Spring Showcase Writer #7: Ari Berkowitz

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Berkowitz Headshot

Ariana (Ari) Berkowitz sent us a short script called “Potty Mouth” that was so strange and smart that we had to take it. We tried to describe it to friends—no, there’s this hot girl like in teen sex comedies, but she’s actually a toilet—and found ourselves devolving into diatribes about the movies Mannequin and Splash. But seriously: why are dudes always falling for inanimate objects and fish? Are there literally NO HUMAN WOMEN they’d find attractive? Anyway, we had to find the right director for her piece, which was going to be difficult, as she needed to intimately understand the push and pull of a very physical screwball comedy. But it turned out that Kat Vondy was the special match—they even worked at the same place and had never met! We’re so excited to unveil this piece from Ari, who told us she most recently wrote an episode of television where a girl fell out of a chair for the USA show Benched.

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

Die Hard 

Die Hard with a Vengeance

While You were Sleeping 

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

I didn’t go to film school, but I did play a round of MASH that told me I’d be a TV writer. I’m real into fulfilling destinies.

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

Women’s voices are so underrepresented in our cultural creations and I’m so excited to be part of a group where women are helping women to be heard. The more we represent our own experiences — the more honest and supportive our culture will be.

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

The Bar.

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Spring Showcase Director #4: Kat Vondy

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KVondy Headshot

 Kat Vondy had written to us early on, expressing interest in directing something for the stage. She’d been working in film/video, had racked up some awards for her films (like her USC thesis “The Broken Heart of Gnocchi Bolognese”) but had just come off of directing a live show for Lost Moon Radio. We read her email, loved it, and then promptly buried it in an ever-growing and insurmountable inbox. Lucky for us, she wrote a reminder, and we were just looking for a director who could take a screwball comedy by Ari Berkowitz and elevate it to an artful physical performance.

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

I grew up in a time and place in which most of the movies I had access to were big budget studio films, and it wasn’t until I took a film class during my freshman year of college that I began to get more exposure to independent and art films. Short Cuts, Blue Velvet and Don’t Look Now were three films I saw at that time that really started to change how I looked at movies. I saw there were more ways to tell a story than I’d previously thought.

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

Yes, I received an MFA in Film and Television Production from USC. I wish I knew what compelled me to write and direct! I feel like, growing up, I just always sort of found myself doing creative projects without really having made a conscious decision to do them. Then, when I was trying to figure out how serious I was about pursuing a creative career and was thinking about applying to film school, I remember talking it over with a friend who basically said “If you don’t go to film school, you probably won’t end up being a director, because it’ll be harder to get the skills. It could happen, it’s just not that likely. But if you go to film school, you MIGHT end up be a director.” And that was a very reasonable assessment of the situation, so I applied.

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

It’s basically impossible for just one person to put on a show or make a film; these are collaborative forms of art and entertainment and they don’t happen unless people work together. Also, it’s not a reality TV competition, so I’m here to make friends.

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

Figurative answer: I am going to try new things, even/especially if they are scary, and I have been working very hard to find out what those things could be.

Literal answer: I am going to a friend’s house to watch a reality TV competition, and I have been to the dentist.