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A Chronicle Of The Passing Scene


It Felt More Like 15 Seconds of Fame

When you're hot in Hollywood your phone starts to jingle, and the bells are ringing for two Valley women who are lucky they aren't being charged for incoming calls.

Marty Stevens-Heebner, 31, of Studio City, is the winner of the $500 UCLA Extension Writers' Program first place award for her script about two 18th-Century women pirates.

Tara Boles, a 36-year-old screenwriter of Sherman Oaks, has won the $300 second prize for her transposition of the Joan of Arc story to the Latino gang world of East Los Angeles.

The cachet of the modest monetary award amazes Stevens-Heebner.

The high visibility is due to people with names like director-producer-mogul Steven Spielberg and actor-director-producer-mogul Michael Douglas judging the contest, along with Spielberg company executive Deborah Newmyer, producer Kathleen Kennedy and other high-profile industry types.

"Right after the story appeared in the Hollywood trade publications, it seems like every production company and agent in town wanted to talk to me," says Stevens-Heebner. It was some of the same for Boles, who says she got about 15 fast-and-furious invitations to pitch scripts.

Buffalo-born Stevens-Heebner earned a bachelor's in ancient history in 1984 from Cornell University before earning a master's from UCLA's film school in 1986. She is single and lives on a $30,000 Disney Fellowship that has allowed her to give up the temp work she did to subsidize her screenwriting career.

Her winning script features two cross-dressing women who, because of a bad economic climate and gender bias in the job market, become pirates.

When asked who might produce "Bonny and Read," one of the script's big boosters put on the brakes, with apparent reluctance.

"I love the fact that there are two such strong female parts," Newmyer said, but she added that some companies might balk at the high estimated production costs.

Possible translation: It's too big a budget for a film that doesn't have two guys with big war toys and a car that can roll over.

Boles, a wife and a mother of two, came to Hollywood in 1986 after growing up in Wisconsin and graduating from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. She got similar news about her project.

One entertainment lawyer said the script doesn't have any big star parts, and there are no merchandising possibilities, like dolls or little creatures, Boles recalls.

But this woman, who kept body and soul together taking drink orders from gentlemen in a biker's bar when she first got to Hollywood, isn't likely to let some attorney take her out of the action.

Or get the last word.

"I felt like asking him what he thought about a Latina doll sitting in an electric chair as a merchandising possibility," Boles says in a voice daintily laced with sarcasm.

Never Met a Plant or Pet She Couldn't Sit

Donna Jean Enstad, 50, of Lancaster is dedicated to pet and plant care and nurturing.

Someone who can do both is hard to find.

Enstad started her Pet & Plant Care business five years ago after reading a magazine article about a similar service in the East.

"It was hard to get started because at the time nobody else did it around here so there weren't any blueprints," she says. She charges $10 for each daily visit.

Most of her plant charges behave well for her, and only occasionally does an animal act up. Avis the bulldog decided to corner her in his dog run, so she calmly jumped the fence.

A Benji-like mutt decided a real estate salesman was an intruder.

"The dog's name was Rags, and he trapped the salesman and his clients in the master bedroom until I got there," she says.

And there was the basset mix who had been hand-fed after surgery. The basset decided his baby-sitter should do nothing less.

"Although there was absolutely nothing wrong with the dog when I was tending him, he would just lie there next to his bowl until I put each morsel into his mouth," Enstad says.

After her appointed rounds, she tends to Daisy the dog, Kinktail the cat, Rose-Anza the boa, and Madam Neige the albino King Snake.

Although she'll baby-sit most anything from pet mice to livestock, her most embarrassing experience involved a plant.

"I had a client who wanted me to take care of about 100 various plants while she went out of town for a while. Because the ferns are so sensitive, I continually monitored their water level with a gauge.

"This one particular plant I could never quite get properly moistened," Enstad says smiling, "until I finally figured out it was made of silk."

Birth of a Service: Magazine Adoption

The Lancaster Library is soliciting for magazines and journal subscriptions, picking up on a program that other libraries have successfully checked out.

They have no choice, says reference librarian Andy Reed. The library's budget was cut about $30,000--or 40%--this past fiscal year, he says.

So they put more than 250 publications up for "adoption."

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