M@M: The Making Of (Official Selection Paris Short Film Festival 2020)


Proud to announce my short feature/music video Margaritas@Midnight is in the official line up at the Paris Short Film Festival 2020:

The Making of M@M:

So there I was far from the musical spotlight due to family craziness and out of the blue, Richard Manwaring, renowned British producer, drummer, and sound mixer, sent me a demo he was arranging with his band Rough Score. Richard and I met in London ages ago when I was recording my first single for Virgin and we’ve been friends ever since.

fullsizeoutput_70a(Photo Celia Manwaring)

The track’s bluesy lounge groove was sexy, but I asked if I could spin the lyrics away from lost-love territory already covered in Jimmy Buffet’s megahit Margaritaville, towards a female take on tropical fantasies. I needed something light and playful to counterbalance the challenges in my life and darkness in the world. The band said yes and singing it was a blast. From day one, I “saw” the story, but had no budget to film it.

My artistic process for the video involved strumming on my guitar, imbibing margaritas, island reveries…


…plus tons of comedy and art. (Tough job, but…)

As I was planning a minimalist version on iPad and iMovie, tech genius DP, editor, mixer @krysed came on board:


…joining  improv talent, brainstormer deluxe, DIY acrobat, and the original Margarita God himself, Lewis Primo:


Not to mention couple of the century, Shirley and Brandon:Shirley Brandon

I could now throw myself into storyboarding and mapping, creating costumes and decors from scratch. 

The Mood Board:

My vintage doll and toy collection, first featured in a brilliant fotonovella shot with my son for his middle school art class:Fotonovella

Iconic Kramp Kitchen sequence from 70’s cult film The Groove Tube (ancestor of SNL):

Christian Boltanski art installation: Shadows from the Lessons of Darkness:

Screenshot 2020-09-07 at 14.10.25

Christian Boltanski, ‘Shadows from the Lessons of Darkness’, 1987, Phillips
Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are:
Extra visuals:
and island reveries….IMG_1013
Essential background and props:
Florida paintings by artist Lynn Margileth (full disclosure, also my sister, whose studio assistant I was for this series many moons ago) :
Fabrics from Marché St Pierre + patterns, needles, thread, charms, sequins, glue:
IMG_1312  FullSizeRendermargaritas thumbFullSizeRender
My collection of international female power objects:
Candles and bakelite jukebox piggy bank:
(Krysed bought a special lens for this, same one as Stanley Kubrick used for Barry Lyndon)
Location shooting took place in:
My kitchen, with puppet theater and blankets:
Our guest room with linen sheets and keyboard:
Krysed studio
Lights, camera, action:
With my story board (here p 4) and lines of vision map:
Big thanks to Rough Score for the song: Drums Allmighty Richard Manwaring, Guitar Messiah Paulie Raymond and Bass Creator Richard Hewlett:
fullsizeoutput_70d(Photo Celia Manwaring)
For gorgeous Florida paintings to Bodhisattva Lynn Margileth, for tech magic to Shooting Ninja @krysed, and to Margarita God Lewis Primo for allowing me to immortalize his original margarita recipe, developed over years of travel, investment, research and experimentation…
Festival info:

Screenshot 2020-09-02 at 14.09.50


Festival website and tickets:


Enjoy as much as we did!

Your (Vocal Siren) Aliss xxxxxxx

Collector’s CD

Screenshot 2020-02-29 at 11.43.15

Shameless self-promotion! Excellent news! My latest release Margaritas at Midnight is available as an audio CD and when you buy it, the musicians and I get most of the money! When you stream the song I get almost 0. And it’s beautiful! Great gift! Supports real human artists!

Here’s the link to order:


And check out the video :




New Year’s How To


The media and my inbox are full of New Year’s How To’s.

Mine is just two questions and two pictures.

1) What did you love about 2019?

I loved completing and publishing Margaritas at Midnight, my first video as director, watching it get selected for a film festival and rack up views, loved flying to the NY to see family and friends, loved having them here in Paris, loved my birthday, best so far, loved publishing new pieces on Medium, polishing a draft of my book and starting to query it, loved starting new film and writing projects, loved my daughter’s success and beautiful partner, loved my son receiving his middle school diploma and getting accepted to a good culinary program, loved playing and singing around town again, loved taking photos and sharing them, loved laughing, cooking, learning, walking, swimming… Loved all the good news, creativity and commitment, people taking action to help other beings…

2) What did you not love?

I did not love bad news about the environment, war, violence, and intolerance, did not love often feeling helpless in the face of so many challenges, in my immediate surroundings and farther away…

3) Imagine saying goodbye to the old year like watching the Normandy sunset pictured above.

4) Imagine the new year inviting you, an open road, a new morning like the one below:


Happy New Year 2020!

To be continued!




UPDATE: Margaritas at Midnight, Carmarthen Bay Film Festival, U.K.

CBFF selection

Margaritas @ Midnight was screened on Thursday May 30th at 12:20:

Screenshot 2019-05-21 at 09.41.09


Moved mountains to get there, but who knew Paris-Wales travel could be so long, complicated, and expensive? It turned out I couldn’t spend two days on the train including 400€ Eurostar tickets (holiday weekend rate? last minute?) or fly into Cardiff  and get transportation from there to Swansea (one flight daily, times didn’t mesh). Really wanted to be there in person! Next best thing: someone wonderful represented me=Mr. Paul Raymond, great guitarist who played on Margaritas 🙂

His report: “Evening went fine but …no cigar 😎 It was great, spoke with lots of film people and they all noticed the vid. Also it was seen at the festival so it’s all good. M@M has lots of cred that’s the main thing.”

No award was given in our category, Short Comedy. So we didn’t win but we definitely didn’t lose.

Our first film festival! To be continued! Thank you Paulie!

xxxxxx Aliss

Is it Love or Robots?

Screenshot 2019-03-21 at 07.52.13.png

A screen shot taken this morning on the Margaritas at Midnight YouTube Analytics page where the number of views continues to zigzag in the war between Youtube and the Robots (?). Are these real people loving the video or bots masquerading as people? Will YouTube approve these views or delete them? Enjoying the suspense!! Never a dull moment!!

To be continued!!

No, I didn’t hallucinate :-)


Test shot for M@M https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLT2uGolYIA

Playing the YouTube video game! In one week the views for Margaritas at Midnight have gone from 5,000 to 8,000+ back down to 5,000 up to 6,500, back to 6,100 and now 7,600+!

What a roller coaster for a newbie like me… Here’s a screen shot from 5pm today:

Screenshot 2019-03-08 at 16.53.52

To prove to myself that I didn’t hallucinate. Chills, thrills and spills!

Apparently this happens a lot? The YouTube algorithm thinks robots are watching and culls those views?

To be continued! xxxxxx Aliss

Thousands of YouTube Views! Am I a Star Yet?

Margaritas at Midnight

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLT2uGolYIAIMG_1302One of my test shots for the video…

Making this video has been the biggest blast of my life so far! It brings together everything I love: writing, singing, music, images, designing, fabrics, hanging out with creative genius buddies and loved ones…

I’m also the producer!  I should be posting like crazy, in everyone’s faces “consistently” as the gurus advise… but there’s been other work to do: copyright papers and DVD’s, registration with the producers’ union, uploads to music platforms, film festival entries, airplay… and of course announcing the release on social media.

The video was chugging along happily on YouTube racking up views by friends and well-wishers when suddenly the numbers started jumping 300+ a day and we flew pas 1000, 2000 and 3000! Wow! Is it going viral? Should I think about gowns and jewels for the red carpet? Start writing acceptance speeches? Hit the gym? Get super body positive? Bleach my teeth? Exciting!

Turns out National Margarita Day was coming up on February 22 and YouTube was featuring Margaritas at Midnight all over the place. After the big holiday things the pace slowed to 50 or so views a day, still very nice! We’re moving past 3600

Looks like I might not be a threat to Cardi B or Lady Gaga just yet. Less pressure. Plenty of time to plan the next video and build a set around M@M, test it out on intimate audiences before the Super Bowl.

Meanwhile, the perfect calling card and launch pad to get my a** back into music after a long family break…

Thank you everyone who watched, shared, commented, recommended 🙂

Stay tuned! xxxxx Aliss

PS since I posted this we’ve picked up 4,500 views! 8,000 and counting! Mysteriously the numbers vary depending on the device…And keep going up and down!!!!

Today (Wednesday March 6th) YouTube shows 6,238 views! Is there such a thing as negative views? Are they like anti-matter? Do they bombard the positive views and nullify them? What an adventure!!

Update September 2019: Picked up thousands of views on May 5 for Cinco de Mayo, picked up more end of August, now at 14,500 and counting! Thank you everyone!