By Linda McIntosh
The closets in Nina Foxx's Del Mar home are overflowing with shoes — 150 pairs at last count. The shoes were featured in Foxx's latest film, "She's Got 'Is Shoes," a TV pilot that pokes fun at Foxx's passion for shoes and at the same time addresses some deeper issues, spelled "Is Shoes." The movie follows Foxx in her quest to start her own shoe line with the help of celebrity friends and her 12-year-old daughter, Sydney, who has appeared in ABC's "Flash Forward," "Modern Family" and other TV shows.
The film was featured at the San Diego Black Film Festival last month and won kudos across the country, including an award of merit at The Accolade, and best reality short film at Atlanta's Urban Media Makers Film Festival.
Foxx, an industrial psychologist and six-time novelist, got into filmmaking several years ago, after a production company botched up a stage play of her novel "Marrying Up." Foxx bought back the rights and decided to produce it herself. She started Foxxtale Productions, and "Marrying Up" was her first film on Netflix.
"She's Got 'Is Shoes," grew out of Foxx's blogs on Vixen Chronicles about her hunt for the perfect shoes as she traveled around the world lecturing about industrial organizational psychology, a subject in which Foxx has a Ph. D.
Foxx knew right off that she loved filmmaking. "I'm always visualizing, and I love to see something come to life," she said. "It's exciting to hear my words coming out of the actor's mouth." Foxx considers herself a self-taught filmmaker, and is working on a Web series called "Closer to Crazy," featuring characters from her book "Just Short of Crazy" played by Hollywood actors.
Foxx's move into filmmaking came from a desire to create a more positive image of women in reality TV. "I was disappointed in what I was seeing," Foxx said. "I wanted to make something that was funny and entertaining without all the bickering and clowning."
To get closer to the pulse of filmmaking, Foxx, decided to move from Texas to Southern California about 18 months ago. But Foxx, who grew up in New York City, wanted a quieter place than L.A., so she moved to Del Mar. "It's peaceful here; I like walking by the beach," Foxx said.
Foxx is currently executive producer of the feature film "Buhl, Idaho" starring Scott Glenn ("Nights in Rodanthe," "Bourne Ultimatum") and Kyle Gallner ("Jennifer's Body," "The Haunting in Connecticut").
Foxx started writing novels 10 years ago after leaving her career at Dell Computers in Austin, Texas, where she started the usability engineering department and came up with several patents. Foxx left Dell to be at home with her daughter, Sydney, who was then 2 years old.
But she found out being super mom was not enough to keep her mind going. So Foxx looked back at the 500 pages of fiction she wrote for fun as a warm-up before writing her graduate school papers. "I set my mind on making that brick into a book," Foxx said. "I met writers at book clubs, and I figured if they could do it, so could I."
Foxx decided to self-publish her first book, "Dippin My Spoon," because she had heard about the misery of getting rejection letters. But to her surprise, she sold 15,000 copies in eight months. "Everyone helped me pack the books and ship them out, even my 2-year-old," Foxx said. She ended up selling book club rights to Doubleday.
When Foxx sent her second book, "Get Some Love," to her writing focus group, one of the members went ahead and sent it to an agent, which resulted in Foxx getting a contract with HarperCollins. She went on to publish four more novels with HarperCollins: "No Girl Needs a Husband Seven Days a Week," "Just Short of Crazy," "Marrying Up" and "Going Buck Wild."
Her novels have been compared to "Pride and Prejudice" and "Brewster's Millions," and she has been a finalist for several Open Book Awards in comedy fiction. Foxx also wrote a short story in the anthology "Wanderlust," published by Penguin Books, and co-authored a book on how to get published, which became a textbook.
Foxx is currently working on filming her play "Baby Mama Drama." She wrote music for the play along with composing partner John Forbes (ForJam Media). The music features Tyga Graham (Silk) and LaTrice Pace (The Anointed Pace Sisters).
"I want people to take something positive from my films," Foxx said. "I want my daughters to look at my films and say, 'That's good.' "
On the Web
- Trailer for 'She's Got 'Is Shoes' at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jr-0V__Yt9Q