Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

An Unexpected Greenlight for The Secret Cancer

Yes, I know the blog is late. I'm also late on my Yaoi and Demonspawn blogs. It's been that kind of week. The darling Hubs managed to infect me with his cold despite my best efforts of sanitizing and quarantining. I have endured many medical problems with more ease than I deal with a cold. They make me so sluggish and fuzzy headed. Focusing is very difficult. My productivity is reduced by half or more. Still, I had my inbox and an unexpected interview.

I mentioned a long while back that I wanted to do a documentary on Appendix Cancer, The Secret Cancer. Back then, a number of things derailed my plans. The chief issue among many big issues was my own health and stamina. I could not realistically predict when I could get off the sofa and get dressed on any given day, let alone travel across the country with film equipment by myself (Jon's gig does not have allowances for spur of the moment time off). I really couldn't see myself doing that while traveling to Europe for this interview. My physical limitations forced me to slow my roll. This turned out to be a blessing. While I couldn't travel and couldn't afford a crew, I had a camera and editing equipment at home. I decided to learn how to shoot and edit. I could afford a one person crew. Or I would be ready when the opportunity presented itself for Jon and I to go to Europe for the interview. I could be the crew and Jon could direct. I was certain if or when the opportunity would present itself.

Of course, in the middle of the mayhem that my life has become, Sean Hepburn Ferrer came to Los Angeles on business. The cold and the lethargy had to be shoved aside for a while. This was not an opportunity that I could pass up. Ideally, we would have met at a place with a dramatic setting. I'd also have Jon to help with the shoot. None of that worked out. We had daytime when Jon isn't available and our tiny apartment. Alrighty then! The new camera meant I didn't have to fiddle around with lights. We just need to come up with a set that didn't look as bland as our d├ęcor, and we needed the right prop or set dressing. I thought about getting the gigantic Breakfast at Tiffany's poster Jon gave me framed to hang on the wall. That would have been either too expensive or too cheesy looking, depending on what route I took. Then, I remembered Sean's book about his mother, Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit. The story of Audrey Hepburn's illness was going to be central to my interview questions. Perfect. We then had to figure out how to place the book so that it was easily visible during the interview. That required some furniture shuffling and some really creative set dressing.

We ended up replacing the office chair that is usually in front of that desk with an old printer stand that we now use as a cabinet. This cabinet is scarred from years of misuse. I found two matching runners I bought at the 99 cent store and made a table cloth. And we had a book stand left over from the West Hollywood Book Fair. Don't forget, the sale items remain on sale until the end of the year. Click the link: http://sybpress.com/bookfairsale.htm. No, I'm not letting that rest.

This how the set looked in frame.

This is how it looked with Sean Hepburn Ferrer in it.

Ironically, we did the interview on the 20th anniversary of Audrey Hepburn's first surgery. I had Sean simply tell me the same story he tells in his book about how his mother came to be diagnosed and what unfolded afterward. I managed to only cry twice. I also did a lot of blinking. What was really striking about her story – and what is central to the documentary – is that so little has changed in the two decades since her diagnosis. Most patients are still diagnosed with PMP and other Appendix cancers when doctors are looking for some other illness. There are treatments that are effective, but many doctors who run into this disease want to use an IV chemo rather than surgery with hot chemo. Sean was appalled that I had the same chemo as his mother. He thought that chemical cocktail was from the dark ages 20 years ago!

The 20 year anniversary is important. Sean is planning a release of Audrey Hepburn, an Elegant Spirit next year. Since the story of her passing is central to that book, he wants to coordinate that release with efforts to raise awareness about PMP, including this documentary, a Secret Cancer. Our very intense and often moving encounter ended with plans to talk often and work on this plan. He was very cordial and kind. Here is an interview he did last year to get an idea of what he's like http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Books/video/son-sean-hepburn-ferrers-book-mother-audrey-hepburn-12096109 . I had been fretting about having a nice spread of food and beverages. I was channeling my mother, another elegant spirit, that day. I remembered that Sean had spent many years in LA. Instead of going crazy cooking all sorts of things, I chose an all Trader Joe's buffet, including some red and white Two Buck Chuck . That seemed to amuse him.

Now, I have to edit this interview while Jon is at work. He has first dibs on the editing software any other time. I must get back to chipping away on the inbox of doom. The blog goes back to Wednesday this week.

Stay tuned.

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