– noun – "The development stage of a motion picture or other production, especially when protracted, complicated or apparently unending, considered as a form of torment." - English Oxford Dictionary
I did time in development hell with late greats, Producer Laura Ziskin (Pretty Woman, Spider Man series) and Producer/Director/Writer John Hughes (Home Alone, Pretty in Pink). I was commissioned to write screenplays for living greats, too, like Barbra Streisand and her Barwood Film Company, (Yentl, Prince of Tides). But my scripts never received a:
– verb – "Give permission to go ahead with a project" - English Oxford Dictionary
So, I said goodbye to being a futile filmmaker and hello to being a promising playwright… until I ran into old pal/producer Len Hill in the Arts District of downtown Los Angles. A friendship was renewed and an inspiration for a film was born that day. I wrote one more screenplay. Len gave it a green light and we brought our funny, sad-yet-ultimately-encouraging indie into the world.
Dorfman In Love
Looks like it’s a romantic comedy, right? It’s more than that. I wove rom-com elements through a woman’s coming-of-consciousness journey. Deb Dorfman evolves from unappreciated pleaser child to empowered and authentic woman - Watch Trailer. The making of our film is a story in itself and well told by The Jewish Journal journalist Danielle Berrin - Read Story.
Best Feature - Hollywood International Film Festival
Best Feature - Marbella International Film Festival
Best Comedy - Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival
Best Feature - Miami Jewish Film Festival
So proud of those awards. And of the rewards of the collaboration with our talented cast and crew. Our young gifted director, Brad Leong. Sara Rue, Elliott Gould, Haaz Sleiman, Johann Urb, Jonathan Chase, such wonderful actors and humans. Terrific Producers Gary Hellerstein and Philip Waley. Amazing editor, Daniel Cahn. Our gifted Director of Photography, Rachel Morrison, who made history as the first woman ever nominated in that category for an Academy Award on the film, Mudbound. Thank you, eternal crush Elliott Gould, whose "yes" secured Len’s "yes" for a production. Thank you, multi-gifted filmmaker Gev Miron, who contributed so much to the post production and promotion of our film. Thank you, all!
We were embraced from film festivals around the globe from Texas to Toronto and Israel to Australia. And we were the Jewish film festivals’ darling. We were also chosen as Direct TV’s Film of the Month, which simultaneously launched with our domestic release in selective theatres. We weren’t every critic’s darling, but those who got us, praised us. It was the audiences who loved us… and still do on Amazon. Lots of customer raves there and there is where you can stream or buy the DVD. We’re also available on Netflix. Thanks to all Dorfmaniacs out there… and eternal gratitude, to my late friend and champion, Len Hill, who took me from development hell to…
– noun – "An ending in a novel, film, etc., in which the plot achieves a happy resolution." - English Oxford Dictionary
P.S. One of my favorite experiences while traveling with Dorfman in Love was presenting our film at the Boston Jewish Film Festival. I’m now on their Festival Honorary Committee and invite you to join us in Boston!
Mork & Mindy
I was a Story Editor and as innocent as Mork. Robin Williams, genius. Pam Dawber, gem. Jonathan Winters, genius. Executive Producer Garry Marshall, Producers Ed Scharlach and Tom Tenowitch, and fellow Nanu-Nanu writers, George Zateslo, Jeff Reno, Ron Osbourn and David Misch, gifted menschs all. Available on Amazon to purchase boxed set.
9 to 5
Now Executive Story Editor. Producers Jane Fonda and Bruce Gilbert’s and screenwriter Patricia Resnick’s feature comes to the small screen. Though the female-centric film was a comedy, it shed light and laughter on working women’s issues… and I was proud to be a part of that mission.
Anything But Love
I created this one and co-executive produced the first season with the late great John Ritter and the still great Bob Myman. Available for purchase on Amazon.
I’ll spare you details of the two-year development hell journey from NBC to ABC, having to write two pilots and why I eventually left for sweeter pastures. Bottom line? Terrific reviews, great time slot and Jamie Lee Curtis and Richard Lewis had rare chemistry. Rarer chemistry sparked between moi and Supervising Producer, Dennis Koenig, who co-developed and co-wrote the second pilot with me. The series ran for three plus years. Dennis and I are still running strong.
Golden Globe - Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series, Comedy or Musical
ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards - Top TV Series. And I agree, our theme song by JD Souther is wonderful and I loved working with him.
Viewers for Quality Television Awards / Nominated - Best Actor and Actress in a Quality Comedy Series
But I’m most proud of putting a romantic Jewish lead on television. I grew up without seeing one.