2007-02-09 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Filmmaking From The Inside Out Rockaway Artists Alliance
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

Filmmaking From The Inside Out
Rockaway Artists Alliance

Commentary by
Susan Hartenstein

The Strip, Pansies and Ed," Artist: Joan Doblin Vogel. Medium: Acrylic on canvas.
The Strip, Pansies and Ed," Artist: Joan Doblin Vogel. Medium: Acrylic on canvas. Have you ever wanted to be in a movie? So have I. Well, I'm finally getting a chance and I'm taking you along for the ride - literally. Award-winning local independent filmmaker Robert Sarnoff is currently at work on his third film. "Dispatch" (working title) is an intimate, realistic look at the drivers, dispatchers and passengers of a local car service. When Sarnoff asked me to be in it, I jumped at the chance. Through this column you will be privy to some of the inner workings of the film. When it is completed and on view, you will have the rare opportunity to see it with this special insight - "From the Inside Out."

For Sarnoff, the making of a film is an organic process. While providing his collaborators the stability of a general outline of storyline and character, he makes them major participants in the entire creative process by encouraging them to add to and weave through this outline. For example, in the scene I shot with him, he gave me the movie's basic plot and provided general character suggestions. I then made suggestions and together we evolved some specifics. But he also very much wanted a naturalistic result. Therefore he asked that we not get too specific, to allow certain things to evolve spontaneously in the improvised scene. He even encouraged that we surprise each other a bit, to result in very natural reactions. As an actor, I can tell you that this is a very exciting and stimulating way to work. It also can make for very good, believable cinema. For "Dispatch," Sarnoff is using a few actors, but mostly non-actors; actual passengers being picked up by an actual car service. "Real people" caught in the act of being just that; their humor, whether intended or not, their passions and dramas. It is this wondrous alchemy by which Bob is fascinated and is so good at fostering and harnessing.

"Dispatch" is a work in progress. Sarnoff is still looking for any interesting stories about car service or car service dispatching. If you have any, please contact him at Sarnoff and Associates, PO Box 940452, Rockaway Park, New York 11694. In future columns- more insight into the shooting, editing, musical score, creative team and other elements of making this film.

Where Flowers Bloom in Winter exhibit on view through February 18, 2007.

Admission is free.

Location: sTudio 6 Gallery in the Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA) in Fort Tilden.

For information and directions please call the RAA office at 718-474-0861 or visit: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org.

Gallery hours: Saturdays 12-4 p.m.; Sundays 1-4 p.m. and by appointment.

Congratulations to Christina Jorge for being awarded Honorable Mention at the Small Works exhibit at NYU's 80 Washington Square East Galleries. Two hundred and forty artworks were juried into the prestigious show out of thousands of national and international submissions.

The Rockaway Music and Arts Council will be hosting a Rockaway Writers' Conference & Literary Arts Festival on Sunday, April 22, 2007 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Fort Tilden, Gateway National Recreation Area. The events of the festival will take place in RAA's sTudio 6, sTudio 7 and on the Rockaway Moon Stage, and in the Post Theater of the Rockaway Theatre Company. The festival will consist of a series of panel discussions with authors and editors dealing with a variety of literary genres. A screen writing symposium will include clips from new films. Awards will be presented to selected local school children who participate in a peninsula-wide writing contest.

An important feature of the festival is a series of one-on-one pitch sessions in which selected pre-screened writers will have the opportunity to meet with interested editors and agents.

Those wishing to participate in these sessions must contact event coordinator Stuart Mirsky at swmirsky@aol .com. Some information about your book idea will be required and, perhaps, a sample for review purposes.

Pitch Sessions

Marian Lizzi - Editor - Penguin Group (prescriptive non-fiction)*

Stacey Barney - Editor - Penguin Group (children's literature)**

Michaela Hamilton - Editor - Kensington Group (non-fiction plus thrillers and mainstream novels)***

Michael Bourret - Agent with Dystel Literary Agency (broad range but not literary fiction)****

No memoirs or narrative material.

Children's literature, from picture books (though not early readers in which there is just one word on a page) to young adult. "I love literary and commercial, and am particularly interested in multi-cultural and urban stories."

Non-fiction including popular culture, current events, narrative non-fiction, true crime, business, biography, law enforcement, military; selected fiction including thrillers, mainstream novels.

Young adult and picture books, to commercial adult fiction ("I don't do much literary fiction"), to non-fiction of all kinds (practical, narrative, memoir, food, pop culture, pop reference, etc.).

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