Interview by Carl Marsh - July 2014
As a director, producer and writer, I know from what you have told me, that to be a success in your industry, you need to read a little, each and every day. What would you like to say about why reading is important to you?
Yes, as a director and writer, reading is very important to me. I have always been an avid reader- reading is very personal and helps me go within and get creative, and inspires me when I read what others have written. It is also very relaxing, and in times of stress, a very meditative exercise. I will read just about anything. Once I start reading something, I am transported into that world and landscape. I love language - I love words!
Of all the books that you have read, which one stands out as your favourite, and why is that?
Of all the books that I have read, the one that stands out as my favorite is, SET THIS HOUSE ON FIRE by William Styron. It is such an epic novel and tale. A tale of good versus evil, it’s also an historical account and written in the most beautiful language, and wonderful imagery. I'm a huge fan of William Styron.
I know you have a new film out now called Helicopter Mom which you produced and directed. I know what it is about but in your own words, please tell my readers the breakdown of the story, and then, what message you wanted the movie to give, once the end credits have started to roll?
My new film HELICOPTER MOM is a comedy that I directed and produced. It is about acceptance and questioning, and not being pressured or bullied into labelling yourself, and keeping your mind open to new experiences and challenges. It is a tale that needs to be told in 2014. It really is a comedy about letting go- the gist of the story is this…
Maggie, a single wild mom, does not want her son to leave her for college now that he is in his last year of high school, as she does not want to be left in the dust again, as she was by his father. She dreams that perhaps he would be gay and never leave her for another woman, as every other man has. Her son Lloyd, is not so sure what he is, whether gay or straight, but does not want to be labelled or pressured by his nagging mom. It is a story of a modern family.
With the part that is played by Nia Vardalos, was she always the one, and only one, for this part; and who rounds out the rest of the cast?
Nia Vardalos, Jason Dolley, Mark Boone Jr. and Skyler Samuels round out the cast. We had a blast shooting it. As soon I met Nia I knew I wanted her in the role.
The film reminds me of such modern comedy classics like Superbad and Knocked Up, were these sort of films in your mind when getting the movie project rolling?
Yes, we looked at a lot of modern high school comedies but really, what I wanted to do was have a comedy, one that turns things upside down where the parent actually wants their kid to be gay for their own personal reasons. The kid is really more of the adult in the story and has to teach the parents to let go…
If I can get back to books, would you consider writing a book, whether it be fiction or non-fiction?
If I could write a book it would definitely be fiction. I have often started a chapter or two and have not been able to complete it. I feel that when I start writing creatively for myself it always seems to turn into a script. Probably because I am a director. But I would love to write a novel. It would be a dream to have the time, space, and ability in my life, to do so. What a blessing it would be to be able to go within and write a personal creative story, that would live on in print!
What advice would you offer to anyone who wanted to become a screen writer, and was your journey to where you are today, a difficult one?
My advice to anyone who wants to write is this… Do it. Do it until it becomes a habit. Write a little bit each day. Read something fiction, read something nonfiction, and write for at least 20 minutes a day, as if it were a meditation of sorts.
Besides doing all the publicity and screenings for Helicopter Mom, what other projects will you be working on in the next 12 months?
Besides doing all the publicity and screenings for Helicopter Mom, we are working on Helicopter Mom the TV series! I am also writing something for television that I have been working on for a while that has been very difficult for me to complete. It is a dark comedy/drama called ANYTHING HELPS. It is a story about a very wealthy family who takes in a homeless family, and how they each change each others lives for the better, and worse.
Of all the people that have been fortunate to meet you, who has been the one that impressed you the most?
Of all of the people that I have been fortunate to meet, the one that impressed me the most, was my high school English teacher Ned Toffey. He encouraged my writing and my reading, and gave me courage, strength and guidance.
Can I end by asking my last question which always creates a smile.
"If you could be an animal, what would it be, and why?
Lastly if I could be an animal, I think that I would be an elephant! I would love to majestically roam the world in majestic benevolence.
Thanks Salome, it has been a real privilege speaking with you!
Thank you so much, it's an honour.
Occupation: Director / Producer / Writer