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Movies and TV

Eyewitness This

Amanda Brugel as Sita Petronelli in EYEWITNESS episode 101 (Photo by: Christos Kalohoridis/USA Network)

EYEWITNESS Episode 101 “Buffalo ’07” Pictured: Amanda Brugel as Sita Petronelli (Photo by: Christos Kalohoridis/USA Network)

I’ve spent the last year of my life writing and producing this television series, which debuts tonight at 10 p.m. on USA Network. Because I know you care (and because I know you’ll downright love it), here is a sneak peek at the first 12 minutes of the show. So much sweat, blood, and tears have gone into these 12 minutes, and the story, cast, and crew you’ll get a taste of here are so damn fabulous that they even inspired me to relocate to Canada for five months. I apologize in advance for the way they’re going to get you hooked. If you want a little reading to tide you over before the episode airs tonight, I highly recommend sinking your teeth into The Advocate’s review of EYEWITNESS, which not only reminds me of everything we were aspiring to do with the show but has made me fall in love with what I thought was the lost art form of critical review essays. Enjoy…

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Movies and TV

Shades of Lately

 

Tonight is a pretty big night. A TV show that I’ve been working on intensely for the past few years premieres tonight — yes, tonight — nationally for all to see. Maybe you’ve heard of it, it’s this small show called Shades of Blue starring Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta… It has been such an amazing experience to be with this show from inception to production, and I hope you enjoy the finished product. (Shades airs Thursday January 7th 2016 at 10 p.m. on NBC. Yay!)

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Movies and TV

Cheating on the Coens

Martin Freeman in Fargo by Matthias Clamer

Martin Freeman in Fargo (2014, FX)

I’d heard it said many times from many peripheral friends wearing tight pants: “Fargo — yes, the damn TV show — is brilliant… You need to drop everything and check it out!” I was always reluctant to believe these rave reviews, however, because a) I didn’t quite trust the taste of people who apparently thought they looked grand in tight pants, and b) I didn’t want to cheat on the Coen brothers’ 1996 movie. Fast forward to one year after the series debuted on FX when I finally broke down and watched the first episode as part of some work research, and I must say it was one of the most fun hours I’ve ever spent “working” and one of the best TV pilots I’ve seen in ages.

The show stays true to the dark humor coupled with bursts of extreme violence that made the Coen brothers’ movie so iconic, but it strays enough in story and in its entirely original cast of characters that I never get the sense I’m being unfaithful to the original. In fact, I think the choice to set the TV series in the fictional town of Bemidji instead of in the show’s namesake of Fargo is representative of the myriad spot-on decisions that creator/showrunner Noah Hawley made that allow the show to deviate from the original while helping viewers feel ever faithful to it. So, now I’m going to make like all my tight-pants-wearing compatriots and tell you, “Watch Fargo — yes, the damn TV show — and I promise you won’t feel like you’re cheating on Francis McDormand.” I, for one, am looking forward to a guilt-free marathon viewing this weekend of all the sardonic humor and  bloody bludgeonings the town of Bemidji has to offer.

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Movies and TV

Winnings and Beginnings

Thanks to this image, Consumed has made quite a stir around the web -- now, let's keep it up!

Thanks to this image, Consumed has made quite a stir around the web — now, let’s keep it up!

I am so eternally grateful to everyone who has become a loyal reader and discovered CONSUMED over the past week! When it comes to promoting our little nibble of a film, however, I must admit that this really is just the beginning. “What starts now?” you ask. Well, right now is all about the grassroots magic of people like you getting the word out there little by little. I know it sounds like I’m exaggerating, but every time you share CONSUMED on Facebook, Twitter, or even via email it really does make a remarkable difference. It doesn’t matter whether your networks are giant or tiny — every time anyone shares this video, it moves higher in Google searches and Facebook feeds, creates buzz on YouTube, and pretty much you name it. I think Oompa Loompas might even pop out of the woodwork and start dancing…

Without further ado or Oompa Loompa dances, a few of the people who have spread the word about CONSUMED over the past week are Cavan Kelly and Kevin Fletcher. I’m pleased to announce that they are the winners of the bacon-wrapped squirrel t-shirt giveaway. (Cavan and Kevin, I will email you shortly!)

If you didn’t win, don’t be blue; you’ve been a part of something fun and meaningful. Thanks so much for your support and growing interest in CONSUMED! I will try to scheme up some more exciting giveaways soon. Until then, it really would mean the world to me if you continued sharing the video and getting the word out. Each and every time you share CONSUMED, you support truly independent art, the power of heartfelt storytelling, and quirky, bacon-wrapped cuisine. Thank you, thank you, thank you from the depths of the Consumed kitchen! Leave a comment.

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Movies and TV

Bacon Wrapped Squirrel Giveaway

Who wants a Bacon Wrapped Squirrel t-shirt?

Who wants a Bacon Wrapped Squirrel t-shirt?

It’s t-shirt giveaway time! In celebration of the online debut of my short film CONSUMED, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be giving away some commemorative bacon-wrapped-squirrel t-shirts to a few lucky readers. The tees feature the above design and are printed on comfy American Apparel cotton. I can personally vouch that these super-cool duds always prove a great conversation starter, and they could also make a fabulous holiday gift for the quirky chef in your life.

For a chance to win, please take these three simple steps:

  1. Share CONSUMED on your Facebook wall.
  2. Follow Coté Writes on Facebook.
  3. Leave a comment below. (Please let me know your Facebook user name in your comment. Keep in mind: I monitor all comments, so it might take a teensy while for yours to show up.)

Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. (PST) on November 21, 2013. Winners will be chosen at random and announced the following day. There will be two winners. Good luck, and thanks for reading, loving, and cheering on my movie!

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Movies and TV

Consumed Debuts Online Today

Official poster for CONSUMED, my short film

Official poster for my short film CONSUMED

I’m so excited to announce that you can now watch my short film CONSUMED online. (Yaaaay!!!) I wrote the script back in 2011, and a couple of my dearest friends and I proceeded to shoot the movie on a shoestring budget in a very greasy, hot sweltering kitchen in Austin, TX. The film premiered to great reviews at a few small screenings in 2012, and it is now time to leave those intimate screening rooms behind and share this story with the world…

In this psychological thriller, two chefs in love fight a battle over food, insanity, and the age-old question, “Is my husband going to kill me?”

Since CONSUMED is a film that celebrates cuisine, love, and fatal miscommunications, what better time could there be for a deliciously scary movie than as we all plan our Turkey Day feasts and prepare ourselves for family drama? I invite you to indulge in this 13-minute nibble of entertainment as you clip recipes from magazines and scour the interwebs for the perfect Thanksgiving meal ideas. I promise, you will never think about kitchen appliances the same way again.

Psst: I will be eternally grateful if you share this movie via social media and maybe even e-mail a few of your film-and-food-loving friends about it. Bringing my stories to audiences around the world is a lifelong dream of mine, and your help in spreading the word really would mean so much to me. Also, you can check out more work from the director on L. M. Harter’s production site, and be sure to keep an eye out for a t-shirt giveaway I’ll be posting soon. Leave a comment.

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Movies and TV

Makers

Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes founded Ms. Magazine in 1971 and are just a few of the women who've made America what it is today

Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes founded Ms. Magazine in 1971 and are just a few of the women who’ve made America what it is today

Have you seen this fascinating documentary yet? It’s a three-part series titled “Makers: Women Who Make America” and, even though I first discovered it this past winter, I’ve found myself thinking about the amazing women it introduced me to a lot lately. When I first watched the documentary I was amazed (and admittedly a little embarrassed) by some of the things I never knew about the women’s movement in the United States, and the series left me feeling truly inspired to make the world better — to continue the work of the women who have given me the chances I have now, and to improve the chances for women and other minorities of future generations. PBS’s editing keeps the pace of the documentary energetic, entertaining, and often humorous, and Meryl Streep’s narration lends the piece the kind of comforting, smooth patter that allows you to forget you’re actually learning a ton while watching.

I highly recommend the documentary to anyone who wants to feel inspired or uplifted by vivid, personal stories, and maybe even learn something new about history along the way. You can watch all three parts of the series for free on the Makers website. Do let me know what you think once you’ve watched it…Are there any other books or movies about the women’s movement that have been meaningful to you? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment.

Image from Pop Revolver via Pinterest.

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Movies and TV

What I’m Watching Now 2013 Edition

"Orange Is The New Black" promotional photo

“Orange Is The New Black” promotional photo by Jill Greenberg

Although long weekends are most famous for barbecues, fireworks displays, and road trips, in my mind they are perfect for TV marathons. As such, I figured it was high time I gossiped with you about my current television obsessions. Here they are…

  • Orange Is The New Black (Netflix) – This hour-long drama set in a women’s correctional facility is perhaps the best piece of new television I’ve seen in the last decade. It is uproariously funny, yet deals with real emotional issues in a masterful way. I love that this show depicts flawed female protagonists and doesn’t shy away from dealing with their psychology or sticky issues, like race and sexuality. If you still haven’t seen it yet, I seriously envy you your first viewing. If you have seen it, are you already re-watching it and scouring the internet for season-two spoilers like me?
  • Scandal (ABC) – Created by Shonda Rhimes (the powerhouse behind “Grey’s Anatomy”), this soapy drama centers on a team of DC lawyers who manage political crises and fix scandals for a living. Chief among the show’s scandalous characters is the brilliant and manipulative Olivia Pope, who just so happens to be having an affair with the president. This show is sexy, often deliciously absurd, and undeniably addictive, so I highly recommend it. Bonus: season two just became available on Netflix Instant, so you could easily get caught up on the series this weekend.
  • How I Met Your Mother (CBS) – Friends had raved about this sitcom to me for the longest time, but whenever I watched a random episode now and then I wasn’t too impressed. I was quickly singing a different tune, however, when my husband and I sat down and started viewing the series from the very beginning this winter. It centers on the haphazard romantic lives of five 30-somethings, and draws a lot of humor from the nature of memories, the subjective way we tell stories, and the way we each sensationalize or romanticize different aspects of our lives. Every episode finds me laughing and crying along with the characters, and I’m psyched for the ninth and final season to start up this fall.
  • The Americans (FX) – Set in the 1980s, this spy thriller tells the story of two married KGB agents who are raising their children to live the American dream while they carry out covert missions on behalf of Mother Russia. Full of sexy storytelling, suspense, and great performances from Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys in every episode, this show is definitely worth catching up on before season two starts in January 2014.

Psst: There have also, of course, been the old reliable shows that I’ve been watching on the edge of my seat from week to week this summer. I mean, Tuesday nights just wouldn’t have been the same without Pretty Little Liars…And, what TV fan could live without cringing and gasping every Sunday night as Dexter and Breaking Bad careen toward their series finales? Do you have any current TV obsessions? I’d love to hear about them. Leave a comment.

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Inspiring Tidbits, Movies and TV

Kubrick and the Craft

Stanley Kubrick's camera on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Stanley Kubrick’s camera on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Last week my husband arrived home from a lengthy Taiwan trip just in time for my birthday. We celebrated by playing hooky, eating ice cream along with all three meals, and attending the Stanley Kubrick exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibit was beautifully curated (complete with red-carpeted floors in the gallery room that was devoted to “The Shining”), and my favorite part was getting to glimpse some of Kubrick’s earliest works and influences. It was particularly inspiring to me to see snapshots from his early career as a photojournalist, and to learn about how admittedly embarrassed he was of his first films.

As someone who constantly worries that I’m taking the wrong approach to my writing career, it was nice to see the meandering-yet-passionate path Kubrick took as he honed his craft. Seeing his whole life’s works on display reminded me that creating art worth humanity’s attention involves a lot of missteps and constant readjustments; and, the important thing isn’t necessarily what perfectly calculated steps we’re taking in our careers, but rather the act of taking steps – any steps at all – and doing so with passion while working our asses off. Here are some images from the exhibit – may you find them just the teensiest bit inspiring…

Costumes of the creepy twin girls from "The Shining"

Costumes of the creepy twin girls from “The Shining”

The image of these girls loomed over the room devoted to "The Shining" (where there were also ominous axes in the wall)

The image of these girls loomed over the room devoted to “The Shining” (where there were also ominous axes in the wall)

You know what they say about all work and no play...

You know what they say about all work and no play…

Kubrick wanted every frame of "Barry Lyndon" to look like a classic painting, and these costumes certainly look like they're straight out of an old Dutch portrait

Kubrick wanted every frame of “Barry Lyndon” to look like a classic painting, and these costumes certainly look like they’re straight out of an old Dutch portrait

Ah, how iconic this costume from "A Clockwork Orange" became...

Ah, how iconic this costume from “A Clockwork Orange” became…

The gallery room for "A Clockwork Orange" was truly trippy, and featured two plaster-and-platinum sculptures like this

The gallery room for “A Clockwork Orange” was truly trippy, and featured two plaster-and-platinum sculptures like this

The infant from "2001: A Space Odyssey" encased in glass

The infant from “2001: A Space Odyssey” encased in glass

Script pages proving that - like any good creator - Kubrick edited until something was right

Script pages proving that – like any good creator – Kubrick edited until something was right

Posters of Kubrick's works - what a life.

Posters of Kubrick’s works – what a life.

Psst: Are you a fan of Kubrick’s films? If, by chance, you’re an Angeleno like me, have you had the opportunity to see this exhibit at the LACMA? Leave a comment.

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Movies and TV

Hermit Goes To The Post Office

My stamps weren’t nearly this pretty, but we can pretend, right?

I finally finished submitting my short film CONSUMED to an extensive roster of festivals last week, which meant lots of time at the post office intermixed with countless hours praying for my computer not to crash while burning DVDs. And now, with all the mailing slips before me, I have the urge to both do a jig and bury my head in the sand…You see, I have no idea whether or not the film will be accepted to any festivals, but how can a gal avoid getting giddy about the prospect of no longer spending her nights offering up sacrifices to the gods of DVD-Rs?

I couldn’t be more excited or nervous about the fact that CONSUMED is now out there in the world. So many possibilities lie ahead for this film (several of which are undoubtedly anticlimactic), but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will find an audience at a few select festivals and that I will then be able to entice all the talented people who worked on the film to do a celebratory jig with me. One of these people I simply cannot wait to dance up a storm with is the film’s director, L.M. Harter (an insanely gifted lady from Austin by way of Appalachia, who runs her own production company, Galt Productions). As one of my dearest friends, L.M. has always been someone who encourages me to go outside my comfort zone, and the process of making CONSUMED has certainly exemplified this quality of our relationship; not only did she convince me to write and produce this film over an intoxicated night of wine and cheese, but she held me to this agreement (not a small task), prodded me to spend hours on a film set instead of isolated in my comfy writing chair, and encouraged me to promote our film via IndieGoGo (a social-networking endeavor that was so far out of my comfort zone, I couldn’t even begin to tell you). I’d like to think that this way we have of pushing one another’s boundaries is reflected as a strength in the end product of CONSUMED, and I’m hopeful that these festival submissions will do Ms. Harter and our film proud…Leave a comment for good luck.

Photo source: Oh So Beautiful Paper.

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