Firpo at the Rome Nile Guide has an excellent POST on the Beatification, what is it, what will be going on in Rome, etc.