Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What is in a name?

On the Rouge Wave II there has been a discussion about how to name characters.

I’m sorry to admit that I never put much effort in my names. We get our names as infants when the name cannot possibly tell us something about who we are. So my characters just got their names.

But just as much as a dialog in a movie script does not reflect how we speak in real life, no mother and father were there to give the character a name as an infant.

I should put more effort in my names.

Not only do I avoid giving a character an involuntarily background by giving a Nazi a Jewish name, I can also add extra meaning. And don’t despise the value of a name that sound well and has a good taste in the mouth.

In what is to become my next project I did put effort in the names when I drafted the idea the first time. But without really thinking.

I used names from the Bible. It was Markus, Lukas, Johannes and Maria.

So far so good.

Except for the fact that an English Bible names them Mark, Luke, John and Mary.

And that the characters in my story had nothing to do with the characters that named them.

It just felt cool and deep.

Yeah, great. Deep.


Get real! The first thing I’m going to do with that project is to change the names.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

With New Eyes

Now the script has been resting for awhile and finally I manage to step by step look upon it with new eyes.

The first time after I received reviews from my reading friends I’m just get filled with a hopeless feeling.

Then things start to happen.

I get fresh ideas based on the suggestions and comments I gained.

So far I try to let the mind flow and don’t care about darlings or what my heart says. It is only thoughts, not a text carved in stone. I do my best to try different aspects of every idea that pops up in my brain.

I’ve been starting to wonder if 30 days were a too short time after all.

On the other hand have I not been able to let it go from my mind. My guess is that before these 30 days are ended I’ll climb the walls in the need to dive in and write.

For my next script I’ll try another approach to drop the script from my mind for a time.

Warsaw Lucia (Self portrait), watercolor and collage.

Photo by Ines Zgonc
licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Inspiration - Music, part XV

I loved this music video when I was a young teenager. I still like it. And somehow the animations are fascinating up to this day. They are probably easier to do these days, but this video doesn't look old in the way that animations tend to do when the years pass by.

I present to you Hard Woman by Mick Jagger:

Music that inspired me

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas part I

In Sweden we celebrate Christmas the 24th of December. Today. I have no idea why we do that when the rest of the Christian world celebrate on the 25th.

I know it isn’t Saturday. But it is Christmas. But since it most likely is the day before Christmas for you (if you even celebrate it that is) I thought that I could show a crazy Christmas video and I’ll save something more tranquil for tomorrow.

I will not translate the Swedish text. The images are actually as far as possible an exact copy of the text. Some things though:

  • “God Jul, God Jul” is repeated (it sounds a little like “good youl”). That means Merry Christmas.
  • There is a pig that appears here and there – we eat pig ham at Christmas in Sweden.
  • The four candles in the beginning is one candle for each Sunday in December before Christmas.
  • At three o'clock a traditional Disney program is shown on TV (which explains the Donald Duck).
  • And the cookie-man is a “gingerbread” / “gingersnap” that is a very typical home baked Christmas cookie in various shapes.

Here I present Anders Rönnblom and "Det är inte snön som faller" (It isn't snow falling). Have a good time and Merry Christmas:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Me, a simple mammal

I’m not intentionally lazy, but when it comes to cleaning the house I tend to have a ”good is enough”- attitude.

As you know my blog has helped me to keep my writing exercises on a daily basis. Just the fact that “the whole World” is watching forces me to make progress. This has been good for me.

This year I put a camera on a tripod taking a picture every other second facing the kitchen while I doing the Christmas cleaning. I’m an enthusiastic home video director and I wanted these photos put together as a film for this year’s Christmas video.

To my surprise I found myself scrubbing the sink with a frenzy I never have had before.

Gee, my mother-in-law and my mom are likely to watch this video! I cleaned every corner of that kitchen.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Short Scene Competition III

I have forgotten to publish my entry to the Christmas Short Scene Competition at The Rouge Wave.

This time Julie selected the winner at once, since the voting was somewhat depending on your amount of friends.

The theme - except for Christmas - was Eggnog, Blizzard and Maui. I based my story on the legend about how the island Maui came to be.

Feedback is welcome.



Three young MEN in a small boat. MARTIN and MAUI are
fishing, TOMMY works with his i-pod. Maui has a PARROT on
his shoulder. The sea is calm. Occasional flakes of snow
fall from the sky.

Martin fills Tommy's glass with eggnog.

Can you stop playing with that?!

Why? Look at this, bro.

He shows Martin the display. An old black and white movie
is playing.

"The Blizzard". It's there on the
Internet. It's from 1924 and it's
there! Isn't that a marvel?

Martin fills his own glass with eggnog.

Internet is the only place for
miracles and wonders today.

Maui holds his glass towards Martin, who fills it up.

What do you say, bro?

Maui shrugs. He plucks a feather from his parrot and puts
it on the fishing hook. He tosses it in the water.

A moment passes. They drink their eggnogs in silence.

Get this boat going! I've got a
big one.

Tommy and Martin jump to their feet and get speed on the

At the end of Maui's fishing line an ISLAND is pulled out
of the water. Christmas trees POP OUT of its ground with
decorations and all. Squirrels roam about, snatching candy

Tommy and Martin stare in stunned amazement.

Maui holds his glass towards Martin.

Can I have some more of that
eggnog, please?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Inspiration - Music, part XIV

His real name is Evánghelos Papathanassíou. I can understand why he picked the artist name Vangelis.

He has been composing for almost fifty years. Although he is known as an electronic synthesizer musician, that is only partly true. He is an experimental musician. If the sound he his looking for comes from a violin or a human voice he uses it as it is. It does not need be within one of his many synthesizers.

We have all of his solo albums at home and much of his collaborations.

When I listen to his music my mind fills up with images and colors. These are so intense that I rarely can do anything but listen. And enjoy.

Here I present Conquest of Paradise by Vangelis

Music that inspired me

Friday, December 19, 2008

What symbols could be found in a bridge?

It was a long time ago I wrote about my thinking-out-of-the-box exercise. It is not because I have stopped doing them. It is simply because I have not had a great deal of time. And of course that all of them are not that good.

These pictures I found interesting.

It is the same bridge, but gave me completely different associations.

This could be a symbol for inclusion, understanding of different needs, and an open mind. The bridge connects equally minded but still let others pass without problems.

This is then a symbol of the opposite. This bridge holds together, without letting anybody fall outside the pattern. It limits and exclude. Our little space is perfect. The rest of the World is not interesting.

For me this gives associations to a hectic, technological society. Everybody is too busy to mind much at all. It is dusty and grey.

This on the other hand is peaceful. It is not a perfect world, but there is tranquility in this image.

If I would like to find something negative instead I could say that the concrete and industry challenge the sun.

I come to think of a teacher I had at university. He was interested in art, but he was supposed to teach us in a technological subject. If we found the subject boring someone always trigged him to talk about art. That we – technological students as we were – found that more interesting is surprising, but it was.

One time we discussed a piece of modern art consisting of a tub filled with water with two basket balls floating around.

Photos Ronny Ilvemo

Here you can read more about my Exercises

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Stop whining and pull yourself together

I’ve worked hard on my attitude.

I’ve fought to leave the Jante Law behind me.

I am someone. Not famous and a well known face, but someone with the right to exist and be visible.

My grandmother would never write a blog. Not because she does not understand computers. The major reason is that she does not express her opinion unless asked. Her generation doesn’t do that.

That especially counts for women.

I started to do something about on my attitude at work. Men get better salary. Not because they do a better job but because they make sure their boss knows they do a hell of a job.

When a woman is asked if she knows about something she replies “a little”. A man answers “yes”.

So do I.

I answer “yes” or “no”, never “a little”.

Unfortunately my attitude has given me an Attitude. Maybe. I don’t know for sure. I don’t know what people think of me.

I try to be not too bold, and definitely not impudent and brass.

Still, when I have finished the first draft of a script and proudly present it to get feedback I assume that I will receive only roses and some delicate suggestions, although I tried to tell myself otherwise.

What did he say in Top Gun? “Your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.”

I felt I just wanted to burn the script, forget about writing and support myself doing decorations in Fimo clay. I still feel that way.

But I have the right to do mistakes.

Yes, I am embarrassed that I confused “strike” and “stroke”. Very embarrassed.

But it’s not likely I’ll do that mistake again.

Life goes on. Rise and continue.

Filmography links and data courtesy of
The Internet Movie Database.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I want to hide somewhere

I just hate it.

I know it is part of the process and should take criticism as an adult, not take it personally and so on.

But I hate to find out that my Oscar winner is less than a door mat.

Well, so far I have only received reviews from Triggerstreet and they vary in quality, but they give a hint at least.

One of the reviews felt like the reader had been in a hurry. If plot is not clear to the reader the mistake is mine, but some things are just too obvious that the reader simply skimmed the pages.

Another reviewer pointed out a series of spelling mistakes I would have preferred to correct before anybody reading. How could I have missed the difference between strike and stoke? He strikes her hair several times in the script. Yeah, that’s just great! I feel like an idiot. I am an idiot.

I can live with the fact that there are different opinions about formatting. As I have learned there are certain differences between a script that is not sold and a script ready for shooting.

Like a reviewer pointed out that I should use major and minor headings for a scene. If a character enters a house it is a major headline, but when the character continues to another room it is a minor headline. As I’ve been taught you always use major headlines until it becomes a shooting script. This is because the major headlines points out the number of locations and until the locations are set the next room could as much be another set, shot at a different time.

I also seem to have missed a lot of plural’s s’es and the verb after did (I didn’t thought).

Now don’t get me wrong.

If my script is a door mat, I want to know.

But of course I would have preferred to hear what I want to hear. If it was the truth, that is.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Don't tell me I'm an idiot when I try to improve

As I wrote in my article Waiting for the Blue Fairy I started to study two books about English words and grammar.

One I still study, one I don’t.

The one I no longer read is “The Dictionary of Disagreeable English” by Robert Hartwell Fiske. It had such terrible attitude. It felt like it was written by a grumpy and bitter old man with the opinion that everybody that can’t see the difference between two words should not even write a shopping list. A writer should not make their readers feel like idiots.

I found “Grammatically correct“ by Anne Stilman a much nicer read. The examples are easy to understand and fun, the tone is kind and the writer does not tell me I’m stupid.

A writer of these kinds of books has to understand that the person reading this type of literature does so to improve and become better. The writer should encourage this initiative not scare the readers away, denying them progress.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Inspiration - Music, part XIII

The 13th of December is Lucia day and a special day in Sweden.

I've searched on YouTube and found a few videos that give a image about this tradition.

The story about this tradition is long and mysterious. It is however not a Christian tradition strictly speeking. Lucia was a saint, but the tradition to sing on this day comes from farm-hands's and students's tradition to walk from farm to farm on St Staffan's day to sing and beg for money and/or booze. The character of a woman dressed in white comes from Germany where St Nicolaus gave presents to Catholic children. The Protestants then dressed up a woman as Jesus (a boy could not be that innosent and pure) and she gave presents to Protestant children.

Music that inspired me

Friday, December 12, 2008


I wonder what to do now.

I don’t want to think about my script Forgiveness. It needs some rest. That is the point with the 30 days delay before starting to rewrite.

I have three ideas.

One is to rewrite the script Recreators into a novel in Swedish. What speaks against this is that I won’t do that in a month and I do like the script as it is.

Two is to start from scratch with my previous script The Beautymaker. Its first half I wrote riding on a creative flow and the rest in desperation. It needs a proper beat sheet to begin with. What speaks against this is that I don’t remember why I wrote the story any longer.

Three is a half-finished script in a futuristic environment after the collapse of civilization. This also needs a start from scratch and a proper beat sheet. What speaks against this is the business aspect of the story; this is not a story for a small budget.

This is what I think I'll do: I will glue a beat sheet for my futuristic story in my notebook to sketch on this on the bus and such, and the computer time I have I use for writing exercises.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The two magical words

I’ve reached the end of my script.

Finally I have written “THE END” at the bottom of the page.

101 pages. 9 pages shorter than I had planned for. Nine minutes are missing from the third act.

Right now I have no idea what to do about that.

Now I’ll proofread to remove the worst goofs. Then I’ll send the script to some friends and ask if they would like to read it. Maybe I’ll place it on Triggerstreet as well.

Now I need to get feedback, feedback, feedback. I’ll need to burst the writing bubble and find out the real quality of what I have written.

Meanwhile, I will not change a single character. Tomorrow I’ll get the countdown ticking. 30 days. Then I’ll start to rewrite.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It has been six months now

I published my first blog entry six months ago.

It has been interesting months. I had no knowledge about blog communities at all. Now I have gained new friends.

I started out with an idea what I wanted to obtain and it has turned out better than I expected, but taken more time than I thought it would.

My blog has changed and got itself an interface. The putti on top at first. Then the layout on the blog entries. And my last effort is a try to achieve a perfect overall impression.

I would like to thank all my readers for your interest and your comments. I hope you would like to continue reading my blog in the future as well.

I have selected a few of my favorite blog entries from the past six months:
Natural Born Writer
Creative Flow Among Nappies
My Heart and My Brain in Cooperation
All that is needed is the Right Word
When do we learn what stupid looks like?
Avoiding Clichés
Jack Sparrow is Hans Wurst
The Happy Ending

Monday, December 8, 2008

johnaugust.com: How long should it take to write a script?

In this article on screenwriter John August’s blog he writes about how much time you could expect to get if you are asked to write a screenplay.

Twelve weeks is a common agreement. But he adds that the company probably will see progress just after a few weeks.

He writes “In my experience, the most successful screenwriters are the ones who are able to accurately estimate how much time they’ll need. That’s part of the craft, just like a cabinetmaker promising a delivery date.

If you are an experienced writer you should be able to write on demand and know what time it takes, like any craftsman. That sounds reasonable.

I guess it is a good idea to get into those shoes early.

What if I’m used to write when it pleases me in my own tempo and ends up with a script that gets sold if I do some rewriting within the next two weeks? Then it is to late to find out how to write when needed.

I think I have had speed in my writing, but I have been writing on this script for six months now. That is a little over 24 weeks, twice the time mentioned.

On the other hand, if I hadn’t had a day job, I would probably be able to write twice as fast. Or?

Unknown Screenwriter: Character Theme Plot

Take a look at this article as well: Character Theme Plot

Except for all the f-words and other words that does not qualify for "nice" language, I found the blog post very interesting. And provocative in a way. This way of looking at themes is not what the grand masters teach.

Is Unknown Screenwriter right or wrong?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Where to find an English word

What do I do when I want to translate a word in Swedish to English?

There are dictionaries. But sometimes I’m not sure of the translation and sometimes I have no access to a dictionary – in the shape of a physical book.

There is a free Swedish service on Internet called Lexin. It is pretty basic and any slightly odd or strange word is unknown. And some translations are not perfect.

Wikipedia is great. I enter the Swedish Wikipedia and type the word I am looking for and from that article I can move to the English article. That gives me both translation and explanations.

Then I have a little free program called WordWeb. It cannot translate, but it can help me check if I have the right English word.

But please, give me feedback on my language.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Inspiration - Music, part XII

What I remembered from this music video was Bonnie Tyler dressed in white singing on a peak in the middle of Grand Canyon surrounded by a beautiful panorama.

I was happy when I found this on YouTube, because of this pleasant memory.

What I saw shocked me. How helpless can a woman be? Honestly! She is on her knees surrounded by villain-looking men and she does nothing but calling for a hero?!?

I always loved this song.

Suddenly this video changed my attitude towards it. I am not a helpless victim in need for a hero. I’ve never considered the one singing this song as a weak bug on the mat ready to be squashed without a peep in defense.

This attitude is so out of date. Lara Croft rules.

Here I present Holding out for a hero with Bonnie Tyler:

Music that inspired me

Friday, December 5, 2008

What paintings and photos cannot tell

When I started to write movie scripts I borrowed a book at the library on the subject. The author of the book enhanced the advantages of doing a copy of the script from time to time, even if it was tiresome.

A copy meant typing a second copy on your typewriter.

It was a long time ago that you needed to use the typewriter to get a second copy. Even if you still used a typewriter, there was a duplicator machine called Xerox when I grew up.

I know what a typewriter is, but I have never done any real work on one. The most I have done on a typewriter was when I helped my mother on her job filling out forms.

Have you seen the old Disney films with Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse? When they eat corn/maize they eat a row and then there is a ping and then they slide back and continue eating on the next row.

That is a reference to a typewriter. You typed a row and when the end of the paper got close there was a ping. Then you finished the word and started a new line.

This knowledge is about to pass into history.

While we still can watch paintings, read the writers of old time, look at photos and watch movies from a more modern time, the knowledge about these little things might disappear.

In a few decades when they do a movie containing a typewriter the “ping” might be missing and no one reacts because they are all gone.

Image modifyed by the writer

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Time to prove her worthy

My hero and my villain meet for the final time.

Now is the time to prove my hero’s worthy, show that she has passed all the tests and make it obvious that she has changed.

This is supposed to be a memorable moment.

She goes in and… what?

I know where to start and where to end. I know my hero’s goal. I know my villain’s goal. But what will they say to each other? How to make it uncertain to the end if any change has taken place?

She can’t go in and say “I’m a changed person, so I won’t kill you”.

I know she won’t. But she does not.

And that’s where I’ll have to start. She doesn't know the end.

What is her mood when she walks into that room? What does she expect?

Time for some brainstorming.

See also:
He will try to convince
And my bad guy wants what?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A sense for drama

What can I as a screenwriter learn from old classic movies?

I was told that I didn’t know what I was doing if I needed to ask this question.

Well, I am of the opinion that things that are just accepted as a fact should be questioned.

It is our ability to ask questions that developed the human kind. One should not be afraid to ask questions. Even a stupid question might give a new angle to a problem and reveal the solution.

So what can I as a screenwriter learn from old classic movies?

The structure is often different. The pace is slower than today and far from hectic. I was surprised how long it took for Norman to be introduced in Hitchcock’s Psycho.

The dialog is different. Today the stars have all the good lines.

Sometimes the moral and attitude make me grind my teeth.

But still there are things to learn.

Old movies reveal our history. Not only the stories themselves but the way the movie is made. Knowing your history is always a good thing.

A movie does always reflect the time it is made. That is a known fact. By learning about the time when an old classic movie was made I can understand it even better.

It is also interesting to consider what triggs in me an old and "stuffy" movie and why? Which elements work, which don’t?

You fill your toolbox and get better prepared in many aspects.

So, yes, there is something to learn by watching old classics.

But what? Rent a bunch and have a look. If in doubt what you were supposed to learn from them, don't be afraid to ask.

Filmography links and data courtesy of
The Internet Movie Database.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

No words, just eye contact

When I read a novel today my brain starts to adapt it into a movie script. This could be very annoying. I’d like to turn this feature off when needed.

On the other hand it is an interesting exercise.

How does one visualize this? This should be enhanced, this could be removed… A book tends to be talky, how do I cut in dialog, what is important to keep?

I made an adaption of one of my favorite novels once. Just for fun. It was a brick. And even if I succeeded in cutting the number of characters I never managed to cut the story. I guess I loved it too much. “Kill your darlings” as a popular expression goes.

It is interesting.

How do I express a relationship without words? In the book their eyes meet and things are “said” that are just hopeful guesses based on an exchange of looks. Sure eye contact could be used in a movie, but how the audience should interpreter this look need a set-up. How?

This is what makes screenwriting so fun.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Another perfect character has joined my collection

“You just don’t know enough about what you’re doing to ask anything about what you are talking about.”

I got that reply at a discussion forum.

That is an interesting sentence. There wouldn’t be any questions at all with that attitude.

There was a discussion about old classics for screenwriters to see.

Since a movie is done very differently today I asked what I could learn from them as a screenwriter. I didn’t question the fact that it was a good thing to know about these movies, but if I want to learn how to write a movie script a classic movie is different in many aspects from what is expected today. So, what do I look for?

Obviously I offended a guy who believed I was smudging his beloved collection of historical masterpieces. He replied with:
“You just don’t know enough about what you’re doing to ask anything about what you are talking about.”

He even tried to provoke me to prove that I really knew the difference between a novel and a movie. He didn't think that I did.

It is interesting how my questions sometimes are found provocative. I rarely intend for them to be, but I do like to question the course of the main stream and some people can’t handle that.

Some people cannot handle that other people are of another opinion without classify them as stupid and uneducated.

He probably found me hilarious. I found him equally so.

I got to remember this guy. He’ll be perfect in a script some day.