Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blazing summer

Why can’t I get my notebook out of the bag and write?

It is quite simple. Open the zipper, bring out the case, remove it and open the lid.

I mean, I know it is no use to sit around and wait for inspiration. That is something I learned over the past year. Don’t wait, just write.

And now I sit here and try to find any possible excuse not to.

It makes me frustrated.

I don’t like these kinds of fights. They waste energy.

Maybe it’s just too hot? It is over 30°C outside.

No… That’s just one of those miserable excuses I’m so tired of.

Open the zipper and write that scene, damn it!

A word: Euphemistically

"‘It’s a good movie, and that’s all that’s important’ he said in a calm and reassuring voice.

At previews, everyone spoke euphemistically. I was fucked. I knew too well that at that very moment Terry’s entire distribution staff was in the back alley throwing up on their shoes."

Art Linson
What just happened? Bitter Hollywood tales from the front line

Euphemistically? Wiktionary, here I come.

Euphemistically: “In a euphemistic manner”. No kidding. That took my by surprise.

Euphemistic: “Of or pertaining to euphemism”. Really? Oh, boy.

Euphemism, then? Finally! Did you know that someone seeking help needs only three clicks to get bored and leave?

Well, euphemism means use of a word or phrase to replace another and that is considered less offensive or less vulgar.

Like the use of the words “restroom” or “bathroom” instead of “toilet”, which is likely what everyone is looking for.


Monday, June 29, 2009

A word: Vindictive

"Was that a vindictive remark? I couldn’t tell. His mouth, filled with oatmeal, hid his expression. Was he telling me that I would soon join the pack of the dispossessed? I think so."

Art Linson
What just happened? Bitter Hollywood tales from the front line

I found this book by Art Linson lying around in the bookshelf together with another book I forgot to read as well.

No free newspapers on the bus during summer weeks. I grabbed it and put it in my backpack.

When I started to read it I would have laughed out loud if I wasn’t on a bus and out of breath from dashing to catch it.

As I tend to do nowadays I found a word or two that I decided to look up as soon as I got an option. (I used to just guess from the surrounding text and leave it at that.)

Vindictive is related to vengeance but while vengeance traveled by Old French vindictive comes directly from its Latin origin “vindicta”. It means having or showing a strong desire for revenge.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Soon I belong in a museum

This belongs to a museum.

Believe it or not but this is my first computer. This one, on the photo.

The year was 1988. Computers were not yet found in every home.

My parents wanted to encourage my dreams to become a writer and bought me computer to be used mainly as a word processor.

Computer and screen were one unit. It had no harddrive. The discs was 3 inches (3 ½ inches became standard later) and you had to take them out and flip them over to write on the other side.

Later, when I got what we today call a PC, and I was writing on this big novel of mine, I still stored the documents as one chapter per file.

My old computer didn’t leave other options. I don’t remember for sure but I think it didn’t permit files over a certain size. On the other hand, opening a file took it’s time, and scrolling to the bottom even more, so you kept your files short.

No need on my new PC with a 386 processor. It was fast as the wind. And it had graphics.

Those learning computers today cannot get how amazing 16 colors were then. And graphics, not just character-sized boxes.

Then I found out what a sound card meant. These were exclusive things, sold separately. And out from the speakers came music that sounded like real instruments, not a computer-beep in different frequencies.

And you know one of the most amazing things now is that this computer when it was bought was two years old. No, it was brand new. And it was not out of date. Not the most expensive high-tech, but it was still considered as modern.

A two year old computer in a store today would be a joke.

Photo belongs to Göteborgs Stadsmuseum, Carlotta
Edited by the writer

Thursday, June 25, 2009

CNN, the Dalai Lama and Usain Bolt

Once opon a time CNN linked to my blog. To “All that is needed is the right word” to be exact.

No, no, nothing fancy, nothing personal, just a robot picking up blog entries that likely matched their own article.

Their article was about the Dalai Lama and so was mine. Or rather… ah, well, never mind. I got hits from CNN and I figured that maybe I should mention some popular news in my blog posts to get attention.

Said and done. I wrote “Usain Bolt dances” and “Our hero would walk out and win the gold” the following days.

No hits what so ever.

Then I stopped with these foolish ideas. I mean, what’s the point with hits when the readers expect to find something else than a blog about screenwriting?

The interesting thing is that “Usain Bolt dances” later became one of my most visited pages counted by visitors from Google’s search engine. This thanks to the movie Bolt.

Talk about a reader looking for something else than found.

Bolt is an animated movie about a dog. My blog entry is about the real-life sprinter and Olympic medalist Usain Bolt.

At least these readers are looking for something movie script related.

A word: Feign

"Don’t use the word ‘feign’ if you don’t know what it means."

I got the tip about this blog at Go into the story. Great tips, although quite rudely stated.

I have never used the word “feign”. And I’m happy to say that I haven’t because I wasn't sure about what it meant.

It is time I enrich my vocabulary with this word, so I can start using it, knowing what it means. It is obviously a well used word among screenwriters, don’t you agree?

Feign means to imagine, to pretend, to give mental existence to something, to counterfeit.

It is based on the Old French word “feindre” that in turn comes from Latin “fingere”, to form, shape, invent.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Distracting contests

I try not to think about this.

The countdown to the left under "Kim" is for the Silver Screen Competition who will announce their winners the 15th of September.

Alright, I confess, I sent “Kim” to Nicholl Fellowship’s contest as well. Not that I denied it in any way, but I haven’t said so either.

By the end of July I’ll know if “Kim” made it to Nicholl’s quarterfinals or not.

If it hasn’t… My, that’s even not an option. It simply has to.

Well, if it hasn’t they don’t return any feedback. So I'll have no clue what went wrong. The Silver Screen Competition does give feedback, but unfortunately they didn’t receive the same version. Close, but not the same.

You see, I was in this agony whether or not to send it, and very abruptly I got this urge to get rid of it and did send it.

Only for me to discover that not only did I have a spelling error on the first page, I corrected not less than ten in the whole script.

Then there was this question about major and minor headings. The version entered had these secondary headings and I didn’t feel comfortable with those headings, after all.

I got overwhelmed by this hopeless feeling of wasting all chances.

So, I returned to major headings only, corrected my spelling errors and with renewed hope sent “Kim” to Nicholl Fellowship’s contest.

And I’ve read “Kim” since then and – as I said – that this script shouldn’t go to the quarterfinals is not an option.

Then why am I nervous?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Creative Flow vs Thinking

Some may have noticed that my progress bar moves slower.

It’s because my perfect scene planning didn’t quite work. The last quarter of the first half (as far I have planned the scenes) didn’t fit after all.

This is no big deal. I’m not stuck or anything.

It’s just that I can’t sit down, take a peek at my notes, open the hatches and write.

I start my creative flow by reading my notes, my plans. When there are no plans, it is harder to get started.

One of the reasons that I love to write is the Flow. The Flow is in some ways opposed to Thinking.

So, when I need to think, I can’t ride on the Flow. And when I am not on the Flow, then I don’t want to write.

See also:
Take me to the sea: About planning scenes

Photo by: James Marvin Phelps
Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License
Image edited by the writer

A word: Lackluster

"In the final, I made him cry, too, by describing his performance as lackluster -- it was a huge, huge mistake. [...] I had treated him as I would an adult, forgetting that he was only an 11-year-old child with a dream."

“Lackluster”? Obviously not something positive, but what does it mean?

First of all, it is spelled “lacklustre” in US English.

It means lacking brilliance or intelligence, having no shine or lustre, dull.

“Lack” comes from Middle Low German and “luster” from French who gained the word from Old Italian who in their turned picked it up from Latin “lustrare”, to brighten.

Now, I realize that if Simon Cowell used this word addressing an 11-year-old it is not a problematic word. Even though I hadn’t heard it before.

But it gave me an excuse to link to the article which I think addresses several interesting issues.


Monday, June 22, 2009

A word: Holistic

"[I] try to follow a holistic lifestyle as well, herbalist, writer, nature lover, runner, intuitive, love networking and still enjoy chocolate and a glass of wine."

Essensu at Blogcatalog

I got a friend-invitation from Essensu and I took a look at the user’s description of herself and found the above.

“Holistic lifestyle”, what was that? I associated with halo, which had nothing to do with holistic at all.

Holistic means relating to an analysis of the whole, instead of a separation into parts.

It is based on the word holism, which comes from the Greek word ὅλος, holos, meaning “whole, entire, total”.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Twin Peaks - the ultimate source for inspiration

Twin Peaks

I became a fan of Twin Peaks when it hit our television in 1990.

Since I wasn’t interested in following TV-series any longer, I didn’t see the first pilot. The next day I was told I simply had to see this one. And next week I sat there and saw the one series that would affect my imagination the most.

And therefore also my writing.

Yes, I think it flipped out as time went by. I think no series holds in the long run (despite the fact that there are those that went on for decades). David Lynch should have settled for a limited amount of episodes from the beginning.

Why do I bring up the topic of Twin Peaks now, almost twenty years later?

Well, I got it on DVD now. Finally.

The communication was different then. No cellphones, no SMS. To reach the sheriff when he is out of office and not in his car, you call to the home where he is at the moment. James passes a note to Ed to be delivered to Donna.

On the other hand, Twin Peaks is another world in a way, so it doesn’t feel like it passed two decades.

Of course there are many factors that create a fate, but Twin Peaks is one of the reasons I write movie scripts today.

Image from www.moviescreenshots.blogspot.com
Edited by the writer

Filmography links and data courtesy of
The Internet Movie Database.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dialog on the nose

Dialog on the nose

On-the-nose-dialog is where the conversation aims to tell the audience what they need to know.

Don’t ever write dialog with the audience in mind.

Well, the whole movie is for the audience, so yes, we write for an audience. But the characters in the story don’t know that they are being watched.

Have you ever had a conversation in a public place and you suddenly feel the urge to explain what you are talking about, so the unknown people around you will get you right? Suddenly you start to add information that the one you are talking to knows, and you would not need to say, unless you wanted someone else to get the picture.

Thank you for last night. It was great to walk along the beach with you and your parents. You really lifted a stone from my heart telling me all was well with Stephan.

That kind of dialog is on the nose.

It is bad dialog.

Consider this instead:

Thank you for last night.

Nothing to talk about. Glad to see you feel better. Oh, mom asked me to return this to you.

It is true it doesn’t reveal the same information. But the man and the woman know what they talk about. They don’t need to tell each other more than this.

The dialog is between the characters talking.

Few people dive right into a situation they knew nothing about.

Living the Romantic Comedy: You and your shitty draft

Billy Mernit at Living the Romantic Comedy has written an excellent blog entry about the first draft.

It's about the first draft's right to be bad, to be what it is: a first draft.

As I am writing a first draft as we speak I felt great comfort by the article.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A perfect scene

I stepped into the bus. I had this scene ready in my head. I could barely wait until I had my little notebook started.

I sat down, removed my sunglasses and opened the backpack almost in one move.

At last I pushed the start-button.

Didn’t I push it enough? I pressed it again.

Still nothing happened.

I stared dumbfounded at the black screen. Like a fool I pressed the button again. Stone dead. No battery or gone to the digital Heaven...

... right then it didn’t matter.

A word: Inundated

"A backslide
A landslide
With the emotionality
of life"

Derick at Journeytime

Inundated means flooded. Something is covered with a large amount of water. Or less literally: being overwhelmed with something.

It comes from Latin “inudare”, “to surge”. This word in turn has Indo-European roots.

A nice word, but not very easy to understand.

The free dictionary

Monday, June 15, 2009

Write, write, write

It is important to not get stuck on details.

As I found out about the garage door I must pass an image to the reader, but to dwell on fine points that do not move the story forwards only stall the story.

What I get stuck on this time was a behavior of a character with CP.

It was not the facts in my writing, but that I lacked some form of reference that I could use to get my own, internal painting right.

I remember a documentary I saw long ago about the director Lars Mullback who as a grown-up met kids with CP doing things that he always been told that he could never do. His realization that CP could be treated and that he could have had training already as a small child made him frustrated and angry. And made him work for making the Swedish habilitation aware that there were ways to handle CP.

I needed to see something like “before” and “after”.

Then I realized that I was yet again a little sidetracked. What I needed was an arc that showed the boy’s progress so I know when he can’t do something and when he can. Not to dwell on cramping fingers.

Not even in my mind.

As the flow of the written story is important, the flow in my mind is equally important. I don’t believe that my lingering on these details makes my story better.

If I miss some images, fine, go ahead and find something that fills the hole, but don’t get stuck on it. Write, write, write and see what comes out.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Research is not that easy

It’s so fascinating sometimes what I get stuck at when I’m writing.

You should write about things you know, but there are always things you don’t know about and need to research.

But although I do research, if there is something I get stuck at, they are these things that I don’t know about for real. I have this theoretical knowledge, but no real images to use when I write.

What I’m stuck at is a minor detail, but it is a very visible thing. I need to have some moving images reference to steer clear of having stiff descriptions or even worse: descriptions that avoid the subject.

Hello YouTube! Here I come.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Something seriously bad?

Two of my colleagues talked about a third who traveled to Thailand all by herself, leaving kids and husband at home. They both admitted that it would be wonderful to be able to do that for a week.

And so do I. Well, not travel, because that is so boring to do alone, but to be for myself for a few days.

Sometimes it is too overwhelming to be a parent of two small children. Now, don’t get me wrong; I love them more than anything.

But after a week where one having nightmares, the other peeing in our bed at two o'clock at night, one gets fever… I simply feel like a worn rag.

And definitely not up to any serious writing.

But I saw that Blake Snyder had an interesting contest on his blog.

Maybe I’m up to writing something seriously bad?

A word: Kerfuffle

"Phew. Dongle Ep 2 price kerfuffle is solved. Apols from iTunes store and everyone."

I'm not this huge fan of Twitter. It's in my opinion mostly a mess of random thoughts and a flow of too much information. But I've just learned a new word from a Twit!

Kerfuffle is a disorderly outburst or tumult, mostly used in British and Canadian English.

The word is from early 19th cent and comes from Scots "curfuffle" that in turn is related to Irish "cior thual" (confusion, disorder).

Kerfuffle has a quite nice sense in my mouth, like one of those old-fashioned marshmallows. Very, very far from its meaning.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

A word: Embellish

"Provides a drawing surface for embellishing bitmap images."

RAD Studio VCL Reference

Embellish is to make something more beautiful and attractive; to decorate. Or to make something sound or look better or more acceptable than it is in reality; to distort.

From Old French embellir.

I find the situation where this word was used somewhat ironic. We are taking about a programmer's reference here. We are talking about a computer's idea about what a drawing surface is. It's nothing I can take a pen and brush and decorate for real. I can make it beautiful and attractive with binary bitmap images. Or do I only make it look better than it really is?

On the other hand, isn't it rather sweet to look on software code this way? To give it a feel of reality and importance?

Sources: Wiktionary

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I have been working with project Sunlight since the beginning of April.

Ten weeks ago I started with the beat sheet. I’ve been writing for seven weeks. That’s 49 days. 37 pages during that time becomes ¾ page a day.

When I write I mostly write about one page, so that would mean that during those 49 days I have not written on my script on twelve of them.

That’s bad.

If I have as a goal to write at least a page a day I shouldn't just skip the task one day out of four. That is too much.

To look at the bright side, I’ve never been as fast as this before.

One page a day might not be much, but it means that there is no big deal to start Final Draft and write. I don’t need to plan for it. I don’t need hours on my hands to get something done. And it’s always there in my mind on some level.

A word: Dissertation

"I'm entering my final year in September which means one thing for any student out there - dissertation time! [insert dramatic music here]"

Even put in its context I wasn't sure what this word meant. Study time or party time? Fancy words are likely used for serious matters, but why guess when I could widen my vocabulary?

Dissertation is a formal exposition of a subject, a research paper that students write in order to complete their candidature for a degree or professional qualification; a thesis. A lengthy lecture on a subject.

It's from Latin "dissertationem" which seems to have the same meaning.

Sources: Wiktionary and Wikipedia

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Time to celebrate

Today it is anniversary. Today one year ago, I wrote my first blog entry.

So many things have happened during this year. When I started to look around for ways to expose my blog a whole new world revealed itself; Communities, blog rankings and SEO. I felt like I had never used the Internet before.

My intention to find new friends and fellow writers has succeeded.

That my more or less daily writing on my blog would help my script writing as well came as an unexpected but most pleasant surprise.

How do I find my time, people ask me. Well, there is a reason for most of my entries to be as short as they are. And I spend two hours on a bus each day; now with a little Eee notebook. And I write some posts in advance.

I have created a new label called My favorites 1st year. There you can find the blog entries that I like most for various reasons.

I also took the moment to rearrange the items to the left. When I looked at my statistics I saw that close to nobody uses the labels, so I’ve moved those down and the search field up for instance; Small adjustments that hopefully makes the blog a little better.

Do you like my blog? Please support it by telling your friends, link to it and/or fav it at Technorati and/or at other blog collections. And please, add a comment or two now and then. I do feel great comfort when I get feedback, I don't deny that.

Have a happy day, all of you. And thank you for your support.

Hot chocolate from Café Schober, Zürich, Switzerland
Photo Andrew Bossi
Used under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License
Image edited by the writer

Monday, June 8, 2009

A word: Deter

"But don’t be deterred if you are thinking of learning it!"

To deter is to prevent something from happening or to persuade someone not to do something, to discourage.

But this is the funny thing: I can't find this word as an adjective! To be deterred, what is that? This is a verb in all my sources (yes, I've checked more than Wiktionary just to make sure). It's something you do, not something you are.

I think he means I should not be discouraged.

Please help me. Show me a source that explains the use of deterred as an adjective.

Sources: Wiktionary

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The differences between a novel and a movie script

The most basic difference between a novel and a movie script is the fact that the novel is a finished product, while a movie script is a mere blue print.

While a writer of a novel is expected to paint an image with a lot of words, a writer of a movie script is praised for his/hers minimal use of words. A novel does not need to stay within time limits and formats. In a movie script one page is one minute of film. A lengthy description does either slow the pace of the movie if filmed as written, or the film’s final length cannot be estimated correctly.

Most novels are written as “he walked” while a movie script always is in the form “he walks”.

A novel can have several main characters and the story might be about a situation rather than a specific person’s development. A movie script is one person’s story, one person’s development (sure there are other characters, but the focus is on one character). This could cause an adaption of a novel into movie script to become a completely different story, like Tom Clancy’s books.

A movie cannot be forever. It has a limited length during which the story must be told. A book has physical limitations for when it becomes impractically thick and big, but the novel could be split into several books. A movie is rarely split in the same way, although there are exceptions like Kill Bill and Lord of the Rings.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Stunning replies

A woman indicates the friend’s large bag.
“Been shopping?”
“It’s my dog’s ashes.”

“You know, it’s hard to realize that one’s parents get old. How about you? Are your parents alive?”
“I don’t know.”

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

To grasp the essence of the story

My four-year-old had been to a theater with his preschool group. When he was reluctant to tell me what the play was about, I asked one of his teachers.

“Oh, it was about –” and she talked with great enthusiasm for five minutes without succeeding in neither passing the interest to me nor making me understand the story.

I was reminded about when I had been to the cinema and with huge passion told my parents about the movie, boring them completely.

Why is it so hard to grasp the essence?

It’s not lacking in exuberance.

When Änglagård was on the posters two middle-aged ladies looked at the young, rebellious couple on the image and asked if I knew what it was about.

“The fear of the unknown” I replied. It was spot on. But could as much be a description of a sci-fi movie or a thriller. Of course it should be developed into something more subtle, but it still is the very essence of the story.

What my son’s preschool teacher should have said was “Oh, it was about the uselessness to hurry”.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A word

"The slash (also known as the diagonal or slant, or more esoterically as solidus, virgule or shilling) is a somewhat nebulous mark."

Anne Stilman, Grammatically Correct

Esoterically, derived from esoteric, "understandable by only an enlightened inner circle". This word comes from Ancient Greek “ἐσωτερικός” (esōterikos), "belonging to an inner circle".

Virgule comes from Latin “virga”, "rod, branch".

Nebulous, "lacking definite form, limits, definition or content". Derives from Latin “nebula”, "little cloud, mist".

I found all these three words interesting. “Esoterically” because I suddenly became enlightened when I learned what this word meant, “virgule” because it is quite funny and logical to call a / a rod, and finally “nebulous” because I was thinking of a supernova and it meant something a little fuzzy.

Sources: Wiktionary

Monday, June 1, 2009

A notepad on the run

Where was my notepad?

I paniced.

I had taken it out of my bag when I started using my little Eee notebook, to save a little weight. But in that notepad was the beat sheet for my current project. And a rough sketch of what was meant to be my next project. And now they were gone.


I write things down to not need to have everything in the top level of my memory.

No, I don’t remember every idea and beat, not even in my current project. I need my notes. Where were they?! They got to be here somewhere.

Relax. Relax! Wherever they are, they are not moving.

I put them there… Then I removed them together with another pile when I cleaned… Where is that pile most likely? I walked into the room and checked the bottom of a stack.

The notepad was found!

Ah, my project is safe.

Thank you

My blog has reached a four in Google's page ranking.

I wish to thank all my supporters who been kind both in their encouragement and their links to my blog.

Without you my blog would be nothing. Yes, I write because I need it, but without you I would not develop and not make the progress I feel that I do.

A big thank you to all of you.