Spring Showcase Director #6: Tamar Halpern



We feel more than honored that director Tamar Halpern is presenting a new piece by Alexandra Decas and Melanie Kirschbaum in our Spring Showcase on March 28. First off, she’s human person—you know what we mean—whose great talent lies in bringing out others’ humanities, even if it’s not so obvious they have them at first. What you might call honest filmmaking. She’s the writer/director of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, starring Mira Sorvino, Michael Urie, and Joe Pantoliano. Her previous features include Shelf Life, starring Betsy Brandt, and the documentary, Llyn Foulkes One Man Band, which premiered at the LA Film Festival and released theatrically 2014-2015. If you haven’t seen Llyn Foulkes yet, please do. It’s a feel-good film for all those artists who think they’re late bloomers. Here’s a bit more from our fabulous director Tamar below.

1. What are the top 3 movies/plays/shows that have inspired you?

Movies – Raise the Red Lantern, Paper Moon, The Broken Circle Breakdown.

Plays – Almost anything by Tracy Letts, Shock Headed Peter, Stones in his Pockets. New production from Chicago that recently played in LA that blew me away was Luna Gale.

Shows – all of Spalding Gray’s monologues, Stomp.

Or did you mean TV shows? VEEP and The Comeback and Arrested Developemnt and Season 2 of Workaholics.

2. Did you go to film/theater school? What led you to being a writer or director?

I earned an MFA in Film and TV production from USC. Before that, I decided not to be an actor and go behind the camera instead, and it stuck!

3. Why do you personally want to collaborate with other women through One Axe?

I boycotted the Oscars this year because there were – again – no female writers or directed nominated. I want to do everything to support women in theater, not just as actresses. We write, we direct, we make babies if we feel like it, and we exact change through our views and voices.

4. “Where are you going, where have you been?”

I’m experiencing the first deep sorrow of my adult life. I don’t know where it will take me, but I am in it and letting it be as it needs to be.


Spring Showcase Writer #6: Melanie Kirschbaum



When we first heard from Melanie Kirschbaum, we immediately thought, “Goonies never say die.” We have no idea why, but we did. Maybe it’s because Melanie seems like a make-it-work kind of woman. Either way, she presented to us a short called “Smart,” co-written with Alexandra Decas. It was our favorite kind of genre, a timeless pairing of two seemingly opposite women who somehow puzzle-piece into one another and drive each other insane. Kirschbaum works in TV, got her start with Jeff and Jackie Filgo, and now works for Vali Chandrasekaran, for which we are thankful, because we can easily see how her style has developed from some of our favorite comedies. Here are some words of wisdom and some appropriately awesome background infos from Melanie herself.

1. What are 3 top movies/plays/shows that have inspired you?

My top three shows are Will & Grace, Golden Girls, and Broad City. I fall asleep to Golden Girls every night; Blanche Devereaux haunts my dreams. I love comedies with heart that showcase the bonds of friendship, because there’s nothing better (or funnier) than watching characters who love each other give each other shit and have adventures. Speaking of friendship, I can’t even think of broaching the topic of inspiration without mentioning my favorite movie of all time, Beaches. It’s about two best gal pals (one is Bette Midler, a national treasure) and it is beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that I like to infuse a little Beaches into everything I do. Spoiler alert: no one in SMART succumbs to a heart condition.

2. Did you go to film/theater school? What led to you being a writer or director?

I did not go to film/theater school. Where I did go was the University of Pittsburgh, the result of the most serendipitous rejection of my life thus far (there have been many). The University of Maryland said no, Pitt said yes, and off I went to Western PA. I was an English major because I liked to write short stories, though I had no idea how that would translate to adult life. Then one day during my junior year, an LA based manager/producer visited Pitt to give a talk about the industry, he was from Pittsburgh, and little idiot Melanie sitting in the audience raised her hand and asked, “What’s an internship?” It was not a proud moment. But it did lead to him saying, “Come work for me for the summer and find out,” and so I did. One year later, my mom and I embarked on a road tip to deposit me in LA (at one point during our journey I caught her speaking into the lens cap of the video camera thinking it was a microphone), and then several years after that, I got a job working for 2 TV writers, which put me on my way.

All that being said, what ultimately made me a writer is my family. They are hilarious, supportive, and I’m so, so lucky to be in the presence of such strength, wit, and comedic material. Especially my mother, who has the best sense of humor out of everyone.

3. Why do you personally want to collaborate with other women through One Axe?

Since meeting Alexandra Decas and seeing what we’ve created just the two of us, the thought of collaborating with a whole gang of ladies is just so exciting. The relationships women have with one another are just so much better, so much richer and more powerful than the ones men have. Which is a real shame for them, but whatever, they have enough.

4. “Where are you going, where have you been?”

I have been on the bottom. I’d like to be on the top. At the very least on television.

Spring Showcase Writer #5: Alexandra Decas


Alexandra Decas

Alexandra, along with her writing partner Melanie Kirschbaum, had submitted “Smart” to us with the best log line: “Triggered by a conversation about our national treasure, Elizabeth Smart, two best friends nitpick each other’s life decisions, but ultimately realize that neither has it quite together.” It’s a testament to an expert summation of a script, because we already liked it before we read it.

Alex is a graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication, so she started out working for KNBC’s leading investigative journalist, a production company, a cable network, and, of course, celebrity couple. She then moved over to Eagleheart on Adult Swim and finally to black-ish on ABC.  Originally, “Smart” was a web series she and her partner starred in, but now we get to have it .  She currently works as a writers’ assistant on ABC’s comedy Black-ish. “Smart” was originally a web series she and Melanie starred in together, but we’re very excited to preview the brand-new live production, directed by the expert Tamar Halpern.

1. What are the top 3 movies/plays/shows that have inspired you?

I always knew I wanted to be a writer, but it wasn’t until I saw an episode of the show Six Feet Under in high school that I had any idea how amazing television could be, and I knew right then that THAT was what I wanted to do.  I literally caught the episode about two weeks before I had to choose my colleges to apply to, and I told my parents the next day “Don’t worry guys.  I have it all figured out.  I’m going to be a TV major.”  In case you were wondering, it was Season 3 Episode 6 (“Making Love Work”), and to this day it’s the Cold Open death that haunts me the most.

In the last five years, the show Happy Endings inspired me in that I want to write for a show like that — it’s a smart, single camera, hilarious show.

And in my personal life, I’ve mostly been inspired my My Best Friend’s Wedding.  It’s a friendly reminder to go for what you want early in life, because your bad behavior will not be rewarded favorably later.

2. Did you go to film/theater school? What led you to being a writer or director?

I may have answered some of this question earlier, but I did follow through with my insane proclamation to my parents.  I went to Boston University and majored in film and television.  I took as many television screenwriting classes as possible and upon graduation moved to Los Angeles to do a Post Grad “Writer In Hollywood” program that BU offered.

3. Why do you personally want to collaborate with other women through One Axe?

I love female driven projects.  I’ve never had more fun since I partnered up with Melanie Kirschbaum.  I’ve had nothing but good experiences since I’ve started working in this industry, but there is no denying the feeling that men run this town and sexism exists.  I like the idea of networking with and meeting as many talented and successful women as possible.  Besides, men are garbage! (Kidding…)

4. “Where are you going, where have you been?”

I’ve been working towards where I’m going, and this is a stop along the way!  Makes sense, right?

Casting: 2 female co-leads for a COMEDY

News, Uncategorized

Screen shot 2015-02-24 at 5.54.15 PM

We are now casting for 2 female co-leads for a COMEDY in our One Axe Spring Industry Showcase.

Auditions will take place on Saturday, FEBRUARY 28, 11am–1pm. Location: West LA. (Plenty of street parking.)

Please send an email to oneaxeplays@gmail.com, including your headshot in jpg, your preferred time slot, the role you’re auditioning for, and full contact information. We will send you the full script, the location address, and the sides you should prepare.

Our Spring Showcase takes place on the evening of March 28, so please do not audition if you cannot commit to that date. Rehearsals are flexible and will be determined by the director. As always, this will not be a time-consuming affair, but you will be working with professional female directors and writers to develop what is hopefully an ongoing relationship.

If this role doesn’t speak to you, we will have exponential casting opportunities in the future for our other showcases, but we would greatly appreciate if you would circulate to any interested parties who would be a good fit.


Written by Melanie Kirschbaum & Alexandra Decas

Directed by Tamar Halpern

Logline: Triggered by a conversation about our national treasure, Elizabeth Smart, two best friends nitpick each other’s life decisions, but ultimately realize that neither has it quite together.

Character Breakdowns:

Alexandra and Melanie are best friends and roommates, both in their 20s, and have been through a lot together, yet haven’t learned all that much from their experiences.

Alexandra – Slightly more together, slightly, which gives her a douchey air of judgmental superiority. Alex is gluten-free, not due to a gluten intolerance, but because she thinks it makes her interesting. Spoiler alert: it does not.

Melanie – Not particularly informed and therefore misuses Elizabeth Smart’s heroic life to justify her poor choices. Melanie’s claim to fame is continuing to exist after eating a yogurt that was left in the fridge for six years. Quote: “It was delicious.”