Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Book of Nimrod - Negative, or Real Life?

Landmark Productions, LLC has been getting wonderful reviews on our pilot webisode of the much anticipated The Book of Nimrod.  The gist of the series is, Esteban Nimrod "Rod" Santiago, a small time local drug dealer receives a little girl, simply named Baby, in a back alley drug trade.  Both of their lives change for good. That scenario alone has caused some people to cringe.  

As a result (without waiting to see the rest of the series) critics have surmised that The Book of Nimrod is the same old negative stereotype of African Americans and Latinos; that they're all pimps, hoes, drug dealers, drug addicts, and murderers.  

I will admit that there are a varied number of pimps, hoes, drug dealers, and drug addicts portrayed in The Book of Nimrod.  But, since the story revolves around a drug dealer's life as a new daddy we have to allow for a certain number of these types of characters for the story to be real.  As the writer of this web series it would be foolish of me to alter my characters' personalities, lifestyles, and situations simply because they seem like stereotypes.  So much of what occurs in the series is based on reality.  The Book of Nimrod is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where, in north Philadelphia, drugs is the major business commodity.  It's just as real and blatant now as it was in the 1980's, and it's run like clockwork.  Even the PPD (Philadelphia Police Department) is in awe of its organization and business acumen and how this illicit business feeds more than a few families.  This is where our characters live and breathe and I make no apologies for it.
What I'd like for our viewing public to understand is that I am making a statement about what goes on in the lives of forgotten people, living in forgotten neighborhoods.  But - since I'm a writer - the statement, or message, will not get in the way of true storytelling.  ~ by Carla P. Morales, Founder/CEO - Landmark Productions, LLC (

Check out the trailer!  

If you are not able to view it

The Book of Nimrod - EPISODE 1 

If you are not able to view episode 1 

Please, check out our page on Face Book ( and see the behind the scenes photos and interviews.  Don't forget to like our page!  We are happy to hear your comments!  All phone calls (215) 469-5373

Friday, July 13, 2012

Male Exotic Dancers? Yes, I Did the Research Years Before "Magic Mike"

 I get raucous laughter whenever I talk about the research I did (2 years of it) before writing the play "El Bandido".  

     "El Bandido" is the prodigal son story about a young man secretly tormented by inner demons, making him the black sheep of his family, since these "demons" cause him to make one bad judgement call after anther.  After squandering all of his cash, he launches out into the world of male exotic dancing, to make a living.

 I was taught at the beginning of my writing career, never to write about anything I didn't know.  Write what you know, and if you don't know, do the research.  While taking public transportation, I was accosted by someone handing out very colorful postcard flyers.  Upon closer examination of the flyer, I realized that I was looking pictures of about six chocolate and caramel colored Adonises!  These drop-dead-gorgeous men possessed physiques brazenly adorned with protruding muscles.  I had never seen anything like it, and I was intrigued.  I stared at their faces, trying to see past their forced alluring expressions.  Who were these men, and was taking off their clothes a viable option for them?  I also thought if any of these questions could be answered, it would make for a very interesting story.  It never ceases to amaze me how stories find their way to me.

     The research I did - starting in 202 - was a story in itself.  Male exotic dancing, or male entertainment as insiders are calling it now, was beginning to emerge from the dark underbelly of society.  For a long time it was a hush-hush little vice that women shared strictly by word-of-mouth.   I went to every club, hall, or party - which was featuring a male exotic revue - that I could find.  I discovered that once you attended one of these events, the next event would find you.  When the organizers of the show realized why I was there, I was treated with the utmost of respect, and allowed to sit near the DJ, or bouncers, so that I would not be approached by any of the dancers.

     Allow me to say that these gentlemen could teach a lesson on showmanship to any entertainer. Each performer had his own personae down pat, with elaborate costumes and his own "walk-in" music to boot.  Their entrances were dramatic and painstakingly timed, stirring the women up who had been waiting for their favorite dancer.  It was a spectacle that I could respect, coming from a theater background.  These men were giving their audiences the same thing I gave my audiences...drama!  I was eager to interview everybody, from the bouncers to the scantily clad women who arrived with dollars in their hands.

     All of the male entertainers I interviewed were thoughtful, intelligent, and straight.  Most of them had a current girlfriend, or wife, accompanied by a house full of their own offspring.  All of them were dancing for the money...duh, right?  One dancer told me that if he knew about this when he was in college, paying tuition and book fees would've been much easier.  Another gentlemen got involved in the industry when he was no more than a teen.  Professional dancers ran in his family, and he loved all types of dance; tap, jazz, Hip Hop, you name it.  However, he was starting to get into trouble and he didn't want to go to jail, like so many of his acquaintances.  He found out, through a friend, that he could make all the money he wanted - legally - doing what he loved to do, while meeting all the pretty women his ego could handle.

     The variety of women I interviewed ran the entire spectrum of our society.  I couldn't say what type of women attend these shows because all types find themselves sliding dollar bills into loin cloths of these dancers.  I spoke to secretaries, managers, single moms, grandmothers, teachers, executives, and young women just emerging from their teens.  Each woman had her own reason for attending, none of them were ashamed.  They came through wearing the shortest skirts and dresses I've ever seen, with plunging necklines, barely concealing their nipples, topped off with fishnet stockings and platform heels.  I couldn't understand why women came dressed for a lover rather than a show.  One dancer explained it this way:  "I'm her fantasy.  Her imaginary lover.  I like it when they come dressed like that...just for me."  
The reasons why women paid good money to attend these revues are just as varied as the women themselves.
     "This is how I unwind."
     "I come here to get myself ready for my husband!"
     "My girlfriend has a crush on one of the dancers."
     "My husband is one of the dancers."
     "I came to see my favorite dancer!"
     And the list goes on. 

One of the more popular dancers explained to me that, "Ultimately, these ladies put everything aside to attend one of these events because they're in dire need of affection.  Their man's not showing them any affection at home.  The number one request I for a hug."

Next week, I'll discuss what the female exotic dancers were like.  Yes, I had to see them perform as well, and it was a sad, but eye-opening experience.


You may also purchase tickets online:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Why are the ratings in the toilet?

The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) is hemorrhaging every day, and not much seems to be working to stop the bleeding of millions of dollars every quarter for Discovery Communications, OWN's parent company.

Here are some of the sobering facts: OWN replaced Discovery Health, angering many viewers who loved the program, but, to add insult to injury, OWN's ratings are worse than the program they replaced. OWN's target audience - women over 25 - are not tuning in. Ever since Oprah closed the shutters on her syndicated talk show, her magazine, and website have been struggling. Discovery Communications dumped $15 million dollars and cross channel simulcasts to market OWN's new programs. They've done everything, short of twisting viewers' arms, to ensure this network's success...But nothing seems to be working.

Of course, after seeing all the stops being pulled out for the big O, you wonder what, exactly, is the problem? Well, in the beginning, I was excited to hear that Oprah was quitting her day job to do something far more interesting, something where she could really push the envelope. She said that she would be behind the scenes from now on. The whole venture smacked of boiling creativity, which threaten to spill over and change programming history. Finally, Oprah would launch out into dangerously deep waters, and dive in! I waited with baited breath, but when I saw OWN's programming line-up, I was so disappointed, I became disgusted.

Gail King, Oprah's long time, best-friend-in-all-the-world, had her own morning talk show broadcast on OWN. I sat and watched all of ten minutes of Gail, before my head snapped forward, waking from a sudden, and unexpected slumber, and I was wiping drool from the side of my mouth. In all honesty, Gail looked, and sounded, like the talking dead. Then, there's Oprah's Life Class, where Oprah is your Morpheus, trying to free your mind. It's an admirable goal, and needed, but wasn't she doing this on The Oprah Winfrey Show? Peter Walsh, of OWN's program, Extreme Clutter, shows us how to declutter a room in five easy steps. Didn't Oprah have professional declutterers on her syndicated show? And now, OWN has picked up Rosie O'Donnell for The Rosie Show. Didn't Rosie have her own talk show before? Do you see where I'm going with this?

The reason why OWN's ratings keep slipping down, into the toilet, is because the Oprah Winfrey Show is over, but OWN is simply an extension of her show. We've been there, and done that, with her and Rosie, so, why are we revisiting the same old haunts? People want to see Oprah do something unexpected, like actually go searching for some scripts, or shows that are already in the can. A show that's not necessarily politically correct, but dramatic. OWN's entire line-up doesn't have to be solely reality based, why not some real dramas with African Americans and Latinos? What a concept! They're the ones that supported her in the beginning and pushed her to stardom. These marginalized groups could save the network, if they would expand their focus beyond white women over the age of 25 years old.

Their new show, Oprah's Next Chapter will debut on OWN's one year anniversary, where Oprah will be in attendance at a slumber party, at Paula Deen's house. Oprah at a slumber party? Now, that could be interesting. Some inner part of me craves the sight of Oprah as her real self. I want to see her without her makeup, and without her crisp television journalist's voice. I want to see her take a leap, and let us see the tyrant that everybody, behind the scenes, talks about. Give us something to gossip about, and, then, maybe OWN can creep back from the brink of the abyss. But, if Oprah continues to pursue the path she has chosen, everybody involved is going to lose a lot of money, and she will lose OWN.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

ROAR! Online: Presidential Motorcade

ROAR! Online: Presidential Motorcade: A couple of weeks ago, while heading into work, all traffic and public transportation came to a grinding halt, because the Presidential moto...

Presidential Motorcade

A couple of weeks ago, while heading into work, all traffic and public transportation came to a grinding halt, because the Presidential motorcade was passing through. People were impatient, and quickly became angry. It's understandable, since so many people were headed to work, to job interviews (and we all know how hard it is to nail down a job these days), and doctor's appointments.

But it got me to thinking about President Obama's relationship with the African American and Latino community these days. I've jumped into many heated debates, defending President Obama against those who were former supporters, but are now disgruntled. Often, I'm more saddened than shocked. I know that most of the individuals are watching the same news telecasts that I am, and can clearly see how aggressively, even maliciously, the GOP seeks out ways to hinder anything positive that President Obama tries to initiate. So, I asked, "What more do you think President Obama can do? He's not a king, only a President." Their responses were revealing.

Yes, they could see what was happening, but what they wanted was for President Obama to come out swinging. They said he appeared weak because he wasn't fighting back against the Republicans and conservative Democrats, and all of this made them question their loyalty to him. This I find the most disheartening. My conclusion is that our loyalty is fickle. We supported him while he appeared to be a Juggernaut, an unstoppable force who even threatened to woo some right-wingers. But the minute reality set in, and obstacles began to drop in his path, as if he were trapped within some crazed video game, where the monsters never stop coming, we abandoned him. The situation wasn't going smoothly, Republicans weren't eating out of his hand, so, rather than have his back, or hold his arms up while in battle, we scurry under rocks, hide behind trees, and grumble.

We elected Barack Obama because he is a learned, reasonable man who is in full control of his emotions, not a crotch-grabbing thug, with a pistol waving in the air. We've had more than enough of that during George W. Bush's regime, hurting our standing throughout the rest of the world. Ever since the beginning of his campaign I've been saying that Barack Obama is playing chess, while everyone else is playing checkers. Sometimes, his next move is unclear, or his current move seems strange, but that's how you play chess. He said from the very beginning that bringing this country back on the right track might take 10 years, or more. He said he couldn't do it alone, and that he needed our help. He even stated in his speech - the day he was officially sworn into office - that to those who didn't vote for him, that he was their President too. That means he's not just an African American President, but simply an American President who must serve all Americans, whether we like them or not.

President Barack Obama has accomplished more in his first two years in office than the previous President accomplished - for the average American - in his eight years in office. President Obama requires another term to continue to accomplish his goals for our country, and we should see it through. Besides...who else do we have to choose from? Seriously?