Darlene who?

Darlene Craviotto has worked professionally in the entertainment industry for over twenty-five years.  She wrote Hallmark Hall of Fame’s Love Is Never Silent, which won an Emmy for Outstanding Television Movie. Her feature film, Squanto: A Warrior’s Tale, a Walt Disney Film, garnered a Teddy Award for Best Family Film.  Her award-winning play, Pizza Man, has been performed all over the world, and her first book,  An Agoraphobic’s Guide to Hollywood: How Michael Jackson Got Me Out of the House was published in November, 2011.  Ms. Craviotto is married, has two children, and lives in Goleta, California.


Yes, I was also a Universal Studios Tour Guide.

39 thoughts on “Darlene who?

  1. I loved the Leonard story.

    Will there be a movie?

    I have just one question: why on earth are you following my blog?

    total curiosity, that’s all.

    • Every blog is unique and interesting to me. I love connecting with all different types of blogs. I found yours and so, I signed up. And thank you for reading my story about Leonard. I would like to do something more with that story. Not sure if it will be a movie, but let’s just say that we haven’t seen the last of Leonard.

    • hello, thiis Kim Tae-ho from Republic of South Korea. I am a theater producer. I am really intersted in your “Pizza Man” and wonder what I should do to produce “Pizza Man” in our country. Could you reply on e-mail? ilkty@naver.com Thank you.

  2. HI Darlene,
    Remember me? Bob Pickett? Kristi Engleman Cardoza Elliot and I have reconnected on Facebook. I am currently directing a production of The Taming of the Shrew for the Shrew for our newly formed Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Company and posted some pictures on FB. Krisiti commented that she remembered a production of Shrew that you had starred in in High School and I remembered you in The Madwoman of Chaillot. We both remembered you as incredibly talented. Well, I Googled you (love the Internet) and found your web site and blog and wondered what you were up to these days. I knew you had written Squanto and Pizza Man (great play) but wondered if you had written anything else lately. I was always too shy to try out for the main stage shows but took drama my senior year and did Oh Dad Poor Dad and The Sandbox by Albee in class. both roles were nervous characters and it was easy to play nervous and shy. What was the drama teacher’s name. I loved him and my first play I saw was his production of Waiting for Godot. How incredible was he? I have gone on to get my AA in Acting from SB City, BA from UCSB in Directing and MFA in Directing from the U of Utah where I was Production Manager for two years. I started the Napa Valley Shakespeare Festival and now I’m on my second go round with the Bard. Hope you are well and would love to hear back from you. Cheers, Robert (I dropped Bob when I got into The Theatre, so much more pretentious.)

    • Hellooooooo Robert!

      Seems so strange not to be calling you Bob, but yes, I understand the switch to Robert. I’m so excited to find out that you went into theatre. I thought I was the only creative misfit in our class crazy enough to 1) want to perform 2) want to write for performers. Theater has always been my first love, but Hollywood dissuaded me from writing more plays by tempting me with (of all things) money. Money seems to trump love, at least when it comes to the arts; I’m not the first writer to be seduced by Tinseltown. Your new production of “Taming of the Shrew” looks like it’ll be wonderful. Wish we lived closer – I would definitely be buying tickets. Mr Duerr was the theater arts teacher at San Marcos, and yes, he was really terrific. He tried to talk me out of pursuing Hollywood – obviously, I didn’t listen, and I’m glad that I didn’t. Hollywood was very, very good to me; although it’s not the easiest of businesses to navigate. Read my book, if you have a chance. I think it really captures what it’s like to be in the film industry. Would you believe that I still have ties to San Marcos? We moved back to the area and my husband left professional acting to get his teaching credential. {Ahem} Guess where he teaches Performing Arts and English? Yes, I am still rooting for the scarlet red and royal blue. And you know what he directs every year (for the last nine years): a Sheltered Theater Shakespeare production. He is working with at-risk kids, second-language learners, and Special Ed students. And he’s doing amazing work with them. He’s won several awards and was nominated County Educator of the Year.

      I’m so happy you contacted me here – Stay in touch, okay? Break a leg with the new production!

  3. … Intrigued by that “Craviotto” unmistakably Italian, where the “crav” root suggests Sicily whereas that “iotto” is a typical Piedmontese dialect ending. Meaning that several hundred years ago the ancestors of today’s name carrier were shepherds (crava means goat in several dialects). Not to be taken personally, as my last name means “marshy lands” – indeed a marsh when some Benedictine monks obtained an imperial charter to dry it (south of the Po river). As evident from the above I delight in uselessness and the site where this skill is remarkably demonstrated is http://www.yourdailyshakespeare.com
    All the best with your writing

    • How fascinating! I love that our ancestors were shepherds because my great-uncle (whose sister married a Craviotto) spent his whole life as a Basque shepherd here in the U.S. I must have great herding instincts because it runs on two sides of my bloodline.

      Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment. I will definitely go to your website and take a peek. My husband is a big fan of Shakespeare so anything with the bard’s name in it immediately catches my attention.

  4. Thank you for passing by my site and liking my post. One of my short stories is called Agoraphobia. It didn’t win any prizes or even get published but maybe one day …. Nice to meet you 🙂

    • I’d love to read it when it comes out into the world. By the way, your book looks fascinating. My mother’s family originally came from Ireland and I’m just now trying to research what part of the country they came from.

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    • Thank you so much for letting me know about the Melbourne production. As I’m sure you know, the play has been produced all over the world, and we recently were approached about a new translation and production in Munich. I’m thrilled that at least my play is out seeing the world – I love living vicariously through my three characters, Julie, Alice, and Eddie. I also appreciate your review, and I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the production. Please drop by here often, and say hi when you do.

  7. Hello Darlene!
    I’m an acting student down in the land of Oz and we’re currently studying Pizza Man for our assessment. I was wondering if you could end our location debate, is it set in LA or NY?
    Also love the play – hilarious!

  8. Hey, I stumbled into this whilst Googling agoraphobia and careers – trying to figure out how the hell others have managed! It was great to find your story, as I have become the queen of the imaginative escape plan. I can leave the house… just not if I have to stay somewhere overnight! Previously I had a career that involved constant travel and lived on friends’ sofas. Serendipity can throw some weird curveballs… So far this has led to some pretty odd situations, both personally and professionally – I even left the wedding at which I was bridesmaid to catch a 14 hour coach through the night to avoid getting ‘trapped’ (in a beautiful Scottish castle, no less). It’s so refreshing to read someone else’s account of building a career from behind the ‘prison’ wall – and I am so pleased to hear that life’s odd logic presented Michael Jackson to free you! This is why stories are one of the most valuable things humans have – and I’m now grateful for my agoraphobia, because it made me slow down, get grounded and start writing again. Even if I never travel far in person I will be fine, because my imagination provides plenty of adventures…

    • “Even if I never travel far in person I will be fine, because my imagination provides plenty of adventures…”

      Beautifully written. Thanks for being so articulate about this odd malady that we both share, and so many others do too.

      “I am so pleased to hear that life’s odd logic presented Michael Jackson to free you!”

      I’m not entirely “free” yet – I do have my days.
      Just when I feel on top of it, I have a day like today when I walk into a supermarket (to buy only one item), pause a moment, and then, turn around and walk right back out. I just didn’t feel up to the task, so I bailed. The only difference is that now I tell myself, “All right, so go try something else.” I don’t let it make me feel so defeated that I have to go running home to hide in my house. I give myself permission to “fail” at a task only to free myself up to go do something else. And yes, it’s taken me awhile to get to that place where I don’t “beat myself up” because I can’t do something that the rest of the world seems to be able to do without the slightest problem.

      I used to live in such terror every time I got a job that somehow someone would find me out. Now, I just say, “Hey, this is me. I do my best but I’m not perfect. No one is.” Maybe with age comes wisdom, and maybe wisdom is the best defense against agoraphobia.

      Thanks so much for writing me – it’s so great to meet a fellow traveler. Even if we have to meet in cyberspace. And how cool that you at least got to see that Scottish castle! No matter what it took for you to get there and what you needed to do to find the peace of mind to get out of there, at least you were THERE. And God, that’s fantastic!

    • It was so great to see you last night at the San Marcos production of Les Miserables. Thanks for remembering The Madwoman! Hope to see you again at another production. Keep enjoying theater!

  9. Hi Darlene,

    My name is Bella, I’m an actress part of a new production company in Argentina. I love your play “Pizza Man”, I came to know it studying at the Stella Adler Studio in NYC. I’m currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina and would love to bring your play here. If you could please contact me through email about who I need to speak to in order to get all the necessary authorizations. I would love to tell you a little bit about our team as well.

    Best regards,
    Bella

    • Hi Bella,

      Thanks so much for contacting me, and for your kind words about “Pizza Man.” This play seems to resonate for a lot of people in so many countries. I don’t know if it has ever been produced in Argentina before, so you may be the first to do it. That would be exciting, wouldn’t it? The play is represented by Samuel French, and that is the company you should approach regarding the rights to put on a production. Here is the email address of the person at Samuel French who is Director of Business Affairs: LMarzani@samuelfrench.com
      Perhaps you should contact her regarding the rights to a production in your country. Please let me know if I can help you further. I am hoping you received this because you didn’t leave me your email address. If you would like to communicate further with me please send an email to my gmail email address which you will reach by typing out my full name (no caps) at gmail.com.

      • Hi Darlene,

        Thanks so much for your quick response! It’s an honor to be able to communicate with you. Thanks for the contact info. I will send you an email so we can communicate through there.

        Best,
        Bella

  10. Hi Darlene,
    Thank you for your post on Agoraphobia. Mine came on gradually after I had my 2nd daughter. I’ll never forget the day it started. I was on a plane flying to NY when I suddenly became sick. I’ve flown many times between CA and NY before without any problems so I was surprised when I got sick. After that, I started getting anxious when I had to fly and then it started happening when driving. My world started to gradually close around me as my children grew up. I fought it with therapy, deep breathing and meditation. Still, my world continued to shrink. I even went back to school and work to gain confidence in myself to see if that would work. It did for a while. After my son was born, I did manage to fly 2 more times and drive across country 2 times, but then the Agoraphobia overtook me. My son was diagnosed with autism and many other health complications and my daughter became very sick. The stress made things worse. Today I’ve learned to find doctors for my son that are close to home or if I can’t , I know I can cancel an appointment if I just can’t get him there or there is traffic or I’m having a hard day. I’m blessed with a supportive husband and understanding children. I miss being able to go on outings with my family and taking vacations. I miss being able to fly to see my parents too. I still have things to work on and it was great reading your blog and knowing I’m not alone. Good luck to you.

    • Hi Dana,
      Thank you so much for reading my blog and for writing me. I’m so sorry to hear that you too struggle with agoraphobia. And yes, you’re right: stress DOES make it worse. But I must tell you that you have to forgive yourself for what you cannot do and love yourself for what you CAN do. When my kids were little I remember thinking how ashamed I felt for not being able to do everything with them, for needing the help of other people to help me help my kids. But you know what? When I look back on those years I remember all the laughter and fun times, and the loving moments I had with my children when we did those things that I COULD do with them. Reading to them at bedtime, bath time fun, dancing in the living room, making cupcakes with my daughter, playing hide-go-seek with my son, hearing their laughter with their friends in the backyard, helping them build a fort, watching television on the couch with them, playing dress up and pretend…The list goes on and on. Forgive yourself for what you can’t do and love yourself for what you CAN do. You are doing an amazing job! The fact that you gave yourself a task to find doctors for your son who are close to you just shows you what an amazing person your are. It’s easy to get down on ourselves when we struggle with agoraphobia but that just makes it worse. The real challenge is to just keep going – putting one foot in front of the other and pat yourself on the back for doing that. Agoraphobia IS challenging, but it CAN get better. A few weeks ago I had a young woman reach out to me and thank me for writing my book because reading what I wrote made her feel like she wasn’t the only person suffering through this. She started talking about it – the agoraphobia – and sought out help. She found a doctor who worked with her and she’s improved a lot. She still needs medication when she flies (and yes, she’s nervous) but she’s not afraid to express what she needs now, and that’s important. I’m so happy that you have a supportive husband (I have one too) and that is so crucial to facing the challenges that come along with this. As to outings and vacations with the kids: be patient, those may come along, one step-at-a-time. I had the same fears, but there are various ways of coping that can help you and maybe don’t set your sights on something too big and too scary for you right now. Sometimes an outing to a park (in the neighborhood even) can be a great outing and maybe one within your reach. Celebrate what you CAN do and not what you CAN’T. Because you know what? Maybe you can’t do something right now, but you WILL be able to do it another time. Hang in. Be strong. Be kind to yourself too, you deserve the kindest words for yourself. We all have things to work on and you are definitely NOT alone!

  11. Darlene,
    Thank you for your encouraging and kind words!! I am so glad I found your blog!! I love reading your stories!! I wanted to ask if you still have your conversion van? I think it’s a great idea and one I am considering, especially since my oldest daughter lives 1 1/2 hours away in San Diego and I would love to visit her instead of her always needing to come up to us. Take care!! -Dana

    • Yep, still have it. Every time my husband says we should buy a new car I tell him that van helped me to get out of the house, and I will never sell it. I still use it for my writing – driving it to the park and using it as my home base and office. It has really helped me and I would highly recommend the use for dealing with getting back into the world again.

  12. Dear Darlene :
    When I was enrolled at Santa Barbara City College in the late 80’s, I worked part time for your father and uncle at the shop. Your father and uncle treated me as family. I know you would remember me if we spoke. I met you a few times over the course of my time working at the shop. On occasion, I would drive your fathers 1964 Mercedes, which if i don’t recall you gave to your father. I was very sad to hear that both your father and uncle have passed away. Your father was like a father to me. I could go on about all the fond memories all day long! I just retired from my job after 27 years and told my wife that I wanted to go and visit Santa Barbara and look up your family. If I do get the chance, I will get in contact to speak with you and your brother Jimmy and all the rest of your family. Sincerely, Thaddeus Gormley thad_g2001@yahoo.com

    • Hi Thaddeus! Yes, of course, I remember you and that you used to work for my Dad and Uncle Danny. Congratulations on your retirement! I will be speaking with my brother today and let him know that you found my blog and left some very kind words here about our family. In the meantime, you can reach us at craviottoprimos at Gmail dot com (spelled out to avoid spam) Thanks for saying hello and if you haven’t had a chance to read my blog post about the Shop and the Craviotto Brothers, here’s the link: https://darlenecraviotto.com/2015/04/
      I think you’ll enjoy reading it! Best to you, Darlene

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