The bloody details of a horror writer, director & actor.

November 26, 2015

You Gotta Have Faith






#BitchPlease  I met Angela Palmer on the set of my feature film Truckstop Bloodsuckers. She was cast as one of my uber-hipsters that suffers an untimely demise (spoilers) and had the spunk and effortless cool that would have executed the pithy dialogue, had it not been needlessly cut from the shooting script. As every writer knows, you love every single character and every line is fucking important. Silver lining, we got to chat at the première and she made a confession... she wanted to write. I spouted off the advice I was never given: "You're a writer as soon as you say you are. Make the decision and then do it." She did that and more.

Approximately a year later, Angela had written her own web-series called Dookie Squad, pulling from her own experience of working in a hospital. She directed, produced and cast herself as the lead, taking my second advice of "don't ask for permission to be an actor."  She recently moved to Vancouver to take on a principal role in a top secret project and has quickly taken her place as a woman making strides in this industry. I love it when inspiration flows both ways, because I needed to read her piece this week. So please share her story and give her some love in the comments below!


YOU GOTTA HAVE FAITH

Guest Post by ANGELA PALMER


When I came down with a nasty cold, Netflix was on fleek and that meant binge-watching the hell out of Once Upon a Time, a fairy tale about fairy tales. There are many themes in this series: true love, family and the importance of remembering who you are. The one that stuck out most for me was FAITH, have hope that no matter what happens, as long as you believe in yourself, good will always win over evil. Whoa, just caught myself saying that out loud a la Prince Charming.

After posting some fantastic things on Facebook - I had booked two roles for a couple of awesome CW shows, one of which being my first principal part (no biggie) - I received a ton of messages that sounded the same: hopeless.

MOST, FB friends forgot to ask how I was or say congratulations or... hi. They got straight to it, telling me how much they were unhappy with themselves, their acting careers, agents, how they felt talentless or even too ugly to book roles, and compared their current unhappiness to my recent success. I'm doing fine thanks, btw.

Anyways, the vibes were heavy and sad and I had to remind myself that I am grateful and humble for everything I have now. Because I too, blamed everyone else including myself for a slow to no-going career; it was the industries fault, my agent (I had the best agent in the city too), I was the wrong type or why isn't my vision board working!!! Long story short, one fine April day and 3 years into my acting journey, I realized I was half-assing my career. And if you ever loved 
Mad Men like I did you know that "if you don't like the conversation, change it."

That's what I did. I got a new agent. I worked my butt off, saved enough money and moved to the land of opportunity: Vancouver, duh! I continued to work hard so that I can stay in training and 
develop my craft. A dozen-ish auditions later, as my acting coach puts it, I "blew up the room." I had finally booked some great creds. Thy foot is in the door.
So here is the corny part (:o), it's not enough to really, really want to be a working actor. No. You really, really, really just have to believe in yourself. How else would I have been able to have the courage to leave Edmonton, a city I had lived in my entire life to chase a dream or even write a shitty webseries Dookie Squad (hehe... I won an award for outstanding writi
ng in a comedy series) and share it with the world!?!





I just knew it would work out. I had faith. I'm still novice but, I'm SO much more closer to where I want to be. I know this is the beginning of something big. All because I have, what? Say it... 
FAITH. I'm not saying you have to move, get a new agent and write a screenplay. That was what I did. It worked for ME. So do YOU! Whatever that means. And in that process, celebrate every bit of headway you make, be grateful for YOUR version of success. My last peace of hallmarky, OUAT advice straight outta Neverland: "You can fly, just believe."  That's it, I need these sinuses to clear up! OK... bye.



Angela Palmer is Inspiring!

Angela is mostly known for her award winning web series Dookie Squad, which she wrote, acted and produced and won an award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series at the LA Web Fest. Currently, she is between sets and training constantly, strengthening her craft and living passionately.

Follow her on Twitter @1AngelaPalmer
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November 19, 2015

The Inverse Function



#BITCHPLEASE  I met Corinne Simpson on set of the Sexy Voter campaign, where she demonstrated the delight of individual eyelashes. After quickly discovering we're both writers, both into horror and feminism, we decided we better go for coffee. Our new friendship has lightened my spirit with so much needed laughter and shared wisdom that I'm reminded of a universal force that brings people together at just the right time. Plus, a woman who can use Star Trek: The Next Generation to perfectly illustrate my current spiritual obstacles... you wanna keep her around and thank her daily. 

She is a superb storyteller (I will never think of breakfast quite the same) and a brilliant mind. When she offered to write piece on Hollywood and the invisibility of women of a certain age - particularly in relationship to men - well I knew this was something to share and discuss. So please enjoy and give her some love!

The Inverse Function

Guest Post by Corinne Simpson.


There is a curious thing that happens in Hollywood as women age: they become invisible.  Or rather, they simply don’t age.  It’s a phenomenon I like to affectionately call The Inverse Function because I am very mathematically inclined.  No, that’s a joke, I’m not at all but I do full-heartedly support women in STEM and believe more women should be in STEM fields because our world is our battleground and our playground simultaneously.  Women should define and explore it as much as men.  I digress.  Defined, inverse means “(of a proportion) containing terms of which an increase in one results in a decrease in another.  A term is said to be in inverse proportion to another term if it increases (or decreases) as the other decreases (or increases)”. So, like my bank account and makeup collection: that is an inverse relationship.  As my makeup collection increases, my bank account decreases.  But in Hollywood The Inverse Function I refer to is age-related.  Specifically: as actors age (or increase in years), their lead actresses get younger (or their ages decrease).



Let’s examine the evidence.  Don’t take anything based solely on rumour.  As Grissom always said on CSI, the evidence never lies. In 1992 Denzel Washington was 37 in Malcolm X opposite Angela Bassett at 34.  In 2006 Denzel Washington was 51 in Déjà Vu opposite Paula Patton at 30. Did you see what happened there? The Inverse Function. Hollywood math. 2014‘s Magic in the Moonlight had 54 year old Colin Firth romancing 26 year old Emma Stone.  1999’s Entrapment memorably paired 69 year old Sean Connery with 30 year old Catherine Zeta Jones.  In 2013 29 year old Olivia Wilde played the love interest to 50 year old Steve Carell in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone and 61 year old Liam Neeson in Third Person.

Hollywood ensures that leading men – the male superstar names we’ve grown up loving – stay on top. Tom Cruise, Liam Neeson, Sylvester Stallone, Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, Bruce Willis, George Clooney, all these guys are still marquee names headlining dramas, actioners, and romances alike.  But their onscreen love interests give way cyclically to younger actresses: from Meryl Streep to Olivia Wilde, from Penelope Cruz to Dakota Johnson.  And if you think I’m decrying youth in any way you are missing my point entirely.  This is not a treatise against young women, this is an outcry against the erasure of women as they age.  Men are allowed to grey and wrinkle and stoop and frown onscreen as long as they want to.  They are sexy silver foxes prowling through the same types of films they’ve always headlined.  But their female peers are increasingly pressed into the background as grandmothers, mothers, and assistants while actresses who could realistically be the actors’ daughters or granddaughters romance them onscreen.  Actresses aren’t permitted to age sexily, alluringly, powerfully, and in all the glorious nuance and confidence that real life provides.

The Inverse Function means women don’t as readily see a reflection of themselves in entertainment as they age out of their always-glorified twenties.  (Never mind that POC and diverse body types almost never witness accurate and wide-ranging portrayals of themselves on any screen which is a strongly-worded conversation we must continue to have with each other and studio moguls.)  There is an onscreen age at which women are arbitrarily ‘retired’ to nurturing sideline roles and it is women few and far between that get to buck the paradigm with any success.  This tendency to cast ever-younger actresses in roles with careers that require experience or extensive education, for example, means that we are robbed of acknowledgement of the years of struggle and learning that real women in the same fields must endure to succeed.


"We are robbed of acknowledgement of the years of struggle and learning that real women in the same fields must endure to succeed."

Indeed, there is no onscreen celebration of hard-earned laugh lines or deserved grey hairs, of the sex appeal that comes with being comfortable in one’s own skin, of the curvature of flesh that has borne children or rebounded from illness, of the knowing light behind eyes that have seen and chosen not to succumb to grief… of all the things that comprise a long life, a life well lived, years earned, sexiness understood, love matured, age embraced. Then too if women dare to flip the paradigm and romance younger men either onscreen or in real life, they are cruelly mocked, labeled ‘cougars’ (or worse), decried as tacky, slut-shamed.  Sharon Stone, Demi Moore, Cher, and so many other women playing a man’s game by their own rules and branded heartlessly for it one way or another.

Is there a solution? Of course. We’re already living it, you know: aging. We all age. We’re all aging incrementally every day. But instead of reading that as a death knell or a savage taunt, why don’t we read it as a great unexplored possibility? As a species we learn so much more as we age. We grow so much more adept in our abilities, we comprehend much subtler ideals, we are more prone to make peace with our bodies after years of battling – not always but often.

And if the aging of our bodies was not perpetually sold as a debilitative disease that must be fought with every cent and ounce of energy we possess, we may start to find a greater measure of peace in the living our bodies do and what’s inside instead of the image cast in photos and mirrors.  I want to see women my age kicking ass onscreen. I just turned forty. I feel like a kid. I feel both comfortable and powerful which is a heady combination and only something I have recently discovered in myself. I want to see that onscreen. I want to see women who enter a third career and fight tooth and nail to succeed at it. I want to see women embracing sexuality they’ve formerly denied whether it was suppressing bisexuality or lesbianism or emerging from a bad marriage or loss with a celebrated hunger for sexual expression. I want to see women who are mothers who go back to work and juggle both selves admirably while not going slightly mad: at their story being fulfillment on all levels, not having to either choose or be Wonder Woman.

I want to see female spies, mature female superheroes, women CEOs, women industry leaders, women mechanics and farmers, all aging in believable beautiful bodies, all brimming with passion and ideas and ability and understanding and laughter and anger and sexual yearning and all the things that make us collectively human.  I want to see a gorgeous fifty year old woman romancing George Clooney. I’m so thrilled that Monica Bellucci has finally seduced James Bond and I want to see more and more of that. I want to see my inner self onscreen as reflected through women who are not twenty.  I love you, beautiful young women, but not every story is yours. And when you’re forty you’ll feel that keenly.  You’ll want to tell your own stories your way. And I’ll want to watch them.

So here’s to all the gloriously aging women I want to see more of on my screen in every possible way but especially as strong ferocious leads and all manner of romantic partners in their own right.  Women don’t disappear with age. We get better. That’s what I want to see.


Corinne Simpson is the Bomb

Corinne is a writer, makeup artist, wanderer, literary vampire (made-up title, means nothing), and seeker of adventure.  She hosts stories told by others on her blog, vampirenomad.com, where she also occasionally writes some things herself.  She has a play she needs to edit and get onstage as well as a novel so researched it should actually start writing itself at this point.  She turns faces into art, fantasies and horrors via her makeup company VampireNomad Palette (www.vampirenomad.com/palette).  She believes in the holy trinity of the written word, imagination, and true connection. With those three things you can accomplish anything, really. And for everything else there’s Mastercard.

@VampireNomad on Twitter
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November 12, 2015

A True TIFF Love Story



Welcome to the first guest post of the #BitchPleaseSeries! I met Nicole Murphy at a Women in Film and Television Alberta gathering and was instantly drawn to her positive energy. Bonus, she wasn't thrown off by me talking openly about crystals and ghosts and the desire to be a better human while still swearing like a trucker. Like attracts like.

Nicole's recent experience at the Toronto International Film Festival perfectly depicts the sleaze and delight available at these hectic networking events and how to navigate like a pro to discover what's really important. En
joy! xoxo 

A True TIFF Love StoryGuest Post by Nicole Murphy


A “networking” experience that took place at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) 2015:

Man: “Too bad you’re not an actress. You’d be great for this female lead I am writing about teachers…”
Me: “Nope. I am a producer/director of community television in Alberta.”
Man: “Oh… So what’s it like for a female living in Alberta? Do you live on your own?”
Me: “My roommate and I share a two bedroom place.”
Man: “So you and her can bring people home and it’s fine, huh?”
Me: “Um.. He and I have a lot of space… yes.”
Man: “Oh you just broke my heart. You live with a guy?”
Me: “A friend… yes… And I actually have a meeting so I have to go...” 
I grew up not really thinking much about what it meant to be female. How that would affect my career, my love life, and my interactions on a day-to-day basis. Maybe this is because all I wanted as a child and in to my early 20’s was to find a “true love”; to get married and have babies… Yeah. So that was a thing. This was the first and strikingly obvious sign that my life was strongly influenced by all the Disney movies I’d grown up watching. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to find a partner and to build a life and family together. I have great admiration for people who are able to parent and parent well. But the problem wasn’t relationships or my ideas of them. It was this insatiable need to find my “true love” so that I could, simply, define my self-worth.

Now… As an aspiring filmmaker… Navigating the world of media, events, festivals, and networking conversations like the one above, I am learning my self-worth is not based on having a loving partner or a big family. It’s based on how attractive I am. Right? So that’s better. Jokes aside, my inaugural year at TIFF was an amazing experience. Being put in situations that bring us out of our comfort zone has a way of encouraging growth and showing us what is truly important. And it’s not how attractive I am.

The following is an account of a love story that unfolded during my time at TIFF. No, Ryan Gosling didn’t take my virginity. Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t save me from jumping off a large ship, and then paint me as one of his French girls. Brad Pitt and I didn’t wreck a house having sex, either. In fact, it is not about a man at all, and it is not sexual. This is a love story of friendship.

Upon first arrival, the city’s and the festival’s crazy, hectic vibe is apparent. King Street is closed for pedestrian traffic. People wander the streets in search of celebrities. Thousands of media delegates flood into designated areas for check-in. The range of festival fashion stretches from all business, to hipster chic, to Derelicte (a Zoolander reference). The massive booklets given out, schedules, and booths of distribution companies from all around the world… All of this to make sure us first-timers realize how much we truly don't know.

Overwhelmed when faced with the raw truth of my ignorance, I scanned the room in search of a friendly eye. Andrea was her name, from Toronto, and she had been to TIFF before. My knight in shining armour was a sassy redhead and I was okay with that.  She gave me tons of advice on how to take in the festival, and showed me where to go.

Networking is very important. It’s the key to this festival, and all others. Being a smiling face that is approachable and not acting afraid to approach others is important. However I was told once, with great authority, from a successful filmmaker no less, that good networking is like a romance. At first I didn’t quite understand this but TIFF did due diligence to clarified this for me.

Andrea and I became fast friends. She is honest, funny and undeniably herself. A fierce female with a passion for storytelling, I just loved to be around her. I felt I could truly be myself, and that our creative chemistry was special.


Here are some of our top dating experiences/moments:

  • Standing in line for movies, as the volunteer line guy yelled at people to stay by the wall. It made us laugh and laugh.
  • Talking to a guy that wanted to “fund Canadian films,” as he joked about making porn. I slowly backed away, as he was seriously entering my personal space… Andrea was there to be an extra set of eyes on the situation, and we later joked about how gross this whole exchange was.
  • Watching Beasts of No Nation — a Netflix original movie about a child solider in Africa. Andrea and didn’t speak for a while after that, but it was nice to have her there.
  • Cornflake & Banana Chocolate Ice Cream, at Greg’s Ice Cream. 
  • Blue Jays Game (not TIFF related but SO fun)! We’re in Toronto, after all.
  • Seeing a live Skype interview with Bill Hader and the creators of Documentary Now! A new mockumentary series that redoes documentaries… Look it up; it’s pure hilarity. See the free vinyl record below from the “classic” rock band Blue Jean Committee.
  • Meeting Mr. P … that is all I will say about that.
  • Live music at Studio 835. Just amazingly talented people at work.
  • When I had to regurgitate a piece of seafood that I was choking on in the middle of a restaurant… HAHAH. Oh my, that was funny. No picture evidence of this. Probably for the better. Trust me.

When dating, you choose the person you like and invest time in them. Often, if you are seeing a bunch of people, it is because you haven't found that chemistry. I was just lucky to find my one true TIFF love on day one. We spent almost two beautiful weeks together and have now decided to go for a long distance friendship.

We hear it a million times in our lives - ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE - but when you grow up thinking a “love story” is when Prince Eric lets you live in his castle after you leave your entire family, even though on most of your dates you didn’t talk at all! … it gets kind of confusing. I mean, let’s get serious here. Taking into account Ariel’s talents and passions, it seems a real “happy ending” would be the grand opening of her first antique shop, or the release party of her first album, WITH Eric there supporting her.

My TIFF love story was not what I expected, but it surpassed my expectations. I learned that one great connection is better than a bunch of shallow ones. And if you get to experience a life full of these sorts of connections, for me, that is success.


Nicole Murphy Is Awesome

Those who love her would say she is driven, intelligent, and funny, others would say she is a bossy know-it-all that laughs at her own jokes. Either way she get’s shit done. A proud NAIT Television graduate, Nicole Murphy is currently working on a TELUS TV/ web series entitled People We Love, which highlights individuals that are helping in their community, have an inspirational story or are overall unique in some way. Her future goals include being a nicer human and creatively telling stories that increase empathy, show love, encourage courage, promote kindness, display truth, and/or make people laugh their f****ing faces off. 
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November 10, 2015

Bitch Please Series


I have to tell you, I am seriously lucky. 2015 has been an inspired year of living outside of the box, travelling to new destinations and meeting some absolutely incredible people. It has been a year of expansion! But this is not just happening to me - I am surrounded by fearless women who are taking their own leaps of faith and stepping into their own spotlight.

Some of these strides are really big; moving to a new city or attending a film festival alone, while others are daily triumphs perfectly exemplified in a text while getting a bikini wax... "Brene Brown would be so proud of how vulnerable I am right now. Lean in." Riiiiipppp!

So for the next few weeks, I'm opening up my blog to their stories, their rants, raves, and their insights. The #BitchPleaseSeries is a call for more women to come forward - particularly in the film industry - to speak up and be accounted for. So I hope you'll join me in welcoming my guest bloggers and I encourage you to share their posts and send them some love. The first will be released this THURSDAY so stay tuned!!!
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