TV Writing Update & My Newest Sundance Review: Filly Brown

Before I jump into my next review I wanted to point out that I have been meaning to blog about my TV projects, but I’ve been so focused on writing and editing them that I haven’t had a moment to spare.

I just received feedback on my pilot and I’m very happy with the direction it’s heading. I know what I need to do to polish it up and I’m pretty excited about that.

I will commit a full blog post to this year’s spec when I can finally set it down. This year I am spec’ing HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and it’s been an incredible experience. I know I love crime drama, thrillers, crime procedural, dramas in general, sci fi and otherwise, etc. but this was my first time spec’ing a historical drama. The amount of research that went into this spec amazes me. Under a pretty conservative timeline, I read the book the show is based on, did additional research,  took pages of notes, as well as what I always do: map out a couple episodes scene-by-scene. All I can say is, it has been a ton of work and I’ve loved every minute of it. My favorite (small) part so far in this process has been writing lines for Boardwalk’s version of Al Capone. Who knew that’d be so fun?

Happy Friday! And now, my latest review:

Filly Brown

This film tells the story of Majo, a young, aspiring hip-hop artist, played by Gina Rodriguez, who raps under the stage name Filly Brown. When the film opens she is performing regularly at a local radio station where she delivers her rhymes on socio-economic and feminist issues. At first glance, she is a passionate performance poet within the male-dominated Latino hip-hop community.

Majo visits her imprisoned mother Maria (Jenni Rivera), where she learns that police corruption may have tainted her mother’s case. This revelation causes her to do everything in her power to help her mother win a new trial along with the assistance of her mother’s lawyer Leandro (Edward James Olmos). Meanwhile, Majo’s talents attract the attention of increasingly legitimized music managers, but as her chances for success rise, her music becomes more and more over-produced and her look more sexualized.

It turns out though that Majo may have been too willing to sell out all along. She jumps to rash decisions that backfire in her professional and personal life. Her father Jose (Lou Diamond Phillips) gives his daughter sage advice that she doesn’t want to hear. Phillips gives an amazing performance as her father, and he is one of the only characters who is able to make an impact with subtlety. The hard truth this film drives home is the fact that, sometimes, we can’t trust the people we love most, but also that there is always room for redemption.

At the end of the day, though, Filly Brown is the kind of film that pulls on its audience’s heartstrings by utilizing every trick in the book. The storyline gets a bit lost in dramatic moment after dramatic moment, which results in melodrama instead of genuine emotional moments (with the exception of the role of Jose). The film also borrows from many other movies that focus on an aspiring singer/rapper. That being said, Filly Brown does entertain and it does have something to offer. If the premise sounds appealing, then it is worth a watch. Also, Gina Rodriguez is an actress to look out for. She acts and performs her heart out in this film, delivering on every song.

The Indomina Group has acquired Worldwide distribution rights to this film.

All of  my reviews are first published at Check out their site and if you like it, check out their podcasts or sign up for their newsletter (a daily highlight of the best in geek news). 


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