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NORA EPHRON • EVERYTHING IS COPY

© 2016 Ron Barbagallo

EVERYTHING IS COPY
The world lost Nora Ephron four years back, and for those of you who do not know, Ephron was a wordsmith who used words like they were lavender-colored blow darts she liked to hurl at the behavior she observed between men and women. Born to Hollywood screenwriters who both drank and dealt with the crash-and-burn of their Hollywood careers rather badly, Nora Ephron started her professional life as a journalist, turned essayist, turned novelist, turned screenwriter, before becoming a well known film director.

 

Often harshly critical, Nora hid her observations on Adam and Eve by using words in a flowery conversational way, like the way writer Dorothy Parker might have done if she had surrounded herself with much happier friends.

 

One of Nora's friends, (at least when they met and married) was her second husband Carl Bernstein, who many of you over a certain age will remember as the Washington Post journalist who co-authored the pieces that outed "Watergate." Bernstein and Ephron married and went on to become a Washington DC "power couple," and during their time in 'the city that uses words to kidnap power' they produced two children.

 

One of them is their son Jacob, who ironically looks like a computer generated amalgam of both his parents, and as such it should be no surprise that Jacob Bernstein is also a fine investigative journalist and filmmaker who also likes to observe people.

 

In that role, after loosing his mother, Jacob Bernstein worked through his grief and assembled home movies and interviews with family, friends and colleagues and put them into a film that honors life and legacy of his mother Nora Ephron. Titled after one of Ephron's quips, Everything Is Copy, Nora Ephron: Scripted & Unscripted airs on HBO this month.

 

As much a catharsis as it is a well-chiseled bust, Bernstein's portrait of his mother isn't afraid to look deeply and with charm at the less than perfect path Nora took from small child dealing with a pair of drunken Hollywood parents to professional woman who sought love and finally found it.

 

In an interview with Charlie Rose, Bernstein recently spoke on his mother's search and mentioned that Nora once said "The secret to life was to marry an Italian." Which, by the way, she did. Nora's third husband was Nicholas Pileggi, and this is the marriage that stuck. (Some of you will know Pileggi as the author of "Goodfellas" and "Casino," the novels Pileggi authored which later Pileggi adapted into motion picture screenplays for filmmaker Martin Scorsese).

Everything Is Copy, Nora Ephron: Scripted & Unscripted, a documentary by Jacob Bernstein.

Photograph of Nora Ephron and Jacob Bernstein by Patrick McMullan

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ARTICLES ON AESTHETICS IN ANIMATION

BY RON BARBAGALLO:

 

The Art of Making Pixar's Ratatouille is revealed by way of an introductory article followed by interviews with production designer Harley Jessup, director of photography/lighting Sharon Calahan and the film's writer/director Brad Bird.

 

Design with a Purpose, an interview with Ralph Eggleston uses production art from Wall-E to illustrate the production design of Pixar's cautionary tale of a robot on a futuristic Earth.

 

Shedding Light on the Little Matchgirl traces the path director Roger Allers and the Disney Studio took in adapting the Hans Christian Andersen story to animation.

 

The Destiny of Dalí's Destino, in 1946, Walt Disney invited Salvador Dalí to create an animated short based upon his surrealist art. This writing illustrates how this short got started and tells the story of the film's aesthetic.

 

A Blade Of Grass is a tour through the aesthetics of 2D background painting at the Disney Studio from 1928 through 1942.

 

Lorenzo, director / production designer Mike Gabriel created a visual tour de force in this Academy Award® nominated Disney short. This article chronicles how the short was made and includes an interview with Mike Gabriel.

 

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, an interview with Graham G. Maiden's narrates the process involved with taking Tim Burton's concept art and translating Tim's sketches and paintings into fully articulated stop motion puppets.

 

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit, in an interview exclusive to this web site, Nick Park speaks about his influences, on how he uses drawing to tell a story and tells us what it was like to bring Wallace and Gromit to the big screen.

 

 

For a complete list of PUBLISHED WORK AND WRITINGS by Ron Barbagallo,

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“Everything is Copy” is currently streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now.

Black and white portraits of Nora Ephron © Elena Seibert; ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Nora Ephron with her son Jacob Bernstein © Patrick McMullan/SIPA/AP; ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.