Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A disappointing realization

My characters in the Beautymaker don’t act. They just talk. Except for the villain, she is okay; I think.

I have nice and sometimes stunning dialog, but it’s just talk. I have pages that could be placed anywhere; I don’t use the environment; they don’t act, just talk.

It’s a disappointing realization.

But, the story is good, and that is most important. With a good story I’ve got the best spine I could get to build the rest of the script on.

When I’ve finished this first draft, the script will rest for about a month. Then I bet I have new splendid ideas about what to do.

Hamlet costumes - Elsinore
Photo by Yair Haklai
Used under the terms of
the GNU Free Documentation License
Image edited by the writer.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Behind the scenes

I got a big zip-file with photos from the shooting of "Bordet närmast fönstret" (the Table next to the Window) from the director and producer Jessica Liander, and picked a few of them to show you here (with her permission).

I liked the crammed bathroom. Director Jessica Liander stands in the tub, behind the camera is Daniel Andersson, under the sink is the soundguy Dominique Greffard and on the toiletseat is the actor himself Lars Tollin as Valter.

The choice of camera was interesting. With the fairly new Canon EOS 550D (which I guess this is) you can film in full HD. My husband got one of those too and I dare say that the quality leaves no complaints. Correction: Jessica told me it's a Canon EOS 5D MK II.

I've always seen the character Valter as a grumpy man, much looking like Carl Fredricksen, the old man in the animated feature "Up!". Lars Tollin seems to have found the right mood there.

I've also learned to give all character names. I had a "Valter" and a "Monica" and a "young man". But neither Valter or Monica are ever introduced by name. Why I didn't give the young man a name, I don't know, but now his name is "Jonas".

All photos belong to Jessica Liander and MMGM Productions

Links and data courtesy of
The Internet Movie Database.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A little inhanced drawing skills

I needed some aid in my graphic novel project and decided to buy a few books. Yesterday my books about drawing finally arrived.

I know I won't be an artist over a weekend. I have no idea if my graphic novel will ever be real. But that is beside the point.

The important thing is there is an urge to do this.

And I can think of several situations where a little honed drawing skills would've been nice. Now I'll hopefully be able to fill that need more easily, if I get to do some practice.

Friday, August 27, 2010

So, this is a call sheet

I’ve just seen what a call sheet looks like for the first time in my life.

Not that it contained that many surprises and constitutes a major turn point in my life, but still I’m a valuable experience richer.

Since I’ve never directed a movie I’ve no practical knowledge about locations. “Bordet närmast fönstret” has three locations: a sidewalk towards the café, the bathroom at the café and the café itself.

These three locations are filmed at different places. I find it a fascinating thought that I’ll see Valter in the bathroom, opening the door back to the café, knowing that it will not be the same door in the next shot from inside the café.

That is a kind of imagination I don’t think I have – finding a bathroom at one place and a café at another. On the other hand, I write it, and see things very clearly. It is difficult to get locations to something in reality in the first place.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Jessica Liander films my first script sold in Sweden

Bordet närmast fönstret (the Table next to the Window) will be filmed this Saturday. It is a short script I wrote in collaboration with Håkan Eklund.

Jessica Liander is director and producer. Lars Tollin, Nathalie U Bloom and Karl Windén will play the three characters in the story.

It will, by the way, be my first script filmed in Sweden.

Read more here.

Truth of the day

”Mom, James at pre-school, he can’t talk although he is three and he can’t walk unless he has a special seat on wheels otherwise he just crawls and Mom, do you know what?”
“No, sweetie, tell me.”
“Everybody can’t be born the same way.”

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Courting" is sent to a contest

Today I’ve sent a contribution to WildSound’s One Page Screenplay Competition. The winning script gets produced and sent to film festivals “around the world”.

It is a rewrite of my finalist entry to Julie Gray’s contest: Courting. I really liked that one page script. So, I decided it was $10 well spent.

It is just about the same script as before. I’ve removed the woman’s name, so it is focus on John and obvious that they don’t know each other. If it is a funny or a scary situation is more or less a matter of choice from the director. Or simply the choice of music :-)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Some things are lightyears away

I’ve decided to try and keep a schedule to plan ahead.

When the first version of “the Beautymaker” is ready I will work on the adaption of “Mord i Malmö” for two weeks. The first draft will turn into a second. Then we are by the end of September.

After that I want to return to “ERG” which I put on ice since I felt it didn’t work. Now I know what to do with the story. I will switch the main character. One of my villains turned out to be a far more interesting character than my very flat and one-dimensional current lead. So, I’ll spend two weeks on reworking the story.

Then I’m about middle of October.

Will I return to “the Beautymaker” or continue with “ERG” then? Or do a third draft of “Mord i Malmö”?

It would be swell to have a new and fresh feature script to showcase. On the other hand it’s been resting for just four weeks. Maybe it will need a little bit more?

It is far away, October, isn’t it?

The spiral galaxy Messier 81, 11.6 million light-years away.

Photo by: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Hubble material is copyright-free and may be freely used as in the public domain without fee, on the condition that NASA and ESA are credited as the source of the material.

The material was created for NASA by Space Telescope Science Institute and for ESA by the Hubble European Space Agency Information Centre under Contract NAS5-26555

Image edited by the writer.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Writing third acts

I have to pull myself together. I need a deadline to work effectively. So, I’ve given myself a final date when my first draft of “the Beautymaker” should be ready.

It is a bit ridiculous that I can measure up the discipline needed to write without a deadline, but the thing is, it is not easy to see that the days fly by without a real countdown.

I don’t want to have a fictive boundary in time because I’m afraid I scrabble away the third act to keep my so called deadline. But the progress bar speaks for itself: it doesn’t move much.

Yes, I’ve been rewriting the scene I’m on right now, but I’ve had plenty of time to move along, if I only wanted to.

Third acts simply scare the shit out of me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A short script for sale

For anybody working with animation, I have a short script that is a little over one and a half page long which you might be interested in.

There is one character and no dialog.

The main character wakes up in the morning after a party, only to find an abyss where the bathroom used to be.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

An urge to express something

I’m experiencing something very strange: An urge. Not just any urge. This is an urge to express something by drawing images.

Through my live I’ve seen that I’m not bad at painting and drawing - I’ve even taken classes - but I’ve never felt that I expressed something. Sure it could be fun and relaxing to do, but the result didn’t mean more to me than the general pleasant feeling of a successful exercise.

Now I want to do a graphic novel. A strange and primal urge wants me to do this. A force from some inner chamber deep down inside my soul has found its call.

I’ve never been any good with faces.

Last night I brought out an old sketchpad and a box of pencils. The first head was of a middle-aged man instead of a young, and not very good either for that matter. The second quickly turned into a wreck. While the third. . . It was actually quite good.

I looked at some of my latest watercolors, painted a little over ten years ago. Then I had the intention to learn to do faces, reminding myself I took classes to develop. Some of them turned good enough for me to put them out on display at home. Who said I couldn’t do faces?

What I’ve never done is drawing the same character over and over again with different expressions.

Is it completely impossible for me to learn?

I’ve felt these kinds of urges before. I’ve built a dollhouse in one-inch scale and only practical reasons stopped me from putting a big greenhouse in our garden. I know this urge too is likely to go to rest again. But just because it is about drawing and painting and the way it so distinctively becomes part of my storytelling-permanently-resident-urge I want to try.

For the first time in my life I put a sketchpad in my backpack this morning, instead of a notebook.

Let’s see where this takes me.

Children are dying

Isn’t it ironic that the people in Pakistan lack water when their country is flooded? That it is such big difference between water and drinking water.

15 million people – half of them children – are affected by the flooding, most of them now without clean water. Millions of children do now risk dying from diarrhea and cholera.

UNICEF’s primal focus is to secure the supply of drinking water. You can help them succeed.

Photo by Zak
Image belongs to UNICEF
Used by their permission

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The writer transfers an image

I’m participating in an interesting discussion on a Swedish moviemaker’s forum. The original question was about when and how to use “POV”, point-of-view, which for me is a camera directive and as such should be used as little as possible.

Like a style cop I pointed out what I think is correct use and get this reply (translated by me):

“… if a few minor errors appear here and there, is this really something to get annoyed about?

I don’t think so & I don’t think most producers care much about it either. At least they shouldn’t, as long as the story works.”

Okay, let’s get this straight: your job is to transfer an image by text to a reader.

The story could be rewritten and polished. It is your ability to write that makes you a writer, not your story. It is with your writing you impress your reader. It is how you write that gives you job.

The way you have written the story is used by everybody working directly with the movie; Not only actors and directors but props, light, makeup, costume and so on. It is the image you transferred to them that is used in their work with the movie.

So, yes, I think errors here and there are something to be annoyed about. It throws me out of my vision and back to the simple text. And as a writer, you should care about the way you write.

If I were a painter and wanted to show my abilities I don’t paint a room toothache-green and then say “don’t bother about the color, but look at the evenness of the brushstrokes.”

If you want people to admire your brushstrokes, then you should be able to handle something more fundamental, namely the selection of a suitable color.

You are expected to handle the basic formatting rules and fundamental language. If you don’t even manage that, you can’t expect them to see your great abilities as a writer.

Your story isn’t worth anything unless you can transfer it to others.

I love my kids

I’ve just a reprimand from my mother. I complain too much about my kids on my blog. She said that she knows that I love them, but I don’t express it that way on my blog.

I got this big cold lump in my stomach. What have I done?!

My kids are not a hinder. I would do anything fore them. Don’t you ever believe anything else, even if I express myself clumsy.

My kids are the best thing that ever happened to me.

My comments concerning my kids were not meant as complaining. They were rather meant as: “look, you can make it work even if you only have five minutes for writing”.

Since this obviously was not absorbed as such, I’ve now removed some of my remarks in earlier blog entries.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My new mantra

It feels great for my selfrespect to have my own company. So far it has been an excellent choice in life.

But it has opened doors to worlds I hardly knew anything about.

I read about the rules for taxes – “moms” (something similar to VAT) – and thought I understood until I sent my first invoice. The buyer on Åland informed me that “moms” was not something they used to pay. I checked with our tax office only to learn not only that special rules applies to Åland (part of Finland), but that writing is an intellectual service mentioned under paragraph seven where the seller – me – does not pay the taxes in my country, but the buyer does in his or her country, unless we are both in Sweden (then I pay the taxes), and if it is within EG – unless it is Åland – then I need a tax number to declare to the Swedish tax office.

Eeehh. . .

Did I get this right? Do I understand it this time?

It’s not complicated. It IS not complicated. It’s NOT complicated. IT isn’t complicated.

Middelgrunden offshore wind farm (40 MW) observed in Öresund
Photo by Kim Hansen
Used under the Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licence.
Image edited by the writer

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tool Monday: Wikipedia

One great place for research as well as finding right terms and words is Wikipedia.

I often use the Swedish Wikipedia to look up a particular word and use the English link to find its counterpart. Unfortunately the number of Swedes writing versus the number of English speaking writers are somewhat unfair, so it's not always I even find the word in the Swedish Wikipedia and if I do, the link to English is not always present. But when it works it is just perfect, so it is worth to check out.

I also use Wikipedia to learn how certain things are explained in English, or to find a better word than the one I have. Sometimes I want a more snobbier term, sometimes more of an everyday word.

Oh yes, it is good for research too.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Beat sheet and script structure

The Beautymaker is, I think, the first script where the writing actually meet up with the planned structure and the beat sheet.

Usually I write too short. This is on track and it feels great.

And I think I know what will happen in act three too. Not that I start writing without having a clue, but usually it is too short or the story has changes a little here and there knocking act three as planned out.

This time everything is in place.

Now all I need is some little time to write.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I feel like a worn rug

I've carried the idea of a blog entry with me since yesterday, with no time to write it and now when I have, I feel like writing something else.

I've been asked to name a price for a feature script of mine. No names and titles at this moment, please. I asked around a little for getting a proper price tag and returned a figure, with a big knot in my stomach.

You see, I can't get into my head that anything I write could have that price tag, but in reality it is a fair price.

People can make a living on writing. If I think what I need a year for living, adding VAT, taxes and all those things, and divide in possible numbers of scripts written in a year. . .

And then I have not really added that extra that a great talent costs, which I simply don't have the guts to add, yet.

Now I feel like a worn rug. Mentally exhausted. Knowing that I won't get a yes or no for yet some time. Knowing that this in general is a slow business. Knowing that I should let this go for now, letting things take their time.

But someone asked! Someone popped the question I dreamed about for ten years.

From a carpet-weaving in Hamadan
Photo: Martin Hürlimann
Used under the Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
Image edited by the writer

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It worked, somehow

I've had a new experience today. I've been writing in an environment I didn't think possible.

I took the kids to one of those "indoor playgrounds", will all kinds of. . . well, I don't find the terms, and no, the Visual Dictionary didn't help me at all. A whole section missing there.

Well, anyway, a place with a amazing level of high pitched sounds and noises caused by small children.

I saw the kids tremendously enjoy themselves and I sat down, realizing why there were so many tables around. Other parents were reading or talking to each other. I brought out my netbook.

And continued on "the Beautymaker". . . It worked.

Berliner Funkausstellung, Riesenlautsprecher
August 1929
Image used under
the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tool Monday: Synonym.com

As a writer I need to have a colorful language. Sometimes this feels just too overwhelming. They hug, and then they hug, and then they. . . yes, they hug. Are there no other possible words to use?

Synonym.com suggests embrace, bosom, squeeze or clasp. Of course each of these has to be checked if it fits the rest of the contents (so I don't end up with a story like this), but now I've got some inspiration to start with.

Synonym.com also offers antonyms and definitions, but the site's real power is its synonyms.

The site has a list of links to the left, but I've not find any use at all of these. They are sponsored links and the search result when using these are really strange.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Jogging shoes

Yep, this is me. In a swamp. With jogging shoes.

I've been walking in the Himalayas for five weeks. I've walked numerous of miles in the Swedish mountains.

And I bring only a pair of jogging shoes on our vacation.

One could wonder where I had my head.

In a way I did think logical: my jogging shoes are the best choice for my somewhat strange feet. What didn't cross my mind when I picked what footwear to pack was where I was about to walk and that there is something called rain.

So there I was plowing through mud and moss and swamps with soggy feet, while the rest of the family was gorgeously equipped with boots.

Photo by Désirée Nordlund

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Short horror script requested

Jerry J White III asked on Facebook if someone had a short horror script, three pages or less, to be produced right away to a horror film festival at Universal. A very short shoot and edit it in one day requested.

I don't in general write horror. I scare the shit out of myself, and I don't like that.

But never the less. . . My mind started to work. What could I came up with that wasn't monsters, guts splashing and - not to forget - produced cheap and quick?

My brain seems to no longer scream NOOOO as it used to, but grabs any seemingly impossible task willingly. That is just great.

I got an idea. A good one. But it was late at night and just to be sure I didn't forget this masterpiece I scrabbled it down on a piece of paper and went to bed.

This morning I was first out of bed and wrote it down as a script.

I hope I was not too tired and groggy, because I sent one and a half page to Jerry two hours later. Spell checked thrice.

The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur at night.
Photo by Someformofhuman.
Used under GNU Free Documentation License
Image edited by the writer

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Teaser "Fåglarna tittar på oss"

Here is the teaser from Sx2 Productions for "Fåglarna tittar på oss", for which I wrote the script. Enjoy!

I'm really looking forward to see the final result.

I read on Simon Holmström's blog that they had to find a new actor on the second day of filming. The man playing the dad had to leave suddenly because he was unexpectedly needed at his ordinary job. And still they manage too keep the schedule. That's pretty impressive.

And the two main characters fell in love for real. That's nice. Don't hope too much for steaming love scenes tough. I had to rewrite a scene with a bare torso because the actor didn't want to. I think that is courage.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tool Monday: Talentville

I can't say I am a great user of Talentville but I really like the site.

It is a place where you can get feedback on your writings. As for now it is only screenplays, but they could be long or short, no real limits. In the future TV dramas, sitcoms and stageplays will be uploadable too.

You can only get feedback if you give feedback. And the more you give feedback the more "dollars" you can spend on getting people assigned to your script. You can only review assigned scripts.

When your script has four reviews it gets a ranking.

I've used Triggerstreet a lot a few years ago, and this site is similar. I don't intend to tell which one is best. Both have their advantages.

If you don't want to give a reader access to your whole script but only give a little treat you can block all but the first ten pages. To read it all, the reader has to request access.

The disadvantage of the site is lack of activity. The number of members, uploaded scripts and reviewers are too few for the site to live up to its potential. That is the reason I want to have it on my Tool Monday, because I think with a little more activity this could be a real sweet place to get feedback.