Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Workshops

If you’re local AND a writer looking to hang out / share / learn from others, please join us for the first meeting of the Cold Lake Writing Club. Here are the details:

Lots-A-Books / Cold Lake Writing Club

Our local indie bookstore wants to help establish a community for writers in the Cold Lake area. Please join me and Ben, from Lots-A-Books, in this initial gathering. Bring a short sample of your work to read / share and let’s come up with a plan to kick off a thriving, welcoming, productive Writing Club!
Date and location: Saturday, July 7 at 1:00pm at Beantrees Coffee House

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Banff World Media Festival 2012

Alright, so I admit, this Banff thing is a mite intimidating. Suits, beautiful people at the top of their game, gadgets, loglines, sizzle reels and names dropping more than testicles during a baby boom. This festival is fancy, competition is fierce, and Dawn and I have often found ourselves floundering.

But we're getting the lay of the land, finding our feet (despite Dawn's cute / impractical-for-mountian-ranges shoes) and hell, this is our first Banff experience. It's supposed to be nerve racking. As one panel speaker said at the "Rookie in the Rockies" intro session, "If you're not scared, there's something wrong."

As a writer, used to banging out words in my PJs while my dogs snooze on the couch, Banff is a look at the business suit side of the film and television industry. The number crunchers. The movers and shakers. The meeting breakers and career makers.

I should be disheartened. There's little movie magic in conversations that revolve around algorithms, trends in digital content, network executives wondering how to deal with YouTube and Netflix - but you know what?

There IS magic here.

There are newbies, like us, who are learning the ropes and tossing each other life lines as we go. Networking opportunities abound. And in every session we've attended so far, Dawn and I have been relieved to hear - loud and clear - a message that all writers will appreciate.

It's all about the story.

The media tie-ins, multiple-format platforms, social television integration - the audience and the money won't be there without characters people care about and tales that transport us from the daily grind. So yeah, Dawn and I may not quite blend, we may feel as out of place as an elk in a china shop. We aren't fancy. But damn, we have stories to tell and we're here to make sure they get heard.

Here are a few vlogs of our adventures thus far:

Day 1


Day 2


Friday, June 8, 2012

Booktrailers and Sizzle Reels

Prepping for Banff has become all consuming. Daily there's a new major task added to our list of shit to do. And we already had loads on that list. But we're keen, krazy, and ready to kick ass in the mountains.

Or we will be by Sunday.

I was a little freaked out last week when I noticed an announcement on the Banff Media Fest Facebook page, indicating that if you were doing face-to-face meetings with executives, agents, producers - you need this fancy thing called a "sizzle reel".

I'd never heard of them.

But a quick Google search and I got it. Ah...they're like booktrailers! Mini movies or visual presentations that sum up a project in a hip, visual way. Perfect, it just so happens that my writing partner and I also recently launched Bridge Social Media - we make trailers for authors.

I quickly set to work choosing images from the talent pool known as Flickr and requesting permission to use photos (the BEST way to obtain amazing graphics on a limited budget). Then it was a matter of working some Final Cut and Motion magic. I found this reel challenging as we have not one, but five separate projects to feature. Here's hoping we pulled it off:

Monday, June 4, 2012

It's Bella White and the Brad Pitt Look Alike

I can't take credit for my post title, that wicked combo was a snarky comment my husband made about ten minutes into watching Snow White and the Huntsman, snapping me out of my awe and into a more critical viewing mode.

Don't get me wrong - I loved the film. Will likely purchase the DVD and re-watch it a million times - but there are lessons here. Lessons on how to mosh up tropes and iconic scenes from other films, as well as how to modernize folklore to suit changing social norms. The great mythologist, Joseph Campbell would have a field day analyzing this film. Don't know who Campbell is? If you're a writer - you should. Start here and then get some of his books and READ them.

Snow White and the Huntsman is beautiful with lush imagery, costuming, accents!, twisted lore, and wowza, Charlize Theron is quickly becoming my favourite actress. This woman stretches herself - isn't afraid to look ugly on screen or to reveal the ugliness within - as in her stark depiction of Mavis, in Young Adult, and her splendorous performance as, Ravenna, the evil queen. And yet, we've seen such sets before, of course, in Lord of the Rings and the token, Tolkien, march along a snow-capped mountain, and fantastical flora - what is it with jelly fish plant life? - as in Avatar.

The Star Wars comparisons can't go unmentioned. The dwarves tasked with lifting the castle gate and the ewoks charged with destroying a shield generator. Han Solo, I mean, the Huntsman - with a little Achilles (Brad Pitt in Troy) thrown in for good measure.

And the standout nod to George Lucas? Snow White's coronation as compared to the award ceremony in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Since Lucas based Star Wars on motifs in old Hollywood Westerns, which he considered to be the last American fairy tales, I guess this brings us full circle.

Oh, and for a truly unique spin, check out Snow White in New York, a retelling set in the Jazz era: