Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The unbuttoned woman

I heard a story where a woman not native in Sweden wrote in her application for a job that she was horny.

What had happened was that she wanted to write that she was a happy person, but searched for a suitable synonym in a dictionary. And the future employer got a mail from someone claiming she was horny all the time.

I was sitting with a short story I wanted to translate to English. It was in written according to my culture’s traditions about how to write a fairytale, deliberately old fashioned with a modern theme.

It included several words for different type of nature, like moor and glacier. I would need a good dictionary to find the words I was looking for.

And I thought of the woman who was called to an interview just to give the employer good laugh (shame on them) and the possible consequences of trusting a dictionary.

Nude from behind
Drawn by Ingeborg Bernhard
Used under the
GNU Free Documentation License

Image edited by the writer

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The first line of dialog

When I start writing on the first page of a new feature script I always run into a temporary lockdown.

I know the first image. I can see it, smell it, and feel it with every sense of my body.

Until the main character is about to say his/hers first line.

I think I know the character. I’ve written background, favorite food, worst memory, but I have no clue how the character talks.

No clue what so ever.

Secondary characters can chatter away, but the main character sounds as interesting as a statue chiselled from stone.

The first line sort of settles the character.

“Can you change subject?” Sort of rough attitude. And on the nose of that matter.
“Could you change the subject, please?” More subtle, softer.
“What does it matter to you, huh? Nothing!” Defensive and aggressive.
“What are you doing these days?” Avoiding conflict.

If I know the character so well, how come I don’t know if to use a subtle line or an aggressive?

Monday, March 29, 2010

At World's End

Did you know I have been at the End of the World?

I have. I’ve been there more than once too.

If you walked through the park and continued on the path when the tarmac left off and then followed it along the streamlet with the farmland to the right you got to the End of the World.

The ditch with the stream disappeared inside a culvert; the path ended abruptly and at my feet was muddy farmland as long as you could see all the way to the flat horizon.

There was nothing more.

The End of the World.

For a five-year-old.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Endangered Truth: Walking the Graveyard

If you want to follow the progress of Walking the Graveyard keep yourself updated by peeking at Robert A Vollrath's blog Endangered Truth

The set he is building is so fantastic.

Friday, March 26, 2010

ScriptXRay: Forget About Format, It’s All About Your Voice

Christopher Rice has a blog called ScriptXray I visit regularly and now he has written this interesting blog entry about writing with a voice.

"[W]hat I don’t understand is how it’s still considered common practice for screenwriters to write the screenplay devoid of any personality — as the old screenwriting books say, 'just keep it bare bones minimum … unless you want your script shredded!'"

Of what I have heard and read, it has always been important to have a voice, even when writing screenplays. Like strip it to the bare bones and then when you feel comfortable with that way of writing, carefully add your voice.

What are your experiences and opinions?

Read the whole article here.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Short script for sale

I wrote an eight page short script yesterday.

A funny story based on some old folklore I read in a children’s book long ago with stories from around the world.

It’s called “The Death of Old Tommy” and is about a man tricking Death to give him on the whole three hundred more years of life.

Although some visuals may be problematic to solve – like a tree in three stages: plant, grown and stub – I think it could be filmed with a limited budget. Since it is a fairytale it could even be filmed with obviously flat, painted trees in a studio. Or animated.

Think about the classic image of Death: a cloaked figure in black with a scythe. Now see that fellow look around to see if he is alone, drop the scythe, hoist up his cloak and climb a cherry tree.

I reread the script later that day and apart from a few grammatical errors I was honestly pretty amazed by its quality and also about my ability to be funny.

If you are interested in the script, let me know.

Image used under the GNU Free Documentation License

Monday, March 22, 2010

Recharging the batteries

In times where time seems like something illusive and short and what waking time we got is valuable it easy to forget that our batteries are not recharged by sleep alone.

Part of the recharging is about letting the mind float freely.

I guess some use yoga or meditation for this. Personally I like stupid, repetitive work, like entering CDs in a database or like I do now: make a huge list in xml-format for a game my husband is programming. No actual thinking needed.

It is extremely pleasing and I can get close to obsessed by it.

And on the creative levels of my mind something is working all by itself somehow.

It is also a matter of quick result. And a lasting result. What I do is done and will stay done.

When the things I work with – writing or day-job – are sort of fluid and in constant movement and targets for rework, it is like a safe place to fall back to, like at least something I do stay and brings things forwards.

Nuts, but hey, that’s life.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Internet is pure death

I just read a blog entry that got me spot on. It was a Swedish writer and comedian called Jonas Gardell who replied to a youth asking how to focus on writing when there is Facebook around (translated by me):

”It is very hard to focus on writing if you have a chance to escape, and access to the Internet is not only a chance – it is pure death!
If you are serious about your writing, disconnect!
If you are not willing to disconnect: don’t write!”


That hurt.

But he is write, sorry, right.

Focus is my responsibility. If I’m serious about this, and I am, I must not allow myself to escape so much.

Guess why I was reading that blog entry? Yep, I was escaping.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

To adapt a novel: Finding structure

I’ve finished the book ”Mord i Malmö” by Pär Bjelvehammar which I’m about to adapt into a movie script.

I’ve localized four parallel stories.
The main character’s:
* Private investigation of the murders.
* Divorce and his relationship with his ex-wife and their two kids.
* Fancy for women.
* Hard time to keep his job.

The beginning and the end are sort of hasty, so I need to explore options for a working first act, and finish the story a little smoother, more movie-like.

The book was 241 pages so there is no need to do cuttings in the original story due to length at least.

Now I will work on a beat sheet to get the structure movie-like.

I’ll need to do an inventory on the characters, see if they are too many and if some have to go.

The police force was not put in their best and brightest light in this story. I’ll see if I can sooth that a little too.

Jerry's demo reel

Jerry White who will be directing "Walking the Graveyard" soon has a pretty cool demo reel.

Check it out here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

There is so much fun going on!

Right now I am polishing on an older script for a possible production by a Swedish group of moviemakers, brainstorming ideas for a new film together with Sx2 Productions, and adapting a novel to a movie script.

Yes, I have a lot in my hands right now, but so far it is no problem.

The polishing will not take long and right now it is the only one of the three that includes actual writing. I simply had to polish it a little. It was so old I had written it in Ms Word. But the story is still good, I think, and matches what they asked for in the ad. I hope they like it.

I’m hoping to get attached to a new project by Sx2 Production. We are sending ideas back and forth. To make it more fun there are deadlines for appliance of production support coming up soon.

As I’m reading the novel the structure of the future script is building up. It is very interesting to read a book and know that this time I’m actually allowed to do a script from it. The plot is not bad, but need to be enhanced visually. Since the book is written from a first person’s view, it is very many thoughts and emotions and far less visual language.

What about my own two feature scripts?

Yes, I’m working on them too, but honestly they come second. When I realized I will not finish them in time for "contest season", I moved my priority to projects that have higher possibilities to get produced in the near future.

If people actually want me to write for them, I would be nuts to turn them down for a feature script no one asked for.

I’ll finish the features, all in good time.

Scriptwriting in the UK: Guarantees

I just read this wonderful depressing, funny and inspiering blog entry by Danny Stack at Scriptwriting in the UK.

"In the world of screenwriting, THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES OF ANYTHING.

It's a sad and painful truth. Just when you think you've done everything right and worked your way up the system, and commissions are due or the exciting gig is about to happen, that's when you can end up with nothing."

Check it out.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The golden ball of light

Think of the mind as a golden ball of light.

Most of the time I hold that ball in my hands, close to me, safely.

A few weeks ago I dropped that ball.

It was like it was rolling around on a table, all over the place.

Last night the golden ball of light fell over the edge.

And below was darkness.

I fell.

And I screamed in panic.

I experienced something I never felt before. And wished I never had.

But in the darkness I realized something vital: I’m alone.

I can’t wait for help, because no one else can know what is going on inside my head. The falling, the darkness, the golden ball of light can’t be seen by anyone else.

If I’m going to stop falling, it is up to me.

I have kids. I owe them that.

So I managed to get hold of myself and started to climb back up.

I’m shaken and afraid, but I have no urge to jump from the nearest bridge any longer, like I had last night.

I’ll make it through.

The golden ball of light is back in my hands, a little dented and faded.

I’ll make it glow again.

The illustration for this blog entry was made by me years ago.
I looked at the sunrise I had selected and felt it was cute and cliché.
And selected this instead; a small fragile diod kid.

Just Effing Entertain Me: Make A Writing Plan

Kim Nunley at Wish I Could Speak Whale had a great link to Julie Grays podcast Make A Writing Plan.

It is well worth listening to.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Summer in January

I have now seen the short movie based on my script, successfully realized by Sx2 Production. I’m very impressed.

Since it is the first time I gained a chance to see my written words formed into moving images I got some new, vital experiences.

The most fundamental was the weather.

If I send them a script in December and it has its premiere in March, it is likely to be filmed in January, right?

Then why am I surprised it is winter?

Because I simply didn’t think about the reality where and when it was about to be filmed!

In the real world I put a woman and a child on a bike on an icy road.

Well, she grabbed a bike as a result of stress rather than rational thinking, and the winter made this even more obvious, so the result was perfect.

And they did put a helmet on the child.

But the fact remains: I hadn’t included the actual reality in my mind.

Images belong to Sx2 Productions
Used with their agreement

Monday, March 8, 2010

To adapt a novel into a movie script

I’ve got a new writing assignment. I’m about to adapt a novel into a movie script.

The book is written by Pär Bjelvehammar, a Swedish writer, and it’s published by a small company. It’s a story about a murder.

I’ve no time limit on this assignment. There are no others than me and the writer of the book involved in the project so far, and since I haven’t done any adaption yet, I cannot estimate what time it will take.

The story sounded interesting, but I haven’t finished the book yet.

Maybe I won’t like it.

I considered this before I took on the project, and I don’t think it will matter much. Maybe it’s even better, because I might see the flaws easier? I believe this will be a challenge which will bring me new experiences.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

And it's a winner!

I just learn from Simon Jansson at Sx2 Productions on Åland that the short film based on my script "Ett livsviktigt möte" won a contest for short films from young movie makers.

It is so great! I'm so happy for them (and for myself).

He called me long distance to tell me. First time we spoke over the phone. I was so surprised, since I wasn't even aware that it was sent to a contest. I only knew about the film festival. And of course I sounded like the worst high pitched girl ever known over the phone.

Here is the link to the contest.

And here is a link to the news site Nya Åland with an article about it.

Hello, Readers!

For the first time my feed counter went over 100.

For those unfamiliar with feeds it is kind of a dynamic link to the contents of this blog. If you enter BlogCatalog or Facebook you can see the contents of my blog there, through this blog’s feed.

So feed count is how many times this particular feed has been asked for the last twenty-four hours.

And this has now reached a hundred.

I tried to calculate about how much I affect this figure myself, but it can’t be more than maybe five units.

Ninety-five people are each day requesting this blog’s feed.

Between thirty and fifty make an actual visit, not necessarily through the feed.


Thank you all so much for your support.

Could you please tell me what you like? Don’t like? What to read more about? Maybe introduce yourself?

Friday, March 5, 2010

I don’t believe in writing

Khaye-Mydette Sy Cardenas writes beautifully about her way into writing; a way passing through a broken dream about becoming a ballerina. My heart wept when I read it.

But although the story stirs up a series of emotions, my intention with this blog entry is to state some point of views about writing a diary.

I don’t believe in diaries.

I don’t believe in writing all your troubles down.

Harsh, I know. So let me explain and maybe sooth things out.

In many ways I believe we become what we think. If I’m upset about anybody’s behavior towards me, and write this down in a diary I focus on this problem and emphasize it, but not solving it. Instead of letting it out, I store it inside me.

I believe in talking to someone; preferably the person causing the problem.

It is easy to say. Not always so easy in reality.

And it is not always that easy to let things slide either.

Writing could be a solution, if you focus on the positive and thrive to solve the problem, not only write it down.

I don’t know Khaye-Mydette in person and writing obviously helped her, but based on what she wrote in the blog entry, maybe she would have felt better if her mother had understood her problems and she had confronted the other members of the ballet group.

This on the other hand makes me think about what causes a good writer.

Must a writer dwell on problems to be a good writer?

If I live as I learn and I become a happy and content person all the way through, will my writing suffer?

I hope not.

Go Into The Story: The discipline of scene-writing

Scott Myers has written a very interesting blog entry about writing scenes.

"So in a sense what we do as screenwriters is choose which moments in their lives to use in our stories as scenes. We dip our hands into that world and scoop out the most important, key moments to become the component parts of our movie.

Given this perspective, it's clear that it is as important what we choose to omit from that story world as what we choose to include."

Read more here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A welcomed trust

Robert A Vollrath displays on his blog locations and props for Walking the Graveyard, the short script I wrote which he is about to produce.

He has engaged a young man called Jerry White to direct it.

Robert says he will let me choose the actors from three women and three men of his choice. He’ll send me their auditions for their parts so I can make myself a proper opinion.

This I feel is an unexpected responsibility but also a welcomed trust.

I don’t expect to get this opportunity when I sell a script.

This is a splendid chance for me to learn how the process works and I am very grateful.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

An inverted bump

It is interesting how I sometimes get stuck on simple words. Words that no native English speaking person would ever get stuck on.

I was about to describe a device. The description needed to be simple. The device was simple too.

On one end of the device was a. . . a. . . you know, a carved out. . . a small. . . for a ball to sit properly. . . Come on! This is simple! A. . . what?

I checked my dictionary.

“Hole”, “pit”, “howe”, “pothole” and “pot-hole”.

“Hole”? Isn’t that a. . . hole? I mean, right through the material?

“Pit”? No. That is a mining word, isn't it? Or an arm-pit?

“Howe”? MS Word and WordWeb refuse to accept this as a noun but insist it is a name. As a noun it seems like a word meant for geography, not for a small device in wood.

“Pothole” and “pot-hole”? Described as words used in traffic or geology.

I finally settled for “hole”. Not because I am completely convinced it is the right word, but because it will make the device work. It does not matter if a hole is right through the material or only a marking on the surface as long as a ball can be placed there.

I kept thinking of a game I had as a child called “ball-bank”. It was a wooden box with one hole and five. . . holes. . .

No! English must have a word for a hole that is not deep but just an. . . excavation. . . an inverted bump?

Monday, March 1, 2010

What happened to Sadusky?

Alright, alright, National Treasure: Book of Secrets is not the best movie ever made, I know. But that’s what makes it so interesting to analyze.

One problem I think is the actual treasure hunt with its clues. The two pieces of wood are never put together and the divided signs are never read. But Queen Victoria wrote clues in a letter that would have been better off as a result of those signs.

But be as it may with that, I react to the following:

Ben Gates kidnaps the President by cutting him off from his bodyguards. No harm is done to the President and Ben Gates shows him the way out of the tunnels. The President says that if Gates doesn’t find what he is looking for (City of Gold) he will be wanted for kidnapping. Then when Gates actually finds the City of Gold the President says that Gates didn’t kidnap him, but saved him when the door accidentally closed upon them.

There is nothing in this that hinders the President from telling this story from the beginning. The Book of Secrets (the President’s book) is not mentioned in either case.

Of course we need an obstacle and therefore send FBI after Ben Gates, but to make this work really well, we need something that hinders the President from saving Gates’ ass in the first place.

My guess is that the President blackmailed Gates in some earlier draft. Like if Gates could help him with page 47 in the book, then he would call of the hounds. But that would put the President in a strange light. Besides, would Gates really help a corrupted President just to skip jail for himself?

And since the story is so much about honor and American Values the President could not possibly be a shitbag without the story including that he gets exposed as such. It would be a too far complex story, or a completely different story.

Then there is another thing:

In the first movie Ben Gates makes friends (sort of) with FBI agent Sadusky. This is used in the second movie where Gates visits his friend and gets information that he needs.

Then Ben Gates ends up on the top wanted list and Sadusky needs to find and arrest a guy that he come to respect and given information to for that matter.

At the end, all they do is a few lines over a phone: “Are you ready to turn yourself in”, “No, not exactly ... City of Gold … Bla bla bla” “It doesn’t matter. You still committed a federal offence” or something like that.

I would have liked to have something more solid. Like seeing the actual arrest where they meet face to face, coming to conclusions.

And a follow-up of the repeated line from the first movie “someone got to go to prison, Ben” is a must.

And since Ben Gates kidnapped the President, isn’t in likely that they will cuff him? And then Sadusky and Gates with company takes a chopper to where the President can meet up. The President says Gates didn’t kidnap him with a wink to Sadusky, who then unlocks the handcuffs.

My guess is that an ending like this would take too much time. Or is it just me who like Sadusky? I think it would have been nice to have a calm moment between Gates and Sadusky after all the action, just like in the first movie. Something to be used in a third movie, perhaps.

Filmography links and data courtesy of
The Internet Movie Database.

Copyright of movie poster belongs to
the production company