Cindy and her husband/writing partner, Flip Kobler, have penned in every medium. They were on staff at Disney for several years where they wrote the best selling video premiere of all time, LION KING 2, "Simba's Pride," as well as several other animated films for the Mouse House. They wrote for STAR TREK DEEP SPACE NINE, have over four dozen published shows that are done world wide and three non fiction books, plus two dogs, no cats (Cindy's allergic) and a passion for empowering other writers to help tell their stories.
Their comic book noir feature BURY ME TWICE streams this year. Their holiday horror film, (which had a hugely successful 5 week theatrical run over Christmas 2022) THE MEAN ONE will finally be available to stream this holiday season and their upcoming short film, THE CLOSET will be making it rounds through the WMM Rough Cut Labs shortly...
We're pretty damn lucky to call these two talented and prolific artists, WMM family. That's how we snagged them to guest moderate this week's Writers Lab. If you've not had the pleasure of chatting with either of these two, let's show you what you've been missing....
Where are you from? What do you do?
CINDY: I was born in Detroit, but spent most of my life in Los Angeles. By trade, I'm a writer, but I love to travel, bake and spend time with my dogs. I also run a national non profit called Showdown that empowers young people through theater.
FLIP: Born in Minnesota. Moved to Florida when I was ten. The moment I graduated High School I packed up everything to move to LA to be a star. Ha! Ha.... ha-ha.... ha... <sigh>
What is your education/background? How did you start working in the film industry?
CINDY: I studied at UCLA among other universities, always on a quest to "find myself. I majored in theater, psychology, history, women's studies but in truth I love to learn and will take any opportunity to expand my knowledge. Most recently, I got a full ride to a film school program in San Francisco and jumped at the chance to improve my understanding of film making, a process that began with my first job in the industry, a page for KTLA where I actually got to meet Alex Trebeck and the team from Jeopardy. From there I landed a job at Castle Rock where I worked for Rob Reiner. Then, my husband and I started writing screenplays. When one sold in the 90's, we thought we might be on to something and we've been scribing ever since.
FLIP: High School diploma. Did a few semesters at college. Wasn't for me. Tried to make it as an actor. Couldn't either succeed or fail, I was in the no-work/high-hope zone. Cindy and I decided to write a movie that I could star in. Sold it to Paramount with the caveat that I NOT be in it. Bam. Became a writer.
Have you ever done any other jobs within in the industry?
CINDY: I've done almost every job imaginable in the Industry, except maybe best boy. But give me time! Who knows? Is there a career opportunity for a women of a certain age to best boy? I've worked as an assistant, interned at a talent agency, did crafty and catering on indie movies, even did costumes for BURY ME TWICE. Most recently I co-directed my first short film and have plans to do three more by the end of the year.
FLIP: We do a lot of theater. So I got pretty good at set design. Freelanced that a bit. Have done art direction for a few films now. 3 features and a buncha shorts.
What made you want to get into what you are doing now? Who or what are your inspirations?
CINDY: I've always been a creative person. The need to express myself from an early age was quite the challenge for my mom who believed and often said, "Be sensible, get a good job." But to deny what we feel called to do is to deny who we truly are. So though I have spent my life battling those messages of "safety" "security" "be sensible," I have followed my heart and my husband into the breach. Though much of the road has been rocky, and more times than not I've ended up with bruised toes and swollen feet, I am happiest when I'm creating or hopefully empowering others to create. As for my inspirations, my kids, (the one I birthed, the one I adopted, the myriad of ones I've taught, and any child I come in contact with.) I want to make this world a better place than the one I came into and that is what drives me. Does that sound too lofty? It's what drives me. What can I do to help others? My husband inspires me. Good god, he inspires me. He is the most courageous and loyal man I have ever known. Oh, and I'm inspired/driven by the need to put food on the table.
FLIP:TLDR: Hated reading. Hated it! Didn't read a book for pleasure until I was 22. Cindy handed me a copy of EYES OF THE DRAGON by Stephen King. I read it on a plane and it changed my life. I wanted to become a writer and I started off by aping the King. Oh, and Dick Van Dyke. Always my hero. Always will be.
What have been some of your biggest challenges in the industry?
CINDY: Making sure I can keep a roof over my head and food on the table are always foremost on my mind. "Show me the money," as Cameron Crowe said. I wish this country and the world didn't value the bottom line, but it does. Even if our work suffers we have to eat so I sacrifice my heart for practicality. I think the other biggest challenge for me is my own self sabotage. I have imposter syndrome big time as well as fear of failure, fear I'm not enough. And a very cruel inner critic who always has a thousand reasons for me to quit and get a "real" job.
FLIP: We had a stellar career going. Then I got colon cancer and we hadda put everything on hold while I underwent radiation, 3 rounds of chemo, and 5 surgeries. When I was all clear and ready to get back to work, Hollywood replied with, "You're too old." Ageism - my nemesis.
Any random fun facts about yourself that you're willing to share?
CINDY: As a child an elephant walked on my foot, but didn't break or bruise it. I had a chicken follow me to school (talk about trauma). I once played the gut bucket. I've been to almost all fifty states and sailed through the Panama Canal.
FLIP: Not fun. But see question above.