Tags: short film


Writing update & More

This week I turned in 3 more chapters of my novel to Plotbusters, my novel writing group. It will be very interesting to see what they have to say since a) it's raw first draft -- hasn't even been read over and 2) was written under the influence of pain killers. Whoo hoo. Could make for an interesting read.

This takes me up to the point where Vicki meets her father (remember they guy who called me an idiot!). I'm thinking I have about 5 more chapters to finish, but you never know with characters like mine that are so strong-willed. And, of course, I'm still on pain killers. So, we'll see.

In holding with the Clarion tradition, I also read and commented on a friends screenplay and another friends novel. Both were excellent, so it was easy to get my reading done this week.

Some producers here in New Mexico contacted me with a television show idea so I also ended up writing a 2-page, single-spaced pitch this week. That was actually a lot of fun, since this is the kind of show I've never worked on. Heck, I never THOUGHT I'd work on. But now, as my life changes, I'd really like to do. More on that when/if anything happens.

So I'm still suffering with pain, had signed up a month or so ago to speak at the local Science Fiction Club about my movie and my writing. Paul took me last night and played techie so that we could show my rough rough rough cut on a big screen.

This group of people were really great and I had a wonderful time. They responded well to my movie and several people knew CGI people to whom they are willing to introduce me. Whoo hoo.

But the best part is that at least half the people there were Dark Shadows fans. So after I did my presentation and asked for questoins, we spent a lot of time talking about what it was like working for Dan Curtis, the actors (Lara Parker narrates my film), and the future (Johnny Depp would like to play Barnabas Collins). I had so much fun.

Also, my friends and fellow plotbusters Sally Gwylan and Pati Nagle with her husband Chris came to support me. It was so great to have people I actually knew in the audience.

My only regret is that I totally faded and was feeling quite ill by the end of the evening and was unable to accompany them out for coffee afterward. Ah well, Bubonicon is only 6 weeks away so I'll get a second chance to see/meet all those people again.

So, a good week even though I'm still dealing with pain, fatigue and some nausea.

This week I don't have any reading to do -- so I'm planning on forging ahead on the novel. I also discovered I don't seem to have the short story I want to rewrite on my computer. I know it's backed up somewhere, but I remember something Pat Murphy told us during my Clarion West -- She talked about the days before computers (which I remember well) and how when you were revising a story, you had to type the entire draft again. When doing that, you didn't feel like typing in stuff that doesn't really add anything to the story. So this week I also plan on typing in the story to prepare it for rewriting. Of course, what writer can resist rewriting while typing in a draft?

Productive day

Today  was a more productive day.  I figured out where I'm going in this particular chapter of my novel.  Gone is the "Momento" effect.  Yay.

I also decided to apply for New Mexico's New Vision's grant for short animated scripts.  The problem is the film has to be 10 min or less so I had to take a pass at my script and cut it down.  It was actually quite easy.  It's amazing how time makes this line or that line much less important that it used to be.  So now I have a 13 page script -- which is acceptable.  Now I have to get together a storyboard.  I have all the images, so that won't be difficult.  And I want to edit down the powerpoint presentation because I'd love to include that with the grant application to show the judges know exactly what I'm after and how much I've already done.  That's going to take some effort because the voice editing software I used was just a 30 day download.  Sigh.  Anyone have any ideas on voice editing software?

I also put my making money hat on and sent query letters to a bunch of agents for my friend Jerry.  I need to write the synopsis of his second novel and get that one out there as well.  And I have his third manuscript here to read.  Busy, busy, busy!

But at least I remember everything I did today.  At least I think I do.  I wonder if I fed the fish today?

Short story vs. short film

Today I proofed my short story The Girl Who Lost Her Way, which  will appear in the spring issue of Shimmer.  As many of you know, I turned this story into a short film for my 3rd semester project at Stonecoast.  So while I've listened to it over and over and over again while I was editing the film, I hadn't read the story since I sold it.

It's amazing how much you can forget in just a 6 months.  As I was proofing the story, I found myself asking, "Did I really write this?"  

Writing a short story you need to use precise language, keep it short, concise, etc, etc, etc.  But when you're doing the film, it has to be even shorter and more concise.  So while the film still has a lot of nice language, I relied on the Simon's fantastic images rather than words to convey mood and atmosphere.  But the words are all there in the story.  Scenes are drawn out a little longer.  Characters are more fully developed.

I was charmed by some of the things in the story that were cut for the film.  And yet I also wanted to make a few cuts that I made for the film because I thought the cuts made the story a bit stronger.   It was an interesting, thought provoking experience.

My MFA pop fiction group has had some discussions whether screenwriting has a place in a creative writing program.  I always thought it did, but now I feel even stronger about it.  I think making this story into a short film has given me a different perspective on the needs of the story, the needs of the two very different mediums and the intent of the writer.  Comparing the language of the two pieces has allowed to me see my strengths and weaknesses in this particular story and learn from them.  Actually, I think this would make a good class.

My Short Film

No, the film isn't finished.  The writer's strike is having a very adverse effect on the animation house I was going to use.  So at the moment, they can't do any free work.  

So Paul photographed the artwork, put it in powerpoint, then he and I edited the sound and images to make a simulation of what the film would look like.  I presented this at my seminar last Friday.  

I had 40 - 45 people attend the seminar.  The response was overwhelming.  People really loved it.  Even in this raw state.  Jim Kelly even told me he thinks I could sell the picture book based on my presentation.  Cool!

I guess I was a little worried because of the dark ending.  But it is a fairy tale/folktale and they're supposed to have dark endings.  That's the purpose of the story -- it's a cautionary tale -- don't let this happen to you.

Anyway, I was very touched by the response and became even more resolved to finish this.  I'm going to apply for a grant and look for other ways to fund completion.  This is my first short film and I'm loving it!

The actual short story, "The Girl Who Lost Her Way" should be coming out in the next issue of Shimmer.  I can't wait.  I really love this story.


My Short Film

My Southwestern fairy tale, The Girl Who Lost Her Way, is due out in Shimmer Magazine  sometime soon.  This is the story that I've been working on turning into a short film.  

Today I crossed another hurdle.  The narration, performed by Lara Parker of Dark Shadows fame, was laid down this afternoon.  My friend Gayle Reznik made arrangements with a contact of hers, Gary Zacuto, to do the sound work.  Gary agreed to do the work for free -- "For all the Debbie Smith's in the world".  Believe me, there's a lot of us.  That's why I chose to take my husband's name when we married.

Anyway, Lara did a terrific job and I'm one step closer to getting my film done.  The art work, courtesy of Simon Adams www.simon-adams.com, is completed.  The sound track now on it's way to being completed.  

Unfortunately we've hit a snag with the animation.  The company we were making arrangements with (once again doing the work for free) is suffering due to the writer's strike.  They do the CGI for many TV shows and don't have any work now that there are no new scripts being generated.  And so we've had to put our work on the back burner while they freak out.  Small companies are great impacted by this strike.  I really wish the producers would get it together and give is a fair deal.  What makes them think that they can stream movies and episodes of television shows for a mere $250 a year???  But don't get me started.

Anway, at least we're moving forward and I am so incredibly greatful for the people who have donated their time to the project.  

Whoo hoo!  The soundtrack is getting done!


Story Sale

Here I am in Maine, attending my 4th semester of the Stonecoast MFA Program.  It's cold and foggy and this morning a deer decided to commit suicide by jumping into the side of our car.  The car has a thousand dollar worth of damage.  The occupants were traumatized, but we're all uninjured.

I had a better day yesterday.  I got word that my modern fairy tale, "The Girl Who Lost Her Way" is going to be in the Fall issue of Shimmer magazine.  Whoo hoo!  When I read Shimmer's guidelines I felt like they were saying "we're here to publish this story."  This time, it was true.  So I'm quite excited.

Very appropriate that I should find out while I'm at my residency since the story is part of the third semester project that I just turned in.  It's great validation since I'm in the process of turning this into a short film.

As for the writing -- I haven't been able to quite keep to my goal of a paragraph a day while here.  I have, however, be able to do some more substantial writing two (and today will make three) days while I've been here, so I feel like I've met my goals in a round-a-bout way.

I'll report more on the residency later.  Right now I'm going to take a nap.  Hitting a deer is an exhausting experience.  It made me feel better, however, when the policeman asked Allison if she wanted the venison.  Allison said 'no' (she had no way to get it home, so the officer will be taking it to a homeless shelter.  I'm sorry the deer died.  I'm happy that it's death will mean something to needy people.

Short Films

Some strange being jumped into my body and decided I would make a short film for my 3rd semester MFA project -- based on one of my short stories. I'm too far down that road to change my mind now, and I've got an artist, a CGI professional and Lara Parker (Angelique in the original Dark Shadows) to be my narrator, so I guess I'm good for now.

That's the lead in to last night. Paul (my husband), Gayle, my CGI person and I went to a showing of the Oscar nominated shorts at the Egyptian theatre on Hollywood Blvd. We paid $15.00 for parking and $10/each for the tickets. Something's wrong with this picture.

But the films were great. My favorite live action was "Binta and the Great Idea". "Binta, a 7-year-old girl sets out to change the life of her young cousin." This film was brilliantly crafted. The blub above doesn't touch on the profound nature of this film. If you get a chance to see it, jump on it.

The winner of the academy award for live action short was "West Bank Story", a musical comedy set in the fast-paced, fast-food world of competing falafel stands on the West Bank. Incredibly funny. Had the audience rolling of the floor.

In the animation category, the winner was "The Danish Poet". Kasper, a poet whose creative well has run dry, takes a holidy in Norway to meet the famous wirter Sigrid Undset. This film has minimal animation, but has Liv Ullman as the narrator. It has a very heartwarming story that isn't funny. However, there were little animated bits in the background that were just hysterical, especially if you've spent anytime in Denmark and know the culture. (Yes, I spent some time in Copenhagen.) I learned a lot about what animation could add to a story.

The other noteable in my book was "Maestro". Maestro sits in front of a dressing room mirror and carefully prepares for his grand show. It's the grand show that makes this film one of my favs.

So if you get a chance to see any of these, do it. As far as my little film is concerned, I don't think it's going to make it to the academy awards. One can always dream...