Monday, May 13, 2013

Original Sins

Trade Secrets of the Femme Fatale
By Kim Krizan

Book Review by Ann Baldwin

Kim Krizan is an Academy Award-nominated writer of the films Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. She appeared as an actress in the films Slacker, Dazed and Confused, and Waking Life. She wrote the critically-acclaimed graphic novel Zombie Tales: 2061. Kim earned a Master’s degree in literature and became an Anais Nin scholar. She teaches creative writing classes for UCLA Extension. In Kim’s new book, Original Sins: Trade Secrets of the Femme Fatale (Los Angeles 2013), she takes you into the mysterious world of one of the oldest and most fascinating archetypes, the Femme Fatale (the dangerous woman); through her humorous perspective, Kim sheds light into every dark corner of these women’s existence from the history pages to the silver screens of Hollywood.

These free-spirited and wildly engaging dames, broads, vixens, seductresses, vamps, tramps, hellcats, bombshells, bad girls, and sirens have graced every culture with their powerful and alluring ways since the dawn of time beginning with Eve in the Garden of Eden. They’re the women who break the rules, shatter the glass ceilings, take charge of their lives, live by their own standards, shake-up the status quo, and create their own future.

Original Sins is well-researched and a comprehensive examination of the inner and outer workings of these untamable man-eaters, from what kind of war paint she dons to highlight her captivating features, to the interior design of her lair, to the mode of transportation she sports for her quick get-aways; Kim uncovers their internal desires, motivations, and beliefs, and includes all of their modus operandi, styles, habits, hobbies, and mannerisms.

There are numerous examples, many with stunning photographs, of our ladies-in-question to include: Mamie Van Doren as Eve The Private Lives of Adam and Eve, Elizabeth Taylor Cleopatra, Lillie Langtry, Theda Bara, Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara Gone with the Wind, Gretta Garbo Mata Hari, Julie Newmar as Catwoman Batman, Angie Dickinson The Killers, Anne Bancroft The Graduate, Sharon Stone Basic Instinct, Faye Dunaway Network, Pam Grier Coffy, Michelle Pfeiffer Scarface, Theresa Russell Blackwidow, Joan Collins Dynasty, Ellen Barkin Sea of Love, Kathleen Turner Body Heat, Madonna, Britney Spears and many more.

Don’t fret the small stuff required to pull-off creating the most cunning master-of-disguise for Kim includes checklists for every occasion. By the time you’re through reading Original Sins, Kim will have you fully armed with everything you need to design the most intriguing Femme Fatale (and leave you in stitches to boot). I highly recommend for all writers interested in giving birth to female characters who are alluring, dangerous, mysterious, and unforgettable or anyone just plain interested in what makes these broads so very bold, daring, and intoxicating.

You can connect with Kim Krizan at and purchase a copy of Original Sins: Trade Secrets of the Femme Fatale at Amazon

Ann Baldwin is a screenwriter (The Power of Dreams, Scent of a Trail, Dream Catcher) with several spec scripts in development. She reviews books on screenwriting and filmmaking, writes articles, interviews, and has several books (fiction & non-fiction) in-progress. Prior to launching her writing career, she was a special event coordinator and manager in the hospitality and entertainment industries for over 25 years.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Onward & Upward

Reflections of a Joyful Life
By Michael Wiese

Book Review by Ann Baldwin
Michael Wiese is a producer, director, author, and publisher with over 35 years of experience in film, television, pay TV, and home video. After producing the highly popular Hardware Wars (a Star Wars parody), Michael was an entertainment executive with Showtime and later Vice President of Vestron Video where he developed, produced, and/or acquired over 300 programs which earned over $100 million wholesale revenues. He was responsible for creating video lines for National Geographic, Smithsonian, NOVA, Audubon, and PBS. He has presented filmmaking seminars for Kodak (at the Cannes Film Festival), The AFI, The International Film & TV workshops and many others throughout the world. Michaels films include Dolphin Adventures, The Beach Boys: An American Band, Diet for a New America, The Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas: A Pilgrimage to Oracle Lake (Tibet), The Shaman and Ayahuasca: Journeys to Sacred Realms (Peru), and Talking with Spirits: Journeys into Balinese Spirit World (Bali). He has written eight film books to include Film & Video Budgets and The Independent Film & Videomaker’s Guide. Today, he oversees Michael Wiese Productions (MWP) which publishes a line of over 150 professional filmmaking books that are used in the major motion picture studios and in over 700 film courses throughout the world; along with, his newest imprint, Divine Arts Media. In Michael’s new book, Onward & Upward: Reflections of a Joyful Life (Michael Wiese Productions 2013), he takes you on an incredible journey and adventurous ride through the 65 years of his life as a filmmaker and spiritual seeker.

From his hometown of Champaign, Illinois to San Francisco, Japan, Los Angeles, Bali, India, Africa, Peru, Bahamas, New York, and Europe, Michael weaves hundreds of short stories from his life-travels inward and abroad into one of the most colorful tapestries of the human experience. His filmmaking and spiritual quest is told with candor, humor, passion, and enlightenment.

The people he met, worked with, and/or became friends with came from interesting and diverse backgrounds such as inventor Buckminster (Bucky) Fuller, actress Shirley MacLaine, est founder Werner Erhard, the late film critic Roger Ebert, Peruvian curandero Don Jose Campos, musicians from The Beach Boys, the late Bali Spiritual Master Dewa Nyoman Batuan, comedians Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, and Billy Crystal, mythologist Joseph Campbell, attorney Melvin Belli, and holistic physician Deepak Chopra to name a few.

His curious, brave, creative, and humorous soul, lead him to try a vast array of new experiences and experiments such as trying ayahuasca with a shaman in Peru, swimming with wild dolphins in the Bahamas, playing in a rock band, hitchhiking through Kenya, pitching one of his films to Francis Ford Coppola by having it snuck into his home and placed on his bed, a brief swim in the Ganges river in India, and climbing high into the Himalayas in Tibet to film The Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas.

Onward & Upward is, by far, one of the most intriguing stories I’ve read; I couldn’t put it down and highly recommend it.          

To connect with Michael Wiese you can visit his website at and purchase a copy of Onward & Upward at Amazon and MWP.