Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
|"The Lightning Bolt"|
The tallest of the dozen or so old growth
pines have lightning rods installed.
|"Theodore," a name that|
just seemed to fit this
pine, stands alone from
the rest of the trees.
When you visit,
say hi for me.
Friday, October 01, 2010
The four of us have a tendency to meet over food. Go figure. :)
And so we are planning the first *official* Granite SoFFA Social - the gathering of New Hampshire (and surrounding areas) Society of Female Film Artists (and of Female Film Lovers...oh, and of people [including males] who support or enjoy hanging out with female film artists!). It will be either Friday or Saturday evening of the NH Film Festival weekend. At Foobar in downtown Portsmouth, which is one of the many venues of the fabulous NH Film Festival. (Exact times and day TBA. Soon.)
The four of us chatted after a Red River Movie event featuring DEAF PERCEPTION (Awesome flick!) and MITO KIDS (Important and GREAT film!). A couple of us had, in the past decade or so, moved to New Hampshire and joined the Women in Film in New England group, but found that most of the events centered around Boston. And while we each of us managed to drive to Boston for a few of the events, we all craved the support of women in film in our own state.
And so was born the idea for Granite SoFFA - the NH Society of Female Film Artists.
We're a group centered around fun. And commiseration. And an understanding of what it takes to pursue this line of "work" (or volunteer gigs) that we love so much. And we hope that others will feel as compelled as we do to hang out together occasionally - to share, to bitch, to boast, to laugh, to drink, to eat, to connect....
And over the next few years, stars willing, maybe we'll all be working together on each other's films. Because that's where we're most at home, isn't it? On set and in the theatre. We can dream, can't we? So why not dream BIG!
Hope you'll join us for a Social gathering of the Granite SoFFA soon. And share your thoughts in the meantime. Be well. And may you enjoy the movies!
Friday, September 17, 2010
I picked a bushel of apples with my daughter this morning that will become numerous canned jars of applesauce, a couple pies, and an apple cake. I have pie pumpkins that look adorable on my windowsill, but which will not escape my wrath as I seek to chop, squish, and puree the life out of as many foods as possible today.
And I'm planning a pork loin for tomorrow, which I will begin by marinading today.
Then there's the ice cream. I love making ice cream, but when I'm stressed I especially like it. Of course the electric whirring of the blade isn't nearly as satisfying as the hand crank I get to help with when visiting friends at their camp north of the lakes region.
I'm brewing ginger green tea. Three pots. And coffee, but I'll drink that as I work. And I noticed there might some more broccoli to harvest. Maybe I'll make a wholewheat pizza with that and my spices that are overgrowing the garden beds this time of year.
Did I mention I'm stressed? I hope to be exhausted later. Otherwise I may be cooking long after the sun goes down.
Monday, September 06, 2010
It's the end of an awesome long holiday weekend. And the end to summer. Bittersweet perhaps, but the sweet scent of cinnamon and apples is worth celebrating.
Saturday, September 04, 2010
Weird. For about a month and a half I could not add a new blog post to this, my original blog. Now that I can, I am faced with the question: do I remove Poetry in Motion Pictures, Take Two, or do I finally launch my "How to Write Screenplays" blog at my Take Two site, and reserve this blog for posts of a more varied nature?
And in asking the question, I've answered it.
So as of this moment, right now, (and hoping, trusting that I can continue to post new blogs on this original site) I officially announce to all two of my readers that Poetry in Motion Pictures [the original] is my personal blog site, while Poetry in Motion Pictures, Take Two, shall be my "How to Write Screenplays" site.
And while you may be asking yourself why you're still reading this rather redundant post, you can thank the ever-changing role of the internet in my life (in all our lives, perhaps) and a small book by David Meerman Scott that I use in teaching my Media Writing classes at the University of New Hampshire: The New Rules of Marketing & PR. If you haven't read it yet, do yourself a favor and read it. Soon.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Though summer session has already begun at UNH, I am suddenly in need of a screenwriting intern to help me read & evaluate screenplays for the New Hampshire Film Festival Annual Screenplay Competition. One or two interns needed. All on-line work, no commuting necessary. Three to four credits. Screenwriting experience necessary. You may be able to assist with a two-day youth screenwriting workshop in early July too, if you're interested.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Thanks to all the animals in our lives--past, present, and future.
Monday, May 03, 2010
I'm taking my Media Writing Students to a Seminar on Launching Your Career with Twitter. None of them regularly Tweet (am I supposed to capitalize that?), so we will be in the computer lab the following week signing up for Twitter accounts and Tweeting with the @VistaPrint guy in a Tweet Chat Room (until a couple weeks ago when he suggested this option for meeting with my students, I had no idea this was possible).
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Next step: hanging artwork. Then taking it back down so my daughter can paint the walls while she's on summer vacation.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Boys & Girls Club Video that I am co-producing with Carol Morse of the Club, and with Director/Producer Adam Jones, Creative Director Mary-Catherine Jones, and Director of Photography Kent Rich.
We're interviewing an incredible young man who has grown up in the club and who now, in his senior year of high school, is a mentor to the younger kids. I had no idea how much the Boys & Girls Club helps young people in our communities. From homework clubs to field trips, movie afternoons to games, computer time to friend time, and much more, the Boys & Girls Clubs of our communities are providing safe and comfortable places for kids to hang out when school is not in session.
More about the clubs later, as I learn more in this process. Am off to see if we have a Monday shooting schedule forming for all parties now....
(Photo above via phone by Carol Morse; it's of a room in Red Blazer Restaurant, which is one of many possible locations we're considering shooting.)
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Please, everyone: write your state legislator today; or if you are out of state & have had a good experience with NH film projects, write our Governor and the Speaker of the NH House. Thank you!
An open letter to New Hampshire State Legislators:
An additional note:
The NH Film Office is slated to help me and Red River Theatres bring the 7DayPSA competition to New Hampshire this fall. It will pair volunteer filmmakers with worthy Granite-state charitable organizations that might not otherwise be able to afford to create a Public Service Campaign. The winning PSAs will air on WMUR for a year after the October Awards Ceremony held at Red River Theatres. This competition might not be possible without the help and support of the NH Film Office; please keep this vital resource open for the state’s filmmakers.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Sunday, February 07, 2010
micro-fiction by dana biscotti myskowski
Wednesday, February 03, 2010
It's a Wrap!
And a HUGE thank you to our incredibly talented crew. Many folks asked how long we'd all been working together; when I looked at the clock to answer __X__ hours, people were surprised.
Also thank you to the Boys and Girls Club of Concord, which is where we shot. The folks there are incredibly friendly and generous. And the gym was a perfect set.
While I'm handing out shout outs, I want to say hello to a previously anonymous blog follower: Hey, Allison! Glad to hear you're stopping by occasionally. Looking forward to meeting you one of these days!
Okay...back to my paperwork and backseat editing here at Hatchling Studios.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
*We need 10 to 25 PAIRS of Ethnically Diverse** younger actresses/older actresses (to represent Big Sisters/Little Sisters pairing groups).
Friday, January 15, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Roku has ROCKED our house!
Cons: Want more video choices, Wish Pandora ranTV off
Best Uses: Living room
Describe Yourself: Movie buff, Film Professor, Netflix fan
Poster above for the script reading was from 2008.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Tag! Your Character is it.
"...well past 50, unliked, unloved, and unsettling. A huge pain in the ass to everyone's he's ever met."
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Dialogue: what's the big deal?
Bad dialogue annoys. Good dialogue scoots by undetected. Why is that? Because if the dialogue's spot-on, it simply becomes another production tool in the film. Keep in mind that filmmaking is a collaborative business, and part of that collaboration is making sure as writers we're providing solid material for our actors and directors to work with.
So what makes good dialogue good? Or bad dialogue not so good? Maybe we should visit our ol' pal Clint for the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly on the subject:
The good - well, duh, it flows. It's short. Or if it's an actor's wet dream of a monologue (think Oscar nominations, baby!), then it has both heart and heat. And no extraneous additives to slow it down.
The bad - it's easier to identify the dialogue that doesn't work. Perhaps it limps off the tongue like a piece of undercooked bacon, extra smarmy or with not enough contractions. Or it states things on the nose -- point blank. Saying what you mean is not all it's cracked up to be in the dialogue business. Hints and allegations are much more alluring.
The ugly - it just doesn't sound like a good fit for the character. Perhaps it's Tom Bosley trying his best to impersonate a downeast accent in MURDER SHE WROTE, which just comes off cheesy since no one in Maine sounds like he does. Or maybe it's Tom Cruise using an American accent to play a German spy. (Okay, that faux pas I fault the casting director for.)
So what can you do to help your dialogue succeed? Listen to conversations around you all the time. As I tell my students, since I have a more than slight hearing problem, if I can overhear a conversation, it is definitely not private. Listen to how people talk to each other when they're angry, when they're in love, when they're enamored, frightened, excited, bored, etc. How you speak to your mother is different than how you speak with your pals, which again is different from how you speak to a cop who's pulled you over for a traffic violation. And how do you speak to the telemarketers? Or to the cashier at the local mini mart? (Do you speak to the cashier?)
Keep that in mind as your characters interact with each other. In DEAD POETS SOCIETY (yes, I'm reaching back a bit, but it's a great film and should be enjoyed and studied by all film enthusiasts) the fellows speak freely with each other, but are formal and stilted when speaking with adults. Even the adults speak more freely with each other than with their students.
A few additional notes I've picked up along the way:
- Avoid introductions when possible, or at least be brief and clever with them.
- Avoid writin' in accents. They're god dern annoyin' to try to read in dialogue. Instead, tag your character with the accent you want to hear: JOSIAH SMITH (34) Southern from tip to toe, as evidenced in his syrupy, Georgian speech.
- Avoid hello's and good byes. Ever notice how characters on TV and in film answer the phone with a statement or a question and hang up before the good bye? We even tend to do it more in our hectic everyday pace, especially with the advent of caller id. "You got my money?" is a much more intriguing way to answer the phone then "Hello?"
- Write with contractions. And idioms. Unless your character is foreign and a stranger to our speech patterns (in which case your character may mix up common phrases).
- Keep your dialogue short and succinct. We do not normally speak to each other in term-paper lengths.
- Keep your characters LISTENING to each other. That means they should answer the question or comment that just preceded...not the one that was posed three sentences ago.
- Avoid the little lead-in words such as like, hey, look, well. Unless your character is a Valley girl, like does not like belong, ya know? If the dialogue naturally calls for such a throw-away word, the actor will use it deftly.
Okay, that's enough for today. What are you waiting for? Time to do some eavesdropping....
Now if I may presume you already have a premise of a story, here's how you begin:
It's ALL CAPPED and Flush Left, followed directly by the obligatory colon.
Below that line is a space, and below that is a slug line that tells us where we are and whether it's night or day:
INT. OFFICE -- NIGHT
INT. = Interior. If we're outside, then you write EXT. for exterior. The Office location just happens to be where I am currently sitting, but you would use your imagination to place your characters wherever they may be: on the MOON, in a SUBMARINE, in an APARTMENT, etc. Then cap it off with DAY or NIGHT. Not EARLY MORNING or DUSK or any of the countless other descriptions for NIGHT or DAY. A camera operator once thanked me for sharing this bit of advice with a workshop crowd at a film festival; he said, "the camera only knows light or dark, so night or day is what we need to make sure we capture the image correctly." If you must convey first thing in the morning, do so with a simple prop like a Rooster CROWING or an alarm clock or a newspaper being delivered or what have you.
Next comes the action description line. Keep your lines brief, with few or no adjectives or adverbs. And yes, sentence fragments are acceptable. Sometimes even encouraged. Here's an example:
The bereft beauty, SCARLET (30s), typed in the stillness of a house asleep. Her eyes struggled to remain open as her fingers kept pounding the wrong keys.
If there's dialogue to be written, well, that's just another thing entirely, isn't it? We'll tackle dialogue tomorrow. That should give you time to conjure up a couple characters and to place them in a story. Hmm, character development. Guess we'll need to tackle that one too, eh? For now, focus on a strong protagonist (or hero of your story) and an equally powerful and completely opposite antagonist. Give your protagonist a do-or-die goal to achieve. And place your antagonist squarely in your protagonist's way. And to make it REALLY compelling, keep in mind that to the antagonist, he or she is the protagonist of the story. That means that BOTH characters should be well defined and three dimensional. (General rules here; always general rules. And, as with all rules, they are of course able to be broken. But first you must know the rule before you can artfully break it to achieve your goals.)
Make me the antagonist of your little drama if you must. But remember that I'll always be the protagonist from my own point of view.
Good night, all!