WRITERS WRITE

As you well know I have been silent for quite awhile.  As is the curse of many a human here on earth I have had to suffer through the tired and true colloquialism of “when it rains it pours”.  Recently I have been so busy that in order to keep my head straight I had to minimize anything that could distract me.

Finally I’m back on the wagon, or is it off the wagon?  I’m not sure which one, and as I am primarily lazy I refuse to look it up at this very moment (I’m also an innate procrastinator).  However there is one thing that I try not to be lazy with, or to procrastinate on, and that is my writing.  If you’ve never heard before “writers write”.  Pure and simple.

Lately I have put my pen (or rather my keystrokes) to a little si-fi/horror ditty that I call “Variable A”.  Oh, doesn’t the name just speak of the possibilities?!  Deadly off-world contagion caused by immoral super-conglomerate Space Wal-Mart?  A modern-day Jekyll and Hyde genetically engineers a deep sea parasite that slowly drills not into the brain, but the memories, of its unsuspecting victims and effectively deletes them from reality with it’s ability to alter the context of time as we know it?

I guess you’ll just have to wait and see, but I promise it’s a good one.  I’m excited about it and I really feel like the characters are starting to take on a life of their own.  This may seem like a cliché statement but it’s true.  When starting on this project, as with all my projects I only have a vague idea of where it will go and an even vaguer idea of the characters and their personalities.  Part of the fun of writing is to see how everything develops.

Keep checking in for updates on “Variable A”, and I promise not to keep you waiting long.  I’m already into the second act and it’s gonna be a good one.

Oh!  And, it goes without saying, hands off my ideas, anything I speculate on here as a possible plot for a movie, novel, or amusement park for dogs is mine, all mine.  (Insert Evil Laugh Here).

 😉

Category: On The Craft Of Writing, Variable A | Comments Off on WRITERS WRITE

At the Canadian Film Fest

I’ve been downtown this week, attending the CFF and promoting our film Webdultery everywhere I go.  It’s been an exhausting but exciting & fun filled time, and tonight it all comes together with the screening.

Please check out the latest Webdultery news:

ET Canada –  plugs Webdultery

102.1 The Edge – if you missed the live broadcast here’s the full interview on Fearless Fred’s blog

Also, look forward to my review of the CFF next week.

Category: On The Craft Of Writing | Comments Off on At the Canadian Film Fest

MY HUSBAND ON THE PRESS CIRCUIT

To promote Webdultey’s Toronto premier Charles has been hitting the radio and TV circuit.  Check out all these fun interviews!

Newstalk 1010 – Charles talks movies with Bern Eulerk & Richard Crouse.   If you didn’t catch the broadcast a podcast is available.  Their segment comes in at about 18:30.

Charles @ Innerspace
Charles @ Innerspace

Innerspace – See Charles be interviewed by @SPACEchannel to promote Webdultery as a part of a feature to promote the Canadian Film Fest.  Airs tomorrow on Space.  Don’t worry I’ll post a video as soon as it’s available!

102.1 THE EDGE – Charles goes on the air live to talk about Webdultery at 3pm this Wednesday.  Don’t forget to tune in!

I’LL KEEP YOU UPDATED WITH MORE TO COME!

 

Category: This n' That | Comments Off on MY HUSBAND ON THE PRESS CIRCUIT

NAKED GAMES

Generally I reserve my blog for writing related topics only, but today I will bend that somewhat flexible rule.

I would like to present to you the “Naked Games” video promo for Dirty Deeds.  Directed by my husband Charles Wahl, they are already getting massive attention, and were even the top feature in Shots magazine.

Charles Wahl - featured in Shots
Shots magazine

 

Amazing!  And this is only the first set.  For the next little while a new video will come out every Monday.  There is a censored version and uncensored version for each video, and both versions are great and have their own merits.  The catch is, enough people have to share the censored version to unlock the uncensored version.

Lucky for you I have access to both versions of the first video.  Enjoy!

Dirty Deeds – Uncensored

Dirty Deeds – Censored

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Category: This n' That | Comments Off on NAKED GAMES

The Grey

Boy was I looking forward to this movie.  Good reviews, great cast (I love Liam Neeson- who doesn’t?), and of course it’s a horror movie; right up my alley.  I should have known better when I saw someone compare it to “Jaws” on land.

The Grey
"The Grey" - Official Poster

In fact, I usually am very wary of any movie compared to “The Exorcist” or “Jaws” or any other great.  Undoubtedly these movies fall far, far short of these undying classics. But I was sucked in my Liam Neeson’s amazing record.

What bothered me most about this movie was not the fact that it was a drama in disguise, but the fact that even as a drama in disguise it didn’t work. Now, before we continue, if you haven’t seen “The Grey” and you plan to (I recommend you do not) then be warned: SPOILERS.

When writing a horror movie (or a drama disguised as a horror) I find there is one major thing that can separate a good movie from a bad movie, treating your monster correctly. For this example let’s briefly compare “Jaws” and “The Grey” (since some many other people found this necessary to do so).  To treat your monster/creature correctly DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES use the creature in your creature feature as something that pops up conveniently to move along an otherwise stale story.

“Jaws” did it right. The creature (in this case the Great White Shark) is an omnipresent being, and even if you can’t see the shark you are thinking about the shark.  You can truly feel it’s presence in every scene and even more important you can feel that the characters feel it is there.  The shark is oppressive in it’s unrelenting grip on the story. Now, I could literally teach an entire lecture, no, an entire curriculum  on how “Jaws” achieved this, but I don’t have the time on my soap box today.  If you haven’t seen it, watch it and learn, if you have, you already know.

On the other side of the scope while watching “The Grey” I did not feel the omnipresence of the creature (in this case a pack of deadly Alaskan Grey Wolves, lead by an Alpha wolf). I don’t need to tell you that the prospect of facing down a hungry pack of wolves while stranded in Alaska is a pant wetting notion, so how the heck did the writers of this film mess it up? They lost sight of what the plot was about: the wolves! In any good movie you must have a through plot, but in this plot the creatures nearly drowned (yes, terrible pun intended). Instead the story focuses on the characters backgrounds and how horrible it is that they will die then their need for survival.

Trust me, I’m a huge advocate of character development… but not if character development is your plot. With no real outside pressure character development gets boring, and takes you out of the movie. It’s gratuitous, and just as distracting as gratuitous violence, cursing, nudity, or gross out gags… but I digress.

The movie started out great, got right into the action with a great set-up, and when the first wolves appeared I was on the edge of my seat, I thought I was really in for a treat… then things began to go amuck. Aside from a few convenient attacks I never felt the wolves, I only felt their absence.  Why? Because we are never shown that the creatures stalk and kill.

In “Jaws” the shark does not just convientiely appear to knock off characters and then disappear into the ocean for a nap until the plot calls for it again. No way! The shark is vengeful and hungry. It rocks the boat, literally, and even if not attacking we know it is thinking of attacking…. plotting its best time… laying in wait… This was of course in part due to the fantastic direction of Steven Spielberg, but was also present in the writing.

What “The Grey” lacked was this presence of the creature.   For over half of the movie the characters walked around Alaska willy-nilly and only at random, plot-dervived times, did the wolves appear and attack. It left me wondering where they were while the characters slept, battled a blizzard, and had heartfelt conversations. Sure a wolf would pop up to kill someone, but I really felt like they must all be sleeping or playing somewhere and then decide: “Hey guys, I just remembered there is a bunch of guys in our territory, let’s go kill one for fun.” In fact, I felt the omnipresence of the cold, bitter, Alaskan climate as more of through plot then the wolves.

My next point of contention, and I’ll keep this short, is why in the world the writers thought it would be more scary to make the wolves’ motivation territory, and not food. To me a mindlessly vengeful K-9 upset you’re in his territory and with a pack of equally mindless followers to do his bidding is way less scary then a smart, coordinated, and hungry pack of wolves. Hungry animals will brave almost anything, fire, bullets, loss of life and limb, just to eat. They will hunt relentlessly and gorge because they do not know when their neck meal ticket will come in. This, to me at least, is way more scary that a turf war with wolves that inexplicably don’t eat their kills to, what, make a point? Ug.

I have so many other issues with this movie, both writing related (i.e.- what the hell was with the flashes of the presumably dying woman? Totally, totally unnecessary! Did not add a thing to the screenplay!) And the Direction of the film (Come on guys, if it’s snowing like crazy in the wide shot don’t stop the snow for a clear shot of the shocked faces of the characters on the fracking close-up.  Geeze!) But not dealing with the wolves properly is my first and foremost problem.

Not dealing with your creatures properly in a creature feature is what separates “Aligator X” and “Sharktopus” from “Jaws” and “The Exorcist”. Unfortunately for this movie it was a great idea that went awry. The only good thing about it was the performances, they were awesomely solid at every angle.

I want my money back.

Category: On The Craft Of Writing | Comments Off on The Grey

The Home Stretch

I have been plugging away at “The Marionette” for some time now.  It is my first experience writing a script for hire as opposed to writing one purely on spec.  It has been a difficult struggle for me internally.  It’s a bit like the difference of cooking a dinner for yourself and your spouse and cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for 20 guests.  There are a lot more parties involved and a lot more opinions to satisfy.

When entering the world of my own spec script I can do anything I want, create any character I want, and situation I want.  I have full creative control and the only stipulations are the ones I set forth myself.  When working on a script for hire there are specification, stipulations, and other ideas floating around that are not mine, and that I cannot change.  This can be a challenge for any writer, but thankfully, I love challenges. This may be why I can truly say that this has been a both a rewarding and a productive experience.

I am finally in the home stretch of the first draft of “The Marionette” and will soon be finished.  After that, a quick polish and it’s off to the producers to get their input on the script that they own.  They finally get to see what they are buying; a nerve-racking experience for all involved.  I feel confident that I’ve been able to create a world that everyone will be happy with but I’m still keeping my fingers crossed, just  in case.  😉

Category: On The Craft Of Writing, The Marionette | Comments Off on The Home Stretch

Young Adult

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!  I know I enjoyed my night of ringing it in (maybe a bit too much), I hope you enjoyed yours!

Freshly recovered from the hectic holiday period (and the New Year celebration) I thought I would hop into theatres and see a promising looking movie “Young Adult”, starring: Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson and Elizabeth Reaser, and written by Diablo Cody. There was a good amount of buzz and it actually looked like the movie could live up to it. Boy was I disappointed.

Young Adult Poster
Young Adult Poster

All I can say about this movie (without giving too much away) is that I really feel like it wasn’t a story worth telling.  The acting was great, the directing, casting, etc… etc.. etc… all superb.  The fatal flaw in the movie was hands down the writing.  This is an example of a script that hit all of the formulaic plot points, had solid dialogue, a unique voice for every character, and did some very unexpected things… but just fell short of a being a good movie.  You can have all the proper ingredients, but if the recipe is bunk, so too will be the stew.

I will stop short of going on a tangent, and announcing that I felt ripped off (oops, well to late for the later now, I suppose)… but  I will say this:  not only do characters need arcs but so do stories; especially when portraying unlikeable, unsympathetic, and ultimately sociopathic main characters like Mavis Gary, played by Charlize Theron.  The story started where it ended, and so did the main character’s journey.  The proof is in the pudding: just because an ending is unexpected doesn’t mean that makes it good.

I don’t want to slam another writer, but I really feel like Diablo Cody should have gone back to the drawing board on this one.  In fact, I feel like that for all of her films, including Juno, which I felt was awesomely overrated.  Cody has a lot of talent, and that is obvious, but I always get the feeling her work is undercooked.  Maybe if it had been worked on a bit more this script would not have been so disapointing.

Over all I can’t say I recommend seeing this movie.. I should have seen “Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol” instead.

Category: On The Craft Of Writing | Comments Off on Young Adult