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The REAL GIRLS return to the Dinah for REVENGE (and Jello Shots) April 1, 2011

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Hello Tello! December 22, 2010

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So it’s been a while since my last post, and I thought it was time to get ya up-to-date on all things Real Girls

The latest cool happening is that now our entire 1st season is officially downloadable! TelloFilms, “a venue for films made by for/by/or about lesbians,” just launched the “premium content” section of their site, which means that now you can download Real Girls (and other awesome shows like Brunch With Bridget and 3-Way) directly on to your hard drive! (Check us out in the Tello Store HERE)

BUT WHY (you may ask… in a cheesy announcer voice…)WOULD YOU WANT TO DOWNLOAD SOMETHING YOU CAN GET FOR FREE?

A.) Way better quality! You don’t have worry about things like “buffering” or random attacks of pixilation…which will make your next network board meeting presentation about how smart, sassy feminist web shows are all the rage (and why shows like Real Girls need to be on TV) go MUCH more smoothly.

B) Even if corporate greed destroys our digital our way of life, YOU will have your own copy of Real Girls to pass along to your grandkids as you reminisce about the glory days of the Internet! (Not that we will EVER let that happen, right?)

C) It’s super cheap ($.99 an episode)! Plus, 80% of that will go back to US and will allow us to make more Real Girls (imagine a whole shit-kicking army of fierce, fun-lovin’ feminists)! And the other 20% goes back to Tellofilms, an awesome girl-powered startup, that’s helping to make Lesbian-centric content not only visible, but also viable.

ALSO, Tellofilms has introduced a monthly subscription option for “exclusive content” you can’t see anywhere else and will be launching their original series Cow Girl Up in January.  Lots of cool stuff on there that’s free too, so be sure to check’m out at http://tellofilms.com/.

BUT BACK TO US…and the question of what the hell we’ve been up to…

VIRTUAL LESBIAN LOOKS. Back in October Real Girl Reena Dutt (“Sydney”) spoke at the University of Arizona on a panel featuring Real Girls (alongside Anyone But Me and Girl Trash) about the exciting trend of independent lesbian-centric shows online.

ALHLIVE. In November, the cast of Real Girls was featured on a LIVE video podcast. In this 40 minute interview lead by Seattle-based journalist Lawrence Haskins (which included live Q &A with viewers) we covered everything from the feminist revolution in new media…to farts…. to “junior cougars” (huh? what? Just WATCH IT ALREADY!=)).

MORE INTERVIEWS!  In the “other-web-series-we-love-department,” we have interviews coming up with web pioneer, Yuri Baranovsky (Break a Leg), “Office” writer and web-creator Anthony Farrell (Dwelling), as well as our own Nikki Brown (producer and star of Sheroes) and Kai Soremekun (creator of Chick) about why Female Superheroes are taking over the web! So stay tuned…

OFF-CHANCE PRODUCTIONS. And finally, as to what the hell have we been doing for the last month while you have been blogless?  Our mama company Off-Chance Productions has been busy, busy…

Our critically acclaimed stage play, The Limitations of Genetic Technology, just closed to sold out audiences! And we just wrapped 2 shorts….SAT I (written by and starring Real Girl, Reena Dutt) and Eat, Dream, Play, Shit, Die (written by Luis Arturo Reyes and directed by ME).

Also, we just found out that our play, Shaheed: The Dream and Death of Benazir Bhutto (written by and starring Real Girl Anna Khaja), has been nominated for TWO Ovation awards!

And you thought we were just sitting here braiding our toe hair.

So, have some kickass holidays! And thanks for all your love and support throughout the year!

We seriously could not have done any of this with out you!

WE. LOVE. YOU.

-Carmen

Carmen slutting it up with Santa...some time in the '90s.

REAL GIRLS on ALHLive November 10th! November 3, 2010

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Next Wednesday (11/10) A. Lawrence Haskins from ALHLive will be interviewing Charles Malik Whitefield (The Guardian, The Temptations), Michael Ralph (Bernie Mac, Blow), our friend Don Wallace (Blue, Resurrection Blvd) and, of course…US!

Check out the trailer for the event:

We’ll be live at 10 am PST.  Live Q&A with viewers following the interview. See ALHLive.com for details.

xo-Carmen

The Real Girls Guide to Everything Else – Season 2 is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of The Real Girls Guide to Everything Else – Season 2 are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Click HERE to contribute to Season 2!

An Update on Real Girls Season 2… November 2, 2010

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The Real Girls Guide to Everything Else – Season 2 is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of The Real Girls Guide to Everything Else – Season 2 are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Click HERE to contribute to Season 2!

You make Real Girls a reality. xo-The Real Girls


Drinking the Social Media Kool-Aid October 29, 2010

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Before the launch of Real Girls back in February, Twitter was something I knew relatively little about. Like most “non-users” I regarded it with skepticism, unknowingly bandying about anti-social-media clichés like “do I really want to know every time your dog takes a dump” and “it sounds like a big a waste of time.”

But there was a moment last week when I realized how far out I had ventured into the Twitta-sphere. I was talking to my dad on the phone and heard him repeat some of these now-familiar phrases, which then led to a conversation about invasion of privacy, the culture of self-indulgence and exhibitionism (whadda you want? He’s an English professor, that’s just the way we talk…), and I found myself saying ”yeah, there’s an aspect of that, but there’s a LOT more to it.” And suddenly I realized I had become that person, the one who gives unpaid testimonials about the value of social networking and how it’s being used to “create community” and “level the playing field” and rambling on about hashtags, @replies, direct message and IRL encounters. If this had been a Skype call, I would have seen his eyes glaze over.

The subject came up because a couple of weeks ago I was asked to be on a panel representing at the “140 Character Conference” in Hollywood. So now (despite being a Luddite with an active AOL account and an uneasy relationship with a second hand iPod), I can pretend to be an authority on a tech-related subject. Cool! (And just for the record—and because he’ll probably read this—my Dad has a first-hand iPod and was happily Skyping long before I was).

The conference, created by Twitter seed investor Jeff Pulver, runs for two days in half a dozen cities and features panel discussions on the value and use of social media. The range of panelists is pretty impressive, from marketers to homeless advocates, to street performers, to aid workers in Haiti, to small businesses, to some of the biggest creative forces in Hollywood. I was invited to appear on a panel about “writing and community” along side moderator Debra Eckerling, creator of the writer resource site WriteOnOnline (who did an interview with me a few months ago), and Zac Sanford, creator of the popular #ScriptChat (a twitter based forum for screenwriters). The conference, as a whole, was a thrilling experience. It felt like something truly democratic was taking place. Finally, here was a forum where having a voice had nothing to do with money and prestige and everything with having something to say. Here was a forum where homeless bloggers were given the same respect as pop-culture icons.

For example, in the green room, waiting to go on stage, I ran into Tim Kring (creator of Heroes), Ilene Chaiken (creator of The L-Word)…and Smokey the Bear. Where else could this have possibly happened? (Read another interesting article about the strange menage of Real Girls, Smokey and Tim King HERE.)

Carmen Elena Mitchell, Tim Kring, Debra Eckerling & Zac Sanford

Me & Smokey

And yes, I asked Smokey (recalling a frustrating encounter at Disneyland with Eeyore) if he—like his Disney brethren—was forbidden from actually speaking. He nodded his head “Yes” sadly (but TWEET he does…and yes, the rumors of my brief un-reciprocated twitter-flirtation in the week following the conference are true, but I digress).

So yes, in some respects I have drunk the Kool-Aid. And yet at the same time, I recognize that there’s a dark side to all of this too. One need only look at the recent suicides of gay teens attributed to “cyber-bullying” to see that there’s something else very troubling going on. Through our drunken consumption of social media we’ve carelessly laid open the doors to a world without privacy, a world without boundaries, and—most problematic—a world of self-conscious childhood, where every moment of one’s evolving vulnerable self is potentially captured, exposed and critiqued in front of millions. We’ve created Big Brother and he is US. And no one born before 1990 can truly appreciate what it feels like to grow up in that world.

But then at the same time consider the reaction to such acts, like activist/columnist Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” Project, which started in September as a response to Billy Lucas’ suicide (which has inspired everyone from Ellen DeGeneres to President Obama to create videos directed at LGBT youth letting them know that “it gets better”); and The Trevor Project, which provides 24/7 nationwide suicide prevention hotlines and support.

If you missed it please check out this video by Fort Worth city council member Joel Burns released on October 13th, which already has over 2 million hits.

Consider the NOH8 campaign.

Consider the countless on-line non-profit organizations that act as lifelines to teens in communities where there are no other resources.

Consider independent web series like Anyone But Me that have earned an enormous international audience though normalizing representations of LGBT teens.

Consider that before social media (BSM?!) many LGBT youths still took their own lives because of a lack of community, visibility and access to support.

Consider that in this brave new world the bully is often now exposed, and that there are consequences, whereas before most of this behavior went unreported and unpunished.

In the end social media is just an innovation, like TV, like radio…like the automobile even. And like those innovations it’s going to be regarded with skepticism. There will be people who refuse to utilize it and who claim that it’s impacting the culture in negative ways. And they’re right, it is. But it’s simultaneously changing it for the better. As with all advances in technology, we need to grow as a culture in order to learn how to use social media responsibly, and how to counter abuse so it does not go unchecked. We need to wear seat belts—or more importantly…we need to learn how to drive.

But in order to do that, we all—particularly those of us who are parents—need to be part of the conversation and at least take a sip of the Kool-aid. Right, Dad?

xo – Carmen

Real Girls Season 2 brought to you…BY YOU! October 20, 2010

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Give us a TEN! September 23, 2010

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So, at last we’re gearing up for Season 2! We have a kickass script, a rockin crew and our irrepressible gang of Real Girls is all booted up and ready to go…

There’s only one thing that we’re missing: THE CASH!

So if you love Real Girls and want MORE irreverent, girl-powered comedy that will take us BEYOND the familiar realm of shoe-shopping and boy-stalking, please consider making your TAX-DEDUCTIBLE donation today!

TEN BUCKS. That’s all we’re asking for (although more is always appreciated, and encouraged=)). That’s less than $1 per episode for the show hailed by critics from NPR to BITCH Magazine as the smarter, sassier more REAL alternative to the wealthy white world of the primetime fashionista.

We have until November 4th to reach our goal! And we are going to do it – but only with your help!

And to those of you who have already contributed – a HUGE thanks!

To make your TAX-DEDUCTIBLE donation on-line please go to:

or Mail a check made out to FRACTURE ATLAS (our fiscal sponsor) to Off-Chance Productions . P.O. Box 1582 . Los Angeles , CA 90078-1582

You make Real Girl’s a reality.
xo-The Real Girls

The Real Girls Guide to Everything Else – Season 2 is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions in behalf of The Real Girls Guide to Everything Else – Season 2 are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Web Series Crush-o-the-Week: Twins – It’s Like Looking in a Dirty Mirror September 10, 2010

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This week I decided to interview the director of Real Girl’s herself, the fabulous Heather de Michele about her OTHER (that slut!) web series, Twins: It’s Like Looking in a Dirty Mirror.

We snatched Heather up to direct Real Girl’s, the minute she moved back to LA after 10 years in New York, and haven’t let go of her since. In the past year, Heather’s directed several of our projects including our critically acclaimed stage play Shaheed: The Dream and Death of Benazir Bhutto, written by and starring Anna Khaja (“Aliyah” from Episode 5 of Real Girl’s), and our snarky-fun video The Crimson Tide (co-directed with Real Girl Reena Dutt) which parodies the utterly inane but eminently mock-able National Organization for Marriage ad The Gathering Storm.

Twins: It’s Like Looking in a Dirty Mirror follows a couple of 13-year-old twin sisters PBS science-show style “as they journey through life’s sibling-related obstacles during those awkward teen years.” The Twins, Sigourney and Sandy Snamf, are played by Anna Fitzwater (“Sexy Barista” from Real Girl’s episode 2) Emily Burton respectively.

The thing I find so intriguing about the series (besides the fact that Heather directed, shot it, and edited it herself…on the sly, in between Real Girls takes)…is that it’s entirely improved based, was shot on a zero budget, with only one or two locations…and is still funny and creative as hell. Jealous. But then I remember…she’s MINE, all mine. Well sorta. I mean, she does own an American-Girl Doll version of herself that I have easy access to. Picture below (when you’re done reading, as a treat).

RG: Where did the idea of Twins come from?

HDM: Two of the funniest women I know like to pretend they are headstrong teenagers from time to time.  I was inspired.

RG: Can you tell us a little bit about your process?

HDM: The entire series is improv based.  Lines were never scripted, though ideas on how the story would evolve were discussed before shooting… sometimes.

RG: How long does it take to shoot, edit and post an episode?

HDM: Each episode was shot in 3-4 hours time.  The editing process would take a full day or two and then the posting would happen the following day.  Our typical flow was Monday shoot, Friday air.

RG: Why did you choose to do this as a web-series?

HDM: Because we had absolutely no budget and the freedom to be as experimental and wild was we wanted was very appealing.  Web work is a very low-stakes medium and I think that lack of pressure breeds some of the best comedy!

RG: What’s the background of your team?

HDM: We all have theatre backgrounds sprinkled with some screen work here and there.  The three of us made up half of the NYC based sketch comedy group, Lesbian Pulp-O-Rama! Emily and Anna played some of the most vibrant, ridiculous and kooky characters in that illustrious body of work and I knew they would be perfect for a character driven web-series.  Lesbian Pulp-O-Rama!  ran steadily for four years, prior to that I had directed each of them in several plays.

RG: Any wacky on-set anecdotes?

HDM: Oh, wow, there were so many.  The wackiness often came from Anna and Emily taking their comedy to a vulgar and inappropriate place – I’d have to reign them in and remind the gals that TWINS is PG… sometimes PG-13.

RG: What is the most challenging part of the process?

HDM: Editing.  There was always an abundance of material to distill down to a short web episode.  Episode one could have been a feature film.

RG: Any advice you have for other female web creators?

HDM: Get a camera.  Honestly, though mine is already a bit out dated, having the ability to pick it up and shoot is very empowering.  Teaching myself to edit also gave me a great deal of control over my projects.  Not that I don’t love collaborating with large production teams, but when money is tight and ideas are flowing, it’s great to know you can just do it yourself.  Like Rosie the Riveter.

RG: What’s next for Twins? DATING?!

HDM: Season 2: episode 1 is in post – stay tuned for more from Sandy and Sigourney Snamf!!

RG: Any other projects you’re working on that we should know about?

HDM:  Yes!  I have the great fortune of directing Season 2 of The Real Girl’s Guide to Everything Else – coming soon to a computer near you!

To find out how YOU can help the support the cause of creating more awesome girl-powered comedy, please check out our Real Girl’s Season 2 Fundraising site (All donations are tax deductible!)

Carmen (with accomplice Jen) abucts Heather American Girl Mini-Me during the shoot.

The non-doll version of Heather on-set, with Robin Daléa.