Symphonic Saturday – Music and My Trip

L4BB3-67RLK3J_RoyRWhat an incredible week I’ve had! I have so many pages of notes from our Toronto pitching trip. Some things didn’t go so great. Something got overlooked and my first film pitch was to a woman who was upset by the content, but gave great feedback on it anyway. I’m now thinking of it being a mix of live action and animation because that would reduce costs and be different. It would also make use of local talent given how many high quality animation studios exist in Ottawa. At my other film pitch, I was told there is a problem with one of the story elements, so I’ve reached out to a medical science organization in the north to see if they can help me find the information I need to fix that piece. He also said that he could see my film being made! Given he works for a distributor that works with a lot of horror films, I’m super stoked! I got up this morning fired up to get the pieces together to fix some parts and make a plan for the next version.

Last night, we used the bus DVD system to watch a couple of movies that my classmate brought. The first was Kubo and the Two Strings. Knowing my love of music and sword based martial arts, you can guess why I picked it. Also, many in my class love animation, so I thought it would be a good pick. I think most really enjoyed it.

After that, we watched Jurassic World. It’s another with a fantastic soundtrack. It always takes me back to high school because we used to play the theme song in music class. It was a wonderful cap to the week as I feel like my life is finally on the right path and it’s the one I started in grade 9 when I joined drama club in high school.

I may have been lost for a while, but I found my way back. This year has been a fantastic journey. I have so many new ideas, twists for old ones, and more! I learned so very much about the industry and what I can bring to it. I saw places like Temple Street Productions where I felt my kind of stories could definitely fit. They gave the world Orphan Black and have received a ton of awards for it. I have to check out The Killjoys as I heard about that one repeatedly. That’s one of theirs too.

One of the things that came out of this was that many love if there is a source material like a novel to draw from in order to make a TV show. TV is way bigger in Canada than movies are, though we do well with horror and the odd other movie like Maudie. When I started this journey, I was partly thinking that screenplays are faster to write than novels are. Now I’m seeing that it’s not one or the other for me, but both. It means that nearly all of my projects will take longer. I have to figure the book piece out for my other stories. I shouldn’t set things in Ottawa if I hope for them to do well. A fictional place is better or an American city because it’s more portable and appeals to a global audience.

Over the course of 3 days, we met with First Generation Films, Bell Media (CTV, Comedy, Space, HBO), DHX Media, OMDC, The Saint Agency, CBC (Comedy, Drama, and Digital), EOne (TV), Temple Street Productions, Mongrel Media, and Corus (Global/Shaw, Showcase, History, and more). My TV show was pitched to CTV and CBC. My film was pitched to The Saint Agency and Mongrel Media.

I met the Teletubbies at DHX.

20180405_094355

I have a gazillion notes to type up, a guitar story to write, and a guitar I haven’t played in several days, so I’m off.

R~

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Theatrical Tuesday – What’s With All The Remakes?

TuesdayIn short, they’re easy money.

It all comes down to a marketing term called Brand Recognition.

If you remake Dirty Dancing, chances are that many of the females and some males who saw the original, will go see the remake based on nostalgia. Even though we know the magic was in Patrick and Jennifer being the couple, we hope to feel like we did when we first experienced the original.

Remakes are happening constantly even if we don’t see it because the movies are given different names. I’m reading Blake Snyder’s book Save the Cat, and he said that Superman is just an updated Hercules, Jaws is a retelling of the Greek Minotaur myth, and that Road Trip is a more modern Canterbury Tales. He also said that The Fast and the Furious is a remake of Point Break.

One need only search for a title on IMDB to see that it’s likely been remade. The Fly for example was first made in 1958 and remade in 1986. The story changed slightly, but it won’t be surprising to me if it’s remade again now that it’s been about 30 years since the remake.

Many of the ‘new’ movies that come are stories originally told in novel form because they already have a built in audience. It’s a no-brainer to decide to turn books like Harry Potter into movies from a marketing and business perspective. They know the return on investment will be worth it.

So how do you write something truly new? There’s a theory that you can’t. That all the stories have been told and we’re just coming up with twists. Maybe we take a movie like Twister and combine it with sharks to get Sharknado. It sells because it sounds so ridiculous that we have to see it made. It sells because the audience of that genre enjoys movies that make fun of disaster movies and they enjoy “bad” movies in general.

So I have to write something that hasn’t been done despite all stories already existing.

What have I gotten myself into?

Well, the Transmedia course would say this is a positive storytelling constraint. It narrows the field like food allergies narrow menu selections. With fewer options, it should theoretically be easier to figure out.

My first script is definitely of the ‘Monster in the House’ genre. I’m currently toying around with plot options. Perhaps I’ll bounce them off of my B-Movie club to see which approach they find more fun.

I may have just figured out what to do.

Better go and write it down.

I also need to watch a whole lot more movies to see what has been done before.

Salut,
R~

Merry Monday – Adjusting to Your Surroundings


On the weekend, I traveled to Peterborough, Ontario for the annual koryu iaido seminar. I always come back from seminar with some helpful corrections and some less relevant ones.

The thing about seminar that is different than my dojo or the grading floor is that it is packed with people.

There is a kata that we do where I normally cover a large distance across the floor because I assume a kendo like stance and use okuri-ashi. If I did that in seminar, I’d run into the person in front of me.

I often sacrifice technique at seminar in favour of paying attention to my surroundings. Several people near me were obviously oblivious to those around them.

On this particular kata, it was not the instructors offering corrections, but people near my own level. This actually drives me crazy. Instructors can usually understand immediately whether you’re doing something wrong or adjusting to your surroundings.

Now, I did receive some helpful corrections such as that I’m not putting my hands back far enough during jodan and my metsuke needs improvement as sometimes I’m looking at the target rather than the opponent’s eyes. I also learned a better timing for noto and some of the katas.

I realize to those who don’t follow my martial art, I just used a bunch of words you don’t understand, so here’s a breakdown:

Koryu – This is any kata that isn’t from our grading set, though as we level we are expected to include some koryu in our grading. I must include one koryu kata when I challenge Nidan grading in a month and they chose the other four kata from the standard grading set.

Iaido – This is the martial art I do. It is pronounced “eee-eye-doh”.

Kendo – This is another sword art commonly practiced by iaido practitioners. It is a sport and competition based sword art.

Okuri-ashi – This is a particular step that involves your feet staying in a right front, left back pattern as you move. Basically, you pretend the back is attached to the front by an invisible rubber band. Now, in kendo they do it a little different. The front foot moves first if going forwards and the back moves first when going backwards. I have not mastered this yet.

Jodan – When the sword is almost vertical above my head, the end of its handle should be vertically level with my forehead.

Metsuke – The gaze. In my art we have no physical opponent and have to convince you there is one in front of us by having our sword in the right place and by looking at the right place. We are telling a story.

I really enjoyed the weekend and the grading preparation was helpful. I had a lot of fun playing board games with a friend and her mom. There was also tasty Pho. Libations were thoroughly enjoyed after the seminar.

I made my first book sale and I raffled off a copy of one to help pay for the seminar. Signing books feels strange. I’ll just have to get used to it ūüėČ

Tonight, I’m off to trick-or-treat with my toddler buddy and his family. I hope everyone has a fun and safe Hallowe’en!

Ciao,
R~

Your Name, Your Choice

I don’t have much of a ROW80 update. I seem to be struggling through all of my remaining chapters and have no idea when I will be finished my second draft. I’m not sure why they are harder than the preceding ones were. Perhaps I did my worst writing at the end when I was rushing to meet the NaNoWriMo word count.

There is something on my mind though.

I thought what I put on my book cover was up to me.

There’s a movement afoot to have women authors publish under their full names. While I agree with the sentiment that women shouldn’t be afraid to publish under their full, real names if they want to, I also believe we should have a choice free from judgment and disrespect.

Women fought long and hard for the ability to be taken seriously in the boardroom and today women can become CEOs. This is fantastic! What isn’t fantastic is that women who choose to become housewives and mothers today are often made to feel like they are lesser.
All of these movements mean nothing if women are made to feel like they have to choose to be a CEO when they really want to be a homemaker. It’s for nothing if I’m not freely allowed to put my initials or a pseudonym on my covers rather than my full, real name.
Women should be supporting each other regardless of what choice they make. 
I am choosing to publish using my initials. This isn’t because I want to dupe people into thinking I’m of a different gender. There’s actually more males on this list than females.¬†¬†This has nothing to do with feeling like I need to pretend to be anyone other than who I am.
It’s not about blindly following authors I admire either. Some of my idols include Anne Rice and J.K. Rowling. One uses her full name and has a net worth of $50 Million. The other uses pseudonyms and initials and has a net worth of $1 Billion, but this fluctuates constantly as she gives so much of it away to charity. To get an idea of the net worth scale, Dan Brown’s net worth is $140 Million, Stephanie Myer’s net worth is $125 Million, and E.L. James’ net worth is $80 Million. E.L. James is not someone I admire. I just threw hers in out of curiosity.
There are many reasons authors don’t use their real name and choose to stay anonymous. Lawsuits are one reason. Personal safety is another. Writing content one’s family may be upset about (erotica, horror) is yet another reason.
I like the look of initials. They take up less room on the cover, giving a minimalist feel. This also means they can appear in a larger font than my full name could. Hey, marketing is a thing all writers who publish need to care about.
It’s easier to remember R.G. Roy than it is to remember Raeanne G. Roy. Most people can’t say or spell my name and while this used to anger me as a child, I’ve learned to accept that many people just can’t handle the amount of vowels that are lumped together in my name.
Maybe this seems selfish, that I’m choosing to stick with initials instead of following this movement. This probably even seems like I disagree with the movement. Wrong on both accounts.
I agree with some others that it is the culture mindset that needs to change, which is so far beyond the name on one’s book covers.
And I don’t think of myself as a female author. My gender isn’t what’s important, what I write is. I feel that if my writing is of good quality, people will read it regardless of what bits are in between my legs.
Ciao,
R~

Ottawa Comiccon 2015 – Day 2

For some reason, my brain decided 5:30 A.M. was the time to be awake today. Despite the horridness of that, I only nodded off a couple of times.

The first panel I went to was about Doctor Who costumes and props. I learned that the Daleks that run around at Comiccon and Geek Market are actually controlled by people who sit inside of them. For some reason, I thought they were remote controlled.

I did my shopping. I bought my mom two romance novels for Mother’s Day. They’re written by an Ottawa area author named Aurelia Osborne who is published through Renaissance Press. I got myself something for my wall also. It’s a tree of life wall hanging done in metal.

I misplaced my car. I parked near the fry truck, but didn’t remember I parked there, so I went out the wrong doors when I went to drop off my purchases rather than lugging things around.

Next I went to a panel on pushing boundaries in comics. A lot of what was said I could identify with as a writer. The challenges faced with editing sound about the same. Trying to find the perfect drawn lines or the perfect words are equally arduous and sanity testing.

The panel on making short films was interesting. It gave me an idea that I’m not going to talk about yet. I’m just going to tease. It involves me possibly¬†starting a relationship with¬†YouTube…

There was a neat panel on KobraCast, which is a type of thermoplastic that looks similar to plaster of paris, without the mess. It looked quite easy to work with.

I hung out with a writer friend and chatted about promoting one’s book. He’s pretty good at selling it. I’ve been afraid that I would get my book done and hate trying to sell it because I’m not a pushy person. I’m not an in-your-face type. I’m a quirky, often introverted, writer. What I learned in watching him was that the key to selling novels is a little different than selling other things. Pretty much, just talk about the story. People become interested in the passion the author displays and that’s what sells it. Also, it’s good to have a general repeatable spiel.

Then there was a panel on Steampunk Gadgets. I prefer the options where I don’t have to become an electrician in order to make a cool costume as I’m far to busy to learn every skill in the world at the present moment.

The Masquerade always makes me want to Cosplay something. I mean really Cosplay, not just put a costume on. Some year I want to actually enter the contest. The juniors were adorable. The adults had a wide variety of skill.

My portable phone charger charged my phone briefly, then it seemed like it sucked up my phone’s remaining battery life. Not terribly useful. I guess I’ll be saving for one of those.

I did a take on Buffy the Vampire Slayer today:

Buffy

I still feel like I’m wearing the wig.

Well the early morning is getting to me. Time to crash for the night.

Ciao,
R~

OIW – Book Cover Design Seminar

On May 22nd, I went to a seminar on book cover design.

Before the information was presented on design, the author of Imposter Bride, Nancy Richler, read part of her first chapter and the story sounds intriguing. Lately, I am preferring to read the work of other Ottawa-area authors. Perhaps someday it will be my book that they read in turn. Currently, I am reading The Crimson Man by Patricia K McCarthy and though it is not in my genre, it is a fiery read. Ladies, you’ll enjoy it. So far it feels heated like 50 Shades of Grey, but with more substance and a higher level of writing skill.

At the beginning of the meeting, announcements were made about newly published works by members of the Ottawa Independent Writers group. The Autism Story is written as fiction by a university professor that specializes in the area. It sounds interesting as well.

Nancy Richler answered questions about publishing after she completed her reading. Here is what I took from it:

1. Avoid small press publishers. They often tank and your work doesn’t get the marketing required to make it successful.

2. Ways to find an agent:

– An agent may find you if you get enough renown by putting yourself and bits of your work into the world through things like blogging and social media. (I started putting more time into this area recently.)

– Attend writer’s festivals if possible as the opportunities exist to book 5 minute pitching appointments with agents there.

– Find an agent you find interesting, check them out (their website) and opinions of writers they represent if you can find that out; follow the guidelines for contact via their website; submit and wait about 8 months.

– Find out how to get invitations to book festivals.

3. Some things an agent will do and how payment works

– Agents help you through the legal stuff with contracts.

– Payment is a percentage of your earning off the book once published.

4. Manuscript submissions

– Some publishers and agents take unsolicited manuscripts.

5.Publisher submissions

– Go ahead and submit to more than one because they often take forever to get back to you.

6. Developing a name for yourself

– Do readings when possible.

7. Self-publishing

– Many authors are starting out by self-publishing and then going to a larger publisher to build their audience further. This means you don’t have to choose one or the other. Having built somewhat of a fan base can make you a less scary writer to take on.

– An agent is not necessary for self-publishing, but there are many skills required to be successful

8. Book launches

– It can be hard to get people to attend book launches.

– It helps to align and work with other writers and share a launch.

Diane Dufour of Accurate Designs spoke about book covers and marketing. Below are the points I took from it:

1. Cover

– Needs to hook the readers. Colours help and so does title choice.

– How would it look if part was reused in other media like a movie title?

РIt should make readers feel something.

2. Marketing

– You could put small pieces of your work on Facebook or other social media platforms.

– Consider publishing pieces of the book in on-line magazines, which may garner interest in ordering your book. Perhaps not a chapter, but a short story version of your novel.

– eBooks are very popular. I think most of us know this already.

– Print on Demand is a good way to provide your book to those readers who prefer a physical copy without costing tons of money. This wasn’t news to me as I work at a publishing company, but it may be useful information for others.

3. Rich Media

– Whether in electronic or paper format, today’s books can have things in them like pictures that can connect the reader to a video when photographed with a smartphone.

Ciao
R~

Genres, Subgenres, Sub-subgenres

I have had an internal struggle going on with my novel since I attended a book pitching seminar earlier this year. It’s in regards to the genre. What I have realized is that I am writing a novel (possibly New Adult or Adult) that happens to have some Young Adult main characters. I have decided that is okay. My main character is young, but advanced for his age, and he deals with things that are heavier than most young adults typically deal with. He will deal with some typical young adult situations as well. Adults will be able to relate to the mature content, but also remember some of their youthful beginnings. The contrast should be interesting to write. I am happy to have figured out that piece of the¬†dilemma.

My book is Science Fiction in that a large piece of it involves alien conspiracy. It could be Soft Sci-Fi because I care more about the characters and plot-lines than I do about the sci-fi bits. It could also be Social Sci-Fi and Dystopian as I do go into the social structure on the alien side of things. It could also be Mundane in some ways as the technology I speak of is not all super advanced. It has romantic elements to it and perhaps erotic elements. Some of the technology may have a Steampunk flair, but the story is not a Steampunk tale. Now I have a little more clarity and direction for¬†the second part of the first novel of the series, but I’m still struggling with nailing down the genre.

I have been getting a lot of ideas for what is coming in part two and I’m excited to write it. My protagonist has aged some and he’s facing new social situations that will continue to challenge him and bring about growth. I am also excited to continue writing the supporting story lines.

It could be dangerous to continue without nailing down my genre though.

How much of an element denotes that it is part of a genre? I know I intend for some characters to get romantic, but the goal of the novels are not those romantic relationships. There’s definitely sex in them, but I don’t think it’s so often as to indicate erotica. Alien conspiracy is the overarching¬†theme, but I don’t spend all my time talking about the alien element. The alien conspiracy elements are often intermingled with the social sci-fi and dystopian elements. As a whole, the first novel is on the softer side of sci-fi. So I’m writing an Adult, Soft Sci-Fi, Alien Conspiracy, is what I have concluded. Phew. Did you know there were so many kinds of sci-fi out there? I didn’t. Check this sub-genre list out.

Writing a novel isn’t as simple as just writing.

If you want to get it published, you need to know what you are selling. Where will it go on the book shelf? My next task, while continuing to write the second part, is to find books in my genre. A good author knows what else is in the marketplace in their genre. Admittedly, right now I have no clue.

Looks like I have some homework.

I also have Comiccon, a martial arts training conference, a roller derby bout, and writers meetups¬†taking up the month of May. Those things are on top of regular roller derby and martial arts practices, cross-training, full-time work, mundane things like¬†chores, and the occasional bit of time to relax. Oh, and perhaps the odd date. My life is fairly full these days, but I’m loving it.

Ciao
R~