Thursday, September 13, 2012

Magda M. Olchawska: Filmmaker, Author, Consultant

I am:

1.    An award winning filmmaker.

2.    An author of children books.

3.    Entrepreneur.

4.    An activist.

5.    Dyslexic.

Few facts from my life:

1.    I was born in Wroclaw, Poland.

2.    When I was 7 years old two things happened in my life that shaped my dreams & future.

a.  I watched Citizen Kane.

b.  I read a film magazine & came to the conclusion that being a movie star is awesome.

3.    When I was 19, after graduating from high school I decided to follow my childhood dreams of becoming a filmmaker and, knowing only little bit of English I moved to London.

4.    I make films & write children books.

5.    I help creative entrepreneurs: filmmakers, actors, writers, photographers, artists to:

- promote their work

- find the right audience for their artistic outlet

- find money for their projects.

6.    I blog a lot about indie filmmaking & indie marketing & promotion for creative people.


Writer, Director, Producer

2012 - "Two People"- feature film in pre-production

2012 - "Anna and  Modern Day Slavery" - feature film in post- production

2010 – “The Man With The Spying Glass” short film;

Awards: Best Picture BSFF 2011

Official Selection at:Jaipur International Film Festival; Newport Beach International Film Festival; NYIFF – (NY spring & LA summer 2011); Short Film Corner – Festival de Cannes; Ballston Spa Film Festival; Naoussa International Film Festival; Cornwall Film Festival; Poppy Jasper Film Festival;

2009 – “9 mm” short film;

Official Selection at; Waterford Film Festival; Jaipur International Film Festival; Deep Fried Film Festival; International Festival of Film & Culture at Patras City; Naoussa International Film Festival; Novara Film Festival;

2008 – “Short Guide-Autism” experimental

2008 – “Mikolaj”  experimental

2007 – “7 Minutes of Ur Life“ short film;

Official Selection at: No Festival Required

2007 – “Reverse“ short film

2006 – “The Fantasy House“  medium length film


2012- "A Shot At The Big Time" short film

Scripts, Short Stories & Books

2003- 2011 – I have been writing scripts for all of my shorts.

2012 - “Moncania” - children book

2012- "Mikolay & Julia: Mikolay Has a Secret" children book

2012 - "Pooh Gets a Beating" children book

2012- “Do You Know Why You Blow Your Nose? Do You Know How To Blow Your Nose?” interactive e-book

2012- "Do You Know Why You Need To Do Pee Pee Or Poo Poo In Your Potty?" interactive e-book

2012- “Do You Know Why You Brush Your Teeth? Do You Know How To Brush Teeth?” interactive e-book

2012- “My Mom Is a Superhero” interactive e-book

2011- "Mikolay & Julia In The Attic" kids illustrated book

2010 – “Two People”  feature film in pre-production

2010 – “Fantasy Room” feature film in development

2010 - “Mikolay & Julia Meet The Fairies”  kids illustrated book

2009  - Short Stories Collection

- “Julia & the Sea”

- “A Man Who Gives Happy Memories”

- “The Man & His Dragon”

- “Scary”

- “3 Months”


What is the current project you are working on?

“Anna & Modern Day Slavery” – this is a feature film in post-production


Anna, a strong & independent woman, leaves her partner & high paid government job behind to set up an underground Organization that exposes corruption and injustice which is spreading like a virus around the world.

Her IT/hacking skills come in very handy when she discovers international sex slavery network that runs deep into the government & corporate structures.

Her investigation leads her to Eastern Europe where one vital contact set her on track to discover horrific truth behind human trafficking.

To keep up on top of things Anna recruits Pawel, a talented researcher who unwittingly gets entangled into the unstoppable current of events.

Together, they risk everything to unravel the secrets behind a major trafficking ring and shed public light onto the horrors of sex slavery.

How do you define success?

Being able to do what you love doing. Drawing happiness from even the smallest things in life.

How do you handle rejection?

Of course it was hard at the beginning but with time it kind of became part of the job. It still makes me sad if I’m not accepted to film festivals with my movies or if someone gives me a really bad review. However, at the end of the day you can’t make everyone happy, right?

What is your writing process like?

It varies. Sometimes I write while watching a movie or listening to music. Sometimes I need total silence.

Usually I have an idea such as a title for a book or a script & I just start writing. After the first draft I keep on re-writing until I’m satisfied enough with my words.

What and/or who influences you?

Filmmakers: K. Kieslowski, Mike Leigh, Wong-Kar-Wai, Jean Pierre Jeunet, Christopher Nolan

Authors: Kafka, Dostoyevsky, Camus, Saint-Exupery and a lot of children's authors.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

Films: 15-16

Scripts: 20

Children books: 30 (6 of them are published)

Why do you think it's important to help other people promote their projects?

First of all let me tell you that I don’t believe that we artists have to compete against one another. We can co-exist & co-create & there is enough space for all of our creation.

I think it’s very important to help each other any way we can. This way we are able to create supportive community around our work.

Creation isn’t a piece of cake so it’s vital to support fellow artists & to celebrate their achievements any way we can.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in your business?

Persistence. Don’t give up & don’t let other people tell you that you are worth less than you really are.

How would you describe your education?

I went to high school in Poland & after graduating I moved to UK. I got my media degree in the UK.

I hated high school & I really mean it.

Uni. was much better ‘cos finally I was able to do what I really wanted.

However saying all that I think you learn the most on the job. The hands-on experience is priceless. No amount of reading can provide you with the relevant knowledge you need to either write or make films.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

American Films: “Blood Diamond”, “Constant Gardener”, “Another Earth”, “Drive”, “The Lords of the Rings”, “Harry Potter”, “Inception”

Foreign Films: all of Mike Leigh’s films, “Three Colours” “Sex & Lucia”, “In the Mood For Love”, “2046”, “City of the Lost Children”

TV Shows ( I don’t have TV so I’m usually very behind) “Friends”, “The Game of Thrones” , “True Blood”

How do you balance you life as an author and filmmaker?

To be honest it’s not difficult. Writing & filmmaking is all story telling, just using different tools.

I write a lot during the fall & winter & if it’s possible I make films in the spring/summer.

Writing is easier ‘cos you just need a pen & paper or your laptop.

To make a proper movie you need vast amounts of money and a number of people. You can’t make a movie on your own & it does require loads of planning before you can go into production.

I love both. Actually I could never tell you which one is more important to me J

Is human trafficking more prevalent domestically or overseas?

Human trafficking doesn’t differ & you can find trafficked people in US, Canada & Europe as much as in Africa or Asia.

There are at least 27 million people kept as slaves around the world across the globe for sexual & physical exploitation.

Just check Village Voice Backpage & you can find out how people are trafficked & sold in US.

What's your favorite quote and why?

I don’t think I have one.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I also run consultation and soon small workshops for other filmmakers & authors. If you would like to find out how I could assist you, check out my website


Thank you for doing the interview Magda. Let me know if  “Anna & Modern Day Slavery”  screens in Boston. I'd love to see the film and meet you in person.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Comedian Bobbie Oliver

Born Barbara “Bobbie” Evans in Covington, GA, the city where The Dukes of Hazzard was filmed, she grew up dirt poor in the Dirty South. The economy was depressed and so were the people. Bobbie found escape in staying up late with her father to watch The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Carson and the comedians who performed on his show, including Roseanne, Brett Butler, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Lily Tomlin and Garry Shandling, became an inspiration to her.

Studying theatre in high school, Bobbie discovered that she had a gift for comedy and went on to receive a BA in theatre from LaGrange College, where she founded a standup comedy group with her future husband Chris Oliver. After graduating Bobbie and Chris moved to the cultural hub of Athens, GA. From that base, Bobbie began working the grueling comedy circuit of the East Coast. Comedy clubs, colleges, one-nighters, military bases, corporate gigs, frat parties…you name it, Bobbie did it, for seven years. This experience, the comedy school of hard knocks, has provided her with a rock-solid foundation that cannot be acquired through any other means.

In 1998, tired of the road, Bobbie and Chris made the move to Los Angeles, where she founded the renowned comedy school StandUp Academy at The Ice House Comedy Club. Ready to make a new start, Bobbie completely scrapped over an hour of material and started fresh. Bobbie has appeared on ABC, TNN, The Style Network, Entertainers with Byron Allen, at The Riviera in Las Vegas, The Ice House Comedy Club, Flappers, The Improv, The Jon Lovitz Comedy Club, The Comedy Store and many clubs, colleges and corporate events, including NASA, USC and congressional fundraisers. She has won many comedy contests, including the Hollywood Ha-Ha Festival and the L.A. Soup-or-Bowl of Comedy, and was featured on the cover of Pasadena Weekly. Bobbie is the author of The Tao of Comedy: Embrace the Pause, to be published in 2012. Bobbie Oliver is smarter, sexier and funnier than ever, and her Southern charm wins over audiences wherever she performs.

What is the current project you are working on?

I am finishing my book The Tao of Comedy: Embrace the Pause. The book is about approaching standup comedy from a Taoist or Zen perspective. It is what I teach in my comedy workshops and is the culmination of my life's work as a comic and comedy teacher.

How do you define success?

As long as I am brave on stage, as long as I use my microphone to address the things I care about in the world, as long as I am proud of my body of work, I am successful. But, some cash would be nice.

How do you handle rejection?

Lots of drugs

What and/or who influences you?

I have been influenced by lots of great comedians including Richard Pryor, Roseanne, George Carlin, Janeane Garafalo, Johnny Carson, Lily Tomlin, Brett Butler, Mae West, Sally, Mullins, Tom Simmons, John Fontaine, my husband comedian Chris Oliver... the list goes on. I've also been influenced heavily by Taoism and Zen Buddhism.

What's your favorite type of marsupial?

Anyone who does not respond "Koala Bear" to this question is dead to me.

What is the estimated number of projects you have worked on?

God, who knows. I have been doing comedy 24 years. I'm gonna say a zillion.

Do you have any interesting talents?

Aside from comedy? I am a mean roller skater.

What is one piece of advice you can give to someone who also wants to make it in your business?

I would tell them to redefine "make it". You do comedy to do comedy, to express yourself, to find the truth about yourself and the world around you...not to be rich and famous. Also, make your own opportunities. Make your own projects. Don't wait for someone to come along and hand you anything. Create. Also, I recommend meditation for everyone no matter what their field. Quieting the voice in your head and bringing yourself into the Now is the best tool you can have for your career and your life. I also recommend the book The Tao of Pooh for everyone. Life-changing book that can teach you how to not take everything so seriously.

How would you describe your education?

Formally, I have an AA in Psychology, BA in Speech Communications and Theatre and an MPA. But my real education has been doing comedy for 24 years all over the country in every type of situation you can imagine. I have also learned a lot about comedy and myself by working with other comics in my workshops.

What is it like working with your spouse?

Well... it can be a fun and it can be a challenge. We have been together for over 20 years. Sometimes we get sick of each other (ok a lot) but I love and respect him so much and I get so much out of working with him both in our comedy office and in our new comedy double act.

What are some of your favorite American films? Foreign films? Television shows?

My favorite tv show was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now I watch a lot of the HBO original shows like Game of Thrones, Girls, Newsroom, etc. I love Kill Bill, Pulp Fiction. My fave movie ever is Flash Gordon. I never thought of myself as a geek until I answered this question.

How would you describe the comedy "scene" where you live?

Cut throat. But, I have tried to create my own comedy community that is supportive of each other, not back-stabbing.

Why do you think some people consider your work controversial ?

I am controversial because I don't shy away from any topics. I talk about politics and feminism. I try to be brave on stage and in my writing. I talk about what I care about; I don't spoon feed the audience.

What's your favorite quote and why?

"You must do the thing you think you can not do." Eleanor Roosevelt.

I love this quote because I have seen the power of facing your fears. Facing fears sets you free. Running from them makes you a slave.

Are you a morning or a night person?

I'm a comic, so obviously I am a night person. I sleep 3-10am usually.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Everyone please check out my website for more info on me, upcoming shows, my podcast, my cd, and for tons of video and audio. Also, follow me on twitter @thebobbieoliver


Thank for for doing the interview Bobbie. I wish you all the best with your book "The Tao of Comedy: Embrace the Pause".  Let me know if you are ever visit Massachusetts. I'd love to see your show live.