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A MOONDANCE VALENTINE & NEWS!

“Stopping by the woods on a snowy evening…” ~ Robert Frost

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

SCROLL ON DOWN:

For news, info, festival news, insider tips, recommendations,

great photos & thoughts for the day!

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The 2013 Moondance

OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

is open for submissions!

Get your entry in EARLY for this great opportunity

to showcase your talents and for a good chance to

win the Moondance!

CHECK OUT OUR MANY SUBMISSION CATEGORIES:

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.categories.html

PLUS! We have a new submission category for 2013:

WEB SERIES WEBISODES!

3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1. MIFF ENTRY FORM

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.entry.html

2. ACTEVA ONLINE ENTRY

http://www.acteva.com/go/miff

(save $5 on entry fee)

3. WITHOUTABOX SUBMISSION SERVICE

http://www.withoutabox.com/login/1240

We look forward to previewing your submissions!

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MOONDANCE NEWS:

Hurray! Moondance now has one of the top 1% most-viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/profile/12/35a/248

EMAIL FROM LinkedIn, February 12, 2013: Elizabeth, Congratulations! You have one of the top 1% most-viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012. LinkedIn now has 200 million members. Thanks for playing a unique part in our community!

I want to personally thank you for being part of our community. Your journey is part of our journey, and we’re delighted and humbled when we hear stories of how our members are using LinkedIn to connect, learn, and find opportunity.

With sincere thanks, Deep Nishar, LinkedIn Senior Vice President, Products & User Experience

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WordPress.com reports that this super-popular Moondance news blog has an unheard-of 80% open-rate, and a 50% click-through rate, which is an Internet phenomenon! The standard rate for other WP blogs is only an 8% open-rate and less than a 1% click-through rate.

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Welcome to Moondance’s new webster, Kelly Brenner, who works to keep the website fresh. Kelly lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her website:  http://www.sailordesign.com

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PLUS! We have a new submission category for 2013:

WEB SERIES WEBISODES!

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MOONDANCERS WRITE US:

“Thanks for this blog email. I find it beautiful and very interesting – a cut way beyond the usual. Whatever you do, keep it up. And let me know of future developments.” ~~ NAOMI LAZARD, playwright & co-founder of the Hamptons International Film Festival

“Just thought I would say that your blog newsletters are fabulous, they always seem to arrive when I am having a bad day and they lift me right up and remind me that I am an artist, not a bureaucrat.” ~ JACK NIEDENTHAL, award-winning Moondance filmmaker, Marshall Islands

Well done. I’m convinced that this is a festival close to my heart. I’m inspired to give Moondance a try.” ~ MACDONALD ANNIE

As a Finalist in the Moondance International Film Festival 2007 for my full length male friendship comedy, “A Burning Desire,” I received several calls from story editors and producers. I am in talks right now for two short comedy screenplays, “Uncle Henry’s Funeral” and “The Romance of Esther Kiddish”. Moondance really came through for me!” ~ LORNA KANTER, screenwriter, artist

“I’m proud to announce that, thanks to the 2012 Moondance win for my feature screenplay, ROUGHNECKS!, InkTip.com has placed a promotional advertisement, for free, at the top of  their current magazine listings, which goes out to producers and directors looking for good writers and  scripts to purchase.” ~ MICHAEL L. EDWARDS

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INSIDER TIPS FOR SCREENWRITERS & FILMMAKERS:

PAUL FLECK’S 5 MAJOR RULES IN WRITING A FILM SYNOPSIS:

(from a LinkedIn Guest Post)

Even after all the work you’ve done writing a great film script, raising plenty of money, shooting and editing a masterpiece, films (and scripts) are ultimately sold based on the title, the logline, and the synopsis.

As an audience member you do the same thing. When you’re scrolling through Netflix or standing in the rain at Redbox you read the synopsis to decide if you want to see that movie.

Today’s guest post comes from former Marketing Executive at Paramount Studios, Paul Fleck. Paul was at Paramount for an unusually long and very successful career during the studios’ release of TITANIC,  FORREST GUMP, BRAVEHEART, CLUELESS, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and a slew of other box-office hits.

Here are Paul Fleck’s five major rules in writing a film synopsis:

  1. Find a HOOK. Mood and tone in particular are both critical so the use of special and/or unusual adjectives is in order.
  2. Introduce the main characters. Describe — succinctly — their conflicts, goals and motivations. No detailed physical descriptions here unless critical to the story.
  3. Build the body of your synopsis with the high points of the story in chronological order. Paragraphs must be tight. Each line should include action, reaction and decision whenever possible!
  4. Use four or less paragraphs to convey the crisis and resolution of the story. Describe the main character’s reactions. Don’t keep the reader guessing. Any synopsis MUST include the resolution to the story.
  5. Keep writing — and re-writing –until every sentence is polished to perfection. Use of strong adjectives and verbs is a must — and of course a synopsis is always written in the present tense. Make every word count!

The synopsis is a crucial sales tool. Make it work to your benefit!

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY:

“Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.” ~ SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE

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“By all means, don’t say ‘if I can’, say ‘I will.’” ~ ABRAHAM LINCOLN

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Small Things Considered: frost crystals on ice

“The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes.” ~ MARCEL PROUST

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Japanese moss garden

The cultivation and attainment of wisdom is part of the goal and practice of Buddhism. In order to attain wisdom one must understand the nature of things (the dharma), and part of the practice of Buddhism is the investigation and appreciation of Nature. At the heart of Buddhist philosophy is the realization of no “self” or “I” (and hence the delusion) as a separate self-existing entity.

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“Happiness is sharing a bowl of cherries and a book pf poetry with a shade tree. It doesn’t eat much, doesn’t read much, but listens well, and is a most gracious host.” ~ ASTRID ALAUDA, poet, author

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“Remember your childhood? That complete certainty you had, looking at the grown-ups, that you would never be like them. It was a lonely feeling, but euphoric, too!” ~ JANE CAMPION, Oscar®-winning film director

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Mahatma Gandhi’s glasses

“A powerful exercise to awaken our consciousness to what is really important: Consider what you would leave behind if today was your last. 

Physical things always deteriorate; it’s the non-physical things – wisdom, love, energy, friendship, etc. – that when we give away leave a lasting legacy. 

What can you give of yourself that will live on forever?” ~ YEHUDA BERG, Kabbalist

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~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog!  ~~

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NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in G-mail, and I’ll have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog email. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me, will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

• Please forward on this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

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MOONDANCE FEBRUARY NEWS & PHOTOS!

Sculpture by Charlotte Zink, at Zink Metal Art

Mermaid is home from beautiful, friendly,  serene Thailand & back in the USA!

WATCH & LISTEN TO THIS LOVELY VIDEO OF THAI FOREST MONKS

SCROLL ON DOWN:

For news, info, insider tips, recommendations,

great photos & thoughts for the day!

The 2013 Moondance

OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

is open for submissions!

Get your entry in EARLY for this great opportunity

to showcase your talents and for a good chance to

win the Moondance!

CHECK OUT OUR MANY SUBMISSION CATEGORIES:

PLUS! We have a new category for 2013:

WEB SERIES WEBISODES!

3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1. MIFF ENTRY FORM

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.entry.html

2. ACTEVA ONLINE ENTRY

http://www.acteva.com/go/miff

(save $5 on entry fee)

3. WITHOUTABOX SUBMISSION SERVICE

http://www.withoutabox.com/login/1240

Challenges come to teach us something, to make us stronger, or to shatter our belief system about what we can and can’t overcome. 

Once we understand the real purpose of whatever challenge we face, we will see the truth: there are no obstacles. Only opportunities to grow.” ~ Yehuda Berg

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INSIDER TIPS FOR SCREENWRITERS & FILMMAKERS:

THE FIELD OF DREAMS:

Conflict as Metaphor

By Elizabeth English

“If you build it, they will come!” The skillful use of metaphor can give visible shape to a character and recognizable, believable impetus to conflicts in film. The deeper meaning of a situation becomes clear and powerful to the varied cinema audience, when metaphors for conflict are utilized. The film, “Field of Dreams”, is one example of strong use of this device. Put in the simplest terms, a farmer, played by Kevin Costner, down on his luck (conflict), is advised by a voice only he hears, to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield in Iowa. He fights with his wife, his friends and the bank over this wildly improbable notion (conflicts). He builds the baseball diamond anyway, always believing in his dream, though he has no idea why he does it (conflict). He just “has to”. He solicits the reluctant help of a famous & combative author (conflict), and a long-dead doctor. The ghosts of former baseball players, including the farmer’s deceased father, appear. The film ends with the farmer finally playing catch with his father and rectifying past wrongs, the doctor saves the life of the farmer’s child (conflict), the author goes to his fate, peacefully at last, and the financial fate of the farm and his family is salvaged when long lines of cars arrive with paying baseball fans (solution to conflicts).

The farm itself is a metaphor for one’s career or chosen path in life, which is in conflict with the protagonist’s social and situational milieu. The cornfield/baseball diamond is a metaphor depicting a small portion of that life, but which affects and is in conflict with all other parts of his life. The farmer is Everyman/woman. The wife, the child, the friends and relatives, the bankers, the author and the doctor, as well as the ghostly baseball players and the neighbors, are all recognizable and human metaphors, to whom the audience can relate, for conflicts in one person’s life; past, present and future. The farmer’s character is identified by his conflicts and how he deals with them.

Visual metaphors can speak directly and visibly to our characters’ conflicting feelings and emotions, when used to convey abstractions, such as death, love, fear, joy. A bare winter field can convey death or hopelessness as the character trudges across the frozen wasteland; a bright red balloon floating upward into a blue summer sky can impart happiness or a character surpassing expectations, a sense of freedom, irreplaceable loss, a letting go, or even childlike emotions of simple joy. A woman sadly gazing into pieces of a broken mirror tells the audience more about her personal conflict than does a page of dialog. In the short film, “The Unique Oneness of Christian Savage”, a child’s best friend falls from the tall tree in which they were playing, and is killed…the surviving child runs from the pious words spoken at the funeral and grabs a broken tree branch, and beats at the “evil” tree that killed his little friend. Conflict in film made visible and powerful! And without a single word of dialog.

NORMA RAE tells the story of a factory worker, played by Sally Field, from a small town in North Carolina, who becomes involved in the labor union activities at the textile factory where she works, a cotton mill that has taken too much of a toll on the health of her family for her to ignore her Dickensian working conditions. The young mother and textile worker agrees to help unionize her mill despite the problems and dangers involved. After hearing a speech by New York union organizer Reuben Warshowsky, Norma Rae decides to join the effort to unionize her shop. This causes conflict at home when Norma Rae’s husband says she’s not spending enough time in the home.

The film “Cool Hand Luke” beautifully shows the conflict between the protagonist/hero, Luke, played by Paul Newman, and his captors, who are inhumanly cruel and evil and hold all the cards. Luke seems to have no hope of escape or of retribution., though he makes every effort, only to be doomed to return to solitary confinement over and over, and to further punishment.

Similarly, the film “The Great Escape”, starring the late Steve McQueen, is filled with conflict against the Nazi captors, who are in conflict with the prisoners who try to escape, and whom are killed or re-captured for their trouble. Some other powerful examples of well-written conflict in film are “Babette’s Feast”, “Dersu Uzala”, “American Beauty”, “Jules et Jim”, “The Bagdad Café”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, “Dr. Strangelove”, “The Virgin Spring”, “Mulan”, “Sophie’s Choice”, “The Life of Pi”, “Midnight Cowboy” and “La Strada”, to name just a few.

THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, is about two of the most memorable, conflicted characters in movie history, Clarice Starling, played by Jodi Foster, and Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins, and their strange, strained relationship. Both are ostracized by the worlds they want to inhabit–Lecter, by the human race because he is a serial killer and a cannibal, and Clarice, by the law enforcement profession because she is a woman. Both feel powerless–Lecter because he is locked in a maximum security prison and Clarice because she is surrounded by men who tower over her and fondle her with their eyes. (excerpted & adapted from a Roger Ebert review)

There are five distinct types of conflict that can be utilized in screenwriting. Inner or personal conflict, relational conflict, social or local conflict, situational conflict, and universal or cosmic conflict. All five types of conflict can be in a single screenplay, and can involve most, if not all of the characters, interacting with each other and with the protagonist and antagonist(s).

Conflict as the central event drives the story and the characters. Conflict in the plot structure breathes life into your story! The audience relates to your protagonist and to the conflicts he or she faces. The patterns of tension resulting from the visible and invisible forces the characters overcome create a believable reality for the filmgoer, and increase the film’s impact on that audience.

Inner conflict is the hardest type of conflict to convey successfully in a film, if that’s the central focus of conflict in the story. It’s also the most difficult kind of screenplay to sell, despite the recent success of such films about inner, personal conflict, like “American Beauty”. In the comedy, “Tootsie”, the protagonist goes through conflict with his original situation (poverty, wanting to be a great actor), to personal conflict (lack of confidence in his ability to pull off the scam), relational (falling in love with a woman who thinks the protagonist is a woman), social conflict (with his boss and co-workers, friends, the father of the woman he loves, and his TV audience), and another situational conflict (should he let the cat out of the bag in order to win the heart of the woman he loves?). Only when inner, societal, situational, or universal conflict is projected outward toward another character, and becomes relational, and is therefore the basis of the clear story-line, does it have the most dramatic impact.

THELMA & LOUISE, starring Susan Sarandon & Geena Davis, Before their journey is done, these two conflicted characters will have undergone a difficult rite of passage, and will have finally discovered themselves.

The wildly-popular American TV reality series, “Survivor”, is an archetypal example of strong conflicts among a group of people, and of those clear conflicts driving the “story”. The producers and directors of the reality-based series emphasize conflicts when editing each week’s film footage. The millions of fanatic audience members cared about the characters, or they hated them. The TV viewers hoped that their favorites remained on the island, jungle or various exotic locations, and that one of them would win the prize. They argued on internet chat rooms and message boards, and around the office water cooler or in the halls at school about complete strangers whom they perceived to be bad guys or good guys worthy of achieving the show’s goal, of winning the million dollars, despite the characters’ conflicts with isolation, hunger, danger, competition with the other “tribe”, and with each other. Same with “Downton Abbey”, “Mad Men”, “Breaking Bad”, “The Simpsons” and “American Idol”. Conflict, conflict, conflict!

THE COLOR PURPLE, As a young teenager, Celie, played by Whoopi Goldberg, is raped by the man she takes to be her father, and both of her babies are taken away from her. Told she cannot have more children, she is given to a brutal farmer named Mister (Danny Glover), who beats her, uses her as a servant and as a receptacle for his lust, and convinces her she is ugly, but we can empathize with her struggle and ultimate victory. We learn something about what it must have been like to be her, and share her conflicts.
 Celie is a great & powerful movie character, played with astonishing grace and tenderness, and to feel her story is to be blessed with her humanity. (excerpted & adapted from a Roger Ebert review)

Conflict is the ultimate basis of dramas, action films and comedies, and is the key ingredient for great characterizations and is key to a successful screenplay and film. All conflict occurs when a character has a goal that is not shared with another character, whether it’s the protagonist and antagonist, &/or secondary characters in the story. One will win and the other will lose, or may come around to the viewpoint and goals of the main character. Build each hurdle or obstacle your protagonist faces higher than the last. Make each subsequent conflict be more insurmountable or impossible than the one before.

In a film, the audience comes to observe and to experience the story’s conflicts and the expected or surprising conclusion. The audience wants the protagonist to have as much trouble reaching his or her goal as is possible. The antagonist must be as strong as, or stronger than, the protagonist. The more powerful and persuasive the antagonist, the greater the eventual victory is for the protagonist. The last five or ten pages of the script should play out the final conflict and answer the question whether the central character will realize his or her goal.

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A MOONDANCER WRITES US:

“Just wanted to thank you for the wonderful information and insight that you put into the festival blog. It’s such a joy to have people in the world that value and share the beauty around us. I’m so glad we found you.” ~ HEATHER M. SPENCER, Mission Positive Films

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY:

Annalia, Paraguay, photo by Britt Newell

“You come into this world naked, and you leave this world naked. What remains is the goodness you have done. All that we leave behind is that which we’ve given away.” ~YEHUDA BERG

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The Dalai Lama

“…it is one thing to hear the lesson, another to learn it, and yet another to live by the lesson…” ~ DOMINIQUE BROWNING, Slow Love blog

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Often we don’t even realize who we’re meant to be because we’re so busy trying to live out someone else’s ideas. But other people and their opinions hold no power in defining our destiny.”~ OPRAH WINFREY

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Amelia, photo by SKV

I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.” ~ ANNA FREUD

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Photo by Dominique Browning

It seems to me that people have vast potential. Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don’t. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever.” ~ PHILIP ADAMS

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You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ~  ELEANOR ROOSEVELT

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Reclining Buddha, Shanghai, China

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” ~ THE BUDDHA

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Seek beauty, truth, harmony…the promise of the future and the blessings of today. Live well, laugh often, love much, gain the respect & the love of children; fill your niche, accomplish your tasks; leave the world better than you found it. Appreciate Earth’s beauties & express it. Look for the best in others and give the best you have.” ~ Source of quote: in dispute

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“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never truly live, if you are always looking for the meaning of life.” ~ ALBERT CAMUS

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“Hollow Man” sculpture by Bruno Catalano, France

“Enlightenment is simply the falling away of untruths and darkness so that the inner light, that has been there all along, is revealed. It is a process of unveiling, rather than  one of attainment.” ~ LYNNE FORREST

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Cornwall, UK, Seascape

“The more I see of life, the more I perceive that only through solitary communion with nature can one gain an idea of its richness and meaning.” ~ CYRIL CONNOLLY

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Peace is not the absence of chaos, commotion, or challenges. 

Peace is to be in the midst of those things, while remaining calm, and with love in your heart.” ~ YEHUDA BERG

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

VISIT THAILAND!

“The Land of a Million Smiles!”

Elizabeth receiving blessings from a Buddhist Monk at a temple in Northern Thailand

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OUTLINING IN REVERSE!

By AARON HAMBURGER

NY Times, January 22, 2013

In my experience, one of the surest ways to kill the creative energy of a work of fiction at its inception is with an outline. During my early years as a writer I dutifully worked with the outlines of my youth. However, the longer I wrote, the more loose the structure of those outlines became. The numbers and letters gradually transformed into bulleted key words or bolded phrases, little Hansel and Gretel bread crumbs I left for myself to find and expand during revision.  Later on, I wrote in stages, first blocking out the general parameters of my piece, then going back to fill in the details. It’s much the same way a sculptor begins by carving into a hunk of raw clay with broad strokes to determine the proportions of the limbs before going into muscles, veins and fingernails.

Read more: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/21/outlining-in-reverse/?hp

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LGMA TV: http://www.lgma.tv/

Georges Leclere, CEO, Georges has over 40 years of experience in television and new media, starting in 1968 as a producer and on-air personality in Lebanon and later in his native France. Currently, Georges is internationally involved in the Florida Media Market, the Sichuan TV Festival, the Seoul Drama Awards and was the Director of the Competition and Awards at the Banff Festival. Much of the programming he’s done recently through LGMA has been focused on fighting the causes of climate change, including format game shows “Go for Green!”, “Worried Green” and “District Green.” www.lgma.tv

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Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha

By Thich Nhat Hanh

Drawn from original sources, Old Path White Clouds is the beautiful classic recounting of the life and teachings of Gautama Buddha over the course of eighty years. If you read only one book on Buddhism, let it be this one. Thich Nhat Hanh, a monk, is one of the world’s great teachers, and this life of Buddha is his masterpiece. Every chapter is a perfect gem, every idea put forth bears witness not only to the noblest spiritual tradition, but to the purity of heart of its author. This is literature of an everlasting kind. The art of narrative found here really has no equal in all of contemporary philosophical literature. Beautifully delicate line drawings accompany every chapter like a faint temple bell.  Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese monk, a renowned Zen master, a poet, and a peace activist. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1967, and is the author of many books, including the best-selling The Miracle of Mindfulness.

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STEPHEN MCGHEE LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS

CONVERT YOUR POTENTIAL NOW!

Each of us has greatness within. That may sound cliché but it’s true. You want to accomplish amazing things in your life and career. Some of us want to leave a powerful legacy. It isn’t always easy. It requires vigilance and a high degree of commitment.  Stephen McGhee works with people who want to convert potential into results. He supports and empowers his clients to live into their leadership possibilities. This is one of the most important choices of your life. http://www.mcgheeleadership.com/

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~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog!  ~~

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NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in G-mail, and I’ll have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog email. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

• Please forward on this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

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Titles & Loglines: 25 Words Open the Door

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:
TITLES & LOGLINES

By Elizabeth English

Have a fabulous, unique idea for a movie? That’s wonderful, but you need to know how to turn your great story into a great logline. There is and always has been only one real secret to success in the entertainment industry. Tell a great story. Period. And you need to figure out how to tell that fabulous story in only 25 words or less! You need to learn how to get your script idea enthusiastically read by an agent and then a producer, director and actors. Learn what they look for in a title and logline. Your first impression to these movers and shakers is all about the fine art of pitching your film or screenplay, your TV series concept or story idea, via your eye-catching title and logline.

“SELL THE SIZZLE; NOT JUST THE STEAK!”

A great title for your film or screenplay is the first (and maybe only) introduction to an agent, a producer, director or studio. “You’ve got 3 minutes; pitch me what you’ve got,” is what you’ll hear from the entertainment industry movers & shakers who might buy your project. But you probably wouldn’t even get that meeting or a reply to your query letter, if you didn’t have an interesting title and logline that caught their eye.

You can find that great, eye-catching title within your screenplay text, and then write a sizzling logline to go with it. Know how to “dress” your script for success, make it stand out from all the others, and get it noticed in the first round.

Whether you’re a newbie, a struggling writer, or an old pro; a screenwriter, television writer, or story-teller, you need to know the latest & greatest on how to break in to today’s film & television industry, how to further your success, and how to get your spec screenplay put into the “weekend read” pile, and seriously considered within the Hollywood shark-pit. And how to adapt your logline for whomever will be reading it. Yes, I hate to say it, but you’ll need different loglines for the same script, for sending it out to a director, a producer, an actor or an agent. That very first impression may be the only chance you’ve got. And remember, it’s worth a whole LOT of money, if it sells the screenplay.

As screenwriters, we use dynamic titles and loglines to sell our scripts. We use them in query letters to impress agents and to get their attention and to encourage them to ask to see the script. We need a title and logline that really rocks! Great loglines can often work better as a sales tool than whole screenplays can do. Agents and producers are looking for easy, quick reads. Loglines provide less for them to say no to than a synopsis or a complete script does. The logline introduces the story to them, without forcing them to read the whole script to know what your story is and if it might be a concept they can sell to a producer.

HOW NOT TO WRITE A LOGLINE

Don’t simply summarize your movie with set-up, conflict, and resolution. Don’t just write a one-sentence TV Guide-style logline emphasizing the main storyline. Don’t limit yourself to the set-up or the plot. Don’t write that the story is “exciting”, “amazing”, a “blockbuster”. Never describe the details of your script in the logline or leave out important information. Try not to use your characters’ names in a logline.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO

Do emphasize the unique elements of your script that enable audiences and readers to connect with the situation and to identify with the protagonist. Do use “buzz-words”, like “love”, “death”, “sex”, “adventure”, “mystery”, “romance” that help the reader identify with the story. Consider writing a high-concept line at the end, to make your story instantly recognizable to anyone. A high-concept logline might be something like “When Harry Met Sally” aboard the “Titanic”. Or “Braveheart” meets “City Slickers”, or even “Shakespeare In Love” with “The Witches of Eastwick”.

You’ve got to cram a lot into a short, three-sentence logline: genre, conflict, character, action, location, time, any crisis to be resolved, hint at the potential transformation of the main character, marketability, and do it all in 25 words or less, all in present tense. And it needs to sizzle! The synopsis and logline are the keys that open the door to getting your script read. The same amount of thought that a writer takes in writing a script should also be taken in writing the logline. A logline is not a mini version of your script! It’s much, much harder to write the three-sentence logline than it is to write the 100 to 120 page screenplay.

A reader should be able get the full story concept of the script from these one to three sentences. He or she should know immediately what the whole movie is about and get excited about the story-line and idea, and can visualize the finished film. Always consider who your target audience is. Who’s going to be reading your title and logline first? Unfortunately, your first reader may be a young college intern working for free in the producer’s or agent’s basement mailroom. Your first reader could well be the producer’s temporary secretary, or a jaded and bored assistant. He might be a guy who only likes “Scream” or “Matrix” and you’ve asked him to read your romantic comedy, “Sleepless in Seattle” script. Or your first reader could be a young woman who loves “The Ya-Ya Sisterhood” and you’ve mailed out “The Rock”.

Use that title and logline to make them sit up and take notice, and then to send the script up to the next level.

GREAT TITLES

I received a script submission, entitled “JENNY, THE RED-HEADED WHORE”. I didn’t want to read it. It went to the bottom of the pile to be read when I absolutely had to. Well, guess what? When I finally read the script, with much trepidation, it was one of the best scripts I’d ever read! This script was one of the five finalists for Moondance. I convinced the author to change the title to “The Virgins”.

Another writer sent me a script called “THE TENT”. Who wants to read about a tent? In her script, however, I learned that the protagonist was a big, strong and independent woman who braved a winter in Alaska in a tent. Her family even called her “Alaska”. So when she and her husband had finally completed the log cabin, they climbed up on the roof to enjoy the Northern Lights in the night sky. He reached his hand down to her and said, “dance with me, Alaska.” That great line of dialog became her new script title! It was there all along and just needed to be found.

The title of your screenplay needs to fit perfectly with your logline and be attention-getting. Titles are like mini-loglines in that they must be unique and they need to attract interest and make the reader want to go ahead and read the logline. But be sure to go to IMDb.com to see if your title has been used before. IMDb.com has a listing of every film produced from the 1800s to today’s films and those that are in pre-production and production.

But then again, what was “Claire’s Knee” all about? It was a unique title and made them look! “Forrest Gump” took ten years of rejections from every studio and producer in Hollywood. What if the writer had changed the title and logline to help it be seen as the potential blockbuster film that it became?

ADAPTING YOUR LOGLINE TO YOUR READER’S INTEREST

Agents and producers want to read screenplays that he or she can instantly recognize as sellable to a wide audience. Producers think about production costs, the available budget and marketability. Directors, on the other hand, want to read screenplays that will show off their talents in the best light and offer them artistic challenges, and maybe even win them an Oscar. Actors want to read screenplays that showcase their acting ability and which give them the best role in the film. Story editors need to see a unique, sellable idea they can take upstairs. Readers want that one fabulous concept they can bring to the attention of a producer, story editor or creative executive. Interns are often told to recommend no more than ONE screenplay a year! You need to make sure that one is yours, by altering the wording & focus of your logline to appeal to each reader and potential buyer.

Remember, your all-important first impression gets you in the door to pitch your story, and may be worth millions of dollars and that success you’ve been working toward as a screenwriter.



MOONDANCE IN THAILAND NEWS!

THAI GOLDEN BUDDHAS

This news blog is being sent to you from Bangkok, Thailand!

SCROLL ON DOWN:

For news, info, insider tips, recommendations,

great photos & thoughts for the day!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The 2013 Moondance

OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

is open for submissions!

Get your entry in EARLY for this great opportunity

to showcase your talents and for a good chance to

win the 2013 Moondance!

3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1. MIFF ENTRY FORM

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.entry.html

2. ACTEVA ONLINE ENTRY

http://www.acteva.com/go/miff

(save $5 on entry fee)

3. WITHOUTABOX SUBMISSION SERVICE

http://www.withoutabox.com/login/1240

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

INSIDER TIPS FOR FILMMAKERS:

PARKOUR is the physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle within one’s path by adapting to the environment within your personal obstacle course. It’s a playground for building strength, freedom, courage and discipline. Parkour is an international discipline that is best described as the art of forward motion in spite of obstacles, or to put it simply: the art of purposeful movement. Parkour’s chief aim is to never move backward, but instead to overcome obstacles fluidly, with strength, originality and speed.

The Great Wall of China

It emphasizes the integration of the human mind and body to overcome obstacles, and gain victory over one’s fears and weaknesses. Friends can challenge each other to improve upon their most recent efforts, and feed off each other’s energy and achievements, as they seek new boundaries to break, within a loose and perfectly amicable framework. A mental form of parkour can be learned, practiced and utilized to overcome obstacles in one’s life and career! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkour

Since the inception of parkour in 1997, it has been used in cinema to aid in great storytelling. Through the magic of editing, an entire sequence of moves can be cut together to look like one non-stop stunt sequence, often to breathtaking effect. Parkour founder David Belle has said the philosophy behind parkour is “You want to move in such a way…as to help you gain the most ground on…something, whether escaping from it or chasing toward it.” and this philosophy lends itself perfectly to the narrative structure of a great action film or commercial.

One of the first to leverage the spectacle of parkour in cinema was founder David Belle himself. In 1997 Belle created a group of traceurs (parkour practitioners), free-runners, and street acrobats called Yamakasi. Inspired by this group, Luc Besson scripted a heist film by the same name in which the Yamakasi clan rob from the rich to pay for a heart implant for a young boy injured, while imitating their stunts. There’s a couple of thrilling sequences where they’re being chased by Doberman Pinschers and over the rooftops (a popular parkour theme) by cops.

The success of Yamakasi led, understandably, to a sequel, Les Fils du Vent, in which the Yamakasi crew travel to Bangkok, Thailand to fight the Yakuza. In the opening credits, Yamakasi play a (highly competitive) game of capture-the-weathervane ball across the rooftops of the city.

One of David Belle’s fellow traceurs in the group Yamakasi was Sébastien Foucan. He’s also one of the founders of free running, a discipline similar to parkour, but with the focus being more on the movement aesthetics (although they are sometimes considered interchangeable). In the opening of Casino Royale, Foucan’s character, Mollaka gives James Bond a chase that would be an acrophobic’s worst nightmare up an unfinished construction site in the Bahamas.

As soon as advertisers realized they could make a buck or two by exploiting the panache of parkour they wasted no time doing so. To its credit however, Nike went one step further in its “Presto” campaign by approaching parkour with a much-needed humorous tone, proving it didn’t have to be pigeon-holed into the action genre.

Parkour info excerpted from an online article by msaleem, http://weburbanist.com/2008/06/30/10-examples-of-parkour-in-film-and-television/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A MOONDANCER WRITES US:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I am a filmmaker and past attendee of your wonderful Moondance Film Festival. Because I am writing my first feature script, right now, I was delighted to find your notes on Creating Characters & Characterization in your last newsletter. Thank you very much for including your valuable information.” ~ EVA COLMERS

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY:

Statue of ancient Thai Buddha surrounded by Bodhi Tree limbs & roots

“To know a little less and understand a little more; that, it seems to me, is our greatest need.” ~ JAMES R. ULLMAN

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Phuket, Thailand

“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” ~ ANDRE GIDE

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Regal Malaysian tiger in Thailand

“In this world, I would rather live two days as a tiger, than two hundred years as a sheep.” ~ TIPU SULTAN ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Waterfall, near Chiang Rai, Thailand

“I, personally, measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.” ~ MARGARET MEAD

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sacred Bodhi Tree, Thailand

“A society grows great when old people plant trees whose shade they know they will not live long enough to sit under, nor to harvest the fruits of those trees.” ~GREEK PROVERB (paraphrased)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

Read the many articles on successful filmmaking & screenwriting in

THE MOONDANCE E-ZINE:

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/05_other.ezineindex.html

Gromit, by Aardman Films, UK

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog!  ~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in G-mail, and I’ll have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog email. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

• Please forward on this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

www.moondancefilmfestival.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Character & Characterization In Screenplays

Creating Character & Characterization In Screenplays

By Elizabeth English

Interesting flaws humanize a character who is challenged to overcome inner doubts, errors in thinking, guilt or trauma from the past, or fear of and hopes for the future. Weaknesses, imperfections, quirks, and vices make a character more real & appealing. The audience can identify with the character.

Flaws and imperfections give a character somewhere to go – the character arc – in which a character develops and grows, overcoming obstacles and gaining knowledge and wisdom and is recreated and restored to wholeness. A real character is not just a single obvious trait, but a unique combination of many qualities and drives, some of them conflicting.

Character Development

Character development is essential to a good story. Characters should enter the story as dimensional, non-stereotypical characters, and become more dimensional as the story and other characters act upon them. They should be big as life; capable of developing and being transformed. We should see different sides of them, understand how they think and act, learn about their philosophies and attitudes. We should be aware of their emotional make-up through their responses to their surroundings, to others with whom they interact, and to events which occur.

If your characters don’t come alive in the script, they won’t come alive on the screen. Answer these questions, as you characterize the protagonist and other characters within your storyline: what is this character’s goal or motivation, why does he or she want to achieve this goal, who or what is trying to stop this character from reaching this goal and why, what strengths or weaknesses of this character will help or hinder in the pursuit of this goal?

Characters have emotional lives which define the character just as their attitudes define them. Their emotional responses expand this definition. It’s the emotional response to events and to other people in the story that makes the character understandable and believable. How she/he feels creates sympathy in the audience, and creates identification with the character, wherein we experience vicariously the character’s journey through the emotions and the story.

These dimensions create a dimensional sequence, which helps define the character on each level, and through the transformational arc of that character. A character’s philosophy creates certain attitudes toward life. These attitudes create decisions that create actions. These actions come out of the character’s emotional life, which predisposes the character to do certain things or to react in a certain way, and as a result of the actions of other characters, who each have their own dimensions, the character responds emotionally in a certain characteristic way.

Examples: A cynical attitude might result in despair, or depression, or in a withdrawal from life, causing the character to be morose, bitter or angry. A positive attitude might result in a character who smiles or laughs a lot, or is always optimistic, accessible, and reaches out. Or a character might be cool as a result of inaccessible emotions, or hard-hearted, or hostile and vengeful.

Each character feels the influence of the other, and responds through new actions and new emotions. The story influences the character and the character influences the story. Creating dimensional characters demands close observance of real life: noticing the small details and character traits and listening for character rhythms, and utilizing a broad range of thoughts, actions and emotions. The character of the individual should be expressed in a screenplay through actions rather than merely through dialog/talk. Action details will help expand and reveal characters, while still focusing on the necessary actions to advance the story; the film becomes more dimensional because of the dimensional character(s).

Creating a Character

In order to create a character, the writer must have a character to express. The process of identifying the character inevitably requires an identification with and an awareness of that character. You must discover the personal boundaries and singular identity which separate the character from his or her fellow man. Clarify your perceptions, eliminate the ambiguity, vagueness, misconceptions and illusions.

Do not construct a mannequin or dummy with an assortment of attributes attached to him or her like stick-on labels. In characterization, present not a puppet, an automaton, a generalized abstraction, a flat, one-dimensional figure, a cardboard cut-out, but a rounded, individualized, three-dimensional figure. The character must come alive for you as well as for the audience.

Realize your character with all six of your senses, react to him or her with your emotions, be able to follow the character with your mind. Fully breathe life into characters by covering their ancestry, past life, environmental influences, occupations, future aims, physical appearance, emotional drives, and basic unique traits. Get inside his or her skin; become the character.

Know what the person’s face is really like, as well as hair, eyes, facial expressions, how hands and feet are used, gestures, how does the person walk and talk, what are the mannerisms, urges, aversions, body language. Realize the character’s inner feelings. Observe physical details, inclinations, tastes, interests, habits, ambitions. How does your character treat and react to others?

Create an empathy within the audience for your character – that special kind of imagination which allows the audience to put themselves in another person’s shoes, a suspension of reality in which the audience identifies with the character. The memorable character who truly lives for the audience is one who walks off the screen and into their minds and their hearts.

Good screenwriting is really about character, as well as story and structure. Show the characters, don’t tell about them. Create memorable characters, such as Scarlett O’Hara, Rick and Ilsa in Casablanca, the James Dean character in Rebel Without a Cause, the characters played by Hepburn and Bogart in African Queen, Zorba, in “Zorba the Greek”, and the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid. The writers and the screenwriters who created these characters, as well as the film directors and the actors’ interpretations of them gave birth to and fleshed out these memorable figures, magically bringing them to life in the mind of the audience.

Often, characterization can be further enhanced by the use of a metaphor which can give visible shape to a character. A woman feels unloved, ugly and unhappy, she goes to a mirror, looks at herself, bangs her head on the glass, shattering it. We see her distorted image as the camera lingers on the mirror, and we, and she, realize that it is she herself who has made herself ugly, outside and in. Another, perhaps more subtle method of defining character to the audience, is by the use of symbolic objects in proximity to the character, or by the manner in which the character is placed in the frame. The figure may be placed alone in the frame, or at a distance, to convey his or her feelings of abandonment or loneliness. A character may be ascending a staircase, passing dark portraits of his or her ancestors, glowering down in a seemingly judgmental manner; he or she pauses at a brightly-sunlit window and looks out at a winding road, perhaps to freedom.

Film is a visual medium which is particularly capable of revealing insights that cannot be verbally expressed, and can be especially meaningful when associative, unconscious innuendoes are utilized. Words and incessant verbal dialog, by its very nature, often arrest and paralyze thought instead of permitting it and fostering its development. The frequent absence of dialog heightens the hypnotic power of the visuals.

You should not write the dialog; let the characters write it for you. Don’t block them. Look for your characters to lead the way. Allow each character to speak in his or her characteristic, individual manner. Consciously focus on character, while making sure that character and story/plot intertwine. In the more vertical character stories, the protagonists affect the events of the story; humans control their own destiny. In the more horizontal plot stories, destiny more significantly controls the characters.

Story structure and character are interlocked. The event structure of a screenplay is created out of the choices that characters make, and the actions and reactions they manifest on the screen. Deep character and the relative complexity of character must often be adjusted to genre. Action/Adventure and farce usually demand simplicity of character because complexity would distract from the actions of the character.
Dramatic stories of personal and inner conflict require complexity of character because simplicity would rob the audience of the insight into human nature requisite to that genre.

Characterization is the sum of all observable qualities of a human being, everything that is knowable through careful scrutiny. The totality of these traits makes each person unique. This singular assemblage of traits is characterization, but it is not character. True character is revealed in the choices that a human being makes. The screenwriter must strip away the mask of characterization, and peer into the true, inner natures of their characters.

The revelation of true character, in contrast to characterization, is fundamental to creating real and memorable characters who not only are driven by the story, but who themselves drive the story.

From The Oxford Encyclopedic English Dictionary:
Characterize: describe the character of, describe as, be characteristic of, impart character to

Character: the collective qualities or characteristics, especially mental or moral, that distinguish a person or thing, written description of a person’s qualities, consistent with a person’s character

From Roget’s Super Thesaurus:
Character: personality, nature, makeup, individuality, temperament, appearance, type, sort, kind, qualities

Characteristic: attribute, trait, feature, peculiarity, aspect, distinction, individuality, idiosyncrasy

Characterize: portray, describe, represent, depict

BIBLIOGRAPHY

“Story, Substance, Structure, Style
and the Principles of Screenwriting”
by Robert McKee
Regan Books
Harper Collins Publishers, NY 1997

“Screenwriting 434″
by Lew Hunter.
Perigee Books
Putnam Publishing, NY 1993

“The Writer’s Digest Handbook of Short Story Writing”
Writers Digest Books, Cincinnati
Ohio, 1981

“The Writer’s Journey, Mythic Structure for Writers”
by Christopher Vogler.
Michael Wiese Productions
Studio City, CA 1998

“Making a Good Script Great”
by Linda Seger.
Samuel French Trade
Hollywood, CA 1987

“Successful Screenwriting”
by Jurgen Wolf & Kerry Cox
Writer’s Digest Books
Cincinnati, Ohio 1991

“The Figure in Film”
by N. Roy Clifton
Associated University Presses, Inc.
East Brunswick, NJ 1983

Film as a Subversive Art
by Amos Vogel
Random House, NY 1974

The Artist’s Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
by Julia Cameron
G.P. Putnam, NY 1992



A HAPPY MOONDANCE NEW YEAR!

A wish for this new year: “A sunbeam to warm you, a moonbeam to charm you, and a sheltering angel, so nothing can harm you.” (Old Irish Blessing)

Happy New Year, and welcome to the January 1st issue of the Moondance International Film Festival’s newsletter! This month we have lots of info, recommendations, insider tips, great photos & thoughts for the day!

SCROLL ON DOWN:

For news, info, insider tips, recommendations, great photos & thoughts for the day!

The 2013 Moondance

OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

is open for submissions!

Get your entry in EARLY for this great opportunity

to showcase your talents and for a good chance to

win the Moondance!

3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1. MIFF ENTRY FORM

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/03_submission.entry.html

(save $5 on entry fee)

2. ACTEVA ONLINE ENTRY

http://www.acteva.com/go/miff

(save $5 on entry fee)

3. WITHOUTABOX SUBMISSION SERVICE

http://www.withoutabox.com/login/1240

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

INSIDER TIPS FOR SCREENWRITERS:

CREATING CHARACTER & CHARACTERIZATIONS

By Elizabeth English

Interesting flaws humanize a character who is challenged to overcome inner doubts, errors in thinking, guilt or trauma from the past, or fear of and hopes for the future. Weaknesses, imperfections, quirks, and vices make a character more real & appealing. The audience can identify with the character.

Flaws and imperfections give a character somewhere to go – the character arc – in which a character develops and grows, overcoming obstacles and gaining knowledge and wisdom, and is recreated and restored to wholeness. A real character is not just a single obvious trait, but a unique combination of many qualities and drives, some of them conflicting.

Character Development

Character development is essential to a good story. Characters should enter the story as dimensional, non-stereotypical characters, and become more dimensional as the story and other characters act upon them. They should be big as life; capable of developing and being transformed. We should see different sides of them, understand how they think and act, learn about their philosophies and attitudes. We should be aware of their emotional make-up through their responses to their surroundings, to others with whom they interact, and to events which occur.

If your characters don’t come alive in the script, they won’t come alive on the screen. Answer these questions, as you characterize the protagonist and other characters within your storyline: what is this character’s goal or motivation, why does he or she want to achieve this goal, who or what is trying to stop this character from reaching this goal and why, what strengths or weaknesses of this character will help or hinder in the pursuit of this goal?

Characters have emotional lives which define the character just as their attitudes define them. Their emotional responses expand this definition. It’s the emotional response to events and to other people in the story that makes the character understandable and believable. How she/he feels creates sympathy in the audience, and creates identification with the character, wherein we experience vicariously the character’s journey through the emotions and the story.

These dimensions create a dimensional sequence, which helps define the character on each level, and through the transformational arc of that character. A character’s philosophy creates certain attitudes toward life. These attitudes create decisions that create actions. These actions come out of the character’s emotional life, which predisposes the character to do certain things or to react in a certain way, and as a result of the actions of other characters, who each have their own dimensions, the character responds emotionally in a certain characteristic way.

Examples: A cynical attitude might result in despair, or depression, or in a withdrawal from life, causing the character to be morose, bitter or angry. A positive attitude might result in a character who smiles or laughs a lot, or is always optimistic, accessible, and reaches out. Or a character might be cool as a result of inaccessible emotions, shyness, or hard-hearted, or hostile and vengeful.

Each character feels the influence of the other, and responds through new actions and new emotions. The story influences the character and the character influences the story. Creating dimensional characters demands close observance of real life: noticing the small details and character traits and listening for character rhythms, and utilizing a broad range of thoughts, actions and emotions. The character of the individual should be expressed in a screenplay through actions rather than merely through dialog/talk. Action details will help expand and reveal characters, while still focusing on the necessary actions to advance the story; the film becomes more dimensional because of the dimensional character(s).

Creating a Character

In order to create a character, the writer must have a character to express. The process of identifying the character inevitably requires an identification with and an awareness of that character. You must discover the personal boundaries and singular identity which separate the character from his or her fellow man. Clarify your perceptions, eliminate the ambiguity, vagueness, misconceptions and illusions.

Do not construct a mannequin or dummy with an assortment of attributes attached to him or her like stick-on labels. In characterization, present not a puppet, an automaton, a generalized abstraction, a flat, one-dimensional figure, a cardboard cut-out, but a rounded, individualized, three-dimensional figure. The character must come alive for you as well as for the audience.

Realize your character with all six of your senses, react to him or her with your emotions, be able to follow the character with your mind. Fully breathe life into characters by covering their ancestry, past life, environmental influences, occupations, future aims, physical appearance, emotional drives, and basic unique traits. This is called “the back story”. Get inside his or her skin; become the character.

Know what the person’s face is really like, as well as hair, eyes, facial expressions, how hands and feet are used, gestures, how does the person walk and talk, what are the mannerisms, urges, aversions, body language. Realize the character’s inner feelings. Observe physical details, inclinations, tastes, interests, habits, ambitions. How does your character treat and react to others? How does that character grow and change as a result of the story?

Create an empathy within the audience for your character – that special kind of imagination which allows the audience to put themselves in another person’s shoes, a suspension of reality in which the audience identifies with the character. The memorable character who truly lives for the audience is one who walks off the screen and into their minds and their hearts.

Good screenwriting is really about character, as well as story and structure. Show the characters, don’t tell about them. Create memorable characters, such as Scarlett O’Hara, Rick and Ilsa in Casablanca, the James Dean character in Rebel Without a Cause, the characters played by Hepburn and Bogart in African Queen, Zorba, in “Zorba the Greek”, and the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid. The writers and the screenwriters who created these characters, as well as the film directors and the actors’ interpretations of them gave birth to and fleshed out these memorable figures, magically bringing them to life in the mind of the audience.

Often, characterization can be further enhanced by the use of a metaphor which can give visible shape to a character. A woman feels unloved, ugly and unhappy, she goes to a mirror, looks at herself, bangs her head on the glass, shattering it. We see her distorted image as the camera lingers on the mirror, and we, and she, realize that it is she herself who has perceived herself as ugly, outside and in. No dialog is necessary to indicate this.

Another, perhaps more subtle method of defining character to the audience, is by the use of symbolic objects in proximity to the character, or by the manner in which the character is placed in the frame. The figure may be placed alone in the frame, or at a distance, to convey his or her feelings of abandonment or loneliness, for example. A character may be ascending a staircase, passing dark portraits of his or her ancestors, glowering down in a seemingly judgmental manner; he or she pauses at a brightly-sunlit window and looks out at a winding road, perhaps to freedom. No dialog is necessary in this scene, either. The visuals tell it all.

Film is a visual medium which is particularly capable of revealing insights that cannot be verbally expressed, and can be especially meaningful when associative, unconscious innuendoes are utilized. Words and incessant verbal dialog, by its very nature, often arrest and paralyze thought instead of permitting it and fostering its development. The frequent absence of dialog heightens the hypnotic power of the visuals.

You should not write the dialog; let the characters write it for you. Don’t block them. Look for your characters to lead the way. Allow each character to speak in his or her characteristic, individual manner. Consciously focus on character, while making sure that character and story/plot intertwine. In the more vertical character stories, the protagonists affect the events of the story; humans control their own destiny. In the more horizontal plot stories, destiny more significantly controls the characters.

Story structure and character are interlocked. The event structure of a screenplay is created out of the choices that characters make, and the actions and reactions they manifest on the screen. Deep character and the relative complexity of character must often be adjusted to genre. Action/Adventure and farce usually demand simplicity of character because complexity would distract from the actions of the character. 
Dramatic stories of personal and inner conflict require complexity of character because simplicity would rob the audience of the insight into human nature requisite to that genre.

Characterization is the sum of all observable qualities of a human being, everything that is knowable through careful scrutiny. The totality of these traits makes each person unique. This singular assemblage of traits is characterization, but it is not character. True character is revealed in the choices that a human being makes. The screenwriter must strip away the mask of characterization, and peer into the true, inner natures of their characters.

The revelation of true character, in contrast to characterization, is fundamental to creating real and memorable characters who not only are driven by the story, but who themselves drive the story.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY

“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulties lies opportunity.” ~ Albert Einstein

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Phuket, Thailand

The thought manifests as the word; the word manifests as the deed; the deed develops into habit; and habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care, and let it spring from love.  Born out of concern for all beings…as the shadow follows the body, as we think, so we become. ~ Buddha

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“The Bodhi-Tree meditation is based on the symbol of a tree, a banyan tree, which provides a multi-layered, rich, and complex symbol of the self and its journey towards enlightenment. The Bodhi-Tree, or wisdom-tree, is the world tree, and its roots drink deep of the waters of infinity.” ~ http://www.wisdom-tree.com/index.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So divinely is the world organized that every one of us, in our place and time, is in balance with everything else.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749 – 1832)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“The Universe constantly gives us feedback through synchronicity of
 events and through subtle signs, symbols, and messages throughout
 our everyday life. Such messages mirror to us where we are on the
 path of alignment, our consciousness journey, and help us see
 where we may be obstructing our own progress. Although sometimes we may feel like we are taking a detour, or
 we’re getting side-tracked by life’s circumstances, we may actually 
be right where we need to be and life will find a way tell us.” ~ Lynn Forrest

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“With affinity, people will meet even if they are thousand of miles apart; without affinity, people will remain as strangers despite standing face to face.” ~Chinese Proverb

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” ~ Anatole France

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

THE MOONDANCE STATEMENT ON NON-VIOLENT CONFLICT RESOLUTION

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/05_other.nonviolence.html

THE BRADY CENTER TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE

http://www.bradycenter.org/

WE ARE BETTER THAN THIS

A National Convesation on How We Can Prevent Gun Deaths and Injuries

http://www.bradycampaign.org/toomanyvictims/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog!  ~~

www.moondancefilmfestival.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in G-mail, and I’ll have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog email. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

• Please forward on this news blog to your friends and colleagues!



~ MOONDANCE 2013 ~ news & info

Wild bottlenose dolphins, Bimini, Bahamas, photo by Atmo, www.wildquest.com

The 2013 Moondance

OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

is now open for submissions!

Get your entry in NOW for this great opportunity

to showcase your talents and for a good chance to

win the Moondance!

WHAT IS MOONDANCE LOOKING FOR?

I’m looking for unique stories, well-told! I don’t much like gratuitous violence, blood and guts, page after page of murders, rapes, zombies, killer space-aliens, Hollywood car-chases, old standard boy-meets-girl, & etc. I’d like to see some attempts at non-violent conflict resolution, by writers & filmmakers, if possible. Quality and originality is my criteria, as well as great entertainment. Take a look at some of the titles & loglines of the films screened at MIFF 2012 in NYC

3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1. MIFF ENTRY FORM

(save $5 on entry fee)

2. ACTEVA ONLINE ENTRY

(save $5 on entry fee)

3. WITHOUTABOX SUBMISSION SERVICE

MOONDANCE NEWS:

ARTISTS: Moondance 2013 has added a new category for submissions: Graphic Novels!

“ The Connoisseurs” ‘toon by Elizabeth English

FILMMAKERS: Moondance International Film Festival is now an IMDb Qualifying Festival, granting all eligible film submissions (via Withoutabox),  a fast-tracked title page on IMDb.com!

SCREENWRITERS: www.InkTip.com offers a free listing of all Moondance winning feature screenplays for 2013!

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SCROLL ON DOWN for more news, info, recommendationscomments on the tragedy in Connecticut, recommendations, photos & thoughts for the day

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

MISSION OF MERMAIDS

http://www.missionofmermaids.com/

What you can do every day to make a difference:

~ Refuse single use plastics. When you can, don’t accept plastic bags in supermarkets, shops or local markets. There are many practical, small cloth bags that you can now carry in your purse and unfold very easily to hold your purchases. Instead of plastic bottles for your juice, soft drinks or water, try to carry around a reusable bottle. There are plenty of attractive options.

~ Be selective with your fish. There is plenty of information available about what species are endangered, which ones are enduring unnecessarily painful deaths (such as sharks for shark fin soup), and what fishing practices have a lethal impact on the ecosystem of the oceans (such as trawling). And there are restaurants, shops and fishermen who are making sure that what they serve or provide as catch is done with more attention to the conservation of the ocean and its creatures. Read up this information and on the suppliers of your food. Consume with care.

~ Walk, bike, run. Find alternative means of transportation. Or alternate the days that you use the car. Your body will appreciate the effort as much as the environment. The extra carbon dioxide contributes to ocean acidification, which is a major threat to the creatures at the bottom of the ocean food chain.

Follow the 7 C’s of ocean conservation: Commit to making a real difference, Conserve in your home, Consume consciously, Communicate your interest and concerns, Challenge yourself daily, Connect to your community, Celebrate our beautiful oceans.

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Your Online Shopping can Save Dolphins & Whales!

When you shop on-line this holiday season, you will be supporting our work of saving dolphins and whales worldwide. Shopping at Amazon.com? Amazon will donate a percentage of your purchases to BlueVoice. Just designate BlueVoice Organization (just as it’s written here) as your charity of choice and each time you click to a retailer through GoodShop and make a purchase, you’ll help save dolphins, whales, coral reefs and our ocean habitats.

The BlueVoice Shop: Shop for the holidays at the BlueVoice store for great merchandise such as t-shirts, caps, totes, water bottles, stationery and much more! Get our new Dolphin Defender cap, new iPhone, iPad cases & more. http://www.cafepress.com/bluevoice

Please consider a gift to BlueVoice.org to honor a friend or relative this holiday season, while helping to protect our oceans!

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OPERATION VETERAN’S PROMISE is a nonprofit organization and contingent of private individuals, consisting of American civilians and military veterans who have come together to achieve a noble and most important mission: To help U.S. military veterans across the country reintegrate into American society and to be able to live and lead normal, dignified lives. 

Our mission is to help them, whoever they are and wherever they are, be they homeless, jobless, or even cast-outs from their own homes and communities.

OPERATION VETERAN’S PROMISE is now here to help them. 

This includes providing financial and material assistance, education and training, housing and sustenance, employment, medical and dental assistance, and offering them the warmth and camaraderie of friendship and acceptance and respect which each and every veteran so unequivocally deserves. 

The truth is, we need them. And by helping them, we help ourselves and America become stronger and better than ever before! Please visit http://www.indiegogo.com/operation-veterans-promise?a=1606978 to donate and show your caring support.

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Peaceable Kingdom, Jenny Stein, director, Moondance doc film winner

What is Tribe of Heart?

Award-Winning Films that awaken compassion and deepen each individual’s understanding of the interconnectedness of all life.

A Charitable Organization that empowers caring people everywhere to become agents of peaceful social change.

A Global Community of people from all walks of life dedicated to living with kindness and respect for all living beings.

A Commitment to actions guided by publicly stated values, ever mindful that the means are the end.

A Vision of a world free of violence and full of beauty.

http://www.tribeofheart.org/

DVD: Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home

A Tribe of Heart Documentary
©2012, USA, 78 min
Multi-lingual DVD: SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese

Director: Jenny Stein. 

A riveting story of transformation and healing, PEACEABLE KINGDOM: THE JOURNEY HOME explores the awakening conscience of people who grew up in traditional farming culture and who have now come to question the basic assumptions of their way of life. Presented through a woven tapestry of memories, music, and breathtaking accounts of life-altering moments, the film provides insight into the farmers’ sometimes amazing connections with the animals under their care, while also making clear the complex web of social, psychological and economic forces that have led them to their present dilemma. This important film had its world premiere at Moondance, and won best feature documentary award.

Preview & buy the DVD here: http://www.peaceablekingdomfilm.org/

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• Comments in regard to the Connecticut school killings:

I’m sickened, just sick at heart. And angry. Innocent little children getting ready for the holidays, learning their ABC’s, maybe finger-painting, with their whole lives ahead of them. Perhaps a budding little Beethoven, a Mozart, an Einstein, a Martin Luther King, a Marie Curie, a Mother Teresa. And I feel so, so bad for the parents of those kids, the adults killed, and all the families touched by this senseless tragedy. And fear for the other kids who witnessed this horror by a deranged sicko, who killed his own mother first, before he turned his guns on those 20 little children and 6 adults. WHY?? This is an incomprehensible and profound loss of innocence.

New York Times photo, Newtown, CT, December 14, 2012

  • Charlotte Bacon, 6
  • Daniel Barden, 7
  • Olivia Engel, 6
  • Josephine Gay, 7
  • Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6
  • Dylan Hockley, 6
  • Madeleine F. Hsu, 6
  • Catherine V. Hubbard, 6
  • Chase Kowalski, 7
  • Jesse Lewis, 6
  • James Mattioli, 6
  • Grace McDonnell, 7
  • Emilie Parker, 6
  • Jack Pinto, 6
  • Noah Pozner, 6
  • Caroline Previdi, 6
  • Jessica Rekos, 6
  • Avielle Richman, 6
  • Benjamin Wheeler, 6
  • Allison N. Wyatt, 6
  • Rachel Davino, 29, Teacher
  • Dawn Hochsprung, 47, School principal
  • Nancy Lanza, 52, Mother of gunman
  • Anne Marie Murphy, 52, Teacher
  • Lauren Rousseau, 30, Teacher
  • Mary Sherlach, 56, School psychologist
  • Victoria Soto, 27, Teacher

Gun control, yes, better security, yes, but what about all the violence shown 24/7/365 on TV, in film, video games, and etc. You’re angry at someone or something? Is the only option to just get your guns and start shooting people, as you’ve seen over and over in the entertainment industry, and as on 9/11, as well as too many other horrific incidents of this kind, in the US and around the world? Never a mention or depiction of viable alternatives to violence as a means to solve conflicts.

Moondance, after the Columbine High-school massacre, annually presents the coveted Moondance Columbine Award to those filmmakers and writers who have offered alternatives to killings and wars, and who show this senseless violence as being counterproductive. ~ Elizabeth English

Please read:

MOONDANCE FILM FESTIVAL STATEMENT ON NON-VIOLENCE

Newtown, CT is 20 miles from here and we have many friends there with children, but, thank God, they are all safe. Our 10 year-old grandson was supposed to wrestle at that same school last night – how blessed we are. Everyone in the country is devastated, as we all are. This day will forever be remembered along with Columbine, Virginia Tech and every other senseless murder of innocents. Twenty children gone from their parents, grandparents and friends by a man whose mother, a teacher, signed for his gun permit. What are intelligent people thinking, or not thinking?” ~ J. C., award-winning documentary filmmaker, Ridgefield, CT

“If we are to achieve any measure of success in creating a more peaceful, just, sustainable, and healthy planet, it will require more than the participation of governments and businesses. We’ll need a critical mass of consciousness. I feel that the only solution is the creation of networks of creativity and “love in action.” New ideas would be offered, and as people backed them with time, effort, and funds, the solutions would become self-organizing – they would grow along natural lines of enthusiasm and support, bypassing blocks imposed by special interests and nationalism. A critical mass of people need to be engaged in the process while also undergoing personal transformation through spiritual practices of every kind.” ~ DEEPAK CHOPRA, excerpted from a comment on Linkedin.com

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY:

Cottage, Normandy, photo by Michele Agniel

“The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other’s welcome, And say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was yourself. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life.” ~DEREK WALCOTT

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“Real sharing includes consciousness as well as action. When we start to share more unconditionally with the right consciousness, doors open where we didn’t know there were doors, and the more we become beings of true sharing.” ~ YEHUDA BERG, The Kabbalah Centre (excerpted from his Daily Tune Up blog) http://www.kabbalah.com/

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“Charlie”, photo by Chris Anastasiadis

“Happiness unshared can scarcely be called happiness.” ~ CHARLOTTE BRONTË

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“The greatest wisdom is in simplicity: love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, beauty, and forgiveness. It’s not complex or elaborate. The real knowledge is free. All you need is within you. Great teachers have said that from the beginning. Find your heart, and you will find your way.” ~ CARLOS BARRIOS, Mayan Elder

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Humpback whales, photo courtesy of NOAA

“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb, we are bound to others. Past and present. And by every kindness, we birth our future.” ~ Cloud Atlas

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Sacred Bodhi tree leaf

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” ~ THE DALAI LAMA

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Japanese moss garden & pond

“Our task must be to free ourselves…by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” ~ ALBERT EINSTEIN

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“The lotus is a most beautiful flower, whose petals open only one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life. The mud speaks of the common ground that all of us share.” ~ GOLDIE HAWN

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"Hollow Man", by Bruno Catalano, France

“Apathy can only be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal which takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice.” ~ Arnold Toynbee

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A Joyous Musical Thought For the day:

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=GBaHPND2QJg&feature=youtu.be

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~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog!  ~~

NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in Gmail, and I have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog email. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

Please forward on this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

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MOONDANCE 2013 OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES ANNOUNCEMENT & NEWS

2013 MOONDANCE CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

~~~ Let’s Make a Splash! ~~~

http://www.clarklittlephotography.com/

The 2013 Moondance

OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES

is now open for submissions!

Get your entry in NOW for this great opportunity

to showcase your talents and for a good chance to

win the Moondance!

www.moondancefilmfestival.com

SUBMISSION CATEGORIES: Feature Films, Short Films, Documentary Films, Animation Films, Music Videos, Feature Screenplays, Short Screenplays, Original Music & Film Scores, Stageplays, TV Pilot Scripts, Filmed TV Pilots, TV Episodics, Short Stories, Libretti, Radio Plays, & More…

3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:

1. MIFF ENTRY FORM

2. ACTEVA ONLINE ENTRY

(save $5 on entry fee @ Acteva)

3. WITHOUTABOX SUBMISSION SERVICE

• FILMMAKERS: Moondance International Film Festival is now an IMDb Qualifying Festival, granting all eligible film submissions (via Withoutabox),  a fast-tracked title page on IMDb.com!

• WRITERS: Moondance requires hard-copies of screenplays, stageplays, TV pilots, short stories & radio scripts to be mailed to the competition for judging. Writers may request feedback & a professional critique on your work submitted to Moondance 2013,  for a nominal fee.

• COMPOSERS: Moondance requires CDs of film scores & original music to be mailed to the competition for judging.

SCROLL ON DOWN for more news, info, recommendations, insider tips on THE POWER OF MUSIC IN FILM, photos & thoughts for the day:

Are you undecided about which film festival competitions to enter this season?  You can’t go wrong by choosing Moondance first, because our finalists & winners, writers, composers and filmmakers, are very happy to discover that doors are finally opened to them, after being a part of the Moondance! Please check out our SUCCESSES page, to see what great new opportunities Moondancers can access.

• MOVIEBYTES.COM lists Moondance as one of the top ten film festival competitions worth the entry fee!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MOONDANCE:

  • Every single submission received is quickly acknowledged by a personal email to the entrant.
  • As Moondance’s artistic director, I have had the rare pleasure of personally previewing and judging every single film, reading all screenplays and other written works, and listening to all music and film scores submitted to the annual competition.
  • I have selected all the films to be screened and all the winners in every category, and have done so, successfully, from the very first Moondance, in 2000, and continue to do so.
  • I do not travel to other film festivals looking for films to invite. In the rare event that a very special film is invited to be screened at Moondance, it is clearly labeled as “invited”, and it can have no chance of winning an award. Only submitted films have that opportunity.
  • All entrants to the annual competition are notified of the status of their submission, whether winner, finalist or semi-finalist, by the news blog and on the website. All selected filmmakers are notified in advance as to when and where their film will be screened.
  • When submitting your work to the Moondance annual competition, you can be 100% assured that it will be carefully previewed and judged fairly, and that you will be kept informed during the process.

~ Elizabeth English

A MOONDANCER WRITES US:

Good news! The General Manager of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra  got to hear my music, and he loved it! He flew to Florida to play my music for the Pops music conductor there, and he wants to see if they will use it for the Pop Music series, next year. It’s not definite, yet, but they love my work!” ~ STEVE WILHELM, Moondance film score winner, for “I Fell in Love With You”, which was played at the official wedding reception for Kate Middleton & Prince William, at their request.

MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

Help bring peace to families around the world with your Heifer gift.

HEIFER INTERNATIONAL’S mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth. By giving families a hand-up, not just a handout, we empower them to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity, but our approach is more than that. By bringing communities together and linking them with markets in their area, we help bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty.

Our animals don’t just provide project partners with a reliable source of food, but also a reliable source of income. Extra agricultural products, such as milk from cows or goats, honey from bees or eggs from chickens, can be both shared within the community and sold at market. This new income, coupled with the training in sustainable practices that our partners receive, allows partners to clothe their families, provide them with medical care and send their children to school.

And when not just one but many families gain this new sustainable produce and income, it brings new opportunities for building schools, creating agricultural co-ops, and forming community savings and loan groups to help fund entrepreneurial start-ups. Newly formed women’s groups help increase the communities’ full potential, as neighbors who may have never interacted now come together to help the community prosper.

It’s a lofty goal, but it’s happening! In communities around the world, our 12 Cornerstones model is helping people lift themselves from hunger and poverty.

Give a goat, a flock of geese, a hive of bees, seeds of corn, or even a buffalo, as holiday gifts to friends & family!

http://www.heifer.org/give-landingpage/campaign/peace

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photo by Virginia Blaisdell

“SHE’S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE’S ANGRY” This feature documentary film, directed by Mary Dore & Nancy Kennedy, resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1972. SHE’S BEAUTIFUL will take us from the founding of NOW, with ladies in hats and gloves, to the emergence of more radical factions of women’s liberation; from intellectuals like Kate Millett to the street theatrics of WITCH (“Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!”). Artfully combining dramatizations, performance, and archival imagery, the film will recount the stories of women who fought for their own equality, and in the process created a world-wide revolution. Remarkably, there has never been a feature film on the early days of women’s liberation.

Please consider making an individual donation to the SHE’S BEAUTIFUL Film Project! All donations are fully tax-deductible, through our non-profit sponsor, City Lore, or through our Kickstarter site.

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SLOW FOOD, INTERNATIONAL

http://www.slowfood.com/

Slow Food stands at the crossroads of ecology and gastronomy, ethics and pleasure. It opposes the standardization of taste and culture, and the unrestrained power of the food industry multinationals and industrial agriculture.

Our Philosophy: We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to the pleasure of good food and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible. Our association believes in the concept of neo-gastronomy – recognition of the strong connections between plate, planet, people and culture.

Our Vision: We envision a world in which all people can access and enjoy food that is good for them, good for those who grow it and good for the planet.

Our Mission: Slow Food is an international grassroots membership organization promoting good, clean and fair food for all.

Slow Food is working to help communities around the world to rebuild their local food systems in order to eat better, protect the environment and maintain cultural diversity. Together, we defend the right to access food that tastes good…
a fresh and flavorsome daily diet which is part of our local culture. is clean…
production methods than don’t harm the environment or human health. And fair…
accessible prices for consumers and fair compensation for producers.

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INSIDER TIPS FOR FILMMAKERS & COMPOSERS:

The Power of Music in Film!

By Elizabeth English

A film’s production and post-production phases include: editing, sound, foley, dubbing, special effects, background ambience, music, lab work, color, title, trailers, director, assistant directors or ADs, cinematographer or DP, focus-pullers, gaffers, best boy, key grips, script supervisor, body doubles, sound and light, still photographer, videographer, production assistants or PAs, studio execs, wranglers, extras, location manager, foley, prop master, special effects, extras, stunt coordinator, tech advisors, book-keeper/accountant, fire marshall, production designer, art director, storyboard artists, line producer, editor…all those elements that make the world of the film believable to the audience: story, set design, lighting, sound, special FX, continuity, locations, props, extras, stunts, costumes, hair and makeup, musical score composer & arranger, music…

Music! Ah, yes. The power of music in film. A feature film needs 30 to 40 minutes of music, which is one of the most important elements in a film.

A film score can be artfully used:

  • to arouse
  • to manipulate
  • to frighten
  • to soothe & calm
  • to aid in transitions from scene to scene
  • to punctuate
  • to comment
  • to move the plot along
  • to focus attention
  • to add sense of continuity
  • to add information
  • to heighten tempo
  • to add dramatic tension
  • to change mood
  • to add character
  • to define
  • to add dimension
  • …and to give the film a new or different meaning

The major categories of a film score are:

THEME, such as the musical theme from the James Bond films.


SOURCE, as from a radio, TV, iPod, or a band shown on screen.

MOVIE SONG: like the music from “Titanic”

UNDERSCORING: such as soft, “seen but not heard” music.


DEVELOPMENTAL or NARRATIVE music. adds to the story as it unfolds, weaving in and out, through the entire film

COUNTERPOINT music and FORESHADOWING themes.

OVERTURE: the central core. Sets mood, sets time, sets location.


LEITMOTIF: identifies the character or repeated action on screen., such as the famous tune from the film, “Jaws”.

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY:

Angelina & Alison

“What’s the best measurement for success? Happiness! How happy are you? Success and money can contribute to happiness, but happiness itself is another thing altogether. Words like ‘family’, ‘friends’, ‘love’ and ‘laughter’ have a lot more to do with happiness than words like ‘gross’, ‘capital’ and ‘revenue’.

Money is a by-product of bigger, more meaningful goals such as passion, fun and wisdom. As I’ve said before, have fun, do good, and the money will come.” ~SIR RICHARD BRANSON (excerpt from a LinkedIn text)

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Guatemalan girl & tourist

“I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver.” ~ MAYA ANGELOU

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Fig Tree in Greece, photo by Chris Anastasiadis

“The key is to keep watering the tree, not just picking the fruit.” ~ CHINESE PROVERB

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Rock Formations in the Sea, Thailand, photo by Alan James

“Never, ever give up! No matter what.” ~~EE’S PERSONAL MOTTO

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“There is applause which is superior to that of the multitudes: one’s own.” ~ ELIZABETH ELTON SMITH

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“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.” ~ ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

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“Follow your inner moonlight, don’t hide the madness.” ~ ALAN GINSBERG

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NOTE FROM THE DIRECTOR: Thanks for the many nice LinkedIn.com endorsements for my screenwriting, filmmaking, directing & etc., everybody! I’d also love to see some heartfelt endorsements for my 15 years of work as founder, executive director, artistic director, programmer, festival event director, & blogger at the Moondance International Film Festival, too! ~ Elizabeth English & Moondance Film Festival

~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog!

~~ NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in Gmail, and I have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

~~ Please forward on this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

Winter view from the Moondance office, Boulder, Colorado

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LAST CHANCE: MOONDANCE 2013 EARLY ENTRIES!

~~~ LAST CHANCE! ~~~

MOONDANCE FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD

CALL-FOR-ENTRIES!

Fall, Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, photo by Medford Taylor

SCROLL ON DOWN

for more news, info, recommendations, insider tips

photos & thoughts for the day

SPECIAL EARLY-BIRD CONTEST OFFER!

THE “FAST-FORWARD WITH MOONDANCE”

EARLY-BIRD CONTEST!

Can’t wait until the Moondance 2013 call-for-entries in December?

NOW, through November 30, 2012, Moondance is offering you the opportunity to get your submission in right now for this special Early-bird competition! Here’s the deal: Submit your screenplays, short stories, TV pilots, films, music & etc. (see all competition categories) for the lowest discounted entry fee of the year, only $25, during October & November 2012. Postmark deadline November 30, only for the “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” contest. Regular entry fees start December 1, 2012.

ALL SUBMISSIONS WILL BE AN OFFICIAL ENTRY INTO THE

2013 MOONDANCE COMPETITION!

Here’s what you can win:

  • All “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists will receive an official certificate of your project’s award status!
  • All “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists will be listed on the December 2012 blog & website!
  • All “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists can get 2 free 2013 Moondance film festival movie tickets (a $30 value)!

ENTRY FORM

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/pdfs/MIFF_ENTRY_FORM.pdf

For submission info, go to:

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/Sub_submissions.html

EARLY-BIRD Application not available via withoutabox.com

TO PAY THE ENTRY FEE, SEND A CHECK OR MONEY ORDER IN US $ TO THE ADDRESS ON THE ENTRY FORM, OR TO PAY BY CREDIT CARD, GO TO: www.acteva.com/go/miff

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A SPECIAL NOTE TO 2012 MOONDANCE WINNERS*

WHO COULD NOT ATTEND THE AWARDS CEREMONY:

If you would like to have your award star & official winner certificate mailed to you, please go to www.acteva.com/go/miff to pay the postage. $10 for US addresses & $20 for foreign addresses. Remember to also EMAIL moondancefestival@gmail.com your mailing address & the title of your winning 2012 project. This offer expires December 31, 2012. *Award stars & certificates are sent to 2012 winners only, not finalists & semi-finalists.

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2012 MOONDANCE LAUREL WREATHS http://moondancefilmfestival.com/06_other.laurels.html

If your submitted project was chosen as a Moondance 2012 Winner, Finalist or Semi-finalist, please feel free to download the Moondance laurel graphic to use in your publicity. This offer expires December 31, 2012.

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THE 2012 MOONDANCE POSTER NOW AVAILABLE!

If you’d like to order a full-sized, full-color original Moondance NYC 2012 poster, co-designed by Joe Gilpin, Jr. and Elizabeth English, please go to www.acteva.com/go/miff to place your order. The cost is $25 each, plus US or foreign postage. This offer expires December 31, 2012.

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

The Michael Weise publication, “FILMMAKING FOR CHANGE, How to Make Films That Transform the World”, by Jon Fitzgerald, is a marvel, a revelation, and a must-read, for film buffs, indie filmmakers, film festival programmers, studio heads, film distributors, and screenwriters! This important book entertains, informs, inspires, encourages and educates the reader. Filmmakers, writers and composers are vocal and active participants in the social forces that can shape our culture. Films, scripts and music can all greatly contribute to a healthier society, and these creative works should encourage the active involvement of audiences to connect and act collectively to address social and environmental challenges. http://www.mwp.com/ Sign up now for the MWP newsletter and get your complimentary e-book: ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S MOVIE MAKING MASTERCLASS. You can also check out our free filmmaker resources. There you’ll find sample budgets & forms, course outlines, and more…

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MOONDANCERS FROM AROUND THE WORLD!

In our continuing efforts to promote top-quality original filmmaking, writing and music composition by talented artists from around the world, the Moondance International Film Festival is very pleased to announce that our festival competitions have brought in great submissions, in all categories, from: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Curaçao, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Lithuania, Malta, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, New Zealand, Romania, Russia, Serbia/Montenegro, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tasmania, Turkey, United Arab Republic, the UK, the USA, Venezuela, Zambia, and more!

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A MOONDANCER WRITES US:

The November 5th Moondance blog is really a masterpiece…. and I don’t say that lightly.  The insider tips article on how to get an agent is the best help I’ve ever seen for screenwriters – new or old-timers.  It is brilliant piece of work.  This alone is well worth the price of the 2013 competition entry fee.” ~ LORNA KANTER

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INSIDER TIPS FOR FILMMAKERS:

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION !

Adventures in Judging
Film Entries in a Film Festival

(Ways to Better Your Chances of Winning)

By Elizabeth English

~~~ Make sure your entire submission package is festival- friendly! ~~~

PREPARATION TO SUBMIT TO A FILM FESTIVAL: Send in your entry as soon as possible, rather than waiting for the last day of the entry deadline.
 Send your film in the format required by the festival. If they ask for a preview DVD in NTSC format, don’t send a PAL format. Do not attach a paper label directly to the face of the DVD! Paper labels very often cause the DVD to stop, stick, and/or pixilate. Have the title and other info printed onto the DVD, or handwrite it with a marker pen. Most film festivals will not accept or preview DVDs with paper labels. Don’t make the festival wait while you try to get back your lone screener from another festival!

FOR MAILING: Package your screener safely, and send it, and with your WAB tracking number, if you have one,  on the DVD or the box (or entry form, release form, & entry fee, if not via WAB) in one envelope or box, if using WAB’s submission service. Do not use those padded envelopes filled with grey shredded kapok, as it can damage DVD. It also makes a big mess when opened. Use correct postage.

Do not send the submission as registered mail. This often requires the person at the festival who gets the notice of registered mail to go to the post office & stand in line to sign for it. Usually, the mail carrier will not leave the package if no-one is available to sign for it, and it may be sent back to you.

US post offices have a good option: Delivery Confirmation notice. It’s a lot less expensive than registered mail & you can track the package online, to see when it was delivered, and even get a print-out that it was delivered properly, for your records. If you want a confirmation that your submission was received, please send (with your submission package) an attached post card with US postage (if entering a US competition). Write on the postcard: your name and address in the mail-to area, and on the back or in the message area, write: (name of festival) has received the film (title of your entry) on this date_________. Or request email confirmation.

Do not send an SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope) with your submission for return of your preview video or DVD, if the festival or competition announces that they will not return preview submissions. You’ll be wasting the postage. If you are sending your film to the US from another country, note on the customs declaration that the film has no (or $1) commercial value, or is a commercial sample, so the film festival is not charged a customs fee, in which case, the festival will probably refuse to accept your entry at all, and it will be discarded by the post office or returned to you. Please remember to write the WAB tracking number on the DVD and the box, not just on the mailing envelope, , if using WAB’s submission service.

ENTRY FEES: Attach the check or money-order with a paper-clip (don’t staple it in) to the front of the official entry form, if you have not paid via WAB. If it’s for a US festival or competition, make sure the funds are in US dollars. Don’t just toss the entry fee into the bottom of the envelope, as it may be missed. When sending a money-order, write your name on it, so we know who it’s from. When sending a check from someone else or a production company, write your name and the title of the submission on it, for the same reason.

balisha-neverenoughtime.blogspot.com

CONTACT INFO: Be sure to add your current email address to your submission form. If you have a spam filter, add the festival’s email address to your white list, so you can receive emails from them. If you change your address, phone number or e-mail address, please let the festival know this right away, so they can contact you if your film is selected for screening. Send e-mail addresses for all others who may want to be notified of the film’s status in the contest.
 If the festival has a news blog, subscribe to it, and read the blog when it arrives in your in-box.

MEDIA PACKAGES: If required for previews, send several publicity stills via e-mail, or a CD Rom with titled stills of your film in the submission package. If not required for previews, don’t send publicity materials. If your film is selected for screening, the festival will ask you for stills for their print program and media promo. The film stills need to sell your film to an audience, and make them want to see it. Use the best quality photos you have, and label them.

LABELING YOUR FILM: Please label the jewel-box or sleeve the DVD or film comes in, as well as printing the info directly on the DVD. The festival needs the following information on all film labels: Title of film, name of filmmaker, format, running time of film & genre (narrative feature or short, documentary, animation, etc.).

BUDGET FOR ENTRY FEES: Plan your film production budget to include film festival entry fees as the main method of marketing your film and your work.

Don’t ask the film festival to waive or reduce the entry fee for you. If the festival has a scholarship program available, it will be announced, and you can apply for it. Most film festivals are made possible by the entry fees collected.

BE PATIENT: Do not call, write or email the film festival to see if they’ve watched your film and if they liked it. Do not ask for comments or critiques unless the festival has announced they will give them. If you want a written or oral critique on your film and the festival charges a fee for that, add that amount to your entry fee.

Most film festivals will email you about your submission status, and will announce the winners, finalists and semi-finalists on their website and/or blog.

threeofakind-themovie.com

ATTEND THE FILM FESTIVAL: If your film should be a finalist or winner, and is selected for screening at the film festival, plan to attend the screening and participate in the festival by watching others’ films, too, as a courtesy to both the film festival that is promoting your film and to the other filmmakers.

Attending a film festival, and actively participating, is the best way to network.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILMS: If your film is not in English (for a US festival), do not have it dubbed into English. Use English subtitles, instead, written by a native English-speaker. Most festivals will not preview nor screen a dubbed film.

HAVE A GREAT, EYE-CATCHING TITLE & GRAPHICS FOR YOUR FILM! The title & graphic images should be memorable and unique, whether it’s a narrative fiction feature, a short, a documentary or animation.

HAVE A GREAT LOGLINE &/OR MINI-SYNOPSIS FOR YOUR FILM! This should also be memorable and unique, and sells the film to the festival programmer, and the audience, making them want to see your film, whether it’s a narrative fiction feature, a short, music video, a documentary or animation.

“Stangeface”, short film by Lynne Vincent McCarthy, Australia

OPENING SCENE: Have a great opening scene and a compelling first 5 or 10 minutes. Don’t start your film with long minutes of credits on a blank screen. Or with these two all-too-common openings: Shot of a bedroom, guy or woman in bed asleep, alarm clock rings, hand reaches out to shut off alarm, clock falls to floor, anonymous feet pad to the bathroom. OR: camera pans across a mantle or table or wall filled with family photos, showing viewer who the story is about. Been done a million times. Be creative! Do something unique!

Catch the festival programmer’s and the audience’s attention!

STORY: Make sure your film has a story. Even if it’s a documentary, it must have a story to follow and keep the viewer’s interest. Select a really good screenplay or story that will be of interest to festival programmer, festival director AND the potential festival audience, who will be glad to have paid for tickets to see your film!

FILM SCORE: Have a fantastic, memorable, original film score. The film score is one of the most important elements of your film.

PRODUCTION VALUES: Be sure to utilize good cinematography, lighting, sound, costumes, hair, makeup, locations, music, sets and props. Make sure the film’s lighting and sound is the same value throughout each scene. Production values count as much as the story, directing, editing and acting. Block out blue outside light, so your film’s colors are natural.

DIRECTING YOUR ACTORS: The actors shouldn’t be perceived as reading their lines and hitting their marks. They should not even be acting, but should BE the character, thinking and feeling and reacting, as the character.

Acting is re-acting, to dialog, situations, action, emotions. For documentary films, avoid all those “talking heads”. Use voice-over visuals to tell your story in a cinematic manner as much as possible.

EDITING: Edit “invisibly”, so that the film segues seamlessly and always flows forward. Edit out all but the gem of the story.

CREDITS: Consider adding the credits to the end of the film, rather than at the opening. Make them interesting, visually, maybe with stills from the film, bloopers, or out-takes, and with music from the film. Film credits shouldn’t be longer than the film! Please keep them short and sweet, and moving quickly.

RUNNING TIME: Make your film as short as possible. Consider ruthlessly cutting that 60-minute film to 30, 45 or 50 minutes!

Be aware that film festivals often want to screen films in one-hour segments, and need time between screenings for each audience to get seated, and then to exit the theater, between each screening.

Let’s fill ALL those seats!!

SPECIAL TIPS FOR DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKERS:

1. STORY, STORY, STORY! Doc films absolutely need a story, to be of interest to the general audience. A unique story, well-told.

2. And a unique protagonist for viewers to relate to. The protagonist can even be the filmmaker or narrator.

“Alaska Women Mariners” documentary TV pilot, directed by Anna Young

3. LOCATIONS, LOCATIONS, LOCATIONS! Film at interesting, cinematic, unique locations, and let the audience know where the film takes place.

4. Do a lot of voice-overs while showing visuals, scenes…try to eliminate all those boring talking heads!

5. Add in natural, ambient sounds to the sound track.

6. Keep color, lighting & sound even, in all shots, where possible.

7. Have an Act I, II, III (beginning, middle & end), with a good, memorable climax or resolution.

“Afghan Nightmare” feature doc, directed by Klaus Erik Okstad, Norway

8. Imagine you’re doing a fictional, narrative film, and try to end on a positive note.

“Blue velvet in Sinai” feature doc directed by Gulrukh Khan, UK

9. Select a subject or theme for your film project that is of great interest to a film festival programmer and a wide audience, and which will make them enthusiastic about your film’s subject.

10. Edit and cut relentlessly. Keep it as short as possible.

Considering a consultation?

Contact Elizabeth English at: mermaid7seas@gmail.com.

Visit her blog-site for more info and affordable rates!

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EE & Obama, @ 2012 Election Night Victory Party

An Australian Moondance winner commented, on seeing this pic, “I hear that he’s been showing this picture to everybody on Capitol Hill. They all stare incredulously and ask him: Is that really Elizabeth English?“ ;o)

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY:

metal sculpture by Charlotte Zink

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you. ~THOMAS JEFFERSON

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Mahatma Gandhi

Be as great in act, as you have been in thought.” ~ WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

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To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.” ~ FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

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picture-insights.blogspot.com

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” ~ ANATOLE FRANCE

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The Brooklyn Bridge

“The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” ~ THOMAS A. EDISON

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~~ Thanks for reading the Moondance news blog! ~~

NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in Gmail, and I have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

Please forward this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

Mermaid sculpture by Charlotte Zink, www.ZinkMetalArt.com

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MOONDANCE CALL-FOR-ENTRIES: BE AN EARLY-BIRD!

Come join the stampede!

SCROLL ON DOWN FOR MORE NEWS, INFO, RECOMMENDATIONS, INSIDER TIPS, PHOTOS & THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY

SPECIAL EARLY-BIRD CONTEST OFFER!

THE “FAST-FORWARD WITH MOONDANCE” EARLY-BIRD CONTEST!

Can’t wait until the Moondance 2013 call-for-entries in December?

NOW, through November 30, 2012, Moondance is offering you the opportunity to get your submission in right now for this special Early-bird competition! Here’s the deal: Submit your screenplays, short stories, TV pilots, films, music & etc. (see all competition categories) for the lowest discounted entry fee of the year, only $25, during October & November 2012. Postmark deadline November 30, only for the “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” contest. Regular entry fees start December 1, 2012.

ALL SUBMISSIONS WILL BE AN OFFICIAL ENTRY INTO THE 2013 MOONDANCE COMPETITION!

Here’s what you can win:

  • All “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists will receive an official certificate of your project’s award status!

  • All “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists will be listed on the December 2012 blog & website!

  • All “FAST-FORWARD EARLY-BIRD” winners, finalists & semi-finalists can get 2 free 2013 Moondance film festival movie tickets (a $30 value)!

“FAST-FORWARD” CONTEST APPLICATION FORM*

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/pdfs/MIFF_ENTRY_FORM.pdf

*EARLY-BIRD Application not available via withoutabox.com

TO PAY THE ENTRY FEE, SEND A CHECK OR MONEY ORDER TO THE ADDRESS ON THE ENTRY FORM, OR TO PAY BY CREDIT CARD, GO TO: www.acteva.com/go/miff

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

To our American Moondancers: Be sure to vote on Tuesday, November 6th!

Moondance enthusiastically supports & endorses

Barack Obama

for a second term as US President!

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A SPECIAL NOTE TO 2012 MOONDANCE WINNERS* WHO COULD NOT ATTEND THE AWARDS CEREMONY:

If you would like to have your award star & official winner certificate mailed to you, please go to www.acteva.com/go/miff to pay the postage. $10 for US addresses & $20 for foreign addresses. Remember to also EMAIL moondancefestival@gmail.com your mailing address & the title of your winning 2012 project. This offer expires December 1, 2012. *Award stars & certificates are sent to 2012 winners only, not finalists & semi-finalists.

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2012 MOONDANCE LAUREL WREATHS

http://moondancefilmfestival.com/06_other.laurels.html

If your submitted project was chosen as a Moondance 2012 Winner, Finalist or Semi-finalist, please feel free to download the Moondance laurel graphic to use in your publicity.

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MOONDANCE POSTER FOR 2012 IN NEW YORK CITY!

This is a full-sized, full-color Moondance 2012 poster, co-designed by Joe Gilpin, Jr. and Elizabeth English. The cost is $25 each, plus US or foreign postage. Please go to www.acteva.com/go/miff to place your order.

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THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY:

The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger – but recognize the opportunity.” ~ JOHN F. KENNEDY

Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.” ~ ABRAHAM LINCOLN

No matter how much you’ve done or how successful you’ve been, there’s always more to do, always more to learn, and always more to achieve.” ~ BARACK OBAMA

Hide not your talents, for they were made to be of use. Of what use is a sun-dial in the shade?” ~ BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

Photo by S. Vinegar

Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.” ~ SAMUEL JOHNSON

“If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” ~ OPRAH WINFREY

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MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS:

FOR FILMMAKERS, WRITERS AND EVERYONE:

THE CENTER FOR NON-VIOLENT COMMUNICATION:

An International Organization

Non-violent Communication (NVC) is based on the principles of non-violence, the natural state of compassion when no violence is present in the heart. NVC begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature and that violent strategies—whether verbal or physical—are learned behaviors taught and supported by the prevailing culture. People who practice NVC have found greater authenticity in their communication, increased understanding, deepening connection and conflict resolution. The NVC community is active in over 65 countries around the globe. Find out more about how NVC is changing the world and how you can get involved. https://www.cnvc.org/

SUGGESTED READING: “THE HEART OF SOCIAL CHANGE”

https://www.cnvc.org/catalog/The%20Heart%20of%20Social%20Change

Moondance promotes, encourages, educates and rewards non-violent conflict resolution in the arts and film. Our much-coveted Columbine Awards are given to the filmmakers and/or writers who best depict alternatives to violence as a method of dealing with conflicts, whether personal, local, national or international, and/or show why violence as a solution to conflict is ultimately counter-productive and inhumane. We believe that films, scripts and music can contribute to a healthier society and that these works should encourage the active involvement of writers, filmmakers and audiences to connect and act collectively to address social challenges.

Thanks to Brian MacEvilly, Moondance 2012 feature screenplay winner, for the timely reference to this organization.

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GREENLIGHT MY MOVIE!

http://www.greenlightmymovie.com/

Have a short film, web series, book, pilot script or screenplay? Maybe you just have a movie pitch or an idea for a TV show. If you’re looking for representation or a buyer for your project, submit and/or pitch your material directly to Hollywood production companies, studios, agencies and management companies via Greenlightmymovie – for a guaranteed response! TWO FREE SUBMISSIONS IN NOVEMBER (with purchase).

Thanks to www.MovieBytes.com, for this timely info!

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INSIDER TIPS FROM SIR RICHARD BRANSON:

Here are five top tips I’ve picked up over the years:

1. Listen more than you talk: To be a good leader you have to be a great listener. Brilliant ideas can spring from the most unlikely places, so you should always keep your ears open for some shrewd advice. Get out there, listen to people, draw people out and learn from them.

2. Keep it simple: You have to do something radically different to stand out in business. But nobody ever said different has to be complex. Maintain a focus upon innovation, but don’t try to reinvent the wheel. A simple change for the better is far more effective than five complicated changes for the worse.

3. Take pride in your work: Remember your staff are your biggest brand advocates, and focusing on helping them take pride will shine through in how they treat your customers.

4. Have fun, success will follow: If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong. If you are having a good time, there is a far greater chance a positive, innovative atmosphere will be nurtured and your business will flourish.

5. Rip it up and start again: If you are an entrepreneur and your first venture isn’t a success, welcome to the club! Don’t allow yourself to get disheartened by a setback or two, instead, dust yourself off and work out what went wrong. Then you can find the positives, analyse where you can improve, rip it up and start again.

(Excerpted from a LinkedIn.com post)

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INSIDER TIPS FOR SCREENWRITERS:

HOW TO GET AN AGENT

What Agents Want (and Don’t Want) to See

Gromit, by Aardman Studios, UK

By Elizabeth English

First, look them up online, then call, email or write to literary agents who are listed as being willing to look at and consider unsolicited screenplays. Do not send a script unless you are invited to do so!

How to find listed agents:

  • The Hollywood Creative Directory’s Agent/Management directory
  • Writers Digest
  • Writers Guild of America (East & West)

Guidelines for getting an agent:

  1. Write killer titles, loglines and one-sheet synopses for the all the scripts you want to submit to agents.
  1. Have more than one completed screenplay for consideration.
  1. Write up a one-sheet document with titles and loglines of all your completed screenplays. You will be asked to send these before sending in a screenplay.
  1. Presentation of script: be sure to have a plain cardstock cover, front and back; a title page with all your contact info; three-hole punch white paper; two solid-brass brads in only the top and bottom holes.
  1. “Attachments”, in the form of actors, director, producer, and most importantly: money, to your project, will always help get almost any agent interested. Mention this, if applicable, in your cover letter. Many production companies will expect the writer to secure production funds!
  1. Have more than one screenplay completed. At least three of your best screenplays need to be ready to go, when and if requested.
  1. In your Internet searches, and/or initial phone call or e-mail, try to find out what genre of story that agent is looking for, at the moment. Agents generally know exactly what the buyers want to see, and will usually only request those genres. But needs change all the time, and at a moment’s notice, so let them know what you have, even if they’re not looking for that at the time of your contact.
  1. Story: This is the first thing agents look at, when considering whether to read your script or not. Unique story, well-told.
  1. Writing ability and style. Everything depends on this.
  1. Dialog: your ability to write good, memorable and believable dialog is paramount.
11. Format and structure: in submitting your work to an agent, you should be sure the script is in proper format and structure. There are many books and online articles on these vital subjects, and screenwriting programs, such as Final Draft, to make sure your script is in proper format. 12.Budget: yes, a screenwriter needs to know about this. Many buyers are looking for specific subjects with very specific production budgets, and may have an actor or director in mind for the project. Currently, a low-budget feature film will be around $20 million, for example. If your script requires action scenes and/or CGI graphics, double or triple that figure. 13.If you know The Biz at all, make the agent aware of this, so he or she will know you are a professional. 14.Let the prospective agent know you are open to re-writes and edits of your scripts. You will always be asked to do re-writes, sometimes “on spec”, so prepare yourself mentally and be agreeable to it. 15. Be willing and able to pitch your screenplay to production companies and studios, with the agent, in person. If you live far from L.A., let the agent know you can arrange to go there for pitching appointments. 16.Be friendly and easy-going, yet professional and self-confident, without being egotistical. Hollywood, even though it’s a “snake-pit” at times, is run on connections and contacts. If they don’t like you, and don’t feel they can work with you, you don’t have a chance there. 17. Be honest! Never, ever hype yourself or your script unless the information is absolutely provable. If you’ve won a contest with your script, let them know. And if you’ve been submitting your scripts around to everybody for years, and they ask, tell the truth. Production companies, agents and studios keep lists of what has been submitted, and you don’t want to embarrass your new agent!

How to get “discovered”:

  • InkTip.com is a very good website to post your scripts on, to be seen by many agents, producers, and development company executives.
  • If you live in or near Los Angeles, attend important parties and other events where Hollywood types will be, and network with the right people.
  • Enter film festival & writing competitions, and win!

What should an Agent do for you?

  • Send out your loglines and one sheet synopses, and scripts to Development Executives at production companies and studios, with whom he or she has a good working relationship.
  • Give suggestions on potential edits and re-writes that may be needed to sell the script
  • Set up pitch sessions for you at production companies and studios
  • Get the best deal he or she can for you, at or above schedule of WGA minimums.
  • Encourage and inspire you to create new material and projects.

What agents DO NOT want to see:

  • A script sent to them “cold”, with no phone call, e-mail or letter first
  • A script that is too long (over 140 pages), or too short (under 90 pages)
  • A script that is bound incorrectly (no brads, no cover, no title page)
  • A script that is not formatted correctly & has grammatical and/or punctuation and spelling errors
  • A cover letter that is more than one page long
  • A poor title, logline & synopsis
  • A script that is mostly descriptions of people and locations, like a novel
  • A script with unrealistic or stilted/boring dialog
  • A film script that is episodic, like for a TV show
  • Scenes and/or dialog that are too long
  • A script with more than 100 scenes (each scene costs money to produce)
  • A script with a prospective production budget over that what is requested
  • A script that is not in the genre or budget requested
  • An impatient writer who calls or e-mails sooner than 2 weeks after the agent received the script
  • A writer who is unwilling to consider re-writes and edits
  • A script that has any typos, misspellings or poor syntax
  • A script without conflict in the plot and story-line
  • A script without interesting, memorable characters
  • A script with a boring or a derivative, been-there-done-that storyline.

RELEVANT ARTICLES FROM THE MOONDANCE E-ZINE:

Considering a consultation? Contact Elizabeth English at: mermaid7seas@gmail.com. Visit her website at: www.mermaid7seas.com

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NOTE: Replying? Have a question? Change the email subject line! Please don’t just click on REPLY, if you want to comment or ask a question about this blog, because your email to me will stack up in Gmail, and I have to scroll through the entire blog to find your email, along with the many others who just click REPLY to the blog. Changing even a word, or adding a /, in the subject line of the email to me will make it arrive as an individual email. Thanks for the email courtesy!

Please forward this news blog to your friends and colleagues!

Sculpture by Charlotte Zink, www.ZinkMetalArt.com

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