Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Screenplay Update

The latest news on the screenplay is that it’s being looked at by a top Hollywood script consultant! I’m excited and terrified at the same time. 

My work reviewed by the professionals with A-list movie and TV credentials!  

This came about when my screenwriting client made contact with a very well connected entertainment lawyer who suggested the screenplay be reviewed by a consultant. Where it will lead I don’t know, but I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from it once I get the marked up pages back. 

The next step after that is to start mining other contacts and see if we can get the screenplay in front of other professionals … assuming I don’t have to make many changes to it. If I do, then I’ll be busy doing that before we start knocking on doors. 

It’s an interesting process. 

I would also love to work on some of my client’s other ideas, as they are very viable and have a high entertainment value, but he seems to be losing steam a bit. At 81 years of age I suppose that’s understandable. I suspect he had hoped the screenplay would be in production by now, something he would love to be a part of as a co-producer. But the reality of Hollywood is that most screenplays take years to even get written, and then take years to find the right home, unless they were written for a studio under contract.  

And, just like for fiction and non-fiction book writers, many studios (or publishers) won’t look at material that didn’t come to them through an agent. Just a few hurdles to overcome but I see no reason why we can’t!

Wishing you all a wonderful, peaceful and abundant 2015! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Book Group Skype-in

Late last month I had the pleasure of being able to answer questions and talk about my novella, Tales from the Fountain Pen, with a book group on the other side of the country.

It was the first time I’d participated in something like that as an author and I learned quite a bit. Not just about how my novella was received, what characters and events stood out for the members of that book group, and how much they wanted a sequel! But also some basic information on how to go about setting up a successful author Skype-in.

For those of you - authors or book group members - who would like to organize a video conference author meeting here are some points I came up with after my first one. 

  1. Agree to parameters with the group leader or organizer on the format, the time and how long they anticipate you being a part of the meeting. 
  2. Double check your technology! Have a back up option if Skype is not cooperating, such as Google video chat or face-time.
  3. Offer some questions the moderator can use should there be a lull in the conversation.
  4. Set a time limit and know the time zone you will be calling into.
  5. Make sure you won’t be interrupted by pets, family or phones.
  6. Make sure your video image is well-lit and comes across clearly.
  7. Be professional and gracious.

Not everyone will gush over your writing, but as hard as it is, don’t take it personal. For the most part though you’ll find book group members love talking to an author. It gives them some insight into the process and story behind the story. 

If anyone is part of a book group interested in reading Tales from the Fountain Pen and would like to have me do a virtual author visit, let me know in the comment section and we’ll arrange it. 

Happy reading!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December Book Review

The Omnivore’s Dilemma

You might think this a strange pick for me to read. Well, that’s because I didn’t pick it. My offspring did, he chose it for the English class book group project. This meant that he had to ask an over 18-yr old to also read it and come with him to book group night to talk about it. 

The book is not for the faint of heart. Though the information in it regarding the state of food and food production in the US was not new to me, this was the first time I had all the information handily compiled in one book. And some of it can be tough to chew on, let alone digest (pardon the pun).

The writing is compelling and I applaud the author for his courage in actually visiting a feed lot and staring into the eyes of a cow wallowing in the misery that has become its existence. Cows should be enjoying a healthy pasture, not stand ankle-deep in their own waste, pumped full of chemicals, trying to digest a grain they’re evolutionarily unsuited to do. Corn may have been clever in how it seduced the human grower into making it the super-crop it is today, but that still does not make it suitable food for most mammals, or farmed fish.

The book is painstakingly researched and detailed in its descriptions of all four meals Michael Pollan traces. He is clearly a man who enjoys food and gives thought to what he eats and what he feeds his family. The omnivore’s dilemma is that just because we are by nature able to eat anything, does not mean everything is good for us.  Or that we should eat everything. 

The one thing I didn’t like about the book, aside from the fact that some of the information is depressing to contemplate, is the fact that the author has a tendency to repeat himself. Often referring back to previously given information as if we might forget. The further the book went along, the more often he referred back to what he’d already said. 

Fast forward to book night:
The commons of the high school were filled with the pleasant hum of conversation, the coffee, tea and juice flowed freely - though some parents voiced a preference for something stronger - and after a short while we all took our seats to get instructions from the teacher. It was nice to see so many parents involved in this with their kids. 

After our instructions we met up with the group that had read the same book (there were 15 to choose from) and headed to one of the empty classrooms. There we talked about the book, discussing questions the students had come up with while reading the book. It was interesting to note the different perspectives between adults and teens on various matters. But in the end, the book had given all of us pause and made us more aware of our food choices going forward. 

And who knew that ‘free-range’ eggs only meant that there’s a small door open in the chicken house but that the chickens are not encouraged to go out at all. For true ‘free range’ look for pasture raised. Guess I did learn something new. 

In the spring, the class will hold another book night, but this time with fiction books. I hope there will be some good ones to choose from again. Stay tuned.