Taking Top Shelf Direction

I am incredibly grateful to have worked for three of the top 11 directors on this list of The 50 Best Commercial Directors in the World — and I’ve worked for one of them twice. Wow. Humbled. #luckyduck


Even Cow Shit Is Inspirational When David Lynch Directs It on FREAK SUGAR

Even Cow Shit is Inspirational When David Lynch Directs It



The Hush-Hush Perils of Small Boobs

The following article was originally written for Turner Broadcasting (2009), and is posted here as a writing sample.

The Hush-Hush Perils of Small Boobs

My Dad told me not to ice skate in backless leotards. He said that if I didn’t wear a bra, one day my boobs would sag. I scoffed. Like most female athletes, I was (and am) small-boobed. My 34A and me were shiny-happy, looking forward to a long life of halter tops and vintage Halston.

Well, every teenager lives in a bubble of some kind until one day it bursts like a cherry on prom night. My bubble was literally frozen, as it housed 300 square feet of Olympic ice. Eschewing the Je-m’appelle-Gypsy-Rose-Lee outfits figure skaters inexplicably wore, I took to the ice only in dance gear. My uniform: Pop! Six! Squish! seam-up-the-back Bob Fosse tights and the afore-mentioned, structurally unsound leotard, angsty black. My father’s advice was blithely ignored because he, a man, could not possibly know more about my breasts than I did. (To be clear, I was a teenager and he could not possibly know more about anything than I did.)

Fifteen years later, my mammaries are all alone in the moonlight, the star of their own low-rated, scientifically-sponsored Estrogen Channel dramedy. Hindsight’s a two-fold bitch. It seems that my Dad, with four daughters and two wives, knew nothing if not boobs and their inevitable downward mobility. The women in my family are blessed with many a perky feature, not one of which could be called “tit.” I’ve seen my beloved elders in the buff, and I can read the handwriting on the wall. (Actually, it’s a pictograph and it bears a striking resemblance to South Park’s Ms. Diane Choksondik.)

The second adolescent lesson I failed to learn was, understandably, in Physics. Despite my ability to harness the very laws of science and the universe to defy Earthly gravity or walk on (frozen) water, I failed to grasp their true power. Apparently, the tremendous torque and thrust of figure skating are violent enough to decimate any burgeoning bosom from the infrastructure out. One more Salchow and my chest would have looked like Bessy’s udders.

Now, chastened by time and a tailored wardrobe, the arrogance of my youth has come to haunt me. Betwixt genetics and athletics, I am doomed to spend tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow buttressed and cantilevered by a bra so technologically advanced it has been code-named Wonder. When I walk into a room I want to pick jaws up off the floor, not my tits.

Bartender for the Aughts

The following article was originally written for Turner Broadcasting (2009), and is posted here as a writing sample.

Bartender for the Aughts

Not so very long ago, a young man sat perched atop a craggy vinyl stool, pouring his broken heart out to the neighborhood bartender whilst pouring whiskey down his throat. Not so very far away, a young lady sat beneath a Lady Sunbeam hair dryer, dishing all about her boyfriend’s bedroom burn-up and her BFF’s affair with the boss. Bartenders and hairdressers were veritable vaults of a most valuable commodity: information. The good ones kept their traps shut.

I am the Bartender for the aughts, the Hairdresser of the digital age: I am a Pilates Trainer. My career started simply, as a quest to forge steel cores and open closed joints. Ten years on, it has grown into something quite unexpected and risqué, rather like a tea party-turned-Celebutante Ball. Pilates, it seems, opens more than ball-and-socket joints; it has the power to open hearts and minds like Sesame. Breathing (posterior-laterally, of course) with one’s feet in fuzzy straps eventually uncorks even the most well-bottled practitioner. Secrets are oft whispered to me before their rightful conferee. Skeletons, de-closeted, are passed down like battered third-gen Goyard steamer trunks.

This being Los Angeles, I’ve no doubt some of these hand-me-down bones could easily attract the Paparazzi vultures. I, however, am a good one and TMJ is a small price to pay for such open-hearted confession. Perhaps my position is really that of the post-modern Priest: a Therapist. In times of yore, we looked to religious officials for guidance and cochlear compassion; since Freud, we confide from the couch.

Though I am certified to realign a spine, I am in no way qualified to address the multitude of imbalances caused by a marriage/affair/divorce/burial/cancelled show. Yet, day after day, it is my advice clients seek: to call or not to call, whether ’tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of a tumultuous marriage or take up arms in the form of an expensive Beverly Hills lawyer, to quit: perchance to get a better network deal (ay, there’s the rub).

I give counsel as best I can, honored by the invite to such private parties. In the best of times, clients turn comrade and Pilates is quickly abandoned for cocktails. In the worst, I am left to ponder my own philosophical question: if I am an (unlicensed) Therapist in practice, am I insolent enough of office to double my rates?

New pics by Lisa Franchot

My agents & manager have weighed in. Here are the official new pics by the fantastic Lisa Franchot! Lisa is a real pro and a blast to shoot with.

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Inspiration in Memorium

Today, on the 25th anniversary of her death, I want to honor the memory of a singularly gifted artist, and even better human, my sister, Rachel. (Rachel was actually my half-sister, but since I only have half-siblings, I have no distinction to make.) Rachel made incredible paintings, sketches, collages, beaded and hand-cut jewelry made from the antlers deer dropped, and these whimsical soft-sculpture animals she called “Rhapsodazzles.” Since my work is now dedicated to telling the stories of women whose stories should not be lost to history, it seemed fitting that today I tell a very small piece of Rachel’s story.

When I was just a kid, I worked for Rachel and her husband in their shop, which was in an old Chapel, and at craft fairs. Rachel taught me to bead jewelry and how to close the jump ring on a necklace or earrings. Her fantastic eye for color and attention to detail still inform how I see at everything to this day. I must also say Rachel’s endless imagination was matched only by her self-deprecating sense of humor, which is a trait I love and admire and strive to carry on.

Rachel died (of natural causes) at the age of 32, in 1991, before we all had the internet. (I was 13.) Her creations were never sold on Etsy, but at craft fairs; her customers never ‘pinned’ her work to a wall where the whole world could see it, they — and I — just wore it, hopefully happily. I wish there was a public record of her artistic contributions to the world, but since there isn’t, here is this small post — a tribute, if you will, to a fantastic woman and artist, who has inspired me in countless ways. I really wish we could have lived and worked together longer.


Rachel Leda Berman Janse, 1976. Photo by Alice Berman.



truTv “Those Who Can’t” premiere arrivals

Actress Ilana Turner arrives at the premiere of truTV's 'Those Who Can't' at The Wilshire Ebell Theatre on January 28, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.

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I’m an official part of the 365 Women a Year: A Playwriting Project! I’m honored to be a part of this worthy, interesting and fabulous project — and to have written about Princess Iwa, a remarkable Maori singer. Check out my listing here.

…more about 365 Women a Year:
“This international playwriting project involves over 200 playwrights who have signed on to write one or more one-acts about extraordinary women in both past and present history. The project’s ambitious yet focused goal is to write women back into the social consciousness as well as empower and promote female playwrights around the country.”

Güd Belly is now Corehouse Pilates!

Come join us at what is now the Best Little Corehouse in the Valley!