GOOD MORNING AMERICA
There is something oddly amusing (to me at least) in that whenever I travel I take a picture every morning wherever I am and say “Good Morning whatever city” I happen to be in.
This started at Christmas when I knew I was building up to Viet Nam and I was dying to say “Good Morning Viet Nam” – which I got to do.
I also have the habit of drawing back my shades and starting most days by saying good morning to New York.
So it’s very appropriate that this Monday morning, tomorrow, the first stop on the Lucky Ducks press parade will be an interview with Taylor and myself, apparently to be done by Robin Roberts on Good Morning America.
It could be George Stephanopolulos, either way, if any one would have told me last Monday, that this is what we would be doing this Monday I would have laughed so hard, or told them to stop torturing me.
It is sooooo hard to get on these shows and we have the good time slot and the lead anchor. Considering the rather bad luck Lucky Ducks has had thus far this is too exciting.
Our little ducks that have been swimming around the pond with every festival programmer in the country, actually the world and we were turned down in every single film festival but one.
Part of my elation at all this is not the press, but the press makes it of course and you can’t buy this kind of press, but for such a long time I could count on one or two hands max the people who believed in this film.
Even my sales rep dropped me at one point. My old lawyer who was and is a friend moved to a big distribution company and couldn’t take it. She loved it, but could not get anyone else on board.
An online DVD sales company liked it, but said “No Go” how will we publicize it?
Aroon Shivisadani at MIAAC was the only director who took a chance on us and gave us a slot at her festival in the fall.
And Hannah Fisher who is a wonderful programmer but didn’t have the right festival or the right slot at the time she saw it and loved it.
I released the film myself last month as quite frankly it was the only way to get it out there.
I talked the last few weeks a bit about some of the people who made the film possible, but it’s a tiny group – Gaberiel Judet -Wenshiel, my DP and thus my eyes through the project, George Nicholas, the great folks at First Priority Media in Providence where we edited, Curt Worden, Gloria Bailen, Mike Dawson who worked late yesterday to get a soundtrack tape to ABC.
Cob Carlson my editor who I wrote about last week.
Richard Arlook my manager and the executive producer who has believed in me for so many years through so many ups and downs it’s really impressive. And I have yelled at him so many times, this weekend I woke him up at five am three times!
And then of course Taylor, who I could not have done any of this without and who allowed me to make this very controversial film about her life and our life together at at time when most teens just want to pretend their parents don‘t exist.
So we did that, we made it and then we sat with it and I said this in an interview last week with Deb Eckerling, the hardest part was not making it, it was the last year and a half watching it get rejected from every festival we sent it to.
I got to the point when I deleted the emails without reading them. I could write them I knew so well what they said. “We had so many wonderful films submitted this year…ending with we can‘t take yours.”
And then last week Shelia McClear’s piece ran in the New York Post and really, truly, I thought we would get a quarter of a page, towards the back in the Arts Section and from that page, as all press helps, we might sell say one to two hundred DVD’s. That was my highest hope and I was happy with that. At that point I was happy with anything.
The fact we got the cover and between the two days it ran a total of three full pages is so staggering to me I cannot tell you.
For me it was always the Little Engine that could but after a while I was sort of riding it alone and it appeard to be the little engine that couldn‘t.
I had to make the decision to bring out the DVD on my own. Allison figured out with the help of my friend the great doc director John Halpern how to it up on Amazon.
We had a thousand made. This has been so home grown it’s like it was in a terrarium and now after all that rejection, we are getting noticed.
In the last three days we have been contacted by GMA, CBS, OPRAH, MSNBC, FOX, THE JOY BEHAR SHOW, ACCESS HOLLWOOD, INSIDE EDITION, ABC’s Online Interview Department, A German TV Station and three news agencies news that send stories out to publications across the world.
I have not been online but there are endless people blogging about it. Some complimentary, some slinging mud, but that is to be expected. One of the warriors scowled and strut by me today without a word, you can’t please everyone.
But then all the waiters at Three Guys Coffee Shop gave me a hug and told me how excited they were.
I’m not bragging at all, but I say this to give those of you with projects that nobody believes in hope.
It is the same old story in certain ways.
I remember when my one and only sales rep Rena Ronson who did really believe in it, couldn’t get it into a festival she was on the board of- and she is a big player. That’s how bad it was, a film festival she sits on the board of, turned it down. She tried, she made them watch it at Sundance – they hated it. A friend on the board of Toronto got it to the head of that fesitval – he hated it.
This is how bad it was, The Hamptons Festival – where part of the film was shot called me to ask if they could see it as they heard it might be something for them to screen – they turned it down.
Judy Collins who was one of the founders of the SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST MUSIC FESTIVAL, which then spun off it’s cousin the SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST FILM FESTIVAL sent a note saying this is an important film please take it on. They turned us down.
Festivals did not like this film.
So at a certain point, you throw up your hands and go OK well, clearly there is something here that people are not getting.
But oddly people were getting it, the people who saw it really liked it.
So I sat by and I got rejection after rejection and watched other friends with small films get into endless festivals and small releases and I was left with one of my moments where I had to figure out how to proceed with pretty much nothing working for me as Mike Linderman would say.
While I felt it was a universal story and I thought we had all done a good job I was going to have to accept much less from it than I had originally anticipated.
But I never gave up. I never give up. That great Dick Wolf quote, “The person that makes it in show business is the person that stays in show business.”
There is another secret to keeping on track when the course is not as clear and easy as you would like or might have envisioned, you look to the people on the sidelines rooting you on.
In my head I’m running the track and they are all there yelling “ you can make it, don’t give up.”
This happens in most careers that are not linear, which is anything that involves the arts.
The people there are friends and the people you respect who tell you you’ve done good work, it does matter.
Mike Nichols sending an email telling me it was a good film and allowing his quote to be used on the box. This is the second time in my life when I needed encouragement when he was there for me.
Robert Benton who has been there for me on this every step of the way.
Bill Goldman who saw it and told me how good it was. These are not breadcrumbs tossed your way when you are hungry but full buffets that allow you to fortify yourself for the long journey that lies ahead.
Then all the people who saw it and wrote to me and told me how it helped or changed something in their own relationships with their kids or mothers.
Don Hutcheson who I have met once started a fan club on Facebook for us.
The amazing Barbara Landreth who felt all parents should see it and is hand delivering it to doctors in the city.
These and so many others have been there saying in their own ways at different times – this is not worthless, keep going – you are not crazy.
Well, I might be crazy, but not where this film is concerned.
There is Sara Mohazzabi who has given it to many some hated it and some like, Hannah Fisher loved it.
The brainy T-Grace Atkinson who saw things in it I didn’t even know were there. The photographer Karl Baden who thought it was important enough that Boston College have a copy and made it happen.
And many people tried to help me get it seen in schools and public forums though were rejected as well.
And then aside from just always being there for me in every way, I could have never made this film without my husband Glenn. He was there financially, emotionally and every time we needed to do one more thing, even if it looked like we were up against a wall, he would say “Keep going, something will happen.”
But it goes to show in life you have to believe in yourself and your product and just keep on going. You have to rely on those around you who believe in you and give you strength and be fearless.
I go back to that Robert Lowell quote that gave me the strength to set out and make this film and it has kept me going through the year and a half of rejection.
~FATE LOVES THE FEARLESS~
It’s very easy to resort to fear when rejection is all that is coming back to you. One of the biggest fears being – the fear of rejection. “Do I look like a fool?” “Am I out of my mind for believing in this?” “How long can I keep up the façade of it’s all ok?”
In their own way those are all sentiments that come from a place of fear.
But you have to shove the fear back and keep moving forward even if you don’t know where forward is. Most times any movement at all is forward in one way or another.
Marie Claire did a tiny piece, I was thrilled, it’s a big magazine. Nothing came of it, no sales or anything, but one clever free-lance reporter read it and thought there might be something there. Shelia McClear, a young girl from Michigan, she took a chance.
She emailed me, I was only too happy to meet with her. One thing I have learned is any opportunity that knocks I answer, sometimes it may be wrong, but I always open the door.
I don’t think she had any idea she would wind up with a cover news piece that ran for two days. She was sticking it in something called NEW YORK PULSE.
And then within hours it all changed.
This is the third time this has happened to me in my career. But never quite like this.
And then when you are thrust on the public stage with something so personal as this film and you get slammed with nasty blogs and comments like we did this week, but again you just keep going. They don’t bother me at all. I post the nasty things people say on my site. I now find them funny as for every mean comment you get a good one, or sometimes the ratio changes, but comments are only people’s thoughts and they only hold as much meaning as you give them.
I will have to help Taylor see the humor in it all as the weeks and months progress.
At eighteen it’s much harder being pelted by rotten eggs from the balcony than it is at fifty-one. And in fairness she did not ask for any of this.
And then to be called a monster with your face on the cover of the newspaper is not a pleasant experience though through the two articles it charts her journey she is redeemed. And monster was not my word, though day before yesterday when it all started and she was upset, I was an ocean away, it was not easy for her to see that. The first time you are slammed in the press is the hardest. But the second piece showed the progress she had made.
But headlines like that sells newspapers and covers on newspapers get the other media’s attention and now we are off on —
THE TAYLOR AND TRACEY SHOW – LUCKY DUCKS ON THE AIR
We are going to have to be really alert this week. We are fodder; this is controversial stuff we are dealing with. But at this stage I only want to make things that are way out there, that grab attention, that say things that others are afraid to say or own.
Otherwise what’s the point?
~FATE LOVES THE FEARLESS~
For those of you who want to follow us this week on TV and online.
MONDAY APRIL 5th– GOOD MORNING AMERICA at the top of the eight o’clock hour.
TUESDAY APRIL 6th – FOX AND FRIENDS
ABC ONLINE WITH – WILL BE ON THEIR WEBSITE READ
THE JOY BEHAR SHOW – tapes Tuesday at five and runs Tuesday night at nine on ET.
Thank you all for reading the blog and hanging in there with us.
My daily readers have been an endless source of support and sideline cheering.
Even those of you who write nasty comments….continue on with them- they keep me on my toes.