Category Archives: Jill Adler’s Personal Blog

Sundance Film Festival To Give Covid Boosters To Attendees


While we all anxiously wait for the post-holiday Covid numbers to confirm what we all expect, Sundance Film Festival organizers. already foreseeing another Super Spreader sitch, plan to not only require Covid boosters but will actually offer shots to eligible attendees, according to an exclusive (unofficial) report in Variety.

In the wake of Hollywood dropouts like the annual Palm Springs Film Festival, the film academy’s annual Governors Awards and the Critics Choice Awards, Sundance is trepidatiously hanging on. The showcase for independent filmmakers went virtual for 2021 but is back in hybrid form for 2022; online for couch surfers and in-person for __?____, January 20 to 30.

COVID-19 cases have hit record rates in Utah’s Summit County. According to the local health department, on Monday there were 136 new cases; the largest single-day total since the start of the pandemic. The good news is that hospitalizations have not increased. The bad news is that people are getting scared again- that things will shut down, flights will be cancelled, Covid restrictions will become restrictive. But Sundance Institute (and Park City) needs Sundance FF to emerge.

Sundance plans to use PandemSafe to verify proof of vaccination. Individuals will upload their vaccination card into the PandemSafe portal via an email they receive after purchasing tickets. The buyer then gets a QR code to show for a wristband but if guests don’t want to be tracked in a third-party system, they can just bring their vax card to a hub to get a wristband. However, QR codes will be accepted at the theaters but not vaccine cards.

The vaccine verification hubs will also offer free COVID-19 PCR and rapid tests to accommodate the requirement that all employees, volunteers, and onsite contractors be tested at check-in and mid-way through the festival. Attendees too must pop in for testing if they visit anything other than screenings such as private events, Q&As, seminars and press lines.

Current hubs:

Kearns Bonanza Corner (Old Maverick Station)

  • January 17 – January 30 from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM MST

Miners Hospital

  • January 20 – January 25 from 2:00 PM – 11:00 PM MST
  • January 26 – January 30 from 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM MST

Galleria Parking Lot off of Main Street in Park City

  • January 17 – January 30 from 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM MST

Disney Time


There is much ado in the House of Mouse this summer and this Disney geek for one couldn’t be more excited. I’ve entered every online Disney contest I can find.


Summer of Heroes is Coming

Gone is the Tower of Terror; replaced by the new Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! inside Disney California’s Adventure Park. The ride along with the new Super Heroes area opens May 27. Instead of following a celebrity couple, a child star, her nanny, and a hotel bellhop into a 1930s elevator, you’ll help Rocket bust his pals out of the Collector’s Fortress, then rise and fall in the gantry lift as it rocks music inspired by the film’s popular soundtrack. You’ll still get the randomized ride experience you had from the Tower but there will be all-new visual and audio effects.

The Super Hero vibe spreads beyond the Guardians through September 10 with these events:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off! – Star-Lord fires up his old-school boom box to get the party started.
  • Super Hero Encounters – Meet Groot, Captain America, and Spider-Man.
  • Avengers Training Initiative – Black Widow and Hawkeye assemble young recruits for a series of tests to see if they have what it takes to join the ranks of the Avengers.
  • Heroic Encounter: Black Widow – Black Widow will arrive on the scene several times throughout the day in an armored Avengers vehicle for her heroic encounter with park guests.
  • Grab a Piece (or Bite) of the Action –  Special themed merchandise and food will be available throughout Hollywood Land.

Oh,The Parades

The summer at Disneyland park brings back classic favorites like the Disneyland Railroad and Rivers of America attractions, with the “Fantasmic!” nighttime spectacular returning later in the summer. The classic Main Street Electrical Parade will have a limited run at Disneyland park through June 18.

The Main Street Electrical Parade will roll through Disneyland until August 20. The Rivers of America and Fantasmic! are re-opening at Disneyland Park.


When To Go

If I could get away this month, I would. May (before Memorial Day) is the perfect time to play in the Magic Kingdom. I just might make it to California. Fingers crossed. A trip to Disney World and Universal is already in the works for November. I went to Disney World in October once and it was a hot, humid mess. It’s unfathomable how millions travel to Orlando in the heat of the summer. Who cares if that’s when school’s out. The crowds, humidity and heat make it the most absolutely dismal time to go. That said, if you plan to visit, here are some deals to be had.

Get One Free

Book a trip through Utah’s Get Away Today and get an extra day free at Disneyland. In other words, get a 5-day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper ticket for the price of a 4-day. With the kids out of school and longer park hours, your family will be able to take advantage of having more time at the parks.

Save over $160 per person over gate prices with the Southern California CityPASS. You’ll get a 3-day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper ticket, and 1-day admission to both LEGOLAND California and SeaWorld San Diego.

With the Disney/Universal Combo Ticket you’ll save even more on your Disneyland Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood tickets. Both Park Hopper and 1-Park per Day options are available for either two or three days. All combo tickets include a 1-day ticket to Universal Studios Hollywood. Experience everything the Disneyland Resort has to offer this summer and explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and more at Universal Studios Hollywood.


Stephen Folker Overdue: An Actor’s Cautionary Tale

stephen folker overdue

“Haven’t you read the Bullshit Artist’s Handbook?” My boyfriend laughed at me. Stephen Folker’s Overdue was a horror story in every way. Well, ok, no one died a horrible bloody death but the promise of a fun, feature horror film experience surely got macheted. To be honest, the red flags dotted the playing field like battleship pieces. But I filed those away because 1) I am an actor who wants to work and 2) Backstage was for professionals, right? It’s not like I found this opportunity surfing Craigslist.

It all began with a post on Backstage- an online resource for movie industry professionals. A guy named Stephen Folker was casting for kids for his drama script. After three Skype meetings and umpteen lengthy phone conversations he chose my daughter Sage, then 9 (she’s 10 now), for his lead. I read the script he wrote and thought it was terrific and the perfect opportunity to showcase her talent. There would be no pay unless he raised more money. The film never got made.

But during that year Folker talked to me about another script he wrote and which he also posted on Backstage. It was a horror comedy called Overdue about a serial killer who takes it personally when you don’t return your library books. Apparently someone gave Folker money to do this one and he was hunting for a cast and shoot date.

He went on and on about the potential for Overdue and how great he wanted to make it. He said he already had an actress cast but she “wasn’t very good” and she knew nothing about making a character real or taking direction. He had seen my work, read my resume, watched me over the year and played into my actor’s psyche- he recognized my talent. In an instant I was in and she was out. You bet I was flattered. Are you seeing the red flag yet? In the back of my mind I thought, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” In other words, if he could do that to her, he could also do it to me.

Stephen Folker’s Overdue Payment

Overdue, according to Folker, also had a pea-sized budget. Right off the bat I told him I would only head to Iowa (from Utah) if it wouldn’t cost me anything. I was willing to take a chance on deferred pay but he needed to cover my expenses. “That sounds reasonable. We are all in this together and there’s no money for anyone,” he confided. I secretly wondered why, then, was he posting on Backstage- an international online resource for the movie industry. If you can’t afford to bring talent in, you should be posting on Facebook and Craigslist not a forum where actors across the country will be wanting to audition. I kept my mouth shut.

I’m all for helping friends with passion projects but we’re talking me driving halfway across the country for someone I didn’t know and who liked to talk sh*t about everyone he’s ever worked with and fire when they’ve challenged him. He ranted about one actor who came to film his first horror flick (for free) because the actor didn’t want to go into the woods until they made sure the site was clear of poison ivy. “I’ll never work with him again. Can you believe that?” he said in shock. Uh, yeah. You don’t have a set medic, you don’t have workers comp and your actor is out of state so there’s no health insurance coverage. I would want the set checked for poison ivy, snakes and dumbasses too. I kept my mouth shut.

Folker had a script, he had already reimbursed me for my Iowa AirBnB so I did believe this project was going to happen. I had even purchased the scariest wardrobe for Overdue I had ever seen. Which he also promised to reimburse. I was ready to drive. A lead in a horror film would be a blast to produce even if it sucked beans. But my instincts told me a handshake (or some promises over the phone) wasn’t enough.

The word exploitation came to mind. A horror film sells- even really bad ones. And Folker had sold his last one and was also posting a low budget webseries. With now a track record, a decent enough script and actors who might know what they were doing this time he could even score a cult hit (an actor can dream after all). Folker needed to share if he was going to continue to make money off his talent.

Points off the Backend

“If the $100/day is an issue, how about “points off the backend”?” I suggested. I wasn’t really sure what backend points meant other than that’s what some actors do when they want to do a project and the producer doesn’t have the budget…. which is itself odd. He has the money to pay the crew, the sound, the post but no money for the actors? Well, ok, but I wasn’t going to literally work for nothing and I told him that. If his other actors wanted to work for free, God bless ‘em. But for me to travel all that way, I personally wanted a stake in the project. “I was going to suggest that,” he said. “If it were me, I’d do points over deferred too.” I set about doing my research.

Leo DiCaprio did a backend deal with Inception and made his biggest payday ever. Jonah Hill too; for The Wolf Of Wall Street. But no one’s going to f&^k with Jonah or Leo. “You never ever get backend,” a producer friend advised. “Doesn’t matter what the wording says. In 100 movies, we’ve never had to pay our back ends. There’s always a way to calculate against it.” Sigh.

I was pretty sure that with either deferred or points, I wasn’t going to see a dime. However, having it negotiated and in writing still made it feel legit and professional. Plus, it might net me something down the line in case it pulled a Blair Witch. We’re all aware of stories of indie hits like Spinal Tap, where investors and producers make money and the actors make squat. Don’t get me wrong. I will and have totally worked for craft services and credit but we agreed on deferred or points. Free was never on the table for Overdue.

Full Steam Ahead For Overdue?

Time came to drive, I sent the deal memo with exactly what we had talked about over the past month. “I’m not giving you 2 percent and no f&#king way will you have access to my accounting,” he said when he read it. “My other actors are thrilled for this exposure I’m giving them. None of us are professionals here. We’re just making our sh*tty little movies hoping that one day our hobby might become something more. That memo is great for a real production but not this.” Whaaaat?

All of a sudden I felt the tug of manipulation- one of my all-time biggest buttons. “You’re the only one who wants an agreement in writing; I take care of my people and I wouldn’t screw anyone over; I fired my New York actor so you could have this shot; what if I made you pay me $1000 every time you used a clip from my movie to market yourself? That’s the value you’re getting; I’m starting to get a headache and this feels like drama; don’t you think you’re being extreme?” The message was clear- back off or I’ll replace you too.

But here’s where his calculations erred. 1) I could care less about his ‘exposure’. I was doing this for the adventure and challenge. 2) I don’t trust anyone who says I’m a good guy, you can trust me. 3) If I want to make free movies I don’t have to drive 17 hours. Utah’s a hotbed for them. 4) I’m a really mellow person but when you treat me like I’m difficult just because I’m a woman standing up for what’s right, I want to punch you in the face.

I calmly replied, “No I’m not being extreme. I just want in writing what we already agreed to.” I read his counter offer memo: 2% Of Netted Foreign Sales garnered from Sales Agent from initial sale. Payment will be made after Producer receives payment and recoups expenses for territory or territories in regard to deliverables / out of pocket foreign marketing expenses. This deal is limited to foreign sales only and will not include domestic (US & Canada), theatrical, Cable, VOD, DVD or Web Related Sales.   The language was clear- you’re working for free. And it begged the question, “If you’re making a sh*tty little horror film that will never sell what the hell are you hiding?

I sent him a message- “let’s just go back to deferred and forget about the points. That’s obviously an issue.” Long story, short-er. He replaced me in less than 24 hours to film a feature that started in two days. I can only guess that the actor is a local, doing it for free and Folker doesn’t have to pay her expenses or have anything in writing other than his own, one-sided talent release. He got what he wanted for his “sh*tty little movie”. Why he wasted both our time remains a mystery.

I dodged a bullet but I can’t help feeling jaded. Sites like Backstage, Actors Access, Casting Networks etc. can’t weed out every predator and protect eager actors, and often we overlook the obvious for the opportunity to perform. Maybe it’s time we all go back and re-read that Handbook.

Sage’s Awesome Acting Camp- Day 1

As I approached Burbank, Calif., on the “5” as locals like to call it, I was feeling a bit like a blind person in a fun house. What was going to happen tonight? Tomorrow? The next week? What do I do? How do I structure these three weeks so Sage begins to develop industry relationships? How do I make the most of this expensive adventure? Which I do want to thank everyone who helped make this happen by purchasing a cool Ski. Play. Live. T-Shirt. J

I told myself to trust that the “Awesome Acting” summer camp itself will be enough; that even if she doesn’t have auditions or meetings she will gain so much from this experience. Still, I felt I didn’t have a real gameplan. I hate that. Yet, I tried several times over the past year to ask other mothers about their experience and what they did to help promote their kids. I might as well have been interrogating a criminal mastermind. No one was sharing anything. No one offered guidance and the little info I did glean was always guarded. WTF? Are we going to be competition? It’s not like there aren’t thousands of kids here doing the same thing.

I will therefore be that storyboard for future mothers and fathers that are considering bringing their kids out to Los Angeles to be an actor. Maybe you will learn a few things- what to do; what not to do. Maybe this will turn out to be a total waste of time. Maybe Sage will hate acting and want to be a professional lacrosse player by the fall.

It started when she was a baby. I dragged her to all of my auditions and classes. Little baby Sage in her stroller or car seat. Casting Director Catrine McGregor will tell you how I met her at the Salt Lake International Airport for a private coaching session while she sat stranded for hours in the JetBlue terminal. Sage slept quietly in her stroller. She ski modeled with me and when she was old enough to remember lines she joined my agency (TMG) and started auditioning herself. It just seemed the natural thing to do because I was going anyway. People wondered if I would be able to handle her booking a part in something but not me. I had that one hit hard when we both read for Hallmark’s Christmas Under Wraps and they cast someone else (IOW someone younger) to play her mom. I felt a sting…and then I went kayaking in Oregon, let Ryan take Sage to set while I was gone and I got over it. We both had a blast that day.

This month is all about Sage. Sage has the agent in LA; not me. And that’s just fine. It’s her time. I love watching her work and grow. Robin recommended that she come out and stay a bit so here we are. She referred us to Jack Turnbull and his and so we did. From what I saw today- our first day- I couldn’t be happier.

Awesome Acting Camp Summer Intensive

A young girl in her 20s named Amber corralled this bunch. Amber had taken classes from Jack and eventually he trained her to coach there. With kids, your ability to engage is more important than your resume. Of course, parents are going to want to know that the coach knows what he or she is talking about and I can assure you that Amber was spot on.

I was instantly impressed with her ability to connect and be one of the gang while at the same time commanding the level of respect to keep the modest room in check. Controlled mischief. This is class and it’s supposed to be safe and fun. It’s ok to be goofy and laugh and make mistakes. Amber was selective in her feedback so they never felt like they were being lectured. Plus, not everything needed pointing out 24/7.

There are kids from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Arizona, LA and Utah of varying levels of experience. Most are here for the entire summer. Only six attended this morning so they had plenty of time to play improv games, talk about commercial auditions, slating and learning lines, and practice auditioning. Sage was nervous on her first day, she told me tonight. The other kids knew each other because they did the camp last week too. And she felt alienated. I didn’t see that. Sage held her own and seemed to be having a lot of fun. She jumped into the games, listened intently to instructions and directions and learned a few things along the way. The class lasted two hours. We met a writer friend of mine for lunch around the corner at sweet little café called Aroma, went grocery shopping at Target then took a nap back at the AirBnB apartment. We would be back at the Awesome Acting Club for one hour at 6 p.m.

Fast Track

The evening “fast track” classes have more seasoned kids in them- and more obnoxious boys. I felt a little sorry for their coach. Each night is a different genre and tonight was improv. The kids were not really understanding the concept; but again she was not quick to critique or interrupt when they got going. For example, one of the first rules of improv is never say, “no” to your scene partners. It’s “yes, and…” One actor says, “Boy it’s hot in here.” And the other better not say, “No it’s not.” You can’t build a scene from there. Instead you wind up with an argument. They should say, “Yes, and my Momma told me when it gets this hot I should stick my head in the freezer.” I heard a lot of nos tonight but the coach left it for discussion after the scene rather than stopping the action and calling them out.

When we got to the apartment our “landlords” had made us a welcome dinner of Pilipino Cajun shrimp. After dinner, Sage voraciously attacked her homework- a chewing gum commercial.

So we made it. Day one of Sage’s Summer of Acting is down and out. And so is she by the way.

Don’t Ski Alone; Ski Alta

Ski Alta

If you hate skiing alone, you can’t be shy. I had the ultimate dilemma today. None of my friends could come out to play. It was a Tuesday; a work day for most and forecasters had called Wednesday the day to catch the Powder Flu; not today. Yet the 7 a.m. SkiUtah report touted 16 inches of new snow. The Cottonwood Canyon resorts finally reached over an 100″ base. You see, I couldn’t miss a day like today just because I didn’t have anyone to ski with.

Ski Alta

Often I lack motivation so if no one wants to ski, I stay home. But not on a serious powder day. Alta it was. The reason I chose Alta and the reason I choose that resort every time I ski alone is because I’m alone for about one run.

My friend Rachael jokes that I picked her up on the Collins Lift. I also met a good friend, Brad, one year in Catherine’s, and my fellow Parkite Sarah was cruising off Wildcat. Ten years later we still ski together; we also yard sale in the summer, go to dinner, and chat on Facebook. But it’s a Tuesday and no one was available. (Although they should be.)

As I pulled into the Rustler Lodge parking lot my anticipation for fresh tracks was growing along with the size of my bladder. I desperately needed a bathroom. It’s easy to make a pit stop without irritating your friends when you start your day by yourself. Soon, I was riding the Collins lift and looking around for other singles. One woman was heading in to chef at the Collins Grill. Another guy had one run before he too had to get back to work. No takers from the first chair ride so it was time to ski. I knew it would be great in Eagle’s Nest. Halfway down, there they were three ladies whooping it up and charging hard. Turns out their fearless leader -Susan Hagen- is a part-time instructor at Alta and the other two gals used to work up on the mountain in the old Watson Shelter. It was now or never. We were all panting and praising the 900 vertical we had just chewed up, with another 900 or so to come, below us. I said, “Hey, can I join you?” Only at Alta is the answer “yes” 100 percent of the time.

There’s something unique about this classic big mountain area located in the rear of Little Cottonwood Canyon. It holds the soul of skiers past and present – you never really feel alone in the first place. No other place in the Wasatch feels this communal. Singles skiing at other resorts seem to have an agenda and they are not to be bothered. At Alta, they’re happy to share their turns with strangers.

For the next two hours, we followed Susan through Regal Chute (twice), Eagle’s Nest, North Rustler and finally a hike up to the High Notch. The fresh snow was bottomless in most areas. It was tracked out quickly but still pillowy and forgiving. I made five runs, 8800 vertical, in two hours- including the hike. The peer factor. These ladies made me ski harder than I would if I was skiing with Ryan and definitely harder than if I was alone. Had that been the case I probably would have meandered down two runs and called it. This morning was filled with spirit, laughter, smiles, burning thighs and deep breaths as we carved up the deep spring powder that was both untracked and soft crud. At noon my new posse headed in. I waved goodbye but not before I got everyone’s last name and said I’d find them on Facebook. I wondered if they’ll be back on the hill tomorrow. If not I’ll just have to go back to Alta to make more ski buddies.

Ski Alta

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