In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Aug 20, 2012/ 2 Elul, 5772

My very brief life as a director

By Mitch Albom

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | LOS ANGELES -- In Hollywood, everyone wants to be a director. The actors. The shoe salesmen. You can stop a 5-year old, ask him if he wants an ice cream, and he'll say, "Yeah! But I really want to direct."

I have no such desires. I write. That's enough. By the time I finish most of my work, I never want to look at it again, much less film it.

But life is funny. A few months ago, a friend named Jon Avnet (who produced "Risky Business" and directed "Fried Green Tomatoes") asked me to write a short script for a new YouTube web channel he and a pal were starting up called "WIGS." No real money. More of a one-time fun thing.

So I did it. A little 12-minute story. I gave it to Jon. And he said: "Great. You want to direct it?"

And I said ... "Nah."

("IDIOT!" I hear everyone shouting. "Who turns DOWN a chance to direct? Were you BORN stupid?" Well. No. Not that I recall.)

I said I had no idea how to direct. He said he would help me. I said why would anyone listen to me? He said they'd listen to him.

"OK, Jon, fine," I said. "As long as you sit next to me the entire time."


I arrived for shooting. And there was Jon, drinking a coffee. And I sat down in the wooden director's chair, looked over....

And he was gone.

Now let me set the stage here. (Oops. Does that sound like I'm directing?) Our lead actress was the wonderful Catherine O'Hara, star of the "Home Alone" series, "Beetlejuice" and hysterical movies like "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind." I am awed by her comic talent. So when I met her, compelled to be as cool as possible (since I was, after all, her director), I shook her hand and shared this creative thought:

"I don't know what I'm doing."

She smiled nervously. I asked how she saw her role. "Oh, G0d, don't ask me," she said, almost panicked. She then related how, when she directed her first piece, she made the mistake of inviting input from the crew. From that moment on, she had 700 people in her ear.

"Just tell me what you want," she said.

"You got it," I said.

I frantically looked for Jon.

Meanwhile, our other star was Anthony (Cass) Castelow, who is from Detroit. He played a homeless man. Cass actually was homeless for a while, and he now works with other homeless folks at a Detroit church. In other words, he is not an actor, which I thought was perfect. Until I realized I had to direct him.

"Ready?" everyone was asking. The lighting people, the grips, the make-up folks, the sound guys.

"What do I do?" I whispered to someone.

"You say 'action,'." he whispered back.

"Oh." I swallowed. "Uh ... action?"

The next two days were insane. Cameramen asking if we wanted the "75" or the "50"? Lighting people calling for gobos and bounce boards. A rain machine. (A rain machine?) Things flew by so fast that all I basically learned was to yell "Action" and "Cut" and ask the actors if they wanted water.

But here's the thing. When you are a director, they have these people called "assistant directors." And apparently, in California, the word "assistant" means "do everything."

And they did. They did the yelling, the pointing, the running, the troubleshooting. And after they finished, they'd turn to me and say, "What do you think?"

And I'd fold my arms and say, "Wellllll...."

Which is what directing is, I've concluded. That long "Wellllll..." As if your brilliant mind is considering all the mathematical permutations when, in fact, you have no clue where that rain came from.

And then we were done.

I have seen the finished product. It's actually very funny. Titled "Leslie," it starts showing Monday (Part 1) and Wednesday (Part 2) on YouTube.com/wigs.

And should you watch it, despite the credits, just know that I am the director the way Sara Lee is the actual woman to bake your cake.

By the way, when the whole thing was finished, guess who showed up? Jon.

"How'd it go?" he asked.

"You said you'd be with me!"

"Ah, you could handle it."

I wanted to hit him, but realized I would have to hit an assistant director first.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on Mitch's column by clicking here.

Mitch's Archives