February 26, 2009

Simultaneous Submissions

Filed under: submissions — writebrainit @ 11:56 am

I get a lot of opinions of what a writer should do when submitting stories – one at a time, or multiple submissions. I have a couple of thoughts on this. If I am understanding right – the woman who runs my writing group and several of the others with published books, believe that you submit to one publisher at a time. They suggest researching finding one which will best suit my story. Then they suggest waiting until you hear from the company before submitting again.

I disagree – I figure why not increase my chances. I review my market – and thoroughly find writersmarket.com very helpful. I find as many companies who fit my market and allow for simultaneous submissions and go that route first. It becomes very important to keep track of where the submissions go and the approximate amount of time that they will take to review submissions. After I have hit all the simultaneous options I could and the alloted time has passed, then I start with the companies which do not allow for simultaneous submissions.

I believe this to be the more pro-active way to go in this market. There are many authors out there who state that it takes 10-20 publishers/agents before they can even get considered let alone accepted. At 2-6 months each time for reviewing, to go through 10-20 individually could take years, that’s why I chose to go the other route.

I’m just wondering, what is the more common route of submitting?


Another Submission

Filed under: Uncategorized — writebrainit @ 11:47 am
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The nice thing about that most recent query holiday was the revision of the story I submitted. It is now the best it has ever been and falls under the number of words that most publishers/editors prefer for picture books. I was able to get a couple of submissions out the other day which felt really good.

The Omaha Film Festival has me a little busy, so that’s probably all I will get out for this week, but next week, I have about 10 more companies I am submitting it too.

February 23, 2009

To Sean Penn –

Filed under: Uncategorized — writebrainit @ 2:10 am
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Stated during his acceptance speech for the Academy Award he won for his role in Milk:

“For those who saw the signs of hatred as our cars drove in tonight, and, I think that it is a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to sit and reflect and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way of support. We’ve got to have equal rights for everyone.”

Thank You.

February 22, 2009

Screenwriting – A Different Perspective

The Omaha Film Festival started this weekend. Once again I was blessed with the opportunity to drive some of the speakers. I first picked up Daryl Sabara and his mother Sandy. Initially I struggled a little for conversation and the majority of questions I asked were answered by his mother. He was very polite. The conversation became very lively when I brought up the Oscars and it was interesting to hear their thoughts on it. Some of our thoughts were very similar.

Then I picked up Neil Krepela, ASC. I was also driving one of the directors of one of the shorts, Cosmos Kiindarius. While driving Cosmos to pick up some water and fruit, I had a very interesting conversation with him about screenwriting and as a writer, allowing the director to take my script and change the wording. I think I struggle in some several areas when it comes to this form of entertainment. One, it is so different than writing at story and while I am focusing on writing, I wonder – ‘do I want to learn a new format?’ Two, would I allow someone to take my story and convert it to a screenplay just to get a movie made of one of my stories? And three, how much pride in my work do I have that I think someone might not be able to alter it a little?

It’s been interesting because I have a friend who is a screenwriter who has offered to convert my stories in the past, but I wanted to do that so they would be mine. Now I wonder, can I let them go enough to work with him and trust him to stay true to my story? I do, I think and I will be talking with him soon.

A theme that continually seemed to come up this weekend was the importance of allowing the different areas to work together. When talking with Cosmos, I was catching that there is more respect to the story if it is a director who has praticipated in all aspects of a film. He clarified further to say that it is better to have done them all at different times – directing another writer’s screenplay, having a director direct your screenplay. It sounded like then there is more awareness of the integrity of the story.

I have learned and experienced a lot already this weekend, and it is only day two of the film festival. I plan to write more later.

February 17, 2009

Getting used to REJECTION?

Filed under: Uncategorized — writebrainit @ 1:09 am

I am not sure I will ever get used to it. Recently I submitted a children’s book of mine to a company that was having a query-free holiday – I think I may have already shared this. Well this weekend was the deadline of when they were going to be letting people know if they were chosen or not. I have to admit that even though they were blown out of the water by submissions (I think it was something like 3500 in a 2 month period), I still had hope. I mean, I have had this story for a long time, it’s gotten many kudos from the people who read it and I had whittled it down finally to a reasonable children’s picture book size. I was set to be chosen.

February 15th came and went – no request for contact or copies of a contract in my email. I kept telling myself I was okay with this. I felt peace when I learned they had received about 100 children’s manuscripts and had only chosen 2. Throughout this entire submission and wait process, I thought – even if I don’t get picked, I finally have a re-write that I think with have a chance with different companies. Yet, I think it’s a bit of what kept me back from doing a lot of writing this weekend. Not a good excuse, but an excuse nonetheless – now that is out – it’s time to quit whining and get to work.

February 16, 2009


Filed under: writing prompts — writebrainit @ 6:02 pm
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After a very busy weekend – even with the extra day off, I realized how little time I have devoted to writing. I did spend time reading, reading about writing adn looking at some of my stuff, but little time writing. I am not doing so well on this plan to get a page a day written. I did finally get a car which I think will be a big relief. For the last two months, I have been at the mercy of those kind enough to drive me here and there, loan me their car or pick me up. It has been much longer and much more stressful than I realized it would be, but boy has it been a blessing that my family has been so supportive.

I have been working on getting this grave digger story transcribed and have not been doing well. It is my goal to have it done tonight – we will see, I also want to get out to see Coraline and know that I won’t be able to go to a movie like that for the next two weeks other than tonight due to work and the Omaha Film Festival. Tick, tock, tick, tock. If I want to see it tonight, I guess it means I better get transcribing.

Writing prompt: Write about a holiday that you did not enjoy, but did mean something to another with whom you celebrated with.

February 10, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — writebrainit @ 1:32 pm

Lately I have been frustrated and focused on manners and the lack of them that I tend to witness. Is it a societal norm that has somehow become acceptable to not display appropriate manners? Or is it that you only have to display them to certain people? Or maybe it’s those to whom you are closest that you no longer have to display them, because they should just love and accept me for who I am?

For quite some time I have been bothered by the servers at resturants. Now it has been many years since I have waited tables, but I know that if there was a conversation going on when I approached – I either waited for break in it, or I excused myself. Now you can say what you want – that they are so busy they don’t have time to be polite or I don’t want their politeness with one table slowing up the food I am receiving at mine. Come on! All it takes is a simple, ‘excuse me,’ or ‘sorry, do you need anything esle.’

The R.S.V.P. seems to have turned to me (respond sometime, very (low) priority). People are just not responding – the RSVP helps the host to determine the number of guests attending. Can you imagine hosting a dinner party or gathering of any time – and having 1/2 of the people respond but then when the event actually occured – only having a couple arrive. What a waste of time and money. There is something to be said about celebrating with those who showed. However, when it is only a couple compared to who had said they would make it, it’s a problem.

The other part that I do not get, so you commit to attend and something comes up, is it not the attendee’s responsibility to notify the host that their plans have changed?

Anyone else notice any rude behaviors that seem to be on the rise?

February 3, 2009

My Oscar picks

Filed under: oscars — writebrainit @ 11:37 am

I have now gotten to see the majority of major options for the Oscars, I always like to show my hopes and thoughts on them. Here goes.

Performance by an actor in a leading role

  • Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor” (Overture Films)
  • Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon” (Universal)
  • Sean Penn in “Milk” (Focus Features)
  • Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
  • Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight)

I actually did not see The Visitor, so I am uncertain here. I honestly am not sure why Mickey Rourke is up for an Oscar here – it’s a good movie, but I don’t think that either of them deserve Oscar nominations – I would have thought Daniel Craig for Defiance here instead of Mickey. I actually am hoping for Sean Penn on this one, but also wouldn’t be surprised if any of the rest of them won in this category. Mickey would disappoint me, but not surprise me.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

  • Josh Brolin in “Milk” (Focus Features)
  • Robert Downey Jr.in “Tropic Thunder” (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffmanin “Doubt” (Miramax)
  • Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.)
  • Michael Shannonin “Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)

This is the one that I really wouldn’t be surprised for any of them. While I think Heath did great as the Joker – I fear his win would have more to do with being a kind gesture for his life. Even though I did not really enjoy Revolutionary Road – Michael Shannon is excellent in his role, so it would not surprise me. But nor would any of the other actors in this category. If I had to choose – I am going to choose Michael Shannon.

Performance by an actress in a leading role

  • Anne Hathaway in “Rachel Getting Married” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Angelina Jolie in “Changeling” (Universal)
  • Melissa Leo in “Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Meryl Streepin “Doubt” (Miramax)
  • Kate Winsletin “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company)

This happens to be another close call. I have not seen Rachel Getting Married, so I am going to judge on the ones I have seen. Frozen River is not one of my favorite movies, but Melissa Leo is excellent in the role. Angelina is phenomenal in hers, and part of me hopes she wins, but I am not sure she will – it surprises me that this movie earned so few nominations. Meryl is fantastic, but I actually found her role in Mamma Mia more appropriate for the Oscar nod this year, and have to admit disappointment that it wasn’t recognized. My choice here is going to Kate Winslet in The Reader.

  • Performance by an actress in a supporting role
  • Amy Adamsin “Doubt” (Miramax)
  • Penélope Cruzin “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (The Weinstein Company)
  • Viola Davisin “Doubt” (Miramax)
  • Taraji P. Henson in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
  • Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight)

Again I have to admit I have not seen one of the movies (I really thought I had done well). I have not seen Vicky Cristina Barcelona, but I am hoping to before the actual Oscars). I think Marisa did a good job in the movie, but again I disagree that this is even an Oscar worthy performance. I think the other actresses were excellent in their roles, but I am really pulling for Amy Adams in this one.

Best animated feature film of the year

  • Bolt” (Walt Disney), Chris Williams and Byron Howard
  • Kung Fu Panda” (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount), John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
  • WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Andrew Stanton

How did Kung Fu Panda make it? I am torn between Bolt and Wall-E, both are excellent Disney films. I thought that Wall-E went on a little too long though, so for that reason I am throwing out my hope for Bolt, but if I chose what is actually going to win – it will be Wall-E.

Achievement in art direction

  • Changeling” (Universal), Art Direction: James J. Murakami, Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt, Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo
  • The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Nathan Crowley, Set Decoration: Peter Lando
  • The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Art Direction: Michael Carlin, Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway
  • Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage), Art Direction: Kristi Zea, Set Decoration: Debra Schutt

I think this will go ‘hands-down’ to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Achievement in cinematography

  • Changeling” (Universal), Tom Stern
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Claudio Miranda
  • The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Wally Pfister
  • The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Anthony Dod Mantle

This is a tough one – actually all of them are well done here. I am really hoping for Dark Knight, but I actually think it’s going to Slumdog Millionaire.

Achievement in costume design

  • Australia” (20th Century Fox), Catherine Martin
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Jacqueline West
  • The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Michael O’Connor
  • Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Glicker
  • Revolutionary Road”  (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage), Albert Wolsky

I have not yet seen Australia, but really think (and hope that this one goes to The Duchess. But I fear this one will go to Ben Button – though all of them could win, and I would be alright.

Achievement in directing

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Fincher
  • Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Ron Howard
  • Milk” (Focus Features), Gus Van Sant
  • The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Stephen Daldry
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Danny Boyle

This one is going to be between Slumdog Millionaire and Benjamin Button – I actually am thinking that Slumdog is the more deserving of the two.

Achievement in film editing

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
  • The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Lee Smith
  • Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
  • Milk” (Focus Features), Elliot Graham
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Chris Dickens

Again – I think this is going to be close between many of these films – I think the main two contenders are going to be Slumdog and Ben Button – I am giving my vote to Slumdog.

Achievement in makeup

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Greg Cannom
  • The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O’Sullivan
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (Universal), Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz

This one is all Benjamin Button.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Alexandre Desplat
  • Defiance” (Paramount Vantage), James Newton Howard
  • Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Elfman
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A.R. Rahman
  • WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Thomas Newman

I am really pulling for Defiance on this one because I truly believe this film deserved more recognition than it obtained. However, I actually think it is going to be Slumdog, once again.

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

  • Down to Earth” from “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel
  • Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar
  • O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam 

Jai Ho – all the way – that was a really nice surprise at the end of the movie and I am hoping working on learning the dance, lol.                  

Best motion picture of the year

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), A Kennedy/Marshall Production, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
  • Frost/Nixon” (Universal), A Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment and Working Title Production, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers
  • Milk” (Focus Features), A Groundswell and Jinks/Cohen Company Production, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers
  • The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), A Mirage Enterprises and Neunte Babelsberg Film GmbH Production, Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Donna Gigliotti and Redmond Morris, Producers
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A Celador Films Production, Christian Colson, Producer

Honestly, for my own personal reasons, I want Milk to win. It’s well done, it presents a part of history that many don’t know, and the acting and movie is excellent. The Reader would be a close second – though any of them would be deserving wins. I actually question Slumdog winning, just because I wonder – how do they not have any of the actor/actress nominations. Isn’t it a curious situation to be up for so many, but no best actress or actor. I actually would question if that makes this movie a true Oscar worthy movie? Or were the actors passed over for more popular choices?

Achievement in sound editing

  • The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Richard King
  • Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Glenn Freemantle and Tom Sayers
  • WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
  • Wanted” (Universal), Wylie Stateman

I would give this to Iron Man, but am secretly hoping Wanted wins it. I am not even sure that I agree that Dark Knight deserves to be in these sound ones, whatever ridiculous thing they did to Christian Bale’s voice when he was in the costume nearly ruined the movie and made Batman sound a little odd.

Achievement in sound mixing

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
  • The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
  • WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
  • Wanted” (Universal), Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt

See previous choices – same here.

Achievement in visual effects

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
  • The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
  • Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan

I think this is one that will go to Benjamin Button.

Adapted screenplay

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Screenplay by Eric Roth, Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
  • Doubt” (Miramax), Written by John Patrick Shanley
  • Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Screenplay by Peter Morgan
  • The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Screenplay by David Hare
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

I am not sure on this one – overall these are all Oscar-worthy in my eyes. I always find it amazing when someone can take a short story like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and make such a long script about it, so it has an extra kudos for me. However, I think this is going to Slumdog Millionaire – just the ways they interweave the different story lines and make flashbacks work, gives this movie the extra nod that makes it the most deserving.

Original screenplay

  • Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Courtney Hunt
  • Happy-Go-Lucky” (Miramax), Written by Mike Leigh
  • In Bruges” (Focus Features), Written by Martin McDonagh
  • Milk” (Focus Features), Written by Dustin Lance Black
  • WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter

Unfortunately I have not seen Happy Go Lucky (though I really want to) and In Bruges. Wall-E and Frozen River are good movies – but my choice here is going to Milk.

I can hardly wait for the actual Oscars. February 22nd.

New Year, New Plans

Filed under: challenge,challenges,friends,goals,schedule,time,writing,writing space — writebrainit @ 10:47 am

I met with my group of friends – the ones working to lose weight. It was a good meeting, overall everyone is doing well in week one of the new challenge. Most much better than me – I only lost .4 instead of the 1% I was supposed to lose but it’s all good. I really hadn’t worried about it until my niece’s wedding was over (it was last weekend).

I thoroughly enjoy the connection of this group – there is so much support and it has been nice reconnecting with these people who were once very important to me. It has allowed for them to once again become important. We had a guest last night, so it was interesting to explain different things to him about what we do when we are together.

After I left, I wondered what my plans for 2009 were and how I was doing on them so far. It appears that 2009 is winning. Weight loss is one of the strategies to help improve my overall goal of better health, writing at least a page a day is another. I am sad to say that I have not been doing well there. So when I have a revelation like that, I sit there and try to challenge myself to get back on track.

Today I opted for the healthy breakfast as opposed to chosing the unhealthy one and I am proud of myself for doing that. I am going to try to set the goal of no playing on the internet until I get that page written a day. Last year I worked to set up the guest bedroom as a kind of office for me to retreat to for some writing as well – it’s time to re-focus on that plan.

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