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Category: Inspiration

Inspiration at the Movies: Legally Blonde (Endorphins)

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”
– Elle Woods (Legally Blonde, 2001)

With a quote like that, Elle kinda makes you want to exercise, no?

After the excess of the holiday season, I bet a lot of us are thinking about exercise this month. I sure am, but in the dark of the winter, it’s hard to feel inspired to exercise – anything from energetic work-out, fitness class or even a simple walk around the neighbourhood. When I get that way, Elle’s quote comes to my mind to get me started. And you know? She’s right. By the end of my choice of exercise, I do feel good – about it and about myself.

Now I just have to get my husband to come out and join me. 🙂

Cheers & happy endorphins to you,
Deb

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Deborah (Deb) Patz is the author of Write! Shoot! Edit! for teens and Film Production Management 101 for the industry – both books are published worldwide by MWP. She’s also part of the editorial board for Prism International. She doesn’t understand how her dog can be so energetic AFTER a long walk.

WHERE IS DEB? (upcoming events and appearances)
Feb. 9/19 – Author Participant with Biz Books at Digital Media Youth Expo, North Vancouver BC
March 2019 – Emerald City Comic Con, Seattle WA
July 2019 – UFVA Conference, Minneapolis, MN

WHERE TO FIND DEB’S BOOKS?
Paperback or eBook: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo, Waterstones, direct from the publisher and from plenty of other great bookstores worldwide.

Diving Into The Three Wells at Tea & Ink Writing Club

I was requested to mentor again at the Tea & Ink Writing Club and happily agreed. To do something a little different, this time I brought Matthew Kalil’s book The Three Wells of Screenwriting (a wonderful new MWP book on my bookshelf). It’s a book to get the inspiration juices flowing.

From the book, I introduced the group to Matthew’s three wells of creativity, and then we ran through the exercises to dive in and explore each one. Let me share a bit with you:

#1 – The External Sources Well –
The ideas and thoughts here are from external sources, like movies and books, etc. and from the writing exercises we noticed they were primarily visual. Tapping into this well was by far the fastest. Thoughts and ideas related to this well we found were very close to the surface and easily accessible.

#2 – The Imagination Well –
Wild and crazy ideas happened here. Some in space, some not. Wonder and personal philosophy inspired the ideas from this well, but it did take more focused thought to push past the external sources well to reach this well of uncharted imaginative ideas.

#3 – The Memory Well –
Finally, this well was the deepest and most personal. It triggered tender and teary emotions as well as memory of smells. No doubt it is from this well that we write most closely to the human experience, and it was clear that we required more thoughtful time than the previous two wells in order to access these memories honestly.

Gosh, we only tapped the start of Matthew’s book. He also highlights the strengths and weaknesses of each well so you know how far to wade in, that book goes on from there.

Now, in my book, Write! Shoot! Edit! I see the creative process in three stages:

(1) Wild Inventor Brain (inspiration), followed by:

(2) Dr Structure Editor (the structural – but still creative – edit), and followed again by:

(3) Nitpicky Copy Editor (polishing)

As Matthew’s book is all about the inspirational stage of the creative process, you can (and we did) use The Three Wells to point one’s Wild Inventor Brain in a rough direction of where you want to go for a writing session and through freewriting explore, reveal and discover.

It was a wildly successful Tea & Ink session, and the range of writing from the participants was vast. No surprise there, as the group includes poets, novelists and short story writers.

So, if you need some inspiration to get yourself writing – or writing again – or if you have an active Wild Inventor Brain that needs a little direction in order for you to productive, dive into the three wells yourself.

Cheers & happy inspiration to you,
Deb

– – – – – – – – – –

Deborah (Deb) Patz is the author of Write! Shoot! Edit! for teens and Film Production Management 101 for the industry – both books are published worldwide by MWP. She’s also part of the editorial board for Prism International. As well as writing, she LOVES tea.

WHERE IS DEB? (upcoming events and appearances)
Nov. 29-30, 2018 – Whistler Film Festival
Feb. 9, 2019 – Author Participant with Biz Books at Digital Media Youth Expo, North Vancouver BC
July 2019 – UFVA Conference, Minneapolis, MN

WHERE TO FIND DEB’S BOOKS?
Paperback or eBook: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo, Waterstones, direct from the publisher and from plenty of other great bookstores worldwide.

Deb at R2R Festival

Inspiration at the Movies: Earth: One Amazing Day

Deb at R2R FestivalThis past weekend, I went to the closing night of the R2R Family Film Festival. It’s great to see family-friendly films from around the world on the big screen… but I digress.

Sometimes in a movie there’s a line that really rings true and you know you’re going to remember it for, well, probably for the rest of your life! It really speaks to you. Well, Saturday, I heard just such a line. Apparently it’s an African saying, but for me, it’s a line from “Earth: One Amazing Day” forever in sync in my brain with a flyover of African vistas and an adorable baby zebra. Here ’tis:

If you want to go fast, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.

Which will you choose? In the meantime…

Cheers & a great shoot to you,
Deb

– – – – – – – – – –

Deborah (Deb) Patz is the author of Write! Shoot! Edit! for teens and Film Production Management 101 for the industry – both books are published worldwide by MWP. She’s also part of the editorial board for Prism International and she really, really, really wants to visit Africa someday.

WHERE IS DEB? (upcoming events and appearances)
Apr.19 – Guest Author – Tea & Ink Writing Club, Tri-Cities BC
May 2-3 – Guest Instructor – Powell River Digital Film (High) School, Powell River BC
May 19-24 – PM Instructor – Screenwriter’s Bootcamp, PEI
Jul.23-26 – UFVA Conference: Stories Without Borders, La Cruces, New Mexico

WHERE TO FIND DEB’S BOOKS?
Paperback or eBook: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo, Waterstones, direct from the publisher and from plenty of other great bookstores worldwide.

cell phone user and bike

Inspiration at the Movies: Time Bandits

cell phone user and bikeYour Money or Your Life!”

– Game Show Host
(Time Bandits, 1981)

What a shocking and horrible game show to play for your money or your mortality! It’s so absurd don’t you wonder who would dream up such nonsense and what kind of people would watch that kind of nonsense and be entertained? Yet the scene and show take place in a fictional comedy adventure, so you suspend disbelief for the sake of the entertainment ride of the movie.

Yet I wonder… how absurd is it really?

I have a video game on my cell phone that’s a type of world-building game. It’s bright, colourful, has entertaining animations. Upon completing quests and levelling up, I am treated to new characters and new animations – virtual prizes. There are many such games available for phone, tablet or PC, and you’ve probably played at least one. Ever notice how we are often presented with two choices?

Choice #1: spend real money to buy virtual hearts or stars or gems or whatever to speed up quests and advance to the virtual prize as soon as possible; or

Choice #2: trigger the quest and wait for it in real time for free to earn the virtual prize (noting that the more you play the game and higher level you are, the quest duration extends from a seconds to minutes to hours to days and on and on).

So, when you think about it, the choices are: (1) Your Money or (2) Your Life.

That game show on Time Bandits isn’t so absurd after all, is it?

Cheers & wise spending to you,
Deb

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Deborah (Deb) Patz is the author of Write! Shoot! Edit! for teens and Film Production Management 101 for the industry – both books are published worldwide by MWP. She’s also part of the editorial board for Prism International. She’s thinking twice about that game on her smartphone.

WHERE IS DEB? (upcoming events and appearances)
Sat.Feb.17 – Author Participant – Digital Media Youth Expo, North Vancouver, BC
Mar.26-28 – Instructor – Write! Shoot! Edit! Screenwriting Workshop for Teens – VPL
Aug/2018 – UFVA Conference – New Mexico

WHERE TO FIND DEB’S BOOKS?
Paperback or eBook: AmazonBarnes & NobleChapters/Indigo, direct from the publisher, and plenty of other great bookstores worldwide.

Magic Movie Moment: The Heat

Ashburn and Mullins wrestle and compete to be the first one in the door of the tenement building before their interview with Tatiana.

Basically the scene is an establishing shot of the building and of the two lead characters going in.

Gosh, filming establishing shots with lead characters entering buildings can be soooo boring: plop down the camera for a nice, informative wide shot and have the lead characters walk through the door. It’s a functional shot that puts the characters at the location (for the interior set about to see) and establishes for the viewer the type of neighbourhood. Seen a few of these establishing shots, haven’t you?

Well, in “The Heat,” this one-shot scene is so much more. They take the opportunity of revealing character at the same time: not just ‘walk into the building’ but HOW would these two walk into the building? Based on preceding scenes, these two are seriously competing with each other about everything – to a limit that makes their competition wildly humorous, and in this scene they efficiently demonstrate their competition (to get in the door first) in the single shot, and because the physical humour of the moment is so big (adding comedy to the scene), the camera doesn’t need to be placed near the action; the establishing shot angle from across the street works perfectly. So the one-shot scene establishes location, reveals character and uses the moment for some on-screen comedy… oh yeah, and because they’re so busy competing, Ashburn misses information (again) – that this is Mullins’ building.

What a magical movie moment!

Now think about the films you make. When next you’re planning an establishing shot, what other story functions can you add to the shot to elevate it to a magical movie moment instead?

Need more ideas? Look out for other magical establishing shots to inspire you. What magic have you seen recently?

Cheers and good shoot to you,
Deb

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Deborah (Deb) Patz is the author of Write! Shoot! Edit! for teens and Film Production Management 101 for the industry – both books are published worldwide by MWP. She’s also part of the editorial board for Prism International. She was already in a building when she wrote this post (and didn’t have to wrestle anyone at the door to get in).

WHERE IS DEB?
Sat.Feb.17 – Digital Youth Expo – Author Participant – North Vancouver
Mar.26-18 – Write! Shoot! Edit! Screenwriting Workshop for Teens – Instructor – VPL
Aug/18 – UFVA Conference – New Mexico

WHERE TO FIND DEB’S BOOKS?
Paperback or eBook: AmazonBarnes & NobleChapters/Indigo, direct from the publisher, and plenty of other great bookstores worldwide.

Black Production TShirt

Black Friday Christmas Gift Ideas for Teenage (or New) Filmmakers

Black Friday always makes me think about black production t-shirts (which I love!), and new filmmakers need all kinds of stuff to make their movies, especially teens without paying jobs. So, in the spirit of empowering black-clad filmmakers to experiment with and make better movies, here’s a gift idea list for the new filmmakers around you in time for Black Friday:

1. WRITE! SHOOT! EDIT! BOOK (approx $20 – $30) – I guess I have to start with my book, if you don’t already have it: a complete guide for teen filmmakers, useful for new filmmakers of any age because it distills the entire process down into a short, focused, entertaining book. It’s written for the reader to follow one of three paths: the Writer, Director/DOP, or Editor, so you could present each of the three key crew with a copy of the book to use from their own perspective. It’s available in paperback and eBook versions. For more into, see my book’s webpage: https://www.debpatz.com/book/write-shoot-edit/. If you want to shop straight from the publisher, the book’s even cheaper: http://mwp.com/product/write-shoot-edit-complete-guide-teen-filmmakers/

2. COLLAPSIBLE REFLECTOR (approx $20 – $30) – Even before buying any lighting, a reflector is essential. Useful outside and in, it can to bounce light and reduce shadows giving you the illusion of a fill light. Because it collapses, it’s wonderfully small and portable.

3. CLIP-ON UTILITY LIGHT (approx $20 – $30) plus LIGHT STAND (approx $30 – $40) – The next step from a reflector is an entry-level studio light (or two). The most affordable alternative has to be the clip-on utility light you can pick up at a hardware store and a light stand from a photography store. The stand gives the filmmaker the ability to light from any height and location – or use it to rig other objects (like curtains or other set pieces) for the film frame… which is why two stands are even better than one.

4. VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARE (a huge ranges of prices, e.g. from $20 – $120) – You may have a free video editing software on the computer already, but new filmmakers will soon appreciate the extra tracks and features of a software that more closely emulates professional editing software. I personally use VideoPad by NCH (which apparently has a sale until the end of November), but honestly, that’s not the only one out there. PC Magazine did a survey of video editing software for 2017: https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2397215,00.asp

5. GROCERY STORE GIFT CARD (whatever price you’d like!) – Sounds like a strange idea for a gift, but it’s for buying “craft service” supplies for set. Since new filmmakers are tapping into volunteers to make their movie, food is one of the largest expenses on a low-/no-budget production.

6. EXTERNAL MICROPHONE (huge price range, depending on quality and type of camera) – Improving sound quality greatly improves the movie experience, and so an external mic is the way to go. Best to chat with someone at the store about best choices when you know what the film camera is (a cell phone, Gopro, video camera, etc.).

7. BLACK PRODUCTION T-SHIRT (approx $18 – $25) – Hey, while we’re talking Black Friday and recognizing that black is THE colour to wear on set (not only because it’s cool, but because it doesn’t reflect light and show the crew’s presence in reflected surfaces), why not a black t-shirt of sweatshirt to wear on set? I’ve made some Write! Shoot! Edit! T’s, sweatshirts and hats on Cafepress for you. Admittedly, Cafepress doesn’t appear to have a Black Friday sale (sigh…), but you may just need one anyway: http://www.cafepress.com/debpatz

Now it’s over to you. Bring a smile to the new filmmaker in your life!

Cheers & shopping to you,
Deb

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Deb Patz is the author of Write! Shoot! Edit! for teens and Film Production Management 101 for the industry – both books are published worldwide by MWP. She’s also part of the editorial board for Prism International. She’s worn many a black production t-shirt, sweatshirt and jacket over the years.

WHERE IS DEB? (upcoming events and appearances)
Wed.Nov.22 – Graduate Reader – UBC Graduate Reading Event
Sat.Feb.17 – Author Participant – Digital Media Youth Expo, North Vancouver, BC
Mar.26-28 – Instructor – Write! Shoot! Edit! Screenwriting Workshop for Teens – VPL

WHERE TO FIND DEB’S BOOKS?
Paperback or eBook: AmazonBarnes & NobleChapters/Indigo, direct from the publisher, and plenty of other great bookstores worldwide.