Sunday, May 20, 2007

Shrek May Be Dreck But Banderas is Boss

Well what the heck, Shrek the Third is getting lousy reviews. The Hollywood Reporter panned it, as did every other review I could get my hands on.

But for me… it’s Puss In Boots that gets my personal review. HOT! GREAT! DYNAMIC!

Just before Shrek the Third was released, as a writer for the local newspaper, I was invited to a roundtable discussion/interview with Antonio Banderas and other members of the press. Click on the picture to hear an MP3 of my final question to Banderas.

Banderas was animated and enthusiastic. The media loved him and his candid nature wooded us all.

So you may not want to see the movie after the lousy reviews, but I’d love to take you behind the scenes to learn more about the man behind Puss In Boots and the animation process that honors the individual more than the script.

Here’s an excerpt from my article which will be featured in the Happy Herald,the good news newspaper, in the June edition.

“The animation process,” Antonio explained, “Is really amazing and much different than regular methods. I go into the studio for a few hours and read my part with my full body expression. I am not with any of the other actors. Actually, we meet each other just for the final scene, where we all sing a song together. We all work independently. The character is animated by replicating my body movements. So when I see the film, I am seeing myself moving as Puss in Boots. It’s incredible. The best part is the evolution of the movie and the characters.

I have been given license to be spontaneous and the script changes according to what comes from my creativity. You know, it is amazing; I have been in America for such a short time and had so much success. This film is so great because I was encouraged to use my natural voice and my natural movement. This is so fresh and so unique.”

Banderas reflected on the difference between performing on Broadway in the acclaimed show Nine,when he performed 14 songs over the span of two hours and forty five minutes -- eight times a week, and doing the voice of Puss In Boots. “When I was in the theater, I was very protective of my voice. I wouldn’t even speak during the day and I was scared to death of getting a hairball. But when I was invited to use my voice and accent and to spit hairballs for Puss, well, this was great. I could let myself go entirely.”

“I don't really care about my career,” Banderas concluded in our riveting interview. “I’ve seen many actors who are always planning what they're going to do next or worrying about avoiding movies that will go against the image they've created. I’ve seen many actors who have been offered great parts, but don’t take them for fear that the audiences’ perception of them will be influenced. These actors are attempting to preserve an image of themselves.

I am different. I am comedian in the old tradition of actors who traveled from village to village and if you have seen my career develop in Americas, it is based on eclecticism. Being an actor is about being willing to change. I have done movies based on social issues, action and adventure. I’ve directed movies, been on Broadway, now I do kids movies in animation. For me, to liberate myself from the constraints of image is the true value of being an actor.”

Maybe when you see the movie Shrek the Third, it will inspire you to animate your life and liberate yourself from roles that no longer suit you. In any event, may you embrace your true voice and be motivated to venture into new territory.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Stress and Technology

This morning I woke up to a warning. " Liz Sterling," my first thoughts implored me to listen, "You have too much stress." Get a grip!

I spent the entire week learning about web casting, web site optimization,keywords, pod casting,conversion to MP3 files,digitizing,web conferencing and blogging. My brain is on overload,my body is exhausted and my mind is overwhelmed with information overload.

Two glasses of wine didn't make a dent. My head is spinning with statistics and can't seem to grok all this new technology. Maybe it's a generational thing.

Kids today can take any iPod, cell phone or remote control and manage it with finesse. Their brains seem to be wired for the new technology. But my generation, the babes from the 60's and 70's , we have to carve new grooves in our brains.

I feel like a dinosaur in this modern world; struggling to stay afoot.

Could evolution be so prevalent as to show itself in only one generation?

I can't be the only 50 year old woman who feels this way. Geez, half my freinds and business associates think I've gone off the deep end. The stress is way too overwhelming. What's the answer?

Monday, April 16, 2007

Enough is Enough

When are we going to get it? Enough is enough. How much garbage are we going to put into our brains? How much information do we need? How many broadcasters, journalists, talk show hosts and writes need to tell us how to think, what to feel and when to turn the dial, page or remote?

Enough is enough. Bill, Rosie, Greta, Larry, are you ever gonna help people think for themselves? Do you really think this is good for the American population; spoon feeding your opinions and leading your guests to agree with you?

Between the war, the terrorists, the nor'easter and the shootings, the Duke boys, Al Sharpton and Imus, it's no wonder people are going crazy, acting out and taking Prozac.

We are being fed fear and depleting our sensible resources. We need food for the soul and nourishment for the spirit. We are craving information to inspire, uplift and enhance the info- stream that is currently running amok.

Since blogging, I listen to the barrage of information that is threatening to erode our worth. It's absurd. Enough is enough. Is this a conspiracy? To denigrate our intelligence and turn us into mindless beings. I'm not playing your game. O'Reilly thinks there is a problem. Wake up O'Reilly, you're part of it!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Did Karma Kill Don Imus's Radio Show?

Bill O’Reilly says it was karma that got Don Imus fired. “He has hurt a lot of people in the past.” What goes around comes around.

Imagine my shock when the shock jock was held accountable for his actions? And if the networks didn’t hold him accountable, karma would have anyway.

So what’s karma got to do with it? Everything!

In Hinduism, karma literally means "deed" or "act" and is the universal principle of cause and effect, action and reaction. Karma is a natural law of the mind, just as gravity is a law of matter.

Karma is not fate, for man acts with free will, creating his own destiny. The Vedas tell us that if we sow evil, we will reap evil; if we sow goodness, we will reap goodness.

It turns out that Karma refers to all our actions and their parallel reactions in this and previous lives, all of which determine our future.

Looks like Don Imus is getting a taste of his own medicine.

So what does this have to do with us?

The bottom line is, everyone one of us has thoughts that are less than honorable. If you listen in to your own thoughts, you’ll hear lots of judgment, about yourself and others.

What you and I do is edit what we say out loud. We may think dark, evil or negative things… all day long. And then we hopefully replace the negative thoughts with positive ones.

Debbie Ford the author of, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers says, “It is only when you have the courage to see yourself exactly as you are without any self-deception or illusion that you will have the power and the courage to radically be conscious of those we affect.

Maybe if Don Imus had taken time to self-reflect, he would have embraced his shdow instead of projecting it on others.

The great 13th century Sufi mystic and poet Jalal ud-Din Rumi, whose writings have illuminated the darkness for many, shows how important it is to welcome the internal offenders so we don’t offend others.
Reprinted from the Sun-Sentinel column by Liz Sterling.

The Guest House:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Lucky for Don Imus -- he can blame it all on karma.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Warming Up to Global Warming

My friend Carri inspired me to warm up on global warming tonight. It was an innocent phone call while driving home from work. “Liz,” she said, “I am now working with socio-conscious companies who care about the environment. They are green, eco-friendly and promoting alternative products to sustain the environment.”

I felt as if I was out of my element. Yes, I’ve heard these words, but in that moment, it hit me; I have not done my homework, nor taken any steps to really make a difference.

My inaction probably comes from the belief that one person doesn’t really matter. Then I remembered The Starfish Story by Loren Eiseley.

One day a man was walking along the seashore. He noticed that during the night many starfish had washed upon the beach. As he strolled along, he noticed a small figure dancing in the distance. It made him chuckle to think of someone celebrating life in such an uninhibited way.

As he drew closer, however, it became apparent that the figure was not dancing. Instead, she seemed to be repeatedly performing some ritual. He drew nearer still and noticed that the small figure was a child. She was methodically picking up starfish and tossing them into the surf. He paused for a moment, puzzled, and then asked, "Why are you throwing these starfish?" "It's high tide," she replied, "If I leave them on the beach, the sun will soon dry them and they will die. I am throwing them into the ocean so they can live."

The man considered her actions, impressed with the child's thoughtfulness. Then he motioned up and down the miles of the beach. "There must be thousands of starfish along here," he said, "You cannot possibly make a difference." The young girl stopped. Her face darkened. She chewed thoughtfully on her lower lip, "You're probably right," she said softly. She looked down at the sand. Then she leaned over, carefully picked up another starfish, pulled back and arched it gently into the sea. With a tone of gentle defiance, she said, "But I made a difference for that one."

Is it possible that one act, by one person, can really make a difference in the issues surrounding global warming?

OK, I missed Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. I barely know how to recycle. I throw out plastic bags and I’ve been persuaded by friends that the Prius is ugly. Bottom line, I’m not carrying my weight in this crisis. So I’ve decided to learn a little more.

Fortunately, a recent report entitled Stop Global Warming: A U.N. climate change report released April 6, details the possible effects of global warming -- food shortages, more hurricanes, more wildfires, coastal flooding and more.

I decided to find out what I can do and there is a plethora of information on the web and in a multitude of periodicals.

Hans Verolme, director of the global climate change program of the World Wide Fund for Nature says,"Doing nothing is not an option."

Here’s what we can do to contribute to creating a healthier planet and a sustainable world.

Buy Products That Have Earned the Energy Star

Turn Off Everything You Don’t Need Turned On.

Go Green in Driving, Buying, Building, Shopping, Traveling, Investing, Eating, Drinking and Educating Yourself and Family.

I know I am warming up to stop global warming – as Verolme said, “Doing nothing is not an option."

Monday, April 9, 2007

Tony Soprano... Role Model for Personal Growth?

The Soprano's are back!

As 9:00 rolled around, I was positioned like every other couch potato in America; chips in one hand, drink in the other.

What compels me to watch the Sopranos? I practice pacifism. I abhor violence. And even though I occasionally curse, I have faith that there are more appropriate ways to express ourselves than to use four letter words in every sentence.

So in the midst of scratching my head for an answer as to why I was watching this again....Janice Soprano, Tony's sister says, "You know Tony, you have really changed since the accidental shooting. You are not the same person you were before that episode happened."

Although Tony Soprano acted as if he didn't understand -- anyone who has ever experienced trauma in their lives, understands all too well.

Steven Covey said, "In the absence of wake-up calls, many of us never really confront the critical issues of life."

Haven't you noticed that Tony Soprano has changed? I think his shooting was a wake-up call.

Aside from his duties and responsibilities as a mob boss, he has displayed some interesting new characteristics in his personality.

The Tony Soprano we have known so well is now more tolerant, compassionate, empathetic, sincere, loyal and intuitive.

Each of these qualities are important signposts for our own personal development.

The personal growth movement is alive and well. Oprah, Dr. Phil, Deepak Chopra, John Gray and many others have opened the doors for personal exploration.

Who could have believed that Tony Soprano would too?

Sunday, April 8, 2007

EveryDay is a Winding Road

A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Chinese saying
President John F. Kennedy popularized this saying in a televised broadcast
from the White House in a treaty that banned the atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.
July 26, 1963

Last night I watched all 4 hours and 45 minutes of the Ten Commandments. That Moses, man, he really had a conviction that allowed him to endure many hardships.

For me, well, if my bagel isn't toasted enough in a restaurant, I get peeved. Guess I could work on "Letting Go" and "Letting God."

But in the meantime, it is Easter. When I woke up this morning, I had no idea I'd be starting a blog. Well, what better day to begin a new project than the day that Jesus rose from the dead?

It's a time of new beginnings, and a day that reminds us to have faith in the miraculous events that can change the way we see the world.

The Sterling Spin will turn you around. Liken it to walking on a winding country road and finding a magnificent gemstone on the ground.

It is here that you will see that life is the gift and that every experience is grist for the mill.

I love to spin the problems that people encounter in everyday life. There is a reason for everything and it's my job to help people see that everything is in perfect order.

So today is the day I call on the minuscule amount of conviction I have to discipline myself in writing daily. I've been thinking it would be good. Watch and see if I'm true to me.