My mother loved movies from when she was young, what we call classics now. One of my early movie memories was being sick at home with a stomach bug one Easter. While my brother and sister were off hunting eggs, my mom introduced me to one of her favorites – Tammy and the Bachelor. As mom pointed out the gorgeous clothes, clever lines and how simple but beautiful the story was, I fell in love with it all. That day Tammy and the Bachelor became one of my all-time favorite movies, and Debbie Reynolds one of my all-time favorite actresses.


Over the years I saw more of her movies, and each time I became more enthralled with her work and the stories she told. Her acting was simple and pure, and somehow larger than life at the same time. The simple sad words of Tammy as she sang by a moonlit window. The strength and heartbreak of Molly Brown as she grew and changed before refusing to go down on the Titanic. And of course the beautiful innocence of a small-town girl dreaming of stardom in one of the best know and just plain best movie musicals ever made – Singing in the Rain. Stories so beautiful and full of life it was impossible to not get completely mesmerized.

annex20-20reynolds20debbie_04As a teenager I read her first autobiography and admired her even more. From the literal blood, sweat and tears during Singing in the Rain, to the little details she put into films, I learned about dedication to craft. From the grace she displayed when her first husband, Eddie Fisher, left her with two small children while he went off to be with Elizabeth Taylor – and the strength of character she had later in life when she faced Taylor in the bathroom of a ship as they sailed across the Atlantic. There was her poor choices in men that became obvious when two husbands left her penniless and forced to start all over, all with her kids by her side.

I was a fan of her daughter Carrie since I was a little girl. I read and heard about their relationship through books both wrote and through interviews. And yes, there were periods of time when they didn’t speak. But they never stopped loving each other. They always had each other’s back. Through the ups and down…through marriages and addiction, mental illness and bankruptcy, they always found their way back to one another.

debbie-reynolds-carrie-fisher-e97d69fe-4bde-4d7d-85a8-0b768581a72fWhen I learned that Carrie passed, I knew that Debbie wouldn’t be far behind. I had a feeling that Debbie hadn’t been well (it’s been over a year since I’ve heard that she was performing). I knew that they were close, and I know as a mother, having to bury your child would be horrific and a stress that many could not survive. I had a feeling that another amazing and talented actress would soon be moving on. I just didn’t think it would be so soon.

There are so many people who don’t give “old movies” a chance. But they are missing out on so much. They’re missing out on talent and and glamour that seems to be so rare in Hollywood today. They’re missing out on woman who was unsinkable as the characters she played. They’re missing out on movies that have can capture the imagination and unite a mother and daughter.

My Kind of Princess


princessleia1This week has been a strange one for me. Some of the news I’ll share with you later in another post. For now, I have to find the words to talk about Carrie Fisher. My princess. My hero. My inspiration. Someone I had always hoped to meet. Her death has shook me in a way I never expected.

I am just one of a generation of women who had their outlook on the universe, and what being a princess means, when a young woman (with a somewhat unfortunate choice in hairstyle) grabbed a gun of one of the guys there to rescue her and saved them instead. tumblr_n1430cie4d1r09qfio5_r1_250We saw a woman who was as tough as nails, who didn’t take crap from anyone, was snarky and amazing. She didn’t use her looks to get ahead. She was as smart, or smarter, than the men around her. And, maybe best of all, the men accepted her for who she was and what she brought to the table – no one questioned her ability to lead because she was female. Princess Leia was the very definition of a badass in the best possible ways.

Up until then all the princesses we knew were rescued by a prince in shinning armor. They were bright, but not as bright as the men around them. They were pretty and important for what they could bring to the world as a wife and mother. They weren’t warriors. They weren’t heroes. They didn’t do the rescuing and they weren’t they weren’t leaders.

Princess Leia instantly became my hero. I wanted to be her in the worst way possible. I insisted on a homemade Halloween costume of long white silk and a black wig. My brother and cousin decided to do our own version of Star Wars and took my role as the princess very seriously. Princess Leia was, and is, my example of one of the best female characters ever to grace the big screen.

But it wasn’t just Leia, it was the actress behind her that made all the difference. Many other actresses could have played the part, but none of them could have combined the snark, the layers and the strength that Carrie Fisher did.


For me, the admiration for Carrie Fisher didn’t stop with one character. She was a brilliant writer, and I studied her writing in both novel and scripts to try to gain some understanding of what made her writing so honest. Her dialogue was always so real, so funny, and so perfect it made me wish she could be in my head and feeding me smart and witty things to say.

I admired the way she talked about all the things she’d been through. She was so honest, and usually brutally so, about her addiction and her mental health. She did so much to help normalize the discussion of mental health care and overcoming addiction that it’s hard to imagine what the world would be like if she didn’t go there.

Most of us can’t imagine what her life was like from the very start. She was the daughter of America’s Sweethearts. She was watched and photographed from the day she was born. When her father left her mother for Elizabeth Taylor it made international news. She was only three years old and she in the media spot-light beside her mother. Her mother didn’t have the best eye for men and Carrie was there to help her get the family back up on their feet more than once. They fought, they didn’t speak, but they never really stopped loving each other. The difference between their story and most families was that they did it with the world watching.

When I heard that she was rushed to the hospital, my stomach dropped. When I heard she had passed I was stunned. She was a huge part of the world that captured my imagination in Star Wars. She changed the way I looked at writing. She wasn’t fearless, but she refused to let fear control her. I admired her in so many ways and it was a shock to the system to realize that one of my heroes was gone. I still want to be like her when I grow up.

Carrie Fisher, just like Princess Leia, was strong, she was brave, she was intelligent, she was witty, she was talented. Ms Fisher was a storyteller that made a difference on and off the screen. Something most of us could only hope to do.

Nora Ephron: Remembering a Ground-breaker


I didn’t want today to pass without saying a few words about Nora Ephron. She was not just an amazing talent, she was a ground breaker as well. Yes, her smart and funny writing was amazing. She had an eye and understanding for telling stories as a director. But, most importantly, she was one of the first women to be considered a successful writer and director. She fought for acceptance, not by talking about needing it but by going out and being great. By being a force to be reckoned. By being too good to be ignored or denied.

The road still isn’t easy for any female in such a male-dominated industry, but Nora Ephron helped blaze a trail that women will follow for generations. Today the way ahead may be a little darker without her, but talented women everywhere will follow her lead and keep proving that women are funny. Women are smart. Women are talented. Women really can direct and write. And, they are strong enough to fight for their turn.

Thank you, Ms. Ephron, for the wonderful stories you’ve told, and the example you’ve set. You will not be forgotten.

Take the Challenge – Tell Your Story Tuesdays!


So I’ve had people looking and liking, but no one has taken the challenge yet. Come on, admit, I know you really want to share something, you just haven’t gotten up the gumption to do it yet. Well, I’m going to break the ice and tell a little story of my own…..

The first movie I can remember seeing was The Muppet Movie in 1979. My little sister, who was five at the time, won four tickets to see the movie in a ticket giveaway contest my mother registered my brother, sister and I for. We anxiously piled in the car the day of event and drove about two hours to the theater where they were having the specials showing of the movie. I remember we got there just before it started and had to sit in the very front. My dad, who drove us down, didn’t even get to see the movie because it was sold out (if memory serves someone took pity on him and let him stand in the back of the theater). The room was crowded with kids of all ages getting louder and louder. Then the lights went down and the movie started. 

And my life was changed forever. 

Kermit the Frog

I took this picture of my pal Kermit the Frog at the Smithsonian

It was in those moments sitting in the dark that I found magic. Larger than life, Technicolored magic. I don’t remember specifics, I was only 6 after all, but I remember the excitement I felt, the awe and the overwhelming need to know how they did it.

I had already been fascinated with the magic of television but once I was exposed to Kermit larger than life, I was sold. I decided then that I had to do something like what I saw up there on that screen. 

My life in storytelling and video was further solidified the following year when I saw The Empire Strikes Back in the theater. I knew all those years ago that I wanted to make people feel the magic that I felt walking out of the theater. I wanted to make people think and show them things that they never saw before.

I know that I’m not working in Hollywood. The stories I tell are much smaller and that’s ok. I still get that little thrill and feeling of magic when I work. I am a very lucky woman to have found what I love when I was such a little girl. 

Thanks Kermit and friends for getting me started on the right path!

Now it’s YOUR turn…tell me a story!

Here’s what you need to know about Tell Your Story Tuesdays…

Have a crazy story no one would believe? Did you bump into a celebrity and have an awkward encounter? Have a brief fictional story you want to share with the world? Here’s your chance! I decided it would be a lot of fun to start a weekly storytelling post. This is YOUR chance to tell us your story.

I want to us to share the little stories and antidotes you tell at party and networking events. Or better yet a story about what went wrong at party or networking event. It can funny, sad, inspiring or embarrassing. I’m not looking for perfection, I just want to give folks a chance to stretch that creative muscle they don’t get to use very often.

Every Tuesday I’m going to open a post like this one and invite all you folks itching to share your stories. There are no prizes or awards, just the undying admiration of ones of people. I’m hoping with a little luck and your help we can get that up to the undying admiration of tens of people soon!

As with any good endeavor, there are some ground rules.

The Ground Rules:

  1. Be nice! Constructive criticism is fine, but this is strictly a “No Troll Zone
  2. Keep it clean! This site is for folks of all ages, anything not suitable for a PG audience will be removed (sorry, but my kids can read this blog and my 6 year old is a great reader – there are just some things I don’t need her sounding out!).
  3. Keep it fairly short! This isn’t the place to write the next great novel. Let’s see how short stories go before we move into long form writing.
  4. Nothing Copyrighted Please! Please make sure that you’re telling your own story and not someone else’s.
  5. No bashing other people/companies/political parties/ethnic groups/sexual orientation/career choices/physical appearance or ability/musical tastes! Again, this is a “Troll Free Zone” – leave the mean and nasty at the door. It’s one thing to have a funny encounter in a strange situation or a strange encounter in a funny situation. Using your story to insult others is another thing all together.
  6. I reserve the right! This is my blog and my face to the Internets, I reserve the right to change the rules, or remove content that break the rules. Sorry folks, but I’m sure that if you can find someone willing to let you post a story about a liberal Republican that walks with a limp and listens to Yani while sheep herding and why you hate them. I am not that someone, and this is not the place.

Grab your quill and scroll. Or your mouse and keyboard. Spend 5 minutes telling us a story. Don’t be shy!

May the 4th Be With You; Revenge of 5th


Happy Belated  Star Wars Day! (I wrote this last night but forgot to publish) I flew my sci-fi geek loud and proud yesterday. After all,  that galaxy far, far away not only introduced me to science fiction, it’s also where I found my calling.

Mini Storm Trooper

A gift from a friend, my little Storm Trooper helps me edit.

It’s fascinating to me to see all the people who really do get excited about this kind of stuff. Let’s face it, it’s a little goofy. I’m sure that some would say more than a little. And that’s ok. What impresses me are the number of people who you see on-line that are all excited about it that you wouldn’t think would be. That or I just am naturally attracted to Star Wars fans. Either way, it’s fun.

I think what really makes me smile is the idea of community. Of shared knowledge and experience I have with people all over the world. We may have seen the movies at different times, and in different places. We may have differences of opinions on characters or  plot points, but we love the movies.

And sure, things like Star Wars Day are geeky, or nerdy, and maybe even lame. But for just a moment we get to recapture part of our youth. We get some of that feeling back we had when we were younger and more idealistic. Where you could tell the bad guys by the uniform they wore and the ship they flew. Where good defeats evil, where right defeats might – usually with a little help from the universe and some cool weapons.

Personally, I love that little jolt I get when I start thinking about movies like Star Wars. Not just that taste of nostalgia, which was just what the doctor ordered on a long Wednesday. For me it reconnects me with the reason I do what I do. Granted, corporate video is a far cry from the masterpieces that stole my heart, but it reminds me that I can make magic. I can still take bits and pieces of dialogue, graphics and video and turn them into something. I can use my version of the Force to make pictures move, change colors, and give people a voice.

No, I’m not going to go down in history for the projects I’m working on right now, and I’m ok with that. You see, I’m doing what I love. I’m making something out of nothing. This is what I dreamed of doing when I was a little girl sitting in that theater. It’s really easy to lose site of that when there are deadlines and clients, and headaches. But now and then a little something comes along, like the 4th day of May, and reminds me how cool it is that I do what I do. Dreams do come true. And that I still kind of want to be Leia when I grown up.