Marc D. Baldwin, PhD

7 Children’s Books that Could Hit the Big Screen

Who Said Children’s Books Can’t Make Great Movies?

Bloggers love to talk about the books they have read that would make great movies, but then how many of us are truly unhappy with Hollywood’s version of our favorite reads? I compiled a list of great movie adaptations of books that you won’t see anywhere else … but already added the Hollywood twist that will leave a different taste in your mouth than the author intended. And did I mention these are all classic children’s books? Dream with me a little about the adaptations of these books into movies.

Goodnight Moon
Goodnight Moon – If you have kids, you have read them this book. It is so popular, some hospitals send new parents home from the maternity ward with this book. And the crazy thing is, this book works! Who knew that saying good night to everything in your room – from the clocks to the pets – can actually have a drowsy effect? But think of the money Hollywood will make on this movie. People would pay for it and fall asleep before the end. They are too embarrassed to admit it so pay again to see the end of the movie! Just wait until it hits Redbox — those extra night fees will kill you.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Chick Chicka Boom Boom – This book invites you to start tapping a beat and put the words to rhythm. No matter who makes the movie, I am thinking the movie soundtrack will be out of this world. It will lead to a new genre of music: the hip hop-kids-stadium anthem genre. Time outs at major sporting events will never be the same, culminating in the Super Bowl halftime show featuring Kanye West rapping through the Schoolhouse Rock collection. Can’t wait!

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The Monster at the End of This Book – The first Hollywood movie to save the big scare all the way to the end of the movie. Unfortunately, the suspense and scare are too much for little kids and less adventuresome adults. But it leads to a resurgence of The Muppets and a remake of Where the Wild Things Are.

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Very close to the previous horror movie entry is this disaster movie. That hungry caterpillar eats Tokyo and is moving toward the rest of the world. How can it be stopped? Only director Tim Burton could make this special movie in a way that is both scary and humorous at the same time. Plus, Hollywood loves the sequel. Stay tuned for Hungry Caterpillar 2: the Even Hungrier Butterfly.

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Frog and Toad – Moviegoers are drawn to this musical adaptation of the Frog and Toad series, plus film critics everywhere praise the film for its ingenious portrayal of the characters in a way that brilliantly addresses socio-cultural issues in today’s ethnically diverse melting pot milieu. In an unprecedented move, Frog and Toad end up sharing the Best Actor Oscar.

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The Wide-Mouthed Frog (in 3-D) – Who knew that this beloved pop-up book would shine so prominently on the big screen in 3-D? Audiences are shocked to learn that the wide-mouthed frog was genetically altered through the introduction of alien DNA in a secret government location inside of Area 51. WMF himself uncovers the conspiracy as he seeks to discover his own hidden identity. Matt Damon co-stars as Jason Bourne, faithful sidekick to the wide-mouthed frog.

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The Five Chinese Brothers – Let me begin by saying that I loved this book as a child. The movie could avoid any claims of stereotypes and focus on the cool superhuman things, such as swallowing huge amounts of water. Crazy! Who doesn’t want to swallow the ocean? This was a superhero book before there were cool superheroes. If this hits as big as it could, there will not only be Happy Meal toys, but bottled water moguls begging for the rights to include their faces on every bottle of water available. Talk about reaching new markets from superhero movies. They actually may make that Aquaman movie after all.

Increasing Your Attention Span

By Dr. Kevin

Attention spans are shrinking in today’s information rich technology of sensory overload. In response, the market has introduced pills, drinks, and powders that claim to increase your powers of concentration. But there are also lifestyle and work habit changes you can make to increase your attention span naturally. 

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Actor Robert Redford once said of a colleague, “He has the attention span of a lightning bolt.” I winced at that observation, thinking he could have easily been describing me. I’m lucky if I can write a single sentence before fighting the urge to starting another game of solitaire.

Behavioural scientists have known for decades that the upper range of the average adult attention span is 20 minutes when listening to a speaker. But, in recent years we have been conditioned to have an even shorter focus. Television programming works with eight-minute spans. Multi-media options and lightening fast access to information on the computer force internet searches to narrow their window of opportunity to about 30 seconds. How can we condition our minds to follow through on a train of thought to reach its conclusion?

Some people turn to stimulants or dietary supplements to boost the power of concentration. But there are simple changes in lifestyle and work habits we can make that can increase our attention span naturally. In addition to sleeping well, eating healthy, and getting enough exercise, here are some specific strategies for improving attention span.

Feed Your Focus

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can occur when otherwise healthy individuals neglect to eat, can slow the speed at which people process information and shorten their attention span. After the overnight fast and lack of glucose in the body, it is important to eat a breakfast rich in both carbohydrates and proteins. The sugars can quickly make your mind sharp, and the complex carbohydrates and proteins will sustain energy to think for extended periods.

The health effects of synthetic food additives on certain people were documented 30 years ago by the late Dr. Benjamin Feingold in his book Why Your Child is Hyperactive. Since then, researchers have consistently corroborated that food additives exacerbate the symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Many with the disorder who switch to a diet free from artificial colorings, sweeteners, and preservatives can experience major improvements in attention.

In addition, ensure that your diet includes enough vitamins and minerals. Deficiency of magnesium, for example, can lead to fidgeting, anxious restlessness, and learning difficulties. As well, the B-complex vitamins (including folic acid and choline), omega 3 fatty acids, and zinc are all linked to the maintenance of a healthy attention span.

 

Practice Meditation

Studies have shown that meditation is even more effective than sleep in improving attention span. For example, in a 2005 study, Bruce O’Hara, associate professor of biology at the University of Kentucky had college students either meditate, sleep or watch TV. The form of meditation was deceptively simple: it involved focusing on an image or sound or on one’s breathing.

O’Hara then tested all the students for what psychologists call psychomotor vigilance, asking them to hit a button when a light flashed on a screen. Those who had been taught to meditate performed 10% better—”a huge jump, statistically speaking,” says O’Hara. Those who snoozed did significantly worse. “What it means,” O’Hara theorizes, “is that meditation may restore synapses, much like sleep but without the initial grogginess.”

 

Control Your TV Watching

Between the constant commercial interruptions and the ever-present remote control that allows constant channel surfing, television breeds an appetite for distraction. When you want to watch, consider pre-recording episodes or renting movies so that you can enjoy the program without breaks.

 

Read Books

Reading definitely increases your attention span. Have you ever noticed that if you find an interesting novel to read, you may turn the pages for five or six hours regardless of the activity around you? These marathon reading sessions increase the stamina of your attention span for other tasks that require extended focus.

 

Exercise Your Observation Skills

Exercising your memory and your observation skills is a great way to build your attention span. Try this “picture game”- study a picture for about a minute. Then, look away and recall as much of the picture as you can. Try to visualize and place objects in the image of your mind. As you practice this regularly, your attention span and power of recall in daily events will grow.

 

Limit Internet Use

You may have heard the quip, “The attention span of a computer is as long as its electrical cord.” Actually, you don’t have to unplug the machine to break a train of thought. All it takes is an impulsive click of the mouse. This is not good news for those of us who go on-line to inform and shape our thinking.

To avoid having the attention span of a computer, consider saving articles of significance and logging off the Internet to read them. You may even find it helpful to print important documents and leave your workstation to digest their content. This reduces the temptation to jump between websites competing for your interest.

These lifestyle and work habits can all help increase attention span. Of course, your powers of concentration will have ebbs and flows at the best of times. When this happens, don’t be afraid to take a complete break. It will refresh your mind in a way that simply switching to another task cannot.

Peer-reviewed research article vs. dissertation

Peer-reviewed research article vs. dissertation: How to write a great paper for publication

You’re writing your dissertation and want to publish your first research article. What is the difference between your dissertation and a publishable article? Working at a peer-reviewed journal, I have seen manuscripts of all types including those that look like they were copied and pasted from a dissertation. Research articles are concise summaries of your work directed at readers who are experienced in your area of research. Dissertations serve as a platform for an evaluation of your expertise and work. If you keep this in mind, then you will have a much better chance of having your work published.

How to write a great paper for publication

First, let’s review four sections of any research paper: introduction, results, discussion, and methods. I have not included the abstract, as this requires an entire blog on its own. Second, I will give you a strategy to develop your paper that will put you on a path for success.

Introductory section

Roles of a dissertation include demonstrating an in-depth knowledge of your field, assessing your ability to define a problem, creating a hypothesis, and designing an appropriate tool to test it. When you are writing a paper for publication, all of these are already assumed. The readers are experts and not on your committee. Your introduction should include a few points to orient the reader as to what is known, what you are aiming to determine, and how. The last sentence of your introduction should state that the objective of this research is to determine whatever you are interested in by using your selected tool.

Results section

The results that are discussed in your research paper need to be restricted to those that are relevant to answering your objective. No matter how interesting a particular experiment may have been, if it isn’t directly related to your research question/objective, it will detract and ultimately sabotage your efforts to have your work published. It will prompt reviewers to question the structure of the research plan and lose focus on the objective. They may even envisage a different paper centered on a new objective. Keep it simple.

Discussion section

The discussion section must not repeat the results. If you repeat the results, then you have consumed your word count unnecessarily and bored your readers. The discussion is the opportunity to address your objective. The discussion should take in account your data, as well as data from supporting studies. It must elevate the work so it can be applied by other researchers. A discussion should include the most relevant limitations of your work and provide an intelligent conclusion.

Materials and methods section

The methods section must include the sufficient detail for someone experienced in your area to replicate your study. It must be concise and should reference previous work, so you don’t have to repeat details. The steps for performing a routine experiment don’t need to repeated, it is adequate to say what was done in a general way with any unusual details expressed explicitly.

Choose your journal and manuscript type carefully

An author must know the audience. In the case of writing a research paper, you must know where the article will be submitted before you start writing. It is imperative that you go to the website of your selected journal and read the instructions to authors. Ideally, templates will be provided so your document will be correctly formatted. Be sure to correctly select the type of manuscript you are intending to write (e.g., original research, review, etc) and verify the word count. These two factors will have a tremendous impact on your manuscript and need to be carefully considered. You may want to switch journals at this point, if it isn’t what you were expecting. I have returned manuscripts to authors without review, because the author failed to submit the article in the correct format or has exceeded the word count. If an article does proceed in the wrong format or with an elevated word count, then it may fail at a later stage simply because the senior editors and reviewers are distracted by the flaws in the manuscript preparation. If you didn’t care to format it properly, then the reviewers are wondering what else is missing.

A practical strategy

With the correct journal, article type, and word count in mind, you should start by writing the results section. Considering the study objective, prepare tables or figures and/or write the results in a concise manner to support the objective, and in parallel, write the methods. Only include the necessary experiments and details. This preparation will logically lead you to write a discussion of the results (not a repeat of the results), limitations, and enlightening conclusion. After reviewing what you have written (results, methods, and discussion), you will see that there are a few sentences required to orient the reader (i.e., someone with expertise in your area) in the introduction. Write the introduction, which will end with your objective statement(s).

Edit for grammar and style

Now that you have prepared first research paper, have it properly edited for grammar and style. Send the instructions to authors with your manuscript when having it edited. When a paper is written poorly, the editors and reviewers are distracted from the content. A good research paper can be rejected, because its message is lost in cumbersome language.

Featured Clients: John Clarence & Thomas Whittle

Featured Clients: John Clarence & Thomas Whittle, authors of The Gold House trilogy

The Gold House Triolgy

Prepare to be astounded, shocked, and thoroughly engrossed by this incredible true story that John Clarence & Thomas Whittle have meticulously, rigorously, and brilliantly researched and written. Edit911 could not be more proud of having been chosen to edit this blockbuster trilogy.

The product of 8 years of research and writing, The Gold House trilogy has been read and reviewed by prominent authors and scholars who support the charges leveled by the authors against the government and numerous individuals.  The books are packed with photos, endnotes, and an index and they are available on Nook, Kobo, Amazon-Kindle, iBookstore, and in a limited hardback first edition, which are available at www.victoriopeak.com.

Working with John was a great experience for me [Marc D. Baldwin, PhD, Owner of Edit911, Inc.].  Because of the magnitude and importance of his huge project, we talked many times on the phone and exchanged dozens of emails to be sure my editors and I fully understood his editing objectives. The end result is a trilogy beyond the reader’s wildest imagination —they blow the lid off a conspiracy of silence in this extraordinary story of government corruption that rivals Watergate.

Needless to say, John and his co-author Tom are extremely pleased with Edit911’s work on their project.

In John’s own words: “The first thing that must be resolved when you begin writing is to determine whether you are writing for yourself, or if you wish to have your ideas and thoughts shared with others…and eventually criticized. If you are merely writing for yourself you really don’t need an editor. But if you want your book to reach the widest possible audience, you need an editor.”

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John Clarence

“One reason that I decided to contact Marc Baldwin at Edit 911 was that I came to realize that I was deeper in the woods when I finish writing the books than I was when I started. The Gold House trilogy is a set of complex stories that had to be meticulously researched, but because of the subject matter it was important to stay with it: do the research, compile it, look for corroboration, and then begin writing. I finally found my way out of the woods after turning the final draft over to Edit911. It was the smartest thing I did, aside from writing the books. Shortly afterward Marc returned the manuscripts and it was then that I realized that writing a book is only the first step, and the other steps begin and end with your editor and later a good proofreader.”

“Here is what I learned when I surrendered my manuscripts to Edit911: never write yourself into the story unless absolutely necessary; use simple words to get your point across; never say in ten words what can be said in five; avoid repetitiveness; be honest with your writing; present your work for editing when you have exhausted on resource material that adds substance to the story you are telling; and at all times be honest with yourself when you write about others. These are the lessons I learned from Marc Baldwin at Edit911. His work is extraordinary and has made my work that much better.”

I thank John for his kind words and I also predict that The Gold House will be a major motion picture and result in a Congressional investigation. That’s how big and important this true story is.

Check out The Gold House trilogy in more detail: http://www.victoriopeak.com

And on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Gold-House-book-Trilogy/234711566648998

And YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/user/victoriopeak

You can also email John directly at: Johnclarence@johnclarence.com

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Why Grammar Matters on Personal Blogs

Personal blogs — why grammar matters!

For those of us who have a personal blog, we know there is a much satisfaction in sharing our ideas. We spend time planning and writing our blog and we look forward to receiving likes and comments. Some of our blogs may be focused on a “cause” while others may just be a means of sharing life events with many people.

How much time do you spend editing your blog for proper grammar? Does it matter if you write things like “well” when you actually mean “good?” Will it impact your blog or readership if you interchange the words “there,” “they’re,” or “their?” It might surprise you how these grammatical errors might just impact your life.

Here are three ways that poor grammar might be impacting your world.

  1. Many jobseekers and career climbers are unaware that poor grammar is holding back their careers. Numerous online resources are reminding people that companies may not hire people who use poor grammar. Employers will take the time to look beyond your resume and cover letter. They now look at your online history and if your blog presents poor grammar or spelling issues this might be a deciding factor as to why you do not get the job. An employer might call into question your perfectly crafted resume and cover letter if they find other written documents with poor grammar – they will wonder which person they might hire. (Impact of poor grammar – Not Hired)
  2. Likewise, if you are competing for a promotion, your personal blog might be reviewed and quietly used as a reason to not promote you. Promotions often come with a need for increased verbal and written communication and these are skills that most employers do not have time to teach. If you present poor grammar outside of work, employers may worry that you will slip into bad habits while at work. (Impact of poor grammar – Not Promoted)
  3. Documents and blogs that you write in defense of a cause need to be properly edited and formatted. Poorly edited or formatted letters sent in support of your cause will receive less attention. Those who read these documents do not want to decipher what you are trying to say. (Impact of poor grammar – Your impassioned plea for your “Cause” is ignored)

So take a few minutes on that personal blog to make sure the grammar is correct. In the business world, it is very important to have a strong command of English grammar rules and be able to express your thoughts and ideas clearly using the written word. Maybe have one of your blog posts edited by someone who knows the difference between the proper use of “your” and “you’re.”

Grammar does matter, and people do notice.