Moondance Insider Tips for Writers & Filmmakers!
WHAT’S IN THIS BLOG:
- SCREENWRITERS: ALLIES & ENEMIES ARTICLE: Cultivating a circle of allies & avoiding & deconstructive feedback, by Amy Wheeler
- FILMMAKERS: BLENDING THE FANTASTIC & THE REALISTIC. New York Times article about the unique directing of the film, “The Assassin”, by Mekado Murphy
- REQUEST FOR MOONDANCE 2015 FESTIVAL PHOTOS!
- WHAT’S MISSING FROM “THE MARTIAN” film, an important New Yorker magazine article, vital reading for filmmakers & writers, by Richard Brody
- TRAVELS IN THE GREAT TREE OF LIFE
- BAREFOOT COLLEGE, entrepreneurial skill-building designed by and for rural poor, illiterate & semi literate women around the world
- HELP SAVE THE MOONBIRD!
- BAN MICROBEADS!
- SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT
ALLIES AND ENEMIES
The writer’s journey
by Amy Wheeler, Executive Director and alumna
Writers have different ideas about when to share our work with others, and for good reason! Before you share fresh pages or a new draft, your writing belongs to you. There are no other voices in your head, no opinions clouding your vision. But because we don’t write for ourselves alone, there comes a time when the perspective of others is valuable. The key is knowing when and how to solicit feedback, and from whom.
Cultivating a circle of allies you can share your fresh writing with is essential. Allies, your trusted readers, are eager to help you realize your vision of your story. They ask questions that spark “aha’s”, or respond to your questions in ways that are helpful and constructive. Allies are not just cheerleaders and fans of your work, they are catalysts, challenging you to go deeper, to be more clear and honest and rigorous as you hone your story.
Here’s an important distinction: it’s not just what your allies share, it’s how they share it that matters. The way feedback is given can open your process up, or shut it down. If you’ve ever endured a “free for all” feedback session, with responders offering their blunt opinions, or pontificating about how they’d write your story, you know how devastating that experience can be.
As an antidote, I heartily recommend a model for constructive feedback, developed by choreographer Liz Lerman and used widely by the theatre community for new play development. Based on the premise that the best outcome from a feedback session is for the creator to want to go back to work, Lerman’s “Critical Response Process (CRP)” gives creator and responders the tools to make the session constructive and useful.
Now, about those “enemies”, who seem ready to jump at the chance to deconstruct your work: they only have the power you give them. So ignore them (easier said then done), or listen for that kernel of something that’s helpful, and let go of the rest. “Water off a duck’s back.”
Deconstructive feedback flows from jealousy and insecurity, from those who are afraid to take their own creative risks, or may be well meaning but inept. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if the responder is a friend or family member, a fellow writer, a critic or reviewer, don’t allow anyone to throw you off course. This is your journey.
By MEKADO MURPHY OCT. 7, 2015 NYT
The director Hou Hsiao-Hsien has made a film rooted in martial arts, but with imagery and settings that make “The Assassin” feel almost painterly.
Landscapes: In the Clouds
To create a sense of a time long past, Mr. Hou and his team traveled to locations in China that had changed little in decades. “We looked for higher-altitude places where modern soci ety hasn’t come in,” he said. Mr. Hou and his team used the environment as part of the filmmaking as well. “We allowed the weather to change the content,” he said. “If it started snowing, we would not stop shooting.” The camera relishes nature, holding on long takes of rustling trees with the sound of birds in the background. It was important to Mr. Hou for everything to seem natural and authentic: “If we shoot during the daytime, we will try to use natural lighting to light the colors of the room. If it’s at night, then the light should look as close to candlelight as possible.” READ MORE:
A. O. Scott, New York Times
“The Assassin” is a stately action movie, graceful and slow-moving, with bursts of smoothly choreographed violence. Apart from those moments, the film unfolds almost like a series of exquisite paintings: landscapes and interiors composed with an exacting eye, every shape and color measured and placed according to a rigorous aesthetic. READ MORE:
SEND IN YOUR 2015 MOONDANCE FILM FESTIVAL PHOTOS!
The email address for sending festival images for the
2015 Moondance photo album is:
WHAT’S MISSING FROM “THE MARTIAN”
Ridley Scott’s sci-fi Mars adventure, starring Matt Damon, is so consistent in its storytelling and coherent in its details that it breezes gloriously past some of its biggest and best questions.
Directing is more than choosing expressive shots and coaxing emotionally satisfying performances from actors. I worked with a director who likened the job to being a general. For any strong director (one who’s no mere hired hand), the shaping of the story, the casting, the creation and approval of sets and props, the details of costume and makeup, the sound design—in short, the movie’s over-all tone and style sense—are the director’s indirect handiwork. That’s exactly how Ridley Scott exercises his authority on “The Martian.” Scott, who’s in his seventies, puts on a virtuoso display of cinematic professionalism, aligning all the movie’s elements—visual and sonic, dramatic and thematic, human and material—to move ahead briskly and compactly, with the seeming unity of one meticulously designed and properly functioning machine.
The film is so consistent in its storytelling and coherent in its details, magnetically aligned according to the ideas and tastes of one person, that it breezes gloriously past some of its biggest and best questions. Of course, questions aren’t action or suspense but merely motives for the artist, prods for creation; filmmakers craft their work on the basis of the questions they choose to address—and the ones they ignore. Scott’s ideas and his skills mesh so happily that they sent this viewer nearly bouncing out into the street, propelled by a blast of cinematic pleasure that soon dissipated and left a hollow so big as to nearly swallow up the entire viewing experience. So what’s missing? READ MORE
RECOMMENDED ONLINE READING:
All living things – from the smallest microorganism to the largest vertebrate and redwood tree – are genetically related!
Travels in the Great Tree of Life is a fascinating, multimedia exhibition, from Yale University & the Peabody Museum of Natural History that explores the complex relationships that link all living organisms. For example, crocodiles and birds (the owl) are more closely related to one another than either is to mammals (the Gorilla); surprisingly, mushrooms are closer to humans than they are to plants; the common ancestor of all spiders & arachnids probably resembled the now extinct sea scorpions, fearsome aquatic predators; and the tiny Ruby-throated Hummingbird and the giant tyrannosaur are genetically related. Birds, it turns out, are just a highly divergent branch in the dinosaur tree! Read More
MOONDANCE RECOMMENDS & SUPPORTS:
Our dedication to listening to the communities we serve has resulted in an innovative cooperative curriculum curated by communities called ENRICHE. 13 Barefoot Engineers Solar Electrify 600 Households in Zanzibar and Become Master Trainers. The 13 original women trained through the Barefoot College came back to Zanzibar transformed; ready to teach and share their knowledge and skills. They have created a revolution that is bringing renewable energy and clean light to their neighbouring communities. On June 8th, Barefoot College opened the 1st of Six International Regional Training Centres entirely focused on technology transfer, vocational and entrepreneurial skill-building designed by and for rural poor illiterate & semi literate women. As you read this, our workshops are teaching women reproductive health, self awareness, basic digital IT skills, environmental stewardship, human and civil rights, micro-enterprise skills, income generation capacity building and more…READ MORE
“By opening six training centers, we will train mature women to be capable and confident solar engineers to fill a basic and critical need for reliable energy in African villages. These Solar Mamas of Africa will become competent, confident and able to scale technology themselves to raise quality of life for all.” ~ Bunker Roy, Founder of the Barefoot College
Photo by philliphoose.wordpress.com
This is the moment when Moonbird’s incredible migration will continue…or end. In this moment, at the place where this tiny bird stops to refuel during an epic journey, it’s survival — and it’s species — hang in the balance. But you can protect endangered spaces that birds like this count on during their migrations. The Moonbird flies 18,000 miles every single year — from the Canadian Arctic to the tip of South America and back. It has made this marathon migration so many times over the past 22 years that it has flown farther than the distance to the moon!
And, unless we act now to protect the lands and waters where the Moonbird stops, exhausted and starving, it won’t be able to continue it’s journey much longer. In fact, every migration depends on resting grounds like Moonbird’s — and many of them are being torn apart. Moonbird’s resting grounds on the Delaware shore are just one critically endangered area. The sole reason it stops here is to feast on horseshoe crab eggs. Without them, Moonbird won’t be able to survive the rest of it’s migration. But the beaches where it could once find plentiful eggs are disappearing fast.
And as more and more development tears this land apart, it’s imperative that we act fast to protect those beaches and wetlands that Moonbird — and other species — rely on during their great migration. For example, in Delaware alone, we’re working to conserve 15,000 unprotected acres, including areas that are vital to Moonbird’s migration. Plus, we’re restoring marshes and protecting horseshoe crab breeding grounds. But we can’t finish important work like this without you. You can help safeguard lands like these all around the world with even a small donation today. Donate now to help take action on urgent threats like these that threaten migrations around the world. Your support will help expand our efforts for Moonbird and other migratory animals.
IT’S TIME to BAN MICROBEADS, FOREVER!
Microbeads, including those that are supposedly biodegradable, are in your body- and face-scrubs, toothpaste, as well in many other home cleaning and personal care products these days, but they are damaging and destroying our environment! Microbeads, when flushed down drains after a shower go into our water system, our city sewer systems, where these tiny beads cannot be filtered out, and they are eventually flushed into our streams, rivers, lakes, oceans and seas. Fresh-water and marine fish, mammals, reptiles and birds, all ingest these toxic microbeads and die. Delicate coral reefs are killed.
Scientists have found millions of microbeads in parts of the Great Lakes in the US, with the highest concentrations occurring near urban areas. Studies estimate that microbeads make up at least 20% of plastic pollution in some parts of the Great Lakes, which provide drinking water to millions. Once they are unleashed into our waterways, microbeads can make their way up the food chain. They absorb dangerous pollutants such as PCBs and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that are already present from other toxic dumping in the marine environment. When fish, birds and other wildlife ingest these plastics, the harmful pollutants accumulate in species low in the food chain and are passed onto larger predators, eventually contaminating the fish and other wildlife species, including seafoods consumed by humans. Please encourage your governmental representatives to initiate an immediate ban on these deadly microbeads, and just stop purchasing or using ANY product that contains them!
SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
“How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something, but to be someone!” ~ Gabrielle Chanel
“Little keys can open big locks. Simple words can express great thoughts.” ~ William A. Ward
Doodle by Lou Hamilton
“Fish for those subconscious inspirations as they swim up into your consciousness!” ~ Lou Hamilton
“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” ~ Helen Keller
~ 7 S E A S • P R O D U C T I O N S ~
• Ready to get your screenplay or film on the right track? 7seas Productions now offers script reading services, critiques, coverage and edits to all screenwriters, playwrights & filmmakers, and to production companies and agencies, at special discount prices!
• Focusing on the elements crucial to creating a compelling and readable script, and/or a winning, marketable film, our helpful comments will allow you to concentrate on solving the problems that will make your material move toward receiving a CONSIDER or a RECOMMENDED from a studio or production company reader, and will assist in advancing your script or film up toward WINNER in screenwriting competitions & film festivals.
• An advantage of this AFFORDABLE critique service is that we will gladly help you prepare your screenplay before sending it to screenwriting competitions, film producers, agents, actors, managers and others who may have requested it. READ MORE
7seas Productions annually produces the Moondance International Film Festival, and also offers film festival start-up consultations!
Please forward this news-blog to your creative artist colleagues!
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
No trees or natural habitats were harmed in the creation of this news-blog!