Heart and passion
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
The unlimited joy of a bargain box
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
The biggest store for hobby material is also the one far most uninspiring. I search for things I need in their catalogue, goes to the store with a list and. . . I can’t find what I’m looking for. Why? Because they have sorted everything in groups based on for what it is needed - in their world. The problem is that I will not use, for example, the pipe cleaners to make flowers, or what ever they intended. I have my own use in mind. And see the pipe cleaners boxed into one use only is depressing to the spirit.
So I prefer to buy on mail order. It does not limit my mind.
And the best of things to order (along with the things planned) is a bargain box.
If I by any chance should think about what I got for my money in solid material, I just count the tubes of glue in all the all-included-kit-bags. It is glue worth the money I paid for the box. And I can always use glue.
With the bargain box, I get a little of everything: A piece of gray wool, strings and ribbons in different colors and types, pearls and beads in small quantities. Perfect for me. And perfect to fill the kitchen table with when you want to be creative with your kids.
No one tells me what to do with the material now. The scrap booking papers are folded into boxes, and the wool will become a cape to a Christmas character of my own.
This last box I opened I really thought that the Gods must love me. I found a bag with big, colourful, wooden beads; something I know my youngest son will love.
Of course, there are things I will never, ever use. Like I’m not much for porcelain birds, so the couple of unpainted, cute-looking birds in ceramic material will soon be out of the house. Probably along with ceramic toad in natural size. (If I don’t paint it as a poisonous frog and puts it among my berries, in the garden, to scare the birds away – I wonder if that might work?)
But I would be surprised if everything in the box would be used. And honestly, I think it is beside the point. Isn’t just the creative emotions and the itch in the fingers to start working on something worth every penny? And besides, I did get glue for the money, didn’t I?
The lifespan of Super8
Monday, September 26, 2011
Show Me the Funny! - Will I be funny?
Sunday, September 25, 2011
A word about Sweden's political history
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Stereotypic women in movie scripts
Monday, September 19, 2011
Structure of a short script
Saturday, September 17, 2011
The Golden Brad Award announced the top 100 short scripts entered and "The Death of Old Tommy" is still on the list. Next time they will be down on 75. If they keep the speed they have now I should know by the end of November if it is a winner - if it stays on the list, that is.
Laura Strugar-Smith - a script from an actress' point of view
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
So I decided to check around in my network and ask them.
The very talented acress Laura Strugar-Smith from Walking the Graveyard was very kind and answered my questions for this blog. She has moved from the USA and lives today in the Czech Republic.
Answer: I look for a woman that I connect with. We all have 1000 faces inside us, but we usually only show a few of them in our lives. Sometimes a new face is in a character that I don't normally or ever get to show. I look for the challenge of letting that face out and expressing itself within the script that was written.
Q: What kind of information do you need to create your character?
A: I look for my character's reaction to others around her. Hopefully I will find clues in the dialogue as to how the writer saw the character as they were creating her. Having direct access to the writer is always a plus. It's great to ask questions about where they got the ideas for particular scenes or what was their inspiration: an event, music, emotion....etc.
Q: Is the script the main source for inspiration, or do you create your character from other sources too?
Q: What would you say is the most common mistakes screenwriters do?
A: I think that if a writer is a certain sex, it is often difficult to know how the opposite sex might react to something. I've found this to be a common problem. I even see this in books that I read. It's important to run stories by other eyes I think. I try to make myself available to help with this when I can.
Q: From an actress’ point of view, what would you say is often missing?
A: I think women are written too often to be beautiful or perfect or looking for someone to save them. All women have a not so pretty side, a part of them that would not be considered standard for "the fairer sex." This may just be a USA thing though.
Q: And finally, language, how important is the way the script is written?
A: As a native English speaker living in the Czech Republic and teaching English, language is very important. Sometimes idioms or expressions are used that are not an English expression. It's not common, and it doesn't sound right. When I'm working on something where the writer is not native English, they have, in the past allowed me to reword my lines to make it more natural. Of course it's important to not ruin the writer's script. It must remain intact. But I wouldn't write something in any other language, no matter how good I was at it, without first running it by a native speaker. I think it makes a script more professional looking.
A: Spelling errors happen and are easily fixable. Grammar errors depend. Many native English speakers use incorrect grammar without knowing it, but this is sometimes what a writer might be going for, especially if they are trying to emulate a particular region or even country. But I know that with English, things like "a/an" and "the" are very important, because they give specific information to the listener. Also, despite our 12 verb tenses, once again, each very tense gives details for a specific timeline and purpose. Once again, running it by a native speaker always makes sure that one's grammar errors are not misunderstood.
I wish Laura all luck with her life in a new country and all future projects.
Previous blog entry on this theme:
Amanda Dawn Harrison
The naming of characters
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
I think names of characters are important. I think the right name can add dimensions to a character in a subtle way. To give the names some thought, can also prevent the involuntarily use of less suitable names, like a popular Jewish surname on a Nazi, which I succeeded with once.
I like to have as a “rule” that surname should add background, and first name should add a hint of what kind of character it is.
Now here comes my particular little problem on the subject: I know the background and what trait I want to add to my character, but how to find the names to fit?
There are plenty of meaning-of-names-sites out there, but they mostly aim at parents seeking the perfect name for their baby. Most parents have a list of names that they like and want to know what they mean before they select one. They rarely need to search for “the great painter” and find a name that fit this, but that is what I need.
I don’t want to search through Aaliya, Aaren, Aaron, Abbey to find a suitable name. I want to search for “brave” or “manipulating”.
Actually, I have found a site where I can do exactly this: Behind the Name. I really recommend this site. It is a goldmine for screenwriters. It has names from all over the World too.
Maybe the hits on masculine names meaning “brave” in Ancient Egyptian are few (none actually), but on the whole, the number of hits are satisfying.
This site does, however, only host first names.
To find the meaning of a surname, the sites’ target is now genealogists. And they are also based on the idea that you have a name and want to know its history. So far I have not found a site where I can search the other way around; like a search for English upper-class family names.
So I usually pick a random first letter and read about all surnames until I’ve found one with a proper background. Rather tiresome.
If you come across a database with World-wide surnames that can be searched “the other way around”, please let me know.
All you need is love
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Maybe the parakeets will sing
Thursday, September 8, 2011
It feels strange, but truly wonderful, that I have no less than three scripts about to be filmed at this very moment.
The day of many "Wow"
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
the script is fantastic"
Mind mapping a short script
Saturday, September 3, 2011
To express emotions in a movie script
Friday, September 2, 2011
When you write a scene, you see the scene clearly in your mind, right? You can hear the characters speak, you can see their gestures, and you can even feel their thoughts.
How to express all this?
I know, you jump in your chair right now and want to yell at me that I’m wrong. Characters have to express emotions, so how can I tell you that you should leave them out?
Well, I didn’t. I said you shouldn’t bring all you see and feel down on paper.
That scene you see in your head will never exist outside your mind. No matter how detailed you describe it, it will never reappear in the final movie. Even if the director and the actors should follow the script to the letter, the actual place won’t match, the weather will be wrong, the grass will not look as you imagined, and that tree formed as a basket ball (that was so crucial for the scene) simply does not exist.
So, let’s face it straight off: you don’t have any control over the final movie.
Even if you did direct it yourself, you would still need to face the reality of budget, actors, locations, camera, and so on.
A script should sparkle the imagination of the readers, not tell them what to do. It's not a manual.
A script full of directions before the production has even started may very well act as a hinder instead of a help. The sooner you realize that your scene will not fall apart and your movie get ruined, if the wide gestures are removed, the dialect changed, and the dialog pronounced otherwise than intended, the better. A professional crew may bring your script to heights you never dreamed of, if you only dare to let go.
But I still need to express what I see in my mind, you might say. And yes, that is of course true. To a certain degree.
Take a character for instance. If you met the character on the street, would your first reaction be that you just met a thirty-five-year-old male wearing jeans that were torn a little? Or would you remember a guy with mangled clothes?
What do we need to know about a character? What impression do you want to convey? And only keep what is essential for the story, mind you. If the brand and the condition of his clothes do not tell us anything noteworthy, skip it. And if you want a character to appear rich, preferably write that he wears exclusive brands rather than specify brands. Even I can get an image based on “exclusive brands”, but will have far less clue if he wears “Prada” or “Levis”.
Yes, you see him in a pair of Levis, but it is hardly of any real importance, is it? Will the scene still hold if he wears a pair of shorts? Will it hold if his clothes are not stated at all, and we just assume he his decently covered with some form of normal clothing?
How about a location then? Of course, it is a good idea to state if it is a bathroom or a ball room, but otherwise I suggest you go for impressions rather than facts about the interior. Don’t fool yourself into believing that only a ball room with red walls will do.
Tell the reader something that sparkles the imagination as short as possible. Express essence of the image that you see in your mind in a well-painted and focused description.
And then, dare to let go.