This past spring, I joined with Emmy-winning documentarian Gayle Kirschenbaum as Co-Producer and story consultant for her ten-years in the making, heartbreakingly courageous film, "Look At Us Now, Mother!" It was an honor and a privilege to work with Gayle on a raw and personal film that I believe will change and heal many lives.
Here's the genesis of "Look At Us Now, Mother!" - in 2004, Gayle's comedy short, "My Nose", became a popular festival hit. With her trademark self-deprecating humor, Gayle told the story of her mother Mildred’s lifelong crusade to convince her single, middle-aged daughter to get a nose job. But after the laughter died down, Gayle was amazed by the audience reaction. After every screening, she’d be contacted by a dozens of women – and men – from all walks of life, who all confided that they too had a parent whose relentless put-downs and criticism haunted their adult lives. They wanted to know how Gayle could laugh about it.
“Look At Us Now, Mother!” is Gayle’s answer - a raw, fearless but bitingly funny journey into a childhood fraught with pain, shame, and humiliation and an adulthood scarred by its fallout. Woven together from decades of nakedly personal home movies, photos and videos, the film invites audiences to join Gayle on her quest to love, understand, and forgive her proud, formidable, aging mother, before it’s too late. Grudgingly, Mildred agrees to submit to the process – and follows her daughter down a bumpy road of discovery, past intergenerational shame, long-held family secrets and into deeply buried pain. Their relationship changes before our eyes, and teaches a universal lesson of family dynamics, empathy and the power of forgiveness that could be the story of any American family.
Reaction to early screenings have phenomenal - filled with laughter and tears, with everyone from teenagers to senior citizens raving about its power. I encourage you to look for and support "Look At Us Now, Mother" and follow Gayle's workshops on healing and forgiving. Gayle and I look forward to collaborating on other projects in the near future.
Our cutting-edge publisher, Apostrophe Books UK, has branched out into real life paper books - and will soon be making REALITY BOULEVARD available in Trade Paperback format. Just got the first galleys! Please watch this space for more info!
"Reality Boulevard is a book in the tradition of great Hollywood novels, from Carroll and Garrett Graham’s Queer People (1930) to Michael Tolkin’s The Player (1988), and reads like Paddy Chayefsky’s 1976 Network screenplay retooled for the 21st century. With any luck, there will be a movie or TV version of Peltier’s book to bite the hand of an industry that feeds so many but rewards only a fortunate few"
- Kenneth Salikoff, Kirkus Indie Magazine
On November 10th, 2013, the Travel Channel premiered our shocking story on the disappearance of America's protected wild Mustangs (shot this past August.) Viewers responded with enthusiasm, leaving passionate comments on the Travel Channel's FACEBOOK page. Check the Travel Channel's website for future air times, or find the show on iTunes. Get involved in the issue by checking out activist Laura Leigh's website, wildhorseeduction.org (link below.)
Wild Horse Education Foundation
For more info on the plight of the wild horses, visit Laura Leigh at the Wild Horse Education Foundation
Shooting wild horses in captivity at the BLM Palomino Valley Holding Facility (that's me under the hat)
Wild Horses in Nevada for Travel Channel's "America DeClassified"
Thanks to my longtime friend and colleagues Glenn Kirschbaum and Christina Lublin at Indigo Films, I got the chance to produce in the field and consult on a powerful segment for a new Travel Channel series called "America DeClassified." The story surrounds America's protected wild horses in the Nevada desert, which are being rounded up by the thousands by the Bureau of Land Management. 50,000 of them are now "warehoused" at the taxpayers expense, in violation of the 1971 law protecting them. As it turns out, many of these horses are ending up in slaughter plants in Mexico. Why? Apparently, horse "overpopulation" is destroying the rangelands. But what about the hundreds of thousands of head of cattle; or the fracking; or the mineral strip mining - all of which are competing for the same resources? Is it really the horses fault? Or, do they just have the bad luck of not being moneymakers for anyone? An important story I was proud to be a part of. No air date yet.
September 30, 12:00 Noon. Widener University Campus, Philadelphia, PA
RIP Jonathan Winters, Funniest Man Alive
This photo was taken in 1987, when I was production coordinator on a show called "King Kong; The Living Legend".- a thinly-disguised promo for Universal Studios, its tour and the remake of the film "King Kong" with Jessica Lange. Jonathan Winters was the host. Of course, as a 20-something babe in the woods, I didn't get to know him well - but I observed a guy who could simply not stop being funny, not for a moment. He just looked at life in a completely unique way. He was gentle, gentlemanly, and yet seemed quite sensitive and not 100% comfortable in his skin. And he didn't suffer fools at all! It was impossible to get him to keep to the script, which made the show better, of course. RIP, Mr. Winters. Between you and King Kong, the "young me" got to hang out with some real Hollywood legends that year.
MURDER IN MIND
March 27, 2013 BY CHRISTOPHER ROY
The Newport Vermont Daily Examiner
A production crew from Investigation Discovery (pictured) was in town this week shooting an episode about the death of Charles Billis. The crew, Dustin Izsa, Chris Swenson, Tori Roy, and Melissa Jo Peltier, enjoyed breakfast at the Brown Cow Restaurant Tuesday.
The Investigation Discovery Network will be launching a new reality television series about the minds of murderers, tentatively called "Murder in Mind." Producers have been looking for murders where the motive is not always clear. One such case, at least in the eyes of program officials, is the death of Charles Billis at the hands of his wife Christine.
"The premise of the show is about the psychological workings behind murders," explained Melissa Peltier, co-owner of MPH Entertainment. "We're looking for cases that are different; where you ask the questions what, why."
"You can look at Christine as this sort of diabolical black widow who planned this perfect murder or you can look at her as somebody who had just hit bottom and was desperate and this was a desperate murder-suicide gone wrong," said Peltier. "Probably the truth falls somewhere in between."
WBZ Boston-CBS News Radio's popular late night host, Jordan Rich interviews Melissa live about REALITY BOULEVARD and the changing television business. Have a listen to the podcast version!
From a listener who became a reader: "I heard your interview with Jordan Rich a few weeks ago, and grabbed it from iBooks right then :-) The names of the characters alone, drew me in. Each character's story was so captivating, I found myself looking forward to picking the book up to continue reading, and was amazed at how quickly I finished the book. :-) Thanks for writing, and more importantly sharing this great work."
Melissa's "Author Spotlight" on Morgen Bailey's Literary Blog
Melissa talks about the social message behind the rollicking fun of Reality Boulevard
Writer, producer and director Melissa Jo Peltier has worked in entertainment for more than 20 years, earning two Emmys, a Peabody and other awards for her work on documentary TV specials, nonfiction programming and reality shows such as “Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan.”
“I’m not against people being entertained by silly things — I like being entertained by silly things — but I just have this feeling that the images being perpetrated on reality TV, repeated again and again, are just really negative,” Peltier says.
Interview with Melissa on Clara '54's Writing Blog
Melissa on being "In the Zone," her long TV and film career, and how to protect your kids from Reailty TV
"After more than 20 years as an industry insider, she is certainly qualified to give readers a “reality check” about reality television, i.e. most of it isn’t real at all. Melissa says the people behind much of the programming hold an “extremely cynical view and derogatory view of their audience and of the people who are in it.” This makes it all too often akin to a circus sideshow. "
- from ReelLifeWithJane.com
"Reality Boulevard needed a third person voice that could take on the point of view of a wide variety of characters, jumping from character to character when necessary. There are also set-piece moments in the book where I wanted the point of view to be like camera moving through a room; for instance, at the Lights And Sirens wrap party and at the Veritas Awards dinner, picking up little snippets from different people."
- From "Morgen's Author Interviews" Blog
Dana Leigh Chaser - Literary Blog
Interview with Melissa on Author Dana Leigh Chaser's Blog
Ask David Reviews Reality Boulevard
Melissa Jo Peltier
Find out more about the fictional television show depicted in "Reality Boulevard"...
Hollywood Insider Melissa Jo Peltier Lifts Lid on Reality TV in Darkly Funny Novel
5 hours ago by PR Newswire
New York Times bestseller Melissa Jo Peltier turns her attention to the brilliant, back-stabbing world of prime-time television in a wickedly funny new novel, which goes on sale on Tuesday, February 12.
Peltier has worked in entertainment for more than 20 years, making the darkly funny Reality Boulevard a true insider's view of Hollywood and some of America's biggest shows.
In it, we see Oscar-winning producer Marty Maltzman and his staff out of a job - and out on the streets - when long-running docu-series Lights and Sirens is unexpectedly axed. But the Hollywood the team now faces is full of Kardashians and Real Housewives, and they need to survive in a world where it's very hard to tell what's true and what isn't - both on and off screen.
Oscar and Emmy winning documentarian and veteran reality producer (Big Brother, Rescue 911) Arnold Shapiro called the novel "the best satirical look behind the scenes of reality television ever written," adding: "It contains more truth than you would believe."
Todd Milliner, producer of Grimm and Hot in Cleveland, said: "During her 20-plus years in the business, Melissa Jo Peltier has had a front-row seat, watching it all unfold. In this novel, she puts her dry wit and storytelling ability to good use, pulling back the curtain to reveal what really goes on."
Peltier is a double Emmy Award-winning writer and producer behind international hits such as TV's Dog Whisperer, recent multi-festival indie feature White Irish Drinkers, and co-author of seven non-fiction books including five NYT bestsellers. In 1992, her multi-network simulcast Scared Silent hosted by Oprah Winfrey was hailed as television's most watched documentary ever, and earned Ms. Peltier the coveted Humanitas Prize.
Reality Boulevard: writer Melissa Jo Peltier reads an excerpt: http://youtu.be/D48X7p6KaKo?a via @YouTube
Reality Boulevard: writer Melissa Jo Peltier takes us on a Hollywood tour: http://youtu.be/ZGW564wEExU?a via @YouTube
Reality Boulevard has been produced by the innovative London e-publisher ApostropheBooks.com.
It goes on sale this week to owners of every major device, including the Kindle, iPad and Nook, as well as being available to download from more than 1,000 retailers around the world.
For more details about the e-book, visit www.apostrophebooks.com/realityboulevard.
Notes to editors
Apostrophe Books was launched in February 2012, and has since published 27 books, from award-winning fiction to bestselling factual titles. Visit www.apostrophebooks.com for more information.
Under Apostrophe Books' groundbreakingly generous terms, income for all its e-books is split 50/50 with the author.
Melissa Jo Peltier has been honored for her film and television writing, producing and directing with two Emmys, a Peabody, Humanitas and more than fifty other awards and nominations. An executive producer of the thrice Emmy-nominated and People's Choice winning reality series Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, she co-authored five New York Times best-selling books with its star, along with two more non-fiction titles. Melissa is a co-founder of Burbank-based MPH Entertainment, Inc, which has created over 350 hours of original non-fiction and reality programming. Her dramatic work includes writing the Lifetime movie Nightwaves and The Collector, for the hit CBS series, Ghost Whisperer. Most recently, she produced the festival-winning indie feature, White Irish Drinkers, for New York-based Ovington Avenue Productions, of which she is also a principal with her husband, film/TV writer/director John Gray. She is represented by Scott Miller at the Trident Media Group.
Contact: Martyn Forrester, +44-0845-519-2304, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Apostrophe Books
White Irish Drinkers Website & Viewing Information
Find out more about this award-winning film, including where you can view it
"Writer-director John Gray digs into his own background to create the ardent and atmospheric White Irish Drinkers, a semi-autobiographical look at two brothers growing up in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn in 1975. Gray, best known for the CBS series Ghost Whisperer, avoids any trace of the supernatural here. The close, cramped intimacy of this film is so real it stings....The performances are uniformly terrific, finding the specific details that create a universal truth....But the soul of the movie lies in the legacy of violence and the dynamics that can connect a family or crush it. For Gray, White Irish Drinkers is one from the bruised heart."
- Peter Travers ROLLING STONE