Saturday, November 29, 2008

Inspiration - Music, part XI

Once upon a time I was completely absorbed by Twin Peaks.

I didn’t watch the pilot episode. I wasn’t interested in following an eternity show that would go on for ever. But my parents told me I just had to see this one. And so I did and I just loved it.

I even bought myself a little Diane of my own and kept my diary on tape for a year. (This turned out to be quite stupid. It is difficult to read it afterwards.)

As with 21 Jump Street I took characters out of the story and wrote my own stuff. Sheriff Truman and Dale Cooper were most frequently used. Here my first embryo of the character that now appears as my hero in my current project started to grow.

I didn’t know that Twin Peaks were really located in the state of Washington when I picked that state as the arena for my script. I just loved the environment there and thought it would fit my story. I wonder why.

Here I present the theme from Twin Peaks written by Angelo Badalamenti:

Music that inspired me

Friday, November 28, 2008

Where is my baby bottle?

Sometimes I so desperately want to hear that I have a talent for writing.

I want somebody who is in the business to put an arm around my shoulders and say “you have a talent and if this script you are writing right now is good, I will show it to the right people.”

Don’t we all?

Right now when I am writing I feel I’m working on the next block buster that will change the universe.

But I know that the world outside my little writing bubble may think differently.

And I’m scared. I don’t want to hear that my script sucks. I feel that I have made such progress. I feel like a pro. And the thought that I may be wrong terrifies me.

I feel like I’m three years old and want to hold mommy in the hand when crossing the street.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What goes together with a cup of hot chocolate?

When I watched ”The Lake House” I was pretty convinced that this movie must have a happy ending. It was of course what I hoped for, but I was convinced for other reasons: the movie was American. That genre and American, it simply had to have a happy ending.

With “Caramel” I wasn’t that sure. It was made in Libanon. A new set of rules that I knew nothing about. Fascinating and interesting.

But a little scary.

Not scary, really. Uncomfortable.

I visited a seminar by Orvar Säfström who is a well known movie critic and TV host in Sweden. Among other things he said that every kid wants to watch the same movie over and over again because it is comforting, it is secure, they know what they get, they know where it is scary etcetera.

And we grown-ups are the same.

When we sit down at home and need some comfort or need to relax, we pick a known favorite.

So by watching a movie I’ve never seen from a country I’m not familiar with I place my self in the most uncomfortable and insecure position that is possible – when it comes to watching movies, that is.

An American movie, even if I’ve never seen it before, follows rules I’m familiar with. At least if it is a main stream movie. It gives me some comfort.

Now, don’t get me wrong. My mind can handle the insecure position that a movie like Caramel results in. It’s not a problem.

But if I have a lonely evening with a cup of hot chocolate I’ll pick something else to watch.

Photo by Willtron
Used under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
Edited by the writer

Filmography links and data courtesy of
The Internet Movie Database.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Rouge Wave: Giving good feedback

Julie Gray at The Rouge Wave has had yet another great blog entry lately. This one is about giving feedback. She is a professional in this area. She does this for a living.

Read the article here: Giving good feedback

When I read “good feedback is kind” I felt a little awkward. Have I been kind when I have giving feedback? Kind was not the word I had in mind. But what is the opposite? Mean? No, I have never been mean. Or at least I hadn’t that intention.

I have always tried to have a positive attitude, even if the text I have been reading has been way off any map I know of. “Sure, this and that is a problem, but what if you tried this?” – like.

One thing I will do next time is asking what he/she wants out of the reading, as Julie suggests. I’ve never done that. I’ve just read and given my feedback.

Thanks Julie, for great ideas.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Theodor Sallrot died the 5th of July 1900

Right now I am reading ”Too young to die” (”För ung att dö”) by Christer Isaksson.

It is a story about one of the last executions in Sweden. Theodor Sallrot was beheaded the 5th of July 1900. He was twenty years old.

I am against capital punishment.

Not only does revenge have no place in a modern justice, but a fugitive with no hope of surviving if caught causes far more deaths than one facing prison time. That is a proven fact.

This book brings out another aspect – what happens to the people around the executed? Parents, brothers and sisters, friends and the people involved in the execution.

Theodor Sallrot was a killer. There is no question about that. He killed a young man for money.

He came from a wealthy home and was used to a grander life than his salary admitted. He was loved at home and he had a good relation to his parents. He was like many young men. He wanted to enjoy freedom away from the family home, he wanted to explore the world, he wanted to party.

It shows how little that is needed to go down.

He was not a monster.

Few are.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Inspiration - Music, part X

This song is written by Cornelis Vreeswijk, who is considered one of the most important musicians within the genre.

After his death in 1987 several Swedish artists came together and created the album “Den flygande holländaren” (“The flying Dutchman”) as a tribute.

This song I remember as my first contact with the lyrics of Cornelis Vreeswijk. Most of them are depressing and/or provocative.

Here I present “Somliga går med trasiga skor” (“Some walk with ragged shoes”) preformed by Eldkvarn and Marie Fredriksson:

Some walk with ragged shoes
Tell me, why is that?
God Almighty in Heaven lives
May want it that way

God Almighty in Heaven lives
Sleeps sweet and tight
Who cares about a few ragged shoes
When you’re old and worn?

Who cares how the days pass by?
They wander as they please
Citizen, in one hundred years
You no longer exist

Then someone has taken your seat
You know nothing of that
You feel neither rain nor sun
Down in your deep, dark grave

Who cares how the nights fly by?
I don’t care a bit
As long as I may keep my face
Hidden in my loved one’s hair

I am questionable type
Without much use
Behind a corner Death waits for me
He’ll take me at his wish

Some walk with ragged shoes
Until they stopped to walk
The Devil down in Hell lives
Will get a good laugh then

(Translation by me)

Music that inspired me

Friday, November 21, 2008

Poor kid

My youngest son got a nasty cold and could not stop coughing. He is better now and I'll soon be back too.

Tomorrow there will be a new piece of music that you will hopefully enjoy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I just want to get this done

No, I’m not stuck.

I’m bored.

Or maybe I’m stuck, but don’t want to admit it.

I don’t know.

It’s just that I cannot find inspiration to write the part of the script I’m at now.

My hero is fleeing. There is not much talking. She runs a lot.

And my notes containing all my planning for my scenes are quite empty at this part. That is probably the main problem.

But I must not allow myself to let those things stop me. I must find a way to write a part of the script that does not contain much dialog.

I must get that progress bar to the top-left corner moving! If nothing else helps me get going, this ought to do the trick.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Short scene competition II

The Rouge Wave has a short scene competition again. Please, feel free to visit and vote for the contribution you like best.

I didn’t make it to the top three this time either. This time I know there were no spelling errors that caused me problem at least. But on the other hand that must have meant that my scene simply wasn’t good enough.

The keywords this time was Thanksgiving, Chihuahua, Election.

Here is my entry to the contest:

“Chihuahua dessert”


TWO WOMEN - CARRIE and MARTHA - walk under the baking, hot sun. They are dressed for party.

Have you seen Election?

Carrie replies with a stare.

The movie. It’s fun. You should see it.

Not right now.

They sink down into the shadow behind some large rocks.

This is inhumane!

Carrie kicks her high heels off and massages her feet.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be parades, turkey and booze. This is a damn desert.

If you’d been more grateful we wouldn’t be here. Lost.

Am I supposed to give thanks to the Lord now?

Martha unpacks something from her purse. She gives Carrie a small, white ball of soft cheese.

Chihuahua cheese. As dessert.

(Addressing the sky)
Alright, alright, I am grateful! Satisfied?!

A moment passes. Nothing happens.

Somehow I don’t think He believed you.

Feedback is most welcome.

And for anybody wondering, read more about Chihuahua cheese here

Photo by Darwinist
Used under
Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 License

Monday, November 17, 2008

An image of a daydream

Yes, I still do my thinking-out-of-the-box exercises. But most of them remain in my notepad. It is a matter of time to “convert” to the blog but also a matter if it adds something of value.

This image stayed on my mind long after I had done the exercise.

It is such a good illustration of a daydream. It is beautiful and safe. It is perfect.

And this is what it would be for real. The beautiful is changed for practical. And it demands practice to get skill. And it is not safe.

Photo Ronny Ilvemo

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Jack Sparrow is a Hans Wurst

Ingmar Bergman once made a movie out of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute. In the convolute of the CD he tells us a little about the opera.

The Magic Flute was written for the common people. While the upper class wanted everything stiff and proper with great virtues in center, the common people wanted to be entertained. When the story tended to be pompous a character called Hans Wurst (“Johnny Hot Dog”) entered the scene.

Hans Wurst was a clown who added humor to an otherwise high-flown story.

In the case of The Magic Flute Papageno is this story’s Hans Wurst. The director of the theater Emanuel Schikaneder decided to play the part of Papageno himself. Since it was he who had written the libretto and also commissioned the opera from Mozart, he made sure that his character got the best songs.

This also meant that Hans Wurst no longer was a secondary character but challenged the main character, which disturbed the balance in the story.

The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl the use of Hans Wurst has returned on the form of Johnny Depp’s character Jack Sparrow. Without Jack Sparrow we would have a rather pompous story with Will Turner as a classic, old-fashioned hero like Errol Flynn’s characters once was. That is not what we want today. We, the common people, want to be entertained, hence the entrance of Hans Wurst as Jack Sparrow.

While this was a stroke of genius the sequels made the same mistake as in The Magic Flute: Hans Wurst cannot be the main character. Then the story looses in balance and in credibility.

So little makes the scale to tip over.

Painting in watercolor by Marion Baars
used under GNU Free Documentation License
image edited by the writer

Filmography links and data courtesy of
The Internet Movie Database.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Inspiration - Music, part IX

I would like to add this song to my list as inspiration for a dear writing friend of mine in England who considers himself close to ugly.

The artist is Orup and 1987 he had a major breakthrough with this song.

I was fourteen at the time. It was not really okay to like Orup because even if the song was great the guy wasn’t considered to have good looks. The guy even got reporters asking if he considered himself handsome.

It didn’t make things better that he stuttered. I sure told my friends that stuttering had nothing to do with your brain capacity, but I had not the role of leading girl so my opinion didn’t matter much.

Good looks or not, the hit had several follow-ups. When good looking singers went up and down again, he has managed to keep his place as a respected musician and songwriter for twenty years now. Simply because he is good at what he is doing.

Looks only get you to a peak to let you look upon the World. Talent alone brings you out there.

I present to you “Jag blir heldre jagad av vargar” (I rather be hunted by wolfs) by Orup:

The text is not part of the point in my entry. I've just translated it so you know what you're listening to.
The text goes (abruptly translated):

I have escaped a monster right now
That was Heaven and Hell for me
She has just brought me bad luck but been loved by me

I was the dog, she was the tyrant
She was the center, I was beside
I have put my head in the sand for a too long time

I rather be hunted by wolfs
I rather be alone as I see it
I rather be hunted by wolfs
Than loved by you

I have gained new friend
The old have gone away
They got enough of your behaviors and your decisions

I rather be hunted by wolfs
I rather be alone as I see it
I rather be hunted by wolfs
Than loved by you

Than loved by you

I rather be hunted by wolfs
I rather be alone as I see it
I rather be hunted by wolfs
Than loved by you

Inspiration - Music

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ignorence is not a blessing

I can accept the fact that my detective doesn’t behave correctly. As Meg so kindly pointed out, it is a matter if I can make it believable or not.

But when it comes to busses as I talked about in my last blog post it is another question. If I write about an ordinary bus in a way or in a place that does not make sense to someone living where the bus is supposed to be, I could just as much make the Oval Office a cube and the White House pink. It would just show ignorance.

I have read so many scripts where it is so obvious that the writer has no idea what he/she is talking about. I have read descriptions of Iceland for instance that are contradicted just by taking a peek in a travel guide.

It is even worse when these obvious mistakes make it all the way and become part of a movie.

A great example of this is the Bond-movie Die Another Day. It takes place on Iceland, but it does not look like the Iceland I’ve seen on pictures. They are on a frozen lake that later appears as a glacier instead. There is no need to be so ignorant.

I’ve travelled a lot in the western part of the USA. I’m not surprised that I missed how the local bus systems work, because I didn’t travel by bus. This is the reason why I don’t think it is a good idea to write about them. And if This Makes My Day is right that there are no busses, I definitely would have made a huge mistake if I tried.

Filmography links and data courtesy of
The Internet Movie Database.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Catch the bus

I have not a clue to how the local bus system works where my story takes place.

Great. It is not a perfect time to realize that there is a gap in my knowledge.

If my character leaves the car and continues on foot in the countryside, is there a bus for her to catch anywhere? My image of this scene is based on Swedish circumstances. I have no idea how this works in the USA.

Now, since a bus was just a temporary means of transport while running I should probably skip it and do something else instead. There is no particular need for her to be on a bus.

Am I wise or a coward?

Photo by Malene Thyssen
Used under the GNU Free Documentation License
Image modified by the writer

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

World Wide indeed

I am so fascinated by the map at the bottom to the left of my blog. The one with all the dots representing each visitor. If you click on it you will get a larger map with – I think – the latest five hundred visitors.

One visitor from Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates, another from Mauritius, a few from India. I have had two visitors from China and two from Russia, although they are off the map now.

I don’t know who you are, but you are very welcome.

I am honored and humble to the fact that people from so many parts of the World found enough interest in my blog to visit it.

Thank you all visitors.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

An ageing medieval cheque to analyze

When I read in my ”Grammatically Correct” I get more and more fascinated about the English language. Fascinated and actually somewhat comforted.

Like the use of hyphen “-“. There are some rules, sure, but combinations like “half brother” and “half-moon” the use of hyphens is not based on logic. The writer (Anne Stilman) even says “If you’re not certain, don’t try to reason it through: Check the dictionary”.

Then there are the differences between British English and American. They are far more than I ever thought of. Honor/honour, center/centre, analyze/analyse, burned/burnt, canceled/cancelled, aging/ageing, medieval/mediaeval, check/cheque. At least the writer gave me some comfort in the fact that most people have a mix and the important thing is to keep a sort of homogenous way of writing: Don’t mix spellings of the same word and try to stick to one type of spelling in each category, like –ze or –se.

I'll try to keep that in mind.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Kiss and... kiss

Speaking of language I have great difficulty to grasp and accept that English only has one word for kiss and… kiss.

Swedish has two words. One for the innocent kiss, the type you give your children and vice versa and one for the sensual kiss, the type you give your lover.

I can’t help reacting when I read that a parent kissed their children goodnight. Not to mention all these bad translations to Swedish saying that the parent “sensually kiss” their children goodnight. First of all we don’t “kiss goodnight” we “goodnighty” so the expression is wrong in the first place. And then when the translator uses the wrong “kiss”-word it almost becomes pedophilic in my ears.

Why is it the same word? English is known to be a language rich with words.

I can understand why grandmother is used for both mother’s and father’s mother (which is not the case in Swedish). But kiss and… kiss, I don’t get it.

Now there are worse things to worry about in the World and I don’t lie sleepless over this. But I’m curious.

Differences in language are interesting. Just like the Finnish language that only has one word for he and she.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Inspiration - Music, part IIX

I continue my musical journey with Secret Garden. They won the Eurovision Song Constest in 1995 with Nocturne.

Their performance was special in many ways. It was a visual experience as well as a musical one. To win a song contest was a bit ironical since the song in question barely had any singing and the singer (Gunnhild Tvinnereim) was not even part of the group.

The CD “Songs from a Secret Garden” was soon in our collection and it didn’t take me long to favor “The Rap”.

Here I present Secret Garden and The Rap:

Inspiration - Music

Friday, November 7, 2008

Waiting for the Blue Fairy

Yesterday I found two books in our bookshelf that I had completely forgotten. That’s a shame because I bought them to write better English.

The first was “Grammatically correct“ by Anne Stilman. The other was “The Dictionary of Disagreeable English” by Robert Hartwell Fiske.

As I remembered it I had this idea about not study English while I was writing not disturb the flow. Well, I am constantly writing. I think that what stopped me from reading these books was fear, pure and simple.

My English has to be better than this to be treated as a serious, professional writer.

This sometimes feels like an impossible task and then I stick my head into the sand waiting for the Blue Fairy or something.

I hate the idea that my script will be rejected because of grammatical- and spelling errors. I understand that it should be, because serious writer should know their language, but sometimes it does not feel fair. A childish feeling, I know.

So, I have assigned myself a new daily task – read and learn from these two books.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

We all make mistakes

The Rouge Wave has had several really good posts lately.

Take a look at Tools of the Trade and Understanding the business of Hollywood.

I think these are very good articles.

And they made me come to think of some really bizarre mistakes I have made.

My first script I wrote in Times Roman. Big mistake.
I sent it to the actor I wanted in the leading role. Big mistake again.
And to make things worse I sent along a tape with inspiring music. Never, ever do that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A hero's escape

My hero escapes the authorities in a way that would probably not happen in real life.

I had several questions about how a real detective would do in the situation I created. I got answers by Sgt. J at King County Sheriff's Office in Seattle, Washington, USA.

Sgt J made it clear that the way I thought my detective would act was out of the question.

I had this idea that I would make my story correct as far as possible. The problem was that my hero needed to escape. If she was brought directly to jail in central Seattle which she is supposed to be, she can’t escape. That is the reason why suspects are brought directly to jail.

Of course Sgt J would not tell me a possible way to escape.

I thought of other ways to handle it. Could I change my story? Did I have any darlings that I needed to kill?

But I could not find a way to end my story if my hero didn’t get her escape. I might lack of imagination, but the way I saw it the final battle would not even be a battle if I put my hero in jail for the rest of the story.

So I had to make my detective a less correct detective. At least I know that the detective’s behavior is not out of the manual. And another character comments it.

But I would have preferred if there would not be a “factual error” in the goof-section at IMDb on this movie.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Let's crash some cars

So far all my scenes in my current project are based on the idea that there are two or three people with different goals and this results in conflicts. The conflict is mainly expressed through dialog.

Now my hero is running from the police. She is alone. There is a conflict in the fact that she is running and the police want to catch her, but is that enough?

I have seen so many action movies with smashed windows and crashing cars, but I have little clue how to write these type of scenes. Well, I hope they will have a little more intellectual content than just crash and bangs, but she is escaping.

I have one great idea for dialog that will express a hint about the change within our hero. Otherwise it will be a rather silent part of the movie. It shall be interesting to write this.

Photo by Ronny Ilvemo

Monday, November 3, 2008

The limits of your imagination

My colleague’s car had a breakdown. It had to be towed back home. Not a funny thing to deal with, but it happens.

I learned about this by an e-mail: “Sorry. I can’t get to work. My car has had breakdown.”

Maybe there is more behind this than what is obvious, but there are buses. And if nothing else your feet may bring you to the nearest bus stop.

I couldn’t help asking myself what kind of a person feels so stuck that she can’t consider walking to a bus stop.

Is it lack of imagination? Is it laziness? Is it fear?

I’m not asking these questions to be unkind towards my colleague. I’m asking to better understand what may or may not cause a certain behavior. I need to learn how other people may think to be able to create better characters.

If fear caused her to stay at home, what kind of set-up would that need? What kind of fear would it be? Fear for new things? Fear of busses?

Why is she afraid of busses?

I think that kind of brainstorming can be pretty interesting. And what may or may not have caused this particular colleague’s situation becomes less relevant. It is just about forcing the limits of my own imagination.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Inspiration - Music, part VII

Today is the day that we in Sweden put candles on the graves of our dead loved ones.

The American Halloween has also made its entry and caused quite a confusion. Because there are different opinions of which day to dress up and do the trick-or-treat-thing.

Well, anyhow, I thought this video was perfect for today.

This video inspired me to my first novel of 36 pages when I was twelve or something. I haven’t seen it since I was about that age and it should have been left as a good memory. I almost regret that I found this one.

It’s a quiet song, a video with associations to death and a singer that do his trick-or-treat dressed like a poodle and acting like some kind of god.

I present Forever Young with Alphaville:

Music that inspired me