Friday, March 23, 2012

Almost to 5000!

Hey folks! Hope your week is turning out to be fantastic. :) This month is slamming me pretty hard in the work department so I don't have much to pass on. Right now I'm tearing my way through a book about writing in an attempt to fix some of the snafu's in my manuscripts. Writer bud Michelle recommended it to me a few weeks ago. For those out there looking for a good read about structure and such, check it out.

Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D.Story Structure Architect: A Writer's Guide to Building Dramatic Situations and Compelling Characters

On the January 18, 2012 post, I reported that the blog was 10 away from reaching the 4000 mark. Now, just a little over two months later, we're very close to passing the next mile stone and hit the 5000 mark! That's the most growth since I created the blog December 2010. *fireworks* Wooohooo!

That 5000 belongs to you guys so thank you all for visiting!!! I'm enjoying your company every week so much. Pass the address along to your buds and keep those comments coming! Who knows what the next few months have in store for us. :) Cross your fingers that it's something AWESOME!

Till Then,

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Breaking Dawn 1 Premier by guest blogger Kayla Griffith

    Hey there blog friends! Glad you decided to visit. Today's post is extra special because it's written by one of my word war partners and writer bud Mrs. Kayla Griffith who hails from the cold, snowy and cheesey plains of Wisconsin.
    I read the Twilight books in 2009. Seeking more details about the characters, I also discovered one of the fan sites, The Twilight Lexicon . The Lex is run by some really lovely ladies who have dedicated their site to the fans. I've been impressed over the years at their level of professionalism and dedication to Stephanie Meyer's stories. Best of all, The Lex doesn't promote paparazzi behavior, EVER. Now that's a site I can always respect. So once I heard Kayla was going to the BD1 premier, I was dying to hear about her experience. She agreed to blog a little bit about her time with the ladies from the Lexicon. Here's Kayla's story, hope you guys enjoy! 
    This is a blog post about the Breaking Dawn premier, mostly. You see, while the event was a Hollywood premier, the story is about the power of fans, the complexity of online communities, and the strength of kindness.
    I have been blessed to be associated with the Twilight Lexicon for several years. The online community there is incredible, and I’m proud to be a part of such a lovely group of people. This fall, the owners of the Lex invited me to go with them to the Hollywood premier. It was a working holiday of sorts, but, hey, it’s a Hollywood premier, and I’m not about to complain about working at one of those! Besides, I live in Wisconsin, being asked to go to sunny Southern California in November to attend something I feel so passionately about was nothing short of a dream come true.
    And it ended up being everything I’d hoped.
    Here’s the caveat, what I hoped to get out of the premier might be different from what you expect. Still, you might enjoy the tale.
    I’m from Los Angeles, and I don’t have any illusions about what Hollywood is and isn’t. So, instead of going for the glamour and glitz, I went to meet friends who I only really knew as rather odd fandom names on several different sites. I knew them all. I rejoiced when they had children, prayed when they faced hardships, and celebrated their triumphs. That’s the strange power of online communities. I got to meet old friends I’d never seen before. Of all the wonderful things about the premier, that was the best. Other than meeting people who I’d only really known online, I had no idea of what I’d find at the premier, and I was amazed and astounded and disappointed. You may be surprised which aspect of the premier did what.
Gil Birmingham and Kayla
    We went to every event Summit put on and talked with dozens of fans and fan sites, and the women I met constantly amazed me (the men were even more amazing, but in a rather creepy way). I was amazed at how we could all come from different states, occupations, ages, and even countries and yet still be essentially the same. I was amazed at how nice most of them were, even when things got screwed up with the tent city or crossed events. After three days, it felt more like an extended, rather grungy, girl’s night out full of my besties. I will forever treasure getting to know those kind women.
Lori and Jen the Lex Ladies with Kayla
I was astounded at Summit’s reaction to us—astounded in a good way. Yes, there were some screw ups and angry fans, but the representatives from Summit honestly cared about the fans and did whatever they could to make the event as perfect as possible. They bought huge tents to house the fans—tents that cost thousands of dollars—put on concerts and movie nights, and even fed breakfast to the inhabitants of the tent city.
    And they asked how they could make it better.
    That doesn’t usually happen in Hollywood. Fans are a given, something to be dealt with and placated, but not treated as an integral part of the movie industry. But we were treated like guests, as best as a thousand campers can be thought of as guests. And each and every one of those campers got to not only go to the black carpet, but to the premier as well.
Stephanie Meyer
    I met Bill Condon, the director, and found him to be incredibly kind. He was extremely concerned with the fan’s reaction to the movie. He didn’t worry about awards or impressing the Hollywood elite. He talked constantly about bringing the characters to life for the fans. Everything he talked about seemed to relate back to the fans of the Twilight Saga.
    I didn’t talk with “the big three.” In fact, though I was within a dozen feet of them, I barely got a glimpse of Kristen, Rob or Taylor. However, I did get to chat with many other members of the cast, and the ones I talked with really and truly love the fans. When they say that the Twilight fans are the best, they aren’t kidding.
Stephanie Meyer with the Lex Ladies
    Do some fans scare them? You betcha! They scared me, too (more on that below). However, everyone I met, from Melissa Rosenberg to Boo Boo Stewart to the movie’s editor, Virginia Katz, (since I have an art background, editors are kinda my superheroes), truly cared about the fans and what they thought. They cared about staying true to the book, something rather rare in Hollywood at times. The stars seemed almost as devoted to the fans and the fans were to the Saga—but not in that scary, creeper way.
    After being able to watch the proceedings from the Black Carpet, Summit held an after party for the fans and stars. They set up a massive tent that took up the top level of a parking garage. Summit’s amazing after party floored me. The center of the huge tent was decorated like the wedding scene, with flowers hanging down and wooden benches. The rest of the tent resembled Isle Esme. There was music, dancing, and food and drinks for all.
Christopher Heyerdahl (who plays
Marcus) and Kayla
    Again, by the time we got to the party, the “big three” were long gone, but those stars that stayed were gracious and kind and willing to talk, laugh and enjoy their night. And they all asked if we enjoyed the movie. Over and over again, they looked at the fans and asked, “Did you really enjoy it? Not just like it, but love it?” And they were serious. This wasn’t just any gig that they got paid to do. They wanted to make sure the film met our expectations.
    Do you know how adorable a hopeful but uncertain actor can be? Trust me; they’ll melt your heart. I felt like I’d been dropped into some kind of fairy tale by night’s end.
    There was one very disappointing thing about the premier. Anyone who is a part of almost any fandom will know exactly what I’m talking about.  THOSE fans.
    Some of you are nodding and some are looking bewildered. THOSE fans are the women who assume they had the right to be there. They shoved and kicked (really, I got kicked) and cussed when they didn’t get their way. They acted like someone owed them something special simply because they showed up, and they ruined the night for everyone unlucky enough to be nearby.
Rob What's-his-name.
I'm not sure why Kayla wanted
his picture *wink wink*
    I stood with the fan sites in our own little corner of the carpet. There were others there, winners of contests and such. A few of them were young girls, thirteen and younger who’d won the trip of their life. They bubbled with excitement. I and another woman ended up standing straddle behind the girls, arms outstretched and on guard against several of THOSE fans who barged in and tried to push the girls out of the way.
    THOSE fans who were angry no matter what happened because they deserved better. THOSE fans who complained about free food, movies, concerts and tents. The same ones mobbed stars, frightening them away. They lost sight of what was important because all they focused on was the fa├žade Hollywood creates around things.
    For the true fans, so much of the premier revolved around watching the dream of the Saga unfold. Among those of us who understood this, the premier was an event made up of a community of people—people who had the same goals, the same love affair with a love story. To us, kindness mattered.
    There is a huge difference between the fans who loved the book and movie, and those who want a part of the fake glamour Hollywood sells. Fandoms aren’t about glitter and hype. Not that glitter and hype aren’t fun at times, of course, but the real magic of the premier wasn’t in the dresses and reporters. It wasn’t in screaming crowds or fake sets. The magic of the premier is in the kindness and the camaraderie of the fans. It’s in the devotion of the people behind the scenes and behind the camera. It’s in the patience of actors as they spoke with hundreds of fans and strove to make contact with as many people as they could. 
    That’s why this post is and isn’t about the premier. It’s more about where the true magic of novels and the true meaning of the movie. As Stephenie Meyer herself said, “It’s about the love.”
Kayla Griffith is a mom, writer and teacher. Follow her on twitter at @kaylaopenhome and on facebook at Kayla Griffith on Facebook

Friday, March 2, 2012

Coming to Life

view details    Blog friends, it’s been a REALLY amazing week. On some levels, I’m still mentally processing everything, but on others I’m just so dang thrilled it’s hard to sit still. I know, I know, you want me to stop being irritatingly vague right? Okay, here goes.
    At the end of 2011 I considered taking a theatre class to help me round out my characters, especially my guys. Then I actually priced said classes and scratched that idea. The main reason, aside from the ungodly amount of money, is because I have no interest in being an actor. I wanted to observe how they move and their expressions, not perform. With my male characters being young and male, I wasn’t entirely sure they were well formed, working hard enough or acting naturally within the story. This concern was later confirmed by my friend Michelle after she did a reading for me. My guys needed some work.
    After deciding against a “school” environment, I started searching for different options. I discovered a Master Acting Class taught by Daniel Martine. A local film maker, writer and teacher in Memphis, Daniel and I also share a mutual friend in Carolyn Haines. I emailed Daniel and he asked that we discuss a visit to his class in more detail. During our conversation, I explained what I needed help with. Daniel thought he had an actor close to Hayden’s age. THEN (and this is the very best part) he offered to adapt a few of my problem scenes into screenplay form and have his actors play them out. After my heart moved out of my throat, I eagerly accepted and started preparing which scenes to send.
    Wednesday was the big night. And yes, I was nervous beyond reason. Scripts were all prepared and copied; I had my huge bag of junk (digital camera, research book, video camera and more pens than I’d ever need). Hey, what can I say, everyone has their comfort objects. GPS leading the way, I headed out to downtown Memphis.
    Once everyone arrived, Daniel introduced me around then they got down to serious acting business. First, the guys did an improvisation which was really interesting to watch. Four guys, all different ages making the scene up as they go. It definitely opened my eyes to the process and was a great introduction for someone who knows nothing about acting.
Darius taking it to the next level
Such an ALIVE expression, one of my favs.
    There were several great pieces throughout the evening, an amazing monologue from Lanford Wilson's FENCES performed by Darius Newsome. Another by some of Daniel’s younger students that reminded me so much of my own sons, a new project Marcus and Allison are working on that’s really gritty and fascinating to watch and then Graham, Allison, Daniel and Dorv worked on my scenes.
    My stomach squeezed into a knot watching Daniel set up the scene with the actors. Once they started moving through it I found myself holding my breath. The fantasy world inside my head seemed to tilt on its axis as I tried to mentally organize my thoughts and emotions around my creation being brought into reality. Watching Graham become Hayden linked so many disconnected parts of the story chain inside my head. All three actors morphed into the characters so smoothly. Their joints appeared oiled as they slipped their skin and became someone new. Even the panic of the scene became a gliding movement of their bodies. A subtle raise of eyebrow, combined with the words, pushed forward by Graham’s body movements communicated all Hayden’s stress and fear and brought the words roaring off the page. Amazing, truly I have no other word for the experience than absolutely amazing.
Graham Elwood
    Afterwards, Graham graciously talked me through a few additional scenes that weren’t scripted. A pleasant surprise indeed once I discovered I wasn’t as far off base with Hayden as I’d originally thought.
    Even though I was still buzzing on adrenalin, the curtain eventually dropped on my portion of the class. Stepping out into the night, the breeze brushed against my skin and brought with it the depressing tang of the Mississippi River. Even with the dark and humidity pressing the water's scent into my mind, a new hope zinged through my veins. Never before had I felt so connected to the story and characters.
Dorv, Darius, Marcus, McTyere, Allison
Daniel and Travis
    I can only hope I thanked Daniel and his actors enough times for giving me an opportunity that few writers, especially unpublished writers, ever get. As for my boys, their voices are much clearer to me now and I have these wonderful new friends to thank for that.
    As always, I ask you that you give a book some love this week. Additionally, in honor of my new actor buds, watch a great movie too. Never know ... you just might learn something cool.
Till Then,
If you'd like more information on Daniel's Master Acting Class, visit Master Acting Class on Facebook