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Finally another movie about authors – a topic that not enough authors write about and not enough movies are made about! We think authors are pretty fascinating people!
Here’s the movie synopsis: When a dysfunctional group of unpublished writers accept Hannah into their fold, the last thing they expect is her overnight success. Can these lovable misfits achieve their artistic dreams and avoid killing one another in the process? Starring Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Chris Klein, Dennis Farina, Dylan Walsh, Jonathan Bennett, and Teri Polo.
We think it looks really fun and cute — what do you think? Leave your opinions in the comments!
Do you want to pitch strong, timely news stories to papers and magazines? Looking for ways to sharpen your accuracy, credibility, and professionalism? Here are a few pointers to give you an idea of what publishers are looking for and what editors love to see:
- Timeliness: In the print media, particularly newspapers, most of news reaches readers several days or even weeks after it’s written. This means it’s important to emphasize the elements of your story that will still be current. Instead of leading with: “On December 5, Ourtown Ministries held a conference on homelessness,” begin: “Homelessness is an epidemic in Ourtown,” says the director of a local ministry that hosted conference on homelessness in December.”
- Lead: The lead is the heart of the story. It should grab the reader’s attention, be in the present tense, and sum up the story in 30 words or less. Writing the lead is half the job. A hard lead contains all the facts. If you use a more oblique approach to catch attention, (known as a soft lead) the key information should follow immediately.
- Hard lead: “A family in Ottawa’s Westboro neighborhood fled their house in a panic early Monday morning when the roof started to collapse under all the snow that fell over the weekend.”
- Soft lead: “The little town of Bethlehem may be overshadowed by a wall 24 feet high and crowned with razor-wire, but it’s home to a small beacon for peace. Wi’am is a grassroots conflict resolution centre in the Bethlehem devoted to building peace in the Middle East using principles of traditional Arab peacemaking.”
- Direct quotes: The reader should have encountered a direct quote by the second or third paragraph. Quotes should be colorful descriptions, convictions, or gut responses rather than plain factual information.
- Weak quote: “Last year 1,000 cars were stolen in this city,” said the mayor.
- Strong quote: “I’m horrified at the way car thieves in our city are thumbing their noses at the law,” said the mayor.
- Active verbs: Use every opportunity to turn passive constructions (A plan for a new shopping mall is being discussed by city council) into an active construction (City council is discussing plans for a new shopping mall.) Subject – verb – object. It’s snappier, and more effective newswriting.
- Shorter is better: I’ve found that my stories almost invariably are stronger and tighter after I trim them down. When I’ve edited a story, it almost always ends up shorter. If you’re over your assigned word count, go over your story and see where you can tighten it up without losing any content.
- Always use “said”: When quoting someone avoid using charged words like “admitted,” “claimed,” or “suggested.” Stick to “said” or “says.”
- Get both sides of the story: It does not matter whether your story is about abortion, same-sex marriage, freedom of expression or whether the Holocaust really happened or not, there are always two sides to present. As a reporter, it’s your job to find intelligent voices who speak for both sides. If only those people who already agree with our position want to read our paper, we won’t have much of an impact in the world.
- Sources: A news story is not well researched unless you’ve interviewed at least three people. For example, if you’re writing a profile, interview the person’s mother, colleague or employer.
Home based careers have a lot to offer those who want more freedom in their daily lives. This independence presents its own problems, but the challenges can be met by following a few simple guidelines for effective time management while working from home.
As I write this article, it’s one o’clock Saturday morning. The deadline for submission is hours away and now I’m wishing that I had a regular nine to five job in the city. I’d be in bed right now. I shouldn’t have to spend my weekends this way, but this is all my fault. I chose to work from home under my own schedule.
I take heart by the hope that if the weather is good on Monday morning, while everyone else is commuting, I can jump on the bike and ride to the beach. Later, I can enjoy a leisurely coffee at the bistro mulling over the direction of my next article. When and how I work is entirely up to me.
Today’s technology makes home-based work an attractive possibility for many. It is efficient, flexible, and fulfilling. But it also has its pitfalls, such as loneliness, tunnel vision, lack of accountability and domestic distractions. Perhaps the biggest challenge to working from home is time management, whether you tend to be lazy or are inclined to overwork. Here are some suggestions to make the most of your time in a home office.
Set Family Boundaries
Being close at hand to family members while at work means that you are making yourself available to them at a moment’s notice should they want your attention. It also makes them accessible to you for even the slightest reason (or excuse!). Presumably this is one reason why you chose to work at home, but it can become your worst time thief unless everyone has a clear understanding of what issues merit intentional interruption.
To guard against unintentional interruptions or distractions, the “open space concept” is not a good idea. Unless you live alone, you must have a separate work space that can be dedicated exclusively to the job while you are “on duty.” Make it clear that you are not being rude if the door is closed; you simply have left for work.
Log Your Time
For the workaholic, a home based career can be the fastest route to burnout. Extending your work hours is as easy as walking a few steps down the hall. Checking email before your morning shower, reading a report over lunch, making a phone call during a commercial break on TV, or scheduling tomorrow’s tasks before bed – all of these add up to overtime without the extra pay.
As an experiment, try keeping a work diary of every hour you spend working for a week. Make sure to log even the 15 minutes you stole right after supper. Chances are when you review your record you will have far exceeded a 40 hour work week. What is more, you will likely discover that you worked more than five days in seven.
Does the time spent in various activities reflect their importance? Are you spending more time on favorite parts of the job than on the onerous ones? What tasks regularly fall through the cracks or typically get deferred until the last possible moment? Are you being realistic as you forecast completion dates?
Design A Schedule
Once you have an idea of how you are spending your time, draft a schedule that is realistic and reflects the priorities of your profession. Because your workplace is also your home, your schedule needs to be fully integrated to strike a healthy balance for your mind, body and spirit. Everybody needs time out for rest and recreation. Be intentional about protecting your down time as much as your “billable hours.”
For many people, the main reason to work from the home is the flexibility it allows. So, to suggest clear boundaries and a comprehensive schedule may seem contradictory. However, the more you plan, the better you can adapt when unexpected circumstances arise. Because you are working from home, you potentially have twenty-four hours in every day to allocate instead of eight. This makes last minute changes much easier to accommodate.
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 – 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.