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Monday, July 18, 2005

Last Words

Visit this interesting resource to find:
  • Last Words of Real People
  • Last Words of Fictional Characters
  • Famous Epitaphs
  • Famous Wills and Obituaries
  • Famous Last Stands
  • Famous Farewells
Click here to visit!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Screenwriting, Screenplays, Screenwriters – Good Ideas For Stories

The principle for writing good screenplays begins with good idea generation and then the use of structure to extrapolate that idea into a coherent story.

Sources of Good Ideas

a) Ideas that push cultural boundaries work well. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, In the Heat of the Night, The Defiant Ones, On the Watefront and so on were all controversial in their time and still very watchable movies.

b) Ideas that tug at the emotions and arouse passions. Imagine the worst thing you would want to happen to you. What are you most embarrassing moments? What causes the most pain?

c) Cathartic events. Protagonists engage in conflict and challenge but the final act is always cathartic.

d) Aspirational and self-actualising events. Make the audience move toward their ideal selves.

e) Fantasy and escapism. Take the audience to a new place, we're tired of this world today.

f) Humour. What are the funniest, most ridiculous, most hypocritical, incongruous, bizarre, irrational moments of life.

g) Education and morality. Teach them something or show them how we should be.

h) Special people. Take us into the world of people we fear or admire. Show us the lives of people who have travelled to places we dare not or cannot go.

i) Romance and love. How sweet it is when we can get it.

j) Different people. Show us how different people live. Compare and contrast.

k) The power of the group. Show us how we are more intelligent, able and greater together than alone.

l) Ambition. Is it pleasure or poison. Does it fulfill or corrupt.

m) Friendship. How real are our friendships. Do we know who our real friends are. What happens when they betray us.

n) Intellectual cross pollination - search the media, information sources...

o) Simply choose a story and write a screenplay. Good ideas will come to you during the project - make sure you capture them.

Structural Templates

a) The classic template is the HERO’S JOURNEY, consisting of 106 sequences with more than 30 in the final act.

The Hero’s journey can be reformed in an infinite number of ways:

b) The THREE KINGS, where the three rivals battle it out.

c) The LONE WOLF, where the Hero succeeds without he aid of allies, the Goddess or the Shape Shifter.

d) NO WAY BUT DOWN, where an anti-hero falls from grace and does not recover.

These topics are further discussed and Story Structure Templates and other Managing Creativity and Innovation products are available at http://www.managing-creativity.com/

You can also receive a regular, free newsletter by entering your email address at this site.


Kal Bishop, MBA

About the Author: Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on http://www.managing-creativity.com/

Source: www.isnare.com

Monday, July 11, 2005

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Today is the last day to order from Amazon to get Release Date Delivery! Order today and get the sixth Harry Potter book this Saturday, July 16th! (Applies to orders using Standard, Two-day, or One-day shipping. Orders using the free Super Saver shipping will arrive after July 16.)



Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

I can't wait!!!

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Sunday, July 10, 2005

How to Break In and Succeed as a Screenwriter

by Brian Konradt


Screenwriting is a competitive trade. To distinguish yourself as a prize-winning writer you need to master organizational skills, take creative risks, and learn how best to present your final product. For the aspiring screenwriter, Tom Lazarus' book, "Secrets of Film Writing" is one of the best. An exceptional screenwriter with five produced screenplays, Lazarus developed this book for beginning writers enrolled in his classes at UCLA.

This article examines a few of the many techniques outlined in "Secrets of Film Writing" and provides examples of screenwriters who succeeded with Tom Lazarus' guidelines.

ORGANIZATION IS KEY
Master organization and you're closer to producing a stellar screenplay, not a mediocre one. Ask yourself these questions:

1) Does the screenplay have a clear beginning, middle and end?
2) Does the story drift aimlessly or does it make its point successfully?

These may seem like basic questions, yet many screenwriters grapple with organizational problems.

Lazarus addresses this issue in his book; he recommends writers use one of four organizational methods to ensure their screenplays flow smoothly: outlines, treatments, index cards, and scene lists. All four of these tools are equally effective. Writers need to be discreet to decide which organizational crutch best suits their needs.

In writing the screenplay for the Hollywood feature film "Stigmata," Lazarus chose to use a scene list for organizational support since he already had specific ideas about the chronology and action details of his story. To writers who have difficult organizing and prefer a different method, Lazarus says, "Go for it, because no one is going to see it. It's a process. There is no wrong way."

MAKE IT INTERESTING
Writing is a process. Great screenwriters take creative risks. Without an interesting story, even the most organized screenplay will be unmarketable. The goal should never be to copy another writer's style; instead exercise your own imagination and experiment with different ways to spark your story.

When Warner Brothers hired Tim McCanlies to adapt Ted Hughes' famous English novel "The Iron Man" for the screen, he struggled with whether he should remain true to Hughes' vision or develop a new story based loosely on the original book's events. McCanlies chose to do something risky and wildly creative; he Americanized "The Iron Man" by setting the story in the 1950s during the Cold War terror and renamed it "The Iron Giant." His calculated risk proved worthwhile. American audiences related to the film and appreciated its examination of an unusual time in their nation's history. Also, English audiences embraced "The Iron Giant" despite its variation from the original English text and awarded it the 2000 BAFTA Award for best feature film.

There is a valuable lesson for aspiring writers in McCanlies' success: when you risk nothing, you gain nothing. McCanlies, Lazarus, and other successful screenwriters embroil themselves in chances, write creatively, experiment with different ideas, and raise their characters' stakes.

SUBMIT YOUR SCRIPT LIKE A PRO
Once you have written an interesting, well-organized screenplay you need to submit your script neatly and according to studio standards. Lazarus warns his UCLA students about several technical errors in script presentation that annoy studio readers. Follow these guidelines:

1) A feature length screenplay should be longer than 95 pages and shorter than 125 pages when you submit it for studio consideration.

2) Don't include a synopsis or character biographies with your script as it gives studio readers an excuse not to review the whole screenplay.

3) Don't put scene numbers on your script until it is sold. This is a rule of the game; readers find scene numbers distracting and use them as an excuse to dub a screenplay "amateur" and unworthy of further consideration.

4) Studio readers prefer to receive scripts bound with circular metal brads. Using folders and binders hog office space and interns may discard scripts unintentionally during spring cleaning.

5) Finally, use one of the many screenwriting programs to help format your script, such as Movie Magic Screenwriter, Final Draft or Script Wizard. You can find discounted deals at MasterFreelancer.com (http://www.MasterFreelancer.com), StoryScribe.com (http://www.StoryScribe.com), and Wizards4Word.com (http://www.wizards4word.com).

Make sure you proofread your script several times before submitting a script for Hollywood review. Busy studio readers will not peruse screenplays riddled with basic errors like confusing "it's" with "its" and using "are" when you mean "our." Use a program like Style Writer (found at http://www.StyleWriter-USA.com) to remedy such embarrassing grammar mistakes. When you're ready to submit your script, grab a Hollywood Creative Directory (found at http://www.storyscribe.com/mgbooks.html) to find markets for your script.

THINK SUCCESS AND BE A SUCCESS
Remember to take risks with plot and character development, and follow studio standards for script submissions. Studying resources like "Secrets of Film Writing" by Tom Lazarus, "How Not to Write a Screenplay" by Denny Martin Flinn, "Crafty Screenwriting" by Alex Epstein, and "Alternative Scriptwriting" by Ken Dancyger and Jeff Rush can be helpful for aspiring writers. Developing strong writing skills takes time, a willingness to learn, and perseverance. Writers who constantly improve their skills and experiment with new ideas will succeed.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brian Konradt is a freelance writer and founder of FreelanceWriting.com (http://www.freelancewriting.com), a free web site to help writers master the business and creative sides of freelance writing; he also is founder of BookCatcher.com (http://www.bookcatcher.com), a free website to help authors promote their books.

(C) 2005 Brian Konradt

Saturday, July 09, 2005

History: India & South Asia

Historical Writers' Resources Week

Historical reference resource:

India

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/india/indiasbook.html

South and Southeast Asia

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/southasia/cuvl/

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Internet East Asian History Sourcebook

Historical Writers' Resources Week

Historical reference resource:

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/eastasia/eastasiasbook.html

Comprehensive resource that includes cultural, political, and religious history for the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese societies.

See Also:

History of China Chronology & History of Japan Chronology

http://campus.northpark.edu/history/WebChron/China/China.html

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Ancient / Classical History

Historical Writers' Resources Week

Historical reference resource:

http://ancienthistory.tqn.com/education/ancienthistory/mlibrary.htm

A comprehensive listing from About.com.

See Also:

Ancient History

http://www.snowcrest.net/jmike/ancient.html

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Friday, July 08, 2005

History of the United Kingdom

Historical Writers' Resources Week

Historical reference resource:

http://library.byu.edu/~rdh/eurodocs/uk.html

Includes history from antiquity through present day, along with legal and governmental documents.

See Also:

English Civil War Publications

http://www.lukehistory.com/resources/ecwpubs.html

Encyclopaedia of British History: 1500-1980

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/industry.html

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Thursday, July 07, 2005

American Memory from the Library of Congress

Historical Writers' Resources Week

Historical reference resource:

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/amhome.html

Review from History Matters (www.history.com):
This expansive archive of American history and culture features photographs, prints, motion pictures, manuscripts, printed books, pamphlets, maps, and sound recordings going back to roughly 1490. Currently this site includes more than seven million digital items from more than 100 collections on subjects ranging from African-American political pamphlets to California folk music, from baseball to the Civil War. Most topical sites include special presentations introducing particular depositories or providing historical context for archival materials. Visitors can search collections separately or all at once by keyword and type of source (photos and prints, documents, films, sound recordings, or maps).
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Native American History

Historical Writers' Resources Week

Historical reference resource:

http://www.hanksville.org/NAresources/indices/NAhistory.html

Includes oral history, regional information, timelines, photographic archives and more.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Internet African History Sourcebook

Historical Writers' Resources Week

Historical reference resource:

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/africa/africasbook.html

Quoted from the site:
Africa is both the most clearly defined of continents - in its geography - and the hardest to pin down in historical terms. Human beings originated in Africa and, as a result, there is more diversity of human types and societies than anywhere else. It is not possible, in any non-ideological way, to claim any one of these peoples or societies as more essentially "African" than others; nor is it possible to exclude a given society as "not really African".

On this site historical sources on the history of human societies in the continent of Africa are presented, when available, without making prejudgements about what is "African".

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The Victorian Era

Historical Writers' Resources Week

Historical reference resource:

The Victorian Web
http://www.victorianweb.org/

Comprehensive resource for information about the Victorian Era - political and social history, gender matters, philisophy, religion, science, technology, theater and popular entertainment, economics, and more!

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New Zealand History

Historical Writers' Resources Week

Historical reference resource:

http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/index.html

NZHistory.net.nz aims to be the first port of call when searching for information on New Zealand history. Content of NZHistory.net.nz is co-ordinated by a small team from the History Group of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Wellington, New Zealand.

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Australian History Resources

Historical Writers' Resources Week

Historical reference resource:

http://www.austudies.org/info/docs.html

The University of Sydney Library history guide recognized this page as "the premier site for Australian history".

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest

Tom Howard Books is sponsoring its third annual Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest. Deadline September 30. First prize is $1,000. A total of $2,000 in prizes will be awarded. Winning entries will be published.

The reading fee is $5 for every 25 lines you submit. There are no limits on style, theme, number of lines or number of poems you may submit. Your entry should be your own original work. For more information, visit the contest Web site:

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest

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Virtual Library -- Aboriginal Studies

Historical Writers' Resources Week

Historical reference resource:

http://www.ciolek.com/WWWVL-Aboriginal.html

Includes links for Aboriginal history, languages, art, culture and more. This site is maintained in conjunction with the Center For World Indigenous Studies' (CWIS) Indigenous Studies WWW Virtual Library -- which contains links to General Indigenous Studies Resources, as well as resources Africa, Asia and the Middle East, Central & South America, Europe, and the Pacific.

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Monday, July 04, 2005

Virtual Library -- Medieval Europe

Historical Writers' Resources Week

Historical reference resource:

http://www.msu.edu/~georgem1/history/medieval.htm

A virtual gateway to Medieval Europe maintained by The Michigan State University Graduate Student Medieval and Renaissance Consortium, under the sponsorship of ORB, for The World Wide Web Virtual Library History Section.

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Historical Reference Resources

Over the next week, I'll be scouring the internet for sites that provide information and/or research gateways that would be of interest to historical writers. So be sure to check back daily, or even twice daily, to see what I've found.

Welcome to "Historical Writers' Resources Week".

Cheers,

Karen

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Friday, July 01, 2005

Happy 4th of July & Happy Canada Day

Have a happy and safe holiday weekend! We'll all visit again on Tuesday, July 5th.

Cheers,

K. Campbell

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Independence Day - 4th of July

Background

Independence Day is the national holiday of the United States of America commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

And although the signing of the Declaration was not completed until August, the 4th of July has been accepted as the official anniversary of United States independence. The first Independence Day celebration took place the following year - July 4 1777. By the early 1800s the traditions of parades, picnics, and fireworks were established as the way to celebrate America's birthday. And although fireworks have been banned in most places because of their danger, most towns and cities usually have big firework displays for all to see and enjoy.

Canada Day

Background

On June 20, 1868, a proclamation signed by the Governor General, Lord Monck, called upon all Her Majesty's loving subjects throughout Canada to join in the celebration of the anniversary of the formation of the union of the British North America provinces in a federation under the name of Canada on July 1st.

The July 1 holiday was established by statute in 1879, under the name Dominion Day.

On October 27, 1982, July 1st which was known as "Dominion Day" became "Canada Day". Since 1985, Canada Day Committees are established in each province and territory to plan, organize and coordinate the Canada Day celebrations locally.