Indeed. From artist Josh Hailes.
There’s a great 17 minute TED talk by Andrew Stanton right here in which he discusses the power of storytelling and his background with Pixar, as writer of all 3 Toy Story films, co-writer of Finding Nemo and writer/director of WALL-E. He’s also the director and co-writer of John Carter.
What struck me was his question to the storyteller; “Can you invoke wonder?”
Here’s a pretty cool interview with debut author Jen Reese.
I am an unrepentant planner. When I start working on an idea, I write everything down in a Moleskine notebook that never leaves my side – not while I’m at work, not while I’m asleep, not ever. The notebook is basically an external brain where I trap every single thought related to the book, including all the stupid ones I’ll never use.
Here’s a great article about the difficulty in creating iconic new heroes or villains at io9, written by Charlie Jan Anders.
Besides a new, emerging medium, you probably need a new genre — or at least a revamped one. Don’t create a superhero or a wizard, do something new and bold. Pour all your longing for your work to matter into a character who matters, within her own universe. That’s really the most important thing — your protagonist should be someone who really matters. Or the villain should be someone or something really stupendous. Think big.
Read it all right here.
At the Relevant Magazine site you can read a great and encouraging article by Jeff Goins about the need to stop planning and start doing.
Everyone was made to create something—to build a family, start a church, write a song, found an organization. And all of that begins with a decision, not a dream. It requires you to start, not imagine. You weren’t born to simply follow orders. You were created to be creative, to imagine new possibilities and explore uncharted territory. Whether you realize it or not. This goes for plumbers and entrepreneurs and baristas alike. The legacy you leave hinges on your ability to choose.
Read it all right here.
If you liked Lynne Truss’ book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, then you might also like this similarly educational, yet amusing, approach to correct grammar use. Boggleton Drive is a blog/web-comic by Matthew Baines that has some funny pointers about, “i before e, except after c,”, hung vs hanged and many more.
Comics scribe Ron Marz (Green Lantern, Witchblade, and a lot more) has some great tips for his 10 year old daughter if she wants to be a writer. They include gems such as these.
I will tell her that “new book” smell is better than “new car” smell… especially if the book if yours.
I will tell her that working at home is a wonderful boon. Your commute is down the stairs or down the hall. Your schedule is your own. You don’t even have to wear pants! But you’re also always at work, and work is always calling you — another hour, another few minutes, just a little more.
I will tell her that she should be prepared for health insurance to be an ongoing concern, at least if she chooses to live in this country. If you have the talent and determination to work for yourself, instead of an employer, the insurance industry puts the screws to you at every turn. Of course, she could always move to a civilized country that has universal health care.
I will tell her that almost everyone thinks they can write. This is because many people confuse “typing” with “writing.”
I will tell her that a great many people will want her job. The vast majority of them will fully expect her to reveal how they can get her job (but with as little effort as possible involved). It will not occur to those people that they’re essentially asking her to put herself out of work.
I will tell her that she should have an answer ready for what is inevitably the first question a writer gets: “Where do you get your ideas?” I usually tell people that I get them via mail-order. But the truth is, there is no answer. Ideas arrive when they’re ready. You can’t decide to “have an idea” and then have one pop into your head.
I will tell her that a segment of the population will download her work with no intention of ever paying for it. Many of these people feel entitled to take what they want simply because they want it, though they’ll provide endless justifications for why it’s okay.
Behind the philosophical sounding pointers in this post, entitled The 5 Principles of a Profound Workday, is some good advice, such as:
3. Profoundly Creative. Don’t use the gift of your day for mindless repetitive tasks. Don’t end the day with nothing to show for your work.
Start each day by creating. Make the space at the beginning of your day to create, before you get lost in emails and online networking and reading.
Create something amazing. Delight your audience. Leave them amazed, wanting to do your marketing for you. Make a difference.
Check the whole article out here.
Apparently Conan the Barbarian is a flop. I have yet to see it myself, but the preview looks fun and intense. One of the film’s screenwriters, Sean Hood, has a rather honest appraisal of the succes, or lack thereof, of a film. It’s good reading and is equally realistic and encouraging. Below is an excerpt, but I recommend you check it all out here.
Unfortunately, the work I do as a script doctor is hard to defend if the movie flops. I know that those who have read my Conan shooting script agree that much of the work I did on story and character never made it to screen. I myself know that given the difficulties of rewriting a script in the middle of production, I made vast improvements on the draft that came before me. But its still much like doing great work on a losing campaign. All anyone in the general public knows, all anyone in the industry remembers, is the flop. A loss is a loss.
But one thought this morning has lightened my mood:
My father is a retired trumpet player. I remember, when I was a boy, watching him spend months preparing for an audition with a famous philharmonic. Trumpet positions in major orchestras only become available once every few years. Hundreds of world class players will fly in to try out for these positions from all over the world. I remember my dad coming home from this competition, one that he desperately wanted to win, one that he desperately needed to win because work was so hard to come by. Out of hundreds of candidates and days of auditions and callbacks, my father came in….second.
It was devastating for him. He looked completely numb. To come that close and lose tore out his heart. But the next morning, at 6:00 AM, the same way he had done every morning since the age of 12, he did his mouthpiece drills. He did his warm ups. He practiced his usual routines, the same ones he tells his students they need to play every single day. He didn’t take the morning off. He just went on. He was and is a trumpet player and that’s what trumpet players do, come success or failure.
Less than a year later, he went on to win a position with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he played for three decades. Good thing he kept practicing.
So with my father’s example in mind, here I sit, coffee cup steaming in its mug and dog asleep at my feet, starting my work for the day, revising yet another script, working out yet another pitch, thinking of the future (the next project, the next election) because I’m a screenwriter, and that’s just what screenwriters do.
In the words of Ed Wood, “My next one will be BETTER!”