See What I'm Saying Movie


World premiere around the corner

It is now 11:43PM. I have been up since 5:30AM. Here is a short sample of my day today: working on emailing hundreds of schools and organizations about our world premiere, attending a photo shoot this afternoon for Venice Magazine in the park, fielding booking requests from around the world, talking to Amsterdam about their screening of SEE WHAT I'M SAYING last Friday, talking with several distributors about potential deals, booking flights for our deaf entertainers to attend the premiere, talking with Powder and deaf sign language performers from out of town to coordinate rehearsals for premiere, getting deaf motocross rider Ashley Fiolek's new book KICKING UP DIRT in the mail from our partner Harper Collins, proof-reading our fantastic program that our event coordinator Alex Kalognomos wrote for the premiere (I LOVE ALEX - HE IS THE BEST), following up on theaters who are playing our trailer in movie theaters (HOW AWESOME IS THAT?), thanking Marc Bovee from Universal Studios on a daily basis for opening up doors for us right and left, thanking my kick-ass team Sheila Dvorak and Nathan Crocker for cramming into my small studio and doing the work of a major studio, wishing Brian Cole, Renee Ross and Barbara Cohen a happy birthday, sending my sister a quick email about another Hilari with my spelling finding me on Facebook, feeling southern and cooked some black eyed peas and collard greens for lunch, getting our CD sampler ready for the premiere, lining up volunteers for our run at the Laemmle and in NYC, finding a place to stay for a month in NYC in April, writing my boot camp instructor Bernardo to see if his new company Fit Food can be a sponsor of our VIP reception, talking with our post house to coordinate putting the music video onto our DVD for screenings (THANK YOU, MATT RADECKI, GOD OF KNOWLEDGE OF ALL THINGS TECHNICAL), following up for more VIP's to RSVP (no word from a very silent Marlee Matlin yet, which is odd since her Twitter is all about making noise for captions), watching our music video hit 4,600 views the first week it is up, feeling elated that the first female director just won an Oscar last night, and trying to figure out what to wear for the premiere. And I still feel guilty that I didn't hit the gym today.

Tomorrow I go to look at projectors, have an interview with Venice Magazine, have a technical run through at the Egyptian, see if my friend Paul Lucas is back from Australia buzzing through Los Angeles, seeing if NAD can come on board as a community partner and following up with Harper Collins about our book.

Let me know what you want to hear about and I will be happy to blog about it in my next entry. Until then, I'm going to bed.

Bremerton, WA screening - February 7, 2010

I finally have a quiet moment at home to upload photos and reflect back on the incredible experience this past weekend in Bremerton. It was actually a nice break to hop on a plane and escape the madness of preparing for the world premiere. I was dropped off at the airport by my new assistant (don't I feel fancy - it's usually me doing the driving) and was met in Bremerton by my hosts, Maryl and Bryan. We met the Captionfish guys, Chris Sano, Brendan Gramer and Greg Millam for dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant. These guys have a great thing going; with a background from Microsoft, Google and Amazon they set up the first Fandango for deaf people with listings of open captioned films.

On Friday, I taught three workshops at Olympic College - Improv/Theater Games, Behind the Scenes of See What I'm Saying, and introduction to directing/producing. These students were so hungry for a creative outlet. We had a ton of fun at each workshop, especially the improv group. I was impressed by the eagerness of all of the students to jump in and try new things.

Maryl and Bryan took me to a local seafood restaurant on the water where we met some of their friends. I learned new regional signs for Bremerton, oyster and clam, as well as some local history about Bremerton being a Navy town. The mountains are stunning, and I was lucky that it was clear and sunny for most of my stay.

Saturday - the day of the big screening was filled with so many wonderful moments. I met two gifted students - Andrea and Delaney - who traveled by ferry with their parents to interview me about what it was like to work with deaf entertainers. Their project is for the history project competition, and they were extremely prepared and exceptionally bright. I tried to give my perspective as a hearing director who had the great privilege of working in the Deaf community and steer them towards some resources. I saw a woman slip in to watch. She sat and watched most of the 30 minute interview before introducing herself. It was Mayor Patty Lent, the Honorable Mayor of Bremerton. I couldn't believe it. She was so incredibly gracious, and pinned an official Bremerton pin to my shirt. It was a great moment.


Mayor Patty Lent, Andrea, Hilari Scarl, Delaney

I went back to the lobby where hundreds of folks lined up to see the film, many of them dressed up in black tie and cocktail dress attire. I was truly flattered, and wondered if my practical choice wearing boots and slacks was enough. At the end of the evening - 7 hours later - I felt a lot better about my practical choice.

The VIP reception was wonderful. I was surprised by Nat Wilson who came to the screening. Nat has a small cameo in the documentary, performing with Howie Seago at CJ's sign language theater festival that is shown in the film. It was great to see him. Even though Howie couldn't make it (he's performing Shakespeare in Ashland), his family did. I'm such a Howie Seago fan, that it was truly a thrill to meet his family.

After a tech check, the evening got off to a great start with a fun introduction by Bryan and Stephanie, a live announcement by Sprint and a screening of the new music video of the film's title song, "See What I'm Saying" before the documentary feature. We screened to a packed house. I sat and watched this film for the 1,001st time with a big smile as the audience laughed in all of the right places, cried in all of the right places and cheered at the end. It made me so very happy.

The audience feedback during the Q&A left me speechless. Highlights include a woman in the balcony who stood up and loudly declaring, "I LOVE THIS FILM!" and a CODA (Child of Deaf Adult) who came up to me afterward in tears, so overcome with emotion that she couldn't speak, but just kept signing, "Thank you thank you thank you" through her tears. I received dozens of emails over the past few days emphasizing how important it is that hearing people see this film; how isolated and misunderstood they felt until they heard TL's story; and how much everyone loves CJ and remembered him from his performance on that very same stage a few years back. It was truly a magical evening.

Thank you, Bremerton, for such a warm kick-off to our theatrical run. The warmth, friendship and generosity of your beautiful city will stay with me always. I look forward to returning to Washington State with the film.

Celebration after the screening

Fan mail

I am a little behind in my blog, as we just announced our world premiere of See What I'm Saying - March 18, 2010 at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood and have been swamped with emails. This premiere kicks off our theatrical opening in Los Angeles March 19th at the Fairfax Cinemas on Beverly Boulevard.

I landed at Sundance this past week after the announcement to do some business, see some films and take a few days to breath some mountain air when I got the news that we are premiering in NYC on April 9th at the Village East Cinemas. I couldn't stop jumping up and down!

I was immediately overwhelmed by the amount of work that is coming my way when I received a fan letter that made me remember one of the reasons why I am doing this film. With the writer's permission, I would like to share this with all of you. I hope it touches you as it touched me.

CONGRATULATIONS!    I am so excited for you and everyone involved with "See What I'm Saying." My family & I saw your movie here in Philadelphia and it was fabulous.  We are new to the Deaf Culture due to my son's hearing loss and this was a wonderful introduction.  To see the struggles and most importantly, the triumphs, of these four individuals living their lives and pursuing their dreams was a great mind-expanding experience.  My son, who was 14 years old at the time, was greatly impressed.

If your production makes its way to the East Coast again, specifically Philadelphia & surrounding areas - I will recommend that everyone I know go see it!   
Best of luck to all of you!! Chr*s Schwartz


Welcome to the hurricane

I had a fantastic private screening at Universal last night with a group of industry folks who loved the film. I have been back and forth on the ending and the placement of our credits, and their reaction and comments after the film sunk into my consciousness. I woke up at 5AM today in a cold sweat, feeling that I need to change the ending back to the original ending. I spent most of my morning digging through old footage to line everything up to see if it works with our new cut. It does. Even though the film is basically finished, we are changing a few things before our launch in January. Home stretch to perfection!

I had it just about finished when my fabulous web designer, Hilary Carlip called with an update about our upcoming website overhaul. It's going to take a few weeks, but will allow me to start posting short clips from the film, since I know you want to see some. I want to also include some footage that will be in our DVD extras, including the fabulous Megg Rose who performed a Christina Aguilera song in sign language. I'm working with Mason, my music supervisor to get the rights to include it. Megg hasn't even seen the footage of her performance yet and has been patiently reminding me every few months not to let it get swallowed up in my 300+ hours of footage.

My supervising editor, Thomas Miller beeped through, calling from some airport to talk about changing the ending, and I'm sending him a Quicktime with the change for him to look at. I then got a text from Ninette from Powder about our music video from the film. She connected me with a fabulous location for the film shoot, which was confirmed later this morning. That helped me set the production date for this music video for December.

More emails came in, including one from a distributor who wants to set up a meeting with me and my producer's rep. I've been working with Jeff Dowd, The Dude and real life inspiration for The Big Lebowski. He's been in a good mood lately, and has been incredibly helpful in introducing me and the film around town.

Now my videophone is flashing from a colleague in Texas who is interested in booking my film. Thanks to some choppy reception, I convinced him to download Skype so we could finish our conversation.

Knock knock - my new accountant arrived for her first day. Welcome to the hurricane. I gave her a quick tour before leaving her with my books to answer my ichat with my good friend Max from Canada. Max has a wonderful cameo in the film, and is one of my favorite actors ever. I want to cast him in the music video, and host the television pilot that we are planning. Big smiles and thumbs up.

"You have mail" - my composer Kubi sent over a sample of a new score he is replacing. I love working with Kubi and could talk music with him all day.

The Dude called while I was heating up dinner, brainstorming on how we can get 5,000 people to come see the film opening week in Los Angeles. [Send me an email if you have ideas on how to get folks into the theaters in the middle of the day during the week.] Jeff has some great ideas on how we can build a fun event with live entertainment, a photo exhibit and infamous White Russian drinks in the lobby with The Dude after screenings.

One last listen to a new sample Kubi sent me before [bleep bleep - incoming text] turning down an offer to go have drinks with my friends Gary and Teal, who just got out of their show at the Groundlings. This is such a long crazy blog, but I thought I'd share my day with you.

Bleep-bloop-ring-flash-knock knock - I'm ready for bed.

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About Me

Hilari Scarl

Hilari Scarl
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Hilari Scarl is the director/producer of the feature film "See What I'm Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary." This blog is a journey of thoughts about the film.
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An award-winning documentary that follows four well-known entertainers in the deaf community: a comic, a drummer, an actor and a singer as they overcome personal obstacles and celebrate professional landmarks.

Running time: 90 minutes
Rated PG-13

Directed and produced by
Hilari Scarl
© 2010

Available for bookings.
The DVD is now on sale!