Some say the world will end in fire,Some say in ice.From what I’ve tasted of desireI hold with those who favor fire.But if it had to perish twice,I think I know enough of hateTo say that for destruction iceIs also greatAnd would suffice.
I am very lucky to have had the good people at the Saul Zaentz Incubator pair me with two extraordinary mentors. The first is Josh Penn, producer of the film Beasts of the Southern Wild. The second mentor is Stacie Passon, writer and director of Concussion.
For most of my career, mentorship has meant studying written works. For screenwriting, William Goldman, Robert Bolt, David Mamet. For literature, Jorge Luis Borges, W.G. Sebald, Virginia Woolf and so many more. In poetry, Auden, Browning.
One of the problems with telling other people’s stories is that you bear the responsibility for the telling. Technology invites each of us to tell our story in many mediums. When is it stealing? When is it exploitation? When is it empathy? When is it giving the gift of meaning–the only gift writers have to give? Language, that puckish knave, can sometimes express meaning well outside of the writer’s good intentions. That is why to write is both brave and foolish. For me, the act of empathizing with another human, of becoming them in my imagination, of wresting meaning from brash reality, that is the payoff.
Still, times change. We must listen to others and take heed. Here: http://nyti.ms/1XRvsz8
After today, I think it will be very important to focus on kindness to our fellow man. The world is changing. People are nervous. There is so much uncertainty. (The exact amount is uncertain.) But consider this: 3.5 million people work in the transportation industry. Right now, in every city of the world, people are testing vehicles to fully automate those 3.5 million jobs. Can you imagine how the election season will feel then? The anger? The outrage? So whether you are a Trump supporter or a Clinton supporter, or if you think the whole game is rigged and no one ever gets a voice, remember the words of the poet:
I had it in mind to write this immense post about my visit to the Future of Storytelling Festival . Housed in the Africa Center on 110th street in NYC, it was a pretty inspiring event. In fact, it was so big, I almost didn’t write about it. But then I decided to forget fancy blogging and get right to the pics….
Yes, it was filled with VR headsets and Kinect xbox 360 games. One expected that. But there were so many fun and stimulating attempts to get stories told in new ways that I’d have to say VR is just one of many wonderful avenues now open to the storyteller or story-consumer. VR is in that way something of a synecdoche, not the whole.
Of the many installations, at the top of my list was “Notes on Blindness” presented by Ex Nihilio, Archer’s Mark & Audiogaming. It was a documentary using a mix of audio files and gameplay software. From the site:
So…I hate when people suggest that I read a Self-Help book. But this is a good one. I mean it. Gordon Livingston is a fine writer with measured opinions and a great deal of life experience Read my book notes on Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart and think about giving it a read.
I am super psyched that my screenplay, When We Fall, has been selected as one of nine projects to be developed by the Saul Zaentz Innovation Fund at Johns Hopkins.
This was actually the second time I submitted the script. The first time I sent it over, I knew that it was not quite ready to make the rounds. It was clocking in at about 90 pages, but the scope of the story really required more development and, consequently, more pages. Also there was a ton of melodrama, something that happens when I sense the emotional note that is supposed to be played, but I haven’t picked the right “instrument.”
Yesterday, a good friend of mine, filmmaker Niels Dachler, turned me on to an organization called Dragon Dreaming International. Started by community organizers, John Croft and Vivienne Elantra, the project–or rather the process— considers methods for solving some pretty complex 21st century problems.
From their website:
There is an African proverb; “if you want to go fast you go alone. If you want to go far you go together”. But given the interlocking problem described above, we need to go fast and we need to go far. How do we go alone and together at the same time. Dragon Dreaming shows us how.
We humans collectively create our reality, both by our actions and our inaction. That is the reason why we can only find the way out of our environmental, economical and identity crises toward a better world if we go together.
These photos are from a web series I am working on called “Short Tales from the Life of Norma.” It is based on a sub-reddit called the Life of Norman that I’ve written about before on this site.
I started the project in winter, but it stalled in spring and for a brief moment seemed like it might not be.
“Norma” retreated back to that dark cavern where ideas are both born and still-born.
Ideas like bats at dusk, fluttering
shadows against cavernous pings
I have known the dark end of ideas.
What good is there in speaking?
But just because an idea returns to its dim source doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. Patience is key. A good set of binoculars. A scientist’s eye. But also an appreciation of the natural rhythm that all creatures are subject to, the ebb and the flow.
Allow me to procrastinate for a moment. I’ve got a problem. I’m a hundred pages into a revision and I need to motivate my character to take important steps that will completely alter the outcome of her life.
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