Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Week in Writing #66

Holidays on the road and writing are not a good combination. Spent Thanksgiving with family out of town, so didn't write on Thursday or Friday or Saturday. Can't really write too much while driving, which explains Thanksgiving. Came back Friday, but didn't get back until nearly midnight, so there goes another day. Saturday was recovery. Sometimes writing has to give way to real life family and friends.

When I started writing this blog, I was going with the theme of not getting much done, but I checked my work and I did get a few things done. Finished a 2900+ word review for 3 Men in White (1944), one in the series of Dr. Kildare/Dr. Gillespie films that MGM made. Not a truly great film, but with the likes of Lionel Barrymore, Van Johnson and Ava Gardner, there was definitely some things worth writing about. The length of the review has nothing to do with the quality of the film.

Usually in December, Trophy Unlocked features Christmas movies. I'm thinking this year, we'll be doing something quite different. Like the rest of the world, we're overwhelmed by the prospect of a new Star Wars film and are planning our reviews for the month to fall in line with that event. Starting next week, we'll take a look at Star Wars: Clone Wars, the television series directed by Genny Tartakovsky, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and finally The Force Awakens. That's a lot of writing in my future. Look for them in the coming weeks. If you wear a Santa hat while reading them, then they'll qualify as Christmas movies. Either way, they'll be our gift to you. The middle/original trilogy will be reviewed from original VHS tapes, so they will be un-enhanced. Again, our gift to you.

Also worked on some edits from my editor on Public and Private. Good to get back to it. Made some changes with the promise of more to come. Also did some more writing on my Hollywoodland inspired book. While I don't wish insomnia on anyone, having an idea to work on can be a blessing at times.

Did some more work on the comic book. We got 20 responses to the Facebook post we made a couple of weeks ago. The artists are from all over the world and while we'd prefer to work with someone local, we're open. Of the 20 responses, about 15 were pencilers and/or inkers. We narrorwed down the submissions to a few and have asked for a sample page.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Week in Writing #65

It took some pushing, but I finally posted about our search for a comic book artist on a Facebook page dedicated to connecting writers and artists. We asked about pencilers, inkers and colorists and so far I've received about 15 responses, most of them pencilers, which is what we really need to start with. Paul and I still need to sit down and go over the responses. He received some emails, so I don' t know if they're the same or different ones. The prices per page seem to vary between $20 to $100 a page. Since I'm paying for this, I'm going to have to be very cost-conscious. With the holiday next week, I don't think we'll be contacting anyone before next weekend.

Still waiting to hear back from my editor. Not sure what the issue is, but I did follow up to try to find out. In lieu of working on that book or Familiar Stranger, I started working on a new story, inspired by my recent hike up to the Hollywood sign. It really felt good to get back to these characters.

Posted one review on the blog this Saturday, The Immigrant (1917). The choice seems sort of political considering the on-going immigration discussions due to campaigning for the 2016 Presidential election and the post-Paris concerns over Syrian refugees. But the decision was made several weeks ago and any resemblance to issues real or imagined is a coincidence. I had also decided to do silent films in November before I learned that this was also #Noirember per some film bloggers. While I love film noir, it was too late to change directions and besides, it's good to be a little different, isn't it?

Began working on a new future review of 3 Men in White (1944), starring Lionel Barrymore, Van Johnson and with Ava Gardner in one of her first credited roles. About 2400 words into this one. With the holidays a-coming, time is precious and sometimes writing suffers, so I hope to finish this one later this week before Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Week in Writing #64

Still finding it hard to find time to write. I think I'm finally starting to adjust to the time change, but it seems like my commute has gotten longer, so I'm spending more time in the car and getting home later. Things seem to spiral away from there. And there are some nights when I find that I can't get to writing for whatever reason. Hopefully that will change, but life is not always conducive to spending an hour or two at a laptop.

My writing this week has consisted mostly of reviews for the blog. Over the week, I finished  and published about 1000 words on Spectre as well as two future reviews: 1700 words on Hard to Handle (1933) and 2600 words on Our Miss Brooks (1956), the film, not the radio or TV show. The length of the reviews has nothing to do with the quality of the films, just how long it takes to tell the story and any sort of write up about the production or the actors.

In addition to the Spectre review on Thursday, published one for Fatty and Mabel Adrift (1916) on Saturday on Trophy Unlocked. Not my most productive week.

Did hear back on a query. It was one that I had sent out on July 4th, so it was only four months ago. No surprise that it was a rejection form letter.

Still waiting on word from my editor. Trying to be patient.

And no word about my TV show pitch, but I'm pretty sure things don't work that fast. Trying to be patient there as well.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Week in Writing #63

I was right that it was hard to write with the time change. Ten at night feels like eleven and when I want to be really cranking, I was having trouble staying awake.

Did update my query list, mostly marking the two remaining queries with No Response. Always disappointing to do that, but I was pretty sure I was never going to hear back from them. Spent some time looking through the new agents on Query Tracker. Thought I'd found a promising one for about five minutes. He represents mysteries, but he doesn't want anything that might offend Christian values in any way (language, sexuality, violence). Sort of goes against everything I write when it comes to mysteries.

Spent my part of my writing time prepping Trophy Unlocked for the coming months, editing and adding photos to the four reviews I plan to post. Decided to stay with silent films and review some comedy shorts. Posted the first on Saturday, A Submarine Pilot (1915). What made this short interesting to me in the first place was that it starred and was directed by Syd Chaplin, Charlie's half-brother.

Pitched a TV show this past week, which was something new for me. Lionsgate, where I work, is launching an as yet unnamed Comic-Con channel and I was in the room with the new head of  original programming development. He asked if anyone knew anyone with any ideas and I had one. After the meeting, I told him my idea and followed that up the next morning with a more formal pitch and treatment. The idea is a reality show with the goal of creating one or more unique comic books and hopefully making some writers' and artists' dreams come true.  He said it was a good idea, but it's too soon to know if it will go anywhere.

Did hear back from my editor, though still no pages to work on yet. Have a couple of reviews I want to write, one for the new Bond film, which I saw this weekend, and another for an old Cagney film we watched on Friday, until there are edits.

Am very anxious to get back to the J.D. Barrister character. Not only the book my editor has and the oft put off Familiar Stranger, but something new. Spent most of Saturday on a long hike up the Canyon Trail up to the Hollywood Sign and exploring the Bronson Caves. Would love to work them into a story.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Week in Writing #62

Again this week, it seems like it was hard to find the time to write. It's all a balancing act between work, family and writing. Some weeks are weighed heavier towards one than another.

I've been waiting to hear back from my editor on Past Present. Last weekend, we reconnected via email after several months of silence. Not sure what to make of the radio silence this week, but I try to be patient. We all have our own balancing acts to maintain so hopefully he'll get back to me in due time.

On the copyright front, I found out that the first document we submitted, 19 months ago, has been granted a copyright and we should received the certificate in the next few weeks. Sort of exciting to have a copyright. Not nearly as good as having something published, but definitely makes me feel like we've created something.

Speaking of creating, finally finished the page panel process with the script, though I think there are a few changes I still want to make. I want to put this to bed so I can move on to other writing. I know what I've been writing about for several weeks seems rather simple, but it's that 'ol bugaboo of time. Even relatively simple tasks take time to complete.

Speaking of completing things, the salute to horror films on Trophy Unlocked ended on Halloween with the publication of a review for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920).

As far as the blog goes, finished my review of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? this week. Also wrote a review for the Buster Keaton short, One Week (1920), which was 2700+ words in length.

After publishing reviews for two silent horror films in a row, I thought about continuing with silent cinema into November. I have a few silent film reviews in reserve, but it got me to thinking about the ones I've never reviewed and One Week came to mind. It's the first solo short Keaton released after this partnership with Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle ended. I really like it and the memories it bring back of my family discovery of Keaton's work and watching shorts and features for several weeks in a row. I squeezed in the review in between doing some yard work, shopping, Halloween and a football game on TV. It came out to be about 2750+ words in length.

With the time change this weekend, I know it's going to be hard to write as much as I want as my body will still be adjusting for a few weeks. I will report back next week on how things went. That is, of course, if I can find the time.