Monday, February 28, 2011

A word: exuberant, unimpeded circumlocutions

"Of all the wrinkle forms and systems, the loose, open flying wrinkles are among the most exciting to observe. They come in a wide variety of exuberant, unimpeded circumlocutions, vertiginous perturbations and buoyant agitations."
Dynamic wrinkles and drapery by Burne Hogarth

"Exuberant, unimpeded circumlocutions, vertiginous perturbations and buoyant agitations". I got the "and" and the commas, but what about the rest? Let's see.

Exuberant: Full of unrestrained enthusiasm or joy; abounding in vigour and high spirits; full of vitality.

Unimpeded: not slowed or prevented.

Circumlocutions: an indirect way of expressing something; the use of unnecessarily wordy and indirect language.

Vertiginous: Turning about an axis; revolving or whirling; producing dizziness.

Perturbations: The act of perturbing (thank you, I could never had guessed that on my own); a cause of disturbance or upset;

Buoyant: Lighthearted; gay; able to float in or rise to the surface of a liquid.

Agitations: Extreme emotional disturbance; perturbation; the act of moving something vigorously; the shaking or stirring of something.

Does it make any sense now? Yes, at least for me. I suddenly see a cloak flying joyfully in the wind.


Daily haiku

On the gloomy desk
An emerald green kiwi
Reminds of summer

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The fisherman and the businessman

There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.

As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.

The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman: “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied: “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked: “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied: “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

The businessman then offered a suggestion to the fisherman:
“I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”
The fisherman continues: “And after that?”

The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks: “And after that?”

The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”

The fisherman was puzzled. “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”

Classic Brazilian story which I in no way claim I've been writing myself.

Daily haiku

Double-you, pee, ef
Three letters holding future
In a boring book


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Life and death and a cup of coffee

In between earthquakes in New Zeeland and rebellion in Lebanon they had squeezed in a Swedish news flash: an elderly home had limited the coffee to three cups a day per senior.

O my, I’m shocked.

People are dying and we worry about the limitation in coffee drinking for a few elderly people.

News that also turned out to be a misunderstanding: A question had been raised if it was possible to save on the coffee and the staff had tested a little. Then they got the whole country’s journalists calling asking about them denying the elders their coffee.

Is this a crazy world?

Daily haiku

He sits stiff, staring
Unmindful of spring outside
Screen's frame is border

Friday, February 25, 2011

Writing haiku and finding the path

Screenwriter writing haiku on daily basis

I am a professional writer and I should behave as such.

I have been on the lazy side lately, but now I’ll do my best to turn all frustration and negative feelings into something creative and positive.

My first thing to do is to write on this blog no matter if I write about writing or the current news about an angry lady not getting her tea in time. I need to write. There is so much I don’t write about because I have no forum, but now I shall not care about that. I need to write and I want to write. This blog is a tool for me to become a better writer, not to gain admiration from Google.

The next thing I’ll start with is writing Haikus. And of course publish them here on my blog. Otherwise I will skip the exercise. Haiku is a Japanese form of poem which is very precise and distinct and demand focus and shortness; a perfect exercise for a scriptwriter, who should always get the maximum impact with a minimum of words.

I’m writing this here and now to help myself get back to focus. If I do this in public, telling it to the World (kind of) I get the pressure I need to get things done. It has worked before and is should work again.

I’ll curse myself if I die knowing I didn’t do my best and let myself become a victim of my own quetching.

Someday I’ll tell you the story about the past year. But not today. Lets just stay with the fact that today I’ll started my journey back.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I’m mind mapping a new feature script

I’ve wanted to write a romantic comedy for a long time, but I never came up with any ideas worth trying. But suddenly, out of the blue, I had the oddest couple I could imagine in mind; and a way to keep them out of the clichés, because “the oddest couple” has been seen before. That is how the romantic comedies I like are built.

So now I’m mind mapping this story.

Again, I will do my best to learn from my old mistakes and pay attention to the second half of the story as well. I have an intention to have as much on the mind map on the lower half as on the top. This time I will have a third act ready in my mind!

I have a template mind map ready. It contains a few basics. One branch is: “What is it I want to tell with this story?” (I’ve learned that this is a vital question. I must have a reason for telling this story. Otherwise it will not stay focused.) Then a branch for “characters”, that except for a child branch called “MP” for main character and a little person-icon is empty.

These are all things that are easy to remember doing anyway. But the template mind map’s real big work is with the “structure”-branch. First it splits in three acts, then each acts splits in several more key points and vital areas. It is filled with colourful icons to help me remember what I’m looking for.

Then I start filling up the mind map. I often have the setup ready, maybe the catalyst, a little in fun-‘n’-games and probably the midpoint, but then it gets thin.

Generally I have the impression it will solve itself once I get there, but since it is more or less like a rule that I get stuck in the third act I think must get myself another impression.

What I enormously like about the mind map is the simplicity to get an overview. And by doing it on a computer, the mind map does not get messed up as it easily becomes on paper or white board. One thing is because the texts are always horizontal so when I fill up with sub-branches what I really get is a list with scenes – an outline.

As I work along with the structure I also pay attention to the characters; give anything but names. I work on their background, their way of being and things like that. What I should do here, I think, is to look more at real people for inspiration. Not take a real person right of, but find traits and stories to use, look for what life actually does to people.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Writing action lines

Let us talk a little about writing action lines.

It is so easy to see the whole scene and write it down. Write only what you can see and hear, right? Look at this example:

Faith finds Hugh watching an old, rusty car almost covered in weeds and brushwood. It has not moved out of the spot many, many years.

Dad spoke so fondly about you.
I wonder why.

Huge looks ashamed. His eyes go to the sky. A few birds fly by.

So he married a nice girl, did he?
Got a couple of kids?

Faith nods, still hostile.
Three. I’m youngest. How about you?

I had a pretty girl once.

Emotions flush over Hugh’s face. He is on the verge of crying.

God, how she laughed at me.

Faith suddenly steps up and hugs Hugh.

Your girlfriend?

My mother. When I had bought this
and told her I was going to get a
driver’s license.

He points at the car, a broken dream, once red.

It is true that you should only write what you see and hear, but you should also only write what is needed. And what is needed is what makes the scene fall if it is removed.

I need to tell about the car in the beginning. It is important for the scene.

I don’t need to point out that Faith is angry. The scene works in what ever mood she is.

It is also of no importance if Hugh looks ashamed or not. And the birds in the sky are just nonsense without any point what so ever.

If Faith nods or not or her current mood is equally of no importance.

But, when we comes to “Emotions flush over Hugh’s face. He is on the verge of crying” we can’t cut it all. I find it important to tell that emotions have finally reached Huge. But crying? No, I can leave that to the actor and director. As for Faith sudden change of mood.

Now read this:


Faith finds Hugh watching an old, rusty car almost covered in weeds and brushwood. It has not moved out of the spot many, many years.

Dad spoke so fondly about you. I wonder why.

So he married a nice girl, did he?
Got a couple of kids?

Three. I’m youngest. How about you?

I had a pretty girl once.

Emotions flush over Hugh’s face.

God, how she laughed at me.

Your girlfriend?

My mother. When I had bought this
and told her I was going to get a
driver’s license.

He points at the car, a broken dream, once red.

Now I have removed everything that doesn’t make the scene fall apart.

It is not obvious what mood the two characters are in, but the scene works anyhow. I can safely leave that to actors and directors.

As a writer I need to let go. I need to write a text that sparkle imagination in the same time as it is minimalistic. Actors are capable of adding pauses and gestures and faces without me telling them to.

It is not easy to let go of that control, but then, when you think about it, it is no real control. Just because I write a gesture or a face in the script, it is far from certain it will appear in the movie.

So leave what is really important, and skip the rest.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Writing a fairy tale

I would like to take an old-fashioned fairytale and turn it into a modern story. Yes, this has been done before, but most results have been put in a modern world as well.

I would like to really explore Cinderella; Or Snow White. I once read an interesting article about Snow White’s stepmom which put an interesting perspective on her: she was not a witch; she was “just” radical. She didn’t want her stepdaughter to follow the pattern women were supposed to follow at the time.

There are so many stories where the king or prince riding by and sees a pretty girl and bring her home to marry her, without any real content – or protest – from her. So many parents losing their children to fairies as well as witches.

And as I read these stories I feel so much missing; So much I want to know more about.

Then we have the story about the glass apples, a fairy tale my mother wrote for her grandchildren. I would so much like to do something including that.

So where do I start?

When it comes to my mother’s story about the glass apples it is a story I could fairly easy enough take as it is (with her consent of course), but it would become a short script and a budget too high for a short. If it falls out of the frame to find a suitable farm (another story), it would certainly do so when you need to construct shining glass apples and a whole glass tree on top of that. Even if it is done in a computer it costs money. And costumes on top of that.

No, short scripts should be cheap to make. No horses, castles, magic and lots of people.

So what is it that rattles in me with those tales? Is it just the lack of a female voice, or any voice, or is it something in the story that hits me?

It would not be the first script about the bondage women have suffered from during history. Why would my story be so original?

If I write a fairy-tale, will magic be allowed, or will it pass it to the children’s section? Nothing wrong with children’s stories, but then I want to know that that is what I write.

What I should not think about is if it will sell due to lack of interest in the genre or costume dramas or something like that. Thinking about that is a big no-no. I must write what feels right for me, not the market. If I thought about market, neither The Recreators nor Sunlight would have been written and that would have been a shame.

Something I’m sure about is that my fairytale should have an odd perspective. Like telling the story of Rapunzel’s father or Snow White’s stepmom or from one of the princes picking up an unknown girl.

Monday, February 14, 2011

WildSound Film Festival did not give feedback as promised

I just have to warn you: WildSound Film Festival does not keep their promises.

I entered their one page screenplay contest last autumn and finalists were to be announced the last of December. In the last half of January I realized that not only have I not received any notice concerning if I reached the finals or not, but I have not gained the promised feedback either.

I e-mailed and got the reply that they do not offer feedback on the one page screenplay contest. And added that they were sorry that I didn’t receive the list of finalists.

Two things here: First you respond to each writer if their entry made it or not. That is not negotiable. You don’t just send a list of finalists, you tell if this particular writer’s script passed to the final or not. Second, they do promise feedback on this particular contest.

"FULL FEEDBACK on your screenplay from our committee of Professional Screenwriters, Production Heads and Script Consultants.
CLICK HERE to submit your film.
CLICK HERE to submit your TV Pilot or TV Spec Script
CLICK HERE to submit your One Page Screenplay

Now they have one of the most messed up web places I have ever seen, so I’ve probably missed something, but I’ve double checked twice by now (one double check before entering and one after) and I still can’t get how they excuses themselves from giving me feedback.

I’ve e-mailed them my opinion about this without receiving any reply from them.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Walking the Graveyard at Cannes?

Photo from Walking the Graveyard. Copyright Dreamscapes LLC

I have the European festival rights to Walking the Graveyard. A great treat, since it is for once leaves the scriptwriter with a little power and acknowledgment beyond the film crew.

I looked around for interesting film festivals and one I knew of was Cannes. Very prestigious, but Walking the Graveyard is a great short, so why not? And Cannes only accept contributions that has not been viewed at other international film festivals so this was the one I had to start with.

With some despair I read the entry form. Director and producer, but nowhere for an odd kind of festival rights holder to add her contact information. Should I put myself as director? It didn’t feel right, and I certainly didn’t want to take credits from Jerry.

I e-mailed. And more or less got a directive to fill out the fields provided. Yes, but the situation is that the scriptwriter got the festival rights, not the director, should I really give false information to you? The answer was to enter the fields correctly and send them a copy of the contract and my contact info by e-mail, and they arrange it. Fine. I did, and put a disc on the snail-mail. And the director and the producer got an e-mail that they received the disc, and I did not.

I e-mailed again and asked if some information was missing, and got a very surprised answer that my contact info was nowhere to be found on the entry form and I should have entered myself as the director to gain that position; And this from the same guy giving the directions to e-mail them extra info after filling out the form for the contest.

Yet another e-mail, once again explaining and somewhat frustrated, reminding the fellow that I only followed their directives. “You are right, but don’t worry, from now on you will be notified too as I have added your email. We deal with 3500 short films and 1600 features, hopefully you are the only one asking that.”

I thanked him and apologized for the extra trouble, but I wonder what will happen if Walking the Graveyard gets nominated. One person will receive a free admittance to the festival per short movie. Will it be me, or will it be Jerry, when it comes down to it? And these are personal admittances so Jerry can’t simply give it to me, in case he gets it.

But if Walking the Graveyard ends up as nominee I will cheer in any case. It will be a great achievement no matter if I get to go to Cannes or not. And I will not envy Jerry, because it is not his fault that the entry form was too stiff. Let’s just wait and see. Within a month I should know.

Photo from Walking the Graveyard.
Copyright Dream Streams LLC

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Writing from the heart

Father-child relationsships and Writing from the heart

When you write you must pick stories from your own heart.

But sometimes it is not planned. It just happens.

In my story Sunlight there is a father-son conflict. When I was writing the other day I suddenly realized that in the very scene I wrote the father was my father. I was so taken by surprise that I had to stop writing and take a break.

My relationship with my father has always been complicated. One reason is because we have the same temper another is that my father takes everything personal, even rain. But the one trait the father in my story has, that he now shares with my father is the lack of happy memories. Not that there hasn’t been happy moments, but those memories are not kept, they do not remain as such.

As my main character tells his father “what happened between us? You used to read me bedtime stories” and the father replies “I did? I don’t remember” I suddenly saw a man with no happy memories and saw my own father in the man, my created character.

Yet the character and my father are two different persons. My father is very gentle with people, while this fiction character is a bulldozer.

But I do think that there is a reason for me to involuntarily implant a trait from my father into this bulldog: it makes him human. We need to understand and comprehend him, or otherwise he just becomes one of those stereotyped bullies we have seen in too many movies.

My thoughts have wondered back and forth whether or not I should make him more like my father. The character is so different, yet he has a complicated relationship with his children for a reason. And that reason is there in facts, but not in emotions. Maybe I could find the answers in the completed nature of my own relationship with my dad.

I don’t believe there is a higher reason for me to finding this connection. It just happened. I just needed a reply from the character and I picked one from my own life’s memories, taken from another situation.

What I do believe is when I dare to open up for these kinds of involuntarily impulses; I might learn something about myself.

And a story where the writer has learned something about the nature of his or her inner self, there might be something worth to share with the rest of the world through the story.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The point of life and death and lost memories

When a person dies it’s like time stops for him or her. Age and suffering does no longer reach. The photo on the wall will remain untouched and we have our memories to support it.

Like that was the reality.

Memories weaken quickly. The person on the photo becomes an unknown face.

I do some family researching. And I look at an ancestor, only surviving child out of six.

He had a twin sister, who died at birth. His older brother died at the age of ten. He himself was eight, so he must have memories from this. After him followed one stillborn child and one who died within days. His youngest brother died at the age of eight.

There are no stories to tell about this family. All that is left is the church’s records with their cold facts about what happened. No memories, no photos or tokens; Just facts.

I’m not afraid of changes and I don’t want to freeze time and avoid death. But I want there to be stories. I don’t want tragedies and joy to pass unnoticed into oblivion. I want to hear his story about his family and how it affected him to watch his brothers suffer and die. I want to listen to his parents, about their great grief they must have carried.

I feel sadness when I think about how little a life really means in the long run. And a death means even less.

Not even a photo remains of this family. None was ever taken. It was before the era of frozen moments.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hacking attack

This blog was recently hacked and spy-ware implanted. Thank you those of you who informed me of the warnings they got. I have now removed all suspicious things I have found and changed my password. If strange things happens or you keep getting warnings hereon, please let me know. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nobody needs to be so ignorant today

I get surprised and somewhat frightened when I realise how uneducated some people are. People who should know better.

Some time ago there was a book published which throw a lot of dirt on the Swedish King. The main headlines in the press were about his sexual behaviour; dinners with nude ladies were mentioned.

I have no idea what about this is true or not, and I don’t care. But what scares me is how a person at work, who just read the headlines, draw conclusions that he must have had sex with his dogs at well. I think he said it to be something funny, but I can’t understand how he could think it would be and what on Earth one thing has to do with the other.

It irritates me that so many people read a headline and think they know the whole story. But it scares the living crap out of me when they don’t realize that there is more than a headline and more than that single article and they make decisions based on so little research and without any thoughts upon the source.

In January there are always one or two alarming reports on the news. They come as clockwork every year. Simply because a little press does not hurt the funding and January is the time to get governmental money.

This year a doctor sounded the alarm that Swedish kids got too little vitamin D due to the lack of sunlight during the winter. He mentioned that 20-30% got too small doses and that Finland gave vitamin D up to 18 years old (Sweden up to 2 years old).

As a result a relative started to serve our kids milk in a quantity I would object about if it was more than an occasional dinner.

Totally lack of insight.

Not only to the fact that Finland has most of its population further north than Sweden (less sunlight), but also no reflection on why and who presenting these reports. And the 20-30% was not the amount of kids with too small intake; it was the amount of kids close to the mark of too small intake. That she would have found out if she bothered to read more about it.

A kid at a preschool got diagnosed with a not very common (but to the name well known) disease and some parents took their kids from the preschool to keep them from being infected. The headmaster yelled in the news (as I remember it): “Nobody needs to be so ignorant today. It’s just to check on the Internet.”

Most people should know better.