Nicole Perlman on Guardians of the Galaxy

On this episode of the SCRIPTNOTES podcastNicole Perlman, screenwriter of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – talks about how the film came about, how she was lucky enough to get her big break – elevating herself from non WGA work with indies, to working in the studio system – CHECK IT OUT HERE.

The highlights:

  • She won a major screenwriting competition.
  • Her script made the Blacklist
  • She ended up working exclusively under the Marvel intern programme for two years – and was lucky enough to be developing GOTG.

Production plan for Open Movie VFX film using Blender

Production plan for Open Movie VFX film using Blender:

This video – Open VFX Movies – has a very interesting take on using Blender (the open source 3D programme) as part of your production workflow for VFX films)

  1. Screenplay (CELTX)
  2. Concept Art (Krita and the GIMP)
  3. Storyboarding (CELTX
  4. Animatic (Video Sequence Editor in Blender) and Crappymatic (Animation with animated characters)
  5. Shooting (prepare props, casting, recce locations etc) – Used Blender to plan design of the sets
  6. Prepare footage
  7. Tracking
  8. Masking
  9. Layout
  10. Animation
  11. Compositing
  12. Grading

Check out Blender here.

Motivation from an unlikely source – that works for me

This is how I need to approach my writing / any meaningful endeavour (making a note of it mainly for myself):
(The text below is ‘borrowed’ and changed from the original source – written by Elliott Hulse )
“When you study other successful people, and identify a single activity that you’ve realized supports them in their success… that you think could work for you…. …begin applying that single activity to your life, LIKE A MACHINE!
… You will want to make this single activity into a “Keystone Habit”.
A keystone habit is something that you do automatically, every single day, that leads you inch by inch to success.
It is not some BIG magical undertaking. Every-single-day!  Without fail… just do it.
Because by practicing this simple keystone habit every single day you are also strengthening the virtue of DISCIPLINE.
Discipline is a tool, that once strengthened, you can use to attack the next, perhaps bigger, goal.
Identify a SINGLE keystone habit. Then work like a machine on that habit to build discipline.”
I do have a wide variety of interests and I love it when I can see parallels between a piece about losing weight / forcing yourself into a more disciplined workout regime and trying to teach myself discipline in my writing or other self improvement goals.
My keystone habit at the moment is writing without fail every morning and every evening – on the way to and from work. At least 45 minutes a day in total – even on days when work threatens to bleed over into my evening time.  It is the bare minimum I ask of myself and often inspires me to want to do more.
Thank you Elliott for your motivation and insightful words. They are relevant – beyond fitness alone.

Daily writing practice

Things I am going to attempt to do each day, to get back into my groove:

1. Brainstorm each day – (gather potential topics for future exploration, especially at the end to fuel my next session – reviewing them at the start of my next, if not already motivated by an idea or scene)….
2. Write every morning before work, on the train and after work – as a minimum part of my routine
3. Make friends with my Inner critic – ask his permission to make mistakes and convince him to back off a bit 😉
4. Multi-task to keep me engaged, but only when encountering a creative roadblock
5. Write about the ordinary, my life, a journal, if it helps to put the time in and open that dialogue
6. Force myself to have new experiences – to help overcome roadblocks – new writing places? E.g. Lunch writing in different spots
7. Try visual collages – to capture an experience if I can’t find the words. Page through art /photography books for inspiration.
8. Create musical soundscapes that are evocative of the world or emotion I’m creating.
9. Visit a new place, walking, a museum, gig, listen to conversations, allow myself to watch and observe.
10. Nap, meditate, pray… to the old ones 😉

The Optimal Daily Word Target Calculator | Michael J Holley – Writer

The Optimal Daily Word Target Calculator | Michael J Holley – Writer. – is an excellent post on trying to break your goals so that you can make work and your social life coexist…. I like the idea of trying to do this, to set a word count that you can stick by.

You’ll notice I’m not that prolific blogging. It’s the writing that is also being affected by the stresses of life and the day job.  But if you want bite-size wins to edge you further towards cresting a mountain, why not set an achievable goal?

JUGGERNAUT – A novel by Adam Baker – review

I first became aware of Adam Baker’s writing when searching from some holiday reading. Shopping sites remember our preferences, and sometimes they’re even correct – sometimes – and this time when searching for post apocalyptic pandemic / zombie fiction it presented OUTPOST to me. At the time of purchase there were only a few reviews. Although the reviewers were divided, the positive reviews filled me with hope that I would find a new PONTYPOOL or 28 DAYS LATER between the covers. It wasn’t until I was sequestered in by the pool, in the shade, so pale that I appeared to be in black and white compared to the other resort guests, and opened the cover of the book, that I realised I was in for a skilfully crafted and incredibly addictive joyride. Outpost

OUTPOST was an unforgiving tale of Arctic desperation, and ever pervading dread: seen through the eyes of a suicidal overweight priest and the crew of a defunct oil rig; watching the world submit to a global pandemic which turns its victims into a 21st century version of the living dead. Every page was either filled with the slow dread of eventual starvation, submitting to the elements and the bite of the infected, or I was captivated by the survivors’ Maguyver-esque attempts to turn the tables on fate.

I couldn’t wait to tweet about it as soon as I finished it – being a social media-addicted saddo (hence the blog) – and tell people that they need to grab a copy at once. That’s how I eventually came to own a pre-publication copy of JUGGERNAUT; a sort of prequel, if you will. Adam Baker read my tweets. We then corresponded. And when Adam later announced that he had written a new tale, I jumped at the chance to get my greasy paws on it. And I’m glad that I did… (forgive any spoilers!)

(more…)

Dream within a dream sequences – cliché or not?

I am suffering right now from a flu bug. I don’t sleep really. Hardly ever. When I do, it is usually after days of no sleep, or it is alcohol induced and fleeting. Or when I am ill, as my system is too run down. Anything more than two hours is a great night’s sleep. But this makes me a very tired and usually creatively unproductive person when my energy is constantly dwindling after a full day of work.

Also I am constantly jealous of those who do and how easily they slip into oblivion. I hate it when they do it so effortlessly and they dream so richly. I begrudge it. Anyway, the only time I really sleep is when I am ill. And up until now, I would say that until this morning I always thought that the existence of really lucid dreams that could be confused with reality and those that led to other dreams, like the hackneyed dream-within-a-dream sequences in most horror films were nothing but a purely literary or cinematic device. That is, until it happened to me. Sort of….

(more…)