Wednesday, August 21, 2019


May 25, 2010 by  
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The Hopi Elders Speak
This is The Hour…Jim Standing Bear Wheatley May 19 at 11:28pm

“You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.
And there are things to be considered:

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships? Are you in right relation?
Where is your water? Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community. Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.
This could be a good time!

There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.
They will feel they are being torn apart, and they will suffer greatly.

Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river
Keep our eyes open and our heads above the water.
See who is in there with you
And celebrate.

At this time in history we are to take nothing personally.
Least of all, ourselves.
For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.

The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves!
Banish the word “struggle” from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

The Elders / Oraibi, Arizona / Hopi Nation

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The State of the Art of Horror

May 24, 2010 by  
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The State of the Art of Horror

by Devin Watson (author of HORROR SCREENWRITING)

Summer has arrived. Warm air, vacations, mowing the lawns. For some of us that’s just fine. Not for me. Summer has always meant the time when I sit back and enjoy some good movies with my friends. And of course write, write, write.

Hollywood is in horror remake mode, and while some of us might be satisfied with the results I’m betting that more than a few of you aren’t, as am I. Some of us want more, new, and dare I say it, different. And even the gloss of Hollywood can’t deliver that.

In my opinion horror wasn’t meant to be given a glossy sheen. It’s supposed to be ugly and brutal, bloody, scary, and dangerous. We want to be scared, to have the oogies, jump in our seats when the unexpected happens. Hell, even laugh some and maybe even think about things that are on the edge of our own imaginations. Where else can we get those kinds of intangible things delivered to us in a single package, aside from spending a weekend with the in-laws?

Right now if you want to know the true state of horror you’ll have to dig under the glossy skin of Hollywood and look at its true guts: the independents. Independents come to these festivals not only to be seen but to be enjoyed. And that’s just what we do. We enjoy them. Crypticon is one of those places where you can find people of like mind that celebrate horror in all of its forms, from the visual to the written word.

Horror fans can be more than fans. Of every genre out there, I can think of no other that is more fun and easily accessible for the aspiring writer or filmmaker. If you are a fan, you’re also halfway there to being one that picks up the torch and carries it further should you feel like it.

Don’t like what you see on the screen and think you can do better? Then get out there and do it. This isn’t an angry ultimatum, by no means. In this day and age, there simply is no excuse to get out there and make your own and show it to the world. Even if it’s a five minute short with rough editing and bad sound, do it anyway. It’s a start. Just like playing the piano or riding a bike, you only get better with practice.

It takes strong tenacity and an unwillingness to quit, but it can happen. It wasn’t so long ago that I was just another face in the crowd of horror fans. Then I crossed the line into writing horror, then filming it. It’s a thin line that’s easy to cross, but it takes courage. It’s courage I’m sure more than a few of you out there have.

Above all, have fun and embrace the weirdness that is horror

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Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Writing a TV Spec

May 24, 2010 by  
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Moving Write Along: Advice from the Experts –
Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Writing a TV Spec

by Ross Brown

Step One to writing a great spec is doing your homework. Watch every episode of your series. Rent DVDs, record new episodes and take notes. How many acts is your show? Two? Three? Six? Do they typically have one storyline per episode or three? Your spec must duplicate the conventions of your series—while still bringing fresh storylines and situations to it.

Step Two, go online and find scripts. Note the proper spelling of each character’s name and the names of their sets. Do they call it INT. MORGUE or INT. AUTOPSY LAB? On The Office, do they use the slugline INTERVIEW – MICHAEL or TALKING HEAD – MICHAEL?

Agents, showrunners, and executives read brain-numbing sludge piles of specs—hundreds of 30 Rocks, thousands of CSIs, a trillion specs of The Simpsons and South Park. Your story—especially your logline—must grab their attention and stick firmly in their mind. Don’t write a “typical” premise—write one that would generate water cooler buzz the next day.

If the high point of your spec for The Office is Michael saying “that’s what she said” or the stage direction “Dwight smiles creepily at the camera”, then all you’ve done is imitate the show, not write a spec. Duplicating an average episode is never enough. You have to wow people, make them leap up and say, “This is a GREAT episode of X.”

One of the best ways to make your spec shine is to explore a character in a new or deeper way. You can’t change the character—but you can present them with fresh challenges that reveal unexpected but believable character traits. The Cheers spec that landed me an agent and my first staff job had a woman come into the bar and say Sam was the father of her six-year-old son (a memorable premise, btw). Rather than denying it or paying her off, Sam decides he loves the notion of molding a son in his own image. Unfortunately, the woman only wants money and refuses to let Sam become a regular part of the boy’s life. Though Sam insists he has rights, she says he can’t prove the boy is his (this was pre-DNA testing.) Sam must say a difficult good-bye and let the boy go. A new emotional side of womanizer Sam Malone—but a believable one.

Being a bold, creative person, you might ask, “Wouldn’t it be great if CSI was totally different one week—say about their personal lives instead of solving a crime?” No, it wouldn’t be great, it would mean instant rejection. A spec must demonstrate you understand the show and can write within its framework.

Once a series is canceled, all spec scripts for it are officially yesterday’s tuna. Using a canceled series as a writing sample is like putting big bold print on the cover page that reads I HAVEN’T WRITTEN ANYTHING NEW IN A WHILE. Even if you love a show, don’t write a spec for it unless it’s still going strong in the ratings.

Writing is lonely. We all want praise—now. But there’s nothing worse than giving someone a script only to realize a day or two later there are typos, jokes that could be improved, and it needs a new subplot. Actually, there is one thing worse: calling the agent who agreed to read your script and saying, “Don’t bother with that one, it’s bad. I’m sending you a new draft.” She will never read it, I promise.

Most shows these days have at least some serialized elements. But trying to jump onto the moving train that is their serialized story is a death leap. The show will inevitably move beyond your story idea before you can finish writing your spec. Within months, your story will seem stale and dated. Find a “stand-alone”, non-serialized premise for your spec.

Making the story about the guest star instead of the regulars. Killing off a series regular. Cliched, overdone premises like the trapped in the office/elevator/mountain cabin episode. Never number your scenes—that’s a production draft, not a writer’s draft, and it makes you look amateurish, not professional. Same goes for putting the show’s logo or artwork on the cover—don’t do it, no matter how cool you think it looks.

Always have more than one spec to show. Maybe you’ve got a great procedural, but the producer whose life you just saved by pulling him out of a flaming car wreck is doing a family drama. Or you’ve got a killer 30 Rock, but the agent who owes your cousin a favor says she’s tired of that show. You’ve got to be able to say, “No problem, I also have a great Modern Family and a brand new Big Bang Theory. Which one can I send you?”

Ross Brown has written and produced more than 300 episodes of network television and has created series for ABC, CBS and the WB. He is currently an Assistant Professor at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University where he teaches TV writing and production. Ross Brown is the author of a new book, Byte Sized TV: Create Your Own TV Series for the Internet, published by Michael Wiese Productions, to be released February 2011.
Author: Write On! Online

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Books in Home – Very Important to Child’s Education

May 23, 2010 by  
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ScienceDaily (May 21, 2010) — Whether rich or poor, residents of the United States or China, illiterate or college graduates, parents who have books in the home increase the level of education their children will attain, according to a 20-year study led by Mariah Evans, University of Nevada, Reno associate professor of sociology and resource economics.

For years, educators have thought the strongest predictor of attaining high levels of education was having parents who were highly educated. But, strikingly, this massive study showed that the difference between being raised in a bookless home compared to being raised in a home with a 500-book library has as great an effect on the level of education a child will attain as having parents who are barely literate (3 years of education) compared to having parents who have a university education (15 or 16 years of education). Both factors, having a 500-book library or having university-educated parents, propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average.

Being a sociologist, Evans was particularly interested to find that children of lesser-educated parents benefit the most from having books in the home. She has been looking for ways to help Nevada’s rural communities, in terms of economic development and education.

“What kinds of investments should we be making to help these kids get ahead?” she asked. “The results of this study indicate that getting some books into their homes is an inexpensive way that we can help these children succeed.”

Evans said, “Even a little bit goes a long way,” in terms of the number of books in a home. Having as few as 20 books in the home still has a significant impact on propelling a child to a higher level of education, and the more books you add, the greater the benefit.

“You get a lot of ‘bang for your book’,” she said. “It’s quite a good return-on-investment in a time of scarce resources.”

In some countries, such as China, having 500 or more books in the home propels children 6.6 years further in their education. In the United States, the effect is less, 2.4 years, than the 3.2-year average advantage experienced across all 27 countries in the study. But, Evans points out that 2.4 years is still a significant advantage in terms of educational attainment.

For example, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, Americans who have some college or an associate’s degree, but not a bachelor’s degree, earn an average of $7,213 more annually than those with just a high school education. Those who attain a bachelor’s degree earn $21,185 more each year, on average, than those with just high school diplomas.

The study by Evans and her colleagues at Nevada, UCLA and Australian National University is one of the largest and most comprehensive studies ever conducted on what influences the level of education a child will attain.

The researchers were struck by the strong effect having books in the home had on children’s educational attainment even above and beyond such factors as education level of the parents, the country’s GDP, the father’s occupation or the political system of the country.

Having books in the home is twice as important as the father’s education level, and more important than whether a child was reared in China or the United States. Surprisingly, the difference in educational attainment for children born in the United States and children born in China was just 2 years, less than two-thirds the effect that having 500 or more books in the home had on children (3.2 years).

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More…on the end of film

May 23, 2010 by  
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A terrific tribute to Kurosawa

May 20, 2010 by  
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Film and Video Budgets

May 18, 2010 by  
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Film and Video Budgets 5th Edition is the ‘industry bible’ when it comes to budgets.  The book explains every line item you may expect to encounter and walks you through the budgeting process.  We like to say ‘it gets you 80% of the way’.

We make the budget templates available to you for free.  For greater understanding, the book explains each and every budget of the many budgets in the book.  From these Excel formats you can easily customize your own budgets and save you hundreds of hours of research and inputting numbers.  It’s the fast track to knowing what your film, documentary, digital feature, music video or student film is going to cost.

And that’s not all!  Our new book, Getting the Money, takes you step by step through the process of creating a business plan for your film.  The financial template is provided here for free so you and your investors can have a clear understanding of how a film’s investment is returned. Again, like the budget template, you can customize this template for your own film’s business plan.

You might be interested in…

Film and Video Budgets budgets

Getting The Money – Buy Now

by Jeremy Juuso $20.21 List price: $26.95 Saving: 25%

Film and Video Budgets budgets

Shaking the Money Tree(3rd Edition)- Buy Now

by Morrie Warshawski $20.21 List price: $26.95 Saving: 25%

To place your order by phone, call 1 800 833-5738, 24 hours a day.

Join Our Growing Community

May 18, 2010 by  
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We just launched this part of the site so at the moment you’ll be one of the first to sign up to MWP’s Community where filmmakers and writers can design their own pages, post profiles, photos, videos and blog.  If you live outside the major production centers (LA, NYC, Vancouver), it doesn’t matter.  Now you can connect with like-minded creatives to exchange ideas, partner on projects, and get your burning questions answered.  Many of our authors will soon be part of the community so sign up today and be on the cutting edge.

You might be interested in…

Join Our Growing Community community

GreenScreen Made Easy – Buy Now

by Jeremy Hanke and Michele Yamazaki $14.96 List price: $19.95 Saving: 25%

To place your order by phone, call 1 800 833-5738, 24 hours a day.

Read FREE chapters from our books

May 18, 2010 by  
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We have posted sample chapters from most of our books.

Check them out then come back here for a 25% discount.

Best wishes,


You might be interested in…

Read FREE chapters from our books articles

The Art of Film Funding – Buy Now

by Carole Lee Dean $20.21 List price: $26.95 Saving: 25%

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The Virgin’s Promise – Buy Now

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The Shaman & Ayahuasca: LA Film Screenings
(June 17, 2010, 7:00pm and 9:15pm)

May 18, 2010 by  
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The Shaman & Ayahuasca: LA Film Screenings<br />(June 17, 2010, 7:00pm and 9:15pm) blog LOS ANGELES FILM SCREENINGS

The Shaman & Ayahuasca: Journeys to Sacred Realms
A film by Michael Wiese


Film Showings: June 17, 2010, 7pm and 9:15pm
Cost: $12

(best way to ensure you get a seat)

The Landmark Theater – Westside Pavilion
10850 West Pico at Westwood Blvd. (map)

Q&A after each showing with filmmaker Michael Wiese.

The Shaman & Ayahuasca: Journeys to Sacred Realms

Ayahuasca is a entheogentic or psychoactive vine-based plant brew that has been used for healing by shamans for thousands of years. It is widely known throughout South America for its healing and visionary properties that has, in recent years, caught the attention of the Western world. Ayahuasca is called a ‘plant teacher’ because it can heal physical, psychological and emotional blocks and through vivid visions take the patient to other realms and dimensions providing profound insights into human beings’ true nature and place in the cosmos.

Intrigued by these extraordinary claims, filmmaker Michael Wiese went to the home of Don Jose Campos, an internationally known Peruvian shaman or curandero, to experience first hand the healing and transformational aspects of Ayahuasca. Shot on location in the jungle and in the Amazonian river towns of Pulcallpa and Iquitos Peru, this 73-minute film documents the shamanic work and ayahuasca ceremonies of Don Jose Campos and includes the last filmed interview with internationally renowned visionary painter and former shaman Pablo Amaringo. Also included are interviews and an exploration of medicinal plants with famed biochemist Julio Arce Hildalgo. The film features the music of Peruvian recording artist Artur Menas Salas.

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