I am pleased to welcome a wonderful lady to my blog today, the multi-skilled Sheri Smith. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Sheri over the last several weeks and I couldn’t be happier to spotlight her today. She is so deserving of amazing support and I hope you’ll join me in giving just that to her. Please enjoy Sheri’s lovely post…
First I’d like to say how grateful I am to be a guest! Mahalo Marlena and audience.
Time is all we have. You’ve heard that before and it sounds trite but as I sit here writing in SoCal, I am with my Aunt Sheila in New York mentally who is going to pass through the veil any moment to be with her heavenly Father. Déjà vu. I went through this grueling process with my dad many years ago. I was by his side and the last week sucked (cancer sucks). Aunt Sheila has had a long life of 90 years, I’m pleased to report. She won the best actress, seventh annual Tony in 1953. I write this in tribute to her. She has always been my rock.
As I pondered “what” to write (talking points), it seems that time shall be my theme. Since “that’s all we got”, as “they” say. Has anyone ever figured out who “they” ARE? Why would someone read your work, “follow” you or do anything with you for that matter? We only have a certain amount of time on the planet. Therefore, you better be good, right? I’ve had my fifteen minutes, I am blessed. My gut says there is one more in the future for me.
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Why a screenplay? Is it possible for show business to be in your blood? Besides my aunt, my mother was also on Broadway and she was a June Taylor dancer. I won a starring role on Broadway when I was nine. Here’s Love was based on Miracle on 34th Street, I was Susan Walker – Natalie Wood’s part. And I was so precocious, I was fired. I knew my lines, why rehearse? Gasp. Hey I was nine! I got “discovered” by Norman Jewison. What was I meant to learn?
The longest M&M commercial “melts in your mouth” (I was the clean one) followed. And why WON’T Mars, Inc. let me see my commercial? I’ve been begging for years BEFORE my Aunt was unable to see it again. That’s another blog for another time. I’d like to know what “social” can really do… can they put the pressure on this large corporation to let me see my own commercial – before I die? *sigh*
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After living in Hawaii for fifteen years and learning about Aloha and Hawaiian culture and way of life, I discovered it is immensely important to live with Aloha (love). Treat others. It’s tough and it’s a 24/7 commitment. It can’t be done just when we feel like it, or when it’s easy for that matter. I’m a big believer in Kabbalah, the Law of Attraction and Karma.
And for me, the other and main reason I wrote and still write is for catharsis. The past five years I’d gone through probably (most or all of) life’s most difficult and defining moments that put some of us down. I’m still standing.
My husband and I built a house. Not just any house but #CastleInHawaii. The stress triggered him to manifest with Bipolar symptoms. Then came divorce, moving, Madam Pele and I was on the brink of losing everything that I worked for since 1990. So when my life was unraveling, I started writing. At first it was a blog #WhatCanIDoButWrite. Just LOVE those hashtags, don’t you? I turned those notes into a screenplay. I’d written a few other scripts, but they weren’t good enough to market.
Then came the most difficult time in my life… I had to “do my duty” and kill my best friend, my unconditional lover. My young service dog, Rayla. My furkid. It is safe to say I love fur more than skin. Perhaps that is because I never found the partner with skin to show me otherwise. I had no choice but to write.
This occurred at the time that Brittany Maynard was going through her ordeal. I feel strongly that we should be able to do this for ourselves! Death with dignity. Kick it up a notch. From what I understand, if you cannot do it for yourself, it cannot be done. If my body fails, pull the plug, give me the drugs, even if I am unable to do it for myself. I KNOW that I want this if there is suffering and the body fails. I’ve seen it too often. And experienced it with loved ones.
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Most of us have to earn a living, hopefully doing something we love or are passionate about. I suspect most of us are not that lucky. And if you are a creative (yes we have a name) then your life might not be as fulfilled as you would wish for. The balancing act is to do both. And ultimately to be successful (and good) at both. I am fortunate that my day job as a caterer and event specialist in SoCal does feed me, pun intended –spiritually, physically and intellectually. Plus, I’ve been doing it for so long that humbly I must say, I’m fabulous at it! In that industry, you’re only as good as your last job.
The script has gone through incarnations since I finished it. At first I hated the title. How could I? But it was not getting any attention on the websites where I was trying to get it seen. Then inspiration came, and I renamed it People Make Plans – that got views! I researched the title and was incredulous to discover a film by this title had never been made.
Then we get to: the business of show. My dear friend who is a producer in his 80’s told me (when I asked him if my screenplay was any good, did I have talent): “do you see all the shlock out there that gets made? It doesn’t matter.” Sad but true, right? Remember that, educate yourself. Get a mentor and persevere. I asked for patience yesterday, what happened?
I took every webinar I had time for, I manifested a mentor. I made a cheesy website for the screenplay: Inspired by True Events. I’m nowhere near a webmaster, I just did what I had to. There is a link to a piece Olena Heu did on the Castle here: KHON2. Look Book, who knew? Times have changed. If you don’t bend like a willow, you will snap like an oak.
The reality of getting a film project made is that, if I had to guess…? One in a million to get it developed and one in ten million to get it made. I do believe this will get made. Crazy I know. That’s what my gut says. My best advice? Always listen to your gut. I was hired and read for some of Hollywood’s top bigwigs. I was the gatekeeper. I truly believe that if I am meant to go down, I want to go down in a blaze of glory. It will be reaching for the stars and the moon. When I watch Oscar, I envision myself as one of those stories as I accept my gold who says: ”who would’ve thunk…”
BELIEVE (and manifest). Have support, get a mentor, educate yourself. So here I must say mahalo to my dear friend who is both @AkashaGarnier (#ShineThroughTheNoise). She told me about @_MarlenaSmith_. Also Jeff Solema, a writer/producer/director I manifested and has been there, still is, with me on my journey. I am blessed.
GIVE BACK, be grateful! God and the universe (according to your beliefs) wants something even better for each one of us than we want for ourselves. Fill your head with positivity, stay away from those who are not. For me it is Louise Hay and www.Paraliminals.com (ignorance is a choice today with Bing and Google). I am grateful both have given me permission to use their work in my project. And @OlenaHeu indicated she would do a cameo.
In closing “they” say: ask your audience (do I even have one?) to read your work and give comments. Well most people read a book not a screenplay. If any of Marlena’s audience has read a screenplay (or would like to read one)… pick me! Love me! (Grey’s Anatomy)
I would appreciate comments from other authors… but since I’m overwhelmed (as most of us are), I can only offer this to the first ten people who email me and ask. ONLY if you are willing to submit constructive criticism (not just “it was good”) but also comments on characters, structure, plot (remember it must be SALABLE)…
I’m anxious to hear what the audience thinks.
I want to be a part of a film project that makes you leave the theater (or the room or bed nowadays) THINKING. A socially relevant film, family oriented film, that makes you laugh and cry and want to do something GOOD. Doesn’t every screenwriter? Filmmaker? So leave your public comments here AND email me! And thanks for playing/reading!
I am grateful to Marlena for this opportunity to get feedback and exposure!
PS Aunt Sheila passed (right after I finished writing this) 3/25/17 at 8 am New York Time. Aloha and Prayers to you Aunt Sheila, as you travel and return to see Heavenly Father. I will miss you, you were always there for me. Please say hi to my dad, George, gram and pops and of course my boy, Ray. See you all soon!
About the Author:
Sheri Smith started her career at the tender age of nine, when she landed a starring role in a Broadway musical – with no previous singing, dancing or acting experience. “Here’s Love” was the adaptation of “Miracle on 34th Street” and Sheri (Sheri Bond at the time) won Natalie Wood’s part. Commercials, one of which was the longest running M&M commercial ever run (“melts in your mouth, not in your hand”), and soaps soon followed.
Smith worked (corporately) as the “gatekeeper” for Mark Canton at Warner Brothers as his administrative assistant and reader for films, Dick Robertson at Telepictures as administrative assistant and reader for films and TV, and Arthur Axelman, a packaging agent at William Morris as assistant and reader for TV movies. She was a production assistant or assistant to the producer for many indie producers – one (Tom Cole) led to a part in a pilot for one of the first reality shows ever – The Dream Thing.
Smith was encouraged by Dick Robertson to start her own company helping busy Hollywood Execs like himself. Smith called the company Executive Express, Your Personal Runaround. Executive Express was featured on the front page of the LA TIMES business section. Pam Dawber saw the article and liked the idea so much she developed and starred in a television “movie of the week” around Smith’s idea (This Wife for Hire).
Smith turned her entrepreneurial talents to marketing a catering and event production company. She grew the company to a three and a half million dollar enterprise and catered to some of Hollywood’s elite (Mayor Riordan, Rock Hudson, Stefanie Powers and more). They catered to bands and shows for ten years as the exclusive backstage caterers for Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre in SoCal, feeding Michael Jackson and Bubbles, The Moody Blues and The Smiths among others.. After ten years of that grueling 24/7 commitment, Smith decided to move to Hawaii – before total burnout – and build something for retirement (and fun!) – a unique, oceanfront vacation rental, a castle in Hawaii. It was here as she was immersed in Hawaiian culture, she was able to spend time pursuing her passion as an artist, writing screenplays.
Wasn’t she a delight???
Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting with us! Please continue showing your support with likes, comments, and shares. Check out Sheri’s sites, her work, her life!
Connect, reach out, make a difference.
Until next time…………Love & Blessings!!!