Monday, January 31, 2011

Confessions of a Screenwriting Major

I majored in Film & Television in college, focusing mostly on screenwriting. I got to run around making or helping out on something like 20 films per semester, watch Star Wars in one of my first classes, and intern at the BBC in London. Sounds fun, doesn't it? It was. It really was.

As a film major/human being, I've always loved the Oscars. The anticipation, the gowns, the glamor, the triumphs, the surprises, the good speeches, the awkward speeches, the opening numbers...I love it all! And every year, I can't wait to grab some junk food, plop myself in front of the TV, and watch a few hours of unabashed glittery goodness. This year should be no exception. 

I've seen only half of this year's 10 Best Screenwriting nominees. But I thought it'd be fun to write a little haiku, highlighting what I thought of each of the five I've seen (and I did genuinely enjoy all of them). So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado:

An Ode to the 83rd Annual Academy Awards Screenwriting Nominees

What's real and what's not?
Our minds are as bent as the
dream architecture.

The King's Speech
Unlikely friendship,
overcoming setbacks and
a lovely romance.

The Social Network
College boys typing,
arguing, getting cocky
is edge-of-your-seat.

Toy Story 3
Pixar succeeds by
not forgetting heart lies in
story not effects.

True Grit
The masters of wit
make another Western as
clever as teen girls.

If I were a voting member of the academy, I'd:
a) make sure to have seen all ten nominees.
b) based solely on what I've seen so far, vote for Aaron Sorkin's The Social Network for Best Adapted Screenplay and David Seidler's The King's Speech for Best Original Screenplay.

Reasoning: I'm in awe of anyone that can make e-mails and legal depositions visually fascinating (so hats off to you, Mr. Sorkin), and The King's Speech is just one of those feel-good, inspirational movies that seems to hit the mark on every level. Plus writer David Seidler spent decades researching the film and getting permission to tell the story from the Queen Mum herself. Sounds like a fascinating story in and of itself, no?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Judging a Book By Its Cover

Last week, I got to the bit of the publishing process that made this whole thing seem the most real: I got to see the very first sketches for my cover art! I hope to be able to share at some point soon, but let me just say that I'm absolutely delighted with them. For one thing, there's something very, very cool about seeing my characters for the first time. For another, I really think the artwork totally captures the spirit of the book, even elevates it into something more.

I love art and have always been fascinated by people who can put pencil to paper, or brush to canvas, or mouse to screen, and create a recognizable image. I am, shall we say, artistically challenged (please see below for proof - a series of sketches I've entitled Daydreaming of Snitches While At Office Meeting). I've been asked quite a few times by friends what I think the cover of my book would look like and I've always answered the same way: I really have no idea but I'm excited to see what someone who is visually gifted can come up with. I was not disappointed.

NOT my cover art, but an example of why I should never attempt any sort of artwork.

Interestingly enough, I came across this cool article from the UK's Guardian today, all about good cover art vs. bad cover art. It talks about the power of aesthetics: for example, how many times have you been drawn to pick a book off of the shelf or display table simply because it visually caught your attention? Thanks to my very good fortune, I think my book will fall into the category of good cover art. Which means I owe a huge thanks to the art director, and of course, the extremely talented illustrator she was able to get!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Shall We Begin?

I'll start out by being completely honest: I'm not really sure where this blog is going to go. I figured I've had some interesting/exciting/surreal things happen to me over the past few months. Since we live in the Age of Oversharing, I thought why not write about it here?

It's possible I'll be the only person who ever reads any of this. I'm okay with that.

Or it's possible you're here and reading this too. In which case, welcome!

I've wanted to be a published writer since I was seven-years-old. In fact, I've wanted to write children's books since I was seven. Last August, I got a phone call that involved the words "you've got an offer on your book." It meant I would actually get what I wanted. It's not often that happens.

I'm obviously elated. I'm also disbelieving, nervous and slightly terrified. Mostly, I'm grateful. Often, I'm cold. Always, I'm asked to repeat my name upon first meeting people.

It's pronounced Sar (like the first part of Sara) - ve (rhymes with meh) - naz (like the rapper).